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Diane3

Diane3
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Member since: 27.07.2009

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    • More +
      19.11.2011 21:15
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      for fans only

      I reached the point when I don't want to know anything more about the 2 little piggies, their lovely family and friends... Unfortunately my sons have not reached this point yet, moreover they are still massive fans of Peppa and George. How come, they spotted the Little Library booklets in our local Morrisons while I was looking for the perfect birthday card for my dear friend and they were so convincing that I couldn't resist and bought them. Only one copy though.

      The first thing after we arrived home was to get rid of the foil that keeps the booklets in the box, then to my biggest surprise they agreed to share the 6 booklets equally. After unpacking the groceries it was my turn to read the short stories.

      Peppa's Friends is a green little book presenting Peppa, Suzy Sheep, Danny Dog, Pedro Pony, Candy Cat and Rebecca Rabbit and his dressing up party.

      Peppa at Home is a light lime coloured book presenting what Peppa likes while at home e.g. spaghetti, hide and seek, splashy time

      Peppa's Favourite Things is a light blue book and we can read about chocolate cake, red shoes, spaghetti... and muddy puddles.

      Peppa's Family is a yellow book and not only presents the family members but also what they like. So we can read about Peppa, George, Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig, Granny Pig and Grandpa Pig.

      Peppa at Playgroup is the purple book presenting Madame Gazelle, Peppa's friends, a drawing class and a ballet lesson.

      Peppa's Garden is a lime book presenting what Peppa likes to do in the Garden with her family and her friends. I think this title is a bit confusing regarding the content of the book, but my sons haven't complained.


      Quality

      The books are made of thick cardboard and they are very durable, not like the box that should hold them together. The pages are soft when touched and moderately water resistant. It looks like the pages are covered with some foil which protects them from wet hands...

      The pictures in the book are of top quality and they are colourful, attracting kids' attention. Despite knowing the text by heart my kids still love to "read" these books. It gives them good ideas what to play or what to eat... Some of you start to sympathise with me at this point...


      Educational values

      Despite my kids loving these characters unconditionally they have started to ask clever questions like how can a pig ride a bicycle, talk, etc. I can't say it was the effect of this book only as we have all the DVDs and most of this years Peppa Pig magazine's, some other books, etc. These lovable figures made my kids' vocabulary improve a lot, they often play they are Peppa and George and copy loads of things.

      Overall opinion

      I am a bit bored with the stories of these two little piggies but I have to admit that my kids really love them and their interest in something means my interest in the same thing as well... So I know a lot about Peppa's family, friends and favourite things. I think these booklets are a bit repetitive regarding their content but kids love to hear the same thing hundreds and thousands of times.

      I almost forgot, the booklets have a picture on their back and if you put them in right order, they work as a puzzle and make a big picture. The box that holds the books together help the kids how to put the books in the right order to get the picture of... Com'on you can guess it! (Peppa and her family)

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      • More +
        18.08.2011 00:20
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        Decent hotel close to Heathrow

        This week I had to go to London area again for a two-day training so I spent another night in Novotel Heathrow. This was my third visit in this hotel.

        Access
        -----------
        The address is M4 - J4 Cherry Lane, West Drayton, Middlesex, UB7 9HB. (www.novotel.com) It is easy to get there from M25, M4 once you get out from the constant traffic jam. It is really close to the motorway and the satnavs navigate you there without problem. There are no signs that help you get there, so you just have to look around and you will discover the logo of the hotel.

        Parking
        -----------
        The hotel has a gated parking area which is large enough to find parking places even when the hotel is about fully booked. The parking area is next to the hotel but as the bus stop is right in front of the hotel the parking area is gated and for the night the gate is closed so it is a bit harder to get access to your car.

        Building
        --------------
        The building is not very special from the outside but is very nicely lighted for the evenings. The main interior area looks very nice. The reception is on the left, in the middle is the bar and on the right is the restaurant. There are 2 separate rooms available in case you have an event organised in the hotel. You have to book them in advance though.

        Reception
        ---------------
        The reception is always busy but they work quite fast so it doesn't take too long to get your card key to your room. The staff is polite and very helpful. There are 178 rooms on the 3 floors, the hotel is wheelchair friendly. I was always lucky to get a room looking inside the hotel so I found the hotel really quiet. Although it is very close to the airport and to the motorways I haven't heard the noise of the traffic at all.

        Eating
        ----------
        The Elements Restaurant and the bar of the hotel are very nice too. There are some really delicious dishes on the menu. I like their Caesar salad and they have a pasta dish with pesto, spinach and cheese that I liked a lot. They have daily offers as well. As I noticed the staff is changing quite often but all of them were really polite and helpful.

        Other facilities
        --------------------
        The hotel has swimming pool and gym as well. To be honest, by the time I arrived to the hotel I wasn't really in the mood to do any exercise, I was happy I could pop in the restaurant to have a quick salad before they close.

        Rooms
        -------------
        The rooms look almost exactly the same, the pictures on the wall are different though. As I was alone in a double room I found it comfortable but for two they may be a bit small. There is separate bathroom and toilet in each room. The bathroom looks really nice and it is clean and modern. I liked the shower, it offered two shower head options plus there is a chance to bath as well if you prefer soaking in a bath.

        There was a kettle, tea and coffee available in the room plus mini bar with decent selection of drinks and treats (chocolate and crisps).
        There is a desk in the room ready for your laptop to work. They offer Internet and TV packages for about 15 pounds per day. I was tired enough not really willing to watch my laptop any more so I skipped this option.

        The TV - it was a Philips - was quite basic with 5-6 channels set up only. I haven't found anything interesting to watch so it took me 2-3 minutes to try the huge range then decided to switch it off. This was a bit disappointing to be honest.

        Overall impression
        --------------------------
        The room was clean, the bed was very comfortable and the bed linen very soft. I was fast asleep last time and got up relaxed. I went down to have breakfast at 7 in the morning and a huge range of food was already available. The staff was very kind again. There is both Continental and English breakfast available. The range is really large and the food is fresh and delicious.

        When you check out you get your card key back which can be used at the exit from the parking area. Last time when I went to my car I noticed that one of my tyres are flat so I had to call AA to change my tyre. The receptionists were really helpful and provided me with an extra card to the AA car for free.

        I have to mention that all the time I wanted to get back to the motorway it was quite difficult to find the suitable way as there are some huge and really busy roundabouts right after the exit from the hotel and it is quite difficult to find the right lane.

        There is a bus stop right in the front of the hotel so getting to Heathrow airport is really easy. Cabs are available as well.

        Prices
        ----------
        And to mention the prices... Apart from the special offers the price varies between 60-120 pounds per night which I think is quite a lot of money and in some packages the breakfast is not even included. As the company I work for has an agreement with this hotel I don't have to pay for my room, meals and parking so I can't tell exactly how much the company was charged for my stay. You can book rooms online on the Novotel's webpage, or at some agencies like www.booking.com.

        Summary
        -------------
        I think Novotel Heathrow is quite a nice four star hotel. I am not overall impressed by it but I think it is a nice hotel. I have been in more elegant four star hotels for less money though. The staff was very kind, polite and helpful. The bed was comfortable. The room and the hotel overall was clean. The food was delicious. I wasn't satisfied with the TV and the room might be a bit small for two but everything else was really good.

        I am sure there are other information that might be useful for some, I recommend checking their website if I missed to mention something. The website is www.novotel.com.

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        • Hobbycraft / Highstreet Shopping / 186 Readings / 183 Ratings
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          23.04.2011 17:26
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          Worth a visit

          It was a lovely winter day when I first visited the Hobbycraft in Woking. This is a very nice store where you can find loads of treasures to your craft works.

          The store in Woking is in the Lion Retail Park which accommodates some other DIY, interior design and household appliance stores. There are loads of parking places, I never had difficulty finding parking place there and the parking is free.

          The Hobbycraft is about in the middle. The store has a ground floor and a first floor to accommodate that loads of things.

          At my firs visit I was looking for wool to do some knitting. I know it is old fashioned but for some reason I love knitting, it makes me relaxed. There were two isles of different knitting yarns but there were knitting accessories and knitting patterns as well. I was out for thick and soft yarn with wool. I have chosen black yarns for a long and soft scarf. As the yarn I have chosen was thicker than the knitting needles I had at home I bought kitting needles too.

          I really liked shopping in this store as the products are displayed well and most of them contain information on how to use them. The shopping baskets have a handle like suitcases and my sons enjoyed pushing them all around the store.

          At my first visit I noticed the huge amount of beads and I was thinking about trying jewellery making one day. Making some Easter decorations give me a good reason for taking a second visit to the store. This time I was looking at their seasonal offers: little pompom chickens and some décor bases. I found heart and bow shaped décor bases and my kids became so excited about making the Easter décor together that they preferred going home and do the décor to going to the playground. As we bought quite a lot of materials we gave away some of the décor we made to our friends.

          I had a chance to look at the beads and I found some that looked nice to make earrings and pendants of them so I took a green and a red pack. I couldn't wait to try making my jewellery from them. It was quite easy and I think they look really nice. I received loads of compliments from my colleagues that they look lovely. I received a voucher offering 10% discount from my next shopping so I decided to collect all I will need in the near future and buy them using this voucher.

          My kids enjoyed the shopping again as they could push those huge baskets all over the shop. Luckily there weren't many people shopping there so I could take a look at most of the stuff I was interested and take care of my kids too. There are really nice party décor, floral décor and cake décor things but you can find 2 aisles of needlecraft accessories and loads of kits. Also those interested in painting find loads of accessories here.

          If you want to check which hobby areas are covered, I recommend visiting their website at http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/. Although the online shop offers fewer products than the one I visited in Woking but it gives you an idea about the product range and the prices.

          To sum up: I think when it comes to craft work you don't really look at the price labels as strictly as in a supermarket. There are things that are really expensive in my opinion but they are high quality as well. I saw for example some beads for around 5 pounds which is a bit expensive but if we take into consideration that you need about 8-10 packs of them to make a nice necklace it makes really expensive...

          I haven't checked all the hobby areas to be hones as I can't do all of them they cover. I really love trying out new things but with two little kids around and working full time I don't even have a chance for it.

          The shop offers so many products that you can choose from cheaper range or from the expensive range according to your needs and what you can afford.

          What I really like about this shop are the programmes they offer. For example during this Easter period they offer opportunities to try out different things in the shop, they show you how to do it. Of course they do it for marketing purposes but you can learn new things and ask experienced crafters about techniques. If you don't have any other programme and you are interested in craft work this is a good opportunity.

          I saved the address of Hobby Craft in my GPS so from time to time I will definitely go back and try something new...

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          • More +
            20.03.2011 22:31
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            Highly recommended

            After finishing my studies I wanted to learn something completely new to management/business studies. I spent a couple of hours on Amazon to find a book I am really interested in. I found loads of interesting books but as first I picked the Encyclopedia of Garden Design.

            This book contains 360 pages on planning, building and planting your garden. The book was published by Dorling Kindersley Ltd in 2009. The editor-in-chief was Chris Young. As the book contains both pictures on ready made gardens, plans, plants, charts and descriptions loads of people worked on it. The book was prepared in conjunction with the Royal Horticultural Society.

            This Encyclopedia is available widely. I bought my copy from Amazon for 14.24 pounds. Its full price is 25 pounds and when I was looking around I found it on offer only on Amazon.

            After a short foreword by the editor you can read about how to design. This chapter presents you briefly the design types, shapes, colours, styles, etc. Then you can read about choosing a style: the main characteristics of the different garden types, all presented with photographs. Making a garden is a short chapter containing step-by-step guides on bringing your designs to life. The last chapter is the plant and materials guide. I think this is a very informative and key chapter. It contains loads of information about hundreds of plants and stones, woods and other garden building materials.

            Being an economist gardening has really nothing to do with my current occupation and degrees. My parents have always had a garden and love working in the garden, so I spent loads of time with them working in the garden. I think it is very relaxing and when the work is finished you can sit on a chair with a glass of wine or a beer and admire the results of your hard work...

            Does this book help you to become a garden designer? I think yes. It is an eye-opener: it covers all the areas you have to know in detail but as it is only 360 pages long it doesn't go in details enough to do garden designing on a professional level. It highlights the main areas so that you know what to investigate in details if you want to do garden design as a job. I love watching the beautiful pictures and the text of the book is very clear, simple, explains everything well.

            I can't say this book is a page turner as some of the pictures are so stunning that I just spend long minutes on watching them. My thoughts are far away... my brain works on a plan...

            I think this book is a brilliant present for someone who loves gardening and it is worth reading it if you want to make some changes in your garden. I think it is good value for money, highly recommended.

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            27.02.2011 17:26
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            Loveable characters

            Peppa Pig one of my son's favourite characters nowadays. They always give up everything when they hear the intro of Peppa Pig and run in front of the TV. I think all of you knows that Peppa is a cheeky little piggy who has loads of friends and they have different adventures and discoveries every day. She lives with her little brother, George and their parents: Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig. Peppa Pig was created by Mark Baker and Neville Astley. For more information about Peppa Pig please visit www.peppapig.com

            Luckily there are loads of films available so buying a DVD from time to time is a great treat for my kids. Peppa's Christmas was a stocking filler last Xmas. We saw this DVD at least a hundred times...

            The Peppa's Christmas DVD contains 11 episodes, all of them very nice and loveable. I haven't measured the time but I think the episodes last for around 5 minutes.

            1. Peppa's Christmas
            ----------------------------
            Peppa and her friends post letters for Father Christmas. Luckily all of them tell Peppa what they asked for... Peppa and her family go out for a Christmas tree. Daddy pig chooses the biggest tree and carries it home on foot as it is so big. They decorate the tree together and Peppa sings some Christmas songs. Father Christmas comes down the chimney as he always does but this time he looses his list. Luckily Peppa knows everybody's wishes...

            2. Pirate Island
            ---------------------
            Granny pig and Grandpa Pig sails out with Peppa and all her friends to the Pirate Island where they try to find treasure with metal detector. Grandpa Pig founds something, the kids dig, they find a coin, then a shopping trolley. While the kids build a sand castle with Granny Pig, Grandpa Pig falls asleep on the boat. The boat is drifting away...

            3. Cuckoo Clock
            -----------------------
            Peppa and George get up early and go to wake up Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig. They got up early because they don't know how early it is. Their clock has to be repaired. Daddy Pig repairs the clock and shows Peppa what cuckoo does. George misses cuckoo twice but manages to see it for the third time.

            4. Pretend Friend
            ------------------------
            Susie Sheep comes to Peppa to play and she has a pretend friend, Leo lion. The girls have fruit cake, Leo wants chocolate cake... The girls play dressing up game. Leo dresses up as King Leo lion. Daddy Pig pretends he can see Leo. When their friends arrive they go out jumping in muddy puddles.

            5. The Long Grass
            -------------------------
            Peppa and George love playing in the long grass. When they try to play with the spotty ball they realise that it is impossible in the long grass. Daddy Pig wants to do nothing but Mummy Pig asks him to cut the grass. The old lawn mower falls into pieces so they ask Grandpa Pig to come over and cut the grass...

            6. The Dentist
            ---------------------
            Peppa and George go to the dentist for a check up. Their teeth are clean and healthy. Doctor Elephant realises that Mr Dinosaur's teeth aren't clean enough so he cleans them with water jet and polisher. George loves his toy even more as Mr. Dinosaur has shiny teeth too.

            7. Zoe Zebra
            ------------------
            Peppa and George receive a birthday party invitation from Zoe Zebra. Mammy Pig helps Peppa to answer Zoe's letter, they accept the invitation. When Peppa takes the letter to the post box she meets all her friends. Zoe and Mr Zebra, the postman arrive to the post box. Peppa and George join them on their way to deliver the letters...

            8. Nature Trail
            --------------------
            Peppa and her family are out for a picnic. They discover some footprints and follow them. They discover the birds on the top of the tree. The binoculars help them to see them very well. They are about to follow their own footprints to go back to the car but the rain washes their footprints away...

            9. Pen Pal
            ---------------
            Peppa starts to correspond with Delphine Donkey, a French donkey girl. They talk on the phone and Delphine, her little brother, Didier and their parents visit Peppa and her family. Peppa learns a couple French sentences.

            10. School Bus Trip
            ---------------------------
            Peppa and her school mates go out on a school trip by bus. They go to the mountains where they discover the echo. They have a lovely time in the mountains and they sing the Bing-Bong song in the bus...

            11. Granny and Grandpa's attic
            -------------------------------------------
            Granny Pig and Grandpa Pig are in the attic when Peppa and George arrive. They try to clean the attic but they insist to all their old stuff so can't decide what to throw out. They discover an old record player and listen to some old songs, dance and sing.


            Educational value
            -------------------------
            I think these loveable stories help the kids prepare to the school. Peppa and her friends discover new things every day and everything is explained well so that the kids understand it. My sons love the counting parts and the songs. Even though they saw the DVD for a hundred times they still love it and my elder one picked up loads of words and asks me questions about the episodes.
            The situations in the episodes are everyday situations so the kids can learn how to behave, what to do.


            My opinion
            ----------------
            I think this DVD was wonderful stocking filler. Both of my kids love it and the 11 episodes take around an hour to watch. You haven't seen so good boys as mine while watching the films.

            They really love them and I found them laughing at cheeky comments of Peppa, so they follow the story not just watch the pictures. Although there are loads of loveable characters created for kids Peppa and her friends keep my kids entertained and they are hooked on the TV while these episodes are played.

            I like that there aren't violent spots in the film and the vocabulary of the episodes is really useful for the kids. My younger one is 2 years old and understands already some of the episodes. My elder one is almost 4 and he pays more attention to the details, he asks me loads of questions after the film.


            The DVD is available on Amazon for 3.93 pounds and free P&P. I think this is great value for it. You can find some similar Peppa Pig DVDs in the Tesco for 4-6 pounds. The DVD doesn't contain any extras.

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            • More +
              21.02.2011 19:57
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              Treat yourself!

              I was looking for a V-neck blouse on Amazon when I found Blue Banana Corset Style Stretchy Top and I thought it was so nice that I ordered a black one for myself.


              About Blue Banana
              ----------------------------
              Blue Banana started to manufacture ladies fashion wear in the UK in 2003. Its online business started in 2004. The company sells its products worldwide by nowadays.

              The company sells good quality products that look very flattering on curvy figure. They sell a wide range of tops and dresses and also some skirts, trousers, coats and accessories. They use a silky, stretchy material for the clothes they manufacture which is figure hugging and the cut makes them really special as it stresses the breasts and hides the tummy and hips.

              You can order some of their products from Amazon but for a larger range and slightly lower prices I recommend visiting their own site: http://www.bluebanana.eu/


              Price, package, delivery
              --------------------------------
              As I didn't know anything about the company I ordered my top from Amazon. It costs 26.99 pounds plus 3 pounds shipping. The top arrived quite quickly which was a surprise. Actually when I received it I didn't know what it could be as it was such a nice box tied with matching bow. Inside the box the top was wrapped in gold tissue paper and there was a lollypop in it too. The whole wrapping looked very luxurious and made me feel spoilt.


              Fabric, cut, size
              -------------------------
              This top is available in sizes 8-16. As I am quite gifted regarding my breast size but I don't like to show too much of myself I ordered one size larger than I usually do. I am glad that I did so as this top is made of very thin fabric which is really stretchy but also figure hugging. It is very soft, silky and although it may appear a cheap fabric for the first sight it is very comfortable to wear and I found it breathable. It kept me warm and dry. I would rather compare the fabric to those used for sports gear (especially running trousers and tops). The fabric is made of 92% Polyester and 8% Elastane.

              I have to admit that it has a very deep cut in front which makes my bra visible if I don't wear it with a brooch. Of course it can be worn without a bra but as the material is really figure hugging it wouldn't let anything to my colleagues' imagination. Not to mention that it is cold in our office all the time...

              It is available in black, red top and black corset part and white top and black corset part. Mine is black but I'm thinking about ordering a red/black version too.

              The top is cut below the breast line and the corset style part of it makes you look slimmer. As the fabric is really stretchy you can put it on as a normal top, don't have to bother with the corset part. The corset stuff is just for decoration purposes anyway. It is really flattering and head turning. I received loads of compliments when wearing it.


              Washing
              -------------
              This top is completely machine washable. I wash it together with other black clothes on 40 degrees and it still looks like brand new. I have it for almost a year now and I haven't seen any sign of being worn out. I don't use though fabric conditioner just my usual liquid detergent. It cannot be tumble dried. It gets dry very quickly after washing.


              Experience
              -----------------
              As you may guess from what I wrote above I am absolutely satisfied with this top and I think it was a great buy. Since I have this top I ordered a dress from their website and intend to buy some furthers. I think their products are great value for money.

              The top is very comfortable wear and it looks nice on my curvy shape. I really like that despite the thin fabric it keeps me warm. I could compare it to the 'clima cool' wear of my running gear.


              Do I recommend it?
              --------------------------
              If you like close fit tops and you don't mind the low cut that definitely attracts men's eyes than this top is for you. It is flattering and great value for your money. I loved the elegant wrap and the quick delivery. I think Blue Banana really cares about the customers and such a service is really rare. I am glad that I found them and I will definitely buy some further pieces.

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              • Dr Pepper Zero / Soft Drink / 172 Readings / 152 Ratings
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                12.02.2011 19:22
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                Yummy! I give it 4 stars just because it is so unhealthy.

                One of my favourite drinks is coke, especially the cherry coke and Dr. Pepper. I am aware that it is one of the unhealthiest drinks available but very addictive too. I love it.

                Dr. Pepper is a fizzy drink manufactured by Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd. Regarding the drink itself looks like any other cola drink, dark brown, carbonated. The scent and taste of it is different though. It tastes like coke with almond and maybe a bit of cherry too. The taste of the drink is slightly different if you drink is ice cold or on normal temperature.

                Dr Pepper is available in normal and sugar free (aka zero) version. Regarding the taste of the drink the normal one is more delicious but usually I put up with the zero version in order not to consume so much sugar. The zero version tastes slightly different, not as much difference in taste as in calories though.

                Dr Pepper Zero is available in most of the supermarkets. It comes in transparent plastic bottle which is 100% recyclable. Occasionally it is on offer but not too often. I bought 2 bottles of 2 litres today in Tesco for 2 pounds. On full price I find it too expensive to drink it regularly plus I really try to avoid drinking coke often.

                The ingredients of Dr Pepper are very similar to Coca Cola and the list is not detailed as the recipe is top secret. Dr Pepper contains caffeine as flavouring only so this is a major difference to the other cola drinks. It contains though phosphoric acid which causes loads of harm to our teeth and as it is a strong acid it is corrosive. To try the corrosive characteristic of this drink just use it instead of your regular limescale remover for an overnight, it will do the job, you can be sure of.

                Why is this drink good for us then? Apart from being delicious it has some benefits. It helped me while I was pregnant to cope with the morning sickness. As it was originally invented as a medicine against vomiting it helps also for kids when they are poorly. Crisps provide sufficient salt for their body and normal (not sugar free) coke provides the sufficient calories to get over sickness. Even the unhealthiest foods and drinks have some benefits...

                I really like the taste of Dr Pepper. It is different from other cola drinks but it is hard to describe exactly the taste of it. I don't drink it too often but when I see it on offer and feel temptation for it I don't hesitate on taking or leaving it, I take it. I know how unhealthy it is but occasionally I can't resist to the temptation...

                Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Colour (Caramel E150d), Flavourings (including Caffeine), Phosphoric Acid, Sweeteners (Aspartame, Acesulfame K), Preservative (E211), Contains a source of Phenylalanine.
                Full price: 1.85 pounds / 2 l or 1.09 pounds / 0.5 l

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                • L'Oreal Excellence / Hair Care / 160 Readings / 155 Ratings
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                  06.02.2011 18:40
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                  Highly recommended

                  I had an idea today morning: I have to colour my hair. So I went to our local Sainsbury's to buy a permanent hair colour. I found L'Oreal Excellence Crème hair colour on offer and it was available in a wide variety of shades. I have chosen the 731 Dark Caramel Blonde shade and applied it on my red and blonde highlighted dark blonde hair. The result is even and quite similar shade to the lady's hair on the picture on the box. I bought it for 5 pounds.

                  L'Oreal offers all kinds of cosmetic products which are mostly of good quality and medium to expensive priced. Their products are available in supermarkets, drug stores, pharmacies and online shops.


                  The box contains:
                  ------------------------
                  - 1 Protective Pre-Colour Treatment. 12ml
                  - 1 applicator bottle of Crème Developer. 72ml
                  - 1 comb applicator.
                  - 1 tube of Protective Crème Colourant. 48ml
                  - 1 bottle of Protective Conditioner. 44 ml
                  - 1 instruction leaflet.
                  - 1 pair of professional-quality gloves.


                  How to use the product:
                  ----------------------------------
                  I read the instruction leaflet first. I decided to use the protective pre-colour treatment on the ends so I pressed the white cream in my palm and applied it on the ends of my dry hair. Then I opened the bottle of crème developer and pressed the protective crème colourant into it. The crème colourant is white, its texture is like a hair conditioner but has mild ammonia scent. I closed the developer's cap and shook it well. Then I replaced the cap with the comb applicator and as it was shown on the instruction leaflet I applied on my hair. When I finished I put on the gloves and massaged it well into my hair. I had to leave it on my hair for half an hour. I think it has a mild scent, it wasn't uncomfortable at all wearing it for half an hour.


                  The result
                  --------------
                  I tested this product really well as my hair was coloured to dark blonde then highlighted with red and light blonde and naturally dark blonde at the roots. I guess I have some grey hair too but it is not visible as my hair is coloured all the times. So I decided to have even hair colour which is close to my original hair colour.

                  After the half an hour wait I washed out the colourant and applied the protective conditioner. Before I applied the conditioner my hair was rough as it was very dry. I rinsed the colourant well then applied shampoo and washed well as usually. Instead of my usual conditioner I used the one included in the box. I left it on my hair for 2 minutes as it was suggested on the instruction leaflet and found that my hair was soft like silk again. The conditioner is enough for 2-3 applications at least and has very nice scent.

                  I could hardly wait to dry my hair to see the new colour. It covered everything evenly and has a very natural, radiant shade as it was stated on the box. My hair is soft and shiny. As my new hair colour is quite close to my original hair colour I am curious who will notice the difference at all ...


                  My opinion
                  ----------------
                  I think it is very easy to use this product. The liquids are about as runny as hair conditioners, so it is easy to apply it. The comb applicator helps a lot to apply the colourant evenly everywhere. Before you start to colour your hair take care to war such clothes you don't have to pull through your head in order to take a shower. I prefer wearing only underwear. If the colourant gets on your clothes it can be rinsed easily if you discover in time. The longer you let it on the textile the harder to remove the stains...

                  I think this is a very effective product and the pictures on the box give you an idea about the result. The instructions are clear and easy to understand. The bottles are labelled well and the pictures on the instruction leaflet are good enough to identify the bottles even only by their shape.

                  My hair is of shoulder length and the quantity of the colourant was more than enough on my hair. If you have long hair maybe you have to buy an extra box. I think 5 pounds is excellent value for this product. If you have to buy it on full price that will be around 6.70 pounds.


                  Manufacturer
                  ------------------
                  L'Oréal Paris,
                  London,
                  W6 8AZ.
                  www.lorealparis.co.uk

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                  • (500) Days of Summer (DVD) / DVD / 149 Readings / 146 Ratings
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                    03.02.2011 21:51
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                    Give it a go!

                    (500) Days of Summer is a romantic drama with some humorous spots. The film was released in 2009 and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) and Zooey Deschanel (Yes Man). The screenplay was written by Scott Neustadter and Michel H. Weber. The film was directed by Mark Webb. The running time is 95 minutes and the classification is 12 years and over as it contains strong language and moderate sex references.


                    Main Cast:
                    ---------------
                    Joseph Gordon-Levitt - Tom Hansen
                    Zooey Deschanel - Summer Finn
                    Chloe Moretz - Rachel Hansen

                    Plot:
                    -------
                    The film presents days of Tom and Summer's 500-day-long relationship but not in chronological order. The way the film is presented reminds me to The Time Traveller's Wife. We always know where we are but it is a bit difficult to follow the development of the relationship hence the ending of the film.

                    Tom first spots Summer at the greeting card company where he works as a card writer/designer. Summer has just moved to Los Angeles and found a PA job at the same company where Tom works. As Summer is a pretty girl all the guys are fond of her but she doesn't seem to notice any of them. One day in the lift she finds out that Tom listens to The Smiths, one of her favourite bands.
                    After a karaoke night in a pub Tom's friend tells Summer that Tom likes her. After he leaves with the cab Summer asks Tom if he really likes her... They become friends and Tom is convinced that they are soul mates. Whenever he has a problem he discusses it with her younger sister, Rachel. Despite her young age she sees quite well what's happening with Tom and Summer. I don't want to spoil the story in case you want to watch it.


                    My thoughts on the film:
                    ---------------------------------
                    I bought the DVD yesterday evening in our local Sainsbury's and watched it right after I arrived home. I have to admit that I enjoyed this film. I think believing that we all have a soul mate just have to find him/her brought this film closer to me. I liked that it wasn't the usual romantic comedy or chick-flick however it wasn't a serious drama either. It fitted my moody evening perfectly.
                    The acting was great, both leading actors were natural and believable in their role. I liked a lot the funny moments Summer and Tom shared in IKEA, especially the one with the Chinese family. I think it was nicely presented the happiness of Tom after the first time they made love. Without the intention of spoiling all the funny spots I also liked when Tom made a tattoo on Summer's arm.

                    The tracks in the film were good, especially if you like The Smiths. The music was a bit more in focus than in other films in general as the director wanted to present how many things they have in common.
                    The story of Tom and Summer is quite usual, nothing special really. The ending of the film has a twist I have to admit. I like the humour of the screenplay writer on the ladies names. I also like that the film presents quite well how Tom suffers when their relationship seems to end. In general films present women crying over a relationship, but not this one. I like the way Tom can talk about his problems with his sister and his friends.


                    The film is available on DVD and Blu-ray. On Amazon the DVD costs 5.99 pounds, In Sainsbury's it is 5 pounds. The Blu-Ray is available for 17.93 pounds on Amazon. I think the 5 pounds was a good price for this film. The Extras contain the Lost Days of Summer: Deleted and Extended Scenes and A Digital Copy.
                    I think I will watch it again sometimes. It wasn't bad at all!

                    For the official site of the film visit:
                    http://www.foxsearchlight.com/500daysofsummer/

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                    • More +
                      31.01.2011 13:13
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                      Yummy!

                      From time to time I used to buy Herta Classic Frankfurter sausages as my kids like it but I found them too greasy. I eat them without bread in general and it wasn't that good I have to admit. I used to make some meals with potatoes and frankfurters not to feel that greasy.

                      While shopping in Sainsbury's last year my kids spotted the sausages and demanded loudly so I put some into the shopping trolley. I noticed the new package but I haven't realised the difference. My kids asked for sausages right after we arrived home so I cooked a whole pack for dinner. Still not noticed any difference... I noticed the difference though when I started to cut it in slices as it was easier to cut and the taste...

                      Price and package
                      -------------------------
                      I do the shopping in Sainsbury's and Tesco as there is no other shop in our nearby. I found these Frankfurters in both supermarkets. In Sainsbury's it costs 1.79 pounds and similar in Tesco. The package contains 10 Frankfurters and weights 350 g. They are shrink wrapped and it is very easy to open the package.
                      At the moment a pack of 10 sausages is enough for 4 of us for dinner but I guess later - as my sons get bigger - it won't be enough.


                      How to cook them
                      ------------------------------
                      I like these Frankfurters as they are so versatile. Most of the cases I just cook them in water and we eat them with mustard, ketchup, mayo, horseradish depending on our actual mood. The chicken Frankfurters are not as greasy as the Classic ones so me and the kids eat them without bread.
                      Occasionally I cook them with potatoes, we have some Hungarian dishes that can be prepared with Frankfurters and my kids love those too.

                      They can be grilled as well or make hotdog out of them. You can also wrap them into a slice of cheese, put them in a casserole bowl and pour scrambled eggs on them, put them into the oven for 15 minutes.

                      Taste
                      -----------
                      I like that these Frankfurters are smoked with natural beechwood. This gives them a very pleasant taste. I know that smoked food is not that healthy... but it is yummy. Overall these Frankfurters are very delicious, spicy but not hot at all. You can't feel the chicken taste directly but the taste is in harmony, fits potato dishes well.


                      Ingredients
                      ----------------
                      Chicken 46%, Turkey 26%, Water, Chicken Fat, Mustard Seed Flour, Flavourings (contain Wheat, Celery), Lactose (from Milk), Salt, Dextrose, Antioxidant: Sodium Erythorbate, Preservative: Sodium Nitrite, Natural Beechwood Smoke.

                      Opinion
                      -------------
                      I like to have some packs of Frankfurters in my freezer as it takes 10 minutes to cook them from frozen so very convenient when returning from a holiday or tired to prepare a dish for breakfast or dinner. They are delicious even grilled so you can drop some vegetables near them.

                      They are really versatile and kids love them. They contain 71 kcal energy per Frankfurter so even those on diet can eat them. You can add one or two to your salad for example. They are filling and yummy.
                      It is worth buying them when they are on offer. You can freeze them and they are just as good as they were fresh. It's a family favourite at us.

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                        30.01.2011 15:18
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                        lovely shades

                        In a woman's life there are different periods affecting her outlook, style and mood... A couple of years ago I couldn't imagine myself wearing pearl necklace or red lipstick. I thought they didn't fit me yet, maybe later. Now I wear both and I feel confident about them.

                        In the last couple of years I wore exclusively Max Factor Lipfinity lipstick as I am really satisfied with it. The other day I took the kids to the Tesco and I saw Maybelline's Color Sensational lipstick. It was love for the first sight. It looks very nice and after trying the tester I dropped one into my basket. This lipstick is available at chemists too, wherever you see Maybelline products. In Tesco it was for 6.99 pounds which I think is quite good value for it.
                        As this lipstick is made by Maybelline I was sure that it is of good quality. It comes in the usual lipstick format; the only difference is the stylish transparent red cap. I bought Fatal Red shade which is a brilliant red shade. It is red like fresh blood, I love it. When even my husband realised that I wear a lipstick I was sure that it is a noticeable stuff. My kids noticed too but they notice every little change I make on myself.


                        Features
                        -------------
                        Even a lipstick can have some features:
                        crispy colour - the new pigment technology used by Maybelline makes the colour of this lipstick deep and really sensational. After applying the lipstick my lips seem optically fuller. It is just a simple lipstick, not a lip plumper.
                        creamy feel on lips - the manufacturer says that it is enriched with honey which is well known for its pampering effects in skincare
                        easy to apply
                        vanilla scent
                        available in 37 colours - however the Tesco I was shopping had only 2-3 shades at better places you can find the whole range. The main colour categories are: pink, plum, red, nudes and pearl.
                        Weak points
                        ------------------
                        As I used Lipfinity for years I am used to it that my lipstick is kissproof and lasts and lasts... These characteristics unfortunately are not true for the Maybelline Colour Sensational Lipstick. The colour is really sensational but you can't kiss someone without a nice lipstick print so be careful! Apart from this it stays quite long on the lips but I have to re-apply after eating or drinking hot drinks. I guess the wear off is not that harsh in case of pink, nude or pearl shades but the red lipsticks have to be perfect on lips otherwise they look really poor and cheap.


                        My tip
                        -----------
                        How to make your lipstick last longer? If you use a creamy lipstick like this one apply the lipstick as you usually do, then cover it with a layer of loose powder. I apply it with a soft puff. Then apply the second layer of lipstick. It lasts even longer if you apply it with a lipstick brush.

                        Overall impression
                        ----------------------------
                        I can't give five stars for this lipstick as it is not long lasting and leaves prints on my glasses and cups. I haven't tested it under so many circumstances as the Lipfinity but I wore it several times and I think it is a really good lipstick.

                        In a couple of days you can get used to it that it leaves prints. The bright colour is so sensational that I can forgive the weaknesses for this lipstick. The Fatal Red (530) is such a nice shade I would have felt a fatal error not buying this.
                        I think that from the 37 shades Maybelline offers now you can surely find a shade that fits you most. It doesn't dry out the lips as the long lasting lipsticks do but have to be re-applied during the day. It has a very nice scent but no taste at all.

                        Despite the honey content I wouldn't say it is moisturizing, it left my lips about the same as they were before applying the lipstick. It is easy to remove it with any kind of makeup remover or kissing someone all over...

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                          23.01.2011 10:16
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                          Recommended!

                          I always had some favourite brands of detergents and bought the one which was on offer. Last time I found the best detergent I used so far: Ariel Actilift Biological. When I bought sometimes in November it was on half price offer. Now I know I should have stock up, but I didn't. Anyway, I bought the largest bottle which is said to be enough for 33 washes and it still lasts. I found that a half or ¾ cup is enough to clean our clothes completely.

                          The detergent is suitable for low temperature washing but I have to admit that I use the 30 and 40 degrees setup at all washes, never cold water. The manufacturer used a new formula called actilift which aims to clean clothes even more effectively and keep them clean longer. I really don't know too much about this formula but it works miracle on our clothes.

                          I found that it removes more stains than the previously used detergents. I don't say that everything comes out absolutely clear but the majority of the stains really disappear simply by using this detergent and no extra stain remover.

                          I pour a half or ¾ cup of detergent on the clothes directly and never experienced any damage on the clothes. Moreover occasionally I load the washing machine in the evening, pour the detergent on the clothes and start the washing with delay in the morning. There wasn't a single accident. I tried it on white, colour and black clothes too, works brilliant.

                          The detergent is quite thick but still easy to pour into the cup. It has green to blue colour and quite neutral but pleasant scent. The laundry scents quite nice after I get them out from the washing machine. If I don't use fabric conditioner the clothes have only a very mild scent which can be noticed only if you put your nose on the clothes.

                          As my kids are really adventurous in the nursery and their clothes are always very dirty I prefer using the biological detergents. The enzymes help removing more stains than other detergents. The actilift formula boosted the effect and it is really a brilliant product I can recommend trying.

                          I know it costs more than other detergents in general but when it is on offer it is worth stocking up. The full price of a bottle for 28 washes costs 8 pounds in Sainsbury's and similar in other supermarkets. It is worth checking its price in different supermarkets as it is often on offer.

                          The best detergent I have used recently, really recommend it. We haven't experienced any allergy reaction on our skin. Procter and Gamble made a great detergent, love it.

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                            03.01.2011 18:52
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                            Recommended!

                            My second favourite frozen pizza available in supermarkets is Goodfella's Speciale Creamy Mozzarella & Pesto Stonebaked Ciabatta. This pizza is often on offer in Tesco or Sainsbury's so usually I buy 2 for 4 pounds. The full price is 2.79 pounds. You can find it among the frozen foods where the other pizzas are.


                            Goodfella's
                            ------------------
                            I think this brand name sounds quite cool, anyway it is owned by Green Isle Foods Ltd and the pizzas are made in Ireland. The brand focuses on Italian flavours and they use typical Italian toppings on their pizzas.

                            The manufacturer says on the box that for them pizza is a passion and they are dedicated to our pizza pleasure. Well, they do it quite well I think...


                            What you get for your money?
                            -----------------------------------------
                            The pizza comes in a dark green cardboard box showing a huge ready made pizza. When you make your own I think that looks even better than the one on the picture! There is an enormous Goodfella's logo right above the picture so you can't miss it. The guys around the pizza and the buildings in the background all remind me of Italy.

                            There are loads of details on the box like their mission, the cooking instructions, nutritional information, ingredients, storage instructions and allergy advice.

                            After opening the box the pizza is wrapped in a clear foil so you can see clearly the appetizing pizza. There is no plate below the pizza.


                            How to store it?
                            ------------------------
                            You buy these pizzas frozen and most of the cases it is still frozen by the time you arrive home. As I have a very small freezer I put the pizzas in the fridge and bake them within a day. The other option is to keep it in the freezer. That is the better option I think.

                            I found that when you keep it in the fridge you can still wrap it out easily and place it on a pizza plate to cook it. Unlike other pizzas this can be handled easily even when it is not frozen.


                            The appetizing pizza
                            ----------------------------
                            The base is somewhere between deep pan and thin regarding its thickness and texture too. It is crusty but not entirely. It really reminds me to ciabatta. There is a tomato sauce on the top of the base then grated cheddar cheese and 4 round slices of mozzarella. There are green pesto spots on the top of the pizza which look like real pesto but are actually pesto oil so when you put it in the oven it melts and spices your pizza all over.


                            How to cook it?
                            -----------------------
                            Remove all the packaging and put your pizza on the top shelf of the preheated oven. I use a pizza plate because I don't like to clean burnt cheese from the oven. The manufacturer recommends 190 C/Gas Mark 5 or 180 C for fan assisted ovens. I have the latest, so I set my oven to 180 C. The pizza is ready in 16-18 minutes if you can resist that long for the delicious pesto smell...


                            Nutritional information
                            --------------------------------
                            The pizza in the box is 400 g which means 1060 kcal energy. It is about half of the recommended daily amount for women. Usually I share a pizza with the kids but still loads of calories. It is rich in carbohydrate and fat too.

                            This pizza is suitable for vegetarians. It contains wheat, gluten, milk and may contain also traces of nuts.

                            The ingredients are: Wheatflour, Water, Mozzarella Cheese (18%) (with added Starch), Cheddar Cheese (8%), Tomatoes, Vegetable Oils, Pesto Oil (2%) (Vegetable Oil, Basil, Garlic Puree, Salt, Black Pepper), Yeast, Salt, Garlic Puree, Starch, Dextrose, Oregano, Basil, Sugar, Black Pepper, Flour Treatment Agent: Ascorbic Acid.


                            Overall impression
                            --------------------------
                            I think the baked pizza looks really appetizing; it contains enough cheese for cheese lovers. The base is crusty but not dry at all. The tomato sauce is not over-spiced so the real taste of tomato can be felt and it is in perfect harmony with the garlic, pesto and mozzarella cheese. I like that there is some pepper added to the pesto oil, it really makes difference.

                            I think this is a really delicious pizza which is absolutely up to my expectations. Occasionally I add some extra pesto when I want to improve the taste a bit. If you like pesto and cheese in general than I really recommend trying this pizza. It is very delicious, one of my favourites.

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                              28.12.2010 15:26
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                              Enjoy your drink and be moderate!

                              I wanted to buy some alcohol for Christmas as we had a couple of guests around. One of the drinks I bought was Bacardi's ready to serve Mojito Classic. I rarely drink cocktails nowadays but Mojito is one that I like so I thought it would be nice to have one without bothering on making it.


                              Price and where to buy
                              --------------------------------
                              I saw it in Sainsbury's and Tesco for sure. There is no other supermarket in the nearby but I suppose it is available in all the larger supermarkets. During the festive period it is on offer. I bought ours for 10 pounds. Its full price is 15 pounds which I think is expensive.


                              Package
                              ------------
                              The drink comes in a completely clear bottle of 70 cl. The cap of the bottle is white and can be reclosed. The drink in the bottle looks like lemonade, cloudy yellow, maybe some green too. The label on the bottle is printed to a transparent sticker. The bottle itself is simple and stylish I think. I don't even have to mention that it is 100% recyclable.


                              Bacardi
                              ------------
                              Bacardi is a privately owned spirits company best known for its rum, gin and alcopop drinks. The products of Bacardi are available almost all over the world. They sell around 200 million bottles of drinks a year. The company acquires smaller spirits companies and by now Bacardi became one of the largest spirits companies in the world owning such brands as Bacardi rum, Martini vermouth, Grey Goose vodka, Dewar's Blend Scotch whiskey, Bombay Sapphire gin, Eristoff vodka and so on.
                              The company occasionally comes with some new drinks along with the well known brands. If you want to read more about the company, their products or visitor centres please visit http://www.bacardilimited.com/.


                              Mojito
                              ----------
                              Mojito is a traditional Cuban rum-based highball. The classic version is made of five ingredients only: lime juice, sugar cane juice, spearmint (bruised, not shredded), white rum and sparkling water served in Collins glass.

                              I found that if you make your own Mojito the taste of the drink is always different whenever you make it. The ingredients (lime and mint) taste different and also the type of water you use can change the taste of your drink. Not that I care that much, just noticed. The real difference for me was when I did it in Hungary and then here in the UK as the water tastes really different.

                              This cocktail has loads of versions; the most well known I think is Virgin Mojito (called also Nohito) which is alcohol free. The Dirty Mojito is made with spiced rum and brown sugar syrup. The Mexican Mojito is made of tequila instead of rum. Apple Mojito has an extra ingredient: apple flavoured liqueur. And the last one I mention is the Sugar free Mojito which is made of agave nectar instead of cane sugar syrup.


                              Bacardi Mojito Classic
                              -------------------------------
                              So what to expect from a company that manufactures loads of premium quality drinks when it comes to a famous and very popular drink? I expect a nice drink...

                              After opening the bottle I can't resist and sniff the drink: I feel a pleasant scent of lemon, rum and mint but doesn't remind me of the home made cocktail if I want to be honest. I find the scent artificial. You can always feel the difference between freshly squeezed lemon/lime and lemon juice...

                              Anyway, I wanted a properly served drink so I read the instructions on the label. You just need lemon, mint, ice and a splash of soda. Can you count? Three out of five ingredients... Never mind, it is said that ready to serve! As I was doing a quick shopping I haven't read the label in the shop so I didn't have at home lime just lemon and no fresh mint at all. Anyway, I served the drink on ice. First you can feel some artificial lemon taste then the alcohol takes its place and finally has a pleasant minty aftertaste. The taste is not bad but I don't think I will buy this drink again.


                              Ingredients:
                              -----------------
                              Why do I list the ingredients when I mentioned already how to make a proper Mojito? Well, this one was made of some other ingredients, namely: water, Bacardi Rum, sugar, citric acid, flavouring, Sodium citrate, potassium benzoate, glycerol ester of wood resin, sucrose acetate isobutyrate, tartrazine, Brilliant Blue. I hope I could read everything correctly as it is written with extremely small letters. I have good eyes but reading these letters are really challenging.


                              Alcohol content:
                              ----------------------
                              This cocktail contains 14.9% alcohol which means 10.4 units / 700 ml. It is advised for women not to exceed 2-3 units a day and 3-4 units a day for men. I don't recommend drinking alcohol before driving.


                              Opinion
                              ------------
                              It seemed convenient to have a ready to serve drink at home and this was attracting enough for me to drop it into my shopping trolley (carefully of course). When I realised that I should have mint, lime and soda at home to serve it properly I was a bit disappointed. Never mind, next time I will make my own.

                              I think making a Mojito is not a big challenge and as the drink is expensive on full price it is cheaper and better to make your own version. The recipe I use is
                              4.0 cl Bacardi White Rum
                              3.0 cl fresh lime juice
                              3 sprigs of spearmint
                              2 teaspoons of white sugar
                              Soda water

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                              • Stella Artois / Beer / Cider / 117 Readings / 113 Ratings
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                                19.12.2010 01:15
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                                Drinking a beer from time to time has loads of health benefits just don't forget to stop drinking...

                                I know drinking beer is not a girly thing but I have to confess that I prefer beer to any other alcohols. It is refreshing and due to the low alcohol content you can drink a glass or two without becoming anti-social.

                                Stella Artois is a premium quality lager first brewed in Leuven, Belgium anno 1366. The expertise can be seen and felt whenever you drink a Stella. The lager had originally 5.2% alcohol content which was reduced to 5% in the UK and some other countries. It is available in 4% version and NA (0.5% alcohol content!) in most of the supermarkets and pubs.

                                I am sure you remember some Stella ads from the TV, they can't highlight enough how to pour your beer for the perfect result. I prefer drinking it from glass as I love to see its wonderful golden colour and the condensed drops on my glass. Occasionally I drink it from the bottle as well but I don't like to drink it from can as it has a metallic taste.

                                You have to love beer in general to appreciate the crisp light taste of a Stella Artois. Some gourmet consumers may say it is nothing special about it, it is smooth and somewhere in the middle with no characteristic note. This may be true but this average taste suits loads of people and makes this brand popular. I like that it has no bitter or sour aftertaste like some other beers. For me a plus bonus is the headache free hangover... I don't intend to share more info on it as I am not proud of it, just loved Stella a lot...

                                I don't want to write an exact price for the beer as it changes all the time. It is quite often on offer so it is worth shopping around or if you can resist to it eve stocking up when on offer. I think Stella Artois is priced in the top middle of the lager category. The price obviously represents the premium quality ingredients and the brand image.

                                Stella Artois is probably my first choice of lager but Leffe (another Belgian beer) is closely behind it. If you like beer in general maybe you'll like Stella Artois too.

                                A bottle of 284 ml contains 1.4 UK units of alcohol. Be responsible!

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