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emmaclaire

emmaclaire

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Reviews written

since 02/04/2003

82

Thank You - Jamelia 12/06/2004

Not quite a Superstar yet...

Thank You - Jamelia Jamelia had some success in the late 1990s with her single ‘Money’ with Beenie Man, but left the pop scene to get married and have a baby. After the marriage failed amidst some domestic violence, Jamelia burst back onto the scene with the stonking single ‘Superstar.’ This kind of music isn’t my usual cup of tea, but after seeing the album under my dad’s list of downloaded music and thinking how much I had (unexpectedly) liked the single ‘Superstar’ I thought it might be interesting to have a listen and ultimately review it. The Tracks: 1. Superstar 2. Thank You 3. DJ 4. See it in a boy’s eyes 5. Taxi 6. Dirty Dirty 7. Club Hopping Rap by Bubba Sparxx 8. Cutie 9. Bounce 10. Bout ft. Rah Digga 11. Off Da Endz ft. Asher D. 12. B.I.T.C.H 13. Bonus track: Life 14. Bonus track: Antidote The album kicks off, unsurprisingly, with the fantastic pop single that is ‘Superstar.’ This has to be one of the best pop singles to be released in recent years. I think that I’m right in saying that it had one of the longest stays in the Radio One Top 40 for at least a year. It is a brilliant tune; catchy guitar tune, deep bass beats and sing-a-long vocals which are all perfectly matched and honed to make everybody want to dance. Fantastic. 9/10 It seems that things are continuing in a good vein as ‘Thank You’ immediately follows. I like this song, although not as much as ‘Superstar’ and it shows some similar features to ‘Superstar,’ such as a strong bass line and catchy ...

The Joy Luck Club - Amy Tan 19/04/2004

Eight women, two cultures and four directions

The Joy Luck Club - Amy Tan At the moment, I have a passion for reading novels set in cultures different from my own. They provide me with such a different experience and perspective to think from that I find them addictive. This is why I picked up ‘The Joy Luck Club’ by Amy Tan for £1.00 in a charity shop (where else?). I was unaware that she wasn’t just a one-off author and has in fact written other novels, amongst them ‘The Bone-setter’s Daughter.’ This book, ‘The Joy Luck Club’ published in 1989 won The National Book Aware and L.A Times Book Award, also in 1989. The book begins by introducing us to Jing-Mei Woo and the Joy Luck Club. This is a club where a group of old friends go to play mah-jongg and to discuss their lives with each other. Jing-Mei is asked to take her mother’s place at the table after she dies. Once there, she listens to the women as they ask her to do one last favour for her mother. This involves travelling to China to find the twin daughters her mother lost many years ago. “It is Auntie Ying who finally speaks. ‘I think your mother die with an important thought on her mind,’ she says in halting English.” (P.38) After this beginning, I was expecting it to carry on in the usual manner of a novel – logical, continuous manner with a strong thread of plot running through it. Instead, the book deals with seven of the eight Chinese women and instead of a single plot, it dips into their lives at various points: the childhoods of the mothers and their efforts to get to used to ...

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou 16/04/2004

"Into this cocoon I crept."

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou Growing up in 1930s America isn’t easy when you’re a young Black girl. Marguerite Johnson lives with her grandparents and older brother Bailey in the town of Stamps, a heavily Black-White segregated place where everybody knows their place. A brief stay with her mother results in Marguerite being raped by her Mother’s boyfriend. Returning to Stamps, her way of coping is retreat into a world of muteness. The book follows the next few years of Marguerite’s life as she comes to terms with what happened to her and the person that she becomes. The book is an autobiographical account of Maya Angelou’s childhood so the impact it makes is stronger as you know that every word is true. It is a short book as it only covers Marguerite’s life between the ages of three and sixteen but what struck me was that within this relatively short space of time, this girl experiences more than most people do in a lifetime. And considerably more than anybody would want to experience. It is obvious from the start (and the back cover blurb) that Marguerite will suffer some kind of sexual abuse. What I wasn’t expecting was the abuse leading up to and the rape scene itself to be quite so graphic. It’s not something that anyone would find easy to read and that is perhaps why it is made clear on the back cover that to allow people to subconsciously prepare for it, because it is truly harrowing to read. The court room scenes are almost as bad and I imagine that this in itself was nearly as painful for ...

Everything that starts with Z ... 13/04/2004

Get into my (deep, rambling, dull) Zone

Everything that starts with Z ... *Intro* Name: Emma-Claire What time is it: 15:29 *The Fruits of Your Labor (things you can't live without)* Something important on your desk: Keys to the house – if you think about it, these have to be the most important. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to get to anything else within the house and would be forced to stay outside; cold, hungry and computer-less. When you sleep you wear: A birthday suit made by G. Almighty If you could afford it at the moment, you would buy: At this exact moment in time, all I want is a new top to wear out on my birthday and I can’t afford it. Long term, a gorgeous old house on the outskirts of a cool city! Something you don't have a lot of: It certainly isn’t chocolate – I got so much for Easter, I don’t know how to carry back on the train back up to uni. I don’t have a lot of money but that’s my own fault so I can’t moan. If your house was burning and you could only save 3 items what would they be: All of my photographs (I’d put them into a big pile so they only counted as one); my teddy Boris that I’ve had since I was three and my box of letters that my boyfriend has sent to me over the last year. *Morals* If there were no side effects, you would enjoy being addicted to: Cheese and onion pasties. I’d like it so that they contained no fat whatsoever and even better actually helped you lose weight. A time when you purposely hurt someone emotionally: God I don’t know, I tend to try and avoid hurting people’s ...

Lee Stafford Hair Styling Products 02/04/2004

Lee Stafford - Protection Missed

Lee Stafford Hair Styling Products After recently buying some new straighteners, which went up to the terrifying heat of 190°C, I thought it would be a good idea to purchase some kind of protection spray for my hair. I wanted to try and minimise the damage done to my hair by the straighteners, as no matter what the manufacturers say, there’s no possible way that using ceramics is actually good for your hair. Browsing in Boots, I decided upon the Lee Stafford Poker Straight Flat Iron Protection Shine Mist for £4.99. This decision was based upon it being a nice smelling product and the only other one that was anything like what I wanted was a Charles Worthington product, and I hate Charles Worthington products. *** The Packaging *** For me, I really couldn’t give two hoots about what something looks like. Half the time my stuff is being carted from my house to my boyfriend’s house, or back home to mum and dad, so chances of it staying anywhere long enough to be admired are slim. Saying that, this is a fairly attractive product. It’s in a hot pink, translucent plastic bottle; white writing and a funkily-coloured bar code that has been deliberately designed into the packaging and not just plonked on the back. According to the bumph, it is actually a copyrighted thing by the company. The lid was a thin white plastic thing – I say ‘was’ because that has long disappeared. The product is dispensed by a pump action, and even though I’ve lost the lid, this hasn’t once leaked in my bag or been ...

Wild Swans - Jung Chang 29/03/2004

"If this is Paradise, what then is Hell?"

Wild Swans - Jung Chang Within the last few days, I have realised that when it comes to certain things I am completely ignorant about what is going on in the world around me. This realisation has come about after finishing ‘Wild Swans’ and becoming aware of that fact that an entire country deceived the world for a number of years about what was actually happening within it - suppression, unnecessary punishment, dictatorship and complete control of thinking. It has astounded me that this could possibly have happened within a country with a population of around 1,260,000,000. Before the actual review, I’ll outline some of the (very!) basic ideas behind the Communist Party. This might not be correct, as this is only what I have gained from reading this book, but hopefully it’ll help to explain the behaviour of various people within the book. The initial stages of the Communist Party in China promised equality for everybody in every shape and form. To Western thinking, it might seem extreme for it to be considered right that everyone should wear exactly the same clothes, eat the same things and work towards one single goal of elevating the country’s ‘position’ but in China, when the Party arrived it was a welcome relief after the years of fighting with one army or another. The Chinese people were supposed to have complete allegiance to and even total love for their Chairman, Mao. They were expected to report whether they thought a person was enjoying more privileges than they were entitled to at ...

Everything that starts with B ... 23/03/2004

BSL - Put your fingers to a better use...

Everything that starts with B ... This year I have started learning British Sign Language (BSL) as part of my course in Linguistics. It’s a First Year module designed to teach the basics of sign language and make students aware of issues surrounding Deaf people and Deaf culture. I’m not deaf myself, but felt that it would be a worthwhile module to take and something different to do from the usual essays and lectures. I also thought it would be easy; how wrong I was… >>>> Intro <<<< There are approximately 2.5 million people in the UK with hearing impairments, and of that number around 55,000 consider themselves to be part of the Deaf Community. The difference between being deaf and being Deaf (the change is indicated in the use of a capital letter) seems to be whether you surround yourself in the culture, converse fluently in Sign language and have a community of Deaf friends. >>>> The Language <<<< In Britain, there are around 70,000 users of British Sign Language. It is interesting that more people use BSL than they do Welsh or Gaelic. Each country has its own version of sign language, but it is possible for users of one type of sign language to communicate with a user from another country. This is because BSL is a visual language, signs tend to reflect the meaning that they represent. The use of BSL within schools for deaf children has only arisen within the last 20 years or so. Until then, deaf children were encouraged to learn to speak and lip read. BSL is a manual language in which the ...

Willow (DVD) 16/01/2004

Daikinis, Nelwyns, brownies and fairies...

Willow (DVD) ‘Willow’ was released in 1988. It was the project of George Lucas and Ron Howard. Lucas dreamed up the story but realised he needed more help to direct it. Ron Howard practically leaped at the chance to work with Lucas and so the film of Willow was made. Not an instant hit, its appeal has lasted and now it is considered to be an absolute classic. CAST & CREW Thanks to www.imdb.com Willow Ufgood – Warwick Davies: Leprechaun (1993), Star Wars, The Ewok Adventure (1984), and more recently seen as Professor Flitwick in the Harry Potter films (2001) & (2002) Madmartigan – Val Kilmer: Red Planet (2000), Heat (1995), Batman Forever (1995), True Romance (1993), Top Gun (1986) Sorsha – Joanne Whalley: Coronation Street (!) (1960), Emmerdale Farm (1972), Navy SEALS (1990), The Man who Knew Too Little (1997) Queen Bavmorda – Jean Marsh: Doctor Who (1963), Upstairs Downstairs (1971) Director – Ron Howard: Splash (1984), Cocoon (1985), Backdraft (1991), Edtv (1999), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), A Beautiful Mind (2001) Writing Credits – George Lucas: What hasn’t the man done? Star Wars films, Indiana Jones, Labyrinth – he’s a cult classic hero. Running Time: 130 mins Certificate: PG (Though my DVD also has a 12 next to the PG sign!) PLOT There is a prophecy that predicts a baby will be born with a strange mark and this baby will bring about the downfall of the evil queen Bavmorda. She imprisons all of the pregnant women in her land and when a baby is ...

My Ciao'ing 11/01/2004

Ciao down on more ramblings from moi

My Ciao'ing Full name: Emma Jarvis ii. Ciao Username: emmaclaire iii. Date when you joined the Ciao community: 02.04.2003 iv. Why did you join Ciao? I was on the scavenge for yet more ways of making money for free on www.studentfreestuff.co.uk. I’ve made about £40 since then which is nice but the main reason I’ve stayed is because I enjoy writing the reviews and reading the comments people leave on them. v. Are you a member of any other review sites? I did join Dooyoo and U-rate (or whatever its called) but I can’t seem to get into them. I don’t really have enough time to do enough reading and rating for all three sites, as much as I would like to. Ciao was my first and they say you always remember your first… Maybe that’s why I’m still with it! vi. Reviews written to date: 73 – This will be 74, I’m sort of trying to coincide my 100th with my 1st Ciao birthday, I’m not sure how well that’s going to work. vii. How many ops/reviews do you write in average a week? It depends. When I’m at uni about 2 a term! I don’t have a pc on the internet in my student house, which is probably a good job, as I’d spend hours on it! So, I have to use the uni PCs, and I feel guilty for sitting there just playing on Ciao when there’s people glaring at me with work to do. When I’m at home, about 3 a week – more if I could think of things to write about! I don’t know how these people who write the maximum 21 a week do it; I just haven’t got the time or the subject matter! viii. How ...

The Body Shop Cinnamon & Nutmeg Exfoliating Body Wash 10/01/2004

To the Body Shop & Cinn-a-mon 'bout a spotty bum!

The Body Shop Cinnamon & Nutmeg Exfoliating Body Wash I hate to admit that I have less than perfect skin. I would give anything to have clear, soft, smooth skin all over my body but unfortunately, I don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some spotty, rough-looking pumice-skinned beast of a woman, but I do have spots on my shoulders and back occasionally that drive me mad. So, you can imagine how *annoyed* I was by the appearance of some dubious looking spots on my left thigh which then spread, to my horror, onto my bum. All I can say in my defence is that it looks like a rash and I therefore have no control over it. This didn’t do anything to make better the fact that I was visiting my boyfriend and I was forced to sleep on my side for three nights so that he couldn’t see the dreaded rash… So where is all this talk of spots and bums leading to? Well, while in Leeds visiting my boyfriend I decided to visit Lush and get a Buffy the Backside Slayer as I’ve heard wondrous things about it. After asking the (male) assistant and being told with a giggle that it was quite popular and therefore they didn’t have any, I left empty handed. On the last day of my visit, we happened to pop into the Body Shop in Barnsley to see what was left in the sale… and lo and behold, what have we here? The Body Shop Cinnamon and Nutmeg Exfoliating Body Wash for the bargainous price of £1.50? Quick sniff… mmm, yes I’ll have some of that. It’s a medium sized tube containing 150ml of product. The lid is black and sturdy and opens easily. The body wash itself ...

TwistedNerve.co.uk 08/01/2004

Badly Drawn Boy, Alfie and a deranged rabbit

TwistedNerve.co.uk Twistednerve.co.uk One of my favourite artists is Badly Drawn Boy, and after seeing them supporting Athlete and The Flaming Lips, I now really like Alfie. I’ve not got a clue what any of their songs are called or albums, but I’m going to see them in February and if I like them there then I’ll get some of their stuff. Badly Drawn Boy has been a long time favourite of mine; I own all of his albums and I just think his music’s beautiful. Imagine how delighted I was when I discovered that Alfie were in fact on the same record label as Badly Drawn Boy which is known as Twisted Nerve, and that I could read all about them and other artists on the website. Fantastic. I’d been looking at Badly Drawn Boy’s website for a while, waiting for any sporadic news, then just by chance I happened to click on the Twisted Nerve icon. It was like being transported to a magical land of musical angels… The label Twisted Nerve was founded in 1997 by Andy Votel and Badly Drawn Boy after they decided they wanted to make a few records to sell to their friends. For more info about them and the early years of the label visit: http://www.twistednerve.co.uk/twistednerve/index.html ** The Home Page ** The main page contains the label’s news, the option to subscribe to their weekly newsletter (which I duly did), a Google search function and other bits and bobs including some Twisted Nerve Christmas Desktop pictures, an mp3 collection for you to download for free which contains some of their ...

The Witching Hour - Anne Rice 08/01/2004

More like the Witching Millenium...

The Witching Hour - Anne Rice Until a few months ago, the only book I had ever read by Anne Rice was half of ‘Interview with a Vampire.’ The reason I never finished ‘Interview with a Vampire’ was because I started it when I was quite young and I found it a tough read. This has recently changed after my friend lent me this book and ‘The Vampire Lestat’ and ‘Queen of the Damned.’ Suffice it to say, I loved them. So much so that there is no possible way I could write a fair and unbiased review of them. So instead I am reviewing ‘The Witching Hour’ because while I enjoyed it I didn’t find it quite so time-consumingly addictive as the Vampire Chronicles. However, it is an interesting book to talk about. ** The Storyline ** Rowan Mayfair is the latest in a long line of witches. However, unlike all of her predecessors she has no knowledge of her family as she was adopted as a baby. She does possess certain supernatural powers including some telepathy and what she calls her ‘diagnostic sixth sense’, which she uses in her work as a neurosurgeon. Michael Curry is a man who is saved from drowning by Rowan. His near death experience leaves him with a power in his hands to receive images connected to objects that he touches. He and Rowan are both drawn back to their native home in New Orleans where try to discover how and why they are connected and what consequences it will have for their lives. Interwoven with this is the history of Rowan’s family, the Mayfair witches, which is written down by a member of ...

Everything that starts with X ... 23/12/2003

Merry Xmas Ciaoland!

Everything that starts with X ... A Christmas Themed Challenge! Ok, I realise that this is going to be an out of fashion challenge within a couple of days but I couldn’t resist making it up… feel free to copy and paste as always and let me know when you’ve had a go… Emmaclaire x 1. What is your strongest Christmas memory? My strongest Christmas memory is of staying awake the whole night the first time we had Christmas in our new house. I was 14! That only makes it sadder! I always get quite excited on New Year’s Eve, though now the need for sleep tends to override the excitement. I just couldn’t get to sleep that night; mum and dad even let me open one present at 3am to see if that would help. I ended up going to sleep in the bath on Christmas day. 2. What was your favourite present ever? My favourite was probably the Hugo Boss perfume set my mum got me a couple of years ago. I really wanted this perfume and I had no idea that my mum new, I was so pleased when I opened it up. I still love this perfume now and use it all the time. 3. And the worst? Hmmm… a tough one, but I have to ask! I appreciate all the presents I get… I tend to get cds that my Dad wants himself, which isn’t the worst present, but its ones I normally wouldn’t choose. Saying that though, this method of present giving did introduce me to Radiohead, Oasis and The Verve, so it’s not all bad. 4. What was your Christmas day tradition when you were little? My sisters and me would wake up i.e., I would wake them up about ...

Maybelline Great Lash 21/12/2003

Blackest Black Ever... apparently...

Maybelline Great Lash I love being blonde. However, as much as I love my strawberry blonde locks, I don’t like my strawberry blonde eyelashes. When the remnants of my mascara have finally worn off, I look ill and tired. Hence, I rarely go anywhere important without some kind of mascara and/or eyeliner, though to be fair my idea of important is probably different to other people’s – lectures and work are not important, a night out or a party are. So, what have I got this time to remedy the problem? Nothing less than Maybelline’s Blacker than Black Ultra Lash Mascara. What a mouthful (or an eyeful, depends how you look at it). I admit, I was hooked by the packaging and reeled in by the advertising. Although not completely aesthetically pleasing to the eye, the pink tube with a green lid certainly stands out, and as this variation on the famous Maybelline mascara promised me ‘The Blackest ever lashes,’ well, everyone knows what happened next. £4.99 later and the little beauty was mine. This is actually a variation of the infamous Ultra Lash Mascara by Maybelline, and I’m not entirely sure of the difference between the two. Maybe a bit of reflection will bring the difference to attention… The website www.maybelline.com is shocking for any kind of description of the mascara, but it does tell me that it contains ebony pigments. I would actually love to know exactly what these are and whether they’re doing anything special or not… I don’t think the original Ultra Lash contains these, but then if we ...

Elf (DVD) 19/12/2003

An Elf by any other name...

Elf (DVD) God help me, I’m turning into a child again! I swear, you go to uni and it’s like being a toddler again: you wear mittens, you don’t look before crossing the road, you make snow angels in the snow… you get excited at the thought of watching a film about a man who thinks he’s an elf… ** ELF ** CAST: Will Ferrell (Zoolander, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery), James Caan (The Godfather, Mickey Blue Eyes), Zooey Deschanel (Almost Famous, The Good Girl) DIRECTOR: Jon Favreau (Swingers, Daredevil, Something’s Gotta Give (as an actor)) CERTIFICATE: PG RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes www.elfmovie.com ** THE PLOT ** One Christmas a human baby is found in Santa’s sack after he’s made his Christmas Eve deliveries and the elves decide to keep him. Thirty years later, Buddy finds out that he’s not really an elf and sets off to New York to find his real dad. His father is a money-grabbing executive who spends more time at work than with his family, so the last thing he wants is another son to not spend any time with. Can Buddy bring some Christmas spirit into the lives of the new people he meets and will his father accept him as a son? All I’ll say is, it’s Christmas… ** THE CHARACTERS ** Buddy the Elf/Human (Will Ferrell) is a cross between an eleven-year-old boy stuck in a man’s body with someone with serious mental problems. Or so you would believe if you didn’t believe his story of being an elf. As the viewers, we know he’s ...
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