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since 19/11/2009


The Enchanted Chocolate Mine, Kirkby Lonsdale 28/04/2010

Sean's away with the faeries

The Enchanted Chocolate Mine, Kirkby Lonsdale The Enchanted Chocolate Mine By Chocolat at Kirkby Lonsdale Introduction This is the place for all you chocoholics out there – and don’t think that it is only a woman thing – I LOVE the stuff!! I expect that all you people out there thought that chocolate grew on trees! Well little did you know that deep under the market town of Kirkby Lonsdale in Cumbria the Faeries have been mining chocolate for years!! Thick lush chocolate that the chocolatiers turn into the delicious hand made chocolates that are sold in a charming little shop called ‘Chocolat’ in the town itself! You look to me as if you don’t believe me – well read on and all will be revealed – only last week me, my good wife and my brother in law donned our safety hats and took the steep steps down to see Nando, the Chocolate Keeper and Head Faery at the Enchanted Chocolate Mine, I have even put in photo’s to prove the point!! Where is this mine, I hear you ask The Chocolate Mine is located underneath a lovely little shop in New Lane; Kirkby Lonsdale called ‘Chocolat’ Kirby Lonsdale is just two minutes off the A65 from Yorkshire to Kendal. This shop was opened in 2003 and was inspired by the Johnny Depp film ‘Chocolat’, taken from the novel of the same name by Joanne Harris. As well as chocolate of the most heavenly variety (I speak from experience – yummy!!), this little shop also sells champagne, malt whisky, loose leaf teas, tea-making equipment, liqueurs and country wines. They also have some ...

A Year in the Merde - Stephen Clarke 27/04/2010

The Merde keeps flowing!!

A Year in the Merde - Stephen Clarke A YEAR IN THE MERDE STEPHEN CLARKE ”My good friend Chris told me not to come to France. Great lifestyle, he said, great food, and totally un-politically correct women with great underwear.” Introduction The workmate who I take over from on night shift left this book in the office last week for me to read. The cover is different from the one pictured at the top of this review, it is a white background with an Eiffel Tower topped with two snails one wearing a French Tricolour and one a Union Jack. An exert from the Daily Mail on the front cover told me that this book was ‘This season’s word-of-mouth must-have-book’. I didn’t really fancy it - I’m not a big lover of the French! – but as I had just finished the first of a set of six crime books I thought I’d give it a go in between. I am SO glad that I did, it was hilarious – maybe because I’m not a big lover of the French!! About the author and the book The history of Stephen Clarke and this book is really very interesting, so much so that I think this review merits a fairly detailed look into it. Stephen Clarke is a British journalist and novelist who was born in1958 (that was a surprise to me, reading the book I thought of him as a much younger man). He studied French and German at Oxford, wrote comedy sketches for Radio4 and jokes for stand up comedians and “played bass in some of the worst rock bands in musical history”; and then – to quote Clarke himself - “As soon as I heard about the possibility ...

Black & Decker Workmate WM301 27/04/2010

Sean's got a brand new toy!!

Black & Decker Workmate WM301 Black & Decker Workmate WM301 Think my dad is getting completely fed up of me ‘borrowing’ his tools, I got home from work last week to find that he had left me a little present – well quite a big one actually, he bought me my very own Work Bench!! Now how cool is that!!!! I am becoming quite the expert at little jobs around the house and now I have my own work bench the world’s my oyster!! My first project using the work bench was a bird house – don’t laugh, that is quite a step for me!! The Workmate came as a flat pack in a surprisingly small but heavy black and orange box and did need some assembly. Inside the box were several pieces of metal, some nuts and bolts, some pieces moulded plastic and two wooden planks. My first thought was, do I need a workbench to make this workbench on? My second thought was where are the instructions? After a short panic attack I realized that the instructions were actually printed on the back of the cardboard packing – environmentally friendly, or what!! These instructions were – supposedly – simple step by step ones with pictures; perhaps it’s me, but I did find the instructions just a little too complicated and hard to follow. It took me and my wife around two hours to manage to construct the workbench, in which time I think she learnt a lot of new words!!! However, once that it was built I was really pleased with the Workmate and quite proud of my little self!! The workbench seems very sturdy and is a lot lighter than my ...

Bestway Hydro-Force Wave Line Kayak 27/04/2010

row, row, row the boat

Bestway Hydro-Force Wave Line Kayak Hydro Force Wave Line Inflatable Kayak Introduction My wife has a much loved younger brother (at 14 he’s the youngest child with four older sister ranging from 38 – 21!!); Jack is lucky to live right on the Lancaster Canal – his back gate opens out onto the tow path and so he spends a lot of time fishing or jumping in the canal in the summer months. Last year we decided to buy him an inflatable kayak for his thirteenth birthday, we got it off E-Bay for just £25.99 and it has proved a very popular and well used present, giving a lot of fun and pleasure to many members of the family (including me!!!!) The Kayak The boat is a ‘Bestway’Hydro Force Wave Line Inflatable Kayak, When we ordered this boat we weren’t too sure what to expect; when it arrived it came in a box measuring 32cm x18cm x 65cm so we realized that this was going to be very portable, giving Jack easy access to plenty of different water locations in his area and also near our home in Cheshire. Also he and his family often go on holiday on the Norfolk Broads, so this would be easily carried and save them the expense of hiring a dinghy. The kayak is made in sturdy blue and grey vinyl, is quickly inflated and deflated with an electric pump (that is not included), It comes with a pair of 2 section aluminium oars, has a comfortable cockpit with an inflatable seat and back, there is a grab rope and built in grommets and I comes with a repair patch (which he has not had to use despite some heavy use) It is a ...

Death Tunnel (DVD) 26/04/2010

It seems that five is the magic number!!

Death Tunnel (DVD) Death Tunnel DVD Review Introduction I love a good horror film; unfortunately the film on this DVD was NOTHING like a good horror film! I borrowed this DVD from my brother’s huge DVD collection; I’d never seen it or heard of it, so thought I’d give it a go. Why did I do it? That is a whole 91 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back! A little background to the story This film is based on happenings at The Waverly Hills Sanatorium, a hospital in Kentucky, that was opened in 1910, to accommodate 40 to 50 tuberculosis patients. In the 1930’s the "White Plague" (a mass outbreak of Tuberculosis) hit Kentucky, this hospital, while considered the best site for treating the deadly illness, used some archaic and gruesome methods to try to cure the patients. More than 6,000 patients died during the time that the Sanatorium was open, there were so many deaths that there was an infamous "body chute" used for move bodies to the graveyard. The “body chute” was a tunnel (can you see where this is going?) that was built at the same time as hospital and it started on the first floor and traveled 150 metres to the bottom of the hill, originally it housed air ducts to let in light and fresh air; once the epidemic took hold and people were dying so quickly, the many bodies were placed on a cart and sent to the bottom where a hearse was waiting to take them to the grave yard. This ex -hospital is now alleged to be one of the most haunted hospitals in America, as well as one of ... 26/04/2010

De clutter your home the environmental way. FREECYCLE My wife and I have used the Freecycle service quite a bit over the last year. When we moved from a flat that had fridge, freezer, washer etc into a house that didn’t, and not having a money tree in the garden we were very worried about the financial aspect. My brother suggested that I looked into Freecycle to see if it would help, and we’re very glad that we did. So, what is Freecycle? Freecycle is actually a world wide organization, and I found it surprising to see that the first UK network was set up in London in 2003, as it is all relatively knew to me. Freecycle UK say that now there are 494 groups across the country, with 1,722,575 members, so news is getting around well. The logo of Freecycle is, ‘Changing the world one gift at a time’; as the original idea was a recycling plan to stop items filling up landfill. It is a non profit organization that is internet based and, basically, puts people who have goods that they no longer need in touch with people who are looking for the same items. It is comprised of different local groups, and local group is a Yahoo! Groups mailing list that is run by volunteer moderators, and allows members to give away and/or obtain unwanted goods from other members free of charge. All the UK Freecycle groups use Yahoo Groups and so to join you need a Yahoo ID; this doesn’t mean you can’t use your own e-mail. Freecycle won’t cost you a penny to join but could save you hundreds of pounds as well as helping you to ...

Cold Granite - Stuart MacBride 26/04/2010

Aberdeen in the rain, and the rain, and the rain!!

Cold Granite - Stuart MacBride Cold Granite Stuart MacBride Introduction Last week I was given a set of six books by the Scottish author, Stuart MacBride; these books are a series, featuring Logan McRae and are set in Aberdeen. I had never heard of the author or the books so I was completely unaware as to what to expect, other than knowing that the books are crime books set in Aberdeen. So I started at the beginning and read the first book in the series: Cold Granite, very fitting for Aberdeen – AKA the Granite City. The Story DS Logan McRae has been off work from his detective job with the Aberdeen police sick for twelve months after a stabbing incident; as he returns to work, he walks straight into a shocking series of child murder and abductions. The body of a four year- old boy – David Reid – is found strangled, stripped and mutilated in a ditch; it soon becomes obvious that there is a serial killer at large in the cold, wet granite city of Aberdeen. These cases, combined with the media publicity for the case incited by journalist Colin Miller, Logan’s ex girlfriend, pathologist Dr. Isobel MacAlister, being ever presence and the fact that he has a new boss –the sweetie obsesses Detective Inspector Insch, to contend with, all mount up on the detective. With worries of police leaks to the press, a crooked lawyers’ defence of a local paedophile and the threat that higher officers are wanting to take over the case, the pressure is well and truly on McRae to solve this case – and ...

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (Nintendo DS) 24/04/2010

A bit of deja vu, thought it was Mario Kart for a bit!!

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (Nintendo DS) Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Nintendo DS My DS tends to spend most of its time in the drawer, then every now and then I’ll have the urge to play, especially if I see a cheap game at Blockbuster. My parents, obviously realizing I am yet to grow up, decided to buy me a game for the DS as an ‘Easter Egg’ this year, and – bless them – they remembered my fondness for a certain little blue hedgehog in my earlier years - so the old DS have been rather busy over the last few weeks!! That game was one that was released in February and is designed for age 7+ (thanks Mum!!) This game is available for the Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3,Nintendo DS and PC as well as the DS and DSi. As the title suggests, this is a racing game that involves the old faithful blue dedgehog, Sonic, and his friends – like Amigo, Dr Eggman, Amy Rose, Billy Hatcher, Tails and many more. When you start[playing you only have Sonic, Tails, Dr. Eggman, Shadow, Amy, AiAi, Amigo and Billy Hatcher, you need to unlock the other characters as you play. There Are twenty characters all together, and all of them have their own, sounds, animations and racing stats. The race to be first to the checkered flag takes all these familiar characters around busy cities, rainforests and even castles ramparts, all of which shriek Sega to me. This is obviously aimed at fans of Mario Kart (which I have on Wii) as the characters race their custom built vehicles – be it a car, a plane, a motorbike or even a banana mobile ...

Pancakes for Findus - Sven Nordqvist 23/04/2010

Uncrispy Findus Pancakes

Pancakes for Findus - Sven Nordqvist Pancakes for Findus - Sven Nordqvist Before I start this review I have to tell you I got in trouble for my research into it!!! My wife added this book to our Amazon order as a birthday present for her little nephew’s fifth birthday. When she came in and found that I’d opened the parcel and was reading this book instead of my own, she wasn’t very pleased! But it had to be done and I wasn’t eating chocolate or anything! I had to test it and check that it was suitable for the lad, didn’t I? The Author and his Work Sven Nordqvist is one of Sweden’s most popular writers and illustrator of children's books, and is best known for a series of books, “Pettson and Findus”, which feature an old farmer called Pettson, and his talented cat, Findus. This book was Nordqvist’s first book to be published in Sweden as “Pannkakstårtan”; in 1985 it was first published in English in 2007 and called ‘Pancake Pie’, this was later changed to ‘Pancakes for Findus’. This series of ten books became so popular that they are now sold throughout the world, and have sold over 6 million copies in 44 languages. The Story The story is based on the forgetful old farmer, Pettson, and his cat, Findus. Pettson and Findus live in a tiny red house in a garden that also has a tool shed, a hen house, a woodshed and a well. Findus is a very lucky cat as he has three birthdays a year (because it's more fun that way) On every birthday the farmer makes his cat pancakes, but on this particular birthday ...

Tesco Skinless & Boneless Salmon Fillets 23/04/2010

Cook this if you are fishing for compliments

Tesco Skinless & Boneless Salmon Fillets Tesco Skinless & Boneless Salmon Fillets Since my wife has been pregnant she has really gone off meat quite a lot and so we are eating a lot more fish as she finds this more palatable. Salmon is one of her favourite fish at the moment, and it is also very versatile, it’s also one of our favourites to put on the barbecue so when we saw this offer at Tesco we bought a couple of packets. Appearance The two salmon fillets come in a film covered polystyrene tray with a simple sticker along one side, so that the pink fillets are clearly visible. The label is purely an informative tool as it shows a picture of cooked salmon and tells you that the salmon is Farmed Atlantic Salmon, it has the collective weight of the two fillets – 240g, and the GDA guideline daily amounts) – which shows that you have opted for a highly nutritious product. The salmon can be found in the chilled pre packed fish section in store and on the tuna and salmon shop of When you open the packaging (not recyclable I’m afraid) and take out the fish you see two identically shaped fillets of pink, skinned salmon. Storage Always use the salmon by the sell by date and when opened use immediately, the salmon can be frozen and you should freeze on the day of purchase, and use within one month. When you come to use the frozen salmon, defrost it thoroughly for a minimum of 8 hours in a refrigerator, and do not refreeze when thawed. Price The price for a pack of these two salmon fillets is 32.98 ...

Sainsburys Taste the Difference Cod & Cheddar Fishcakes 23/04/2010

When is a fishcake really a fishcake? When it has fish in it!!

Sainsburys Taste the Difference Cod & Cheddar Fishcakes Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Cod and West Country Cheddar Fishcakes Introduction I am enjoying a couple of days off work and have just enjoyed a lovely lunch out in the sun. As I was about to throw the wrappings in the bin I suddenly thought ‘CIAO’ so have decided to sit down and write a review on the fishcakes that I have just eaten!! What are they? Well these were fish cakes nothing like the majority of shop bought ones on the market; amazingly these fish cakes actually had more fish than any other ingredient in them!! They are part of the Sainsbury’s premier range – ‘Taste the Difference’ – and in this case you certainly could. Naturally you pay more for this range, we purchased ours yesterday and they were actually reduced as they had today’s sell by date on – we paid £1.89 rather than the normal £2.49 price. I know that this sounds expensive for two fishcakes but we all, I am sure, have heard the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’!! Appearance The fishcakes come in a pack of two in a clear plastic container. You can see the products through the pack and it is evident that these are a deep fishcake (about 1” thick) and are in an attractive looking breadcrumb covering. Sainsbury’s call this their ‘Signature Breadcrumb’ – it contains oats and herbs in with the breadcrumbs and it has a home made appearance, in fact I think that you could actually pass these fishcakes off as homemade. The FSA coloured wheel on the front of the package, reassuringly shows ...

Jamesons Raspberry Ruffle Bars 22/04/2010

A Barbie pink Bounty.

Jamesons Raspberry Ruffle Bars Jameson's Raspberry Ruffle Bars Introduction I know it is supposed to be ladies who are the chocoholics but I have to admit to being the BIG chocoholic in our house!! So on our last little trip to Sainsbury’s as wifey looked for boring stuff like washing powder, I managed t find myself – just by chance naturally!! – in the confectionary aisle. It was there that I was suddenly transported back to my schooldays when I spotted a five pack of Jameson's Raspberry Ruffle Bars, for the VERY reasonable price of £1.15 (less than 25p each!!); I remember these so well from school – they were always one of the cheaper chocolate bars and so very handy when they old pocket money was getting low!! So who, or what, are Jameson’s? Don’t get too excited, there is no Jameson’s of the booze variety in this bar!! Jameson’s is a brand name of a company called Monkhill Confectionary. But we don’t stop there - Monkhill is actually a division of Trebor Basset Ltd., which in turn is owned by Cadbury Schweppes plc. – so, believe it or not, this little bar is actually made by Cadbury’s! Appearance The five 28g bars come in a chocolate and almost neon pink package (actually very like the bar itself) and the wrapper describes the filling as “coconut and raspberry flavour fondant cream”, it also tells us that the dark chocolate is comprised of a minimum of 40% cocoa solids and that a good portion of it is made from cocoa butter. On opening the packet you gat a small domed bar (about 3” long) ...

You're Coming with Me Lad - Mike Pannett 22/04/2010

No scouse barmad in a mini skirt here!!

You're Coming with Me Lad - Mike Pannett YOU’RE COMING WITH ME LAD… Tales of a Yorkshire bobby Mike Pannett Introduction My wife and I do skit her poor dad a lot about his obsession with the TV programme ‘Heartbeat’! Whenever we visit and look through their Sky Planner he has about 5000 old programmes of it taped! So when we saw this book “You’re Coming with Me Lad – tales of a Yorkshire bobby” – we had to but it him!! At the time I didn’t realise that there had been a previous book written, but this didn’t take any pleasure away from his reading of this book. After he read it he gave it to me to read, and so it’s review time!!! The Author Mike Pannett is the cousin of Peter Walker, (pen name - Nicholas Rhea) who wrote the "Constable" series of books, on which the TV series, "Heartbeat" was based. A true Yorkshire man, born in York, Mike joined the London Metropolitan Police in 1988 and went on to serve in the Divisional Crime Squad, Robbery Squad, murder squad, and the TSG (Riot Police), where he was also trained in surveillance. Despite all this action Mike missed his home roots and in 1997 he joined North Yorkshire Police as a Rural Community Beat Officer, and eventually as a Wildlife Officer. In 2005, he starred in 26 episodes of the BBC "Country Cops" series. He is now retired and lives with his wife, herself a police officer, and their three children, in a small village in the North Yorkshire Moors. He published his first book ‘Now then lad’ in 2008, in which he told the story of his ...

Zumo Cafe Bar, Forton 22/04/2010

Is it an cafe? Is it a bar? Is it a restaurant? No, it's ZUMO

Zumo Cafe Bar, Forton ZUMO CAFÉ BAR AND RESTAURANT Forton, Preston Introduction For the last twelve months or so travelling along the A6 to visit the in laws we have spotted an old restaurant being refurbished, the previous restaurant had only opened of an evening; when we saw the sign that said it was a ‘meeting place and an internet café ‘ we were intrigued but didn’t visit it. Soon we saw a Crazy Golf course being built at the back of the restaurant, and we saw a sign advertising ‘soup and sandwich £4.95 so this week my wife and I and my in laws decided to give it a try to ‘get a snack’ for lunch. This review is the result of this visit as I think the word really does need to be spread about this incredible little place. Exactly what is this place? This is very difficult to explain simply! What we found as we drove on to the roomy and free car park was an old cottage style building that had been added to and adapted to have a traditional café setting, a lovely outdoor patio area with tables and parasols and a conservatory with yet more tables in a restaurant type setting. This business has been really well planned and thought through – all in this one building is a lovely café/restaurant that is suitable for all including families with young children, a quiet area for business meetings, a party venue and all with the best cooked food I’ve had for a long time, free Internet access, photocopying and faxing services and even a superb crazy golf course – this really is a novel ...

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street DVD 21/04/2010

I'll stick with Holland's pies thank you!!

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street DVD SWEENEY TODD THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET DVD REVIEW INTRODUCTION It’s got Johnny Depp in it, therefore I HAVE to watch it, the wife said so!! She is a big fan of Mr. Depp – she tells me that it’s his acting talents that she admires, but I feel there may be some other attraction – and she is also a lover of Tim Burton films in general, ever since studying his works in Film Study at college!! This though is a Johnny Depp film with a difference; it is actually a musical – a horror musical at that!! With a combination of Burton’s great direction and Stephen Sondheim’s musical abilities not forgetting those famous acting skills of this actor who is seemingly ‘fit’ according to Mrs. Sean (see how great education is a Film Study A level and her description of one of our most successful current actors is ‘fit’!!) I MUST have been in for a good film, and - amazingly – I was!! "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," is Tim Burton's film adaptation Stephen Sondheim's musical – and, remember this is a Burton film; it has his normal gothic atmosphere in abundance. Obviously based on the legend/story of a cut throat barber (literally) from 19th century London this is a film that you won’t forget in a hurry. Incidentally, Stephen Sondheim's musical was actually shown first in 1979, and is about an hour longer than this film adaption. . THE STORY The film starts in a typical gloomy, atmospheric fashion as a boat makes its way into a mist shrouded London in the ...
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