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If you look at a review, please, pretty please, RATE IT! Losing rates drives me mad!! I need to find my reviewing mojo... it seems to have wandered off somewhere...

Reviews written

since 23/04/2003

483

Rayman (PlayStation) 17/02/2017

Rayman... Still got a punch!

Rayman (PlayStation) The original Playstation was what I would call my first real gaming console; oh, I’d had a Megadrive and an even older thing I can’t remember the name of, and I’d even had a SNES but by the time I was old enough to truly understand gaming, I really got into the Playstation. This was the theme to much of my childhood and there are some games I recall fondly with equal amounts of entertainment, frustration and extreme screaming at the computer screen. Rayman is most definitely one of these definitive childhood memories for me. Released in 1995, we have now moved forward from the 1991 16-bit era of Mega Drive into what I believe was known as the 32-bit era. At the time I just saw it as great fun so don’t quote me on that… Rayman is what is known as a side-scrolling platform game and the central character is (surprise, surprise), Rayman himself. There are six lands to travel through and in the first five of these there are multiple levels that Rayman has to travel through, breaking cages which hold trapped Electoons. It is these cages which are crucial to the game as it is only when all of them have been broken that Rayman is able to reach the final land (Candy Chateau) in which he takes on the final big boss at the end. In typical platforming style, you have a set amount of lives and once you lose all your lives then it is game over. On the plus side you can gain extra lives by collecting 100 ‘tings’ which are small, blue spheres that you collect as you go through each level. ...

Rings of Power (Mega Drive) 15/02/2017

Do the Rings Still Hold the Power?

Rings of Power (Mega Drive) For those wondering, if you are not a fan of fishing (Reel Life etc), horror (Resident Evil franchise) or fast driving games (now that ones obvious surely), finding games beginning with R is somewhat of a chore. So, with great entertainment, I introduce you to ‘Rings of Power’. Is this a PS4 game, I hear you ask? No. A 3DS game? No. A PS Vita game? Nope, nope, nope. Oh, so we’re talking nostalgia gaming? Yes, and then some. Ladies and gentlemen, I am taking you all the way back in time to 1991 and the Sega Megadrive with this little beauty. Did I mention, I really had to search in order to find games!? The Sega Megadrive was the first console me and my brother ever had and in 1991, I would have just turned three years old. Needless to say, it was probably a little bit later that I was trying to play this particular game… Either way, I can’t remember a lot about it from that age, which means I probably got bored and wandered away to play Mario which appealed more to my simple mind. This doesn’t surprise me, because having booted Rings of Power up in modern day 2017, it is safe to say that it is difficult. It took me a good half an hour just to get the hang of what the hell I was doing, swearing fluently at this reviewing site for putting me through such hell for the sake of a fiver. It is worth noting that this was apparently one of the earliest Genesis games released and therefore, not only is it 26 years old this year, but it is also going to suffer from the quirks and ...

lovebookonline.com 13/02/2017

Make your own Valentine's book...

lovebookonline.com Lovebookonline was an idea for Valentine’s Day last year which I heard someone else talking about and had to go and check it out. The idea is simple, it is a way to create your own book for someone you love; doesn’t have to be a partner, can be your child or your parent, your grandparent or just a close friend. The site has a number of pre-set templates for pages but you can happily free hand style your own if that’s what you’d prefer. The Website The website is easy to navigate and very intuitive. Signing up is as simple as giving an email and a password. Once done you have an account you find the main page with three tabs across the top; the first is Occasions and gives a list of occasions that you could create a book for ranging from apology, wedding, graduation and best friend to the obvious anniversary or Valentine’s Day. Clicking on these doesn’t give you a lot of further information in reality as the pages are all very similar. The second tab is the How This Works tab and gives you a run through of the processes. The third tab is Pricing and Shipping and the forth is Testimonials. The bottom of each page has a really easy to link to the FAQ for further questions as well as a Contact Us with a contact form at the bottom. I have not had to use this so cannot comment on how quick they are to respond, but on the plus side, I had no issue that required contacting them further. What About My Book? Starting a book is easy; on the main page you can click Get Started Now ...

Lego Elves 41175 Fire Dragon's Lava Cave 10/02/2017

I Roast Marshmallows by Dragon!

Lego Elves 41175 Fire Dragon's Lava Cave Having had such success with the Lego Elves on the previous birthday, we thought that we’d keep going with a good thing and pick new ones for the small people’s last birthdays. Having learned my lesson from previously, I determined to buy Small Person A one larger set and Small Person B who has cerebral palsy two smaller sets. Lego was helpfully accommodating to this as there are three dragon sets which all went together thematically and so it wouldn’t look like I was buying simpler stuff for one of them. 41175 Fire Dragon’s Lava Cave was the set that I bought for Small Person A as she had previously received the fire themed bakery set, and it was the larger of the three sets by quite a way. At 441 pieces, I would put this squarely into the medium size Lego range and befitting its age range of 8-12. Once again, Small Person A was right on the boundary of the age, however she has the dexterity and the patience to manage to put something like this together. I would not have picked up this size model for Small Person B however as her cerebral palsy would make it exceptionally frustrating, both for her and for me. Effectively, the ages are always a guide not a certainty and it’s worth checking with the parent if you don’t know the child’s ability levels, as you could easily frustrate rather than excite in your purchase. As with all of these kind of sets, the build starts on the smaller side to warm you up although unlike many other sets the small build isn’t stand alone but is ...

Lego Elves 41073 Naida's Epic Adventure Ship 08/02/2017

Faerie Lego Sailing!

Lego Elves 41073 Naida's Epic Adventure Ship October before last we bought the girls a Lego set from the Elves series each for their birthday; always a tricky affair as they are a very bright set of twins however one has cerebral palsy which obviously impacts on her hand to eye co-ordination and her eyesight which makes present buying a bit of a pig. They both love Lego, however purchases have to be carefully made as you can’t buy one a ‘younger’ set as then hell would break out, but at the same time, it has to be accepted that Lego is something that one sister is far more capable at than the other. So my aim was, working purely off number of pieces, to buy similar sets from the same range however with the slightly more simplistic going to Small Person B. This didn’t quite work out the way I had anticipated as whilst 41073 is smaller at 312 pieces, it was by no means something she was able to do on her own or even without a huge amount of help. Having bought the set, it then fell upon me to do the whole building with child so that the house wasn’t brought down by screaming tempers and exceptionally annoyed child. Aimed at the 7-12 age range, this was always going to be a tad tricky as both small people were on the very younger side of this spectrum, however the sets are very cute and it was worth a go. It is simply worth noting that these Lego’s are not necessarily suitable for every child of that age range and that is very much down to parental judgement. At 312 pieces, this is what I’d call a small-medium set from ...

Lego Elves 41074 Azari and the Magical Bakery 01/02/2017

Elves meet Lego and the result is fantastic!

Lego Elves 41074 Azari and the Magical Bakery October before last in fact we bought the girls a set from the Lego: Elves range each for their birthday. Their mum very cleverly hands gifts for actual playing throughout the year rather than letting them go to town and then get bored of them quickly and have nothing else ‘new’ to play with. So it was actually only relatively recently that I got a chance to build them with them. LEGO Elves 41074: Azari and the Magical Bakery is the first to be reviewed and is now a retired product; as anyone who is a frequent reader of Lego reviews will know, this means the prices will have risen. Aimed at the 7-12 age range, these are significantly more simplistic than the Lego which my fiancé and I build over the course of many hours at home. That said, there are a significant amount of small pieces in this set and it is not one for young children. Our two are at the lower point of this age range and hadn't quite hit their eighth birthdays as they were opening and building. It’s worth noting that whilst Small Person A completed this particular model with no difficulties on her own and about three hours of work in total, Small Person B who has cerebral palsy affecting her hand to eye co-ordination and eyesight struggled more with her model (and would have with this) so needed significantly more help. At 325 pieces this is either a large-small set or a small-medium set depending on which way you look at it. However I think to make it any larger would make it off-putting for the small ...

Vikings (iPhone Application) 26/01/2017

You wanna be a Viking?

Vikings (iPhone Application) Vikings is yet another one of the many free applications roaming around in the interweb for both android and apple based phones. Completely free to download, it does ‘offer’ in-game purchases, but so far I haven’t found these to be necessary in order to get further in the game. They do undoubtedly speed things up and offer other perks but there is nothing there as of yet that I have found necessary, and even the things which are useful can be bought via in-game currency if you are willing to work at it. No, my complaint with this game is other God Damn People. If you get landed next to a war hungry swine who keeps raiding you then it will really slow things down for you. I happen to have started by one of those utter gits and without a doubt it does ruin the gameplay experience. And yes, you can buy Peace Treaty’s where no one can attack you. Unfortunately they take a lot of in-game currency and you aren’t likely to have any when you start. With the exception of the fact that other people are God Damn B*****ds the game is actually a really decent game with a good premise and a sound game style. Without other people ruining your game play experience by constantly raiding you and running off with all your silver, maiming all your warriors and therefore costing you a fortune to get them back in fighting shape, this would be a really good casual game. However, if you happen to be close to someone paying to level up quickly and blood mad then you have a significant problem. The ...

Ex Machina (DVD) 23/01/2017

What is the definition of humanity?

Ex Machina (DVD) I seem to have lost my reviewing mojo and have had to search long and hard for something to review. In the haze of my confusion, I remember that we had a film night last weekend, and therefore I have reviewing potential. Whilst building a gigantoid Lego, we went through a series of films, Ex Machina was one of them. Billed as a science fiction, psychological thriller it has gained BAFTA’s, Academy Awards and high critical acclaim. It certainly seemed like it had an interesting premise and so I had been keen to watch it for quite a while. One day the AIs are going to look back on us the same way we look at fossil skeletons on the plains of Africa. An upright ape living in dust with crude language and tools, all set for extinction. The basic premise is that Caleb Smith, a programmer of the software company Blue Hook, is the winner of a week visit to his CEO’s luxurious and isolated home. It turns out that the reason for this week is so he can test the intelligence of an artificially intelligent robot that Nathan has built in order to see if the robot meets the standards of human intelligence. For example, is she acting intelligently because she has been programmed to or is she actually capable of independent though processes and her own consciousness. You hacked the world's cell phones? Yeah. And all the manufacturers knew I was doing it, too. But they couldn't accuse me without admitting they were doing it themselves. It’s an interesting proposition and the way it is ...

Paul Smith Paul Smith Women Eau de Parfum 19/01/2017

Inoffensive but nothing special either!

Paul Smith Paul Smith Women Eau de Parfum I said in a previous review that I fear I have been spoiled by Lush perfumes and so far nothing is convincing me of the former. Lush’s varied and powerful perfume selection is spectacular and they stand out from the crowd. Other brand perfumes now seem to get a tired ‘Meh, really, is that it?’. Paul Smith Woman is not an exception to this rule; there’s nothing really wrong with it. But there’s nothing brilliant about it either! Notes/Description Top notes: Bergamot, clementine, blackcurrant, pear leaf, pink pepper and mandarin Middle notes: freesia, lily of the valley, geranium, green tea and rose Base notes: Cedar, patchouli, vetiver and tonka bean Paul Smith Woman is a perennially elegant perfume but with a hint of eccentricity. Launched in 2000, this refreshing fragrance for women is a blend of cedar wood, freesia and clementine. It is suitable for daytime wear. My Thoughts Well, at least I can make sense of the description and the notes without having to rely on a dictionary and herbal encyclopaedia. That’s something I guess. Citrus and fruit with the oranges and blackcurrants would be the top notes with a hint of that elusive pink pepper, the middle notes are a mix of floral tones with whatever green tea smells of and the base notes are more musky with earthy elements with a hint of vanilla in the tonka. That’s actually quite an impressive range of notes and you have to wonder immediately if they’re trying to over-shoot here somewhat. After all, by their own account ...

Lush Aqua Marina Cleansing Roll 16/01/2017

Marine Cleansing!

Lush Aqua Marina Cleansing Roll A mineral rich-seaweed and calamine face and body cleanser to absorb excess oils and leave you with a clear complexion. Aqua Marina was initially in a roll, but is now sold as a fresh cleanser and as such that is the product I will be reviewing. To the best of my knowledge it is virtually the same product except for the format of it being a paste to be made up rather than a cleansing block like a soap. As the cleansing roll is no longer sold and Ciao will not accept new suggestions for Lush products, this is the best place to review this item. I’ve recently been on the hunt for a new cleanser as Fresh Farmacy is a little harsher than my skin needs now the hormonal greasiness of the pill isn’t an issue. I have gone through a series of the fresh cleansers to find a favourite and this is currently the stand out top dog. This is perhaps because it is very similar to the Fresh Farmacy cleanser in terms of ingredients, yet isn’t quite as harsh and therefore works well on my normal to slightly greasy skin, It is important to note from the word go that the fresh cleansers are somewhat different to other cleansers that I have seen in that you have to make them up yourself from a solid form (powder or paste, in this case paste) and form them into a smoother cleansing agent with water. This has positives and negatives; it does allow you a far greater degree of choice in how heavy a cleanse you require and you can make it up as you want on the day, however it is time consuming and can ...

Lush American Cream 11/01/2017

American Pharmacy Perhaps?

Lush American Cream A milkshake-thick conditioner with a strawberries and cream fragrance to leave your hair soft and shiny. As many regular readers of mine will be more than aware, I have a love-hate relationship with Lush. I adore a lot of their products, but they have moved into a price range that I often simply cannot justify. American Cream is certainly in that latter category but actually, isn’t anywhere near as good as many of the other Lush products I have tried and smells weird to boot. It is however a really hyped product and that is why I closed my eyes and bought the small 100g bottle to see whether it lived up to the excitement. American Cream is, according to the hype, a very thick and moisturising conditioner; yet I wouldn’t actually call it all that thick. It’s not a thin conditioner, but it’s no thicker than TRESemmé conditioner. It’s in a squirty bottle and comes out of it with ease, no swearing required. The really thick products tend to be found in tubs and the fact that this isn’t speaks the world really. As with all of the Lush products, the video on the webpage has someone squirting about a quarter of a bottle onto their palm…which is rather unnecessary – thankfully, in consideration to the price. Having mid length hair, I have to use more of this than I’d like, but a fifty pence piece blob still does the trick. But does it do anything special to my hair? No, actually, it doesn’t. It is in reality just a regular conditioner and does exactly what a regular conditioner ...

National Trust: Tintagel Old Post Office, Tintagel 07/01/2017

In Addition To The Castle...

National Trust: Tintagel Old Post Office, Tintagel As the main section of a day’s holiday, we went to Tintagel Castle which is a stunning site of both natural history and natural beauty, however at the end of the day we had a few hours to kill on arriving back at the top of that gigantic hill before setting off back to the campsite. As proud owners of flashy new bright orange National Trust cards it seemed daft beyond belief not to pop our heads over into Tintagel Old Post Office as a slight diversion on our travels. After all, it’s within hopping distance of the hill! The post office is actually a 14th century yeoman’s farmhouse and was acquired in 1903 as the Trust’s first built property in Cornwall. It’s certainly an attractive building from the outside with an actively wavy slate roof which looks like my camera has jolted but I promise it hasn’t! Apparently the name dates from Victorian times where it was the letter receiving station for the district briefly. Originally when built this was a medieval thatched house with three rooms and would have housed livestock in the northern partition. Much of the modification to the building took place in the late 16th and 17th centuries with slate replacing the thatch, stone replacing the timber panelling and a fireplace and chimney stack added. Upstairs bedrooms were also added to make this a five room house; although by Trust standards it is still positively tiny! The first room is the Parlour which has some cute samples which were often worked on by children, as well as some ...

Lush Dark Angels 04/01/2017

Very harsh cleanser indeed!

Lush Dark Angels This is for those of you who really like to scrub your skin to feel clean, with black sugar and charcoal to exfoliate, and rhassoul mud to deeply cleanse. I’ve been going through the Lush cleansers recently in search of a replacement for Fresh Farmacy because I’m not as prone to hormonal spots now having changed my contraceptive pill. I’ve said this before, and I will likely say it many many more times; I have a love-hate relationship with Lush. I love their products; they aren’t just ethical but they are stunningly effective and they smell gorgeous. What I don’t love is their pricing; Lush have fast propelled themselves out of my budget constraints and are being replaced on my shelves with distinctly cheaper products. I’ve been working through sample pots of cleansers though, in the hopes that I’ll find something magical. Dark Angels is one of the several sample pots that I have picked up from the company. The fresh cleansers are somewhat different from other cleansers that I have seen in that you have to make them up yourself from a solid form into a paste or a milk depending on how thick you want to make them. This has positives and negatives; firstly it allows you a greater degree of choice as to how heavy a cleanse you want and you can make it up according to your needs on the day, however it is more time consuming to make up and takes practice to get right. Too much water and it’s a liquid mess and unusable, too little and you can’t spread it. There is also the fact ...

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince (Blu-ray) 14/12/2016

I am the Half-Blood Prince!

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince (Blu-ray) In memory of Alan Rickman, I have announced a national year of mourning. The birds must stop tweeting, aeroplanes stop flying, phones stop ringing and the world stop spinning for Alan Rickman is dead. Immediately after this great man’s passing, I determined that a re-watching of all films in which this master of the cinematic arts with the wonderful voice was required, starting with the Harry Potter films. As you can tell however, I am significantly behind on my tribute reviews although that doesn’t change the loss and sadness at having lost the Professor, the Metatron, the Sheriff and the Caterpillar amongst many many more. This is therefore the sixth instalment in my Rickman marathon. Why is it, when something happens, it is always you three? Believe me, Professor. I've been asking myself the same question for six years. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is a film adaption of the book by the same name by J.K Rowling and there’s quite a significant amount of story already having been and gone. Having learned he was a wizard, young Harry has since learned that there are lots of things that like to kill young wizards, particular young wizards going by the name of Harry Potter. There’s been a basilisk, dementors trying to suck out his soul, a werewolf or two, a Triwizard Tournament he didn’t even want to enter and still nearly ended up being a kebab for a local dragon, fights to the death, possession and all other such fun, chaotic and deadly things. So, it stands to ...

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD (PS4) 10/12/2016

Losing the Final Fantasy touch...

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD (PS4) All in all, I have to say that I’m not sure who Square Enix were aiming for with Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, but it almost certainly wasn’t the core Final Fantasy fans that I would consider myself part of. Final Fantasy is known for a variety of different things but first and foremost it is known for a lengthy, detailed and in depth storyline that draws you into the world of the characters you are playing as. It’s also known for complicated battle systems; both turn-based and non turn-based and levelling up procedures giving you far more control over character building than is oft offered in games in other genre’s. In direct correlation, the structure of the games tend to be open whilst linear, allowing you to take your time messing around and exploring areas, back-tracking to your hearts content and level grinding as and how you want. Final Fantasy Type-0 however doesn’t seem to wish to fit in with any of these expectations for the genre and instead offers a highly structured combat mission progression system, button mashing real time combat and characters that are almost interchangeable in their mediocrity. This is somewhat awkward to put it mildly. It’s almost as if they decided to take everything that makes Final Fantasy well, Final Fantasy and then tip it upside down. “Hey, I know what we can do with an established and well loved series guys! We can change everything about it! The fans will love that!” The fans on the other hand aren’t anywhere near as impressed as the ...
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