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The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson 20/08/2013

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson The story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was one I thought I knew rather well. Dr Jekyll, a brilliant scientist is one of the nicest men in the world but one of his experiments goes awry and he turns into Mr Hyde, the most evil man you'll ever meet. That's how the story was retold to me, at least, by family members, TV programmes and brief synopses of the text I've read online. Having never actually read the book myself, I was eager to do so when I found this "Children's Classics" version amongst my possessions when I was moving home earlier this month. Despite being a children's book, it seemed to contain the story as written by Robert Louis Stevenson so I thought it'd be just as good as a copy intended for adults. I quickly found that although my idea of the story was loosely correct, it was in fact much different to both what I'd been told and some of the adaptations I watched on the TV as a child. Rather than reading of a scientists experiments and his mischievous exploits as his evil alter ego I found the book was wrote from the perspective of Mr Utterson, a friend of Dr Jekyll. It tells of how the man witnessed the decline of his friend and of some of the crimes Mr Hyde committed never realising the two are the same man until reading a letter left for him by Mr Jekyll. This letter is included in full as the final chapter of the book and retells much of the story from the point of view of Jekyll while also adding to it. I'm no literary critic but I think the way in which the ...

Boots Aspirin Caplets 19/08/2013

Boots Aspirin

Boots Aspirin Caplets I get a lot of headaches and while most of them are rather mild but occasionally I get severe migraines. I've been to the doctor and optician several times about it but there doesn't seem to be any reason for them, so I've taken to self medicating. I generally don't care which brand of aspirin I take as the product is exactly the same. Usually I would buy Tesco or Morrisons aspirin during the weekly shop but the other day I was on the high street and started getting a migraine so I popped into Boots and got this pack of 16 300mg Aspirin caplets. Value for Money These were 39p a pack - not the lowest price for Aspirin but still not a huge amount to spend on pain relief. Some of the name brands can reach £3 or £4 so 39p a pack (2.4p per tablet) isn't outrageous but Morrisons or Tesco will general have them at around 20p a pack. The dose is one to three caplets every 4 hours as required so a pack will have between 5 and 16 doses. I generally take two at a time so get 8 doses. I think this is excellent value for money and even though the same product is available cheaper elsewhere, I have no complaints. Effectiveness As with all drugs, Aspirin won't be effective in everyone but I've found it works quite well. It generally gets to work in about half an hour. Some of the more expensive variants of Aspirin contain caffeine which speeds up the absorption of the drug but I think half an hour is a perfectly reasonable amount of time to wait for the drug to do its job. However if you ...

Quorn Deli Chicken Style Slices 04/07/2013

Quorn Chicken Slices

Quorn Deli Chicken Style Slices I've been a vegetarian for roughly 14 years now and, living in a small market town which was once famed for its meats, options have always been limited. My local Tesco has never, to my knowledge stocked tofu (and I have checked, often) but has always had quorn and the Linda McCartney vegi stuff, and more recently has introduced their own lines of vegetarian food. But when it comes to the deli style slices, for sandwiches and such, the only option is quorn. They have a few different varieties - the only three I've seen are chicken, ham and peppered steak style, but Tesco Lanark is still lagging behind some other nearby stores, like Wishaw and Carluke, in its vegetarian offering, so there may be more. I really like the peppered steak variety, and I kind of like the ham one, but my favourite has to be chicken. I've used the slices in sandwiches and sliced them into small pieces to use in salads. There might be other uses for them, but I can't think of any. I know a lot of people who don't like quorn because it's genetically modified, because it's a poor imitation of meat or because it's just weird but I think the entire range (with the exception of their cod pies and fishless fingers, which taste awful) tastes great. And when it comes to GM foods, if you actually do some research you'll find genetically modified crops are actually better for you as they are more resilient to disease, and they are more economical as they are bred to produce much larger crops. Quorn is a healthy, ...

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 (Xbox Live Arcade) 30/06/2013

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 (Xbox Live Arcade) If you've read my earlier reviews, you'll know I absolutely love Sonic the Hedgehog. I really enjoyed the first episode of Sonic 4 and so I had to buy this game the minute it came out. I've had this game for about half a year now so I've had plenty of time to try it out, and I've finally got round to reviewing it. First Impressions I have to admit, I didn't really like the game to begin with. I think its because the levels are remakes of some of the more difficult levels from the original games. However, I quickly grew to like all of the zones and even enjoyed the special stage, based on the half-pipes of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which I always hated the first time around. Overall, my first impressions were not right and I'm glad I persevered and played the full game. Sylvania Castle Zone Usually my favourite zone is the very first one, but this isn't the case here. In previous games, Green Hill Zone, Emerald Hill Zone, Angel Island Zone, Mushroom Hill Zone and Splash Hill Zones were all excellent starters to their respective games and it was probably hard for Sonic Team (the unit of SEGA that develops Sonic games) to come up with an opener to match the ones that came before it. Nevertheless, I did enjoy this zone, it was just not as good as White Park Zone. The three zones have slightly different focuses. All three feature underwater sections, and this zone is unique in Sonic 4 as it is the only one which contains water. Act 2 features more underwater sections than the other ...

Tesco Triple Blade Shave System 29/06/2013

Tesco Triple Blade Razor

Tesco Triple Blade Shave System Now that I'm no longer a teenager, I've found myself taking a much greater interest in my personal appearance. When I was 19, I'd often let my beard grow for weeks, or even months, but I think I've shaved at least every other day this month. The reason for this perplexes me, but what I do know is that I'm having to replace my razors more often - a 5 pack of disposables might have lasted me 3 months before whereas now I need a new razor every few days. Being the environmentally responsible person I am, I decided to go for a razor with replaceable blades rather than disposables. I generally like to buy the slightly more expensive razors, because more often than not I've found the cheaper ones leave my face (and anywhere else I shave) covered in cuts. However, I didn't have very much money and none of the more expensive ones were on sale this week, so I decided to purchase Tesco's own "Triple Blade Shave System", which did look pretty similar to some of the more expensive alternatives. Quality of Shave The blades have a small green rubber bit at the front, and I'm not sure of its purpose, followed by three blades and a moisturising strip, which I think contains Aloe Vera (one of the ingredients is Aloe Barbadensis). I think they're much, much better than the disposables I had been using before now, as the number of cuts I've accrued has significantly decreased and the areas I've shaved have not been itchy (although that is probably a combination of the new blades and the new ...

Crucial - DDR3 - 8 GB : 2 x 4 GB - SO DIMM 204-pin - 1333 MHz 28/06/2013

Crucial RAM - 8GB kit for laptops

Crucial - DDR3 - 8 GB : 2 x 4 GB - SO DIMM 204-pin - 1333 MHz I turned orange on Ciao today and to commemorate that momentous achievement, I thought I'd write a review on something orange. The only things I could think of were Irn Bru and oranges, both of which seemed boring. So, instead, I thought I'd review one of the most important purchases I've made in recent years - upgrading my laptop's RAM. I have a slight advantage when I'm buying computer parts, having been studying computing since I was 14. Computer architecture was by far my favourite part of the Advanced Higher syllabus, and I learnt plenty that helped inform my buying decision. My laptop's speed significantly decreased after I moved to University, probably because of the vast amount of software I required for my various courses. I think I installed four different software development environments, plus I had to get antivirus software to access the campus network and I needed Microsoft Office to type up my various coursework (although I think a free version would have sufficed). I often keep a lot of different things open at the same time. For example, when I'm programming I'll have Visual Studio open, along with Microsoft Word to write my report as I'm going along, Outlook so I can keep checking my emails, Windows Media Player to play my music in the background, Chrome so I can look up anything I don't know, and OneNote so I can view my lecture notes. It's not a lot, but all of this software does require a sizeable chunk of the system's memory. Of course, RAM is not the ...

Nivea for Men Sensitive Soothing Shaving Gel 27/06/2013

Nivea for Men Sensitive Shaving Gel

Nivea for Men Sensitive Soothing Shaving Gel As I'm sure you all know, men are very hairy creatures. You may also have gathered that I am a man. Almost my entire body is covered in hair. Now, I don't mind body hair but having recently started visiting the swimming pool on a regular basis, I've seen a lot of topless men in shorts and the ones who aren't shaven are rather unappealing in my opinion. I'm sure I look just as unappealing, so I decided to start "grooming" myself. So far, I've tried about four different shaving creams and gels - not for any particular reason just because they were the most readily available or the cheapest. This one has to be my favourite. The only reason I bought it was because it was on sale at £1.50 down from £3. Usually, I'm willing to use anything. How does it affect your skin? I use this on my lower legs, chest, arms and face (all the visible bits). The first thing I noticed after using it was how soft my hands were from lathering up the gel to apply it. Unlike many other shaving gels I've used, it seems to moisturise the skin while you're shaving and leaves it nice and smooth. It also seems to be quite mild - I rather often cut myself whilst shaving, the result of a shaky hand and poor vision without my glasses. Some gels and creams I've used sting like hell if they get into the cuts, but I cut myself just last night and didn't feel a thing when I applied more gel over the top of it to get the hairs I'd missed. It's also left my face feeling quite soft and smooth - I shaved this morning ...

Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 (PC DVD) 26/06/2013

Microsoft PowerPoint 2010

Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 (PC DVD) PowerPoint is one of the most popular Microsoft Office applications, behind Word and Excel. I've been using it for several years, but almost exclusively for school and university work. As an avid computing student who gets bored easily, I have on numerous occasions played around with the features of PowerPoint on my own time and have created a few slide shows just for fun (not as sad as it sounds). So, I've had plenty of experience in using this particular application. I actually received a 1A** (the highest grade at Stirling) for a PowerPoint presentation I created last year. If only I was as good at exams as I was at the practicals, I might not be repeating the class this year. Anyway, as with most Microsoft Office products, this is probably the most popular piece of presentation software worldwide, going by the sheer number of people who own it alone. PowerPoint is a "core" product, and is included with all Office suites, so if you buy a suite you're getting this. You can, of course, also buy the software individually. The version I'm reviewing came with Microsoft Office 2010 Professional Plus, which also includes Access, Excel, InfoPath, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, SharePoint and Word. Ease of Use PowerPoint is relatively easy to use, although it does have its drawbacks. When you load a blank presentation, a title slide will be created for you. When you add new slides, you select the design for each of them. You can have a: * title slide * section header * title and ...

Microsoft OneNote 2010 22/06/2013

Microsoft OneNote 2010

Microsoft OneNote 2010 Microsoft OneNote is a piece of organisational software that has been available since 2003. Most people will have first encountered it with Microsoft Office 2007, which is when Microsoft made a real effort to push it. I had originally thought it was just Microsoft's latest gimmick and was of little use, but it has in recent years become an invaluable part of my software suite. OneNote lets you create notebooks which contain sections and pages. For example, when I was learning Spanish I created a Spanish notebook, with Vocab, Grammar and Notes sections, then each topic was given its own page. You can have almost anything on pages - videos, pictures, text, graphs, tables, files, equations and much more. Plus you can put it all wherever you want. Just click where you want to type and the cursor will move there or drag photos, files, charts, etc. wherever you want. That's why I find it great for learning - in lectures or when I'm studying something I can include almost anything, such as lecture slides from PowerPoint, and if the lecturer tells us to try a problem in our own time I can leave a space for the solution. It is an extremely useful piece of software and I'm glad I gave it a second chance after I initially dismissed it. Ease of Use I think this is one of the easiest to use organiser applications available. Being able to just click and type is great, and everything can be moved around later. You can also add almost anything to your notes - text, images and charts are a ...

Microsoft Word 2010 21/06/2013

Microsoft Word 2010

Microsoft Word 2010 As a computing science student, I encounter a wide variety of software and use many different software suites. When it comes to word processing, there's a wide choice on my laptop alone. I have the Microsoft Works package that came with the system, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Microsoft Office and the online service Google Docs, as well as Notepad and Wordpad which come with the operating system. Of these various packages, the one with my favourite word processor has to be Microsoft Office which contains Microsoft Word. It is the 2010 version I currently have, but I've loved the package for years, having used Microsoft Office XP all through school and having the 2007 version for several years before upgrading to 2010. Microsoft Word, and the suite it comes with Microsoft Office, is one of the top office software packages in the world and most people will have at least heard of it. If you work in an office, chances are you use this software, or one of the previous versions. Microsoft Word 2010 is technically outdated, having been recently replaced with Microsoft Word 2013, but the new software is much the same, from what I've seen of it so this review should still be helpful. Ease of Use Microsoft Word is rather easy to use. As soon as you open the program, you can start typing. You generally don't have to set up the document before you can start, like in other programs. For example, one application I've used (I believe it was OpenOffice) requires you to set up the margins and ...

Fable III: Traitor's Keep Quest Pack DLC (Xbox 360) 18/06/2013

Fable III: Traitor's Keep

Fable III: Traitor's Keep Quest Pack DLC (Xbox 360) If you've got an Xbox Live Gold account, you will probably by now know that you can get Fable III absolutely free right now (and if you don't know that, you can get it until the end of June). Having taken advantage of this offer from Microsoft, I felt it was only courteous to purchase the DLC (downloadable content) for the game so the developers get at least some money from me for this excellent game. Generally, I don't like purchasing DLC unless it adds something I really want to the game but in this case I wasn't as fussed. Once you've completed the game and all of the side quests, there is very little to do in Albion. I still have to collect all of the silver keys, books, Auroran flowers and gnomes scattered throughout the world but I'm not far off completing those too. So there comes a time where either your game play will be incredibly dull and boring or you'll buy the new DLC just to have something new to do. Or you could, of course, start from scratch again but I worked very hard to build my kingdom exactly as I like it so that was out of the question for me! If you are not familiar with the Fable games, I'll give you a slight overview. The games take place in the fictional kingdom of Albion and they are exclusive to Microsoft products (i.e. Windows and Xbox). The original Fable game was released in 2004, and was followed by an extended version in 2005. I have never played the original and am waiting on the remastered version, which is set to come out at the end of ...

Cookworks MK 2217 SA 17/06/2013

My Cookworks Kettle

Cookworks MK 2217 SA Shortly before going to uni, my mum bought me various appliances, one of which was this kettle. That was roughly two years ago now and the kettle moved with me to my new flat in Douglas. I'm going back to uni in September and I've decided to invest in a new kettle before I go because this one is starting to go, so I thought I'd write a review of it before I throw it out. So far, the kettle has done very well but is starting to deteriorate - the filter is getting difficult to clean and the switch to turn the kettle on is getting worn and sometimes the vibrations from the water boiling inside can be enough to flip the switch off before the water is fully boiled. Over the two years I've had it, though, it has performed very well and it was a second hand kettle, bought cheaply in a charity shop in Motherwell. There was a kettle in the kitchen at the uni dorms - this was just for my room, so I didn't see the point in mum spending money on a brand new one as it wouldn't be used often. It turned out to be used far more often that I had originally anticipated, as I was a very lazy student and the trip to the kitchen was often too far for me. Anyway, on with the actual review. Performance Generally, it takes less than 5 minutes to boil enough water for two cups of tea. I've never actually timed it, though, that's just an educated guess. I have had to boil a whole kettle worth of water (1.8L, the maximum capacity) on a couple of occasions and it takes around ten minutes to boil that ...

NCIS (Xbox 360) 16/06/2013

NCIS: The Video Game

NCIS (Xbox 360) Being a huge fan of the TV series, when I saw the NCIS game on LOVEFiLM, I had to try it. I've loved the show for years so when I read that the writers of the show wrote the episodes which feature in the game I was rather excited. I must say, though, I've played a few of the CSI games on various platforms and I did find them somewhat lacking, and this is basically the same format so I should have expected worse than I did. Despite being written by the same people who wrote the TV show, the game is abysmal. I'll get to the gameplay and graphics and all that later, but let's focus on the story first. The story is not the worst I've ever come across but it's definitely not the best the NCIS crew were capable of. It is supposed to be four "seemingly unrelated" cases that all come together in the end but it's clear from the start of the second episode the cases are related. The four cases also seem to me to be designed solely to sell video games, with one taking place in either Iraq or Afghanistan (I forget which now) on an American Naval base and another in Dubai, in a place where the Naval Criminal Investigative Service would have absolutely no jurisdiction (although that doesn't tend to stop the Americans, does it). I've forgotten most of the story now, but maybe the Dubai authorities invited them onto the case. Regardless, adding exotic locations was clearly just a ruse to sell more video games. Each episode took me approximately 45 minutes to an hour to complete, which is ...

Rio (Xbox 360 ) 15/06/2013

Rio: The Video Game

Rio (Xbox 360 ) As I mentioned in my review of Brave yesterday, I recently signed up for a games package with LOVEFiLM. Rio is another of the games I rented from them. Again, I didn't see the film before I played the game but in this case I still haven't seen the film. Rio is a children's party game and I realised that pretty quickly after putting it in the Xbox, but I kept playing regardless because I wanted to get some of the achievements from the game. This is a mainly multiplayer game but can be played alone. Of course, it's going to be much more fun if you play with other people. Gameplay/Playability Unlike most games, Rio follows no real storyline. It is a collection of minigames set in various places featured in the film. The minigames are somewhat varied, with the games including one in which you have to avoid snowballs hurtling towards you and another in which you have to jump over a chain and collect fruit at the same time. There are around 40 different games but even with that variety of games the game can get a bit samey after a while. Some of the games are identical to others with the only difference being the scenery and others are very similar to others with just minor changes to the rules. There are various ways to play the games. You can go for story mode in which three random games from each of the ten different regions are played back to back (so thirty minigames in all) and you have to get the top score at the end of each region to progress (when playing single player, ...

Ribelle: The Brave (Xbox 360) 14/06/2013

Brave: The Video Game

Ribelle: The Brave (Xbox 360) I recently signed up for LOVEFiLM's unlimited games package and this is one of the games I've been playing. When I was younger, I used to love the Disney games - Hercules, Monsters Inc, Toy Story 2, A Bug's Life and Lilo and Stitch were my particular favourites, amongst others. So, when I started renting games, I thought I'd start with a bit of nostalgia and rent some Disney titles, and other children's games. All Disney games seem to follow the same pattern - you guide the character through a series of levels collecting certain items and defeating baddies. Despite this, they are for the most part unique games. Brave actually reminded me rather of Hercules for the PS1, but was of course much better. I really wanted to see the film, but have to admit it wasn't until after I played the game that I saw it. It was available on the new Sky Movies DIsney channel for a while and may still be. Playing the game before the film didn't really spoil my enjoyment of it. While some aspects of the story are identical in the game and the film, the game does differ from the film later on. I really enjoyed the story in both the game and the film, though. As a proud Scot, it was nice to see a Disney film set in Scotland - and Billy Connolly plays the King in the film (although I can't remember his character appearing in the game) which was just a delight. And as far as I'm aware all of the voice actors they used were indeed Scottish - not like Braveheart where they cast an American in the role ...
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