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since 10/10/2002


HP L1740 17 in 22/07/2016

About My HP 1740

HP L1740 17 in I've been using a HP 1740 Monitor for around two years now. Actually, to be more honest, I've been using TWO of these monitors for around two years at work. That's pretty much five days a week for most of my working day as I'm office based and my work pretty much involves using databases, spreadsheets, email and the internet all day. I tend to have my emails open on one screen and work on data management on my other screen. Those lovely men from IT set it all up so I can move easily from my left screen to right and back again just with the click of my mouse on the required screen. The HP 1740 Monitor is a flat panel TFT whic has been around for over a decade now and has been superceded by newer models over the years, so I'm not going to make this a complex long review as it's unlikely that you'd want to buy this new when there are newer/better spec monitors out there. But in case you were thinking of a picking up a second hand model, let me tell you about my experience of the HP 1740. In 2 years of regular use, I've not experienced any issues whatsoever with my 2 monitors and they weren't new when I first started using them either. So this is a 17 inch monitor which, as you may be aware, means it measures 17 inches across the screen from the bottom left hand corner to the top right or top left to bottom right. The screen is anti glare (which means you won't experience difficulty in looking at your screen if you have a window behind you) and anti static. To date I haven't ...

Dil To Pagal Hai (Hindi Language) (Wide Screen) (DVD) 15/07/2016

Dil To Pagal Hai or The Heart is Crazy

Dil To Pagal Hai (Hindi Language) (Wide Screen) (DVD) Dil To Pagal Hai is a Bollywood (Hindi language) film which was released back in 1997. The film's title translated in English means "The Heart is Mad/Crazy". PLOT Rahul and Nisha are dancers in a fairly successful dance troup. As well as co-dancers, they're also good friends, although Rahul is unaware that Nisha has a crush on him. Then we have Pooja who keeps "almost" running into Rahul and is intrigued with a tune he keeps hearing. She also enjoys dancing. Pooja has been raised by guardians and their son Ajay proposes to her before going off to live in London for a while. Feeling an obligation to her guardians, she accepts the proposal, not really thinking it through. Due to an injury Nisha is unable to dance in a play that Rahul's directing and by chance Rahul comes across Pooja dancing and persuades her to take Nisha's place as the lead. Rahul and Pooja start to develop serious feelings for each other. How is this going to affect Rahul's relationship/friendship with Nisha and has Pooja forgotten that she's already engaged to someone else? ANALYSIS Dil To Pagal Hai is a pleasant film with no bad guys so to speak. The film is now nearly 20 years old and at 180 minutes it's a long 3 hours to sit through, so you'd really need to be a fan of the leads to put up with such a lengthy film. The story is nice enough but it’s not something that makes you think about the film for much time once it’s finished, enjoyable even though it is. Back in 1997, 3 hours was about ...

Brubaker (DVD) 06/07/2016

Brubaker - A Real Prison Drama

Brubaker (DVD) Brubaker was released in 1980 starring the fabulous Robert Redford. The film is based on the book "Accomplices to the Crime: The Arkansas Prison Scandal" which itself was based on a true story co-authored by a prison warden, Thomas Murton, who actually was taked with going into a prison to improve standards. Brubaker was distributed by 20th Century Fox. ~*~PLOT~*~ Henry Brubaker arrives at an Arkansas prison as an inmate and quickly discovers just how much illegal activity is going on in the prison including doctors charging prisoners to treat them, sexual violence, torture of prisoners and inedible food. During a particularly unpleasant situation with a prisoner in solitary Brubaker reveals himself to actually be the new prison warden. Brubaker tries to improve standards in the prison with the help of some long term inmates but this proves to be a tough and at times dangerous task as those higher up the food chain don't want the abuse and illegal activities that have long been taking place (and bringing in extra money to line their pockets) to come to public knowledge. ~*~ANALYSIS~*~ As far as I recall Brubaker was quite a famous film in its time so I was surprised to see that it hadn't been reviewed here already. I had watched it many years ago but not at the cinema on release as I was too young then but having watched it again recently I found myself thinking quite differently about it. When previously watching the film, it didn't really have much of an impact on ...

Close to you - The Carpenters (Single) 03/07/2016

On the day that you were born the angels got together...

Close to you - The Carpenters (Single) I'm not at all experienced at writing music reviews, so this is going to be one of my shorter reviews on Ciao! This is one of my favourite songs by The Carpenters. It was released in 1970 having been previously released (unsuccessfully) by Richard Chamberlain (who was probably way more famous for being an actor) and demo-ed by Dionne Warwick (yes, Whitney Houston's aunt). The exceptionally talented Karen Carpenter accompanied musically by her brother, Richard made this song a huge hit released by the duo as The Carpenters. The song was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Close to You reached number 1 in the Billboard Hot 100 charts and stayed there for 4 weeks. The song earned The Carpenters a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus in 1971. Close To You is one of those songs I've known since childhood. The song doesn't have a whole lot of lyrics so it was easy to learn ALL of the lines from a young age and I'm including them below from memory. Come on, sing along with me, you know you wanna, yes, I'm talking to YOU)! ~start~ Why do birds suddenly appear Every time you are near? Just like me, they long to be Close to you Why do stars fall down from the sky Every time you walk by? Just like me, they long to be Close to you On the day that you were born The angels got together And decided to create a dream come true So they sprinkled moon dust in your hair of golden starlight In your eyes of blue That is why all the ...

Jasper Conran Eau de Parfum for Her 01/07/2016

Jasper Conran Woman - Cheap and Chypre-ful

Jasper Conran Eau de Parfum for Her I was given a bottle of Jasper Conran EDP Woman (which seems to also be known as Jasper Conran EDP Her) as part of a gift set a while ago which contained a 30ml EDP and a 100ml shower/bath gel . I didn't use the perfume for a while until one fine day when I fancied trying something new/different. ~*~THE BRAND~*~ Jasper Conran Woman is a signature fragrance from the Jasper Conran brand. Jasper Conran is a British fashion designer who released his first womanswear line in the late 70s. Conran has been described as a "National Treasure" in some quarters and got an OBE in 2008. Over the years Conran has diversified into other areas including menswear, luggage and fragrance. The signature fragrances Man and Woman were launched in 2003. I don't feel it's necessary to give you a whole rundown on the Jasper Conran brand and its history here but if you need to research the brand further, feel free to type Jasper Conran into your preferred search engine. ~*~MY USE~*~ As mentioned earlier I initially didn't use the scent as it was unknown to me and when it comes to fragrances, I can be a real "creature of habit". Saying that, when I eventually opened the gift set and on my first use of Jasper Conran Woman, I was very pleasantly surprised by the scent that greeted me. I proceeded to use my 30ml perfume quite regularly for work and then went online and bought myself another bottle, this time choosing a full sized 100ml bottle. I find this chypre based scent to be perfectly ...

Deewane Huye Paagal (DVD) 23/06/2016

Deewane Huye Paagal - Lovestruck Muppets Gone Bonkers!

Deewane Huye Paagal (DVD) Deewane Huye Paagal is a 2005 Bollywood (Hindi language) action comedy which seems to have been copied from the successful 1998 Hollywood film There's Something About Mary. Deewane Huye Paagal translated into English means Lovers Gone Mad (or really it should be Lovestruck Men Gone Mad)! ~*~PLOT BASICS~*~ Karan is a college student who yearns for fellow student Tanya from afar. Tanya is popular and Karan isn't. Therein lies the problem. He runs a cafe with his friend and one day event transpire that bring him into Tanya's radar and he manages to ask her out pretending that he's having a birthday party. On the way to the "party" Tanya witnesses a murder and flees the country out of fear. Several years later Karan, still pining for Tanya, quite by chance finds out that she's living in Dubai and decides to track her down with the help of hustler Rocky Hirandani. Unfortunately (for Karan) Rocky falls for Tanya (who's now going by the name of Natasha and is a successful singer) and lies to Karan about Tanya saying that she's had several husbands and numerous children by different fathers and fallen by the wayside. Rocky ingratiates himself into Natasha's life by listening in on her conversations via surveillance cameras. Another fly in the ointment is Sanju who has been eliminating any competitors for Natasha's affections by making out they're crooks and pretending that he himself is disabled. Not to mention yet another suitor Tommy, also pretending to be physically and ...

SanDisk Cruzer Blade - USB flash drive - 64 GB 16/06/2016

SanDisk Cruzer Blade - Not Exactly Cruzing, More Like Crawling

SanDisk Cruzer Blade - USB flash drive - 64 GB I have a bit of an obsession with taking digital photos (and videos) and, as such, find myself copying files often between laptops and other devices to view these photos or to take around a friend or relative's house to transfer copies for them. Some time ago I bought a SanDisk Cruzer Blade 64Gb flash drive for my own personal use. I'm not particularly a techie person but I do use a lot of external storage for large files and the fairly large amount of photos and videos I take. Often I need to get data onto a flash drive to transport to and from work - I know people will say cloud storage is the way to go these days, but I have my little foibles and one of them is not being overly trusting of the "cloud"! Silly me huh?! *GETTING IN* As with most packaging for electronic items these days, it was a real challenge getting to my actual flash drive as it was so securely packed you'd think there were state secrets hidden away inside. After attempting (obviously unsuccessfully) to get into the packaging using my bare hands I had to fall back on the reliable old scissors. I cut across the dotted line thinking that would be all I needed to get inside. No siree Bob! Once you cut through the indicated dotted line, it's still like trying to get into Fort Knox and I had to again resort to the scissors to actually get to my flash drive. *GETTING OUT* So with my gleeful mitts finally on my new little flash drive, I think to myself "It's a bit small innit?" It was the size it was ...

Darna Mam Hai (DVD) 01/06/2016

Darna Mana Hai - Fear Is FOBIDDEN!

Darna Mam Hai (DVD) Darna Mam Hai (which means "Fear is Forbidden" in Hindi) is a Bollywood (Hindi language) film also known as Darna Mana Hai. As far as I'm aware the film was released as Darna Mana Hai (where "Mana" means the same as "Mam" = forbidden/nor allowed). The film was released in 2003 and was a bit of a oddity in that it was very different from average Bollywood films. ~*~PLOT~*~ A group of 7 friends whose car has broken down sit around a fire telling each other ghost or supernatural stories. As each story is finished a member of the group gets rather nervous and leaves the group until there are only two members of the group left. What has happened to the missing members of the group and what is going to happen to the remaining two? Can you handle the suspense? ~*~ANALYSIS~*~ The film starts off with a narrator telling the viewer about the people around the fire and there are 6 stories told in total whilst going back to the group of stranded friends in between each story. Something sinister is clearly going on and it's hard to believe that the group members don't realise that their friends are not coming back and carry on telling their spooky tales. But if they realised and went to investigate, we wouldn't have the story we did have right? The stories themselves are short enough to hold your attention, some of them are actually a bit creepy and some are just downright ridiculous, especially the one called "Apples" which was just plain bonkers as far as I was concerned. I ...

Torchwood: Miracle Day (DVD) 20/05/2016

Torchwood Miracle Day - Is The End of Death a Miracle or a Curse?

Torchwood: Miracle Day (DVD) Miracle Day was the fourth and last season of the popular Doctor Who TV spinoff series Torchwood. It was originally aired in 2011 and was a collaboration between the BBC and US channel Starz for BBC Worldwide. In some quarters the show was also known as Torchwood Miracle Day: The New World. ~PLOT~ Oswald Danes is a convicted paedophile and child killer who is executed after spending a considerable time on death row. Except the execution doesn't take, i.e. he doesn't die. At the very same moment, across the whole world people stop dying. No one can figure out what's going on least of all CIA Agent Rex Matheson who's on the verge of a promotion when a lorry brakes hard in front of him and a handful of metal pipes go through his windscreen and sear through his body. He gets taken to hospital and his close CIA Analyst colleague Esther Drummond is very relieved to hear he didn't die. Yet this "good thing" soon becomes a worrying thing as babies are still being born and as no one is dying the population is still increasing at an alarming rate. How long will this "Miracle" last? What can Torchwood do about it, if anything? Is any of this linked to Captain Jack Harkness who was, until "Miracle Day", the only immortal human on earth? ~ANALYSIS~ The tagline for the episodes (from episode 2 onwards) read: "ONE DAY... NO ONE DIES NEXT DAY... NO ONE DIES AND THE NEXT, AND THE NEXT, AND THE NEXT... WORLD POPULATION: 6,928,189,255" (with this number going up FAST) This is ...

Iberostar Las Dalias, Tenerife 17/05/2016

Iberostar Las Dalias - Got Better After the First Few Days

Iberostar Las Dalias, Tenerife We booked and stayed at Iberostar Las Dalias in Tenerife in March 2016 for 8 days/nights. The hotel booking was made directly with the hotel through the Iberostar website and cost around £1,150 all inclusive for a basic double room. As we found that the hotel was not too far from the airport we booked a coach journey to drop us at the hotel through (who we've used often and found to be very reliable). It was a short journey (less than 30 minutes) once the coach left the airport. We were the first drop off and as we got off the coach with our luggage we had a bit of a sinking feeling as the hotel didn't look very welcoming from the outside. Let me point out up front that we tend to prefer all inclusive (lazy) holidays where we can just relax for a week or so and not worry about finding different places to eat or doing strenuous things like sight-seeing. All inclusive holidays are generally what we seek out as this is what we personally find relaxing and enjoyable. ~*~CHECK-IN/OUT~*~ On arrival at reception we were disappointed that it took over 30 minutes to get checked in. I appreciate they may not want to rush the check in process for larger groups but we saw at least 1 other receptionist wandering in and out of the reception area as well as the 2 who were serving guests who could have just called us over and checked us in. The welcome drink we were craving whilst waiting patiently was not given to us until we reached the desk which was a let down - it would ...

Milani Smooth Finish Cream to Powder Makeup 16/05/2016

Milani Cream to Powder Makeup - My Foundation of Choice!

Milani Smooth Finish Cream to Powder Makeup I have been using Milani's Cream to Powder Makeup for about 18 months now, so I felt it was time to share my experience of this product. ~*~MILANI? WHO?~*~ Milani Cosmetics have (at the time of writing - 2016) been around for over 25 years. Milani Cosmetics is a US company and is the authorised UK distributor for the US parent company. Their cosmetics range includes eye liners, eye shadows, mascaras, blushers, bronzers, lipsticks, nail polish and, of course, the reason for my review, foundations. Milani does not test on animals nor do they permit others to test on animals on their behalf. The UK site is available here: and the US site is available here: If you order from the website you only need to spend £20 to qualify for free delivery. ~*~MY EXPERIENCE~*~ I had been using my previous cream foundation for several years and was more than happy with it when I came across Milani in my local Beauty Base store. I tested a few shades on the side of my hand and selected shade 01 - Sand which looked like it was the closest to my skin tone. I was quite excited to try out a new brand of foundation as it had got to a stage where I was finding it difficult to get hold of my previous favoured brand. The Milani packaging was more interesting than my old one - the cream/powder case is gold and looks a bit more interesting and "up market" compared to my old one which was a boring dark brown shade. This ...

Strangers On A Train (DVD) 12/05/2016

Beware of "Strangers on a Train"

Strangers On A Train (DVD) Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train - excellent movie! I could leave it that but of course I won’t. I’d had this 2 disk special edition in my DVD collection for a while before I got around to watching it. I really should have watched it as soon as I bought it. Not that I need an excuse to watch it all over again. There is no law that says you have to wait any given period of time before you can watch a film that you enjoyed all over again! WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT? Guy Haynes is travelling on a train and get into conversation with a stranger Bruno Anthony. Guy is a semi-professional tennis player and is somewhat flattered that Bruno recognises him. During their conversation Bruno brings up Guy’s soon to be (hopefully) ex-wife Miriam and current girlfriend Ann Morton who is the daughter of senator. Guy is not very interested in continuing this conversation but Bruno turns it around by saying wouldn’t it be clever if two people committed murders for each other and no one would ever suspect them. Bruce could kill Guy’s wife and Guy could kill Bruno’s father. Guy laughs this off thinking Bruno is joking and thinks no more of it until his wife is murdered and Bruno contacts him telling him he’s done his murder and now he has to do Bruno’s murder. Things turn a more sinister turn as Bruno ingratiates himself into Guy’s social circle and holds evidence which could have Guy arrested for his wife’s murder. Does Guy kill Bruno’s father for him? Does Bruno keep the evidence ... 09/05/2016

Joe Browns - Some Neat Stuff I've been buying products from for over a year now and thought I'd write about my experience of the brand and their website. Joe Browns is a clothing company that states it is “passionate about creating wonderfully unique ranges of clothing that people simply love to wear day in day out”. They are influenced by items from all over the world and feel their customers are assured something outside of your everyday high street styles. They specialise in bright patterns and daring colours that really stand out and I would agree when they claim their ranges are iconic. Joe Browns was established in 1998 and the business was set up to offer something different from the everyday clothing catalogues that were available. The company is based in Leeds. ~*~THE WEBSITE~*~ The website is fairly easy to navigate and I feel it is quite a modern website which could honestly keep you occupied for hours if you have the time. Like their styles their website is also quite bright and it's quite intuitive to use. I do a lot of shopping online these days and found myself really enjoying browsing around the site especially the 9 Brand Bibles available on the "About Us" page. At the bottom of each page is a list of links to various parts of the site including: * Delivery & returns (incl Delivery, Returns, Exchanges) * Help (incl Size Chart, Help & FAQs, Login, Contact Us, Order Form, etc) * Legal (incl T&Cs, Website Security, Privacy & Cookies, Site Map, ...

Come September (DVD) 28/04/2016

Come September - Rock Hudson Comes Early!

Come September (DVD) Come September is a comedy romance released way back in 1961 starring Rock Hudson and Gina Lolobrigida. ~*~PLOT~*~ Robert Talbot owns a villa in Italy and travels there for a month each year to holiday and spend time with his long time Italian girlfriend Lisa. One July Lisa is about to marry boring Englishman Spencer for a secure future when Robert calls to say he's coming to Italy early this year. Lisa rushes off to meet Robert for his visit. Unknown to Robert, his major-domo, Maurice, has been renting out his villa as a hotel with a bunch of young ladies staying there with their chaperone Margaret. Maurice is in love with Margaret and needs to impress her but things go awry when Robert turns up and insists on the house being vacated. Due to unavoidable circumstances the girls need to stay a bit longer and during this time Robert chaperones them on an evening out. Some young men who crossed paths with Robert on his journey are trying to romance the girls and Robert takes it upon himself to give the girls some fatherly advice including staying away from the boys. Unfortunately his advice giving has some unforeseen repercussions including infuriating Lisa who decides to leave Robert and go back to Spencer. ~*~ANALYSIS~*~ I have to put up my hand to admitting I love a lot of the films from the 60s and especially enjoyed ones starring Rock Hudson (such as Pillow Talk, Send Me No Flowers, both with Doris Day). I can't think of a film I've seen him in which I didn't enjoy ...

A Countess From Hong Kong (DVD) 23/04/2016

A Countess from Hong Kong - Charlie Chaplin's last film

A Countess From Hong Kong (DVD) A Countess From Hong Kong was released back in 1967 (before I was born!) and starred Marlon Brando as Ogden Mears and Sophia Loren as Natascha. It should be noted that this was Charlie Chaplin's first film in colour that he directed and did not star in himself as well as being the last film he ever directed. The film also co stars Chaplin's son Sydney as Harvey ~PLOT~ Nastascha is an impoverished nightclub dancer who is a Russian countess by birth working in Hong Kong. She sneaks aboard a cruise ship and stows away in Ogden Mears' cabin. Mears has just been appointed Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and is meeting his wife in the US before going on to Saudi Arabia, even though they're on the verge of divorce. When he discovers Natascha in his cabin he is not best pleased, obviously his reputation as a diplomat is important to him and he initially threatens to hand Natascha over to the captain. Natascha has other ideas though and she also initially threatens to accuse Mears of kidnapping her. They reach a sort of stale mate before Mears' close friend and lawyer Harvey finds Natascha hiding in the cabin's bathroom during a brief press conference and soon he's in on the secret too and cue all manner of incidents whilst they try to keep Natascha hidden in the cabin during the duration of the trip. ~ANALYSIS~ A Countess From Hong Kong is a romantic comedy which I understand was a flop on initial release. I don't get personally why it was a flop as I've watched it twice recently as ...
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