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An odd pub this one and not one that I venture into too often - although I did pop in for an occasional drink on my way home from work when I lived locally. This is one of those pubs that seems to change ownership on a very regular basis, some of it's incarnations have been really good (there was a period when I'd have said it did the best bar food in town) and others that are just dire. Last time I was there it was going through a very 'laddish' phase with big screen football and lots of young lads drinking far too much lager. The pub does serve real ales, but usually only a couple and they have a tendancy to run out leaving just the keg or bottled stuff. I have no idea what the food menu is like at the moment as I've not stayed for long enough to try it. Over all it's not a pub I particularly like, the atmosphere isn't to my taste and while the exposed beams and woodwork are all very interesting they look kinda fake and are a bit on the shabby side. This pub isn't particularly good for wheelchair access as it's cramped in places and doesn't have access ramps or disabled toilets. All in all this isn't my sort of pub - but if you're after somewhere to drink lager and watch footie it's probably worth a try.
Another over hyped film production that's relying on the fact that the British film industry is hardly offering any competition? Actually, no. This really was a good film although not 'worthy high brow material' by anyone's definition. It's good fun, comfortingly reassuring about being a woman in your 30s and entertaining to boot. I loved the opening credits, where Bridget sits alone with just a bottle of red wine for company singing along to 'All by myself' - it's the kind of thing that I've done so many times in the past. A very sharp observation and it raised as much of a smile over the momory of having done so as for how ridiculous she looked on the screen. A lot of the films appeal is down to moments like those, the agonising over whether to wear the skimpy undies in the hope that the date will work out, the well meaning advice given to and by your friends and the having to grin and bear it when the man you're besotted with turns up with another woman - we've all been there and can now look back and laugh about it with the help of Bridget Jones. Renee Zellweger manages to sound convincingly British - and has managed to develop the kind of curves and bulges that Bridget agonises over, which is very refreshing to see. Having a stick insect playing the part would have lost that realism. Hugh Grant is a wonderful bad guy. He even looks like your average office Lothario. And like the various charming villains I've met over the years he managed to stay fun and attractive even when you knew what a sleaze he really was. My favourite bit of casting had to be Colin Firth as Mark Darcy - how deliciously ironic considering that Mark was based on Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice as played by Colin Firth. This fact only really connected for me when Bridget commented that his sideburns were too big - *snigger*. I was a bit disappointed that the book w
asn't as good as the film, but then they never are. Even though they changed the plot and several of my favourite bits didn't appear it was still good fun and I got a few snuggles from my bestest beloved during the soppy bits so I enjoyed myself.
It's a wetherspoon's pub which is pretty much all you need to know. If you're not familiar with Wetherspoons (where have you been?) this means it always has real ale on offer, does cheap but good food, doesn't have awful music at all and there are no children allowed in the bar. In other words, you can guarantee a good pint at a reasonable price in relaxing surroundings. If you're not a beer drinker don't worry - the pub sells all the usual bevvies and takes as much care to keep the prices low on these items as for the ales. This particular wetherspoons is located right in the centre of town opposite the main bus station and taxi ranks, right next to the swimming pool - so it's very easy to get to and just as easy to get home from after you've had a few. It's also just a few minutes walk from a large carpark if you're staying off the alcohol. It used to be a very different pub, it was called the Town House and definitely a place to avoid unless you liked a rough atmosphere. But thankfully that's all changed and it's now the kind of venue you can take your mum to for Sunday lunch. It is much much cheaper than the Yates Wine Lodge just across the road, and indeed most of the pubs in town. You can get two meals for a fiver most evenings or a burger, chips and a pint for less than you'd pay in a burger bar. They also do coffees, teas and the like throughout the day (about 50p for a latte or hot chocolate). The pub is large and spacious with two beer gardens so if you happen to have kids in tow you can still take advantage of the cheap prices and nice atmosphere - provided the weather is fine anyway. Of course, being nice and cheap it does tend to get busy at weekends so get there early if you want to make a night of it, or go during the week when there is no such problem. This pub is accessible by wheelchair or those with mobility problems - although
it's not the easiest place to get into with steep ramps and no easy route from the car park to the ramps. It's up to you whether cheap prices and good beer make it worth the effort. There is a non-smoking area at the back which is very pleasant for dining in - there are large windows giving it an almost conservatory like feel. You will occasionally find some idiot who can't read the no smoking signs but generally it's fine. It's definitely my favourite place to stop for a mid shopping or pre night out pub meal anyway.
I've been a regular shopper at Flying Flowers since spotting the banner here on dooyoo just before Christmas. The main thing that keeps me coming back is the price - Their bouquets start at less than a tenner and for twenty five quid you can buy something really impressive from the five star selection. At that price I can afford to spoil my mum with a fresh bouquet every month which is exactly what I have been doing. On the down side, the selection isn't huge, they usually have somewhere between 5 and 15 different arrangements, most of them featuring carnations - which is what the company specialise in so that's hardly surprising. The selection of arrangements often seem fairly samey and all seem to be mixed colours, although they did have some stunning red and white displays for Christmas and Valentines Day. On the plus side, the quality has always been superb. The flowers are despatched in sturdy but attractive boxes to ensure the flowers don't deteriorate at all during the airmail delivery process. They arrive just before they reach their peak, meaning that as soon as you arrange them in their vase they burst into full bloom giving a glorious display that lasts for weeks and weeks. The first flowers I bought from this site arrived on the 23rd of Decemeber - a lovely mix of carnations, lillies and gysophilia for around £18. Mum was delighted with them. They were split into three vases over Christmas and they stayed looking fresh and attractive throughout the festivities. In fact it wasn't until early February that the final few carnations drooped enough that Mum could bring herself to part with them. That's definitely very good value for money. The site is very easy to navigate and includes the option of enclosing personal messages along with every order - you can even send the flowers unsigned for Valentines day or to surprise a friend. It does take a while to complete all the detail
s, but there are features like postcode look-up to make sure it's not too arduous and it prompts you every step of the way. Delivery is free so you know exactly what you're spending. You can select the date you want the flowers to arrive on so you can order for birthdays and anniversaries well in advance and you can amend or cancel your order at anytime before it's despatched if you change your mind. You also get handy email reminders to let you know your order is on it's way. Normal deliveries are 'within 2 days' of the date specified, Five Star are guaranteed to arrive on the specified date. So far all the flowers I have ordered have arrived either on the day I picked or the day before - I've not yet used the Five Star service. All in all, the site is pretty much unbeatable and well worth a visit if you want to make someone's day.
Maya Gold is the ultimate in luxury. Rich, dark chocolate flavoured with oil of orange, spices and vanilla. It melts in your mouth leaving a hedonistic hint of bitterness and the tingle of warm spices..Mmmmmmmmmm…delicious This isn’t the darkest chocolate on the market – at only 55% cocoa solids it’s not that much more than your average ‘plain’ chocolate bar, but don’t be put off by that, this is so much richer and the flavour is so much more intense that it easily surpasses most of the 70%+ bars out there. It’s the kind of chocolate that demands to be savoured – far too rich to rush through. I find that a couple of squares is enough to satisfy even the strongest chocolate cravings which makes it ideal to have on hand when you’re trying to eat healthily and don’t want to over indulge on chocolate. If you are watching what you eat Maya Gold has a lot to recommend it – as well as being totally delicious it’s vegetarian, vegan, organic, salt free, wheat free, gluten free and has no genetically engineered ingredients. And it’s fair traded too so there is absolutely no reason not to eat it! In fact Green & Blacks were the first company to carry the fairtrade mark for chocolate. The company was created in 1991 with the purpose of creating ‘pure, unadulterated luxury’. They make organic chocolate that doesn’t harm the environment, yet will satisfy those with a taste for chocolate with a high cocoa solids content. Primarily Green and Black’s are committed to protecting the planet, hence their ‘organic’ status. Their cocoa, which is bought from small-scale farmers, is cultivated without using chemicals or artificial fertilisers. Instead, shade trees are planted amongst the cocoa trees to maintain rather than wipe out the forest canopy thus bringing to life a biodiverse agricultural environment. The good thing is tha
t in spite of all these ‘green’ ideals, Green & Black’s Chocolate is an indulgence - made for those who enjoy rich flavour and texture. Think of it as a more decadent style of tree-hugging. If just eating Maya Gold isn’t enough for you, it’s also superb for cooking with – a couple of squares broken up and slipped into a croissant before heating it through make a breakfast treat fit for a king. One 100g bar slowly melted into a small (4oz) tub of double cream, with a large spoonful of cointreau added at the end makes a fondue sauce that will have your friends begging to be invited back for dinner again and again. The same mixture left in the fridge for a few hours can be rolled into chocolate truffles which are more delicious than you could possibly imagine – I’ve not yet found a chocolate recipe that isn’t improved by substituting Maya Gold for the normal cooking chocolate. You should find Maya Gold in most supermarkets these days – usually in the organic section. If you don’t see it there, pay a visit to your local health food store, or better yet, buy it from Oxfam and let your taste of luxury support their charity work.
This isn't really a review of amazon.co.uk, more a word of warning. Do not, under any circumstances, ever make the mistake of ordering from amazon.com when you really wanted to order from amazon.co.uk - it would be a really bad thing to do. Why's that? I'm glad you asked... the reason, dear reader, is delivery charges. Amazon.com are based in America - and rather than thinking 'oh look our punter comes from the other side of the pond' and passing the order on to the .co.uk branch they despatch themselves. This isn't exactly obvious from the website. If you notice you're in the wrong place and click on the shipping section (hidden at the bottom of the page) you will find all the details - if you don't and just click on 'order' all it says is the price of the item 'plus shipping'. Looks harmless enough, doesn't it? Then one week later you might well receive delivery of the book you wanted (in my case it was a book I *had* to have having read a review of it here, my darling boyfriend decided to treat me and sadly is now regretting it...) - great, you think. A nice new book to read and so quick too - and then the confirmation of despatch email arrives, you open it and find you've been stung for 35 dollars delivery. Or in other words about 7 times the price of the book! Better yet, you can't even return it for a refund as they only refund shipping if it's their error. *sigh* I'll just have to make extra sure that I *thoroughly* enjoy reading this one - and buy the boyfriend a few extra treats to make him feel better about the extravagence. It's definitely going to be the most expensive work of fiction I've ever read.
The Brewery Tap is a great pub and a genuine 'tap room'. It's located on the opposite side of the building from the Tolly Cobbold Brewery so you can always guarantee that this is the place to taste Tolly Beers at their finest. I know that some people will think that the words Tolly Cobbold and fine beer don't really go together - and for a while that was true - Tolly Cobbold actually dates back to 1723, when Thomas Cobbold built his first Brewery merging with The Tollemache's in 1957. The Company remained true to it's roots until the 70's when it was sold - eventually ending up under the ownership of the Brent Walker Group who promptly stopped brewing real ales and started making plans to knock down the Victorian Brewery which is home to the Brewery Tap today. Thankfully the Brewery was saved by a management buyout in 1990 and the production of quality cask and bottled beers was resumed with todays Tolly beers regularly winning awards for quality and taste. The Brewery Tap, which opened in 1992, was the first pub the new Tolly Cobbold opened - although I believe they have a few more today. From the first it has served good beer at good prices. In spite of being a fairly new and modern pub it has a lovely traditional feel - small snug like alcoves where you can sit and chat, larger enclosed rooms that can be booked for private parties, seperate areas with bar games (pool, darts and bar billiards plus a few machines)and no overly loud music to spoil the conversation. There are also two outdoor seating areas, one practically at the riverside which is idyllic on a summers evening as well as a spacious bar so you can easily bring the kids along for a family treat. For larger parties there's the option of hiring the bottlers room, where a museum of beer bottles decorates the walls without detracting from the overall smartness and formality of the room. It's played host to trai
ning seminars and wedding receptions so there's need to worry about the quality of your surroundings. The pub also offers a delicious and varied menu of pub meals - all freshly cooked on the premises. I've eaten here on several occasions and have never had a meal I didn't thoroughly enjoy. The prices are very reasonable and you get good sized helpings so you won't leave hungry. Plenty of things to recommend this as a good pub - but my favourite reason I've saved till last - The Brewery Tours. Starting and finishing in the pub, the tours take you around both the Victorian Tower Brewery and the current brewhouse. On the way round you'll learn all about the brewing process, a bit about the history of Ipswich and get to see the world's oldest brewing copper which dates from 1723, before finishing up with a sample of the brew. It's a fascinating way to spend a couple of hours and it makes the Brewery Tap an afternoon out rather than just a drinking venue. And if that's not enough - how else are you going to prove that you really can organise a P*** up in a brewery?
How can you knock an organisation like Comic Relief? It’s the only charity I know of that actually guarantees that every penny they receive in donations goes towards the projects they support – that means absolutely none of it is spent on admin costs which is an achievement in itself! So far Comic Relief has raised more than £174 million. A phenomenal amount of money! One third of that money is devoted to projects here in the UK and the remaining two thirds is spent in Africa. Over the years Comic Relief cash has helped 43 African countries with projects to educate people about HIV and AIDS, teach women to read, immunise children and help people rebuild their communities after conflict. Here in the UK it has made over 4000 grants which have helped disabled people challenge prejudice and discrimination, supported older people in their fight to get their rights recognised and provided escape routes for women living with domestic violence. What makes Comic Relief even more amazing is the way it has managed to beat apathy and drum up an incredible amount of popular support. Come March the 16th you will be hard pushed to find anyone who doesn’t know it’s red nose day. Whatever their attitudes to charity normally you’ll find people ‘doing something’ to get involved. You won’t be able to catch a bus or walk down a street without seeing a red nose or finding someone doing something extraordinary in an attempt to raise some money for Comic Relief. The trick seems to be that this bunch of comedians have made it ‘cool’ to have a conscience. They’ve made it easy to get involved and they seem to be having such a fun time doing it that it draws us in too. They don’t make you feel guilty for having a laugh when there are people suffering; instead they encourage you to enjoy yourself while soothing your conscience with the fact that it’s all in a good cause. It beco
mes easier and more enjoyable to become part of it than to just turn your back or walk past – which is exactly what most people do when faced with a normal collecting tin in the street. It’s all very well to make comments about the stars using this as a publicity stunt, and maybe they do benefit from it – but does that matter when compared to the £174 million their efforts have raised? How many people would never have coughed up a penny without the hype? And how many stars don’t bother to do anything in spite of the good publicity it would attract? And why do the same famous faces keep on turning up year after year putting more and more time and effort into this same cause? It has to be more than just self-promotion. Let’s face it; we all see the pictures on TV. We all know there’s suffering out there. We all have the ability to spare a little time or money to make a bit of difference – but how many of us do? Thanks to Comic Relief we can all make a little bit of a difference – it’s almost too easy, just a case of picking up the right items when we’re shopping, dropping our spare change into a collecting tin or wearing a red nose for a few hours. Nothing difficult. And in return we get to feel like we’re part of something really special, something that makes a real difference and is quite literally changing the world for the better. You just have to admire them for that.
If I'd written this opinion last year how different it would have been. I'd still be in the throes of splitting up with the man I met online and you'd probably have gotten far more vitriol than this... It all began back in 1996 with the planning of the first Discworld Convention. I'd gotten involved through being a regular on the usenet group alt.fan.pratchett - as had the rest of the committee. Over the months I'd made quite a few on-line friends, I even flirted with a few (heck, flirting by email is almost irrestiable - everyone knows that) and was really looking forward to meeting these crazy fun people in person. One of them really stood out from the crowd. It wasn't just that his jokes were all over the place and he was engaged in every bit of banter on the group, it wasn't just that he was the person who finally got organised enough to start putting together the recipe archives, it wasn't even just that we'd been talking by email for so long that flirting had become second nature - I'm not really sure what it was, but it was somehow more than just those things. Anyway, the weekend came, we met and so far as anyone could tell we fell in love. We started spending every weekend together, he started looking for a job in Ipswich and when he finally found one he moved down and we set up home together. I think that's probably when the novelty wore off for him. It didn't take long before he was flirting by email with other girls, then having long irc chats with them too. And me, sad fool that I am, didn't even notice, besides, everyone flirts by email don't they? What would be the point of getting jealous of that? So, time rolled on - like it always does. We started planning our wedding and looking for a house to buy together. A fine and exciting time with me being amazed at how wonderful this internet relationship had turned out to be. I didn't
even worry when he took a day trip up to London to meet a couple of on-line buddies a week before our wedding, I was so complacent and contented that it seemed like nothing could go wrong. I've never been more wrong :o( The wedding came and went - it was a wonderful day, a simple registry office ceremony followed by an elaborate pagan handfasting broadcast by webcam so that all our on-line friends could take part even if they were in Australia or America. And then it was time to live happily ever after... We tried, but his on-line time kept creeping up and up. Soon we were hardly talking to each other. We'd come in from work and he'd be switching the pcs on even before we'd sat down. I was using irc too so it never dawned on me that there was anything serious going on... Most of our friends were also on line and most of our socialising was with them. We'd travel all over the country to meet other afpers and often had other afpers visiting us. Not a problem, just a sign that we were modern technical types... I kept trying to get us doing more 'stuff' together, suggesting night out, planning things, but he wasn't interested. A combination of depression and addiction to the net kept him firmly in front of his keyboard. I didn't cotton on to the actual problem until one night, on irc, I found one of the afpers who'd visited us a few months before giving my husband marks out of 10 for sexual performance... It seemed that they'd got rather more friendly than I'd been aware of when she came to visit. It was about that point when all my female friends started revealing that he'd be making virtual passes at them - just normal flirting at first but gradually getting more and more pushy until they told him to stop or ended up having cyber-sex with him. There were dozens of them. While I'd been chatting with friends he'd been doing quite a lot more than just chatting. Then came the real bombshell - that friend he'd nipped off to meet the week before our wedding was rather more than just a friend. He'd decided that she was his soulmate - the love of his life - and that there was no way he could live without her. She was so important to him in fact that he nipped off to Finland to be with her on the weekend we should have been celebrating our first wedding anniversary. After that the floodgates opened and every day it seemed I was receiving more and more confessions from friends he'd gone a bit too far with online - there were loads that had received photos of him naked, there were more than had had 'erotic stories' specially written for them and there was even one who'd been invited to come and share our bed the night *before* our wedding - but had thankfully declined! Rather unsuprisingly we are now divorced. He's now living with 'the love of his life' in Finland - and still carrying on his on-line love affairs with at least three women to my knowledge, all of whom seem to be under the impression that one day he'll be moving in with them and they'll have their turn at the happily ever after... As for me.. well, I'm better off without him. But I won't be rushing into any more on line love affairs - this time I've fallen for the tech support guy :o)
Broomcon is an independant pagan convention which has been running annually since 1995, it's one of the few events that are run by pagans for pagans and without any commercial or 'official' agenda. It's very much a community event - with the main emphasis on socializing so that the programme of talks and workshops are ice-breakers rather than the whole point of being there. It doesn't matter whether you want to go and listen to every single talk (not that you could since there are usually two on at any time) or just sit and chat in the bar - either way you'll make new friends and have a good time. This years event includes Steve Pollington talking on charms and herbs in northern Europe, Francis Cameron on 50 years of legal witchcraft, Jenny Blain on sacred sites, Nick Ford and Matt Keissling telling us about the religious history of brewing, Pam Harrison, Gail Courtney, Jaine Weddell and Sandra Bond demonstrating how to use dance skills in a combat situation, and Arlea Hunt-Anschutz questioning a panel of experts to find just what common ground we pagans really have, plus many other speakers on many other subjects. There's also a homebrew competition, a telepathy experiment, storytelling and performances by Paul Mitchell and The Way Forward as well as the traditional charity auction on the Sunday afternoon. Having been to all but one of the previous Broomcons I will definitely be there this year. I love the relaxed atmosphere and the chance to socialise with like minded people while learning a bit from the talks and workshops. The site is superb too - a 'posh' campsite with all the facilities (showers, swimming pool, kids play area, bar, games room, shop etc etc) which just happens to be right next to a lovely piece of woodland and the River Orwell - just right for an early morning or late night walk to reflect on the day. I also like the fact that you don't have to be pagan
to be there and enjoy yourself, I know from past experiences that the event attracts christians, bahai's, agnostics, humanists and people from various other paths - all of whom are as welcome to participate as the pagan folk. It's also common for the people who just happen to be staying in their on-site caravan for the weekend to come and join in the fun, particularly with the music and dancing on the Saturday night. It's a real shame that it's so rare to see such openess and friendship instead of misunderstanding and prejudice. Tickets are £20 for the weekend with all profits going to charity - which is another good point. It's good to know that my weekend of fun is actually helping a few good causes. I might even be brave enough to volunteer my services for the 'slave' part of the charity auction this year just because it sounds like fun :o) All I have to do is find a skill I can offer... More information can be found at www.broomcon.org.uk
Where else could you have so much fun for just 50p? Ok, so it's a bit more than that if you're tempted by a few beers while you're there, but it's still a definite bargain. It's all so easy these days to think of storytelling as 'something you do for kids' - well, let me tell you now it's not all like that. The Gippeswic Storytelling Circle is a local group affiliated to the Society For Storytellers, a national society that links together storytellers and listeners from all over britain. The members range from people who tell stories to thier kids to flamboyant entertainers that tour folk festivals and suchlike entertaining hoards of revellers. Even just within Ipswich there is a wide array of storytelling talent. Some of the regulars are the sort of calibre that perform at local festivals and open days while others are rank amateurs who do it just for the pleasure. It really is a pleasure too. There are few nicer ways to spend an evening than sitting in a warm snug little room with a glass of your favourite tipple and feeling the hairs on the back of your neck tingle as Robin recounts a spooky tale - or laughing along with the others at one of Jill's comic folk tales. There's no pressure on anyone to do any more than listen, although for most the temptation to share a tale soon becomes too much and after a couple of months you find yourself drawn into the telling circle to inspire your own share of laughs and shivers. That's when it moves beyond just being a fun night out and becomes addictive. The stories are incredibly varied, folk tales from all over the world, urban myths picked up from the internet, traditional myths and legends, creepy ghost stories, new stories made up on the spot, modern fairy tales, personal anecdotes and retellings of old favourites are just some of the different categories that crop at these sessions. Usually there are no restrictions and eve
ryone is free to tell whatever they choose, but sometimes a theme is chosen and all the stories have something in common be it wolves, ghosts or winter or anything else you can think of. If you're interested, just take yourself down to the Brewery Tap at around 7.30 - 8pm on the 3rd Monday of any month. Ask at the bar or just listen out for 'once upon a time....'
Ok, so I'm a real ale fan... that's not a crime, is it? I'm not a middle aged fella with a beard, glasses and beer belly, I'm just a girl who likes a good pint now and again. It wasn't that long ago that I used to live on Spring Road in Ipswich, less than five minutes staggering distance from the Fat Cat, ahhh what blissful times those were... There was something so *right* about being able to walk into the bar and see barrels on display, then peruse the blackboards to narrow down your choice of brew. And what a choice it was too - usually at least 16 different real ales, and one or two real ciders and 'specials'. Practically a beer festival on my doorstep. Better yet, we had a landlord who knew his beer so they were always well kept and served just how they should be. No need for nasty fizzy keg rubbish in this pub! And if you couldn't make up your mind just from the name you'd be offered a couple of tastes from different pumps to help you on your way. And if you get through the evening without having tried all the ones you fancy, never fear, they do take out! Admittedly the pub's on the small side, but none the worse for that. We managed gatherings of 20 or so in there without feeling over crowded. It also doesn't allow children inside (Although if you talk nicely to the landlord you will usually be allowed to take them through into the beer garden out back), doesn't have loud trashy music blasting out at all times and doesn't feel clinical and distant. It's very much a pub you can go to for a drink and a chat. Give it a try next time you're in Ipswich - you won't regret it.
I'm not usually a banner-clicker, but seeing this made me think - Hmmmm, my mum would love a delivery of flowers for Christmas - and at that price I can afford to treat her. So I clicked. I went to the website, and I ordered some flowers. She'll be a happy mum :o) I'm not sure why this caught my eye more than the others - maybe it was just because it advertised something I knew I wanted and just hadn't thought about yet. It is bright and colourful without being over the top - and the cheap price stands out well.
By far my best buy this Christmas was the surprise pack I selected just for the fun of it from stockingfillas.co.uk For a massive 7 quid I received a selection of presents that would have cost me three times that had I chosen them individually - and wonder of wonders, they were all things that I might well have bought anyway. My bargain pack contained:- 1 Winnie the Pooh costume - toddler sized, a perfect present for my boyfriend's nephew and as cute as can be. 1 Box 101 dalmation fuzzy felt - which I'm tempted to keep for myself, but which will probably wend it's way to another nephew 1 pack Sahara Beads - a make your own jewellry kit that my darling daughter will love 1 Postman Pat bathtime jigsaw puzzle - ideal for another nephew - if I can persuade my beloved boyfriend to put it down for long enough to get it wrapped! 3 tattoo bracelets - the stretchy wire things that everyone under 25 seems to be wearing these days - destined for neices I think And I'm sure there were other things that I've missed off this list too. I'd estimate that my whim has saved me around 30 quid which can't be bad! The other presents I bought from Stockingfillas were also excellent value - the giant bubble makers for £1.50 are well worth investing in - they've provided hours of fun already. Carol
How can I praise this company enough? It's definitely a yuletide essential for me. They specialise in small, cheap, interesting gifts - most of their products are less than a fiver - and they do it incredibly well. Much as I enjoy christmas shopping, having somewhere that has already pulled together a fantastic selection of fun bargains is irresistable - and they manage to find things that I wouldn't stand a hope of finding by myself. Their current range includes such delights as a book on making shadow animals, a wand for blowing gigantic bubbles, mini dictionary keyrings, rubber stamps and colouring pens, gumball dispensers, skinhead wigs, folding scissors and dozens and dozens of other bits and bobs. Better yet, all the items I just listed cost less than £1.50 each! Whether you're looking for a few mini-toys to stick inside home-made crackers, or some cheap but fun presents for your adult friends or literal stocking-fillers these guys are well worth a look. The service was fantastic too - I've been ordering from them for years using the mail order catalogue and I've never had a problem with delivery or needed to return or replace anything. This year I tried the website for the first time - it was every bit as easy as shopping from the catalogue. The site is well laid out with the gifts arranged in categories (My first stocking, Big kids (adult gifts), Teens, Arts and Crafts etc) - within each section the items are listed and clicking on a name brings up a picture and short description. Delivery is just £2 within the UK, although if you spend more than £15 it's free. It says to allow 28 days for delivery, but I had my bag of goodies within 3 days and all well packed and in perfect condition. I'll definitely be going back next year, and probably in between times too as they do a great range of party materials outside the christmas season - it's also well worth foll
owing the links to brainwaves.co.uk, their sister company which also sells great gifts at bargain prices. Now all I have to do is persuade the boyfriend that he should go look their for silly prezzies for me and we'll all be sorted :o)