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since 08/06/2006

74 20/12/2010

Brand Alley, not quite up my Street.. Brand Alley was a clothing website that I heard about ages ago, but it took me years to actually get excited about something enough to buy it (looking at my email archive, it's about 2 years). It's certainly improved since it first launch in terms of the quality of the items for sale. When the site first launched, it seemed to be selling all the horrible stuff that nobody wants to buy. Previously, you actually have to sign up first before you can see the actual products available to purchase. Thankfully now you don't have to be logged in to view these. Introduction The idea of Brand Alley is it is an online designer outlet store meaning you can buy designer pieces at a reduced cost. The actual brands it stocks changes weekly depending what they have available. The brands which are currently in stock are listed on the homepage with photos giving you a sneak preview. The homepage also has a list of designers which are 'coming soon'. Once you sign up, Brand Alley will also send you a regular email telling you when they have new designers in stock. The website is reasonably laid out, the logos are very plain in black and white at the top with the menu just underneath it. The site seems very quick to load and I've never had a problem with downtime. What's on sale? Brand Alley stocks womenswear, lingerie, menswear, men's underwear, both men and women's shoes, kidswear, accessories, homeware, beauty and rather randomly, there is a holiday section with discounted ...

Soap & Glory Glad Pits 06/12/2010

Glad 'when it ran out' Pits

Soap & Glory Glad Pits I go to the gym fairly regularly and I'm always forgetting to pack my anti-perspirant in my kit which means I am often a sweaty mess after I have finished! Introduction I chose this particular anti-perspirant as Soap & Glory is a brand I have used before and my experience of them in the past has been very good. The anti-perspirant is in a spray can and is marketed as a 24-hour product. Soap & Glory products are always packaged in hot pink containers with 20s inspired black and white photos of pin up girls as decoration. This spray is no exception, with a snapshot photo of a lady in a white vintage bikini. Soap & Glory is a brand which is exclusive to Boots, so if you wish to purchase this deodorant then you will need to either buy it online at or pop into your nearest Boots store. The spray is a little pricier than other options at £4 for 150ml. There is all sorts of flashy logos on the front of the can which exclaim things such as “low-whitening formula helps prevent t-shirt streaks!” and “Fantastically-fragrant & with soothing aloe extract”. Application There is a section on the back of the can which tells you how to apply the spray correctly, which is useful as sometimes it’s not clear how far away you are meant to be spraying from. The advice is to shake the can well and hold from 15-20cm away and to use preferably after bathing or showering. It says to reapply whenever you feel you need it, which is odd as it says on the front it is meant to ...

100 Classic Book Collection (Nintendo DS) 10/11/2010

100 books to keep you busy for a while!

100 Classic Book Collection (Nintendo DS) I am quite a big reader so was pleased to receive this 'game' as a birthday present last year. The idea of this cartridge is to provide a collection of classic books which you are able to load onto your Nintendo DS and read from there, holding the DS sideways like a book. The pages of the books are displayed on both screens and you turn the page by flicking your stylus across the touchscreen. The cartridge was priced at £29.99 when first released but has since been reduced in most shops. You should be able to find it for £15 in some shops since it has been around since 2008. When you first load up the game, the book titles are displayed on a bookshelf which you can scroll through to find the one you want. The books are arranged alphabetically by author and vary in thickness depending on how long the book is, for example, Pinocchio is a very thin book as it is a short children's story whereas Pride and Prejudice is somewhat thicker. The books you have read already are identified by having a bright green logo on the bottom of the spine. There are other ways of searching through the books you want to read, for example there is an option which lists all the short books. To keep the place in your book there is the option of using bookmarks. That way, the next time you switch on your DS you can quickly return to the place you were at as it will prompt you to carry on reading the book. You can use up to three bookmarks per book, although I only ever use one. When you have ...

Warwick Castle, Warwick 13/10/2010

Commercial Castle

Warwick Castle, Warwick Warwick Castle is a medieval themed castle located in the town of Warwick, Warwickshire. The castle is said to have been built by William the Conqueror in 1068 and was used as fortification until the early 17th century when it was then converted into a country house. It was then inhabited by the subsequent Earls of Warwick from 1759 until 1978 when it was purchased by the Tussuads Group and opened as a tourist attraction. In recent years, I have been to Warwick Castle twice. The first time was a weekend in the summer season, the weather was really warm and sunny and all of the outdoor shows were running. The Castle was also very crowded as you can imagine. The second time was the day before it closed down for the winter, and was an extremely rainy Friday. There was hardly anyone around and none of the shows were running. So as you can imagine, they were both totally different trips but I still tried to make the most of both of them! I will be reviewing mainly from my experiences from my most recent visit as it is the freshest in my memory. They say to allow four hours to see all of the castle but this depends a lot on what you intend to do there, whether the shows are running and whether you will be visiting the dungeons. Travel My friend and I were travelling to the castle from Birmingham city centre and so we were able to get the train from there to Warwick train station. The train station is about a 15 minute walk from the castle and the way to walk is sign posted ...

The Valley of the Kings, Egypt 06/10/2010

A Valley.. fit for a King!

The Valley of the Kings, Egypt I have been to Egypt four times, and each time I have stayed at various places up and down the Nile visiting all the historical sights, rather than staying at the Red Sea which is more of a beach resort area. I have visited the Valley of the Kings twice, between the two visits there was a seven year gap but it hadn't really changed much between the two visits. Both times I visited in August during the hottest time of the year. What is the Valley of the Kings? The Valley of the Kings is a collection of underground tombs for Pharaohs from the Eighteenth to Twentieth Dynasties (16th to 11th century BC). The valley is on the West bank of the River Nile, opposite Luxor. Before Pharaohs were buried in underground tombs, they used to be buried in pyramids, of which there are some 100 further North in Egypt. Ancient Egyptians believed that they could take their possessions on with them to the afterlife if they were buried with them and so they were buried surrounded by their gold and other treasures. But the pyramids were like a huge advert saying 'come and rob me' as they are so big and pinpoint the resting place of the Pharaoh like a huge.. well pyramid. So the later Pharaohs decided it would be wiser to bury themselves in underground tombs which were completely sealed off. The location of the tombs was meant to be a secret to protect the gold from being robbed, however there would always be someone who knew where they were that could be bribed into sharing the ...

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World (DVD) 27/09/2010

The Surprise Hit Movie of 2010

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World (DVD) I normally don't bother watching typical teenage comedy films so I was a little reluctant to see this film when it first came out. However, after the amount of people I knew who had seen it and came back raving about it, I decided I should give it a try. As soon as I started watching it, it became apparent it's not a typical film in any way, in fact it's totally different to any film I've ever seen! Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is a comedy film based on a 6 part comic book series by Canadian author Bryan Lee O'Malley. Due to it's origins, the film has a 'comic book' style theme to it, mixed in with video game action. The video game references start from the moment the pixellated Univeral Studios logo flashes up on the screen. The film is directed by an English guy by the name of Edgar Wright who has also directed films such as Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, both films which I thoroughly enjoyed so I had very high expectations! The film is set in Toronto Canada, and we are introduced to Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), a guy in his early 20s who shares / crashes a flat with his gay best friend Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin). Scott plays bass guitar for a upcoming band called Sex Bob-omb and is also dating a girl called Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), a 17 year old high-schooler. However he soon dreams about a mysterious purple haired girl on rollerskates who he soon meets and discovers is called Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). The pair soon start dating, however Scott ...

Nivea Creme General Purpose Cream 23/09/2010

A simple but effective product

Nivea Creme General Purpose Cream I use body lotion pretty much everyday to keep my skin feeling soft and fresh. The brand I use tends to vary everytime I buy my next bottle as I like to take advantage of special offers! This is not really a body lotion designed for slathering all over yourself though, it is more suited to target specific areas that are in need of extra moisture, for example, rough patches on feet and elbows. I believe this can also be used on areas affected by eczema to help sooth it, though it is probably advisable to try medicated cream first. I chose this moisturiser because it was the cheapest of it's kind available, at only £1 for 50ml. In comparison, similar product E45 cream is £3.49 for 125ml and this was the smallest size they did. Nivea Creme is also available in tin containers of 30ml and bigger tubs of 200ml. Packaging The packaging of the tub doesn't really give much away about the product. It has 'Nivea Creme' written on the lid and around the sides various times but it does not have anything else to describe the product. It doesn't even say whether it is a face cream or a body cream! If it hadn't been displayed in a section specifically designated for body lotions then I may have mistaken it for a face cream due to the compact size of the tub. If you turn it upside down, there is a peelable sticker on the bottom. If you peel this back, there is a list of ingredients and also a contact address for Nivea. When I first opened the tub, there is a foil seal which you ...

L'Oreal Lash Architect 14/09/2010

Lash architect fails to build enthusiasm

L'Oreal Lash Architect I am a huge mascara wearer. I first started using it when I was about 14 in secondary school and was amazed at how much difference it made to my lashes in both length and volume. I find it a great confidence booster and a really good way of going from daytime look to night time really quickly. I bought this mascara on a complete spur of the moment purchase.. I had failed to notice that my current mascara had run dry the very day I was due to go to a big party in the evening. I rushed to the nearest Boots which is pretty tiny and didn't have much choice. I decided that this looked like the most impressive choice out of all the mascaras available there as all the others seemed to have odd shaped brushes. I liked the look of this mascara as it didn't appear to have any gimmicks about it, it was just a mascara plain and simple! It was a little pricey at £10 but I hoped it would be worth it. I looked up the mascara on the internet when I got home and was surprised to see it has been a product on ciao since 2002, so it is not a relatively new mascara as I had thought. I buy quite a lot of make-up so I found it quite strange I had never noticed this one before, though that might be put down to its quite plain packaging. The mascara comes in a bottle of shiny black plastic with silver writing along the side announcing that it is a 'False Lash Effect Mascara'. Although it is quite simple packaging, it still manages to look relatively sleek and stylish. The mascara comes in ...

FASHION: Do you enjoy wearing fashionable clothes or do you think it's all a big rip-off? What do your clothes say about you? 07/09/2010

Let's Get Glam

FASHION: Do you enjoy wearing fashionable clothes or do you think it's all a big rip-off? What do your clothes say about you? Although I came from a relatively well off family, my Mum doesn't have a clue about fashion and my Dad is even more clueless. They don't believe in spending money to look good which is a great attitude to have, but I didn't really understand this when I was a school child. My parents would hardly ever buy me new clothes, and when they did they would be far from fashionable! I wasn't even interested in fashion when I was in junior school, it was more the fact I didn't want to be the odd one out, as being the odd one out at school normally means you will get picked on. I guess this happens a lot in the fashion world, people will copy what other people are wearing to feel like they're "in", and perhaps feel like they will be more acceptable to other people. I remember feeling inadequate because all my friends at school would be wearing their Nikes and Adidas trainers, whereas I would be given the cheapest Aasics trainers my mum could find at the market. Bizarrely, Aasics trainers now appear to be considered cool again as they seem to be one of the more popular trainer brand of choice at my local gym. When I had moved up into secondary school, suddenly there were all these pretty girls to compete with who had stylish mums that used to dress them. I remember always dreading mufty day when you could wear whatever you liked, as I would always 'get it wrong' and end up wearing something that other girls would take the mickey out of. The Price of Fashion I feel like my lack of ...

Nestle Kit Kat Chunky Bar 24/08/2010

Too Much Chunk in My Trunk

Nestle Kit Kat Chunky Bar Chocolate has always been my weakness.. I can give many things up that I enjoy in my life quite easily, such as crisps, alcohol and sweets, but I've always had difficulty with giving up chocolate. One of my favourite chocolate biscuits growing up as a child was the Kit Kat bar.. oh the joy I had when they released the large 'Kit Kat chunky!' Kit Kit is a chocolate biscuit which is produced by Nestle, the original biscuit contains two fingers of chocolate covered, creme filled wafer. There was also a four fingered chocolate biscuit released. The fingers can be snapped away from each other and eaten separately, maybe this was what inspired the slogan, "have a break... have a Kit Kit!" Packaging & Price I'm sure everyone in this country is pretty familiar with the bright red Kit Kat packaging by now, it is quite distinctive and easy to spot a mile away. The Chunky version is not that different, obviously it is a little larger and there is only one finger instead of two. Whereas the original Kit Kat biscuit is packaged in foil and with a paper covering over the top, the Chunky variation is wrapped in a shiny bright red wrapper with similar logo designs. You can buy each bar separately, and you can also buy them in packs of 5 in supermarkets (£1.74 in tesco for example). The single bars will vary in price depending where you buy them, though they tend to be priced in similar ways to other chocolate bars, anywhere between 50p and 75p. So buying a pack of 5 is a lot more ...

Ring Trilogy: Loop - Koji Suzuki 20/08/2010

In the Loop

Ring Trilogy: Loop - Koji Suzuki I have always been a fan of horror films, and in particular I really enjoy Japanese and Thai horror films. One of my favourite films was 'Ringu', which was also remade into an American film 'The Ring'. Ringu tells the story of a mysterious videotape which causes anyone who watches it to die a week later in mysterious circumstances. I was looking for the 'Ring' novel in the library as I was interested in reading the book after seeing the film, however they either didn't have any or they were all loaned out, and I ended up finding this book by accident, the cover was so bright and unusual looking that I was drawn to it. I was surprised to see that the author was the same as the book I was looking for, Koji Suzuki, a Japanese horror / thriller fiction author. Introduction Loop is the third book from a trilogy, the first two books are called Ring and Spiral. Loop is meant to be a stand alone book from the other Ring books, the blurb on the back states you do not have to have read the other Ring books to read this book, though it also says it is best enjoyed by fans of the series. I would love to say that I have read the original Japanese version of the story, however the book I shall be reviewing is the English translation. Loop has not yet been made into a film so I didn't know anything about the storyline until I read this book. The book opens up with 10 year old Kaoru, a very clever boy for his age who lives with his mother (Machiko) and father (Hideyuki) in ...

Revolution Bar, Birmingham 10/08/2010

Such a Revo-lting place!

Revolution Bar, Birmingham The office which I work at is a 5 minute walk from the Birmingham Revolution so I have often been in there with colleagues on a lunchtime and straight after work. It's pretty much the nearest place to the office which is probably why we go there so often! Over the last two or three years I've really started to go out a lot, both to eat and drink, so thought I would share my views with you on Revolution. Location & Opening hours Revolution is located on Broad Street, the exact address is: 218 Broad Street, Birmingham, West Midlands B15 1BL Telephone number is 0121 665 6508 and the website is Broad Street is a long and very busy road which contains a lot of clubs and bars. It's one of the main places to go on a night out, but has a bit of a reputation for being a little bit 'rough' compared to other clubbing / party areas in the city. Revolution is located towards the top end of Broad Street, furthest away from the city centre. The top end of Broad Street is a lot quieter than the bottom and looks a little run down with quite a few empty properties scattered around. You tend to get less people around this area during the day, at night it is still quite busy. The opening hours are currently: Monday to Wednesday 11.30am - 12am Thursday to Saturday 11.30am - 3am Sunday 12pm - 2am The Decor This bar has a very modern look which is one of the reasons it appeals to me so much. The wooden ...

The Chocolate Lovers' Diet - Carole Matthews 04/08/2010

Chocolate lovers diet.. without the diet

The Chocolate Lovers' Diet - Carole Matthews I don't normally read girlie, chick lit books like this one (I'm more of a murder mystery / thriller fan when it comes to books), but I occasionally do like to read something more easy going which is less edge of your seat stuff. I started reading this series of books simply because it had the word 'Chocolate' in the title! I have a bit of a chocolate obsession myself so thought it might appeal to me. Introduction Chocolate Lovers Diet is a sequel to the 'Chocolate Lovers Club'. If you are going to read both books, I would recommend that you read the first book before reading this one as if you attempt to read them the other way round, you will already know most of what happens in the first book from what is talked about in this book. This book very much continues on from where the first book left off and has all of the same characters in it. The book's opening chapter recaps over the characters and what has happened in the first book again so that you can refresh your memory. Even though I read the first book a year ago, I found it quite easy to remember what had happened and get stuck into this book. The story centres around four friends living in London, Lucy, Chantel, Nadia and Autumn, that have formed a Chocolate Lovers Club and frequently meet at the Chocolate Heaven cafe to have a chat and to eat their favourite food, chocolate. Whenever a crisis occurs in their lives, they text the other girls with a 'Chocolate emergency' message to let everyone know they ...

Motorola DEXT MB220 28/07/2010

I've got a brand new Moto

Motorola DEXT MB220 I have an ongoing mobile contract with Orange, and every 18 months I have the opportunity of upgrading my old phone to a new one, completely free of charge. This opportunity came about again in February and I decided that I wanted a 'smartphone' for the first time so that I can stay connected with my facebook and twitter during the day. All my previous phones had been quite simple, keeping me in touch easily with my friends by text and calls, but now I felt it was time for something a little more advanced. A smartphone is simply a mobile phone that also offers advanced multimedia features, and has all the functionality of a PC. Phone Design When I first received this phone, I thought it was huge compared to other mobiles I've ever had in the past! The exact measurements are 114 x 58 x 15.6 mm. The screen is very large though at 65 x 44mm which makes it very handy when using the internet as you can see more of the page. It also makes it perfect for watching videos on. The phone is only available in black. One of the main reasons I wanted this phone is because it has a two options.. I wanted a touchscreen phone but I am not very good at typing texts using touchscreen, and this phone also has a QWERTY keyboard slider which is really easy to use when typing text messages. So I tend to use the QWERTY slider to write my texts in and use the touchscreen function for everything else, such as scrolling through the menu. The phone’s menu is set up as a long list of ...

Elle Macpherson Replenishing Hand Cream 09/07/2010

Disappointing product from Elle MacPherson

Elle Macpherson Replenishing Hand Cream Elle Macpherson is a supermodel who first found fame in the 80s, and gained the nickname 'The Body' for her amazing, athletic physique. Now she is in her 40s, she still has an incredible figure and has turned her talents to tv and her own range of underwear and a body product range for Boots. I've purchased underwear from her range before and really liked it so I was enthusiastic to try products from her body care range too. I received this hand cream as part of a larger gift set I managed to nab in the January sales. I probably wouldn't have bought this cream seperately unless it was on special offer as I didn't even know it existed until I found it in the gift set. The tube I have is 50ml, though I think this is just a gift set size and they normally sell at £4.95 for 100ml. I find this to be quite a reasonable price for hand cream as I have seen other similar brands on sale which are a little bit more expensive. Most of the Elle Macpherson products come in similar packaging, cream coloured tubes with black lids, and black and pale blue stripes along the bottom. All the writing on the packaging is also black and pale blue so it's very simplistic and not exactly the most eye catching of products if you are looking for it on the store shelf! Packaging doesn't matter a huge deal to me as long as the product itself is good though, as a lot of the time the products with the chicest designs can turn out very average and overpriced (think Benefit!). A list of ingredients ...
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