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The first time I went to Ciao Napoli was with my fiancé as it's his favourite restaurant. I walked in with high expectations...and it didn't disappoint.
As I entered Ciao Napoli, I was immediately transported to a gorgeous restaurant in Italy. The authentic feel is a result of wooden tables, chairs and alcoves, surrounded by wood panelling on most walls and a stone wall at one end of the building. Adding to this atmosphere are dimmed lights, creating a romantic Italian heaven. The restaurant is spread over two floors and I think this plays a big part in the atmosphere as each room is small enough that it has the private feel I need from a higher end restaurant.
I was also welcomed by the staff who were polite and accommodating, ensuring that we were happily seated and that a drink was on it's way. Small things like this make a big difference to me as I hate sitting in a restaurant waiting to be served the first drink of the evening. We were lucky enough to have a romantic alcove to sit in...a nice touch for a couple dining. I did note that they sat a table of 10 beside us and I think they could take a party downstairs, so they could definitely account for large numbers as well.
Completely embraced by Ciao Napoli so far I was excited to get my teeth into the menu...and wow! This is a traditional Italian restaurant but in amongst the expected dishes there were a few intriguing options that sounded divine...I wanted to try them all! In the end I decided on the mussels for a starter and the veal for the main course, both of which were beautiful! This was accompanied by a lovely bottle of white recommended by our very accommodating waiter.
The atmosphere all through the meal was perfect. The relaxed music accompanied by the general murmur of chat in a warm and authentic environment ensured that we had a beautiful meal.
I have since been back with friends and with family and still thoroughly enjoyed it. The service and food still displayed the same superb standard and I would now also list it as my favourite restaurant.
Ciao Napoli is based in the town centre although slightly out of the main streets. However...I would definitely recommend a venture in if you are ever in Aberdeen!
The Wire is a HBO TV series which started in 2002. It is based in Baltimore and focuses on the drug dealings around the city, showing the drug scene from both perspectives - the dealers and the cops. In series one, following a murder trial, detective Jimmy McNulty is given a division to investigate a suspected drug dealer - Avon Barksdale. The series follows his journey with the team to investigate the goings ons, mainly through the use of "the wire". You also follow Avon and his team as they try and keep their operations quiet and hide all evidence from the police.
My fiancé and I are big fans of American boxsets and after thoroughly enjoying The Shield and The Sopranos, The Wire seemed like the next series to get our teeth into.
A lot of my friends have watched The Wire and raved about it so we were actually really excited about it. Even better, my dad has every series on DVD so we could move through them all without having to wait. (Whilst watching The Shield we had a 9.55pm dash to Blockbuster as we knew we only had one episode before the next series - I think the woman behind the counter thought we were crazy). So, one cold evening we decided to take the plunge and get seated comfortably, ready to be absorbed by The Wire. Unfortunately...that didn't quite happen.
We watched the first episode with baited breath but were left rather disappointed. After an hour, I felt confused and rather deflated...not what I want from a top TV show. However, I know that sometimes it takes a few episodes to get the story going and so we persevered. We actually persevered 3 times...each time we watched a couple of episodes, got pretty bored then forgot about it for a couple of months. When winter set in last year though, we knew we needed to get some decent TV on the go and so we went back to The Wire. We started from episode 1 and watched it right through. By the end, I was thoroughly enjoying it...it just took a lot of effort in the first place.
I think part of the reason I struggled was due to the slang and nick names used by the drug dealers being investigated. I sometimes felt I couldn't really understand what was going on and found myself confused between all the characters. I also think that there isn't much real action in this series...it's more of a slow burner to introduce you to all the characters. However, by the last two episodes, both of us were glued to the TV and felt that The Wire had come into it's own. I will definitely be watching the next series over the coming weeks and hopefully will then move onto series' 3-5. I would definitely recommend The Wire but would warn that it is a slow burner and you do need to give it a chance.
Josephine's in a restaurant on Holburn Street, Aberdeen, which has been open for just over 10 years. It serves Italian tapas and has a BYOB (bring your own bottle) policy creating a very relaxed atmosphere.
It has to be said, Josephine's is not the most appealing restaurant if based on looks alone. It is amongst a set of terraced shops and businesses and doesn't stand out at all. The exterior looks run down and consists of a large window with stickers detailing the name and type of restaurant. This window is also usually steamed up during open hours so doesn't "invite" you like most restaurants would. The inside decor in Josephine's seems quite dated although I feel it almost suits the relaxed atmosphere of the restaurant.
Food & Drink:
I LOVE the food in Josephine's. I am always a fan of tapas anyway as I feel it is a great way to eat amongst friends. It is traditionally Italian/Spanish tapas with dishes like scallops, prawn pil pil and potatoes bravas amongst many others. The tapas dishes are around £6 each and I feel that this is completely reasonable for the size of the dish. Everything I have tried in Josephine's has been perfectly cooked, seasoned and presented; I have never felt let down. As it is BYOB, I have never drank anything from the bar in Josephine's. The corkage fee to take your own alcohol is only £3 and so it is a much cheaper option than most restaurants where a glass of wine is the same price as a bottle in a supermarket.
I feel it's important to stress that there is a very relaxed atmosphere within Josephine's. The manager is not dressed as you would typically find in a restaurant, but I have always found him to be friendly and professional. He also seems to know his menu inside out which is always appreciated when trying to decide what to have! As it is BYOB it can sometimes get a bit rowdy however most of the time it is filled with tables of friends chatting and laughing. I always find there is a relaxed buzz in the restaurant accompanied by relaxed classic rock playing in the background. In my experience I have always found that the staff don't pester you or hurry you out the door and so the evening can really be enjoyed.
I love going to Josephine's for a catch up with friends as I feel it has the perfect atmosphere. If you are looking for tasty food without the fuss then this is definitely the perfect option! I have dropped one star as it isn't the prettiest/most appealing restaurant from the outside.
This book was one of my "kindle finds". Since purchasing my kindle, I often look for books that are cheap but have a 4-5 star review. I mainly do this as I want to widen my horizons when it comes to reading and this method usually throws up a few books that I would never have come across otherwise.
When I read the synopsis for China Bird I was intrigued...this isn't my usual genre of fiction but after reading a couple of raving reviews I thought I would give it a bash.
China Bird is a novel by Bryony Doran that won the Hookline Novel Competition in 2009. It was based on a mother and son she seen whilst in a cafe who became Rachel and Edward in her imagination. As far as I am aware, this is the only published novel by Bryony Doran but I hope that there are more to come as it really is something unique and special.
China Bird follows four people as their lives intertwine in more ways than expected. It is based around a young art student, Angela, who asks a distant family friend to model for her; Edward. The real twist to this novel though is that Edward is not conventionally beautiful. He is an older man with a prominent hunch in his spine and difficulty with movement. The name of the novel actually comes from Edward's hunch as Angela compares it to the China Bird that is placed in the middle of a pie dish. This disability has has resulted in Edward becoming an isolated and solitary figure who is going through the motions of life without really embracing it.
Angela first sees Edward at the funeral of Claudette; a friend of her late grandmothers who instilled the love of art into Angela. Edward is at the funeral with his mother Rachel who is a distant relative of Claudette's. Rachel is probably my favourite character within this book as there is a lot of depth to her personality and her story. She is an elderly woman who is rude and ignorant but the life she has lead is full of twists and turns and she is a very developed character.
Once Edward agrees to model for Angela, we are taken through a journey of love, passion and need. The Saturday sessions when he models for her become a pivotal part of the novel and show an unusual and intriguing relationship building between the two characters. It shows the change in their perceptions and feelings as they get to know each other very well (partly due to Edward posing nude for Angela) and how this affects their lives outside the studio.
As I read China Bird, I couldn't work out whether I actually liked it or not, but I always wanted to read further. It is an unconventional story exploring an unlikely friendship, and some parts of it did shock me. However I persevered and on finishing it I realised that it was provocative and unique and captured me more than a book had in a long time. I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who likes to read something that is slightly outside the realms of conventional.
Mr Muscle Shower Shine Daily Shower Cleaner
I purchased this spray from a well known discount super market a couple of weeks ago whilst doing a grocery shop. I wouldn't usually be drawn in by this type of product (i.e.spray daily and it cleans without any elbow grease) but we have recently put our house on the market and I thought this would ease the inevitable mad clean before viewings.
The spray promises to "help to prevent the build up of limescale, soap scum and grime" within your shower if sprayed every day after use. It can be used on most surfaces within the shower area and states that it is "safe for use on fibreglass, porcelain, chrome, tiles, glass, plastics, acrylics and shower curtains".
As instructed, I have used this spray daily in the morning after I shower. I am quite generous and usually ensure most of the shower has been sprayed. You then just leave the spray to work it's magic - no scrubbing, rubbing or wiping, just left to soak in.
I have been using this for approx 2 weeks and haven't noticed a massive difference in the tiles and shower tray but I think I will over time as this spray prevents the build up of any nasty dirt. I have found that when I do actually clean the shower though it is easier and doesn't seem as dirty.
I have however noticed a big difference with the glass door to the shower cubicle. I always used to find cleaning this a bit of a struggle as I would have to use bathroom cleaner then glass cleaner to get a sparkling finish. I now find though that the door is not nearly as dirty and I can just clean it with glass cleaner without any hassle. It also looks a lot cleaner from day to day which makes a big difference.
Gavin Stacey is my favourite TV show of all time that I never ever get bored of! It is a comedy the follows the lives of Gavin (from Essex) and Stacey (from Barry, Wales) as they fall in love and go through the ups and downs of a long distance relationship then marriage.
Whilst the show is named after Gavin & Stacey, I feel that it's their friends and family that really complete the show and make it what it is. Their best friends Nessa and Smithy are played by the creators of the show; Ruth Jones and James Corden, and both play the parts very well. Rob Brydon also stars as Stacey's uncle Bryn who is hilarious in a cringe inducing way. When watching the show, you can tell that Ruth and James have really thought about each of the characters and how they can bring out the best in each other. This is visible all through the series' as the jokes and banter between them is unbeatable. You can also see that the actors get along extremely well off screen as some of the scenes are ad-libbed and you can see them enjoying the jokes and banter as much as the audience at home.
I have yet to find someone who doesn't love Gavin & Stacey. It's a great TV show that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. I think the main reason for this is that you can often see a bit of someone you know within the characters and this makes them even funnier. The show also covers a lot of big events that everyone faces in life; marriage, birth, christenings and new jobs, in a way that is endearing to the situation but also laced with exceptional comedy.
The only downside to Gavin & Stacey is that there have only been 3 series so far. I hope that there are many more on the horizon but this has yet to be confirmed by the writers.
Creators - James Corden and Ruth Jones
Year Commenced - 2007
No. of series' - 3
Greys Anatomy is a modern medical drama based in an American hospital - Seattle Grace. It is based around the life of doctor Meredith Grey and her colleagues and friends within the hospital.
I love Greys Anatomy due to it's diversity and opportunity to escape. Whilst is is light hearted at times and often looks at the trials and tribulations of love and lust, it also explores various situations that can arise within a hospital in an empathetic way.
Series one kicks off with Meredith's first day at the hospital following a drunken night with a handsome man. She realises throughtout her first day he actually works at the hospital as a neurosugeon and he soon earns the nickname Dr Dreamy. This rendezvous runs right through all the series's of Greys Anatomy so far and ties a lot of the characters into Meredith's life.
We also meet Meredith's fellow interns and friends at the start of series one; George, Izzie, Alex and Christina. Each of the characters are very different and compliment each other. I found myself falling in love with each of the characters and you follow their stories throughout the series's as well as Meredith's.
I really enjoy an emotional TV series and find myself in tears with most episodes of Greys Anatomy. I enjoy this because I like to really connect emotionally and feel what people would be feeling had the situations been real. Whilst I know a lot of people enjoy this, if you aren't a fan of emotional TV, I definitely wouldn't recommend this.
On top of the emotional aspects of Greys Anatomy, there are a lot of funny moments too. This mainly comes from getting to know the characters very well and enjoying the "inside jokes" as well as the obvious ones. I usually find myself in floods of tears giggling at the same time!
Overall, I can't rate this TV show enough and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good American drama!
Creator - Shonda Rhimes
Current Series - Series 9 (UK)
Year Started - 2005
We have recently put our house up on the market and whilst the constant smell of my lovely dog doesn't bother me, I was worried it would put off potential buyers. So I was very happy when my other half brought home the Pet Odor Exterminator candle from the vets.
The candle costs £10 and states that it burns for 70 hours. It comes in a jar with a metal lid and looks nice in the house. The scent we have is creamy vanilla. I like this scent as I always tend to go for clean and refreshing smells.
My lovely dog Cassie is a lot of fun but she is a big dog (mastiff x ridgeback) and there is the lingering dog smell in the house all the time. This candle does exactly what it says and covers the smell with lovely vanilla. I always think that the true test of a candle is if you can smell is as soon as you walk into a room and this one certainly fulfills it. I also like that the candle covers nasty smells without being too overpowering.
Overall, the candle looks good in the house and realeases a gorgeous vanilla scent that lasts for hours. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking to cover up "pet smells" in the house.
I think I had lived in my flat for approx 6 months without giving a second thought to how clean the oven was...then one day I went to put a pizza in, actually seen the grime and felt quite ill!
The next day I went straight to lakeland and purchased Oven Mate as it was marketed as a best seller and promised great results. Priced at £7.99 I did think it was quite expensive but that was probably the price I would have to pay to cut through the grease and grime in the oven!
Excited about my new purchase (I'm quite sad and love a good cleaning project) I got home and got stuck in straight away. In the box I found a bottle of oven cleaning gel (500ml), a pair of protective gloves and a little brush.
After a quick read over the instructions, I got to work. The brush is a great tool as you first need to apply the gel to all the surfaces inside the oven and leave it to soak in (the length it should be left is dependant on how dirty your oven is). The brush is used as an applicator and I found this very useful as it ensured you applied a thick layer of the cleaning gel evenly. The gel itself is thick and it can be quite harsh on your skin so I would definitely recommend wearing the gloves.
After I had painted the gel onto the inside of my oven, I left it to soak for a couple of hours. Whilst there is a distinct smell to the gel, I didn't find this overpowering when I left the gel to soak in which is a definite bonus. I then approached the oven with a bowl of hot water and a cloth ready to be dazzled by my sparkly oven...and I wasn't disappointed!
I needed a significant amount of warm water to wash off the gel as it is quite thick. I found that when I wiped away the gel the grime was wiped away with it...no elbow grease required (fantastic!). This is quite a messy job as you do end up with a lot of dirty thick gel to wash off but it is completely worth it.
Once I had cleaned off the gel my oven looked gorgeous. I did notice a couple of days later that there were a few patches of powdery white residue where I hadn't completely cleaned off the gel but these were easily wiped away. I also have approx 4 more applications left in the bottle so this is good value for money!
Overall, I am thoroughly impressed with this product and would definitely recommend to anyone who wanted to give their oven a good clean! The only thing I would like with it is someone to clean the oven too :)
When writing book reviews, I don't like to give too much away as I still want people to enjoy the ups and downs of the book themselves, so I tend to focus more on my enjoyment of them. Whilst this may not be to everyones tastes, I hope this review will encourage people to pick up the novel.
Since purchasing a Kindle a few months ago I have tried to keep an eye out for books on special offer and came accross Me Before You. I had heard about the book and was intrigued so downloaded it and got stuck in that night...
Me Before You is focussed on one of the most debated subjects at the moment - assisted suicide. As expected, it is an emotional read but it's not all doom and gloom. I often found myself having a giggle in bed. This was mainly due to the fact that Jojo ensures you really get to know the characters and their personalities so you can share quirky moments with them. It also explores other subjects in a tactful and sypathetic way.
The assisted suicide theme is approached in such a way that really makes you open your eyes and it is very up to date with the current discussions. There are even references that relate to recent events and so the book feels relevant. However, I never found that this aspect of the novel was too heavy that you struggled to comprehend it.
This novel is essentially a love story with a twist. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a novel they can really feel involved with and something that has a lot of depth.
I am a big fan of the Sanctuary range and picked up this body butter when it was on offer (3 for 2) in a well known chemist.
The first thing that attracted me to this butter was the smell...each time I open the tub I feel like I have stepped into a spa. I'm not a fan of anything that smells too sweet or pungent but this butter has a beautiful smell that lasts without being too overpowering. It is a mix of cocoa and shea butter and they seem to have gotten the combination spot on.
The butter itself is thick and creamy and a treat to apply. I would say it is slightly thicker than a standard body butter but it really melts into your skin as soon as you apply and doesn't feel greasy. It also leaves it's gorgeous scent on your skin for a few hours.
I am bothered by patches of dry skin but this butter clears them up after just one application. It also leaves the rest of my skin feeling soft for at least 24hrs after.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes to treat themselves and look after their skin. The tub is £12 but you usually find it on 3 for 2 in your local chemist. I think this is a great price as I use it most days after I shower and it lasts me at least 3 months.
I definitely wouldn't look past this moisturiser now and enjoy it every time I apply! After all, everyone deserves a little pamper!
I love tea! I think I drink about 8 cups a day and can be quite fussy about the brand of teabags I purchase as I don't like some of them.
If you have read my other reviews, you have probably realised that I am doing what I can to cut back on my spending whilst doing my weekly shop. Part of this cutback was on my beloved teabags.
I would usually drink PG Tips or Typhoo and can be fussy about other brands. However, when comparing the price of these teabags to ASDA's own brand I was surprised to see the difference. These teabags are only 80p for 70 teabags which is good value! I picked them up thinking if they weren't up to scratch I had still given it a shot without breaking the bank.
I actually love these teabags though! They make a refreshing tasty cup of tea every time which hits the spot!
Would definitely recommend!
My other half purchased this toaster to fit in with our Red theme in the kitchen and we were both sold on how great it looks!
We didn't review the functionality of it as we thought all toaster's would do the job, however we should have!
To start with, one set of toasting slots (sorry, don't know the technical term) didn't work. Now, we should have taken it back straight away but forgot and so now we have to live with this which is our own fault. However, it didn't fill me with confidence that this was the most reliable toaster.
I have also found it very hard to get the toaster to the right setting. It seems to either burn my toast or not toast it enough, so frustrating! I now have to keep checking everything to make sure it doesn't set the fire alarm off and burn to a crisp. I have not been very impressed with this aspect at all.
I have also found that the metal between the two slots we use has stained and nothing seems to remove this. It makes the toaster look dirty all the time and I expected better from a metal toaster.
The only good thing I would say is that the trays to remove the crumbs are very easy to clean out.
Overall, I wouldn't purchase this item again as it's functionality is very disappointing. It is also on the more expensive side (approx £40).
I have used this on my Iron and Kettle so far and have been very happy with the results!
I have been especially pleased with the affect it had on my iron. I have recently found my iron sticking to clothes and leaving black marks even though it was full of water. I was actually getting to the point where I thought I may have to throw it out (as the plate was also black and stained).
However, I followed the instructions for Oust and poured the solution into the water chamber of my iron and topped up with tap water. I then plugged in the iron, turned up the heat and held the steam button down as advised until the water chamber had emptied (this steamed the house up quite a lot and the smell was slightly offputting). After this, I put in some fresh water and ironed a TShirt to test...WOW. I think I had forgotten how a steam iron was supposed to work as the steam was coming out much stronger and the iron glided over my clothes no problem. FANTASTIC result.
As for my kettle I topped up the jug I had used to pour the solution in and used it to top up the kettle and boil (this was more to use up the leftover rather than waste) and even this small amount cleaned the inside of my kettle to a good standard.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking to freshen up their iron or kettle (I can't recommend on anything else) especially where the water in the area is "hard".
For 3 sachets it is £1.50 so 50p a sachet. I think it is definitely worth this as you could use a sachet to de scale a couple of items every few months.
As I'm sure many dooyooer's are finding at the moment, I need to tighten the purse strings when doing my weekly shop and save pennies where I can.
I will admit, I have realised I am rather shallow when it comes to my grocery shopping, and would not touch the Tesco Value range before it's "makeover". However, I now find myself trying a new product from the range every other week and I must admit I am pleasantly surprised.
I purchased this cream cleaner as I was away to buy another VERY similar cleaner which was £1. When I spotted this one for only 32p - less than a third of the price - I thought I may as well give it a bash.
I use this cleaner for my kitchen and bathroom every other day and have been very pleased with the results. I usually use a micro fibre cloth and it cleans away all stains and the finish it leaves is reasonable. On Stainless steel, it will leave streaks so I usually wipe over afterwards with a towel or damp piece of kitchen towel. On ceramic in the bathroom, it can sometimes leave streaks so again I usually wipe over with a damp towel to get a nice finish.
This cleaner does have a quite strong scent similar to that of other cream cleaners which some may find overpowering. However I quite like the "clean" smell and usually have candles on the go anyway which will mask the smell.
I would definitely recommend this cleaner based on the fact that it is only 32p. It's not a miracle worker but is perfect for every day cleaning around the home.