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since 25/01/2005


Original Source Tea Tree & Mint Shower Gel 11/01/2010

Like being slapped in the face by a thousand angry butterflies

Original Source Tea Tree & Mint Shower Gel Intro If, like me, you’ve often pondered over just what it would feel like to be slapped in the face by a thousand angry butterflies, then this product may be the closest answer you’ll get, short of breaking into the local Butterfly House and playing the latest Jedward single at full volume. Even if you haven’t had cause to ponder such an important life question, you may still have wondered 'what’s it like to use ‘Mint and Tea tree original source shower gel?’ and in which case this review should also prove useful. Back to the Source ‘Original Source’ are an independent UK company (one of the few companies still left which hasn’t been overtaken by one of the big international pharmaceuticals) which specialise in naturally derived shower and bath products with a fun and funky twist and an ethical bent. When they first started out they used bold striking packaging and clever marketing to target a younger generation of girls, who would perhaps consider themselves too ‘trendy’ to shop at the Body Shop with their Mum, and lads who finally decided that permanently reeking of ‘Lynx Africa’ was not having the desired effect of attracting the opposite sex in the numbers they had hoped. Since it’s inception Original Source has changed it’s packaging on numerous occasions, but has always retained a very clear and distinctive branding which does a successful job of standing out from the competition on the increasingly busy personal care shelves. Although their range has expanded ...

Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak 05/12/2009

Wild Thing - I think I love you...

Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak Where the Wild Things Are - by Maurice Sendak A boy called Max Max is an ordinary, mischievous young boy who possess an extraordinary imagination. One night Max, adorned in his favourite wolf suit, is causing his usual mayhem, much to the displeasure of his pet terrier, and his mother, who calls him a ‘Wild thing!’. Max, instead of denying the charge and protesting his innocence, threatens to ‘eat her up’ – at which point he is sent to bed without any supper. Alone in his room Max’s imagination takes over, and bit by bit a forest starts to grow, creeping up the walls and hanging from the ceiling. Soon a sea rolls past with a boat to take Max away, and so he sails off, ‘through night and day, in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the Wild Things are’. When Max arrives at the shore of this strange land he is greeted by the fiercesome sights and sounds of a band of terrifying monsters intent on eating him up the minute he steps ashore. But Max hasn’t travelled this far to be eaten by a motley rabble of ravenous wild beasts and, overcoming his fear, he faces them head on and commands them to ‘BE STILL’ and then tames them with the magic trick of ‘staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once’. The trick works and the Wild Things are so stunned and frightened that they make him the king of all Wild Things, declaring him the most wild thing of all. And as king Max’s first order of business is a wild rumpus, a decree which the Wild Things delightedly ...

A Serious Man (DVD) 30/11/2009

Serious stuff from the masters of the dark art of comedy

A Serious Man (DVD) Brother’s Grim? Say what you like about the Coen Brothers, but one thing they can’t be accused of is laziness. I struggle to think of any film makers who could produce no fewer than 14 films within such a short space of time, spanning such a wide range of genres and styles and still manage to retain, for the most part, a large and dedicated following, continuous critical acclaim and, perhaps most importantly, their unique artistic vision and integrity. The Coen Brother’s appear to be able to turn their hands to almost any genre and instantly create something fresh and original, if not always commercially successful. Of the 14 films they have produced since ‘Blood Simple’ first hit the screens back in 1984 no two have been the same and yet each one has possessed a remarkably distinct identity and has sat apart from, and often head and shoulders above, nearly all it’s peers of any given time. Film number 14 has been released to almost universal critical acclaim and is receiving rave reviews from critics and fans alike, although I would caution that, if you’ve never seen a Coen Brother’s film before, this may not be the best place to start. This is CoenMax+ Extra Stong, you probably need to start on CoenLight (‘Oh Brother Where Art Thou’, ‘The Hudsucker Proxy’,’The Big Lebowski’, ‘Raising Arizona’) and work your way up (avoiding ‘The Ladykillers’ on route if you can possibly help it.) But for hardened fans this is going to feel like a breathe of icy fresh air and a ‘return ...

Small Steps - Louis Sachar 25/11/2009

A step in the right direction

Small Steps - Louis Sachar 'Break the ice' Meet Armpit. He’s not had the best start in life, as you can probably already guess. He’s essentially a good kid who’s had a few unlucky breaks and after getting into a fight over some spilled popcorn at a cinema he was sent to the now infamous ‘juvenile correctional facility’ known as Camp Green Lake. The facility was more like a slave labour camp run by a cohort of crooked guards who were using the child labour to attempt to uncover a stash of treasure which legend suggested was buried under the long dried out lake bed. The trials and adventures of this story can be found in the widely acclaimed predecessor to this book, ‘Holes’ (now also a major film), also by Louis Sachar. However even if you haven’t previously read Holes, it won’t take you long at all to get deeply involved in the new stage of Armpit’s adventures as he attempts to take on his councillors advice when leaving Camp Green Lake, who told him that life was like walking upstream in a rushing river that that he should try to take ‘small steps’ to avoid being swept over and to achieve his goals. Armpit takes this advice to heart and comes up with the following small steps: . 1. Graduate High School 2. Get a job 3. Save his money 4. Avoid situations which might turn violent. And… 5. Loose the name ‘Armpit’ . These might sound like fairly simple and straight forward goals, but between his old Green Lake companion ‘X-ray’ with his ticket-touting, get-rich-quick schemes, his 10 year old disabled ...

Joby Gorillapod Tripod 21/11/2009

It's a tripod Jim, but not as we know it..

Joby Gorillapod Tripod The Joby Gorillapod - goes where no other tripod dares to tread Introduction When you say the word 'tripod' it conjures up a certain image, those three-legged extendable pole accessories which Grandad always insisted on getting down from the loft religiously every Christmas to take the obligatory 'group family photo' (in which no one would ever all smile at the same time, ever). Rusty, wobbly, stiff, rigid and rarely a better solution than simply plonking the camera on a table or shelf. Of course the traditional tripod is also a mainstay of both the keen amateur and professional photographer, and when used properly can enable you to keep your camera perfectly steady for extended periods of time which is especially useful in low light situations when you need to use a longer shutter exposure (which keeps the shutter open longer to allow more light into the lens). This is all well and good, but what about the rest of us? With every man and his dog (and their Grandma) now owning a compact digital camera, photography is a part of everyday life and not just a pass-time for a few deveoted professionals. But try taking a traditional 3-legged, folding telescopic tripod on your travels and you soon encounter numerous problems. This is where the Joby Gorillapod comes in, and what an entrance it makes! Design Genuine innovation doesn't just take an old idea and refine it or improve on it, genuine innovation goes right back to the drawing board and totally rethinks the original ...

Sony Ericsson W850i Walkman 28/10/2006

Sony's sexy sleek slider

Sony Ericsson W850i Walkman Introduction Reviewing a mobile phone is a difficult game because you have to tread a very fine line between assuming too little knowledge on the part of the reader and so going overboard with detail, and assuming too much knowledge and skimping on important issues, simply because they're obvious to you. Therefore I'm going to try and talk about the things that make this phone unique from other mobile phones, and where appropriate about features which are unique to Sony Ericsson (SE) phones which users of other brands may not have encountered before. So if you really want to know the exact sequence of buttons you have to press to send a text message and how many missed calls you can store - you're gonna be disappointed, if on the other hand you want an informative review highlighting the phones key strengths and weaknesses, I hope you'll be in for a treat. I've had a long history with mobiles phones, owning my first mobile at the tender age of 18 (over 11 years ago!) I bought a BT brick which actually made most real bricks look streamline and lightweight. This was before the days of digital reception, so the phone had a pull-out aerial and the signal faded in and out constantly regardless of my location. Of course back then all this was fields, a 'text' was something they set you for an English exam, 'Mp3' was a newly proposed motorway extension linking Basingstoke and Winchester, and 'Orange' was just a colour (and even then it was more like a lighter shade of grey, not ...

Clinique M Lotion 25/10/2006

Liquid Gold for men

Clinique M Lotion Liquid Gold for men Introduction Men with sensitive skin know only too well the suffering one can inflict upon ones skin by simply picking any random bottle of moisturiser off the shelf and slapping it all over your lacerated post-save skin (or worse still, letting your girlfriend, wife, mother, sister, next door neighbour buy it for you). I care about the products I use on my face primarily because I have very sensitive skin, but I also like the effect of a good moisturiser and recognize that I do feel better about myself when I'm using quality skin care products that don't leave me looking like I've just emerged from a hand to hand combat situation where the chief weapon of choice was a block of lard. And for those of us with sensitive skin we'll know that up until not too long ago, we were resigned to picking the 'specialist own brand' moisturisers or (dare I admit it?) simply using women's moisturisers because they tended to be a lot less harsh on the face and didn't smell like the inside pocket of your Granddad's jacket. But no more! 'Male skincare' is now a massive, multi-million dollar industry which is rapidly gaining on the female market with rapid pace. Now it's not just a question of whether you have sensitive skin or 'normal' skin, it's what 'kind' of sensitive skin you have! (Not sure? Just go to Clinique's website and fill in your own 'skin report' - an 8 question survey which evaluates your 'skin type number' and your 'skin tone value'! ) And ...

I, Robot (DVD) 19/10/2006

'Kiss my shiny metal ass!'

I, Robot (DVD) The future is here (in just 20 years!) The year is 2035, and despite only being 30 years into the future, downtown Chicago is unrecognizable, glimmering with all manor of brand spanking new technology and that holy grail of futuristic sci-fi, the automated freeway. (It's hard to see quite how such an immense technological leap has been achieved, considering that downtown Chicago probably looks worse now than it did 30 years ago - but I chose to leave my disbelief securely suspended before I started watching this film). Everywhere you look there are robots aplenty, bobbing about doing jobs that 'humans used to do' in an ungainly yet characteristically robo-camp way (in later years will the robot community revere C-3PO in the same way that the gay community of today reveres Shirley Bassey?). The streets are full of these titanium helpers, doing chores and running errands like some sort of cyber-caste of servile and unwaveringly polite citizens. Where did they all come from? Why are there so many of them, and ooh, aren't they a bit dangerous? . Well, the answer to the first question lies with the newest, shiniest and biggest of Chicago's skyscrapers, the fancy corporate headquarters of U. S. Robotics. And when I say big, it makes the John Hancock Centre look like a climbing frame. There's a reason it's so big, U S Robotics makes the most successful robot in the history of robot making and is on the verge of introducing it's new and improved, most human-like model yet, the ...

Bomb the Rocks (Early Days Singles 1989) -'s 01/11/2005

'I was a teenage cavewoman'

Bomb the Rocks (Early Days Singles 1989) -'s 'Woo Who?' Since their conception back in '89 the 5678's have spent the last sixteen years doing to 50's rock and roll what 'The Darkness' recently did to 80's metal, something spectacular. Armed with their authentic backcombed beehive hairdo's, a dubious command of the English language and an unquenchable passion for trash'n roll the 5678's romp, whoop, smooch and scream their way through no less than 27 tracks on their latest album, a fantastic collection of their early singles. For those of us not previously initiated into the dark, seedy world of Tokyo's underground garage-rock scene our first exposure to this tempestuous trio is likely to have occurred in the cinema. The now famed 'Woo Hoo' song brought massive recognition to this otherwise small scale group after their appearance in Tarantino's 'Kill Bill' and is quite possibly the most infectious 'song' (if it can be called that) you're likely to hear in a long time. Tarantino personally requested their performance after hearing a track in a local record store whilst on location, later telling the band that it was 'destiny' that they should end up in the film. Destiny or not, it was certainly an inspired choice and has done the world a favor by bringing our ears to the attention of this fun-fueled quirky triplet. The song has since appeared in a slightly less prestigious, yet no less catchy Carling commercial involving lots of fat topless men chasing a football. Nice. . Rock 'n rolled just got punk'd Lead member ...

The Hulk DVD 27/10/2005

What's big, green and wears size 78 shoes?

The Hulk DVD The relluctant hero? Life's complicated enough for mild-mannered, reclusive, geneticist Bruce Banner. Not only is he struggling to harness the medically miraculous potential of cell-regenerating genetic mutations in his lab (try saying that with a mouthful of marshmallows) but he's also trying to fend off the advances of a military power-maniac, hell-bent on a hostile takeover of his life's work. Oh and this is all whilst working alongside his beautiful ex-girlfriend (Connolly) who has an annoying habit of reminding him of his self-imposed emotional isolation. And I thought my Monday mornings were tough… And so it is that Bruce Banner achieves the first qualification for superhero selection; all he wants is 'a quiet life', but nothing about his life shows the slightest inclination towards 'quietness'. Add to this the disturbing-yet-vague childhood memories (flashbacks to a military camp in the middle of nowhere) and sinister genetic inheritance from his mad scientist father and the stage is set for the 'accidental' exposure to lethal levels of gamma rays, and the familiar shirt-ripping, size-mutating, green rage. Most directors would have reached this point within the first few scenes of the film. But it soon becomes apparent that this isn't your bulk standard, comic hero summer blockbuster. In fact, for most of the first hour of the film, you find yourself wondering if you're ever actually going to see the comic strip star in all his muscular, gigantic green ...

The Accidental Tourist - Anne Tyler 20/10/2005

The Accidental Tourist

The Accidental Tourist - Anne Tyler Having experienced something of a bad run with good books lately (I'd just read 4 extremely good but very depressing books in a row) I decided that I was in need of a little lighthearted literary 'therapy'. What I wanted was a book that would entice, enchant and entertain me - absorb me with its characters, endue me with wonderment and generally restore my faith in the goodness of humankind. My wife, bless her cotton socks, knew just the book.. And so with much expectation (and perhaps a little trepidation) I began 'The Accidental Tourist'. I mean, with a title like that it's gotta be fairly light hearted right? On page one I'm introduced to our central protagonist, Macon Leary. Macon is a reclusive, insular, anally retentive, emotionally inept, socially incompetent, compulsive worrier who hates traveling and writes travel guides for the businessman who wants to feel as though he's never left home. "Oh great" I'm already thinking, "this is gonna be a whole load of fun". On page four I discover that Macon's wife Sarah wants a divorce. I can't say I blame her at this stage, but things are not boding well for my 'enchanting escapism from the harsh realities of life'. It can only get better right? So you'd think. So I read on with a good deal more trepidation until I reach the clincher. Sarah and Macon's 12 year old son Ethan was killed a year ago - shot in the head in cold blood, no less. A senseless killing in a botched burger bar hold up. To tell you the truth I ...

Dodgeball - A True Underdog Story (DVD) 11/10/2005

'A skidmark on the underpants of society'

Dodgeball - A True Underdog Story (DVD) *** "Your gym is a skidmark on the underpants of society." White Goodman *** White Goodman (Ben Stiller) is the ultra-athletic self-styled fitness guru and owner of 'Globo Gym'. He used to be fat and ugly - boo hoo - but then one day he woke up and realised that he was never gonna get the kind of attention, affirmation and vast sums of cash if he clearly deserved if didn't get off his gargantuan butt and turn those rippling rolls of excess fat into an Olympian body of finely chiselled muscle. And that's just what he did. He finally learnt to hate himself enough to want to change. And now, several years on after realising his own 'lean dream' he's here to help you realise yours. With the aid of his Globo Gym staff (including a team of on-site plastic surgeons) he is willing to help you see yourself for the sad, pathetic, overweight, lowlife looser you really are - and turn it all around to make you into the muscle-bound egomaniac you've always dreamed of being (for a small fortunate of course). If, on the other hand, you're quite happy with your impoverished physique and general level of underachievement, then why not pay a visit to 'Average Joes Gym' where they'll except you just the way you are, delusional personality disorders and all, and never ply you with any annoying incentives to actually change. Think of it as a daycare centre for societies marginalised folk. Hell, they're so laid back they won't even charge you membership. That's gym owner Pete La Fleur's ...

Short Stories 06/10/2005

The Grief Man

Short Stories The doorbell rang again. I half opened my eyes and glared at my alarm clock. "This better be good" I though, fumbling with my dressing gown as I stumbled out of bed and plodded down the stairs. "Good morning Mr.. Mr.." the short, pin-striped-suited man flipped through his chart earnestly, "Let me introduce myself" he extended a hand, his eyes remaining on his clip board. I shook it reluctantly and slunk back behind the doorframe, squinting at the daylight. "I'm not switching to cable, you're wasting your time." He looked up at me for the first time, "How's your grief been lately?" he asked, finishing his question with a smile. 'My,.. what?" "Your grief sir, when was the last time you checked on it?" "I don't quite understand….." "It's quite simple. How much time have you spent grieving in the last week?" I scratched my head, and wondered whether I had truly woken up. "I'm afraid I still don't understand.." "In hours or minutes, how many have you spent weeping in the light of recent tragedies?" "I don't know, I mean, what recent tragedies?" "What tragedies? Haven't you watched the news, read a paper, opened your eyes? Murder, rape, disease, famine, disaster.. where've you been?" "Here. What disasters? I'm sorry, I don't think I caught your name?" "You didn't. Could I ask you how many books of condolence you've signed in the last month?" "None. Why, how many should I have signed?" "Well you might be interested to know that there ...

About Schmidt (DVD) 03/10/2005

Oh Schmidt!

About Schmidt (DVD) About Schmidt Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) is not finding life after retirement quite as easy as he expected. In fact, after his reluctant departure from the insurance firm to which he gave the best years of his life, and the sudden death of his wife, he finds that he actually has very little life left at all. And so he sets off on a soul searching, cross-state journey in his motor home, to try to stop his daughter from marrying a 'nincompoop' waterbed salesman, and to 'find himself' - or what's left of him. 'About Schmidt' is a simple, melancholy story, carefully and deliberately told through the eyes of one man who wakes up one morning to find that his life is devoid of meaning and, in whatever way he can, begins to look for an answer. And it's this slow paced yet quietly adventurous journey we find ourselves embarking on with him, a voyage of self discovery with a cantankerous old man who doesn't particularly want to be 'discovered'. Jack Nicholson steals the show, with a heart-rending, engaging and incredibly personal performance, making up for the lack of any obvious plot by allowing us into the very core of his emotional journey. Due to the stripped back, laid bare, unelaborated, tell-it-like-it-is style plot there are very few things which would be able to hold our attention for the duration of the film, except Schmidt himself. This was a brave decision from writer and director Alexander Payne, and a lesser director would have resorted to cheap gags and ...

Saved - Bob Dylan 27/09/2005

When Dylan got Saved

Saved - Bob Dylan ** Before I begin, a brief disclaimer. ** Due to the controversial nature of this album, this review contains an opening section on the historical, musical and personal context into which the album appeared, and the effect it had when it did appear on the stunned fans of the day. This album comes in for some of the most bitter, and often unwarranted criticism of all of Dylan's great works, and as such I've assumed the responsibility of putting up a decent defense for what I believe to be one of Dylan's most revealing and compelling albums. (If you have any interest in the background to this album (and in Dylan himself) I urge you to read the whole review, but if you're simply looking for an appraisal of the album itself then please feel free to scroll down to the section headed ** An album like no other ** to get a more concise summary which would give sufficient information for making a purchasing decision) Thanks for reading. --------------- --------------- --------------- --------------- --------------- ------------ ** Prologue ** In 1978 the unthinkable happened - Dylan got saved - and the world of rock was turned on its head, and nothing would ever be quite the same again. In the following three years Dylan produced some of the most fervor-filled, direct, uncompromising and lucid music of his career, whilst simultaneously seeming to reject everything which had gone before, alienate an entire generation of fans and draw upon himself the most bitter ...
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