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since 05/10/2006

40 25/07/2007

Rubbersole have soul! **Why did I visit this site?** I first found this website after I spotted some of the children at school wearing these rather weird jelly type, clog shaped shoes called Crocs and reporting that they were really comfortable. I made one or two enquiries and discovered that quite a large amount of adults were wearing them, particularly hospital staff, the ones I heard from declaring that they could wear these shoes on the longest shift and still have happy feet at the end of it. Having rather hard to please feet I decided it might be worth investigating further and popped Crocs into and came up with, amongst other sites, **What do they sell?** Well, firstly obviously they sell Crocs shoes – not the cheap look alike versions that are quite readily available now, but the real things. From a rather natty menu on the side of the screen it’s possible to see all the brands of shoes that this site currently stock. If you hover your cursor over each brand heading, a subheading menu pops up where you can choose to view all items in that brand or view by type. They also sell Carris flip flops, Reef flip flops, Gurkees sandals, Vans trainers, Converse trainers, Dunlop trainers, Hunters boots, Pare Gabia espadrilles, Cubanas flip flops, Fitflop flip flops, Ugg boots (will be in stock for the winter) and Birkenstock sandals. Besides these well known makes there is also a section headed ‘Custom’ where it’s possible for wholesale customers to order ...

The Cup of Ghosts - Paul Doherty 16/07/2007

A Cup Full of Mysteries

The Cup of Ghosts - Paul Doherty **WHY I CHOSE THIS BOOK AND WHO WOULD ENJOY IT** My first reason was because I had already read one of this author’s books and enjoyed it so much that I actively looked for another title to read. There were quite a few by this author on the shelves in my local library and after browsing for a short time chose this because I do enjoy reading about English history and felt I would like to read more about the Plantagenets. This book is a terrific murder mystery featuring quite a number of mysterious deaths so I would say that the book would appeal greatly to anyone interested in murder mysteries and/or history. Although it is a work of fiction, the book is based on fact so the main characters are true life historical people. **SOME HISTORICAL BACKGROUND** Edward I was a stern, strong king who had built up a network of trustworthy and reliable advisors. He had never been particularly close to his son Edward and when his beloved wife Eleonor died he was distraught and withdrew even further from his son whose less than manly behaviour subsequently began to given him a great deal of concern. To try to bring his errant son back into line he decided to introduce him to a rather successful, talented and popular young man from Gascony called Piers Gaveston, a decision he soon came to regret wholeheartedly. Young Ed fell wildly in love with the charismatic Gaveston and they became inseparable, the prince showering gifts galore on his friend and petitioning his father to give ...

The Wee Free Men - Terry Pratchett 20/06/2007

Crivens! You'll wee yourself reading this

The Wee Free Men - Terry Pratchett **About the Author** Terry Pratchett was born in the Chiltern Hills and now lives with his family not far from Stonehenge. He sold his first story when he was 13 and used the money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, The Carpet People was published in 1971. He worked for a number of years as a press officer and journalist and published his first Discworld novel in 1983. In 1987 he started writing full time and to date has published 33 novels in the Discworld series, of which 3 were written for children. He has won numerous literary awards and in 1998 received an OBE for his services to literature. He has also received 4 honorary doctorates from the Universities of Bath, Warwick, Portsmouth and Bristol. **Why I chose this book** To be honest, I didn’t choose the book but it was rather chosen for me by one of my lovely sons who bought it as a ‘just because’ gift for me. He knew that Terry Pratchett was just about my favourite author of all time and chose this book because of that, however didn’t look closely at it before purchasing and didn’t notice that it’s a children’s book. I knew I would read it as I have loved every book that I’ve read by this author, however because it was designated a children’s title I deferred reading it and popped it into my drawer, waiting for the right moment. Every now and again I’d hear the book having a surreptitious restless shuffle from the depths of the drawer, just reminding me it was there, but the right moment ...

The Secret Life of Elizabeth I - Paul Doherty 08/06/2007

Mystery and intrigue in the court of Elizabeth I

The Secret Life of Elizabeth I - Paul Doherty About the author Born in Middlesbrough in 1946 Paul Doherty studied for 3 years for the Catholic priesthood but after finally deciding that path wasn’t for him he went on to gain a first class honours degree in history at Liverpool University and won a state scholarship to Exeter College, Oxford. He went on to become a secondary school teacher and worked at various schools around the UK before accepting an appointment as Headmaster of Trinity Catholic School in 1981. Under his leadership the school has gone from strength to strength and in 2000 the HM Inspectorate described it as an outstanding school. It has also been given Beacon status as a Centre for Excellence. He lives with his wife Carla near Epping Forest and besides being a busy headmaster is also a trained speaker and lecturers at various organisations mainly on the subject of historical mysteries. He is also a prolific author and has written a number of fiction and non-fiction historical books. Why I chose this book and who would enjoy it I’ve always been interested in English history and most particularly, like so many people, have been drawn to the intrigues of the Tudor period and the colourful royal characters. I’ve read many books on Henry VIII and his six wives and books about his children, the sickly Edward VI, the passionate catholic queen Mary Tudor and of course the virgin queen, Elizabeth I. When I saw this book in the library I was drawn to it immediately because it was about a queen I’d ...

Vaseline Healthy Feet & Legs 05/06/2007

Hot dogs or cold piggies?

Vaseline Healthy Feet & Legs Origins of the brand Way back in 1859 a 22 year old chemist from Brooklyn called Robert A. Chesebrough went to investigate an oil rig in Pennsylvania and found that the workers were having difficulties with a substance they called rod wax, a sticky substance rich in minerals, which was gumming up the works. Whilst he was there he saw that the men were using the substance to smear on cuts and burns to help them to heal quicker. He took some of this rod wax back home with him and after considerable experimentation developed something he called petroleum jelly which he began to market in 1870 under the brand name of Vaseline. Within 10 years the product was so popular in America that almost every household had a pot and Chesebrough expanded his business into Canada, the UK and British colonies and by 1911 he had factories in Canada, Africa and Europe. During the 2 world wars Vaseline was used by soldiers and medical officers in the treatment of minors cuts, bruises and burns. In 1955 the company merged with the Ponds Extract Company and became Chesebrough-Ponds and over the next few years expanded even further across the world. In 1970, the company’s 100th anniversary was marked by the launch of a new product called Vaseline Intensive Care lotion and further products for hand and nail care and deodorants were developed. Unilever purchased Chesebrough-Ponds in 1987 and now Vaseline products are available in over 60 countries worldwide. Vaseline Skin Care ...

Poetry for fun 30/05/2007

Interview from hell?

Poetry for fun THE INTERVIEW I was seeking employment that would showcase my skills Something different and fun that would help pay the bills So I joined up with an agency to find work I desired And booked an interview in the hopes I’d get hired. That’s how I came to be stood at the door Of Transylvania Avenue number 104. I can laugh now at my naivety as I stood at that portal But how could I know that I’d soon be immortal? I hauled on the handle of the rusty old bell And from the depths of the house I heard its deep knell Echoing eerily round and about And I think that’s when the first seed of doubt Crept into my mind and spread down to my belly Then into my legs which soon shook like jelly. I realised my spirits were at a low ebb So I straightened my shoulders and brushed at the web Of a large hairy spider who was spinning nearby And looking hungrily at me, as he might at a fly. The dark, heavy door creaked open a bit And with cold shaking hand I pushed gently at it. It swung open slowly with a loud, eerie creak So I stuck round my head and had a quick peek Coming face to face with an elderly gent Who peered into my eyes with apparent intent. ‘I’ve come for the job’ I heard myself quaver. He nodded his head but his gaze didn’t waver. The door shut behind me, I’ve no idea how And the man disappeared with a quick formal bow. I gazed around then at the dark, gloomy room Which to be quite frank could do with a broom. I guessed it was a cleaning job ...

Nuage Sunshine Glow Body Lotion 30/05/2007

Who needs the sun?

Nuage Sunshine Glow Body Lotion Some of you may have read my review on Johnsons Holiday Skin tanning moisturiser which I used for several months and apart from a couple of little niggles was quite happy with it. Why then, you may ask yourselves, did I decide to try another brand? Well, the answer to that is because I’m curious – well, ok then, nosy – and also because having a 10 year old daughter whose product requirements are obviously so much more important than her mother’s, I’ve rarely got much money to spend on myself and this product was considerably cheaper than the Johnsons brand. For the purposes of this review I will compare the two products, like for like. I was doing my usual trawl round the shelves in my local Morrisons looking at the skincare products to see if there were any interesting offers when I spotted this – Nuage Sunshine Glow Firming Body Lotion. The colour of the pack is almost identical to the Johnson’s pack, a deep, buttery, pearly yellow. The writing on the pack is navy blue with silver and there is a stylised silhouette of a woman on the front in 3 shades through cream, pale coffee and gold. The pack states that this is an every day moisturiser for all skin types and ‘helps to firm skin and develop an all year round tan’. The bottle size is 250ml and after investigating the information on the rear of the bottle I saw it was made by a company called FMCG Ltd. I checked out their website at and found it to be a very professional and well thought out site ...

Poems of Sadness 22/05/2007

Requiem for Clara

Poems of Sadness I wrote this to mourn for and to celebrate the life of my grandmother - a very unique woman who flouted convention, lived her life the way she wanted and as a young woman had an army of admirers and a couple of very special lovers. She was one of the very early women drivers and during WW2 drove an ambulance to aid the war effort. She lived life to the very max until she finally settled down and married (around 21 years after my mother was born!) and true to my parents prediction outlived them both. When my parents both became ill my grandmother who was sadly sinking into senile dementia by then, had to go into residential care where she died with me beside her holding her hand, around 18 months after my mother's death. I always thought she'd been a bit of a butterfly with her affections as a young woman, but a letter I found amongst her belongings after her death, signed mysteriously with a question mark and addressed to her at her place of work at a gentlemans club in London, has led me to believe that there was a very special man in her life who for some reason unknown to me disappeared from the scene. I found it very intriguing and after turning up a little more info whilst investigating my family tree I realise there are even more questions that will never be answered. It prompted me to write this with love for and in memory of my grandmother, Clara Lilian Mitchell 1903 - 1999. Requiem for Clara Clara sits slumped, claw like hands clasped on arthritic ...

Electrolux Z 5600 16/04/2007

Cyclonic or moronic?

Electrolux Z 5600 Well, it's that spring cleaning time of year again for many of us and I'm no exception. Once the sun finally started to shine I could see piles of dust hitherto unnoticed so hauled out my trusty The Boss vacuum cleaner and began by attacking my bedrooms (downstairs as I live in an upside down house). I'd progressed to the hallway before I noticed a rather smoky, rubbery, burning kind of whiff in the general vicinity and glancing down at the cleaner I spotted a thin trail of smoke emanating from the motor section. I hurriedly unplugged the offending item and pushed it out of the front door as a small flame burst from the vent. I was gutted. My trusty vacuum and I have fought the good fight against the rising tide of filth created by various pets and a number of kids (mine plus their numerous mates who trail in and out on a daily basis) for several years, so it was with heavy heart that I relegated it to the recycling centre. Being rather strapped for cash I leafed through my Great Essentials catalogue in search of the perfect replacement. I've always had bagged upright cleaners so planned to buy similar, however there was a distinct lack of them available in the catalogue so I ended up hunting through the cyclonic bagless ones in an attempt to find a suitable addition to my home. I must admit that having very little experience with cyclonic cleaners I didn't have much clue what I was picking so I read through some of the reviews on this site. Feeling a little more ...

Courtesans - Katie Hickman 31/03/2007

A saucy read!

Courtesans - Katie Hickman THE AUTHOR Regrettably I wasn't able to find a website for this author, however going from the blurb on the book sleeve alone I can tell you that owing to the fact that her family were diplomats she spent over 25 years living abroad in Europe, the Far East and Latin America and has been on the short list for the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award and the Young British Writer of the Year Award. In the Author's Note at the beginning of the book the she mentions how she spent a holiday with her 'grandmother', actually an old family friend, in Paris. During her stay this 'grandmother', Lucie Nathan, took her out for dinner and on leaving the restaurant took her home via a certain way saying she had something of interest for Katie to see. Down a dark cobbled street, illuminated in a doorway Lucie pointed out a mysterious woman clad from head to foot in a black cloak. As they stopped to look, the cloak fell open to reveal that the woman had black stockings, suspender belt, a scarlet and black basque and high heeled shoes. Lucie said 'Regardez! Qu'elle-est belle!' Obviously this moment was to remain in the young Katie's mind as quite important and prompted a fascination for these 'ladies of the night'. This is a long review and may seem overly comprehensive, however the book is crammed with so much trememndous information that I have really only touched on very small areas of it. PROLOGUE AND INTRODUCTION In these two short chapters the author introduces the reader to ...

Neem Therapy 12/03/2007

An ancient cure for a modern world?

Neem Therapy I have used neem oil, neem cream, shampoo and conditioner, and pet shampoo on myself, my children and my dog and also used utility grade neem for pest control in my garden for over 3 years. At the end of this review are my experiences using those products, but to give an all round look at neem therapy I have had to rely on extensive research I have done on the internet and on information provided by my suppliers and by the company that manufactures the products that I use. As many people have never heard of neem I have tried to be as thorough as I can providing information, but the uses of neem are so diverse that I would never have had the opportunity to use it for all those reasons so can only quote information that I have read on those things. BOTANICAL CLASSIFICATION OF NEEM:- Family: Meliaceae Genus and species:- Azadirachta indica The name is derived from the Persian word 'azaddhirakt' meaning 'noble tree'. THE TREE The evergreen neem tree originates in India and grows quickly to around 12 meters tall. It bears small, sweet smelling yellowy-white flowers which are followed by greeny-yellow berries. It tolerates temperatures between 49c and 0c, is drought tolerant, will thrive in almost any soil and actually improves the fertility and water retaining properties of the soil around it. The bark and leaves of the tree are used in ayurvedic medicine as is the oil which is extracted from the berries. Tests done have shown that neem has anti-viral, ...

Brazen Tongue - Gladys Mitchell 05/03/2007

Brazen by name, innocent by nature

Brazen Tongue - Gladys Mitchell The Author Gladys Mitchell was born in Oxfordshire in 1901 but moved to Middlesex with her family in 1909. She finished her education at Goldsmiths' College and University College in London and went on to pursue a career teaching English, history and athletics. Her first novel, Speedy Death, was published in 1929. This is the first story about Mrs. Bradley (or to give her her Sunday name, Dame Gladys Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley), an eccentric psychiatrist and sleuth. Gladys went on to write 65 more novels and a number of short stories all based around Mrs Bradley. She wrote all her books in longhand as she didn't like the typewriter, and said that Printer's Error and Brazen Tongue were her least favourite books. She retired from teaching in 1950 but returned to teach again after an absence of nearly 3 years and remained in the profession until 1961 when she retired to Dorset to pursue her hobbies of visiting prehistoric sites and studying medieval architecture. She was given membership in the British Olympic Association in recognition of her services and passionate interest in athletics. During 2005 and 2006 some of her books went to reprint and are now readily available to buy. Those books are The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop (1929), When I Last Died (1941), Death at the Opera (1934), Brazen Tongue (1940) and Sleuth's Alchemy, a complete collection of her short stories written between 1938 and 1956. Gladys died in 1983. The Book This is a ...

Jokes 03/03/2007

Naughty but nice

Jokes I was in the middle of some boring housework on a boring Saturday morning and whilst resentfully pushing the vacuum cleaner around my mind wandered off to find something to cheer it up. I recalled some jokes I'd heard in the past which gave me a little chuckle and thought I'd share them on Ciao! I apologise in advance if these jokes have been reviewed by any other members. My only defence is that I haven't seen them on here. ***Passion*** An Italian man, a Frenchman and an Australian man are sitting in a pub discussing their techniques on making love. The Frenchman says 'I kiss my girlfriend's neck and nibble her earlobes and she floats SIX inches from the bed in passion.' The Italian says 'That's nothing, I nibble my girlfriend's toes and rain kisses all the way up her legs and she floats TWELVE inches from the bed in ecstasy.' The Australian says 'Take lessons from me then boys, when I've finished making love to my girlfriend I get up and wipe my dick on the curtains and she hits the bl**dy roof!' ***The magic frog*** Fred has been blessed, or cursed, with a 30 inch willy but such is the fright of ladies when they spy his enormous appendage, he is still a virgin. In desperation he goes to his doctor and asks if anything can be done. The doctor says 'I'm sorry son, I can't help you but if you go to see the witch in the woods she may be able to do something.' Fred sets off through the woods and asks the witch the same question. The witch replies 'I ...

The Gyspy Madonna - Santa Montefiore 26/02/2007

A poignant tale of love, hate and mysteries

The Gyspy Madonna - Santa Montefiore The Author Santa Montefiore was born in England in 1970 and was brought up on a small farm in Hampshire. She went to Sherbourne School for Girls and then read Spanish and Italian at Exeter University. When she was 19 her Anglo Argentinean mother arranged a job for her teaching English to 3 young girls in Argentina and Santa fell in love with the country. She converted to Judaism and married Jewish historian Simon Montefiore in London where they now live with their two daughters, Lily and Sasha. Her first novel, Meet me under the Ombu Tree was published in 2001. The characters ***Mischa*** Mischa is the main character in the book, a small, handsome and engaging child with blond hair and blue eyes. He was born in France at the end of WW2 to a French mother who fell in love and had an affair with a high ranking German officer. He and his troops had taken over the chateau where Mischa's mother was a servant to the Jewish family that lived there. His father was killed at the end of the war and the only thing that Mischa has to remember him by is a small rubber ball which he gave him and which he carries everywhere. Because of his German father he and his mother were ostracised and hated by the villagers who lived around the chateau and also by the inhabitants of the chateau which had been turned into a hotel. His earliest memories were of loneliness and fear and after a particularly horrifying incident involving the local priest and some of the villagers, Mischa ...

Of Marriageable Age - Sharon Maas 20/02/2007

A magical, exotic kaleidoscope

Of Marriageable Age - Sharon Maas The Author Sharon Maas was born in Georgetown, Guyana in 1951. Her parents were prominent people in the country and both received The Golden Arrow, a high accolade for service to the public. She left Guyana aged 10 to study for her A levels in Harrogate, England then returned to take a job as a reporter. She has travelled extensively around the world to countries including England, several South American countries, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and India where she spent two years living in Tamil Nadu. She has been married twice and has two children. These days she spends her time between England and Germany. Of Marriageable Age was her first book which she wrote in an ancient German farmhouse which had no central heating and on some colder days she wrote wearing a full range of outdoor clothing just to try and stay warm enough. The main characters ***Nataraj*** Chapter 1 introduces Paul, a very young half-Indian, half white boy living in a Christian orphanage in Tamil Nadru, Madras State in 1947. Paul's life consists of a daily routine of bathing, eating, lessons and prayers. The children at the orphanage are looked after by Christian nuns until they are aged 5 when they are moved to The Good Shepherd orphanage in Madras. Paul feels that once he is moved there he will never find a new mother and father so all his hopes are pinned on some kind couple whisking him away before he becomes 5. One couple did come and show some interest in him but he saw one of ...
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