Monday, 30 April 2012

Master of all.

I've been using this software package for over a year now and I don't know how I ever lived without it. I'd coveted it for years but was unable to afford nearly three thousand pounds for the standard retail package, but definitely knew its worth. I jumped at the chance to buy the Master Collection at student rates when I was at university, as it meant that the package was affordable at long last. Verifying my student status was a simple process, although it took over a week to get approved because I did so in September when I imagine there were a lot of new students doing the same thing as me. I use Premier Pro for video editing, and although I always knew it was fantastic, having recently tested out other, definitely inferior video editing software options, I know how lucky I am to have the Adobe software instead. Of course, Photoshop is an invaluable tool for me, and the only software which is anywhere near as good for photo editing (or for graphic design, which I also use both it and Adobe Fireworks which is included in this package) is which I would recommend you also get if you can afford it (there are also student options available on this item to make it more affordable). I've most recently started branching out into web design, teaching myself Dreamweaver. I am by no means a computing expert, but this software has been problem free and it's intuitive and user friendly meaning it's easy to learn even with little to no prior knowledge of all things Adobe.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

The grass is Green-er.

As a long term reader and erstwhile fan of Jane Green, I find her writing style has gone from sassy to sappy. I really enjoyed previous books from Jane Green as they were witty, engaging and were easily devoured. The characters were likeable and easy to relate to. More recently, and specifically with this book, which I had been looking forward to reading, I find the characters weak and irritating and the storyline too soppy. I'm rather surprised and disappointed by this.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Don't think there's "bean" a better coffee machine.

Having owned and used this unit for a few months now, I would be hard pressed to do without it. The drinks produced are easily as good as those bought in the pricey high street chains. The settings are easy to adjust to your exact liking, although if you want more than a single shot of espresso in your drink, you'll need to add this/these separately. The maintenance and cleaning of the unit are also much easier than previous models I've tried, taking almost no time or effort at all. Whilst it is an expensive initial outlay, the ability to have coffee-shop (and above) standard coffee pretty much on tap is well worth it and forgoing your usual cup on your way into work for a flask of this will soon add up and begin paying for itself.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Switched off.

I wondered firstly where the sense was in taking advice from someone whose business had gone into administration at a loss of over £500,000, but nonetheless, I was interested to see what the author had to say. This book is geared, it would seem, more towards self improvement than business improvement, and it isn't effective in this aim either. It appears to me to be a hash of the anecdotal material in any given book already on the market, and the rest is just plain and simple common sense. I gained absolutely nothing from reading it and wouldn't recommend this book to others under any circumstances.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Save your money, stay at The Feathers.

The Britannia Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool. This is the worst hotel I have ever stayed in, and this is from someone who has stayed in hostels and cheap B and Bs. I bought a night here as a treat and it was anything but. My room was next to the lifts and the loud movement of the liftshaft kept me awake all night. The receptionist promised, when I asked, to turn the heating off but never did and the window would not open in my room so I was roasting in January. I could not get room service so went to bed hungry and disappointed as the restaurants were shut already and the gym had limited hours of access and I would not have booked this hotel if I had thought I could not get food or exercise when I wanted to, after all at £200 odd a night, I had expected much better. Summary: Dismal hotel, over hyped and over priced. *The above review was written in 2008, but subsequent experiences of the hotel in question mean that I stand by what I wrote originally*

Credit where it's due...I'm indebted to Karyn.

I think most women can relate to at least some of the shopping stories Karyn shares in this book. Judgements aside, Karyn came up with an ingenious way of tackling her debts head on and let's be honest, we all wish we'd thought of it first. I found her witty and engaging, and really enjoyed the book. She is believable and easy to relate to and has a great style of writing which speaks to you like a friend would, face to face, which is why I devoured the book in a single sitting (and then wished for more). A fantastic, highly recommended read.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

100% for 50/50.

I've seen a couple of other Seth Rogan titles, so was not sure how he'd fare in this film given the serious and sensitive nature of cancer. However, he was perfect for the role, adding the typical lavatorial humour he delivered so well in previous titles such as and but also showed a new side. He has proven he is definitely a credible actor and he was really touching at times. The film is predictable in some places, but there are others where it really is 50/50 as to what is going to happen next. The brilliant acting of all involved meant I was genuinely keen to find out what happened to the lead character, and was concerned for the outcomes of his medical treatments. A lovely film.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Shred hot!

A shredder is one of those items you tend to want, but then be put off buying because there's always something more exciting. However, as a victim of identity theft, I had more incentive to get myself sorted with a shredder to prevent it happening again. I've so far shredded letters, leaflets, envelopes and magazines (torn into manageable chunks) with impressive results. There is no way anyone could piece the resulting confetti back together. If you have any small pets, it would make great bedding for them, or could be used to make fantastic papier mache should you have children with school projects to complete. I think I'll be composting my shreddings (is that a word? It is now). It is the only shredder I have used, so I have nothing to compare it with, but I am thoroughly impressed. I found it really heavy to lift but this is also reassuring because it's sturdy and of great quality. I was also worried the bin would spill everywhere once removed from the main unit for emptying but this was unfounded as there was no mess. I would say that this shredder is worth the money as it means I have no concerns about identity theft whatsoever, and this is something I can't put a price on.

Monday, 23 April 2012

An absolutely brilliant film - but not one you can watch too often.

Having heard of this film through its many award nominations, and having no knowledge of it being in the cinema when it was initially released, my curiousity got the better of me. It's easy to jump to conclusions about the lead character because of what happens in the first few scenes of the film, but as the story unfolds and we get to know him, he does show that there is a heart in there....somewhere... The film is full of grit, profane language and a smattering of violence for good measure, but none of this is gratuitous, out of place or attention seeking. It is just matter of fact - this is life in this part of the world, and this is how we deal with it. I found the film incredibly engaging and as such, it deserves the viewer's full attention (unlike some of the fluffy films which you can get away with multi tasking during). It is a really rewarding viewing experience and incredibly well made...but I won't be watching it again for a good while because it isn't pretty. It's honest, and this isn't always easy to swallow. Recommended unreservedly.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Get steamy.

I absolutely loathed my mop and bucket. The mop was little more than a muck-spreader, and I hated emptying filthy water out of the bucket into my clean toilet. This floor cleaner is the answer to my prayers. I've binned my mop (for good!) Once it's turned on, it takes a matter of seconds for it to heat up and become ready for use. Maybe it's because it's new and maybe it'll therefore get easier with time, but at the moment, I'm finding it really hard to take the water and detergent tanks off myself and have to get someone else to do it. Otherwise, it's just fantastic. The clean smell lasts for longer than the watered down bleach I used to use with my mop and bucket, and it takes a fraction of the time for the floor to dry. You can buy a different kind of pad for it, which works well getting into gaps, for example on tiled floors. As it comes with 2 standard pads and 2 bottles of detergent, you are set up for a good wee while. The only other disadvantages I can see are the price of replacement detergent and pads, and the fact that this won't get into every nook and cranny. That said, I wouldn't be without my Vax Bare Floor Pro and recommend it unreservedly.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Human nature at its best...and at its worst.

Watching this film provoked a whole series of reactions in me. I laughed, I cried and I was downright angry at times too. It is also one of the best films I have ever seen and I recommend it unreservedly. What compounded the anger in me was the fact that this film is based on the truth. None of it was, sadly, hard to believe, when it shouldn't be this way. The way that black Americans were treated and the grace and dignity with which they generally accepted this horrific treatment was really striking. The courage of the heroine, Eugenia/Skeeter was truly inspiring. Risking her career, her family life, her friends and even her life to help tell the story of black maids (or rather, "The Help", as they were called by their bosses) she finally gave them a voice where they'd previously suffered in silence. There were some hilarious moments to break up the angry and sad emotions, and I laughed out loud, mainly at sassy Minnie, who is your classic black and American lady...real, honest and warm but with attitude (in a good way). Despite the tears at the ending, this is truly a feel good film and I can't sing the praises of the film or of everyone involved in its production, highly enough.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Diamonds are a girl's best friend.

I have been a long term fan of Hot Diamonds since seeing them for sale in Debenhams. Most recently, I've been buying online from their website because with every purchase, you get loyalty points in return which you can use towards a further order. You can also earn cashback if you click through via Quidco, which is definitely the best cashback website I have used. Below are two reviews of two of my favourite Hot Diamonds pieces. I'm currently lusting after the Love Bites range Modern and elegant. I bought these to go with and hoped they'd be as subtle and beautiful as the necklace or else it could be overkill for someone like me who prefers to be discreet with jewellery. These earrings are perfect. They're the perfect size and scale both with or without the necklace and don't look out of place on my ears (I was never a fan of the Pat Butcher look). They are a brighter, shinier silver than shown in the photograph and come presented in a beautiful, heavyweight box, wrapped individually. The only fault I can find is that the box itself is just a box, ie it doesn't have a pad on which to rest the earrings, but this is just a minor point and certainly something I can live with. A modern classic. This necklace was beautifully packaged when it arrived. The actual jewellery box in which the necklace arrived was of better quality than the box I got with a necklace costing me 6 times the price from a different retailer. As for the necklace itself, it arrives in a plastic wallet wrapped in tissue paper and in a box. The pendant is in a separate bag so you will need to thread the chain through it yourself. The chain is dainty but not pathetically so; it doesn't look like it'll snap just by being looked at, and I found it very easy to put on and off myself, which is not always the case with dainty chains. The pendant itself is nice and small, and is more shiny than the photo shows. It's sterling silver, coated in rhodium and I think that it looks very modern but also classic at the same time with its clean, simple look. I'd recommend the matching earrings too, to complete the look. here If this has been of interest to you, I'd really appreciate you clicking here to sign up as it means that you'll get £5.00 of loyalty points to spend on your first order, and once you've placed an order, I get £5.00 too.