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I visited monkey world in September 2012 with my partner and our parents. It was one of the more expensive activities that we did on holiday but the money is all spent on looking after the monkeys, most of which have been rescued from being poorly looked after pets, laboratory testing animals or were used by their owners to make money (e.g paraded up and down beaches). My mum is disabled and on entry to the park there are scooters that can be borrowed for a £10 returnable deposit (plus some identification). It is a long walk round the site so this i a very good idea for anyone with mobility difficulties. It was a lovely day when we visited and I would recommend visiting on a dry day because it is uncovered walking around the grounds. There are some covered viewing areas though. The monkeys are in authentic surroundings so off course sometimes they're off doing their own thing but I did feel that the park had managed to get a very good balance between giving the monkeys an excellent life and enabling the public to learn more and see these wonderful animals up close. There's bound to be a monkey doing something daft and making you laugh when you visit! The monkeys are clearly extremely well looked after. They have lots of space and lots of things to keep them busy and happy. It is very touching to read the stories of where they have come from and to see how happy they are now. I had never actually seen the series 'Monkey Life' but have since watched it. This was filmed at mnkey world and is a documentary following different events including showing animals being rescued from their previous living situations. I would recommend seeing the show before or after your visit. The local area is also beautiful so I recommend seeing more of the local area, in particular Arne nature reserve and Corfe Castle
In Time is a sci fi thriller set in the future where time has become the currency. Everyone lives until they are 25 and then at the age of 25 a clock on their arm starts and they are given a year to live but they have to trade time in order to buy things and to live longer. It sounds a bit far fetched and like nonsense when I explain it like that but it is actually a really good film! It's a film that makes you think. Obviously there is a hierarchy and a gap between those who have lots of time and those who have very little. There are time zones and you're not able to cross into the richer timezones unless you can afford to pay a lot of time - there's very little social mobility. It stars Justin Timberlake and I was very impressed with him as an actor - I think he should stick to it and give up the singing! It's a film that gets you thinking about the capitalist society that we live in and people's greed. It is very well made and has a well thought through plot (although why the time banks don't have better security I don't know!). It was very enjoyable and thought provoking.
Haven't we all had a boss we would like to get rid of in a painful way? The film follows three friends who, over a few beers, come up with the plan to murder their abusive horrible bosses. Two have fairly typical egotistical power crazy bosses and one has Jennifer Aniston as a boss who is sexually harassing him. It is a very funny film, some highlights include the various ways Aniston harasses her employee, the three guys trying to find a hitman but instead finding a man who wants to wee on them and the whole big mess they get themselves into trying to carry out their plan! I like films where you get a sense of justice at the end - my favourite is the way that Aniston get her comeuppance. The film has a pretty impressive line up of actors; Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey, and Jamie Foxx and they do not let themselves down, they are entertaining and funny. It is one of the funniest films I've seen in a long time. It is a bit silly but it's a comedy so it's supposed to be.
The film follows two people who have had enough of relationships and have been hurt. They meet when the leading actress Mila Kunis (Jamie) headhunts Justin Timberlake (Dylan) to move new York and work for GQ magazine. She firat has to charm him and convince him that he wants to move to the big apple. They become friends but are obviously attracted to each other but neither want a relationship so instead they decide to be 'friends with benefits' without the complications. This was the first film I've seen with Justin Timberlake in and he's a surprisingly good actor - I always think of him as a not very good pop star. Whilst the story tried to avoid the typical rom com stereotypes, it is definitely still a fairly typical rom com! It is, however, very watchable and amusing and there is good chemistry between Timberlake and the leading actress Mila Kunis. If you accept it for what it is, that is a Rom Com, then it's makes a couple of hours decent viewing.
The name of this film (and book) made me think that it would be quite obscure and and maybe something to do with martial arts but it's not, it's a mainstream kind of film (despite the violence). I haven't read the book (yet) so I've judged it on it's own merits without comparing it to the book. The film is set on a Swedish island. Daniel Craig is a disgraced journalist who is asked to investigate the disappearance of a young girl many years earlier. He finds a link to a number of gruesome murders. The girl with the dragon tattoo becomes Craig's assistant to resolve the disappearance. The Swedish accents get a little annoying as I find it quite difficult to hear what the characters are saying. Daniel Craig doesn't have an accent for some reason (maybe I missed that bit). I thought the storyline was very good and the film kept me gripped and at times at the edge of my seat. I like Daniel Craig and I think he's up to his usual high standards in this film. There is some quite graphic violence in this film including a rape scene but it's relevant to the story line and not just in there for the shock factor.
This ice cream is delicious with strawberries, it complements them perfectly. The main ice cream is wonderfully creamy cheesecake flavoured (very much like a luxurious vanilla but faintly cheesecakey) and it has swirls of strawberry sauce (not loads of it so if it's the strawberry you're after this isn't the ice cream for you). It also has big yummy pieces of biscuit (like a cheesecake base), this is my favourite part of the ice cream and all the ingredients together give it a lovely pleasing texture Clearly it's hardly health food - high in sugar, calories and fat but then that's no surprise - this is yummy ice cream not carrots! I always think Haagen Daz is overpriced and rarely buy it but this tub was free (long story) and I can see why people do buy it. At the time of writing the cheapest 500ml tub available from one of the big 5 supermarkets is £4.25. The best advice I can give is not to eat from a 500ml tub, put some in a bowl or you'll eat it all and have to diet for the next 6 months!
Chirk Castle is run by the national trust. It's a wonderful castle that was used as a family home for 400 years. The building itself is very old; completed in 1310. The inside of the property is very grand and has been really well maintained. They have to control the light levels to preserve the materials but it isn't anywhere near as dark as nearby Erddig House. You can wander round on your own or opt for a guided tour. It also has a lovely garden and parkland for nature walks. There's lots of fun things for kids, toy trackers to play on, a playground, a den building area, suits of armour to try on as well as animals to see in the grounds plus regular special events. Unfortunately unlike most other national trust properties, it doesn't have a restaurant although it does have a tea shop and a kiosk for snacks. Erdigg House (also National Trust owned) is not far away and whilst the property isn't as great as Chirk Castle, it does have a good restaurant if you're after a full meal - obviously this is best for NT members whereby it's free entrance anyway. Entrance to Chirk Castle is £9 for adults but i'd highly recommend membership, it's best value if you join online rather than at the property; you can visit properties immediately because they e mail a temporary membership pass.
Bravissimo is the original big bra shop and the first place where I felt I could get good fitting bras for my quite big boobies! They have 21 high street shops in the U.K as well as an online store. I used to shop at bravissimo a lot but I now do a lot of my shopping online and I tend to find bravissimo's prices a bit high. You can usually find the same bra for less on other websites (brastop, ebay, lingerie heaven for example). Bravissimo have built up a customer base who trust them so no doubt can get away with charging that little bit more. Bravissimo have now started to make their own bras (they used to just sell branded underwear - although they did get some exclusive colours). I have recently got a bravissimo branded bra and it is sooo comfortable- it's definitely not inferior to the likes of freya and panache- more comfortable if anything. Bravissimo are affiliated to Pepperberry who make clothes to suit the curvier figure. This is quite a unique selling point as not many companies sell good fitting clothes for curvy women. Overall I like the company, I'm just not prepared to pay more for the same bra that I can find on other websites.
The slanket is a blanket with arms. They're available in a wide range of colours and the official ones cost about £25 although there are copies out there for less. Mine is the official one and was a gift last Christmas. It is really lovely and soft. It always washed well, although I'm always in a bit of a dilemma about how best to hang it up! Other people have said this but they do look a bit like a hospital gown because they are open at the back but then you could never claim that this is a stylish item! It's a comfy, warm, practical item which makes a great gift for mums and grans and such like. They also do a double version which I really fancy for cosy nights on the sofa with my other half (although he'll probably just refuse to get in it!). It is so much better than a normal blanket because it has arms. I just feel like I'm truly relaxing when I'm curled up on the sofa with a brew in my slanket. Right that's it, I'm off to buy the double version!
This bargain face wash retails for 74p for 150ml at tesco. I bought it on a 3 for 2 so it was even cheaper! I also use the matching cucumber moisturising cream. I think both are an absolute bargain - in my opinion so many beauty products are way overpriced and you're paying for particular names. I don't believe that the more expensive products are necessarily better. The face wash comes in a white container with green writing and graphics - the packaging is perfectly fine - it doesn't look cheap although it's fairly basic. The face wash itself is clear, smells of cucumber and froths a little when you put it on your face. My face feels clean afterwards but not in a harsh over washed way. I was getting a few spots before I started using it but this has pretty much stopped now. I would definitely recommend this face wash to anyone. I was going to say that they should make a face scrub as well but having just googled it - it turns out that they do!
Vue is the only cinema in Blackburn and it is located on a retail park near the train station close to the centre of town. It has 10 screens and these are located upstairs in the building (or up in the lift). There is a bowling alley downstairs which is good if you want to bowl and then watch a film or vice versa. There is also a range of restaurants on the adjoining retail park - Pizza hut and Frankie and Bennys for example. It is a typical Vue cinema with plenty of expensive food - the usual popcorn, sweets and ice cream. I like the old fashioned cinemas but there's not many of them anymore. Vue cinemas are functional and have all the latest films. I usually go on an orange Wednesday (where you get two for the price of one - you need to have an orange phone and to send a text requesting a code for this). The car park can get very busy on Wednesday evenings because of this and tickets for recently released films can run out. All in all it's a convenient cinema with options to extend your entertainment with bowling, eating out or heading into the town centre afterwards.
Liam Neeson is employed to shoot wolves that stray near the oil rig where he and his colleagues work. A plane full of the workers including Neeson crashes and only six of them survive the crash. If surviving a plane crash wasn't enough, they are then hunted by wolves. Neeson has an understanding of wolves and so takes leadership and tries to keep everyone alive. *what did I think* The film is quite gruesome in parts - I'll give you a clue - not everyone survives the wolf attacks. If you don't like blood and gore then I'd avoid this film. I liked it though and it does keep you on the edge of your seat. Their approach to the wolves seemed a bit inconsistent though - one minute they had weapons to fight them off and then later in the film they didn't - I think I'd have kept hold of a weapon at all times! The plot is quite good and it shows the interesting relationships between the men who survive the crash and also those who are important to them - through storytelling and their dreams. I struggle to find films that both me and my partner like and something like this usually fits the bill quite well.
Dunham Massey is run by the national trust. Standard admission for an adult is £9.90 for the house and garden if you're not a national trust member. I would recommend national trust membership as it gives you access to over 300 properties plus those in Scotland and some other countires. Dunham is a large Georgian mansion set within impressive grounds and gardens. It also has a deer park and you get much closer to the deer at Dunham Massey than you do at Tatton Park for example. There are signs telling you not to approach them but this weekend there were children feeding them leaves! It is a great place for the whole family. For the children there's the animals - deer, chickens and ducks and particularly in the summer there's things put on for the children, for example this weekend there looked to be ropes and harnesses attached to trees for them to climb. I've visited to the property a couple of times, it's a huge house and is very interesting and stunning. However, this weekend I took my mum who uses a wheelchair and there's only a couple of rooms that are accessible. It wasn't a problem this weekend because the weather was great and so we were able to enjoy the lovely grounds. The garden is lovely and the grounds are great for a walk. The restaurant, like other national trust places, uses locally produced foods (some grown on site) and uses local recipes - the Manchester Tart was delicious!
With all the hype about this book, I was starting to feel like I was missing out on something so I bought and read it. It's a bit like watching a soap - you could miss an episode (or a chapter) and still be able to work out what's going on. It's very easy to read and not complicated. The plot is quite lacking - girl meets boy, they have lots of sex, boy is quite messed up, girl is upset. Having never read anything that could be described as erotic fiction before, the sex scenes are quite entertaining at first but by the time you get half way through they start to get a bit boring. I bought all three books so I will be reading the next two and from what people tell me, the plot does improve. I did quite enjoy reading the first one but it just doesn't justify all the hype! I'm also not sure how it's going to work as a proper film - porn maybe but as a mainstream film I'm not so sure! I wouldn't recommend taking your mum to see it anyway! It's quite entertaining to open it at a random page and see what they're up to - could make an interesting game to play with your other half!
Kraken by China Mieville is a superb book. I know it's a cliché, but I really couldn't put it down -which made everyday tasks like washing up quite tricky! It is set in the present day in London. However, it is not the mundane London that you might know, rather it is a strange, fantastic, magical pseudo-religious London where nothing is as it seems or should be. This other London exists right alongside the everyday London that 'normal' people inhabit. China Mieville strikes a marvellous balance between tacky, hackneyed ideas and novel invention. As each new character turns up, you find yourself trying to figure out what is the motivation behind it, and it never turns out to be what you had guessed. If I had one criticism of this book, it is that as a non-Londonner, I felt a little as though China wants to marry London and take it to bed. He could just as easily have set the novel in a fictional city, but I suppose he might have had to work harder to draw out the contrast between the underworld described and the normal world we know. In summary, it's a good book but China needs to realise that we don't all love London.