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since 25/04/2008


On The Edge - Richard Hammond 21/07/2008

An amazing man, an amazing story

On The Edge - Richard Hammond I've never read a biography, not until this one. I've always devoured novels, but never biographies/autobiographies. So what made me read this one? I've always been a huge fan of Hammond. I loved him in Top Gear, the banter with the other presenters, the way he good naturedly let Jeremy torment him with all manner of short jokes. He was cute, friendly and lovable. I was so excited when he started branching out and presenting other shows, such as Braniac: Science Abuse. Then one day my partner Phil says Hammond has crashed his jet car. I don't know the man, never even met him, but my stomach churned. Bombarding Phil with questions, is he hurt?, how bad is it? is he ok?. No-one knew, it turns out not even his family the extent of his injuries, so it was a waiting game for everyone. I remember wondering if Hammond would come through this, if we would ever see him on tv again, would he be the same person? The first television appearance was on Jonathan Ross, and I tuned in eagerly, to see if the Hamster we all loved was still there. It seemed yes he was, apart from a new love for celery, and an uncanny ability to recall everyone's phone number! What relief. During this time we had been watching the media storm against the BBC and more specifically Top Gear, claims it was dangerous, it had gone too far, it should be taken off the air. Thankfully that didn't happen. I wanted to read this book, as a fan, and also because I had found Hammonds interview on Ross ...

Ben & Jerry's Fossil Fuel 14/07/2008

One fossil fuel we CAN consume!

Ben & Jerry's Fossil Fuel Have you guessed yet you're not likely to find many reviews on healthy food from me?! Can I just say thank you to Asda who have just had an amazing offer on Ben and Jerrys, with all the flavours they stocked at £2 a tub. No not a mini tub, a proper full monty sized tub. Obviously I couldn't believe my eyes as they're usually closer to the £5 mark, so justified myself in buying three tubs - how can you choose between the delicious flavours? I bought my favourite Phish Food, Cookie Dough, always a winner, and not having tried Fossil Fuel, it looked my kind of icecream (and it has little dinosaurs - aww!). It's easy to spot in the freezer, as it's in the usual B&J tub, but it's bright yellow with pictures of choclate dinosaurs on the front. I'm making a considered decision not to include nutritional information, because if you're going to eat it, you're better off not knowing the amount of calories concerned! However with 29% cream, safe to say it's not virtuous! Getting home from the shops Fossil Fuel was the first to be sampled (we managed to eat less than half a tub between us! quite a feat!). Looking at the open tub, the icecream is cream and light brown, with dark chocolate chunks and marbling. It is delicious, and may be my new favourite. It was sweet (as can be expected!), which can only be a good thing because with my more inclined to savoury tastes, there is only so much I can scoff! This means I don't end up finishing the whole tub and ingesting ...

Zoolander (DVD) 13/07/2008

What is this - a centre for ants?!

Zoolander (DVD) When it comes to Zoolander, turn off brain functioning, and laugh at the ridiculous stupid humour this film consists of! ZL was originally a short spoof clip made for the VH1 music awards. This movie is one of the nine that Wilson and Stiller have co-starred in to date. Ben Stiller (Meet the Parents, Dodgeball) stars as Derek Zoolander, three time Male Model of the Year. Derek is beginning to wonder if "there is more to life than being really really ridiculously good looking" when his career and personal life take a simultaneous dive. He loses out on his fourth Male Model of the Year award to Hansel (Owen Wilson - I-Spy, Cars) a new on the scene, hippy model. Unfortunately Derek doesn't realise he hasn't won and tries to take the award at the ceremony making him a laughing stock. When his fellow male model roomates try to cheer him up by taking him for orange mocha frappachinos (or something like that) they die horribly in a freak petrol pump fight accident (don't ask). Zoolander survives because he has gone to a bin down the road to look at an article of himself on the cover of time - "I'm a model.. idiot". The article was written by Maltilda Jeffries (Christine Taylor - Stiller's real-life wife) an uptight journalist who has been shadowing him. Derek has a breakdown, wondering "Who Am I?", and announces he is retiring. He returns home to work in the mines with his dad (John Voight) and brothers (one of whom is played by Vince Vaughn). This is not a sucess, ...

Members Advice on Labour And Birth 11/07/2008

My experience of labour

Members Advice on Labour And Birth I decided I wanted to use the local NHS birthing centre while pregnant with my first child. The main reasons for this were that it was very close, a five min drive if that. It was relatively new, with the hospital being only a few years old. The rooms were comfortable and not clinical, more like a travelodge or something similar. Another major reason was the fact that my partner could stay with me during the labour and when our new baby was born for as long as we were in hospital. This was extremely important to me. Birthing centres are managed by a staff consisting of midwives only. There are no doctors available and this can be a worry. They are a sort of halfway house between a hospital birth and a home birth. A lot of people choose birthing centres when they have an aversion to hospital environments. In my particular birthing centre they had around 13 rooms, some double, some single. A bathroom was shared between two rooms. I knew that there were a lot of women due around the same time so was worried they may be full/very busy. There are two other hospitals with maternity wards I could have gone to several miles in opposite directions from me. The distance was offputting, but the main disavantage was that my partner couldn't stay with me. I had read huge amounts of material on labour and birth beforehand, as I had been pretty terrified by the prospect from the start! I had hoped to take hypnotherapy classes but what with all the baby gear to buy, I just ...

Bee Movie (DVD) 11/07/2008

A Bee and A Human???

Bee Movie (DVD) Bee Movie is one of the newest in a string of modern computer animated movies. Born from the comic genius that is Jerry Seinfeld (producer, director, actor) it is unlike the other films in the genre due to the slightly odd sense of humour we've come to expect from him. The synopsis Barry Benson is not your average Bee. Unlike his family and friends, he doesn't want to be a anonymous worker stuck in the same mundane job for the rest of his life. So on the day of his graduation, just as he has to pick the career he will stay in forever, he decides he wants to see the world outside the hive, and asks the Pollen Jockeys (the front line of honey making!) to take him with them on their next trip outside. They agree, but unfortunately on his debut into the outside world Barry is separated from the Pollen Jockeys and goes on a rollercoaster ride where he ends up in the apartment of kind young florist Vanessa. When Vanessa's awful boyfriend tries to kill Barry, she stops him and puts Barry outside, saying all life has meaning. Barry is so touched, when Vanessa's friends have left, he decides to break the most important Bee rule - Never speak to humans. Barry tells Vanessa how grateful he is for her saving his life. Vanessa after being intially stunned makes them a cup of coffee and some cake and they talk for hours. It seems Barry is falling for Vanessa (a bee and a human - strange, strange, strange!) and when they start spending more time together, he ...

Peppa Pig - New Shoes And Other Stories (DVD) 09/07/2008

Teddy, I've left Teddy!

Peppa Pig - New Shoes And Other Stories (DVD) New Shoes is part of my daughter's ever growing Peppa Pig collection. Peppa is a inquisitive little piggy who lives with Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig and her adorable little brother George. Currently airing an episode every weekday on Milkshake on Five (I believe it also airs on Nick Jr.), Peppa Pig quickly endeared herself to my daughter, with the bright simple animation, cute voices, interesting sounds and catchy but simple theme tune. This series is excellent for younger babies in my experience as it is simple and colourful enough to hold their attention. My daughter is ten months old now and loves it (she even says peppa! - no sign of Mama yet!), it ranks in her top three! She has been watching it for several months. I love it because it isn't too grating as pre school programmes go, in fact sometimes I realise I'm watching when baby has gone to sleep (it's a sad life eh!). I personally especially like George who manages to summon a huge degree of cuteness for a cartoon pig! This DVD contains ten five minute episodes and 2 extras- "Learn the Alphabet with Peppa" and "Put on your Ballet Show game". 1. New Shoes Peppa loses her shoes and Mummy Pig takes her to get lovely new red ones. Peppa loves them so much she wears them constantly, even to bed and in the bath. Can muddy puddles in the garden persuade her to swop them for her boots? 2. Ballet Lesson Peppa joins Madame Gazelles ballet class. She may not be the most graceful pupil there, but she enjoys ...

Daddy Day Care (DVD) 06/07/2008

Who's Your Daddy?

Daddy Day Care (DVD) Daddy Day Care was released by Revolution Studios in 2003. Written by Geoff Rodkey and directed by Steve Carr. The Cast Charlie Hinton - Eddie Murphy (Showtime, Beverly Hills Cop) Phil - Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm) Marvin - Steve Zahn (National Security, You've Got Mail) Ben Hinton - Khamani Griffin (Barnyard, Happy Feet) Kim Hinton - Regina King (Jerry Maguire, Miss Congeniality 2) Bruce - Kevin Nealon (Weeds) Dan Kubitz - Jonathan Katz (Dr. Katz) Ms. Harridan - Angelica Houston (The Addams Family) .... and a whole cast of adorable kids, many of whom are recognisable from other roles. For any fans of House, watch our for Lisa Edelstein (Dr. Cuddy in House) as virtually unrecognisable plastic surgery obsessed mom to spoilt Crispin. Charlie Hinton enjoys his role as successful advertising excutive. Unluckily for him and best pal Phil, they are stuck with selling health foods to kids, such as Veggie-Os! Not an easy task. When the focus group flops, the company decide to shut down the whole health food division, leaving Charlie, Phil and their colleagues out of work. Charlie'e wife Kim has just started practising as a lawyer, having been a stay at home mom to their son Ben since she finished law school. Ben has been enrolled in the very strict and ordered Chapman Academy pre-school, run by the intimidating Ms. Harridan. When Charlie fails to find another job after six weeks, the Hinton's have no choice but to take Ben out of Chapman, due to the ...

Batchelors Pasta 'n' Sauce 05/07/2008

Cheese Fest!

Batchelors Pasta 'n' Sauce Batchelors Pasta and Sauce - Macaroni Cheese This review will be based specifically on the Macaroni Cheese flavour. There are a selection of flavours available: Chicken and Mushroom Tomato, Onion and Herbs Cheese, Leek and Ham Mushroom and Wine Broccoli and Cheese Personally I only buy the Macaroni Cheese version because I tried the Broccoli and Cheese version once and it was disgusting. The powder that forms the sauce was stuck in all the tubes of penne and hadn't dissolved, I did try a couple of times but always had the same problem. This was quite a long time ago, they may have improved this version by now, I can't say. Plus I'm a vegetarian and my partner refuses to eat anything with a hint of onion, mushroom or most veg for that matter so there you go. Mac n cheese is for us. I find this item is a quick, easy and affordable meal for those evenings when you're short on time or frankly just can't be bothered. I tend to have it with some toast or garlic bread which really does fill you up unlike some other convenience foods. Another plus for this food is that it tends to have quite long sell by dates, so you can put it in the cupboard and forget about it until the time comes you need it. The Packaging Batchelors packaging is very similar for their Pasta N Sauce and their Instant Noodles and they are easy to find in the supermarket. It comes in a reasonably sized dark blue sachet, with the Batchelors red logo at the top of the front, and a ...

The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy - Fiona Neill 28/06/2008

Makes you feel good about your mothering skills!

The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy - Fiona Neill Lucy Sweeney is a full time mother to three boys. Lucy's mantra to mothering seems to be deal with it as it comes. She has a laundry pile that rivals small mountains, a car that doubles as a waste dump, and wears tartan pyjamas on the school run. No, Lucy is not your domestic goddess. With secret credit card debt, masses of unpaid parking tickets and constantly losing things including passports, credit cards and contact lenses, she is a one-woman disaster zone. Barely managing to make it through the days against the challenges of Alpha Mum (a highly organised competitive mother at the school), Yummy Mummy No.1 (high fashion, tiny waistline), while her architect husband Tom fights their possible financial ruin by travelling back and forth to Milan to run his library project. The only help Lucy has is from her mother-in-law Petra, who has unfortunately passed her obsessive comulsive need for tidiness and organisation onto her son, and cannot help but make Lucy feel inadequate (mother-in-laws are like that aren't they) even if she doesn't mean to. When Petra drops the bombshell that she's moving to Marrakesh to live her new lover, it's just one in a chain of events that are making Lucy's life even more unsteady and unstable. Between the ever-growing feeling of restlessness she feels and her uncontrollable attraction to Sexy Domesticated Dad, how will Lucy hold her life, and her family together? We're also introduced along the way to Lucy's best friends and their ...

Sanctuary - Simon Webbe 27/06/2008

Self Help in music form!

Sanctuary - Simon Webbe I love music, but I can't say I'm all that good at describing it. I'll try my best here though. I recently starting listening to this album again, and I still love it as much as I did when it was released in 2005 . It's full of the type of music that inspires and uplifts whilst being mellow and relaxing. Simon rose to fame as part of the boy band Blue. He launched a solo career about a year after they split in 2004. Lee Ryan also released an album around the same time if I remember correctly. I didn't expect all that much from Simon to be honest, sometimes when bands split the solo efforts are just a desperate effort to cling on to the fame etc. where talent is lacking. However, after hearing both his No.4 singles Lay Your Hands and No Worries and enjoying them both, I decided the album was worth a try. This album reached No. 7 in the charts and is double platinum. I have to say I was very glad I tried the album, there are a few tracks which are a bit unusual but I enjoyed them all. I always finish listening to this album feeling upbeat and refreshed so that's a good thing! Simon's voice is strong and works very well in this solo album. *************** *************** ************ ******* Tracks 1. Lay Your Hands One of the tracks released as a single. It's about being burdened and hopeless, and how when this person lays their hands on him it all goes away and life makes sense again. 2. No Worries This track is very very "pop". It's bouncy ...

Top Gear 24/06/2008

Actually worth the licence fee

Top Gear Top Gear is a programme with a unique ability. It focuses on the subject of motoring, yet it's target audience is far greater than a group of car fanatics. I have spoken to numerous people with little to no interest in motoring who watch Top Gear religiously. How does the Beeb pull off this feat? Could it be the three fantastic presenters with their constant banter? The mysterious and talented Stig? The ever more amusing and off the wall antics in each episode? I think it is the sum of all these parts. The basic premise of the show is that it is hosted by three presenters: Jeremy Clarkson Probably the best known of the three, at least until Hammond had his horrific and widely publicised accident. He is arrogant, unforgiving and funny in his critique of the cars they test. He currently writes a column for the Sun and has released several books and dvds. Richard "The Hamster" Hammond Richard Hammond is the "cute" one. Everyone loves Hammond. Since finding fame on Top Gear, his success has been phenomenal. He has gone on to host several other programmes, including Braniac: Science Abuse, Last Man Standing and a fly-on-the-wall about emergency rescue. Undoubtedly, the emergency rescue helicopter show is linked to the rescue of this kind Hammond himself needed in 2006 when he suffered a crash at high speed when testing a jet powered car for the show. Miraculously, Hammond survived the ordeal, albeit with serious head injuries. He has since made an amazing ...

Peppa Pig - My Birthday Party And Other Stories (DVD) 22/06/2008

It's Magic Daddy!

Peppa Pig - My Birthday Party And Other Stories (DVD) My Birthday Party is part of my daughter's ever growing Peppa Pig collection. On the case it states Winner of Best Pre-School Animation - British Academy Children's Film and Television Awards. Peppa is a inquisitive little piggy who lives with Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig and her adorable little brother George. Currently airing an episode every weekday on Milkshake on Five (I believe it also airs on Nick Jr.), Peppa Pig quickly endeared herself to my daughter, with the bright simple animation, cute voices, interesting sounds and catchy but simple theme tune. This series is excellent for younger babies in my experience as it is simple and colourful enough to hold their attention. My daughter is ten months old now and loves it (she even says peppa!), it ranks in her top three! She has been watching it for several months. I love it because it isn't too grating as pre school programmes go, in fact sometimes I realise I'm watching when baby has gone to sleep (it's a sad life eh!). I personally especially like George who manages to summon a huge degree of cuteness for a cartoon pig! This DVD contains ten five minute episodes and 2 extras- "Learn Your Colours With Peppa" and "Tidy Up" games. 1. My Birthday Party. It's 5am and Peppa's excited! It's her birthday, so she wakes up the family as the "whole day is going!". After being given a dolls dress as her present, it's time for her party, where Daddy Pig performs a magic act. 2. The Playground. Peppa gets stuck in ...

Just Like Heaven (DVD) 20/06/2008

They say romance is dead!

Just Like Heaven (DVD) Elizabeth (Reese Witherspoon - Legally Blonde, Cruel Intentions, Rendition) is a workaholic young doctor competing for the one attending place available at her hospital. She is travelling to a rare dinner with her sister, when she is involved in a serious accident. Flash forward and we meet David (Mark Ruffalo - 13 going on 30), a seemingly lazy layabout who is looking without luck for an apartment. That is until a flyer "flies" into his hands. He manages to rent a great apartment, the only hitch is that it's on a month to month lease. Or so he thinks. David soon realises he has unwanted company in the form of Elizabeth's spirit. She follows him around her apartment berating him for being lazy, drinking too much and not using coasters. David is not happy with the unexpected company, especially as he has good reason to want solitude. His wife died from a brain haemorrage and he is still a shell of a man, struggling to come to terms with his loss, shutting out all those around him. Over time though, David and Elizabeth strike up a friendship, and together set out find out who she is and what happened to her. Strangely enough, there seem to be connections between them that neither of them knew about. Maybe there is still hope, for both of them....but time is running out. I'm not going into more detail with the synopsis as I don't want it to contain spoilers. A watchable and sweet romantic comedy. Not one of the best admittedly, but if you're a fan of the ...

About A Boy (DVD) 14/06/2008

We live in an island age ...

About A Boy (DVD) Cast Will Freeman - Hugh Grant (Sense and Sensibility, Notting Hill) Marcus - Nicholas Hoult (Skins) Fiona - Toni Collette (Muriel's Wedding, In Her Shoes) Rachel - Rachel Weitz (Runaway Jury) Susie - Victoria Smurfit Ellie - Natalia Tena *************** *************** * This film ranks in my top three. I must have watched it a hundred times. I can't find a bad thing to say about it. I think I love it so much because I can really relate to the main characters, Marcus, Will and Fiona (like Will I believe we live in an island age!). Based on the book by Nick Hornby (which sadly I haven't read) it is the story of an unlikely friendship between Will and Marcus, and how once you open your door to one person, others are sure to find their way in too. This film showed Hugh Grant move away from his bread and butter role of floppy haired, bumbling, romantic englishman. Ok, he's still an englishman but the floppy hair is gone, and so has the bumbling romantic! Instead Hugh plays a self-centred, promiscous, materialistic loner who spends his days knocking about his gadget filled flat, playing pool, getting his hair done, and bedding young swedish tourists. What a departure for him, and unbelievably, he plays it to perfection. After years of notching up broken hearts, Will starts to get tired of being the bad guy. When his well intentioned friends set him with a single mum, he is suprised at how well the relationship goes, and even more suprised when single mum ...

Lidl (Shop) 12/06/2008

Well worth a visit

Lidl (Shop) Lidl say "simplicity is the key to our success". This is what you can expect from Lidl, simple inexpensive products. Very similar to the Aldi chain of supermarkets, they are a chain of stores throughout Europe. Lidl offer mainly foreign produce, due to the fact that they started out as a exclusively German company in the 1970's. Due to their success in Germany throughout the 1980's, they began opening stores elsewhere during the 1990's. Nowadays they seem have stores in most towns, at least in my local area. Now if you are looking for fancy food, go to M&S. You won't find everything you need at Lidl, at least I don't, yet I continue to visit regularly, because on some products they simply can't be beaten. I shop at Lidls around once a week, mainly to feed myself and my partner's Pepsi addiction (diet - although still not brilliant for you but hey - I need the caffeine!). They have had a long running offer which is 25p per can, buy four and get the fifth free. This works out at £1 for 5 cans, bargain! We buy them by the slab, 24 cans & 1 extra for a fiver - can't go wrong, especially in BBQ season! It's very rare, even with BOGOFF offers that any other store beats this price. And yes, it covers Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max. These incredible price savings alone make it worth a visit. However, they also tend to have a lot of offers on their fresh produce, such as fruit and veg. Sometimes half off. This is excellent, although sometimes the produce isn't as fresh ...
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