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Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo 14/09/2017

I'm still bald!

Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo I've no idea why my hair has thinned, not to the point where I am bald but it is noticeable, to me at least. I have naturally very fine and fair hair anyway so any hair loss makes my bright pink scalp stand out and makes me feel self conscious. I have had blood tests and seen a dermatologist for a scalp biopsy but there is no physical reason for my hair loss. Alpecin seems to be marketed at men, in fact the bottle used to say it was just for men with a more expensive weaker formula available for us ladies in a pink bottle. It contains caffeine which is meant to be absorbed by the scalp and magically boost hair growth. It also doesn't contain the normal softeners like silicone which give us nice soft locks making the hair that is there appear thicker. It costs around £5.50 for a 250ml bottle, more if you go to Boots. The shampoo itself is blue and smells nice and clean. It lathers up well and you leave it on for a couple of minutes to soak into the scalp. The fact it doesn't contain softeners means it leaves my hair really tuggy and difficult to comb. I wouldn't say it made any difference to the appearance of my hair or made it feel thicker. Does it work? The first time I used Alpecin was a couple of years ago. It seemed to work. My hairdresser noticed small fine hairs after I had used it for a few weeks. All was well for a couple of years until my hair started thinning again. The second time I used Alpecin was more recently. This time I noticed no difference at all, in ...

T2 Trainspotting (DVD) 04/03/2017

The Boys Are Back In Town

T2 Trainspotting (DVD) It's hard to believe that it has been 20 years since Trainspotting hit the big screen. Voted best Scottish and 10th best British film of all time, it made a huge impact with its gritty scenes of heroin abuse, HIV and AIDS, urban poverty, underage sex, a dead baby and the worst toilet in Scotland. Fast forward to 2017 and the boys are back in town. I was both looking forward to and dreading T2:Trainspotting as I knew it would either be brilliant or a major disappointment with sequels rarely being as good as the original. Where we left off I dug out my old Trainspotting DVD to familiarise myself with the story before going to see T2. Mark Renton (Ewan Macgregor) and friends have traveled down to London and made a pile of money from a drug deal. Renton has had enough of dealing with the psychopathic Begbie (Robert Carlyle) and runs away with the money, leaving a small sum for friend Spud. The Present Day Twenty years later Renton returns from Amsterdam for his mother's funeral and ends up back in the childhood bedroom with the famous train themed wallpaper and a bunch of old vinyl. He catches up with some old friend and life has not been kind to the gang. Spud and Sick Boy have reached middle age and are still dealing with some demons. Begbie has been in prison since the story left off, but as soon as he hits the streets is hell bent on getting revenge on his old enemy. There is another crazy money making idea, but will the boys hit the jackpot and live happily ever ...

Cosyfeet Catherine Shoes 30/07/2016

Sensible Shoes

Cosyfeet Catherine Shoes I have diabetes and have recently developed some complications in my right foot. As well as being numb, my foot also started swelling to gargantuan proportions for no apparent reason. I already have big feet (size 8 or 9 wide) so struggle to find ladies shoes to fit, my swollen foot now needed to graduate from “normal” wide shoes to specially tailored shoes for the problem foot. There are a number of retailers which specialise in footwear for wide feet and CosyFeet is one of them. A pair of Catherine shoes will set you back £65 from their website or, if you are entitled to vat relief because of a medical condition you will pay £54.17. The shoes are available in half sizes from 3 to 9 and 5 different colours. Have a look on the Cosyfeet website for more detailed sizing info, I phoned their helpline after measuring the width of my feet to check the shoes would fit and they were really helpful, although the woman on the phone did comment that my foot was particularly wide! It appears that Cosyfeet are the retailer in the UK which stocks the widest fitting wide shoes which is exactly what I need. I ended up buying the shoes from Ebay for a mere £15 in navy blue (I would have preferred black but not available on Ebay) so got a real bargain. The Catherine shoe is not what you would call fashionable, it has a velcro t-bar fitting which allows you to adjust the width but is otherwise a fairly plain shoe. It is plain enough that you could wear it for work, it looks fine with jeans ...

Kobo eReader Mini 2 GB 05/06/2016

Small but perfectly formed

Kobo eReader Mini 2 GB I have owned a Kindle for a year and have always been happy with it. I decided to buy my daughter an E-reader for her birthday but didn't want to spend a lot of money. I decided on the Kobo mini as it was on special offer for just £30, RRP is £60 but it seems to normally retail around the £50 mark. The Kobo mini is the smallest of the E-readers on the market with a screen that is 4.9 inches. The Kobo mini weighs just 132 grams and because of the small size, it can fit inside many pockets making it highly portable. It is a good looking wee gadget; the casing is silver with a diamond pattern criss crossed over the back. There are a range of covers you can buy to protect your device and make it look even nicer. The screen on the Kobo mini is black and white, with a choice of several fonts and font sizes. The display is e-ink which means you can read it in sunlight without glare affecting your reading experience. The screen is nice and clear and easy to read. The only downside of an e-ink display is that you cannot read in low light conditions. You can buy small reading lamps to fit onto e-readers but this would spoil the portability somewhat. The Kobo is controlled by the touchscreen; there are no buttons at all on the reader. It is easy to navigate all of the menus, the page changes forward and backwards with a simple touch of the screen. The screen is generally responsive but is a bit slower than other readers sometimes. Although mostly a basic e-reader, the Kobo mini also ...

Look Who's Back (DVD) 10/05/2016

He's Back!

Look Who's Back (DVD) Over 70 years have passed since the end of World War 2, but Adolf Hitler is still regarded as the most evil man in history. Given that the Holocaust is still in living memory of many, is it ok to laugh at Hitler? Well, it seems that the Germans loved both the 2011 book 'Look Who's Back' as well as the 2015 film adaptation, with only a little controversy caused by their release. It is 2014 and Adolf Hitler awakens on a piece of wasteland in Berlin dazed and confused, his last memories are of being in the bunker shortly before his death. He finds his way to a newspaper kiosk where the proprietor takes pity on him and offers him food and shelter until he gets on his feet. Hitler is soon discovered by a TV producer who think they have found the best impersonator ever to have walked the earth, in fact he is so good that he never steps out of character even for a second. Hitler is soon given his own slot on a comedy TV talk show where he realises that TV is the best medium for propaganda in the modern age (I wonder what he would have made of YouTube where his rants received huge numbers of hits, but I suppose that would be too complex for a film). He uses his slot to rally against the ills of modern life, but what will the German people make of this modern fuhrer? The modern Hitler is a bit more cuddly than the original, gone are the concentration camps, replaced with rants about Angela Merkel and the state of Germany in general. 'Look Who's Back' is remindful of a film like ...

Go Set A Watchman - Harper Lee 30/12/2015

Go set your own watchman

Go Set A Watchman - Harper Lee The release of 'Go Set A Watchman' was the publishing sensation of the decade, mired in controversy because it is questionable whether or not the elderly Harper Lee truly gave her consent to the publication of this long buried novel. I re-read 'To Kill a Mockingbird' before I read Watchman to re-familiarise myself with the story and the characters before delving almost 20 years in time beyond the ending of the much loved novel. Scout is now 26 years old, living in New York and comes home to the deep south to visit her father for the summer. Her beloved brother Jem died a few years previously and an ageing Atticus lives with his sister, the rather fierce Aunt Alexandra. Jean Louise needs to make some big choices in her life; does she marry her childhood sweetheart Hank and stay in Maycomb, Alabama and become a wife and mother or does she continue her own independent life in the Big Apple? Maycomb is a town which is deeply divided by both race and class. There's the respectable whites like the Finches, the white trash out in old Sarum and the Negroes. The book is set during the 1950s, a time of desegregation and civil unrest. It is difficult for Jean Louise who has lived in a racially free New York to come home and find the old attitudes and values so entrenched, including by those she loves. The gulf between black and white is greater than ever which leads to heartbreak for Scout when her beloved former maid treats her formally instead of like an old friend. Scout's own ...

Us - David Nicholls 07/10/2015

The most over-hyped book of the year

Us - David Nicholls 'Us' by David Nicholls was my latest book club read. I was looking forward to it as I had heard such good things about the author and kept meaning to read one of his books but I was to be disappointed. Douglas, a biochemist, is amazed when the beautiful and artistic Connie shows an interest in him at a party he was forced to attend. It is a case of opposites attract when the hedonistic young artist falls for the ever dependable (otherwise known as boring to you and me) nerd. Fast forward 20 years or so and loves young dream are now middle aged with a teenage son who is about to fly the nest and head to university. Connie wakes Douglas up one night and tells him that she thinks their marriage will be over once their son leaves home. They decide to have one last family holiday in the hope of rekindling their ailing relationship and book tickets for a grand tour of Europe. Will the holiday work its magic? Will you even care? 'Us' is set over the course over over twenty years and charts Douglas and Connie's relationship and family life from the first sparks of love to the way that children impact on your life to the prospect of becoming empty nesters. They are both pretty dull people living a very pedestrian middle class existence, there are times in the marriage when they are forced to deal with heartbreak and major life changes but that is the case with everyone. The family holiday was the most boring holiday I could imagine; spending a few weeks travelling around Europe ...

Into The Wild - Jon Krakauer 09/05/2015

The Lost Boy

Into The Wild - Jon Krakauer In 1992, Chris Mccandless was a recent college graduate from a solidly middle class family with a world of opportunities at his feet but he decided to drop out of society and travel around the USA eking out a living by doing odd jobs. He. He gave the money which should have paid for law school to charity, reinvented himself as Alex Supertramp and hit the road. Alex Supertramp eventually reached the Alaskan wilderness where his emaciated remains were found in the shell of an abandoned bus with a few possessions strewn around. What motivated a young man with everything to live for to embark on such a dangerous adventure? Krakauer interviewed those who played a part in the last few months on Chris' life for the book including those who he met and on his travels, and his family. Chris' parents had become worried about their son when he lost touch with them and they had even hired a private detective to try and track him down. It is clear that Chris was rebelling against his upbringing, but in a way that went way beyond what most young people do. It was interesting to contrast the views of his parents, his sister and the wanderer himself and see how there are many different sides to a story. Mccandless sister, Carine, has recently published her own book telling the story of what she describes as a toxic childhood which may shed more light on why events unfolded as they did. The other interviewees are many and varied and range from the man who Chris hitched a lift from to people ...

Trivial Pursuit Party Board Game 31/01/2015

Trivial Pursuit Light

Trivial Pursuit Party Board Game Do you remember Trivial Pursuit of old? A game was an epic battle which could last a whole day and the questions were fiendishly difficult. Hasbro have brought out a number of new versions of the game, and one of those is Trivial Pursuit party. This is Trivial Pursuit light, with the gameplay being faster but is it as good as the original? The first difference is that the board is smaller than the original, with only 5 spaces between spokes of the wheel instead of 6 but that makes very little difference. The spaces are split between the different categories which are science and nature, sports and leisure, geography, the arts, movies and literature. There are also wild spaces which lets you choose your own questions. It is possible to go round the board almost entirely avoiding your least favourite category and concentrating on your strong subjects. Gameplay is by rolling a dice and moving your coloured “cheese” around the board and answering questions. In the original Trivial Pursuit you could only get a wedge for the correct answer on the ends of the spokes but any question answered correctly gets you a wedge in this game. The wedges are white also allowing you to get all of your wedges from any category of your choice, you could collect all of your wedges from the same category if you wanted. The game has 1200 questions split over 200 cards, if you remember the game of old then you will recall the huge boxes of questions but here it is like two thin packs of cards. This ...

Elizabeth is Missing - Emma Healey 27/01/2015

Where is Elizabeth?

Elizabeth is Missing - Emma Healey Elizabeth is Missing is the debut novel by Emma Healey and follows 82 year old Maud as she hunts for her friend Elizabeth. Maud is suffering from dementia, she forgets that she has eaten so makes some toast, forgets that she has left the gas on and even forgets her own daughter but the one thing she remembers is that her friend Elizabeth is missing. The pair of them have been friends for years and even volunteered in Oxfam together until Elizabeth simply vanished, her home lying empty. Can Maud discover what has happened to her friend? Books about old people seem to be all the rage right now. Maud is not daring or brave or breaking all the rules, she is simply a confused old lady trying to make sense of the world. There were some things that reminded me of my grandma as she descended into dementia, the dozens of handwritten notes and shopping for food when the cupboards were already full for example. The book does a really good job of showing what it is like to be confused and have your world not make sense, and also somewhat of what it is like to be the people caring for somebody in that condition. Maud may have trouble remembering what happened earlier that day but she has perfect recall about what happened 60 years ago and we are transported into a post war world where rationing is still in place and the teenage Maud still lives with her parents. It is here that a second mystery becomes apparent, another woman has gone missing and this time it is Maud's older sister ...

Pizza Express, Livingston 22/10/2013

Perfect Pizza

Pizza Express, Livingston Kirsty insisted that she did not want a fuss from the family for her 21st birthday. She planned to celebrate with friends at the weekend and really didn’t want a party. Of course, the family had other ideas and wanted to have a get together. What can you do on a Monday night which is out of the ordinary yet allows everyone to remain clear headed for work and school the next morning? Kirsty’s mum decided on a pizza making party at Pizza express in Livingston, and kept it a surprise from her daughter. In the end, around 25 of us turned up, about 15 made pizza and the rest just ordered from the main menu. It was my first visit to Pizza express, there is not one in my town and it wasn’t a place that looked exciting enough to seek out. It is a slightly more upscale pizza restaurant, posher than pizza hut with its all you can eat lunches but still within the casual dining bracket. The menu is fairly limited with various pizzas, pasta and salad but there is still something most people will be happy with. The Livingston branch is set in the Mcarthur Glen designer outlet. It’s several years since I have been there and I was amazed by how much the outlet had grown. The ground floor of the centre now has many restaurants and bars. There was ample free parking on a weekday evening just outside the centre but it looked to be a small car park for the size of the place, maybe there is another car park somewhere else. We found Pizza express easily and most of the family had arrived before ...

Dealing with cyberbullying: Tips for kids and parents 14/10/2013

Don't let the bullies win

Dealing with cyberbullying: Tips for kids and parents It seems that hardly a week goes by without the newspaper headlines telling us that yet another teenager has taken their own lives thanks to online bullying. The use of social network sites and by bullies is a serious problem, not only do the kids seem to be nastier online but it means that the bullying can carry on outside school hours with the child who is bullied feeling trapped. I am going to talk about two different types of bullying today, the Facebook application called and “slut shaming” and talk about a few different strategies that can be used to help kids if they end up being the victim. This is the website based in Latvia which was implicated in the recent suicide of Hannah Smith as well as the suicides of sisters Erin and Shannon Gallagher in 2012. It allows users to post comments anonymously to one another. Most kids will use it to communicate with their friends and ask silly questions but for the bully it gives a way to send nasty messages to their victim. Messages telling a girl she is ugly or to kill herself are bound to be upsetting, especially when the bullying is prolonged and in extreme cases will lead to self harm or worse. “Slut shaming” This is when somebody posts statuses or photos about a teenager which are sexually explicit with the aim of embarrassing them. It’s amazing how many teenagers allow racy pictures of themselves be taken; they think they can trust their friends or partner allow them to take or access a racy ...

Angle & Curve Classic Headphones 13/10/2013

Poor quality headphones

Angle & Curve Classic Headphones Some of you may remember the deal that Orange had at Christmas 2011 where you bought any pay as you go phone over a certain value and you got a box of goodies free with it. The main attraction in this box was a pair of Angle and Curve headphones which were meant to be worth over £60. I had never heard of the brand before but was prepared to give them a try, they are currently selling on Amazon for £34.99. The Angle & Curve headphones look good with their black and chrome construction but due to their size they are not designed to be worn out and about. In my house we mainly use headphones when using computers so as not to disturb other members of the household when in a communal space and this is the type of use which is ideal for big headphones. The adjustable size means that they will fit everyone no matter what size your head is and a vinyl strap sits on top of your head to keep the phones in place. I found the earpieces of these headphones to be slightly smaller than I would like as they did not cover my whole ear. The fact that the padded bit on the ear pieces is covered in vinyl is a big minus from me as it made my ears feel hot and sweaty if I wore these headphones for too long. These angle & curve classic are closed back headphones which are designed to keep background noise to a minimum when you are using them and also prevent leaking of sound into the environment. I have found that this feature works well to stop the sound leaking out of the headphones, they do ...

Boy A - Jonathan Trigell 07/10/2013

Can a child killer ever be forgiven?

Boy A - Jonathan Trigell Jack moves to Manchester to make a fresh start. He has a job as a driver's mate, lodgings with a friendly landlady and enjoys regular meet ups with Uncle Terry, his only relative. He soon settles in to his new life and makes friends with the lads at work and even gets a girlfriend. Things are going well for Jack but he knows that this life has been built on a lie. He is boy A, who along with Boy B, killed a young girl and dumped her body under a bridge. It was a crime which shocked the nation as the baby-faced killers were still in primary school and many believe they should never be released. Jack loves his new life but struggles to keep secrets from his new friends. How would they react if they discovered who Jack really was? Boy A obviously takes a lot of inspiration from the Jamie Bulger case; while some details are changed (the killing of a girl rather than a boy, the city where the events take place) a lot of them stay the same. Just like the real life story, there was one ringleader in the horrific killing who had been brutalised by abuse within his family along with another child who was easily led. Jack is a habitual truant who is drawn into a series of events outside his control. Does the fact that he is capable of a horrific act of violence at such a young age mean that he was born bad and deserves to be locked up for life or is it possible for him to lead a normal adult life? The character of Jack was mostly believable and also fairly likeable. He has a strange ...

Kitsound MUFKBK3K 29/08/2013

Music and warmth = happy ears!

Kitsound MUFKBK3K My daughter lives with one of her two iPods permanently glued to her head; her iPod tells her it would take over four days to listen to her entire music collection! She goes through headphones at an amazing rate and I am always buying her new pairs. One of those pairs was the Kit Sound audio earmuffs which cost me around £10 from Amazon but they are currently selling at £24.99. These are no ordinary headphones as they keep your ears warm as well as playing your favourite music! These earmuffs are surprisingly small and light, at first my daughter was confused when she tried them on as she could not get them to stretch over her head and then she realised they are meant to be worn with the band at the nape of the neck. They do fit a teenager well and look good but mess up the hair a bit. The material which goes over the ears is a really soft faux fur material which is comfortable and warm. The knitted cover has a really nice design which unfortunately be removed for washing and if you have a pair of audio earmuffs in white then they will soon get dirty. They are available in black, white, grey, pink and purple. The cable is round about a meter long which is just the right length to connect to an MP3 player or phone in a pocket, the cable can be removed leaving just the earmuffs. The best thing about these headphones is the fact that the cable is covered in some kind of material, it is hard to describe but it is like the hard wearing cord you would get on an outdoor jacket. ...
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