Share this page on

red Status red (Level 5/10)

melinda3536

melinda3536

No member profile available. The person you are looking for is no longer a Ciao member.

Reviews written

since 05/11/2009

79

Lush Stepping Stone Foot Scrub 30/11/2014

My sole Lush review!

Lush Stepping Stone Foot Scrub As a general rule, I don't do beauty products. The extent of my 'regime' as far as that sort of thing is concerned is an emergency tube of strong moisturiser for abused hands, and a witch hazel scrub for occasional emergency facial exfoliation. My feet suffer for lack of attention too, so when I read a review of this foot bar some months back, I felt that it was time to brave the assault on the senses that is our local Lush shop, and try them out. I grew up familiar with the idea of The Pumice Stone - which was a very fine grade but solid lump of a scrubbing stone for rough skin, that lived on the edge of the bath, and did actually get regular usage. Later on the 'pumice sponge' emerged as an alternative, a looser construction rectangular bar that comes in various bright shades and is far rougher than the old traditional pumice stone. I found that it was possible to rub too hard with this and actually do some serious damage to skin, so in time I went off this form of abrasive treatment. The Lush Stepping Stone Foot Scrub bar is a completely different animal however. Much like their bath bars, it is of a fairly fragile construction, which allows you to easily break off a piece. The foot-shaped bar itself is about 9cm long, and I usually break off a piece about two or three centimetres squared to scrub each foot. When used in the shower, I keep one bit outside the curtain until needed as it takes up the moisture very quickly, and will begin to dissolve before you need it if ...

The Deep Blue Sea (DVD) 15/11/2014

In too deep in The Deep Blue Sea

The Deep Blue Sea (DVD) Having seen Tom Hiddleston give a fantastic performance in Shakespeare's Coriolanus last year, I was curious to see what else he'd done. This was one of them - a film adaptation of a Terence Rattigan play, which takes as its subject the study of the doomed relationship between a trophy society wife and her down-at-heel airman lover. The two main characters are Hester Collyer, played by Rachel Weisz , and Freddie Page, played by Tom Hiddleston. Hester's estranged husband Sir William Collyer is played by Simon Russell Beale in a rare film role - he recently gave an amazing performance as King Lear in a long run at the National Theatre. A short precis: set in the late 1940s - early 1950's, the play is famous for its beginning, so it's not really a spoiler. Hester is seen trying to gas herself in their dingy flat while Freddie is out. During the time when she is allowing herself to lose consciousness, we see a number of flashbacks to happier times with her lover. She is rescued by neighbours, and from then onwards, over the course of one day, we see the repercussions of her actions play out, as Freddie, the neighbours, the landlady and her estranged husband all pass through. I knew nothing about the play before watching this film, so had no idea then how true it was to the original. There were parts of it that I found slightly annoying, such as Freddie's rather forced 'Air Force slang' (the repeated use of the phrase "old fruit" in one scene almost made me switch off!), but ...

Archipelago (DVD) 20/03/2014

Archipelago - family holidays and how not to do them

Archipelago (DVD) Film only review. This 2010 release is set on the Scilly Isle of Tresco, in the English Channel. It follows the holiday taken by members of an upper middle class family, prior to the son taking an extended trip to Africa to do voluntary work. The film is written and directed by Brit Joanna Hogg, who had worked for around 10 years in TV. She directed episodes of Casualty and Eastenders, before moving on to writing and directing her own films. Her first was 'Unrelated' , which won the International Critics Prize at the London Film Festival in 2007, amongst others. Archipelago had some big boots to fill! The title refers to a group of islands (such as the Scilly Isles), with the implication that the members of the family are themselves now islands too, related but separate from each other. Hogg chose this location because of her familiarity with it, having herself had family holidays there as a child. The style of the film is almost that of a fly-on-the-wall documentary, and the actors play their roles very convincingly in that context, making a very credible troubled family. It is a fascinating, if a little frustrating at times, study of a family trying to hang on to the past. The cottage that they have rented is one that they used to stay in when the children were little, but now Edward (Tom Hiddleston) and Cynthia (Lydia Leonard) are grown up, and their mother Patricia (Kate Fahy) is trying in vain to persuade their absent father, by phone, to join them in this grand ...

Insurgentes (+DVD) - Steven Wilson 16/12/2013

Insurgentes - Wilson's solo revelation

Insurgentes (+DVD) - Steven Wilson For years, Steven Wilson has worked behind other names - his main band Porcupine Tree being his 'baby' for a long time, Bass Communion (solo experimental soundscapes), IEM (again experimental but jazz/krautrock fusion in this case), long-running collaborations with singer and lyricist Tim Bowness as the unclassifiable No-Man , and with Israeli superstar Aviv Geffen in rock/pop Blackfield , as well as many other side-projects. This however was Steven Wilson's first solo album under his own name, having released many others under the names of IEM and Bass Communion. It was released initially at the latter end of 2008 to those who had pre-ordered it online, and then was officially released into the wider world in February 2009. It has the feel of an outworking of all of the things that wouldn't fit in the Porcupine Tree, Bass Communion, IEM, No-Man or Blackfield canons. It has a sound at once familiar to long-standing fans of a broad range of his output, but also at odds with it, a brasher, noisier, at times more industrial sound than anything that he had done before, balanced by some softer melodic compositions than maybe had gone before, too. Although it's probably last in my preference list of the three (to date) solo albums, it is still pretty special and a great listen, particularly if you have a surround system and can locate a copy of this digibook CD / DVD-A version, which contains high resolution stereo and surround mixes of the album. Chronologically, in terms of ...

Hotpoint Hug52P White Double Oven Gas Cooker 30/09/2013

Hot point - our first gas oven

Hotpoint Hug52P White Double Oven Gas Cooker As a child, I grew up with a gas cooker in the house, but switched to electric when my husband and I had our first flat due to regulations. We bought our first oven back in 1993, and it served us well until we had to leave it behind us in 2008! We abandoned it because the previous residents in our new property had left us their old Cannon gas oven, still perfectly serviceable, and I was happy to at last return to cooking with gas. However, it was already ten years old, and after another four years the burners began to fail, the pressure wasn't what it should have been even with annual servicing, so we began to search for a new one. After much consideration of reviews, balancing expense against reliability, we chose this model. With one near miss (one on order when Comet went under), we finally plucked up the courage to try again early this summer, and bought one from Curry's. The immediate difference with this one is the depth front to back - we needed it to be 50" wide to fit the very narrow gap in the worktop, but the depth had no restriction, so it never occurred to me to check it. It does stick out a bit (the old one was pretty flush with the cupboards), but not so much so that it's an obstacle. Next big difference is the colour - we've gone from a very dark brown old cooker to 'Polar White' with silver handles and knobs, so it's lightened that part of the kitchen quite nicely! The operation of the ignition is completely different - for a start it has to be plugged ...

Sounds That Can't Be Made - Marillion 27/06/2013

Marillion - still making sounds!

Sounds That Can't Be Made - Marillion Sounds That Can't Be Made was Marillion's 15th studio album, released in 2012. The Aylesbury-based veteran British progressive rock band have been around since the early 1980's, and despite the majority of people who remember the songs Kayleigh and Lavender believing that they split when original singer Fish left in 1988, they are still going strong with Steve Hogarth who took over from him! Unfortunately for many years now they have not been a band loved by the radio stations, so they have always had to rely closely on their fanbase to keep them afloat, with little or no promotion. Marillion pioneered the use of the internet to harness fan-power, with the fans practically inventing the concept of crowd-funding, when an appeal was made for help to get the band over to the States in the late '90s. They have used the method of offering a pre-order for albums months in advance to fund either the album itself or the publicity for it. The benefit of taking part in these campaigns is getting your name in the credits (pages and pages of them!), and often a beautifully produced deluxe package. Sounds That Can't be Made is no exception. It features artwork and photography by several artists who have been professionally connected with the band, and in several cases also fans, for many years. The band consists of Steve Hogarth on vocals, piano & percussion, Steve Rothery on lead guitar, Mark Kelly on keyboards and effects, Pete Trewavas on bass, and Ian Moseley on drums. Hogarth is ...

NSRGNTS RMXS (Remixes) - Steven Wilson 19/05/2013

Steven Wilson's Insurgentes gets a makeover

NSRGNTS RMXS (Remixes) - Steven Wilson Remix albums are always a slightly daunting prospect for me as a listener. Usually it just seems to involve someone taking perfectly good songs and applying a drum machine "to make them more acceptable to today's young". They're not generally speaking something that I make a point of getting, I have to admit, and this one I held off for a while as I enjoy the originals very much. However, there was one potential redeeming feature here: I knew that at least two of the people responsible for the alternative versions of these songs (Pat Mastelotto and Dirk Serries) have previously collaborated with Steven Wilson on original material. This gave me some hope that there would be a sympathetic treatment of the songs, while still pushing the boundaries a little. In fact, I hoped that each mix would take the songs in new and more extreme directions than they'd previously gone. The songs originate from Insurgentes, Steven Wilson's first solo album under his own name, which was released in 2008. Ordinarily up until they took a break a couple of years ago, Wilson was frontman of British rock group Porcupine Tree. He has always had several other musical projects going at once though, as well as producing, mastering and mixing. He recently released his third solo album "The Raven that Refused to Sing" to great critical acclaim, and is currently in the middle of a world tour. The Tracks and their remixers: 1 Harmony Korine (David A. Sitek Magnetized nebula Mix) 5:10 Additional musicians ...

Raven That Refused to Sing and Other Stories (+DVD) - Steven Wilson 06/05/2013

Steven Wilson's Raven may refuse to sing, but......

Raven That Refused to Sing and Other Stories (+DVD) - Steven Wilson British musician Steven Wilson is gaining a growing reputation in the industry, particularly at the Progressive Rock end of things, not just for his own work but also his massive abilities in surround mixes (he's just been working on the King Crimson back catalogue and the recent reissue of Jethro Tulls Thick as a Brick and the new TAAB 2), his talent as a producer, and his all-round omnipresence in Prog magazine (he won Idol of the year again, as well as tour of the year). His 'main' band Porcupine Tree are on a prolonged break, and apart from a bit of dabbling on Blackfield's new album (another long-standing collaboration) and making some more Bass Communion compositions (his own experimental ambient noise project), he's mainly been concentrating on his actual solo project. The Raven That Refused to Sing is the third and most recent album, released on the 25th of February 2013. Significant to me as it was my birthday! Is it wrong for an album about murders, deaths and hauntings to be uplifting? This is something I've been struggling with (well, only a little bit) since I first set ears on this album. I've been a fan of Wilson's various projects for a few years now, and this sort of subject area is his pet theme, so it's not a surprise apart from the absence of references to serial killers…. But where the music is concerned there is a barely concealed joy going on that runs completely against the words. I have a feeling that the reason for this has a lot to do with his ...

Nokia Lumia 610 25/04/2013

Lumia 610 - my next step in smartphones

Nokia Lumia 610 The end of my two year contract came around very quickly - my old full-touchscreen Nokia 5230 had served me well, so I was in two minds as to whether to step up to a better phone with my contract or not. I wanted to stay with Nokia as I'd been very happy with the battery life and reliability of my old Nokia, but I wasn't overly keen on having a Windows phone. The whole business of these brightly coloured square tiles with various apps behind them all over the screen didn't appeal. However, the idea of Wi-fi did, as did potentially improving the camera. I finally decided to change in December, having gone through all the options. I stayed on the tariff that I was on with Orange, and started on my journey with my new Nokia 610 Windows phone after a quick tour of it in the shop. In the box - the usual stuff: clever charger which doubles up as a USB lead, battery, sim, ear buds (three different sizes), NO memory card as it has an unexpandable 8GB integral memory, and various different leaflets whose relevance depends on how far along in the setup process you are when you're handed your phone. The lady in the shop set up the sim and battery for me, and organised the switching over of my old number to the new phone. According to my ruler, the phone measures 63mm at its widest point, 119mm at its longest, and is 12mm deep. Its sides are slightly rounded, and it has a soft rubber-type back. This is the baby of the Lumia family, at the bottom of the current range. The phone - was ...

Happiness Is the Road, Vol. 1 (Essence/Live Recording) - Marillion 19/04/2013

Marillion is Happiness

Happiness Is the Road, Vol. 1 (Essence/Live Recording) - Marillion Having looked back over my first few reviews, this one stood out as lacking a proper introduction, so I've decided to correct that omission! Aylesbury-based Marillion are often referred to by those in the know as one of British rock's best kept secrets. Still, after all these years, best remembered for their 80's chart successes with Kayleigh and Lavender, and their Scots giant of a front-man Fish, the band have been releasing albums on a regular basis ever since, with 'new boy' Steve Hogarth providing lyrics and vocals since way back in 1989 after Fish left. Their sound has gone from emulating early Genesis back in the very early days, to a mature, reflective and occasionally loud progressive-tinged genre that they have made their own. This double album, their fifteenth, was released in 2009. I've been a fan on and off since somewhere back in the early 80s. I wrote this review a few months after I bought the album, but I can't really add anything else to it having owned it, and listened to it many more times, for four years! It's hard to write something about an album that is so much more 'feel' than touch - this thing has so much soul in disc 1 (Essence) that it's practically transcendent. This is easily the most spiritual collection of songs that they have come up with to date, and this even spills over into disc 2 (The Hard Shoulder). Essence is a journey of sorts, literally where This Train Is My Life is concerned, a song which any regular express train traveller can ...

Welcome to My DNA - Blackfield 28/03/2013

Blackfield's DNA

Welcome to My DNA - Blackfield Blackfield are a niche supergroup. Most people will never have heard of them, but if you're a fan of contemporary music in Israel, there's every chance you'd be very familiar with one half of the duo behind this band. Aviv Geffen is a pop superstar there, and is also well known for his outspoken, peace campaigning, political views. The other half of the duo is Steven Wilson. Currently enjoying an increasingly successful solo career, he's also the brains behind British rock band Porcupine Tree, and one half of the almost genre -unclassifiable No-Man. Together, when opportunity allows, they have been writing fine rock-pop songs together since they first met in 2000. This, their third album, was released early in 2011. The two previous albums (Blackfield and Blackfield 2) were collaboratively written, but with this one Geffen wrote all but one of the songs. This I found very interesting as the whole album has a far more progressive sound to my ears then the previous two. Wilson's own music has leaned ever more towards 'Prog Rock' over the last few years, so I had expected him to have had a bigger hand in the writing than he had! This goes to show Geffen's own development away from conventional pop rock in this project. In terms of performance, they take an almost equal role in vocals and instruments (guitars and keyboards). The rest of the band are Eran Mitelman on piano and Hammond organ, Seffi Efrati on bass guitar, and Tomer Z on drums and percussion. Strings are provided ...

At The Loch Of The Green Corrie - Andrew Greig 10/03/2013

More than a fishing trip....

At The Loch Of The Green Corrie - Andrew Greig I wrote a review some time back of an anthology of poems by Scottish poet Norman MacCaig. This book is about the fulfilling of a last request in his honour. Poet and novelist Andrew Greig got to know MacCaig through a piece of fan mail at the age of seventeen, having sent some of his own poems to MacCaig by way of a "thank you" for the inspiration of the great poet's work. An invitation to meet up followed from this, and there grew a long friendship as they found that they both knew and loved the same particular area of north west Scotland - Lochinver, Assynt and Suilven, and the complex and beautiful landscape between. The Loch of the Green Corrie is a part of that landscape, and one of MacCaig's most precious places. His request was that Greig should go and catch a fish for him from the loch. This book tells the story of that geographical journey, but also of the journeys of people whose lives intersected with either MacCaig's or the author, while also telling the geological and social history of the area. The book is divided into the four days of the fishing trip in 2000, with each day divided into its own chapters. These days are book-ended by an initial introduction ("The Charge is Laid"), and the account of a return trip that the author made alone in 2008 ("A Late Return"). The first trip, however, was made with two friends, two brothers, who had also known MacCaig well. They camped by the Loch when they had eventually tracked it down, which was a task in itself. The ...

Bob Martin Anti Bacterial Poop Scoop Bag 23/02/2013

Scooping the poop

Bob Martin Anti Bacterial Poop Scoop Bag Since we acquired Jake, our (now five year old) Jack Russell, I have been buying these bags for the safe disposal of his by-products! Through the process of getting his diet right, the poop has varied tremendously in volume, texture and most other ways you could think of, including two nasty bouts of gastritis due to foraging, so this is the story so far of our journey with these bags. Firstly, they chose me, in the sense that initially they were my only option in a hurry when he came to us, at short notice, when he was two. They're the only brand that our local Tesco stock, and our Local Co-Op too for that matter. They are very sturdy for their thin construction, and in three years I think I've only holed two of them when picking up offending articles, both times I think that they were tricky loads hiding in longish grass. Generally the classic technique of turning the bag inside out over the hand, then using the bag like a glove to pick up his waste, bringing the bag up around it, then tying the handles together does the trick. It took me a while to notice that they actually said that they were bio-degradable, something that concerned me after a while as I was suddenly consigning a lot of plastic to the waste system. The bags are a generous size, they certainly cope with a small dog's produce with no trouble at all most of the time. I've often used it for the morning walk deposit and then collected an errant pile from the back yard from the last trip out before bed in ...

Tom Chambers Daily Seed Blend 11/02/2013

Not attractive enough for our birds...

Tom Chambers Daily Seed Blend A few weeks before the recent cold snap, we decided that we should do the responsible thing and stock up on bird food. I spotted some 2Kg bags of Tom Chambers Daily Seed Blend on a 'buy one get one free' offer in our local garden centre, and decided to take them up on it. I didn't look in great detail at the mix at that point, but it seemed to be moving freely in the bag and I could see a bit of a variety in the contents, so I assumed that it would be fine, and filled up both of our seed feeders with it. Our local bird population has a habit of emptying the feeders pretty fast and generally don't seem to be too fussy! It states that it is suitable for seed feeders, ground feeders or bird tables, that it is a "well balanced and nutritious mix", and that it is "attractive to a wide variety of birds", then goes on to list the titmice and various finches, picturing a bullfinch proudly on the front of the bag. We waited. Normally we have a fairly good pass-through of Great Tits, Blue Tits, Long-Tailed Tits and Coal Tits and they tend to visit the feeders quite regularly, as do the Sparrows and the Robin, with the Dunnocks, Blackbirds and Wood Pigeons tidying up underneath. They'll empty the feeders in a couple of days sometimes so I was feeling well prepared with my two 2Kg bags. They came and looked at the feeders, had a bit of a peck, and flew off again. Then they pretty much ignored them through a patch of very wet weather, during which time water got into both feeders and ...

Ecover Washing up Liquid with Lemon & Aloe Vera 29/12/2012

Clean dishes with a clear conscience!

Ecover Washing up Liquid with Lemon & Aloe Vera Many years ago, my Mother discovered this product and began to use it on principal, rather than on merit, because it said that it was good for the environment. My own opinion of it back then was that it didn't work, and had the grease-shifting power of instantly filthy dish water, but she stuck with it and somehow managed to keep our crockery clean. Those were the days (back in the 1980s)when you could only purchase such products from health-food shops. Nowadays they've grown in popularity, with the increased concern about ecology and the damage we're wreaking here there and everywhere, and every supermarket chain seems to have its own version of the stuff as well as the original. Ecover themselves are a Belgian company founded in 1980, who specialise in producing cleaning products made from predominantly plant-based ingredients. The intention is that these products will break down into harmless residues in the drains and water treatment systems, thus causing little or no chemical pollution of the world's waterways and seas. By 1993 they had been recognised by the UN Environment Programme for their contribution to the environment, and according to their website they continue to work on ways to improve their products and packaging. So have they improved the washing up liquid? I decided to have another attempt at using it several years ago when I was having problems with dermatitis and conventional washing up liquids. The most commonly available aromas are Lemon & Aloe Vera, ...
See more reviews Back to top