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Groovee
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Member since: 01.07.2003

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    • Slimming World / Other Service / 29 Readings / 23 Ratings
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      16.06.2005 21:40
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      In October 2004, My son celebrated his second birthday. I thought it was a great day until 6 weeks later I downloaded the photo's of his party and wondered who the big fat blob was. I suddenly realised that in 4 and a half years I had ballooned by over 5st and my health was in danger zone of me being a high risk. That is why in January 2005 I walked through the door to my first Slimming World Meeting.

      I chose Slimming World for 2 reasons. Most of my friends were doing it so it would be easier when having lunch etc with them and secondly because there is very little counting and weighing out.

      Slimming World call their "diet" Food Optimising. There are 4 plans and the basic 2 which you need to learn about first and red days and green days. Your Red Days are Meat and Fish days. You can eat as much Meat, Fish and Fruit as you want to feel full. Most vegetables are free too bar pea's sweetcorn, parsnips and potatoes. Green days are unlimited potatoes, pasta, rice, noodles, vegetables and fruit. You can choose 1 or 2 Healthy Extra A's which are milk and cheese options. Calcium has been scientifically proved to speed up weight loss so I always try to have both dairy choices. Healthy Extra B's vary according to what "day" you are having, you have 2. You get to choose, cereal or bread. On Green you choose meat or fish, nuts or dairy products. On Red you choose potatoes, pulses, pasta. On both you can also choose dried, canned or cooked fruit as well. Although most fruits are free, if you puree, or cook it then you change the sugars in it.

      You also get a daily syn allowance of between 5-15 syns, so you can still have treats. Everything has a syn value in "bad foods!" but nothing is banned. The idea of Food Optimising is to have a healthy balanced diet with you not depriving yourself which usually results in the binge eating of all the wrong things.

      The other 2 plans which you can follow once you know the basic ones well enough are mix and match and success express. Mix and Match means you can have a red meal for Breakfast, a Red lunch and then a green dinner. It means mixing the 2 plans and snacking on free food during the day. This is not recommended to people until they have their heads round the main plans first. Success express is for people who's weight loss had slowed down which often happens in the last few pounds to target. I've not really got my head round it yet but it can help speed up your weight loss apparently.

      For me after I had paid my joining fee, I received a Food Optimising book which became like my best friend. I always had it with me until I had learned the basic 2 plans. But even now 5 months down the line I often refer to it to ensure I am having the right things and right amounts as your Healthy Extra's are weighed out and often if I haven't had some meat or beans for a while I just need to check what the amount allowed is again. The syns in the book are basic and I invested in Slimming World's Shop at Tesco book which gives you all the free food, and food which you can buy in tesco from Tesco's own brands to named brands.

      The class can vary from place to place. I found my class by looking on the Slimming World Website. They e-mail it through to you. I went along to my first class and found it to be a small class. I paid a £5 joining fee but it is usually £10. The class fee at the time was £3.95, but that has now gone up to £4.25. For that you get weighed and you get the chance to get help through Image Therapy where we discuss how we feel about our losses or gains. We also share tips in this time and it is great for picking up new ideas for meal times or snacks.

      After being there for 3 months I was asked if I would mind weighing in. So every week I get there early and weigh in the other members. This gives the consultant time to chat with members who may have a problem which they don't wish to discuss in the class. I never reveal a members weight to other members. I only really look to see how much they have gained or lost and that is the only thing which gets told to people. Only the member truly knows their own weight which means you never have the embarrassment of people knowing your weight if you are feeling sensitive about it.

      When you reach a target or a goal such as a half stone award or club 10 which is when you have lost 10% of your body weight when starting. It took me 4 weeks to loose my first half stone award and 7 weeks to loose a stone. I reached my club 10 within 10 weeks of starting on the plan. 5 months down the line I have lost 2 stone 2lb's so far and have lost 3 dress sizes since January. Although I feel like the same person within myself, I have gained a lot more confidence within myself. Instead of struggling to get nice clothes to fit me, I can go anywhere to a petite range and proudly buy a size 14. I don't feel like I am ever deprived and I usually manage more than my 5 portions of fruit and veg a day as well as drinking about 8 pints of water a day which makes me feel much better too. I never feel deprived as I can still have my treats and meals out without really thinking about it.

      Slimming world encourage you to look at the plan as a way of life rather than becoming a yoyo dieter or someone who gets to target and then gains it all back. Food Optimising is now a way of life and I do it without thinking. I hardly ever buy convenience foods and the whole family eat much healthy and better than we did before. I won't lie, my food shops have jumped from around £60 to £90 a week but it is worth it to buy lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. I've rediscovered cooking which is fabulous again too and I do really enjoy it. I do have my off days where I do slip too many biscuits into my mouth without thinking but I usually get straight back on track. I do believe that for Slimming World to work you have to be determined to do it and be in the right frame of mind for it to work.

      Slimming World also encourage "Body Magic" where you incorporate gentle exercise into your daily life. It can be a brisk 5 minute walk leading up 3 times a week to a brisk 30 minute walk 4 times a week. Research has shown apparently that exercise can help you loose an extra 2lb a month which makes 24lb a year which is just over 1 and a half stone. That is a lot of extra weight to loose.

      I would definitely recommend Slimming World to anyone who is wishing to loose weight. It is a very easy plan once you get your head round it which can take a bit of time but the results to me proves that it works and I am not the overweight person I was 6 months ago. I still have a fair bit to go to target but I am so much happier within myself at being able to walk along the street without my legs rubbing off one another. I look much healthier and feel healthier too. I don't feel out of breath when I walk or have to rush. To me the day I walked through that door was the day I made a committment to get a healthy lifestyle back. So far that is exactly what I have done.

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      • Lush Dream Cream / Skin Care / 24 Readings / 21 Ratings
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        12.01.2005 17:45
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        I’d been meaning to have a good hunt about for a while for a hand and body lotion but just hadn’t got round to it. So when my Santa Present had Lush’s Dream Cream in it I decided to try it and see how we went.

        The tub is black and reminds me of a Hagan Das Ice Cream tub. It is smaller at just 240g. But the price I nearly fell over at £7.95 for this small body lotion. I took the lid off and sniffed at my new cream. Various smells were coming through to me such as Lavender and a milk sort of smell and there was one smell which I couldn’t quite put my finger on until after I had put it on and made Mr G smell it. He said it smelled off Tea Tree Oil. The smells together blended well and none of them were too over powering. There was no one smell which jumped out at me though. Blended together the scents are a night refreshing change to what I have been used to in the past.

        The cream itself is a nice consistency. I have used various creams over the years and this one is not too thick and it isn’t too runny either. I feels cold on your hands when you first put it on to them. It can be cold when you put it on to your skin as well. I find that it takes a bit of practice to get the right amount. Too little cream and you don’t feel like you have enough cream on and too much can make it difficult to smooth over your skin and get it to start moisturising in to your skin. I’ve found a few times that I have had to remove the excess cream which I have had on my arms and legs. It doesn’t make you feel greasy if you put too much on. It just makes your skin look a bit shinier. I’ve never had any problems with my skin feeling greasy after putting the lotion on. My hands are constantly wet with all the bathing which I am now forced to do as well as having 2 young children and having to paint and wash my hands on a regular basis. My hands have started to feel smoother than they have done in years. Maybe this is a hint for Mr G with his tradesman hands which are rough.

        My only complaint about this cream is the fact it has a 2 month life. It’s best before date is usually 2 months after it was made. You can usually find this on the little sticker which was put on the tub to let you know who made it. I would watch what the date is when you buy one as by the time I received my present and started to investigate what was inside, I only had just over 2 weeks to start using. I found in 2 weeks that I used very little cream so it does last well and can also be shared with others. You’ve got to share your Lush products, it would be selfish not to.

        I’ve suffered from Eczema for the last 3 years and my skin changes regularly as to whether it is dry, oily or being a pain in the bum to me. Since I started using dream cream, within just a few days I noticed a huge difference in how healthy my skin looked and how much softer it was feeling. Even my tummy and thighs have started to improve in how they look in the short time which I have been using it. My eczema hasn’t bothered me once that I am severely tempted to try this on my 2 year old who suffers from bad eczema. The smell from the cream is very subtle as not as strong as the coconut one which I was using prior to using dream cream. It actually doesn’t put me off constantly catching a little whiff of Lavender and tea tree oil either. I’ve had no problems with dry or oily skin since I started to use this and it is as though my skin has finally found a balance on what it is happy with.



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          05.01.2005 22:24
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          On my first visit to the Lush shop, the assistant was chatting to me when she suggested I try an Ickle Baby Baff for Murray. For £1 you received a wee sun shaped ballistic and has a face which would remind you off a baby like face as in the picture above. The Ickle Baby Baff is not as big as any of the other ballistics which can be purchased. It is only about 30g. It was around the size of a fairy cake. A flat fairy cake at that. But for a child it is probably an ideal size.

          I took it out of the little bag and had a sniff. I could smell a lavender fragrance in there and something else which I just could not place my finger on. Looking up the website this contains Sandalwood Oil and Chamomile Oil as well as the lavender. Then I noticed it has citric acid in it and it came to me right away. It smells like Ajax that stuff that my mum used to have under the kitchen sink. I have no idea what it was used for but I knew I had smelled that smell before.

          The website also says this "The Ickle Baby Baff is one way to get them in there with the minimum of struggle; sometimes, with the promise of a fizzing 'baff bom', they even volunteer. Once in there, the magic starts to work; sedative sandalwood plus calming lavender and chamomile work their sweet, soporific effect on your little darlings so that they drop off to sleep naturally as soon as they are dried off and packed into their pyjamas." With Murray being a rubbish sleeper, I vowed that if he slept I would buy a years supply to help us get some sleep!

          So after a particularly stressful day, I flung this ballistic in with the bath water. It was nothing like the ginger man which we had used before. It dissolved into the water very quickly and left the water completely clear. That left a bit of disappointment. The children got on with their bath, but the bathroom didn't smell any different. I had hoped the ballistic would scent the bathroom ever so slightly. I decided to wait and see what happened when I took them out of the bath. Both children had very nice fragrances around them off the lavender. It was very pleasant and neither of them had any problems with their skin. In fact it seemed smoother than it had it a while. Even the following morning a faint whiff of lavender could still be smelled when they passed by me.

          The bath was the only place where I felt there was a problem. The ballistic seemed to make the bath very slippy and both children slipped and that was on their bath mat in the bath, so it is essential that bathtime safety is observed closely when using one of these ballistics.

          Now it said above that it should help them drop to sleep Naturally. Well it's absolute tosh. Murray was up until 11pm that night and slept badly. Eilidh who normally is an excellent sleeper had a bad night too. So 2 tired children and 2 tired parents the next morning made for sparks flying in the house. It seemed to disturb both children's sleep, and although Murray isn't a great sleeper his sleep was worse this particular night.

          I'm not 100% sure if I would buy this again. The only benefit I seemed to see was how soft and nice smelling their skin was after the bath. But I may give it the benefit of the doubt and buy it and give it another chance. It's only £1 so it won't break the bank like some of the others might.

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            05.01.2005 22:14
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            Ah well the time has come and Edinburgh have a new Lush store which opened in Ocean Terminal. On their first morning of opening, Eilidh and I went on a girly shopping expedition. We headed in to have a good look around and one of the first things which Eilidh came across was a Ginger Man Ballistic. Costing me £2.10, I agreed that she could have one. She loves her bath and I knew she would love this. When purchasing it, the assistant commented on how she loves it. She also said it would help them sleep. We'll see!!! The soap is pink and is shaped like a gingerbread man. Because it is a baby pink colour it lures girly girls into wanting it. Hence as soon as we arrived at the Ballistics and Eilidh spotted this, she wanted one. The Lush website says "The Ginger Man Bath Ballistic is so sweet you will find it hard to let him go. Once he plunges into your bathwater and dissolves in a fragrant fit of pink fizz you won’t regret losing him. Besides, you can always buy one of his brothers ready for next time you need a warm, sensual, spicy bath!"

            So bath time came for Eilidh and seeing as I was in a generous mood, I decided that for her we would only use half of her ginger man. So we opened the little bag which it came in. The smell of my grans rose scented talcum powder hit me right away. I asked Eilidh to smell and she said it smelled off flowers. The smell is not too bad at all. Slightly strong but not overpowering. I was surprised not to smell a ginger smell, with it being a ginger man, but maybe there was some but I couldn't smell it. The ballistic is quite sturdy and although it had been dropped twice was remarkably strong. I was concerned than it wouldn't dissolve well.

            I broke off the head and the arms. I know I should have broke off the legs to stop him running away. They were quite hard to break off, but finally they did. Eilidh's bath had been run and she dropped the head in and watched in wonder as is fizzed away and dissolved. She then dropped the 2 arms and watched them dissolve. She got in before the had fully dissolved and for her it was a great experiment to see this "Thing" disappear into her bath. It took less than 30 seconds for it all to dissolve and the water turned slightly misty. It must have tasted good as Murray kept drinking the water. The pieces reminded me of these bath cube things which my gran used to use for scenting clothes drawers. Occasionally she would give me one in the bath and it was very similar to the ballistic idea.

            Eilidh then got on with her bath. She did express surprise at no bubbles. I explained that there were no bubbles with this as it is a bath thing which dissolves into the water and then as you wash it cleans up and softens your skin. She did seem happy with that, but kept asking if she swirled the water around, if the bubbles would appear, but alas they never. But she got on and played with the water and toys as usual. She commented on the smell, making the bathroom smell nice for once. I obviously have a very smelly bathroom. She splashed the water over her skin and said that it didn't feel any different.

            Murray suffers from eczema and I was concerned about what reaction his skin may have to the ballistic, but it must have been gentle enough for him. Eilidh skin had a small scent about it and when we were having the bedtime story it was nice to smell her and kept smelling her neck as it was so nice. Her skin seemed very smooth and wasn't dry or greasy. It just seemed perfect. I wondered how she would be once she had had a good nights sleep too. Well she eventually went to sleep and slept all night and Murray only got up twice for short periods of time, so maybe we need to use this more often. Eilidh's skin still had a faint smell of the rose scent on her skin the following morning too. She didn't like being constantly cuddled so that I could smell her though.

            I will definitely be back to the Lush shop to purchase the Ginger Man Ballistic. For one bath I think it is quite an indulgence, but by breaking it up and just using little pieces for the children it can last up to 4 bath times and can work out at a reasonable price then. I would certainly consider using this myself if I was looking for a pampering session and a good sleep afterwards. The smell is nice and not too overpowering which is what put me off another product from Lush. The faint smell of scent on the children's skins made them smell so nice a clean, but to be truthful it didn't really suit Murray. He needed a more baby or manly smell. But Eilidh has already asked when we will be back for more Bath things and I have a feeling that it won't be long. Definitely a winner this Ballistic and has finally converted me.


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              07.11.2004 09:19
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              Recently we went to Salou on holiday and unfortunately we had to travel through to Glasgow for the flight rather than a 10 minute drive to Edinburgh. We realised that we needed to check in around 5am which would mean probably getting up at 3am, so we decided to book a hotel near the airport. Express by Holiday Inn seemed to be the best for families and at the same time allow us to have breakfast at 4am.

              The Hotel is easily seen from the M8 westbound and when you get to the roundabout rather than going to the airport take exit leading along towards the hotel. You go into a very busy car park and find a space. Then we unloaded the kids and all our lugagge and said goodbye to piccie for 8 days.

              The outside of the hotel is immaculate and there is not a spot of rubbish to be seen and it was a lovely hotel to look at with it's white decor. Inside the hotel was clean but as soon as you walk in you are hit by the smoke from the bar. On the right hand side is a small bar and seating area and to bit hit by a cloud of smoke was not pleaseant with 2 under 5's and 2 non smoking adults. On the left handside is a vert clean and nicely decorated open plan restaurant. I glanced at the menu and it was quite posh and looked expensive. We'd had dinner and it was 7pm as we were checking in so wasn't a problem. The restaurant leads all the way up the left hand side and towards the top of the restaurant and opposite it is the reception desk. It was fairly busy but all guests were dealt with quickly and it was a smooth checkin. You leave your car keys when you are checking in and they take you car to a secure parking area for the duration of your holiday. We got a key card for our room which we then had to put into a little slot inside the room for our electricity. Then we headed for the lift. The lifts were very small and in constant use. My husband spent ages walking about trying to find some stairs for him and our daughter to head down instead of waiting for ages on a lift. The lifts were also quite small that 2 people and 2 suitcases took up all the room

              The room itself was meant to be a quad room. Space was tight and we had to fold the buggy down which was a nightmare as there was no where to store it. We pulled out the sofa bed and there was no floor space between the bed and the sofa bed. The sheets were clean but there was only 1 pillow each meaning I had a crick in my neck the next morning. We were right on the road which passes the hotel leading round the airport and it was fairly noisy at one point but with the tv on it drowned out the noise. Unfortunately the room wasn't soundproof and the noises from the other guests walking along the corridors and slamming their doors was not the most quiet. Infact at one point we all jumped hwen a door banged as it was so loud.

              The bathroom was very spacious. The door worked on the main bathroom doorway or pulled right back and made the toilet more private. The shower was quite powerful and was hot at 4am in the morning. The floor was tiled and sore when our son fell on it, but it was very clean. There were small towels which was great seeing as we didn't want to use the ones in our suitcases. No little extra's were provided in our room which was a bit of a disappointment.

              In the morning the TV went off at 4am like we set it to, and we got up organised and headed down to breakfast. It was a basic help yourself breakfast of cereals and rolls, toast and croissants. Ideal for that time of the morning as we would get food on the plane. You also cleared your table before you left and a member of staff then wiped it down before someone else used it.

              Checking out was very easy to do. We just signed the forms and handed back the key card and then got our lugagge on to a trolley and headed off to check in on the 2 minute walk to the airport.

              For an overnight stay it was fine to stay the one night although, I would go through later next time rather than be there as early as we were. It costs £89 per room no matter how many people are in them, so we had a better deal than couples who may have been staying there too as it cost us £22.25 per person while a couple would pay £44.50 each. The hotel was clean and well run, and I suppose the space for one night was fine, although it would have been nicer to have slightly more room to move about in. But we will be booking this hotel for next year when we go away again.


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              • LeapFrog Leappad / Child Development / 24 Readings / 21 Ratings
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                08.10.2004 19:39
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                After our daughter received a Leap Pad learning system for her birthday, we were quite impressed with how she managed to work it and her little brother started showing a lot of interest. This caused a lot of problems as we do want to keep Eilidh's leap pad good so that Murray can use it when he is older and so that Eilidh can use it as she grows. My friend happened to mention that she had an unused one My First Leap Pad system as her daughter had received it as a present but was too old for it. So we borrowed it.

                The My First Leap Pad is slightly bigger than A5 size. It sits sideyways for you to use. You get a free book which you use with it. There is a pen on it which is used with the leap pad. The pen is attached by a small cord. I would advise that it is better to supervise a child and try not to let them break the cord. This way you can keep it altogether as the pen is needed to use the pad and without it the pad is useless. The little books fit into 2 sort of pegs which hold the book in while you flip it over and work with it. On the bottom right is an easy push button which a little one can press with no problems. The pad overall is simple and easy to use. Just looking at it makes you realise how easy it will be to use. On the right hand side on the side is the cartridge holder. You get a book with the leap pad which works without a cartridge but every other book which is bought needs a cartridge to allow the pad to know which book it is working with and give out the correct information etc to the child. It is a good idea to keep the books and cartridges together to make sure that you don't loose them or have a spare book or cartridge lying about.

                The leap pad takes 4AA batteries. I've found so far that the batteries last a fairly reasonable time. If the leap pad isn't used for a certain period of time (not sure how long as I have never timed it), the pad says goodbye and switches off hence saving you batteries if your little one forgets to switch it off.

                The recommended age for this is 3+. Murray is 22 months and with supervised help enjoys having time on the Leap Pad. Having watched his big sister he has a basic knowledge of how to use the pad. I find it nice to sit down and spend time with him doing it. This way I am building on his vocabulary and helping him learn new words. Sometimes he gets annoyed when you turn a page and have to press the pen on the green circle to let the pad know you have turned over the pages. I find that Murray does sometimes get over excited about the pen and bangs it on the pad quite hard making a loud noise. He has however started to learn through continuity that when we turn the page, we have to press the green button and that is helping him recall things and using his memory.

                Some people may say that 22 months is far too young for this but I believe with the correct supervision and adult interaction this can work well for many children. The books vary in what they provide, but the introduce pre-reading, where children are starting to learn basics of reading such as looking at a picture and being able to talk about what is happening in the picture. Pre-maths is done through counting, shapes and colours. They will also be improving their fine motor skills by using the pen and their hand/eye co-ordination through looking at the pictures, and then taking the pen to the correct object or picture. They will also start to use their listening skills at being able to follow simple instructions such as "find the purple square."

                This leap pad will set you back approximately £25 from places like Early Learning Centre or Toys R Us. Additional books are slightly cheaper than the main leap pad books at £10. Many places sell these and sometimes if you shop around you may often find a buy one get on free offer. My friend doesn't need this back yet, but when she does, I still don't know if I could justify £25 for a small leap pad which children will out grow fairly quickly as the next leap pad starts at age 4. I would possibly look for a second hand one in this case. I do like the concept and believe that you could get 2 years out of this before a child outgrew it and needed the big one. If you can borrow one first, I would as my sister in law spent a fortune buying the pad and books only for my nephew never to look at it. So it is worth trying it out first.



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                • If Only - Geri Halliwell / Biography / 21 Readings / 18 Ratings
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                  28.09.2004 14:11
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                  I love reading Biographies so when I saw Geri Halliwell's "If Only" on Ebay I decided to buy it. It cost me 80p.

                  We were introduced to Geri and her family background. I for one had never known her background apart from that she suffered eating disorders and she was friends with George Michael. It was interesting to read about the child and what her family life was like before stardom. She also takes us through her starting with the Spice Girls to her leaving and then deciding to do something to do with Cancer Care The book is dedicated to her dad and she talks in depth throughout the book of her family. It's not until she is a lot older she realises how much her family mean to her. She talks often about school and how in Primary School she was bunged in with the odd balls, the ones who stood out because of their school uniforms or the fact they were from poor families. She also managed to get into the Grammar School. She regularly mentions that her brother went to a really rough school and turned out to be a scientist while she went to the better school and started off at the bottom.

                  Geri takes us through her life in a really in-depth way which you can see the pictures in your head of what she describes and what life was like for Geri. Some places in the book are really quite comical and had me laughing my head off. Like when she moved next door to a Nunnery and being amazed that they wore normal clothes. Then the nuns telling her that the papers had got it into their heads that Geri had bought the nunnery and chucked all the nuns out. There are also some really sad bits like when her dad died and she explains her emotions so thoroughly that I could really feel how she felt at the time.

                  Geri also talks about her relationships with people and also how she realised at one point that she had no real friends. It really makes you realise that she was quite lonely and is also such a normal person to have gone through what she has. Reading the parts in the book where Geri talks about the press invading her life with stories which weren't quite true and people would sell their stories when they hardly knew her, you could feel the anguish she went through and how guilty she felt for putting her family through all what they went through. She also talks about how bad she is at maintaining men and how she usually only has a relationship with a man when she is bored and has nothing else to do, which to me is such a shame. Being in a very loving relationship myself, I can't comprehend Geri's way of men.

                  You can see that although when Geri started with The Spice Girls that although on the outside she was a confident cocky sort of girl, underneath she needed someone to care and love her which was something she never really has experienced as lots of men have used her to their own advantages which is very sad. The true Geri started to come out once she had left the spice girls and had to have a focus in her life and allow herself to find herself. One thing that I did like was that quite often you would read an extract from her diary as she was very good at keeping one. Especially the parts when she was attempting to start out in Glamour Modelling.

                  The way that Geri writes the book makes you really feel as though she is having a conversation with you. As you are reading, within your head I found I was asking questions and as if like magic Geri would answer them in the next paragraph. I found the book very easy to read and I couldn't put it down as I wanted to know what happened next and how she felt. I also found it a disappointment to discover that it finished in 1999. It would be great to see how she feels 5 years on. I'm a nosy person and love to look at the pictures which always seem to come in this sort of book. It was amazing looking at pictures off a few years ago and what Geri looked like at school. She has really changed and is a really elegant person who has grown and changed into the real Geri. Geri's book showed me the sensitive side of Geri and how she really felt through all her rough times and how true friends and family will always be there for her.

                  This was a book which I found easy to read but I wouldn't recommend it for anyone too young. I got my copy from ebay for 80p, if you look on Amazon it is available for around £5.59. If you shop in bargain bookshops you may find it for cheaper. It was definitely worth the read but I wouldn't have gone out of my way to read it. Though I would read an update if she did one.

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                  • Lush Cupcake / Skin Care / 4 Readings / 18 Ratings
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                    29.07.2004 16:29
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                    After moaning to someone about how my skin was all horrible just now due to the constant changes in the weather, someone suggested trying the Lush Cupcake Face mask. A trip to Lush made me investigate the face masks. They were all just lying in the pots open and in ice. I couldn't see just a wee pot so I asked the assistant and she made me up a pot. She also told me that it must be kept in the fridge and used quickly as it doesn't contain preservatives. The smell made me think of chocolate brownies. The mixture itself looked very like it was a brownie mix. It was a very thick mixture and after being kept in the fridge, I found that it was quite hard to gather in my hands and smooth on to my skin. I realised that if I spent time just letting it soften in my hands a little it made a big difference and went on much more easily. I found I really had to massage it in with my fingertips and give a good firm push to get it to be put on and spread on otherwise I found I had huge dollops of brownie mix on my face, It says on the tub to leave on for 5-10 minutes. I forgot what time I put it on and ended up having it on for 15 minutes. I scared the life out of Murray wearing the mask and Eilidh asked why I had smeared pooh on my face. But I persuaded her that it wasn't pooh and was a cake mix. That wasn't such a good idea as she then decided that she would like to taste the mixture like when we bake cakes. The mask itself for once didn't sting or feel like it was burning my skin like others have done in the past. I could actually feel it massaging me skin on my face while I was sitting there. The mask had dried out when I remembered that I should take it off and it still felt like it was doing some good to my skin. The only complaint I had at this stage was I felt the smell of the perf
                    ume and sandalwood oil was rather strong and it turned me off a bit. Off I went to wash it off. I put some warm water on my face to try and soften up the mask and come of easier. I then got a face cloth and wet my face again with more water before wiping the mask off. The mask did come off quite easily but I found that the mask would come off in big dollops and left my sink in a bit of a mess. I had to rinse the sink quite quickly. The mask came off and then I patted my skin dry and I could feel a big difference. It was very soft and smooth and even looked better when I looked in the mirror. My skin looked really refreshed and felt much better as well. The mask was very gentle and didn't irritate the spots which I had on my face either. In fact it seemed to have helped them on their healing process. I went to bed and I was overwhelmed with the smell which the mask had left on my face. I found it kept making me cough and the smell reminded me of cheap scent. I used some moisturiser on the hope that it would rid me off the smell, but the next morning at 5.30am when I snuggled Murray into me, he pushed me away and said "YUK!". I then smelled my pillow and it was overwhelmed in the smell too. It would be better if Lush could maybe reduce the smell a little as that turned me off. My skin was slightly oily that morning but after a cleanse and moisturise, looked much better than it had been looking previously. In fact a neighbour commented on how I still had that Holiday look about me. I used the mask for 5 nights in a row and it made a big difference to my skin. I only experienced the oiliness on my skin two mornings in a row. It costs £4.50 on the website but to buy in store only set me back £3. That was for a 100g pot. It was well worth it at roughly 60p per use. That's cheape
                    r than single pack face masks which I usually use. It lasted well in the fridge and didn't appear to go off and smelled the same as it had when I bought it. Ironically the smell on my face doesn't seem to be the same smell which I smell in the pot so it must be well hidden in the mixture. But it was still as strong every day. I will most definitely use this again when my skin looks like it is in need of some TLC and needs a bit of refreshing. Definitely worth a try. The only thing is with Mail Order they will only send this to UK addresses. But it is well worth a try, just for the smell in the tub. But it is better to use it on your face as smells can be deceiving and it may not taste as nice as it smells.

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                    • Thomson Holidays / Travel Agent / 1 Reading / 14 Ratings
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                      16.07.2004 21:02
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                      We decided that we wanted a summer holiday abroad this year and picked up a Thomson Brochure. Thomson are a well known holiday operator and have been operating for as long as I can remember. Since they opened a Lunn Poly near us we have been picking up their brochures instead of the usual JMC ones. Thomson offer a variety of holidays such as Superfamily, Gold, Platinum, summer sun, a la carte, small and friendly, faraway shores, Greece, turkey, cruise, alfresco, Florida, freestyle, weddings in paradise, beach club. The Superfamily one interested me as it was all geared at a family holiday. They choose so many hotels with families being in mind and often these hotels or apartments are where families only can go or for couples only. They also own Skytours so when you get to your destination you will find the Thomson staff grouped together holding the banners for both companies. We decided after a lot of thought and looking up reviews that the Golden Avenida Park in Salou was the one we wanted to visit. You can go to various places such as Greece, Cyrpus, Mainland spain and Mallorca. Thomson usually have you tickets to you about 2 weeks before you are due to leave for your holiday. Your tickets come in a nice wee handy booklet which reminded me of a council tax book. All details of your flights times, check in, and lots of info for before you get on holiday and while you are on holiday are in there. Your accommodation information are in here. They also have luggage tags in there which easily fitted on to you luggage, but I was concerned that they would tear but they were fine on our suitcases. We flew with Britannia Airlines on a Thomson.co.uk Plane. I'm presuming that they are the same company too. I wasn't too impressed on the outward flight at the l
                      ack of professionalism of the staff. But we got to our destination in one piece. Reus airport is very small and once we had retrieved our suitcases (which happened to be last) there were about 6 Thomson Reps outside the door who asked where we had come from. They looked at their list and we were then told which bus to board and where to go. We got on the bus and it was full. They had been waiting on us. But the rep called Stuart was great and gave us a few pointers of what to expect, all about the weather and on our way we passed Universal and he pointed out the rollercoasters. He also told us what to expect when we arrived at the hotel and about our welcome meetings. There were 2 hotels on the bus and we were the first drop off. Inside the hotel was a Thomson desk where most of the day we saw a rep there to help. The welcome meeting was very informative with lots of info concerning the local towns round about Salou and safety as well as any help for the kids clubs etc. There was the usual sales pitch for the excursions but no pressure to go on them and I had read that the reps would ignore you if you didn't buy any but I never had that problem. They were always really friendly and helpful when we asked a question. Being a Superfamily holiday, this meant that there were kids clubs. Each age group 3-5, 6-9 and 10-12 had their own specific session time when they could go and participate in prepared activities. Each member of staff was a qualified nursery nurse which being one myself gave me a lot more confidence. Eilidh went to 2 clubs which one day was about cowboys and cow girls with little waistcoats and horses made for them. She also played games and had fun. Another day was deep sea adventures where they made fish etc. There were at least 5 days when the activities were on as 2 days seemed to be reps days off. I did feel that t
                      hey could have worked a rota system so that the clubs could be offered everyday instead. There was also a drop in session twice a day for any child between 3 and 12 years. You could drop your child in for as long as you wanted and you just had to provide them with a drink and a snack. My only complaint with this was there were 2 children to 8 members of staff one day and that is why a rota system for shifts would have worked better in my opinion. The drop in had a soft play which was for under 3's which I still don't understand. Quite often in the afternoon Thomson the Dog would come out too and walk round the pool. There was also a crèche for which a small charge was made. There was also an evening club which cost 2? and was on either 7-9pm or 8-10pm. Eilidh went one night and it was a Party in your Pj's theme. They did lots of games and stories and had a "midnight snack!" I personally didn't like the idea of her going but one of her new friends told her about it and she wanted to go. She had a ball. IN all there were 11 reps and I only had a problem with one. The one who ran the disco in the evenings. There was a disco with a talent spot. One night our daughter went up and said her name and he started being quite nasty towards her as he couldn't understand her. No one else in the room had a problem understanding her and finally one woman shouted at him. She was quite upset and regularly he wasn't very nice towards children who went up and said the same joke night after night. I know of quite a few parents who were not happy with him over the treatment of their children. The other male Rep was lovely and worked well with the children. All the female reps were lovely and regularly in the street or dining room stopped to say hi to us all and took time to talk to the children. They were the reps who helped us e
                      njoy our holiday. They also did some entertainment during the day like aqua gym and playing sports in the water such as water rugby etc. The hotel provided the entertainment later on. On the day before we left Thomson left a note under the door to tell us what time our bus would be leaving, the next morning. The bus was a few minutes late due to leaving the previous hotel late. But we still arrived in plenty time. The Rep on the bus gave us lots of info and even ran into the airport to check which check in desks we had to use. She then stayed with us while we checked in making sure that we had the correct passports and tickets. She also helped a party who had a wheelchair traveller with them and took the time to ensure that they were ok and checked in quickly. She then said goodbye to us and headed off to take care of the new arrivals. Thomson then gave us a questionnaire to fill out on the plane and it was then collected as they use the results when printing the new brochures and to improve service. On the flight home the Cabin Crew were very helpful and it was a good flight home. It was just so horrible to be home to horrible weather compared to a lovely warm climate. I would recommend a Thomson Superfamily holiday to anyone with children under 12. There is so much available to them and I have spoken to people who have stayed in other resorts and they have been impressed as well with those ones. It is excellent to give the children a couple of hours to play in an environment away from mum and dad as well as making new friends. The staff made a big effort to make each child feel special and over all we loved it. Can't wait to go back and do the Thomson the Dog dance. We have the CD to make us feel as though we are back there until we next go. One complaint already is the fact that Thomson advertise free child pla
                      ces. But these are only available from certain ENGLISH airports. To me that is discrimination against us Scots.

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                      • More +
                        13.07.2004 23:15
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                        On the 28th January 2002, my dad had a liver transplant. He had lots of units of donated blood. 2 days after his op, while visiting the hospital to visit my dad, I went past the Blood Donation Centre and thought, "ok then, lets do it!" I hauled my poor confused hubby who reckoned we should have been going into the transplant unit instead. Inside it was warm and friendly. We were asked to take a number and wait in the nice seating area until our number was called. The lady behind the desk was very smiley and has been on the desk everytime I have gone in. As it was my first time, I had to have an interview which just checks to see if you are able to donate. There are various reasons such as having had an operation in recent months, Have you recently given birth, have you visited a country where you may have caught malaria? The interview lasted about 10 minutes and they explained what would happen next. You also get an interview if you haven't given blood for a while like me due to pregnancy. You then sit at another part outside a wee room. You go in and you get a little prick in your finger. Some blood is then taken from your finger and placed in a clear tube. It then gets dropped in some water or clear fluid. Now I forgot to ask today why they check this but 2 people have told me different things. One said it is to check your blood and how well it clots and the other said it was to check your Iron levels. I will remember to ask next time and update the op accordingly. Once past this area you go through to the donation room. The one I visit in Edinburgh has about 12/14 special chairs which look like big sort of beds which you would find in A&E but more like a chair. Once you are sat on the chair, it tips it back a little. You have an arm rest on the arm of your choice and you lay your arm on it and a blood pressure cuff was then placed aroundmy arm to make the veins easier to see. After a minute or 2 onc
                        e my vein was up I got my needle put in and my bag filled up in about 5 minutes. I was encouraged to make a fist every 5 to 10 seconds. Some people take a local anethetic which numbs the arm so that they don't feel the needle going in. I don't bother, I just allow then to put it in. After you unit of blood has been taken the needle is taken out. I was then left to hold my cotton wool pad over my holey bit and then encouraged to rest for 5 minutes. After I was deemed ready to get off the chair they tipped me back to sitting position and I went through to the drinks area. If it is your first donation or your first one for a while they advise you just to have a cold drink. Water and Juice and tea or coffee are all available. On the tables there is a HUGE selection of Biscuits too. They do like you to stay about 10 minutes just to ensure that you are ok before they let you go. I have found the blood donor centre to be friendly and I love the banter which goes on between all the staff. It's great to feel relaxed while there and you are under no pressure if you feel you can't go through with it. A few points about Blood Donation * Always have a good meal before you go. This lessens the risk of you feeling faint afterwards. * Never feel you have to go through it. If you are worried, take a friend and explain to the staff about your feelings. They will happily help you through it. * You can give blood up to 3 times a year. The recommendation is about every 16 weeks. * You can give blood right up to the age of 70. * Reasons why you can't give blood: 1 You've already given blood in the last 12 weeks (normally, you must wait 16 weeks). 2 You have a chesty cough, sore throat or active cold sore (although the end of a cold is OK). 3 You're currently taking antibiotics or you have just finished a course within the last seven days. 4 You've had hep
                        atitis or jaundice in the last 12 months, likewise any ear or body piercing or tattoos, or you have received a blood transfusion yourself. 5 You've had acupuncture in the last 12 months outside the NHS (unless you can produce the approved certificate from your acupuncturist or physiotherapist). 6 A member of your family (parent, brother, sister or child) has suffered with CJD (Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease). 7 You've ever received human pituitary extract (which was used in some growth hormone or fertility treatments before 1985). You may not be able to give blood if: 1 You've had a serious illness or major surgery in the past or are currently on medication. Please discuss this with the clinical staff. The reason you're taking medicines may prevent you from donating. 2 You've had complicated dental work (although simple fillings are OK on the same day, as are simple extractions after 24 hours). 3 You've been in contact with an infectious disease or have been given certain immunisations in the last four weeks. 4 You're presently on a hospital waiting list or undergoing medical tests. Pregnancy If you are pregnant or you are a woman who has had a baby in the last 9 months. Travel abroad Please wait 12 months after returning from a malarial area before giving blood, unless Malaria Antibody Testing has been introduced in your area. Please also tell us if you have visited Central/South America at any time. (Those who've had the disease, or an undiagnosed illness associated with travel, will not however be able to give blood.) * You Can NEVER Give Blood 1 You carry the hepatitis B virus, the hepatitis C virus or the HIV virus. 2 You're a man who's had sex with another man, even "safe sex" using a condom. 3 You've ever worked as a prostitute. 4 You've ever injected yourself with drugs - even once.
                        You should not give blood for 12 months after sex with: 1 A man who has had sex with another man (if you're a female). 2 A prostitute. 3 Anyone who has ever injected themselves with drugs. 4 Anyone with haemophilia or a related blood clotting disorder who has received clotting factor concentrates. 5 Anyone of any race who has been sexually active in Africa (apart from Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia or Egypt) in the past year. The main route of HIV infection in Africa is through heterosexual sex. In April a new Rule was passed that people who had transfusions after 1980 are unable to give blood. Overall, people donated blood. These people helped to save my dad's life. My friend had fetal transfusions in the womb to help save her baby's life. Another friend suffered Placenta Previa. People donated blood and saved their lives. I too am donating blood to help save the lives of those who need it. It only takes an hour out of your time and if you are able to, Please do this. One day it could be a family member who you love very much who needs this blood! I feel great for having donated my blood!

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                          16.06.2004 14:19
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                          Just after I had Murray I started expressing some milk to allow daddy to help with the feeds and let me get some sleep as having 2 children under 3 was very tiring with very little sleep, with having to breast feed all night long. The first few nights when Murray wakened he would scream while hubby was down stairs getting the expressed bottle out of the fridge and heating it up. By that time I had just latched Murray on and breast fed him. After a while I gradually started introducing to formula to try and get him to go longer between feeds and give me a break as I was at breaking point. Hubby was happy for this but he was fed up going downstairs, switching the kettle on and waiting for the bottle to get the chill off it. So he decided enough was enough and off he went and came back with a Lindam Day and Night Feeder. Costing £29.99 from Mothercare. This day and night feeder came with a fairly large base. We had to clear a good chunk of the chest of drawers to allow plenty room for it. It is roughly 15cm by 15 cm. The base is while and it has a large rectangle at the back of the base. You Then slot the bottle holder in. The bottle holder holds 2 tall bottles and the ice pack no problems. It also can double as a carrier during the day if you are going out and want to keep the bottles cool. I found with my wideneck bottles that it did take a bit of work to get both bottles in but they do fit with quite a bit of jiggying. It also comes with a ice pack which you place in the freezer during the day and at night we would put it in with the 2 bottles and take upstairs. Our only complaint with the icepack was that if you forgot to take it to the freezer you were stuck especially as we have a freezer in the garage which makes things harder to remember when on your own. The ice pack keeps cold for around 8 hours which worked in well with us
                          taking it up between 10.30 and 11pm. The front part on the left contains a light which to be quite truthfully was blimming useless. It was orange and didn't give off much light and it was easier to put on the nightlight which we had. The front part on the right contains a bottle warmer. This one doesn't work like the one we had downstairs. With this one, you get a little holder which reminded me of contact lenses holders which I saw friends using in the states. It was like 2 round circles with lids that popped on top. You fill these with water and depending on if you need a 4oz bottle or a 7oz bottle heated you either use 1 for 4oz or the 2 for a 7oz. The unfortunate thing was that the plastic which held the lids on broke very easily and we ended up guessing roughly how much water we should use. But the bottle warmer is metallic at the bottom and has a basket in there which is used when using tall bottles or you can remove for widenecked bottles. You place the water into the warmer area and click the switch and depending on how much water you place in it took 4 or 7 minutes to heat. This was one major problem we found was that it got very noisy like a noisy kettle boiling water which would end up wakening the whole household. Especially in the dead of the night it can be very infuriating to waken up to this! The warmer automatically switches off when the water has evaporated. There is no way to switch it off before this. I also found you had to catch the bottle being heated to the correct temperature otherwise it would end up far too hot and then it was off to the bathroom to cool it down again! After a while we learned to time the bottle to the correct temperature. The System over all is very easy to clean and I used wipes and once a week cleaned out the bottle warmer part. I did find it collected a lot of dust over a week in our bedroom, but baby wipes
                          make it simple and easier to clean. It was a worthy investment although it was only used for 12 weeks when Murray started sleeping 9 hours a night. It still looks like new and when my Sister in Law has her baby in December she is more than likely to borrow this, so my money's worth will be gotten out of it. The idea of the system is great if especially like us you have a big flight of stairs and a walk through the downstairs to reach the kitchen as it saves time getting a feed to a hungry baby. My friend invested in this for her baby for all day use and kept it in their kitchen as they are all on one floor. If you are finding night times tough or plan to bottle feed this is worth looking at investing in for when baby arrives.

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                          • Lush Sea Vegetable Soap / Soaps / 3 Readings / 20 Ratings
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                            11.06.2004 03:26
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                            I am going to confess that I am a Lush virgin. Then one morning there was a huge crash in the hall and behind the door was a wee parcel addressed to Moi! I was my usual couldn't wait to see what was inside and out fell a bar of soap. But not just any soap, it was a lush bar of soap. Sea Vegetable to be exact. Didn't sound as appealing as the ones which I had read about on Dooyoo, but hey it was LUSH and it was free. It was free because Lush are opening a new store in Edinburgh and were inviting me as a lush times reader to come to the opening. Very nice of Lush and the have me on side already I had to look up the website for the price. For 100g it costs £1.90. Bit more than I would normally pay but hey it is this amazing Lush that I have read about. You can also get a 200g bar for £3.90. The soap in colour is an aquamarine to me. Means that is isn't quite green but not quite blue either. The bottom seemed to be covered with seaweed and salt. This made the bottom look rather dark and reminded me of an aquarium. Through the wrapper the soap smelled like normal soap to an extent and to be truthful, I hate the smell of soap and tend not to have it in the house. There was also a smell of lavender too. I was quite surprised to smell that in there. I read up on the soap on the website to help me understand how to use it. The salt and seaweed side is used to scrub your body and I presume the other side is for lathering over the skin in a nice soapy way. So it called for me to have a bath!! I had to try it our, much to my husband amusement. Will he still be amused when I spend all his hard earned cash in Lush? We'll have to see. So off I went and ran a bath. It took me quite a while to manage to open the soap. It was wrapped in a clear wrapping but it was very difficult to get into. Finally after my bath was nearly full, I got the wrapper off. The smell of soap hit me right away. In my opinion all soaps, doesn't matter what k
                            ind they are all smell the same. This soap was no different. I'm not sure what I was expecting it to smell like, but it smelled just like the normal run of the mill soap smell. I think to an extent I had hoped for a seaweed smell as I do like the smell of seaweed. But never mind, I had a freebie and the smell was no need not to try it. So in the bath we go. Me and the soap get to know each other. I had read somewhere that the bottom part of the soap with the seaweed and the salt would help the skin if you rubbed it on. I decided to give it a wee soak and the rub it all over. Started on my arm and the seaweed all fell in to the bath. I sat looking at all this seaweed floating around me in a bit of a disappointed way. So I turned the soap around and decided to use the other side. I rubbed the soap everywhere and then washed it off. No immediate effect, apart from a horrible smell. I was really disappointed and stuck in a bath of seaweed floating around me. I got on with reading my new Book which is a much better find than my new soap. I couldn't cope with the bits floating round me and my hour of peace and quiet was gone as I had to get out of that bath. So how did I get on afterwards I hear you ask! Well all I could smell all around me was this horrible soap smell. I asked hubby what he thought and he loved it. He said I smelled really nice. I knew we were totally different. My skin however looks lovely and seems to be perfectly fine after using soap for the first time in years. But I am glad that I didn't waste £1.90 on a soap I didn't like. I've read other reviews saying how good this soap was but I wasn't impressed and was slightly disappointed. My original excitedness at getting my free lush soap has disappeared. But I will try other ones before giving my full benefit of the doubt at how wonderful Lush soaps supposedly are. I think I'll stick to veg soup rather than Sea Veg Soap!

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                            • Avent Steam Steriliser / Nursing / 2 Readings / 15 Ratings
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                              06.06.2004 21:16
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                              I was gifted an Avent steam steriliser when my daughter was born 3 and a half years ago! Due to over use it blew up! I was very happy with my steriliser due to it being the same one that I had used in the nursery, so I went out and got another one! This one was updated compared to my previous one as they brought out a new range as my daughter was born! The steriliser retails at £39.99 but i bought mine in Costco for £28.99 + VAT! Don't ask me what the VAT was because I haven't a clue! The unit is round and stands upright! It is a white base unit which is tall and has aqua blue stand inside and the basket on the top of the stand goes into the dishwasher and allows you to wash teats and dummies safely in the dishwasher! The unit holds 6 wide bottles with the teats, lids and necks which all fit easily in! The teats go on the bottom of the unit and then a circular holder with 6 holes in it goes on top! The bottles fit into the 6 holes and you sometimes have to juggle the bottles about to get them to fit in correctly as the teats have to be centred correctly or the bottles don't properly, as the bottles goes top down and the teat sort of sits under the bottle going into the open top! The necks of the bottles (the bit which holds the teat and screws into the bottle) then go down the middle! After a lot of jiggling about I realised that once you put the teats in you have to put one of the necks below the open hole bit as 6 necks do not fit down the stand on top of it! Other wise if I just have a small bottle rather than an 8oz one I just stick it on the top of the little 4oz bottle! The lids fit inside the dishwasher basket and fit on the top of the stand! You add 90mls of water to the unit. This has to be exact or else you end up with the bottles not being sterilised properly if not enough water is added or the unit is on for too long if too much water is added! The unit usually takes about 9 minutes to ste
                              rilise and will be hot when finished! It can be left with the lid on for 3 hours and the bottles etc will remain sterile or I usually give the unit an hour to cool and then take the bottles out and prepare for the next day! I find that this unit doesn't take up much room in the kitchen and it is only for a year! It's about the same size as a breadboard and height of a kettle! It is a quick and easy way to sterilise baby's bottles as it is done in 9 minutes and there is no faffing about with cooled boiled water! You can usually do a day's bottles in one go! I wouldn't sterilise at home in any other way. You do need to de-scale this unit 1 every 4 weeks, and you use the provided citric acid with 200mls of water. You take everything out of the unit, you place the water and citric acid in and switch the unit on for 2-3 minutes, You then unplug the unit and leave for 30 minutes before you rinse out and then place all the bits back in and run with 90mls of water for a normal cycle! You can buy steam steriliser de-scaler in any shop like boots or mothercare, if you loose the sachets or use the unit for another child! You can buy this unit in any good store like Mothercare or Boots. Tesco also do them as well as Costco. If you are shopping online, many stockist have them or the Avent website is www.avent.co.uk, and they sell them too! So if you are looking for an easy way to sterilse bottles for your baby or grandchild, take my advice this is an excellent unit well worth the money!

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                              • More +
                                03.06.2004 03:20
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                                When a couple of friends bought Citroen Xsara Picasso's last year, I was mightily impressed by the shape, and the size of the car. We looked into getting one but realistically we couldn't afford a new one and even a used one would stretch our budget. But when my mum and dad gifted us some money, we realised that it could be very affordable and would really help us manage a new one. So my challenge started..... I had to talk the other driver in the house into it. There are 3 types of Picasso. The basic model is know as the LX. The key equipment in an LX is: - ABS with electronic Breakforce distribution - Driver, front passenger and front lateral airbags - Height adjustable front seat belts with pre-tensioners and force limiters - On Board Trip computer - CD/Radio Stereo with 6 speakers - High Frequency remote control central locking. - Electric front windows with one touch operation on drivers side - Electric and heated door mirrors - Heat reflected windscreen Now as a female driver who's only concern is a nice car which is easy to drive, most of the above is a foreign language. The next model up is a Moderate model I would say. It is known as a Desire. As well as everything in the LX model, the desire includes: - Air conditioning - Front fog lights - Leather steering wheel - Body colour painted bumpers, side rubbing strips, door mirrors, handles and rear number plate moulding - Cruise control (but only on models 2.9i 16V auto) - ESP with EBA and traction control (1.6HDi 1.6V 110hp and 2.0i 16v auto) The coloured bumpers etc makes a big difference as on the LX model they are blac
                                k and personally look a bit out of place. The top model in the range is an Exclusive. The key equipment over the desire model are as follows: - Automatic digital Air Conditioning - 3 independantly sliding seats - Electric rear windows - Alloy wheels - Electrically retractable door mirrors - Air conditioned glove box - Automatic illumination of headlamps - Rear window sunblind - Boot net - Cruise control (except 1.6i) ESP with EVA and traction control (1.6HDi 16v 110hp and 2.0i 16v auto) We decided to test drive a basic model to get a basic feel for the car and see what we thought. My first thoughts in the drivers seat was "That blimming window is ginormous, it's like driving a bus). I did have my reservations but my other half really liked it and I decided that as he liked it it would be ideal to get. He was extremely impressed by the computerised Dash Board. Normally you have 1/2 circles behind your steering wheel where you keep an eye on speed, petrol guage, milage etc. In the Picasso, there is nothing behind the wheel, but in the middle of the dash board is a computerised sort of screen. In BIG numbers you can watch you speed change digitally and give an accurate speed such as 28mph instead of you attempting to guess. Also if you leave something on when you are getting out like leaving the keys in the ignition or my favourite, leaving my indicator on, it comes up to tell you why it is making the funny we ringing noise. You also have the choice of turning the key in the Rear doors and turning on the child locks, which I personally feel is an excellent idea. Eilidh however is not happy with mummy now as she can't get out of the car unless mummy or daddy open the doors for her. It's also grea
                                t for locking Mother in Laws in. I have done that too. My mother in law was mortified! It's great that you can turn them off if you won't have children in the car and are having some friends on a girly day out or when my hubby goes bowling. At the drivers side there is a way to turn the airbag off for the front passenger seat. This is a personal choice. We haven't done it but I have seen some picasso mums with babies in the front who have turned it off. The car comes in 12 different colours, such a blue, red, green, grey, white and black. There are a couple of different shades of green and blues. There is a mixture of pearlesent or metalic paint. We chose Oriental Blue which isn't as Dark as Navy but a few shades down in my opinion. The inside interiors vary depending on what model and what colour you are going for. Ours is supposedly blue but looks a bluey grey colour. Leather inetriors are only available with the Exclusive models but I was grateful as on hot days wearing a short skirt or shorts, I have often been stuck to the seat and sometimes the leather gets too sore when hot. The inside of the car is very spacious which is one of the reasons why we bought it. We wanted 3 proper back seats with proper diagonal seatbelts. We have 2 car seats permanaently in the car and often someone has to squeeze in the middle or we take a niece or nephew or even one of the children's friends and we couldn't fit their car seat in so it meant rearranging everything which was something I didn't want in my new car. The middle seat belt confused me at first when I saw it. But the right hand side of the middle seat has a black seatbelt holder instead of the usual red and one part of the seat belt fits in here to form the diagonal belt and then the rest of the seatbelt pulls over from the back of the head rests at the
                                roof and forms a diagonal seat belt with a red holder on the left handside. The seats are very roomy in the back and we have comfortably fitted 3 large car seats as well as just the 2 car seats with one person in the back seat. My only complaint with 3 car seats in the back is that as we have 2 highbacked booster seats it can sometimes be hard to get your hand down the side and fit the seatbelt into the holder, so please don't be in a rush when you have 3 seats in the back. Each seat has a head rest but we have removed these to fit the car seats in properly and the middle one blocked my view in my rear view mirror when I was driving which really annoyed me. On the floor in the back seat just behind the front seats you will come across 2 funny looking flaps in the floor. These are excellent storage areas. They aren't too big but great for keeping a selection of books or toys in for a long journey with young children. If we didn't have the children I have no idea what I would use them for. The middle seat also folds down and has room for 2 juice cups in our case and you can purchase a fridge to go in here if you want but I would be more likely to use it for storing toys or blankets if we were going on a long journey. The back of the front seats have little airplaine like tables with a hole for your cup in it and these have been very popular with our 2 who have learned to kick them out to get them up when they can't reach them! The front seats have lots of room too and are easy to move and adjust to the correct height for yourself. We have a manual car so the 3 pedals on the floor are in the usual places. The dash in our car is a nice grey colour. It has a build in CD/radio player which only takes one CD at a time and when you are used to a 10 stacker, it gets on your nerves severely. One thing I really like is that just below the wee stick for the wind
                                ows and wipers is a wee lever which can control your volume, can change the track and can also change on to the Radio from the CD or vice versa. At first I didn't like it but now that I know where everything is I LOVE IT! It's so great to concentrate on my driving yet be able to do all this without having to reach over to the CD Player. The wipers and the controls for the CD player are on your righthand side and neither interfere with the other. You also have a rear wiper which is great news after 4 years without one and I am still learning that it is there. I ahve lost count of how many times I have accidently switched it on. Lights and indicator controls are on the opposite side and are fairly easy to work. It was all very well my hubby showing me where they were. But the first night I went out I nearly died when I wasn't sure what I was doing. I soon figured it out and off I went. You also have fog lights but seeing as I have had no use for these just yet, I can't comment. The car comes with the usual heaters and I did find that when the windows steamed up last week that it was easier just to put the cold air on instead of actually having hot on which I had done in the past. The front windows are electric and the drivers one you push quickly and it goes down all by itself. A few people have had a good laugh at me attempting to get my window down to a reasonable level with out it shooting down out of control. If you push and hold it goes down while you control it. Luckily the passenger side is not so much work and just has a manual control on it. There is a ciggie lighter. Not used by us and an astray which holds change for the Edinburgh Parking metres, but no smoking in my car please. Below that is a small storage area which I keep my driving sp
                                ecs in and also my phone when driving. It closes which makes it hidden from view if you happen to leave your purse or anything in there. There is a large glove compartment which when you pull down the door you have space for 2 drinks and there are also large pockets in the doors which we keep our maps in. The one thing that won over this car for us was the spacious boot. Our previous car we had to bend down to put things in. This one is on one level and builds up and is very easy to fill up without too much bending over. Inside is a wee storage rack thing which you can pull out. We joked it was the wine carrier until i took ot out by accident and discovered that it was a small basket thing on wheels like a trolley suitcase. We haven't used this yet as we have the buggy in there and we haven't bought any wine. But we did a massive weekly shopping as well as a spending spree round the shops and everything fitted in well. They keys for the car. One comes with the button function while the other is just a key to open and lock the door. There were a few fights but I managed to get the button one in the end! The lights flash when you lock and unlock the doors to alert you that it is open. Although the lights have been the indicator ones and has had me baffled in this weather with the sun shining on wether I have opened the door or not. Overall we are loving our car and have both found it lovely to drive. The gearstick is on the dash which I did worry about but I got used to it fairly quickly along with a very large slanted window which actually makes it easier to see out of when driving. My hubby had been a bit bemused by the shape off the outside of the car. But now he is very happy with the choice of car and finds it a pleasure to drive. Being slightly higher up is nice as you can see around you better but I have encountered difficutly in parking i
                                t while I still find my bearings in it. Fingers crossed that I learn soon. This is an ideal family car if you have a young family but also if you need a lot of space maybe for someone who has a disabilty or you just want a bigger car with a difference. This is the one for you. You can go on to the Citreon website and book a test drive. We looked at a lot of cars and this was definately our favourite. Eilidh loves our new car and everyone has commented on it. OOOH I can't wait to get back in it now and go for a drive.

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                                  29.04.2004 00:43
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                                  Peace at Last by Jill Murphy was one of the first books I came across when I started working with Children. It introduces us to The Bear Family. They are just like humans, with their comfortable home and clothes. Mr Bear was tired, Mrs Bear was tired and Baby Bear was tired. So they did what all tired people do....... they went upstairs to bed. Baby Bear goes into his bedroom, while Mr and Mrs Bear go into their bedroom. Mrs Bear falls asleep and starts to snore and this is where the problem starts. Mr Bear can't seem to fall asleep and we follow him about as he tries to find somewhere to get comfy and fall asleep. The book is simple and flows easily. Just like all her other works, Jill Murphy does her own illustrations and these are as detailed as ever. We often talk about what is going on in the pictures while we go through the story. In the story Mr Bear hears all the noises such as the leaky tap and the cuckoo clock. These are great for teaching new noises and quite often Eilidh will start making the noises before I have even finished turning the pages. The story is available in Board book and paperback with a RRP of £3.99 for the board book and £4.99 for paperback. It is ideal for any age of child as you will be able to adapt the story to suit the child. Eilidh happily listened to this story from about 15 months and Murray quite often likes to hear the story, but just recently I observed him looking through the book and pointing to certain things and making the noises of the articles. It goes to show just how much a little one can gain from a book. The story is one of these ones which I never tire off. It does start off which one line sentences and gets longer as the book goes on. It's a story which I
                                  can relate to when we all go to bed and maybe I can't get to sleep and no matter what there is always something which is making you stay awake. Some of the story is quite repetitive where Mr Bear says "OH NO, I can't stand this!" I always find that children will start to join in whenever they know you are getting to this part. Children like repetitiveness, so they love to repeat things like this. As it is such a short simple story, I often find that children are able to read the story for you. This make a child feel grown up and quite often I would observe in the story corner, one child playing Teacher while the others sat round. The "teacher" often knew the story off by heart and could tell the story to the other children. This became quite a good book for Role Play. Quite often we read this at bedtime. Murray and Eilidh pretend to lie down and follow through the story, so it would be ideal for acting out the story. This is an ideal present for a child and will be much appreciated, that is if they don't already have it.

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