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Member since: 22.04.2002

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      23.09.2003 15:23
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      This is a review on a division of Tiscali, called Tiscali-Network. -------------------------------------- hlm.yourteambuilder.com www.tiscali-network.com/hlm Just a short few months ago, Tiscali came across a truly brilliant idea on their part, of finding people who would basically do the job of their telesales office by recommending the Tiscali services to their friends/family and receiving a commission for their efforts. But all is not quite as it seems for this is actually a truly remarkable way of possibly making a good income for yourself. If you were ever interested in starting your own business then this might just be of interest to you. Read on for a review of this company: Pyramid selling, mugs game I hear you shout. Well no, not quite. You see pyramid selling was outlawed in the 1970's as being a seriously dubious way of doing business. And quite rightly so. This scheme is called Relationship Marketing. Works in the same way if you ask me, but the difference with this scheme is that you've got the backing of a multi-million pound business behind you, it's a name we all know (well most of us anyway!), and you're recommending something that is actually of benefit to people because you'll be saving them lots of pennies on their internet and telephone bills. And you'll make money for it. Anyway, let me explain how it works and then you're free to make your own minds up! Tiscali is a major player in the telecommunications field. The third largest player actually. It is safe to say they are huge, with the biggest European presence totalling fourteen countries. They're aiming to turnover one billion euros this year. They specialise in providing low-cost telephone services and fast and reliable internet access. Indeed they are the first company in European Internet history to be profitable! SO HOW DOES THIS WORK THEN: ---------------------------------------- Well, Tiscali Network is the Relationship Marketing side of the business. Tiscali Network offers a serious income opportunity for people who recommend Tiscali services to their friends and/or family. And if THEY also want to join the Tiscali Network and become Independant Business Associates, and they ALSO introduce a few friends and family then the earning potential is seems to be limitless. Word-of-mouth promotion - the most natural and successful method for marketing a service or product. Because it is based on personal recommendation or endorsement which is so much stronger than any advert in a paper or magazine; any cold call over the telephone; or any leaflet coming through your letterbox. People believe people much more than any colourful image or well-written text. What would you rather do... go to a restaurant you'd pulled out of the Yellow Pages, or one that your best friend had sincerely recommended that you should try? What about a holiday destination... go with the flashy colour brochure, or the recommendation of a colleague at work who you trust? There are two main ways to earn income: Fast Start Bonuses -------------------- This is immediate income, made simply by gathering customers. Introducing customers to various services earns points. Once you have twenty points you've earned yourself £200. For someone to 'Fast Start' they must gain six customer points within 90 days - this is just two Broadband customers! This then qualifies them for commission, as well as the team building bonuses below. Team Building Bonuses ---------------------- This bonus rewards you for building a team which in turn becomes a substantial organisation of customer gatherers, allowing you to work your way through the promotional positions available. Once you have introduced three IBA's to your team, either by word of mouth or some form of marketing, you begin to ear
      n bonuses. By introducing other people to do what you yourself are doing and have become a Senior Associate, you earn further bonuses of £50 for every person underneath you who Fast Starts. This is paid out on a weekly basis and is therefore immediate income. And the bonus goes up depending on your position: £80, £105, £125, £145, and finally £160 per Fast Starter. Long Term Residual Income By Collecting Customers -------------------------------- This is where it gets really interesting. You see for every customer that you introduce, and also every customer your IBA's have introduced, you earn a residual income on how much they spend per month with Tiscali. And this is paid month in, month out, as long as they continue to be Tiscali customers. So you may not have introduced the customer yourself, but you're still earning from the good work your IBA has done for the team. You really need to view the presentation on the website to gain a better understanding of this. So you can do it in your spare time or you can take it a little more seriously and put time and effort into creating a substantial team, it's totally up to you, depending on how you want to benefit. So what's the catch? ----------------------- Well the only catch really is that it costs £200 to start up, but then most businesses have some form of initial outlay. At least you know you're not paying your money to 'Joe Bloggs'. For this payment you will receive a Business Pack including large ringbinder with a training pack and everything you'll ever need to learn how to do this successfully. You have access to a Tiscali website with your details on it, all the online facilities which includes leads monitoring functions, training info, monitoring hits on your website, automated email responders to each person who has registered an interest, billing information for your customers, online marketing information
      including how to get hold of leads, to name but a few. Everything is done online so for those of you who don't consider yourselves 'salespeople', this is the ideal opportunity. And if you do sign up and you're not happy once you receive your business pack, you can send it back within fourteen days for a full refund. My personal experience has been a good one so far, and it's much easier than it sounds. So, if you were ever considering setting up your own business I would seriously recommend you take a look at Tiscali-Network. Good luck! hlm.yourteambuilder.com www.tiscali-network.com/hlm

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      • Jordans Country Crisp / Breakfast / 4 Readings / 23 Ratings
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        01.04.2003 18:24
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        Twenty three weeks pregnant and the size of a house, that's a fair old description of myself about now. This could well be due to the fact I'm eating everything in sight, with limited exception. Craving after craving, never lasting more than a few hours at a time, I've finally found something that satisfies me in a way nothing else has for a long time. Tinned sardines on a wedge of cheese, topped with sliced gherkin. And when that isn't readily available in the fridge, Jordans Country Crisp comes a close second. Well actually it's in first place, but just didn't sound as good. Jordans Country Crisp - Real Strawberries ----------------------------------------- This has been advertised on TV recently, and as soon as I saw it I was running off to my nearest ASDA as fast as my thunder-thighs could carry me. Sadly the security guard turned me away...apparently the shop had shut four hours ago and I was asked to kindly return in the morning...and in day clothes. Bah, he just does not understand how precarious the emotions of a pregnant woman can be, to be carefully managed by the immediate fulfillment of food cravings. Anyhoo, eventually getting my greedy hands on a box, I sat in bed and devoured every last crumb... Who is responsible for this masticating marvel? ----------------------------------------------- Jordans of Holme Mills, Biggleswade - I kid you not - are renowned for producing quality breakfast products. You may be aware of Fruesli bars? (You know, those 'good for you' cereal bars crammed with hidden fat and sugar, allegedly). Fact: Jordans have made 850,000,000,000 cereal bars to date! Anyway, same people. They're an extremely traditional company, being independent since 1855 when the company was founded. In fact brothers Bill and David Jordan still run the business; Bill Jordan even signs the box himself!! So What Is It? -------------- Little clusters of
        heaven, that's what it is. Crisp clusters using only the finest conservation grade wholegrain oats and barley (essential in the quest for a continuously healthy heart), roasted hazelnuts and a little coconut. Then, in amongst these little pieces of paradise you'll find a pathetic excuse for a slice of freeze-dried strawberry. Now apparently, when you add cold milk, the fruit tastes as fresh as when it was picked. Hmm...I'll come back to that one. About the quality of the ingredients: ------------------------------------- In this day and age when it's so vital we know exactly where our food comes from and what's been added to it, Jordans cereal is a breath of fresh air. As already mentioned, only conservation grade oats and barley are used in this cereal, and these come from a select few British farmers, who are all members of the Guild of Conservation Grade Producers - this amounts to only 120 in the whole of the UK. They use the best farming practices of this time, and combine those with more traditional farming methods like crop rotation. As well as protecting, maintaining and encouraging wildlife habitats like hedgerows, woodland and ponds to create an environment that encourages wild flowers, birds and animals, strict controls are put on the use of pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals. The production of Conservation Grade cereals must not leave any persistent residues in the soil and farmers must demonstrate that they are practising good environmental procedures. Is it good for you? ------------------- Well, the ingredient list is as follows. You can make up your own mind: Wholegrain Oat Flakes, Raw Cane Sugar, Wholegrain Barley Flakes, Vegetable Oil, Rice Flour, Desiccated Coconut, Oat Flour, Freeze-Dried Strawberries (2.2%), Roast Hazelnuts, Sea Salt, Natural Vanilla Flavouring. **If you are prone to nut allergies, I'm afraid this cereal isn't for you.
        **This cereal is suitable for vegetarians. Eating wholegrain foodstuffs is talked about a lot these days. Wholegrain is made up of three different parts - the outside layer is fibre-rich bran, the middle bit gives you complex carbohydrates for slow release energy and the centre bit is full of nutrients. Most cereals include grain that's has been separated, resulting in over-processing. This is done to change the appearance as well as the taste of food too, for example white bread and wholemeal bread. Keeping the grain whole means it's still packed full of its natural vitamins and minerals without the need to fortify the cereal. Can I find out more? -------------------- Jordans have a fairly comprehensive website, www.jordanscereals.co.uk, which is full of information on healthy eating as well as giving lots of information about their company and the processes they use. What can I expect to pay for a box? ----------------------------------- £1.89 for a 500g box, it's not the cheapest cereal in the world but it's well worth the extra money for a little bit of early-morning luxury. Speaking of the box, you'll be pleased to know it's made from 80% recycled paper and cardboard. The remaining 20% is made from 'farmed' trees, meaning these forests are constantly replaced. Now, about those strawberries: ------------------------------ The strawberries are frozen after picking to capture their freshness and taste. Information taken from the box: "Freeze-drying removes the iced water from within each berry, whilst retaining the flavour, goodness, shape and texture. Which is why it tastes so fresh." Now, I have a little problem with this because they look nothing like a piece of strawberry, apart from the colour. Even to the taste, they're not really reminiscent of lazy summer days and picnics in the park. But, when eaten with a good spoonfu
        l of cereal they're remarkably palatable. Unless they've been sat in the milk at the bottom of the bowl, then they become a gooey mush. The results: ------------ What you have is a breakfast delight. It's crispy even when it's been swimming in the milk for ten minutes and it still maintains good texture and resists the urge to turn into a soggy mess, unlike the strawberries. Upsides: -------- Keeps me regular in the ol' bowel department, and anybody who has experienced pregnancy knows that's something to be proud of, and therefore a product to guard with your life! Downsides: ---------- The crispy clusters are saved for the first bowlful at the top of the box. Underneath are separate flakes of cereal - we need more clusters! This does take away a little of the enjoyment, but not much. Summary: -------- Tasty and luxurious, with a great crunch. I don't particularly like coconut, or nuts for that matter, and I just can't stand the taste of muesli. But put these ingredients together and they blend so well, perfectly in fact. So if you're looking for real good old hip swinging, bum shaking, head spinning satisfaction first thing in the morning, I recommend you grab a box of Jordans. Other varieties: Whole Raspberries Four Nut Combo Wild About Berries Luxury Raisins

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        • GHD Mk4 Straighteners / Hair Care / 0 Readings / 25 Ratings
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          27.03.2003 18:37
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          Hair straighteners - what a marvellous invention, provided you purchase the right ones of course. I've had a set of Babyliss straighteners for a couple of years now but they're a bit on the bulky side and were looking a little worse for wear, so a replacement set was in order. Christmas brought me my fair share of dodgy presents, which included a set of Remington SuperSmooth straighteners - now residing in the depths of the attic somewhere. My experiences with these left little doubt in my mind that I was going to have to invest some hard cash. After doing a little research, GHD seemed to come out on top as being the best of a fairly broad selection. There is a catch of course, but I'll save that for later. So, research complete and admittedly only after a little good fortune came my way, did I set about purchasing said straighteners. And to my utter joy, I found it was pretty darned easy too. Here's the info: ****Who are GHD?**** GHD - Good Hair Day. Eight out of ten for originality I suppose. They are a UK based company, supplying top quality, innovative hair products, although it has to be said their product range is rather limited to the ceramic straighteners at present but we are assured more products are in the pipeline. This product is THE hairstyling tool of the moment, and is used in salons around the world as well as being a celebrity must-have. The great news is they are available to order through various Internet companies direct to the public as well as from salons listed on their website throughout the UK. ****So what are these wonderful straighteners all about?**** GHD Ceramic Styling Irons, to give them their true title. The front-line in the war against frizzy, hard to manage hair. Whether this rings true for you or you just fancy a super-sleek, super-straight barnet, GHD are guaranteed to become your new best friend. Long, slim, sleek and sexy, they have la
          rge ceramic plates and nothing much else really, making them extremely easy to use, unlike the dastardly Remington SuperSmooth where you can't find the plates for all the plastic casing surrounding them. Grrr. GHD Irons work ten times faster than ordinary irons, operating at a temperature of 210 degrees. They take just seven, yes seven seconds to achieve maximum operating temperature. What makes them stand out from the crowd is a negative ion charge created by the irons which seals in moisture and natural oils, meaning they won't dry out your hair with regular use unlike ordinary irons. Because of this, hair is static free, glossy and soft to the touch. ***How to use:**** Very simple really. Next to the ceramic plate you?ll find a little switch with a red LED light. If it pulsates, it's still heating up. Once the light stays on you're ready to go. You may notice as you're using them that the light begins to flicker again. This just means it's keeping the optimum temperature. You'll find it's easiest to section your hair and then to run irons carefully down a section of hair from top to bottom. But a little warning for you. These irons get extremely hot. Unbelievably hot. The first time I used them I truly was scared for my life. It's probably advisable to move them down the hair fairly rapidly because if you leave them touching the hair, it'll start to smoke! And of course, be careful when using them close to the scalp, the edge of your face, or your ears. And watch your fingers of course! The good news is that they work so flipping fast that you'll be done in no time - I needed a brandy after my first attempt, just to calm my nerves. If that hasn't put you off, feel free to read on... ****Most suited to:**** All types, lengths and styles of hair. They are extremely versatile, so whether it's a flick, super-straight or cu
          rls you're after, the Irons will provide it. ****And how much will this wondrous invention set me back:**** Ah yes, here's the catch. Erm, approximately £89.50, give or take a couple of pounds depending on which site you visit. ****I've picked my chin up off the floor, how do I get my hands on some?**** Well, if you do a 'Google' search you'll come across various companies supplying them, but I bought mine via the official none-too-impressive website - www.ghdhair.com for £89.50, plus postage of £3.53. The Irons arrived in under five days. ****Anything Else?**** They come with a one-year manufacturers guarantee. Included with the guarantee card are some important safeguards, giving tips on using your new toy safely. These include not immersing your Irons in water, and not using the Irons on wet hair. In amongst the packaging you'll find a basic booklet describing how to achieve various styles with your new Irons, including curls, flicks, and just plain straight. I actually use mine without any product on my hair, shock horror, and after two months of use, haven't noticed any adverse effects. If you want to though, you can also purchase the GHD Styling Oil for £12.95, which will condition hair and leave a silky finish. Bizarrely enough, this Styling Oil is apparently oil-free.....did I miss something?! ****Downsides:**** Yes, there are just a couple, believe it or not: **The price of course. Although it has to be said they are truly worth every penny. **They do take around half an hour to cool down enough to be able to put them away, so you need to find a heat-resistant surface to leave them on, making sure that the extra-long cable isn't in the reach of little hands of course! **Again, due to them taking so long to cool down, you can't just have a quick flick and then be off. No sticking them into your h
          andbag to take with you. And if you're as paranoid as I am, you'll want to spend a good ten minutes making sure they're in a safe place so that they can't set fire to anything within a five mile radius. ****Summary:**** Remortgage, fight, steal or beg, if you do nothing else with your life get your mitts on a set of these. You really won't regret it. I don't even need to re-straighten the day after; my hair keeps the same appearance. And that's a miracle seeing that I currently possess yucky, totally unmanageable pregnancy hair! Although they're quite weighty, they're not too heavy or bulky. Just heavy enough to let you know you're holding a quality tool in your hand. They're easy enough to use by yourself without having to enrol the help of husband/partner/friend. And the result is excellent, even without using the oil-free styling oil! My hair holds its style without the use of any other product, even if it's been subjected to a little water from the heavens above. I'd give it five stars but I feel I have to knock a point off just for the fact that it's a pain in the bum to make sure they're stood upright on a heat-resistant surface for half an hour whilst they cool down. I know it's unavoidable, and to perform as well as they do they have to get darned hot, blah blah, but hey, I'm pregnant and hormonal!

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            01.11.2002 14:40
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            Having previously written about the sorry excuse for a skin-scourer that is Imperial Leather Foamburst Handwash, I couldn't resist the temptation to purchase their brand new bathing product - Bathtime Double Bubble. I couldn't wait to see if they could prove my theory wrong that all their recently released products are just a 'sloppy copy' of the delightful Foamburst Shower Gel. So, will Foamburst Gel be left crying in the playground as Double Bubble steals the Head Prefect badge from its blazer? Let's see shall we. SO, WHAT IS IT EXACTLY? ------------------------------- Double Bubble - it's a bubble bath, with a twist. The twist being that the product is housed in two separate bottles (joined by a very large label and a single lid). One side contains a white liquid enriched with a moisturising milk extract, whilst the other coloured liquid contains the fragrance and gentle cleansers. If you release a splattering of liquid from each compartment simultaneously (which you have to do anyway because there's only one cap for both bottles), the resulting mixture will magically transform into a rich, bubbly lather - even before you add any water. I can't help but ask myself why they didn't just combine them and just have the one liquid - but then I realised this would then be Foamburst Shower Gel. Hmm... WHAT'S THE PACKAGING LIKE? ------------------------------------ It's a bottle that looks like it's been left too close to a warm radiator and has taken on a warped appearance - kind of like the letter S but with very subtle curves. And as said previously, the liquids are two different colours making the whole appearance pretty distinctive. Having a strange overpowering affinity with anything purple (what, you too? It really is a conspiracy you know) I chose the Passion Fruit and Apricot Milk variety, or Dream as it prefers to be known. Other varieties include: Repl
            enish - Mango & Peach Milk (Red) Tranquility - Green Tea & Avocado Milk (Green) Unwind - Orange & Honey Milk (Orange) DOES IT WORK? ------------------- EASE OF USE: Out of sheer habit I add the product to the running water, which begins the foaming process anyway so I don't really see the point in adding the product to the bath before you've turned on the taps, just to watch it foam. Okay, maybe the first couple of times but after that, it's the same as any other bubble bath. But it did foam up quite nicely with just a splash of product. SMELL: The aroma was good considering I had a blocked nose, but bordering on being a little too sickly for me. I'd have to try the others to compare, if I can bring myself to it! The fragrance wasn't just confined to the suds either; the water smelled good too, which made a change from some of its rivals. QUALITY: There was plenty of foam to be had, which was quite silky to the touch and had good staying power. I wouldn't say it was really thick, creamy, foaming madness, but for the price it's about what you'd expect. SEX APPEAL: Once I'd removed myself from the tub I had a good sniff of my body parts and found I was smelling goooooood! But was my skin softer? Well, after a good feel I came to the conclusion that yes, it was. It wasn't quite on parr with a baby's bottom but good enough to keep the husband happy, and I didn't really need to use extra moisturiser afterwards. PRICE: £2.39 for 500ml, which isn't too bad I suppose, and I'm sure you'll find it on offer in various supermarkets and high street shops across the country. INGREDIENTS: ----------------- Many, and with names far too complex for my spell checker, so if you really want them I will supply on request because I'm a thoughtful kinda gal. CONCLUSION: ----------------- It's a
            n okay product but nothing special. Quality of foam was good, with good staying power and fragrance, and would maybe make a good Christmas stocking filler. My advice would be to wait until they realise it's not selling and then stick it on a '3 for 2' offer, or a BOGOF. Oh call me a cynic, but I just think it's the shower gel, in different packaging. Is that so bad? Maybe, maybe not. Although I do have the uneasy feeling of being conned! For those of you who want to give Cussons a call offering their product development department some fresh ideas, the telephone number (freephone) is 0800-581001. And if you would like any further information, they have quite a nifty little website, which can be found at www.releasethelather.com. This big bottle of bubbling promise now resides in my 'lifes disappointments' cupboard, alongside my Foamburst Handwash....and the hubby of course. Oh, and it leaked all over the french loaf in my shopping bag - one of the reasons my hubby's in the cupboard! As payback I made him a sandwich with it anyway - he was foaming at the mouth all afternoon! Thanks for reading :o)

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            • rightmove.co.uk / Internet Site / 1 Reading / 21 Ratings
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              14.10.2002 22:32
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              I've got the moving bug, and I've got it bad. Leaving behind long lazy, warm sunny days in Spain in September, we came back to a dark, smelly, boring UK. It was life, but not as we know it...or not as we wanted it at least. The original plan was to sell-up and move abroad to sunnier climes but found the thought of taking our little one away from her grandparents quite distressing. So after struggling with our conscience for a few days we decided to downsize instead, and put the profit towards a renovation project. I don't particularly enjoy dealing with estate agents; hassling you, phoning every day, pressurising you into viewing properties you really don't want to see (just my experience you understand), so before spending countless pennies on calls to the dreaded agents, I thought I'd check out the Internet. This is when I came across Rightmove.co.uk. You may remember Ian Wright (ex Arsenal football player for those not in the know) starred in their TV advertising campaign a while back, no?! Well, I remembered that quite a few agents were involved with the site; that was good because it would give me a much wider choice for properties. Fasten your seatbelts folks.. ***WHAT IS RIGHTMOVE.CO.UK?*** Rightmove claim to be the UK's number one property website, collating information from the country's leading estate agents, letting agents and new home developers onto a vast database for the likes of us property hunters to peruse at our leisure. Rightmove is jointly owned by four of the largest estate agents in the UK. Over half of the top 100 estate agencies post properties on the website, covering 99% of UK postcodes. In July alone, they had 1.7 million visitors to the site. ***SUPER, NOW DO I HAVE TO REGISTER?*** Registering your details with Rightmove is necessary if you want to receive further details of properties by post; I would recommend it as you can't really use t
              he website to its full potential if you don't, and they do have a data protection policy in force so I think you can be assured your information is safe. Registering is easy peasy. If you type in the address and wait for the home page to load, you will see a 'sign in' tab in the top right hand corner... Once at the membership page you'll be asked for information like: Name Telephone Number Password Email address When you'd like to move in by Why you want to move If you don't want to answer the latter, that's fine. And then we're ready to roll! ***SO NOW THAT'S DONE, HOW DO I FIND WHAT I WANT?*** You'll find subjects like Buying, Renting and Selling at the top right of the page; these are the main categories. From here, you'll then be directed to relevant areas of the website. Now all that's left is for us to find our dream home.. ***COME SEARCH WITH ME*** I wanted to find properties in the Cheshire area for a maximum value of £100,000. So, clicking on the buy tab at the top of the page, up pops a very inviting search box that told me I could enter the region, city, town or village I wished to search in. Or, I could use all or the first part of a postcode. Wow, great choices, especially if I wasn't too sure where I wanted to move to. After reconfirming my location as Cheshire, as there were multiple Cheshire options, it was then time for more decision-making. And you thought us housewives had it easy eh?! Down to the nitty-gritty, like: Size of search: I could expand my search up to a 40 mile radius. (Quite handy if you were to search on a town or a postcode) Type of property: i.e. house, flat or bungalow Minimum bedrooms Minimum and maximum value This done, I clicked on send and awaited a message saying 'no results found' as was usually the case with sites like th
              ese. To my utter amazement, after a few seconds deliberation, it claimed there were more than 100 matching properties. Yippee, result! So far so good. ***WHAT NOW?*** Because my search has brought up more than 100 properties, I can redefine the search to include a minimum value if I wish, but I'm nosey and like to look at them all! So now I have thumbnail pictures and a brief description of each property. I can choose to sort them by price descending if I want to, or I can just view properties updated in the last 1-4 weeks. Also on my results page is quite a nifty little tool that lists areas around the Cheshire region which I might like to try too. I can now view further details of the property - the standard of details is really dependant on the agency, some are better than others. But, you can request full details as explained below: ***ADD TO SHORTLIST*** Any properties you are interested in can be added to a shortlist by simply clicking on the button by the side of each listing. Once you're happy with your selections, one click of the link at the top of the page gives you a preview of properties you've added. From here you can request details of the properties you're interested in via an automated bulk email to the relevant agencies, or you can clear your shortlist completely if they're no longer of interest. And then within a couple of days, usually, you'll receive all your requested details, to peruse at your leisure! A little voyeuristic I know but this is my favourite bit because we're all a bit nosey when it comes to other peoples property if we're really honest! We like to eye-up the decor and see what they've got that we haven't. I like to call it self-improvement! ***CONCLUSION*** THUMBS UP? *Extremely easy to navigate, and the pages load very quickly. *Good search criteria to enable you to sift out t
              he ones that don't take your fancy. *Vast up-to-date database of properties, on an easy to read screen. *Access to information on buying and renting, and selling your property too. *Shortlist function is really handy and easy to use, but remember to have a clear-out once in a while or you won't see the bricks for the mortar. *No pop-ups, yey!! *Automatic email notification function if a property is added which matches your criteria. THUMBS DOWN? *The 'Find An Agent' link doesn't work very well; there are at least six that I know of in my area and it couldn't find any of them. *If you use the back button on your browser instead of the 'back to results' link on the page, quite often the website suddenly become inaccessible and you have to restart your browser, and as a consequence, begin your search again. *Not all agents are involved in the site so it's best to check the likes of Yellow Pages to see which ones you've missed. *Not a huge amount of information on each property; I quite like to see more pictures (again, that's just me being nosey!), and the site only displays a front shot of the property. This website gets a big thumbs-up from me. Very thorough and updated regularly, I haven't experienced any difficulties with properties having already been sold. Very easy to navigate, even for the likes of me, and I've always had details through the post within 48 hours. So whether you're looking for the right move, or just bored and curious to know what your lottery millions will get you in London (if you have £20,000,000 to spare that is!), it'll certainly keep you occupied for a while! Enjoy, and thanks for reading :o) If you've read this already today, sorry...it's the supressed churner inside me ;o)

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                03.10.2002 16:06
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                Well knock me down with a feather if I didn't stumble on a bit of a bargain a couple of weeks ago. Venturing into my local Boots to see if there was anything worthy of living on my very exclusive B&Q bathroom shelf, a nice surprise greeted me when I'd finally made my choices and made my way to the checkout. "Yer get £5 off ov vis stuff if yer buy more than £15 on uver stuff." Which quickly translated from teenage blurb, means that Boots were offering a £5 voucher against a selection of bodycare brands, when you spent more than £15 in the shop. What a cracking idea! I went back three more times that week! Anyway, not particularly wanting to spend any extra, I went to look at the Boots Botanics range of products as they were relatively inexpensive compared to the likes of Roc and Olay, which were the other choices. And a cracking range they had too. I struggle to find time to pamper myself with two babies to look after - a demanding toddler and a big baby of a husband! So this gave me the perfect excuse for a little alone-time. Now I just had the dilemma of choosing from so many possibilities. There were quite a few under £5 but for my first freebie, I chose Botanics Conditioning Clay Mask. At £4.19 for 120g it was easily within the voucher value. Feeling pleased with myself, I rushed home eager to get a little mucky - which for a change would not involve dirty nappies, finger paints and any food I put in front of my darling daughter. *****The Product***** A rare, mineral-rich, electrically charged oceanic clay; this conditioning clay mask contains a negative electrical charge, which acts like a magnet, helping to draw deep-rooted impurities out of the skin without drying. It has hydrating, oil absorbing properties too, to leave the skin soft, smooth and refreshed. *****How will I recognise it?***** It comes in a transparent 'natural' looking tube (the picture at the to
                p of the screen is of the old-style packaging). And being transparent, you can see that the product itself is a rather attractive dark green muddy colour. Lovely. Quite handily, it sticks out like a sore thumb next to the white moisturisers too. *****Ingredients***** Oceanic Clay Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate (spell check anyone??) Dermatologically tested. Made in Canada. *****How do I use it?***** After cleaning away all traces of make-up, apply the clay evenly over the face area, avoiding eyes and mouth, as the skin is a little too sensitive in those areas. Then allow to dry for 20-25 minutes. The recommendations for frequency of use are: Dry Skin: every 10-14 days Normal Skin: 1-2 times a week Oily Skin: Up to 3 times a week *****Step into my bathroom.....***** The eager beaver that I was, and Rachel being fast asleep, I couldn't wait to try out my new product so off came the cap, and to my dismay my lovely clean trousers were covered in a mucky coloured watery excess from the tube. Thankfully a few dabs with a sponge later, my trousers were as good as new. *Tip: Keep the tube upright as you unscrew the lid to avoid any spills. The same thing happens each time I take the lid off; you could try holding it over the sink as you open it. So, I squeeze the tube gently and more watery excess emerges first which I needed to tip away and then came the product itself, in all its mucky glory. It had a very raw, chalky feel to it, not at all what I was expecting. I was waiting for a thick sticky goo to emerge from the tube, but when I began to apply this to my face I found that....yes, it was quite watery! Not at all what I was expecting. Because it didn't have the texture of a cream, it was quite hard to apply, as it didn't really rub-in very well. So I just slapped it on in the hope I was doing it right. Without a
                ny instructions on how much of the product you should use per application (ie apply liberally, or apply sparingly), I just covered my face in a fairly transparent film and hoped that would be enough. Once it begins to dry it's quite hard to add more. Speaking of drying, it begins to dry very quickly - within a minute of looking like something from the X-Files I had turned a much lighter and less offensive shade of green, and as a result was finding it hard to make any facial expressions as it held my skin firmly in place. And so, product in place, I went in search of the computer for 25 minutes worth of reading and rating reviews on DooYoo, trying to bypass any that were likely to make me laugh, for fear of causing myself permanent injury. Ten minutes into the treatment, and I could hear Rachel waking. I went into her room to check on her, only to frighten the life out of the poor little girl and she screamed and screamed, having been confronted with a strange green-faced monster when she opened her eyes. When I eventually managed to calm her down, it was time to remove the tight film that was on my face. *Tip: Warn all family members before application. Send children to the grandparents and lock pets safely away! Using a little arm water I rinsed my face and found that I only needed to do this once to remove the entire product, which made a nice change, and also meant that my lovely white towel wouldn?t have to go straight into the wash. So, studying the results afterwards, and I was pleased to find that my face looked and felt clear of grease and grime and was glowing, silky and soft. It felt tight and toned too, like it had had a little half hour workout; I believe that's because a clay mask tightens pores. My skin is usually a little greasy and this removed all traces, and the results lasted throughout the day. It also left me with a good clean base for applying moisturiser and make-up, and
                it lessened the need for powder. *****A couple of handy tips***** After using a deep cleansing mask of any kind you should really use a moisturiser after to counteract the drying effects of the mask. If you suffer from really dry skin, a drying clay-based mask probably isn't for you. You may find you achieve better results with a moisturising mask. Make sure you marry a man who will worship you for the goddess you are, cook for you, do all housework (any housework will do), and spend a fortune on weekend pampering breaks so you don't have to spend a fortune on products like this one; I went wrong somewhere - oops.....did I say that out loud?! *****Conclusion***** So, all in all, I'm thrilled with my little treasure in a tube. You don't need to use very much, so it's good value for money. And the results are just super. After the second application of the week I developed a few spots but I suppose that's just evidence it's working. Gosh I didn't realise I was so dirty! Speaking of value for money, it's on a 'three for two' offer at the Boots website at the moment (3/10/2002), woo...hoo. Now, where does hubby keep his credit card.. Boots: www.wellbeing.com Thanks for reading! :o)

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                  25.09.2002 19:29
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                  Smelly nappies, baby vomit, Marlboro Lights, sweet and sour chicken and fried rice...you name it, my hair smells of it by the end of the day. So I tend to buy a shampoo and conditioner with a strong perfume in a last-ditch attempt to remain attractive to the opposite sex, as well as making me feel like a million dollars. This is where Aussie Colour Mate steps in. You see, Aussie Miracle Moist Shampoo coupled with Aussie Colour Mate equals saving the hubby a packet at Christmas and birthdays in perfume. But more importantly, does it work? The Aussie Philosophy: "There's more to life than hair, but it's a good place to start." ***The Company*** You'll be pleased to learn that Aussie do not test their products on animals. Not to be confused with Aussies though - I couldn't speak for all of them I'm afraid. Founded in 1975 by Tom Redmond, an American businessman with years of experience in the haircare industry, he developed the Three Minute Miracle Conditioner after a trip to Australia. Forty five million bottles later, of which I can account for around ten of those, Aussie now boast a vast range of haircare products to suit all, including Hair Salad, Curing Muddy and Mango Smoothy. Yum! ***The Product*** This conditioner is specifically for protecting "colour-treaters and permies". PH-balanced, with Australian Wild Peach, it claims to gently condition and protect coloured and permed hair, restoring health, vibrance and shine. As well as wild peach, it also includes in its ingredients, eucalyptus and avocado. The product itself is white, with a rich, creamy consistency. ***The Fragrance*** Well, if you've had the pleasure of using Aussie in the past understand when I say it's one of the most amazing nasal stimulators I've ever experienced, aside from the small crusty bits you find between your toes that people have told me about, but which I ha
                  ven't experienced myself! As soon as you open the bottle, the fragrance immediately struts confidently from its container and winds itself around my very being until I just can't stand it any more and am forced to jump in the shower to use it. ***Using It*** After using my Aussie shampoo, I squirt a little conditioner into the palm of my hand and massage into my hair. The consistency isn't at all sticky so it's really easy to distribute evenly through the hair. And I have found that a little goes a long way, even with my long hair. After letting it work its magic for 60 seconds (through choice), it rinses easily away with water, leaving a mass of glorious, shiny locks. ***The Results*** I have quite dry hair which has been subtly coloured in the past and this product always leaves it shiny and lightweight, and full of bounce. Whether it helps the colour to last longer I'm not sure, as my hair tends to revert back to its original colour within a few weeks of a treatment anyway. I use a conditioner for protection because I have to blow-dry my hair each time I wash it makes it dry and brittle. Using this conditioner certainly rids my hair of it's brillo-pad effect and becomes a soft, strokable pleasure pad, velvety to the touch and with a shine so strong, it reflect a mass of colour. Sometimes, shock horror, I don't get to wash my hair for two or three days but even then, it manages to keep the same qualities it had when I first washed it, including the smell. Using it each day doesn't seem to bring any adverse effects either; it's certainly mild enough for you to do so. ***Why Use Conditioner*** Some may say they're a waste of money. Some say constant use can make your hair heavy, dull and lifeless, but the fact is we damage our hair every day through routine activities such as towel drying, brushing and incorrect combing and styling, which does
                  nothing for the well being of our crowning glory. Using a conditioner will provide protection against damage and my hair just doesn't feel the same without it. When using conditioner, we are advised to apply from the middle of the hair shaft to the ends, and then to comb through before rinsing away. This is partly due to the scalp being rather delicate, sensitive and easily irritated. Some say rinsing with cold water is best and will add shine to the hair. The choice is yours! ***Conclusion*** At £3.50 for 250ml it's not the cheapest conditioner on the shelves, but it's well worth spending the extra money for the results you can achieve, and the pleasure it provides. It's now widely available from the likes of Boots and Superdrug as well as superstores like ASDA and Morrisons. I also spotted it in Wilkinsons Hardware Store for £2.75, so if you have the time it's worth shopping around a little. The only downside to this conditioner is that you'll constantly shake your head from side to side to release the fragrance on any unsuspecting passers-by. I wouldn't swap my Mate for anything, but I don't mind sharing him occasionally. Thanks for reading :o)

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                    19.09.2002 18:38
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                    ***THE AUTHOR*** James Patterson is one of the top-selling novelists of the present day. His work includes the likes of Along Came a Spider, Kiss the Girls, Jack and Gill, Cat and Mouse and Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas to name but a few. He's also had much success from film adaptations of Along Came a Spider, Kiss the Girls and Miracle on the 17th Green (co-written with Peter de Jonge). Previously he served as chairman of J Walter Thompson, North America from 1990 to 1996; he began his advertising career as a junior copywriter with the company in 1971. He went on to become the youngest executive creative director and youngest chief executive officer in the company's history. Having grown up in New York, he now lives in Palm Beach County, Florida, with his wife and their son. ***THE STORY*** The story is a tale of one womans fight to find a serial killer loose on the streets of San Fransisco, whilst struggling with the devastating news that she has a rare, life threatening blood disorder. The Honeymoon Murders, is the name that's been given to the sickening wave of homicides in the area. David Brandt, feeling like the luckiest man in the world is overcome with joy at finally marrying his stunning wife Melanie. Spending their wedding night in the luxurious surroundings of the Mandarin Suite at the Grand Hyatt hotel, they were subjected to a vicious attack which resulted in death, and a deplorable sex act. "What is the worst thing anyone has ever done?" Was this it? Had he just done it? "No, not quite yet.." Philip Campbell said as he lifted the brides beautiful wedding dress... Having performed his first killing, Philip Campbell sets off in search of his next victim. Lindsay Boxer, the tough homicide inspector, usually manages to distance herself from the victims, emotionally, but with her illness to think of too, she can't help but be affected m
                    ore than usual - for all their dreams and hopes of a wonderful future have been stolen on that most precious of nights. But as her illness takes hold, and wanting to prove to her male superiors that she can indeed take the pressure, she forges an alliance with three of her friends, both new and old, to assist in the quest to hunt down the killer. The Women's Murder Club is born. ***THE CHARACTERS*** Lindsay Boxer As her name suggests, she's confident and full of character - she is the only woman homicide inspector in San Fran after all! Her world is blown apart with the news of her illness, but she just can't find the time to concentrate on getting better - the case is too big for that. Still, off she goes for her regular blood transfusions in the vain hope that it'll make a difference and everything will be okay. Jacobi At forty seven years of age he's Lindsays partner, for the moment. She's worked with him for two and a half years. Even though she was senior inspector/sergeant, he had seven years on her in the department, and he reported to her. Jacobi likes to make a joke of everything; he's always got a wisecrack on standby. Maybe he does it to mask the sheer horror they're faced with. Philip Campbell The killer. For obvious reasons I won't go into too much detail about this character. Just to say that he is out to shock; he wants to do the most horrible things imaginable, just to see what it feels like. Just to witness the look in the victims eyes as their very last breath departs their body. To see whether or not he has the guts to do it. "Am I capable of doing it? Do I have what it takes?" Cindy Thomas Small time reporter with attitude. She's sick of being the coffee-maker and wants a piece of the action. So when she sees a way to gain access to the crime scene of the first murder, she takes her chance. An stormy encounter wit
                    h Lin dsay Boxer has a lasting impression and she eventually becomes a member of the Womens Murder Club. Chris Raleigh How can you fancy the pants off a fictitious character?! He is the tall, dark handsome, divorced inspector sent by the Mayor's office to partner Lindsay in the case of the honeymoon murderer, in place of Jacobi. Initially greeted with a cold shoulder, Lindsay soon learns to trust him. Claire Washburn Lindsays best friend and confidante. For six years she has been the Chief Medical Examiner for the San Fransisco area. Ballsy but with a heart of gold, Claire will tell it how it is, and is a tower of strength to Lindsay in her battle to overcome her illness. Soon to be member of the Womens Murder Club. Jill Bernhardt The tough-talking Assistant District Attorney. She fought her way to the top of the career ladder in style. She now has to decide whether or not to put her well-earned job on the line by bringing in the killer, as well as joining the Womens Murder Club. There is one other main character that appears towards the middle of the book but you'll have to read it to find out just who that is. ***CONCLUSION*** This book was probably the best book I've ever read - certainly for a long time anyway. There are enough twists and turns in the plot to make even Blackpools 'Big One' look tame. It had me on the edge of my sun-lounger right through to the end, whilst I lived every emotion Lindsay felt too. Pattersons writing style is superb. I'm a bit of a nightmare when it comes to books - I get bored easily. If the story doesn't grab me right from the start and keeps my heart racing, it will take me weeks to finish. Someone recommended James Pattersons books to me a while back, and in the run-up to my holiday, I decided to hunt down one of his novels to take with me. I'm really glad I did. There are 127 short, sharp chapt
                    ers to the book - all moving at lightning speed, and some of them being only two pages long. This is what makes it really special. The story never slows down. It doesn't leap backwards and forwards, following different parts of the story, only to meet up in the middle somewhere. There are no unnecessary flashbacks like what she ate for breakfast three years ago; each chapter flows gracefully on to the next part. And because you don't have to remember what happened fifty pages earlier, it's very easy to read. This is what will make me hunt out every single book that James Patterson has written, with great urgency. I urge you to do the same. Thanks for reading :o) *I purchased this book (paperback) from ASDA for £3.69 *Published by Headline Book Publishing *2nd Chance is the next book in this series and is out now

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                    • Childhood Memories / Parenting Issue / 0 Readings / 36 Ratings
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                      14.08.2002 22:48
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                      There are few things more precious in life than memories. For without memories we could not learn, and we could not teach. Thousands upon thousands of memories we've stored over the years, many of them eager to be reborn in a story or tale to a young child who is curious about the ways of the world, which he has yet to experience himself. A picture show from an era departed, and with each memory comes a sound, or a smell unique to that one moment in time, as if a tightly clenched fist has seized the moment and laid it gently into a satin-lined box, lovingly tied with ribbon and hidden it away in the darkness of the attic until it was needed again. Sometimes we find it's been stored in a less than ideal place and it's taken in a little damp, and the images contained have been spoiled somewhat, but sometimes it's been preserved so well that it's as fresh as the day it was made. Either way, I don't mind how much room is taken over by these little boxes, because each one has a part to play in it's own very special way. Come with me on a journey back in time, and let me open a couple of these boxes for you. Some of these boxes I've only opened a couple of times to people I love and trust, some of them have been hidden since the day they were made. They're not labelled very well I'm afraid so it's a lucky dip as to which one we get. *********************** Okay, let's see what's inside this one... I can see mum and dad, looking much younger than they do these days, so it must be a few years ago! They're rushing around, trying to get ready for something. A trip maybe. I like trips, we don't go on too many of those; dad's car doesn't go very fast, in fact he's lucky if it goes at all some times. We can't really afford a new one though so when we go on trips we hire a nice new one for the day. Mum looks very posh in her new floral dress, an
                      d she's pointing at a pretty dress hanging on the back of her bedroom door. It's my new outfit, I'd forgotten about it because mum had kept it for a special day. I know where we're going...we're off to see Aunty Lilly. Well actually she's my dads aunt, and she's very posh and she lives in Blackpool, which means visiting the beach and the pier and fish and chips! Ooh, and we can visit the Pitch and Putt at St Annes too, I love that and I always manage to beat my little brother, Mark, but then he is only four! Dad says I'm getting too old for the Pitch and Putt now because I'm eleven, but I think that's just because I beat him too! I love to go to her house, it's a bungalow and it's very tidy and neat, and smells nice too. It's very posh and at the back lives a famous person, Frank Carson; although I don't know who he is dad say's he's very funny. Dad reminds us that we always have to say please and thankyou, and we must talk properly, because Aunty Lilly is a proper lady. I can't wait to go, she always gives us some money to spend in Blackpool, for when we've finished afternoon tea. It's so exciting, but I'm a little nervous about remembering my manners. I think I'll do okay though. Hold on, there's something else in this box. Oh, it's a picture of late last year, and mum and dad are crying. Aunty Lilly has passed away. I feel really sad, the end of an era and no more special trips to Blackpool. ******************** Let's take out another one. Ah, I'm standing at my front door. And I'm wearing a badge. It says Happy Birthday, and has a number seven on it. The house smells so good, it smells of freshly baked fairy cakes and sausage rolls. There are balloons outside the house. Mum gave me some invitations to take into school for my birthday party, and I'm watching for my friends arriving.
                      The invitation asked them to be here for 12 noon. I'm waiting. I look at my new watch that mum and dad gave me as a present, and it says it's ten past twelve. I can feel myself getting upset. No-one has come to my party. No-one is coming. No-one likes me, I'm all alone at my party. I'm still waiting. It's twenty past twelve, my heart is beating very fast. Tears begin to trickle down my face, and I run in to mum, who hugs me very tightly and says not to worry because they'll be here soon. Suddenly there's a knock at the door and my friends start to arrive, and I feel happy again, especially when I see that they're carrying parcels addressed to me. The party is going really well, and we're playing lots of games. Mum says we should play Musical Bumps and she gets some cushions for the floor, and then explains the rules before she turns the music on. The music goes quiet and we all rush to sit on a cushion, but there isn't one for me. But, it's my birthday and I can't be the first one out of the game. I run to mum and begin to cry again, and she says it's okay; she says I'm a winner anyway because it's my birthday and I'm her special little girl. I feel happy again. *********************** Wow, this is a big box. There must be a lot of memories in this one, it's so heavy. It's a little worn at the edges but let's take a look anyway. There are lots of parties, I can see myself at my grandparents house at a few of them, sometimes they're at my house. I must be no older than four or five. The music is playing loudly, people are dancing and drinking. Mum is talking to me in a silly voice so she must be drunk. All of my aunties and uncles are there, and my cousins too. It's getting late and I'm getting sleepy and I want to go home. I'm scared, I know what usually happens next. I try to hide, or pr
                      etend that I'm asleep on the sofa while they're shouting in the kitchen. Everyone's had a little too much to drink again, no-one's laughing any more; the music has stopped. I can hear banging and swearing and I'm sure that if I just close my eyes for a second I'll fall asleep and I won't have to listen to it. I close my eyes and sleep does not come; they come in to see if I'm awake or not. I manage to fool them, but they still carry on. Sometimes I pretend that I'm asleep so that they'll stop arguing, but it doesn't usually work. Sometimes though I get to stay for the night, and then they carry me up to bed and call to collect me in the morning. This box isn't very nice but I'm sure it's still important, especially when I'm bringing up my child. As a result of these memories, my husband and I never ever raise our voices in front of Rachel, in the hope that her memories will not contain any of the ones I have. *********************** Okay let's try one more because I could be here all day, there are so many to choose from. This one is tightly wrapped and the ribbon is torn and frayed at the edges. By the look of it I've only opened this box once before, that's usually a sign of a sad memory. I can see myself at the house of someone I know. I like him a lot, but that's because he's always been there, he still makes me feel uneasy though. It looks like I'm very young, two or three maybe, and he says he wants to go for an afternoon sleep and asks my mum if I want to go too. She says that's fine. Okay, I remember this box now, and it's really not one that I want to open any further. In fact I'm going to take this box and crush it into tiny tiny pieces so that I don't ever have to open it again. ********************** Let's try one last time, oh this is my favourite. I'm j
                      ust one year old, and I can hear the radio playing in the background. We're at my granny's house and I can see mum and dad there too. Daddy lifts me up high and the room is spinning around. Wait a minute, we're dancing! I'm perched on his hip and have one arm around his neck, and one hand in his hand, and we're spinning around and around! He's singing to me. "Save all your kisses for me, save all your kisses for me..." Daddy singing makes me laugh, he's funny! I can't stop laughing, and in fact I'm laughing so much and spinning so fast that I feel a little...oops, daddy's not laughing any more, he's wiping his face with a tissue. He doesn't look too happy at all. Oh well, at least I feel hungry again and can have some more of grannys lovely coconut sponge cake. ********************* So, for better or for worse, all have played their own part in making me who I am today. There are lots that I can call upon to help me in my quest to be Best Mum! There are a few that will stay in the attic forever and never see daylight again. I have a memory that will trigger my every emotion, a memory for all occasions. And it's with these that I look forward to recalling to my daughter, to tell of the things I got up to as a child. Like how I used to fight like crazy with my younger brother, and the time when I told him that I had a direct line to God and if he [my brother] didn't do exactly what I wanted him to do then I would clasp my hands and ask God to do something bad to him. I was only fifteen, ahem, nine or ten at the time so I'm sure the good Lord above will forgive me my sins, I hope! I've relived some bad ones as well as good ones here with the hope that we realise that what we do in front of our children will stay with them forever. They're far more clever than we think! Thanks for reading :o)

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                      • britishcompetitions.com / Internet Site / 0 Readings / 33 Ratings
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                        10.08.2002 03:50
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                        I'm not usually one for entering competitions, I just can't find the time, but I know of people who win lots of prizes from online competition sites. I was drawn to this website from reading a review for a similar one, and I clicked on the link to be pleasantly surprised. www.britishcompetitions.com is basically a website that lists competitions from all over the world, giving you the answers, the link to the company taking part and the closing date of each competition. So, you don't even have to use your noggin either, marvellous! ***REGISTRATION*** No registration is required as such with this website. The only need for registration comes when you click the link to certain competitions, and in order to enter you must first register with them. ***HOW DO I ENTER THE COMPETITIONS*** The home page is very neat and tidy which is a bit of a relief. Everything is easy to understand, clearly labelled and self-explanatory. On the left hand side of the page is a column from where you can choose the category(s) with the prizes that most interest you. The categories are: Art Health and Beauty Books Cars & Motors Computing Electrical Fashion Food & Drink Garden & Home Holidays Kids Miscellaneous Money Music Shopping Sport Tiebreakers TV & Film Weekend Breaks Worldwide Comps Click on the category of your choice and you will be directed to another very tidy and easy to read page, where you'll find a list of shaded boxes containing information, including: *The prize on offer (and quantity) *What you need to do to enter the competition (i.e. answer a question, or register) *The answer (if applicable - not necessary if it just requires registration) *The closing date *The rating (how good they rate the prize to be) *The link to the website, to enter the compet
                        ition Once you click on the link to enter a competition you're interested in, you'll be taken to that company's website. ***SAMPLE OF PRIZES ON OFFER*** These include: *A break at a top health spa, courtesy of Sypradyn Recharge *A one-year supply of Sainsburys Performer Nappies, courtesy of Sainsburys.co.uk *A Peugeot 106 car from Peoples Choice *£1000 for submitting a winning story to Real Parents *Two week holiday to the Seychelles and £500, with Columbia Tristar You may already have seen or indeed entered some of the competitions listed whether via the internet, magazines or even newspapers - they aren't exclusive to BritishCompetitions, they're just pointing us in the right direction. ***GENERAL INFORMATION*** You'll also find a section named New (Latest) Prizes, and one named Best Prizes. This is self-explanatory I think! There is a winners page too, but only one name is listed. Here you are asked to notify them if you're a lucky winner, so chances are people haven't because they haven't read this part of the site. Or, of course, there may just be a lack of winners! You can also choose to enter daily, weekly or monthly recurring draws, including BananaLotto (£1m jackpot), The Daily Draw (£1m jackpot), and smaller draws such as Virgin Money (£1000 top prize) and Bells Stores (PG Tips mugs!). ***MY THOUGHTS*** Expect to see your inbox becoming a bit of a haven for junk email, if it's not already. The companies running the competitions usually collect your email and/or home address details to be able to send you junk, sorry, offers that may interest you on a regular basis. It's easy enough to block the sender depending on what email program you use though, if you so wish. With regards to the data protection act you should be asked whether it's okay for that company to u
                        se your details for passing on to third party companies, etc. There is usually a box for you to check if you do not wish for them to do this. Check the closing date. If there's one thing that's deterred me from revisiting this site on a regular basis it's that it doesn't seem to be updated very often. In fact I first visited it at least two months ago and there doesn't seem to be any new competitions listed, but I could be wrong. Also, the categories are in need of a good tidy-up. Many of the competitions listed have a closing date of beginning to mid July, so some sifting through the lists is required to find the current ones. If you have a competition fetish chances are you've found this site already, but it's worth having a look anyway. A lot of the entries require you to add your home address details, which can be quite tiresome after the fifteenth entry, and in the category headed 'Comping Tools', you'll find links to programs that actually fill in this information for you. These include: *Gator: this program instantly fills in any online form with one click. NOT RECOMMENDED, as kindly pointed out by people more clued up than I am! (Thanks to Jill & wampyrii for the info!) *Roboform: one-click web form filler and password manager. Information is available on the Internet for both of these. In fact you may be able to find one or two opinions on DooYoo! Most of the links to the competition sites work; I've only ever found one that didn't. You can also sign up to the weekly newsletter; they claim to operate a strict anti-spam policy where your details will not be passed to a third party - the choice is yours. I haven't done this so can't comment. All you need to do to register for the newsletter is to supply your email address. So all in all, it's an okay site to visit every now and again. Some of the competitions run for a
                        few months, others finish in the next week or two. You'll find links for contacting BritishCompetitions directly, as well as being able to provide feedback and look through the list of Comping FAQ's. Plus, advertising is limited to the web pages so no nasty pop-ups every ten seconds. An easy to navigate sight, but it won't have me eager to return every week. I've given it only three stars because the lack of updating lets them down. Happy Comping, and thanks for reading :o)

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                        • More +
                          08.08.2002 22:14
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                          I have something rather heavy and loathsome that I'm obliged to carry around with me wherever I go. When I walk into town on a lovely summers day it's weighing me down; it just won't move any quicker than the pace of a snail. It's particularly cumbersome at this time of year when it's warm and sunny and is on display more than usual. My husband has named it Jack; his reasons will become clear later on. He's cheeky like that. It rocks from side to side in shameless abandonment, not a care in the world. It becomes offended if I try to hide it from view, and just doesn't understand why it should be classed by my good self as huge, ugly and downright obscene. It still manages to protrude from everything I try to cover it with. I must admit though, with all the money I've spent on nurturing it each day, helping it to grow, I'd be a very rich woman. It particularly enjoys Chicken Korma with pilau rice, and is quite partial to Sweet and Sour Chicken too, but it's favourite of all favourites has to be Thorntons Continental Chocolates. Before my friend and neighbour departed on a weekend jaunt, she asked myself and Jack if we would feed her children while she was away (two rabbits and a cat), to which I happily obliged. Although Jack was giving me a bit of trouble getting into the rabbit enclosure, everything else was okay. On her return she came bearing gifts, as a thank you for my help. After she'd gone I tore open the large square package to reveal what my tingling taste buds were already telling me - a box of Thorntons Continental Chocolates! Well, when Steve came home and offered me a bubble bath, massage and an early night I said, "No Way! Jack and I are sharing the bed tonight with a box of sheer decadence and there's no room for you!" I switched the TV on and lifted Jack onto the bed and we snuggled into the crisp sheets whilst I took a closer look at
                          my evening's pleasure. The box proclaimed an exquisite selection of fine truffles, mousses and pralines covered in Thorntons unique milk, white and dark chocolate featuring hand-finished decoration. Gone was my interest in the TV, I had need for it no more. Upon opening the pale pink box, I was greeted with the sight of fourteen of the most handsome looking chocolates I had ever seen. This was an 180g box and should last me at least half an hour. I headed straight for the contents card, which described every little peace of heaven in glorious technicolor. Here's what it contained, and my thoughts (censored of course): *** Alpini Hazelnut and almond praline covered in milk chocolate, rolled in icing sugar. 5/5 - This was delicious and thick, but I wanted it to last longer. Same old story. *** Cappuccino Coffee and double cream encased in creamy white chocolate, sprinkled with ground coffee. 1/5 - I don't mind a cup of coffee every now and again but I'm afraid coffee and chocolate together is a no-no for me. Far too sickly, and would have preferred another Alpini in its place. *** Caramel Truffle Soft caramel encased in a smooth chocolate truffle, dipped in milk and dark chocolate. 5/5 - absolutely devine. My second favourite, although the caramel is very soft and dark and not the sweet gooey variety as found in Galaxy Caramel bars and the like. *** Cherry Truffle A half cherry hand-placed onto a rich truffle, laced with Kirsch liqueur. 1/5 - This was very strong and wasn't at all pleasant. The combination didn't really work very well. *** Rich Chocolate Truffle A milk chocolate shell filled with a rich chocolate butter truffle. 5/5 - Oh swoon, just thinking about it makes me reach for the tissues to wipe away my drool. Very rich and very naughty. *** Champagne Truffle A luxu
                          rious truffle laced with Marc de Champagne 5/5 - This certainly wasn't as overpowering as I thought it would be. A very light chocolate and a pleasure to devour! *** Diplomat Sugar roasted almonds and smooth praline presented in a gold foil wrapping 3/5 - It was okay but nothing special, although it did come in nice shiny gold paper. *** Vanilla Truffle Chocolate and vanilla flavour truffle, hand finished with waves of white chocolate. 2/5 - This tasted more like a Champagne Truffle and vice versa; could they have been mixed up? Very strong and quite bitty. It left me with a funny aftertaste too. *** Heavenly Hazelnut A duet of fine pralines sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts. 4/5 - Lovely, lovely. A pleasant, easy to eat chocolate. I could have taken on a few more but sadly it wasn't to be. *** Viennese A feather-light vanilla flavour truffle, smothered in our special Viennese chocolate, delicately sprinkled with sugar. 4/5 - Super, it lived up to its description of being feather-light. I'd finished it without realising I'd begun. Darn, I think I may have to research this one again. *** Apricot Parfait Sun-dried apricot pieces blended in a smooth parfait, sprinkled with golden almonds. 2/5 - A little sickly for my liking, and too many apricot bits that tasted nothing like they should have done. *** Seville Chocolate truffle flavoured with orange oil and crunchy wafer pieces. 5/5 - Now this one really did get my saliva glands going, the king of the box by far. I like the fruity ones. *** Rum Truffle Rum and double cream truffle, hand finished with waves of milk chocolate. 2/5 - A little overpowering, this one gave me nightmares as I ate it just before I went to sleep! *** Brandy Truffle A fine chocolate truffle blended with Courvoisier Cogn
                          ac and fresh cream. 2/5 - same as above. This one gave me nightmares too! ****************** I decided to feed Jack each delicious nugget, one by one until we could eat no more. Completely satisfied, we fell asleep. Jack, of course, is my ever-increasing bottom (or 'ass' as my husband prefers to call it...hey, wait a minute...) The chocolates were a selection of milk, white and dark and were of excellent quality, but very rich so under normal circumstances you couldn't eat too many at a time. And at £5 for 14 little beauties, were quite good value too. They're also suitable for vegetarians. Thorntons have a wonderful website (www.thorntons.co.uk) with every edible pleasure imaginable just a click away from your doorstep, including flowers and wine, hampers, café gifts, teddy bears, and of course their toffee and fudge selection. Also, if you fancy splashing out on a bouquet of flowers for your nearest and dearest, it's worth remembering that if you order from Interflora.com, you can include with the bouquet a small box of Thorntons continental chocolates. For those susceptible to food allergies, most of these chocolates contain nuts, or nut oil. 100g - £3.00 120g - £4.25 180g (as featured in this review) - £5.00 400g - £10.00 550g Continental Casket - £12.00 645g - £15.00 910g - £20.00 965g Continental Heart - £25.00 1350g - £35.00 Continental Cascade, three boxes in one - £36.00 Prices taken from Thorntons website.

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                            06.08.2002 19:12
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                            Dark haired (depending on which day it is) sultry Latino beauty, drooled over by countless men world-wide... But less about myself and more on the good lady in question, Ms Jennifer Lopez, J-Lo. Love her or hate her, most of us can't help but enjoy her music, especially the remixes she's been releasing of late. She's not on my top-ten list of favourite people but I felt I should add a few more pennies to her already bulging bank balance thanks to the handful of people who have breathed new life into a selection of her songs. So J-Lo now resides next to my other recent purchase, Enrique, and if I see any funny business going on, she'll be straight out the window, I can tell you. ABOUT J-LO: Born 24th July 1970 in the Bronx, NYC, she is one of three sisters. She spent a year and a half studying dance in NYC, whilst performing on the club circuit with her dance troupe before landing a part on In Living Color, as a Fly Girl. Shortly after she was snapped up to appear on South Central and never looked back. She quickly became the name on everybody's lips and auditioned successfully for the part of Selena Quintanilla Perez in an official biography of the life of Selena, which catapulted her to international stardom. After appearing in various successful films including Out of Sight with George Clooney, she felt that she now had the experience and the respect of those both in and out of the business to do what she really wanted to do - sing and dance. On The Six was released, an album which took it's name from the train Ms Lopez used to take to and from endless auditions before making it big. It cemented her name in the showbiz world as a superstar. After a couple of trips, ASDA finally managed to put the right disc into the case and I prepared to be dazzled by Ms Lopez. Here's my experience: *********************** LOVE DON'T COST A THING: As the track begins it kindly informs us that this is a remix, just in case we were in any way unsure. It starts off much the same as the original, although you'll find a few dramatic pauses at the end of each verse and chorus. Other than that, it sounds much the same. It did have the blessing of being a fairly funky track anyway so didn't need much in the way of a shake-up and I'm glad they've kept a winning formula here. There's a nice little rap section mid-song, courtesy of Fat Joe. Definitely a toe-tapper, hip swinging, women's lib track. AINT IT FUNNY: Yeah Baby. Subtle seductiveness, this kind of beat is one you could imagine yourself getting amorous to. We've all heard this one so you know what to expect. Exactly the same as the version recently released, thankfully, featuring man-of-the-moment Ja Rule lending a hip-hop feel to this one. Nothing like the original, but then we don't expect it to be. GONNA BE ALRIGHT: Hip hop heaven. Crank that knob and enjoy. I loved this track when it blasted across the airwaves recently, featuring Nas. The downside to this one is that he doesn't appear on this version, but the gaps on the track are still there so it sounds unfinished. It's a great mix nonetheless and one that will be played right through the summer. I'M REAL: This CD comes with a parental advice notice and this track is one of the reasons why. The song begins with Ja Rule asking "What's my F***ing Name?" What's the point, you may ask; I certainly did, sadly he completely ignored me and continued rapping. It's completely out of context with the song, but that's just my opinion! This track seems to just glide on by quite easily without much effort or excitement. The same version as the remix recently released. A good track, no fireworks though. WALKING ON SUNSHINE: The only problem wit
                            h writing music reviews is that you have to listen to each track thoroughly. I could just tell you it's dreadful without playing it all, but let's give it a few moments to grow on me...dum de dum, dum de dum, it's dreadful. "We're walking on sunshine in the middle of the night, and if feels like I'm somewhere above the sky; aye, eyaye, eyaye." Make of it what you will. I personally wanted to make it into loo paper, but didn't have the necessary egg box and washing up liquid bottle. It's got quite an 80's disco feel to it, but the lyrics are fairly weak, and you could get away with playing it in the car without the trashy-music police pulling you over, but certainly not in the house, and only if it was on a hot summers day. But we don't get any of those so, woohoo, I don't have to put myself through the torture again! IF YOU HAD MY LOVE: "If you had my love and I gave you all my trust, would you comfort me?" Any takers? Just as I thought, you shallow, shallow people! I loved the original version and was afraid the remix wouldn't do it justice, but I was relieved to hear that it wasn't too bad. It's a little busy though, and there are parts when her voice has been digitally enhanced (ala Cher). Not quite as gripping as the original but it has a good hip-swinging beat. FEELIN SO GOOD: Another old song given an 80's remix, and I hated the 80's. It actually reminds me of an episode of Friends in which Ross shows off his keyboard skills to his fellow Friends, to their utter dismay. Far too many synthesized mutterings. A rap opens the track which again includes needless swearing - I don't know whether she's looking for some brownie points for being hip and trendy but even though she's not the culprit, it doesn't really go with her image. I actually quite liked the original version, but t
                            he remix just doesn't sound quite right. But it's playable, and not one I necessarily wanted to skip to the end. LETS GET LOUD: There is a definite strong nightclub feel to this track, which isn't really my thing. Lots of "Pump It Up" at the beginning, and then a calming piano solo before the incessant "Thud Thud Thud" kicks in. All of a sudden, as the supporting vocals arrive on scene, the track takes on a completely different guise and becomes a Latino knee-knocker. Were any animals harmed during the making of this track? The song pauses before a crescendo of small yappy-type dogs (I think it's actually "Hey, Hey, Hey")! Not one I could play every day - it's four minutes too long. PLAY: Easy drum beat greets us at the entrance. Then J-Lo enters the room with a digitally enhanced voice, with my four-year-old niece on keyboards (which I've yet to confirm, you understand). More swearing "Play my M-F song". This track is far too messed-up to do anything for you, other than give you a headache. It's a musical experiment gone badly wrong. Not for me, as you probably guessed! WAITING FOR TONIGHT: More techno here too. A strong club feel to the first few opening bars, and it continues in much the same way. Not bad but it's not superb either. If you're a regular nightclub attendee then you'll probably like this track. Sadly I am not! ALIVE: We're brought crashing back down to earth at the speed of light with this track. Whitney, sorry J-Lo goes all gushy with this slushy track about finding her way, feeling lucky and happy just to be alive. She co-wrote it with 'beau' Cris Judd - so the words have real meaning, for 24 hours maybe! Anyone want a glass of Cynical Crush? SI YA SE ACABO: Easy for you to say. Latin Disco, J-lo actually sounds quite good in Spanish. As
                            I was listening I was expecting Terry Wogan to pop up at any second and proclaim "J-Lo Nil Points". Sadly he didn't appear, he would have brightened things up. This is far too Eurovision sounding, although it's a fairly upbeat track and maybe a good one for pre-Friday night get-togethers, or Post-Friday night in a drunken state when you really don't care what it is you listen to. QUE IRONIA (Ain't It Funny) Ain't It Funny - it is! Spanish language version, this is actually quite good, yey! The only problem is that it's been recorded at a much faster pace than normal and when it gets to the chorus and the supporting singers appear, it sounds like they've been smoking dodgy tobacco. It made me laugh though, and I actually played this one through to the end, just to cheer myself up! UNA NOCHA MAS (Waiting for Tonight): Nothing new added to this track, just that it's performed in Spanish. NO ME AMES (Duet with Marc Anthony): Another fairly slushy track to finish off the album, with a very Latin feel to it. It could easily be a TV soundtrack for the Love-Boat maybe. Hmmm. ************************ So, thankfully, I can now turn this darned thing off and in future I shall remember to use the program function on my CD player to listen to the few decent tracks. I was really disappointed with this album, I expected so much more but I suppose it's got something for everyone. If you are open-minded in your musical taste then you'll probably quite like it. It's still worth purchasing, if only for the recent releases as it works out cheaper than buying the CD singles separately. "Hey Enrique...wait up...wanna play Scrabble?"

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                            • Being a Parent / Parenting Issue / 1 Reading / 38 Ratings
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                              19.07.2002 20:26
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                              I know, I know...I've written about this already, but that was a poem in honour of Jill Murphy's four-year anniversary of being cancer-free. Obviously, being Bestmum, I had to write a proper opinion on this topic! So forgive me. Oh, and it's a long-un I'm afraid! You can't sum up being a parent in 75 words for Pete's sake! I hope you stay with me all the way and not find it too boring! As I read around the site I am saddened by some reactions I see on the subject of having children. Everybody has their reasons for not wanting children, and I am sure they are valid ones. These are my thoughts and understand not everyone will agree. As some of you will know, I am a mother of one, Rachel, who is 18mths old, and I want as many children as nature will allow. I know that there are all those potential children of ours just waiting to be given the gift of life. And I want to be able to give all the love I have to as many of them as I possibly can. No, I'm not mad! I come from a family of four and so I suppose it's only natural for me to want a big family too. The road to Rachel hasn't been an easy one, trust me! Four years ago I fell pregnant, and eight weeks into the pregnancy, whilst I was at work, I began to bleed. There are people who bleed naturally during pregnancy, there are even some who continue to have periods as such. But I knew this wasn't normal. I called Steve (hubby) from a side room in the office in tears, and I eventually managed to get myself to the GP. I was sent to the hospital for a check-up. They performed a test to make sure I was definitely pregnant, which I was, so they sent me for an ultrasound scan. It was then I was told the earth-shattering news that they couldn't find any signs of the pregnancy on the ultrasound. What they had found instead was a cyst on my left ovary the size of a grapefruit, and they would have to perform emergency surgery to r
                              emove it. I'm sure you all know what an ovary is - I don't want to insult your intelligence! But just in case, us women have two ovaries connected to the fallopian tubes. The ovaries store the eggs, of which one egg matures from alternate ovaries each month, and travels down the fallopian tube to be fertilized by sperm. I was warned before surgery the next day, that they might have to remove the ovary also, depending on what the cyst was connected to. After the operation I was told they still couldn't find any signs of pregnancy. They had removed the cyst (which thankfully was non-cancerous) but it had taken over the ovary too, so that was gone also. The pregnancy was probably somewhere amidst the ovary and the cyst. Further to this, I was told afterwards that because I only have one ovary, which will make up for the loss of the other one by releasing an egg each month on it's own, it will wear down sooner than normal. This means I have a limited time in which to have children. Although nobody can shed any light into how long that may be, I hope and pray that I can at least have another one. And then after a couple of months I found I was producing milk even though I wasn't pregnant. An MRI scan at the hospital confirmed that I had what is called a microprolactinoma, which is a tumour on the master gland - the pituitary gland - which is located behind the optic nerve in the brain. This was causing an increase in prolactin levels (which is the hormone that stimulates milk production), and was making me infertile. The good news was that it could be treated with horrible drugs, but would shrink the tumour and return my periods back to normal. Six months later, and I fell pregnant with Rachel. All was well with the world. Until it reared it's ugly head again recently. So I am now back on the horrid, horrid drugs in order to become fertile again. All this with time ticking away, and th
                              e prospect of an early menopause hanging over me. I'm only 28! The above experiences have taught me that you can't take anything for granted. We are truly blessed with Rachel and thank God every single day that she has been brought into our world, safe and healthy, to complete us. I can't even begin to imagine how it must feel to be told that you can't have children for one reason or another. The feeling of being incomplete and inadequate must be totally overwhelming and impossible to accept. The miracle of life is beyond comprehension. To give the gift of life to your children is one which comes with pain (emotionally and physically), heartache, and constant worry, but it's like somebody turns on the light switch and you open your eyes and suddenly realise what life is all about, and why we are on this earth in the first place. Everything else pales into insignificance, and your priorities change dramatically. Your heart aches with the love and joy that you feel for them. You would kill for them, you would die for them, and the emotion is all consuming and completely overwhelming. Sometimes it's so powerful it's scary. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ M - Making The Miracle This is the fun part! Find out when your fertile time is (which is usually 14 days before your next period; there is lots of information on the internet) and be advised that you can have intercourse up to five days before your fertile time and still become pregnant, this is how long sperm can live, but you only have up to 72 hours to fertilise the egg, before it disappears. And you thought it was easy! Allegedly, the female sperm tend to be the slower swimmers, taking their time, but they last the longest and so chances are if you did have intercourse five days before, your child could be a girl. The male sperm are the quickies, they rush to the egg as fast as they can but die the quickest, expending all th
                              eir energy! So, chances are if you have intercourse on the day you ovulate (release the egg), you could be in for a baby boy as they usually reach the egg quicker than the girls. I - Inconvenience Some people see having children as an inconvenience to their lives. They're quite happy as they are with their partner. A baby might upset the balance or rock the boat, or they just won't be able to cope, or they can't afford it. Here's an example of this: A friend of mine put off having children because she and her husband were so blissfully happy as they were and didn't want anything to spoil it. But eventually, after a fair few years, they decided to take the plunge and a beautiful little girl was born. He doted on her completely, she was the best thing that had ever happened to the two of them and they couldn't understand how they could have been so selfish. They said if they had known, they would have done it much sooner. On mothers day morning this year, just before baby's 1st birthday, baby's daddy died of a brain haemorrhage, in their bedroom. He was 49. She is her daddy's double, and of the same personality too, so his memory lives on within her. But, it brings home to you what life is all about. Nobody could have foreseen what would happen, indeed doctors said that it was a timebomb waiting to go off, it was always going to happen at some point and they were surprised it hadn't been sooner. You just don't know what's waiting around the corner. R - Responsibility Being a parent is a huge responsibility. Are you putting them into the right clothes, are you feeding them the right things, are they getting enough vitamins, enough exercise, are they healthy, are you teaching them in the right way at the right speed? The list goes on and on. Are you earning enough money to provide for them, are you setting a good example for them to follow...constan
                              tly questioning yourself, unsure about what it is exactly that you're doing. A - Advice The world and his mother offer advice to you, especially when you're a new parent. This can be a good thing, and a bad one too. When you're bombarded with "That isn't how we did it in my day" or "You shouldn't be doing it like that", it's easy to get frustrated and angry but put yourself in their shoes; you would say exactly the same to your son/daughter. We just smile sweetly and agree mostly to what is said, and sometimes it's sound advice coming from a lifetime of experience, but times change and what was good back then isn't necessarily the done-thing now. Our health visitor is great. We've asked her some really dumb questions but she doesn't care. She always puts our mind at rest and offers to come visit if necessary. C - Closeness Rachel walks over to us, and looks us in the eye and I swear it's like she's reading our soul. This brings a sense of closeness to yourself and your partner too, knowing that, together, you've created something so beautiful and spellbinding. Reading her a story at night with the lamp on in her bedroom. She'll snuggle into your arms to listen to the story she loves most, laughing with anticipation of what's to come. Every day brings an even deeper bond, it gets stronger and stronger until you can't possibly imagine it could increase any more, but it does. Closeness with your partner will not come from having children, if your relationship is in dire straits anyway. If your relationship is in any way unstable, chances are bringing a child into the world will make things worse. Certainly from what I've seen and heard anyway. Any problems are multiplied by 1000. A baby demands 100% commitment and we tend to neglect eachother in the early days. Can your relationship survive without regul
                              ar sex from being too sore from the delivery, and so tired all the time for example? Will you be angry and frustrated feeling that you're bringing up baby alone while hubby's out drinking or too busy watching TV? L - Laughter When things seem bleak and you're at the end of your tether, they can always be relied upon to make you laugh. When they put their newborn hand into their poopy nappy and wipe it all over their face, without you realising. Whether they're trying to walk and falling over from failed attempts, or pulling funny faces at you in the vain hope it'll get a reaction. Rachel now tries to copy us when we laugh which is very amusing! E - Experience There are no hard and fast rules to parenting as such. You learn from experience, as you go from day to day. It's impossible to get it right first time, no matter how many books and magazines you read on the subject. I must have spent close to £200 on these items alone, trying to arm myself with as much information as possible before Rachels birth, but nothing prepares you for what is to come. Instinct tells you what is best, and if it doesn't feel right, you can rely on friends, family and the support of your health visitor to help guide you in the right direction. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A huge hug and a big well done if you've stayed with me all the way throughout this journey of mine! I tried to cut it down, but couldn't! This is what parenthood is to me - a miracle; to love and to cherish, to watch grow into a toddler, a teenager, an adult. To be there for them when they need you, whether it's to wipe their snotty nose, or to cool them down if they've a temperature, or they just need a cuddle and to be reassured that everything's okay, or just for a mad hour crawling on the floor pretending to be a tiger! Rachel's still young so I can't give any insight into the later years just yet!
                              I won't lie and say there aren't any bad points. There's the sleepless nights we endured for twelve months - waking at least four times a night. Then there's the frustrated tantrums because they don't know how to communicate in any other way. There's not being able to go out without the whole contents of the house, including the kitchen sink - no more going out at the drop of a hat. The expense of having a baby is huge, but one that you can usually adjust to within a few months, once you've established a routine and given up buying ten varieties of milk just in case one didn't agree with them! But what you get in return is pure unconditional love, and I for one wouldn't have my life any other way. Don't put it off because it's not the 'right time' - it's never the right time, and it's amazing how, when baby appears, it suddenly is the right time, and nothing else in the world matters. All aboard the fastest and scariest crazy-mother of a rollercoaster, are you brave enough to ride?

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                              • More +
                                15.07.2002 19:14
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                                What a fantastic day it was yesterday. The sun was shining, the temperature was rising... The day was spent sipping ice-cold beer whilst watching little Rachel chasing the sprinkler we had set up in the middle of the garden, squealing with delight as the cool water caught her unawares. Evening came and after a tidyup in the garden, and Rachel bathed and put to bed, the shower was beckoning. What a relief. After the warm day there was nothing better to soothe my glowing skin than a nice cool shower. My favourite fluffy lilac towel provided further comfort as I stepped out and patted my body dry. It also gave relief to an annoying itch I had on my arm. After looking for my delicate summer PJ's to slip into, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and screamed. No, not at the sight of my naked body (although it did give me a nightmare or two last night), my arms, legs, and chest were a bright red colour. But I was sure I had put on plenty of high factor suncream, and besides I have a nice olive complexion that doesn't usually burn in the sun, just goes a lovely deep shade of brown (don't be jealous now!). Upon closer inspection I realised that I actually had a rash - on the front of my arms, on my shins and thighs, and a large patch on my chest. And the itching was worse than having chicken pox. It felt hot to the touch and was quite reminiscent of last years summer holiday, where towards the end of the holiday I had to purchase some antihistamine cream for a sun rash on my chest. This was put down to the fact that my body was still full of post-pregnancy hormones and was told that it probably wouldn't last. Hmpf. The itching was terrible, and it kept me awake for most of the night and so at first light I dashed off to the Chemists to see if they could recommend anything for me. After some discussion with the pharmacist who is always helpful in this type of situation when it's not serious enough fo
                                r an appointment with your GP, he recommended a skin allergy relief cream called Benadryl. BENADRYL SKIN ALLERGY RELIEF Manufactured and distributed by Warner-Lambert, it claims to soothe and reduce inflammation and is good for stings, itching, skin irritation and insect bites, and can be bought over the counter at your local Chemist shop. So far so good. It contains Diphenhydramine hydrochloride Ph Eur 1%, Camphor Ph Eur 0.1% and Zinc Oxide Ph Eur 8% amongst others, which I'm sure are kind to your skin! APPLICATION It's a pink paste, rather than the milky cream I expected, and quite thick in consistency too. It is recommended to be used three to four times a day at regular intervals. It's not the easiest of creams to apply and as it's quite thick it's not very easy to spread. No jokes please! It smells too, which I'm sure is the Camphor and I have to go to Mother and Toddler soon so shall sit in a corner on my own for fear of offending other mothers! The smell doesn't last too long though, it's more noticeable upon application. The instruction leaflet states that it shouldn't be applied to raw or broken skin (cuts or grazes) or body cavities (e.g. mouth or vagina!). RESULTS Well I expected to see and feel immediate results as it claims to be active in minutes but unfortunately I don't feel any relief as yet. My skin is still very itchy and as inflamed as ever. But as I've just started to use it, it may well take a few applications before I see some results. Here's hoping. PRICE At £3.55 for 42g I suppose it was a little on the expensive side but I'd have paid £100 if it got rid of the itching. Well, maybe not but you get the general idea. It's a large tube too which I'm sure will last me quite a while. SO WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME? Well I didn't want to bother my GP and wa
                                s considering calling the NHS helpline but I thought I would try to do some research on the internet first. This is what I learnt, which may come in handy for you too: Solar Dermatitis If you have sensitive skin (which I don't have) you are more prone to getting a sun rash, as are children and young adults. It rears its ugly head as small read blisters or small or large spots in areas exposed to the sun. Sometimes it can appear immediately, sometimes after a few hours. And its recurrent too, so chances are if you had it last year, you'll suffer with it this year, as in my case. There is no cure as such, rather preventative steps you can try. For my holiday in August I've been advised to try using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with UVA and UVB filters (this information is on the sunscreen label), with an SPF of 15-25 or higher as my skin becomes used to the sun, then maybe in the second week, try reducing the factor. Photoallergic Dermatitis or Drug-Inducted Photosensitivity Easy for you to say, eh? Some medicines can cause a reaction to the sun also. These include diuretics, painkillers and antibiotics. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you think you may be at risk and they can then advise you on how best to protect yourself. Certain soaps, chemicals, perfumes etc can have an adverse reaction to the sun too. This could be the cause of your rash and it's best to try using a different product to see if it makes any difference. I have read about one young lady who found that the soap she used didn't agree with the sun and after she changed brands, the rash disappeared, never to return. It's worth checking out. CONCLUSION It is recommended that if symptoms don't clear up then you should go and see your GP, who may refer you to a dermatologist. I will definitely continue to use this cream for a week and then go from there. The smell is quite 'clinical&#
                                39;, but it's bad enough to stop me using it, and I would have preferred it to be a little easier to apply as it's a dry paste. But we can't have everything can we. Darn those pollutants and other environmental nasties!

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                                • Parenting in general / Parenting Issue / 0 Readings / 46 Ratings
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                                  Well, when I got the calling this morning, I thought "What on Earth can I write about?". What can I honestly say is my favourite thing in the world. The pressure was so immense; for a cause such as celebrating Jill's fourth anniversary of being cancer-free, it deserved something honest and true. So, welcome to my favourite thing, and before you say anything I know it's not a traditional op on being a parent but I'm not doing this one for the ratings in all fairness...let us commence! One day in 2000, April I think I had a date with my hubby, nudge nudge, wink wink! One thing led to another, Do I have to spell it out?! We had a jolly good romp and were completely worn out! Some days later, well ten to be exact, I began to feel icky, and just a little bit fat. I dashed to the shop, as excited as can be, To see if our family would soon become three. Two very long minutes and a glass of red wine, And I nervously looked up, to see a definite blue line. "I'm Pregnant!!!" I yelled, filled with delight, And I called hubby Steve to give him a bloomin big fright. The months dragged on, so slowly they passed. I got bigger and hoped it'd be over very fast. Then the terrible pain caught me off guard, And after seventeen LONG hours, was told to push hard. "Are you freakin mad???" I said to Sadistic Midwife Sam, "I've been at it for hours and I'm whacked, I am." But I pushed and pushed, and slowly it came, This strange purple bundle which was to blame for all the pain. "It's a girl!!!" they cried, and I cried aswell. And hubby was thrilled too, I could tell. This little bundle of beauty, lay peacefully in my arms, She was truly amazing, and already so full of charm. Bringing her home was a feeling to forever hold, And we ca
                                  n't quite believe she's now 18mths old. After many sleepless nights, and some SERRRiously radioactive waste, We've come to realise we should greet the future at a slower pace. As there is so much each day, that she fills your heart with, That if I needed to, then my life to her I would give. I'm taking about, of course, our little miracle Rachel Jane, Our lives most certainly will never be the same again. She touches our hearts in a way no other can do, With her cheeky curls and a smile just for you. We truly believe she is a blessing from the Lord, To enlighten our lives and make sure we'll never get bored. I love her more than words can say, And when she says it back to me......well, t'will be a very, VERY special day. Good luck Jill :O) And thanks for reading :O) ************************* Jill Murphy asked me to write about one of my favourite things to help her celebrate her fourth anniversary of cancer-free living and to remind ourselves of all the nice things in the world. It takes more muscles to make a frown than a smile you know. If you'd like to join in, whether you've only just joined dooyoo, or you've been here ages, you're more than welcome. Just write about one of YOUR favourite things, make your title "A Favourite Thing: [your choice]" and include this paragraph at the foot of your opinion. And post before Friday, 9th August." ***************************

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