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Rebecca (DVD) 04/08/2017

Can you ever live up to the memory of a dead first wife??

Rebecca (DVD) FILM ONLY REVIEW The Product 1940 film in black and white. Actors: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson, Nigel Bruce Director: Alfred Hitchcock Classification: PG Studio: Fremantle DVD Release Date: 1 Jan. 2008 Run Time: 126 minutes Cost £4.99 used or new on Amazon. Basic Story This was Alfred Hitchcock’s first film in the US and stared Joan Fontaine who played a timid companion who is on holiday at Monte Carlo. It is based on Daphne Du Maurier’s book of the same name written in 1938. Here she falls head over heels for dashing but moody widower Laurence Olivier. After a quick marriage they both return to his country mansion in Cornwall, called Manderley. However life for the young and second Mrs De Winter is not all she expected as everywhere she turns in the large house she is confronted with reminders of Maxim’s first wife, the revered Rebecca. Can she get over this memory that hangs over everything, and what is the secret that is troubling Maxim so much? My Opinion This is a film I had watched many years ago and one that always lingered in my mind – after watching the movie how can you forget the name of ‘Mandaley’. Laurence Olivier plays the moody and broody Maxim De Winter very well – and had the right sort of superior attitude needed for someone in his position as owner of a country mansion. Joan Fontaine played the timid little mouse of a companion and the new Mrs De Winter almost too well. She comes over as so timid and ...

The Body Shop Moringa Body Scrub 02/08/2017

Not really fragrant and too gentle a scrub

The Body Shop Moringa Body Scrub The Product Tub of Moringa Body Scrub – 2 sizes, 60ml or 250ml. 'Pick up our tropical, mango scented scrub, to slough away dead skin cells, leaving your skin supremely soft and refined. It's sugary texture and fruity scent adds a touch of luxury to your exfoliating routine. • Body exfoliator • Smoothes and refines skin • Buffs away dead skin cells • Leaves skin beautifully soft and refined • Rich, creamy texture • Seed oil from hand-picked moringa pods' Cost 50ml tub is £6 on the Body Shop website while the larger 250ml is currently £15. My Opinion The Body Shop make glowing claims for this scrub; ‘The oil in our skin-softening Moringa range comes from hand-picked seeds of moringa flower pods. The softening oil of 500 hand-picked flower pods goes into each of our iconic 200ml Moringa Body Butters.’ Sound very impressive! The Moringa range is a floral scented one – very hard to describe and quite delicate and feminine. However I do not find these body scrubs as good as the description would make you believe. begin with I had the 6ml tub in a gift set, so I did not actually buy one for myself. I quite like the delicate Moringa fragrance, though it is not actually my favourite. This scrub however does not really have any of the floral fragrance that you expect from Moringa. As with their other srubs this one also comes in their standard screw top pot. The top has an image of the Moringa flower and the lid is pale cream. The jar is opaque but you can see the scrub ...

Silas Marner (DVD) 31/07/2017

A simple weaver's tale - but very touching and poignant

Silas Marner (DVD) FILM ONLY REVIEW The Product 1985 movie. Actors: Ben Kingsley, Jenny Agutter, Patrick Ryecart, Jonathan Coy, Patsy Kensit Director: Giles Foster Producer: Louis Marks Classification: PG Studio: 2entertain DVD Release Date: 1 Feb. 2010 Run Time: 90 minutes Cost Around £6 on Amazon for either the new and second hand versions. The Basic Story This is a BBC adaptation of George Elliot’s famous novel, Silas Marner, published in 1861. The story is set in 18th century England. Silas is a weaver who is wrongly ostracised by his own religious community when they believe he stole some money. Let down and not supported by either his girlfriend or best friend, so not being able to clear his name, Silas is disillusioned with humanity and sets off for another village where he can ply his trade. Now he keeps himself to himself and avoids both people and religion, only doing his work and hoarding his money. However life takes two dramatic turns for Silas – one negative and one positive. And we see how a heart that has been hardened can still blossom with care and love given the right circumstances. My Opinion I have always had a soft spot for this story since hearing it dramatized on the radio many years ago. Since then I have re-read the book and seen this film. Ben Kingsley plays the character of Silas superbly, showing remoteness and later tenderness. He is able to play Silas as a miserly recluse without him turning into a mean and bitter figure like Scrooge. Silas ...

The Lost Continent - Bill Bryson 25/07/2017

An interesting and amusing tour around small town America

The Lost Continent - Bill Bryson The Product Publisher: Black Swan; New Ed edition (18 Dec. 1998) ASIN: B00I6170VC Cost £4.23 plus £2.80 postage on Amazon. Basic Story This story, his first travel book, was written by Bill Bryson detailing the travel expedition he undertook around small town central USA in 1987/88. The trip covered 38 states and was almost 14,000 miles and was made Bryson grew up in small town Des Moines in Ioha, and this is where he starts his trip. Bill’s father had not long died and he is trying to retrace their old holiday trips and also see what small town America is like. The book, as was his trip, is in two halves – the largest part being the first section which is the eastern journey around the mid-west, the south, east coast and New England. Bill then returns to Des Moines for a few months before embarking on the western part of his journey covering the plains, the south west, California and the Rockies. This is billed as a travel book but it is also has many humorous observations. My Opinion This is the first Bill Bryson book that I have actually read, though I have seen many of them around. This was his first travel type book but apparently he goes into more detail about places in his future books. Written after his father’s death, Bill, who loved in England, comes back to the USA to try and revisit places from his childhood and see if things have stayed the same. He tries not to visit the obviously touristy places and the large cities but goes through all the ...

Board games: which are the best for you? 21/07/2017

Its been good to remember the fun times I had with games

Board games: which are the best for you? I have not been playing board games for a few years now, mainly as the children have grown and left home. Also these days you can play 'board games' with a board - via the TV or computer screen. I know with my sons we would sometimes do online games like chess and Trivial Pursuit. However for me a proper board game needs to have a board and a box. Back in the 60s growing up I had a few games but not many people to play them with so my choice was limited: Solitaire This was a small pocket sized version that I managed to master - you removed the central peg form the board and then by means of jumping one peg over another you tried to end up with the final peg in the central hole - mine was plastic but you can have some nice wooden boards with glass marbles instead of pegs. Draughts An old fashioned well know game that is not too difficult to master. I used to play this with my mum, though after playing it a lot you can see ahead and manage to 'jump' your opponents pieces and manage to win the game. Chess On the same chequerboard board but with different pieces was chess. Now this I did not have anyone to play against but I taught myself out of one of those Pear's Encyclopaedia. So only a rudimentary knowledge of the moves and no idea of tactics. I have in later years played it online a little but my technique definitely needs improving! Frustration This was really my all time favourite. It came with a plastic board and wooden pegs. Up to four people could play and you had ...

The Body Shop Moringa Shower Gel 20/07/2017

OK floral smelling shower gel but quite expensive

The Body Shop Moringa Shower Gel The Product 250 ml plastic bottle. Body Shop Moringa shower gel Soap free With seed oil from the Moringa pod Made in Thailand Use within 12 months. Cost This can be bought online or in the Body Shop shops. Cost for 250mls is now £5 while the smaller travel size of 60ml is £2. Sometimes you can get free delivery online if you order over a certain amount such as £5 or £10 but otherwise the postage is £2.49. Other Items in the Moringa Collection Soap Body mist Hand cream Softening cream Body Sorbet Beautifying oil Eau de toilette Body Butter Body Scrub Beauty gift sets. My Opinion I have had this a few times as well as some other items in the Moringa range. This current bottle I had as part of a gift set but I can see the price for this bottle would now be £5, the cost used to be £4. The shower gel comes in a standard clear Body Shop bottle with a flip top lid. The gel is a very light lemony shade and is clear. The Moringa fragrance is a delicate floral aroma. Not a specific flower that people would recognise such as lily of the valley etc but quite a pleasant smell. So this is more of a feminine aroma and not one for the guys. The Body Shop site states that this is ‘lather rich’ but while it does provide quite a lot of small white bubbles when first used if you use it in the bath like I do the bubbles do soon fade. Body Shop also state that it softens your skin but I do not notice any particularly moisturising properties. The Moringa oil apparently comes from ...

Sylvia Scarlett (DVD) 15/07/2017

Lesbian kissing in a 1930s film - about the only memorable thing!

Sylvia Scarlett (DVD) Film Only Review The Product Actors: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Brian Aherne, Edmund Gwenn, Robert Adair Director: George Cukor Writers: Compton MacKenzie, Gladys Unger, John Collier, Mortimer Offner Producers: Pandro S. Berman Classification: U Studio: Universal Pictures UK DVD Release Date: 4 Jun. 2007 Run Time: 95 minutes Cost £2.93 second hand on Amazon or £3.60 . Cast Katharine Hepburn as Sylvia Scarlett Cary Grant as Jimmy Monkley Brian Aherne as Michael Fane Edmund Gwenn as Henry Scarlett Dennie Moore as Maudie Natalie Paley as Lily Basic Story This 1935 film seemed ahead fo its time. The basic premise of the story is that Katharine Hepburn is dressed as a boy. To recap – her mother dies at the beginning fo the film, but she then finds out that her father has gambled away the firm’s money and they must flee France for England. This necessitates Katharine cutting off her hair and assuming the role fo son, rather than daughter. The lead role is Katharines and she later teams up with Cary Grant as they tour England as stage performers. My Opinion I normally like most older films, and this one is certainly old – being now 82 years old. However it does seem to have aged rather badly. The acting is very forced and over the top, even for a comedy film. Worse still is the sound – prepare to have your eardrums ache as the women talk very loud and squawky, most irritating. Nothing wrong with the storyline I suppose. There is not much to it and most of ...

The Crossing Places - Elly Griffiths 09/07/2017

The Crossing Places - combines archaeology and detective work

The Crossing Places - Elly Griffiths The Product Paperback – The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths Publisher: Quercus Publishing Plc (2009) ISBN-13: 978-1847249586 Cost Second hand paperback £2.69 on Amazon or £4.31 new. The Series This is Book 1 in the Dr Ruth Galloway detective series – so far there have been nine books published: The Crossing Places The Janus Stone The House at Sea’s End A Room Full of Bones Ruth’s First Christmas Tree Dying Fall The Outcast Dead The Ghost Fields The Woman in Blue The Chalk Pit (2017). The Basic Story The Dr Ruth Galloway series is written by Elly Griffiths, which is the pen name of Domenica de Rosa. This detective novel is set in the remote salt marshes of Norfolk. Dr Ruth Galloway is not a detective but an archaeologist at the local university. However she is called on to assist the police regarding old bones and their ages etc. This is the first in the series and sets the scene and the characters. Ruth is called in to assist the police when some bones are found on the salt marsh – are they tied in to a young child's disappearance, and can it be related to another missing child ten years previously? Also how are the anonymous letters that DCI Harry Nelson keeps receiving linked to the cases? This was a winner of the Mary Higgins Clark Award 2011 and shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. My Opinion Well although this is the first book in the Dr Ruth Galloway series I must admit I started with Book 9 – ‘The Chalk ...

Chinese Cinderella - Adeline Yen Mah 08/07/2017

'Chinese Cinderella' - the clue is in the title

Chinese Cinderella - Adeline Yen Mah The Product Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (2 Sept. 1999) Language: English ISBN-13: 978-0141304878 Cost Available second hand on Amazon for just 1p with 2.80 postage. Basic Story This is an autobiography by Adeline Yen Mah and is a revised part of her earlier publication called 'Falling Leaves'' which came out in 1997. Adeline is born into a rich Chinese family, but her misfortune begins almost immediately when her mother dies shortly after childbirth. It is set in the 1940s, but because of her mother’s death Adeline is considered bad luck and shunned by her father and siblings. Later when the father remarries and has a second family of children her situation becomes even worse. The only affection Adeline receives is from her grandparents and aunt. She seeks solace in education and tries to blot out her unhappy home life. My Opinion This was introduced to me for our village book club and on looking into it I think I had heard some of it years ago as ‘Book of the Week’ on Radio 4. I was able to find the full version on Youtube as an audio book so was able to listen and relax, rather than having to read the story. I must admit that while the title sounded intriguing, it was rather tame and a bit repetitive to begin with. I also sometimes find it harder to identify with the richer families in some of these ‘hardship’ stories. Though of course money does not make up for the lack of love from the most of her own family – even ...

Tattoos: friends or foes? 06/07/2017

Friend or Foe - definitely no friend of mine!

Tattoos: friends or foes? Tattoos - Friend or Foe? Warning - my opinions may cause some offence! Well I do not have any tattoos and would never wish to have any. As far as them sometimes being classed as 'art' - well get something on a canvas and hang it on your wall - rather than defacing your body - what you may think looks cute as a 20 something will probably look ridiculous when you are 60. I see them as being quite unnecessary - if you want some body adornment just use jewellery or fashion. Maybe one on the arm of a male who has been in the forces is acceptable, but I do not see the attraction of people covering their bodies - either male or female. It just seems like an unnecessary affectation on people's part - which I class the same as cosmetic surgery and a slight indulgence. It can be an expensive and risky hobby - expensive as lots of tattoos will cost you quite a but and risky if you do not ensure you go to well run and hygienic tattoo parlour. Surely people could find better ways to enjoy their money, by travelling or having holidays for example. It seems tattoos came to us originally from Polynesia in the early 19th century via sailors, and then they only seemed to have one on the arm. Wikipedia does say that the stigma associated with tattoos has now disappeared - but I do not think it has with many people. People having a tattoo in a highly visible place such as their face is even worse, and it amazes me when they are surprised that they have difficulty from employers. You may ...

Jamaica Inn - Daphne Du Maurier 29/06/2017

Jamaica Inn and Smuggling - but have you read the whole story?

Jamaica Inn - Daphne Du Maurier The Product Paperback: 320 pages Publisher: Virago; New Ed edition (6 Mar. 2003) ISBN-13: 978-1844080397 Cost A second hand copy can be picked up for £2.73 on Amazon. Basic Story Jamaica Inn is a novel by Daphne du Maurier, published in 1936 and subsequently made into a Hitchcock film in 1939. The story is of this bleak isolated inn on Bodmin Moor that is haunt to a gang of smugglers. The tale begins with an orphan, Mary Yellen, promising to go their as a last wish by her dying mother. Mary's aunt lives at the inn, with her husband Joss. The story is set way back in 1820 when the place was bleak and isolated and even coaches were refusing to stop because the inn had such a bad reputation. The story is about a gang of smugglers and wreckers, who seen to use the inn under cover of darkness. My Opinion Mention ‘Jamaica Inn’ to many people and they will immediately think of that isolated inn on the bleak moors of Cornwall – even if they have not read the book. I was very much the same and while I knew there were connections with smugglers and wreckers I have never actually read the book – though I had seen the 1939 Hitchcock film, which does take some liberties with the storyline. I was able to listen to this book on an audio version bought from Audible. It cost me only £1.99 when on special offer and it lasted for ten and a half hours. I must say I did enjoy the story – even through I knew vaguely where the story was going. Mary Yellen plays a strong and ...

Room (DVD) 25/06/2017

When your whole world is a Room, how will you cope outside?

Room (DVD) FILM ONLY REVIEW Product Actors: Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay Director: Lenny Abrahamson Classification: 15 Studio: StudioCanal DVD Release Date: 9 May 2016 Run Time: 118 minutes Cost Around £5 new on Amazon or it can be rented from them for under £4. Not many second hand ones are for sale yet and they seem around the same price as the new copies. Basic Story Amazon state – ‘His entire life, 5 year-old Jack has only known "Room": a 10 foot by 10 foot space in which he is confined with his Ma. She has created a whole universe for him in Room, but after they escape, Jack makes a thrilling discovery: the outside world. This film is based on the best-selling novel by Emma Donoghue and featuring an Academy Award BAFTA and Golden Globe winning performance from Brie Larson’. The basic premise is of a young teenager kidnapped and held hostage for seven years. During that time her captor makes her pregnant – and she is left to bring up her son Jack in this one tiny room – which to Jack is his entire universe. As Jack reaches five his mother tries to explain about the outside world to her son and also tries to hatch a plan of escape. But how can this boy, whose only ‘reality’ has been images on a TV screen, be able to help and take part in an escape, and if successful, how will be ever to able to blossom and relate to other people? My Opinion I had seen this film mentioned before and so was pleased when it actually came on TV last week. The Room itself is very ...

Jamaica Inn (DVD) 19/06/2017

Jamaica Inn - but maybe not as you know or expect!

Jamaica Inn (DVD) Film only review The Product Actors: Maureen O'Hara, Robert Newton, Charles Laughton, Horace Hodges, Hay Petrie Directors: Alfred Hitchcock Writers: Alma Reville, Daphne Du Maurier, J.B. Priestley, Joan Harrison, Sidney Gilliat Producers: Charles Laughton, Erich Pommer Classification: PG Studio: ITV Studios Home Entertainment DVD Release Date: 11 Jun. 2007 Run Time: 95 minutes Cost £3 new on Amazon or £2.06 second hand. Main Cast Charles Laughton – Sir Humphrey Pengallan Leslie Banks – Joss Merlyn Maureen O'Hara – Mary Yellen Robert Newton – James 'Jem' Trehearne Marie Ney – Patience Merlyn Horace Hodges – Butler (Chadwick) Basic Story This is a film based on the well-known 1936 novel by Daphne Du Maurier. Set in Cornwell, Jamaica Inn is an old coaching inn on wild and bleak moors. From here Joss runs his band of wreckers and smugglers. When his orphaned nice comes to stay, things are set to change – and maybe not for the better. My Opinion This is an old film that I have not seen before. I do know a little of the story about Jamaica Inn but not enough to draw parallels. Reading online there were some changes made to the story to remove a criminal vicar because they feared the film would not sell in USA with that element. This film is rather old, dating back to 1939, and is in black and white. It does have Alfred Hitchcock as a director but on watching the film you would not connect anything with Hitchcock or his later films. It is dark and quite ...

Catherine Cookson - The Wingless Bird (DVD) 07/06/2017

'Love gives you wings' - a pleasant tale set around World War 1

Catherine Cookson - The Wingless Bird (DVD) Film Only Review The Product Actors: Claire Skinner, Julian Wadham, Edward Atterton, Elspet Gray, Frank Grimes Director: David Wheatley Producer: Ray Marshall Classification: PG Studio: ITV Studios Home Entertainment DVD Release Date: 4 Jun. 2007 Run Time: 145 minutes Price Full price on Amazon is £3.82 but it can be bought second hand for 22p plus 1.26 postage. The Basic Story This story begins just before World War 1. We have two sisters who live and work in a sweet and tobacconist shop owned by their strict father. Trouble begins when the younger sister gets pregnant, and the worst thing is she wants to marry the father – who comes from the docks and who is a class beneath them, according to the father. A separate strand in the story is the other sister Agnes, the main character in the tale, who draws the attention of Charles Farrier, a proper Gentleman from the landed classes. Charles’ brother Reginald is fine when he meets Agnes but the same cannot be said for his parents. My Opinion I have never read this book so cannot compare it to the TV movie. I was lucky enough to find this on Youtube and watched it one wet summer afternoon. I found this to be one of the best Catherine Cookson adaptions, from the point of view of being enjoyable and not how well it follows the book as I cannot verify that. The story is set during Edwardian times with many of the older generation still holding onto their Victorian values and ideas of class structure and ...

Beyonce Midnight Heat Eeu de Parfum 05/06/2017

Pleasant and rich aroma but with an awkward shaped bottle

Beyonce Midnight Heat Eeu de Parfum The Product Beyonce Midnight Heat 100ml Eau De Parfum Spray Fragrance from the designer house of Beyonce Eau De Parfum for women Sensual scent Base notes of amber, sandalwood and patchouli 100 ml bottle Comes in tall curved bottle with deep purple graduated colouring to the base section. And a clear pull of plastic cap. The fragrance is available as 15, 30, 50 and 100 ml Eau de Parfum. The nose behind this The perfume is clear. Comes in a cellophane wrapped purple, black and blue box with a white card lining. Exclusive to Coty. Made in USA. Use within 36 months. Flammable. Launched in 2012. Cost I did shop around a little online and bought my large 100ml bottle from the Tesco Direct site for just under £15. Though I have found it now on Amazon for £13.50 and free delivery. It is also only £11 for 100 ml on ebay but I am always rather cautious about buying perfume from there in case it is not genuine. My Opinion The fragrantica site states:fruity, tropical, floral, sweet, patchouli. I never go for celebrity fragrances just because of the name, but I found this as a tester in our local chemist the other day and found it a very pleasant aroma so bought it online later as a birthday gift to myself. The perfume itself appeals to me as it has undertones reminiscent of Angel perfume – being quite heavy and spicy. However this is not half as strong as Angel which my husband detests, so I did ask for his thoughts before I bought it – he was not immediately against it ...
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