Share this page on

bronze Status bronze (Level 7/10)



Trusted by 53 members
See member statistics

Thanks to all those for review and rate. Apologies, I've got a bit behind with my ratings and so am now on a catch up mission.

Reviews written

since 19/03/2014


The Museum of Modern Art 26/07/2017

Visiting MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art ~~~ MoMA ~~~On my recent trip to New York, the Museum of Modern Art (or MoMA as it is affectionally known) was on our must-do list. Many moons ago I lived in New York for a short period and MoMA was one of the few New York museums that I didn’t get to visit so I was delighted when my daughter said it was the one museum she really wanted to see. ~~~ Finding MoMA ~~~MoMA is in Midtown, the middle blocks of the city where so many of New York’s best known buildings (think the Rockefeller Centre and Grand Central Terminal) and shops (think Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany’s) are situated. To be precise, the museum entrance is on 53rd Street between 5th & 6th Streets and is in within easy walking distance from several subway stations. ~~~ MoMA’s opening hours and entrance fees ~~~The museum opens daily at 10.30 am and closes at 5.30 with the exception of Friday when it remains open until 8 pm. Entrance is $25 but if you make the most of late openings on Friday and arrive after 4 you’ll get in for free. We arrived early and were so glad we did. MoMA is a popular lady and by midday the ticket queue was long and the museum getting busy. ~~~ What’s it all about MoMA? ~~~My Lonely Planet guide to New York City sums it up nicely; “For art buffs, it’s Valhalla. For the uninitiated, it’s a crash course in all that is addictive about art.” Originally founded in 1929, the museum was reconstructed in 2004. It’s an attractive space – very modern, very white and very angular and with the ...

Schwarzkopf got2b Glued Blasting Freeze Spray 22/07/2017

My hair is glued in place with got2b glued blasting freeze spray

Schwarzkopf got2b Glued Blasting Freeze Spray I have found that Schwarzkopf’s products suit me. I particularly like the got2b 2 sexy range but I recently grabbed a can of the Glued Blasting Freeze Spray. To be honest it was more the size of the can that attracted me than anything else as I needed something small to put in my case when travelling. ~~~~~~~~~ The range ~~~~~~~~~ There are three products in the Glued range – wax, glue (which I take to mean gel) and the spray. Although the Schwarzkopf’s products are unisex, this one appears to be mainly targeted at men who are looking for spikey hair. Oh well! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Blasting Spray ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ So I am not looking for a scandalously different style. I just need something that holds my fine and style challenged hair in place. This product clearly isn’t made for the likes of me but it absolutely does what I want it to. It really does hold my hair in place all day. ~~~~~~~~~ How to use ~~~~~~~~~ Spray from 30 cm distance evenly all over your style or apply to individual strands. The description gives a couple of extra tips which I’ve not deployed but are: 1) For over the For over the top spikes, spray heavily and twist tips. Allow to dry and finish with an additional blast. 2) For that messy look, spray hair from root to end and massage with finger-tips in a circular motion. Finish with a direct blast to cement your style. ~~~~ £££ ~~~~ £4.19 for 300 ml of £1.89 for the 100 ml travel size from Boots. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~ For those who like ...

InterContinental The Barclay New York, New York City 19/07/2017

Staying at the New York Barclay

InterContinental The Barclay New York, New York City To celebrate my daughter turning 30 later this month, we decided that a girls’ trip to New York was in order. We booked flights and our hotel accommodation through British Airways which seemed to offer the best deals and we settled on the Intercontinental New York Barclay. ~~~ Location ~~~The Intercontinental chain has a couple of flagship hotels in the City. We wanted a central location for our stay in New York and the Barclay is in a great ‘midtown’ location. Set out as a grid, Manhattan is surprisingly easy to navigate and ‘Midtown’ is really the central part of Manhattan between 34th and 59th Street. A popular starting point for tourists, midtown has some of the city's most iconic buildings such as the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings. 5 out of 5 ~~~ A hotel with a history ~~~The Barclay has been around since 1926 when it attracted high profile guests such as Bette Davis, Marlon Brando and Ernest Hemingway who apparently did his final revisions to For Whom the Bell Tolls while staying here. It was one of four railroad hotels in New York and was built as part of an expansion to the Grand Central Terminal expansion. Directly over the rail tracks leading into Grand Central, the hotel actually had its own platform in the basement. We soon realised that just a few metres up the road, you can still access the labyrinth of tunnels that lead to Grand Central through a discreet subway entrance. It’s not particularly visible and the entrance is only open on weekdays but it ...

Panasonic TX-L24X5 05/07/2017

The dawning of a new Visual Era

Panasonic TX-L24X5 5 years ago, my mother decided she needed to replace her TV and phoned her retailer of choice (John Lewis) for their advice. A few days later, a John Lewis contractor arrived to install a Panasonic Viera TX-L24X5B. When my parents recently moved into a residential home, we took possession of said Panasonic. I have always been averse to televisions in bedrooms but at the ripe old age of 58, and much to my grown-up children’s amusement, I’ve relented and the Viera is now hanging on a wall in Mr P’s and my bedroom. ~~~ The technical stuff ~~~• Diagonal Size - 24" • Resolution - 1920 x 1080 • Media player (USB playback) • Game mode • PC Input terminal • Freeview HD built-in • High contrast • Energy efficiency Class A ~~~ Putting the set in place ~~~The TV is a typical looking flat screen TV. It’s slim and at doesn’t dominate a room. My parents used the small stand that came with the set. The stand was sturdy but stylish and looked a part of the TV. We wanted it out of the way in our bedroom and decided that it was best on the wall. Mr P found it easy to get a standard wall bracket that fitted and was was able to fit it easily himself. So I came home from work one day to find the TV all in place with no effort at all required on my part to assist in the fitting process. ~~~ Setting the TV up ~~~Having moved the TV, it proved easy to get the TV running in its new home. The TV automatically went into set up mode as we plugged it in and went through its set up to tune in to the ...

Menier Chocolate Factory, London 29/06/2017

A chocolate factory wth a difference

Menier Chocolate Factory, London The Menier Chocolate Factory is my find of 2017. It’s no longer a chocolate factory but a wonderfully intimate little theatre and restaurant. ~~~ Location ~~~Close to London Bridge and Borough Market, the Chocolate Factory is close to that area which will now be remembered for all the wrong reasons because of the tragic events of 3 June which saw the senseless murder of eight innocent bystanders and serious injury to too far many others. It is in fact one of those areas of London that would not have featured on most people’s list of places to see or be seen in a few years ago but is now a vibrant and cleaned up area of London, south of the river. London Bridge is very close by but for me Blackfriars is the more convenient station and is only a brisk 10 minute walk away. ~~~ History ~~~Apparently Menier is the oldest chocolate brand in the world. It was started in France by a Frenchman called, you guessed it, Menier as a pharmaceutical company. Chocolate was used to coat the pills to make them taste better. When his son took over the company it, he just made chocolate and his new Menier chocolate bar became a sensation. It the 1870s Menier bought his company to London and the Menier Chocolate Factory was one of the first commercial buildings to be built in Southwark Street. The building was eventually abandoned in the 1980 and fell into a bad state of repair. It reopened in 2004 in its new theatrical guise. ~~~ As a theatre ~~~A little apart from London’s West End theatre ...

Crabtree & Evelyn Crabtree and Evelyn Citron Honey and Coriander hand therapy cream 24/06/2017

A little tube of luxury!

Crabtree & Evelyn Crabtree and Evelyn Citron Honey and Coriander hand therapy cream I have written a number of hand lotion reviews on Ciao as I go through a lot of the stuff. While the rest of me doesn’t particularly suffer from sensitive skin, my hands are the exception. They are very dry and react to a number of cleaning products. Some rubber gloves tend to make the matter worse rather than protect my hands and my hands seem to be more prone to dry flaking skin in summer. So finding the perfect cream that will instantly help is something of a crusade. This Citron, Honey & Coriander Hand Therapy comes pretty close to perfection but does come at a price. ~~~ A brief history lesson ~~~I had always assumed that Crabtree & Evelyn were the founders of this British company but doing a bit of a research for this review, I discovered that the company was actually founded 40 years ago by someone called Cyrus Harvey and the Evelyn is actually John Evelyn, a 17th Century Englishman who was a visionary of his time. Apparently, he was one of the first naturalists and conservationists whose personal motto was “Explore everything. Keep the best”. The crabtree (the Crab Apple Tree - Pyrus malus) represents beauty. ~~~ £££ ~~~Crabtree & Evelyn products aren’t cheap. They are the kind of product that I tend to buy as gifts for other people but baulk at paying that for myself. The handcream comes in a variety of sizes - 25g for £10, 50g for £11.00, or 250g for £23.00. At the time of writing, Crabtree & Evelyn have a 30% off offer on this range which makes the cream more ...

Fairy Washing Up Liquid 11/06/2017

For 'judicious' hands

Fairy Washing Up Liquid ~~~ A washing up liquid with history ~~~The Fairy website has lots of interesting facts about this washing up liquid that is even older than I am. It seems to have always been there and indeed it almost has. Produced by Procter & Gamble a factory in West Thurrock, the original Fairy washing up liquid was first launched in 1950. As a child of the 60s, I remember it coming in a white tubular container which was often the essential ingredient of a Blue Peter project. Now the liquid comes in a transparent, more modern shaped bottle but the liquid is the same – a vibrant green colour. As a brand, Fairy has been around for even longer. According to their website “Fairy has been filling sinks with suds and kitchens with shiny, clean dishes” since 1898. By the end of 1960, six out of every ten consumers had bought a bottle of the stuff, the market for washing-up liquid had doubled and Fairy Liquid became the number one product in the market. I can still hear the jingle "Now hands that do dishes can feel as soft as your face with mild green Fairy Liquid" reverberating over the airwaves. ~~~ Using the green liquid ~~~Now I am not at all brand loyal when it comes to a wide range of cleaning products. Often, I will pick up the washing up liquid that is on offer or the supermarket own brand. However, having recently emptied the kitchen cupboards in my parents’ house as I helped them move I took home some Fairy liquid and I have to say I’m impressed. It definitely does the job and ...

Elastoplast Fabric Extra Flexible Breathable Plasters 07/06/2017

Plastering over the cracks with Elastoplast

Elastoplast Fabric Extra Flexible Breathable Plasters Luckily I seldom have to dig into our First Kit – in reality a couple of tupperwares in a kitchen cupboard that is overseen by Mr P who is much better at this sort of thing than yours truly. I was once sent home from A&E as the medics on duty felt my tendency to faint at the sight of blood (although I am a blood donor) was seen as detrimental to my then toddler who was being stitched up following a nasty accident involving a chair and her forehead. However, this week I found myself having to look for a plaster twice in 24 hours after being somewhat careless on two separate incidents as I pottered about in the kitchen. The first ones that came to hand were a box of 40 Elastoplast Fabric Extra Flexible Breathable Plasters. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ What you get for your money ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ I have to confess that I have no idea where we bought this particular packet, probably Boots or one of the big supermarkets. Boots currently (June 2017) have them on offer with 48p off the regular price of £2.39. The boxes come in a number of varieties from one offering a single strip of the plaster that be cut to the desire length to various selections of different shapes. We have the 40 plaster box which contains the following plasters: 20 plasters measuring 19 x 65mm 10 plasters measuring 30 x 65mm 2 larger plaster measuring 50 x 72mm 8 circular plasters with a diameter of 23mm As the name suggests Elastoplast Fabric plasters are extra flexible and breathable fabric strips. ...

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 32GB 27/05/2017

Living on the edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 32GB A user's view of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge ~~~ Switching phones ~~~I’m not one to change my phone because a newer model has come out. In fact, my Samsung Galaxy S2 had been my trusted companion since September 2011 and had served me well until towards the end of last year I began to think that an upgrade was really necessary. I found that some of the apps I now wanted to use wouldn’t work on my S2. For a while I managed to live with this, downloading anything I really needed onto my newer work iPhone. However, this year the S2 began to misbehave – for example shutting itself off randomly and giving me memory full warnings. Sadly, my faith in its reliability was diminishing and the time had come to give up my £5 a month SIM only deal and look to get a new shinier model. I like Samsung and my experience of my work iPhone was not enough to convince me to switch brand. The choice of model then came down to the S7, S7 Edge or waiting for the S8 to come out. I went for the S7 Edge. I’m with the 3 network as it gives the best coverage in the very rural area where I live and I like its Go Roam deal (roaming in 60 different countries at no extra cost). I ordered the upgrade online choosing a good data deal that was going at the time. My phone came the very next day along with a USB charging cable and plug, a SIM card and pin, a connector which provides a USB connection for data transfer between other devices and a set of headphones. I was expecting all sorts of shenanigans ...

Premier Inn Crewe West, Crewe 19/05/2017

A reasonable room at a reasonable price

Premier Inn Crewe West, Crewe ~~~ Where is it? ~~~There are two Premier Inns in Crewe – one is very close to the station; one a little further out on the outskirts of town. On a recent visit to Crewe for work, I was advised by locals to book into the Premier Inn Crewe West. I took 10 minute taxi drive from the station to the Inn which is at the junction of the A530 and A532, 9 miles from Junction 16 of the M6. The hotel is set in nicely maintained grounds with a decking area outside for warmer days and adjoins a Beefeater. Prices start at £44 but this will depend on how far you book in advance and whether or not want a flexible booking; my room with breakfast was booked through my employer’s booking system and cost £86.99. ~~~ The rooms ~~~I was checked in efficiently and directed to my room on the first floor. Premier Inn rooms are available from from 2pm on the day you're due to arrive and check out is by 12 noon. When I’m travelling for work, I always feel relieved when I’ve been booked into a Premier Inn. I know what to expect – good basic accommodation that may lack some of the luxuries that other establishments offer but I know that there will be a decent enough room with a comfortable bed which means I’ll get a good night’s sleep. Premier Inn make rather a thing about their beds and the marketing appears to be working. Most colleagues say the same thing – Premier Inn has a consistent offering with rooms that have a good bed at a very reasonable price. In fact they offer a ‘Good Night Guarantee’ ...

Snozone at Xscape, Milton Keynes 13/05/2017

On the piste again

Snozone at Xscape, Milton Keynes 25 years ago, indoor snow slopes were unheard of. What you could do was go to a dry ski slope (they are still about) where you could do something like ski-ing on dry matting which was unpleasant if you fell on. However, slowly indoor slopes with ‘real’ now started to appear with the Snozones in Milton Keynes and Castleford being amongst the first. Over the years I have spent a lot of time at the Snozone in Milton Keynes and after a trip there this week, I thought it time to write about my experience. ~~~ Finding it ~~~So first things first, where is it? The Snozone is in the Xscape Centre in the centre of Milton Keynes. Because it has to accommodate the ski slope, Xscape has a distinctive shape and you can see it from afar. As well as hosting the Snozone, there is a cinema, lots of shops (many of them snow sports related), restaurants, bowling alley, climbing wall and next door to the main building there is now an indoor skydiving centre. Getting there is pretty straightforward but as always in Milton Keynes, there are lots (and I mean lots!) of roundabouts to circumnavigate. If approaching Milton Keynes from the MA (leaving via Junction 14) you need to take the A509 towards Central Milton Keynes. Xscape is well signposted (look for the brown signs of a downhill skier) and after 6 or 7 roundabouts, you will find yourself near the entrance. Although there is a large car park, getting a slot can be quite difficult at peak times – I’ve been there at the weekend and found cars ...

Skin Republic Foot Repair Mask 05/05/2017

These boots aren't made for walking

Skin Republic Foot Repair Mask Skin Republic ~~~~~~~~~~~ Allegedly South Korea has been dubbed by industry experts as the world’s new skin care super power (well it has according to the Skin Republic website). Sheet masks certainly originated there and have given South Korea a reputation for developing innovative skin care products. Skin Republic offers a skin care range of products all developed in South Korea. Their range of 19 products apparently combine “the latest advances in skin care with nature’s restorative properties” and are focussed on the face, neck and décolletage, hands and feet. The Skin Republic range is cruelty free and not tested on animals. It is hypo-allergenic and laboratory tested by dermatologists. Sheet masks ~~~~~~~~~~ Skin Republic products target skin concerns such as aging, loss of firmness, uneven skin tone and problem skin. Sheet masks use something called a “Transdermal Delivery System” which sounds a bit like gobbledygook but apparently allows the serum to absorb into the skin more efficiently than traditional masks and creams. I’ve used the anti-ageing face mask and been really impressed. My skin really soaked up the serum and I could feel the benefit for a number of days. I had bought the mask at a spa shop and at the same time picked up the Foot Repair packet. I always moisturise the soles of my feet but I noticed recently that the skin on top of the foot was quite dry and with a few days hoefully in the sun coming up, I thought I should give me feet some attention. ...

Blenheim Palace, Woodstock 01/05/2017

The gardens alone are worth a visit

Blenheim Palace, Woodstock I was expecting this to be an Afternoon Tea review, but in fact it’s more about the wonderful outdoors at Blenheim. Please note that this not a review of the Palace itself. As a group of ladies, we have got into the habit of celebrating our birthdays by a collective outing and afternoon tea often features. So, when a friend celebrated a landmark birthday earlier this year, we gave her a voucher for an afternoon tea at a venue of her choice. I have to admit that I was somewhat taken aback when she suggested Blenheim Palace but the others all seemed up for it so we agreed a date and decided we would allow a little time before hand to explore the gardens and booked afternoon tea at the Orangery. ~~~ Getting there ~~~Blenheim Palace is eight miles north-west of Oxford just on the edge of Woodstock. It’s on the A44 Evesham Road and is signposted from Junction 9 of the M40. If using satnav, you’re advised to use the postcode OX20 1PS. We set off in two cars, both using the advised postcode and both being directed different ways! Coming from Northamptonshire, we had a relatively easy journey taking the M40. Although Blenheim Palace is signposted off the M40 our satnav took us on rather a circuitous route and clearly not the signposted one. We definitely took the back roads ending up going through the lovely little town of Woodstock, which is charming and worthy of a visit in its own right. In the event both cars arrived within 5 minutes of each other and we met just outside the ...

Sanctuary Spa Body Scrub 24/04/2017

For a gentle exfoliation

Sanctuary Spa Body Scrub With spring is in the air, it seems the time to step up the beauty regime and get the skin ready for a little more exposure to natural light. I’m thinking here in particular arms and legs which tend to be well covered during the colder winter months. The first step in the process is for some exfoliation with the time of getting the skin looking more radiant and healthy. I try to exfoliate once a week in any case, but now need to increase frequency to really get ready for the sun. The Sanctuary Scrub is gentle enough to use very day. Why bother? ~~~~~~~~~~~ Using a scrub encourages a good cell turnover so that as surface skin cells are damaged, they are replaced. Skin generally renews itself once a month but this slows down significantly for those of us who have hit the 50 mark, So stimulating that sluggish skin renewal is even more necessary. The Sanctuary Spa Gentle Scrub ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~ The 200ml tube of orange exfoliator looks like a typical Sanctuary product. The clear tube has an orange flip top from which it is easy to squeeze the require amount of scrub onto hand or whatever method of application you choose. To use The directions are to massage gently onto wet skin in a circular motion and then rinse off ‘to reveal velvety skin’. The therapist’s tip (which I ignore) is to ‘Finish your shower with a blast of cold water – as cold as you dare - to tone your skin, close pores and awaken your senses’. I know I probably should, Mr P does and tells me it’s very ...

Boots Cucumber Cleansing Wipes 18/04/2017

Wiping away the grime of the day

Boots Cucumber Cleansing Wipes When I’m at home I normally use eye make-up remover and a regular cleanser to take off make-up at the end of the day. However, when I’m travelling for work or on holiday I use cleansing wipes as I find them more portable. I’ll continue to use them when I get back home to finish off the packet before the wipes dry ou. However, generally I prefer to use a cleansing lotion which I think is kinder to my skin. But in clearing out my mother’s cupboards recently after helping her and my father move into a luckily very nice care home, I found packets and packets of Boots Essentials Cucumber Cleansing Wipes. So not wanting them to go to waste, I thought I’d give them a try. Product details ~~~~~~~~~~~ So, the wipes come in a simple light green package with a pull back adhesive flap in the centre which should reseal to keep the wipes fresh. Like most packets of wipes, I do find that the seal doesn’t last as long it should and I therefore keep the wipes in a small plastic bag to ensure that they do keep fresh. The wipes aren’t the largest of wipes – they actually measure 7.5 inches x 7.5 inches . For me at least that seems just about the right size. Anything bigger always seems to be surplus to requirements and I have to resist the urge to pack them away and use another day. The wipes also don’t seem as moist as some but rather than bigger a negative, again I think this is an advantage. I find some wipes just too wet with the result that they actually seem quite cold to use and I ...
See more reviews Back to top