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There are two types (to my knowledge) of Bob Martin litter tray liners. The first type are the cheap, plastic ones that you get in packs of 6. These are rubbish and a total waste of money as they are ripped to shreds immediately, rendering them useless.
The other sort is this - the more expensive de-odourising litter tray liner. They do cost considerably more (about £3.50 for a pack of 2) but it is totally worth it in my opinion. They come in different sizes (medium, large etc) and it's really guesswork as to which size you'll need - trial and error I think. They feel thick and quilted and are easy enough to install in the litter tray. You simply open it out, place it in the tray, peel off the tape round the edges and stick it to the tray. You then pile the litter on top.
I'm not sure if I can say that the odour was reduced all that much (although a friend commented that my flat smelled 'less like cat' after using it), but I did find these liners very absorbent. When the time had come to change the litter I simply unstuck the tape, picked the whole thing out, shoved it in a plastic bag and took it straight out to the rubbish. The tray didn't even need washing because the liner had absorbed all the liquids (although I rinsed it anyway just to get rid of any lingering smell). The cats had ripped it a bit but it hadn't ruined the effectiveness of the liners and I was still able to pull it out in one piece.
I have been a cat owner for almost 4 years and only tried these liners 2 months ago and I wish I'd done it sooner. One star taken off for cost.
99s Stores are something which only came to my attention because one opened up recently on my High Street, where the old Woolworths was. I wandered in 'just to see' and ended up buying two armfuls of stuff.
The gist of the 99p Stores is that nothing costs more than 99p (and in truth you will be hard pushed to find anything that costs less than 99p). They have managed to plug the gap that Woolworths left, but I actually think they've done it better. The whole shop seems well organised and the variety of items on sale is pretty wide - from confectionery to party ware to cleaning products to stationery.
You do need to be a bit careful though and not get swept up the 99p-ness of it all. They make their money by overcharging on many of the products so before you buy you should make sure that you can't get the item anywhere cheaper. Personally, I managed to bag myself two packs of biscuits for 99p that sell for 79p EACH in Sainsbury's. I also managed to get a big box of neon straws that would be perfect for summer parties and I've since seen an identical box selling for £1.50 in Sainsbury's.
99p Stores are now springing up all over the place (unless they have always been there and I've just never noticed before now) and they plug the gap between Woolworths and Wilkinsons in my opinion.
Great for a 99p bargain but make sure you are getting a bargain before you buy.
I was given this freeview box as a present after I was left bereft when my original one (different make and model) broke. I have been nothing but pleased with this machine - although it has a very similar spec to my last machine it is much more reliable.
The main features are:
* being able to record two channels simultaneously, whilst watching a third programme from your 'saved programmes' list OR recording one channel and watching another
* TV Guide available for the next 8 days
* being able to save up to 100 hours of recorded TV
* being able to pause and play live TV
The set-up of this box was dead easy. You plug it in to the relevant points (TV, wall sockets etc) and when you turn it on the machine guides you through the set up which is mostly just pressing 'ok' for programme search. This only takes a few minutes and then you are good to go.
It's worth reading the manual before you start to use the machine to make sure you are getting full use of the box. I didn't and only discovered a few months later by accident that it has got games on it as well (the controls for which are on the main remote, but sneakily hidden under a panel). It's easy enough using the main functions - you go into the TV Guide to find the things you want to record and just select 'ok'. It then asks you if you want to just record one episode or a whole series. You can then view all of the planned recordings in the 'planned recordings' section. If it looks like there might be a clash of recordings then the machine will tell you so and you can select which programme to delete.
For my money, one of the best features of this machine is that it picks up transmitter signals from TV programming and starts to record when the signal transmits, and stops recording when the signal stops. This basically means that it will always start recording for the start of the programme, and will always stop when it ends. Only on a very few occasions has the last minute or two of a programme been missed. This system is better than the one I had in my old machine where it would start recording by 'time' and then you had to record 5 minutes before and after the programme to allow for delays to the schedule.
The box doesn't look anything special - it's pretty plain in truth - but simple can sometimes be a good thing and I don't need bells and whistles to know that something's good.
The machine retails for about £130 in the shops but it is a total investment in my opinion. It's only a one-off payment as well, which is better than signing up to a monthly subscription service.
The Golden Sands is one of a chain of Swiss Belhotels. The Golden Sands is a 5* hotel and lives up to its rating. Located right on the beach in Hoi An, this hotel has 212 rooms of varying price, some of which are located with the patio doors opening up onto the beach. I didn't have the fortune to stay in one such room and opted instead for a (cheaper) standard double. Even the standard rooms are pretty nice. All have their own private balcony and no room is more than a 1 minute walk from the beach.
As you walk in you are greeted by a huge lobby with chandeliers on the ceiling and sometimes a live musician playing some kind of local instrument. The reception staff all speak English and are very welcoming and knowledgeable about the local area (the person who checked us in was able to recommend a local tailor). The porters too are very helpful and seem dead keen to help you with your luggage even though that has to be a bit of a rubbish job. The hotel has a bar and a restaurant which are open early to late and charge over-the-odds for food and drink. Expect to pay about $15 for a meal in the hotel restaurant and $5 for an alcoholic drink. This is about two or three times what you would pay in the town. The hotel also offers room service although, again, expect to pay over the odds. The food and drink at the hotel though is very nice and offer a fair variety of different cuisines.
The Golden Sands has a very lovely swimming pool which stretches along almost the entire width of the hotel. Beyond that is the lovely, sandy beach, which is narrow but stretches as far as the eye can see. There are lots of sun loungers and umbrellas all round the pool and there is a child's pool and play area at one end, along with toilets and changing rooms (although why you'd use these when the rooms are so close is beyond me). Staff can be seen walking round the pool area to keep it clean and tidy. They will also help if you want to move any of the loungers.
Our room was very large and clean. We had a gigantic bed and the bathroom was very luxuriously decorated. We did have a balcony with a small table and two chairs on it, but as we were on the ground floor we didn't use it as much as we might have if we were higher up and able to get more sun. Every day we were given two complimentary bottles of still water but that did actually seem to be standard in all the hotels we stayed at in Vietnam. Still though, it's a nice little touch.
Although the hotel is about 5km from the town, you could probably walk it in 30 or 40 minutes, but there's actually no need because the Golden Sands lays on a free shuttle bus service for its guests, however they are not that frequent and always fill up quickly so it is wise to get there 10 minutes before it's departure time to ensure you get a seat. It's no big deal if you don't though - a taxi one way will only cost about $3.
All in all it's a great hotel that is out of the way of the town, and really great if you want a beach break.
I am a big fan of microwave meals because I live alone, work long hours and absolutely detest cooking. I have tried several different types of microwaveable lasagne but Tesco Finest really is the finest I've had. This lasagne is available to buy as a meal for one or two people. A meal-for-one portion is 400g and will cost you about £2.80. This is quite expensive when compared to other microwaveable lasagne out there, but I believe it is totally worth the extra just for the increased quality and flavour.
Cooking the lasagne is easy: just remove the cardboard sleeve, pierce the film a few times then blast for about 5 minutes (depending on your microwave strength). You can also cook it in the oven if you don't mind waiting a little longer for your dinner (25 mins or so). Leave the lasagne to sit for a minute, then serve. Yum!
The first thing that hits you when you open the heated packet is the smell. The meat sauce smells of red wine when you first open the packet which makes it smell really expensive and authentic. The cheese is subtle and not plastic-y. There are no mushrooms in this lasagne which is a massive plus point for someone like me.
I have never cooked one of these in an oven so I don't know how well it holds up, but cooking it in a microwave produces lasagne as nice as I've ever eaten in a restaurant. The size of the portion is good for one person too - not too big and not too small. I always have mine with chips though to add a bit of variety and to bulk it out a bit.
Calorie-wise this lasagne will set you back 545 for the 400g portion, with 28.6% fat. Okay, it's not great but it's pretty typical of pasta dishes.
1. Which do you prefer - shower or bath? And why?
Showers. I don't like the feeling of sitting in my own filth that comes from having a bath.
2. What do you swear you'll never do?
Wear elasticated jeans.
3. What's the most embarrassing thing you have ever done?
Almost, but not quite, falling over when I skidded on a wet hotel lobby floor in my flip flops.
4. What is your favourite quote?
"He's been licking his asshole for the last three straight hours. I submit to you that there is nothing there worth more than an hour's attention. I should think that whatever he is attempting to dislodge is either gone for good, or there to stay."
5. What was your favourite holiday? And why?
Vietnam, just because it was like nothing I've ever done before.
6. What was your favourite childhood toy?
My Sylvanian Family house.
7. Do you have any pets?
8. Savoury or sweet?
9. Hot or cold?
Hot for weather and dinner. Cold for fizzy drinks and ice-cream.
10. What's your favourite drink?
11. What's your favourite food?
Pasta and pizza.
12. Who do you hate the most?
An ex colleague - not to be named!
13. Do you have a crush on someone? If so, who?
Not at the moment. My boyfriend doesn't count as 'a crush'.
14. What is your favourite colour?
15. What did you do last night?
Tried to get to sleep until 3am.
16. What's your favourite thing to do?
17. Favourite movie, TV Programme, Book?
The Shawshank Redemption, Sex and the City and To Kill and Mockingbird.
18. Who's your hero?
19. Favourite song of all time?
One and Only by Chesney Hawkes.
20. Have you ever had a supernatural experience?
21. Favourite Sound?
My text alert - I have a friend!
22. Favourite Smell?
Coffee, baking bread or McDonald's breakfast.
23. Favourite place to be?
24. Happiest moment in your life?
It's yet to happen, I hope!
25. Saddest moment in your life so far?
My Nan dying.
26. What is your dream job?
27. What would be your idea of a perfect date?
Dinner and drinks.
28. What are your favourite Newspaper/ Magazine?
29. Which celebrity do you like the most?
30. Do you have any siblings?
One older brother.
31. Have you ever been in hospital?
Once or twice.
32. Have you ever broken a bone or had stitches?
I've had stitches in my head twice.
33. Do you believe in Angels/Ghosts/Demons?
34. Are you superstitious?
35. What colour eyes do you have?
36. What colour hair do you have?
37. What religion are you?
Big, fat ATHEIST!
38. If you could change 1 thing about you, what would it be?
To be rich!
39. If you could change 1 thing about your personality, what would it be?
I get too wound up by people being selfish and/or late.
40. What is your biggest fear?
41. Do you have any regrets? If so, what are they?
Wish I'd have done a vocational course at Uni and had some direction in my life.
42. Have you ever been in love?
43. What's the most important thing to you in the world?
Working to live, not living to work.
44. What is your most treasured possession?
45. What's your job?
I have three! I'm greedy. They're all office or home-based.
46. What's the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
Cleaned my house for me.
47. What's the worst thing anyone has done to you?
Making me feel unwelcome in their home.
48. Dream car?
49. Favourite celebration?
Christmas! Love it!
I used this company for my holiday to Vietnam, following the recommendation by a friend. They specialise in organising tailor-made holidays for people visiting Asia. Holiday destinations on offer are Vietnam, Borneo, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Laos.
At the start of the booking process you will be allocated a team member who will then see your holiday plans through to the end. This gives the service a nice personal feel. The website is also pleasing to the eye and easy to navigate and has loads of information on there about itineraries, hotels and prices.
You can select one of the pre-designed holiday itineraries (all available to view on the website) or you can tailor-make your own. We decided to pick a pre-designed one and then tweak it in a few places to our own requirements. The staff a Selective Asia are more than happy for you to do this and make all the arrangements for you. Once your itinerary is all confirmed you will then be quoted a price and, if you accept, you have to pay a 20% deposit to confirm the booking and then pay the balance before 10 weeks before your departure date. International flights are not included in the prices however Selective Asia will book them up for you if you ask, and at an additional cost of course. That's the option we plumped for and we had no problems with the flights and didn't think we could've gotten cheaper ourselves.
Part of the attraction of Selective Asia holidays is the English-speaking guides on your holiday. You are always picked up at any airport by a guide, and any travelling is usually also in the company of a guide. This is also a personal service so it will just be your party plus the guide and the driver in an air-conditioned car. This was tremendously helpful throughout the holiday and took away that 'what do we do now?' feeling upon arrival at the airport in an unknown country.
Throughout the holiday I was also telephone twice by Selective Asia to ensure that everything was going as planned on my holiday. What a service! They also asked for feedback when I got home, and I gave them glowing reviews.
All in all I had a 5 star experience with Selective Asia and would have no hesitation in using them again or recommending them to others.
My boyfriend and I went to Vietnam for two weeks over March and April. We travelled with a company named Selective Asia who specialise in tailor-made trips to various countries in Asia. As we were only going for two weeks we plumped for the schedule that allowed us to visit 4 cities over the fortnight. We started in Hanoi, the Capital of Vietnam. For those of you who have not been to non-Western countries before it can be a bit of a culture shock. We had been warned by friend before we went that the traffic system was a tricky one to master and on our first day in Hanoi we struggled even to get across the road and ended up walking round the block! The traffic seems to weave all of the place and doesn't stop for pedestrians, even when there is a red light. You just have to walk out in front of them and keep going. It's quite terrifying to start with, but then it just becomes good fun.
In a country where there is one motorbike/scooter for every two people, it's no wonder that all you see everywhere are people on bikes. There are bikes EVERYWHERE - parked all over the pavements, driving erratically all over the road, ignoring traffic signals. A law was brought in just a year or two ago to enforce people to wear helmets, but you will still see the odd person flout the law. There does not, however, appear to be any law about how many people or how much stuff you can pile up on a bike. The most people I saw on one bike was 5, and we saw no end of people with the world's amount of stuff strapped (or precariously balanced) all over the bike - anything ranging from live pigs, to goldfish, to boxes, to another motorbike (I kid you not)!
Vietnam is Buddhist country although the majority of the population are non-practising and instead worship their ancestors rather than gods. Despite this, there are plenty of Buddhist temples and Pagodas about, so there is plenty of religious culture available if you wish to experience it.
The North of Vietnam tends to have the cooler and rainier weather and the South has more sunshine. Vietnam does have rainy seasons though so it is best to avoid these if possible. The best times for doing a country-wide trip are from February to September if you want to avoid the bad weather.
The food is plentiful in Vietnam and you can get it from street vendors, cafes and restaurants alike. Traditional Vietnames cuisine is on the menu of course, but you will also find an abundance of British, Italian and American food (among others) for sale in many places. Prices are low - expect to pay just $2 for a meal.
The currency in Vietnam is the Dong. US Dollars are also widely accepted throughout the country although it is not strictly legal to use it. The Dong cannot be taken out of the country so you must spend it all before you leave or at least convert it back. There are charity boxes at the airports for people to put any leftover Dong so it can be put to good use. At the moment 19,000 Dong is equivalent to about one US Dollar. At first you forget how little the Dong is worth and can end up haggling with someone over an amount that you later work out to be worth only 5p or something. Try to bear this in mind when haggling.
The haggling is also a very prominent cultural feature of Vietnam. Expect the vast majority of traders to try to overcharge you, so always go in with an offer of about half (or less) what they are asking for. However, if you feel that something is worth what you are being asked to pay for it then just pay it. I did that a few times and came away still feeling like I'd gotten a bargain, even though I was probably technically ripped off.
All in all Vietnam has a friendly, if a little pushy, feel to it. I did not feel unsafe walking round even unfamiliar streets at night and most Vietnamese have a smile for you. It was a great place to visit and I woukd highly recommend it.
Essie is a well established US brand of nail polishes (founded in 1981 by Essie Weingarten). Their main quirky feature is the naming of their polishes which they always do most creatively (Tart Deco, Bermuda Shorts, Below the Belt etc). Essie nail polishes can be bought online from several authorised online stockists (Nails by Mail being one of them). I have never yet seen Essie available to buy on the high street which is a major drawback in my opinion. If they stocked in places like Boots and Superdrug then I'm sure they would do really well.
Prices start from £7.50 for 15ml (plus P&P from most places). It is rather annoying (although hardly surprising) to see that Essie polishes cost considerably less in the USA then in the UK. I looked at their US-based website and they charge just $8 a bottle, which is about half the price it is here (depending on the exchange rate). Still, I don't think £7.50 per bottle is terrible when compared to competitors.
As with all nail polishes, Essie nail polishes will not last all that long without a protective top coat (also available from Essie). Without top coat you will be lucky to get 4 full days without chips appearing (although I find this tends to be different for toenails because they don't get knocked as much). With the top coat you can get a whole week out of them. There also base coats available, however I have never tried them as I've never really been sure what they're for.
Essie nail polishes come in very attractive bottles (clear glass, ESSIE written up the side and plain white lids) and the choice of polish colours (they have hundreds) is by far the best thing about them. They're not short on variety.
All in all I recommend Essie for those who like variety in their nail colour, although the polish itself is not especially long-lasting.
I have only been a member of Pinecone for about one month. In that time I have received four e-mail invitations to complete an online survey and have been not been screened out of any of them. For those of you who do online surveys you will appreciate how nice it is not to be screened out, especially when you have already spent 5 minutes answering questions. I assume the reason for this is that Pinecone pre-screen surveys before sending them out, ensuring that only eligible people are sent the survey. This could well be the reason why the invitations are fewer and far between than most other survey sites.
Pinecone are effectively an invitation-only survey site. I had never heard of them until a friend of mine told me about them and suggested I add my name to the list of interested parties (they only let you do this during selected times of year). After I had done so, I was contacted within a couple of weeks and invited to join. The induction process was really straightforward - simply completing some personal information about yourself online - and I was then sent an email to confirm my registration. You also have to confirm that you will not discuss the content of any surveys with anyone else, because they are products in-the-making.
Pinecone pay relatively handsomely for their surveys. So far I have earned £3 per survey and none of them took me longer than 20 minutes. The major downside of these surveys is that at no point beforehand are you informed of how long the survey will take or how much you will be paid for it. This is a massive flaw in my opinion - how do you know until you have completed it if it was even worth bothering with? From experience, I know that I will earn roughly £3 for 20 minutes of my time, which is why I always opt to complete the survey.
A few days after successfully completing a survey your reward will show up in your account. Pinecone then turn this reward into a voucher which should then arrive through the post within a few weeks. I received Luncheon vouchers however they may well send out other sorts of vouchers too. You get no say in what you receive. I understand that they will pay rewards in cash, but you cannot request this and must wait to be invited. I would infinitely prefer the cash or even the option of what voucher I am given.
One other drawback about the surveys is that there is no time indication as you are proceeding through the surveys. Some survey sites tell you what % of the survey you have completed at that point which can be really helpful, especially if you are in the midst of a survey which appears to be asking you the same questions over and over again and you are losing the will to live. Big thumbs down to Pinecone for not setting that kind of system up.
All in all though Pinecone is one of my preferred survey sites in times of reward for time spent. It is all a bit cloak and dagger though, to be honest, and I really do wonder why.
The hunt for the longest lasting lipstick is over. I have never yet found a lipstick that stays on better than this stuff. L'Oreal have created a lipstick in two parts - one for colour, and one for conditioning. The colour stick is quite dry in consistency compared to some lipsticks but it can be applied very easily in spite of this. One minute after applying it has dried out and clings to yours lips as a result. This is what gives it its staying power. You need to apply the conditioning balm as soon as the colour has dried, to give a bit of shine and moisture to your lips. This comes in a white stick and glides on really easily. I have found that re-application of the balm is required every three hours or so (unless you're eating or drinking, in which case it might need it more often) and if you don't then your lips seriously dry out.
Packaging-wise, the two sticks are arranged side by side. The coloured stick comes in a cover to match the colour of the lipstick inside and the balm is in a white cover. To get at the sticks you simply push down on them at one end and they slide out, with the lid actually staying inside the packaging. It is a very neat and quirky package, and I haven't seen anything similar to it anywhere else. The packaging is mirrored deliberately so that you can use it to apply whilst on the go.
The major downside of this lipstick (although I am prepared to live with it for something so long-lasting) is that it can actually be a right pain to remove. You will probably need to use some make-up remover or just good old fashioned elbow grease with a moist tissue (this is my method). But you can always apply more balm after colour removal to keep your lips moist.
2 x 2.6g sticks in each product. Handy pocket size. Will set you back about £11 in most shops.
I have been on Dooyoo for several months now and dip in and out of it according to how busy I am at work. I have found people on Dooyoo to be quite nice, on the whole, and happy to rate most reviews at a 'Really Useful' or 'Useful' level. I feel that there are very few reasons why a 'Not Useful' rating would ever need to be given, unless it literally is complete gibberish. Even a review on a slightly different product can still be considered 'Somewhat useful' in my opinion, if the products are very similar in nature. Anyway, on the whole I do not have any beef with the rating system on Dooyoo. I almost always give people a 'Very Useful' rating if I have read their review. They have bothered to sit and write it and I have almost certainly found it interesting (because it will be a review on something which I have been interested in) so a VU is fair. To be honest though, I'm not sure if 'useful' is really the right word for the ratings. I don't think it necessarily sums up how people feel about reviews. Sometimes a review can be 'interesting' without being of particular 'use'. Does this then mean it warrants a 'Not Useful' rating?
Rant Number One
What I do not appreciate is someone emailing me and saying "I have just rated 10 of your reviews so can you please do the same for me." No I will not. I do not take instruction from you and I rate reviews which I have actually read and have been genuinely interested in. Not only that, but this email also suggests that you did not look at my review because you were interested, but for what you thought you could get in return. What it also suggests is that you in fact haven't read my review at all, so what was the point in blindly rating it?
Rant Number Two
Another thing which has been getting my back up rather a lot is the number of completely pointless comments that are placed on mine and other peoples' reviews. Case in point; on one review of a type of potato crisp, someone wrote "Haven't heard of these at all". That is not constructive, interesting or entertaining. In fact, what a waste of time it was for you to write that, not to mention me reading it. I also hate it when people comment just to disagree with what you've said. If that is your opinion then write a review to tell us so. Don't try to belittle my reviews with your opposing viewpoint. Surely the main characteristic of reviews is that it is one person's opinion or experience and the fact that you may disagree with what you have read does not make it any less relevant, worthy or true for them.
Rant Number Three
Lastly (for now!) I have also noticed that some comments seem to demonstrate that the reader has either not read or has not understood the review. Case in point: on one review on Weight Watchers puddings, someone had written words to the effect of "I would've thought that the calorie content would be very relevant in a Weight Watchers product." What an absolute idiot. This poor reviewer had not said that this kind of information was 'irrelevant'. Surely if that is what she had thought then she wouldn't have included it in her review. What she had done is listed it under a sub-heading of 'boring' information. Well, fair enough really. Who can say that calorie information is ever interesting? I wanted to tell that commentator that s/he needed to invest in a good dictionary in order to look up the difference between 'boring' and 'irrelevant'.
Sadly, despite promising myself I wouldn't, I have found myself caring too much about some of the comments that people make on Dooyoo. At first my attitude was 'don't take it so seriously' and 'your life must be very dull indeed if you have nothing better to do than write pointless comments'. But here I am, doing what could be considered the same thing (albeit perhaps I am worse because I have spent longer writing this and considering what I would say). I did resolve to no longer read any comments that people wrote on my reviews, but I'm ashamed to say that curiosity got the better of me. But perhaps it is a sad reflection of the negative commentators on here than now when I notice a comment has been made on one of my reviews my heart sinks a little because I am completely expecting it to be something negative. It's a shame really that some people have spoiled Dooyoo for me a bit, because I have actually had some nice feedback from some members.
I ordered from Oli for the first time last week. Oli is similar in design, and the products it sells, to several other websites around such as asos.com and boohoo.com. Ordering from Oli was straightforward. You could conduct a search of products according to type, so 'tops', 'jewellery', 'shoes' etc. You can then narrow your search down according to price, brand, colour etc. You also have options of how many products you want to view one page; from 16 to everything.
When you find something you like, you click on the image and it takes you the product description as well as a larger image (and sometimes a few more images). You simple select the size and quantity you want and add it to your shopping bag. You can then either continue shopping or go to the check out.
There are usually discount codes on-line for Oli so it is worth investigating this before you buy. Enter the code (only one will be accepted for each order) and the discount will be applied. You are then taken to a page which asks if you have ordered with Oli before. If you haven't then you simply register your details and activate the account using the email they send to you. If you have used the site before then you simply log in using your password and email address.
You can pay for your items using credit or debit card (although account holders can set up an account with which to pay). Enter your card details in the usual way, select both the invoice and delivery address, and submit your order. You will then be emailed a confirmation with an order reference number.
Delivery charge is £4.95 which I had thought was a bit steep, but the items are delivered by courier and next-day as standard (provided you order before 5pm) so I suppose it can be justified to some degree. You can also select what day you want your parcel delivered (if you don't want it next day), and if you want it in the am or pm, so they do offer quite a lot of flexibility in delivery. They also offer a free returns service which is also by courier, although you do have to call an 0845 number to arrange this and returns must be received within 14 days of you having received your order.
All in all I had perfect service from Oli with the exception of when it came to returning something. I phoned and arranged a courier collection but the courier didn't turn up on the day I arranged which meant that my parcel was left sitting outside my house for the whole day and night. He then turned up the next day (when I was out and had not left the parcel outside as I wasn't expecting him) and left a calling card. I had to phone him personally and arrange for him to come again, which he did as agreed. He also left a receipt, as proof of return. I can't say whether or not it was Oli that gave the courier the wrong collection date or if the courier just wasn't doing his job properly, but either way it was rather annoying. Having said that, Oli do allow you the option to return goods via the Post Office, although you have to pay for it yourself if you do it that way. Refunds get processed back onto your card within 14 days.
All in all it was a fairly smooth transaction from Oli and I would definitely use them again. They do have some really nice things on the website and most things are reasonably priced, in my opinion.
On holiday in the Lake District last year, I noticed an advert in a tourist leaflet for Segway tours. I had always fancied a go on one so I booked up. There are different types of Segway - on-road and off-road. I used the off-road Segway because we went through fields and up and down hills.
A Segway is a machine that has a platform between two wheels, with a set of 'handlebars' (I'll call them this because I'm not sure what the proper name is) coming up at the front. You stand on the platform and you lean forwards or backwards depending on which way you want to go, and the Segway moves accordingly. I don't really understand the science of it but I believe it's something to do with gyroscopes. What I do know is that it is almost impossible to fall off one because the Segway will always balance itself no matter how far forwards or backwards you lean (I think you can only fall off if you start leaning sideways).
There are no brakes on a Segway and if you are going forwards and want to stop then you tilt yourself backwards, and vice-versa. It's best not to do any sudden movements because you might come to a bit of a sharp stop, but after about 10 minutes on one you soon get the hang of it. The 'handlebars' are your steering device so you lean them to the left fs you want to go to the left, and to the right if you want to go right.
The top speed on ours was about 14mph which doesn't sound like a lot but it really did feel like we were whizzing along. I think our ones had had their speed restricted so that no-one would injure themselves, but unrestricted ones can get up to 20mph and sometimes more.
The off road wheels meant that we could go up and down some quite steep (and wet!) hills and pathways. It is an odd sensation at first, putting your faith in the machine, but after you've practised a bit you almost start to take risks, as if to test it out!
Segways are not legal on British roads or pavements because they are deemed too slow to keep up with normal traffic and too fast for pavements. They are quite common in the USA though as a commuter vehicle. It's a shame the UK can't change the law because I would LOVE one of these for little trips to the shops!
I arrived very late to this TV series by asking for the series 1 Box Set for Xmas, just to see if I'd enjoy it. I enjoy many of the other American serial dramas (Grey's Anatomy, Brothers and Sisters etc) so I thought that House might be my kind of thing. Plus it has been going for several series now and has won awards, so clearly it's very popular.
House is centred on Dr Gregory House (Hugh Laurie), a grumpy, sarcastic and seemingly unfeeling man who avoids any kind of patient interaction and is only interested in diagnosing unusual illnesses. Alongside House is his team of three "hand-picked" diagnostic Doctors who are contracted to work under him for two years; Drs Foreman, Cameron and Chase. These three all seem to have a competitive relationship with one another, but show themselves to be intelligent and caring about their patients.
I have found House to be very formulaic, with few real twists and turns. It's the same old schtick every week; someone falls ill with some mystery illness and is hospitalised, House takes in interest due to the unusual nature of the illness, House and each of his team come up with different diagnoses which are always wrong, then House comes up with a bizarre diagnosis that the others strongly disagree with and he is always proven to be right and thus cures the patient. In fact, I had to watch ten episodes before anyone died, which is a bit rubbish, unbelieveable and now horribly predictable (dull).
I have also found myself not really caring about any of the main characters. You find out very little personal information about them, and you almost never get to see any of their social antics, so it's very difficult to warm to any of them. Every couple of episodes you find out a little bit more about them, but not really enough to make you care. This does improve as the first series goes on but it hasn't drawn me in enough to compel me to watch any of the further series. Hugh Laurie does a good turn as the moody and pessimistic House, but I'm not convinced it's the most amazing acting I've ever seen.
I really have found it difficult to believe how popular House has become in light of it's predictability and lack of realism. Maybe it's all the optimists watching it!