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since 30/11/-0001


Kenco Cappio 24/08/2004

Coffee with a difference

Kenco Cappio The first thing my mum did when she joined the Nestle boycott was swap the weekly jar of coffee she buys me from Nescafe to Kenco. This Sunday she arrived with a surprise - my jar of Kenco came with a free sample box of Cappio, a new instant cappuccino. I'm a sucker for coffee. I'm a bigger sucker for cappuccino. Trouble is I'm often disappointed by instant cappuccino, finding it bitty and just like a weak coffee with froth on the top. I'm not expecting authenic cappuccion out of dried granules and hot water, but I want a drink I can enjoy at the very least. Kenco Cappio comes up trumps. There's a decent froth, subtly coffee flavoured and fairly thick. The first few sips are mostly cool froth with just a hint of the hot coffee beneath. A rare feat, I usually find with instant cappuccino the froth dissolves to a scum after 2 minutes so this is a pretty good start. If you sprinkle on the Suchard chocolate dust it brings out more of the coffee flavour in the froth and adds a hint of bitterness to the first few tastes of Cappio. The froth is surprisingly creamy and if you leave your drink to sit for a couple of minutes the creaminess is passed through to the coffee as some of the froth dissolves into the hot drink. Moving onto the coffee itself. I was surprised how rich the drink is, admittedly it's not quite *there* in the cappuccino stakes but here you have a very nice coffee anyway. It's a smooth coffee with a unmistakeable Kenco flavour, there's no nasty ...

Lush In the Nude Bath Melt 19/08/2004

Getting Nude with Fruity_Tart

Lush In the Nude Bath Melt Eugh, eugh and thrice eugh! This is how I feel about Lush's 'In The Nude' bath melt. It's vile. I was mooching in Lush a couple of weeks ago, I'd bought all the ballistics and bubble bars I wanted and decided to try one of their melts. I love the Floating Island melt and thought I'd be just as impressed with whichever melt took my fancy on this shopping trip. It was the name that first caught my eye - according to this particular Lush shopping spree's receipt I'm a Two Timing Tart and a Sex Bomb so why not be In The Nude too? To be perfectly honest with you I didn't like the smell of it in the shop, the dry bar absolutely honks of lavender but it's got a kind of earthy smell to it too. Now, I'm not one of those people who particularly associates the smell of lavender with the blue rinse and twinset brigade but this melt *is* reminiscent of my nans lavender water, ie. too strong and very old fashioned. The girl in the shop informed me that In The Nude also contains Rose Absolute and Chamomile Oil but for the life of me I can't detect either of those things underneath the overpowering use of Lavender Oil. The thing with Lush products is they smell very different once they're in the bath water, several times I've been disappointed by a gorgeous smelling DRY bubble bar only to find it smells awful once I've used it (Ma Bar!) so why shouldn't it work the other way round? An awful smelling dry product could easily be transformed into a wonderous creation once it hits the ...

The Queen's Fool - Philippa Gregory 05/08/2004

You'll be a fool not to read it

The Queen's Fool - Philippa Gregory I have to broaden my reading tastes. I've been saying it for ages, there are only so many detective and horror novels you can read without being able to second guess the author and know exactly what's going to happen at the end of the book. So in the library a couple of weeks ago I decided to pick a book which ordinarily I wouldn't look at twice on the shelf. I've read historical novels in the past and while I haven't particularly enjoyed the majority of them, I've learned that if you pick the right book you can become engrossed in the lives of people who lived many years ago. I've heard good reports about Philippa Gregory so when I saw 'The Queens Fool' I chose this one to begin my quest for something different to read. The novel starts at the time when the boy-king Edward was on the throne of England, at only 15 his health was failing and there was dispute as to who should take on the role of Monarch after his death. He knew he was dying and so did his court. Plans were being made behind the scenes by both King Edwards supporters and 'traitors' who wanted nothing more than the king dead and one of his sisters on the throne. This is where our heroine comes in. Robert Dudley (of the infamous Dudley family) finds Hannah Green dressed as a boy and working in her fathers book shop. Hannah and her father have run away from the Spanish Inquisition and crossed Europe to end up living in London, not before Hannahs mother was captured and burned by the Spaniards as a heretic. ...

Philips 14PV225 24/07/2004

If (me and) a 5 year old can do it, anyone can!

Philips 14PV225 Both our daughters have received a TV/VCR combi from their nan for their 5th birthday. This year was Alices turn so with a nanny provided budget of £150 we went shopping. It's one thing shopping for a TV but shopping for something that a 5 year old can use is something else entirely. We dismissed Hitachi and Sony combo's as way too complicated; there were too many buttons on the remote controls, the buttons on the front were too small. Then there were the practical concerns; the SCART lead issue that I don't understand and which Mark considers highly important... So Mark went off to McDonalds in a huff and I got talking to the assistant in Comet. I was totally fed up so I outlined what I wanted from a combo and asked if she had anything. She walked straight to the Philips 14pv 225 (as I found out later) and said this sounded like it fit the bill. She had this same combo in her kitchen and when she said her 6 year old could operate it I was sold. First impressions I loved it and so did Alice when she unwrapped it. The casing of the combo is a matt silver and looks really stylish. I could see why the woman in Comet had bought it for the kitchen because it is really good looking, it looks like a very 'adult' television for a 5 year old to have and does look a bit out of place next to the care bears and mess of your average childs bedroom. It's the simplicity of the combo that I went for, not the looks, but this is definitely a cut above your basic square black combo. It's ...

Kenco Ice Cappio 17/07/2004

Fancy a cold coffee anyone?

Kenco Ice Cappio You've seen the advert, bet ya. The woman phones a telesales company and tells the bloke who answers the phone that she has double glazing, doesn't want car insurance and her electric company is one of the cheapest around. Why does she say this? Because she doesn't want any nuisance phone calls to interrupt her while she sits in the garden sipping a glorious looking iced coffee. I had to have one. I've read about them on here, seen the ads on tele and heard the radio presenter on BRMB say how wonderful these Kenco Iced Cappio are. After what seems like years of searching I finally tracked them down in Asda, I started getting greedy and picked 4 cans up until I noticed the price! Let's get this over with because it's ridiculous. A 200ml can will cost you £1.28, that's a full 130ml smaller than a 50p can of Coke! A JAR of Kenco coffee costs £2.12 and you'll get at least 15 cups of coffee out of it. Get the picture? As I put one can in the trolley the opinionator in me mentally knocked a star off for this cheeky Kenco pricing structure. The can's nice, relaxing beige and cream colours in a Baileys theme. Very classy looking. The can features an 'Aerating Device' which to the likes of us is a widget. That takes some of the classiness away, every time I look at one of these cans now I'll think of Jack Dee and dancing penguins... OK, so I like the can but I don't like the price. However. I'm a coffee freak. 'My name is FruityTart and I'm addicted to coffee'. I could live ...

Cheeky Chimp Lip Balm 10/07/2004

I'm a cheeky monkey, I am

Cheeky Chimp Lip Balm I was browsing the fridge magnets and postcards in a gift shop in Stratford when I noticed a small display of cosmetics. The original plan was to buy a little something for my mum but something drew me to this display of Cheeky Chimp products and after spotting the lip balm I decided to treat myself as a souvenir of a lovely day out. I also picked up the obligatory box of fudge for both mothers and 'fun' novelty badges for the kids and think I definitely got the best deal with this balm. It's chocolate flavoured, how could I not love it? To be precise Cheeky Chimp have flavoured this particular lip balm with white chocolate, they also do milk chocolate or chocolate orange balms but I didn't see these until I'd already paid for my white one. The tin claims the balm will moisturise and keep my lips in tip top condition while being 'deliciously tempting and smoothly satisfying'. Um... I don't need claims like this. It's lip balm you see and I NEVER, repeat NEVER need an excuse to buy a new one. Especially if it's a change from the norm. The product photograph above obviously isn't the lip balm, have a look at the picture I've uploaded below. The lip balm comes in a small round tin, very similar in size to the old Germolene tins, with a sticker on the front showing a weird looking grinning chimp. With all the football on tele of late I couldn't help but see a similarity between Cheeky Chimp and Martin Keown, although Mr Keown is definitely less cute than the chimp! Cute or ...

Lush Blue Skies and White Fluffy Clouds Bubble Bath Bar 04/07/2004

Who'd have thought clouds could be so sticky?

Lush Blue Skies and White Fluffy Clouds Bubble Bath Bar Because I've written a few Lush reviews recently people think I'm 'another Lush addict'. I'm not, honestly. I have dry skin and find the oils in Lush bubble bars and bath melts very soothing, that is THE reason I buy them. Not to jump on the Lush bandwagon, not so I can have a dozen rather tackily packaged bath products sitting on my shelf and definitely not so I can spend upwards of 20 quid in a single transaction every time I visit a Lush store. I've had my eye on the Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds bubble bar for a while now but the price of this particular bar put me off. At £2.85 per slice it's the most expensive bubble bar in the range - the fact that it weighs in at 200g, double the size of most bubble bars, isn't much consolation because at the end of the day it's still nearly 3 quid for a bubble bath. When it comes to all things smelly I'm not a skin flint, but I do consider the majority of these bubble bars to be a rip off - after all you can buy a whole bottle of good quality bubble bath for less than one of these things! I recently complained about a Lush product and as a goodwill gesture they sent me a selection of bubble bars, including this one. Always seems nicer when it's a freebie, eh? Upon opening the aforementioned tacky plastic bag wrapper I proceeded to have a sniff. DO NOT stick your nose in the bag and inhale deeply because I promise you'll be coughing and spluttering like an old fag-ash Lil, it honestly smells that strong. An absolutely ...

Should cannabis be legalised? 27/06/2004

Cannabis. Natures way of saying 'HI'

Should cannabis be legalised? Underneath this is a review I wrote a while ago about my use of cannabis, if you read that you'll see I'm coming from a slightly different slant to the majority of reviews on this site. At the time of writing that review I was at a pretty low ebb and I said I would never write in this debate category, but my head's sorted now and I think I can put my views across without becoming hysterical. So, should cannabis be legalised? Bloody right it should. It should be legalised in all it's many shapes and forms, production should be monitored and (most importantly) the dealers should be put out of business. The bloke I score my cannabis from is a lovely bloke. He won't sell to anyone who is under the age of 18 or anyone he thinks is buying for someone under 18, he brings it to the house to save me having to go to a grotty high rise flat and he WILL NOT deal in any other drug. He doesn't smoke the draw himself and neither does his wife, they have children and he's said in the past that if ever he caught one of them with a spliff he'd beat the crap out of them. But he's still a drug dealer. In my opinion more people would benefit from cannabis becoming legalised than are benefiting from it being illegal. It's recently been given a much talked about reclassification meaning that cannabis is now a Class C drug, it's more or less impossible to get yourself arrested for smoking or possessing cannabis now - unless you give it the big 'un and start blowing your spliff fumes in a ...

Everything that starts with K ... 27/06/2004

Kite, as in high as one...

Everything that starts with K ... I mentioned this op in my Life with Chips op so thought I'd better get on with it! I think it might turn into a bit of an epic op but I've started writing now and don't intend to stop until I've told all - beginning to end. The reason for this op? I'm not sure really. Partly so you, my friends at Ciao, can get an insight into how my life works and it's partly an attempt to exorcise my demons. Too melodramatic? Get to the end and tell me that. Lets start! OK, I'm 28 and have been a cannabis user since I was 15. It wasn't a concious decision to start smoking it, thanks to a much older and worldy wise boyfriend I sort of drifted into rolling a spliff instead of lighting a fag. The draw gives you a buzz you see, I've never really been struck on the taste of alcohol so while everyone else was drinking I'd be smoking. Telling myself all the time that it's been PROVED cannabis isn't addictive and I can handle it! Wrong. A couple of years went by and I slowly graduated from being a social cannabis smoker to smoking spliffs instead of fags - made easier by an oh-so-helpful boyfriend who would sit there in the morning and roll me 10 spliffs to put in a fag box to keep me going until he got home from work. Wasn't he good? Not many blokes would do that for their girlfriends! Only now, years later, I realise it was to HIS advantage, not mine. He basically turned me into a zombie, I suppose it made me easier to control if I was so stoned I feel to sleep at 6pm! When I woke up the whole ...

Ickle Baby Baff 24/06/2004

*whispers* Buy Play Doze instead

Ickle Baby Baff While in Lush the other day I remembered reading a review on the Ickle Baby Baff and decided to treat the kids to one each. It's cute in a Baby Born kind of way (ie: an ugly cute) and the actual face that's carved into the ballistic reminds me of Montezuma for some reason, it looks nothing like a baby more like a sort of death mask - look at the picture and see what I mean! This ballistic is the smallest one I've seen in Lush, weighing in at 30g and being the size of a Cadbury's cookie although a bit fatter. The smallness is reflected in the price and the Ickle Baby Baff will only set you back £1 which is roughly half the cost of the other ballistics Lush stock. When I got home I handed the girls their ballistics and watched as Charlotte threw hers to one side (spoilt brat, must take after her mother!) and Alice, thrilled to bits, paraded around the house with hers like it was a diamond ring. After Alice had held it that long it started to go all gungy around the edges I took it off her and ran her bath. I took this opportunity to have a good sniff and I must say it smells vile. Absolutely awful in fact. There's a lavender scent which is quite nice but lurking underneath there's this *other* smell - and in this *other* smell I can definitely detect some kind of bog cleaner smell. Before I even thought about putting my kids into anything smelly like this I came and re-read Lou's review and remembered that she thought she could smell Ajax in the Ickle Baby Baff. Ajax, bog ...

Walkers Mediterranean - Feta Cheese 22/06/2004

Feta but not to the Leta

Walkers Mediterranean - Feta Cheese I've been promising myself a bag of these all week and Mark brought me a bag in the pub tonight. In true reviewer form I put them in my bag and brought them home for research purposes. Actually I'd just eaten a contender in the 'biggest baguette in the world' championship and couldn't manage a bag of crisps but at least you'll get to hear about them, eh? They're very special looking, the bag's waxy rather than the shiny bags Walkers use for every other range. You can tell just from the classy wrapper that Walkers are launching yet another dingy in the canal of crisps - we've seen Walkers posh crisps, Walkers best of British, Walkers prawn crackers and now crisps with a Mediterranean theme. I swear, we'll be eating 'Frog Leg' flavour Walkers soon... Anyway. Feta Cheese flavoured crisps. I'm thinking it's not going to work now I think about it. I love feta cheese and the fact it has such a round, creamy flavour - I'm not sure even the talented crisp dreamer-upers at Walkers could be true to the Feta taste condensing it into powder form. Upon opening the bag you get a whiff of bog standard Cheese & Onion crisps but the smell is much more subtle, instead of the smell enveloping the room as soon as you crack into the pack you have to get your nose in and have a good sniff. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Or the crisps. The texture of the crisps is nothing different from Walkers standard range; thinnish crisps, very crunchy as you bite and coated in ...

Avon Anew Retroactive + Repair Cream 20/06/2004

Avon drops a clanger

Avon Anew Retroactive + Repair Cream When I was a teenager I was the envy of my friends for my skin. While they were breaking out in spots and blackheads (with the occasional full blown acne sufferer), my pale skin was clear of even the slightest blemish. And it's stayed like it. I get it from my mum, at nearly 58 she's hardly got a wrinkle on her face and the only slight imperfections she has are teeny weeny age spots. AND the only day she has ever worn full make-up was on her wedding day! How cool is that? Anyway I want to keep my skin looking nice as I get older and, two years away from my 30th birthday, now seems as good a time as any. So when I saw Avon were running a promotion on their ANEW range where you got a free mobile phone with an order of £15 I decided to try their Retroactive+ Repair Cream. The ANEW range is specifically tailored for certain ages groups and this particular cream is suitable for those in the 25+ bracket, it was actually the only cream suitable for my age so I ordered a pot. Avon claims that this cream will help to not only reduce signs of aging but reverse them and repair deeper wrinkles whilst moisturising your skin. Sounds good, right? Hmmm, now consider how many of your average 25 year olds are going to have 'deeper wrinkles'... Deeper than who's? My nan's? No, I didn't think so either. The day it came I started using it. The skin on my face can get dry so I'm no stranger to moisturising, usually opting for some variation on a Clarins theme. How would Avon compare? One of ...

Lush Play Doze bubble bar slice 17/06/2004

The perfect bedtime bath companion

Lush Play Doze bubble bar slice It was the Doze part of the name that first led me to pick up a Play Doze bubble bar. I've made a bit of a name for myself as a total insomniac and am always on the prowl for some miracle cure, something that I can add to my nightly bath that will chill me out enough for me to get to sleep. You see, it's the actual dropping off that's a struggle for me. Once I'm asleep I'll stay asleep all night but my brain has trouble switching off and I've been known to stay awake for two days and nights on the trot when sleep has eluded me completely. I was impressed with the soothing abilities of Lush's Hot Milk so thought I'd try something else from the range. Enter Play Doze. What swayed me was the fact that this bubble bar incorporates both Lavender and Ylang Ylang essential oils, both known for their calming and soothing influence. True to it's name, this bubble bar looks just like a roll of fluorescent green play dough and taking it out of it's little bag I can smell a very strong lavender scent. Hmmm, I've gone from highly excited that this might help with my insomnia to a bit daunted by the fact that I might step out of the bath smelling like my nan... This is possibly one of the more basic bubble bars in the Lush range. For a start it's just one colour with no bits of seaweed or dried marigold or anything like that, and the smell is just so plain. Plain in the nicest possible way of course, what I mean is there's no undertones of anything really. In it's dry state all it ...

Siemens MC 91100 13/06/2004

My spunky juicer

Siemens MC 91100 I've always wanted to own a Siemens product quite simply for the titter inducing name of the brand, I actually wanted a Smeg fridge for the same reason but it was a new juicer I was in need of and I spotted a gorgeous looking little gadget from none other than Siemens. Of course I had to buy it. I brought my juicer from one of the many Ex-Catalogue shops in Birmingham and it cost me £45 which was a pretty hefty saving on the rrp of the product which is around the £62 mark. To be honest, even 45 quid is more than I'd have usually been prepared to pay for a juicer which will only extract from citrus fruits as you can get a decent citrus press for around £20 but it was the knock out design of this one that swung the purchase decision for me. The juicer stands around 25cm high and as it's cylindrical in shape it means I can store it away with the minimum of fuss on any shelf that has a space. My old juicer (a Kenwood) was so bulky that I had to create a space for it in one of the kitchen cupboards because it just wouldn't fit on a shelf and still allow me to store other items on the same space. It was huge. As you can see from the picture, the majority of this juicer is brushed aluminium and this goes wonderfully with the chrome scheme I'm building up in the kitchen. The trim along the top of the juicer and the pouring spout is a dark blue with a paler blue removable plastic lid for keeping the juicing section clean and dust free when the machine isn't in use. Very ...

Lirael - Garth Nix 09/06/2004

Magic, mystery and some very odd Dead things

Lirael - Garth Nix About 12 months ago I read a book by Garth Nix called Sabriel about a young necromancer in a fantasy land who fought adventures with the Dead (and even the Greater Dead) by going into Death itself. It was a good book, not great, just good. Lirael is the next part in The Old Kingdom Trilogy, following on from when we met Sabriel and her father. I picked it up in the library out of curiosity more than anything, in my opinion Sabriel had been taken as far as she could possibly go in the previous book so I was interested to find out what Lirael was all about. I read the 527 page book in 3 days. It's fantastic. Lirael (and Sabriel) is set in an almost medieval land and time, two lands are separated by a huge long wall; the not quite as out of date Ancelstierre and The Old Kingdom. In this ancient land all types of magical beings live and battles are constantly being fought between good and evil. Time has moved on since 'Sabriel' and Sabriel herself is now the Abhorsan and married to the king with two children. The Abhorsans role is to defeat the Dead which roam almost unchecked in The Old Kingdom by use of magical necromancer bells and complicated Charter spells. Each time word (via a speaking message hawk) is delivered to the Abhorsan about troubles caused by the Dead she takes off in one of her fleet of Paperwings, letting the magical aircraft take her to the source of the trouble. Lirael gets brought into it as a Daughter of the Clayr, a massive community of women who ...
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