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Nina Ottosson interactive toy range is designed for dogs to keep them active and stimulated, they are affectively puzzles for dogs. I recently purchased dog magic after hearing about how effective these puzzles can be, and how they can help to use up your dogs excess energy. I purchased the Dog Magic puzzle whihc is rated easy, it has one dog, 2 means medium, 3 means hard. I did question this when making the purchase and wondered if this would be hard enough for my dog, but thought I should really start at the begining. The puzzle itself is red and white. The base unit is red and looks similar to a clock face although it only has 8 items round the edge not 12. There is also 1 in the middle (and no clock hands). The base is round and has spaces for the items which are bone shaped. The actual items are white bones that are placed in the spaces around the unit. The idea is to show your dog you are putting a treat on the base, let them eat it, then put another one on and cover it with the white bone. (This is all plastic). The idea is for the dog to remove the bone and get the treat, you can then build your dog up to putting a few treats under a few of the bones BUT putting all bones in the spaces and allowing them to sniff them out, and remove the correct bones then getting the treat as a reward. This is definitely a great idea and super for dogs that aren't obsessed with food or dogs that need training to seek things out. I have a labrador and he has a good nose, I made a big mistake buying this puzzle because by the time my dad had read the instructions and told us what we're supposed to build up to, my dog had done it anyway. The toy is medium sized and is suitable for most dog sizes although very small dogs may struggle reaching the middle of the unit. I think this game could also be used for patience as well. My dog lacks paitence and this did help to build up his waiting times, although because he knew exactly what he had to do, he would still charge in once he was allowed to. This game cost me £22.00 including postage and packaging, I think I would have been fair more happy with this item had my dog not managed to use it and get fed up with it in all of 5 minutes. I am now going to buy the hard one and see how he gets on, but if you are thinking of buying one of these really think about your dogs ability before hand. I thought we'd start at the bottom and work our way up, but realistically I should have known this puzzle would be far too easy because he already plays seek games and uses his nose. I would recommend this although it is definitely on the expensive side, but if the correct puzzle is brought you will find the reward in your dog keeping focused and using up energy on this, it also helps to stimulate them and can help tire them out, without going on a 5 mile walk. There are many online shops and outlets that stock and sell these puzzles, look about you may get a better price than what I paid.
Pedigree Rodeo's come in beef or chicken flavour, I bought the beef flavour as my dog has a lot of chicken in his diet, so thought we'd try something a bit different. You can buy these treats in packs of 8 that weigh in at 149 grams, they cost £1.75 per pack in Asda. They are often one of the dog products in the price deals so keep your eyes open. The packaging is typically branded by Pedigree, designed with the mustard yellow and logo featured on the front. The packaging has a picture of what the item looks like, the nutritional values and used by date. It is also foil wrapped like so many products these days. Once open however the packet will remain that way, there is no re-sealable aspect. I have noticed after having a packet of these open for a week and giving my dog one each day, they do not go hard and appear off at all, but they seem the same, and they go down just as easy (for my dog). The treats are approximately 13 cm, or 5 inches in length, they really are just a dog treat, I wouldn't advise them to be used whilst treat training however as they are rather large and shouldn't be given too often. They are twisted pieces of 'beef' flavoured bits that are entwined and look rather rubbery. They are designed to be that bit more chewy in order to last longer. The Rodeo's contain Omega 3, Calcium and added vitamins. Pedigree proclaim this treat was developed by vets and nutritionists from the world's leading authority in pet care. I would recommend these to anyone like myself who gets bored of the same treats (and if I'm getting bored, I'm sure the dog is). I like to mix it up and with 8 of these in a packet, I can mix them in between other items on different days. I wouldn't recommend giving these to your dog instead of proper dog food at meal times as they are solely designed as something a little extra. They don't last quite as long as dog biscuits (due to chewing and crunching) but do tend to be walked away and munched on (meaning my dog can't just swallow it in one). As for price, they are quite reasonable, I find all branded dog food quite expensive although as I said you can get some good deals on these. Also buy Pedigree items from Asda over Pets At Home and save some money.
My dog like many enjoys water, but being quite young we were advised to get him a water toy, specifically designed for water play. We had lost countless amounts of tennis balls from him not getting them and them floating off, whilst the dog also getting bored of stones but happy to chase other dog toys that don't belong to him. You need to be aware you can buy a Kong Wubba and a Kong Water Wubba, the water one is designed out of waterproof material and is effectively the same toy but made for water play, it is designed to float on water and has extra reinforced stitching for extra durability. The Kong Wubba comes is different sizes and colours, although all are quite bright purposely. We bought an orange one and it is very easy to spot in the local stream. We bought a large one because being a labrador we thought he is quite large. This fits perfectly in his mouth and is very durable. The size we bought is LARGE, you can get an even bigger size, EXTRA LARGE, but we felt we didn't need that one. The style of the toy is like an octopus, it has a large bulbous top made up from 2 balls, then has loose legs that are strips of material hanging from the balls. It is quite good for throwing, if you hold the legs, then launch it, it does go quite far due to the weight behind the balls, I think it is quite aerodynamic. This toy costs around the £7.00 mark and whilst this may seem expensive when throwing stones are free, this is quite a good toy and great if your dog likes a special toy for walks and swimming. The only downfall is if you have a dog like mine that will eventually tire from chasing any toy, you will either end up getting wet yourself to retrieve it, or else it may float off down stream. So the fault is more with my dog than the toy but due to the price if this toy, I'm not prepared to let it float off.
This review is only for Piriton Syrup. You may think Piriton syrup is only for children but I find it really works for me, an adult. Each bottle contains 150 ml and this will cost you about £3.00 in Asda and similar outlets. It can be found in most supermarkets and chemists. It can also be bought over the counter making it easilt accessible for those of you like me, who forget they have run out and do a midnight Asda run. The syrup itself is quite sweet and sickly flavour, I wouldn't say it was my favourite taste but it is by far not the worst, I still have childhood memories of penecillin. The liquid is clear and has quite a sweet smell that is strong and you can smell it when the lid is open. Like all medicines these days this comes in a brown plastic bottle with a child proof cap. The outer packaging is a cardboard box. This medicine is suitable for those with allergies against animals, rashes etc but also hay fever. The latter being the reason I take it. I take it from May through until September, sometimes spicing it up with a break on other hay fever medication (but none work as well for me). The dosage for an adult over 12 years old is: two large 5 ml spoonfuls every 4-6 hours, with the maximum daily dosage being: 12 spoonfuls a day (within 24 hours). I think Piriton syrup is fast working and lasts quite a while, I like the fact I can take more than three doses a day, like most other hey fever pills or worse, one a day. They never seem to last whereas this does and if you can feel it wearing off, take some more. I'm not promoting overdosing here. I just find this works very quickly and it may well all be in my head but I presume this to be due to its liquid form being able to enter the blood quicker. I suffer from an itchy top, back of the mouth with hay fever and it drives me crazy, this really does get rid of this unbearable sympton extremely quickly. The only fault I will say with this (like with any liquid form medication) is you need to be able to take it, and having a medicine spoon with you, is not always an option. The bottle takes up more room in your hand bag as it is but having a spoon handy can often be its downfall. Just to make you aware though, Piriton is a drowsy medicine and can cause drowsiness, although I haven't felt drowsy in the day whilst taking this medicine, I have found myself more tired come an evening and struggling to wake up in the mornings. If you become drowsy from this, I wouldn't recommend taking it whilst working or driving. However I would recommend trying this though if you haven't and your current hay fever medicine doesn't appear to be working. I find this also helps enormously with symptons such as, itchy eyes and even runny and blocked noses.
Did you know DOOG stands for 'Dog Owners Outdoor Wear'? Me neither. Doog is an Australian brand that has taken the UK dog market by storm. The walkie bag is basically a glorified bum bag, I just have to get that straight. However having said this, it is a far better alternative to a bum bag, more stylish and practical too. The idea is a similar one to the bum bag, essentially the design is a piece of material that goes around the waist but this is evolutionary, this is stylish and practical (something the bum bag never was). Rather than being bulky like the bum bag too, it is actual flatter and wider rather than thinner with a larger bulge area. Confused, I am. It looks like an actual belt, it is designed in that style and is long and thin, it just has added benefits and looks more stylish than some average belts. The clasp is one of those plastic lock ones, they come on buggies and actual bum bags. They are black and the locking end clicks in to the other end to fit in place. To undo the clasp you need to push the two prongs on the locking side together and slide This product comes in seven different colours and fabrics, the latest addition to the range is the denim one. I personally have the brown one with baby pink polka dots. I thought I wanted to stand out and not look too serious. The belt has six extra added benefits that make this belt better than any bum bag and suitable for dog walkers. These are: An ipod clip - to hold your ipod or mp3 player on the belt. A pocket with a split in the middle to hold doggy waste bags, this comes with a packet of 20 bags already in. Two pockets, one zip, one pouch, to hold money, keys and anything else you may need. A pocket (similar to the doggy bag pocket) with a split holding anti-bacterial wipes. A tennis ball holder. Carabineer clip for attaching dog lead or hanging the belt up whilst not in use. This belt retails in the UK for approximately £25. I think it is over priced really, it is quite a simply, novel idea, but one of those crazes that will sweep dog walkers and become a massive fad (in my opinion), it is not essential to have one, I find pockets just as useful to hold all my bits and pieces but this is rather handy, especially in the hot weather, as you don't tend to wear a coat this time of year. The only major downfall I can see, is the size, it comes in one size and can be quite difficult to adjust, I am a standard size 8 and I found it very difficult to adjust it to fit me, perhaps it was just me, I found too many bits that needed pushing and pulling to adjust it. The cotton material that mine is made out of can get wet and isn't overly waterproof. It is quite thick though so things inside don't get too damp. I do really like this product but would definitely say it is a luxury item not an essential item you need when you have a dog. If you have some spare cash then this fad is both practical and stylish (so has its uses) but is really overpriced for what it is. It is a designer trophy for those that want it.
The pressed bone is in my view a great idea, the other rawhide bones with knotted ends can cause choking and come loose which means they are eaten quickly. This bone is part of the Bob Martin range. The pressed bone takes a lot longer for a dog to demolish. I think this is because of the layers of pressed rawhide compacted to make the bone thick and dense. This bone is in a more typical bone shape, it has a think middle with two heart shaped ends, and there are raised bits on the ends and a crease down the centre of the bone. The flavour is just plain rawhide, none of this flavoured stuff. It is brown in colour and looks like it could be made from plastic but it isn't, it is edible. I would say one of these lasts my dog an hour of constant chewing and eating until it disappears completely, my dog is a Labrador though and I imagine smaller dogs would take a lot longer to get through one of these, my dog is quite determined. One of these will cost you £1.18 from Asda and yes that is quite a hefty price tag, especially if you give your dog these regularly. You can buy cheaper options, like the knotted bones but they really don't last as long or are as dog friendly, in my opinion. Whilst with any rawhide product there is a chance of choking, I feel this is limited due to the nature of the product and they way it's constructed. Due to the bone being pressed, your dog is less likely to be able to break chunks off; the bits come off in quite small parts that are then easy to swallow. So far my dog has not choked on one of these bones but has on many knotted bones (especially the ends). This isn't to say this won't happen to your dog, but mine is a greedy mite and he would if he could, chew large chunks and try to swallow them. The size of these bones is approximately, 16 cm (6.5 inches) in length and 5 cm (2 inches) in width at the widest point. I really like this as a dog treat, they last a fair while (approximately half an hour longer than a knotted bone for my dog) and they are not too big. They are a bit pricey but they are worth it in my view although they could eat in to your dog budget. However expensive they keep my dog entertained and amused so I will continue to buy these even at this price, but if anyone knows where to buy these for cheaper or in bulk, please let me know?? **As you can see from the picture you can also buy small bones in a pack, i have reviewed this product as the stand alone large bone.**
1. Cadbury Diary Milk - the classic glass and a half of chocolate. This creamy blend of chocolate really is my all time favourite chocolate bar. I could eat this any time and any place. 2. Galaxy Minstrels - these little, shiny button like, smarties like chocolate have it all. Gorgeous chocolate surrounded by a crispy shell that makes me want to suck each one individually until they completely melt in my mouth. 3. Cadbury Caramel (diary milk) - a mixture of lovely chocolate and caramel that is gooey and more(ish) but very sickly if you have too much. I could eat this most days, but favour something less sickly on hotter days, but this doesn't stop this being one of my all time favourite chocolate bars. 4. Cadbury Crunchie - this has minimal chocolate and is full of crunchy honeycombe, if you like honeycombe, you'll love this, it is shaped in to a bar and covered in a thin layer of chocolate, it's definitely for that Friday feeling. 5. Mars Malteasers - delicious little balls of bubbly biscuit coated with chocolate, another sucking treat, but with these the biscuit ends up melting and collapsing inside your mouth. These are good for diets and when you need a fix but are watching what you eat, they are low in calories. 6. Nestle Mint Areo - I'm a mint lover, and this bubble fest hits all the right buttons, minty bubbles surrounded by chocolate, in a bar that can be broken in to pieces and shared, if you're lucky. 7. Nestle Toffee Crisp - not a traditional chocolate bar this has crispies inside covered in chocolate, in between chocolate with a layer of toffee topping it off. This bar is very tasty and although a lot of chocolate, doesn't taste sickly. 8. Mars Mars Bar - this is a space filler, so solid and heavily made to be full of chocolate, and all the other goodness it is the chocolate bar I eat when I've either exhausted myself with exercise or when I'm hungry and I need a hole filled. 9. Cadbury Wispa - this is my diary milk alternative, when I fancy some chocolate but don't want anything too heavy ( in the summer months), I opt for this, it is the same but contains bubbles and has a different texture, although it tastes quite similar. 10. Cadbury Creme Eggs - I know these aren't bars but I had to put this on here. The crème egg is just absolutely delicious!! It is all sugary gooey splodge with a hard, thick, chocolate shell. I don't need to say anything other than I am an addict and between January and April I try to consume as many as possible. Conclusions, chocolate goes with anything and it should be tried - try a fondue and make your own chocolate style mixes!
I would just like to point out for those who had already made a judgement about my dog, he is not dangerous and a muzzle isn't always used for the reasons you may think. I own a Labrador, for those of you who own dogs and know this breed; you have probably already worked out why I have bought this item. Not because the dog I own is a dangerous dog but because Labradors are living, breathing hoovers. Basically they eat or even just chew and mouth everything. I have had to stop my dog from eating all sorts, radiator caps, chewing gum, sticks, any food imaginable, flowers, poop (anything's but his own)! So for those of you that don't know, the Labrador is a loveable, loyal breed, good with people and dogs alike. The only little problem is this eating everything business. After a few trips to the vets and constant worms I decided enough was enough, we took the dog to Pets At Home and originally I wanted to buy a halti (looks like a muzzle but is just a strap), we tried it on, he could still open his mouth completely (no good !) I really wanted the muzzle to be the last option, I love dogs, if I saw a dog in the street I didn't know, I would not approach it, I would walk past and carry on, if it was a dog that came up to me and the owner said it was ok, I would stroke it and make a fuss, if it was off the lead and came anywhere near me, I would presume it to be ok, or less why would it be off the lead? If I saw a dog with a muzzle it wouldn't faze me but people, especially those cautious of dogs anyway, judge immediately and I didn't want to put my dog in the position where people would a) label him, b) avoid him and c) cause a fuss (because he is usually off lead in the park). Thankfully for me the muzzle is black (so is the dog) so you really don't notice it on him until up close. The muzzle comes in a plastic box with a picture of it on a dog, on the front. The muzzles come in different sizes which vary in size and price. I chose large, even though my dog is still a puppy (technically) because there was a Labrador on the front of the box. We tried the muzzle on him in the shop, it is ever so slightly big but it is fine. The muzzle itself is made up on one strap, and a piece of material (it almost looks like an icing bag), it's a cone, with one end having a smaller opening than the other. The muzzle works by putting it round the dogs snout, the larger end is the end you need to place over their nose and then put it on until it is as far as it goes, the strap then detached, has an attachable clip and you clip this together over the back of the dogs head. It is really easy to work out and very easy to out on. It doesn't look uncomfortable but I would suggest trying it on your dog before buying it, because if it's the wrong size you won't know until it's on, it might be too big, meaning the nose could come too far out the end, or the larger end could come up to and even over the eyes. My dog does not like this at all, he rolls around on the floor and tries to get it off, and once he has managed to get it so it was off his mouth and hanging round his neck. I would suggest making sure it isn't too tight, but tight enough. I had this slightly loose, not anymore. If I'm completely honest it has deterred him from eating and even chewing certain things as I get it out and show him, it has become more of a threat now, and if he plays up, I put it on for a while so he knows I mean business. I hate putting it on because I feel really mean but it's for his own safety. He looks like Hannibal lector and it makes me laugh, he gets all sulky when he has it on and remains so when it comes off too. This item (in large) cost me £8.99 from Pets At Home. It was worth it, I just don't like people worrying and running away, I don't want people to think my dog is dangerous, he is just a friendly lump and a muzzle really can give the wrong impression, but for those of you with Labradors you know, they eat EVERYTHING! **Update** I'm not defending myself, i'd just like to add this paragraph, my dog is my number one, he is a cheeky puppy but is treated well and spoilt rotten. This review is not about me abusing or upsetting my dog with a muzzle, it is more about the product and helping him learn not everything is good to eat. The last thing I want is my dog to eat rat poison or something worse and end up dead. In terms of threatening my dog with the muzzle, I show him it, there is no nastiness behind it. It's a learning curve.
I own a Labrador; he is seven months old and loves to hold anything in his mouth (this being a retriever trait). He likes to hold a tennis ball, football, in fact any type of ball that will fit in his mouth while out walking, on a recent trip to Pets At Home I decided to look at more dog balls. Tennis balls are expensive and surprisingly easy for my dog to demolish in about 20 seconds. I need something similar with much more durability. I came across the Kong tennis balls; they come in a pack of 3 and cost £3. I thought £1 a ball was a bit pricey but after squeezing them and giving them the once over durability test (this consists of me throwing the balls on the floor, squeezing them, standing on them and many more stupid things), I decided to try them. The only down side to these balls (in my opinion) is that the balls squeak, I say it as a negative thing because these balls are actually quite durable and sturdy, meaning out of the 3 we have, my dog has only managed to puncture one squeak. 2 remain fully intact after a week of owning them and it can get annoying. The plus side to the squeak though is, if you are out on a walk, my dog is constantly mouthing the ball, making it squeak, you will always know where they are from the noise. This is great when we're over our local fields and I can hear him and roughly make out where he is and how far away. It does make me laugh when other dogs run off with them and the owners struggle to get them back, I tell them to keep them and laugh that it'll upset them more than me for having it. The balls are basically tennis balls designed for dogs, they do have the Kong logo on the individual balls but apart from that (and the squeak) you wouldn't know it wasn't a tennis ball. It is the same size and fits in the dog launcher too. I have recently found a local sports shop that sells tennis balls for 39 pence brand new, and while I think I could have 2 and a half normal tennis balls for the price of one of these tennis balls, I think value for money, I'd have to go with the Kong ones. They appear to be stronger and more durable, and in my opinion with my dog, last a lot longer. Rather than them being hollow like the usual tennis ball it seems the outer layer is a lot thicker with the squeak residing inside. The only thing that winds me up about the price of these is when I or the dog lose them!
Maui known as the Magic Isle is home to Lahaina a quaint fishing port located on the west coast. Maui is one of the four largest Hawaiian Islands. Lahaina was previously known as 'Lele' meaning relentless sun. The town known for its historic whaling has become a recent hot spot on the island. I visited the area via cruise ship in March 2010. Due to the small harbour we were unable to dock (which was quite nice, we got to see the port and area for what it was, without a gigantic cruise ship overshadowing it). Lahaina is a town full of seaside shops, restaurants, art galleries, tourist tour booths, the harbour and one of the largest Banyan Tree in the USA. ~~Banyan Tree~~ The Banyan tree is a lovely feature to the town, originally imported from India and planted in front of the town's court house, it is over 60 feet tall and takes up a block. Yes a whole block (two thirds of an acre). The most interesting part of the Banyan tree is the branches grow out from the trunk and then grow in length to eventually head back towards the ground and grow in, so there is no end to a branch. It is fascinating to see and walk amongst. Underneath the canopy is the trunk in the centre with very large branches going in every direction to then enter the earth again. It looks almost fake, like it isn't real, especially with the size of it. Although planted in 1873 you can understand it has had a long time to grow. ~~The Harbour~~ The harbour is very small and it is hard to believe that at one time this was the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, especially as sailing here is often stopped due to the neighbours (the hump back whales), if the whales come close to shore or in the waters by the harbour, everything stops. I think this is great, the whales know no different and the people of Hawaii have a massive respect for these huge creatures that choose to mate and calve here every year. (More on the whales later). There are no really big berths and some privately owned yachts have berths but the public ones are shared and rather small. The largest boat you'd get in to the port would be a small yacht, I'm not a boating person but I'd guess a 12 person one. The harbour is quaint and situated in the centre of town, close by you have the court house, banyan tree and other amenities. The closest thing is the tourist tour booths. ~~The Tourist Tour Booths~~ This is where to go in Lahaina to book your excursions; they have everything here from whale watching to submarine diving. The booths are lined along the harbour wall and the boats (this is the main source of tourist interest here) sit behind the booths waiting to take people out to sea. There are more than one company that do whale watching trips, my advice would be to look around. We booked through our cruise ship (mark up price) and cost us $45.00 (£31.00 approx). This was for a whale watching tour that lasted an hour and a half. ~~Whale Watching - The Experience~~ This was by far the most enthralling thing we did on our holiday to Hawaii, out of the four big islands this really was the best. Most people we spoke to on the cruise said, they'd been told, you'll see whales anyway, so don't bother with the tour. We did see whales, on our first morning on arrival in Hilo (The Big Island) we did see some dorsal fins and they were quite close to the ship but nothing can compare to getting up close and personal with them, like you do on the trips. We literally boarded the ship (from the cruise ship - so we were already away from the shore) and saw whales. I'm not saying you see whales everywhere, but you most certainly can see fins in the near and far distance. With over 9000 making the journey annually you won't be sure to miss them (November - March). West Maui is one of the best places in the world to watch whales due to the mountains creating high visibility. For those of you who have been whale watching or anything similar will understand it can be difficult due to weather and generally spotting the animals in the sea. I can honestly say if you go at the right time you are 110% guaranteed to see whales and more than likely to see baby whales too. As I said we descended on the whales quickly, out captain Rachel told us useful and interesting facts whilst we watched the mother and calf swim quite near the boat (approx 150 yards). You are not allowed to approach a whale closer than 100 yards, but if you stop and they come closer to the boat, that is their choice. The mother kept diving, giving everyone the opportunity to get the tail shot. After an hour of following these enormous creatures, our captain decided to find some others, some more active ones. Just as the ignition started and we started pulling away our mother whale decided she wanted to put on a show, she breached (fully launching herself out of the water) about 70 yards from the boat. Luckily everyone saw but no-one was expecting it, so no-one caught it on camera. Just as people were putting cameras down having missed it, she did it again, this time only three quarters of the way out. 40 tonnes of solid whale! It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen and no-one can tell you how amazing it is, seeing something so beautiful in its natural environment, it was truely (insert American accent) AWESOME! ~~Seaside Streets & Shops~~ The seaside streets are very much what I assumed Hawaii to be like, it is hard to imagine and all four main islands are very different, but Maui, Lahaina to be more specific is full of tourists and locals walking around in surfer shorts and sun hats. The seaside shops line the streets along the sea front and even trail off further back in land, the streets are wide with pavements each side of the road, lining the streets are shops, all selling clothes, arts and crafts, souvenirs, art and food. The atmosphere is very relaxed and shop owners will not hassle you, they will ask if you need help and if you say no, they leave you to browse. The local people are really friendly and the whole area is clean and tidy. We didn't feel intimidated in any way, even when venturing off the main streets. It would be interesting to see how busy the area is when there is no cruise ship allowing an extra two and a half thousand people descend on the small town. It seemed quite busy and even so, no pushing or shoving, just calm people strolling around, enjoying themselves. The shops all looked quaint and were mainly one storey, with perhaps offices of one or two storeys on top. This may sound weird and forget the theme but the area really reminded me of Disneyland Paris, the way the hotels are done, mainly the Wild West but it's that typical look of shop, then above a balcony and pitched roof. It is lovely and really makes you feel like you aren't in England. ~~Art Galleries~~ Lahaina has become home to many art galleries and you notice this just walking down the main street (Front Street), there are quite a few, and while they are not invasive they are quite prominent. There is a Wyland gallery here, as well as many others that house hundreds if artists. If you are in to art, this is definitely a place to stop and take a look around. I am not really an art lover, but would like to have seen the Wyland art pieces (Wyland is the guy who has painted many walls throughout the USA, his theme is underwater animals). His art work goes for big bucks! ~~Restaurants~~ In Lahaina there are many local restaurants that really could use the support of tourists to help survive and provide tourists with that authentic experience. There are also of course chain restaurants like Burger King, and these often have the better spots because the chains can afford the rent on central properties. But I advise you to look further. There are many stands that offer snacks and treats too, look out for them but I think you really need to go try something from a restaurant, you haven't eaten until you've tried local pig nachos. There is also an ice cream parlour by the intersection of the Banyan tree (left hand side, looking from the port) and although it isn't really cheap, it is well worth it. We both ordered a double scoop in a waffle cone, this cost us just over $15 approximately, which is expensive (unless you've had ice cream in Rome, Italy) but it was fantastic! The only problem was, we both realised once we were holding our ice creams that one scoop would have been more than enough. I ended up throwing some of mine away, and I am an ice cream fiend. I was upset about the waste. Remember the American's serve bigger portions and this still stands in Hawaii. ~~Overall~~ I thoroughly enjoyed Lahaina, I thought this was a great place, and would definitely return (a bit far I know) but I can see why it is so popular. It has the sun, the friendly locals, the beaches, the shops, and the wildlife. This is definitely a 10/10 island for me, a real Hawaiian experience with the charm too!!
I would like to point out before you read this, this review is about waste disposal and management and what I think about them. I have strong views on litter / waste disposal. As a child my father always taught my sister and I that we should throw all rubbish away in a bin. I mean let's be honest; it isn't like you are ever that far away from one. We were also brought up knowing and learning to respect our surroundings, be aware of people and wildlife and not to be selfish. Since the days of being a child myself when my sister and I used to do litter picking in our street and made a conscious effort to tell all our friends about why throwing litter on the floor was bad for the environment, things have come a long way. Nowadays we have recycling, black bins, green bins, black boxes, blue boxes, we have it all, and that is just at home. At the supermarkets and even the dump now, you have to separate all rubbish and recycle it in to different categories. I am all for this, and am happy that my local council has taken recycling and waste disposal seriously. However with anything there is always both positive and negative things. I have listed what I view as both positive and negatives things that have come from this recycling and updated waste management plan by my local council (I would tell you who but I don't want to name and perhaps shame). Positives Waste being reused rather than thrown in a land fill. Less waste causing pollution. A healthier atmosphere. Less impact on the environment, like the glaciers and animals around the planet. Cutting our carbon footprint. Using less trees and other natural resources by reusing them again and again. Negatives Workers are careless and untidy, often dropping items and leaving them on the street. Wildlife get caught up in all types of litter, from eating it and dying to becoming dependant on it for food. All these boxes and bins take up a lot of room. Time consuming process separating all your waste in to recycling categories. Planning is always behind and what we needed 10 years ago is only being introduced now. I'm sure there are more of each but I currently can't think of any, I will add to the above as and when I do, or feel free to comment your suggestions. I think it is a shame that people have been forced to adopt this attitude rather than adapt to it naturally, we are the most clever species on the planet and yet we are the ones destroying it for not only future generations of our own species, but for all species that live here. I think waste disposal should always be top of the agenda and planning should be continual to limit further damage to this planet. We should really have taken on this attitude towards waste disposal years ago and are still behind many other European countries when it comes to waste and recycling but why isn't America being forced in to contributing more to lessen the carbon footprint of a country that has the most waste in the world. I know this all costs money and in terms of politics and what people want to hear, this isn't always at the top, but it should be, yes you may care more about how much council tax you have to pay this year but what about the planet we live on? If we ruin it, none of the other stuff matters, none of us will be here! The thing that annoys me mostly is if we all made the smallest of changes we would soon be on track to having a better planet. I can't stand it when I see kids throwing litter on the floor when less than a few metres away stands a wheelie bin. Or worse still when I'm in the car and see someone throw some litter out of the window, surely this is more hassle than actually leaving it in the car until you get out, and yes find a bin. I honestly think schools should educate both children and parents in waste disposal and management, if parents aren't teaching children then teachers should, we need the next generation to care more than the current one. Ignorance is not bliss from those of you who throw litter to those in power concentrating on inevitably less important things than waste management and planet management. I know this review isn't solely based on waste disposal but I feel it is all interlinked.
Background Adventures are a company based in Kauai (Hawaii), they offer a canopy zipline adventure as an excursion. As we were on a cruise, the operator sorted this out for us but you can also book direct and choose from other tours too. (I would have loved to try the tubing)! The ziplining tour takes a few hours; you get a transfer from the office to the zipline course in a truck. The truck is a bit rickety but this just adds to the experience. The truck has seats lining the sides of the back with a roof but no windows to let the wind blow through your hair. The course itself is located on private land that used to be Lihue Plantation, a sugar plantation, this was Hawaii's last to close its doors in the late 1900's. This is where Background Adventures rent land to zipline, they have installed the course themselves and it consists of 7 ziplines that descend down the mountain side (one of the best courses in Hawaii). For those of you who don't know what ziplining is or have not done it, it is a long wire tied on two posts, one lower than the other, often above tree tops or water holes and rivers. You are then securely tied to the wire with your own roller contraption and harness. That was a really bad explanation and as you can probably tell I'm no expert, in fact this was my first time, but definitely not my last! Tours are daily and there are two departure times: 9.30 am and 2.00 pm. We went for the afternoon adventure, I think this was solely because I wanted to enjoy a lay in, and I'm glad we did. The weather throughout the Hawaiian Islands is very tropical and there are many weather systems, meaning weather can literally change within minutes. The morning was wet and the clouds were covering a lot of the mountains (or so our guide said). However in the afternoon we got to see a lot of beautiful scenery and it was breathtaking. When we arrived on location at the course, (all 11 of us in our group), we were given a safety brief, our equipment explained and the course and ziplines seen. We had to chose an order amongst ourselves in which we would have to stick to so both guides (one at each end of the zipline) would know who was next, (and the one on the end, would know who is coming). You are told you could possibly get stuck in the middle, this is very unlucky and they just tell you because it could happen, it happened to no-one on our course. Between each zipline is a walkway, the paths are muddy and in some places slippery and steep, this definitely isn't for people with walking issues and generally bad health. However saying this, don't think you can't be older to do this, out of 11 people the breakdown is as follows: 2 x under 30, 3 x in 40's, 5 x in 50's, and 1 x late 70's! The thing that made me laugh the most about the age groups was the oldest guy had done it the 3 consecutive years too! The setting is the great outdoors in all its glory. As long as you are physically fit (or there about - I am not at all fit) you will have a great time. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience, it was great to feel the wind in my hair and in my face, it was fun to learn how to steer (yes steer) and go really fast. The landings were the trickiest bit, it didn't matter how you came in, as long as you had your feet up. There is a wooden platform at each end and you run (or walk) off then head down the line to the end where the other platform is, my only issue was being such a shorty at 5'1, the guy had to pull the zipline down at the end in order for me to be able to touch the floor. This was ok though, if he hadn't I would have made it to the end of the line, where the post was and still not have been on the floor. If you come in facing front ways on you can run on the platform until you halt. They have a device that sits on the line to stops you running in to the pole; it just stops you going any further. I must say both the guides were great - they both knew their stuff and really made it fun. I felt like I was in safe hands and really enjoyed the day. Once down at the bottom of the course, you sit in a hut next to a gorgeous river and the largest bamboo I have ever seen! You get a drink, crisps and biscuits then head back, the scenic route to the main office. Both guides were happy to answer questions and told us a lot about the history of the area and what films they had filmed there - Jurassic Park, Tropic Thunder and so many more! The experience was overall 10/10! I will definitely do this again, I was worried I would be scared and not want to do it when it came to it. I like heights but even if you aren't keen because you look out at where you're going and what is around, you don't really see how high up you are. It is very exhilarating and I think even being scared of heights you could do this and enjoy it. You get a massive buzz and you will want to do it again. I think in all honesty, it is time consuming and after 7 lines that is enough, it's great and you feel like you can do more, but this is enough to keep your interest in it and keep you satisfied that you've got your monies worth. As for cost, like I said we did this through the cruise company, I wish we had not, this cost us approximately £100 per person. If you book direct with Backcountry you can get this tour for approximately £90 per person and depending on the exchange rate this can go down to work in your favour (Brits only). The company are an ecotourism attraction and I think it is a shame this is advertised more, we only found this out on the way back to the ship, had we known before I may well have bought something from the shop to support the local eco systems and lands. NB: You are told to wear long pants (us Brits thought this meant trousers not shorts) but you can wear shorts just not tiny hot pants because you may get friction burns on your legs from the harness. We wore trousers, they were fine.
Starline Tours is one of many tour companies based in Hollywood, California. On our first day in Hollywood, we took a walk down to Hollywood Boulevard and decided to explore and take a look at what was on offer, I already knew I wanted to do the star homes tour, but didn't know what else there was and if it was worth seeing. We walked up and down the walk of fame, finding stars and looking around, every few metres you are stopped by someone working for yet another company offering you the star home tour for X amount. But if you book right then and there, they will give you a discount. I would have just signed up to the first one if I'm honest. We had arrived earlier than planned and were now available to go on a tour then and there. My other half however wanted to ponder and look around before deciding which company seemed most reputable. The reason we chose to go with Starline is because although the price was slightly more expensive, the outfit generally seemed more professional. There are Starline booths on the Chinese Theatre side of Hollywood Boulevard and the main booth / pickup area is located on the Chinese Theatre concrete to the right. Starline offered more than just the one tour, they had printed leaflets and staff prepared to help and book tickets for you. The staff while very helpful and prepared to do their job, some could be a bit short, and we almost felt like they just didn't care either way if we booked or not. But then not being rude, we found this in general with the Americans, they fell in to one of these categories: very helpful and enthusiastic and couldn't do enough for you, or: not really interested in you, and couldn't care less, there were more important things to do. Anyway, we bought 2 tickets for the star homes and Hollywood sign tour. We were told this went numerous times a day and you alternate tours had a different vehicle, you could either go on the open top truck, which had windows but no roof (not sensible in the middle of the day for me), or the mini bus truck with no windows, we chose this option, I needed somewhere to stay out of the sun and the no windows was good for taking pictures and getting a lovely breeze. The tours start running at 9.30 am and go every half an hour from then on. The tour lasts 2 hours and is the most popular tour for any of the tour companies running out of Hollywood. The tickets cost $39.00 each adult, but if you are prepared, you can knock them down, although not as much as the other tour companies, which in my other halves view means they are least dodgy. The pickup area is at the Chinese Theatre, so after buying our tickets at the Kodak Theatre booth, we proceeded to the Chinese Theatre and waited by that booth. We were supposed to leave at 1 pm, but we didn't end up getting picked up until gone 1.20 pm. I thought great, this was a good idea. Thankfully from then on, service was good, we were picked up and taken to our mini bus which was outside the back of the shopping centre and Theatres. It was surprising to see how many buses Starline owned. Off on the tour: we were taken down Hollywood Boulevard and out to Sunset, we visited Beverly Hills, Bel Air, we drove past Rodeo Drive and up in to the Hollywood Hills. The tour was really good, the driver introduced himself and spoke of the history of the whole area and pointed out places of interest. There were two things that really annoyed me about the tour, was the stars obviously treasure their privacy and therefore have rather tall fences and hedges surrounding their properties, this means you see nothing really, except for the driveways, gates, hedges and fences of the rich and famous. Ok, so this wasn't Starline's fault and I appreciate the tour guide had pictures of the properties behind but I didn't go all that way to see fences. Secondly, the tour leaflet states you'll see all these people's houses, and we didn't (not because of the hedges etc) but we didn't go to a lot of the named places on the leaflet, this disappointed me and I generally felt like it was a wasted trip. Last of all we visited the Hollywood sign, although you can see the sign from Hollywood Boulevard, it is tiny and you don't really get a feel for it. I knew before we went we wouldn't be pulling up beside it, as it is on private land. But you can get close enough to have a photo taken with it in the background. I have only seen people with the sign to the left of them, meaning they have seen it from the right hand side, we went to the left hand side, and were definitely further away and it wasn't the backdrop I expected. Starline say they get closer than other companies, but I was disappointed at the distance, I know you can get closer than we went. Overall I would rate the Star Homes & Hollywood Sign 5/10. Generally as a tour and seeing the sights this was good as our introduction to the area but I wasn't overly impressed with the content of the tour, whether that is Staline's fault or not is another question. I think perhaps my expectations were too high. (The best way to stalk celebrities would be to rent a car and sit outside all day in the hope of getting a glimpse). We also did the Universal Studio day trip with Starline Tours, we knew Universal was a bit of a distance away and we would probably have to get a taxi. Universal Studio's entry fee is $69.00 and for $79.00 you can get a hotel pickup and collection from outside the gates of Universal Studio's for $10. That was worth it, we did this and it definitely benefited us. The bus picked us up at 8.30 am, then dropped us outside Universal Studio's and gave us our tickets, then we had a day in there, and left at 6.30 pm on the Starline bus outside. If you don't want to spend all day here a taxi would be a better option, but you can easily spend the day in here. We ended up being finished about 20 minutes before pickup. On the way home, the bus was over crowded and I had to sit on the last seat, and my boyfriend ended up sitting in the stairwell by the door. Again I wasn't overly impressed; they seem very relaxed and didn't really care. It had been a long day, if I had been in a more feisty mood, in would have complained and asked for some money back, as he didn't get a seat. The final thing we did with Starline was buy a city pass. This lasted 24 hours from the time we brought the ticket and this allowed us to hop on and off throughout the day and explore off our own backs. There are 4 lines, red - Hollywood & Sunset, Yellow - Beverly Hills & Santa Monica, Purple - Dowtown Los Angeles and Blue - Universal City & Hollywood Bowl. We only managed to use the red and yellow lines. There are over 50 stops on this tour route over all 4 lines. This 24 hour ticket costs $30.00 per adult and is well worth it, you can also buy a 48 hour one for a bit more, if we had more time I would like to have bought this and done downtown too. I was thankful we got a chance to see Santa Monica Beach and Venice Beach, the ticket allows you a lot more freedom to explore and is great to get around. The only problem is waiting for some buses, like from Hollywood going to Santa Monica Beach, you have to get the red line to Wilshire Boulevard, then swap to the yellow line, the buses don't run in sync, and even if they do, they often get held up in traffic and this can make for waiting around. We used Starline on more than one occasion and they probably do have the most experience and the most tours but they don't always run smoothly. I would use them again though and recommend them to anyone I know going to Hollywood. They are without a doubt the largest operation and I wouldn't trust the others as much. For more information about tours and where Starline run visit their website on: www.starlinetours.com
On a recent trip to Maui, Hawaii, we decided to do a submarine dive. We had previously tried this in Egypt but it ended up a slight con, the submarine, was just a glass bottom boat and didn't actually dive at all. It was disappointing. Atlantis Submarines have subs in the Hawaiian Islands as well as throughout the Caribbean. We visited Lahaina in Maui via cruise ship, so we booked this through the cruise company, it cost us £80 (approximately) each, but if we had booked directly with Atlantis it would have cost £65 or the online price of: £60. This is a saving and I would advise, especially if you are on a cruise to book privately/directly. Tours last approximately hour and a half and there are 5 a day, the tour takes 48 passengers for each dive. Each person is allocated a seat and there are windows in front of all seats, you can't get a rubbish view, however seats face out of one side of the submarine and therefore, that is your view, you can look behind, but this isn't always ideal for children being so much smaller. You have to go to the dock and wait by the Atlantis Submarine berth for your tour, you are then given your ticket and asked to board the boat, the boat takes you off the coast to wait for the submarine to emerge, this is a very exciting part, the submarine will be under water, giving you the opportunity to watch it come up. You are told to look for the white under the water and then it comes up. People that are on the submarine need to disembark and come on to the boat, so they come on, after that, you board the submarine and take your seat. When you dive it really isn't all that exciting, I thought it was going to feel 'strange' but it didn't, you just go down. The point of the tour is to see the coral reefs, ship wrecks and their inhabitants. As I said we had already done something similar in Egypt so this was not the main attraction for us, and yes it was good, but I'm not that in to water/sea/snorkelling/fish so it was ok, you just see them swimming around. Once you've seen it once, it isn't something I'd do again. This is a great way to let children see under water and the fish and if you aren't a fan of getting wet this again is a good way to get below the sea level without having to wear a wet suit. You do just stay over the reefs mainly and look at the ship wrecks, both natural wrecks and purpose sunk ships. This is to help the eco-system and make homes for those animals who live on the reef, like white tipped sharks. We went down 120 feet under water and there is a gage in the submarine that shows you how far below water level you are. This is cool as you can see if you are descending and ascending and how how or low the reefs are on the sea bed. There is a large noise when you reach the sea bed; this is the fan engine keeping you as low as possible. Without it the submarine would just float up to the surface. Throughout the tour is a running commentary of what you can see, where you are, and what is outside the windows. They also do their best to show both sides everything, so sometimes you may be facing out in the busy reef and others you may be looking out from the drop off (for all you Nemo fans) or known as out to sea. There is also a fish card in front of every other seat to show you what fish you may fish but also to help you identify them. Atlantis are a very professional organisation who also make this tour great fun and a good experience to go away with memories that will last forever. My only moan, which isn't Atlantis' fault, is this is a bit boring if you have done it before, I think those who are real fish fanatics and children will like this tour best. We had just been whale watching and seen a 40 tonne mummy whale fully breach out of the water about 70 feet from our boat, so after that a few little fish on a coral reef, really isn't that exciting. I also think it is quite pricey for what it is. I know they need to keep the submarines running and maintained but I was not happy with paying £80, but then that was the marked up price with the cruise company. I would have preferred to pay £60 but again that is £120 for an hour and a half, and the overall experience of the submarine wasn't that exciting. The submarine is fully air conditioned which is nice but slightly cool, I would wear a cardigan. It is also very open and not at all claustrophobic, obviously if you don't like small spaces or not being able to get out, then you won't like it, but it has a tall ceiling and it open inside. I thought this made it feel quite airy below. To me the best way to describe this would be like flying, except better, my ears didn't pop at all. It was something I have now ticked off my list of things to do, but I won't be doing it again. They say it's a once in a lifetime experience, and it really isn't, if you did it in Hawaii and the Caribbean, there may be some different fish, but it is the same. Maybe they mean it is once in a lifetime as in, you won't need to do it again.
On a recent trip to Los Angeles, my boyfriend and I visited the infamous Universal Studios in Hollywood. We had been told by many people this was a must do, so on 29th March 2010, we decided to make our way. **Note** Universal Studios is located in Universal City and is not accessible by walking from Hollywood, you must arrange a taxi or transfer. (Transfer review to follow). The morning was warm and we pulled up outside to see the large globe spinning with Universal Studios written across it. The trademark that everybody would recognise and associate with Universal Studios, so after a few pictures we headed for the red carpet and walked to the entrance gates under the big arch. **The Price** The ticket price was $69.00 (this was the price to buy on the gate, but we also got included the transfer included). This works out currently to be £45 approximately. Although this is quite pricey we thought we had to go whilst we were there. If you are less than 48" then the price was $59.00 which works out at £40, which is very expensive for a child in my view. I would personally say this theme park is not particularly ideal for children and I personally wouldn't have paid to take any child under 48" at that price. The park itself, although child friendly seems more for teens and adults. **The Park** The park is not like any traditional theme park, it is made up of two sections, the upper lot and the lower lot. In both of these lots are 'rides' or 'shows'. Although you queue like a theme park, what you're queuing for isn't a rollercoaster ride that lasts 30 seconds; some of the shows can last 20 minutes. The park is also filled with novelty shops, food outlets and of course the 'rides' and 'shows'. **The Lower Lot** This is where the magic happens; this is the smaller lot (in terms of public access) but the larger overall (with working productions). To gain access to the lower lot, you head towards the back of the park and have to descend down 4 separate escalators (that are longer than the longest London Underground ones) and make your way down the side of the mountain to it. On the way down, be sure to stop and take a look at the view, it is pretty amazing, you can see the Warner Brothers Studio with the infamous Water tower, and more studios in the distance. The lower lot is home to the infamous studio tour. This is where you get to experience the behind the scenes at Universal Studios. As you enter the park at the main entrance there is a large board, this board tells you what is being filmed in the studios on that day, and in which lots and studios. The day we went, the board said, Desperate Housewives and CSI - Las Vegas. I was already over the moon at the thought of seeing two of my favourite shows, or at least the sets and maybe if I was lucky some of the stars. You are advised to do the studio tour first as it is very popular and queues get very long, luckily for us, we went straight there and waited 10 minutes for the next bus. **The Studio Tour** You get onboard the bus, there are rows of 6, it has no windows but a roof (you need it in that heat). Once inside the cart/bus you set off and start the tour, there are TV's in each carriage with sound, you see the tour guide sitting in the front with the driver, he talks you through all the sets and gives you information about what films have been set here. You do not go near the actual live sets so therefore do not see anything being filmed, although we were told he was not allowed to talk for 3 minutes as we went past Wisteria Lane, which was about 30 feet above us on the mountain edge. This totally disappointed me, I didn't think we would be allowed to drive down it, but thought we may drive past the end of it, or of other current TV shows that aren't being filmed on the day. The best two bits of the tour were; seeing the war of the world's crash site, and seeing Jaws. All this really made me feel was let down, I like films and I like the fact I thought King Kong was filmed in some outrageous location, but apparently not. The water and scaled model they used for the film, is just disappointing. I thought films were grand and exciting; all they really are is a con. I find films that are made on location (not in a studio) far more exciting. I don't like flashy camera angles and trickery. Overall I found this rather disappointing and it didn't meet my expectations at all. Also on the lower lot, you have: **Jurassic Park - The Ride** This ride was in my opinion the best, I am a dinosaur fanatic and we had just come back from Hawaii and seen where it had been filmed. (This isn't the reason I thought it was the best). The ride is a water ride, it is designed like a traditional log flume but the log is not single seated it is more of a boat. You can fit 4-5 people in each row and there are a few rows on each boat. The ride is designed that you are actually floating around Jurassic Park. You start off seeing the empty cages and some smaller well known dinosaurs from the film, you really do feel like you are in Jurassic Park and you don't know what to expect next. The ride has been in place for a good few years but you honestly would think it was brand new, the technology is amazing and there is a great surprise in there too. My favourite ride but I wouldn't recommend this ride to little children as it is quite scary and you do get very close to dinosaurs that look very real to life. **Revenge of the Mummy - The Ride** This is a rollercoaster, the only one in the park and by far the best ride for adrenalin junkies. You queue for this ride, then sit in a cart, the whole ride is in pitch blackness and once you think it is over, you go round the track again, but this time the way you came and BACKWARDS. It is pretty fast and quite unexpected if you don't know what is coming. We both thoroughly enjoyed this ride and probably queued for the longest time of 25 minutes. It was definitely worth it. **Backdraft** (Seasonal) From the film (that flopped) backdraft is all about fire, you witness 10,000 degrees if blaze sweeping through the warehouse and see how Hollywood had to keep it under control, and when they couldn't what happened. It is very warm and has great pyrotechnics but all in all it is just some fire. **Special Effects Stages** (Seasonal) The only ride we didn't make it to. We weren't too upset; we had seen enough special effects throughout the day anyway. I didn't want to see anymore, I like believing in the magic of film. **The Upper Lot** Back on top of the mountain is the Upper lot, this is bigger is size, in terms of there is more for the public here, this is the purpose built area and the main theme park. **Universals Animal Actors** This was without a doubt one of my favourite shows (if not my favourite), this is for all the family and those animal lovers. The show opens with a sequence of all different animals, cats, dogs, pigs, pigeons, parrots and many more. The opening is entertaining and funny. The main trainer comes out and introduces some animals and tells you where you may have seen them, they also have the current Lassie. With help from the audience, you get to witness training techniques and see how Hollywood makes the animals look like they are doing what they should be. This is highly entertaining and doesn't ruin any illusions you may have, it really does all come down to training with a little help from camera trickery. **Terminator 2 - 3D** I have never seen a terminator film and did not really know what to expect, my boyfriend however, had a friend at school over 10 years ago, tell him how awesome this 'show' was. He had high expectations. You are invited in to a room to take a tour of the premises of the new Skynet and its products, you then witness a break in and are told by Sarah and John Connor that Skynet is bad and will ruin the future. You then proceed to the main theatre for a show that is 3D and very cleverly done. Perhaps it was more exciting when the film came out and the technology was brand new, or perhaps at 27 my boyfriend has grown out of it. We both thought it was ok, but weren't overly impressed. You didn't need to know the story of Terminator to watch this and it was very clever how the film co-insides with the actors and their roles. **Universal House of Horrors** This ride is a walking maze and is again quite scary; I wouldn't take small children on it. There are real life actors and it is very dark and the aim is to scare you. I felt like I was walking through a crypt and was holding my boyfriends hand rather tightly even though I know it isn't real life; I don't like things jumping out on me. Look out for the notorious baddies from your favourite horror films. Expect things to jump out at you! **Shrek 4D** This is very similar to the Terminator ride, with a simple idea, it starts in a room which turns out to be a dungeon (this ride is a continuation of the first film). Inside the dungeon are you, Pinocchio, the 3 pigs, and the magic mirror. The ginger bread man is located in another dungeon. Farquad is holding Shreks friends captive because even though he is dead, he still wants Princess Fiona. This is one for the whole family, you continue to sit down and watch the big screen and let the story unfold. It is interactive and really quite fun. In my opinion another good ride. **Waterworld** Another flop but the show here in the park is quite active and fun. The arena seats a lot of people; the show lasts about half an hour and is full of action and adventure on Waterworld. It is basically a shorter version of the film, although the beginning is a bit mid film and if you haven't seen it, although you can guess, you might not know who everyone is. This is one where 90% of the audience gets wet, there are jets skis and gun shots. It is very good fun, I'd say better than the film, purely for seeing the tricks and jets skis disappearing under the water. **The Simpsons Ride** This is a simulator, we didn't read this before we queued, or else I would not have gone on it, I suffer from motion sickness but I'm fine on rollercoaster's just not simulators. The queue in itself is quite fun, you get sent in all different directions and it makes you wonder if you are all queuing for the same thing. You are. You enter a room and there is up to 8 in each room, you walk in and see a cart sitting in the room, you all get in and the safety bars come down, you then get raised up from the floor out of the room through the ceiling. This is a building is a screen in which the animation is played, you are in a simulator like many others around you (they are hard to see) and you ride the ride with the Simpsons. The ride is well designed and really clever, I really would have enjoyed it, had I not felt so sick. **The Blues Brothers** Yet another show, with actors singing and dancing on a stage acting as the Blues Brothers. We didn't watch the whole thing but they could sing and dance. **Curious George** A children's area that we didn't go on, us being adults and all. **Food & Drink** There are food outlets that follow: Pizza Hut Express Louie's Pizza & Pasta Mel's Diner Hollywood Grill Doc Brown's Chicken Panda Express Jurassic Café Hollywood Cantina Flintstone's Bar-B-Q Cyber Grill You can also buy an all you can eat pass for $24.99, this allows you unlimited food from certain outlets. **Overall** This was a good day out, the queues were not long which definitely added to the enjoyment, had I been queuing for hours I think I would have got easily frustrated with what I'd been queuing for. As for value for money, I think the prices are quite steep in comparison to our theme parks in the UK and there is definitely less in terms of rides. This is a good day out, it is worth doing, to say you've done it; I would not go back though. They could do with some newer rides from films and perhaps more child friendly areas, like a mini park for them with younger films featured. I was totally disappointed about the Studio Tour and in all honesty that was my biggest let down. I suppose it just wasn't really what I thought, although enjoyable, I think I would have preferred to visit Knotts Berry Farm instead. As for a theme park, it really isn't, it's an entertainment park, and it is good but there is a difference. On a brighter note, this is definitely a place to star spot, we saw Mel B from the Spice Girls and her husband and the kids. My personal rating: 7/10