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One of the most important things when owning a pet is providing them with a good source of fresh water to keep them hydrated and this definatly applies to small animals. A good water source has to be large enough to hold enough water between times where it can be changed, keep the water clean and be easy enough for the animal to use. From personal experiance I've come to almost totally avoid all bowls when it comes to small mammals (unless other reasons determine it to be the only option) as they are too easy knocked over or messed in so that means I predominantly use water bottles. Having owned a mixture of small animals over the years I've used quite a few different types of water bottle and one type I've used a couple of times has been the Crystal De-luxe drinking bottles.
The Crystal water bottles come in five sizes: the extra small size (75ml bottle), the small size (150ml bottle), the medium Bunny size (320ml bottle), the large Bunny size (600ml bottle) and the extra large size (1.1 litre bottle). The sizes relate to the type of pet they are intended for; the 75ml and 150ml bottles being for the littlest pets such as mice and hamsters; the 320ml and 600ml bottles intended for the slightly larger Guinea pigs, rats and rabbits and then the largest 1.1 litre is for the biggest small animals mainly large breed rabbits. I've personally found the right size bottle lasts about a day between two animals though obviously it does depend on the individual pet, how much they drink and how many animals are using the bottle. It is widely available in a variety of places both on and off line and it comes in both a classic style or a few coloured designs.
The Rostack has been a funny one for me. I'm currently using one in my Guinea pig cage along with a glass type bottle and used them frequently when I had rabbits a couple of years ago. These for me are the basic bottles when it comes to small mammals made out of plastic with the normal spout poking out at an agle from a screw on lid. They are one of the cheapest bottles available on the market and this has got to be one of the best features as the 320ml bottle sells for as little as £1 to around £2 which makes it really good value for money.
Reflected by their price however is the materials they are made out of. As expected they are made it of cheap plastic, though this doesn't pose a massive problem I have found it does make them more flimsy and generally easier to break than their glass competitors. As I've said I have one of these in the cage now with another bottle and I've found the pigs don't really have a preference as both have a metal end and work in the same way however when I was using a Ferplast Sippy Bottle (so one with a different spout) they defiantly preferred the Crystal bottle and barely touched the Ferplast- this could just be because they only use what they are used to but either way I wanted to stick with the one they used. One thing I really aim for in a bottle is a lack of leaking problem as it is pointless filling a bottle up if your only gonna look an hour later to find all the water has leaked out and unfortunalty I did find this bottle leaked quite a bit. It didn't tip out at an alarming rate but dripped out so that I was putting water in for it to come straight out onto their bedding area (yay more wet bedding). It also does suffer with the horrible mould/ dirt problem a lot of bottle succumb to- there are special brushes available to keep it clean but I prefer to use different home made options and then just replace it when I can't get it clean anymore- it's only cheap so replacing is defiantly an option.
The bottle came with a small white wire to attach it to the average commercial cage but as I have them in a C&C cage I just stick it onto the cubes I have. The wire isn't magic and I've reinforced mine with a spring to keep it in place but it does help and is easily shaped to get it to keep the bottle right. I really can't remember if and what packaging we got with these bottles as it has been a really long time since I've actually bought one. They are easily filled by simply putting water in till it reaches the top of the bottle, then the bottle head tightened in and simply slipping/ fixing the bottle into the wires or whatever is being used to keep it in place.
The bottle is fairly cheap look wise but to me also brings a sort of familiar feel to animal ownership. The bottle is a clear bottle (though as said coloured varieties are available) with a picture of a rabbit on it and a lot of writing concerning the bottle and it's risks. It boasts as being made in England since 1975 and as being made of recyclable bottle material- two feel good thoughts.
All in all this isn't an amazing bottle and does have a few issues but for the price I personally think it is worth it even if you need to replace it every couple of months. The value for money is very good and it is available in a variety of places so isn't hard to come by. There are a variety of sizes and colours to suit owner, cage and pet(s). I would recommend (as a lot of the sellers would) to have more than one of these bottles in each cage as they do sometimes break and it wouldn't be a pleasant experience for any pet on a hot day without a drink. I have only ever used these for small mammals and they have done a really good job keeping my furry friends hydrated.
Just want to say a pre-apology for the size of this review- I'm trying to fit two years of phone use into one page and that combined with my natural inability to write things in a short way anyway I've struggled to keep this to a nice readable size.
Wasn't gonna write this review because of the vast amounts of reviews that have already been written but as phones go this little guy has been a big part of me for the last two years- and you know what, I think I owe it to the little guy to at least give him a review before I stop using him for good.
_Why the Blackberry?_
I wasn't ever that typical in terms of being a teenage girl with my phone: I used it because I needed to contact people not because I was the stereotypical girl glued to her phone practically attached to the little lump of metal and technology. I was much more of a computer person and would happily leave my phone barely touched for days without a thought during holidays. My sister on the other hand followed the exact stereotype i didn't and could barely go a minuite without her phone so when all her friend's were upgrading to the latest phone models she decided she wanted a new phone rather than the Samsung she had, had for four/ five years and for her birthday she was given a Blackberry 8520. My birthday was soon approaching and being the frustrating person I am for another year I had no idea what I wanted and told my mum that exact thing because I was generally happy with everything I had at that point- my mum is a big softy though and massive on birthday's so likes to make sure we get something we like on our birthdays so I had suspisions that like my sister I would be getting a new phone to replace the Samsung I had also had for the past four/ five years.
_Twas a Blackberry_
As I had expected on my birthday I unwrapped a present to be greeted by the Blackberry 8520. I was very grateful for it but at the same time definatly lacked the enthusiastic jumping and sercreaming my sister had. It took me a couple of weeks to open it- something that I regret in the respect that it was far from the thanks my mum deserved but I did eventually open it (about two weeks after my birthday) and then got going. As with most Blackberry phones it came in the normal (caboard?) packaging with the phone sat in it's indented spot and the accessories, booklets/ instructions hidden behind. We're talking around two years now so I can't honestly say I remember all the booklets and accessories that came with it but it contained the normal; instruction booklet with the set up instructions, FAQs, contact details, etc; some more little advertsiment booklets; a charger; the phones battery; and blackberry head phones- possibly more but these are the essentials that I currently remember. It was a pretty little black phone (my sister had the viloet version which was a very nice colour): compact but not tiny standing at about 10cm tall. The phone had two wrap/ screen covers covering the back and front to protect it during it's time spent in the box. I followed the instructions and took the back cover off and activated the phone then put my sim card and the battery in- the first time I would be greeted by that Blackberry screen. Automatically I took the front screen cover off- something I later came to regret realizing I could have used it to protect the phone until I got a proper cover. It had been largely bought with the basic phone purpose of calling people I wasn't with but for the first two weeks I left him at home living by slighly OCD tendencies to not want a single scratch, planning to get a cover but after these weeks had gone by I decided I couldn't wait much longer- I still had no plans (or money) to go buy a case and it seemed like a waste to have a new phone that I was using only indoors- so off into the big wide world we went together.
The phone soon lit up after putting the battery in and within minuets I was working my way through this new phone- starting with the basics: setting time, writing in my details, etc. I had previously had a fairly basic phone that had very few features so this phone was a massive step up for me. I had gone from a mobile that seemed to struggle with anything past phoning, texting and for those hours I was a little bored good ole' snake to a phone that was suddenly very able to text and call but also came with a variety of other features from more games, to Internet access and even a camera- my world had officially been rocked.
The phone ended up doing really well (I will go through the individual components of the phone below). It's strange as I could almost right two totally different reviews on this phone as it worked brilliantly for the first year and a half out of the two year contract I had it on until one day when it went down hill at an incredible rate. Surprisingly this phone brought a new found love of phones in me, not my sister's obsessive phone nature as I could still happily go a day or two without touching it but a love that did get me hooked for a good couple of hours most days/ weeks.
_Phone/ text ability_
The first part I'm properly going to evaluate is the ability to phone and text with this phone as for me this seems to be the primary use of a phone and at the end of the day I could happily live without all the games and documents and other special features but when I'm in the middle of no where and need someone to come get me then I do quite badly need a phone that can call and text other people. The BB 8520 was actually really good at both of these- it wasn't always the best at getting/ keeping signal but once in a good area it was very good at calling people, receiving calls, sending texts, etc. It also had the added bonus of what everyone seems to rave about: BBM. For a small price this admittedly was very useful and probably one of the things that made this brand stand out around the rest at one point- I have a lot of friends who also have BBs so this was very useful in saving my text allowance but also communicating with friends. In terms of it's ability to text and call I can't really find fault as it was pretty good.
_Using said Blackberry_
One thing I really like about the BB (Blackberry) was how easy it was to use from the moment i began using it.Unlike my previous phone which required a lot of button pressing the blackberry 8520 had a touch box that was the control point and used your finger to move the cursor. Rather than the shared buttons between numbers and three/ four letters the blackberry has a keyboard like a computer would with each letter having it's own button but then numbers and punction marks sharing some of these buttons accessible through the 'alt' button- this I personally prefer a lot more than the traditional phone layout and it's a lot quicker and easier to write with. There were also a variety of buttons on the sides of the phone- most of which I barely touched as they were just a quicker way to get to certain features such as the camera- these were great if you ever needed to jump straight into action or obviously the volume key (which didn't have an option within the phone) if you needed to change the volume level.
In terms of how difficult it was to actually navigate throughout the phone I can say personally I found it pretty easy, admittedly I am fairly tech savvy in general but I doubt this would be a phone that posed too many problems for even the least mobile friendly person. It had a relatively simple structure with the main page made up of a background and options that you can change around depending on which you use most regularly. The blackberry button next to the control button opened up a whole menu page which held various folders that then held different applications. Clicking too quickly sometimes lead to moving different folders around but once you know how to fix this it is just simly a matter of putting it back.
_Internet and der otha social bitz_
I was delighted when my first realized that I could now get on the Internet from my phone- I am very much an Internet addict so it seemed like a great way to feed my addiction everywhere I went. It held both the options of connecting it to an already existing Wi-Fi connection or for a cost having it's own connection. In theory this was brilliant but in reality the Internet access it gave was absolute poo. I regularly tried both and although it wasn't too much of a struggle to get it to find a connectin and then connect it then worked incridcibly slow once you were on the Internet to the point where this became a feature that I very rarely used and it would take 10 minutes just to upload one page- I had a life to be getting on with rather than sitting waiting for my phone to keep up.
The price and therefore value is totally dependent on when and for how much you got it for. We got ours just before the next Blackberry Curve came out so still held a relatively steep price but reduced quite a bit to how much it had been when originally released. I was on contract so i struggle to give a real feel for whether it was decent value value for money but I can say it definatly wasn't a ridiculous price either way as it wasn't cheap but did provide me with a very good service for the next year and a half. At the moment it seems that it is seeping in a variety of places at around the £100/ £110 mark which personally I think is pretty good as long as you aren't bothered about having the newest model.
_Camera and Video_
This was yet another feature I was really excited about but was left disappointed with. I am a massive photography lover- no idea why but I love the thought that one picture can tell a thousand stories- so I was quite eagar to try out my new camera and video camera. On trying it out though both created very poor quality pictures/ videos and I still have one picture on my phone that for the life of me I couldn't tell you what it is of. However I was aware that this wasn't a phone designed to take brilliant photos so although a disappointment this wasn't something I'd say was a major problem- just meant I had to remember to take my camera whenever I went out. One thing I do want to say though is that a memory card is essential if you want to take pictures or videos on this- without one it holds only around 10ish photos and a videos are too large individually. These were (not sure if current ones that fit in it are still easily avaliable though probably are) readily avaliable from most of the big shops and I think come in a couple of different sizes, I only went for the smallest option as for my media needs this was all that was needed.
I'm not gonna go through the rest of the applications/ features as I could go on all day as there are quite a few. These included: games, on the go document processors, music, video player, memo pad, Blackberry app world, maps and a few others. The games I loved, they weren't anything amazing but for games that came free with the phone they kept me amused for hours especially Brickbreaker; there was also Sudoku, Poker and Word Mole. I didn't bother with the map or document processors as found both really hard to use and not worth the effort. The music and videos could be put on the phone from a computer this isn't a feature I used too much but when I did it was pretty much as expected, it played the songs videos to the quality that I thought it would. Blackberry app world like the like the Apple App store mean you can buy new applications to sort your personal tastes, I got a couple of the free ones but won't go into that here. The memo pad was quite uesful and was pretty much just a place where you can write reminders out but you have to get in the habit of checking them as on a couple occasions I wrote important things in there, didn't bother using the memo pad for a couple of weeks to only realize I'd totally forgot about the thing I should have remembered. I loved the alarm option- it can be set on the clock display and for at very long time helped me get up every morning. It can be personalized to suite tastes (I.e what wakes you up, how long snooze lasts, if it vibrates) and alongside my other alarm did work for both me and my sister.
_Where it all went wrong_
Prior to about November/ December last year I couldn't find any real major fault in this phone- yes it had some parts that I personally would have liked to be better and for the price they should have been but it had been pretty reliable and that was my main need. Then it went down hill and raced down that hill like there's no tomorrow. Unfortunately the curse of the Blackberry. First it started to destroy batteries- ok not destroy but it decided it liked to reshape them. When it broke the first one the back of the phone soon followed and the part that kept it attached to the actual phone broke off and I then got Mr Cello-tap out to give me a hand to keep it together. This was very annoying but was mainly cosmetic so I wasn't too bothered. Then the phone all together stopped working- the cursor could no longer be controlled making the phone next to useless and it would require either plugging the charger in or messing around with the back; then eventually it just decided to randomly turn off (after about three minuets of continuos use) and not come on unless it was plugged into the charger- something that was incredibly frustrating when I was just about to make an important call when I was out and didn't have the charger on me or anywhere to charge it. By February this year I pretty much had a useless phone- half the time it had itself off and the other half I couldn't move the cursor so couldn't text or talk the only features I actually needed and made for some very angry friends and family when I didn't meet them as I couldn't read their text.
I've only ever had one Blackberry (well up until recently) so I can only give you my own experience but from the sounds of it the time mine lasted without any problems without any problems was pretty great and I put this largely down to the fact that I didn't obsessively use it like most people do. My sister's phone broke literally months after getting it and then seem to get every problem under the sun to the point where she didn't even bother sticking with Blackberrys and I would need more than a couple of hands to count the number of people I know who have suffered the same fait with BB. Though it does seem to be getting better with newer models Blackberrys do seem to be a phone that come with a lot of technical problems.
_And one final word_
All in all the Blackberry 8520 worked out to be a really good realizable phone and for a year and a half it did me really well and I would have been more than happy to keep using it for another year of it hadn't suddenly taken a turn for the worst. Though a decent phone and one I found to be quite good there have been a lot of improvements on the problems I found on this phone in the newer models so if I'm honest I think I'd recommend going to further models if your looking at getting a Blackberry rather than this one. Be wary though as a lot do seem to fall into the curse of the Blackberry where warranty or insurance is a really good idea- no point paying for a phone that you can't use. I really enjoyed this phone and am really glad my mum did get me it and I have now got another Blackberry just fingers crossed this one will make it the whole contract.
It's really strange: after a debate erupted throughout my psychology class today about gay marriages I come on here, look through the general section for the first time and am greeted by this topic about gay marriage- obviously with it still fresh in my mind I've decided I'd give my opinion on it all. As this is still quite a contaversial debate in life I am going to stress what I say is just my own personal opinion taken from what I've read, seen and my experiences in life- nothing is being write to offend so please don't take it that way.
I'm gonna start by saying I generally can't believe how homophobic my class are after hearing what some of them said today, for a group of young people they have some incredibly strong beliefs and are more than happy to express them in a way I personally found to be quite offensive. I'm not gay and I'm perfectly happy this way but my views very much stand at: if you love someone why shouldn't you be with them? We live life with the aim to make it the happiest we possibly can and I find it hard to believe that someone would defy another person of being their true selfs and having a relationship with another person regarless of gender, race, religion etc. I'm not religious nor am I too bothered about big celebrations so marriage isn't something that particularly appeals to me (I'd be just as happy spending my life with the man I love without having a certificate to prove this) but I have some strictly Christian friends who see marriage and doing things 'properly' as a very important thing in their life and the same goes for many homosexual individuals around the world so I personally think gay marriage (in a church or anywhere else) is fine and the perfect way for many homosexual couples, like hetrosexual couples, to share this with the world and infront of their God make a commitment to the person they want to spend eternity with.
One thing that really stood out to me today was before the argument had even started whilst the tutor was reading an article about gay couples having children one girl loudly stated 'that's disgusting' and something that shocked me even more was the tutor agreed. Now I'm fine with the fact that others don't share my opinions but I found this to actually be a way a horrible way to express so. Though this review isn't about gay couples having children I feel like marriage it is, for many, a basic part of life and why they shouldn't be able to do either to me is just ridiculous. I know many gay couples who love each other a lot more than many straight couples that marry and many who have been much better parents than some straight parents- how our sexual orientation will affect how good a partner or parent we are is well beyond me. You get good straight parents, you get bad: you get good gay parents, you get bad- notice the recurring theme that this is not based upon sexual orientation.
It got very heated today and many of those who believed it was wrong ended up screaming and shouting over everyone else and one girl even admitted she was shacking when it was over as she had got so worked up. Many (if not all) of those who were strongly voicing their opinion come from an ethnic minority and just this thought makes me laugh as they are very much for equal rights for all ethnicitys- it was the way they were born why should they discriminated against because of this- yet the exact same applies for gay people. People don't choose to be gay and just like their race or gender it is something that they can't change so what gives someone they've never met the right to say they can't marry? It doesn't. It eventually got to the point where 'murders can repent but gay people can't'-I don't even want to comment on my thoughts of this as I can't make a promise that it will be appropriate for a site accessible to children.
Many views are based upon religion but I can't find any to bring a substantial arguement when many contradictions can be found in pretty much all religions so how we can take every word written as the truth is impossible. I understand that many say gay marriage is fine as long as it isn't done in a Church, Synagog, etc but then for me this is saying that these people are doing something wrong, that their religious beliefs don't matter and that they are less a person because they want to marry someone that traditionally they shouldn't.
I also can't quite work out why this should matter to many people who don't believe being gay or having a gay marriage is right- all I can think is 'don't have one then'. If you don't like it avoid it. Something that two men, you've never met, are doing officiated by a priest that is happy to do so doesn't require you to get upset or criticise.
Although not as celebrated or noted as other parts of history gay men and women have always been part of life and many of the great people that have made the world what it is today were gay or suspected gay- it is a natural thing, science has proven it is a natural thing, why would 'God' make someone like this if it wasn't a natural thing?
I think it is great that many celebrities and TV shows/ films are now promoting gay marriage as a good thing as that it what it is and it is things like that, that will open up this world to many young people that have been struggling to tell the world that they are gay out of fear of being ridiculed or seen as different- showing them that gay marriage is fine is part of this. The 'It Gets Better' campaign was a brilliant project launched by married gay couple Dan Savage and Terry Miller made to make this world better for many gay young people. I respect these people a lot more than I do someone who for no real reason believes that can make decisions for someone else.
I've grown up in what I see to be a fairly liberal generation where things are a lot more multi cultural and respectful of other people regardless of their lifestyle or belief and although I wouldn't say the same for my parents and some of the things they believe I'm proud to say they have let me defy my own understanding of the world. We are moving into an accepting world where people all have the same rights regarless of who they are and so this should be reflected in the laws, punishments and attitudes we have for homosexual lifestyles. I will walk into my psychology class on Monday with new views on these people I had previously seen as lovely people. There is no reason why gay marriage shouldn't be done so when this country comes to finally accept this I feel we will live in a much better place.
It was my mum's birthday last week and like every year we wanted to do something special to mark the occasion. A couple weeks prior to this she had discovered a restaurant, that she and my dad had regularly enjoyed eating at when they were a young couple, had opened in Westfield's shopping centre (though with a different name and slightly different menu): this was the Chicago Rib Shack. Having spoke fondly of this restaurant for years this seemed like a brilliant blast from the past for the both of them and a great place to try for the rest of us. The one in Westfield's, however, was just part of the food court and although we normally are happy to eat at the food court we wanted to make it a proper restaurant experience to make it special for her birthday, so we checked the website and found there was another one in central London though this one was a dine in restaurant- perfect.
Chicago Rib Shack is located in Knightsbridge next to the Burberry shop. We drove there and although it wasn't hard to get to or find the real nightmare was finding a parking spot within a fair distance of the restaurant, there were no purposely built parking areas close so the only option was to find a spot in one of the surrounding streets. Now I can't say for sure whether it was just because this was a midday on a Sunday or if this is the norm for finding a parking spot here but knowing London I'd probably go for the latter as we spent a good twenty minuets searching for a space to park until we finally found one just down the road. Normally it is pay and display but as it was a Sunday this did not apply. This is pretty typical of London restaurants like this so not something I moan about but defiantly best to give yourself a fair bit of time if you are driving there to be in at a specific time. Alternatively there are local bus stops and a train station just down the road making it very accessible by public transport.
One really nice thing about the rib shack was that we got seated straight away as it wasn't very busy, for a party of six this isn't something we get too often so was quite impressive. This probably doesn't apply at busier times such as in the evening but there is the option of pre-booking a table on the website or over the phone. There was both an upstairs and downstairs eating area. We were seated upstairs and as we didn't even look downstairs I have very little to say about it for now. Walking in the restaurant through revolving doors we found ourselves in a small waiting area on normal ground level which had stairs that lead to the eating area, there was only a window between the waiting room and dining area so even for a small area it did feel bigger than what it was. We were taken straight up the stairs- from initial thought these are the only way up but I can't say for sure whether there is a alternative way of getting up for disabled people/ those with walking difficulties.
For me personally I loved the way the restaurant looked, it was modern and heavily decorated with pictures/ models of pigs (something a little bitter sweet when you look at the menu and see you can order a baby pig to eat) including a wall of painted pigs of different patterns/ types. On one side of the upper area was the tables and the other side was a large bar heavily packed with various drinks on show and three large TV's (these were just playing the Looney Toons whilst we were in there but I imagine they play sport or something similar later in the day). It wasn't as American styled as I imagined it would compared to other America restaurants we've been to being the 'Chicago' rib shack but nice regardless. One nice feature on the wall on the furthest side of the room was a menu relating to the original during the time of Bob Payton the founder of the restaurant in 1991.
The seats were comfortable and made up of a mixture of booths and normal chairs.
Now for the food. Once seated we were given the menus, drinks were ordered first and we were given pretty much your average choices: juices, a range of alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, etc as well as smoothies and an American touch being floats. We just ordered Cokes and Orange juices. These arrived prompt and just as expected. Then we took to the food side of the menu. We aren't really big on appetizers so skipped straight to mains though there is a fair bit of choice including Super Skins (cheese filled potato skins), Iceberg Wedges (Iceberg lettuce with dressing) and Prawn Skewers (jumbo prawns). I obviously can't comment on the taste of any of the appetizers but looking through it I honestly can't say the choices were that appealing for me, although this may just personal preference.
If I'm honest there wasn't much range in terms of type of foods but plenty for the meat lover- burgers, stakes, ribs and a bit of fish. I went for The Grilled Chicken Burger, my dad and sister The Rib Shack Burger, my other sister The Kiss Burger, my brother had The Combination Platter and my mum had Ribs. It took quite a while for the food to come- having asked for the burgers to be well done we had been told it would take a little while but for a restaurant with very little customers we were still a little surprised at the time it took. Just beofre the food came we were given little packets of wet wipes and depending on what you were having (i.e ribs) some got bibs which was quite entertaining for all of us to sit and play with. When the food arrive though it was good: all special requirements were correct and everything was cooked how we had asked which was quite pleasing. The Chicken burger was really nice, it was a piece of grilled chicken snuggled between two toasted buns with pickle, lettuce, tomato, onion slices, relish and mayo then you have the optional of two more toppings, I had the burger as it came with added grilled onions as a topping but obviously you can ask for anything you don't want to not be included. The burger was really nice: it had been cooked properly, all the salad was nice and fresh and although I wasn't sure on the relish and mayo originally it actually came together really well, my only criticism is there was quite a bit of oil that made the bun really soft by the end. The chips were tasty but not the most amazing chips I've ever had. My family all seemed to enjoy theirs as well. The portions were actually a really great size, we all had enough to fill us up but not too much that we were leaving massive amounts on the plates. Along with our meals we ordered an onion loaf to share between us and this has got to be the highlight of our meal. We had expected a small loaf with enough for a little bit each but out came a pretty large loaf big enough for the six of us to have a nice chunk each. It was quite greasy and made up of small onion rings in a loaf shape and tasted amazing. One the waiter recommended and I'd defiantly recommend it as well though defiantly as a sharing thing.
Still having space for a little bit more we then went onto desert. There was a fair bit of choice. We went for a Banana Split, Mississippi Mud pie and the Cheese Cake of the day. All were enjoyed and little was left by the end, especially the Mississippi Mud Pie served with ice cream over cream which my dad has been trying to find for ages. I've only included above the dishes that we ordered when we went but for a full list of options the menu is available on their website so you can check out what they do.
As always I made my routine visit to the toilet: I mean why go to an eating establishment it your notmgonna check out their loo? The toilets were situated on the bottom level so a couple of stairs down from where we were sitting. When we got to the bottom we were greeted by two doors (well three but one was towards the lower eating area) one which said 'Barbie Q's' and the other 'Bobby Q's', this was very entertaing and I thought it was a really clever touch. We went into the Barbie side (for obvious reasons) and walked into a really lovely bathroom area: there was about 4 or 5 stools, it was a bit squished inside but there was enough room to move and get in/ out of the toilets and wash/ day your hands. The decoration again was really nice and there was no problems with hygiene or lack of soap/ toilet paper, ect.
From the moment we walked in we noticed something was missing, something that I personally find as one of the defining points of a restaurant: the atmosphere. Having really stuck to Hard Rock Cafe on special birthday trips to London and other similar restaurants we were used to an amazing feeling from the second you walk in. This lacked at the Chicago Rib Shack and I can't quite put my finger on why. The staff although friendly didn't seem to bring much outside of the ability to serve and sometimes get confused over what they were doing. The music was great but almost seemed to just be random- both new old, different genres, etc some of which I didn't really feel matched the restaurant and although we did have a slightly embarrassing, quiet sing along to Bruno Marz it wasn't the same as how the music makes you feel in other restaurants. For us this lack of atmosphere has pretty much got to be the biggest let down of the whole experience and had a pretty big impact on our feelings towards it as a whole to the point where we doubt we'd go again.
As I've already said the service was friendly but seemed to lack real personality within the job. We were often asked if our food was ok or if we needed refills but we also had a couple of incidents where drinks still being used were taken away. It provided some laughs as my sister was left looking kind of confused as the drink she was about to drink was gone and was rectified easily but still quite annoying regardless.
The bill was as expected for a London resturant but did appear to be more than expected as service charge was included. We are generally good tippers as my parents have always hated the thought of walking out without giving them a fair amount for their work but including the charge into the bill is something that we are not fond of- it's meant to be an optional amount but here we felt we were being forced into a certain amount and after a few mistakes by the service we would have preferred to choose our own tip. The prices generally weren't too bad but for around the same price we could have had a better time at somewhere like Hard Rock.
Looking on the website I have now found out about a range of other things we did not learn in the resturant. This included a shop selling merchandise related to the resturant, this included jumpers, bags and even unpainted versions of the pigs we had seen when we entered. This means you can take something away to remember your experiance and if I had of know I think I may have bought a pig as I thought they were amazing. There are also a range of special events and offers on at different times so it may be a good idea to check the website it your planning on going to see if there is anything going on during your visit, though I haven't been to one I can imagine it gets more lively when there are special events.
All in all this was a decent experience but one I'm not sure we would want to repeat. There was nothing remarkably bad or wrong but it also wasn't anything amazing that made it stand out enough for us to want to return. The food was good, service friendly and it was quite nice looking inside but the lack of atmosphere and cost are enough to put us off. Defiantly didn't meet the expectations my parents held from the their past. I'm not sure if I'd recommend to a friend as I do think how much you enjoy this restaurant is largely down to personal preference and possibly when you go but I think personally it will be one I'd give a miss unless I have a sudden craving for the delicious onion loaf.
_Why I bought It_
When I first got my two Guinea pigs Bailey and Miss Piggy I had been told by the pet shop I bought them at that a 100cm cage would be perfect for them. Now I'm not stupid or totally naive but these were my first Guinea pigs and this person in my eyes was an expert: I mean if your selling Guinea pigs surely you must be fully aware of all their living requirements mustn't you? Well as I soon learned the answer is no. Having soon found some good websites when I was looking into Guinea pig care I found the minimum recommended amount for two Guinea pig's is 120cm x 60cm x 45cm and as the weeks progressed I was seeing for myself how the girls were quickly outgrowing their cage. As I wanted them to have enough space I decided I would get them a new cage. At this point I wasn't even aware C&C cages existed, didn't fancy trying to build a wooden cage or hutch myself so off I toddled to the pet shop to buy them a new bigger cage.
One problem I have always found when buying cages for small animals is the total lack of cages that are the correct size and suitable for the intended animal so when I got in the pet shop I didn't have much choice but then I saw the 'Ferplast Rabbit 120'. At that point I was already using the smaller version (the 'Ferplast Rabbit 100') and although I had not been impressed by the size I had generally found it to be quite a nice cage so I thought I'd give it a go: it would hopefully bring all the aspects I had enjoyed from the Ferplast 100 combined with the bonus of an extra 20cm's worth of space making it near enough the perfect cage.
I bought my cage in the pet store chain Pets at Home for £75 which if I'm honest now I think about it wasn't such a good idea. On a spur of the moment thought whilst buying them some food I decided to get the cage then and there without looking for a better price and looking on the Internet when I got home there were plenty of places I could have got it for a cheaper price: 'Equine Canine Feline' are currently selling it for £47.95 and at the time Zooplus had it for a similar price. This is pretty good value for a 120cm cage.
Having bought it at P@H our cage came ready made so I have no idea how it would be to build if it came flat packed. The cage itself pretty much follows the normal rules of indoor Rabbit/ Guinea Pig cages: It has a plastic base and a plastic coated, metal wire cage that fits on top of the base and can be easily removed if needed. This gives plenty of opportunity for proper light and ventilation. The cage measures 118 x 58.5 x 51.5cm which just meets the minimum recommended requirements for two Guinea pigs, for this reason I highly recommend not trying to have more than two Guinea pigs in this cage and be cautious if you've got two boys as during their hormonal stage they can be prone to fall outs if they don't have a large enough space. It also advertises as being adequate for Rabbits and Ferrets but if I'm honest I don't personally think it is big enough for either. A dwarf rabbit it may just do but for a permanent home, from my experience, i'd defiantly go bigger for both dwarfs and normal sizes. Though I don't have experience with Ferrets I have always been told they do better with more height and more levels so outside of an elderly ferret who can't handle climbing anymore I'd generally look for a different cage.
The base being plastic I've found to be a positive as although it can lead to some cosmetic damage (if you have a pet that likes eating plastic) I've never meet a Guinea pig or rabbit (that is healthy and has a proper diet) that has been able to chew straight through. It also makes cleaning incredibly easy. One thing I have found is that wee stains do sometimes appear but these can be almost completely removed with the magic of some heated vinegar and a little scrubbing. The wire cover is made up of three proper sides and one double door made up of two separate doors that have to be opened or closed individually- as can be seen in the photo. For me these doors brought both pros and cons, it made for easy access of nearly any part of the cage to get the pet out but they could also be incredibly awkward and when placed up weren't that stable: to the point where they fell on me a couple of times when i was leaning in. Another problem I had with the doors was that they sometimes came out of place either partially or fully and although it wasn't too hard to clip them back in this became very annoying when I was trying to do something. It is made up of lines of smaller plastic covered metal wires crossing throughout so that the gaps are small enough to make it impossible for a Guinea pig or rabbit to escape through them. This also provides a good protection from any other pets in the house such as cats and dogs.
The actual structure and design of the cage is pretty good, after using it for a year it was still near enough as good as new (outside of a missing segment of the plastic where I dropped it once), still together. The large door and where it is positioned makes it very easy to access the cage to get the pet out or just for general maintenance and it also easily comes fully off (held on by clips which are easy to lock and unlock) which makes the cage very easy to clean or move about as separate parts. Putting it back on does take a little bit of skill and effort as it needs to be lined up properly but with help this is easy enough. The clips are pretty easy to use and aren't too hard to undo.
I used this cage for about a year and if I'm honest for my two Guinea Pig girls it was pretty good. They had previously been in a 100cm cage so they were loving the extra room. The cage also comes with either the small house seen in the picture or a longer piece of plastic that attaches into the cage with a smaller piece of plastic coming off (the stairs) making for a good hide out. My cage came with the plastic attachment parts for a hidey. It made for a nice spot to hide but for me took up to much space and the stairs were also too steep so neither of my pigs would use them: one would just jump up and the other who is disabled couldn't get up at all, so I ended up taking it out and putting two pigloos in.
As well as the hide the cage came with a water bottle, food bowl and hay rack. The water bottle I chucked straight away having found the one that had came with my last Ferplast to be absolutely useless: it leaked, broke easily and the part that was meant to keep it attached to the cage was far from stable so I'd often come home to find them with no water as the bottle had fallen during the day. The food bowl is pretty much an average food bowl: it is plastic and round, the shape/ size is purposely made to fit perfectly into the slot that come in/ on the hidey so that it can't be knocked over but as I wasn't using the hide this didn't matter to me. I was quite impressed with this bowl though and still use it now even though they aren't in a commercial cage anymore- it is a nice size, plastic so still in pretty good condition and because of the shape isn't easy for the little pains to knock over. The hay rack I was pretty neutral with as although it did do the job ( hold hay) and fit pretty easy onto the cage, it wasn't very stable and a couple times I came home to find the hay rack and hay all over the floor. These were all fairly easily attached onto the wire bars and all can be put into a place where it is easily reached by an average sized Guinea pig.
_Concluding it Up_
All in all I found this to be a very good indoor commercial cage compared to most of the other options, it is sturdy, well made and lasts quite a while if looked after properly. It should not be used outside regardless of the weather. The size is nice for two Guinea pigs but is a minimum so a bigger cage would probably be appreciated. However, I wouldn't try more than two Guinea pigs in this cage and be cautious with two young boys. Rabbits and ferrets I would say this is far from ideal and if I'm honest I wouldn't bother with it for either as for both this isn't really adequate length wise or height wise.
The Guinea pigs liked it with it's increased space and new features. Generally this is a nice first cage for any first time Guinea pig cage who wants a well made cage that is big enough to keep their pigs happy until they start looking at home made alternatives like C&C cages.
As a family we are really close but if we are honest we don't do a lot of activities together outside of the usual watching TV, eating dinner, etc and this is even more so now that me and my siblings are growing up and starting to move out. So during Christmas my mum likes to get something we can do together, normally either a board game or a game for one of the consoles.
A couple of years ago (well actually quite a few now) she bought 'Buzz', the original version for the PS2 after having it recommend to her by a friend. Normally with games like this we'll literally just buy the game and then if we really enjoy it get proper controllers later but on this occasion the game and controllers were on quite a reasonable deal so my mum went straight for it. 'Buzz' is a game where teams/ players play against each other in a quiz style fashion and is available in a range of different different styles including: 'Buzz Music Quiz', 'Buzz Brain of the UK' and 'Buzz Hollywood' on the PS2, PS3 and PSP. When you play you have the option to use the normal console controllers or use the specially made Buzz controllers. The controllers range in price around £6.75 individually or cheaper if bought with one of the games.
In the pack came four controllers; each a couple inches long- a perfect size to fit in the average hand; had five buttons, four smaller and rectangular all of different colors (blue, green, red, yellow) and one larger round, red 'Buzz' button; and was attached to a lead that could be put into the connector which could then be attached to the console. These controllers were incredibly easy to use. They attached to the play station with ease and it was just a matter of pushing the wires into the socket points. Our first problem was deciding how we would split into teams as there were only four controllers and four players allowed on this game (some do allow up to eight players) as there were seven of us, though there was a little bit of bickering this was soon decided.
Then we actually got into the game. The game in general was really fun and for us the controllers enhanced the playing. Comparing it to when we played with the normal PS2 controllers you can tell how the game has been tailored to work better with the controllers and they made the game play a lot easier with the corresponding colored buttons. The Buzz controllers were easy to use: the buttons were easy to press but weren't sensitive, the controllers were light and having to hold it throughout the game felt like nothing and the game clearly explained how they needed to be used at the beginning of every game so that you could visually get to grips with their use and no one could complain they didn't understand the controls. The only really problem we found was that they were not wireless so needed to be attached by the wires at all times which quite often got in the way and on one (very funny) occasion had my siste over.
These lasted us for months (a little over a year I think) when we got the PS3 and sold the PS2 so the game was no longer compatible. We did buy one of the new Buzz games for the PS3 but for us the controllers didn't work and we didn't want to buy new ones, I have however read that some are compatible with the PS3 so it is possible this may just be a problem with the type that we bought. They lasted really well and due to the simple design I think you'd need a lot of force to break one. All in all I was really impressed by these controllers and would highly recommend to anyone/ family who has/ is getting Buzz.
For a man that have very little interest in most modern day technologies and isn't even a major fan of music my dad is absolutely fascinated by music speakers. So every couple of years, when he has the money he will buy a new music speaker, claiming it to be a gift to my mum or the family in general. The most current purchase (last years purchase) was this, the 'Sony I-Pod Speaker Dock Clock Radio'. My dad had recently bought my brother's old G1 I-Pod touch and was keen to have his music waking him up in the morning.
The 'Sony I-Pod Speaker Dock Clock Radio' has pretty much the usual design of I-Pod docks; central there is the connection point where you can attach your IPod; this sits on the clock which gives you the current time, your alarm time and what method it is set to wake you up by; then the main part which is the actual speakers; and then on top of the speakers sits a variety of controls. Personally I really like how it looks, it is nice and petite so fits perfectly in a small space whilst also looking fairly elegant not drawing too much attention being a simple black design.
Now this is where for me it really does shine. As it says in the name this is intended to be used as an alarm and for us that is what it is used as and it happily sits next to my parents bed ready to wake them up at half six every morning. It was easy to set and can obviously be altered depending on when you need to get up. One thing I really like is that it can be set with two alarms at separate times which is perfect for a couple who need to wake up at different times. When you set the alarm you have the option on what you want to wake up to: your IPod, the radio or just a normal alarm noise. My parents choose the IPod option so every morning without fail they are woken up to one of the songs on my dad's IPod. Until touched the music will continue to play for up to 90 minutes which is nice if you like to get ready with some music on. The volume can be changed depending on how easy you are to wake up and that lovely snooze button is also present every morning presenting the option of just a couple more minuets.
Even if you aren't looking for an alarm the Sony I-pod Dock Clock can be used in just general use. It isn't heavy at only 1.9kg so can easily be transported. The sound is very impressive and even at louder volumes the music is still really clear and has plenty of clarity. I have also found the clock feature (although never set to the correct time in my house) very useful on busy mornings when I'm rushing out and need a quick time check. The whole screen is lit so can also be seen during the night, however it is quite bright so probably not best to put it directly in your line of sight during a dark night.
The controls of top are pretty similar to other Sony products and for my parents was very easy to use, more so once you used to it. If you do, however, want to change it from a distance it also comes with a wireless control so that you can be the other side of the room when a song you don't like comes on and it is easily changed without much movement on your part.
It is compatible with a variety of IPod modules: ipod nano 4th generation, ipod nano 3rd generation (video), ipod nano 2nd generation (aluminium), ipod nano 1st generation, ipod touch 2nd generation, ipod touch, ipod Classic, iphone, ipod 5th generation (video), ipod 4th generation (colour display), ipod 4th generation, ipod mini. So branches out to a variety of IPod users.
I personally really like this. I can't remember now how much he paid but I believed it was around the £70 mark last year. Though not the cheapest available for what you get I feel this is quite good value. The sound is clear, alarm system is very useful and the various options it gives you are nice and can bring an appreciated change if you fancy something new. The various options make it not only useful for it's intended purpose of being an alarm clock but also the perfect little buddy during the day when you want to listen to some tunes. Definitely would recommend this product.
I am, and have been for the past ten years, the very proud and happy owner of a female Shar-pei called Coco. She is my constant companion and has been a pretty big part of my life so I love treating her to a new toy or treat when I can.
Whilst on holiday last year I was in a pet shop looking for something to buy as a holiday present for Coco (had bought all my human friends something so of course I had to make sure my doggie companion had something as well) and saw the 'Skinneeez Stuffing Free Dog Toy'. Although she isn't a problem dog when it comes to breaking her toys I liked the concept of the Skinneeez toys and thought it would be nice to get her something different than the normal stuffed squeaky bears. I can't recall how much I payed for this now but looking on the Internet it seems to range from around £4 to £8, which isn't a terrible price.
Taking it home to her it was greeted with the normal inquisitive sniffs and eventually was used as her new toy, running around the house with it in her mouth playing tug of war with whoever she could find to play with her. She seemed to like it but I think the lack of stuffing was actually missed as there was less to hold onto and made it a little lifeless when she was chewing on it. It has two squeakers: one just under the head and one much lower down the body. This was brilliant for her as she loves the sound of a squeaker and it is amazing to see how long she can sit there totally fixated on this high pitched notice, this feature wasn't as welcomed by the human members of the houshold.
As in the picture I bought the fox version which admittedly as Teddy's/ toys go it was a fairly life like. It is, however, also available in a variety of other woodland and wild characters including the rabbit and raccoon. It was that sort of orange/ browny color we stereotypically see foxes as, had little dark brown feet and a face that I personally found kind of scary as the eyes were quite wide. I defiantly wouldn't call this toy life like especially to my dog who didn't seem to be any more fooled by this teddy than she had her M&M bear.
It was quite soft and the material it was made out of was quite nice, this didn't really seem to another Coco though.
As for how long it lasted: she has had it almost 7 months now and although she is far from an obsessive player and may not even touch her Skineeez for weeks it is still in a very good condition and has even survived a ride in the washing machine and came out looking a lot nicer. I'm still slightly sad though that even now I haven't been able to fully get the sticker that comes attached to it off as it appears to literally be fully stuck onto the fur. It does seem relatively well made and for anyone worried about their dog ingesting Teddy fluff I'm sure it would take away that worry as the whole concept is based around it's lack of fluff. Regardless it's still best to watch them when they are playing with it as I can still imagine some dogs would find the fox skin as a tasty treat if they ripped it down to edible pieces.
Overall I still like this toy but think I'll stick to the fluffed varieties as Coco hasn't had any problems with eating fluff and this isn't really something I worry about when I'm buying her toys. It is a nice idea and a great addition for a toy lover so can't help but destroy their new friend. It has kept Coco entertained for a fair few hours over the last couple of months and that is good enough for me.
Every five days I approach my Guinea pig's cage, look at the mess the little bugs have made over the past couple of days and prepare myself for their regular cage cleaning. Far from being one of the perks of pet ownership keeping their cage clean is incredibly important for both their health and well being so regardless of how much I hate standing picking little Guinea pig poos it has to be done and it has to be done right. A constant worry when you own a pet is that they are going to get ill and so it is really important that when the cage is cleaned it is cleaned properly with disinfectant so that all the nasty bacterial/ fungal problems are removed as well as they can be.
A couple weeks back I was just about to start cleaning the Guinea pigs cage out when I realized I was out of the normal disinfectant. I thought about using normal surface cleaner but really wanted to avoid this as they can be too strong for small animals and I preferred going with the much safer option of buying a disinfectant made specifically for animal cages. So off to Tesco I went. There was very little variety and the only one worth looking at was the 'Bob Martin Cage Clean Disinfectant'. From previous experience I had very mixed opinions on Bob Martin products, having found their dog flea treatment to be totally useless and having heard of a few medical conditions occur from it (dog flea treatment) I was hesitant in buying this but it seemed to be the best and safest option at the time so I went for it. I paid £1.64 for a 500ml bottle which I personally found to be really cheap and it appears to sell for around the £2 mark in a variety of places making it generally quite cost effective.
When I got home I got straight to the cage cleaning and decided to let the disinfectant prove for itself how well it would work. Once the cage was empty I started to spray. The first thing that came to mind was how nice it smelt and sister commented on this when she walked past. One problem I have found with some disinfectant is that they can smell slightly clinical making them a little unpleasant but this was quite nice and makes for a more pleasant way to get rid of the urine smell. I left it to sink in for a while and then cleaned it out with hot water and a cloth, all was easily removed and I was now more than happy to stick their bedding in. I sprayed a fair bit so that I was happy an adequate amount had been used to get rid of the various nasties and although a fair bit of the bottle had been used there was still quite a bit left and a few weeks later (and a fair few washes) I still have about half the bottle left. For me this has proved to last quite a while on a 3 by 5 (grids) C&C cage being cleaned approximately every five days but obviously this does depend on the size of the cage being cleaned, the amount of cages being cleaned and how much you use in each cage.
It came as a regular sized, transparent bottle (500ml and I believe this is the only size it is available in) with a blue liquid in and an easy to hold and use handle so that the spraying was really simple and I wasn't constantly having to shake the bottle to get the little line of liquid out. It can be used in the cages of a variety of species including: Rabbits, Guinea pigs and Hamsters among others. It boast as being 'anti-bacterial','anti-fungal' and 'anti viral' and from personal experience since using it I haven't had any problems with any of these three, however prior to using this spray I had, had little problems with the three anyway so I can't give a definite answer as to whether these claims are true or not. From my previous experience I do have some doubts over whether this disinfectant can be fully trusted but for now I haven't experienced problems so am happy to continue using it.
Another benefit of this disinfectant is that as it is animal safe it can be used to clean a variety of other objects that the pigs come in contact with including their feeding bowls, toys, etc. This is quite useful as every now and then their items do need a good clean and it is much nicer to be doing them with a safe disinfectant rather then just with soap.
All in all this is a nice disinfect that, although I still have some doubts about, I am very happy to continue using. In an easy to use and handle bottle I now clean my Guinea pig's cage out with ease and also have the added bonus of a fairly nice smell to neutralize the smelly cage smell my guys like to create.
One of the pleasures of pet ownership is the little nasties your pets sometimes get and no matter what you do these can be unavoidable. One of the most common parasite seen in Guinea pigs is lice and these were the lovely little creatures I was once greeted by whilst having Miss Piggy and Bailey out in the garden. Whist stroking Bailey I noticed some little like substances and on further inspection in combination with her itching I realised they were lice and obviously needed to get it treated as soon as before problems got any worse. At the time money was tight and although I wouldn't wait a second if either of my girls needed the vet in an emergency situation (or just generally) this was something I wanted to try and tackle on my own before paying out large sums on the vet, I do however not recommend this and highly advice seeking a vet advice if you do feel there is anything wrong with your pet.
Georgeous Guineas was a company I was already familiar with at this point having looked through their website a number of times wanting to buy some shampoos. I had heard very good things about them and was eager to try something but always put off by the price once postage was put on. However this time I was happy to ignore the price because I saw it as a need rather than a want know and so off I went to the site and picked out a couple of products including the 'Georgeous Guineas Lice N Easy Shampoo'. I can't remember the exact price now but I now it was a little bit shy of £15 including postage, not a terrible price for what I was buying (I think it was a small set of three items, a small shampoo and a sample version of one of the ointments) but compared to the shampoo I had bought in P@H before it wasn't my happiest purchase. Though I knew I was paying for quality and this was soon to be proved right.
It is important to check the warnings before buying as certain products can not be used on pregnant/ nursing pigs, young pigs or pigs currently being treated with Ivomec. it is very important these are followed as they can risk your Guinea pig if they are not.
Within a couple of days a small package arrived for me with my Gorgeous Guineas stuff in. If I'm honest I was a little surprised and disappointed at the size of the bottle/ containers as even though it had said the size on the site it was still a little bit of a shock when I thought about how much I had paid. One thing I was really impressed by was the detailed instructions that came with the products and told you exactly how to use the shampoos. I was eager to get this done in one try so I followed the instructions to the word.
The instructions, though long, were very clear so this was relatively easy. (After ignoring step one as this only applied to boars) I lathered the girls in a nice amount of the shampoo making sure I was very careful just using the foam on their faces and ears, I then rinsed it off thoroughly. Again I put shampoo however this time I had to leave it on for five minutes. I then dried them. As expected I got a large amount of protest from both girls throughout. As the instruction said I repeated a week later (may need further lice washes if it is a heavy infestation) and to my delight I haven't seen the little nasties since.
Outside of the price I loved this product. It smelt lovely and I found myself hanging around the girl's cage after they had, had their baths just to smell it. The packaging was nice, quite simple with just the name and logo on the bottle but this was nicer than it being over complicated. The company seems to have very good morals and has proven their treatments work in a variety of nasty cases which are evidenced on their site. They also create safe products with some nice natural ingredients made specifically for Guinea pigs (and a few other animals) so that you don't have to worry about harming your pet with the shampoo you use (some speculation over the safety of using baby shampoos). It did the job I wanted it to and still left me with a nice amount of the bottle left. I have made one further order since but in part because of price and in part because I just haven't needed to I rarely order from them.
All in all I loved this product and would highly recommend it to anyone who has Guinea pigs.
When I first got my two Guinea pigs I went round Pets@Home religiously following the leaflet we had been given about Guinea pig care, collecting every item it had on the list of needed supplies. This included a mineral stone, so off we went to the health section to choose a one. There wasn't much of a choice so I opted for the Grape 'Happy Pet Fruity Mineral' stone, though it was also available in strawberry form and more recently there seems to be even more choice in flavours.
The 'Happy Pet Fruity Mineral' is a mineral rock meant for small animals to give them a variety of mineral we can't. Avaliable in a variety of shapes and sizes it is meant for use with: Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, Gerbils, Rats and Mice and ranges from around £1 to £2, so relatively cheap.
When home I opened the stone. It looked quite pretty which was probably the thing that had attracted me to it over the other options, hoping that the colour and shape would be a good attraction to my new Guinea pigs. It was a light purple colour and had little bumps making it look like a grape branch to use an animals natural instinct of what they can eat. It was pretty light and only about two inches long so almost perfect to go in their cage without taking up a lot of room. It was hard but crumbled easily to help keep teeth short but also easy to get part off for eating. It also had to little wire strands coming from the back to help attach to the cage bars, these were easy to manoeuvre so strapping the stone onto the cage was pretty easy.
_How it Really Was_
Pretty happy with my decision on mineral stone I stuck it in their cage with the rest of their stuff expecting to see little nibble marks within the next couple of days. This didn't happen, though I assumed it was because they were in a totally new world and would try it eventually. They didn't. I left it in the cage for weeks (if not months) changing the position every so often to never see them touch it or any sign that they had tried it. The wires that had made it so easy to attach originally proved to not be as good as I had first thought as they were quite weak and flimsy so on a number of occasion I came home to it on the cage floor. Eventually it became covered in urine and very unsanitary so I took it out of the cage and didn't bother to find a replacement as although it had been pretty cheap it was just like throwing my money straight into the bin. Talking to some friends with a variety of small animals I found they all said the same thing, that their pet had little if any interest in the stone and they had ended up chucking it soon after they got it.
The mineral stone is advertised as being an essential part of a small pets diet containing: Contains Calcium Sulphate, Calcium Carbonate, Ground Limestone, Salt among other things. The things that we can't provide them easily in a domesticated living but after almost four years of only Cavies I haven't been effected by any problems related to a lack of these minerals, nor have I heard of anyone else (who feeds their pet an appropriate diet) having any problems.
All in all I've found this product to pretty much be a waste of money. Though a good idea on paper it seems to generate little interest from the animal and just ends up being left in the corner until it is it's time to meet Mr Bin. It's only cheap so you wouldn't be wasting a massive amount of money if you did want to try it but generally I'd say don't bother.
When I was younger, like many little girls, I was fascinated and adored TY beanies and built up myself quite the collection. The range of TY bears was/ is huge and includes a variety of differen characters: animals, children, month bears, etc. I'd never been interested in dolls so these for me where the perfect little toys.
One of my faviroute bears in my collection was the 'Ty Courage the Dog' . 'Courage' was released on October 12 2001 as a tribute to the many service men and women who lost their lives a month previous on 9/11 in the twin towers attacks. A caramel and brown German Shepherd, both the character and name are symbolic for the bravery and selflessness shown by those people.
In normal TY fashion 'Courage' holds a heart shaped label on his ear with his name and a special message in. In that label the very touching message inscribed reads:
"To honor our heroes
who lost their lives in the
national catastrophe that
took place on September 11, 2001.
We mourn for them and express our
deepest sympathy to their families.
God Bless America"
Such a touching message makes this one of the best I've seen in all the Ty beanies and still well up a tear when I read it.
'Courage' is soft to touch like most other beanies and filled with a mixture of stuffing and beans in it's various parts. A nice snuggle partner for any teddy lover. For this reason I would not recommend putting him in a washing machine but giving a good scrub if he needs it. As with most older Ty's Courage is now retired which means the company no longer sells this bear but I'm sure with a little bit of effort he could easily be found: whether it be on Amazon, EBay or at boot sales. However this means prices will vary and it's up to the discretion of the buyer to decide how much they want to spend on it.
He was released as part of a 9/11 memorial collection including:
America the Bear
Rescue the Dog
Courage the Dog
I personally love this bear through it's beautiful symbolises, gorgeous look and soft feel. As well as being part of one of my faviroute collections and as I am a big dog lover the German Sheperd aspect if yet another addition, Bought for me as a present from my mum I love this little buddy.
With this adorable German Shepherd sporting the American flag on his shoulder is a lovely tribute and brings a lot of sentiment to many. Though not an American or directory affected by these attacks I hold this bear close to my heart as in plush form I see it as a representation of how brilliant the human race can be: together America stood as one to remember the brave they lost.
*Changed as the Ferplast 120 now has it's own page on Dooyoo so my review has been split*
Ferplast in my experiance are definatly one of the better companies that manufacture small animal cages as although they do sell some cages that are too small for the intended animal they also sell a fair amount of cages that meet or even exceed the guideline sizes for that animal. Other than size they also produce cages that are generally quite well made and last longer than most of the other cage brands I have tried.
The 'Ferplast Rabbit 100' is an indoor small animal cage and should NOT be used outside regardless of the weather. It measures- L95 x W57 x H46cm and advertises as being suitable for two guinea pigs or one dwarf rabbit however I would say this is a too small to be a permanent house for either and this I found from both my own personal experience and that of others. Although this was perfect when my two Guinea pig girls were little they soon grew and needed more space and this would apply with other adult female guinea pigs and especially for boars/ males who can easily fall out if they don't have a large enough house. My sister also purchased this for her single dwarf rabbit who lived 75% of the time in the cage and again we found it became too small as he grew. This cage would possibly be perfect as a temporary cage until a new one is bought/ made, a hospital cage or even as the house for Guinea pigs/ rabbits who have constant free range time. Though outside of these reasons in my opinion it isn't fair to keep Guinea pigs/ a rabbit in a space that doesn't reach the guideline recommendations. The size of the cage length wise is actually quite nice and gives ample room for a small animal to stand up or even for a little bunny hoping.
The 'Ferplast Rabbit 100' from my experiance has been a really good cage and well worth the money. It is a commercial cage made with a plastic bottom and has a metal wire cover on top, giving plenty of opportunity for proper light and good ventilation of the cage. The base being plastic I've generally found to be a positive thing as although it can lead to some cosmetic damages if you have a pet that likes eating plastic i've never meet a Guinea pig or rabbit (that is healthy and has a proper diet) that has been able to chew straight through and it makes cleaning incredibly easy. One thing I have found is that wee stains do sometimes occur but these can be almost completely be removed with the magic of some heated vinegar and a little scrubbing. The wire cover is made up of five proper sides and one door as can be seen in the photo and it is made up of smaller plastic covered metal wires crossing throughout so that the gaps are small enough to make it impossible for a Guinea pig or rabbit to escape through them.
The actual structure and design of the cage is pretty good, after using it for a year it was still near enough as good as new (outside of a missing segment of the plastic where I dropped it once), still together. The large door and where it is positioned makes it very easy to access the cage to get the pet out or just for general maintenance and it also easily comes fully off (held on by clips which are easy to lock and unlock) makes the cage very easy to clean or move about in separate parts.
Probably my biggest problem with this cage is that I have found the wire part to be a nightmare at times as when the door part/ both door parts are up it isn't very well supported and I also found they easily slipped out at the hinge point to either an awkward position or fully put. Although was easily fixed (just pushed back into place) it was incredibly annoying when opening the cage with a pig in hand and also made ware marks after a while.
With the cage comes some accessories: a hay rack, a water bottle and a house. With both of mine I got the house that is strapped down by the cage which was quite nice but I eventually took it out as I found it took up quite a bit of the cage and decreased running length. The water bottle I chucked out a couple days after buying the cage as I found it to be useless, very leaky and quite flimsy. The hay rack I was very mixed on, I used it throughout the time I used the Ferplast cages as it did a very good job holding the hay onto the wire part of the cage but wasn't very secure so on a few occasions I did come home to the rack on the floor with a nice pile of hay on the floor.
All in all I found this to be a very good commercial cage compared to most of the other options, it is sturdy, well made and lasts quite a while if looked after properly. The 'Ferplast 100' is too small for the animals it advertises for and if I'm honest i'd probably say skip it and go straight for a bigger size so that you don't have to pay out on two cages like I did. The 'Ferplast 120' is a very similar cage but gives an extra 20cm's making it near enough the perfect minimum size for two rabbits or a dwarf rabbit (though even bigger would be much better) and most retailers sell it for just £10/ £15 more than they do the 100cm cage.
I have only ever had Guinea pigs and a rabbit in this cage (and the bigger 120) so can't vouch for how well it would work for other species. I used this cage for a couple of months with my two girls and I still happily use it if one has to be separated but I do wish I hadn't have bothered in the first place. They now happily live in a lovely big C&C cage (which I highly recommend) but as commercial cages go this is defiantly one of the better ones.
I'd like to start this off by admitting I have been a Sims addict on more than one occasion and chances are will full back into it a number of times before I finally leave my Sims days behind me.
I'm pretty much your average novice gamer; I enjoy video games and will maybe spend a couple of hours a week playing, however I'm normally far from obsessive and literally can't sit for hours of endless playing (much prefer having a healthy mix between being outside and sitting indoors). Sims has been my one exception to this and over the years I have clocked up more than my fair share of play hours. Between myself and my siblings we had the full collection of 'The Sims' (original and expansion packs) and most of the 'The Sims 2' expansion and stuff packs so it seemed obvious that we would get 'The Sims 3'.
The Sims 3 follows the game idea of it's predecessors: you control a person, a family, a bunch of family or even a whole town. The game is what you make of it which for me personally is something that makes this game so great and opens it to such a large audience. You have the option to create a Sim or use one of the pre-existing characters that come with the game and from there you choose what they want to do with their life: a romancer, career obsessed, family man/woman: their life is in your hands. Like the previous games the main aim of the game is to keep your sim(s) alive and try to keep their needs maxed.
The massive difference between the Sims 3 to those previous is the graphics of the game and the way that you now play with the whole village from one house rather than having control of just one house/ building at a time. This was quite an interesting change for me and came with both it's improvements and some bad points. Though obviously far from real life this new feature has made the game a little more life like, opening up the whole world rather than keeping them predominately in one house and creating sims that are slowly (scarily) getting more and more human like with each new generation. It also makes going to the shops, work, school, etc a lot easier and more interactive. However one thing I had always enjoyed doing was playing my way through generations of one family which (without loosing all relationships) isn't possible in the Sims 3 as you can only control one household in each town.
Another improvement from the previous games is the bigger variety of stuff/ options you get. A normal occurrence with new Sims games is a new selection of cloths, hairs, etc and although it did come will some new styles it was a little disappointing at first to see quite a small selection. This is instead substituted with the Sims shop on the EA Games site where you can purchase a variety of different clothes/ Sims: some free, some available for purchase. Alternatively the new variety of shops/ outdoor activities was quite impressive now including a library, a gym, a place to fish, among others. The biggest change in making the Sims is the new traits options where you can now choose specific traits that make your Sim an individual and give them characteristics that will affect their life's and wishes/ desires.
As with 'The Sims' and 'The Sims 2' after the release of the original, main game expansions packs have been realised to bring a bigger, more specific selection of products and activities. Although these are going to cost you they can be a very nice addition to the game and bring some very nice features. Current expansion packs for 'The Sims 3' are: 'World Adventures', 'Ambitions', 'Late Night', 'Generations', 'Pets' and soon to be released 'Showtime'. There are also a fair few stuff packs available.
My faviroute new feature is by far the mood/ wish system, the points avaliable for completing these wishes/ desires and the rewards (life time awards) you can buy using these points. In the previous game doing the things they wanted would improve their mood an eventually lead to some rewards which I didn't really find to be so useful but in the new game completing fairly mediocre tasks like reading a book, or making food (sometimes depends on your sims traits) can give you points and buy you rewards such as increased fertility (now possible to have triplets without using a cheat).
My main problem with this new game is the amount of glitching and general getting it started. Compared to the previous games it is incredibly slow as the computer try to work with it's much larger content, this obviously gets really boring when you are left staring at a screen. After waiting for this game to come out for a good couple of days I was mortified when it wouldn't work on my laptop for some reason, asked in store and they didn't have an answer, though it did work on my much older computer I was able to play it though very limited play. We eventually got a new laptop (not because of sims though lol) and it did work a lot better on here however still brought a lot of problems to the point where I don't play it anymore as I don't want to sit playing when it constantly seems to be glitching up or just generally being slow. I also had a lot of issues buying and downloading stuff off the online shop, something I personally wasn't too happy with any way as most items cost real money not considering I had already paid out £30 on the game.
All in all 'The Sims 3' is a very good game with a lots of improvements from it's predosessors in terms of graphics and choice of things to do. However these improvements come at the cost of quite a lot of glitching and much slower game play. Generally it is a good game that I happily recommend ready to bring a new sims addict into the world.
I started using Carefresh after about half a year of using wood shavings with my two Guinea pigs. Shavings had proved to be too dusty for inside use for me and had caused some breathing problems with my Guinea pigs (one still suffers sometimes) so I was very eager to get them on something else so off to the Internet I went to do some research. After a couple of hours of looking though various beddings I found a brand called Carefresh which many people had very good experiances with so I thought I'd give it a go.
One thing I had to consider when I was choosing a bedding was how easy it would be to get it and Carefresh ticked this box: it was avaliable at both Pets at Home, the other pet shop I sometimes go to and plenty of places online, so I had no worry about not being able to source it. At the time when I first bought it Pets at Home sold only the original version so I bought the 14 liter bag for £4.99. It was also available in a 60 liter bag for £14.99 (which is better value but I wasn't looking to get that on and off the bus) and more recently they have started selling the colored confetti versions, which is good as I had previously found these hard to source for a fair price in the UK, £5.99 for a 10 liter bag- quite a bit dearer than the original but they do appear quite pretty. Compared to the shavings I had been buying this was quite a bit more expensive and the price was probably my biggest problem with Carefresh. When I had a 120cm cage I used to use three-quarters of the bag to do a relatively thin layer which would do for a week, but with a bag costing £5 I was spending around £15 every three weeks- this wasn't an affordable option for me.
When I next cleaned their cage I opened the bag to be greeted by a slightly papery smell, quite nice though. It came out easy and it wasn't hard to break it up and spread. You also get a fair bit more than the packaging appears to contain as it is quite well compressed. It was made of little brown, paper like flakes, not the most attractive product but personally I thought they gave it quite a nice natural look. The pigs didn't really seem to bothered about it but it was quite nice on their feet and as it contained only a very small amount of dust the girl's breathing improved over the next couple of weeks.
Although the packaging said that it 'lasts twice as long as traditional bedding' I still found that changing it after a week was a must, although it did a much better job of keeping the odor at bay for the weeks it still couldn't keep it away past that. However when I did clean the cage it was pretty easy (just a matter of sweeping up the bulk bits and picking anathema rest) and didn't stink up the bin either. It was also very absorbent which was helpful in keeping them dry, especially having a Guinea pig who appears to enjoy sitting in her own wee and poo. The piggies didn't seem bothered about eating it so I had no worry about them ingesting anything naughty. Carefresh is also environmentally friendly, recycling the by-products of paper making so also has that feel good feeling that your doing something for the environment.
All in all Carefresh is a very nice product that does it's job very well whilst also being good to the environment and safe for the animal on it. However for me the price is a massive let down and when I expanded my cage I was going to find it financially impossible to keep them on Carefresh and so switched to fleece. I'd recommend Carefresh to anyone who has small animals in the commercial cages (120cm etc, 100cm is too small for a pair of piggies or a rabbit), only has there in the cage part of the day so requires less frequent cleaning or uses it with something else as although it is really good it doesn't provide great value when there are plenty of similar alternatives.