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I first went to see Starlight Express on a school trip about 14 years ago, and ever since then it was my ambition to one day appear in the show! Of course that never happened but I have been back to see the show twice since then and thought I would share my experiences with you.
~ The Show ~
Starlight Express was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and opened in March 1984 at the Apollo Victoria in London. It eventually ran for 18 years before closing in January 2002, however the show still tours theatres across the country. It is the only West End production to be performed totally on rollerskates.
The show and it's songs have been revamped a number of times over the years but the main storyline remains the same. It is said that Andrew Lloyd Webber based it loosely on Cinderella, only with trains! The original set in the Apollo Victoria consisted of a stage with a skating bowl and also some race tracks that went around the outside of the theatre around the audience.
~ Main Characters ~
Rusty - A young steam train who doesn't get much respect from the other trains. He wishes he could enter the races and win to show them what he's made of.
Greaseball - A diesel train who looks and acts a lot like Elvis and fancies himself rather too much.
Electra - An electric train, "the Engine of the Future". Travels everywhere with his 5 component trucks and likes to "wow" everybody.
The Coaches - Pearl, Dinah, Ashley, Buffy and Belle.
The Freight Trains - Flat-Top, CB, Dustin, Rocky 1, 2 & 3.
Poppa - an ex-champion steam train.
~ Storyline ~
The main story line focuses on Rusty, a steam train with big dreams, but whom nobody takes seriously as they think he is slow and old fashioned.
Rusty falls in love with Pearl, the observation car, but when Rusty decides to enter the race, he asks Pearl to race with him and she turns him down. Instead she decides to race with late entry Electra. Rusty turns to Poppa, an ex-champion steam train who tells him about the "Starlight Express", a mythical midnight train who helps other trains in distress.
Rusty calls upon the Starlight Express to help him. Will he find the strength to stand up to the other trains and win the race? Will he get his girl in the end? You'll have to watch the show to find that out!
~ My Opinion ~
I think this show is great fun. Admittedly a lot of the music and lyrics are very cheesy and tongue in cheek but as long as you expect it to be like the you will have a great time.
It is a real shame that this show no longer has a permanent base at the Apollo Victoria. The theatre had built in race tracks and the actors performed each of the races live at every show. Obviously that isn't possible now that the show is on tour. To get around this problem a series of slightly bizarre 3D films have been recorded, one for each race. You get given 3D glasses to watch them with on arrival. This has definitely taken something away from the show, but that's not to say that it isn't worth seeing now. There is plenty more skating throughout the show.
I saw the show twice at the Apollo Victoria and then once last year in Birmingham. They have added a couple of new songs since I saw it in London which I didn't really like to be honest, and the one song I used to love has been taken out. I just think, if it's not broke don't fix it!
Electra's song is still the same and I think this is one of the most impressive moments of the show with regard to special effects, music and great costumes combined.
Despite a few niggles I still love this show and it is great fun for all the family, especially the kids. I would still go and see it again.
I am defintely not a sweet-toothed person and Cadbury's Cream Eggs are something that I only eat once a year when my boss buys me a couple for Easter. Much as I am not into sweet things, I do eat some and never so no to a bit of chocolate!
~ The Product ~
Cadbury have been manufacturing the Cream Egg since the 1920s. They are available individually or in a variety of different sizes of multi-packs. Nowadays they come in a variety of different flavours including caramel, orange, white chocolate and mint. You can also buy Cadbury's Cream Egg ice cream and Dairy Milk with cream Egg bars.
Cadbury have used a series of well known advertisements for the cream egg, the most famous ones having the well known theme of "How do you eat yours?".
The outer "shell" of the traditional cream egg is made a thick layer of Cadbury's milk chocolate in the shape of a small egg, approximately 2 inches tall. The inside of the egg is made from a white and yellow fondant which resembles the yolk of an egg.
~ The Packaging ~
The egg is wrapped in a thin layer of foil, originally in red, yellow and blue, although later the blue was replaced by purple. In the United States, some green is also incorporated into the design. The wrapping used to feature the Cadbury's Cream Egg Chick, the product's mascot, but this doesn't tend to be used anymore.
~ My Opinion ~
I have always been a fan of Cadbury's milk chocolate and the outer shell is as delicious as any of their chocolate. The fondant on the inside is also very tasty, very sugary and sweet. I do find though that the two combined are just too much for me, and although the egg itself is not that big, I usually struggle to eat a whole one.
They can be slightly awkward to eat, it is very difficult to do without getting your fingers sticky in some way! I find that the chocolate tends to melt quite quickly when you are holding it which can become very messy. If you leave the foil wrapping on the bottom half to hold it then sometimes this gets stuck to the melted chocolate and bits get left behind on the egg. There is nothing worse than accidently getting a bit of foil wrapping in your mouth!! Oooo! Anyone who has done this will know what I mean!
A nice treat if you can stand the sweetness but not for me.
I have had a few goldfish over the years. I bought my first one when I was very young after my brother won himself one at a fair. We didn't have a proper tank to put them in so we found a glass bowl to use instead. It wasn't long before they both became ill and sadly died. The truth is, keeping healthy goldfish is not as simple as a lot of people think, and although they are relatively easy to look after, there IS some work involved.
A few years ago I bought some orandas and this time I did things properly!
~ Tank ~
It is worth investing in a decent tank for your fish, you don't have to spend a fortune. A glass bowl simply won't do because it doesn't have any waste management and the water will become contaminated quickly and poison the fish. The size of the tank will depend on how many fish you have and how big they are. You can buy starter kits from around £20 and these include a small tank and all the accessories you need to go with it. Goldfish tend to grow in proportion to the size of their tank, so if you move them into a bigger one it is likely they will grow a bit!
You will definitely need a filter, this helps to keep the water clean and free of any waste that can become poisonous to the fish. Filters come in different sizes and types so you need one to suit the size of your tank. You will also need an air pump to circulate oxygen through the water. Adding waterweed to the tank can also help to keep the oxygen levels up which is healthy for the fish.
The bottom of the tank should be covered in gravel. Fish love to nose around in it and it comes in all kinds of colours so you can use it to brighten up your tank. I have found that some gravels are better than others. Some types can be very dusty and make the water cloudy if you don't rinse it thoroughly before adding it to the tank. You should do this anyway even if it doesn't appear dusty to get rid of anything that might contaminate the water. The size of the gravel should also be taken into consideration as I have had a couple of occassions where my fish have got gravel stuck in their mouth and I have had to remove it for them. I don't think it's a big problem though.
You can buy various ornaments to decorate you fish tank and to keep the fish amused, mine especially seemed to like having tunnels to swim through. The price of the toys vary and some can be quite expensive but if you use your imagination you can find things around the house or garden to use, as long as they won't harm the fish.
When cleaning the tank, never use any sort of detergent or bleach as this will kill the fish, even if you think you have rinsed it all off. Don't forget to clean the gravel thoroughly too. I find that this is easiest using a sieve or colinder and rinsing it under the tap or shower.
When putting fresh water into the tank, you need to treat it first to remove the chlorine which will harm or kill the fish. This is easy enough to do, you can buy bottles of liquid to treat it with from pet shops. Normally you just need to add a few drops or capfuls and it will work almost immediately.
After I had cleaned out my fish tank I would normally leave it to settle for a little while with the air pump on before putting the fish back in. This also gives the water a chance to adjust to room temperature.
~ Feeding ~
Goldfish are very easy to feed. Mine used to eat Tetrafin Flakes which provide them with a balanced and nutritional diet. They only need feeding once a day and should only be given as much as they can eat in one go. Any uneaten flakes should be removed from the tank with a net to help keep the water clean. Over-feeding the fish will result in the water becoming contaminated which will kill the fish. This is probably the most common mistake that people make with goldfish.
~ Breeding ~
I am no expert in breeding goldfish and have never set out to intentionally do so, however it did happen by accident with my two red and white orandas!
It is as good as impossible to determine the gendre of goldfish so if you have more than one there is always the chance that this might happen.
The first thing I noticed was that one of them started behaving quite aggressively towards the other, ramming her into the weeds with his head. After reading around on the internet I discovered that this is actually mating behaviour. One of the fish then began to look quite fat and lo and behold a short while later I came home from work to find the fish tank covered in little white eggs!
Not having the proper fish breeding equipment and not really knowing what to do I moved the adult fish into another tank to stop them eating the eggs. Eventually they hatched into little "fry" and I bought some Liquifry food (a liquid food for baby fish) to feed them with. Sadly over the next 3 months or so they gradually died out until there were none left.
The only advice I can give is to be aware that this can happen and to be more prepared than I was!
~ Illnesses ~
Again, I am no expert but my fish did become ill on a couple of occassions. Once when my filter wasn't working properly and the water became contaminated. Ill fish tend to float around on their side or upside down. They swim around like they have no sense of balance. If you see this happening then there is something wrong and the first thing to check is the water quality.
One of my chocolate orandas became ill with Dropsy. This is a very contageous disease with fish and it makes them swell up like a balloon and their scales stick outwards. You should immediately remove the sick fish from the tank before it spreads to the other fish. Sadly my oranda died from this, unfortunately by the time the symptoms of Dropsy become obvious it is often too late to save them.
~ My Opinion ~
Goldfish make good pets and if you have several of them it can become a bit of a hobby. I also find them very relaxing to sit and watch, it can be very therapeutic! The bigger the tank though the more work is involved in cleaning it so bear that in mind! They have a reputation for being easy to look after but that doesn't mean no work at all!
~ Overview ~
I have always been an animal lover but must admit that birds were never top of my list of favourite pets to keep. That is until I decided to take pity on an unwanted green and yellow budgie called Rocky and decided to give him a new loving home. This is a review of my own experiences of keeping a budgie and all the pros and cons.
~ Feeding ~
There are lots of opinions about what you should and shouldn't feed budgies, and many say that their life span (normally 5-7 yrs but can be as much as 10-12 yrs) highly depends on what you feed them. Like the majority of budgies, Rocky has a basic diet of Trill budgie food which is a mixture of different seeds that give them most of the nourishment they need. It is good to supplement this with fresh fruit and vegetables, although after trying every trick in the book I have still failed to get Rocky to eat any! I don't think he was ever fed any fresh food before I got him and so he seems to be a bit suspicious of it.
It is also ok to feed budgies limited amounts of treats. These often come in the form of seed sticks or bells with extra ingredients like honey or fruit. But Rocky's absolute favourtie treat is millet. He goes mad for the stuff, and given half a chance he would probably live on it! Remeber not to give them too much though, they need to eat plenty of their Trill before anything else.
~ Cage ~
A budgies cage should be of a decent size so that they can move around and get some sort of exercise. An aviary is even better as they might have room to fly a little. Rocky just has a cage but he is let out to fly around the living room on a regular basis giving him the exercise that he needs. I never have to worry too much about catching him again because he feels much safer in his cage and tends to get back in there himself when he has had enough! Some people prefer to get their budgie's wings clipped so that they cannot fly. I suppose it depends if you have somewhere suitable for them to stretch their wings.
Their cage should be lined with sand sheets. Some people prefer to use loose grit but I prefer the sheets just because it is slightly easier to clean out. Rocky also has sand coated perch covers. Both of these things are great for budgies to nibble at. The grit is good for them and helps their digestion.
Budgies should be provided with some toys to play with. They are intelligent creatures and need mental stimulation. Don't overcrowd the cage with toys though, just a few will do. They especially like to have bells to ring but there are a variety of different toys to buy for a small amount of money. As Rocky lives on his own he has got a mirror to give him some company. Some people say that you shouldn't give single budgies a mirror as like Narcissus, they can fall in love with their own reflection, but I haven't seen any evidence that this is true!
They should of course be provided with a constant supply of fresh water at all times. Their cage should be cleaned out on a regular basis as and when needed, probably every few days.
~ Other information ~
Budgies need to be kept in an area where people are around and they will be given a lot of attention. Unless of course they live in a large aviary with lots of other birds. Budgies are very sociable birds and need company. The more attention you give them, the more you will be rewarded in return. If you are patient enough you can teach them tricks or even teach them to talk. They have very small voices, not like parrots, but they are perfectly capable of speaking. Male birds are often better speakers.
At the very least you should be able to hand tame your budgie to sit on your finger, as long as you start training him/her early enough. Rocky won't do this as he was never handled when he was young. But he is still much more trusting than when I first got him. There's still a little hope that he will willingly sit on my finger one day!
~ My Opinion ~
Budgies make wonderful companions as they are very sociable. They have big personalities and can be very rewarding as pets. They are extremely intelligent and it's fun to teach them tricks and to talk.
You have to be prepared for a lot of mess! Especially when they eat a lot of millet, or they are moulting. You'll be finding feathers and bird seed in the stranges of places for ages!
They can also be very noisy. Rocky goes beserk if there is music on the TV or if he can hear seagulls outside. He is normally good as gold at night though and as soon as the lights go out he is quiet as a mouse until the morning.
Overall, they are very rewarding pets. Especially if you live somewhere where you can't keep a cat or a dog but want something a little more exciting than a goldfish. (No offense to goldfish as I have kept those myself too!).
Rats are probably one of the most misunderstood pets around. They have the misfortune of their wild cousins being associated with sewers, spreading diseases and being generally filthy animals. For domesticated fancy rats that couldn't be further from the truth. They are extremely loving and affectionate animals and very, very intelligent and clean. They can also be highly amusing and a lot of fun.
Now I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on the different varieties of rats and how to breed them, etc. but I can share with you my experiences of keeping rats as pets.
I have now owned three lovely rats. The first one I bought while I was a student at university. He was a male white fancy rat with a lovely nature. He used to ride around the house on my shoulder or cuddle up on the back of my neck under my hair and go to sleep. One word of warning if you let your rat do this, they have a tendancy to wee down your neck! Not a pleasant experience! Male rats tend to be slightly more smelly in that department than female rats but this is not a problem if you clean out their cage regularly, at least once a week.
I have never been bitten by a rat in all the time I have kept them. Unlike hamsters, they are so gentle and would normally only bite if they really felt threatened.
Every rat has it's own personality. My current two female rats are so different. They are just over 4 months old now and their individual characters are really coming out. One is a black and white hooded fancy rat and she is very big and boisterous, although still as good as gold when you handle her. The other one is a smaller topaz fancy rat and she is very sweet and gentle. Having said that, she doesn't put up with any nonsense from the bigger rat! They love each other but they like to play fight and wrestle a lot! This can be very funny to watch but I tend to break it up if they start getting a bit rough.
Rats are extremely inquisitive animals and love to investigate everything. I love letting them out of the cage to have a run around but you need to be careful that there are no holes they can disappear down or electric cables to chew through. I always keep an eye on my rats when they are out but they still managed to destroy 3 of my favourite t-shirts trying to turn them into a nest!
Rats are very intelligent animals and their cages need to have plenty of things for them to do to keep them stimulated. Something as simple as a cardboard toilet roll will keep them amused for quite a while and it gives them something to chew. I have also hung a thick rope from the ceiling of my rats cage for them to play with and climb.
When I bought my newest rats back in December it became apparent that things have changed a lot since I bought my first one regarding how you should best look after them. For starters a lot of places no longer sell rats individually, only in pairs as they need the company. Also my first rat used to have sawdust in the bottom of his cage. Nowadays they recommend using paper-based cat litter instead, firstly because it stops it smelling so much and secondly because sawdust can cause supposedly skin conditions which are common in rats. The correct cat litters normally come with a symbol showing that they are safe for use with small caged animals.
There are various rat foods on the market but I personally feed my rats with Reggie Rat food and then supplement this with fresh vegetables and sunflower seeds (which they go absolutely mad for!). There are other cheaper foods out there but as long as they get a complete and varied diet it doesn't really matter which one you choose.
One thing I like to do on a weekly basis is to give my rats a bath! Rats are very clean animals anyway but having a bath helps to keep their fur and skin extra clean which helps to prevent them getting skin problems such as eczema. Admittedly the first time I did this they were a little taken aback! One of then didn't mind too much but the other one started doing vertical take-offs which was very funny to watch but not so amusing for the rat! Once they realised that they were not going to get hurt they decided that actually they quite liked it. I normally start off with very shallow slightly warm water and let them have a good scrub. Then I make the water a bit deeper so they can have a short swim.
Rats are also very good at learning tricks. I admit I have never really attempted to teach any of mine anything but I might try a spot of tight-rope walking with these two!
I have just switched my two rats on to this food and they absolutely love it. I also had a rat several years ago and this was a favourite with him too.
Reggie Rat food is complete balanced diet food for rats, containing all the essential vitamins and minerals although I like to supplement mine with plenty of fresh vegetables and sunflower seeds too. Oh, and the odd treat! It also contains chicken as a source of protein and doesn't contain seeds or nuts because these can cause skin problems in rats, which is very common in my experience.
Reggie Rat is made by a company called Supreme Petfoods, who's complete range includes Russell Rabbit, Gerty Guinea Pig, Harry Hamster and Frankie Ferret among others.
The main ingredients of Reggie Rat food are as follows:
Ground wheat, toasted wheat, corn, flaked corn, whole oats, dehydrated alfalfa pellets, flaked field peas, flaked beans, dehulled soybean meal, straw pellets, oat middlings, soybean oil.
The Guarnteed Analysis as specified on the packet is:
Crude Protein (minimum) - 12.5%
Crude Fat (minimum) - 3.0%
Crude Fiber (minimum) - 6.0%
Crude Fiber (maximum) - 8.0%
Calcium (minimum) - 0.3%
Calcium (maximum) - 1.0%
Phosphorus(minimum) - 0.3%
The food itself is quite chunky with plenty of biscuity bits which is really good for keeping their teeth healthy.
It is available in various sizes including 1kg, 3kg and 15kg.
The last packet I bought (1kg) cost me £1.99 although this varies from shop to shop. It is slightly more expensive than the previous brand I was recommended by the shop where I bought the rats, however the rats didn't seem to like all the seed that that food contained and ended up wasting at least a third of the bag of food. I was also worried that they weren't getting a complete diet by leaving the seed so I switched them on to Reggie Rat and now they eat every scrap! So although it costs a little more, I still think it is worth it as they don't waste any and it probably saves me money in the long run!
It is hard to say yet if the change in diet has made them look healthier, they are both still young anyway and looked healthy to start with. But Reggie Rat is supposed to help them get really healthy, glossy coats.
Overall, I love this food (not that I have tried it myself!) and I would recommend it to any other rat owners.
I have wanted one of the George Foreman grills for some time after recommendations from friends, and last Christmas my father was kind enough to buy me one as a present. The particular model he bought me (the GR26 Silver George) was £49.99 from Debenhams.
This machine is just brilliant and though some models may seem pricey they are certainly worth the money. You can often get them cheaper in the sales anyway.
My particular model is silver on the outside, it opens like a sandwich toaster to reveal two non stick grilling plates. It also has a simple timer on the lid that you set for however long you wish to cook your food for. Handy if like me you are good at forgetting about things and burning them!
To use the grill you simply wipe the plates with a little oil and then plug it in and switch it on to heat up. I find food cooks more quickly than in a regular grill as it is cooking both sides at once. The plates are tilted towards the front of the grill allowing the excess fat to run out of the food. The grill comes with two plastic trays in which to catch the fat and also two spatulas designed to fit the ridges of the grill, handy for cleaning as well as using with the grill.
The amazing thing about this grill is the astonishing amount of fat that comes out of some foods. It really is quite disgusting but great to think how much healthier you food is now that all that fat has been removed.
The only slight downside I can think of is that on this particular model the grill plates are not removable making cleaning it not quite as easy as it could be. Having said that, it really isn''t a big problem and there are other models you can buy which do allow you to remove the plates.
The range of food you can cook in one of these grills is as limited as your imagination. So far I have tried various meats, fish and vegetables and all have come out absolutely delicious. The grill comes with a recipe leaflet and instruction book which tells you how best to look after it.
I would recommend this grill to anyone, it is brilliant, very easy to use and produces tasty healthy food.
This review is based on the one and only time I have ever flown with Lufthansa, and believe me it will never happen again!!
It was on the last leg of my journey back from New York. I had managed to save about £100 by choosing to fly to Germany and then to get a short flight back from Frankfurt to London Heathrow with Lufthansa. At the time I thought it was worth it but now I wish I had just paid the extra money for a direct flight!
On arriving at Frankfurt I made my way down to the gate for my next flight back to London. Having gone through the gate we (my father and I) realised that there were no refreshments whatsoever once you had gone through but by then it was too late so we couldn't even get a coffee to aid our jet lag. OK that's the airports fault so is probably irrelevant to this review. We then waited to board our flight but after a very long time waiting and wondering what on earth was going on we were eventually informed that our flight was delayed because the planes windscreen was iced up and it couldn't fly! Eventually we were driven a very long way out to another plane and hurried along by some very impatient and rude staff. The captain of the plane was actually on our bus so he hadn't been given any time to do any checks before the passengers boarded.
Once we arrived at the plane there was no orderly boarding by row numbers like you usually get. Instead they just told everyone to get on as quickly as possible. The plane we were put on had very narrow aisles, not really enough room for two people to pass each other, let alone with luggage too. So of course everyone just got stuck in the middle of the plane and were completely unable to get to their reserved seats. For a few minutes there was a lot of pushing and shoving and then suddenly the plane began to move. The air stewards panicked and shouted at everyone to sit wherever they could get a seat. My father and I were fortunate to grab a seat next to where we stood. Many other people battled for seats as the plane continued to taxi to the runway. One poor lady was left without a seat. The flight had obviously been overbooked so she had to sit with the air stewards. She was barely sat down when the plane took off.
Once we were on our way the food was served. It consisted of a disgusting roll which nobody ate, a packet of ready salted crisps and some ice cream, which quite frankly we didn't need on a day where temperatures were well below zero!
During the flight there was a very scary moment when the plane lurched and started descending very suddenly. On looking out the window another aircraft had come very close to us. I can't say if this is the reason we lurched like that but I can say that I didn't feel the slightest bit safe on that plane.
I can't tell you how glad I was to get off at Heathrow. Aside of all the dramas mentioned above, the plane was very uncomfortable and cold. The staff couldn't have been more unfriendly and the whole trip was a complete health and safety joke.
After getting back to England I tried to complain to Lufthansa but never got a respone out of them. That's why I am writing this review, I had to get this off my chest and warn others of what this airline are capable of and the danger they are prepared to put their passengers in.
I would never fly with this airline again, I value my life too much! It's a shame I have to give them one star because they don't even deserve that.
I bought this camera when they first came on the market. At the time I couldn't afford a decent digital camera and this seemed like a cheap alternative at £39.99. It comes with software CD, strap, USB cable, manual and tilt stand.
Unfortunately you really do only get what you pay for. The camera works well in bright sunlight and takes half decent pictures, although not amazing quality. But in any other light it is no use to anyone. The pictures go grainy and dark, there is no flash so it simply doesn't work. You'd be better off buying a disposable camera instead.
The camera takes a single AAA battery and eats up the power very quickly. You will go through an awful lot of batteries and if you use the camera a lot, the amount you spend on batteries would be better spent on a slightly more expensive camera.
The Sipix Blink doubles up as a webcam which can be fun, but again this only works in good lighting. After dark it is pointless even trying, even with artificial lighting unless it is really bright.
You can also film short movies with this camera, although obviously they are of limited quality and length.
Overall, I would say this is a fun toy for messing about with friends but nothing more. Do not buy it if you want a decent camera because it cerrtainly isn't that.
This film is an absolute classic for children and adults alike. I have been a fan of this film for the last 20 years and still never get bored of watching it. The amazing puppetry creations from Jim Henson and the wonderful range of songs from David Bowie make this film stand out from any other. The imaginations of the creators of have no limits making this one of the best (or possibly THE best) fantasy film of all time. Bowie does a wonderful job at playing Jareth the Goblin King, as does Jennifer Connelly in her role as Sarah, who's baby brother Toby gets taken away by Jareth and taken to the castle at the centre of the labyrinth. The film focuses on Sarah's journey through the labyrinth to rescue him and the range of weird and wonderful creatures she encounters along the way is fantastic.
Being an old film, the DVD extras aren't extensive but it does include a very interesting 'Making Of' feature which is well worth a watch.
Some say this film is dated, well that's inevitable, it is 21 years old after all, but it isn't nearly as dated as some other films made around that time. And to be honest I don't think it matters anyway, this is a timeless classic which I will probably continue to enjoy watching for another 20 years at least!
The particluar model I am reviewing is the Hyundai Accent Coupe 1.3i 1998(S) which is the older style with the more rounded look. I personally prefer the look of these to the newer style but that's just a matter of taste.
I bought my Hyundai Accent 6 years ago when it was 3 years old. My father was the previous owner so the car has been in the family since it was new.
To be fair, this has been a very reliable car. It hasn't failed to start once in all it's life (touch wood!) and has only broken down once in 9 years when a heat guard from the engine came loose and fell against the radiator causing the car to overheat. OK the heat guard shouldn't have fallen off but these things happen occasionally and where it fell was more bad luck than anything.
I have found this car very comfortable and spacious considering that it's overall size is not that large. I normally drive alone to work and back but when I do have passengers they find the car a comfortable size. There is perhaps limited leg room in the back for very tall people but the front seats are easily adjustable to make more room.
One thing I love about this car is the huge boot. For a car of this size it is one of the most spacious boots I have seen. My particular model of Hyundai Accent is very basic and the interior is nothing special although perfectly ok. It has the basic mod cons such as radio/tape player, cigarette lighter, heaters, etc but nothing "flashy". This has never bothered me really although it's nice to have these things. The car does give the impression of being very cheaply made. There is nothing that screams of real quality, however this doesn't mean that there is anything actually wrong with it and Hyundai don't seem to have compromised the reliability of the car by making it cheaply.
The major downside of this car in my opinion is the handling. The car is very light and although it is perfectly ok to drive most of the time, it can be a bit hazardous in wet weather. I had one instance myself where the brakes locked and I lost control on a wet road. I was travelling relatively slowly at the time but it is surprising how little it takes to lose control of this car.
One other problem I find with this car is that when travelling up steep hills in heavy traffic, if you use clutch control for any length of time the clutch starts slipping and it can be very difficult and sometimes impossible to get the car back into gear. It doesn't happen very often but is very annoying when it does.
I have also had some problems with the brakes on this car making loud scraping noises. They have always worked effectively but seem to need adjusting occassionally. After selling this car to me, my father bought the newer model and he has recently had the same problem with his brakes and with the handbrake not releasing.
Back onto a positive note, the Hyundai Accent 1.3 is very petrol efficient, you get a lot of miles to the gallon. It is also relatively cheap to insure and makes a good first car for a new driver if they want something a bit bigger than a Fiesta.
Overall this is a cheap and reliable car but you do get what you pay for, which isn't much in the cheaper models. The more expensive models may well be better all round but in my experience with this model this car is nothing special.