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Happy New Year Everyone! I also post on dooyoo under the same name (snowflake5)

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since 08/09/2005


Pride And Prejudice (DVD) 24/04/2007

One of the Best BBC Costume Dramas Ever

Pride And Prejudice (DVD) This BBC version of Pride and Prejudice from 1995 is widely held to be the best Jane Austen adaptation of all time. Most Jane Austen adaptations are done in movie form and take many liberties with the text (eg the 2005 Keira Knightly movie seemed to replace light sparkling Austen with dark moody Bronte). The 1995 BBC adaptation however was a done as a six-part series and this gave them the space to explore the book in all it's complexity. I'm not going to summarize the plot as there can hardly be anyone around who doesn't know it. If by chance you haven't read it, do read the book first before you see the adaptation as it adds to the pleasure when you see how faithfully they've brought it to life (though they make the drama a touch less cynical than the book). The main reason this adaptation was so successful was that the screenwriter Andrew Davis simply lifted the dialogue directly and intact from the book. For most of the series, you hear unadulterated Austen being spoken, and as she was one of the finest and wittiest writers of dialogue in English literature, it's no wonder the series sparkles. The BBC also made a great effort to be get all the details right. They divert from the novel only once - and this is a visual scene when Darcy dives into a lake and then stomps back to his house, with his shirt all wet and clinging to him, only to bump into Elizabeth... The clothes, the style of food, the dancing are all accurate to the last detail. The music score was done ...

LG KG225 03/01/2007

A great Little Camera Phone

LG KG225 I tend to carry a Pay As You Go phone in my purse in case of emergencies, and when my old phone finally died I was looking for something relatively cheap but effective to replace it, and came across the LG KG225. ~ The Manufacturer ~ LG stands for Lucky Group, a Korean company founded in 1958 to manufacture radios. They now manufacture all over the place (the USA, Germany, Ireland, Thailand, China) and make all sorts of things: TV's, Plasma's, LCDs, mobile phones, home cinema systems, DVD players, fridges, dishwashers, microwaves, air conditioning units, you name it. ~ The Phone ~ The LG KG225 is a tiny, black, clamshell phone, with a pleasing rounded shape: it sits in the palm of your hand as smooth as a pebble. It's very lightweight - just 70g and 8.45cm in length and 4.5 cm in width. It comes with a built-in digital zoom camera, and allows you to either take instant pictures, or a 9-time continuous shooting feature. You can either send pictures, or store them in the phone's photo album. The KG225 is on Tri-band, which means it should work in most of Europe and the USA. It has a 40 Polyphonic ringtone sound (i.e. it allows up to 40 notes to be played simultaneously). You can also set the phone to vibrate, if you don't want to hear a ringtone. It has embedded Java technology, which allows you to download Java-based games and applications. The phone I bought came with pre-loaded Sudoku and HalloweenFever. It has a WAP 2.0 function which enables ...

Mission: Impossible 3 (DVD) 04/12/2006

A good weekend popcorn movie

Mission: Impossible 3 (DVD) We rented Mission Impossible 3 on the weekend and it's a good weekend "I feel like watching an action movie" entertainment. ~The Film~ Ethan Hunt is engaged to be married. Hunt has retired from the field and is teaching new recruits, but is drawn back to rescue one of his pupils (Keri Russell), backed up by a crack team (Ving Rames, Maggie Q, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers) while trying to keep his mission secret from his fiancee, played by Michelle Monaghan (as he intends to leave the field for good and thinks there is nothing to be gained by telling her). The baddie Owen Davian, is an arms dealer played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I won't say anything more about the plot as I don't want to give anything away. The early scenes showing the engagement are a little weak. (There is an amusing scene, where he is boring the pants of some women at the engagement party, telling them nerdy anorak stuff and the women react thrilled saying "I'd marry him!", while this viewer was thinking, "who'd marry such a boring chap!" - but in Tom Cruise world, even the most inane thing he says is meant to be attractive!). The film improves markedly when it comes to the action sequences. The stunts are spectacular, the settings glorious - I particularly enjoyed the sequence at the Vatican, where high action stuff is being carried out amid exquisite architecture, and half the time the viewer is worried they might damage something important, which adds to the suspense. The Shanghai stuff was ...

Much Ado About Nothing (DVD) 13/08/2006

Romance and Wit in Messina

Much Ado About Nothing (DVD) Much Ado About nothing is one of Shakespeare's best loved comedies, and this 1993 Kenneth Branagh film version is one of the best adaptations. ~The story~ For those unfamiliar with the play, the story is set in Messina, Italy, at an undetermined point in the distant past. Leonato, a nobleman, welcomes home Don Pedro, his illegitimate brother Don John, and his friends Benedict and Claudio, back from war. Claudio falls in love with Lenonato's daughter Hero, while Benedict and Leonato's niece Beatrice are old time sparring partners and continue their battle of wits where they left off. Don Pedro decides it would be funny to get Benedict and Beatrice together and hatches a plot to make them fall in love. Meanwhile, Don John, jealous of Claudio's friendship with Don Pedro, seeks to spoil his romance with Hero. ~The film~ This is a warm and ripe adaptation. As the titles roll, you get a great scene where the men and women rush to wash and make themselves presentable for the revelling that evening, complete with glimpses of naked bodies jumping into pools. There are plenty of grapes, apricots, luscious loaves of bread and wine about, and you can feel the sunshine in the day scenes and the warm evening air in the night ones. The costumes are appropriately rustic and comfortable. The setting is a glorious Tuscany, with great views, and I always find myself wishing to visit straightaway. Even the music in the film manages to be rustic - they manage to bring off the ...

EDF Energy 20/06/2006

I switched my energy supplier

EDF Energy Like most people, we've been feeling the pinch of the soaring gas and electricity prices. I tend to procrastrinate and leave things, but even I had to act when Southern Electric put their prices up by 19%. As you've probably guessed, we switched to EDF, hence this review. Who are EDF? EDF stands for Electricite de France, a French company that bought London Energy, Seeboard Energy and SWEB Energy, making them suppliers of energy to people living in Southern England. They are quite "green" in that they are one of the largest developers of off-shore wind-farms in the UK, and of course they import nuclear power into Britain from their nuclear power stations in Northern France. How do you sign up? I first heard of EDF through Nectar. I received an e-mail from Nectar which offered 5000 Nectar Points (worth £25) if you took out a dual-fuel (gas and electricity) deal with EDF. Nectar send out these e-mails quite regularly, and I signed up through one of them. I did it online, clicking the link from the Nectar e-mail, filling out my details including setting up the direct debit, and giving them by Nectar card number. If you don't get Nectar e-mails, you can sign up by going to - they give you the £25 sign-up bonus for dual-fuel off your bill if you don't want the Nectar points. Service Service was very prompt - by return post I'd received a welcome pack from EDF, which included a copy of the contract I'd filled in, a booklet explaining the ...

Knock Down - Dick Francis 18/06/2006

A Good Thriller

Knock Down - Dick Francis Many people get their first experience of the races by going to Newbury racecourse, or visiting the Grand National at Aintree. If you are curious about this world, then Dick Francis' novel is a brilliant way to immerse yourself in this world and enjoy a great thriller at the same time. The trouble all starts when the hero of the novel, Jonah Dereham, refuses a scam involving kickbacks. The thugs don't like his independence and start to systematically destroy his livelihood as well as inflicting actual violence on him (if you like a bit of violence in your books, then note that Dick Francis does this extremely realistically!) Once you start reading it is hard to put down - this is one of Dick Francis' best novels.

Amé 22/04/2006

Refreshment in a bottle

Amé I expect everyone has been the "driver" at some point and had to abstain from alcohol during the evening. In my case my husband doesn't drive, so I'm always abstaining (or it seems that way)! And when you are gagging after your fourth Coke in a row, you long for something that isn't THAT sweet. Then you discover that there is not a lot of choice: fruit juice (very sweet); coke, lemonade, tango etc (all very sweet); appletise, various grape-juice derived drinks (also very sweet) or water (no taste at all and guaranteed to make you feel out of place among the drinkers).. So you can imagine how pleased I was to discover Amé, a group of non-alcoholic drinks that taste great, are not too sweet and can be drunk in quantity without adverse effect. ~Some background~ Amé is made by Orchid Drinks, a company formed in 1992 following the management buyout of the soft-drinks division of Cameroons Brewery in Hartlepool. It was then bought by BritVic Drinks in 2000. According to their web-site the word "Amé" is derived from the Japanese word for "gentle rain" ~The drinks~ The drinks are a blend of fruit-juices, sparkling water and eastern herbal extracts. There are four versions: Grape & Apricot: This is made from Grape juice Extract from concentrate (48%), Carbonated spring water (43%), fruit juices from concentrate (Grape 4%, Apricot 3%) Herbal extracts (Limeflower, Schisandra, Gentian) and citric acid. Raspberry and Blackberry: Made from Grape juice Extract ...

False Colours - Georgette Heyer 02/03/2006

A Regency Romance

False Colours - Georgette Heyer I am going through a phase of reading popular fiction at the moment - nothing too taxing, just something enjoyable to read that I can pick up and put down. Georgette Heyer's books certainly fit this category. The Author Gerogette Heyer was an English novelist who wrote her first historical romance in 1921 and went on to write some fifty books. In the process she singlehandedly created the genre of the "Regency Novel". Regency novels are set during the early 1800's when George, Prince of Wales was made Regent after his father George III went mad. The typical regency novel has romance, a dash of adventure, sometimes a mystery, and the social set is always among London artistocrats of that period. The middle classes and the provinces rarely feature (unless the Duke or Earl or whomever visits his country seat). The Novel False Colours fulfils all these criteria. It's a historical novel set in 1817. The Honorable Christopher Fancot takes leave from his job in Vienna where he is a diplomat, to go home as he is worried about his identical twin brother, Evelyn, Earl of Denville. His fears are not misplaced - his twin has disappeared and his mother is full of anxiety. The Earl has decided to make an arranged marriage in order to persuade his Trustees to release his inheritance, and he is due to meet the girl's entire family the following evening and a non-appearance would be a huge insult. So Kit Fancot agrees to take his place, in the process impressing her family ...

The Financial Times 01/03/2006

In Praise of ... The FT

The Financial Times I love the F.T. I first started reading it about six years ago to check the price of some shares my parents gave me, and I have been reading it faithfully ever since. It's not just that it's taught me everything I know about finance, but I also feel it's the most neutral, least politically biased newspaper published in Britain. First some background: The Financial Times was first published in 1888 and adopted the distinctive salmon coloured paper in 1893 to distinguish itself from other papers. The paper is owned by Pearson Plc (who publish Penguin). In 1997, it launched the US edition and by 1998 it became the first UK-based paper to sell more copies internationally than in the UK. FT Deutchland which is in German, was launched in 2000. The Financial Times is rated higher than the Wall Street Journal, primarily because it is so accurate, authoritative and neutral (the Wall Street Journal by contrast has a neo-conservative slant and is not trusted in Asia and Europe). Rumour has it that the F.T. is the only UK paper to be delivered to the White House every day. The Newspaper The daily FT has two sections, the main paper and Companies & Markets. This tends to get supplemented occasionally when they are doing special features on the Far East, Eastern Europe, or on particular industries. I tend to get the Weekend paper, which is published on Saturdays. In addition to the two main sections, the Saturday issue will have FT Weekend, FT Money, The Magazine and ...

Chanel Coco Eau de Parfum 28/02/2006

A Sensual Elixir

Chanel Coco Eau de Parfum Our Valentine's day was low-key - we'd decided to give the whole expensive restaurant thing a miss and were just going to stay in and open some wine. I also forbade hubby to buy flowers (£50+ for a bouquet of roses is rip-off as far as I'm concerned especially as they die within a week). But my husband, being a love, still marked the occasion - he bought me a bottle of Coco, which I'd worn on our first date and is still his favourite perfume on me (it's my favourite too). The House of Chanel I'm not sure if people appreciate just how much Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel has done for modern women. This Frenchwoman single-handedly invented the modern wardrobe. When her first shop was opened in 1912, women were wearing heavy Edwardian clothes with bustles. Chanel however was a modernist and an original. She took to wearing men's trousers and shirts and adapted men's clothes for wear for herself. Eyebrows were raised at the non-conformity, but she looked cool and some daring women copied her. By the time the first world war was over, mainstream opinion had moved towards her as people were ready for a change. She started making clothes in lightweight jersey, dumping the heavy edwardian fabrics. In 1921 she launched Chanel No 5, the first modern perfume, being a blend of several scents, and made from aldehydes. In 1923 she invented the Chanel suit, in 1925 she invented the cardigan jacket and in 1926, the little black dress. Trouser-wearing, which she pioneered, was copied by ...

The Mind Gym: Wake Your Mind Up - Mind Gym 17/02/2006

Work out your brain

The Mind Gym: Wake Your Mind Up - Mind Gym The Mind Gym is a book written by management consultant Octavius Black and business psychologist Sebastian Bailey, based on a series of workshops they had done for British companies such as Diageo, BT, GlaxoSmithKliene and Norwich Union. It's one of the few books in the business psychology genre written by Brits. The aim of the book is to make you aware of how you think and behave with a view to sharpening your brain and therefore your performance. I imagine business/management types are most likely to read this, but anyone interested in thinking and how their brain works will get something out of it. The book is divided into five sections: * "Taking Control" is about understanding your mindset; it explains how your mindset affects how you perceive and this section explains how flaws in perception occur - people with undiluted optimism often duck responsibility for instance, whereas people with undiluted pessimism misallocate responsibility (they are often too hard on themselves). Once you are aware of how you think this section then goes on to describe how to break thinking cycles, how to get out of ruts and also has a very useful chapter on how to avoid procrastination. * "The Right Impression" deals with how people interact. They start off explaining how people behave differently with different people, and how to assess your impact on others. They then go on to identify nine techniques people use to influence each other and how people connect with each other ... 16/02/2006

Snoop's paradise! was founded in 2005 by Steve Dunnett, when the Freedom of Information Act made house price data held by the Land Registry available from 1st January 2005. His insight was that people would prefer to access the information via the net rather than visit or write to a Land Registry office for the information, especially as the Land registry charge a fee for the information. Dunnett decided to pay the fee to access the information in bulk and distribute it free on his web-site which is funded by advertising, mainly from the financial sector. The site is now experiencing 500,000 hits a day. What does the site do? It allows you to type in an address or post-code and look up what price a house sold for and the date on which it sold. The first thing I did was type in my own postcode. It brought up the street name and said there had been seven sales registered. I then clicked on the street name, and it listed each house, with house number and post-code, the price it sold at, the date it sold on and whether it was a flat, terrace, semi-detached or detached. Unfortunately it doesn't list how many bedrooms a house has, but if you are familiar with a street, this is easy to work out. Beside each entry is a link to a map, showing the exact location. As you can tell, this is snooper's heaven. You can find out what your neighbours paid for theirs, or look up your boss's house, or find out what Mr and Mrs Blair paid for their house (providing you know the ...

Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House - Cheryl Mendelson 27/12/2005

A Housekeeping Bible

Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House - Cheryl Mendelson Home Comforts is a book about housekeeping - it's been described as the most comprehensive household management book since Mrs Beeton's tome of 1861. Modern household management that is, because it addresses the needs of the modern home. Cheryl Mendelson, the author, starts off by describing the modern home "Comfort and engagement at home have diminished to the point that simple cleanliness and decent meals are no longer taken for granted", she writes. "Homes often seem to operate on an ad hoc basis....... Dirt, dust and disorder are more common than they used to be......Cleaning and tidying are done mostly when the house seems out of control." She points out that in systematic households, most of the time you live comfortably, whereas in unsystematic households, the only time it's comfortable is just after strenuous emergency measures have been taken, the rest of the time, you live badly. She goes on to suggest simple routines. One idea I liked was doing a mini-clean in between the weekly major clean, because it reduced the amount of work. She also suggests an order of work; starting upstairs, working your way down; doing the dry rooms before the wet ones; beginning with tasks that require waiting periods eg stripping the beds so they can air, while you get on with other tasks. Despite these initial chapters on household routines, this book is really a reference book - most of the chapters tackle in comprehensive detail every aspect of the modern home. For ...

Bobbi Brown Beauty: The Ultimate Beauty Resource - Bobbi Brown & Anne Marie Iverson 22/11/2005

All About Make-Up

Bobbi Brown Beauty: The Ultimate Beauty Resource - Bobbi Brown & Anne Marie Iverson This is a beauty reference book devoted to make-up and make-up techniques. Bobbi Brown is an American make-up artist who has her own line of products - Bobbi Brown Essentials - you know the one, with hundreds of different shades of neutral and browns. I've never actually bought any of her make-up - the shades arn't quite right for me - but I was intrigued by the pictures in this book as Bobbi Brown specialises in techniques that make you look as though you arn't wearing any make-up, that you are simply born looking fabulous. She starts off by recommending that you focus on two basic elements: finding a foundation and powder that match your skin tone, and a lip colour or stain that matches your natural lip colour perfectly. She then goes on to show how to choose and use concealer, foundation and powder and gives tips on how to overcome problems. For instance if concealer makes your eyes look more lined or crepey/baggy, you are probably using a texture that's too heavy. She also recommends using powder as the best way to lock in make-up and prevent it fading. She thinks yellow-based powders are more flattering than pink-based ones (sounds a little odd, but works). There are also chapters on the following topics: * How to shape the brow * How to apply blush and lipstick * How to avoid eye-make-up mistakes (e.g. never match your eye make-up exactly to eye-colour, blue eyes look good with navy liner, but disappear with blue shadow) * How to deal with ...

The Great Gatsby - Scott Fitzgerald 13/11/2005

A Glittering take on the American Dream

The Great Gatsby - Scott Fitzgerald If you are studying American literature, then you have to be sure to read F Scott's Great Gatsby. Most people have seen the 1970's movie starring Mia Farrow and Robert Redford, but as great as that movie was, it still doesn't compare to the novel. The novel is set in the 1920's a boom-time period with a soaring stock market (much like the first decade of the 21st century) when fortunes were being made, not always legally (back then they didn't really have many laws governing business and finance). Jay Gatsby is a mysterious millionaire who appears out of nowhere and gives fabulous parties and does his best to impress Daisy Buchanon his childhood sweetheart. If you want to breathe in the flavours, the atmosphere, the snobbery and the sheer fabulousness of the 1920's then this novel is for you.
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