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since 08/04/2001


Options Belgian Chocolate Instant Hot Chocolate Drink 01/06/2010

Consider Your Options Wisely!

Options Belgian Chocolate Instant Hot Chocolate Drink Do you remember having Coco Pops or Nesquik just to finish off the chocolate milk at the end? Or perhaps various chocolate milk drinks that we were given throughout our childhood? Perhaps this is why we associate chocolate with a positive feeling as, let’s admit it, many parents use it as a reward! Maybe this is why so many of us are on the verge of a chocolate addiction!? But as we get older and more self-aware, we realise what is good for us and what is not so and sadly chocolate falls into the less favourable category. *Insert sad face here!* Options - product of Ovaltine UK - is one of many brands who have invented a compromise for the more health-conscious of us: Options Belgian Chocolate in a 220g tub, suitable for all the family. I can see how this would offer a guilt-free option for parents to give to their children as a night-time drink. And I can certainly understand how people like me view it as an innocent treat. In fact, it has prevented me from quickly nipping to the local shop in the evening when I’ve been craving something sweet. It is, as the name would suggest, an alternative option. The Taste Test Contrary to popular opinion, I find Options Belgian chocolate rather watery. It’s like an average vending machine hot chocolate, only with fewer calories. I guess I must expect this to a certain extent because the product is instant – but I kind of feel it would be worth putting in the extra time and attention in order to create a thicker, ...

Benny And Joon (DVD) 24/05/2010

"I used to look up to I can't even look at you!"

Benny And Joon (DVD) The title is a great line from the film! Can you believe it? Benny and Joon is now 17 years old. That means I was just 2 ½ when it was released! Feel old? Before today I’d never seen this film, although heard much about its great reputation. But lately, I’ve been gradually coaxing out past Johnny Depp films from the lovely Amazon (the website, not the rainforest – it’s not quite that good a film!) and up cropped Benny and Joon. Plot Benny and Joon are brother and sister. Benjamin (a few years Juniper’s senior) cares for her as she has an undefined mental illness. Joon’s eccentricity is rather exaggerated at the start of the film, with scenes such as the young lady randomly directing traffic whilst wearing a snorkel. I felt this was more of a representation of mental illness than a realistic interpretation.Thankfully though, as the film progresses Joon’s crazy behaviour feels much more set in reality, allowing the audience to warm to the character. The story becomes much more intriguing when Mike (a friend of Benny) wins a bet with Joon. She must look after his cousin, Sam. Sam’s presence introduces a new dynamic to the film. Sam seems to enrich Benny’s life and, more importantly, he establishes a genuine connection with Joon. Meanwhile, Benny is trying and mostly failing to enter into a relationship with Ruthie, due to the great responsibility he feels for Joon. It is really quite rewarding to watch this film unfold and watch how Joon develops, ...

BeneFit Love Your... Lip Gloss 06/04/2010

Don't Gloss Over the Benefits!

BeneFit Love Your... Lip Gloss As you may be aware, the chocolate bar, Flake, have a Benefit lipstick promotion on at the moment. I am pleased to say that I managed to get hold of one of these little goodies. There are several lipsticks and two lip glosses to choose from on the website. I chose 'Fresh Squeezed over Life' on the A List and just under three weeks later, my lip gloss lovely arrived in the post. The Look My Benefit lip gloss is a pretty peach colour. I was hoping the effect would be very natural, but instead it looks quite dressy and shows you've made an effort. This of course is no bad thing and I'm the sort of person that may wear it to the local shop, even so! It looks like tiny particles of glitter have been added to the gloss to create a beautiful shimmer effect, which is sure to get you noticed! I think this lip gloss creates the perfect balance, as it has a sense of maturity, but with a youthful edge to it. I have a pink squeezy lip gloss from The Body Shop and it's interesting to note the differences between them. My Body Shop gloss is far gloopier and creates a sticky effect on the lips, as well as looking sweet and girly. On the other hand, this Benefit lip gloss glides on very easy and has a good consistency which is not too thick. It doesn't seem to attract my hair to stick to my lips in the same way, thankfully! I would say that this gloss has a lovely, feminine feel to it, but is far more glamorous than my old Body Shop gloss. The only complaint I ...

Top 10 TV Programs ever 03/04/2010

Oi, Watch It!

Top 10 TV Programs ever Time for a fun review I think! So after some difficult deliberation I have come up with what are currently my top 10 programmes. Over the years, I hope these will change as the BBC and ITV produce more comedies and dramas that are worth following every week - well, we can only hope! Out of all the reality programmes I've watched from time to time (my Mother follows them almost religiously), only one has reaches my Top 10. I just have to say, most reality television severely irritates me because it's like watching the same series over and over again. Also, it has in part taken the main channels away from making new dramas, as it is so much cheaper to produce these shows where millions of members of the public are willing to work for free. Anyway, rant over - let's get to the fun bit! 10th - The Inbetweeners The Inbetweeners is like a cross between 'The I.T Crowd' and 'Skins'! This hilarious comedy follows the journey that Will takes as he moves to a new state school sixth form. With his blazer and briefcase, he doesn't exactly fit in! Eventually he forms a group of friends, who are each in their own way very amusing to watch. Simon is clumsy with the girls, Jay boasts about his sexual encounters (when he in fact isn't getting any!) and Neil is brilliantly stupid. I think Neil has to be my favourite character actually. The actor went to East 15 Acting School, where I will be in September! Emily Atack (who was recently on Dancing on Ice ancing on Ice) ...

Girl With A Pearl Earring (DVD) 02/04/2010

This Film Is More Of An Oyster Than A Pearl!

Girl With A Pearl Earring (DVD) *Film only review* Girl with a Pearl Earring is a movie I’ve wanted to see for years. Seven years, in fact. Starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson and nominated for countless awards, I was sure it was going to be a success in my books. Unfortunately, this was one of those films that is so worthy and high-brow that it’s impossible to properly enjoy! The plot is very simple. A young servant named Griet (Scarlett Johansson) starts working in the house of the painter Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth). He soon spots her and she becomes his inspiration for a new painting. His Wife, Catharina (Essie Davis), has insecurities which lead to a jealousy of Griet, thus potentially interfering with Johannes’s new work of art. There are also complications bought about by Johannes’s patron, Pieter Van Ruijven (Tom Wilkinson) who has so much power and lust that he believes he can have anything he wants. I found the character of Griet rather underwhelming. Scarlett Johansson has little dialogue for much of the film and her presence wasn’t strong enough for me. She created a few moments of brilliance and yes, her role was convincing. However, I’d expected Johansson to give a show-stopping performance, after gaining such critical acclaim. Griet, as the main protagonist, takes the most prominent journey, as her character becomes less quiet, less eager to please and undergoes a sexual awakening. I must admit, it was nice to see her get some colour in her cheeks, as she ...

Alice in Wonderland [Original Score] 26/03/2010

Almost Alice is Almost Awesome

Alice in Wonderland [Original Score] Almost Alice is an assortment of music by various artists, inspired by Tim Burton’s re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland. Some releases of the album have bonus tracks, but this review is purely about the standard album. Sixteen new tracks by a selection of different musicians - many of whom I have never heard of and the majority of which are American. Alice by Avril Lavigne – 4 out of 5 This is the main song on the Almost Alice album and the perfect track to open the album with. I do recall hearing it from Alice in Wonderland 3D, which I saw at the cinema a few weeks ago. It starts pretty dramatically which complements the song as a whole, as Avril’s vocals are powerful and full of teenage angst (even though she’s 25 years old). In my opinion, Avril Lavigne is the perfect artist to be associated with the film, as she has that rocky, quirky edge to her, similar to Tim Burton’s creation of Alice herself. The Poison by The All-American Rejects – 4 out of 5 The vocals on this number are lovely and deep, with a nice rich quality. I don’t think this is a particularly memorable song, but I like it. It’s very easy to listen to and is actually quite soothing! I love that the melody perks up near the end with some great, regal-sounding beats. I found it quite exciting and it definitely kept my attention. The contrast is lovely, when it then switches back to a calm, sombre sound. The lyrics are brilliant, here are my favourite lines, which I think work so well ...

Lush Supernova 25/03/2010

My Secret Rendezvous

Lush Supernova The dreams I’d had. Such high expectations. But like a shooting star, they came crashing down to earth… After reading so many delectable reviews about Lush products on Ciao and Dooyoo, I caved in and bought myself a nice little lot of Lush goodies from their website! Amongst these spontaneous purchases was one bath ballistic – Supernova. Not only did I love the magical name of this bath treat, but it was pink with ribbons! “Awesome,” I thought. A secret account of my fleeting rendezvous with Supernova Carefully selected from a range that included ducks, balls (no, that’s not what I mean!) flowers and even a robot, Supernova was, in many ways, The Chosen One. Her mission - whether she chose to accept it - was to make my bath a spectacular experience and brighten up my day. But my encounter with Supernova translated into a sadder tale than I had hoped. We never saw eye to eye. She let me down. I’d expected her to be bright and bubbly, light up the room. But alas, she disappeared on me. One moment she was there, a light pink whirl, and the next – gone. Sweet-tempered Supernova always left behind a faint aroma; I could never quite tell what it was. She had boasted of “a posh cocktail of orange and cognac oil,” but it was never that fancy. I know its mean, but to me, she smelt more of kitchen cleaner. A nice one, yes, but kitchen cleaner all the same. At least, however, we departed on good terms. She left me a present for afterwards – gorgeously ...

BBC1 22/03/2010

One on One

BBC1 BBC One has been established for just less than 75 years and is still producing many television programmes of various genres, in order to provide for different audiences. But is it doing enough? Has BBC considered everyone when scheduling their television? I spent this afternoon researching into the channel… *Children’s TV Programmes* Between 3.05pm and 5.15pm on a weekday, BBC One plays a variety of programmes aimed at children. The main programmes that are on from Monday to Friday are 3rd and Bird, Dirtgirlworld, Dennis & Gnasher, Shaun the Sheep, Muddle Earth and Newsround. The shows are usually linked together by a few moments with the CBBC presenters – a diverse range of vibrant, overly enthusiastic young men and women. 3rd and Bird is an animated series aimed at pre-school children. The voices of the characters sound like young children. I find it quite sweet, but I don’t think I could stand it being on everyday! BBC One claims that in every episode the characters “learn lessons about diversity, tolerance or perseverance.” Dirtgirlworld encourages youngsters to care for the environment, whilst Muddle Earth and Dennis the Gnasher are cartoons aimed at the slightly older child. Shaun the Sheep is quite entertaining for a wider range of ages and created by Aardman Animations – makers of Wallace and Gromit. Through researching the main programmes the BBC offers for children, it is clear to me that the focus is too heavily on animation. I’d like to see ...

Loose Women 17/03/2010

Letting It All Hang Loose

Loose Women I don’t know about you, but I like to loosen up around lunch. Kick back, relax and hand myself over to fun, carefree television. I’m not claiming that Loose Women is top-notch quality viewing, but it is guaranteed to be a good laugh. Each day, Monday to Friday, four celebrities present a discussion programme, with two different guests appearing on the show each time. These four ladies vary from day to day (I will go into this in more depth later) which helps to spice up the programme. The hour includes the ladies debating the chosen topics – today’s being “Are you a fan of holding hands?”, “How do you keep boredom out of your life?”, “Were you born with dancing shoes on?” and “What do you think about schools monitoring your child’s weight?” So, as you can see, the topics are pretty general, although often relevant to what has cropped up in the media that week. What really makes them interesting is the way the loose women chop in with their own tales and often have completely different opinions from one another. The gang are an interesting mix of personalities who have come to be a loose woman from a variety of careers; some are journalists or presenters, others actresses and singers. You wouldn’t necessarily recognise them all, but I’m pretty sure that being on this panel show has made them known to a more mainstream audience. Meet the Loose Women Each day one woman leads the others, introducing the topics and managing the discussion, ensuring that things ...

An Education (DVD) 12/03/2010

Never Let Your Schooling Interfere With Your Education

An Education (DVD) My title is based on a Mark twain quote, which suits this film beautifully! An Education has received countless nominations for everything from ‘Best Screenplay’ at the British Independent Film Awards through to ‘Best Direction’ at this year’s BAFTAs, with the relatively unknown Carey Mulligan famously winning ‘Best Actress’ at the BAFTAs. With such critical acclaim linked to this film and plenty of quality movie clips shown at BAFTAs, I was immediately enthralled. Would ‘An Education’ live up to its expectations or would it be one huge disappointment? =Acting= Personally, I believe the best performance was given by Alfred Molina who plays jack, Jenny’s Father. Jack is a man of great principles, who wants the best for his only daughter, but doesn’t always show his support in the right way. Although the character is a tough, authority figure, Molina has interpreted him in a very human way in which one can relate cow to him, rather than feel he is a villain. A particularly touching moment is when he delivers an emotional apology to Jenny (well, a shut bedroom door with her on the other side of it) carrying a cup of tea and three custard creams! The writing here is brilliant and very well delivered by Alfred Molina. His experience of working almost consistently for the last 30 years have really paid off in this film. Kara Seymour, an actress whom I was previously unfamiliar with, plays the girl’s Mother, Marjorie. She supports both Carey Mulligan and Alfred ...

Bristol Ice Rink, Bristol 12/03/2010

Skating On Thin Ice

Bristol Ice Rink, Bristol I’m sure Dancing on Ice has enthused many to give ice skating a go, aiming for the dizzy heights of Torville and Dean but failing to meet the dismal lows of Todd Carty! The Bristol Ice Rink is in the heart of Bristol, near Colston Hall, The Bristol Hippodrome and Carling Academy. Despite being in such a well-known area, it’s not actually the easiest of venues to find. Once you’ve climbed two flights of grubby concrete stairs you eventually arrive at reception. The staff at reception have always been very friendly towards me and come across suitably knowledgeable of all the services they offer. Typically, I go ice skating between 10am and 3pm, where the rink is a little quieter. It does, however, cost £6 compared to the £4.95 you can expect to pay early in the evening. As well as the public sessions, the ice rink offers skating lessons for all grades (either one-on-one or in groups), ice hockey for all abilities, private skate parties and a public disco three times a week. ----Skate Hire---- What makes ice skating an expensive activity for me is the additional £1.75 I have to pay each week for skate hire. Also an additional, non-refundable pound coin if I need the use of a locker. I have found the service at the skate hire section less then acceptable on more than one occasion. I’ve been left waiting for someone to come, when really there should be someone there waiting to serve me. And when they eventually do turn up, they’ve appeared less then ...

Lush Karma Soap 04/03/2010

Karma little closer now ;)

Lush Karma Soap ***Karma*** The universal law of karma focuses on peace and inner harmony. In the modern Western World, we tend to think of karma in the terms of “what goes around comes around”. So, if you do something good, that has a positive effect on the world, then this will come back to you and something good will happen. Naturally, the same is said to happen with negative actions, but I don’t think Lush is focusing on that aspect in the naming of this soap. ***Why choose Lush?*** If you’ve ever been past a Lush store, you will recognise it primarily by the strong, sweet mix of aromas begging you to come in! I was very impressed to learn that all of Lush’s products are handmade by their staff and rather sweetly have a sticker on it with a picture of the relevant team member! The products which turn out not good enough to be sold are sent to charities such as ‘Save the children,’ rather than chucked out with the waste bins. It is rare to hear of a company that cares so much for our planet, the people in it and the quality of the buyer’s experience. *** Aroma*** Karma is such a distinctive scent from Lush. It is created with a combination of the happy hippy scent patchouli, orange, lavender and lemongrass oil…and the mysterious ‘perfume’ – Lush’s way of keeping a small part of the recipe secret! I find the aroma very soothing and in some way it encourages me to de-stress and relax. And believe me, I am someone that needs constantly reminding! The ...

The Invention Of Lying (DVD) 27/02/2010

Well, If I'm Being Honest...

The Invention Of Lying (DVD) Ricky Gervais was recently interviewed on The One Show and this brought my attention to his film ‘The Invention of Lying.’ Believe me, it is very much his film, as he not only starred in it but was also scriptwriter, producer and director. Quite impressive really! It’s amazing how well Gervais has gone down State-side after they bought ‘The Office’ from us Brits. In fact, his profile went so high that he was even asked to present The Golden Globes this year! So this film is pretty much American, except from Gervais himself, but I didn’t find that detrimental to his form of comedy. In fact, the ensemble cast and his leading lady were all brilliant at performing his deadpan style of humour. The film begins with a charming introduction from Gervais, who explains that the world of the film is an alternative reality in which it is impossible to lie. This has very harsh and humorous consequences – particularly for “loser” Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) whose colleagues openly admit they hate him and women freely confess they are out of his league. I think it’s fair to say that this completely honest world is established very thoroughly and even quite believably. From a bus advert stating “Pepsi – for when they don’t have Coke” to a cheap motel's description being “for intercourse with a stranger.” These little details ensured I was chuckling throughout and were often very clever. ‘The Invention of Lying’ is essentially a romantic comedy (just a very high concept ...

Wild Young Hearts - Noisettes (The) 20/02/2010

Not Just Cheap Kicks

Wild Young Hearts - Noisettes (The) I was not a fan of The Noisettes. I heard a song at a friend’s party and just had to ask her who they were and now I have the album downloaded onto my ipod. I took a chance buying it after liking just one song, but was it worth it? The Noisettes is formed by guitarist Dan Smith, drummer Jamie Morison and of course, vocalist Shingai Shoniwa from Zimbabwe who all met at the BRITS school for performing arts in London. As a team they perform some of the songs acoustically and others with electric guitar. I’m no expert on guitar or drums, but as a singer I can tell you that Shingai’s voice certainly is something quite incredible. Beautifully deep and powerful it resonates throughout ‘Wild Young Hearts.’ On their website they describe this album as being about youth and acting young, but personally I don’t think that comes through. However it is definitely individualistic and I would compare the band with artists such as Amy Winehouse and Paloma Faith. Track list 1. Sometimes 2. Don’t Upset The Rhythm (Go Baby Go) 3. Wild Young Hearts 4. 24 Hours 5. Every Now And Then 6. Beat Of My Heart 7. Atticus 8. Never Forget You 9. So Complicated 10. Saturday Night 11. Cheap Kicks Never Forget You, Saturday Night and Don’t Upset The Rhythm have all been released as singles, with the latter reaching their highest position of no.2 in the charts, which is maybe quite surprising as I wouldn’t have described their music as commercial pop. It’s too good for that – but ...

Essays 26/10/2004

A Literary biography of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Essays The Romantic movement took place between 1789 and 1832.Romanticism encourages freedom of ideas and the expression of emotion, therefore, legends, folklore, dreams, the supernatural and pacifically nature are all included in romantic poetry. This essay focuses on Samuel Taylor Coleridge but another well known romantic poet is William Wordsworth. Coleridge and Wordsworth were companions for a while and influenced each others poetry. The child of Anne Bowden and John Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, was born on the 21st October, 1772, in Ottery St Mary’s, which is in Devon. He was the youngest of 10 children, which meant that he had to fight for the attention of his beloved father, who was a vicar and headmaster at the local school. Later on in his life, at the age of nine, Coleridge lost hi father due to a heart attack. As a result of this unfortunate event, the Coleridge family moved out of the school house. Samuel Taylor also left his father’s school, which he had attended since the age of six, and in 1782, Coleridge started at Jesus Christ’s hospital in London. Nine years on and Coleridge had earned himself a scholarship to the well renowned Cambridge University, where he led a hectic social life.He stayed at university for two years, before giving it up for a job as a Private, presumably to help him pay off his great debts which came with his exciting social life. He went under the name of ‘Silas Tomkin Comberbache.’ He soon abandoned this occupation and returned to ...
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