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since 28/04/2001


BBC2: League of Gentlemen 15/09/2005


Everything that starts with P ... 14/09/2005

A well travelled Pumpkin...

Harry Potter and the Half - Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling 16/08/2005


Big Brother 6 (2005) 13/07/2005


Mulholland Drive (DVD) 05/07/2005


Summer Sisters - Judy Blume 24/03/2005


Summer Sisters - Judy Blume I first read Summer Sisters on holiday a couple of years ago and was absolutely captivated by it. The characters stayed in my heart and mind for a long time afterwards and as soon as I got home I bought the book myself, having borrowed it whilst on holiday. I left it a while before re-reading it as I wanted to leave it long enough that I would have forgotten the finer points of it and could therefore enjoy them again. I recently read it for the second time and it is now amongst my all-time favourite books – and is likely to stay there for a long time. I don’t normally like to re-read books, but I know I will probably end up reading this one every few years. Judy Blume is best known for her novels for teenagers, such as “Tiger Eyes”, “It’s Not The End of the World” and the ever popular “Forever”, notorious when I was at school for its descriptions of sex that were read over and over again by groups of giggling girls at break time. Less well known is the fact that she has also written several adult novels, including “Summer Sisters”. Set in the USA, the book is the story of Vix (Victoria) Leonard, who – at the age of 12 - is befriended by the enigmatic new girl at her school, Caitlyn Somers, and is invited to join Caitlyn and her slightly bohemian extended family at their summer home on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Vix has no idea why she has been selected for this honour by the most popular girl in her class, but she passes Caitlyn’s test of friendship where other ...

A Question of Integrity - Susan Howatch 07/09/2004


A Question of Integrity - Susan Howatch “A Question of Integrity” was the original title of the book that is now “The Wonder Worker” by Susan Howatch and forms part of a trilogy, set in and around St. Benet’s Healing Centre, a centre for Christian spiritual healing in London’s square mile. I had already read “The Heartbreaker” which is in fact the final book in the trilogy, but I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to read the other two books in the series. This book is the first. Set in the early 1990s, the book tells a remarkable story through the eyes of four of the main characters, each of whom narrate a section of the book. Susan Howatch generally writes in this way, which I quite enjoy, as it enables us to have different people’s perspectives on similar events, which is particularly good when there is a subject matter such as religion, which tends to be viewed differently through different people’s eyes. Despite the fairly frequent changes of narrator, there is little repetition and the story moves on each time the narrator changes, rather than going over old ground. Howatch manages this style remarkably well, and I never once felt as if there were gaps in my understanding of the story, or how it affected different characters, suggesting that she has chosen the most appropriate character to narrate each section and still managed to give us glimpses into what the other main players were thinking. Our first narrator is Alice Fletcher, a dumpy girl with few friends, who has spent most of her adult life ...

No Second Chance - Harlan Coben 12/08/2004


No Second Chance - Harlan Coben Dr. Marc Seidman is a successful surgeon, specialising in reconstructive facial surgery for patients with deformities. He has been married for just over a year and his wife, Monica, comes from a well to do family, although she is all but estranged from her father. Marc and Monica have a baby daughter, Tara. But Marc’s seemingly perfect life is shattered forever when he wakes up in hospital to the devastating news that his wife has been shot dead by an intruder to the family home, his daughter has vanished, and he himself narrowly escaped death by shooting. Marc remembers nothing of the events that led up to this shocking incident, but with time since Tara’s disappearance already ticking away, he is determined to devote his all to finding her. The police investigation offers few clues as to Tara’s whereabouts and the motive for the shooting, and as details about cracks in Marc’s relationship with Monica come to light, Marc is shocked to find out that he is one of the key suspects. Then, his father-in-law Edgar receives a ransom note: Tara will be returned for a ransom of a million dollars. They are not to tell the police. If they do, the deal is off. There will be no second chances. From this moment on, Marc finds himself drawn into an extraordinary search for his baby daughter as he endeavours to track down the people responsible. His search reunites him with his college sweetheart, Rachel, whom he has never quite got over. Rachel is an ex-FBI agent, but appears to ...

Being John Malkovich (DVD) 02/08/2004


Being John Malkovich (DVD) Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see the world through someone else’s eyes? Have you ever thought how different life would be if you had been born as a different person? And have you ever made your brain hurt by thinking about the fact that you will only ever see the world from your own point of view, and never experience the thoughts and feelings of anyone else? I know I have. Perhaps it’s just me, but I don’t think so. This film explores the possibility of actually being someone else – and all the questions and problems that this possibility raises. Knowing that “Being John Malkovich” is a film by Spike Jonze, the man responsible for – amongst other things – Jackass, and Fatboy Slim’s famous video for “Praise You”, I knew that I should expect something a little out of the ordinary and slightly off the wall. Therefore, I was prepared for something unusual when I watched the film, but little did I know how unusual and thought provoking it would be. Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is a struggling puppeteer who lives in a flat in New York with his animal obsessed wife, Lotte (Cameron Diaz), and their menagerie of pets, including Elijah, a chimpanzee that Lotte treats as her baby and wants to put into psychotherapy to get him over his traumatic childhood. When Craig fails to find any work using his puppeteering skills, he is drawn to an advertisement in the paper seeking a nimble fingered employee for a filing company, Lestercorp. Lestercorp is no ordinary ...

Once Were Warriors (DVD) 21/07/2004


Once Were Warriors (DVD) “Once Were Warriors” tells the story of a struggling Maori family in 1990s New Zealand. Beth was forced to leave her family and her home colony behind when she fell in love with her husband Jake, who was deemed by her family not to be good enough for her. 18 years on, she still loves him and finds him irresistible – despite the fact that her family’s judgement of Jake turned out to be right. Jake is a lazy, violent man, who likes nothing better than spending all day drinking with his friends before inviting them back for drunken parties in the family home – which invariably end with violence towards Beth. This lifestyle has already started to take its toll on the couple’s children, with the eldest son leaving home to become part of a violent, tattooed gang, and another son charged with burglary and taken away to a home after his welfare officer visits and sees his mother with a bruised swollen face after one of Jake’s attacks. Holding the family together is 13 year old Grace, who loves to write stories and spend time with her best friend Toot, who lives in a wrecked car nearby. So far, Grace has come through her childhood relatively unscathed, but one day, what begins as a happy family outing to visit her brother in his home ends horribly and something happens that is to change Grace’s life – and the life of the family forever. Anyone who wants Hollywood gloss, clever special effects and classy acting will probably be disappointed by this film. But if you want to ...

Jongleurs / Comedy Club, Southampton 19/07/2004


Jongleurs / Comedy Club, Southampton Jongleurs Comedy Clubs are the ideal night out if you fancy something different. There are a number of different locations across the UK, and you can find out if there’s one near you by checking out their website ( My “local” Jongleurs is in Southampton and is the subject of this review, as it is where I spent a recent Saturday night! “Eat, Drink, Laugh, Dance” is the strapline for Jongleurs. Three of those we managed to do without any problem, but one of them caused us a problem – more about that later! The concept is simple: a modern, fun comedy club, where you can go with a group of friends for a cracking night out that encompasses all the normal components of a good time, with the added bonus of getting to see some great comedy. Entry is by ticket only, and you need to book in advance, through the website or by telephoning. Membership used to be required, but was almost always renewed for free and really just seemed to be a way of getting customer details for mailshots. £16 per person guarantees you entry into the club and a table for the night. Slightly cheaper tickets are available if you don’t mind having an obscured view or having to vacate your table after the comedy acts in order to make way for the dance floor. I’ve only ever been with groups of four people and we’ve never had any problems booking up to a couple of days before we want to go, but if you are planning a night out with a big group for a special occasion then it is highly ...

Clarins Blue Orchid Oil 13/07/2004


10 Signs You're Getting Old 05/07/2004

Not quite ready for my bus pass yet...

10 Signs You're Getting Old I know, I know – I’m not THAT old. I have to admit that my recent 26th birthday is disturbing me more than a little: I can no longer kid myself that I am “early 20s”, and my 30s are much closer than my teens. That said, I am aware that there are many people who would happily have me shot for saying that 26 is old, so I won’t say that I am. However, over the past few years I have noticed that there have been some significant changes in the way that I see and do things. Although in some ways I feel no different from the way I did when I was in my teens, there have been some subtle changes, and it is these that make me realise that life is moving on, and I am definitely, irrevocably, a “proper grown up”. So that is the subject of this review. The little signs that make you realise you’re not a teenager any more, no matter how young you feel, and which sometimes make you feel you are turning into your parents! ·· ”It’s not a fashion parade” ·· Go back a few years or so, and I could often be found going out for the evening in all manner of inappropriate clothing. Short skirts and strappy tops were de rigeur, even in the depths of winter, and I would no more sully one of my oh-so-attractive clubbing outfits with a sensible warm coat than I would go out dressed up in a gorilla suit. I happily braved sub-zero temperatures in little more than a nightie, all in the name of fashion. My Mum would regularly tell me “It’s not a fashion parade” as I protested that my warm coat just ...

10 Most Embarassing Moments 02/07/2004

Engage brain before putting mouth in gear

Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia 01/07/2004


Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia Despite being a fan of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for many years, even having visited their factory and head quarters in Vermont as a teenager on holiday some years ago, until recently I had not tried Cherry Garcia, one of their most popular flavours. The reason for this was that I am not usually very keen on chocolate and fruit mixed together (although both items on their own are strong favourites!) so the formula of cherry flavoured ice cream with cherry pieces and dark chocolate chunks did not appeal to me as much as some of the other flavours on offer. However, last Friday I found myself with an ice cream craving, standing in front of the freezer in my local One Stop, with a very limited selection of Ben and Jerry’s to choose from. The other flavours available all contained nuts (something which I am not keen on in ice cream – I’m a fussy so-and-so, aren’t I?) so Cherry Garcia ended up being my chosen flavour. Call it fate, call it whatever you want, but this chance meeting was the start of a beautiful relationship. Ben and Jerry’s ice cream has been something of a success story in recent years. The company was started by two free spirit hippies (can you guess their names?) who made ice creams using fresh, natural ingredients. Their empire took off to a such an extent that the brand is now a permanent fixture in ice cream freezers across the world, competing with the likes of Haagen Dazs. This particular flavour was named after Jerry Garcia, lead singer of the hippy ...
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