Tuesday, 4 September 2012

LoveFilm: Initial Thoughts

Hi everyone!

Just a quick blog tonight as I'm finally getting round to looking out my things for going back to uni, I know I'm going to get to my new flat and realise I've left half of the things I need at home but fingers crossed it won't be as bad as last year. 

I have finally decided to get LoveFilm, I was struggling to choose between LoveFilm and Netflix but I actually managed to get one year’s free subscription to LoveFilm and so I activated it at the weekend. My first thoughts about the film selection were that while there was a decent enough choice, it really could be a lot better.
Not quite as amazing as I thought it would be.

If you are using the rent by post option then the selection is fantastic, pretty much any film you could think of is there but if you are like me and only really using the watch now option then it's not nearly as good. For example you can watch The Dark Knight but you can't watch Batman Begins, you can watch the first Pirates of the Caribbean but not the other three. There are also a lot of high demand movies missing, there are no Disney cartoons available, no Harry Potter films, no Indiana Jones, no Star Wars and no Lord of the Rings. I feel a lot of really popular movies are missing too such as Pulp Fiction, Bridget Jones, Love Actually, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and many others (these are just the ones I have got round to looking for so far).
Even the first Harry Potter movie isn't available for streaming.
Another downside to LoveFilm is that you can't stream on the iPad and connect it to the TV even if you have an Apple cable so if you don't have an Internet enabled TV, PS3 or Xbox then you will have to settle with watching your movies on the iPad screen which although it's not a huge problem it would have been a nice feature if you could choose to watch them on the TV.

Personally I haven't seen the Netflix selection so I don't know how it compares but I do know they have a TV show section which LoveFilm does not so that's a big plus already for Netflix. Overall had I been paying for LoveFilm I would have been pretty disappointed since a lot of my favourite movies aren't available, so unfortunately it seems that I won’t be able to use LoveFilm as a substitute for my DVD collection just yet.
Does Netflix or LoveFilm win the battle for the best Internet movie rentals?
So how about you guys? What has your experience with LoveFilm been like? Do you think Netflix is the better option? How does it compare to LoveFilm? What is the Netflix UK selection like compared to Netflix US?
Over the next week I may not be able to blog as often as I have been recently as I am moving into my new flat, seeing my friends in Edinburgh, going out for a couple of the calmer freshers events and starting back at uni but bear with me, my blogs will become as frequent again once I have got back into my usual routine.

If you are away to start back at uni/school/college too then good luck I hope you do well! 

Until next time TTFN x

Sunday, 2 September 2012

How I Attempt To Stay On Top Of Things At University

It's that time of year again when most of us will be heading back to university or college and some of you may be going for the first time. I am heading into my second year now and I have decided to share with you my preferred method of taking down lecture notes. 

Lots of schools have different notepad:technology ratios and while most American students (from what I've seen on TV/in the movies) use laptops to take notes in the lecture hall, most British students, from my experience, use the old fashioned paper and pencil method. 
The generic American university lecture you see in the movies (also a scene from one of my favourite films, Legally Blonde).
Personally I hate the jotter method, I always have. You seem end up with about six different notepads with pages ripped out, unfinished notes, scribbles, juice stains and if you live in rainy Scotland and walk home from school you often find that your notes have been used by your bag as a sponge and are completely soaked.

While at school I was only allowed to use paper to take notes but since I am such a neat freak when it comes to note taking I ended up re-writing all of my notes (for up to eight subjects) in bigger notepads so they were all in order, written neatly and easily understandable. Although this seemed to work for me as I got the grades I needed, it was very time consuming and frustrating, so as soon as I was at uni I started to use technology to take notes instead. 

Taking my laptop to university was hard work; to get to my campus I have a 15 minute walk to the bus stop, a 20 minute journey on the public busses and then a further walk up a pretty steep hill to finally arrive at the campus. My laptop isn't the heaviest on the market but it also isn't a MacBook Air so I struggled to carry it along with my books, bag and lunch box. Therefore I decided to use my iPad instead.
It's love...
I have to admit I felt a bit weird using it at first as I thought others would think I was using it to show off but for me it really is the best way to take notes, I have even started to use my iPad to write most of my blog posts before transferring them to my laptop to publish them. It also means you can watch movies, check the news news headlines and even have a sneaky wee read of Fifty Shades of Grey during breaks (haha).
So here are my top apps and a step-by-step guide as to how I use my iPad to take lecture notes:

Taking the notes:

For this I use the bog standard Notes app that comes preloaded on your devices. I find that this is the fastest and most stable app that allows you to take down pages of notes rather than just a couple of words. It is very reliable and easy to use which is exactly what you need when trying to type at high-speed. 

Apples standard note taking app.
After writing the notes I will either print the pages out or I will send the notes to my laptop.

The Print Method

This function only works with select printers.

I have recently bought a new printer an Epson SX235 (£35) which has the ability to print directly from an iPad over wifi using the Epson iPrint app (free on the app store). This allows you to print emails, pictures, notes and other documents without having to email them to yourself and print them out through your computer. It is great if you like to have a paper copy of your notes as well as a digital copy on your iPad. This printer also has a scanner built in so you are able to scan in pages from text books, jotters or any worksheets you are given out in lectures and make up your own ring binder of notes.
This app allows iPad users to print to their Epson printers.
The Sync Method

My preferred option is to use a file sharing app and send my notes I have taken in the lecture to my laptop via wifi. To do this I take the notes I have typed in my notes app and paste them into an app called CloudOn (free on the app store). CloudOn has the ability to create Word, Power Point and Excel documents and stores them in your Dropbox account (also free on the app store and the internet for the computer app) on your devices and computer.

This app allows you to create some document types found in Microsoft Office.
This method may seem a little more complicated but it means that your notes are stored in multiple places and you can properly file them on your laptop. The only thing to watch out for is the amount of space you have remaining in your Dropbox account as if you exceed the limits you will be charged as you have to purchase extra space.
This app allows you to share your files over several devices.
I hope you have found this blog helpful, as I say these are only my opinions but I have found that these are the methods that work best for me.
Let me know if you have found any apps that are good for taking lecture notes so I can check them out too.

Until next time TTFN x

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Paralympics, Paranormal and Pizza (Again!)

Well our day trip to Broughty Ferry went as well as could be expected and of course it rained. So on with the waterproof jackets and wellies it was and we set off to find somewhere to have lunch. We decided on Italian and went to a small restaurant for some pizza, I have to say it was one of the best pizzas I have ever had and they had an amazing selection of ice cream too from Dragon Fruit and Maracuja to Irn Bru.

After our amazing lunch we went for a stroll around the shops hoping to work off our pizzas so we could go back for some ice cream. The shops in Broughty Ferry are really nice with lots of different things to choose from, we even managed to buy a birthday present for one of our friends a whole week in advance, usually we leave it to the last minute so I was pretty impressed with myself for being so organised! Unfortunately we were still full from lunch so we didn’t manage to go back for ice cream but I’m sure we will go back another day to make up for it!
I hope you are all looking forward to the Paralympics, I’ve been watching the opening ceremony while I have been writing this post. Some of the stories behind the athletes are incredible; they vary from soldiers injured in battle to survivors of the London 7/7 bombings and more. Seeing how they have managed to overcome their disabilities and become world class athletes is truly inspiring, I don’t know about you guys but I don’t know how they do it, they really are ‘super humans’.
Good luck Paralympics GB!
Another thing I’m looking forward to is the new series of Doctor Who which starts on Saturday! I have to admit I am a huge fan and I get far too involved in it, when Rose was left behind on the parallel world I cried for days, I still haven’t managed to watch that episode again, it has to be one of the most emotional scenes ever broadcast on television! I wonder if this year I’ll finally be able to watch Doctor Who without hiding behind a pillow, however I know if the Weeping Angels are in this season again I’ll still be switching the lights on and off before I go to bed and blinking numerous times to make sure there aren’t any of them hiding in my closet…
Still my favourite Dr Who team.
Well that’s all for now, I’m off to start looking things out for moving back to Edinburgh which I really can’t be bothered doing as I despise packing!

Until next time TTFN x

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Pizza Night

Hello everyone!

I hope all of you in Scotland are enjoying the lovely sunny weather we are having this afternoon (for once) its looking like it will be a nice night too!
The lovely sunset we had tonight

I have finally managed to get my train tickets to London booked for the NFL game but standard class was fully booked! So first class it is, I can't believe that even two months in advanced the train is sold out, I feel sorry for anyone who's travelling down that day who's not a football supporter, I think its going to be mayhem! Still I'm really looking forward to it, I've bought my Patriots shirt and we have booked everything that we need to so now it's just waiting for the day to arrive.

Not much has happened today I've spent the day watching A Place In The Sun and other daytime tv programs, this time they were house hunting in one of my favourite places, Orlando. It's crazy how much more you can get for your money there compared to Scotland. £100,000 was getting you a five bedroom villa with pool in Orlando, here you'd struggle to get a one bedroom flat for that price!

I'll get back one day...

Tonight I'm off to a friends house for pizza and a movie, funnily enough the pizza we are ordering is the Bridget Jones Feast and the movie we are watching is Bridget Jones. It's safe to say this is going to be a very girly night! 

Tomorrow's looking like its going to be another girly day, possibly with more pizza, but I'll try to be healthier and just have a margarita rather than a BBQ chicken and pineapple... My friend and I are going to Broughty Ferry for a walk along the beach and some lunch before we go back to uni so hopefully the weather will be nice although it is Scotland so you never really know.

Well I better head off to my friends now so until next time TTFN x

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Cupcakes and Kay

Hello chums!

How are you all doing? I have finally finished my long summer of waitressing and I’m taking a well-deserved couple of weeks to myself before heading back to uni. Overall this summer has been good, I went to London and Paris, I earned some extra money, I started (and restarted my blog) and I met a lot of new people, some I preferred more than others…

The Notre Dame.
Being a waitress has really taught me a lot. I’ve learned to stand up for myself, I’ve become more confident approaching new people (perhaps too confident haha), and I have learned to hold my tongue and mumble quietly to myself “sure you can have another latte since this one is three degrees too cold for you” but really it’s been fun and some customers were a great laugh, I definitely will take a lot of memories from that place.

Since today was my first day of my mini holiday I spent the day making cupcakes, drinking Starbucks tea (it costs a fortune but is sooo much better than Tetley) and watching Beauty and the Beast and some Peter Kay. Since the resort I worked at hosted a lot of weddings I had a wee giggle to myself hearing Peter Kay talk about weddings, they really are all the same. The kids running around pretending to be aeroplanes, the dads drunk dancing, the women doing the notorious ‘walking to the dance floor dance’ and of course the mad dash when the buffet is opened!
Peter Kay on weddings (some strong language)

I have to say though I am really looking forward to getting back to Edinburgh, seeing my flatmates again and doing the job (well training) I love rather than worrying about whether I gave table 11 starter cutlery or whether I had taken bread rolls to table 20. I think the summer also reassured me that I’m definitely in the right profession. Many tragic events occurred while I was in work and it felt horrible to know so little about what was going on as I had to wait on tables when really I just wanted to be watching the news so I could know what was happening.

The worst case was with the Aurora shootings. I felt helpless and lost as I didn’t know what had happened. Being a journalist means you really get involved with the stories and try to find out as much as possible about the incident and all I could manage to get was a quick ten-second glance at the six o’clock news. Being so out of touch with the rest of the world made me feel uneasy, I desperately wanted to know who, what, where, when and most importantly why this had happened and I almost felt that was being ignorant of this tragedy, something terrible was happening right then and I didn’t (couldn’t) know what. I suppose it’s a sign I’m passionate about what I do.
But on a lighter note I’m now sitting eating a homemade (and very yummy cupcake) and watching some late 90’s-early 00’s pop-rock music videos. Listening to the Bloodhound Gang-Bad Touch and realising that I used to sing this song when I was only six is quite disturbing, thank god I didn’t understand the lyrics then, I must have really embarrassed my parents singing that in public!

An afternoon well spent.
Well I seem to have exhausted Youtubes selection of pop-rock videos so I guess that means it’s time to go to bed, however I fear I’m going to have Blink-182, Fountains of Wayne, Wheatus, Sum 41, Smash Mouth and Good Charlotte stuck in my head for some time.
Until next time TTFN x

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Brave From A Scots Perspective

As you have probably all guessed I am from Scotland and I’m proud of it (as if the blog title and tartan banner didn’t hint at that enough for you). Growing up in the Scottish countryside I felt I had a ‘normal’ upbringing until I went to university and met people from the cities and other parts of the world. Needless to say there have been a few occasions where I have been met with blank stares when I have mentioned things that are perfectly normal for country folk to do that are seen as strange by others e.g. spending our summers working on the berry fields to earn some extra pocket money…

While some people may have been embarrassed to be different I have embraced it, it has made me appreciate what I have a lot more. Growing up on the east coast allowed me to go rock climbing at low tide with my friends and play with the whelks and crabs in rock pools and I had taken this for granted until recently.
After finding this renewed love for Scotland I was really excited to find out that Pixar were bringing out a movie based on Scotland! I of course jumped at the chance to go and see it.

I had some reservations about whether Pixar would put enough research into the Scottish way of life or whether they would create an “American Scotland” as seen in The Little Vampire movie, since when have Scottish primary school kids sat at individual desks, carried their books to school and not worn school uniform (I know some of the island schools don’t have a uniform but 99% of Scottish schools do) grrr…

However, Pixar did an excellent job!
They included Highland Dancing (one of my passions) and managed to put in the correct steps with the proper hand placements, they put in footage of the Highland Games with cabers, bagpipes and kilts galore and they definitely got the lingo! Not to mention they also made sure that the men were ‘true Scots’ when it came to the choice of underwear whilst wearing kilts!

I was also really impressed with the soundtrack, the music was extremely Scottish which was something I wasn’t expecting.  Pixar definitely put a lot of thought into this movie and even hired Patrick Doyle, a Scottish musician, to compose the soundtrack.

One thing I was a little disappointed in was Pixars choice to use a bear as one of the main characters. I can’t speak for the rest of the world but when I picture a Scottish animal I think a stag or maybe at a push the mysterious black panther sightings we get from time to time but never a bear. Don’t get me wrong there were bears in Scotland at the time that Brave is set (roughly 1,000 years ago) but after putting so much research into every other aspect of the film I feel that a bear was a strange choice of animal to represent Scotland. A deer would have made a much better choice for the film as the bear felt a little too similar to Disneys film Brother Bear where a man is transformed into a bear and has to learn to love an orphaned bear cub to become human again.

I have to admit I was very sceptical about going to see Brave due to the disappointment I had from watching The Little Vampire but judging from the laughs from the packed cinema audience I am not the only one to congratulate Pixar on their ability to keep the Scottish traditions factually correct.
The beach where I spent a lot of my childhood.
One of the highlights of the film for me personally was Disneys brave choice (pun intended) to use some Scots slang throughout the movie. Hearing phrases such as ‘help ma boab’ ‘manky’ ‘gammy’ ‘breeks’ ‘ken whit a mean’ ‘och aye’ and ‘jiggery pokery’ really went down  well with the audience. As stereotypical as the language was I have to admit that I have used a lot of these phrases on a daily basis and didn’t even realise that ‘gammy’ was a Scots word!
While I don’t think Brave will be one of Pixars most memorable films for the majority of people twenty years down the line, it really brings a breath of fresh air to the tired princess stories and will certainly be the favourite movie of many Scottish children (and adults) for years to come.

Until next time TTFN x

Monday, 20 August 2012

I'm Back!

Hey everyone I’m back!

I have decided to start blogging again, I feel that the first time round I took on too much too fast and left myself fretting over my blog a lot more than I had originally planned. Since a lot of the TV shows I wanted to review were broadcast in America months before Scotland (we are still working our way through season one of New Girl and Two Broke Girls here), I was having to rely on other recaps of the shows to get an idea of what happened and I felt that I was writing reviews that were not up to the standards I would have liked because of this.

Therefore I have decided to start blogging again but really to take this as an opportunity to document day-to-day happenings and put my spin on things rather than to make a blog that is specifically about reviews. Don’t get me wrong there will still be plenty of reviews but I’m going to put in a few more diary entries as well. I am away to head into my second year at university and I feel that this is a good chance to start my blog again as I am away to finish my summer job and get back to journalism (thank God).
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have looked at my blog, I really can’t believe how many of you have seen it. I know some bloggers get hundreds of thousands of views but I am amazed that even one person managed to find my blog so THANK YOU! I mean 350 views! That’s incredible, I can’t believe that people from the UK, the US, Russia, Germany, Canada, The UAE, Bahrain, Georgia, Japan and the Bahamas have all seen my blog! I am so sorry for neglecting it for so long but I promise this time around I will make sure to try harder and succeed at my blog!
Let’s hope that in the next few weeks I find lots of inspiring things to blog about, I already have a good few ideas so fingers crossed!

Until then please enjoy this photo of me wearing a panda hat…


Until next time, TTFN x

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Monday's London Diary

Hello everyone!

Well that’s me back from my wee holiday and I had a great time, it was really nice to get away from everything for a few days. I’ve decided to just treat my London blogs as a kind of holiday diary for what I did each day instead of splitting it up into different activities because I think that would feel really disjointed and messy so here is the diary entry for Monday May 21st 2012.

I have never been a fan of flying, I’m not scared about it, I just get really sick on planes and always throw up when the plane is landing which can put a bit of a downer on the start and end of the holiday so since London was accessible by train, my friend and I decided to travel first class with East Coast trains instead. This made getting to London a lot easier as the train station is only a 20 minute drive from my house instead of a two hour drive to the nearest airport, the journey time is a lot longer (six hours on the train compared to an hour and a half on the aeroplane). Unfortunately my friend and I were left a bit disappointed with the first class service as you are supposed to receive a complimentary hot meal but the kitchen was broken and so we only got a couple of sandwiches, we also had the same problem on the return journey but this time we didn’t receive hot food or hot drinks. We have both written letters of complaint to East Coast so I’ll keep you posted on whether we receive any compensation for this or not. At the end of the day if a company promises a service then it should provide it, especially if you pay extra money to receive the services. Anyway! The rest of the journey went smoothly except from my friend getting travel sick but all in all it was a pleasant journey.

After arriving in London we transferred to the St. Giles Hotel at Tottenham Court Road. Both of us had stayed here before so we knew what to expect. This is a great hotel if you’re looking for a clean and comfortable nights rest, it’s not the Ritz, it’s not very luxurious and the rooms are small but the staff are friendly, the breakfast is good and it’s in a great location. If you have been to London before you will know the hotels there can be dirty and overpriced or treat you like cattle (The Royal National being one of them) so to find a hotel as good as the St. Giles within a reasonable price range can be quite difficult. If you ever visit London I highly recommend the St. Giles and warn you greatly to stay away from The Royal National but these views are just based on my experiences.

We decided to go to a musical on the Monday we arrived and so we headed into Leicester Square to get discounted tickets. We decided to see We Will Rock You which is a musical based on the music of Queen and we also bought tickets for Rock of Ages for the Thursday night. We had both seen We Will Rock You before but had really enjoyed it so we decided to go again. My friend had seen Rock of Ages as well but there wasn’t really that much else on that was discounted that we wanted to see and since the film is coming out in two weeks we decided to go to that too.

We then headed back to the hotel as it was right next to the Dominion theatre where We Will Rock you is and got a quick bite to eat in the Garfunkels next door.

We Will Rock You Review

This musical is one of my favourites as I am a huge Queen fan so you can guess this is going to be a pretty favourable review. We Will Rock You is set in the future on the iPlanet formerly known as planet Earth where making your own music with instruments has been banned and the only songs allowed have to be made on computers. The planet is heavily ruled by the Killer Queen who makes sure everything runs like clockwork. Life is easy and uncomplicated unless you are one of the few remaining bohemians who rebel against the regime and suffer greatly for this. Enter our heroes of the story, a guy named Galileo Figaro and a girl named Scaramouche (see the Queen references already?), two bohemian outcasts who are shunned by society for not fitting in and being different. They run away from their home where they come across a larger group of bohemians at the Heartbreak Hotel who believe that Galileo is the one person who can bring music back into their lives. They then embark on a voyage to find the last remaining instrument which has been hidden ever since electronic music took over.

Although this musical can seem a bit ridiculous at times, the music and atmosphere are great. They also update this musical regularly by renaming the planet (it was known as Planet Mall until this year when it was changed to the iPlanet to reflect Apples market domination) and by keeping the names of those musicians that have died up to date, this year’s names included Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse. I also really enjoy this musical as it’s very sarcastic which might not be to everyone’s taste but the humour is pretty clean with only a few innuendos used throughout. Overall this musical would probably be suitable for anyone over 12 unlike Rock of Ages which I will come to later in the week. If you’re a Queen fan or into rock music then this musical will definitely be right up your street.

Score: 8/10

So there is my first day’s diary entry, there wasn’t really all that much to say as most og Monday was spent travelling but hopefully you will have at least found the review interesting.

As always if you have any questions feel free to ask me in the comment section below and until Tuesdays diary entry TTFN Ta-Ta For Now x

Saturday, 19 May 2012

London Calling! (And Paris and Hogwarts)

Hello everyone again!
It's been another crazy week, my life seems to be getting in the way of blogging! Hopefully when everything calms down I will find the time to blog more frequently again, I really can’t believe that over a hundred people have looked at my blog, it’s amazing so thank you!
Now for an explanation about my upcoming blogs. I was going to post this earlier in the week but I've had a lot of things going on that almost meant I had to cancel my holiday but as for now I think I am still going (fingers crossed). Yip that's right I am off on my travels and being the student that I am, I'm afraid no New York trip for me this year, instead I am heading off to London (London baby!) and Paris. The good news about this is that I will have plenty to review including The Harry Potter Studios! So unfortunately next week there probably won't be any blogs but the week after you can expect a recap of what I did each day, a couple of West-End Musical reviews (possibly The Rock of Ages but it depends what we can get cheap), a review of The Harry Potter Studios Tour, a haul post and probably a couple of extra things thrown in when I think them up.

I'm also going to try to drag my friends to the cinema a lot more in June so I can review What to Expect When You're Expecting, Snow White and The Huntsman, Rock of Ages (the movie) and hopefully Prometheus but that will definitely be a trip with the lads rather than my girls.
Remember while I’m on holiday you can still follow what I’m doing on Twitter and stay tuned for some very exciting reviews! Now I’m off to continue packing and watch Friends (when they go to London and when Joey speaks French) and Harry Potter to get me in the mood for next week, let’s hope work goes fast tomorrow because I’m too excited!

Until next time, TTFN Ta-Ta For Now x

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Vampire Diaries and New Girl Season Finales

Hello everyone!
This week I’m going to have to blog slightly differently, I just started a new job and didn’t finish work until 2am some nights so trying to fit in the time to watch New Girl and The Vampire Diaries has been a bit difficult to say the least!
First off was the season finale of New Girl and thankfully Nick changed his mind and decided to stay in the loft instead of moving in with Caroline, who hopefully we won’t be seeing again anytime soon. For a season finale I have to admit I was slightly disappointed, while it was nice to see the gang take a road trip and then camping in the desert, it wasn’t very exciting. Let’s hope season two is able to get back to the roots of season one that made me fall in love with the program in the first place.

Now for The Vampire Diaries which unlike New Girl was filled with some very unexpected twists and turns that highly lived up to expectations. Unfortunately this episode also left us with a lot of unanswered questions:
·         Is Tyler dead or has his soul just moved aside to let Klaus in?
·         Did Elena know that Meredith had given her some vampire blood?
·         Who did the blood originally belong to, Damon perhaps?
·         How will Elena feel about Damon once she becomes a vampire and remembers everything that he compelled her to forget including when they first met? Will it make her change her decision (I hope so!)
·         Has Elena really become a vampire or will Bonnie be able to stop it? (I really hope not).
·         Where is Katherine and how will the brothers be able to tell her and Elena apart now that Elena is possibly a vampire?
·         Do the brothers realise that Elena is still ‘alive’ or is the poor girl about to wake up alone in a mortuary somewhere? (Going by what she appears to be lying on in the final scene I’d say that she is in a mortuary).
I don’t know about you but even as I was watching Alaric die and Damon realising that Elena was dying too, or as Elena became motionless in the water, or even when Jeremy began talking to ghost Alaric I still didn’t believe that Elena was actually dead! I really didn’t think that the show was taking that direction until at least season four going into season five but I guess I was very wrong!

I remember seeing the poster that hinted at Elena being turned a few weeks ago but I just thought "there's no way they're going to go down that path yet, it will just be to get people excited for no reason!" It was maybe a smart move for the producers to make as I suppose it almost guarantees the show a fifth and sets the storyline for season four, I just really didn’t expect it! Oh well roll on September I can’t wait!
Sorry again for a less than in-depth analysis but with the new job and late hours I have really struggled to fit in the time to watch the shows never mind blog about them. Since New Girl and The Vampire Diaries have now finished for the summer I will do more movie and product reviews, I have a holiday blog coming up that I will explain later this week, I might blog about True Blood once it starts up again in June and I will probably blog more about my day to day life as well once I get the chance and get settled in at work.
Until next time TTFN Ta-Ta for Now x

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Updated Sensationail Review

Sensationail is a relatively new product on the UK market. It is a gel nail kit that you can do at home instead of having to visit the salon.
I originally heard about this product by chance on Boots’ website but I had been looking into DIY gel nail kits for a while. I had considered other gel brands but I was a little unsure about how the whole process worked and which products I really needed to buy and which were just optional extras.
When I started to read more about Sensationail I was really drawn in by the fact that the kit included everything you need to get you started along with easy to follow instructions and the gel lamp.
Products from left to right: Color Gel Polish in Scarlet Red, Instruction Booklet, Gel Primer, LED Lamp, Nail Buffer, Bamboo Cuticle Stick, Lint-Free Wipes, Gel Cleanser, Quick-Step Guide and Gel Base & Top Coat.
How It Works
Sensationail works roughly the same as Shellac however it allows you to be able apply gel nails in the comfort of your own home rather than visiting the salon.
In the starter kit you get a gel cleanser, a gel primer, a gel base and top coat, a colour gel polish (either Scarlet Red or Raspberry Wine), lint-free wipes, a nail buffer, a bamboo manicure stick and the LED lamp. You also get detailed easy to follow instructions.
Applying the polish is roughly the same as applying regular varnish, first you buff your nails, then you cleanse your nails, then add the primer, then the base coat (30 seconds in the lamp), then a layer of colour (60 seconds in the lamp), then another layer of colour (60 seconds in the lamp), then the top coat (30 seconds in the lamp) and then finally you cleanse your nails again to remove the sticky residue.
The overall process took roughly an hour however this was my first attempt and I spent a lot of time trying to clean up the polish that had gone onto my skin and cuticle.
I am still wearing my Sensationail at the moment and I will update this blog with the removal process once I have been through it myself.
The finished result.

I actually had a friend buy Sensationail for me while she was in Minnesota. I felt the UK price was just too expensive for me as I don’t regularly have gel nails except for on special occasions, so I really couldn’t justify the hefty price tag. However, in the States this starter kit retails at $60+tax which is roughly half the price that is charged in the UK.
Here is a price comparison of Sensationail in the UK and the USA:

United Kingdom
Price (£)
United States of America
Price (£)
United Kingdom Price Without Tax (£)
Price of Sensationail Starter Kit
Price of Sensationail Essentials Kit (everything except colour polish and lamp)



Price of Sensationail Colour Polish alone
Average Price of Gel Nails at a Salon

The exchange rate at time of writing this review was £1=$1.63 (www.xe.com)
Please note: no sales tax has been added for the American prices.

As you can see even minus the 20% VAT in the UK, Sensationail costs almost double the price. This is one of the downsides to this product as had I not purchased this kit in the United States I don’t think I ever would have bought it.
Buying Sensationail instead of visiting your salon does save you a lot of money, as ten salon visits would cost roughly £250 as opposed to the small £85 price of Sensationail, so I highly recommend Sensationail if you are a regular salon visitor.
If you live in the United States I think it is a no brainer that you should buy Sensationail, it is only £10 more than the cost of one gel manicure and will give you five months of continuous gel nails for the price. If you live in the UK it is still a great deal but I think that most people will only be able to justify the price if they regularly have gel nails done.
Overall thoughts
I found the process as easy as applying regular polish and with practice I am sure I will improve. One of the only problems I faced with the product was that the instructions didn’t mention that the nails will remain sticky even after placing them in the lamp; it is only when you use the cleanser again at the end of the entire process that the nails become smooth and shiny.
Another problem I faced had nothing to do with the product but more with myself. Since this is a DIY gel kit, no one using it is a professional. Usually when I paint my nails I end up with polish on my skin and cuticle and I had the same problem with Sensationail. However, with gel nails it is vital that you do not get any polish on the skin as the gel will stick your nail and skin together. I had this problem on some of my shorter nails as when I ran the polish along the top edge of my nail, I found that I stuck the top of my finger to the rear of my nail and had to use the cuticle stick to dig the polish out to separate the two again.
On the same lines as the previous complaint I also managed to get some polish on the skin to the sides of my nails and as a result after a few days the nails began to peel ever so slightly at the sides which sometimes got caught on things. This was slightly irritating but the nails stayed on and did not peel off the nail any further.
The Sensationail starting to peel off the nail due to my poor application. The Sensationail started to peel on day three, this photo was taken on day ten, no further peeling had occurred.

For these reasons alone I would not recommend this product for the absolute beginner as you do need to be quite good at applying nail polish to obtain the exact same result as you would at a salon but remember these are not problems with the product, just the lack of a steady hand that some of you may share.
This product promises “up-to two weeks of dazzling, damage-proof wear” did it live up to this? YES! I was really impressed with this product. It gives a really shiny finish that lasts for the entire time you wear the nails. I have never had any chips while wearing Sensationail and I assembled four dining chairs and a glass table with them! If you are great at applying nail polish then you should achieve roughly the same result as you would at a salon.
So far I have had my nails on for two weeks and they are still looking great, I think I will only remove them when they are growing out (I will update this blog with how I found the removal process once I have done it).
Product Score
Really for me it all comes down to the price therefore I have given two scores for two different countries:
United States of America Score: 9/10
United Kingdom Score: 7/10

Update: The Removal Process
As promised here is my updated review that now contains the removal process. So how did I get on? In the politest way possible it was awful.
I did exactly what the instructions said, I buffed the shine off my nails, then soaked my nails pure acetone for  15 minutes and then went to lift off the Sensationail with the bamboo stick and…nothing happened, the gel nails still stuck to my own nails. I then soaked them in the acetone for a further ten minutes and tried again…still nothing, another ten minutes…nothing. In the end I buffed the nails again in an attempt to get the nails off, which ended up ruining my natural nails.
 I decided against taking the Sensationail off of the other hand in fear of ruining my other nails as well so I am going to have to wait for them to grow out and just paint over them to make them look a bit better.
I am really disappointed by this as up until now I loved Sensationail but after absolutely wrecking my nails I am left having to plaster my nails with thick coats of red varnish to disguise my ruined nails.
What annoys me more is that I had a professional manicure booked in two weeks for going on holiday which I have now had to cancel as I can’t get the nails off of one hand and the other is wrecked.
I am not even going to upload a picture of my nails as I am that ashamed by the state they are in but if you can imagine someone dotting red varnish over your nails and then going over them with an industrial sander and you get the picture.
I will try Sensationail once more using less primer to see if that makes a difference but if I still end up with wrecked nails I can safely say this product will be going to the back of the wardrobe.
Updated Product Score
United States of America Score: 6/10
United Kingdom Score: 5/10

Thank you for reading my Sensationail review, if you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comment section below and I will get back to you.
Until next time TTFN Ta-Ta For Now x

Click here to view the Sensationail range at Boots
Click here to view the Sensationail range at CVS

All of the images were taken approximately ten days after I applied Sensationail.
All images in this blog were taken by myself, if you would like to use them please remember to list my blog as the source.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

The Vampire Diaries: Before Sunset

Another busy day for me! I went shopping and I may have bought the entire mall in the process…ooops. There are great sales on just now in Topshop and New Look especially if you’re looking for trousers or dresses.  River Island also has some great scarfs and Primark (yes Primark) has pretty shoes and some summer hats too.
But now for the real reason you’re all here, the penultimate episode of The Vampire Diaries. Yes it’s that time already, the third season is drawing to a close and this episode was certainly filled with twists and turns and for The Vampire Diaries it was pretty dark (not quite at the True Blood level yet though).
It started with a pretty epic Caroline-Rebekah moment. I’ve never really been a fan of Caroline but Rebekah is slowly becoming one of my favourite characters and seeing these two share an emotional scene remembering those they have lost and then teaming up to attack Alaric was quite special. Rebekah then went back to being the bad girl we know and let Alaric drag Caroline off to be tortured while she looked out for number one and went to tell Klaus that they should leave town.
Girl Power!
*Side note number one: why on earth did Caroline jog to her car and fumble with the keys when she could have easily used her vampire super speed and ran away? (Massive plot hole!)
Klaus was not too happy with Rebekah’s suggestion of running away again and put his chance of building a hybrid army (and maybe trying to start a relationship with Caroline) before his own sister, naturally she was pretty pissed off and decided to leave town by herself.
Off to Elena’s house where she and Jeremy were (badly) repainting Alaric’s room only a few hours after he had died (check out TV.com’s photo recap, they really rip Elena’s painting skills to shred, its true though I don’t think I have ever seen a worse attempt at redecorating!) As usual things didn’t run smoothly for long and Damon turned up with Bonnie who had just revealed the witches had compelled her into feeding Alaric her blood and now super vampire hunter Alaric was out to kill all vampires.
"I screwed up...again."
Alaric decided to set his plan to rid the world of vampires in motion and calmly phoned Elena to ask her to meet him at the school otherwise he would kill Caroline. Elena obviously has no regard for her own safety by now and left for the school without telling anyone where she was going.
Exam conditions have got a lot worse since I left school.
Unfortunately Alaric wasn’t the only one after Elena, Klaus had also decided that now was the right time to drain her of her blood so he would be able to leave town and still create his hybrid army. Knowing that he couldn’t get into Elena’s house without being invited in, he settled for destroying it in a dramatic and hilarious manner. He started off small with a newspaper, then he progressed to a football, then the poor neighbours fence posts and finally…fire!
Klaus puts a whole new meaning to red hot news.

*Side note number two: I like how while Klaus was hell bent on destroying Elena’s house and throwing fence posts around Stefan decided that he had to answer his phone. He clearly has his priorities in order…
As soon as Damon, Stefan and Klaus realised that their girls were being held captive by Alaric they put their differences aside and went from trying to kill each other to teaming up to be the heroes.
Yet again poor Bonnie didn’t have a choice and helped the vampires attempt to rescue Caroline and Elena by planning to put a desiccation spell on Alaric that would mean he was sort of dead/sort of asleep and Elena wouldn’t have to die.
Unfortunately Bonnie had no idea how to do this spell (as usual) and had to get her vampire mum to show her how. However, this spell needed dark magic to work and Bonnie would have to temporarily stop Jeremy’s heart to desiccate Alaric. Personally I think it would be pretty interesting to see Bonnie turn evil for a while, it would make a change from the vampires and werewolves (possible season four idea perhaps?)
Anyway, while the guys were drinking Bonnie’s blood to bind them together, Elena was being the hero and managed to save Caroline who then ran straight into Klaus’ arms (aww). Klaus told Caroline that he would save Elena while she ran home and naturally Caroline believed him so she left Elena behind, the same Elena who had just risked her mortal life to save Caroline (why wasn’t Elena annoyed by this?!)
"I told you playing Chinese Whispers would be fun!"
Thankfully Stefan and Damon came to the rescue and saved Elena who was in the process of slitting her own throat to try and kill Alaric (that part definitely put me off eating my Easter Egg!)
Elena’s day went from bad to worse as she awoke to find herself being drained of all her blood by Klaus so he could create his hybrid army. This time it was Tyler’s turn to be the hero, unfortunately he had to pretend to still be sired to Klaus so he just left Elena to die…but then he came back! Of course just as he was saving Elena, Klaus returned and was kind of angry to find out he was now unable to compel his only successful hybrid creation to do his dirty work.
Now for an interesting turn of events. After spending the entire episode trying to kill Alaric, the Salvatores and Bonnie then desiccated Klaus instead. Klaus actually didn’t seem all that annoyed by this and instead looked to be pretty heartbroken by what Stefan had done to him.
Poor Klaus...
The last part of the episode was pretty bitty:
Since Klaus was now kind of dead the gang decided to celebrate. Bonnie and Jeremy shared an intimate moment after she managed to bring him back to life and then they went to Elena’s to engage in some underage drinking (I sense a Vampire Diaries-90210 crossover, that would be interesting!)
*Side note number three: since Elena had just lost at least two and a half pints of blood did one of the brothers give her some blood in the car? Let’s hope so because in one scene she was at deaths door and the next she was doing shots…
Alaric still hadn’t caused enough mayhem for one day and so he summoned a council meeting where he revealed to all members that the mayor and sheriffs children were actually vampires/vampwolfs.
"Now who wants to volunteer to bring the cakes for the next meeting?"
Damon and Stefan went on a wee road trip to throw Klaus in the Atlantic and came to the decision that depending on which brother Elena chooses the other brother will leave town. A bit dramatic? Yes. Do I see one of the main characters actually leaving for seventy or so years? No. No matter who Elena chooses it’s obvious the other brother will still hang around or at least make monthly visits until she either dies or becomes a vampire (another season four idea possibly).
Now for the last part of a very disjointed final ten minutes. While casually flinging paint on the wall, Elena got a bit of a headache and collapsed. We were all left wondering what mystical force had caused this, personally I think she just had a bad migraine she has been under a lot of stress lately!
Elena decided she wanted to paint the room pink instead.
And there we go ready to head into the season finale. This wasn’t one of my favourite episodes of the season (where was all the nakedness?!) but I suppose I can’t have my way all the time!  I also thought that even for The Vampire Diaries, this episode seems to have a lot of plot holes and the final ten minutes felt like they had ran out of time and tried to cram everything in. Since this is the penultimate episode that’s probably what happened since they need to tie up all the loose ends before the finale but I think that this episode should have been made into two to avoid the mess that came at the end.
As usual feel free to leave your comments in the section below and check out TV.com’s hilarious photo recap.
Until next week TTFN Ta-Ta for Now x