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    • pcspecialist.co.uk / Online Shop / 0 Readings / 0 Ratings
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      28.12.2014 01:47

      Advantages

      • "Fast time to delivery"
      • "Good customer service"

      Disadvantages

      Very good service

      Very good service and easy to use site. I received advice on what parts to get for my system.

      Desktop was delivered promptly and arrived in perfect condition.

      Only small niggle I have is that on the site at purchasing they said they would install my preferred browser but it wasn't installed.

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    • Foxy Locks Hair Extensions / Hair Care / 0 Readings / 0 Ratings
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      28.12.2014 01:19

      Advantages

      • "Great quality"
      • Affordable

      Disadvantages

      Fantastic!

      I've tried lots of different types of extensions and have been wearing hair extensions for 2 years. Foxylocks extensions are by far the best quality extensions I have ever tried and they have lasted me much longer as well. I have owned 2 sets of these extensions and I was recommended these by my sister who has worn this brand for about 3 years! For me these lasted a full year which is amazing for extensions. The hair is very good quality and they don't shed nearly as much as other brands I have tried. Also they are made from remy human hair so they can be curled, straightened or dyed just like with your real hair. The website is very helpful and it makes it easy to pick the right shade of hair for you. There are 4 different sets to choose from and the price ranges from £59 to £175. With the set I buy (Deluxe set which is £78) you will receive two 3 clip wefts, two 4 clip wefts, two 2 clip wefts and four 1 clip wefts; which is enough hair to make your hair look full, voluminous and it makes your natural hair blend with the extensions perfectly. The clips on these hold onto the hair comfortably and prevent the extensions from moving throughout the day. I wouldn't ever buy any other set of hair extensions because these such amazing value for money and I would definitely recommend the to anybody looking for a good set of hair extensions.

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    • Suttons Seeds Tomato / Plant / 1 Reading / 1 Rating
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      28.12.2014 00:23
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "The plants are all strong and healthy"
      • "The tomatoes grow to be very sweet and delicious"

      Disadvantages

      • "There are no disadvantages"

      Suttons tomato seeds

      WHAT ARE THEY?

      These are tomato seeds that are sold by Suttons. I grow tomatoes every year because I use them alot in cooking and I bought Suttons seeds last year because I had placed an order with them for some other seeds so I thought that I would buy a larger amount of other seeds that I use regular so that I could get free postage on my order.

      HOW DO YOU USE THEM?

      You use good quality soil and sow the tomato seeds close to the top of the soil. You should water the seeds regular but do not give them too much water until they have started to sprout as green plants, when the tomatoes have started to develop you should water them a little bit more but the most important thing is to give them some food as the tomatoes start to grow because that helps them.

      WHAT I THINK

      I was very happy with these seeds and am glad that I bought them from Suttons because I grew many tomatoes from my 8 plants and I had so many that even though I use alot myself I was still able to give alot of tomatoes away to friends.

      The plants were easy to grow and grew to a height that I knew I would get a lot of tomatoes even before they started to develop. The tomatoes I grew from these seeds were sweet and very delicious, they were not very big tomatoes but I did not have any that suffered with rot or that did not grow properly. The stem of each plant was strong and gave much support to the plant, I had to tie it to a cane because of how tall it got but the stem helped for the plant to stay healthy I think because of how thick and strong it was.

      If you like to grow tomatoes I think you should buy these seeds from Suttons because they are very effective and make it easy to grow tasty tomatoes and alot of them.

      5 Dooyoo Hearts.

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    • More +
      28.12.2014 00:10
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Easy Access"
      • Catwalks
      • "Plenty of parking"
      • Shopping

      Disadvantages

      • "Expensive food"
      • "Comes across cheap"
      • "Barely any designer names"
      • Busy
      • "ATM charges"

      Losing it's touch - the downward spiral of the Clothes Show

      I first attended the Clothes Show in 2004, as a school trip with Textiles. I remember having to get to school at about 7.30 in the morning, clambering on to a coach with a packed lunch in hand, and seriously looking forward to a day of shopping. And I was right to be excited - it was a brilliant day, filled with loads of stores, catwalk shows and freebies - in fact, I even won a bag of things by sitting and watching a show.

      So imagine my excitement when my boyfriend said he had bought us tickets to go again this year just gone (2013)! I got up early, I got dressed up in heels and a nice outfit, and we arrived. And I don't know what to say other than I was... Disappointed...

      A history of the Clothes Show

      So I didn't know this, but my boyfriend revealed the the Clothes Show used to be a programme on the BBC, starting in 1986. In 1989, the show made it's first appearance at the Birmingham NEC, and a magazine was released to accompany it all. The television programme ran up until the late 1990's - but the Birmingham show has continued up until the present day.

      When is the show? How do you get there? How do you get tickets?

      The show is always held over six days at the start of December, in the brilliant Birmingham NEC. Tickets are available through the official website, which is clothesshowlive.com, and there are a range of different ticket types available - the standard ticket price is £28, or students get in for £25. Children under 5 are free, and if you really want to splash out, you can buy the platinum ticket, which gives you a show guide, show bag and the best seats in the fashion theatre. All tickets also have a £2 administration fee, and when you book, you choose a time slot for the fashion show - this year sponsored by Alcatel.

      Getting to the NEC is pretty easy from whichever direction - once you get close enough, it's really well sign posted, and when you arrive, there is plenty of parking. To get from you car to the actual NEC, you could walk, or there is a shuttle bus that runs really often - I think every ten minutes. We had to queue for a while to get on one, but that was because we got there at the same time as the rest of the world, and everybody had the same idea - but once we were on the bus, we got a seat, they didn't overfill it, and it was comfortable and quick.

      The only downside to the parking was the price - it was £10 on top of our ticket prices. You could either pay on your way in, or on the way out. We were staying to watch Take Me Out Live, so visited the car before the show, and decided to pay then. By the time we came out to go home, all the parking gates were open and unmanned, so we basically wasted £10, which really annoyed us, but I guess we weren't to know.

      I'm inside - now what?

      You walk into the NEC and it's rammed with girls dolled up, with skyscraper heels, mini skirts, enough makeup to open your own beauty room, and enough perfume to create a new ozone layer. There's not many men, but those you do see are trailing behind a gang of girls, weighed down with random shopping bags, or they're as dressed up as the girls and twice as excited.

      The Clothes Show is nicely split into different coloured rooms, and the carpet colour indicates where you are. There's about five different coloured halls, plus a food area, multiple catwalk stages, and the Alcatel Fashion Show Arena. Each area is pretty large, and rammed with people and stalls. So let's break it down:

      Hall 9&10 - Grey - The Refresh Zone - The fashion theatre was in this section, plus a type of food hall complete with toilets. Allow me to start with the food, and the one simple word to explain it: extortionate!!! We stopped here for our lunch, and had a cheeseburger and chips, and a bottle of water each. It came to near enough £20, and I nearly dropped dead from shock. The stalls supplying the food were little takeaway carts, so the choice wasn't very varied, and there wasn't enough seating for the amount of people attending the show. We were a little confused as to why the NEC's restaurant wasn't open, as I'm sure if they opened that, they would have done a roaring trade over the five days. The toilets, however, were surprisingly clean, with big mirrors, enough hand soap, toilet paper and space, considering they were similar to porta-loos. I was pretty impressed. I will come back to the Fashion Theatre later.

      Hall 7&8 - Purple - Fashion Fix - This is where Clothes Show starts to go downhill. THe last time I visited the exhibition, the Fashion Fix section was filled with high street names, small boutiques and lots and lots of discounted items. This year, I can only describe it as cheap, similar to the market in Nottingham. There were no brands to be seen - last time I bought Paul's Boutique or David and Goliath, to name but two, and this year, it was row after row of those types of shops that all have different names, but the same stock. Don't get me wrong, they had some nice things - I bought a dress and a fur headband (very fashionable) for £20, but they're not a designer brand, or a high street brand for that matter, and when we went into the next stall for a look, I saw the exact same dress for £2 more. It was a battle to see anything, and I saw more tacky Christmas jumper stands then I care to mention - if you were going for a load of Christmas tat, then it was a good thing, for everyone else it wasn't worth it. I expected Pineapple, Miss Selfridge, Warehouse... And I got cheapcheapbargains.com, NewLine, and Shikha London - all brands I had never heard of.

      Hall 6 - Lilac - Vision VIllage - This hall was pretty much the same, although this time, there were a few things I recognised - ClaireaBella were there, and I love their bags, and Citroen were showcasing their gorgeous DS3. There were a few jewellery stands in this hall, but nothing fascinating or unique. The most interesting part of this hall was the Diet Coke catwalk - and the ladies handing out mini cans of Coke whilst you watched. But once you had watched once, that was it, there was nothing more to see. You could also wander around stands for all of the universities which offer a fashion and design course - if you were looking into going to one of those, I would recommend going and finding out more, but for me, who is interested, but doesn't have to ability to go to uni, it was a big part of the Clothes Show taken up by something useless in my opinion.

      Hall 19 - Aqua - Style Boutique in Association with handbag.com - Again, another hall filled with unknown brands. The only thing I enjoyed in this area was the Echo Falls Wine Bar, where you could chill for a while, enjoy a glass of Echo Falls and rest your weary feet. There was also a stand selling toffee flavoured vodka - we walked past it a number of times, and by midday, there was a little sign saying sold out, and to come back tomorrow. It was nice to see that a product had done well. In this hall, you could find sunglasses, handbags, accessories and these little clips to put on your shoes to jazz them up - cute but not designer!

      Hall 20 - Pink - The Beauty Hall - My favourite! And hooray, hello designers! Barry M, HD Brows, Abercrombie & Fitch, Clarins, Carmex, the Elemis Spa Bus (yes - a bus that offered spa treats), Jelly Pong Pong, Models Own... The list is endless. I was totally happy just staying in that area, surrounded by a heavenly pink glow, make up and rip off perfume... Wait, what? Rip off, I hear you say? Well ok, it may not be rip off - but have you ever been to those travelling fairs, where there is a person with a microphone trying to get you to play hoopla, telling you all the benefits? Well it was like that, with a type of perfume called Sexy Shoo. The bottle was plastic, ugly and shaped like a fat stiletto, and all they kept saying was "it's not on the high street yet - get it before it arrives on the high street, it's going to be a best seller" - and yet it was £20 for two. I wasn't impressed with that side of things, but it was easy to avoid. I got some sleep in rollers for £10 - bargain!

      The Fashion Theatre - Going back to the fashion theatre, I have nothing but praise for this one. The queue regime is a little complicated - you have to find the right letters for your ticket, and then hope you're standing in the right sort-of line. You have to arrive 15 minutes before the show starts, and as one group comes out, you file in. People check your ticket, and you move through to find your seat. It's a fluid process, to be fair, so you don't waste time, or stand around getting impatient. The seats are red plastic, but not uncomfortable, and they are tightly packed in, but you have room to breathe. We were sat quite far back, but you could still see perfectly, so we didn't miss a thing.

      The show started with Amy Childs, another TOWIE star, and two people I didn't know, talking a load of nonsense really, but making people cheer, so getting us ready for the show. Then we were treated to a performance from Union J - ok, they're not exactly massive, but it was a nice song and I enjoyed it. Then, the fashion show started, and it was brilliant - dancing, catwalking, a free phone for one watcher, and lots and lots of clothes. I couldn't fault it, and even my boyfriend, who isn't into fashion, enjoyed it. It was really good to see some nice clothes, and there were the other clothes that you look at and think "really?" - so it was good to giggle at them too!

      What else is there?

      Dotted around each hall are various Meet & Greet areas, where you could queue to say hello to "celebrities" such as Sam Callahan (X Factor), various TOWIE "stars" and some other people I had never heard of. I didn't bother queueing for anybody, but did get a blurry snapshot of the X Factor guy, just because it was funny to my boyfriend and I that a group of squealing girls were waiting about an hour to see him.

      On the catwalk stages, there were shows, one of university graduates designs, which were interesting, although used models that needed a bit of work, as they had funny quirks which I couldn't help but notice, and another which used finalists from Britain and Irelands Next Top Model, but we missed this one, unfortunately.

      There was an area where you could have your photo taken for Select Model Management, and be entered into a competition to become a model, but unlike previous years, nobody seems to walk around scouting people anymore.

      There were ATMs available, but there were pretty bit queues, and they did charge a fee - if you can plan ahead, take cash with you. Not many of the stalls accepted card.

      What was my overall opinion?

      Overall, I was disappointed. Yes, getting there is easy, and their car park/shuttle bus arrangement works really well, but once you are inside, it's just like a cattle market, with products that aren't worth fighting for. I didn't get excited over any of the items, and I wasn't that impressed with the lack of designers. The beauty hall and the fashion show are worth going for, but I'm glad we only bought standard tickets, and didn't splash out on platinum tickets, as there didn't seem much benefit.

      I think the high standards from previous years have dropped considerably, and I feel the way we spend our money shows with the cheap stalls, instead of top designers, but Clothes Show seems to have opened the doors to anybody and everybody exhibitor wise, and that's sad to see.

      The visitors to the clothes show seem to be mainly tweenagers - 13 and 14 year old, who do nothing but squeal at celebrities and push their way to the front of the stalls and get in your way. It would be nice if school trips had a seperate day, and maybe a day for college and university people would be ideal, so they can really benefit from studying the catwalks better, but that's just my opinion.

      I enjoyed the day, but it's not something I'm going to rush to buy tickets for in 2014. It turns into a very expensive day, very quickly, so I recommend taking your own food and drink, and if you don't expect too much, then by all means, give it a go.

      A slightly floppy 3/5 from me - sorry Clothes Show!

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    • More +
      27.12.2014 23:51
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • Cheap

      Disadvantages

      • "Poor Sound Quality"
      • "Last about a month"

      Only lasts a month or two if you're lucky, pretty naff really!

      In the gaming world, you really have two choices when it comes to how you want to heard the audio content of your games, and the ability to talk to your piers through Xbox Live/PSN/any PC video call system. You either go for a cheap option, knowing that it's only going to last a matter of months, or you spend the money to get the quality, and expect it then to last for a few years, as you should get what you pay for.

      I have had an Xbox 360 for 6 years now, and for the first 4 of them, I was buying these microphones over and over and over. This microphone headset in particular I must have bought at least 5 times, I kept rotating which one I bought, in the hope that I would find one that works, or that they have fixed the problems that were causing them to be so naff.

      The problems with the headset are as followed. The bit of plastic that goes over your head does not easily stay in place, so you spend a lot of your time readjusting the position of your headset rather than playing the game. The earpiece does not provide good quality, and you often get this weird occurrence where your friends start hearing you in a weird, muzzled voice, which causes you to have to remove the jack, and put it back into the controller to fix the issue. Other problems I've had with it are, it simply just stops working, it seems fine externally but when I plug it in.... nothing.

      Another problem is where the plastic is so flimsy that it often just snaps, leaving you with now way of being able to keep the headset actually on your head. Another issue is that sometimes you have to have to jack, partially out, and somehow keep it in that position for the headset to work.

      Basically, this headset is useless for gaming, and is the lowest of the low when it comes to quality. It doesn't surprise me that their price tag is normally in and around £3, as that's all they are worth.

      If you need a short term replacement whilst you try find a good gaming headset then this is fine, as it's rare that they will break that soon on you, just don't expect them to last more than a few months.

      1/5

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    • More +
      27.12.2014 23:47
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Something for everyone"
      • "Lots to do"
      • "Fun for all age groups"
      • "Brilliant rides"

      Disadvantages

      • "Lots of junk food"
      • "Long queues"
      • Costly

      A Wonderful Visit to the Towers of Alton

      I'm writing this with matchsticks holding my eyes open, and cotton wool wrapped around every inch of my body.

      Well, ok, that's all an exaggeration, but it's pretty close - after a weekend away at Alton Towers, I'm still recovering from the amount of screaming, shouting, walking, Minion winning, and pizza eating I've done - and that's just the start!

      I want this review to give people a good idea of the resort, but also a series of handy tips, so that when you visit, your stay can be as pleasant as ours was! Handy tips are highlighted in bold - enjoy!

      Where is Alton Towers? Is it easy to get to?

      Let's start at the beginning - Alton Towers is a theme park, part of the Merlin group, which is situated in Alton, Staffordshire. Getting here is pretty easy from any direction - it's situated between the M1 and M6. If you're travelling by car, their postcode works well in a sat nav, although they do ask on the website that you follow the signs once you get close - I think this is to prevent people from driving through Alton village, which is where the Garmin took us!

      By train, the nearest stations are Stoke-On-Trent, Derby or Uttoxeter.The website, again, gives information on buses from the station to the resort.
      We travelled by car from Eastbourne, setting off at 5.30am, and we arrived just after 10am, with a stop off for breakfast. It's a long journey, but it quickly passes if you fall asleep on your friend!

      Where can I park? How do I get in?

      Hold your breath, this next section is a stinging, eye watering, fact filled section that cannot be avoided. We'll start with car parking...

      Alton Towers has a large car park, split into alphabetical sections. They're those funny double spaces, where you drive forward if you're the leading car, and then the one behind follows you in and pretty much parks in your boot. It's a good idea, fits more cars in, and when there are wardens (which there usually are at Alton Towers) it's a smooth process, so no driving around searching for a space. However, when we arrived, there wasn't a hi-vis jacket in sight, so off we tootled around the car park nearest the hotel, for some time. There were tiny cars taking up the entire space, and other cars hanging out the back because the car in front hadn't gone far enough forward. With our big truck, we had to disregard some spaces - but we eventually found one, and we all piled out the car and into the (rather cold) air.

      If you want a space nearer the entrance of the park, get there early. People start arriving at 9am or even earlier...

      We first went to the hotel - we stayed at Splash Landings (which is spoken about later in the review) but we checked in easily, got our keys, but left our bags in the car until our rooms were available later that day. We nipped to the toilet, won our first Minion of the day (!) on a claw machine, and then headed for the Monorail to take us to the park!
      Here is where you get the first taste of how your day will go - the dreaded queueing. Bear in mind, the Monorail runs to and from the park, sits 6 in a cabin (always awkward, sitting opposite a family you don't know) and is a fairly swift journey. So how the queue manages to wrap it's way around the car park is beyond me - so we manned up and walked the 15min walk to the park instead. Most people take this option now. It's actually less then 15min but I think they tell you that just in case... On the plus side, if you do wait for the Monorail, there are toilets in the queue. Considerate of Alton Towers, and quite necessary, I'm guessing!

      Once you get off the Monorail (or walk around the corner, if you chose that option) you start getting an idea of the theme of Alton Towers. Everything is big, bright and clean. You see the big purple gates the hold the entrance terminals, and the ever-impressive double loop from the original Corkscrew ride, which has been painted purple to match the rest of the area. More toilets are available, plus vending machines and cash machines, and of course, the kiosks for buying, collecting and ordering tickets!

      There are queues for people that have purchased tickets online, and queues for people paying on the gate - and by 9.15am, these queues are insanely busy, so be prepared to wait. Luckily, we got our tickets sorted in the hotel, so no queueing for us!

      Deep breath - ticket prices. Buy your ticket online, over a week in advance, and an adult racks up at £36.90, children £32.40, family tickets (up to 6 people, only 2 adults, and price per person) £31.95, seniors £18.45 and children under 4 free.

      Leave it between 2 and 6 days in advance, and it moves up to adults £44.28, children £38.88, family tickets (per person again) £38.44, seniors £22.14 and children under 4 free.

      Less then 24 hours before your visit, or paying on the day and your looking at adults £49.20, children £43.20, family tickets (per person again) £42.60, seniors £24.60 and children under 4 free.

      Phew! Alton Towers has always been expensive, and each year, they seem to increase their price. The amount of people they get through the door is phenomenal, and they must rake it in on door prices alone. But the cost doesn't stop there!!!

      When you see the queues, you may be thinking, how on earth am I going to manage to get on any rides. And it's the correct thought process - queue times at ANY theme park are ridiculous, but Alton Towers may top it, especially on their new ride, The Smiler, with queue times reaching 3 hours whilst we were there...

      So Alton Towers do FastTrack. You can buy these online, before you go, or on the gate, or even around the park. And they don't come cheap. If you wanted a FastTrack for every ride, then you would want the Platinum Package - which is a cool £92 per person. This does give you unlimited FastTrack, on all of the rides, including their bigger, thrill seeker ones - but I recommend this for those that perhaps can stomach going on The Smiler or Nemesis multiple times - otherwise, you're wasting your money.

      There's a Gold Package (£52) which is pretty much the same, but only 1 go on each ride, and a Silver Package (£22) which gives you FastTrack on Air, Nemesis, Oblivion, Rita and Thirteen - Alton Towers most popular rides. Silver doesn't include The Smiler and you only get to use it once. If you solely want to skip The Smiler queue, then it's a one off FastTrack of £10 per person.

      Get me on the rides!!!

      OK, so we're through the gate, we're armed with our FastTrack cards, and we make a beeline for any ride we can. You enter the park and go pretty much into the X Sector, so we started there.

      First stop, Enterprise - a sit down, spin around, innocent looking rocket ride, which uses the force to keep you and your partner locked in your seat which you whizz, not spectacularly fast, upside down. It's ok, but we come off looking a bit grey. Maybe it wasnt' the best one to choose first, but it's done and out the way - a snoozey 5/10 for me.

      Next, we're using our FastTrack (we went for Gold) and waving goodbye to the losers in the hour long queue for Oblivion. The fast lane takes us right to the front of the queue, and we're sat down within five minutes. Worth it. We're strapped into the orange seats, which clamp us down securely, and the two row, eight across carriage is ready to go. There's a slight delay where they send a worker in a hard hat up the track, but then we're ascending! We choose a silly pose for the photograph, which fails miserably as we drop into the black hole in front of us. It's over faster then we queued, but it's the best in my eyes - a breath taking 9/10.

      Nemesis is another FastTrack ride, and worth every minute - the rollercoaster whizzes round with such force, that you debate whether you need to be clipped in or not. With lots of fast loops, and a fair few drops, it's not for the faint hearted, but we love it. I especially love the whole idea that Alton Towers created, with their own alien monster thing, so it's not just a ride, but a whole story. Shame the water no longer runs red on the ride, but it's still a great experience - 8/10 for this one. I should interject here that they also have a second Nemesis ride, which is one of those walk through ones, with a jumpy ending. I've never been on it and never will, I'm far too much of a scaredy cat, but I've heard it's very good, although once you know what's coming, it loses its touch slightly.

      I've lost track of which ride we went on next - but keep reading, for my evaluation on the rest...

      Air is one of those rides that you think you will either love or hate. I remember the first time I rode it, coming off and saying "never again" I was that queasy. But with a push from the boys, on I went - and I'm glad I did. Air is the first rollercoaster which takes you round essentially laid down - so facing the floor. It's a manoeuvre to get into the seats, which have extra chest harnesses and locks for your feet, which close as you pull the shoulder covers down. Then, the floor drops away, and your tipped straight forward, into "superman" position, and away you go. '''It's worth noting that this ride is so much better if you queue for the front row. It increases your waiting time, and there are signs which warn you of an extra hours wait if the queue goes past a certain point, but it's worth it if you have the patience.''' It's a great ride for jokey pictures with your arm outstretched, off to save the world like WonderWoman, and it flips you all around until you're quite disorientated. It's just long enough too, and a brilliant all rounder. '''8/10 *It's also worth noting that you need to fit in the seats to go on the ride - and they have a chair outside the entrance so you can test. We saw a rather large lady attempting to be wedged in the seat. Credit to the staff, they really did try. But she wasn't allowed on - and she'd been queueing for an hour...*'''

      Duel was a more than interesting experience for me - who has a phobia of ghost trains. But this one has a twist - you have a laser gun, and have to aim for the green and yellow, rather little, lights on the wall. This is whilst zombies, spiders, vampires and werewolves jump out at you, and a whole host of scary screams go off around you. I will confess, I hid and cried my way around the ride, but I shoot my gun from under my hat and racked up an ok 5800 points. This was compared to my boyfriend, who was in the 38000 mark... But then again, I'm not very good at aiming, even if I were looking. For me, it would be a scary 3/10 - but because I have my phobia, I asked my boyfriend, and he rates it at 7/10 - could be scarier (god forbid) and sometimes the guns don't really work.

      Next up, Ripsaw - on our first day, this was out of order (the problem with all theme parks), but the second day, my boyfriend and his brother hopped on it. It's the only ride I didn't go on, because it really does knock me sick. The ride is a giant swing, which then tips you upside down and over the top, lowering you dangerously close, but not quite close enough, to multiple jets of water. Cue lots of screams from girls not wanting to get wet. It's a fun ride, I do enjoy it, but I always come off worse for wear and it's just not worth it. But if you can stomach it, then it's a good 6/10.

      Rita is a brilliant ride. Fast, a good length, and good amount of drops and tilts - it's a fantastic all-rounder. I used to love the theming - Rita was Queen of Speed, a race car that whizzed off at high speed. Since then, it's been re-branded, so now, it's a fast moving whatever-they-want-to-call-it, rushing away from danger. A voice over tells you to keep your head back, and that you "must escape", before shouting go, go, go, and away you do indeed go. It takes your breath away, quite literally, and I love it. It feels like someone is throwing daggers in your face if you go on in the rain... One of my favourites! A super fast 9/10.

      '''Th13teen" is a newer ride for Alton Towers. It's in the Dark Forest sector (the whole park is split into sectors, so it's great to find everything - especially if you use the map they give you at reception) and the advert was a spooky tale about not going into the forest alone. It's a good rollercoaster, with a fair few drops - they're not too high, because you're only held in by a lap bar for this one - and then an awesome, one of a kind surprise. I won't ruin it, in case you haven't been on it, as it is better when it's a surprise, but even if you do know what the surprise is, it's still very good! It's brilliantly themed - even the area for queueing is spooky and dark, with a good jumpy bit to boot. '''For overall experience, 8/10.'''

      '''Sonic Spinball''' has to be the most baffling long queue in the entire park. With waiting times of over an hour, it's debatable whether it is actually worth it - but believe me, it really is. You get in a four-person carriage, two facing forward, two backwards, and ping your way around the track, jolting around corners, and spinning round and round. It's brilliant fun! The entire structure shakes, the ride is fast and doesn't let up, and you come off feeling like every bone has been shaken to within an inch of its life, but it's fantastic! The long queues are a let down - even last thing in the day, we stood and waited for nearly an hour - and wet weather means that only 3 people are allowed in the carts instead of 4, but other than this, it's a good little ride. '''A whizzy 7/10.'''

      '''The Smiler''' is Alton Towers newest rollercoaster, with staggeringly impressive numbers to back it up - including 14 loops, which is the most any rollercoaster has ever had. It's also worth noting that it's a long ride - nearly 3 minutes in length - so it's worth that little extra waiting. '''This is where a FastTrack pays off, and spending £10 per person is worth it.''' We cut our queueing time from 2 hours, to 2 minutes, by whizzing through the fast lane and getting straight on the ride. To get to the loading bay, you pass by swirls, spirals, and what can only be described as a mixture of smurfs and oompa-loompas singing a very irritating, crazy song, then you're greeted by staff who are dressed as oompa-loompa style people (complete with stripey black and yellow tights), sieved through yellow gates, and placed in your seat. As you set off, bright white lights come on, giving you an even bigger sense of the theme - which is a "correctional centre for people, to make them smile", and you're off. And my favourite part of this entire ride? Straight out the blocks, you encounter your first loop. It's in the dark, you don't know it's coming, and it's awesome! Now, 14 loops might sound a bit sick enducing, but there are two points in this ride which give you a "time out" - the first, you reach TV screens which tell you you're half way, and show a heart rate (I think mine would be racing a bit more than the one onscreen by this point...), and the second, which is when you're climbing vertically upwards. This is, for me, the worst bit. It's uncomfortable, you can't see the top, and you feel like you could slide out of your seat at any moment. But the rest is brilliant - it disorientates, makes you scream, makes you laugh and definately makes you smile. The "innoculator" (a giant flashing screen in the centre of the ride) is pointless when you're on the ride - I didn't see it any time we went on, and kept my eyes open all the way round - and only once did the "laughing gas" actually squirt us. But other than this, it's fantasticly flawless. Even getting off the ride, and entering the shop, your senses are filled with wonder and special visual effects. It's a brilliant ride, and even my in-laws went on and loved it. '''Queues are expected to be long, as it was only built last year, so do be patient if you don't want a fast pass.''' I can't praise this ride enough! '''My absolute favourite - 10/10.'''

      Phew, that's a lot of rides! And they don't finish there - we got wet on '''The Flume''', slightly damp on the '''Congo River Rapids''', bored to tears on '''Charlie and The Chocolate Factory''' (all the promise, none of the results...), and even tried out the old Squirrel Nutkin ride, which is now part of '''CBeebies Land''' which is perfect and interactive for young children. There's also the '''Runaway Mine Train''' with the classic "choo-choo" and squirting each other on the pirate ships was a laugh as well. There's also the '''Ice Age 4D''' which is great, but we didn't feel like doing it this weekend.

      '''Is it lunch time?'''

      Fast food is in abundance in Alton Towers - there's a range of hot dogs, burgers, chips, pizza, and donuts to suit ever taste bud. There are restaurants, including the Pizza Buffet, which is where we chose to go both days - where you help yourself to a good selection of pizza, pasta and salad, and get a drink, for just over £10 per adult. It's carb filled junk to keep you going all day and well into the evening.

      Alton Towers no longer has branded franchises - for example, Burger King has been replaced by Alton Towers own Burger Kitchen. The food is equally as good, although at peak times, service can be poor, and queues can go out the door. '''It may be worth eating a little earlier, or waiting until later in the day to avoid the rush.'''

      There are also vendors and shops throughout the park for sweets, drinks and snacks in between.

      '''Can I win a prize?'''

      We came home from Alton Towers with 2 new friends - Minions! They're still a big craze, and you can win these, along with other creatures and critters, on various games, including basketball shooters, plate smashers and things like that. '''They're cheap, to some extent, but quite addictive, and quite difficult. On some stalls, you get two balls, and you have to get both in the bucket to win.''' It certainly takes skill, and Winion, our large Minion friend, must have cost over £100 by the time we won him, with the whole family (six of us) all trying to get him.

      There are more easy games, such as claw grabbers, but they're often fixed to never give a prize, so choose carefully.

      We also played a four person game of air hockey, which was really good too, and a great twist on the original - and I won the first game! Hooray!

      '''At the end of the day...'''

      At the end of a long day, flopping into bed in the '''Splash Landings''' hotel was top of my list. But not before a drink in the adjoining '''Alton Towers Resort''' hotel, whilst watching the live band and singers. The stage is excellent, shaped like a ship, and the band were brilliant. I can't comment on the price of the drinks, as I didn't buy any myself, but there seemed to be a good selection, as we all got what we wanted. There is entertainment in both hotels, but we chose to go across the bridge to the other hotel to Splash Landings, simply because of the live band.

      Splash Landings was a lovely hotel, and the rooms were comfortable, tidy and enough for what we needed. Each room can sleep four (the basic rooms anyway) with a double bed and a set of bunk beds. and ensuite bathroom, with toilet, sink, bath and over the top shower. There's tea and coffee making facilities, and a biscuit (hooray!), magazines with crayons for the kids, and bath and shower gel in fun character shapes as well. There's also a hairdryer, television (which works like a computer, and was great fun to use) and a token bible (of course!). '''Because we only used the hotel to sleep, I am not going to go into much detail.'''

      We didn't use the swimming facilities, although they looked amazing, with slides, and indoor and outdoor pool, simply because of the rather poor opening hours - the pool is closed by the time you return back from the park, and opens just as you leave for the park the next morning. Similarly, the spa, in the other hotel, was a facility we didn't explore. I guess these would be used if you were staying for a long weekend, or even more.

      Breakfast was lovely, but busy. We went during "red zone time" at 8.30am - apparently, there busiest time. They say for a quiet breakfast, getting there at 7.15am is better. There was a full english cooked breakfast range, with a variety of eggs, sausages, bacon, beans and tomatoes, plus hash browns, toast, fruit, cereals, pancakes, muffins, waffles, porridge, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, fruit juice and milk. Phew.

      Checking in and out of the hotel is simple, and we were in the park and raring to go after a good nights sleep!

      '''Anything else we need to know?'''

      Alton Towers has some great gardens, and a lovely history, so if you get tired of screaming, take time out here.

      It's a lot of walking, so wear sensible shoes and be prepared to have tired feet - you will definately cover some ground!

      They have different themed events all year round - we visited during ScareFest, so the park was decked out in pumpkins, scarecrows, ghosts and ghouls. They also bring in '''The Mazes''' which are jumpy, night time adventures, not for the faint hearted, and therefore, not for me, so again I can't comment, but I've heard they're fab. They also have fireworks in November, which are amazing.

      If you love Alton Towers, and want to experience it over and over, you can buy Merlin Annual Passes, which get you in to here, and other Merlin attractions, including the London Dungeons and Madame Tussauds. Worth considering.

      '''The final word.'''

      Alton Towers has and always will be cemented in my heart as a favourite (but don't tell Blackpool Pleasure Beach that!). It's a world in itself, with so much to do and so much to see, that it's a different adventure every time.

      It's tough if you're on a diet like me, you kind of have to forgo it for the weekend, as there aren't many healthy options, but that's ok - it's a theme park after all.
      The queues are to be expected, and the FastTrack tickets eliminate these as best they can, if you can afford to shell out for the Platinum or Gold passes.

      You can buy souvenirs and momentos of your day, which are also expensive, but definately worth it if you get the perfect picture on a ride. They do photos, fridge magnets, and even snow globes and phone covers now! You also get a code, so you can access them online for up to 28 days after you get home.

      '''It's an expensive day out, but a memorable one. The rides are top notch, and there's something for everybody, which some other theme parks lack. And because it's ever-expanding, it means it will never get old. It's clean, it's tidy, and it's well kept, the staff are friendly and nice, and it never feels crowded because it's such a large place. Finally, it's easy to get to, so it's easy to return whenever we want.'''

      A fantastic 10/10. Well done Alton Towers!

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    • More +
      27.12.2014 23:40
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      Advantages

      • "Evens out skin tone"
      • "Medium coverage"

      Disadvantages

      • Expensive

      Disappointing

      This foundation has medium coverage and I think it suits those who do not have many blemishes so don't need a full coverage foundation. I have use 2 tubes of this foundation and it does give a smooth and flawless look to the skin. But what I have found is that this foundation will last on my skin for about 4 hours before becoming patchy and wearing off my skin, so it doesn't last all day. It gives the skin a natural dewy glow. Also I am quite pale so I use the lightest colour but it will still sometimes look orangey, I think there should be a wider range of colours. This foundation clings to any dry skin I have, exaggerating them so I don't think this product would be very good for people with dry skin. The tube that this product comes in makes it difficult to get out after the first half of it has been used up and when the product finally does come out it is usually far too much. Regardless I think this foundation is far better quality than any I have found in the drugstore but I do think there are definitely better foundations out there. I bought mine from the MAC website for £25. Overall, I think this product would be great for people with few blemishes and that have a skin tone which this foundation would match as it does even out your skin tone. I would not personally use this foundation again because I much prefer the Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation.

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    • Root Ginger / Plant / 1 Reading / 1 Rating
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      27.12.2014 23:33
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      • "Ginger you have grown for yourself tastes alot better than when you buy it from the store"
      • "It is easy to grow in a hot climate"

      Disadvantages

      • "It is a lot harder to grow in England because we do not have temperatures high enough"

      Growing root ginger

      I have grown root ginger many times at home in Italy where the climate is more hot than in England, it can be grown in this country but it is alot harder to do because ginger is from very hot countries originally and even in the summer it does not get very hot for long enough to grow large ginger root plants. Ginger does not need very much light to grow so you can grow it in the house if you have got a room that you can make warmer like an airing cupboard.

      To grow ginger you buy some pieces of root ginger from the store and plant that in a pot of rich soil, you have to use a pot that has got very good drainage at the bottom because you do not want for your growing ginger plants to sit in soil that is very wet. You should water the ginger only lightly to start with and then when the plant starts to grow adjust the amount of water you give it, that is why it is important for the pot to be good at draining because it is very hard to know how much water to give it.

      It takes about one year for a ginger plant to be mature enough for using the root ginger and the plant will become very tall in that time, in Italy I was very good at knowing when to use new pieces of ginger to make new plants so that we always had ginger that had been grown at home but it is a lot harder to do that in England and it makes me sad that most of my ginger has to be bought from the store now because the flavour is not as good as when you grow it for yourself.

      5 Dooyoo Hearts.

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    • More +
      27.12.2014 23:00
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      • "Smells gorgeous."

      Disadvantages

      • "May be too rich for some skins"

      Lovely treat, but may be a rich for some...

      I like this cream and it was one of the first of the hydra Zen range I had tried. It normally comes with the SPF 15 version as well, but you may find that you get more of a sheen or some shine on your skin if you use the SPF version and the scent is probably not as nice - that's just what I find, personally. However, generally, the cream has a lovely floral feminine scent, and I always wonder they will consider a perfume or fragrance in this range...
      The cream comes in a heavy glass jar, the shape, I actually find a bit difficult to hold as I have small hands, but I guess if it was in a plastic jar, it would seem a bit 'cheap'....
      Anyways, back to the cream, on first application, I feel quite relaxed, it has a soothing effect on your senses - hence the name I guess....! It absorbs into the skin fairly well, but about an hour later, I do find that my skin appears oily and shiny, particularly around the T-Zones, so not brilliant for those with oily skins - there is also a fluid, lighter version of this. The texture is not that thick, but I also find that I am having to use some significant effort to massage it into the skin, so in effect, I am unintentionally dragging the skin, so those of you who mind these things, you may want to take it into account...
      The price is fairly expensive - £39,50 for 50ml, not cheap but worth the treat if your skin is the oily combination type....

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    • More +
      27.12.2014 22:58
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      (Rating)

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      • "Long Lasting"
      • Inexpensive

      Disadvantages

      Excellent!

      This is the best liquid eyeliner I have ever used! I use this in the waterproof black version and it is very long lasting and unlike other eyeliners I have tried it does not fade of smudge throughout the day; but it also comes off easily at night. The brush is just the right size because it is precise yet it doesn't take forever to do and you can create a defined wing with it very easily. Also the brush is quite sturdy which I prefer to thin, flexible ones as it gives me more control with the line I create. The handle is easy to grip on to which makes it easy to apply. Also, this is unbelievably inexpensive for the quality of the product. This eyeliner is very pigmented so you do not need multiple coats and it applies smoothly, which is why I use a liquid eyeliner over a gel or pencil one. It dries within seconds and is completely matte which I really like. The bottle contains a lot of product as I use this eyeliner every day and it lasts me months. There really is not anything negative I can say about this eyeliner! I would definitely recommend this product to anyone because I've been using this for nearly a year and I plan to continue using it because it is amazing, especially for such a reasonable price (I buy mine from Boots for about £5 and there is a 3 for 2 offer on also).

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    • More +
      27.12.2014 22:52
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

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      • " gives some smooth effect."
      • Blendable

      Disadvantages

      • " almost like other foundations."
      • "Not super smoothing effects"

      Did nothing for me....disappointed....

      I was very keen to try this, as a lot of other foundations from Lancôme were not really doing me any favours. I needed something with good coverage, bit with a flawless smooth effect finish. It was also very hard to find the right shade, there were only a few shades that were close to my pale complexion, but I found most of the shades quite brown and sandy - making me ill almost, so just on this alone, it would deter me from using it - just simply not having my shade.
      Anyway, back to its photogenic effects. I have quite bad bumpy skin with scars. The texture of this fluid it quite light and fluid, you would only need very very little, just a small dab into the foundation was too much for my face. The light texture is just that, and unfortunately does not give enough coverage. With regards to the smooth effects, it does give a soft glowing effect and does give some smoothing finish - but that is, if you are looking for it, and to be honest, I don't think it is much more different than the other foundations, does not give a dramatic difference, so sadly, I would not go out to buy this again. Not having my shade and not doing its job...It will probably be very good value for money if it works for you, because, you literally need such a tiny amount for it to cover the whole face - bearing in mind it is to be used for light coverage finishes....

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    • Lancome Renergie Cream / Skin Care / 1 Reading / 1 Rating
      More +
      27.12.2014 22:41
      Very helpful
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      • "Effective from the first time."

      Disadvantages

      • " smells a bit old fashioned."
      • " very pricey"
      • "Thick rich cream"

      Effective but very rich texture....

      I was very surprised with curiosity when I got this as part of my set. I had never used it before and it had a swanky posh gold top, so I thought it must be something rich...
      The cream is actually designed for more mature skins. My rather than let this go to waste and I would never get to try this ever again, I decided to try a little bit to see what all the hype was all about and where it was really worth it's £60+ price tag...
      After opening the lid, the cream does have a slight scent, not floral but a woody soap small, but nevertheless, still faitly pleasant and bearable. The cream is very thick, it won't move for a while even when you turn the pot upside down...
      Okay, applying just a tiny whisp of an amount onto my wrinkled areas - immediate result! yes, seriously, I noticed an immediate dramatic effect, my wrinkled was immediately plumped up and smooth, the skin area also looked brighter. I started to apply it to other areas and my skin and face looked noticeably firmer and more defined. These effects were most dramatic after the first use. But, sadly, after this, I did not notice as much of an effect, although it still does work.
      I also find it a very rich cream, which understandably it is meant for more mature skins 50s+ where the skin is much drier and this would be more suitable. Because of its rich texture, I find my skin quite oily after using this and my make up gets a caked look if I use this underneath....

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    • More +
      27.12.2014 22:30
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • " very little goes a long way."
      • "Light runny texture"

      Disadvantages

      • "Have not noticed much effect yet!"

      Didn't do anything for me....

      I've always been a little wary with Lancôme serums, I used another one in the past and it gave me brilliant immediate effective results, but the following day, that patch of skin where I had applied the serum was all wrinkled up and dry, it was worse than before. So whatever was in the serum must have been super strong, did its job for the time and then there was a price to pay with the after effects. So, when I was given this to try - I was pretty wary. I tried it on the back of my hand first, didn't see any difference over the day. So, bravely, I gave it the benefit of the doubt and tried a bit on my face. No immediate effects and after a few hours I still did not see any difference. With other serums I normally see an immediate effect.
      Okay, to give it more time, this time round, I applied it over a large patch of area and applied more - for the whole day and also having used it over night as well I did not see much difference or any significant effect. I was relieved at first as I was not left with a dry wrinkled patch of skin like the last time...but then also disappointed as I had heard much hype over it and it does cost a lot...So, the conclusion is, I won't be using this again really...well, will finish up what's left in the bottle and that will be it, no repeat purchase...
      On a positive note, the texture is very runny, so very little is needed to cover the required areas, also it appears to absorbs very well into the skin...

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    • More +
      27.12.2014 21:52
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

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      • "Absorbs very quickly. A little goes a long way."

      Disadvantages

      • "Not very good value for the price"

      Worth a try - lovely light texture :)

      This is another lovely moisturiser. I find this a much better version than the other creams as I normally find creams too rich for my skin. I have combination, sensitive, dry and T-Zone skin and it becomes annoying when I'm having to use different products for different parts of my face! But with this, I find, I can use it all over and it is still effective and useful.
      The gel is quite light in consistency, almost like a serum, it absorbs very well and quickly into the skin and does not leave much of a residue trace. It also has a kind of refreshing cool feeling after application. Because of its light texture I also find it's possible to only need to apply a little - a small pea size can be enough for the whole face plus neck - but I do find it varies from day to day, perhaps depending on the skin's condition on the day, because often I do find myself needing more or less.
      The scent is very light and floral-like, very feminine and I always wonder if they do a perfume version in the Hydra Zen range, because the smell is always so lovely, soothing and calming - I would probably prefer to wear over my perfume.
      The packaging is usually a pressurised pump bottle - which is very convenient and easy to use, but I often find that because of the measured pumps, you have less control over the amount you use. One pump is barely usually enough - two pumps is often too much, so I am often left with some left over and wasted, though I do try to apply it somewhere useful! But having to pump too much out means I have to use it up faster...!

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    • More +
      27.12.2014 21:50
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      More of a gimmick x

      I received this as part of a Body Shop gift set. It is not something I would normally pick up mainly because of the scent and I think this is more of a gimmick than a true beauty product but saying that it did a good job of exfoliating my skin.

      The scent is not to my cup of tea to begin with and as I applied the product to my skin it seemed quite watery and slipped off a lot more than other exfoliator's that I'm used to. I had to lather this up quite abit but the scent really put me off as it got stronger, however I am grateful for the gift and didn't want it to go to waste.
      The overall felt of the product was that it did 'polish' the skin as stated on the product.
      My skin was no worse for trying it and it left my skin feeling soft but not nourished or conditioned I normally am used to exfoliator's or body polishes having oils in to condition the skin but this didn't for me.
      I would not recommend this product. sorry. x

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