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since 08/10/2005


One Way Ticket to Hell...And Back (Parental Advisory) [PA] - Darkness (The) 07/04/2008

It was Indeed a Good Idea at the Time

One Way Ticket to Hell...And Back (Parental Advisory) [PA] - Darkness (The) "One Way Ticket to Hell and Back" was the second and final album from the Queen-meets-Spinal Tap rockers "The Darkness". The album has been belittled and berated by critics everywhere for its crass use of allegedly predictable lyrics coupled with run-of-the-mill guitar riffs; but is it really all that bad? Not in my opinion, no. The album kicks off a little annoyingly with a minute's extraordinarily gradual crescendo panpipe introduction to the album's title track "One Way Ticket". Finally the metal guitars and thick, rhythmic drums kick in to start the album off properly with one of the band's more fun songs. There was a lot of controversy surrounding the lyrics to this fun, catchy piece of pop-rock when it was initially released as a single because of the drug-fuelled lyrics. But in all honesty, this band never aimed their music at those too young to understand the difference between parody and punk persuasion. How a man (lead singer, Justin Hawkins) who flounces around stage in sequin leotards singing "stick it up your ****ing nose" can realistically be accused of promoting drugs in any real seriousness is beyond me. "Knockers" carries on the laugh and is bound to evoke at least a sly grin from the most serious of music lovers. The music starts out quaint and catchy as we're led into Justin's world of lyrical lust. The lyrics get a little repetitive in places but then that's partly to allow for the more adventurous Dan Hawkins guitar thrashes to take centre stage in ...

Scouting for Girls - Scouting for Girls 06/04/2008

One for the Drinkers

Scouting for Girls - Scouting for Girls If you don't mind a slice of cheese with your rock, pop and fries then the debut album "Scouting for Girls" by the band of the same name might be an album you'll enjoy. The band were only formed in 2005 so to have not only released but achieved success with an album in 2007 is pretty impressive considering all the would-be rockers out there who've struggled for a decade or more without finding fame. Unfortunately it does have to be noted that a large reason for the band's success with this album is due to marketing as much as real talent. In fact real talent is not a good reason to be buying this album. The second track on this album "She's So Lovely" has been the band's biggest hit to date; it made the UK top ten in both the singles and downloads charts. The lyrics are absolutely appalling: "She's pretty, a fittie; she's got a boyfriend though and that's a pity" is a prime of example of just how medieval and simplistic it can get. But, the reason this song is loved by so many is because it's brilliant fun despite the lack of lyrical depth. The funky keyboards and climatic percussion beautifully contrast with the common tones of lead singer Roy Stride's common Londoner accent and simplistic lyrics. The myriad of instrumental and vocal techniques that have gone into producing this song simply work even if it's not transparently obvious why. "It's Not About You" is actually a better song than "She's So Lovely" in my opinion though it barely charted in the UK, peaking at ...

Inside In/Inside Out - Kooks (The) 05/04/2008

If You Don't Own This - Why Not?!

Inside In/Inside Out - Kooks (The) Inside In/Inside Out by Brighton originated indie-pop band The Kooks was first released in January 2006; it's still getting airtime on the radio here in the UK over two years later. No less than six of the fourteen tracks on the album achieved top forty status as singles in the UK charts; an impressive achievement for any album let alone a debut. It peaked at number two in the UK charts and did almost as well in both Ireland and Belgium as well. The album opens gently with melancholy "seaside"; it's nothing special and the mild music and agreeable lyrics bear no indication of the funky indie-pop that follows. "See the World" is where The Kooks first grab our attention with their Nirvana-esque slurred lyrics and metallic guitar thrashes. There's nothing overtly special about this track but it's a great slice of indie-metal that leads the album nicely away from its gentle opener despite being in such stark contrast to it. "Eddie's Gun" is where we first get a taste of the kind of music that The Kooks do best; fun-filled, heavy duty, indie-pop. The lyrics are what I can only think to describe as "drunken" and the music is an appealing blend of indie, pop and metal all crammed into this fast-paced number. It's the kind of head-banging music rock and indie lovers can enjoy listening to after a few drinks with their friends and an even better track to hear performed live at a concert. It's fun, it's easy and it's heavy-duty all at the same time. A song that evokes such an ...

11 - Various Artists 03/04/2008

Bryan Adams' Most Boring Album Yet

11 - Various Artists Bryan Adams is unfortunately clutching at straws with his eleventh album and its rather predictable title "eleven". In releasing another album featuring yet more of the same old songs, Adams' record company bosses seem to have had a bit of a panic. Being the eleventh album by Adams, and containing eleven tracks (purposely listing the technical twelfth track "Way of the World" as a "bonus"), Adams' will play it on his "eleven dates, eleven cities" tour this year. Perhaps if this album had any merits worth mentioning I could view this as a clever little marketing ploy; instead, I just have visions in my head of music executives sat round a table going "this sounds just like his last five albums, what are we supposed to do with it?" The first three tracks are sweet, melodic laid-back little ditties far too similar to songs that most of us have heard before. They're all especially reminiscent of Bryan Adams' MTV unplugged album thanks to their lightweight musical compositions and acoustic guitar melodies. There's nothing wrong with any of these tracks; they're all perfectly pleasant to listen to. But I don't expect Bryan Adams, after thirty years in the music industry, to produce perfectly pleasant songs. I expected so much more. The only song on the album to actually stand out has to be "Oxygen" though not in a good way I'm sad to say. The music starts out enjoyably enough with a slightly more upbeat tempo than the previous tracks accompanied by a slight variation in ...

Xenical 02/04/2008

Attention Fat People

Xenical What is Xenical? Xenical is a prescription-only tablet that can be taken to speed up weight loss. Xenical claims that those who would normally lose one or two pounds a week on a normal diet could lose three or four pounds if taking Xenical at the same time. Ideally it's suitable for those who are obese with a body mass index of 30 or more (see to calculate your BMI) or for those who are overweight with serious health problems such as a heart condition. You can buy these tablets over the internet however it is inadvisable to do so not least because you can't be sure what you're really buying. What does Xenical do? Each tablet is a small blue encased capsule that you swallow whole before or after each meal so you don't even have to taste it. Xenical works by blocking 30% of your fat intake at every meal time. So for every 10 grams of fat you eat, 3 grams will pass straight through your system undigested. The obvious benefit to this is that you can follow an ultra low-fat diet without having to sacrifice an unhealthy amount of food from your diet. Because fat is the main culprit where weight gain is concerned, Xenical cuts it down for you while allowing you to consume healthy amounts of other, more important food types such as protein and vitamins. My Xenical Experience I started taking Xenical in January 2008 having put on a bit too much weight over the Christmas season. I was already fat to start with so gaining six pounds really ...

Kodak EASYSHARE CX7330 31/03/2008

Easy to Use EasyShare

Kodak EASYSHARE CX7330 I've owned the Kodak CX7330 for nearly two years now. I originally paid just over £100 for it though I note that the price appears to have increased dramatically to just over £200 on many retail sites since then. Setting up the camera was easy and I can still remember that getting started took no time at all. The camera came neatly presented in a small box complete with a set of rechargeable batteries, a battery charger, a computer connection cable, an instruction leaflet and a memory card. The camera has few fiddly extras that you need to connect when you first unpack it; just unwrap it, slide in the memory card, insert a couple of AA batteries and you can get started right away. Taking pictures is very straightforward and lazy people like me will find this camera extremely suitable. If you don't want to fiddle around with the various flash or condition options then you can slide the options wheel to "Auto" and let the camera detect the best option for your setting for you. Even in this technological era, here we find a nice and easy "point and click" camera. That said, as time has gone on, I have unfortunately needed to select a specific option at certain times. The options available are: "Auto", "Sports", "Portrait", "Landscape", "Up Close" or "Video". Occasionally I've found it's necessary to choose the "Up Close" option when photographing items very close to me as "Auto" has failed me on a few occasions. Fortunately, the wonderful thing about using a digital ...

Where's Spot? - Eric Hill 31/03/2008

Introducing Spot the Dog

Where's Spot? - Eric Hill "Where's Spot?" was the first book by freelance illustrator, graphic designer and art director Eric Hill. Hill created Spot as a bedtime story character for his son Christopher, who was born in 1976. In 1980, the book "Where's Spot?" was published for the first time and marked the start of the "baby interaction" publishing concept. "Where's Spot?" was the very first interactive lift-the-flap book of its kind. When it was first published, "Where's Spot?" was a paperback book but it's since progressed to board book to better suit very young children. The 2000 edition is a lovely chunky deep blue board book which is just right for babies and toddlers aged one to three years to hold easily and turn the pages. Each page features a simple caption revolving around Spot's Mum trying to find Spot. For example, page one asks "Is he behind the door?" We, the reader, are then able to lift the door flap up to see if Spot is there. There are ten double pages in all and on each page there is a different flap we can peep under to try to find Spot. Every time we don't find him, we find a different animal telling us that Spot isn't there. My son has loved this book since he was around fifteen months old and could enjoy lifting the flaps without assistance. He loves Spot, and likes to point out and name all the different animals that occupy the various flaps. At two and half years old, he still enjoys reading this book sometimes and now has a better understanding of why we're lifting ...

Member Advice on Single Parents 30/03/2008

I'm Finally Ready to Put it to Bed

Member Advice on Single Parents Having come to a point in my single parent experience where I truly feel on top of the situation, I think it's time I passed on a little of what I've learned. The biggest difficulty I faced in becoming a lone parent was that I lost my home. My ex-husband never exactly "beat me up" but I found the violent incidents so unexpected and out of character when they happened that I just did not feel able to remain in the marital home given that I had a six month old baby to think of. It's now been nearly a year since my ex-husband lashed out at me and even then it was just a shove last time. Obviously I'm not about to go rekindling a relationship with him though. Instead I've been desperately begging, pleading and whinging for the council or local housing association to offer me a social rented property so that I can provide my son with a safe home that I can afford. Last week, just such a property was offered to me and I move in two weeks time to start our life for real and put this limbo behind us. I think the first thing I struggled to come to terms with as a lone parent was the bitterness and anger I felt. I didn't deserve to be a lone parent, especially not while my ex-husband was off earning a decent wage and spending his ample free time down the pub with his friends. But in time I came to realise that staying angry and bitter about the situation wasn't doing anybody any good, least of all myself. I wasn't taking care of myself properly, friends didn't want to be around me ...

Boots Time Delay Firming Face Mask 28/03/2008

A Waste of Time and Money

Boots Time Delay Firming Face Mask I recently paid £9.50 for a 50ml tube of Boots Time Delay Firming Face Mask which works out at a hefty £19 per 100ml. This product claims to leave skin looking years younger, firmer and smoother as well as being softer and more radiant after use though personally I can't help but feel like it's a bit of a con. Though I appreciate I'm not the target demographic to be using this product given that I'm in my mid-twenties; I still expected some kind of result from using this product. That said, being that my skin isn't exactly loose at this stage in my life, surely a product with these claims and this high price tag should leave with me with especially toned and tightened skin given the decent condition it's already in?! Unfortunately it did no such thing. I followed the instructions correctly by cleansing my face before massaging a thick layer of this mask onto my skin. The directions advised me to leave this product on for five to ten minutes, so I patiently waited for ten minutes to pass before rinsing it off with warm water. I had no qualms with the mild scent or the smooth texture; nor did I find it particularly troublesome to rinse off as you can with some face masks. My disappointment came when I realised that my skin felt absolutely no different than before I'd applied the mask. I was warned in the instruction leaflet that I might feel "tingling sensations" amongst other things yet I felt nothing either during or afterwards. My skin was no cleaner than before ...

Tesco Flowers 25/03/2008

Cheer Someone Up Cheaply

Tesco Flowers I've ordered flowers from Tesco online a few times over the years and received them as presents too. Overall I've been relatively impressed with the prices, quality and service although I do have one or two small criticisms to make. Firstly, the ordering process is relatively straight forward and I wouldn't say it was any easier or more difficult than shopping with a similar website. Just go to to bring up the home page. You'll immediately see their lower priced bouquets on display with prices ranging from £15 to £19 including delivery. There is then a range of options along the left hand navigation menu to allow you to view the flowers on sale by category (season, price range or delivery service). Just click on one of the bright pictures to view details about the product you're interested in. On the details page you'll find price, quantity and delivery details though I must say Tesco are helpful in displaying prices next to every picture on the main menus; I find this clear price display feature isn't something offered by many of their competitors. If you want to order a bunch, you can either click "add to basket" to order online or there's a telephone number displayed in the information box you can ring to order over the phone. When you place your order, either online or over the phone, you'll have the opportunity to include a message. There doesn't appear to be a limit on the length of your message when you order online though presumably if you ...

The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders - Daniel Defoe 24/03/2008

For We Are All on the Wheel of Fortune

The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders - Daniel Defoe "Moll Flanders" is a difficult book for me to review without getting too carried away. If I could conjure up a sixth star from somewhere I really would. I first came across Moll in the form of an ITV television adaptation when I was in my late teens. I wasn't instantly besotted with the television programme in the same way I would later be with the original book however it was where my association began nevertheless. Having been written by Daniel Defoe (most famous for "Robinson Crusoe") in 1722, "Moll Flanders" is really quite dated given how far on society has moved in the centuries since. Yet there's something about the way in which Defoe has thoroughly created a real spirit for Moll that is timeless and still relevant to modern women nearly three hundred years later. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Moll Flanders is the central character in a fictitious biography of her life. The story is told in the first-person narrative by Moll looking back over her life and all the wicked deeds she'd committed. Moll first introduces herself to us by explaining that the name "Moll Flanders" is in fact a pseudonym. She whispers in our ear that she daren't recite her real name for fear of arrest because of her numerous unpunished crimes. Moll's turbulent life story starts with her birth to a convict Mother in Newgate prison. Her Mother is transported to Virginia directly after giving birth leaving Moll an orphan at the mercy of the state. We learn of Moll changing ...

Boots No.7 Protect & Perfect Beauty Serum 22/03/2008

Bug Gets Her Purse Out (No Really!)

Boots No.7 Protect & Perfect Beauty Serum Boots No7 Protect and Perfect Serum With warmer weather on its way I thought it was probably time to drag myself out of the gutter and dust myself off. Close examination of my skin last month led me to the horrifying conclusion that at just twenty-four years of age it might be necessary to invest an anti-aging serum of some description. To be honest, if you look at my profile picture, do you suppose I look twenty-four? I'm guessing no given that most people seem to assume I'm in my late twenties (I've had "wow I thought you were thirty" before). It was equally important for me to start thinking about a skin-tautening agent as I'm finally losing the baby weight this year (yes I know he's nearly three) and having lost a stone already I don't want to wind up slim but with loose, flabby skin everywhere! To Boots I descended then with these general requirements in mind but no specific product(s). Scanning the anti-aging shelves, the first item to catch my eye was "Boots No7 Protect and Perfect Serum". Does anyone else remember the overwhelmingly positive publicity it received from a university study evaluated on "Horizon" back in 2005? I certainly did and that's why it suddenly became my first choice. At £16.75 for a tiny 30ml tube I was reluctant to part with my cash, especially considering I usually refuse to pay more than £5 for any given beauty item (except foundation). But the little voice at the back of my head reasoned with me that surely it was better to spend ...

Boots No 7 Liplicious Ultra Shiny Lip Gloss 22/03/2008


Boots No 7 Liplicious Ultra Shiny Lip Gloss Boots No7 Liplicious Lip Gloss I love this stuff so much I've got two already; one in Candyfloss and one in Sherbet. Boots released their new No7 Liplicious lip gloss just this season and already it's flying off the shelves both as a product in its own right for a slightly over-priced £8.75 each or, if you're quick, as a freebie in a gift set Boots are currently giving away when you spend £20 on any No7 product (run - quick!). I've read a few poor reviews about this being a gloss that does not last but I have to say, as someone who's worn gloss over lipstick for many years now, this lasts just as long as any lip gloss does! A standard application will stay put for about two hours though I noticed that even when the gloss had slipped away I was left with lovely tinted lips. I adore both of my chosen shades equally and noticed that all six colours in this new range (Candyfloss, Sherbet, Lollipop, Fudge, Popsicle and Bon Bon) were bold, vibrant and relatively solid as far as lip gloss density usually goes. As you may have read elsewhere this is one sticky gloss and I personally love that about this product. I love the fact that I can really feel it sitting on my lips as I suppose it makes me feel a little bit sexy! Despite this sticky, tingly feeling; fortunately this gloss glides on smoothly without leaving any tacky spots or slicking your lips together. The smell and taste of this product are as good as the candy names suggest. Every time you lick your lips ...

Angel Care Movement and Sound Monitor 22/03/2008

Free Babysitter

Angel Care Movement and Sound Monitor I note there have been a few seriously negative reviews about the Angelcare Monitor given that this has been a popular top-of-the-range brand for several years now. When I bought my ex-display model back in 2005, the RRP was £55.95 and I note it hasn't changed much in the time that's passed since; neither has the model. I personally was very satisfied with this monitor though if you read on you'll soon realise why others may not have enjoyed such a good experience. The reason this monitor retails for so much more than your basic baby monitor is basically because it has two core functions; it not only monitors sound but is also able to detect movement (including that of a newborn breathing) and alarm parents where their baby hasn't moved for more than 20 seconds. Obviously this is a tool that not only offers parents extra assurance but can actually save a baby's life. Initially I used this as a standard baby monitor and didn't plug the pad in. The reason for this was that I found the monitor was going off frequently. Some might suggest that maybe baby had moved off the sensory pad but I'd like to meet a two week old baby capable of doing so! As the alarm is intended to rouse a sleeping parent in the event of a critical emergency, you can imagine the kind of panic-inducing beep this alarm sets off. Having shipped my son out to sleep in his own room at three weeks old (due to my son's ability to snore like a piglet), I decided to ask on a Mum and Baby site if anyone ...

Tesco Assorted Fabric Plasters 40's 22/03/2008

What a Rip-Off (get it?)

Tesco Assorted Fabric Plasters 40's I'm afraid to say that these are a bit of a disappointed for the Tesco own label. I've tried both these and the Tesco Value version to date and can honestly say that's there's little difference between the two. As with most Tesco products, the bit that attracts you to try their own brand version is the price. A box of 40 Elastoplast Fabric Plasters will set you back £2.53 while a box of 40 Tesco Fabric Plasters will set you back just £1.14. Unfortunately though this is a case of getting what you pay for. Trying to tear the plasters open is a near impossible feat in itself. The plastic tears well enough it's just that there's very little space between the edge of the plaster and the border of the wrapper meaning you wind up twisting and tearing at the plaster whilst trying to de-wrapper it. Applying them (once you've finished wrestling with the wrapper) isn't a problem and you should find the backing tabs come off easily. Where the next challenge comes however is in keeping the darn things on. I've used them several times now for cuts and nicks on my fingers and found they fall off within a matter of hours. The adhesive just isn't strong enough. Obviously the advantage to this is that you don't get left with mucky "plaster marks" showing an outline of where the plaster was before you took it off; but that's not very helpful if your finger is instead covered in blood where the plaster refused to stay put. This is one of those products that unfortunately offers ...
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