Category Archives: Reviews

Grammarly

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I got bombarded with adverts for Grammarly whilst watching Youtube, after watching so many I finally decided to check it out and I am glad I did. For those of you who have not seen an advert, Grammarly is a spelling and grammar checker, similar to the ones on Microsoft Word. This was designed by Academics and I find it to be a much more advanced system which is better at picking up errors compared to Microsoft spell check. There is a free version and a paid version – I just have the free version but I like it a lot You can add an extension into Chrome and it will help with your errors whilst writing online – so will cover you in emails. I really recommend checking it out: Grammarly Especially if you do a lot of typing!

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Virgin Red

virgin red

I have to talk about this app…

Recently Virgin Media came to our area and we’ve gone a little Virgin Crazy, we have Virgin Internet, Virgin Media and we got an incredibly good deal on Virgin Mobiles (which came with a free tablet, no excuse not to be blogging now is there?). Their deals were fantastic. Another added bonus was their Virgin Red app.

Virgin Red is an app that does easy quiz, this or that or a photo upload section – they have a theme recently to current events. The cool thing is – every time you do a quiz or something you get points. Points get you to unlock vaults – vaults give you access to cool stuff – from 2 for 1 deals to competitions to win things.

I’ve been on for a month and I’ve already won a pair of sunglasses and a tub of ice cream. It’s a cool app.

Use my referral code of ORGDV0 to get an extra 50 points.


La Parfumerie Anglaise

I’m not a big perfume fan. I have a few but I almost never wore them until I stumbled across this company. They do room fresheners and perfume. Andrew was the guy behind the counter and he explained that their perfumes are made with less alcohol – so their room refreshers last for a year, and they give a set of replacement sticks you switch over after six months. The perfume came in 10ml and 50ml sizes. The amazing thing was the price. My bottle of 50ml perfume set me back £20. I went with Pomegranate which is modeled on another popular perfume from a different brand but with a much higher price tag. I will definitely be getting another bottle or two in the future. I only just wish I could purchase some small sample sizes so I could try them out and find which ones I liked because at the time I didn’t write potential favourites down.

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Film Reviews: An Update

This blog was started in part to review films. It was originally an idea to keep encouraging me to write posts – after all, I watch a lot of films and so naturally could fill a blog with reviews. However, this is not really me. I watch a lot of films and I just don’t have the time to watch them and blog about them, so I am ending this section of my blog. I am removing the film ratings from my sidebar and putting them here instead. I may write the occasional post if I feel a film really needs one – but it will no longer be a regular feature.

Film Ratings

5 Stars: Stop what you’re doing – watch immediately.

4 Stars: Very Good, you should try and catch it.

3 Stars: Good but a bit hit or miss.

2 Stars: Poor, not one to rush to see.

1 Star: Awful, step away from the DVD case.

0 Stars: I wasted two hours of my life and I’ll never get them back!


Pen Love: Pagan Omega Fountain Pen.

I recently won an award and I wanted to do something nice with the prize money, something that I could cherish for a good few years and get joy out of every time I use it. I decided on a fountain pen, but not just any fountain pen, I got a handmade, wooden, beautiful work of art which is absolutely stunning and a joy to use. David, the owner of Pagan Pens was kind enough to take a couple of pictures of my pen being made so I could share them on this post.

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The first step is to select the wood. On the website there is a useful guide of woods based on the Ogham Calendar. The Ogham Alphabet is one of the earliest forms of written communication and was found largely within Ireland, but also in parts of Wales as well. Later medieval documents suggest that the letters of the alphabet were named after trees. The Ogham Calendar is based on a 13, 28 day cycles each represented by a tree. This lends itself quite nicely to having birth woods, in a similar fashion to the having a Zodiac star sign. My birth wood is Alder (18th March – 14th April), which is represented by the letter Ogham letter F (Old Irish: Fearn, although originally in Primiative Irish this symbol was a W for Wernā). Each wood has it’s own unique characteristics and properties. Alder is said to be the magical tree of Bran, the King or God of the Celts (who was said to be a paternal and maternal ancestor of King Arthur). Alder gives protection, courage and eases fear and doubt. It is also a pioneer tree, often being one of the first to claim wet,treeless ground and improves the soil to allow for other trees to grow there as well. As a result it is often see near water, which connects the tree to the element of water. However, it is also connected to air, with ancient legends suggesting the wood was used to make wind instruments. Furthermore, it’s bark once cut turns to a fiery orange, which gave rise to the belief there was a flame within the Alder, as a result the charcoal was used in forges to make Celtic weaponry. So I thought it was a pretty perfect and unique wood for me to choose!

IMAG2574Once I had selected my wood and placed my order it was David’s turn to select the actual piece of Alder. David picked a piece of spalted wood, which means the wood has gone through a colouration process caused by Fungi and can produce some beautiful interest on the wood. It is typically found on dead wood and is the stage before the wood begins to rot. The first process is to cut the wood to size and then to drill and glue the brass parts of the pen into place. IMAG2572

IMAG2575Next the pen wood is  mounted onto a lathe and using a heavy gouge chisel the wood is turned and begins to become rounded. IMAG2578Once the basic shape of the pen is reached a skew chisel is used to produce finer shavings and give the wood a smoother finish. IMAG2579The final stage of the pen making process is to sand the pen down to make it smooth and then apply three different waxes, each wax is applied four times given a total of twelve coats of wax.IMAG2582.jpgAnd here is the finished:IMAG2583The pen is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and it feels soft and smooth in my hand. It’s more light weight than I expected (but then again I do have a very heavy wooden locket which I was comparing it to, so I expected it to be a lot heavier than it is). It’s a good weight and the pen itself is very comfortable to write with. The nib itself is smooth and had a good flow from the start, it doesn’t skip and it really nice to write with. IMAG2584As you can see at the end of the pen, there is a knot visible. This is common within wood and was not visible at first when David cut the wood. It has sanded smooth and there is no visible ridge to the pen. David did contact me and say that if i was not happy with the knot he would make a new pen for me as some customers prefer to have the pen knot free. For me I was completely in love with the pen and thought the markings were truly beautiful. I did not see the knot as a flaw but a wonderful unique feature to an already beautiful pen.The craftsmanship and beauty of this pen far exceeds anything I was expecting and I am truly blown away from the quality of this pen. Considering I paid £32 (plus £5 shipping), I really got one hell of a pen for my money. I am completely in love with it and it fits in so wonderfully with my letter writing case. The only downside is that I do not have enough letters to write. I am hoping my pen pals will speed up a little bit and give me some letters over the coming days.

Waiting time was very reasonable, I ordered the pen at 2:38am on the 5th August. It was posted on the 24th August and I received it the following day. The pen was presented in a lovely purple velvet pouch and came with a standard size ink cartridge and an ink converter. There is also the possibility to get other nibs and you can use this pen for all your calligraphy needs.

So if you are interested in a unique gift at a great price I recommend checking out Pagan Pens, and if you are not a fountain pen lover there are other pen options available. To see more photos of David’s beautiful pens check out his Facebook page as well.

pagan pens

http://www.paganpens.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/PaganPens/


John Wick (3 Stars)

Probably not a film to be praised about for it’s script of plot line, it is a simple enough storyline. John Wick (Keanu Reeves), is an retired assassin who has just loss his wife. His wife who knew she was dying organises a gift to her grieving husband in the form of a dog. Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen, Theon Greyjoy in a Game of Thrones) sees Wick’s car and offers to buy it. When Wick refuses, Tarasov breaks into his house and steals the car and kills Wick’s dog.

Unbeknown to Tarasov, he didn’t just break into anyone’s house, he broke into the Baba Yaga (The Boogeyman)’s house. Wick comes out of retirement and back his assassin’s ways to seek revenge for the murder of his dog.

The film is gripping and some of the stunts of brilliant. I think Keanu Reeves is very well suited to the film and gives a great performance, maybe because he has so much empathy with his character giving his personal experiences with loss.

It’s not a film to win for screenplay but in terms of all out violence and a good dose of ‘What the Hell’ did he just do! It’s well worth a watch.

 


Munich (3 Stars)

It’s funny that even when I am taking a break for working on German history I am drawn to German history film topics. Although this film focuses a little more on Israel than Germany. In 1972, The Summer Olympics are held in Germany, during which members of a Palestinian terrorist organisation known as Black September. Walk into a very relaxed Olympics Village and kidnap and eventually massacre 11 members of the Israeli Olympics team in what is known as Operation Iqrit and Biram (which were two Palestinian Christian villages forcibly obtained during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and became part of the State of Israel). The film dramatically shows those events in the opening film.

In revenge for the massacre, Israel launches Operation Wrath of God, under Mossed control. What is surprising is that this is one of Spielberg’s lowest grossing films, one of the reasons for that could be arguably the nature of the topic. It was quite a controversial topic choice, and one which in 2005 had received very little debate of discussion about. Perhaps in somewhere making the film helped bring it out in the open to be discussed. The film itself is interesting and has a lively dialogue throughout and at some points is very white-knuckle interesting. However, I found elements of it quite difficult to follow, and in some areas it became confusing – particularly around the breakdown of the operation.

Elements I particularly liked about this was Eric Bana’s character Avner Kaufman, who is the leader of the operation and his ‘breakdown’ as the operation continues. There are elements of this film I really like and I think it was great, however I don’t think key actors – such as Daniel Craig, were well cast in this film and I don’t think those bad casting decisions bought much to the film.

I thought it was a good and interesting attempt, but it wasn’t brilliant.