Share this page on

green Status green (Level 2/10)



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

Reviews written

since 29/08/2003


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis 17/02/2006

Narnia is somewhere we all dream of being...

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis For any Christian child this is a vital story. But for the rest of the population it is just as enchanting. It covers the issues at the heart of human morality in a beautiful and heart-wrenching narrative that is just as relevant now as when it was written. THE AUTHOR Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast in 1898, and when he was three he announced to his parents that he wanted to be called Jack, and so he was throughout his life. His mother died in 1908, and he and his brother Warren became more reliant on each other and more distant from their father. In WW1, Lewis enlisted and was sent to the front, and on return he studied at Oxford, gaining three first-class degrees in Greek and Latin literature, classical philosophy and English Language and Literature. He then took up a teaching post at the University in 1925. Lewis gradually began to believe in a universal spirit which he eventually came to call God. He was confused about his spirituality for a long time before becoming a Christian. He wrote many Christian books including 'Problem of Pain', 'Miracles' and 'Mere Christianity'. His autobiography, Surprised by Joy, also charts his spiritual conversion. THE BOOK! The 'Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' was written in 1948, and is set just before, in the second world war. It is the first in the 7 Chronicles: "Prince Caspian" "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" "The Silver Chair" "Horse and His Boy" "Magician's Nephew" "The Last Battle" It is an ...

Blackadder - Series 4 - Blackadder Goes Forth (DVD) 16/02/2006

'Over the Top' for Blackadder but not done for!

Blackadder - Series 4 - Blackadder Goes Forth (DVD) I cannot believe that no one has reviewed my favourite favourite ever series of this spectacular comedy! This was the final series of four in the Blackadder run, and it was first broadcast in 1989 (seems so long ago!). Its wit and sarcastic humour is brought alive by Atkinson, who really does have the knack of belittling others whilst still being an idiot himself. Baldrick is a moron but we all love him, you just want to cuddle him, despite the fact that he is always eating rats or rolling in poo. And George... well, what can I say? Perhaps even more idiotic than Baldrick?! But in a cute, he's so dumb we have to humour him kind of way. We also see the wonderful Captain 'Darling' - and thus ensues a million puns on a homosexual theme, and his relationship with Melchett, played by the delectable Steven Fry . The regular cast consists of: Captain Edmund Blackadder - Rowan Atkinson Private S. Baldrick - Tony Robinson General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett - Stephen Fry Lieutenant The Honourable George Colhurst St. Barleigh - Hugh Laurie Captain Kevin Darling - Tim McInnerny I shall go through the episodes and attempt to recreate the magic... Episode 1 (Plan A): CAPTAIN COOK 28th September 1989 Blackadder volunteers to be Official War Artist, and obviously fails because he can't paint... When Melchett comes looking for an artist for an assignment, instead of admitting defeat, he gets his sidekicks George and Baldrick to step in... Episode 2 (Plan B): ...

Yamaha U3 - 52 Acoustic Upright U Series Piano 16/02/2006

Look at me singing Yamaha's praises!

Yamaha U3 - 52 Acoustic Upright U Series Piano I have been playing the piano since I was 4 years old, and having had little luck with second hand pianos, I decided to spend most of my savings on this little baby! I can tell you it was worth it, I am a musician, not just a pianist, I understand why and I will try and explain to you in as much detail as possible the reality of this instrument. Yamaha have been manufacturing musical instruments for years, and are NOT a cheap option as imports generally are. These are top of the range models, they look beautifully finished and every detail is thought out. My Yamaha shines in the sun, and gleams even when dusty. It is a real focal point in any home, not only is it an instrument but it is a piece of furniture. One downside to this piano is the stats of its size: FEATURES 88 keys, 3 pedals (centre pedal: sostenuto) Height: 131 cm (51 1/2") Width: 153 cm (60 1/4") Depth: 65 cm (25 1/2") Weight: 235 kg (517 lbs) Clearly this is no small instrument. It is 10cm higher than a standard piano, giving it a beautifully rich tone and resonance. It is crisp and clear in the treble and deep in the bass, and you can play any style of music from jazz to classical and it will always respond to your fingers. I was worried it would only sound one way, but the tone of this piano is so professional and rich that it is used in examinations, concerts and institutions worldwide. WARNING! This piano is very loud for an upright! If you've got a small house and kids that are ...

Nokia 2650 13/02/2006

Quality design Nokia for a fraction of the price!

Nokia 2650 I bought this phone at the Carphone Warehouse for £49.99, it came with £10 credit on Orange but this seems to be a limited offer, although it is an amazingly good value handset! You can also buy it on for £39.99. It comes without any of the usual annoying paraphenalia that drives me mad, like handsfree sets that I have so many of! You just get the box, the manual, the charger and the Nokia handset. DESIGN The handset itself is silver and very hard to fault in its design. Nokia have come up with a floating hinge so that when the phone is shut, the hinge makes up its top, and when it is open it just floats up in the middle of the phone. It's very clever and means the phone looks neat when both closed and opened. The only downside to it being a flipphone with this design is that it doesn't feel that sturdy. Especially the simcard slot, which feels very shoddy and almost breakable on first use (although still attached as of yet!). The inside design is great, the whole of the phone is white and rubberised, so you can just clean off any dirt. The clamshell means that the screen stays unscratched, and Nokia have done away with the need for caller display on the outside as the sides of the phone flash blue when you get a call/text. It also carries on flashing intermittently if you don't answer the text, which is great because you never miss it at the bottom of your bag! FUNCTIONS Well I know it's cheap but it does come up with the basic ...

iRiver H-120 20 GB 13/02/2006

iRiver wins hands down, no looking back to iPod!

iRiver H-120 20 GB I have always been loyal to Apple. I have an iMac and an iBook. But when they bought out the iPod, it just screamed SCAM! OK, it's cute, but it's also tinny, it's overrated and it's too much of a fashion icon for me. iRiver, on the other hand, is outstanding. My iRiver has a 20gb hard drive. It only cost me £199 and they are even cheaper now, although this model seems to be hard to get hold of. They have upgraded it with the H10, which has a colour screen. The 20gb model is available for £189.99 from '', which is an excellent site for all things MP3 related! They also sell ipods if you can't resist :-) FEATURES The hp-120 has more features than you know what to do with. It comes with an internal and external mic. This means that you can not only record as you would with a dictaphone, for as long as you desire, but you can also record live with excellent sound quality! I have found this incredibly useful in lectures or to dictate notes, but you can record music this way if you want. Another excellent and important feature is direct line in recording. It is also optical, which is great if you have a digital source to record from. It means, basically, by plugging this gadget through an audio cable into ANY source with a jack, such as a TV, stereo, DVD, computer... anything, you can record with excellent sound quality. I have a digital/acoustic piano and I just play and record direct from it onto the iRiver! The iRiver comes with a ...

George Foreman 10782 13/02/2006

A George Foreman for all occasions!

George Foreman 10782 There is a lot of pressure on the public to become increasingly healthy nowadays. This means eating properly, which isn't always easy on a budget and in a fast paced world. That's what this little machine was invented for! I'm going to review the small George Foreman, which you can buy from most electrical retailers. The model GEORGE FOREMAN 11757 can be bought currently at Comet for £29.99. Basically it's a small grill, with a floating hinge, which means you don't have the problem you get in sandwich toasters of squashing the filling! It makes wonderful 'café style' sandwiches, and you can put in as much or little filling as you need, as it will not ruin the asthetics of your sandwich. You also get those nice to look at stripes across the bread, and it toasts to a perfect golden brown with very little need for butter/spread. EASE OF USE I have cooked vegetables, burgers, steaks, chicken breasts and crumpets to name a few on here. You simply plug it in, there are no dials, no switches, no buttons, just a plug! It heats up itself and has a thermostatic device built in so that it won't overheat. It is therefore so simple to cook on, it comes with a little booklet that tells you how long certain foods take, and if you're not sure you can lift up the lid and check as the food is cooking. Because there are no catches or hard to reach areas, it is simple to stop cooking when the food is done, without the risk of burning. TASTE When using this, the fat drains into ...

Essays 13/02/2006

Blake's use of 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity'

Essays The slogan of the French Revolution was Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. How does Blake in his poetry persuade his readers of the necessity of these ideals? Blake lived in a time of great civil unrest, with the French Revolution, which culminated in the overthrowing of the monarchy in 1789, and indeed revolution in America, creating a great deal of tension in Britain. As a revolutionary himself, Blake was very aware of the need for change, socially and politically. Evidently, his poetry reflects his own ideas and beliefs, and his passionate disdain for the church and the ruling powers is perhaps epitomised by 'London', written around the same period of the Revolution. This is a bitter exposé on the gulf between the social classes of the time. Its strong rhyme scheme, with alternate rhyme throughout, immediately creates a sense of movement within the poem, forcing the reader onwards, although what is to come is difficult to hear. Blake immediately challenges the idea of 'liberty' in Britain within the opening stanza, with the 'chartered Thames' mapping a course for London's inhabitants. The laws of the time granted charters to the rich, giving them power over the land and therefore reducing the freedom of the individual to walk the streets. Blake felt passionately that this was unjust. He suggests that if something so natural as the Thames, unregulated by this law, should fall under the power of the rich, there is an outrageous lack of freedom. The vast inequality ...

This is where I Stand - Easyworld 12/02/2006

A rare treat from a lesser known band...

This is where I Stand - Easyworld Well. In my younger days I used to go to Easyworld's gigs, and they are still one of my favourite bands. They have split up now, which is a real shame musically, as they could have been huge. However, I doubt very much that was their intention. The music was their thing. The band consisted of two men and a woman (Jo Taylor, Dav Ford, Glenn Hooper), just for general information. So, the album. Basically, I would say it's an acquired taste, if you like bands such as The Manics and Garbage it's worth a listen. It stands alone in style, it has that 'I couldn't care less what you think' edge, it's cool and it sounds pleasing to the ear - none of that loud, overdrive guitar overpowering the voices. In fact, Dav has a very haunting voice that gets right into you, and I think that's really important in an artist. The songs are called: Armistice Try not to think 100 weight Junkies and whores This is where I stand A stain to never fade Demons By the sea Bleach You & Me You were right The styles range from very rocky, upbeat and OTT in 'You & Me' and 'Bleach', to beautiful and even quite mournful in 'A stain to never fade' and 'Junkies and Whores'. These songs never fail to provoke an emotional response, be it sheer joy or tears. The lyrics themselves are beautiful, they speak on many levels, from 'You make me wanna drink bleach', which is actually about cleansing from the inside out and being happy, to 'You'll always be to me, a stain to never fade'... a ...

Poetry 12/02/2006

Uncivil War

Poetry Hi guys, this is not the nicest of poems but I like to know what other people think anyway! It's kind of autobiographical, but I see my poetry as very much detached from myself, yet quite graphic and true to my own emotions. Hope you like it. My skin was in a fight last night, With an army of dull steel warriors Clunking over spongy ground, weary travellers Stumbling in a stale half-light. They blundered in, dumb stumps, Flat-footed clowns with noses aglow and Scarlet, with the heavy scent Of fresh lamb's blood. Tongues numb, mouthing a distant plea, Strange sirens wail, beacons of distress Hiss into the deep purple of the night, But I shut up my ears in a defiance of pain. The enemy stalks, dead still, Pacing one soft step after another, Ghostly pale across my sunken veins, then A sudden stab of crimson pain, And my body flops, soft, A melting pot of clumsy blood, Screaming red yet black in the absent light. I cannot use my sight on such an offence, It would be horrified, my eye, to witness Pitiless carnage in its honey-sweet youth. A bitter sting from a raging bee digs in, While I, a goggled frog watch through a padlock. A black-out. It is wartime and we must, It is so drole, take such precautions, Says some minister for life. Or death. I forget. Does it matter? I cry, Don't look so twisted up inside With fright, repugnant in your lucid eyes, I cannot, I am afraid, Like each sick shivering mass Of bone and putrid fat ...

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (DVD) 12/02/2006

The fear factor is definitely secondary

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (DVD) Mary Shelley, wife of the much acclaimed poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, wrote Frankenstein for a competition between her and her friends as to who could write the scariest story. I don't know whether or not she won, but I can guarantee that this film does justice to the novel. The film is set in the beautiful Geneva, Switzerland. The music is aptly of the period, it is set around the end of the 1700s, and the costumes are so elegant. Even the family home is beautiful; this film is worth watching for the mere cultural experience. From the outset, the suspense is established, as we see Victor driven mad with fear, pursued by the monster to the middle of nowhere, towards the North Pole, where an explorer has been marooned by the ice. The tension is palpable, we know the monster is coming, he has torn the dogs to pieces and the Captain of the ship takes Victor down into its depths to hear his story. As a horror goes, it's not overly scary in many places, but I think what does it justice is the attention to the character's emotions. Victor Frankenstein is portrayed as very intelligent, loving and ultimately maddened by his own desire to bring back the dead. At the start of the film, we see his sister brought into as an orphan, a nice twist as he later marries her. His mother dies in childbirth, and coming from a family of emminent doctors, he goes off to University to continue his studies, only to become obsessed with bringing the dead to life ( all fuelled by his mother's ...

Ariel - Sylvia Plath 12/02/2006

A cloak of darkness underneath the myth

Ariel - Sylvia Plath Sylvia Plath gets a bad time of it from most people. She's often seen as having written the most depressing novel ever in the form of 'The Bell Jar', and as the catalyst for many teenager's suicidal angst. However, the woman was ill, and she was married to an adulterous scoundrel in the form of Ted Hughes. For anyone interested in Plath, it is well worth reading Hughes' 'Birthday Letters', a collection of 88 poems mainly about Plath, and their relationship. Bit off topic but they convey another side to her story. It definitely dispells some of the myths and mystery surrounding her status as a lamenting depressive, as well as displaying Hughes' raw emotions; not only love and awe but anger and bitterness. In a sad way, anyone married to Plath would have been tempted to seek comfort elsewhere in the midst of her frightening disdain for life. Anyway, so back to Ariel. Written as her final bout of poetry before she killed herself in 1963, and published post-humously by her husband. It is not easy reading by any means, it is dark, often ironic and humorous but ultimately disturbing. These poems are autobiographical, so don't expect them to be full of flowers and pretty images. They tell stories of suicide, of love, motherhood and being a daughter... amongst other random topics. One of my favourites is 'Cut'. It is simple, it describes Sylvia cutting open her thumb: What a thrill ---- My thumb instead of an onion. The top quite gone Except for a sort of a ...

Diary - Chuck Palahniuk 12/02/2006

A fascinating and harrowing peek at society

Diary - Chuck Palahniuk This plot line is one of the most bizzare I have ever had the pleasure to read, but I mean this in a positive way. I found the novel challenging and hard to read in places, and it actually left me wondering and quite uncomfortable, rather than feeling satisfied at having completed it. However, that isn't to say that I didn't enjoy it! I loved it. General idea of the story, trying to avoid telling it all because why aren't you reading the book if you want to know the details?! The main character is called Misty (great name!) and she was totally in love with her husband before he attempted to kill himself. So, there are some beautiful descriptions of their younger days together, and the imagery is stunning. But for Misty, an artist, her world is turned upside down when Peter falls into a coma. She is trying to support her daughter and mother-in-law whilst also coming to terms with her husband's astonishing behaviour. Basically, he has left a trail of messages, sealed behind walls in the rooms of the people's houses he had been decorating. It's a masterpiece in ingenuity on Palaniuk's part and I doubt another author could possibly come up with this one! On top of investigating his crimes, Misty is slowly being poisioned in a weird plot to force her to paint in order to save the fate of the island where she lives. My favourite part of the plot is when Misty is put in a full lower body cast by the 'evil' doctor, who thereby physically incapacitates her. It's so clever, ...

Survivor - Chuck Palahniuk 12/02/2006

A masterpiece in post-modern confusion

Survivor - Chuck Palahniuk I absolutely love Chuck Palahniuk's novels. I have read them all, and as a literature student I find his style fascinating. General Synopsis: Our story begins on a hijacked plane, with the protagonist Tender Branson telling his life history to a little black box. Intelligent as ever, Palahniuk intends this not to be the beginning, but the beginning of the end of this tale, so we get the story in a kind of reverse, and at the end come full circle. Therefore you get the sense that the book is written backwards, and thus it can be slightly confusing to start with! Tender was brought up in a cult, and since its destruction has lived, with the support of a kind of 'social worker' type character, on his own. He absolutely knows how to run a house, which chemicals work together and which will kill you. He works as a kind of cleaner/servant... Anyway, I'm sure you would rather know the weirder details. So, Tender is the only known survivor of this wacky cult, and ends up, kind of accidently, finding his brother, becoming incredibly famous and running away to live on the back of a moving trailer. It is incredibly weird, I don't want to give the plot away because it is such a fantastic read! Ultimately the novel is a journey of self discovery for Tender, it is a story of guilt, of anger, of the perils of the 'celebrity' culture. Tender's false celebrity image and the lengths he goes to in order to maintain this 'plastic' physique are poignant in today's fame ...

HP Baked Beans, in Tomato Sauce 12/02/2006

A good alternative to Heinz but not so saucy!

HP Baked Beans, in Tomato Sauce My family get these and to be perfectly honest I don't find them as appetising as other brands. Main good points: They are cheap and they are beans, good if you love beans! However, I find the sauce a bit too runny compared to Heinz, the taste is totally different. Also, the beans themselves are not so mushy, so the experience is not as pleasurable as far as I'm concerned. I think I would give these runner up position in the beans market, as HP do a really good range of breakfast menus in tins, such as 'All Day Breakfast', which are great, you can heat them up fast and they fill you up. As a tin of baked beans on its own though, I think they are a bit paltry. They would be great for people who like their sauce runny all over the toast, as there is plenty of it. Even the colour of the sauce is darker than Heinz, not that it affects the taste. Overall an average bean!

Wall's Solero Ice Cream Lolly 12/02/2006

A fruit frenzy that won't pile on the pounds

Wall's Solero Ice Cream Lolly This has to be my favourite summer snack. Not only is it beautifully creamy icecream with a taste that belies the low calorie content, but the sorbet is so refreshing that you won't need to keep going back for more! My problem with icecream is that I love it too much, but it's not that great for my stomach. I want to be able to indulge without ending up fat as a barrel come winter. This is the ideal solution. It comes in Red Fruits and Tropical - both are equally gorgeous but I think it's personal taste. Each lolly has less than 100 kcal which is incredible when you taste it, because it really is creamy and thick, like top quality icecream. I find them satisfying because your little brain is tricked into thinking it's having a Magnum or something but actually it's a little less calorific. Imagine a hot, sticky day and everyone has had enough. You're all grumpy, but when the icecreams come out this one is the daddy. It solves all those problems because it is so refreshing, the fruit sorbet is so zingy, it tastes like proper fruit instead of synthetic and gross. These aren't the cheapest icecreams but they won't leave you wanting more as they are so satisfying. With the hot weather only a few months away, I'm already munching on my Soleros! ...
See more reviews Back to top