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LAURALILIA

LAURALILIA

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Reviews written

since 30/11/-0001

146

Our Island Story - H.E. Marshall 18/08/2010

Our Island Story...History For Kids In Story Form...

Our Island Story - H.E. Marshall Our Island Story I have always loved history, but feel my knowledge is somewhat lacking at times. Having just made that statement, it has improved since I started working in schools….I think I can safely say I have helped make enough Roman shields to lead an invasion of my own! I was sorting through some books to take to the charity shop and started to read this one again….. I received my primary education pre National Curriculum when schools could pretty much teach what they felt like and perhaps my most overriding memory is having spent weeks learning about birds and a project on trees (What I don’t know about Blue Tits that live in Oak trees isn’t worth knowing……). Although… funnily enough this hasn’t been of much use in my adult life... It hasn't got much better and so a campaign to bring this book back was brought about because many people were unhappy with the way history is taught in schools. It is argued that the current approach of dipping in and out of different eras, instead of following a chronological format has no context or meaning for children and so their knowledge is both sketchy and they don't develop any real kind of interest in history. It has to be said, that from my experience kids would think 1966 has more importance with regard to English history than 1066..... This book was originally published in 1905 and was written by Henrietta Marshall who was living in Australia at the time. She wrote it in story form for children so that they would know all ...

Inception(DVD) 10/08/2010

Inception....Living The Dream......

Inception(DVD) Inception (2010) This is a film only review. Inception was released in cinemas in England on the 16th July. All That We See Or Seem….Is But A Dream Within A Dream – Edgar Allan Poe… I had a dream…In that dream, I went to sleep and I dreamed some more……in that dream, I also dreamed…I dreamed of going to the cinema to watch Inception. Was it a dream? Or was it reality? Did I actually go? Confused?... That is perhaps a strange opening to a review, but it gives a flavour to the confusion that will await you if you choose to see this film. This is not one of those chewing gum films for the brain; you need to be alert. You need to concentrate. This is a blockbuster that needs brain cells switched on and geared to high alert to appreciate it fully. Plot The film centres around the character Cobb played by Leonardo Di Caprio. He is a spy; a spy with a difference. He can penetrate people’s minds as they are dreaming and steal their thoughts. (*just a thought….. but how rich would Bill Gates be if he could nail that one?...*) He is on the run for something, which is not made clear until later on in the film. He is offered the chance to return home to his children in America, IF, he is able to do the reverse of extracting thoughts. Hence we have the title Inception. He is hired by the head of a multi-million corporation (Saito) to ‘plant’ an idea into a rival’s mind (Robert Fischer), that would be to his own advantage. Something which the film cleverly illustrates as being nigh on ...

Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 27/07/2010

Shrug Off That Cloak Of Anonymity......

Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 I Spy With My Little Eye..... On a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of technological awareness I would probably score a 5. I can do more than find the on/off switch, but would struggle to upgrade my RAM.....So when I went in search of a Web Cam, ease of use and installation was pretty high up on my shopping list. Incidentally, the Web Cam was not for me, but for my children. With seemingly endless weeks of school holidays looming large on the horizon, the need to stay in touch with their friends was something that was quite important to them, as they now live more than 15 miles away from where they grew up. When I was a kid and you couldn't see your friends........you had to invent an imaginary one...... Eeny Meeny Miny Mo... I expected to go into an a shop and just pick up any old webcam, thinking the choice would be limited. No such luck! There were two whole stands swimming before my eyes, ranging in price from £10 to £70 plus. Thankfully I had expert advice in the form of my twelve year old daughter who pointed me in the right direction. She helpfully steered me towards the boxes that had the Windows Live Logo (blue and green people) on the front, as this webcam was to be used for chatting. I chose a Microsoft option as obviously Bill isn't rich enough.....and I don't like obscure brands that I can't pronounce. Also there was a nice picture of a woman and a young girl on the front looking all happy and well adjusted....so I clearly knew this would be the product to foster a ...

Dorset Cereals Super High Fibre Bars 24/07/2010

It Wasn't 'Unadulterated Pleasure' For Me!

Dorset Cereals Super High Fibre Bars Dorset Cereal Bar I had not heard of this brand before and at almost £2 a pack they are quite expensive, but as I was impressed with the 'Eat Natural' range which is on a par, expense wise, I decided to give them a go. The packaging is of that posh cardboard type that smacks of quality and is supposed to make you feel better and entice you to part with your £2 in the first place. The cardboard itself is made from 100% recycled fibre. You can see the product slightly through three leaf shaped windows on the front of the pack and NEW is boldly printed across the top edge. It states that the product is Just like our mueslis, only in a bar. It also states that the pack contains 3 bars of unadulterated anytime pleasure , which I thought was kind of a stretch in terms of what this muesli bar could offer....... Who Are Dorset Cereals? Dorset Cereals are from.......Dorset! They make a whole host of cereals and muesli bars and aim to source quality ingredients. They are big on advocating the simple pleasures in life and this is the lifestyle you are supposedly buying into by purchasing this product. They support the Woodland Trust and have set up an initiative called Edible Playgrounds, which aims to educate children about where food comes from (as in not off the shelves at Tesco). These muesli bars are also available in honey granola, fruit, nuts and seeds and berries and cherries varieties. They are available in the major supermarkets. Taste Test A quick glance at the ...

Twilight Saga - Eclipse (DVD) 19/07/2010

The Clouds I Can Handle...But I Can't Fight With An Eclipse.....

Twilight Saga - Eclipse (DVD) Eclipse - The Twilight Saga (2010) *Spoiler Alert* As this film is a sequel, just to even talk about the plot will potentially contain spoilers for those who have not seen the first two films, nor read the books, so please do not read on if this is the case. Forget Warren Buffet……Watch and Learn…..This Is How You Make Billions……. This is a film only review, Eclipse opened in cinemas in England ‘officially’ on the 9th July. Eclipse is the long awaited third film in The Twilight Saga, adapted from a series of books written by Stephenie Meyer. Books which may appear to be knocking The Bible off the number one spot of best selling book of all time, but in reality….. haven’t actually eclipsed The Hungry Caterpillar….yet. If you want to make a shed load of money….. then have a dream. That’s what a housewife in America did. Stephanie dreamed of a meadow with a sparkly vampire and a girl next door, discussing the problems of how they could be together Romeo and Juliet style and the next thing you know, a book deal (the likes of which have never been seen for an unknown) landed on her doorstep a few months later. It may surprise you to know that the executive, who rubber stamped that deal, was leaving that publisher and probably fancied a laugh on his way out…… Plot Synopsis A quick run down of where we are at so far. Bella is a girl next door and is in love with Edward. Edward is a vegetarian sparkly vampire, who is in love with Bella. Jacob is a shapeshifter (NOT A WEREWOLF, ...

Knowing (Blu-ray) 09/07/2010

Knowing? I'd Rather Not Thanks......Know ...That Is........

Knowing (Blu-ray) Knowing (2009) Knowing is a hybrid of sorts, it is kind of a cross between a mild supernatural sciency fiction sort of horror and an 'End of The World Scenario Where Only One Special Person In All Six Billion Humans Will Save Us', type of thing. For some strange reason I like this type of film and even though I am not a big fan of Nicholas Cage, I thought it looked promising.......oh and it also came free with a Blue ray player my daughter got for Christmas...... It was released 20 March 2009, it had a budget of $50 million and went on to take a respectable $183 million, no doubt in part due to the attachment of Nicholas Cage to the project. It was also distributed by Summit Entertainment, which is a studio, that can currently do little wrong at the box office (Twilight, The Hurt Locker) So on these numbers alone, I expected this film to have some kind of merit....... I 'Know' What It's All About..... The film swiftly opens in 1959, and we see children being asked to draw pictures of what they imagine the world will be like in 50 years time. These drawings are to be placed in a special time capsule placed in the grounds of the school. Straight away, freaky and strange make an appearance in the form of Lucinda Wayland who instead of drawing pictures, begins to scribble a series of numbers on her paper in a manic 'possessed' type fashion. Cue eerie music (high pitched scratching accompanied by whispering - always a winner in the scary stakes is the whispering)....and some ...

Rock & Republic Jeans Women 04/07/2010

R&R Jeans - The Wonderbra for the Bum......?

Rock & Republic Jeans Women Rock and Republic Jeans If you have clicked on this product, then you are aware the word 'bum' is in the title - for those that are of a sensitive disposition, I will try wherever possible to avoid this term; I will use derriere, rear or behind etc. If I transgress this rule, then please forgive me, as sometimes only the word 'bum' will suffice....as I find it adds... a certain 'je ne sais quoi'............. Designer? Give Me a Pair of Levi's and I'm Good To Go.....Aren't I?...... Jeans have come a long way. Once the staple of workwear and even prison wear (am thinking Cool Hand Luke) *sigh*, jeans have now become a status symbol and a must have item for any self respecting WAG. Anyone remember the Levi 501's Laundrette advert ?- I don't suppose that did too much harm for the image of jeans either! Once upon a time, your main brand choices were the aforementioned Levi's, Lee or Wrangler. Now there is a whole plethora of upmarket brands competing for your hard earned moola. You have Armani, Citizens of Humanity, Earl Jeans, Calvin Klein, 7 For All Mankind just to name a few. It's not just the brand either.....should you buy boot cut, skinny, slim, straight, low-rise or flares....again just to name a few. Button fly or zip? Gone are the days when it is one style fits all. They are just such a versatile part of any wardrobe both for men and women and even the ban that you used to get on wearing them in certain establishments seems to have relaxed over the years. Is Designer ...

On Writing - Stephen King 28/06/2010

Totally, Utterly, Completely.... What Can I Say It Is Fantastic..

On Writing - Stephen King On Writing This is the first five star review I have written in a while. I am not a particular fan of horror, but I am always in interested in how writers get started. I had heard good things about this book and so when I saw it at the library I thought I would give it a go. I am about to admit to a secret ambition here I have had for years.....everyone has something to dream about and my dream........is to write a novel primarliy aimed at teens, ... hey I even have a few chapters written (not a vamp in sight though) but it is sloooow progress....that is why I read a lot of books which are not really aimed at my age group. I have had the desire to write ever since I could hold a pencil, not necessarily well, but I think that if you don't buy a ticket to the raffle - you cannot win a prize (metaphorically speaking)....I am stuck on a name for my female heroine, so if anyone has any ideas? So Stephanie Meyer - watch out! What is it all about? This is Steven King's attempt to offer a bit of background about his life, how he came to writing and how he uses language (what he thinks is so important, yet no one ever asks about) to write his stories. The book is split into three parts: The first part talks about his childhood and his early love of beginning to write stories. There is a bit about his family life and it then talks about how he met his wife and began to break through into the big time with Carrie. Incidentally he owes everything to her, if you read it you will see ...

World Cup in general 27/06/2010

Hey.......Let's All Be A Fan......

World Cup in general A Cynic’s Guide To The World Cup……. This review is written in a tongue-in-cheek style and I hope it will be taken in the spirit in which it is intended - it is in no way meant to poke fun at real fans nor the game itself... thanks. Hmmmm…..What does the World Cup, The Olympics and Wimbledon all have in common? Would it be that they are all fine examples of tournaments displaying sporting greatness? Or……..could it be that all of a sudden…. would be sports fanatics come out of the woodwork, waving their flags with patriotic glee? I’ll take a shot in the dark here and go with the latter option …..You see, call me a cynic and all that, but where were all these patriotic sports fans when ‘Timmy’ Henman was playing at ‘Queens’ or ‘Nottingham’ (a while back now). Even forgetting the patriotic bit, how many of these same people have ever attended ‘any’ football match? Or at the very least have watched a game on television or attended a youth game? Yet, these same people anticipate the start of the The World Cup……well……. AS IF IT WERE CHRISTMAS!!!!! In fact, in terms of chat value in the work place, The World Cup is right up there with The X-Factor and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! Everywhere you turn you are blinded by the St. George’s Cross. I mean there is just no escape….flags are on every second car, house, painted toe-nail and places I just can’t mention here in polite company…..It also seems to encourage spontaneous displays of nudity, with grown men drinking in the ...

Montezuma's Chilli Chocolate Bar 23/06/2010

Monty Blows Your Head Off!

Montezuma's Chilli Chocolate Bar Montezuma's Revenge......... Having recently decided to try more exiting flavours of block chocolate, I happened to see this bar of Montezuma's Chilli Dark Chocolate, as I was walking through the Waitrose Food Hall, now bizarrely located within Boots the Chemists in Manchester. I had just recently tried the Lindt Chilli chocolate and wondered if this would be any better. I had not heard of the brand before, but being as it was in Waitrose and next to Green and Black's I thought it would be worth trying. So Who Is This Monty Bloke Then?..... Montezuma was founded in 2000, by two ex-lawyers Helen and Simon Pattinson out of a little shop in Brighton. They had had a kind of crisis, leaving their jobs, selling their house and hopping on a plane to Venezuela. It was while they were there the idea of starting a chocolate business became serious. Montezuma was an Aztec Emperor it appears. He is officially known as Emperor Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin (Motecuhzoma II), but they kind of thought that was a bit of a mouthful so anglicised it to the shortened version as a brand name for posh chocolate. When Hernan Cortes - Spanish conquistador arrived in the land of The Aztecs, Monty assumed he was a God and gave him cacao beans to take back to Spain. Poor old Monty got stoned ot death for being so generous, but as least Europe got it's chocolate! How Much Kick Does This Have...? The outer packaging of the chocolate is in a cardboard type box, the graphics are quite minimal and tasteful ...

Old Trafford, Manchester 14/06/2010

Theatre of Dreams....

Old Trafford, Manchester Old Trafford Being as it's World Cup fever and all that, I thought it appropriate to slip in a little football review of my own. This review is meant to give a flavour of what to expect and the best tickets etc to buy, should you be interested in watching Gigsy fly down the wing (now Ronaldo has moved on!) Ticket aren't cheap and if you want to buy then it is useful, I think, to know a bit about where to sit and what to expect. I am perhaps one of the few fans who lives geographically 30 minutes from the ground and so as many come from all over for just a one off visit, this information may be of use to someone. Of course Old Trafford is used as a venue for the odd pop concert, but it is mainly Manchester United people will be coming to see............ You mean.....I don't have to join a 15 year waiting list to get a ticket? I bought my first season tickets off a family friend for a reduced price. They were good seats and he could not longer afford them, but didn't want to let them go out of the family. So an agreement was made to buy them and he would keep a few of the tickets and everyone would be happy. I went this route, because I was led to believe that tickets were like gold dust and waiting lists were years long. This is no longer the case. Maybe it is because of the recession or maybe it is because of the anti - Glazer feeling, but you could pop down there right now and get a season ticket for next year. This means that there are plenty of spare tickets on the ...

Lindt Excellence Chilli Dark 10/06/2010

Some Like It Hot!

Lindt Excellence Chilli Dark Lindt Excellence Chilli Dark It was once the the case that choosing some chocolate was as simple as reaching for a big fat calorie laden Mars Bar, maybe a four finger Kit Kat (if you were in a sharing mood) or if you really wanted to be adventurous, you might splash out on a bit of Bourneville Dark or Cadbury's Fruit and Nut. As with most things in life, choice and consumerism has not left the world of chocolate untouched. So now when you fancy a bit of something nice for a Friday night, you are faced with a plethora of chocolatey choices that will leave your head spinning. The big explosion on the chocolate scene, has been the whole 'luxury block' type of offering. Forget that recession, for a couple of quid you can leave your worries behind and indulge in someting a bit upmarket... I have indulged in quite a few of the said 'block' chocolate bars, although my choices have always been quite 'safe', well....apart from one little transgression involving raspberries.... However, I had recently watched the film 'Chocolat', which is a chocoholics dream and I thought it was time to sample a bit of something spicy. Well, if it's good enough for Johnny Depp and all that.......So I came home with a bar of Chilli Dark. My eyes had been drawn to this for some time, but I had had visions of needing to drink gallons of water and maybe even spitting it out. This time I was brave.....would Chilli really go well with chocolate? Who are LIndt Lindt is originally a Swiss company that is ...

Sex And The City 2 (DVD) 05/06/2010

Sex Sells......Even Below Average Sex It Would Seem........

Sex And The City 2 (DVD) Sex and The City 2 This is a film only review. Sex and the City 2 opened in the UK on May 28th' A Little History Lesson...... I have been known to partake in a little Sex.........and the City of an evening. If you are bored and flicking around the zillion Sky channels, then it can be found on most week day nights on Comedy Central Extra. Sometimes I am that bored! Sex and the City 2 is a film that was born from the tv series that ran from 1998 to 2004. It was a series that ran for 94 episodes and was produced by the American cable company HBO. Not content with leaving it at that....it was transferred to the big screen. The series centred upon four women living in New York and it focused upon their trials and tribulations with regard to relationship issues, in particular those relating to *shock/horror* sex. It tackled issues such as safe sex, promiscuity and really......anything you might want to know about sex.....but were afraid to ask.... In fact, it gained a massive following probably because it discussed issues (and played them out) openly and in a very matter of fact way. There was no place it wouldn't go, in order to shock. Some of the goings on were written in quite a sharp, witty manner and it must have seemed like tv gold to the producers I am sure. Enter Our Stereotypes........Sorry.......Protagonists..... Carrie Bradshaw Carrie is played by Sarah Jessica Parker and is the glue that holds this thing together. Her character is taken from the books written by ...

Piano Time Classics - Pauline Hall 01/06/2010

Go On.....Tinkle Those Ivories!

Piano Time Classics - Pauline Hall Piano Time Classics Thought I'd review something different for a change - and make it shorter.....for a change. I can do short. When I was a child I learned to play the guitar and the clarinet, but was absolutely desperate to play the piano. Seeing as we didn't have one and had no hope of getting one, I left this ambition on the back burner for years. As an adult a few years ago, I decided to stop thinking about this and just do it. So I did. I bought a piano (on the pretext it would be good for my children to learn one day lol) and had lessons. My daughter did go on to have lessons, so it was worthwhile. The point of this little story is that it is never too late to do those things you put off. I was messing around on said piano the other day and pulled out one of the first books that made it easy to learn. When you first start it is easy to get bogged down with boring scales and grade pieces, which wasn't really why I wanted to learn. I wasn't so bothered about passing exams, I just wanted to be able to play....for myself. If my mind isn't kept busy I would go insane!!! Nearly changed my mind after the first lesson - when I realised I had two different lines of music to read and two hands to move - AT THE SAME TIME - YIKES!! I thought I would never get it....but I took it a bar at a time and slowly got there. Your fingers sort of have a memory of their own and eventually it becomes second nature. I like to play film scores, but back then I had to make do with widening ...

The Grove, Chandler's Cross 27/05/2010

A Beach? In The Middle Of Hertfordshire?

The Grove, Chandler's Cross The Grove The Grove is not the type of establishment I usually find myself in. This hotel has five stars and is situated withing 300 acres. It is the former home of the Earls of Clarendon. It has 227 rooms and guest suites, a grade II listed mansion, world class spa and an 18 hole golf course that has hosted The World Golf Championships. It is located in Herfordshire and is easy to find just off the M25 (3 mins). It is only 30 minutes from Heathrow and 17 minutes from London Euston. I have stayed at this hotel twice now. I travelled there with a friend as we had to attend a party of a mutual friend who lives nearby. I did this trip in 24 hours, because that's the kind of jet setting life I lead - yeah, right lol! Arrival......WOW............. As you enter the gates you drive through the grounds for about a mile along a sweeping driveway, with the golf course all around you. This isn't a hotel that is easily accessible on foot. The grounds are very grand, lush and although I am no expert, it is obvious the golf course is first class. On arrival there is a choice of valet parking (too posh for me!) or you can rough it and park up in the car park nearby. There was no sign of any recession here, as the car park was massive and almost full to the brim on arrival. We walked to the reception to check in and again the entrance hall is very imposing. As I have said this is the second time I have stopped there and the second time the reservation has been messed up. It seems to be ...
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