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Lancashire_Angel

Lancashire_Angel

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Reviews written

since 10/08/2003

50

August Rush (DVD) 14/04/2009

Do you believe in music?

August Rush (DVD) ~ “I believe in music…the way that some people believe in fairy tales” ~ Freddie Highmore as August Rush What this movie does so well, is thread the two together: music as a modern-day fairy-tale – a perfect escape from a materialistic world. It’s a long time since a movie catapulted itself straight into my top five of all time – in fact I think the last time was the Lord of the Rings series. Its appeal to me may be partly to do with my lifelong love of music and my spiritual leanings. However it’s a thought-provoking and positive movie which should leave any viewer with a warm glow in their heart and, just maybe, a new perspective. ~ “A harmonic connection between all living things, everywhere, even the stars” ~ Robin Williams as Wizard Wallace The two main themes of the movie are music and love. The plot revolves around a child lost in the system, Evan Taylor, whose saving grace is music. He hears music in everything and everywhere, longs for an instrument to express the music in his heart, and intuitively seems to know that his love of music is his link with his parents, who do not know he exists at the beginning of the picture. Evan “follows the music” on an incredible journey, meeting along the way the eccentric “Wizard” Wallace who facilitates Evan’s first encounter with a guitar and dubs him with the stage name August Rush, and attending Juilliard where he is able to take his music to new heights and reach a larger audience. Much of the tension in ...

Shadows Collide with People - John Frusciante 19/03/2005

The album that changed my life

Shadows Collide with People - John Frusciante So hi everybody and welcome back to my world for the latest instalment of my descent into complete musical obsession. It’s been a long time since I wrote a music review and I’m sure it’s going to be nothing like what has gone before, so cancel your expectations now and I hope it’s not too painful! I shall try to keep it short and say what I really have to say, but regular readers will know that might be a challenge! Today I am going to introduce you to the album that changed my life, from an artist you will find you know to some extent even though you may not recognise the name. John Frusciante is the incredibly talented guitarist of that band I love the Red Hot Chili Peppers; you may recall from some of my other reviews that one of the things I love most about their music is the evocative guitar riffs and the interlacing of the bass and lead guitar. So along the way, as I got more into them and I discovered that John was in fact a versatile and dedicated musician who had also produced a lot of solo material, I knew I had to listen to it. “Shadows Collide With People” (2004), or Shadows as it will from now on be affectionately referred to, was one of the first I managed to get my hands on and this happened at pretty much the same time I was making the momentous decision to bring my long-term relationship to an end and admitting to myself that I was very unhappy and needed to change. I found the music soothing, the lyrics thought-provoking and full of meaning for me, the ...

Recipes for Main Courses 20/02/2005

L.A.'s five-point chilli challenge!

Recipes for Main Courses Since becoming a vegetarian, my repertoire of fresh meals that work well with veggies alone or quorn pieces and mince has been sadly halved and due to intense boredom (and the current scare over ready meals and processed food) I have been scouring recipe sites looking for new things to try. I found out three interesting things on my quest. One, with Mexican and Indian full-flavoured cookery being my favourite, only spicy dishes sound remotely interesting to me. Two, recipes that list copious amounts of unheard-of ingredients that I have never seen on the shelves at Sainsbury’s really bug me (have YOU ever heard of tamari or fermented soy beans? Please enlighten me if you have…and has anybody REALLY got things like rice vinegar in their cupboard ready to add ‘just a dash’ to recipes?) And three, you can write recipes on Ciao for fellow Ciao members to try – and to be honest, these were some of the best, easiest, most vegetarian-considerate, comprehensive recipes I found – so well done, folks! Unfortunately for you, this also means that while I’m waiting in limbo for Ciao to add the music album categories I already wrote reviews for (don’t worry, I’m not holding my breath), I am going to inflict on you some of my favourite, flavourful but FIERY recipes and see if any of you out there are prepared to take on my five-point chilli challenge! Hot food addicts only need apply! I will, however, arrange them in order of heat level for the less brave who might want to work their ...

Everything that starts with G ... 16/02/2005

Getting to know me (again) - L.A. v2.0!

Everything that starts with G ... Hi everybody, remember me?! “Oh hell, here she is back again to torture us with her insane ramblings and Red Hot Chili Peppers obsession…” I hear you cry. Well yeah, those of you that knew me before, I am back…although my return might be erratic for some time as there is still loads going on. And where have I been? Lost in another dimension for months and months, god so much has happened but life is slowly returning to normality, although a new kind of normality… For those of you that might remember me and actually care (or for those of you who don’t know me at all but are nosy all the same, ha ha) – when I was here before my long-term relationship was breaking down for several reasons and I was in a bad place, things were painful and I lost interest in pretty much everything including Ciao, although my musical obsessions kept me going. I met some new friends through joining the RHCP message board and chatted to them a lot on msn and over several weeks of soul-searching I decided to end my relationship. Cue several weeks of basic hell which also involved moving back in with my parents and lots of wrangling with my partner over all the reasons things had gone wrong. Eventually we had a long talk and he was very sincere about saying he recognized all the problems and wanted a chance to put them right and we ended up not only back together but looking for a house together to start our new life in a fresh place that belonged to both of us as a couple. Cue weeks of ...

Zante (Greece) 24/11/2004

Tainted love: Island of wildlife & endless blue

Zante (Greece) When we holidayed in Kos, in the Aegean Sea in Greece, a few years ago, we so fell in love with the scenery, charm and atmosphere of this unique country made up of many individual islands, there was no question that Greece would be where we would go this year. However, wanting it to be a different enough experience to keep us interested, we decided on Zante, otherwise known as Zakynthos, over at the other side of the mainland in the Ionian Sea. Quite a large island, so close to Kefalonia and the Greek mainland that both are visible from parts of the island on a clear day, Zante boasts a varied and interesting geography of sandy beaches and coves, shallow waters, stunning mountains, cliffs and caves, and an abundance of marine life including dolphins and its beloved Caretta-Caretta turtles. Despite the severe 1953 earthquake destroying homes and grander buildings alike and stripping the island of its history, there is still plenty to see and to experience on Zante to easily fill 2 weeks; however, we did return with mixed feelings about it on the whole… ~~~~~ DETAILS ~~~~~ We booked the holiday, as always, via one of the many phone-line travel agents which advertise on Teletext; I still maintain that this is the best way to get a bargain as we paid £300 each for 2 weeks self-catering in Zante from the 18th July – 1st August, and for the same times and place, prices on the Internet seemed to be in the region of £400 and even more in some of the brochures. Being a teacher I ...

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (Parental Advisory) [PA] - Red Hot Chili Peppers 24/11/2004

Testosterone overdrive! Well, it turns ME on...

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (Parental Advisory) [PA] - Red Hot Chili Peppers ~~~~~ BLOOD SUGAR SEX MAGIK GENIUS ~~~~~ I feel weird about writing this review and am not quite sure yet where it’s gonna take me or whether I’m going to like it as much as my other Chilis reviews. I’m writing from a completely different (interpret: biased) perspective than when I set out to write my “By The Way” review – in a matter of months I have become a firm fan and cannot get enough of this band’s music. Starting out on this I am more than a little struck by awe and unsure how I’m going to get across the feel of this album enough to do it proper justice. The other reason is that, while I still find myself loving it, “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” is a different story entirely to the later albums. Different style, different mood, almost as if the band were different people altogether way back when this was produced. And hey, aren’t we all, 10 years and more down the line? All the same I am determined to review it. Having read many of the reviews currently available on this album, it is not as strongly represented on Ciao as “Californication” (which you have been thankfully spared my interpretation of – be grateful. Be very grateful.) or even “By The Way” and I thought I’d redress the balance a bit. ~~~~~ TESTOSTERONE OVERDRIVE ~~~~~ Having bought it for a very respectable £8.99 from www.channel.com (p&p aside) around a month ago, it’s really only this last weekend that I’ve spent any time listening to this, due to buying quite a few albums at the same time. And ...

Red Hot Chili Peppers UK shows 2004 24/11/2004

I came. I saw. They rocked.

Red Hot Chili Peppers UK shows 2004 ‘They’ being the band who have in the last year totally touched my life and become my favourite group in the universe, you might say I’m slightly biased – not to mention somewhat bewildered with awe. This was the very first time I have seen the Red Hot Chili Peppers live, and I had to go to some extraordinary lengths to do it, and it was so worth all of them. I feel now a little like I’m back on track with living in the moment and seizing the day. "It’s better to regret something you did, than something you didn’t do." ~ Deep Kick The concert in question was at the City of Manchester Stadium (MCFC) on the 18th June. The doors opened late afternoon; queues were slightly ridiculous as many of the tickets were unreserved and people wanted to get a good spot. I guess it’s a bit of a trade-off, either get there late and avoid queuing but be at the back or get there early, queue, and be able to see more than just vague dots. Needless to say I felt it was worth it! Once inside, the organisation was pretty good. There were lots of security guards for crowd control – I have to say, I’ve never felt so safe at a concert. Something I particularly thought was cool was that, with an unreserved ticket, you had the choice of standing or any of the lowest tier of seating! After MUCH deliberation and wandering about trying to figure where the best view would be, I eventually decided I am way too old to be in a mosh pit and my brother Pete and I grabbed seats in the nearest block to the ...

Permission to Land (Parental Advisory) [PA] - Darkness (The) 24/11/2004

And now for something completely different!

Permission to Land (Parental Advisory) [PA] - Darkness (The) It’s a while now since I bought this album and I have meant to review it from my first listen, but since then it’s had very limited playing-time and it got relegated to the sidelines, not through any fault of its own but just because it happened to come along just as I discovered my favourite band ever in the universe (but that’s another story entirely). It still merits my recommendation if not only for the fact that, when I first bought The Darkness – "Permission to Land", I actually preferred it on first impressions to the albums by the said other band! Let’s leave aside the fact that in my opinion, this album was extremely over-hyped and that it was nowhere near as mindblowingly brilliant, nor as cataclysmically different as I had imagined it would be, and thus a sense of mild disappointment will probably always arise when listening to most of it. Let it be noted, though, that I did say ‘most of it’ – as it sure has its sublime moments perfect for us head-bangers, shoulder-shakers and air-guitar players; also the fact that it is a very enjoyable album and can be played start to finish without once reaching for the ‘skip’ button on the CD player, a feat I am finding it is increasingly rare to accomplish these days. Readers of my previous music reviews on my favourite band may be saddened (or incredibly relieved) to find that my subheadings will not be plucked from any of the (cough) *lyrics* on this album, and I will explain why later! So I’m going to keep it short ...

RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 (PC) 24/11/2004

Dizzy heights and quick thrills...

RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 (PC) Dizzy heights and quick thrills...and that's just the rollercoasters! Sounds exciting, doesn't it? It's all in a day's work for a theme park owner in ROLLERCOASTER TYCOON 2. This is a game I have owned for a while and always enjoyed, so much in fact it has become my favourite, and after a recent fix with all the pros and cons fresh in my mind, I have been inspired to review it. A bit of background first…I am sure that one of the many reasons why the ROLLERCOASTER TYCOON series are currently my favourite games for the PC is the fact that I was completely obsessed with rollercoasters in my teenage and young adult years. Living so close to Blackpool, I regularly had days out ‘doing the rounds’ of the rollercoasters, such ‘big boys’ at the time as the Revolution and the Pepsi Max Big One. Somehow in between that and going on holiday to Spain a good few years ago I slipped into being a coaster chicken and was terrified to go on the Dragon Khan at Port Aventura (guess I was just out of the habit of the adrenaline rush!) but after that, I would certainly like to get back into rollercoasters again. And in this game, I can…well, virtually. ~~~~~ EVER FANCIED RUNNING YOUR OWN THEME PARK? ~~~~~~ Is this game for you? Well, ROLLERCOASTER TYCOON and ROLLERCOASTER TYCOON 2 are part of the popular and numerous TYCOON series of games produced for the PC by Infogrames Interactive. Often to be seen lining the shelves at Game and the like, the series includes such titles as Zoo ...

The Lord Of The Rings - The Return Of The King (DVD) 24/11/2004

The darkest and greatest of them all

The Lord Of The Rings - The Return Of The King (DVD) Now why on earth write a review of Lord Of The Rings : The Return of the King when we’ve already had several excellent ones to read? Some of you may well be asking that question, which is why I asked it of myself before sitting down to write. And yes, I still felt compelled to write it. These are the main reasons why. As if it wasn’t enough of a reason on its own, I categorically loved it, sat rooted to the spot for three hours and more, eyes agog, as I was swept back into Middle Earth for the most gripping adventure yet. A fitting conclusion for this tremendous trilogy, it has touched my heart, swelled my soul – and inspired me to write about it, to share the magic of Return of The King with anyone as yet undecided about seeing it. Also, I approached the film (in fact, all three of the films) from a very different perspective than most of the people who have reviewed it here to date – I have never read the books; yes, shame on me, I have an English degree and yet have never read this undeniable classic. I blame my dad for trying to get me to read The Silmarillion first – the first in Tolkien’s series of books set in Middle Earth, which drones on reading like a who’s who of ancient Middle Earth. Anyway, I figure this gives me a slightly different take on things, having had no basis for comparison and taking the film purely on the merits of how it works in itself. ***BACKGROUND – THE STORY SO FAR*** For anyone who is sitting there muttering “And what on earth ...

Greatest Hits [Warner Bros.] (Parental Advisory) [PA] - Red Hot Chili Peppers 24/11/2004

WHERE HAVE THEY BEEN ALL MY LIFE?!

Greatest Hits [Warner Bros.] (Parental Advisory) [PA] - Red Hot Chili Peppers ~~~~~ WHERE HAVE THEY BEEN ALL MY LIFE?! ~~~~~ That indeed is the question. Despite loving UNDER THE BRIDGE from hearing it on the radio in my teens, I never actually stopped to further investigate Red Hot Chili Peppers’ music and somehow kind of had the impression that it wasn’t my type of music. Last year when I literally fell in love with BY THE WAY I knew nothing of their history or previous music and it was purely on the merits of the songs on the album; even then I thought perhaps I wouldn’t like the earlier stuff as much, that perhaps it had evolved into the kind of music I relate to. Lots of people on Ciao, after reading my BY THE WAY review, urged me all the same to listen to some of the Chilis’ earlier albums, and I decided the GREATEST HITS would be the best way to go, to get a flavour of which albums I might like. ~~~~~ NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME THAN RIGHT NOW ~~~~~ (Give It Away) I’m now on about my third listen and certain songs are haunting me, and while I’m noticing a wider range of styles I’m also noticing recurring themes that I loved in BY THE WAY, and I can’t get enough of it and basically am pretty much falling in love with it in the same way I did with BY THE WAY. How on earth did Red Hot Chili Peppers pass me by, I’ll never know, but pass me by they did. Perhaps my tastes have matured, or I heard a song I really didn’t like by them at some point perchance. Personally I like to think it’s happened perfectly, that this is the right time of my ...

Top 10 Sandwich Fillings 24/11/2004

The Art of Angelic Sandwich Making

Top 10 Sandwich Fillings I am a great lover of light meals and snacks as I don’t tend to be able to eat a lot of food in one sitting and sandwiches have always been one of my favourite lunches; there are days when I wouldn’t mind a sandwich for my tea! When I’m out for lunch I often go for buying a sandwich from one of several bakeries I frequent and when I’m at home there are certain combinations of things that are almost as good. The only problem with my sandwiches seems to be I do like unhealthy things like too much salt, real butter (both bad for the heart), white bread (not as healthy as whole grain bread) and mayonnaise (feel that fat piling on)! So if you’re on a diet or a healthy living kick I don’t really recommend reading my top ten – you might not be able to resist the temptation! A good sandwich is a true culinary creation in my opinion. If you’re really going to enjoy it, it needs to combine a complementary mix of flavours and textures, pick the right bread to go with the contents, and use just enough butter or margarine – not so little the bread’s dry, not so much you can taste the grease. *Giggles* Writing this has put me in mind of a scene in Red Dwarf (seasoned viewers will understand what I’m on about) where Lister and Holly make Rimmer the ultimate hangover cure – a strange sandwich invented by Lister with curious ingredients (which salemwitch informs me were fried egg and chilli sauce) – and Rimmer goes drunkenly on about how the sandwich is symbolic of Lister himself, all the ...

Calvin Klein Eternity Eau de Parfum Spray 24/11/2004

A treasure for all Eternity

Calvin Klein Eternity Eau de Parfum Spray The perfume you choose is such a personal statement that it would be quite hard to win anyone over in one review, but all the same I felt inspired to sing the praises of my favourite, Eternity Eau de Parfum by Calvin Klein. I have fancied writing a review about this for quite some time, in fact it’s the only perfume that has inspired me sufficiently to write about it, so this week I bought myself a bottle – indulgence indeed – to help me write my op, as I have not written anything for a bit. (ha ha, any excuse!!) My 50ml bottle cost £33.95 from The Perfume Shop in Preston St George’s Shopping Centre, a great little shop which often offers a discount. Looking at my current collection of Christmas catalogues (oh dear, am I coming across as a shopoholic?) this seems quite reasonable. In Argos it is £19.99 for a 30ml Eau de Parfum spray, whereas mine is not a spray but the more expensive pure eau de parfum with a ‘dabber’. In Boots it is £21.50 for a 30ml EDP spray and body moisturiser. So I may not have got the best deal in the world, but certainly okay. I will come on to why I love Eternity so much later but first I will do my best to describe the product :- **THE BEST THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES** As Eternity is quite an expensive perfume (termed at Boots as ‘fine fragrance’) I do tend to buy a small bottle! This doesn’t really matter with the eau de parfum; the first time I bought this I got the same bottle and it lasted well over a year wearing it most weekends, on ...

Thorntons Continental Boxed Chocolates 24/11/2004

Thornton's make your taste-buds tingle!

Thorntons Continental Boxed Chocolates Being a great lover of chocolate, I always make sure around Christmas time that everyone knows my favourite is Thornton’s in the hope of finding some of their delectable chocolate treats under the Christmas tree. This year, I got my wish; my partner had bought me a very large, very tempting box of Continental European Selection which he revealed (when pressed) had cost him £20. Now at first I felt a bit guilty for having a £20 box of chocolates as a Christmas present - but he only wanted to spoil me and after the amount of sheer pleasure they have brought me over the Christmas holidays, I have to say that, for a present, I reckon it was £20 well spent. ***THE GOLDEN BOX WITH A HEART OF CHOCOLATE*** After eating and enjoying many different types of chocolates including Roses, Quality Street, Celebrations, Miniature Heroes, Black Magic, All Gold, Galaxy Silk, Milk Tray and Dairy Box, I can honestly say this was the best box of chocolates I have ever had the pleasure of scoffing – best in terms of presentation, quality and taste. The box itself is fairly large, gold in colour giving the impression of luxury, with Thornton’s Continental inscribed in cream and luscious brown on the top, both immediately putting you in mind of chocolate. Around it is tied a delicate golden mesh ribbon which carried the tag reading ‘Continental European Inspired Collection’ with all the delightful-looking pictures of the contents and their descriptions inside. Having seen the previous box ...

RSPB & RSPCA Trading 24/11/2004

A gift for the animals at Christmastime...

RSPB & RSPCA Trading Being an animal and bird lover, two charities which have always been close to my heart are the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) and RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). I belong to, and support, both and for many years have been receiving the trading catalogues they produce for Christmas shopping. My cards, wrapping paper, crackers, calendars and numerous gifts have been purchased from the RSPCA for the last five or six years and will be coming from the RSPB this year, so I thought I’d explain the reasons why. RAISING MONEY FOR THE RSPCA AND RSPB The primary reason that led me to buy from these catalogues in the first place was that it’s incredibly important to me to support the work of both these charities. They receive a percentage of the profits from items sold through their shop, and the RSPCA include a Gift Aid box on their order form which gives them an extra 28p per £1 spent. You can also opt to make a donation of £5, £10, £20 or of your own choice on the order form, which is quite simply added to the total of your purchases (very easy). I love animals and birds, find them fascinating and enjoy having them around, as well as the fact that all creatures have an importance within their ecosystem. I have always had pets – many beautiful and loving cats, friendly hamsters, tranquil and peaceful fish, a very cuddly rabbit, several companionable dogs and cheeky, vocal birds within the family, and our magnificent, tame iguana ...
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