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Grace Poole (Manchester, UK)

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Twelve Days of Christmas
Twelve Days of Christmas
by Trisha Ashley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Festive Winter Warmer, 2 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The story is centred around Holly Brown, who has been widowed for seven years and doesn't 'do' Christmas. Her gran has recently passed on - her dying words being "Ned Martland." Holly doesn't know who Ned Martland is or was, but noted that her gran's eyes lit up like a Christmas Tree when she mentioned his name.

Christmas is approaching and Holly who works as a Housesitter/Caterer (in Summer) is asked by her agency to go and mind a big, old house belonging to Jude Martland. Intrigued by the Surname Martland, she takes the job and arrives at the village of Little Mumming as the snow conditions worsen.

Holly meets Jude's family and friends, who manage to wangle an invitation up to the big house for Christmas Dinner and celebrations. Snowed in together, they prepare for Christmas and Holly is drawn into the goodwill of the season. Adding to the plot, Holly has also taken with her a journal belonging to her late gran and the novel is interspersed with short entries from it. Will it reveal the identity of Ned Martland?

It's lighthearted, and there are a few laugh out loud moments which I won't spoil. It really is a 'Christmassy' novel and will get you in the festive mood. One thing that it does have oodles of - is atmosphere! It really does capture that feeling of preparing for Christmas.

A couple of negatives prevent it getting five stars. One being that it took so long for Holly's romantic lead to show up in person. And when he did it was only in the latter part of the book that I felt any affinity towards him. Also about 3/4 of the way through, the plot seemed to dip for a short time and the endless descriptions of food preparation became a bit tedious.

Overall though, I really enjoyed this book; it's a lighthearted, warm and festive, feel-good, romantic novel.

Oh! I forgot to say - the cover is so beautiful that the book is almost worth buying just for that! It twinkles and glitters like a Christmas Tree. Gorgeous!

Thomas Kinkade Lightposts for Living 2011 Wall Calendar
Thomas Kinkade Lightposts for Living 2011 Wall Calendar
by Thomas Kinkade
Edition: Calendar

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming Calendar, 29 Dec 2010
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I bought a Thomas Kinkade Calendar for my mother for Christmas and loved it so much that I got this one for myself.

Gorgeous prints of Kinkade's wonderful paintings. They are heartwarming, lovely scenes. The more you look at the pictures, the more you see. There is so much attention to detail. And the light in them is amazing.

If you are in any doubt about buying one of these calendars, Google some of Kinkade's paintings and you will see how beautiful they are.

Each month has a quotation which is a nice finishing touch.

All the family love both calendars.

Sterling Silver, Rhodium Plated Mother-of-Pearl flower on Cubic Zirconia stone stem Earrings
Sterling Silver, Rhodium Plated Mother-of-Pearl flower on Cubic Zirconia stone stem Earrings

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Touch of Class, 29 Dec 2010
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I bought these for my daughter for Christmas.

They came in a lovely presentation box and look really classy. The picture doesn't really do them justice. They look better in real life. They are gorgous shade; I don't know whether it is because of the rhodium plating but they are a lovely warm colour.

And boy, do they sparkle!

Really nice earrings with a Touch of Class.

Snowflakes Stained Glass Colouring Book (Dover Stained Glass Coloring Book)
Snowflakes Stained Glass Colouring Book (Dover Stained Glass Coloring Book)
by John Green
Edition: Paperback
Price: £2.18

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Winter Decorations, 29 Dec 2010
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Cute little book, 6 x 4 inches. Lovely selection of snowflake patterns to colour.

The pages are translucent and are perforated, so that you can tear them out. This means that you can colour them with blotter (or scrap paper) beneath so that the colour doesn't go through onto another page. If you colour both sides it makes for a really good stained glass effect, especially if you use bold, primary colours as in church windows.

Once finished you can then hang them in a window or skylight above door in hall so that the light shines through them. They look very pretty and the snowflakes are good for Christmas decorations.

Very relaxing and suitable for all ages.

Time Tunnel Challenge (Heart FM) - Interactive DVD Game [Interactive DVD]
Time Tunnel Challenge (Heart FM) - Interactive DVD Game [Interactive DVD]
Dvd ~ Time Tunnel Challenge Heart
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £12.75

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Fun !, 29 Dec 2010
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We bought two quiz interactive dvd games for Christmas -This one and another pub quiz and this is definitely the better game!

Toby Anstis introduces each round in a chilled out manner; so not too irritating. And it is really easy to play.

You can choose between two time periods. Either 1950s to 1980's OR 1990s to 2000s. This is good because when I played with my daughter, as she is younger she could choose the more modern era. The game then selects questions for you from that time period.

The seven rounds are really good fun. There is a guess the picture round, where you are given fuzzied up photo of celeb and some options and if you get it correct you can then go onto a bonus round and guess the year. Also there is an odd one out round which gives you three photos and you have to guess the odd one out, eg. which tennis player has never won Wimbledown. Another round gives you two songs with photos of band and you have to guess which one reached higher in the charts. There are some videos of bands with questions. Also questions on fashion, sport, technology. There is a speed round, where you are given four questions with only 5 seconds to answer each, and if you manage to do that, then you get a bonus question.

It is like blast from the past seeing some of the groups who were one hit wonders. Thrown in are some interesting facts. For instance if the answer to your question was the year 1996, they might tell you that was also the year Take That split. Which might come in handy later on in quiz! hint hint.

It is good for all ages and we really enjoyed it. It is one to play again and again.

A big bonus is that we played four games on the trot and only one question of part of one round was repeated. In comparison with some of these interactive dvd's I think that is quite good going!

The Great British Pub Quiz 2011 [Interactive DVD]
The Great British Pub Quiz 2011 [Interactive DVD]
Offered by Revival Books Ltd
Price: £3.95

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Invincible !!, 29 Dec 2010
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Found this to be a big disappointment. Thought the reviews seemed okay and so I was looking forward to playing this with family, after dinner on Christmas Day.

We had our first game and picked up the rules as we played, which were quite easy to follow. Pick a team name and then when you see that team logo come up on screen, then it is your turn. The questions and categories were great. Good range of Geography, History, Music, Arts etc. So in theory it should have been good game.

But, we had a second game and two of the rounds were exactly the same questions. So for example when it came to the History round, you got exactly the same set of questions as the game before. As this happened in two categories it seems very big co-incidence and doesn't bode well for future play.

But worst of all? Our first game and one of the History questions was - 'what is the name of Nelson's Flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar?' Well the options came up and we of course picked HMS Victory! But according to this game - that was WRONG! It said the correct answer was HMS Invincible. Well to us that sounded a load of tosh. So we double checked online. And of course, as we thought, the answer is Victory. There wasn't even a ship called Invincible at the Battle of Trafalgar!

Everybody was fed up then by only the 2nd game and consequently nobody will play it with me again! Not sure if I want to play it myself given that some of the answers may be wrong.

Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £8.51

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly Beautiful, 29 Dec 2010
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This review is from: Midwinter (Audio CD)
This really is a beautiful album.

Christian Forshaw and The Sanctuary Ensemble combine saxophone, organ, voice and percussion to create a refreshingly different and ambient sound.

It's not your average Christmas album. It's hard to describe, but if you can imagine Libera, but with a beautiful and haunting saxophone solo added, then it will give you an idea.

'NoŽl Nouvelet' is gorgeous with a great organ riff and the saxophone giving hints of Eastern Promise.

I also love 'I Wonder as I Wander' - beautiful solo voice, with complimentary backing harmonies, and again that haunting saxophone.

I love 'Little Drummer Boy' also. It has a great sax riff for bass line.

The fifth track is one of the nicest renditions of 'In The Bleak Midwinter' I have heard in a long while. The solo voice is so crystal clear, just as it should be.

'Es Ist Ein' Ros' gives you a warm glow inside.

The more I listen to this album, the more the tracks grow on me. Something tells me that I will be listening to this album all year round and not just at Christmas!

Panasonic Lumix FS30 Digital Camera - Black (14.1MP, 8x Optical Zoom) 2.7 inch LCD
Panasonic Lumix FS30 Digital Camera - Black (14.1MP, 8x Optical Zoom) 2.7 inch LCD

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Picture Perfect, 27 Dec 2010
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I really love this camera. It's so lightweight and yet with it's anti shake button, it still manages to take perfectly clear photographs.

It has Intelligent Auto Mode, where it basically does everything for you. I've found that to be pretty good but the IA button is right next to the shutter so be careful if you are using that mode, that you don't inadvertently press the IA button off before taking the photo. It is in a position where you normally place your fingers to hold the camera and so if you knock it off just before you press shutter then it won't work. It sounds obvious but I couldn't understand why some photos were perfect and others not until I realised this.

There are also modes to select for different environments e.g. theatre, fireworks, party, portrait, pets, food etc.

Or if you wish you can set up manually and override flash, select white/balance etc.

I use it for photographing cards that I make. And yet my daughter has used it for photographing documents in archives. So it is very versatile.

When you first get the camera, It is worth really playing around with all the different settings and modes, so that you get to know the camera and get full benefit from it.

The video is good quality also. If you buy a big memory card then you can shoot thousands of photos and loads of videos. Great for holidays.

If there is any drawback I would say you have to be careful not to drop it. It is very thin and lightweight, which is just what I wanted. But it can easily slip through your fingers. This is very easily overcome by either attaching the wrist strap included in pack, or else doing what I have done and attaching your own lanyard (cord) to wear around your neck.

In the pack you get the camera, instructions, wrist strap, usb lead, battery and charger. The battery lasts well. I charged it fully and my daughter went to archives for weekend and took 900 photos with it on that charge. But if you did need to take charger it is very lightweight and compact also.

Great camera. Would be good for travellers being so lightweight.

Robin Hood - Extended Director's Cut [DVD]
Robin Hood - Extended Director's Cut [DVD]
Dvd ~ Russell Crowe
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £2.99

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Turkey Flop !, 27 Dec 2010
Oh dear, Oh dear, where to begin.

It was a bad start, when we put the disc in and you couldn't see the highlight button on the menu. Writing was black and highlight was black. It was great once you pressed it, bright yellow! but that just highlighted that we had selected the wrong button! Ah well, it's a minor design fault...

I am a big fan of Ridley Scott and love most of his films. So despite some bad reviews, I was looking forward to this one. Rather wish I hadn't watched it - especially as I watched it at Christmas. But then, what better time of the year for a turkey!!!!!

I can forgive a few goofs, and a few historical inaccuracies, and even a few continuity errors, if - and this is a big IF. If the plot is good, the acting is strong and there is some good action and romance thrown in, then it doesn't matter.

But this film was abysmal - apart from the above errors, it was very hard to follow partly due to it being difficult to hear with all those dodgy accents flying about. Russell Crowe's accent goes from Geordie, to Scouse, to Welsh, to Irish, to Scottish, to Brummie, in fact every accent was covered apart from Yorkshire, which I rather suspect was the one he was aiming for?

The fight scenes were rather boring, not sure whether this was because I didn't understand why they were fighting, or whether they were badly coreographed?

Robin and Marian had about as much chemistry as a failed rocket on bonfire nght!

In it's favour, as with all Ridley Scott films, the film did manage to capture the atmosphere of olde worlde england and the costumes and production side of it was quite good.

For me, Robin's horse stole the show, oh and the owl. Queen Eleanor's owl was outstanding! A shame then that this is probably inaccurate as owls were not used for falconry as they hunt by sound rather than sight! Should have been a Falcon!

Frasier - Best Of Christmas [DVD]
Frasier - Best Of Christmas [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kelsey Grammar
Price: £5.73

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Festive Frasier, 25 Dec 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this in the run up to Christmas at bargain price. Seven Christmas Episodes from various Series.

Even if you have box set, it's nice to have all the Christmas episodes together so that you can just stick the dvd in and enjoy the festive fun. I had seen some of them before but they are so funny you can watch them over and over.

Definitely a bargain and I'm sure I will watch it every year - classic comedy!

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