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catsholiday

catsholiday
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Member since: 07.08.2008

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      25.07.2014 20:37
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      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "good sillage"
      • "reasonable price"
      • summery
      • "rose and exotic"
      • "lasts quite well"

      Disadvantages

      Agent Provocateur EDP exotic and floral and a good price

      The house of Agent Provocateur is mainly a luxury lingerie fashion house but this scent is their signature fragrance. This scent was created in 2000 by Christian Provenzano for Agent provocateur.
      >>>bbb>>>

      PACKING IT UP

      The bottle is the shape of a tear drop or hand grenade rounded at the base and is sort of china not glass so not clear. It is a pink colour and pretty plain but feels nice to hold. The only problem with bottles like this is you can't see what you have left.
      >>>bbb>>>

      TAKE NOTE
      Top notes are magnolia and India saffron
      Middle notes are gardenia, vetivert from Haitti, Moroccan rose and Egyptian jasmine
      The base notes are Amber, musk and cedar
      >>>bbb>>>
      MY THOUGHTS
      Initially I could not detect anything floral but I got a bit whiff of the saffron, not sweet at all but rather earthy.
      >>>bbb>>>
      After about half an hour the floral notes developed and I could smell the jasmine and gardenia which are both very strongly heady perfumed flowers. I loved this stage, it was also quite soapy and quite strong. It carried well around me.
      >>>bbb>>>
      After an hour or so the scent was still very evident and the woodier, musky notes are hanging in there and really lingering nicely with a lovely cedar and musky scent.
      >>>bbb>>>
      I just love this one me as it has the notes I love I in the right mix. I love rose when combined with woody cedar or vetivert or patchouli as it gives depth to the rose and this does just that. This doesn't actually have patchouli but almost smells like it has.
      >>>bbb>>>
      Many people hate this perfume but it works on me but I also do like original and unusual scents. This is rose but so much more, it isn't light and pretty and feminine . It is more dark, sexy and heady with depth from the base notes coming through.
      >>>bbb>>>
      I loved it from the rose and amber saffron herby opening through to lovely warm woody and rose almost incense rose dry down. I find it quite exotic, a but sexy and one for the ladies who want a darker, deeper perfume as opposed to the light flirty feminine florals.
      >>>bbb>>>
      It costs around £30 for the 30 ml bottle so not bad value for an eau de parfam and this does last quite well on me and does also have pretty good sillage and carries well so not bad I feel.
      >>>bbb>>>

      Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.

      ©Catsholiday

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      20.07.2014 22:40
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      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "nice descriptions"
      • "Pleasant characters"
      • "Easy read"

      Disadvantages

      • "huge plot holes"
      • "totally unrealistic"

      Two people land on an island after a plane crash and survive



      This was unashamedly chick lit. I read it in two nights so a very quick easy read. I actually quite enjoyed it as it was a bit different. You had to totally suspend belief at times but let''''s face it you often have to in books and films.

      Anna was employed by the Callaghan family to tutor TJ on an island in the Maldives. The family were already at their villa and Anna and TJ were flying over a few days later.

      Their seaplane crashed as the pilot suffered a heart attack. They were the only passengers and somehow they survived any shark attacks and arrived on an uninhabited island. They survived by eating breadfruit until miraculously things began to float onto the island from the crashed plane. These things included seats, the life raft and a few supplies in the life raft as well as Anna''''s suitcase, yes it apparently floated despite being full of clothes and basics like shampoo etc.

      They survived many horrors and also swam with friendly dolphins who saved them from a shark. They became very close over the years, yes years, they were on the island. The Tsunami that devastated the Maldives was actually their saviour. 

      Life back in society and with families brought other problems which took the story in a different direction.

      As I said, it is chick lit so everything was tidied up nicely in the end but I won''''t spoil it for you.

      I did find the characters believable and well developed and their emotions and feelings were shown well. the writing was simple and a very quick easy read .

      This is no prize winning novel but it was a fun, easy read and one that will be enjoyed by fans of chick lit. I can''''t see my husband wanting to read it. 

      If you take it for what it is, a pleasant yarn and not anything deep and meaningful then you might also quite enjoy it. There are totally unbelievable elements but provided you suspend belief at times and as I said take it as a good yarn set on a beautiful Maldives island.

      You can''''t question anything too much such as why did no one look for these people on the islands around. How come the useful items from their crashed plane floated handily to their island? So many huge plot inconsistencies and impossibilities.

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      01.07.2014 23:14
      Very helpful
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      1 Comment

      Advantages

      • "well researched"
      • "Believable characters"
      • "Beautifully written"
      • "Great story"

      Disadvantages

      • "The end section I found dragged a little"

      The story of a Baptist Missionary and his family in the Belgium Congo

      From the Blurb: ?The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it -- from garden seeds to Scripture -- is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family''s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.?
      This is a brilliantly written book. the author cleverly uses different characters to tell each chapter and each character has her own voice and style.
      An American Baptist minister takes his wife and four daughters to the Belgian Congo. They take with them lots of things from the USA that they think will be useful or special treats. This included cake mixes which went solid before the birthday that the mother had taken them to bake in celebration.
      They are stuck out in a village in the middle of nowhere in a mud hot and left to cope. The father is a cruel controlling selfish man and it certainly backed up my feelings about missionaries and their need to convert the ''heathen''.
      The young girls'' observations of the local villagers were so perfect and told in such an honest and open way. I particularly enjoyed the older girl, Rachel''s chapters as she hated the place and was a typical blond teenage girl more interested in make up than culture.
      Adah was also excellent as her chapters were written in palindromes at times which really made you have to think.She hated her father and wrote everything down as she didn''t ever actually speak as a child. Adah learned French and the local language to an extent but only written down
      Leah was the twin of Adah and as a child she would work alongside her father and was the most influenced by his ideas as a child. She also befriended the local children and talked to them about the ways of the local people and their beliefs and learned their language too.
      The youngest child Ruth May was the first to play with the local children and taught them ''Mother May I''. She also explored the surrounding area and went into the forest with her local friends , learning a lot about the ways of the people and telling the reader in her chapters.
      Some pretty horrendous things happen to the family and every one of the women is affected by this time in Africa. When they had the opportunity to leave when the political situation became unwise for Europeans to stay the controlling father refused to let them leave.
      The writing style is great, you do have to concentrate at time, especially in Adah''s chapters.The story takes us from when the family first go to the Belgian Congo through to when the girls are grown and Mother is an old lady.
      I did find I was starting to lose interest a little towards the end and it could maybe have been a touch shorter. Although it was nice to have everything tidied up as so many novels kind of leave things up in the air.
      I would certainly recommend this as a thought provoking and cleverly written work of fiction. The author had lived in Africa and has done extensive research and it was obvious that she was an informed writer as you were reading the book.

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        23.06.2014 21:15
        Very helpful
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        1 Comment

        Advantages

        • "not tested on animals"
        • "recyclable bottle"
        • "synthetic musk"
        • "quickly absorbed"
        • "Smells lovely"

        Disadvantages

        • "Not exactly full of natural ingredients"
        • "has parabens "

        Body Shop White musk body lotion leaves me feeling soft and smelling sweetly sensual

        About twenty odd years ago this was one of my favourite body lotions. I loved the smell and Body Shop was also one of my favourite shops. Now I am less excited by Body Shop since they sold out to L''Oreal. I know they state that they do not test on animals and are in favour of Fairtrrade and eco friendly products but somehow I don''t feel as confident as I used to. This small bottle of Body Shop White Musk was on sale a while back and one sniff too me right back to the 80s so I bought it. The smell is sweetly musky and subtle, really lovely and a smell of the 80s for me. The lotion is not a thick one, quite thin in fact but it does moisturise my skin nicely and leaves it with the lovely sweet musk aroma.The musk I am happy to read is not animal musk but rather a synthetic one created by mixing a blend of jasmine, rose, amber and wood. The bottle states it is Community Fair trade and it comes in a recyclable plastic bottle.The bottle is fairly plain clear but cloudy plastic in the same shape as all Body Shop lotions and gels come in. The lotion does however have parabens in it, more than one which I am less happy about.In fact it has a number of less than natural sounding ingredients so I am struggling to find which ingredients are the fair trade ones. I did like using this lotion as the smell was a real love;y blast from the past. It is a scent that you can wear day or night and is not too strong. It would blend with most perfumes I would think and not fight with this scent. This is a lovely body lotion and one I would buy again in the future but not just yet as I have had my fix for a year or so.

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          22.06.2014 21:18
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          (Rating)

          Advantages

          • "reasonable price"
          • "Light fresh floral"

          Disadvantages

          Light fresh floral ' Polaire' from Yardley

          THE SCENT I can''t believe the number of perfume reviews I have read recently which neglect to give this information. They say it smells ''nice'' and no detail about its longevity or anything ! This is a lovely light summery EDT ( not a perfume so it is lighter) . It is classed as a chypre type of EDT. Chypre is a class of scents which have citrus top notes while the middle notes are usually based on cistus labdanum, and finishing with heart notes of oak moss and/or musk . This doesn''t mean they all smell the same as the other ingredients vary and of course the ingredients can be added in different amounts. So you can get floral chypres, fruity chypres and even the heavier more sultry leather and amber chypres. This is a lighter floral chypre which is perfect for summer , day wear I would say The notes in this one are: Top notes: pear and freesia Middle notes: pink pepper, ginger and rose Base notes: patchouli, amber and balsam MY VIEWS I found this quite a pleasant light EDT. It is not too sweet and a light floral fragrance. The freesia is tempered by the freshness of the pear. The middle notes are not obvious but do once again make it a less cloying EDT because ginger and pink pepper add a slight spiciness and the rose again adds a different floral note to the heady freesia. The base notes are again not evident in themselves but give a warmth to the scent I think. As for how it lasts, the longevity well not that long I found. I could smell it on my wrist four hours alter but very subtle. The box id ordinary and so it the simple glass bottle with clear ''cut glass'' plastic stopper.

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          22.06.2014 15:39
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

          Advantages

          • "mostly work well"
          • "fit the vacuum"
          • cheaper

          Disadvantages

          • "could damage your vacuum"
          • "messy to clean after burst"
          • "sometimes burst"

          Cheap but at what cost

          I bought these as they were so much cheaper than the branded bags for my Bosch. I bought these are the branded ones to do a comparison These non Bosch one do fit ans they are made of a similar cloth type fabric which filters as well as holds the dust.It is slightly different fabric but similar feel but with an embossed pattern on the outside. They seem to be sealed at the edges with a grip sealer so that the edges are crisp and crinkle fixed not sewn. My big issue is that out of every five bags one split and filled the vacuum with the contents of the bag. This meant I had to clean the entire machine out with a damp cloth and change the filters etc before starting again with a new bag. I would say that they are a lot cheaper but you do have to be prepared to do quite a bit of cleaning up and maintenance if and when one bursts in the vacuum. I am not sure I would buy them again despite being so much cheaper as the aggravation when one bursts is not worth the saving. it could also lead to damaging your vacuum which makes the saving in bags rather redundant.If you them have to pay to have your vacuum repaired or worse buy anew one it is not a saving!! My advice is weigh up the costs of using Bosch which are 100% reliable and have never burst on me compared with these which initially appear to be a bargain but can and do bust when in use which is messy at best and at worst could leave you with expensive repairs.

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          21.06.2014 21:53
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

          Advantages

          • "easily available"
          • "good price"
          • "nice notes"
          • "summerery light"
          • "long lasting scent"
          • "fresh floral"

          Disadvantages

          • "dull bottle"

          Sweet light summery floral with a deeper heart - go Downtown

          This is aimed at a younger market. PACKAGING This is pretty important for any perfume as it is a bit like the front cover of a book. This is what grabs people''s attention. The novelty bottles and pretty packaging. After that of course you have to try the scent but packaging is important. The EDP comes in a pretty pink shiny coloured plain box and the bottle inside is not that exciting either. It is quite plain stubby clear glass with a silver lid. I can''t say it is the most exiting perfume packaging I have ever come across, far from it. THE PERFUME This is, as I said aimed at the younger market and is a light sweet floral perfume with deeper woody base notes. Top notes : Italian lemon, bergamot, Tunisian neroli, green pear and aquatic plum Heart notes: violet, gardenia and pink pepper Base notes; Texas cedar, incense, vetivert and musk MY VIEWS This is indeed a light sweet floral and on initial spray I was instantly aware of the fresh light lemony aroma which is lovely fresh and summery. After about half an hour the more sweet floral notes developed and I could smell the gardenia which I do love as it reminds me of tropical gardens. I have a lovely gardenia in my garden and it gives me a lot of pleasure when it flowers. Now a few hours later as I have been interrupted by various things while writing this, I can smell still the sweet floral notes but they are now tempered with the smooth musk and woody vetivert. It is a really pleasant, not too sweetly floral perfume and Ideal for the summer or spring. I would be happy to wear this in the day time and have put it away with my stash of miniatures that I have already reviewed and I take them away when we are on holiday as they give my variety without having to carry heavy bottles. I can even sneak them in my handbag and get through airport security as they are so small and it allows me to freshen up in the plane.

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          21.06.2014 15:55
          Very helpful
          (Rating)
          1 Comment

          Advantages

          • "last a long time on the skin"
          • "pretty box"
          • strong
          • floral
          • sweet

          Disadvantages

          • "boring bottle"
          • cloying
          • "too sweet"

          Not my Muse modern or not

          PACKAGING This is always important in a perfume as often that is what initially grabs you attention when browsing. It won''t make or break a sale if you love the scent but it certainly is a factor. This comes in a dusky pink box with the image of a black and gold bow near the top as though it is a gift wrapped with a ribbon bow. Other than that the box is plain apart from the name of the perfume and the brand. The bottle is also fairly plain glass with the spray and stopper again looking like a bow at the top which is quite clever but the bottle is not fancy or unusual in any way in my opinion. WHY MODERN MUSE? This perfume was released in 2013 and was the first one to be released by Estee Lauder since 2003 and that was ''Beyond Paradise''. This scent was created by the perfumier Harry Fremont for Estee Lauder and the aim was to create a perfume that ? symbolizes what it means to be an independent and self-confident woman today, sure of herself and her style. It is a confidence that inspires.? He has created a perfume with ?a two accord composition of sparkling jasmine (which symbolizes femininity) and sleek woods (representing strength).? PRICE AND SIZES This perfume is available as 30 ml, 50ml and 100 ml in the Eau de Parfum. The prices as always may very so shop around is my advice. It seems to be available quite widely in places like Boots and on line shops as well as Ebay of course. MY OPINION I am not sure this is one I would buy as it is rather similar to Beautiful. It is very feminine floral and creamy sweet and rather too sweet for me personally. The top note is mandarin The middle notes are tuberose, lily, honeysuckle, Chinese jasmine, flower petals and jasmine Sambac The base or heart motes are patchouli, vanilla. Amber, musk and woody notes Now to me the first hit is not really mandarin it if jasmine and honeysuckle and then it dries down and the musky notes with heavy on the vanilla begin to come through. I cannot detect any patchouli at all and the amber is very subtle. The musk sort of reminds me of Body Shop white musk but mixed with heady floral notes. I find this far too floral the jasmine and lily really stay around and are sweet, strong and rather overpowering. The sillage is good if you want to share you perfume with others around you. I have seen a number of people complain that this did not last on them. I found it did last on me and by the end of the evening I was actually getting a bit sick of the smell. This is not a perfume to wear of your partner or friends that you are with do not like the scent as it is quite obvious to me. When I wore this the other day I found that the next day my clothes still smelled of the perfume. I popped some on to write this review as I always do as it helps me with my writing and reminds me of the scent as I write.

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            15.06.2014 15:38
            Very helpful
            (Rating)
            1 Comment

            Advantages

            • "a bit of a mystery to keep you interested"
            • "lovely descriptions"
            • "great heroine"

            Disadvantages

            • "slow at times"

            Childhood memories relived by a young pregnant girl

            It took me a while to get into the book as it is written from the point of view of Evangeline as a child initially and then hops back and forwards a bit.It might just be me as sometimes it takes me a while to get into a new author''s style of writing. We start with Evangeline and her mother at home in Birmingham and she describes their home and surroundings. Sadly very early on her mother dies and Eva is sent to live with grandparents she has never met in Wales on a farm. Eva is only seven and this is a huge shock to her. She finds that she is not always welcomed in the small community as there is something mysterious in her past. The novel is written as though we are solving a bit of a mystery and the reader is gradually allowed to learn more just as Eva discovers more about her past, her mother, her father and the local community and its residents. Eva is a great heroine in that she is a lively, quite cheeky and pretty brave little girl who grows into a thoughtful and interesting adult. She is looking back at her childhood and her mother''s romance as she is also pregnant with her first child. Eva remember her own feelings and also looks through a shoe box of her mother''s which contains her notes and mementos she has kept from Eva''s father and so Eva learns about her father and his mysterious past through these notes . She also finds out about her father from a local lad who is a bit of a misfit, Billy. Billy was kicked in the head by a horse and is now severely scarred, a loner and reject from the community but young Eva is fascinated by his story and befriends the young lad. This novel won the 2004 Whitbread first novel award and it is certainly deserving of this. It has great characters who come to life and are written in a sympathetic manner . The descriptions of the Birmingham community and then the Welsh countryside are also handles well. they are not overly flowery and descriptive yet I found I could picture easily the places that Eva was at the time, from the market in the Bull ring to the Welsh hills and small community including the small farm she lived on with her grandparents. Initially I didn''t like the fact we were in the dark about Eva''s background but as the novel progressed I saw why this was. We learned a bit more just as Eva had as a child. Eva''s feelings as a child were well handles as she was quite head strong and naive yet also very courageous considering what she had been through and what happened with the disappearance of Rosie which is a mystery that runs alongside Evangeline''s own self discovery about her background. I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.

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              11.06.2014 18:27
              Very helpful
              (Rating)
              3 Comments

              Advantages

              • "mainly Natural product"
              • "thick but not greasy"
              • "quickly absorbed"
              • "very moisturising"
              • "Smells great"

              Disadvantages

              • "Some questionable ingredients"

              This is a rich body butter with a creamy nutty aroma.Keeps skin nourished

              I loved the smell of this sort of creamy nutty. It was not so strong that it overwhelmed me but I did love the smell on my skin when I sniffed my arm.It is a good thick body butter a bit like Body Shop in consistency but I find this is more quickly absorbed than Body Shop''s and it feels lighter when I apply it to my skin, not gloopy at all. I have been impressed with this Body Butter and find it really does help keep my legs moisturized even in winter when my skin does get very dry. I think this compares very favourable with Body Shop''s body butter and is a better price in most places I have found. It comes in a recyclable green plastic screw top tub , again just like Body Shop''s body butters . I like these tubs as you can see exactly what you have left and you can get every last bit out of the tub too. It does mean you must use clean hands so you don''t add any nasty germs to your cream. Nip & Fab say that the body butter will help repair and keep your dry skin moisturised for twenty four hours. I can''t say if this is true as I bath night and morning and re apply each time so mine gives me a good twelve hours. The smell is not so in your face that you cannot happily wear any perfume as the scent calms down once it soaks into your skin. I would highly recommend this and it makes a good alternative to Body Shop when there Body butters are not on sale.

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              • More +
                07.06.2014 16:47

                Advantages

                • "Good descriptions"
                • "Good Caribbean dialogue"

                Disadvantages

                I did quite enjoy the book and found it interesting but at times quite disturbing

                The novel starts in the present day in around 2006 when the when the Soca Warriors were about to take part on the World Cup. Threre appears to be a lot of corruption and the police are particularly bad as they are described beating a young man almost to death because he complained about them for stealing his mobile phone ( justifiably I would have thought!) We then jump back in time to when Sabine and George arrive in Trinidad in 1956. The charismatic leader Eric Williams launches the PNM (Peoples National Movement) who are fed up with the colonial whites and he holds many rallies giving stirring speeches which inspire Sabine and also make her very aware of the racial inequality on the island. The book has two other sections 1963, when the island gained Independence and the hopes were raised only to be dashed by little change in reality for the people of the island. Finally we reach 1970 and the tension of the "Black Power" movement , riots that saw Sabine and her husband attempt to finally leave the island. Alongside the history of Trinidad we have the changes in the Harwood's life and marriage as the novel follows Sabine and her husband from the present day initially then hops back to when they first arrived in Trinidad on a two year contract as ex pats. Sabine hated Trinidad while George fell in love with the place. The novel also follows the ups and downs of their marriage, having their children and how the political changes in Trinidad affected them as expats. Having been to Trinidad as a child in the time this was set it was interesting to me. I lived in Guyana which went through a very turbulent political time while we were there so I felt the tension of Sabine while the riots were taking place. We arrived in Guyana in 1956 and left in 1964 so pretty much the same time as some of the events in the book and the history of Guyana was kind of similar too. To be honest I didn't know a lot of the politics of Trinidad so I have no idea how accurate it is but the author did live on the island so I imagine it is pretty accurate. I thought the way she portrayed Sabine's emotions was excellent and George's less so but it was told through Sabine's eyes most of the time. George certainly went through a very unlikable period and I personally would have left him had I been Sabine but she was trapped in the marriage financially and she still loved George. I thought that the way the author made our sympathies waver between Sabine and George was clever and initially I found Sabine a bit unsympathetic but towards the end I wonder how she stayed with George. I found it quite an uncomfortable read at times but I did enjoy the accents of the Trinidadian and could hear that Caribbean sing song accent while I was reading. I liked both Venus and Jennifer and the way their dialogue was written meant I could hear them speak in the accent I grew up with in the Caribbean. I loved the way they ?streupsed' . this is a niose made by sucking your teeth with your tongue. We used to call it sucking teeth ? ?You na suck ya teet at me man' was the saying we often heard shouted at someone. I thought the writing was good but found that at times the story was a bit slow. It kind of wandered along and nothing really made the story come alive. There were a lot of horrific events and activities but it sort of just carried on. Even the end was a bit meah to me.I can't comment on the politics or events. I am not sure that the relationship between Sabine and her servants was likely to have been as close as it was portrayed in the book and the racial tensions and racist conversations in the ?Club' were probably quite accurate as it was pretty segregated at that time. I am not saying it was right but that it was probably an accurate portrayal feelings at the time. I thought Trinidad and the natural surroundings were described and captured well and I could picture their garden with the pool and the hills in the background. Their trip to Pitch lake too brought back childhood memories for me. I did quite enjoy the book and found it interesting but at times quite disturbing at other times. It was shortlisted for the Orange Book prize but was not a winner. I can see why it was nominated as it was interesting and the writing good but to me it lacked a real story. I wasn't happy with the ending and it kind of petered out for me which was disappointing after quite a long read.

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                03.06.2014 20:19
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                1 Comment

                Advantages

                • "Inspiring US history"
                • "well written"
                • "A kind of Laura Ingles Wilder for adults."
                • "It is a great insight into pioneering life."
                • "Great story"

                Disadvantages

                • "none for me"

                The book is well written and keeps you engaged the whole way through.Thoroughly recommended to

                I loved ''These is my Words''by the same author, Nancy E. Turner which I read a couple of years ago so I knew this was going to be good. Sarah Agnes Prine was a pioneer woman who settled at a young age in the Arizona Territoies in the late 1800 s. She had fought Indians whilst on the wagon trial , been married twice as her first husband had died as did her second by the time we get to this book. She had a cattle ranch and several children and was a tough lady. At the start of this book there is a huge drought and the ranch is suffering. Someone destroys her well. A nephew they didn''t know existed turns up and asks to stay on the ranch and is welcomed in. Sarah''s mother lives on a nearby homestead as does her brother and his family. Sarah taught herself to read and teaches all the children in the family their lessons. The books are based on the diaries and family stories as well as research into her family history. It isn''t a thrilling book with lots of action but more a day to day story of how these people survived some pretty tough times. Sarah makes her own soap, does all the laundry, makes hand sewn quilts, cooks for huge numbers of family, grows vegetables, looks after the ranch and even rounds up the cattle and trains the horses. I am absolutely amazed at what she managed to achieve in a day. That is in between walking the couple of miles back and forth from her mother''s place to her brothers and taking food, animals and children back and forth and teaching the youngsters their lessons. Despite the fact that it is a day to day story of their life there are some pretty tense parts and some shocking events too but they are not played up to take over from the really tough lives these folk lived and survived. You get the feeling that life although tough was full of love and caring for each other and the animals too. Every steer that died not only meant a loss of income but it seemed to me that Sarah genuinely felt for the animals too. If I had had to go through half of what that family went through I am not sure I would have coped. I am not even sure I would cope with drawing water and having to heat it for baths and cooking and washing clothes, never mind all the ranch work as well. They certainly were a tough breed and I am in awe of what they created and how they coped in those days.

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                  18.03.2014 13:21
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                  Disadvantages

                  A humourous look at modern life and families

                  I finished this last night and can't quite decide what I think of it. I have read both 'A short history of Tractors ..' and ' the Caravans book . I quite enjoyed the quirkiness of 'Tractors' but was less keen on 'the ' Two Caravans' one as I felt it was rather too unrealistic.

                  This book annoyed me to begin with as the characters had stupid names Doro and Oolie Anna to name just two. I am probably being too critical but things like that, twee names just rub me up the wrong way.

                  I persevered though and at times I quite enjoyed the humour and poking fun at the politics and financial world during the banking crisis.

                  It was a bit of an eye opener to read about just how much the world of business is manipulated by the banking world. Quite scary in fact I know it is a work of fiction but the author obviously did a lot of research as she thanks specific people at the end of the book.

                  It was nice to have a person with Down's Syndrome written about in a positive way , in fact two in the book but one was a main character and in a gentle and humorous way the author does highlight the difficulties faced by a family when making life decisions for these vulnerable adults.

                  I think what I find a bit frustrating about this book is that nothing actually moves forward as a story. It is more a look at the lives of one family and those that they have touched throughout their lives. I want to know what happens to the characters. Does Serge keep his ill gotten gains or does he go back to just being a poor PHD student.

                  It is all a bit vague and fluffy . the story jumped around from past to present through flash backs of the different characters. We follow all the three children of the main two characters Doro and Marcus, Serge who they believe is doing his PHD is actually working for big money in banking in London, Clara is a teacher in a challenging school and Oolie Anna the Child with Down's is still living at home but wants a flat of her own in a sheltered housing complex.

                  In a way ends are tied up and during the book rather too many coincidences happen but I think that is part of the author's style. She writes in a slightly tongue in cheek way and has a dry sense of humour.

                  Serge is doing very well in baking and rather fancies a young girl, Maroushka from Eastern Europe and being of Eastern European descent Lewcka catches the accent really well and describes the young girl perfectly so you really feel you can see her.

                  I think this is a book to read with an open mind. Go with the flow and where the author takes you. You cannot read it expecting a story that follows through and tells a classic story that has a satisfactory 'happy ever after' ending so in that way it is kind of like real life.

                  The characters are larger than life really. they are caricatures of those they represent so in that way they are believable yet also amusing so you can't take them seriously.

                  I think on balance it was quite an enjoyable read. The title somewhat baffles me as although some pets are mentioned , really they are only one side story.

                  This is the kind of story that would translate into a good film as their is not really a traditional story, it is a more of a character study set in the time frame of my life.I would think I was much the same age as the parents, Doro and Marcus and the children around the same age as mine.

                  I never joined in the commune life style but i was not really greatly into politics but I do remember the miner's strike ( who doesn't?) and that commune and alternative living was big at that time.

                  The banking crisis is still being felt and so this book is pretty much current and up to date so that gives it more of a feeling that you are looking at a family today, more like chatting to a friend and picking up glimpses of things happening in their children's lives just as you might in real life.

                  If you enjoyed her previous two books then give this a try. Don't expect a deep meaningful book. It is a modern tale told with wit , observation and a lot of tongue in cheek humour.

                  This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.

                  Catsholiday

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                • More +
                  16.03.2014 21:31
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                  A small island next to Malta with some huge churches and nice beaches in the summer

                  We took the car ferry over from the main island of Malta to Gozo for a day's outing.It was a pleasant sunny crossing despite the fact it was February .

                  The Church of St John the Baptist
                  The first place we visited was a huge church which is the most recently built church on Gozo in St John the Baptist Square, Xewkija it is an enormous circular building constructed in local limestone. It is open daily and free to visit.. The church has the highest dome in Malta and boasts the third largest unsupported dome in the world it can be seen from all over Gozo and it dominates the horizon for miles - as you come towards Gozo on the ferry it can be seen before anything else. You can go right up to the Bell tower and see views of all Gozo. Well worth a visit. We were amazed that such a huge church, which can seat up to 4000 people, was built so recently in a small town that wouldn't even half fill the church. We know how much it costs to repair own small Parish church roof having fund raised for years to get it done.

                  The Azure Window near Dwejira is a spectacular natural landmark and is one of the most photographed places on Gozo. You can walk almost up to it and round all over the area as it is flattish rocks. They can be a bit slippery when wet but I managed it and most other able bodied people seemed to cope. It was another beautiful blue sky and sunshine day so that meant it was Azure which was nice for us. The waves crashing through were quite exciting and created splashes quite far back on the rocks which was amusing some younger people.

                  Fungus Rock or as it is known in Malta The General's Rock is a small islet just off the coast near the Azure window, Dwejira and it is covered in what looks like Fungus, hence the name. It is a natural reserve but has had an interesting history because of the very smelly plant that grows on it. The General ( hence the alternate name for the rock) of the Knights Hospitaller decided that the plant was medicinal and it was used for treating wounds and for dysentery. It was thought so valuable that a guard was set up to protect the plant. However it has been proved of no medicinal value so they wasted their efforts. The rock itself is fairly ordinary looking rock but the story is quite interesting.

                  I am glad we didn't actually stay on this small island as the things to see and do were limited but it was a really nice day trip and a good way to see a bit more of Malta and the islands near by.

                  Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.

                  ©Catsholiday

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                  • Lush Halloween Pumpkin Soap / Soaps / 24 Readings / 24 Ratings
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                    16.03.2014 18:02
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                    A lovely orange and cinnamon pumpkin pie scented soap

                    Lush Pumpkin Soap

                    This is one of the seasonal soaps Lush bring out from time to time. Their soaps are a lot creamier than normal bar soaps you can buy.

                    What Lush say:
                    "You'll want a whole one, but be warned; it's even heavier than a real pumpkin and it's not hollow inside. Probably best to get yourself a manageable slice or two. Mo's new soap is a lovely creamy pumpkin coloured affair with a scent that she borrowed from the gorgeous Almond Buttercream: sweet wild orange, lime, mandarin and spicy cinnamon." 

                    Mine came in a gift set and was a half ball shape so nice and easy to wash with - no hard corners, but it does often slip out of my hands as it is so rounded. It looks like a smooth mound of pumpkin purée but smells of oranges.

                    If you buy it from the shop just as a weighed out piece of soap it is cut from a larger pumpkin and then you will get the strange shapes and pointy corners so I am glad mine was a rounded one.

                    The blurb says "Spookily good soap with a citrus scent. (Much more use than a real pumpkin)". I would debate that last statement as I love pumpkin in cooking and lovely though the soap is, it is not any use for eating and sustaining yourself food wise.

                    The soap is very soft, the oils used are sunflower, coconut, and rapeseed and there is also glycerine along with the ingredients for smell which are citrus oils and cinnamon oil mainly. This is quite obvious as the soap is very orange smelling with a hint of cinnamon. It is a lovely creamy soap with a lasting fresh smell. I have been using it for about a month and there is only a little left but it still smells strongly as I use it.

                    The scent lasts for the life of the soap as you use it for washing with. I tend to keep mine in drawers as drawer fresheners until I use them and I had this a few months before using it and the scent still was just as strong as when I first got it when I was washing with it.

                    I found it didn't dry my skin out at all and felt lovely and creamy to wash with almost silky soft but it did go down quite quickly. Although I had it around a month I didn't use it every day as I like to vary my bath and shower products and have a few on the go at the same time. After drying myself I could still small the aroma on my skin which lasted a few hours if I sniffed my arm I could still detect it!

                    This does not have palm oil in it as Lush is against palm oil because of the destruction of the rainforests to plant these palms which destroy orang-utan habitats.

                    Anyway this is a really lovely cinnamon and orange creamy luxury soap and I hope it comes back soon as it is one of my favourites.

                    At the time it was around £3 for 100g but if it returns it might cost more.


                    This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name .

                    ©Catsholiday

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