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Trying hard to get my "mojo" back but it's proving difficult. Technical issues here also prevent me from participating as much as I could!

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since 10/10/2002


Loews, Atlanta 12/11/2017

Loews Hotel Atlanta - Almost Perfect Luxury!

Loews, Atlanta I had reason to stay at Loews Hotel in Atlanta earlier this year for 4 nights. I didn’t have any say in the choice of hotel as it was for a business trip for a work conference which was based at the hotel. ~*~Arrival & Check-in~*~ Having flown into Atlanta Airport, the taxi journey cost approximately $40 to the hotel and took about 30 minutes. On arrival at the hotel at around 21:30 the door staff held open the doors for me but didn’t offer to take my cases. Check in was friendly and quick – there were 2 reception desks from what I could see as well as a concierge desk, but the basics I was expecting to be told about the hotel and facilities weren’t covered and as I was tired after a long flight from London (albeit having flown Business Class), I wasn’t in the mood to ask questions about what I could do the following day in the local area, as I had a free day before the conference started. I had eaten lots on the flight so wasn’t in need of an evening meal. Finding my way to the lifts I made my way to the room on the 15th floor with my cases. ~*~The Room~*~ I was very pleasantly surprised when I walked in to see a large and roomy and what I felt was a very luxurious room. The bed was enormous and there was a good sized desk for me to work at. The windows were from floor to ceiling right across the room and I had a pretty decent view from my room; as the hotel is surrounded by other buildings, and some of them not so attractive to look at; I did feel lucky that I was ...

Blame It On Rio (DVD) 21/10/2017

Blame It On The Script, Not Rio!

Blame It On Rio (DVD) I don’t recall hearing of this 1984 released film before I came across it browsing the films available in my cabin on a cruise recently. Suffering from an unexpected bout of seasickness around the Bay of Biscay I had to take to my bed for a good portion of the day and this was one of the films I watched, taking up 100 minutes of my time. ~*~Plot Summary~*~ Matthew is about to go on holiday with his wife Karen and daughter Nikki when his wife drops the bombshell that she’s going on holiday elsewhere alone. Matthew then ends up going to Rio de Janeiro with his best friend Victor and his teenage daughter Jennifer who shares a room with Nikki having known each other for years. Victor is going through a divorce so is happily going around Rio womanising as much as he can but Matthew, at a loose end, ends up spending the night on the beach with Jennifer (who has had a crush on him since childhood). Matthew regrets his actions the next day and tries to cool things off with Jennifer but she’s having none of it and the rest of the holiday is spent trying to prevent Victor from finding out about the affair and keeping a rather obsessed Jennifer at bay. How will it all turn out? ~*~Acting & Analysis~*~ Having not heard of this film before I had nothing to go on and first 10 minutes of the film made it seem quite promising. But oh dear oh dear oh dear! Read on to find out what went wrong… Michael Caine is a hit and miss actor that I can take or leave generally. As Matthew, ...

Ashes To Ashes - Series 3 (DVD) 01/09/2017

Ashes to Ashes Series 3 - Tying Up Loose Ends

Ashes To Ashes - Series 3 (DVD) Series 3 of Ashes to Ashes was first aired on the BBC in April 2010. Having being addicted to Life on Mars, I had then gone on to become an addict of Ashes to Ashes and keenly awaited the start of series 3 which I understood would clear up all the questions fans of the show would have about how someone can be critically injured in the present and be catapulted back into the 70s (as was the case in Life on Mars) and the 80s (as in Ashes to Ashes). ~*~PLOT SUMMARY~*~ Series 3 starts off with Alex waking up in 1983 and working with CID to solve a kidnapping case, trying to figure out who's been killing off women who have all joined the same dating agency, who's committing a series of arson attacks, tracking down a has been stand up comedian who appears to have stolen from a police charitable fund, illegal immigration and drug dealing gangs. In between all this Alex also has to contend with DCI Jim Keats who arrives at the start of the series to investigate CID, who also has it in for DCI Gene Hunt and to find out why a young police officer seems to be haunting her. ~*~ANALYSIS~*~ I was pretty addicted to this show from its early beginnings in series 1 of Life on Mars with the fabulous John Simm in the protagonist role following it through series 2 and then series 1-3 of Ashes to Ashes which follows DI Alex Drake from her being shot in 2008 and waking up bemused and bewildered in 1981. The focus of series 1 of Ashes to Ashes seemed to be on Alex's family who died in a car ...

Madame Sin (DVD) 14/08/2017

Madame Sin Should Be in the Loony Bin

Madame Sin (DVD) Madame Sin is a British thriller released back in 1972 which starred the legendary Bette Davis, a fairly young Robert Wagner, Gordon Jackson and Denholm Elliott. ~*~Plot Summary~*~ Madame Sin is a crazed villainess who runs a business whereby she can manipulate people’s thoughts and brainwash them into carrying out dastardly deeds as per her instructions. She forces an ex-CIA operative Tony Lawrence to in turn kidnap Commander Cavendish hijack a submarine which has nuclear capabilities. Will she be successful in her devious schemes? ~*~Analysis~*~ I’ve watched Madame Sin a couple of times now (both times on TV). It’s a semi-entertaining thriller but I’d say up front that I found the plot rather ridiculous throughout. Why did I watch it twice, I hear you ask? Well, the first time I only watched it from halfway through, so when I saw it was on again, I wanted to see if I liked it any better if I watched it all the way through... Bette Davis is brilliant as the crazed bright blue eye-shadow wearing power hungry Madame Sin who lives in Scotland and has aspirations to oust the queen from one of her castles so she can live there herself! It really came across that Davis enjoyed the role she played – she gets to deliver some absurd lines with a completely straight face which I imagine would have been hard. It’s a shame she didn’t have better material to work with. I’ve always found David entertaining and I did wonder about the state of her life that she had to sink to ...

The Terrorist (DVD) 10/08/2017

The Terrorist - An Exceptionally Told Tale

The Terrorist (DVD) The Terrorist is a 1998 Tamil film starring Ayesha Dharker as a young terrorist trained to give up her life for her beliefs. ~*~PLOT~*~ Malli is a 19 year old Sri Lankan girl living in a community of guerrilla fighters living in the jungle. Malli is chosen for an assignment to kill a politician. After travelling for several days by foot she is housed with an elderly couple who takes her into their hearts and this affection from them is part of what makes her rethink her decision to go ahead with the suicide bombing. Will Malli go through with her mission? ~*~ANALYSIS~*~ The film starts with a group of people with cloth masks over their heads standing around a man tied to a tree in the jungle accusing him of being a traitor and having been the cause of the deaths of 7 others from the community. A gun is handed to one of the masked individual who was the witness to the man’s betrayal. This individual shoots the man dead point blank and then removes their mask. The individual is Malli. She uses the cloth mask to wipe the blood splattered across her face. A female comrade tells her as she washes her mask in the river that she would marry Malli if she were a man. Moments later they’re all having a shootout and Malli bravely walks out to a burning area and shoots a soldier to death. The film carries on relentlessly in this manner for the first half and is quite hard to watch from very early on. You don’t expect to see young Indian women behaving like this and then you see ...

Rimmel Provocalips 04/08/2017

Rimmel Provocalips - It Really Lasts!

Rimmel Provocalips Rimmel Provocalips is a lip colour that claims to stay on for 16 hours. The advertising taglines include: “Up to 16 hours of high impact endless colour”. It’s supposed to be kiss proof, food proof, transfer proof and moisturising on your lips the whole time you’re wearing it. I bought it on a whim, not that I was looking for a lipstick to last 16 hours but I was just impressed with the shade that I picked up – a very deep red. I have a habit of buying lipsticks on impulse and sometimes, regretting the purchase later on. Did I regret this purchase? Read on… Advance warning to guys, this is a very girly review, so kudos to you if you can stick through this to the end! About The Product And The Application The lip colour is presented in a colourful tube which opens at both ends. You need to apply the colour to your lips first with the use of the lip brush which is a sponge tip applicator. You then need to keep your lips apart for at least 60 seconds whilst the colour sets, then apply the top coat to lock in the moisture and add a shine to the colour. The top coat is also applied with a sponge applicator. You do need to have the patience to wait the minimum of 60 seconds for the colour to set before applying the top coat. Once you’ve applied the top coat you are set, quite literally for your colour to look freshly applied for the whole day (or night as may be the case). I’ve not tested Provocalips over a 16 hour period as I tend to remove my makeup pretty much as soon as a ...

Elemis Revitalise Me Shower Gel 15/07/2017

Elemis Revitalise Me - It Really Does Revitalise Me!

Elemis Revitalise Me Shower Gel I had first come across Elemis Revitalise Me hand wash and hand and body cream when attending a meeting in a London hotel a couple of years back and had been enchanted by the scent of the lotion which lingered for absolutely ages. I had forgotten the name of the product and only found out when attending another meeting there more recently by deliberately visiting the rest rooms to find out what the product name was. Having ordered the hand and body lotion online, I was very curious to try out the shower gel which was retailing at £21.00 for 200ml on the Elemis website. I wasn't sure I wanted to spend that much on a shower gel, even though I knew I'd love the scent of it but I was quite happy when I saw it being sold for £13.95 on, a site which I use on and off to buy cosmetics and other body care products. I ordered the shower gel with no hesitation and waited none too patiently for it to arrive so I could get on with using it. Literally a couple of days later, I've got my greedy mitts on a tube of Elemis Revitalise Me Shower Gel. The tube is a lovely deep shade of blue/turquoise and contains 200ml of the shower gel. There was a tamper proof tab on the tube just so you know it's not been used by anyone else. When I opened the tube, the heavenly scent was evident straight away. I'm a HUGE fan of neroli as a scent and this works really well with the other essential oils of thyme, basil, mandarin and lime. This combination works wonders, well for me ...

Chanel No.5 Eau de Parfum Spray 13/05/2017

Chanel No 5 - In A Class of its Own

Chanel No.5 Eau de Parfum Spray Chanel No 5 is in a class of its own. But how does the Eau de Parfum and the Eau de Toilette match up to the reputation of Chanel? MY RELATIONSHIP WITH NO 5 My mum wore Chanel No 5 when I was growing up so I’ve always known this scent. Mum always used the perfume and I used to be fascinated watching her dab a little bit of this grown up scent behind her ears and on her wrists. As a grown-up I found my own favourite perfumes and never felt the urge to splash out on Chanel No 5. When I met my husband he kept nagging me to wear Chanel No 5. I had personally found that No.5 didn't suit me when I had tried it in the past, but I think it was in my late 30s that I tried it again and was pleasantly surprised at how much I now liked the scent. I went off and splurged on a 100ml bottle of Chanel No 5 Eau de Toilette and a 50ml bottle of the Eau de Parfum, I’m in love with this perfume and can’t understand why I wasted so many years not having this feminine and classic scent in my perfume collection! ~*~THE HISTORY BEHIND NO 5~*~ Chanel No 5 has been around since 1921. It was Gabrielle (aka Coco) Chanel’s first ever fragrance and it was also the first ever fragrance created which was given the designer’s name. Although it was her first perfume to be marketed you might wonder why it was called No 5 – this is rumoured to be because the first 4 and the 6th that were commissioned were not to her liking and the number five was also Chanel’s lucky number. At the time of creation ...

Zeher (Subtitled) (DVD) 02/04/2017

Zeher - Even Shilpa Shetty's Sis Can't Save This! (film only rev)

Zeher (Subtitled) (DVD) Zeher: A Love Story is a 2005 Bollywood film is set in Goa, India and Zeher itself means "poison". The lead, Siddharth, is a cop played by Emran Hashmi, his estranged wife, Sonia, also a cop but his senior, is played by Shamita Shetty (sister of Shilpa Shetty made famous by Celebrity Big Brother in early 2007) and his mistress, Anna, is played by Udita Goswami. A few other supporting actors were in the film who I've never seen before and who didn't make much of an impact on my memory; looks or acting-wise. The film is directed by Mohit Suri, the screenplay is by Mahesh Bhatt (who has some quite good films under his belt, so not sure what went wrong with this one), and it was produced by Mukesh Bhatt. Zeher was released in March 2005 and filmed entirely on location in India and the language for the film is Hindi. The film runs for 134 minutes. ~~~WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?~~~ The film kicks off with a party scene with money and drugs changing hands and the obligatory cop chase… Our hero, Siddharth, gets a special award for his bravery in catching the bad guy and a party is thrown in his honour, where everyone attends apart from his wife. On the way home from the party he comes across a woman sitting on a bench feeling unwell and is unable to drive herself home. Our chivalrous hero offers to drive her home, letting her know it's safe as he is a police inspector and she accepts, once home she collapses on her lawn and he carries her inside leaving his card with her. The next day ...

Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya (Hindi Language) 22/01/2017

Why Did I Watch This Absurd Film?

Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya (Hindi Language) (SMALL UPDATES January 2017) Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya means "Why did I fall in love?" but the biggest question on my mind after watching this film was "Why did I watch this absurd film?" I think you'll gather from that comment that I didn't really enjoy this particular offering from Bollywood. ~*~ WHY OH WHY AND WHO? ~*~ Oh dear, I seem to be spending way too much time watching BAD Bollywood films these days and then reviewing them for Ciao. I guess this is me doing my bit for society and saving others from wasting time sitting through ridiculous movies such as this one. And you can add about 2¼ hours of my life spent on this particular good deed for society. The film (released in July 2005) stars Salman Khan who is pretty (in)famous in Bollywood, currently he's going through a bad time of it due to "rumours" of him being linked to the underworld in India, erm enough said about that, Sushmita Sen (Miss World and Miss Universe 1994) and Katrina Kaif (a model brought up in London) and Sohail Khan (Salman's real life brother). Supporting actors include Arshad Warsi, Bina Kak, Rajpal Yadav and Isha Koppikar. The film is directed by David Dhawan, who is supposedly known for directing comedies! My thoughts on that later… The film is rated PG. ~*~ PLOT TEASER ~*~ Salman plays a doctor (!!!) called Samir who's a bit of a Casanova. Samir has dated a string of women over the years, breaking hearts all over the place and has a long suffering receptionist/nurse, Naina (Sushmita) ...

Kabhi Kabhie (Hindi Language) (DVD) 30/12/2016

"Sometimes Sometimes" The Music Is Better Than The Film

Kabhi Kabhie (Hindi Language) (DVD) ***Film Only Review*** Kabhi Kabhie was a hit Bollywood film released in 1976. The film's title literally translates as "Sometimes Sometimes" which in itself doesn't really make much sense. The film's title seems to have been spelt in various ways over the years including Kabhi Kabhi, Kabhie Kabhie and as I've spelt it: Kabhi Kabhie. I'm not entirely sure which is the right version but I guess I'm not going to lose any sleep over it and probably neither are you! '[''~*~PLOT~*~ Amit Malhotra is a well respected poet at university and can often be found reciting his poetry to student bodies much to their delight. Pooja is a fan of his work and he admires her too, so they fall in love. Pooja's father arranges her marriage to someone else, Vijay, and she asks Amit what he thinks she should do. Amit tells her not to cause a family rift and go ahead and marry the boy of her parents' choice. So Pooja marries Vijay, who is instantly besotted with her. They have a son, Vicky, who grows up and falls in love with Pinky, a girl he meets at college. Pinky is adored by her parents (her father just happens to be who had adopted her as a baby. Pinky's biological mother is Anjali, who was an unmarried mother, giving her child up for adoption and married Amit (remember him? No? Keep up with the story now), who had joined the family construction business and become very successful. Amit and Anjali have a daughter, Sweety, who Amit idolizes. Now let's add some more complications to this ...

An Inspector Calls (2015) (DVD) 09/11/2016

An Inspector Calls (Again) - a 2015 BBC Production

An Inspector Calls (2015) (DVD) My review of An Inspector Calls is about the 2015 TV film, a BBC production which was originally aired on BBC 1. The film is based on the play of the same name by J B Priestley. ~PLOT~ The Birling family (Arthur, his wife Sybil, their daughter Sheila and son Eric) are having an intimate dinner along with Gerald Croft, who has just proposed to Sheila Birling. The group are happy and relaxed and in a celebratory mood; although Sheila teases her brother Eric for being a bit too relaxed as he seems to be drinking more than normal. After dinner the family maid announces that an Inspector Goole has arrived and wants to see the family. The Inspector tells them a young woman has committed suicide and one by one he talks with all those present making them admit how they were connected to her. ~ANALYSIS~ An Inspector Calls is a famous play set in 1912. The Birlings are a well to do family who own a local mill with Arthur Birling, the head of the family being involved in politics and looking to progress further in this area. Initially the family comes across as a decent enough bunch enjoying an evening at home celebrating the good news of Sheila's engagement to Gerald. When the Inspector arrives Birling Senior assumes it's for something trivial and offers him a drink with the men which he declines as he's on duty. When the Inspector mentions the name of the young woman (Eva) who has committed suicide Arthur plays dumb saying he employs 100s of young women but once he is ...

Mac Liquid Eyeliner 07/11/2016

MAC Liquid Eyeliner - A Pretty Excellent Eyeliner

Mac Liquid Eyeliner Let me tell you this straight up. I am pretty useless at applying liquid eyeliner. I have made some pretty awful botch jobs over the years trying to apply liquid eyeliner and had pretty much given up being able to use this form of eye makeup. It really wasn't fun ending up looking like a panda (no offence to lovely pandas intended) and having to remove my eye make up and start again and again before giving up and going back to the old reliable kohl pencils I've used for years. ~WHY MAC?~ Having only recently (well I say recently, over 18 months ago) discovered MACs range of fabulous lipstick shades and invested in a lovely bronzer from the MAC range; I thought I'd try out their eyeliner which retails (at the time of writing) at £16. I decided I wasn't going to fork out that sum without trying it on in store first - I've made so many impulse liquid eyeliner purchases over the years that I could have started a little make up shop (but who would buy a used eyeliner? Not me, that's for sure). ~THE PURCHASING PROCESS~ Before purchasing (at House of Fraser) I checked out the tester for the shade Boot Black (which is basically just black) and found that it looked like it would be fairly easy to use. It wasn't a thin brush applicator like many liquid eyeliners out there but rather a unique applicator which looks rather like a sponge sharpened to a point (or in everyday terms - a felt tip applicator)... I tried out the tester there in store and found it quite easy to apply ...

HP L1740 17 in 28/10/2016

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 ...

La Marquise Luxury Resort Complex, Rhodes 19/10/2016

La Marquise Rhodes - A SUPER 5 Star Luxury Resort

La Marquise Luxury Resort Complex, Rhodes We booked a 7 night stay at the 5 star La Marquise Luxury Resort & Spa via Thomson. To book the hotel directly we had got quote of about £1,770 for 7 nights in a basic room but we got a superior room with a pool view and flights, luggage and transfers included for around £1,500 through Thomson. I won’t discuss my (negative) experience with Thomson here as the review is about the beautiful resort we stayed at. ARRIVAL, CHECK-IN & RECEPTION IN GENERAL As our coach pulled into La Marquise at around 10pm on a Saturday in September 2016 we were so chuffed to see how gorgeous it looked by night and also by the exclamations of “Wow!” from other passengers. We already felt we had made a good choice in choosing La Marquise for our 7 day holiday as the hotels we’d passed on the way to ours couldn’t touch La Marquise for first appearances. We were checked in quite swiftly which was a bonus as we wanted to get freshened up and get back down to the bar to have a drink after a long day travelling. The receptionist serving us may have been new as he didn’t seem to know what time the bar closed, and was a bit vague with checking us in and not especially warm or welcoming. We were given a registration card to fill in at our leisure and pop back to reception once completed (i.e. on the way to breakfast the next day) along with a pack detailing the hotel facilities and a couple of towel cards advising that we would be charged 25 Euro if we lost the cards. We were only given one room key ...
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