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since 10/10/2002


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 ...

Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Lips 06/10/2016

Barry M Gelly Hi Shine - Don't Believe the Hype

Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Lips Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Lips are a range of lip crayons by Barry M Cosmetics Ltd. ~*~Background~*~ I don’t tend to rush out and buy products just because I’ve seen them advertised on TV but recently I had seen an advert for Barry M Cosmetics Gelly nail polishes and lip crayons and the lip crayons seem to call out to me to buy them. They just looked so fabulous in the advert and I have a weak spot for lipsticks and lip crayons so off I went to my local Boots (who didn’t stock them as they are a small branch) and then to my local Superdrug (who did, even though they are also a fairly small branch). ~*~The Purchase~*~ So there I was in front of 5 shades of these lip crayons and their respective testers and 10 minutes later I was out of there clasping my two new lip crayons in shades called 1 Vega and 2 Alpha for £4.99 each. I was very eager to get home and test out my new goodies. ~*~Packaging~*~ Each lip crayon was wrapped tightly in a protective cellophane wrapper which took about 5 minutes each to remove. I found it really frustrating that the packaging was so awkward to remove. On top of that, it then took me absolutely ages to manage to get the lids off the crayons for first time use. They seemed to be wedged tight from having been packed so tightly. In both cases, when I eventually managed to prise the lids off, the lip crayon was damaged slightly on removal of the lid. I remember being quite annoyed with the whole process of having to spend so much time actually ...

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (DVD) 20/09/2016

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - the Best Film I've Seen in Ages

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (DVD) I was a latecomer to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which was released in 2011. Many friends, relatives and colleagues had raved about it to me of varying ages from people in their 20s to friends of my parents in their 70s and 80s. I caught the film on TV recently and was so taken with it that I ordered the DVD straight away so I could watch it over again whenever I wanted to. The film is based on a book by Deborah Moggach called These Foolish Things (which I think I’ll add to my list of books I want to buy). ~PLOT~ A group of British retired people decide to go out to India for their retirement to a retirement hotel which is advertised as being luxurious and exotic for various reasons including the far cheaper cost of living, the idea of living in a luxurious retirement home at a fraction of what it would cost in the UK. When they arrive there at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel it’s very evident that the photos on the website have been heavily “Photoshopped” as the refurbishment is still a “work in progress”. Sonny, who runs the hotel is a very optimistic young man and is always cheerful telling his residents that things will improve by the end. How will this group of elderly and very different characters settle in at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel? Will they find what they’ve come looking for? How many of them, if any, will go running back to Blighty to their old lives? ~CHARACTER AND PLOT ANALYSIS~ When the place you’re retiring to advertises with “Come and ...

Phir Hera Pheri (DVD) 12/09/2016

Phir Hera Pheri - Another Con Job? Yes I Felt Conned!

Phir Hera Pheri (DVD) Phir Hera Pheri is a Bollywood (Hindi language) comedy film relased back in 2006 which was a sequel to the hit film Hera Pheri. Phir Hera Pheri means "Another Con Job". ''PLOT Raju, Shyam and Baburao are 3 friends living together in the lap of luxury but they're not as happy as they think they should be. One of the trio meets con artist Anuradha who promises to double their money with a scam she has got going on. Raju manages to raise 10 million rupees (equivalent to aound £100,000) between his other 2 pals and a percentage of the total from local small time gangster Pappu. Sadly, the guys have been conned and lose all of their money as well as their home and have to move to a run down area. They are now also in debt to Pappu who, in turn, had borrowed his share of the money from a not-so –small-time-gangster Tiwari, who wants his money back now and double the amount he had lent Pappu. Will the guys manage to get their hands on enough money to pay their debts and get their lives back on track? ANALYSIS I watched this film with my mum recently who had actually seen it before and persuaded me to watch it with her. Against my better judgement I sat down to watch it hoping for a fun few hours spent with mum. I’m generally not keen on watching Bollywood comedies as I rarely find them amusing. They’re just too slapstick for my taste and I’ve often been very disappointed at the end of most Bollywood comedies wishing I hadn’t wasted my time on the film. Akshay Kumar stars as ...

Last Vegas (DVD) 03/09/2016

Last Vegas - Fabulously Fun Film Set in Vegas

Last Vegas (DVD) Last Vegas in a comedy drama starring Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline and Gloria . It was released in 2013 and tells the story of 4 lifelong friends meeting up for a stag weekend (or as the Americans call it “Bachelor Party”. The film was distributed by CBS Films. ~PLOT~ Billy, Paddy, Archie and Sam are "almost" septuagenarians that have been friends for 60 or so years. Billy is about to get married to a woman in her 30s and has invited his old pals to Vegas for a weekend to celebrate his final days as a bachelor. Paddy is pretty mad with Billy who didn’t attend Paddy’s wife’s funeral the previous year. Archie just wants a weekend of fun away from his over-protective son and has told him he’s at a church retreat. Sam’s long time wife has given him permission to have a fling as their marriage has become rather stale. Why didn’t Billy go to the funeral? Will Paddy forgive him and support his friend’s upcoming wedding? Can Archie get away without his son finding out where he is? Will Sam go through with having sex with someone else? ~ANALYSIS~ Last Vegas was directed by Jon Turteltaub who also directed films such as Cool Runnings, While You Were Sleeping, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and National Treasure. I don’t know much about this director to be honest aside from the fact that as the director of Last Vegas I think he did a pretty good job. I will admit straight up that I REALLY enjoyed Last Vegas. Not being a particular fan of ...

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 ...
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