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B. Gough (UK)

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SinuPulse Elite Advanced Nasal Sinus Irrigation System
SinuPulse Elite Advanced Nasal Sinus Irrigation System
Offered by Intus Healthcare Ltd
Price: £119.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully a good investment, 1 Jan. 2011
Like several of the other reviewers here, I ordered the SinuPulse Elite in a state of complete desperation. I was suffering from yet another bout of painful sinusitis and was finding it hard to go about my daily business. I had tried a Neti Pot before and didn't get much relief from it, plus I had struggled not to let the water run into my eustachian tubes (which link the pharynx to the middle ear). This resulted in literally months of discomfort (a sort of squelching) in my ears while the water sloshed around in there. So I decided to give the SinuPulse Elite a try. I was so desperate for it that I paid £7.65 for Express Delivery and it arrived the following morning.

Admittedly, I was probably too far gone with that particular sinus infection, and although the SinuPulse Elite provided some short term relief, it didn't do a great deal to clear up the infection as it was already established. I also found it hard to use the machine when I was so congested.

However, since then, I have used it on occasions when I wake up with that niggling sensation of an impending sinus problem. It seems best to treat the problem before it really gets chance to develop. I might wake up with itchy or sore eyes and/or nose, sneezing, or just that general feeling in your head when you know your allergies have kicked in and you're going to be in for an uncomfortable day.

One such time was this morning. I woke up sneezing, with an itchy throat and nose, and felt very congested. I blew my nose and prepared my machine, which I store in a box in the cupboard when not in use. Within 15 minutes I had run the saline solution through both nostrils and felt so much better afterwards. I had to blow my nose a few times to clear the excess water, and my ears will feel a bit funny for a few hours, but my face is no longer hurting and that awful feeling of pressure from the inside has gone. I've also stopped sneezing!

The machine itself is a bit flimsy, which is probably one of my few criticisms. You have to be really careful not to drop the water chamber or its lid as it's made out of quite brittle plastic. My other criticism is that it's a bit faffy to run the machine by yourself, as you need to be able to control the dials whilst you've got the little irrigation wand stuck up your nostril, but that may be a personal thing as I have to put the machine quite far away from my sink for it to be able to reach the plug socket, so I can't have it directly in front of me. You do need to make sure you have a plug socket near your sink, otherwise you can use a bowl, but I prefer to use the sink.

On the whole I give this 4 stars simply because I can see a few flaws with it, and also because of its price. I'm not sure the £117 price tag is entirely justified but I'm hoping I'll get my money's worth over the years. Can't say I found much use for the throat tips, as when I used them I found them unbearably ticklish, but some people may find them useful. I have only really used the dark blue pulsing tip.

A good buy for those who suffer from sinus conditions and allergies, but try to use it before your sinus problem kicks in. Look out for the warning signs and use it then to hopefully clear any pollen, dust or bacteria out of your sinuses before they settle in and cause you infections and problems.

Offered by I-Deal Media
Price: £1.90

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a grower, but unlikely to be a favourite, 21 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Progress (Audio CD)
I've been a fan of Take That since I was 10 years old, and saw them live in 1993 and 1994, as a five-piece, . I'm now 28 years old and seeing them again in 2011, again as a five-piece. I absolutely loved their last two albums and am indifferent, really, to the return of Robbie Williams; I think they were fine without him, but I don't mind him.

Take That have always held that sort of place in my heart where they can't go far wrong, but I admit I was a bit disappointed when I first listened to "Progress". It is a grower for sure and is still growing on me. I've listened to the entire album maybe five or six times now.

There is a lot of Robbie on this album, and a fair bit of Mark, while Gary takes a back seat compared to usual. Howard gets lead vocals on one track, and Jason on the hidden track. If you're one of the people who preferred Take That as a four-piece and are not a fan of Robbie Williams, you may be disappointed by the abundance of Mr Williams on this.

My thoughts on the individual tracks:

THE FLOOD: This is absolute classic Take That with a strong chorus, catchy lyrics and great vocals. Just love it - will become one of their classic songs, I think. I may be interpreting it badly, but this song to me symbolises how overwhelmed they were as a group back in the '90s. I see the "flood" as the fans. The lead vocalists are Robbie and Gary.

SOS: This is a great track with lots of interesting melodies; a Robbie and Mark song. Loved watching them hash this one out on "Look Back, Don't Stare" as it looked like they were really having fun with it. A definite grower and will probably be a single at some point.

WAIT: I'm not that keen on this one, but it's okay. Not one you really find yourself singing along to. Lead vocals by Robbie and Gary. I can't imagine them singing this on tour.

KIDZ: I really like the intro and verses of this song, sung by Mark, and the chorus (Gary) is quite catchy - but I prefer the verses. Quite a "noisy" song - don't think I could listen to it on repeat as it would probably give me a headache.

PRETTY THINGS: The intro to this one is very old school with a synth/electro feel to it, which I really like. It's another Robbie and Gary song, and has a really nice sound to it. Fairly slow but up tempo - hard to describe, really. I like the way it sounds but it's not hugely memorable.

HAPPY NOW: This is an unusual one with Robbie and Gary on lead vocals. A lot of it isn't really sung, but spoken in a sort of pseudo rap. It's quite catchy when it gets going, albeit a little cheesy, melody-wise.

UNDERGROUND MACHINE: This is the point on the album where the individual members of the group take on a lead vocal each to finish off the album. This song is Robbie's alone and it's very catchy; I really like it, and it's very suited to his voice. It has a good sound to it.

WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?: This is Mark's solo and is extremely catchy. I found myself singing it in my head when trying to get to sleep last night. I do really like it. This song is very telling and comes across as a very clear message to his wife. I must admit that my inner 12-year-old is embarrassed about the line "I still wanna have sex with you" but this is coming from someone who couldn't sing along to "that line" in their single Sure back in the '90s.

AFFIRMATION: Now it's Howard's turn and he does very well with this one. It's very catchy with a good electro beat. Not hugely memorable for me but very listen-able.

EIGHT LETTERS: The classic Gary Barlow ballad, and it's lovely. Very obviously about them and their progress as individuals, and as a group. I just love the opening lyric, "We became the parade on the streets that we once cleaned, expendable soldiers smiling at anything, raised on a feeling our lives will have meaning eventually." Beautiful chorus with a wonderful vocal from Gary. I think this one would actually make a lovely Christmas single. There's just something about it.

FLOWERBED (hidden): I feel quite disappointed for Jason that the only track on which he sings lead vocals is a hidden track, tacked onto the end of Eight Letters. Everyone else got at least one song with lead vocals on the main album, so I think it's a bit unfair, really. This is a really nice, catchy song and is one of the few from my head that has been stuck in my head sing the first listen!

On the whole, this is a good album but not one I absolutely love. I can't bring myself to give it 3 stars, but if there were an option for 3.5 stars, I would probably give it that. That may change over time, but after several listens, I know I don't love this as much as Beautiful World or The Circus. Still looking forward to seeing what they do with it on tour, though.

Paranormal Activity [DVD]
Paranormal Activity [DVD]
Dvd ~ Katie Featherston
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.93

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best film but oddly unsettling, 11 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Paranormal Activity [DVD] (DVD)
I watched this film with my partner and a friend last night, in the dark, after listening to the hype. I will readily admit that I was scared before watching the film, mainly because I hate those "screamer" things that get sent in chain letters (a still scene which you stare at intently and then something loud and horrific jumps out at you) and I didn't know whether it was that sort of film or not.

I was on edge throughout the first 40 minutes or so, however once we got about halfway through, I stopped being scared as I realised there was unlikely to be anything that jumped out at me. I suppose I got used to the style of the haunting and was prepared for the types of things the "demon" would do. I didn't think the scares were the sort of scares that really make you jump. Footsteps, knocking, shadows, slamming doors... that's about all you get. There's nothing really loud or screechy, and hardly anything that's even visible.

The film flips between the unease of night time and the normality of daylight, as you would expect, and the daylight scenes have nothing "spooky" in them really, so those scenes were a welcome break from the intensity of of the night time scenes, but I did find the daylight scenes to be - on contrast - fairly boring. It's during the night time scenes filmed from the foot of the bed when everything happens, and those are the tense moments, but the scares it delivers are fairly tame.

When the credits rolled, I laughed (as I thought the ending of the DVD version was a bit tame; I've heard the alternate endings are better. Usually after watching scary films, I am such a wimp that I need my partner to come upstairs with me, but I had no fear after watching this film and just felt "normal". I said to my partner that I was surprised that the film hadn't really scared me that much, that it was a lot tamer than I expected it to be, and that I am usually a lot more frightened after scary films have finished.

However, last night I had the worst night's sleep ever. It was awful. I had nightmares about shapes and shadows in my bedroom, and from the moment the light was turned off in our room, I felt uneasy. I had to wake my partner up to accompany me to the bathroom and just felt generally uneasy. Neither of us slept very well at all. So I would say that on some subconscious level, the film really unsettled me, but in the light of day it doesn't feel like it was a scary film at all.

I wonder how well I'll sleep tonight?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 17, 2010 3:51 PM GMT

Spore (Mac/PC DVD)
Spore (Mac/PC DVD)
Price: £7.84

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Weird, cringeworthy and amateur game, 1 May 2010
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Spore (Mac/PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
I've always been a fan of Sim and Tycoon type games, such as The Sims, SimCity, Rollercoaster Tycoon, Theme Hospital and the like. I enjoy creating and controlling stuff, so Spore seemed like the ultimate game. It was in production for ages, the video previews looked fantastic, and I was thrilled when I finally got my hands on a copy. That was maybe a year and a half ago now, and I played it for a day or two when I first got it before getting bored and giving in. I felt like having another go a few days ago, but I've already given up on it again and have decided to sell my copy to some other poor unsuspecting purchaser.

I started in the Cell Stage with my little cellular blob, and passed an hour or so swimming around swallowing food, which was quite calming and satisfying. The blob grew and grew, the sound effects were pleasant, and when I was told I could grow legs and go to land, I was a bit disappointed as I'd only been in the Cell Stage for a little while and there was plenty more food to eat, and parts to collect. Definitely the best stage of the game, and you don't even do much.

In the Creature Stage, you have legs and have to wander from your nest and try to either make friends or enemies with the other species living in the land. To do this, you have to either impress or, I presume, fight with and kill, at least three of each species. I always chose to make friends rather than to fight, as I had created a pacifist species, but it got very boring watching my little blob dance and sing in a horribly shrill warble, and most of the time, it didn't impress the other species and they just shook their ugly little heads.

There also seemed to be no correlation between the size or strength of the rival creature and how easy it was to impress it; my creature failed to impress a pathetic pink baby chick type creature, yet 20 seconds of shrill warbling from my peaceful purple blob made a firm ally of a menacing-looking dragon thing with two heads and a vicious roar. I didn't understand it. At all.

If you want to modify your creature, you have to go all the way back to your home nest, which, if you've gone exploring, may be on the other side of the island and it's a long walk with your rubbish little legs. When you get back to the nest, you have to do the "mating call" and then romance another of your species, which results in this awful saxophone music you might expect from a cheesy late night erotic soap opera.

After spending a few hours running awkwardly around the land with its ugly feet (which were good for dancing but not for running), my little blob had made friends with 20 different species by repeating the same warble at three of each of the species. That means I actively made my creature sing the same song to 60 different creatures, as none of them were impressed by the dancing, the charming, or the posing. Depressing.

The next and final stage, which I reached after playing the game for only about 3 hours, was the Tribal Stage. I played it for approximately 15 minutes, and that was enough. By this stage you have learnt how to make fire, you live in a little hut, and can wear stupid armour that doesn't fit if your creature isn't human-shaped, which mine wasn't. (For the record, my little chap resembled a beachball and the "face mask" just sat awkwardly on his forehead, while the shoulder armour was useless as he didn't really have any shoulders.) I realised very quickly that this stage was not going to be fun, either, and shut the game down, then asked my partner to list it for sale the following day.

This game looked so impressive in the video previews but actually, it's just really weird.

The Pink Guide to Adoption for Lesbians & Gay Men
The Pink Guide to Adoption for Lesbians & Gay Men
by Nicola Hill
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 8 July 2009
An excellent, informative and easy-to-read guide to what lesbians and gay men can expect when going through the adoption process in the UK. The adoption laws and attitudes towards LGB adopters have changed dramatically in the past five years or so, and this book comes at just the right time. As a prospective adopter myself, I enjoyed reading the case studies of those who are further along in the process than my partner and I are, and it gives a good idea of what is to come. A great little guide for any LGB people wondering if adoption is right for them. Highly recommended.

The Virgin Suicides [VHS] [2000]
The Virgin Suicides [VHS] [2000]
Offered by qualityfilmsfromuk
Price: £4.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The trees, like lungs, filling with air, 28 Aug. 2001
This film is rather beautiful and an excellent adapation from the book, although the ending could have been more powerful. There were significant changes in the transition from paper to film, although it's easy to see why those changes were made. You fall in love with the Lisbon sisters. Anyone who has ever closed their eyes and wished on a star will be able to relate to this movie. Dream-like and, in parts, quite surreal, The Virgin Suicides is a haunting, poignant, touching and magnificent movie.

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