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since 26/05/2006


BBC1 - Diagnosis Murder 03/03/2009

Murder on the Dancefloor and other places besides

BBC1 - Diagnosis Murder I have decided to review a daytime television programme called Diagnosis Murder. *** Reviewing films and TV is not really my thing if truth be told I am not a TV buff so it's out of my comfort zone. Furthermore there are already 16 reviews on this programme on Ciao so why am I bothering. I can anticipate the comments I will receive, you see you either love it or you hate this programme. And I sadly love this programme, much to husband's dismay, so that is why I am going to have a go at reviewing a TV programme because I feel qualified to do so as it is the only thing on TV I have watched regularly. Diagnosis Murder tends to attract the females of our species although apparently many students also partake of this delightful programme. Anyway, being a shift worker I find DM very relaxing, non taxing and amiable particularly when I get up in the afternoon (having done a nightshift). *** WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN? The regular series began on October 29th 1993 and altogether 178 episodes were made. I wonder if I have seen them all! There were also five TV movies made. Three prior to the weekly television series then another two were aired after the show was cancelled. The show was produced by Viacom Productions and distributed by CBS. The series struggled at first and was almost cancelled after the second season but thankfully it soon became a big hit and has aired in many countries around the world, particularly the United Kingdom and Australia. Diagnosis ...

Bosch Tassimo T40 21/02/2009

Fresh coffee in an instant

Bosch Tassimo T40 I am now, after months of searching, the owner of a Bosch Tassimo coffee machine. Our cheap filter coffee machine packed in so we have been relying on the cafetiere, which is great but you are left with bits of coffee at the bottom of your mug! I have read so many reviews on coffee machines and still couldn't make up my mind. I looked at a variety of machines in shops but they were often very bulky. The filter coffee machines in the past have always been good but I wanted a bit more variety in my coffee. For example "a starbucks at home idea." *** Three weeks ago we are again staring at the coffee machine shelf in John Lewis and noticed the Tassimo. It was compact, pleasing to eye and offered a huge variety of coffees, hot chocolates and teas. It was also fairly reasonably price at £97 although I see now you could purchase it cheaper from Amazon. An impulse purchase and we bought the red one. We get home open the box but no freebie discs. How annoying we really thought they would provide a couple of samples!! Ah well no worries a quick trip to the supermarket and back home with our selection. Prior to using the machine, which is incredibly easy to set up, you put it through a cleaning session. Wash the 2 litre removable water tank then fill it with cool fresh water up to the MAX mark. There is a green service T disc which you keep in the back of the machine and is used for cleaning and descaling as required. Turn the machine on and place a large mug on the cup ...

Benefit Depuffing Action Eye Gell 22/04/2008

A Wide Awake Girl

Benefit Depuffing Action Eye Gell I am one of those annoying people who cannot sleep in a strange bed. I can literally lie awake all night and hence I wake up with rather huge bags under my eyes. This month I was down visiting my sister in London preparing for her wedding day. We had spent a fortune on outfits, hairdos and manicures but nothing was going to hide those tell tale bags and dark circles under my eyes. I bought various reviving eye drops and eye masks, I tried pieces of cucumber but nothing would hide the fact that I hadn't slept much all week. I was feeling pretty miserable about my panda eyes and decided as the wedding wasn't till late on in the day I should get some fresh air and have a wander around Knightsbridge. Not being aux fais with London I hadn't realised that this was the home of Harrods. On landing at their door I felt sure that they would have a magic solution to my eye problem. I envisaged having some sort of face/eye lift without the actual surgery and not coming out with a £19.50 tube of eye gel from a makeup company of which I own a variety of products. Good old Benefit!!  BENEFIT The Benefit creators are identical twin sisters, Jane and Jean Ford who started their makeup boutique in 1979 when it was known as The Face Place. Their love of makeup and their distinctive sense of humour bore this idiosyncratic product which is still evident in their products today. In 1990 The Face Place became Benefit and the rest is history as the Ford Twins have ...

Delon + Body Butter 21/04/2008

Luxury in a 200ml tub

Delon + Body Butter Luxury in a 200ml Tub I received a tub of Delon Body Butter as my Secret Santa Christmas Gift last year, and this is by far the best Secret Santa I have ever received! Delon Body Butters do exactly what they say on the tub! THE PRODUCT They are luxurious, delightfully scented moisturizers which indulge your senses while softening your skin. Delon Body Butter is more of a cream rather than the generalised body butters from such places like the Body Shop. It also stays in this form rather than solidifying, which I have found to be the case with other body butters. They are by far the bestest body butters I have ever used. INGREDIENTS The tub I received is Raspberry and Blackcurrant and has the following ingredients: Water, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil) Cyclomethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Polysorbate 60, Glyceryl Stearate/PEG-100 Stearate, Beeswax, Celearyl Alcohol, Polyacrylamide/C13-14 Isoparaffin Laurth - 7, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa Butter), Raspberry Extract, fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, N-Butylparaben, Disodium EDTA, BHT, A&C Red#33 I would imagine all the butters have very much the same ingredients but with its own added ingredients for the different aromas. DELON Delon are a Canadian company which has been running for 64 years. Visit their website All their products are free from animal products and are not tested on animals. You ...

HP Deskjet 5940 21/04/2008

A Frustrating Printer

HP Deskjet 5940 I bought this printer following the recommendation of my son. I am not a technically minded person so I cannot offer you any technical details or jargon. However, I feel this printer has been fully reviewed by other members giving you thorough descriptions so I don't need to add my limited knowledge. The website suggests that this printer is suitable for home or small businesses who want a versatile printer. It states that it prints high quality documents and graphics at breakthrough speeds!! I will agree it is a fairly good printer and was easy to install (a bonus for those of us who do not do gadgets)! The quality of the print is excellent, even on fast draft (great for Scots - saves on the ink). The reason for my addition to these reviews is this printer is driving me mad and I could not recommend it to people who need the printer a lot. I am a student so do a lot of printing but this printer is not making life easy for me. The paper does not always feed through itself, when printing a 50 page essay at 3am it gets extremely stressful having to keep pushing the paper through and all the buttons are flashing. I have on a number of occasions very nearly thrown it out of the window. So if like me you are not gadget minded or patient I suggest giving this printer a wide berth. It does do a good quality print so if feeding it through by hand is not a problem for you then buy it. I also found recently when printing a portfolio on extremely good quality paper ...

Is breast always best? 16/04/2008

Breast is best

Is breast always best? BREASTMILK I have decided to review this 'free' and wonderful product because I have noticed there are a lot of expectant Mums and Dads out there on CIAO. The object of this review is not to preach but to inform. As a midwife I understand fully the benefits of breastfeeding for the baby and family and would encourage any expectant parents to consider breastfeeding. However, I would never force anyone to breastfeed nor would I look down on anyone who chooses to bottlefeed. At the end of the day we all do what we feel is best for our babies and ourselves. A happy Mum is a happy Baby!! Breastfeeding is a very topical and emotive subject but I just want to give you all the information so you can make the correct choice for you!! BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING For Baby The action of breastfeeding helps to develop muscles which keep the Eustachian tube open and assist with jaw development and also prevents ear infections and increases protection against dental caries and aids speech development. Breastmilk is nutritionally balanced to meet baby's needs and is easily digested. Protection from infections as breastmilk contains white blood cells and anti infective factors. Reduced incidence of gastrointestinal infections Reduced incidence of juvenile diabetes Better development, particularly for preterm babies Reduced incidence of asthmas Better response to immunisation Reduced incidence of obesity Reduced incidence of urine infections. I'm sure you have heard of many more ...

Riu Palace Madeira, Madeira 02/04/2008

Riu Palace Hotel, Madeira

Riu Palace Madeira, Madeira INTRODUCTION The Riu Palace in Madeira sits like a white-washed fairytale castle with terracotta turrets, corner towers and grand archways looking out over the sapphire-blue sea. The grounds house brightly coloured flowers and palm trees making you believe you are on a Caribbean island far away. The Riu Palace is located right on the seafront at Canico de Baixo, only 10 minutes drive from Funchal Airport and 20 minutes drive to the city of Funchal. On arrival at the airport everything ran smoothly and quickly apart from me not recognising my own suitcase!!! We were driven to the hotel in a small mini bus with 5 other people and half an hour later we were sunbathing by the pool. Now that's what I call service. CHECK IN From the moment you check in at the impressive, grand reception area with its polished marble flooring, elegant décor, crystal chandeliers and comfortable high backed chairs which looked like top hats. Statues, huge plants, a vintage Ford car and fabulous floral displays you know you have made the right choice. Guests receive a complimentary glass of Madeira wine on arrival, which I found delicious but apparantely is not to everyone's taste! The reception staff genuinely had huge smiles on our arrival, and infact for the whole holiday!! We have never met such welcoming and genuine people as the Madeirans!! Check in is swift with them only requiring a few details. We were actually given a form to fill in on the bus which would have made the ...

Atlantica Imperial Resort, Rhodes 14/10/2007

Atlantica Imperial Resort, Kolympia, Rhodes

Atlantica Imperial Resort, Rhodes I have just returned from a Thomson Gold Holiday staying at the Atlantica Imperial Resort Hotel in Kolymbia Rhodes. This hotel is described as a 5 star Deluxe! We arrived at 2am on a sunday morning and were greeted by smiling staff and a sparkling glass of champagne. Great start this hotel is going to be fantastic. A marble entrance with palm trees in the centre and a water fall. It looked wonderful. We were quickly shown to our rooms and our luggage was taken by a porter who did not hold his hand out for a tip. We had chosen to stay in superior rooms which were like small chalets comprising of a four poster bed, slippers, bathrobes, wine and fruit. We also had a marvellous sea view, which I never tired looking at. Unfortunately on entering our room the smell of smoke was over whelming, much like a stale ashtray. We decided to ride through the night and ask for a move the next morning. Unfortunately the smell was so strong I did not manage to sleep and felt extremely nauseated all night. My husband arose early and went to speak to the rep and reception. Non smoking rooms do not exist but they would spray the room. This did help a bit but there was always a smell about the room so we tended to keep the balcony doors open which meant mosquitos felt this was an open invitation. However the rooms themselves were spacious, with plenty storage space so no living out of a suitcase. There was a large TV and CD/Radio. Also tea and coffee making facilities which was ...

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation 01/07/2007

Double Wear leaves you looking flawless

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation. Product Information: For all skin types; Keeps skin looking fabulous, breathing comfortably through heat, humidity and activity without changing colour, fading or coming off on clothes. Natural matte finish and SPF10 sunscreen to protect skin. I recently purchased this foundation from Boots following the recommendation from the sales assistant. I was looking for a change and wanted a foundation that would last throughout the day. Working in a hospital, I get very hot and often find my makeup has disappeared half way through my shift. I also wanted a foundation that would give me a glowing complexion and hide any wrinkles that may surface. Maybe I was looking for a miracle, but why couldn’t a hard working midwife look like a film star. Anything to keep my poor women’s mind away from the pain they are suffering in order to bring a new life into the world!! The Estee Lauder sales assistants are deemed professionals and take time to assess your skin type and tone. She carefully chose a colour which would match my skin tone (there are 19 different colours). I must say I am delighted with her advice. The foundation goes on smooth and has great coverage leaving my skin with an even, natural finish. The foundation lasts all day, but not only lasts it looks fresh and flawless throughout, almost as if it has just been applied. It doesn’t have a scent to it and doesn’t aggravate my skin. It feels light rather than that caked on feeling. ...

Kenwood Concert Smoothie Maker SB256 30/06/2007

Smashing Smoothies, health in a glass

Kenwood Concert Smoothie Maker SB256 The Original Kenwood ‘New York’ Smoothie Machine! Manufactures comments: 1.5 ltr Smoothie maker 2 way rotation Colour: Chrome Dimensions (H x W x D) in mm: 380 x 215 x 200 Weight (Kg): 3 Speed Settings: 3 The smoothie is specially designed to mix and serve refreshing smoothies. It has a 1.5 litre capacity. The acrylic funnel shaped goblet is graduated with markings for 2 & 4 servings. It has a powerful motor which can blend ice, frozen fruit and ice cream into refreshing healthy smoothies. It’s specially designed blades allow for a consistently smooth drink. It has rubber feet to provide good grip and stability. A dispensing tap allows for continuous easy serving directly into a glass. Product Description: For anyone who appreciates the benefits of juicing fresh fruits and vegetables, blending their own yoghurt drinks, or making fresh fruit cocktails, the Kenwood SB206 Smoothie Maker is a must. This is the first New York style Smoothie Maker to be launched in the UK and is the perfect way to help start your day. Blend your choice of fruits for 20 - 60 seconds and you'll have a refreshing smoothie drink to perk you up and stave off hunger until lunchtime. By night, experience fresh-tasting, natural fruit smoothie cocktails: invite your friends along for rum and banana smoothies, or slick strawberry vodka smoothies. My Description Since starting my health kick I was determined to ensure I have the optimal recommended 5 fruit and vegetables per day. What ...

Hot Fuzz (DVD) 30/06/2007

Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz (DVD) Hot Fuzz is a brilliantly funny British Film. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this film at the cinema when it was first released and were delighted to find that our daughter has purchased the DVD. The film, to me, brought back memories of “The Full Monty” in that it is a hilarious British Comedy with many recognised and excellent actors, like Edward Woodward, Timothy Dalton, Bill Nighy, and Anne Reid. The film stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost of “Shaun of the Dead” and the comedy series “Spaced”. I actually didn’t like either of these so wasn’t convinced that I would enjoy Hot Fuzz but was pleased to be proved wrong!! Hot Fuzz is a crime busting parody on many action movies which actually works. It centres around the main character Nicholas Angel (Pegg) who is a policeman with the metropolitan force in London. He is the best policeman they have ever had who does everything by the book (ie you do not call it the Police Force but Police Service as Force is suggestive of being powerful and persuasive)! He has an arrest record 400% higher than any other officer. He is so incredibly good he makes everyone else look terrible and incompetent. As a result, his superiors send him to a sleepy village called Sandford, with an impeccable crime-free rating and there hasn’t been a recorded murder for over 20years. The hope being that his talents won’t be quite so embarrassing. Alas, Nicholas Angel can never relax and as soon as he arrives in Sandford he is filling up the cells. ...

Sold - Andrew Crofts, Zana Muhsen 12/06/2007

A story of modern day slavery

Sold - Andrew Crofts, Zana Muhsen Try to imagine this if you possibly can. You are a fifteen year old girl living in Birmingham. The school holidays are about to start and you have been promised the holiday of a lifetime. Your father has organised an adventure. A wonderful holiday in the Yemen, his hometown, with fabulous beaches fringed with palm trees where the sun shines all the time. Just like a commercial for a chocolate bounty bar. The houses high on the cliffs, overlooking the perfectly blue sea and clean sand. You would be staying on a farm where you would be taught how to ride horses bareback and go on camel rides across the desert. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it? This is exactly what 15 year old Zana and her 14 year old sister Nadia, thought when their father told them of their impending trip. Zana and Nadia were brought up in Birmingham to an English mother and Yemeni father. They were just ordinary girls enjoying teenage life. Spending a lot of their time with their friends at the local discos or parties. Neither were very close to their father, he was moody and spent a lot of time with his Arab friends. He didn’t like the girls going to discos or wearing skirts that showed their legs. They often had to sneak out of the house and leave their mother to deal with him. Zana says she was never frightened of him, despite how angry he got, and found it easier just to stay out of his way. Zana and Nadia were very excited about their trip although they weren’t travelling together. Zana would leave two ...

Midwifery 31/05/2007

So you want to be a midwife

Midwifery SO YOU WANT TO BE A MIDWIFE? I don’t blame you it’s a great job but very hard work But and with all the bad publicity the profession is receiving why would people want to join this profession. If the government would only support and help us to care for our women and babies! Instead they put hurdles in our way, make it difficult for the newly qualified to get jobs, allowing us to struggle with staff shortages etc However don’t believe all you read in the papers. Let me tell you more about the profession and let’s hope if you really feel able to take on such a demanding but rewarding career you will join me in ensuring women’s health care is at the forefront! MIDWIVES ROLE As a midwife you could be assisting a woman in delivering a new life into the world. How wonderful is that? But a midwife does much more than deliver babies. Midwives are practitioners in their own right and are responsible for the antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care of women, up until 28 days after the birth, or longer if required. They are the lead healthcare professional attending the majority of births, mostly in a hospital setting although home birth is an option. They teach mothers parent craft skills to enable them to feel confident in caring for their newborn. Teaching a mother how to feed her baby, changing nappies, bathing babies are a few skills required. The role of the midwife is very diverse. It also involves supporting the mother and her family throughout the ...

Iberotel Palace Hotel, Sharm el sheikh, Egypt 31/05/2007

Iberotel Palace Hotel, Sharm

Iberotel Palace Hotel, Sharm el sheikh, Egypt What a wonderful, relaxing holiday we had in the Iberotel Palace. It was our first Thomson Holiday and definitely won\'t be our last. The hotel was so clean and welcoming all staff were charming and couldn\'t do enough for us. The Thomson Rep Che was marvelous and determined that your holiday would be one to remember. The private beach was on our doorstep, we never had a problem getting a sun bed and clean towels were provided every day. There were so many activities on the beach you could hire canoes, pedalos, catamarans or take a ride on a banana boat and these activities were all affordable (great if you have a hoard of children, or want to play at being a child yourself, which is what we did)! Alternatively, you could relax on your sun bed and soak up the sunshine without worrying about hawkers which tend to parade around many other beach resorts trying to sell you anything and everything. The beach area was very clean and the sea so warm and inviting. The pool area was picturesque and and also very clean, the staff prided themselves on maintaining a high standard of cleanliness throughout. The sun beds were left in military precision every night, I was very tempted to disrupt the order of sunbeds but decided against it as I didn\'t want the poor guys getting into any trouble. We were bed and breakfast with the intention of eating out. However, we found the food in the al a carte restaurant second to none so only ventured out on two occasions. The breakfasts ...

Thomson Holidays 25/05/2007

The Thomson Holiday Experience

Thomson Holidays We recently went on a Thomson Platinum Holiday in Egypt and had a fantastic time. My husband and I decided to have a holiday, just the two of us for a change, and fancied something a bit more sophisticated and special. We had never used Thomson before, always went for the cheaper companies which really doesn't always prove to be the best thing to do. So this time we walked into a Thomson Travel Agent, sat down and asked them to send us somewhere nice. We had no idea where to go we just knew when!!! The travel agent was an extremely helpful and amiable young woman, we felt at ease and straight away trusted her judgement. She had a good, sound knowledge base of various countries and hotels, and upon hearing our likes and dislikes chose a hotel in Sharm el Sheik, which I will leave for another review. The Thomson Platinum experience is marvellous. As they advertise in the brochure, top quality accommodation and excellent locations all at a reasonable price which won't break the bank. Not only was the hotel well above our expectations but the service we received from Thomson was top notch. Our tickets arrived on time, no having to chase anyone up. There were no changes to our flight times. We were dropped off at the hotel first. The holiday rep had a good sound knowledge of the area and culture. Although it is their job to sell trips etc, we didn't feel pushed into doing anything. I can honestly say the Thomson experience was fantastic, so much so that we are ...
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