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since 30/07/2005


Bioresonance Therapy 27/12/2005

Become an ex-smoker in 2 hours flat!

Bioresonance Therapy I've "thought" about quitting smoking for years - I read the Alan Carr book, tried the patches, and chewed the gum, all to no avail because not one of these methods dealt with the two key issues that petrified me the most. Firstly - the three-day withdrawal from nicotine. This, I have heard, is a nightmare and I imagined it to be akin to Rentboy coming off scag in "Trainspotting". When i've been without a cigarette for a few hours, I get so cranky I can't bare being in the same room as myself, so I really don't want to put my husband or work colleagues through it for three whole days. Secondly - the craving for cigarettes that never quite goes away, ever. This is the lousy fag's legacy. A two-fingered salute to all that have abandoned him and if I'm going to go through the hell of three days of withdrawl and a few months worth of breaking the habit of a life time, it really seems unfair that I can't ever be really free. --------------- --------------- --------------- --------------- --------- I CAN DO THIS Earlier this month, my attitude to giving-up cigarettes changed dramatically. Casually flicking through a News of The World magazine, a small paragraph in the health section mentioned something called "Bioresonance Therapy" and how it could be used to quit smoking. The paragraph gave me very little to go on, so I ventured onto the internet and within a matter of an hour, I had convinced myself that Bioresonance Therapy was the way to go if I was going ...

Everything that starts with F ... 27/12/2005

Jamie made me do it!

Everything that starts with F ... I don't normally do Ciao Cafe reviews but as jamiecurtis69 invited me, it would be tres impolite not to do the FIVE challenge. I've enjoyed reading everyone else's. Here's mine:- ***5 things I can do*** Do a great impression of a turtle Drink a quadruple espresso and fall asleep 5 minutes later Speed read - I can read a book in a day if I'm really into it and I don't skip paragraphs - honest! Get up in the morning and leave for work without having to brush my hair Recite the script to Summer Holiday (but strangely, no one ever asks me to!) ***5 things I can't do*** Make that farting sound that others can when they place their left hand under their right armpit and move their bent right arm up and down. Give up caffeine Forgive and forget (but there are only 3 people on my list - you have to have done something very very bad to get on this list as I'm generally an easy-going person). Finish a crap book Watch TV and do anything else at the same time. If I'm into something on the TV, you can walk into my living room and steal anything you like. I won't notice. ***5 things I say most often*** Aye, that's grrrreat Frank!!! (shouting at kitten for climbing the Christmas tree again) Oh, go on then (when I want my husband to make coffee) I love you (to my husband, every day) Yeh, cool (I wish I didn't say this, but I say it at work all the time) ***5 utterly random facts about me*** I came 2nd in a "Tunnocks Tea Cake ... 14/12/2005

Inside I'm Dancing! THE PROBLEM I spend all day at work talking to myself. THE CAUSE I am not Billy-Nomates or a complete nutter. No, the cause is this - over the last couple of years I've watched my work pals fall one by one under the spell of the Evil Wizard that is "Apple". If they haven't got an Ipod, then they have the next best thing, iTunes, installed on their PCs. Either way, they sit with their headphones on most of the day in a little musical world of their own and not one of them can hear me SCREAMING! THE MISSION To find something that would allow me to join my colleagues in a musical wonderland without me having to install yet another hefty third-party program on my PC or spend a fortune on a gadget that I'm only going to use at work. THE SOLUTION --------------- --------------- --------------- ----- WHAT IS PANDORA.COM Pandora is a music library website that helps you find music that you'll like, based on the information you feed it, to create your own personal radio station. Behind the scenes, Pandora is the most comprehensive database of songs that I've ever come across. Each song in their library has been studied and one of 30 specialist has collated hundreds of details about it - from melody, harmony and instrumentation to rhythm, vocals and lyrics. All these attributes are then fed in to the database which you, the listener, access using a small web-based program. The way the program works is simple. You tell Pandora one of your ... 09/11/2005

No One Loved Gorillas More The reason I decided to review this charity site for Ciao is because I feel that it's important for children to be made aware of conservation issues from an early age. The DFGF website is a great place to start and I hope that by reading this review, you'll be encouraged to get your kids (if applicable, obviously) to check this site out. INTRODUCTION TO THE CHARITY Founded by Dr Dian Fossey some 30 years ago, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund (DFGF) is dedicated to the conservation of African gorillas and their natural habitats - primarily through anti-poaching, monitoring, education and support for local communities. Despite the fact that Fossey was murdered 20 years ago, the charity continues to successfully uphold her beliefs to this day. ABOUT DIAN While Fossey studied as a veterinary student in Louisville, she developed an interest in mountain gorillas and longed to see them in the wild. Her first visit to Africa came 1963 when she went on a seven-week safari, but it wasn't until 1966 that she found herself with enough funds to take-up a full-time residency in Zaire, dedicating her time to working alongside and earning the trust of the native gorillas. In the early 70s she finally settled in Rwanda where the majority of her life's work took place. Accepted as an observer by a group of Rwandan mountain gorillas, Fossey revealed to the World the peaceful nature of these great apes and their nurturing family qualities. When one of the gorillas (who ...

Lunar Park - Brett Easton Ellis 21/10/2005

A Psycho's Redemption

Lunar Park - Brett Easton Ellis Lunar Park is the latest novel by Bret Easton Ellis, the author of American Psycho - a story about a man who may or may not be a serial rapist and murderer. I mention this because Ellis has been defined by American Psycho since it was published in 1991- suffering more criticism than most because of the incredibly graphic and gratuitous descriptions of torture and sexual mutilation. I admittedly was one of those critics that felt so physically sick on reading American Psycho that I felt compelled to write to him immediately to firstly express my bewilderment at his choice of such a merciless narrator (Patrick Bateman) and secondly to enquire why had he felt obliged to share such horrific imagery with the rest of the world. I waited and waited for his reply- in fact years went by, and then, what do you know… I found the reply staring back at me from the pages Lunar Park. You old charmer, Bret; I'd have been content with a letter. PREAMBLE The opening two chapters of the book are a prequel to the story and serve to establish the narrator's frame of mind when he wrote Lunar Park. It starts out very light-hearted and I laughed out loud a few times whilst reading the first chapter. The style of prose is back to the Ellis I like - sharp, witty and self-loathing. He leads you upbeat into the second chapter and suddenly the atmosphere starts to turn as Ellis discloses his life-long hatred for his now deceased father. He also confesses that writing American ...

Bombon El Perro (Subtitled) (DVD) 19/10/2005

One Man and his Dog

Bombon El Perro (Subtitled) (DVD) Bombon el Perro is an Argentinian film that was released in UK cinemas earlier this year. THE PLOT Juan Villegas is 52 years old and has recently been made redundant, having worked as a mechanic in a petrol station, in a remote part of Patagonian, for the last 30 years. Resigned to living with his daughter, her lazy husband and 3 children in a small house, Juan tries to eek out a living making knives. These are beautifully hand-crafted pieces but he's such a bad salesman that he is forced to find odd jobs to make ends meet. Feeling dejected and lacking in self-esteem he sets of in his van to find full-time employment. After a series of false-starts, a chance encounter on a roadside sets Juan on a path he never dreamt off. He tows a young lady's car 150Km back to her house and repairs it. Upon completion, she offers to pay Juan with a dog (an Argentinian Mastiff). Despite his protests, she insists the dog is of sound pedigree and will make a super companion for him. He gives in and accepts her offer. The dog, Bombón LeChien, accompanies Juan everywhere and, before long, is attracting a lot of attention. People stop to admire and praise him for his beauty and Juan, in turn, gets a certain amount of satisfaction - he feels proud to be Bombón's owner. Thanks to the dog, Juan gains temporary employment as a security guard and when cashing his first wage check, the bank manager (a mastiff enthusiast) introduces Juan to Walter Donado, a champion dog trainer. ...

A History of Violence DVD 07/10/2005

How come you're so good at killing?

A History of Violence DVD I've always been a fan of David Cronenberg - both as a writer and director, and having waited 3 years for his new film, I was hoping for something similar in cinematic style to the likes of eXistenz and Naked Lunch. Unfortunately, upon its release, many of the reviews reported that Cronenberg had taken a more orthodox approach to the direction of A History of Violence. And so, it was with scepticism that I eventually sat down to watch this. A History of Violence is an adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name. That said, although the adapted screenplay (written by Josh Holden) preserves, and profits from, the nuts and bolts of the original storyline, what transpires on screen is much more profound. THE PLOT The life of a mid-American family - a happily married couple with two kids - is thrown into disarray after Tom Stall, the father, kills two crooks following a bungled hold-up in his diner. He is instantly hailed the town's hero and inevitably has to put up with the local media camping on his doorstep for a while (or at least until the next cause célèbre comes along). Unfortunately, Tom's newfound fame draws the unwanted attention of a gang of mobsters from Philadelphia who promptly turn up looking to settle a score with him. Certain that he is their old acquaintance, Joey, the gangsters make enough waves in town for Tom's own family to start questioning his past. If he is to salvage anything from the life that he's built with his wife and ...

Summer Holiday 19/09/2005

Fun, frolics and foot-tappers

Summer Holiday This has to be the most challenging review I've written to date. WHERE do I begin writing a review about a film I've watched over 100 times? HOW do I convey the sheer joy I feel every time I watch it? WHEN will my friends stop laughing at me?! THE CLIFF PHENOMENON Frontman Cliff Richard, and his band, The Shadows, appeared in several films in the early 1960s; most notably the Young Ones, Finders Keepers, Wonderful Life and Summer Holiday. To the younger Ciaoers, it's important to point out here that back in the 1960s Cliff was not the cringe-worthy oldest bachelor-in-town that we know today. No! back then, Cliff's face adorned the bedroom walls of teenagers throughout Britain. He was our answer to Elvis - the epitome of cool, a bevy of young actresses at his beck and call, and boy, could he sing. THE CREW Cliff Richard was already a No1 cinema attraction when Summer Holiday began production in 1962. This was Peter Yates directorial debut and, sure enough, on its release in 1963, it broke all box office records in its opening week. Commissioned by the Associated British Studios (Elstree), Summer Holiday was produced by Kenneth Harper and directed, as already mentioned, by Pete Yates (who later went on to direct Bullit). The screenplay was jointly written by Peter Myers and Ronald Cass, who also penned most of the songs in the film (we'll come to them later). What seals this film as a wonderful musical comedy is the glorious tryst between the ...

Carmen Jones (DVD) 10/09/2005

Trouble's coming your way

Carmen Jones (DVD) A remake of Georges Bizet's famous opera, Carmen Jones was originally a play on Broadway which ran throughout the late '40s and early '50s. The film director, Otto Preminger loved its so much that he decided it should be made available to a wider audience. He had his wish. Carmen Jones was released at the cinema in 1954. THE ORIGINAL STORY For those that are not familiar with the original Carmen, I'll run through the story briefly. Based in Seville, Carmen is a cigarette factory worker who oozes charisma and sexual prowess. Luring the handsome and naive soldier, Don Jose, away from his sweet fiancée, Micaëla, Carmen thinks she's in love. However, she meets her match in the egotistical matador, Escamillo and abandons Don Jose for a more fiery romance. Still obsessed with Carmen, Don Jose becomes hell bent on revenge with tragic consequences. UPDATE PLOT Carmen Jones is set in America's Deep South during World War Two. Carmen works in a parachute factory. Her Don Jose is Joe, a soldier waiting to enter flying school, and set to wed his childhood sweetheart Cindy Lou. Following a cat-fight in the factory, Joe is ordered to drive Carmen to the jail house, some 50 miles away. Sitting in the car with Joe gives her the opportunity to tempt him away from Cindy-Lou. I don't want to reveal too much about the film as I don't wish to spoil it for first-time viewers. What follows is a clever seduction process, with Joe ultimately walking out on Cindy Lou. Following ...

Everything that starts with W ... 07/09/2005

We're not all geeks, you know.

Everything that starts with W ... The workplace challenge (oh no, not another one) [ 1 ] WHERE DO YOU WORK? I build websites and online investor and environmental reports for FTSE100 companies - for an online consultancy firm. Have you fallen asleep yet?? [ 2 ] WHAT IS YOUR JOB TITLE? Web Developer [ 3 ] WHAT DOES YOUR JOB ENTAIL? It's my job to take designers' and clients' ideas and turn them into web sites and online reports. This not only means making each site look pretty in every browser, but I also have to make sure that each site can be read in a sensible way by Screen Readers. I'm also the in-house expert in Flash design (an animation programme) and this helps me dodge the geek brush with which web programmers are generally tarred. [ 4 ] HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN YOUR CURRENT JOB? I've been working here for just over 3 years. [ 5 ] ARE YOU HAPPY AT WORK? Definitely yes - I get treated very well. The management are the best I've ever worked with and job motivation is good. [ 6 ] IS IT THE JOB FOR YOU? Yes and no - Yes because I've been addicted to the internet since I first learnt to code in HTML back in 1997 . No because I'd much rather work with animals. [ 7 ] WHO DO YOU GET ON BEST WITH AT YOUR WORK? Everyone really - there's a good team spirit about the place and if you have a problem with someone you are encouraged to talk it out - either with them, or to a manger, before it disintegrates into bitterness. [ 8 ] ANYONE YOU DON'T GET ON ...

Monkey Puzzle 03/09/2005

Where's my monkey?

Monkey Puzzle The first memory I had of Monkey Puzzle trees was as a toddler, playing next to one in my great-grandmother's front garden in the heart of Edinburgh (500 yards from Hibernian's football ground). Looking back, it was an incredibly strange place to find a Monkey Puzzle tree - an exotic, orphaned misfit midst a row of run-down terraced houses and melodious rose gardens. Unfortunately no-one in my family claimed to know how it got there so in my teens I decided to do some investigating of my own. I discovered that the first Monkey Puzzle trees in Edinburgh were planted en-masse in Lauriston Gardens in 1843, around 40 years after their introduction into Britain. From this, I could only conclude, knowing the "resourcefulness" of mum's side of the family, that someone had "taken" seeds or off-cuts from Lauriston and planted them in my great-gran's garden. The tree was in its mature phase when I first met it, so at a guess, it was probably planted in the early 1900s. Having such fond memories of this first tree, it's safe to say I have a developed a healthy obsession with them over the years. By the time I was in my mid-twenties, I'd was living in London and on a trip back home one time I decided to re-visit my childhood haunts - and this of course included a visit to the tree. I turned into the street only to find the row of terraced houses had been knocked down and replaced with new Barratt homes and concrete driveways. I sat in the park opposite for a while after, to ...

Cerulean Tower 02/09/2005

View with a Room - shiboom, shiboom

Cerulean Tower Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel is a 5 star hotel which looms over the other buildings in the hip district of Shibuya in downtown west Tokyo. It was built in 2001 and refurbished again last year. There are 414 rooms and it caters for both holiday-makers and business travellers. The guest bedrooms take up the top half of the Cerulean Tower building, from the 19th to the 40th floor. Other floors are given over to shops, businesses, conference rooms, theatres and restaurants. Location: Shibuya (or Shiboom Shiboom as we fondly renamed it) in west Tokyo which has great transport access for getting to all parts of the city. Given the sprawling metropolisis that Tokyo is, it would be hard to find a location you could really call "central". Shibuya in the west offers the next best thing. It is a busy commercial and retail centre with a large tourist information centre in its bus/rail terminal. GETTING THERE: From Narita Airport: There is a bus direct to the Cerulean Tower from the airport. It takes approx. 70 minutes by Airport Limousine Bus. Tickets cost Y3,000 per person single fare which can be bought inside the airport terminal. Buses run every 30 mins. Train: A 5 minute walk from Shibuya Station which serves Tokyu Toyoko Line, Tokyu Denentoshi Line, Keio Inogashira Line, JR Yamanote Line, JR Saikyo line, Subway Ginza line and Subway Hanzomon line. Ticket machines are self-service and will display information in English as well as Japanese. By Car: There is ...

Freeze 24-7 Anti-Wrinkle Cream 23/08/2005

A steam iron for wrinkles

Freeze 24-7 Anti-Wrinkle Cream Before I commence this review, i'd like to highlight 3 points: 1) This is expensive - 30g (1oz) for £65.00 - but cheaper than Botox 2) Long-term use will not reduce the signs of ageing 3) It's a pre-moisturising cream MY FACE I'm 35 years old and though I eat healthily, I am a caffiene addict and i've smoked for some 15 years. Consequently I probably haven't aged as well as I could have and my laughter lines no longer disappear half way into the morning like they used to. I have fine lines down from my nose to the corners of my lips and fine creases by my eyes. WHY THIS PRODUCT Before I got married in May this year I did a bit of research into anti-wrinkle products because, like all brides, I wanted to look my best on the day. Reading through a copy of the Evening Standard's ES Magazine one night, I came across a new product on the UK market called Freeze 24/7 Anti Wrinkle Cream. It claimed to visibly reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles within minutes and the effects would last all day long. WHERE TO BUY My local chemists had never heard of the product so off to Google I went. Freeze 24/7 have a website but it's based in the States. I didn't want to get caught out with delivery times and eventually stumbled on Space NK's website, one of the only distributors of the product in the UK. A few days later by pot of miracle cream arrived in the post at work in a beautifully wrapped gift box. I couldn't wait to get home to try it. INTRO Freeze ...

All About Me 23/08/2005

Una Stubbs, Meerkats and the Poll Tax Riots

All About Me As a new member of Ciao I thought I'd introduce myself briefly with a few quick-fire questions and answers. I will publish a more indepth introduction in the coming months but as I'm the new girl at school and only just getting to know everyone, I'm still a little shy and reserved. --------------- --------------- --------------- --------------- - So, why the username kollarosie? Simple really, Kolla is my nickname and the other bit is my maiden name, before becoming Mrs Richmond earlier this year. Give us one word to describe you: Eclectic Chose one Desert Island Disc: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered sung by Ella Fitzgerald Chose one Desert Island Book: L'etranger by Albert Camus Chose one Desert Island Film: Summer Holiday (1962) What floats your boat? Laughing until I cry Tell us something no one knows about you: I can say "monkey" and count from one to ten in over twenty languages. What's your idea of a dream date? Sharing a fine wine near the half dome in Yosemite Park, California Do you believe in love at first sight? No, no, no - I never judge someone on their looks… unless they're dressed as a parking warden. Where did you grow up? In Edinburgh Where do you live now? London - moved here in 1987 to complete a degree course and ended up staying. When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up? An airline pilot When you were a child, who was your hero? My granddad - he taught me how to wire a ...

Gibraltar 23/08/2005

Marriage on the Rock(s)

Gibraltar This review is about getting married in Gibraltar, nick-named "The Rock" but, strictly speaking, a small peninsula jutting out from the heel of Spain. After lengthy discussions about where we should wed, we finally married in Gibraltar in May this year. There were a number of reasons for this slightly unusual choice of locations. Most importantly:- - we wanted a civil ceremony - we wanted a small reception - we wanted it to be inexpensive but memorable The easiest solution was to have the wedding abroad - that way we could celebrate our marriage whilst at the same time, avoiding offending pals for not inviting them. We hit on the idea of Vegas first but this proved to be costly and our parents weren't up for travelling that far. We then considered Spain but after much research we concluded that the language barrier, legal fees and red tape were against us. Eventually we settled on Gibraltar. A residual crumb of ye olde British Empire, Gibraltar remains a thorn in the side of both the Spanish and the British governments. One won't give it up and the other just won't give in. For us though, it was the perfect solution: still under British rule but far enough away from the UK to feel like it was abroad! PROCEDURES It is a very simple process for UK citizens to get married in Gibraltar. We booked a civil marriage ceremony 4 months in advance of the date we wanted. To do this takes one phone call to the Registry office (Joshua Hassan House) in Gibraltar and ...
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