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catsholiday

catsholiday
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Member since: 07.08.2008

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      18.03.2014 13:21
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      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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      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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          16.03.2014 17:23
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          Ok if you don't mind bits in your bath

          I got this in a gift box and I decided that my first treat would be the Witches' Ball Bubble Bar. A dark purple colour and a softish ball shape with obvious bits of whole herbs quite visible from the outside. This was quite soft and crumbly and being a frugal sort of person I never use all of a Bubble bar in one bath - usually three baths from one bar or at the very least two. I got two from this one as it was very crumbly and not that big so it was difficult to divide. The blurb on the card said, "Turn your bath into a bubbling cauldron, scented with a magical blend of reviving herbs". So I was very excited at the thought of being revived even if it was my bath just before bed and really I should have been after 'relaxing' rather than 'reviving' herbs, hopefully it would revive me sufficiently to cope with the next day's stresses and strains. I crumbled my half bar into my bath as it was filling and the scent that was strongest was probably rosemary and clove - a sort of Christmassy spicy smell but quite fresh, not heavy, there was also an orangey smell and a hint of peppermint too. I was fascinated to see quite big bits of cranberry and full cloves floating in the bath along with other herby things like star anise. The bath was quite foamy (only half a bar used) and in I hopped. The bath was so soft and creamy and the smell divine and I just laid back with my eyes shut and breathed deeply - looking for 'revival'. I wouldn't describe my bath as 'a bubbling cauldron' but it was very relaxing and quite luxurious I thought. I enjoyed the softness of the water and the exotic smells. My husband came in as I was getting out and said "What is all that muck floating about in the bath?" So it obviously didn't look very luxurious and exotic to him. The downside was that the big lumps of herb and cranberry didn't just flow down the plughole - probably just as well as they may have caused a blockage. What happened was, the bath emptied and left the bottom of it covered in bits of herb and cranberry which I then had to scoop together and throw in the bin and then rinse the bath out. That is obviously why you needed the 'reviving' herbs, to give you the energy to clean the bath after you got out. Having said that, it wasn't a great effort and I did have a thoroughly delightful bath. I didn't notice that I felt 'revived' but maybe I wasn't that exhausted prior to the bath. Thank for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name. © Catsholiday

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            11.03.2014 22:38
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            A decent quality iron that I got at a bargain price

            Breville Technique Digital Steam Iron, 2400 Watt WHY A NEW IRON? I am not the world's most enthusiastic ironer and when my last iron died I bought a bargain cheaper basic one from Tesco to do the job. It did the job but it was not great which made the task of ironing even less enjoyable. As we had my step son living at home and he has managed to break quite a few of our appliances while he has been living here I thought I would not bother upgrading the iron until he moved out. I was going to donate the old one to him as a leaving gift! I was however inspired by the Black Friday deals on Amazon and spotted this going on sale so I bought it. I then hid it and only used it myself until he had departed! He has now moved down to London so the cheap old one has gone into the attic and this one has been put in the ironing hanging stand thing in our cellar. A BIT WEIGHTY The first this I noticed is that it is actually quite heavy initially when you pick it up. Once I started to actually iron with it I found that in fact it was not that heavy gliding across the clothes. It just seemed heavy getting it out of the box. LENGTH DOES MATTER The second thing I observed was the nice long cord. The cheaper iron had a very short cord which I found very annoying. This one means I can iron without having to have the ironing board rammed against the wall as close to the plug hole as I can get. Now I can stand and iron comfortably while watching the TV. The cord is a full 3 metres long so pretty impressive. GOING DIGITAL Now this is a digital iron. I had no idea what this meant before it arrived. I have to say I am still not really sure. All I now know is that I can click on the temperature control until it reaches the type of fabric I am attempting to iron and then it sets the temperature to the correct one and stays at that temperature until I change it or switch off. I think it is more accurate than other turning temperature dials . It also makes a noise if you iron before it reaches the temperature and also if you leave it face down on the board without ironing which is a plus for me as it means you cannot forget it. There are 7 different fabric settings so you have plenty of choice and they are very different as i have tested them all from silk to denim and it does make a different when ironing the denser heavier fabrics to have extra heat and the constant steam. NANO NANO The iron has a large, nano-ceramic, diamond shaped soleplate which helps make the iron glide over all fabrics. I have had a non stick plate before and it does help. The last cheapie one was just stainless steel. This does give a nice free flowing glide over everything I have ironed so far. The sole plate is a diamond shape. It has a pointed edge at the top as with most irons but also at the back. It is meant to make the iron easier to move backwards and forwards but I cannot actually say I have noticed it helping that much. I do find it makes it easy to get into corners though which is handy if you are dressmaking as you need sharp creases and neat joins to get a neat finish. GETTING ALL STEAMED UP This iron has an easy fill tank that seems to hold a huge amount of ironing water. According to the blurb that comes with the iron this has a 45g constant steam and powerful 100g steam shot. I have no idea what this means except that the amount of steam that comes out as I iron is constant and a decent effective amount. The shot of steam is handy for when I want to iron things like linen table cloths that are dry rather than ironing them wet. The tank is a good size and holds a huge 400ml of water which means that you would have to have a huge pile of ironing to empty it. I have never filled it to capacity and have never emptied it while ironing. Sometimes I still have water in the tank for a couple of loads of ironing. The iron is anti drip so does leak water over your clothes if it has not got up to heat when you start ironing like my old one did. It is also ant scale so must have some magic ingredient hidden to stop scale building up. It is self cleaning using the special setting. The final steam function on this iron is the vertical steam function. This means that I can use the iron vertically and I have used this for getting creases from coats and also some curtains that I hung up after storing that were a bit creased. THE PRICE IS RIGHT The price on Amazon is $42.23 but I was fortunate enough to pay only £20 which I think is a great price. I am not sure I would have been tempted at £42 but then I did have a functioning iron even if it was rubbish so £40 is less tempting for a bargain hunter like me. RECOMMENDED? Well yes I am happy with this. It does a good job and makes ironing quicker and easier for me. If you have a posh iron that looks like a major kitchen appliance then you may find this less exciting. I am more than happy and for the amount of ironing I do I can see this giving me years of use. Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same. ©Catsholiday

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            • mulondon.com / Online Shop / 31 Readings / 31 Ratings
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              10.03.2014 18:16
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              A great natural skin care company

              MuLondon MuLondon is a small online company making natural skin care products. The company is in fact one man, Boris who mixes and creates the products and also does all the publicity, responding to every customer who leaves a review and also follows any who blog about his products too rewarding them with gifts and discounts on his products. I first became aware of MuLondon through an online beauty site which offers trials of different products once a month. My first MuLondon product was the Organic Marigold, Frankincense & Myrrh Face Moisturiser from this site. I liked it so much I bought a further two from the site. I have always paid through Paypal and have always received my products within a couple of days of ordering them. When the parcel arrives it is well packed with bubble wrap but each individual item is 'gift wrapped' in a purple tissue paper. A couple of MuLondon cards are included as well as a printed sheet telling you in more detail the ingredients, benefits and awards won by the company and the product in particular. There are other payment options from debit and credit cards to the one I always choose which is Paypal. Postage is £2.50 so in many ways it is beneficial to order more products at the same time as the postage is the same whatever I have ordered. Why do I love this company? Firstly Boris makes great concentrated products full of wonderful natural and organic ingredients. Secondly I always like to support home grown companies and Boris' MuLondon is based in London. Thirdly I can pay with Paypal as it is secure and I put my on line earnings in Paypal so it is my treat fund. Fourthly the customer service is second to none. I don't think I have ever come across anyone that gives such great feedback for responses from his customers. He also remembers evry order you have mad as an individual which I find amazing. What can you find on the MuLondon website? MuLondon make five natural and organic face moisturisers including Organic Lavender Face Moisturiser, Organic Rose, Rosehip & Rosemary which was commended in 2013 FreeFrom Skincare Awards, Organic Marigold, Frankincense & Myrrh Face Moisturiser, Organic White Chocolate Truffle - Face Moisturiser and Organic Hemp - Face Moisturiser. As well as these facial products which are not only great moisturisers but can also be used as make up removers with a warm flannel to wipe the muck off, Boris also makes a great Organic White Chocolate Elbow, Knee & Heel Cream which is not as smooth as the face products but is just yummily gorgeous for all those dry parts that need extra loving care. Apart from moisturisers MuLondon had three different facial cleansers or face washes. One is a rose based one, another is lavender and the third is a non scented one. I have tried the rose one and reviewed it on here. It smells lovely and is so gentle and pleasant to use. I have just ordered the lavender one, I shan't bother with the unscented one as I like my products to smell naturally pleasant. The prices are fair and reasonable considering they are all natural, hand made products. They compare favourable with other similar products and they are really concentrated so last ages. Because they are natural you do have to keep the products out of light and be aware of use by dates. Having said that, I have had no issues with any products going off and I keep mine in a drawer so not especially cold but they are kept in the dark. Recommended? Well yes I would. Not only are the products great but the customer service is A* as far as I am concerned. The way the products are packed and presented as well as the response to feedback is the best I have ever come across. If you like natural products and supporting home grown companies then take a look at MuLondon's site. If you want to know about any of the products I think I have pretty much reviewed them all so search on the site for them to see if you like what you read. Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name. ©Catsholiday

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                09.03.2014 18:00
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                A story of a free man sold into slavery

                Twelve Years A Slave - Solomon Northup "I can speak of Slavery only so far as it came under my own observation--only so far as I have known and experienced it in my own person. My object is, to give a candid and truthful statement of facts: to repeat the story of my life, without exaggeration, leaving it for others to determine, whether even the pages of fiction present a picture of more cruel wrong or a severer bondage." I have had this book on my e book list for quite some months now but was inspired to read it after the film was released.  I found it quite hard to get into as it is written in the language of the 1800s and while still English the turns of phrase are much more flowery and difficult to read than modern English. It makes an interesting read as Solomon Northup was a free man from up in the northern states who was drugged and then sold as a slave when working in Washington. This man had known freedom and had little idea of a slave's life prior to being captured and sold. It is a pretty old book first published in 1853 just after 'Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe's. This book was used by abolitionist groups and news organizations as part of the fight against slavery at tge time but disappeared for many years. The recent film has made it come to light again. He was very matter of fact about the way he described his work and his life as a slave initially. He was lucky in his first owner and could probably have told him about being a free man but having been beaten by the captors when he mentioned it he dared not even mention it again. After his first relatively pleasant experience he suffered with other owners and the descriptions of how slaves were treated became more graphic. He explains in detail about both cotton planting and picking as well as cane growing and harvesting. He also did some carpentry and became known for some inventions and his fiddle playing. It is no spoiler to say he gained his freedom eventually after twelve years and he goes into some detail about how this came about. It was good to read that after going through these twelve years he became involved in the anti slavery work and helped many escape through the underground railroad. I can't say this was a great read as these sort of books are never enjoyable but it was interesting and looked at slavery from a different angle. I would like to see the film to see what they did to adapt the book. If this period of history is of interest to you then I would say give it a go. If historical works of non fiction are not your choice then give it a miss as it is not an uplifting read. It is but 49p on Amazon for the kindle edition so not a huge outlay. Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name. ©Catsholiday

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                  20.02.2014 20:40
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                  A lovely natural shower gel from Bodhi

                  I received this in a set of one bottle of this and a bottle of Palmarosa Verde Purifying Bath and Shower therapy as a thank you and Christmas git from Bodhi. Like my previous set this came in a neat and sturdy brown gift box with a decorative Bodhi wrapper around the box. It looked very impressive and expensive, a really quality product. It was a really fabulous surprise as I was not expecting this at all. BODHI THE COMPANY "Bodhi means "enlightenment". Directly translated, it is "to awaken" or "to understand". The Bodhi Tree, also known as the Sacred Fig or Bo Tree, is the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life." I have written about Bodhi before and explained that there name has inspired them to create products which are 100% natural and only use only eco friendly, organic ingredients. They only use plant-based ingredients and the finest quality essential oils and absolutes. All their ingredients are from sustainable growers. I like their products especially as they use absolutely no harsh synthetics like Petrochemicals, Sulphates, Parabens, Phthalates, Glycols, PEGs, DEAs, Synthetic Polymers, Synthetic Fragrance or Colours, Palm Oil or Animal Ingredients. They also use no animal ingredients, apart from beeswax and honey. As you might expect none of their products are ever tested on animals and they are also very strict about using recycled packaging and this they state on their website offsets their carbon footprint by 68%. ABOUT MINT THE REFRESHING BATH AND SHOWER THERAPY Bodhi says; "Rejuvenate the body and mind with our revitalising fusion of Peppermint, Marjoram and Frankincense. This is not for the faint hearted - get your skin and senses ready for an instant burst of life! Skin is highly refreshed and rejuvenated, cleansed but never taut or dry. All skin types, especially dull or oily. Great for after sports ." MY OPINION I love the fresh wake up scent of this. It smells of real natural peppermint like I used to grow in my garden in Australia. The smell is as though you have picked fresh herbs from the garden and popped them in a silky liquid to use in the bath. The actual liquid feels thicker than baby shampoo but is about the same colour. It isn't gloopy but has a texture when you feel it more like a thick oil althoigh not greasy at all. I describe it as warm and silky to feel. This is a really luxurious product with a price tag to match so unless you are very wealthy this is a special treat. This is not one to share with the children! I use this mainly in the morning as it is an uplifting refreshing aroma and great for giving you that gentle awakening that you need to start the day. I do like this scent but I think I prefer the other two I have from Bohdi if I had to choose. This is one that would appeal to both sexes as it isn't especially feminine. My husband likes this one as he says it is great for making him feel fresh and alive first this in the morning without the rather too fresh tingle that you get from some other mint shower gels. The bottle is identical to the other shower gels in brown coloured plastic which keeps the contents in the dark and fresh. It is a good shape to hold and because it is narrow it fits neatly on the side of my bath. The contents are easy to squeeze just a little out as I need. As this isn't full of chemical surfactants it doesn't lather as much as some other bath or shower products but even so I found I didn't need a lot to enjoy the lovely fresh minty scent and feel clean but not with any feeling of being dried out and parched in my skin. I have terrible trouble if my back gets too parched and it itches like crazy so I have to employ my husband to apply body lotions so this doesn't happen. If Iuse a gentle shower gel like this I need only apply body lotion once a week but with harsher ones I find it needs to be done every other day. This shower gels leaves my skin feeling nice and normal afterwards and the scent lingers even after I am dry and dressed. A FEW PRECAUTIONS As with Bodhi's other shower gels because of the use of the high content of essential oils, this shower gel may not be suitable for use during pregnancy or for very young children. If you are concerned I would check with your doctor or save buying it until after your pregnancy. Common sense tells you to avoid the eyes and obviously it is for external use only so do not ingest. Because this is not full of chemical preservatives you should use the contents within six months of opening and store the bottle away from heat and light but the brown coloured bottle helps with the light to an extent. WHERE TO BUY AND COST You can buy this from Bodhi's website and For 250 ml of product you pay £23 but it is packaged beautifully and looks a luxurious product. RECOMMENDED? Yes if natural contents are important to you and you care about how eco the stuff is you are putting down the drain each time you shower or bathe then you know organic natural ingredients are expensive so will be prepared to pay the price. This is not a cheap product but for some one special it makes a great gift. It isn't fancy frilly packaging but rather more neat and classy. This is a product for those with expensive tastes and eco friendly ethics. This is a lovely, high quality bath product , it is a bit expensive if you are on a limited budget but you do get a quality product for your money. This review may be posted on other sites under the same user name. ©Catsholiday

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                    09.02.2014 21:53
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                    A gentle natural shampoo from Weleda

                    Weleda is a Swiss company founded by Rudolph Steiner who was Austrian who had quite revolutionary ideas for the time as regards health solutions and education. I have been lucky enough to be sent a couple of small tubes of this shampoo from Weleda . This is their Oat Replenishing Shampoo and my review is based on two 20 ml tubes that I was sent . My hair is quite short and so I have managed to get about ten uses from the two tubes which I thought was pretty good. The full sized bottle of this shampoo is 190 mls which is an odd size, why not 200 ml? This 190 ml bottle ranges in price from £7 to around £9 so it is not the cheapest shampoo you can buy but it is organic and full of great natural ingredients. Weleda's ingredients are in fact 100% natural, and that has been independently certified by the international standard NATRUE which sets the highest standards for naturalness in the world. The product has been created to help dry or damaged hair and though mine isn't damaged it is quite dry and I could go for a week without washing but I like the feel of it washed and soft and smelling nice so I do wash it every couple of days. I used a shampoo that is for dry hair and a conditioner as it would be easy to dry it out with washing it often. I am lucky in that my hair is thick and quite course so needs little additional product to style it. I don't use straighteners as straight hair does not suit me but I do use a hair dryer when I wash my hair and this is potentially damaging. I also colour my hair every couple of months as I have some grey hair right at the front which I hate so I do need to ensure I treat my hair carefully in order to keep from damaging it. This is one of Weleda's newer products and contains oats which everyone now knows is great for sensitive skin so would be good for those with sensitive scalps. Oats are gentle and rich in silicic acid as well as vitamins and proteins minerals supposedly good for hair. This new hair care range has won the Platinum Award 2013 for Best New Natural Range. This new Oat range helps rid your hair of any build up of synthetic ingredients that sometimes weigh hair down and often irritate the scalp This build up can make your hair dull and lifeless and also cause your hair to split and break. This shampoo is made from pure plant extracts and oils which revitalise your hair and scalp so helping to restore your hair's natural shine. The cleansing and foaming element in this shampoo comes not from synthetic foaming agents but from natural plant-based cleansing agents made from coconut oil and plant sugars . These are not only gentle on the scalp but are also bio degradable so do not harm the planet either. The shampoo is made with Sodium Lauroyl Oat Amino Acids which according to Weleda is" a natural gentle cleansing and moisturising ingredient made when oat amino acids, salt and fatty acids from coconut oil are combined." MY EXPERIENCE I used these little tubes over a couple of weeks and also used the matching conditioner sometimes but as it is quite intensive I alternated that with other conditioners. The shampoo was a golden colour and quite thick but not creamy at all. It lathered quite well but less foamy that other non natural shampoos. It feels nice and rinses out leaving my hair feeling clean but not stripped. I quite like the smell , it is kind of oaty but with a hint of something herby and slightly floral but very subtle. The notes I have discovered are "Mimosa are combined with the sweet-balmy scent of tonka beans to create a delicious fragrance, anchored by the aromatic scent of Cedar wood oil." I have to say the scent is subtle and sweet but I would not have detected all those. This shampoo has lovely organic jojoba oil which helps to 'feed' dry hair but at the same time it isn't heavy nor does it make the hair greasy. The shampoo is also supposed to be volumising which is something I don't need as my hair is really thick but I didn't find this a problem but those with thin hair might find it helps. I never tried the shampoo by itself with no conditioner so I don't know what it would be like using it by itself. I used the matching conditioner every second time and a Lush conditioner at other times. My scalp felt clean but not dry and itchy like I sometimes have after harsh shampoos. My hair looked healthy and was quite shiny and it felt soft and smooth not dry and crisp. It didn't do anything that my other natural shampoos don't do but it is much better than the cheaper synthetic ones I have used sometimes when we travel and I find them in hotels. This is a really nice shampoo that smells nice and does a good gentle job of cleaning my hair. I am happy to use this shampoo but it isn't cheap. I have found that those with more natural ingredients tend to be more expensive. So if natural, organic earth friendly shampoos are something you appreciate then give this one a try. Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name . ©Ctasholiday

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                      06.02.2014 22:28
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                      A detective story set in Sweden and Denmark

                      The Bridge Series 1 This series is one of a number of Scandinavian programmes that have become very popular recently. I think the interest must have been sparked by Steig Larsen's 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' and similar literary works. We have watched a number of these and found them to be very tense , quite dark and different from the unusual Hollywood and even UK productions. This was a joint venture both creatively and financially between the Swedish and Danish production companies. They are of course subtitled so you have to watch carefully. My husband put the sound up the other day when we were watching the second series and I laughed at him and asked him if he could now understand Danish or Swedish! He said it helped get the feel of the conversation by hearing the tones of their voice which I guess is a valid point. CAST: As this is not a Hollywood or even a UK production the cast were all totally unknown to us before this first series. Sofia Helin as Saga Norén, she is the lead homicide detective in Malmö with Asperger's syndrome Kim Bodnia as Martin Rohde who is the lead homicide detective in Copenhagen Dag Malmberg as Hans Petterson who is a senior criminal police officer in Malmö Sarah Boberg as Lillian who is a senior criminal police officer in Copenhagen Lars Simonsen as Jens Hansen/Sebastian Sandstrod who was a police colleague of Martin Rohde's but now not so great as you will find out Christian Hillborg as Daniel Ferbé who is a journalist at Aftonposten in Malmö Magnus Krepper as Stefan Lindberg playing a social worker in Malmö Puk Scharbau as Mette Rohde who is Martin Rohde's wife THE STORY A body of a female Swedish politician is found on the Øresund Bridge road bridge between Copenhagen and Malmo. The odd thing is that the body is placed exactly on the point half way between the two countries so that they are forced to work together to solve the crime. Even more peculiar the body is cut in half and it turns out to be not one body but two. The top half is the Swedish politician but who is the bottom half? The story becomes quite involved as the investigators lives become entwined. A car used in the crime belongs to a journalist, Daniel Ferbé, and he begins to get phone calls from the suspect who becomes known as the "Truth Terrorist". The caller says he is committing the crimes to bring to the attention of the authorities social issues and events he considers crimes. This is why a social worker Stefan Lindberg becomes a suspect but his sister is one of the victims of the Truth terrorist and this makes the plot very muddied. As usual with any detective investigation the reader or audience is led to suspect one then another of the characters and all the time we are kept wondering and on the edge of our seats. I am not going to go through episode but episode what happens as I feel this gives too much of the story away in a series like this. It is okay for comedy and drama but with a detective series you do not want to know what is happening in episode six before you have watched the previous five as it spoils the tension. The stroy is very tense and the investigation gets closer to home but I think what makes this series stand out from others is the very unusual relationships that exist and develop between the characters as the series builds up. THE CHARACTERS Saga Norén is brilliantly acted by Sofia Helin as she displays her Asperger's behavious and has real problems with social situations and finds it hard to have a relationship that is meaningful with anyone. She has no partner and sleeps with a variety of men when she needs sex but has no emotional pull to anyone. As the series develops she does begin to work more closely with Martin Rohde and they develop quite a close working relationship. Martin Rohde is married and his personal life is quite complicated. He is married to Mette who is his second wife but they also have August a rather difficult teenager from Martin's first marriage living with them. Martin and Mette have three children together and interestingly he has had a vasectomy but Mette discovers she is expecting twins! August I found quite a disturbing and disturbed young man and I did feel for Mette having to have him living with them. Many of the characters were unusual and not many were likeable initially but by the end of the series I did warm to Saga and thought Martin was very good at coping with working with her. His home life does become very complicated. I was actually beginning to wonder if there were any normal people in Denmark and Sweden by the end. THE SETTING I know that in the winter months they have very short days in Scandinavia but this was a dark series. Everything seemed grey and rather depressing. If I had not actually been to both Copenhagen and Malmo across that very bridge then this series would not make me think 'Wow that looks a lovely place let us visit.' I cannot imagine that this or the second series or indeed any of the other series set in Scandinavia would have done much for their tourist industry. The place looks grim, the police either inept or corrupt and everyone has some sort of social mal function it seems! THE MUSIC The theme tune is very emotive and haunting. It is apparently 'Hollow Talk 'by Choir of Young Believers from Copenhagen, Denmark. I also discovered that Josh Groban has recorded a version of the track which I am tempted to check out on Amazon as I do like it and it sets the scene perfectly for the story. AND FINALLY We watched this series as a down load from a friend who works for the Beeb but it was shown on BBC 4 here and also in HD back in 2012. I would say that it is worth buying as we got hooked and could not have waited for a week between the episodes. We watched two at a time per night and finished the series within a week. It really does get into your psyche and you can't wait to see where it is going next. There are twists and turns, the actual investigation has many twists and the relationships between the characters also develop and take surprising turns. As I watched this on a down load I am not reviewing any aspects on the dvd . I don't know if there are any extras or cut scenes included in the dvd series. If you have NOT watched this series then I would suggest watching this before series two as there are plot spoilers if you go straight to series two. It is not absolutely necessary to watch the first series in order to get the story but it will make for a better watch to se them in the correct order. The stories or investigations are completely different and not tied together but the relationships between the characters does continue from this first series. I hear that they are currently filming a third series so we are waiting with bated breath for that as we have just finished series two. Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name. ©Catsholiday

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                        03.02.2014 22:41
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                        Helps you get on with life when diarrhoea strikes

                        Imodium Plus Caplets My husband and I travel quite a lot and this or something pretty similar is always in our travel medical kit. I have to say that I appear to be the one who makes most use of this product and its friends. I cannot understand why it is as my husband is the one with the sensitive bowels and I was brought up overseas so you would think my bowels had seen everything before! There is nothing worse than being on a holiday or even worse on a tour and then having a touch of uncertainty with the bowels. Many places we travel have very questionable toileting facilities and this makes the situation even more unpleasant. We had our honeymoon in India on a tour of the Rajasthan triangle. We were fine for the first week then trouble set in. This was a small bus tour and so we were on the go most days so we could not be indisposed as toilets were not an option between stops and even then they were dubious. We took these as instructed and indeed had one a day until we got home as things were tricky and this was the only way to ensure no accidents. It took a week once we were back for our bowels to come back to normal. It is not always when travelling abroad that these have been needed. We went to the theatre in London and unwisely we ate at 'Live bait' in Covent Garden. We both ended up with V&D in the night. Luckily it didn't hit us until after the theatre. My husband had to go to a conference that day and we had pre paid for pre booked train tickets so I had to wait for him. I sat on the floor in Harrods by the book department as it was close to the loo. Would you believe there was no chemist open on that Sunday so we suffered. Since that time Imodium has never been left at home no matter where we are travelling. The most recent trip we and Imodium took was to Scotland . I must have eaten something and we put it down to a prawn sandwich from M&S as that was the only thing I had eaten differently from my husband. I had chronic diarrhoea and spent the day in our rather nice bedroom while my husband went sight seeing. I found that one was NOT enough. I had to take another but after the day on the loo with V&D I felt much better the next day which was fortunate as we were driving home. I have a friend who suffered with a major bowel problem and had a colostomy bag for a while. They have operated and sewn bits together so that she no longer needs a bag but she has issues controlling her bowel movements and in order to help with this she takes four of these every day. I guess it is preferable to the bag but thank heavens I only need to take these in emergencies. They do act pretty quickly. I would not necessarily take them if I was at home as sometimes it is good for the bug to get through your system but when needs must and if you need to get on with life or you are travelling them pop one in. Sometimes one does the trick but sometimes you do have to take more than one particularly if you have V&D as you may have lost the pill 's helpfulness with your last evacuation. I have never needed more than three even when travelling but when in India we did take one a day for four days as we needed to make absolutely sure we were safe. If you are needing to take these frequently then definitely see your doctor as it may be a sign of something serious. These are for diarrhoea and so should not be used for any other reason and should not be used for long periods of time. These are an essential for any travel medical kit. Even if travelling in this country as we discovered it is not always easy to find a chemist open when and where you need one. If you have them with you the you can administer the remedy as soon as you become aware of needing it and don't have to suffer needlessly. We always have these at home as well as you just never know. We live a long way from the nearest shop and it is always better to be safe than sorry. Read the instructions and precautions before taking these and as I said see you doctor if things do not get any better or you are needing these too often. Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name. ©Catsholiday

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                          02.02.2014 18:08
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                          A murder mystery set in Laos

                          I struggled initially to get into the style of this author but after about ten pages I was with him. The book is set in Laos just after the communists took over. The author has worked in both Laos and Thailand and uses his knowledge of the people and geography in the story. The coroner is an elderly man who was one of those in favour of the regime. He is now about 65 and had thought that his years working for the party and as a doctor would be rewarded with a nice retirement but instead he is made coroner. He is coroner for the entire country in an office with no equipment, a young girl who wanted to be a nurse and a young man with Down's Syndrome as his work partners. The story is a murder mystery set in Laos struggling with its new communism. It is told in a tongue in cheek manner and several times I laughed out loud. Having said that the murders were real and the investigation hampered by lack of equipment and the corruption in high places. Anyone who has lived in countries overseas will understand the frustration of trying to get things done when wheels grind slowly and those in power are corrupt. My husband had to put up with several quotes being read to him and that is a sign of something making me laugh in that I cannot wait to share it. The story is quite complex and involves the hero visiting a local hill tribe. He discovers he has some psychic powers and these help him solve some of the mysteries he has to deal with. As I say there are elements of tongue in cheek mixed with truth and interesting knowledge of local belief and culture. I really liked the author's style of writing. I liked that he poked fun at the Laos communist system in a gentle but not at all superior or patronising way. I loved the main character and all the side characters were also written in a believable and sympathetic way. It reminds me of Shamini Flint or Tarquin Hall's books as they have a bit more of a real mystery than McColl Smith's books do but they fact that they are set in the different countries makes them appeal to me.

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                            02.02.2014 16:02
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                            A heart surgeon marries a struggling artist with emotional baggage

                            Harvesting the Heart - Jodi Picoult I do quite enjoy Jodi Picoult's books but have started to find them a bit formulaic. this one is a bit different. I thought when I read this that it must be a newer book but it is apparently one of her older works. I have to say I prefer this to others she wrote later then. She still takes a controversial subject and this time it is post natal depression/ struggling with motherhood. This is combined with attitudes of those who have been brought up to think they are superior and how they behave in a marriage. I did like the characters in that at times I could cheerfully have slapped them whereas at others I felt sympathetic so in that way they were quite real. I found it really hard to believe that a mother could walk out on her family and NEVER contact them again and yet profess to love them. I just didn't get that. Why not talk about feelings and not just disappear? I liked Nicholas's parents - they seemed normal in comparison to Paige's parents. Her mother I just didn't get while her father I felt was far too laid back for his own good. Paige was the daughter of an Irish immigrant father who was a not very good inventor and a mother who ran off when she was five and they never knew why. This haunts Paige throughout her life. She leaves Chicago and her father when she is about eighteen after having an abortion because she feels her father would be ashamed and the relationship with her boyfriend would be strained .She travels to Boston where she gets a job in a cafe. She starts to draw the customers and begins to have a bit of a cukt following for her work. She meets Nicholas as a customer in the cafe. He is a trainee doctor from a very privileged back ground and eventually marry. When their son is born Paige really struggles and has little support from Nicholas and things take a huge turn for the worst and the family undergoes a big upheaval. I won't say any more as it would spoil the story but it was quite a surprise the way thins went from there. Nicholas was cool and calm and quite self centred and determined and at times not very likeable. He was a brilliant heart surgeon, hence the title but the title has a double meaning re Paige's heart too. Paige was quite a sympathetic character , she was no push over, she had a great talent for drawing and had survived a lot of emotional trauma in her life. She seemed to be able to forgive very easily as many people had let her down in different ways and yet she never resented this. She was angry with her mother and that dominated her actions and emotions. The chapters alternate between Paige's and Nicholas' points of view with Paige's chapters written in the first person. I found it a bit annoying that Paige's were in the first person and Nicholas' in the third person . I wish she had stuck to one or the other. I did like the two different perspectives though. I think the part that really came home to me was the struggle Paige had when the baby is first born. She became a walking feeding machine and lost sight of who she was completely. This is a very hard tie for any new mother and especially hard if you have no support and a difficult baby too. I think many of us would be able to relate to how Paige felt. I found it interesting that Nicholas, despite being a doctor totally misses the signs of illness in two family members while Paige was far more perceptive about how other's were feeling despite no medical training. There is obviously a difference between surgical ability and emotional support and empathy. All in all I liked the story and found it much less like her other books in that it didn't follow the same formula and the central topic or subject of the story was much less easy to pin point. This has restored my interest in Picoult's books and I will be interested to see what she writes next. I would say that this is one of her better books and if, like me you found her stuff was getting a bit predictable then give this a try as it is a good story with characters you can believe are real people. Thanks for reading . This review may be posted in whole or part on other sites under my same user name . ©Catholiday

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                              25.01.2014 20:26
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                              A simple game with lots of potential for varaitions

                              Thomas & friends Memory Game - Ravensburger My step daughter is very good at finding charity shop bargains and this was a game she found in one locally. We have our granddaughter for one day a week and so we have a few of her toys over here and swap them from time to time as we get fed up with the ones we have. This one has been here for some months now and I feel I am ready for a change! Our granddaughter is not a Thomas fan and I am not even sure she is aware of the names of the trains as she has never really watched the programmes that I am aware of. I know them quite well as my son was a keen fan when he was younger. The game consists of pairs of picture cards on pretty sturdy card. Each card is a good thickness and pretty well indestructible by youngsters in normal use . I dare say they can be bent and chewed but if used by the average group of children with normal use. The cards are square and have rounded corners so are safe and easy for small hands to hold and pick up. The idea is that you place all the cards face down on a table and turn over two at a time. If you turn a matching pair then you get to keep them. As there are a huge number of cards I think this would challenge most adults as a memory game. We have created alternative games. One game needs a bit of pre planning and that means picking out 3 or 4 or 5 pairs and turning them over and playing the original game . Because there are fewer cards it makes it easier for little ones. Of course as they get beeter at remembering wher the pars are you can add more pairs into the game. You can either have the cards upside down on a table randomly or in straight rows. Personally I find rows easier to remember positions of the turned cards. You can vary the game by changing the set up. Sometimes we play a bit of a snatch and grab by putting all the cards face up on the table spread randomly and then grab any pairs we see as fast as we can. Our granddaughter likes this as she thinks it is a bit naughty as we don't take turns we just go for it. Obviously the adult does hold back a bit! As otherwise it might not be a fair battle. I am not sure I would play this method with my grandsons as they are much rougher and cannier and most would end up on the floor. You could also use the cards for a game of I spy and see if the child can find the card from your description or the starting letter. As the cards are really just pairs of picture cards they are quite adaptable for different games. You could play find the :train that is green or something you take on holiday ( suitcase) so on and talk about colours as shape and so on. This is not the most exciting action packed game that you can buy but it has a lot of education potential that is a fun way of learning so many things. You could use them to count, to match or group trains, colours, or what ever you choose. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. As we picked this up in a charity shop I have no idea what it costs new. I can't imagine it costs a lot but it is a good basic educational game that young children will all enjoy. Those who are fans of Thomas the tank Engine will be able to think of even more game possibilities as they will know all the names and proper I spy can then be played. The box is quite a neat one with four compartments in a plastic moulded tray inside the cardboard box. The cards slot easily into the four sections so are easy to put away and get out for little hands and that is always handy. We make it part of the game to put the cards away and race to see who can get their cards away quickest! A nice well made set of pair cards from the Ravensburger company who are well known for their educational toys for young children. Thank you for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name. ©Catsholiday

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                              • Breville VKJ666 Jug Kettle / Kettle / 43 Readings / 43 Ratings
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                                23.01.2014 22:44
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                                A noisy boiler

                                 Breville VKJ666 Jug Kettle A few weeks ago a very sad thing happened in our kitchen. I filled the kettle and put it on and nothing happened. We had had the kettle for around nine to ten years and it had done a good job several times a day during that time. It wasn't an expensive one. I believe I purchased it from Tesco and it cost around £20. When this kettle bit the dust I knew I wanted a stainless steel one but apart from that I wasn't too fussy. It had to be electric not a stove top one but brands and other things were not important. I set about hunting on Amazon as I had vouchers I could use. I was not prepared to pay a fortune for a kettle especially as our last fairly cheap one had done a good job. I chose this this one which was around £20. It is £17.99 at the present time on Amazon. As always it arrived quite quickly and well packed from Amazon and required no setting up physically. The other thing we had to do was to boil it full three times and tip out the water to ensure all the factory coatings and gunk was off the inside. The kettle is quite a nice looking one with a shiny stainless steel look. It has a window gauge so you can see how much water is in the kettle . This also shows the max and min line so you cannot boil it dry or over fill it. This is rather strangely placed behind the handle so isn't the easiest to see but it still can be seen but not while holding the handle. The switch is quite obvious and clear plastic so hopefully it will last being flicked down several times a day and it is found under the handle . The kettle lights up a blue colour on the switch when it is on. You aren't left in much doubt after the first few seconds as it is quite a noisy beast. The first thing I noticed apart from the jet engine - like noise as it was boiling, was the fact that his kettle help a lot more water than our previous one. The last used to just about fill our tea pot but this fills it and has some water still left over. This is very handy for us as my husband has a huge mug which uses well over half the tea pot so we can pour his, top up the tea pot and still have tea for a few other people! This kettle has been designed to be a fast boil hence saving time and also the amount of time you have to suffer the noise. This kettle has a 3kW concealed element which is apparently very efficient and of course does make for easy cleaning and less surface for lime scale to build up on too. The fact that the kettle can swivel on its base means that it is equally easy for a left or right handed person to use. I have commented on how much it holds and indeed it holds a massive 1.7L so will pretty much cope with a party of tea and coffee drinkers at one time. I am happy with my purchase as it was a very reasonable price, it looks good in the kitchen as it matches my other stainless steel bits and pieces that I leave out on the kitchen side. It does boil pretty fast considering how much water it holds and it does seem to boil faster than our old one too. I like the fact that the lid is easy to open and fill the kettle, it flips open on a hinge not like those with the lift off lid that sticks. We have two of those in our village coffee shop and they are a pain. I like the window wit the gauge and the fact that I can see the blue light indicating it is switched on from across the room. I don't like the fact that conversation has to cease in the room and if the telephone goes I have to go out of the kitchen otherwise I cannot hear who is on the other end if the kettle is boiling. RECOMMENDED? Yes I would say so. It was a very decent price and is efficient and quick even if it does make a song and dance about doing its job. There are not many decent looking kettles for under £20 so as far as I am concerned I have got a good buy. Please ignore the picture quality and sound quality Dooyoo are asking for! Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same username. ©Catsholiday

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