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I like to remember that we're not just writing for members but non-member consumers too. I am happy to give E ratings in non-paying categories - if it's worth it, it's worth it!

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since 10/10/2002

667

Watford Croxley Green Premier Inn, Watford 26/08/2016

Premier Inn Croxley Green - Disturbed By Housekeeping

Watford Croxley Green Premier Inn, Watford Having the need to stay over in Watford for a night in August 2016 we booked into the Premier Inn Watford Croxley Green for one night. The booking was made a couple of months in advance for a Sunday night for a double room and cost us £37.50 plus a £2 booking fee. ~BOOKING ~ Having received the booking confirmation at the time of booking and paying by credit card we then received a reminder email a few days in advance of our stay saying we could check in online. I’m not sure what this actually meant as all I did was go back in and look at the booking, I wasn’t able to pre-book the room we want or anything super clever like that but anyway I printed off the page to show I’d booked in online. ~CHECK-IN~ We arrived at the hotel around 4pm on the Sunday afternoon after the first part of the wedding we were attending. We had an hour or so in hand to get changed into our evening glad rags and head out by taxi back to the venue which was just under 4 miles away. I would add here that when we were doing a search for hotels closest to the wedding venue Premier Inn Croxley Green was showing as being just 2 miles away… As we arrived in the car park we saw lots of signs reminding people to use the pay and display machines. We were a bit worried as there had been nothing stated in the booking confirmation about whether parking was included in the price and we had assumed the car park would be free (as it had been in other Premier Inn hotels we’ve previously stayed at). We didn’t ...

Phool Aur Kaante (DVD) 18/08/2016

Phool Aur Kaante or Flowers and Thorns

Phool Aur Kaante (DVD) Phool Aur Kaante (meaning Flower and Thorn) is a Bollywood (Hindi language) film released back in 1991. The film stars Ajay Devgan in the lead role with Madho as his leading lady. ~PLOT~ Ajay is a college student who meets and falls in love with fellow student Pooja. Ajay has strong principles and this contributes towards his having issues with another student who is selling drugs. This student happens to be the spoilt son of a minister who gets Ajay kicked out of college. An underworld bigwig Don enters the scene and gets Ajay back into college although Ajay does not appreciate his involvement at all and their relationship is a mystery. Ajay and Pooja graduate from college, get married and have a child. When their child is kidnapped what lengths will Ajay go to in order to get his child safely home? ~ANAYSIS~ This was the film that propelled Ajay Devgan to stardom. It was actually his debut film that I personally didn't see till years after its release when I already knew him as a pretty decent actor. I watched the film again recently as I remembered it only vaguely from more than a dozen years ago and as a fan of Devgan I felt it was worth a second watch. Devgan has never been known particularly for his good looks but I've always found him to be a pretty good looking guy. I enjoy his acting on the whole and think he's very good at action scenes as well as showing emotion. He definitely showed his action hero prowess in Phool Aur Kaante as well as his emotional side. I ...

Carry On At Your Convenience (DVD) 15/08/2016

Carry On at Your Convenience - An Average Offering

Carry On At Your Convenience (DVD) Carry On films were a popular series of British comedy films made between the late 50s and early 90s. The films had a good degree of success with some being much more popular with the British masses than others. Some would say the series has developed a bit of a cult following since they stopped making them. Carry On at Your Convenience was probably one of the less popular films of the series. ~PLOT~ W C Boggs (get it?) owns and runs a bathroom ceramics factory. His union guy Vic Spanner is causing him lots of bother by repeatedly encouraging workers to strike for the pettiest of reasons. Boggs’ foreman Sid Plummer tries to keep the peace between management and the workers. Boggs’ son is Lew (again, get it?) and he wants to help the firm out of financial crisis with a contract to make bidets, much to his father’s disgust who thinks they are dubious items to manufacture for his business. Whilst Sid’s wife is constantly pre-occupied with her pet bird, Sid has a rather innocent flirtation with sassy colleague Chloe. At the same time both Vic and Lew are attempting to woo Sid’s daughter Myrtle. Will the business stay in business with Boggs Senior being so old-fashioned and will Sid give in to temptation with Chloe and who, if anyone, will win Myrtle? ~ANALYSIS~ I’ve managed to watch this film several times over the years when it’s been aired on TV. It’s not a film I own on DVD and nor is it ever likely to be. It’s a pleasant enough watch on a weekend afternoon whilst ...

B. Monkey (DVD) 13/08/2016

B Monkey - Hard to Like a Film When You Can't Like the Characters

B. Monkey (DVD) I have been watching quite a bit of TV on London Live for some time ago in my spare time. It’s a TV channel dedicated to showing programmes and films made or based in London. I’ve managed to catch some good old classics on the channel (including some little known black and white films from many, many decades ago) and some not so good productions that maybe should have stayed unknown. Here’s my review about B Monkey which was produced in 1998 which I saw in August 2016 on London Live. B Monkey is a British American collaboration based on a book of the same name written by Andrew Davies. I’ve not read the book so I can’t comment on how true to the original story the film is but as this is about the film itself I’ll focus on that. Also as mentioned already, I watched this on London Live, so this is a film only review. ~PLOT~ Beatrice aka B Monkey aka Benny is a beautiful and sexy mastermind jewel thief who wants to go straight. Alan is a somewhat repressed schoolteacher leading a very dull and sedate life who falls madly in love with Beatrice and somehow she also falls for him. Whilst their relationship grows there lies the difficulty of Beatrice trying to escape her old lifestyle and habits which are not easily shed and nor it seems does Beatrice seem fully committed to reform as a person. B Monkey’s old partners in crime Paul and Bruno can’t seem to let go of her either and keep causing complications in her life which does not help Alan believe in her sincerity. Can Alan ...

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 hoppa.com (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 milanimakeup.co.uk 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: http://www.milanimakeup.co.uk and the US site is available here: https://milanicosmetics.com/ 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 ...
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