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InsaneStar

InsaneStar
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Member since: 10.04.2009

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    • More +
      25.03.2015 19:27
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • Adjustable.
      • "Easy to install."
      • "Doesn't damage door frame."
      • "Well made."
      • "Cats can play on their own."

      Disadvantages

      • "May not entertain your cat for long."

      Great for cats to play on their own, it will keep them amused briefly.

      I read a review on the website Zooplus (where I bought this from), that said their cat really enjoyed playing with this toy and I thought I’d give it a try for my cat.

      It’s basically a small bird-shaped plush toy (it’s no bigger than my hand) on the end of a long piece of elastic, with a device at the top which allows you to hook it onto door frames without the need for drilling holes or fixing it up. The device at the top is made from wire with rubber stops at the ends. It looks a bit like a deformed coat-hanger!

      I had doubts that it would stay up when my cat grabbed it but I was surprised that it didn’t fall down, and upon removing (it takes seconds to put up and take down) it hadn’t left any marks either which I was pleased about.

      The elastic is adjustable so if your cat likes to jump you can make it more difficult to catch by shortening it. It’s advised to have it just dangling off the floor as a limp toy just sat on the floor won’t get your cats interest.

      When I first put it up my cat loved it, she played with it lots but soon bored of it (within a few days). Now she’ll play with it but I have to initiate the play by making the toy bounce up and down on the elastic. Or I have to put it away for a while, and then surprise her with it.

      So, as with most cat toys, this will either be a hit or a miss with your cat. I would guess that if they like those fishing rod type toys then they’ll probably like this, and it’s a good toy that they can play with on their own so you can use it to entertain them while you’re not at home.

      Overall it’s well-made and has lasted well. Even though it’s not my cat’s favourite toy I don’t think it was a wasted purchase as she briefly enjoyed it.

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    • Giant Microbes Chlamydia / Soft Toy / 6 Readings / 5 Ratings
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      25.03.2015 18:58
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • Cute
      • "Part of the Giant Microbes collection"
      • Educational
      • " cheeky gift idea"
      • Fun

      Disadvantages

      • "Not everyone's sense of humour"
      • " depending on where you buy it."
      • "Can be expensive"

      Give the gift of Chlamydia! Fun and educational plush toy.

      Have you ever wanted Chlamydia? Well now you can own it but without all the nastiness that usually comes along with it!

      This cute plush toy is green and about 12cm (6 inches) across and represents the organism responsible for Chlamydia but magnified several million times (and given eyes to add to it’s cute-factor!).

      There are so many different Giant Microbes to collect now – from the common cold to Anthrax! I started my own collection a few years ago because I think they look sweet but they’re also fascinating. Each one comes with a little card that explains a bit about the microbe, and they even sell smaller ones that you can use as Christmas ornaments!

      I bought my Chlamydia in a shop called Cyber Dog (in Camden, London) and you can buy the different microbes in various novelty gift shops, or from lots of different websites online. It’s worth shopping around as prices can vary between £5 and £10 for the same toy.

      The funniest thing about my purchase was when I left the shop: my friend (who was waiting outside having a cigarette) asked what I’d bought and I excitedly yelled “I’ve got Chlamydia!”. Heads were turned. Note to self: engage brain before speaking so loudly next time!

      Chlamydia (the toy) can make a good teaching resource/educational tool, or just sit looking cute on your shelf at home.

      You could give Chlamydia (the toy) to a child although it’s not big enough for a decent cuddle and it wouldn’t be suitable for very young children due to the eyes. And it may start some awkward conversations!

      Chlamydia (the toy, I have to keep saying that so I’m not misunderstood *wink*) makes a great novelty gift for anyone – secret Santa’s, stocking fillers or a cheeky gift for a co-worker (just ensure they have the right sense of humour!)

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      25.03.2015 18:17
      Very helpful
      (Rating)
      1 Comment

      Advantages

      • "It really works!"
      • "Great taste (according to my cat)"
      • "No need for brushing"
      • "Easy to use"

      Disadvantages

      • "Can sometimes be difficult to squeeze tube"
      • "Tube can get sticky"

      The easiest way to clean a pet's teeth, and it really works!

      We all know how important it is to keep our pet’s teeth clean but it’s not easy, especially if you haven’t trained them to accept regular teeth brushing from a young age. Dogs can sometimes be bribed to put up with teeth cleaning with treats and toys but cats are much harder, and are too wriggly to hold for long!

      This toothpaste, or ‘Oral Hygiene Gel’, from Logic solves that problem as it claims to contain ingredients that will break down existing plaque and clean your pet’s teeth without brushing! You just put a small amount on your finger, or your pets paw, and let them lick it off.

      I was sceptical about this but, as I didn’t have any other options, I gave it a go. After using it for twice a week for a year, my cat had a check up at the vets who said her teeth looked great for her age and told me to keep doing whatever I was doing to keep them clean!

      My cat is one of those very fussy cats who would rather starve than eat something she doesn’t like so I thought I’d end up just putting this gel on her paws so she was forced to clean it off but she loves the stuff! I don’t know what flavour it is (possible some sort of meaty flavour?) but she’ll happily lick it from my fingers and come back for more!

      However, if your pet will actually tolerate brushing then the packet does come with a small finger brush. Or you can use the applicator nozzle to get it directly into their mouth.

      The tube can be a bit difficult to squeeze and, no matter what I do, the outside of the tube always ends up sticky. My guess is that it leaks a little bit when stored, maybe I’m not screwing the cap on properly?

      Overall, a highly recommended product. If you want a pet with fresh breath, or as fresh as it gets for a dog or a cat, then you should definitely buy this.

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      • More +
        25.03.2015 17:51
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • Cute
        • "Not rude or offensive"
        • "Well drawn cartoons"
        • "Very funny"

        Disadvantages

        • None!

        T-Rex keeps trying to fit in, and keeps us in fits of giggles!

        If you’ve ever seen the popular ‘Bunny Suicides’ books then ‘T-Rex Trying’ is a similar type of book: same hardback size and shape, same cartoon-per-page format but with less morbid humour.

        For those who’ve no idea what the ‘Bunny Suicides’ are then let me describe this book in more detail: it’s a small hardback book, about the size of half an A4 sheet of paper and each page has a large cartoon of the unfortunate T-Rex on it. Each cartoon is an individual story contained in one single picture of T-Rex trying to do something but failing, mostly due to his tiny little arms, and with humorous results!

        It’s a book you can dip into at any page as there’s no story to follow, although some of the cartoons do have connections with others which are a nice touch.

        The pictures seem simple but are really well drawn; I would never have said that T-Rex’s had such expressive faces until seeing this book!

        After seeing just two examples of ‘T-Rex Trying’ online, I went and bought this book and wasn’t disappointed – every page evokes a giggle from me. Just think of all those every day tasks you do, then try to imagine a HUGE dinosaur with pathetic little arms trying to copy! But you don’t need to feel too sorry for him, after all he is a ferocious beast with huge teeth…

        This is one of those books that you could easily buy for anyone with a sense of humour – it’s not offensive or rude, and the person doesn’t have to have a special interest in dinosaurs to enjoy it. Even children will find it funny (although I found I had to explain a couple of the pictures to them as they didn’t instantly ‘get it’).

        Overall, a brilliantly funny little book. Highly recommended.

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      • Cyber Clean / PC Accessory / 2 Readings / 2 Ratings
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        25.03.2015 17:12
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Gets rid of sticky situations"
        • "Reaches places other cleaners can't"
        • "Picks up crumbs and dust easily"
        • "Fun to use"
        • "Easy to use"
        • "Claims to kill germs"

        Disadvantages

        • "Can't deal with liquids"
        • "Smells a bit chemically"

        It's not 'silly' putty, it's USEFUL putty - Snack at your desk & stop worrying!

        I spend a lot of time in front of my computer, and this includes during ‘breaks’ which means crumbs from my snacks often fall into the keyboard D’OH!

        Before I discovered Cyber Clean, I’d have to take my keyboard apart every few months for a regular ‘de-crumbing’ session as there was no other way of getting them out. Now, I still have to ‘de-crumb’ but not as often as the Cyber Clean gets in between the keys and grabs the worst of the escaped food.

        I’ve also had a few liquid spillages on my keyboard (when will I learn to just take a break away from the screen?!) which the Cyber Clean can’t really deal with, however it’s marvellous for getting rid of any stickiness that’s left over from my “Argh, grab some tissues!” cleaning job!

        Cyber Clean is basically like that silly putty stuff you played with as a kid, except it doesn’t smell as nice. Cyber Clean has a chemical smell to it, a bit like a cleaning spray so at least that gives me confidence that the “Proven to kill 99.999% germs” claim is probably true.

        It works by squishing in between the keys of your keyboard, where it grabs any dust, crumbs or loose particles and pulls devours them. Like the Blob but less deadly (unless you’re a germ)!

        It lasts a long time, if kept right, and the tub has a handy indicator on the side to tell you that when it matches the grubby picture then you need to buy some more.

        It’s not 100% effective as it does leave some crumbs behind (those stubborn ones that get right under the keys) but it does what I need it to and it’s fun to play with! Every office needs one of these next to each computer, it’s essential!

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      • More +
        25.03.2015 16:39
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Possibly motivational"
        • "Very simple story"

        Disadvantages

        • Unbelievable
        • "Overly religious and 'motivational'"
        • "No depth to story or characters"
        • Predictable

        It's a 'Marmite' book - you'll either love it or hate it.

        I'd been meaning to read this book for a long time as so many people have recommended it and said it's a "life changer". It took me around 2 hours to read from beginning to end, and I'm glad that I didn't waste longer on it!

        The overview said it's "dazzling in its simplicity"... it's certainly a simple story and written in a very simple way too. However I wonder if the style of writing is due to it not translating very well from Portuguese to English?

        Wikipedia says Coelho wrote this book in just two weeks, that could explain it's lack of any depth.

        I was irritated by the fact that the main character, Santiago, is referred to as 'the boy' throughout the whole book; his name is only mentioned at the very beginning. In fact, not many characters are mentioned by name but by 'the x' or 'the y' instead. I found this off-putting, not because I got confused, but because it just didn't make me connect to any of them. And I had a hard time picturing any of them in my head due to a lack of physical descriptions.

        The story is very predictable; you just know that 'the boy' will find his treasure at the end. Although the slight twist at the end made it just a little less predictable (but it did annoy me as it made the whole story seem pointless!)

        In my opinion, this book just seemed like a collection of statements about life, affirmations and positive/motivational quotes. And it was all too wrapped up in religion (although, to be fair, it didn't feel like it was preaching any particular religion).

        The whole theory of everyone having a 'Personal Legend' felt like it could've come from people who peddle such rubbish as 'The Secret'. I'm not against people chasing their dreams but this book tries to make it seem like it's a really simple task and glosses over the fact that the protagonist faces death several times on his journey because, of course to die tomorrow was no worse than dying on any other day. He has no responsibilities, no one that cares for him or to care for (until he meets Fatima) so his death would be inconsequential. And even when he does meet the love of his life, Fatima, she just easily accepts that his might die when he goes out to the desert.

        I won't even get started on the love-at-first-sight business with him and Fatima, I actually rolled my eyes when reading that bit.

        To sum up, if you're into all that motivational quote type stuff then you'll love this book. If, like me, you like your stories to be exciting and have more than one dimension, and you don't easily fall for woo, then you'll hate it.

        Out of five stars, I give it just one, because it won't let me give it any less!

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      • If I Stay - Gayle Forman / Junior Book / 2 Readings / 2 Ratings
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        25.03.2015 16:33
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "'Feel good' factor"
        • "Easy to follow the story"
        • "Well written"

        Disadvantages

        • "Overly emotional"
        • Cliché
        • 'Soppy'
        • Predictable

        A rollercoaster of emotions, but much too predictable.

        The book cover of my copy says this book will appeal to fans of Twilight... but I'm not a Twilight fan so I didn't really want to read it but as it was a book club choice I gave it a go.

        'If I Stay' is definitely not my usual kind of book but I will say it's well-written, easy to follow (despite the jumps forward and back in the plot) and has intelligence. On the down side, it's predictable, soppy (others might say 'heartwarming' instead!) and seems a bit clichéd.

        The story follows Mia, a seventeen-year-old girl who has been in a major car crash and is having an out-of-body experience, as she thinks back over the past year or so of her life. She has a perfect life and it's filled with all the usual things for a girl her age: friends, hobbies, great family, lots of potential for the future and a lovely boyfriend. The more I read about her wonderful life, the more I knew what the ending would be. I even took a guess at what her boyfriend was bringing to the hospital, and was more or less right!
        The title 'If I Stay' refers to her decision - does she go back to her body or does she choose death? I don't want to totally spoil the ending but there's no real suspense over that decision, as I said, it's predictable.

        Just as a warning to people: The beginning of the book gives some gory details of the car crash and the injuries. This bit didn't bother me but as I have a strong disliking of hospitals and medical stuff all the graphic descriptions of her operations after the crash nearly made me put the book down.

        Despite all the negative things I've said about the book, it was a good story and kept me interested enough to read through to the end. I will admit my eyes welled up the end; not because of the outcome but because it made me feel a bit depressed. All the things Mia has in her life are lacking in mine so I just felt a bit sorry for myself.

        If you want a feel-good book that could be a bit of a rollercoaster in emotions for some people, then this is for you. Because it's still a good book, even though it's not my sort of thing, I'll give it three stars.

        I can definitely seen why Twilight teens would like it!

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      • The Giver - Lois Lowry / Junior Book / 2 Readings / 2 Ratings
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        25.03.2015 16:28
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Makes you think"
        • "Believable "
        • "Intriguing plot"
        • "Great characters"
        • "Easy to read"

        Disadvantages

        • "Some topics that are difficult to think about"
        • "Left me wanting more details"

        You will question your own thoughts, and be left with questions.

        SOME MINOR SPOILERS!

        Upon reading the description of this book (a society that seems utopian but turns out to be distopian in reality), I wondered why I'd not heard of it before! It's my sort of thing. And I'm glad I've finally heard of it, and read it.

        I found it to be an intelligent and easy-to-read book, although many of the issues that it brings up aren't so easy to think about.

        I'm not sure if it was just the copy of the book I happened to be reading (a PDF download) or if it was actually written that way, but I found the extra hyphenating of words that aren't usually hyphenated a bit irritating and couldn't work out how it actually added to the story.

        I thought the main character, Jonas, was well-rounded and very believable. And, even though there's no major physical descriptions of many of the characters, I found I could easily imagine them in my head.

        I was pleasantly surprised that Jonas' gift of "seeing beyond" was actually the ability to see the colour red; I hadn't expected that but it made total sense once it was explained.
        After reading, I found myself debating on whether humanity would truly be better off with the 'Sameness' - there's no pain or hurt, but there's also no real happiness or love. There are times when I would truly welcome blocking all emotions, but then the rest of my life would be pointless. I was reminded of one of my favourite films 'Equilibrium', where all human emotions have been suppressed with medication. This specific quote sums up things quite well:

        John Preston: What's the point of your existence?
        Mary: To feel. 'Cause you've never done it, you can never know it. But it's as vital as breath. And without it, without love, without anger, without sorrow, breath is just a clock... ticking.

        Without spoiling the ending too much, I was left wanting to know more. I had so many questions about the Community that Jonas had come from and where he was heading to. Which is annoying but it's the sure sign of a good book - I was engaged with the whole story and characters that I couldn't just leave it on the page.

        To conclude, this is a great, well-thought out book that will make you question your own thoughts about memories and society, and I think it's a really good way to introduce older children to the idea of utopian/distopian societies.

        I give it four stars out of five (it loses one star for not giving me more explanations!)

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      • More +
        21.06.2013 23:16
        Very helpful
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        I think I'll stick to my usual waxing system, Veet is easy to apply but not easy to get off!

        I'm a BzzAgent, which means I get sent products for free, as long as I test them out, talk about them and give my honest opinion about them.

        So you can probably guess I was sent the Veet Easy Wax Roll-On Kit to try out.

        I'm not a waxing newbie so I didn't think I'd have any issues with this kit... I was wrong!

        On my first attempt: the instructions says it takes 20 minutes to heat up to be ready for use. I waited 20 minutes but it didn't roll out onto my leg. I gave it another 5 minutes, still no luck. After waiting another 5 minutes it was just about working but I wasn't prepared to wait any longer and by then I was in too much of a rush to bother!

        On my second attempt: I was more patient, I waited around 35 minutes for the wax to heat up and roll out smoothly, then I was off! The applicator made it really easy to apply to my legs, even over my knobbly knees! And, although a bit painful (which is to be expected), I managed to rip those hairs out of my legs with no bother. However, the starter kit only comes with 12 waxing strips which wasn't quite enough for me, especially when it came to cleaning off the residue. You have to use a strip to get rid of it as the after care wipes don't remove it, and it will not wash off.

        I was taken back to my first ever waxing experience when I was 17: I'd never done it before and I'd gotten wax stuck to my legs and was unable to remove it so I resorted to using a disposable razor to 'shave' the wax off. This time, I had no clean Veet Strips left to use and no amount of scrubbing would get it off so out came a disposable razor but even that struggled to get the residue off. My poor legs ended up red from scrubbing, not from the waxing!

        Compared to my usual waxing system (Moom Wax), this just seemed a lot of bother and too time consuming.

        However, if you do decide to buy Veet, it costs around £30 for the kit (when sold at full price), about £10 for wax refills, and about £3 for packs of replacement strips. I think this is fairly reasonable priced when I compare it to Moom (which is slightly cheaper but isn't electrical and doesn't come with an applicator like Veet).

        It contains beeswax so it's not suitable for vegans. The company claims not to test on animals "unless required by law" Hmmm...

        Now I've used all my strips up, I'm not sure I'll bother buying a pack of replacements because this experience has put me off. If I do buy some, I guess now I'm a bit 'wiser' I will make sure I keep a strip aside to clean up residue at the end of the waxing session.

        As for the results: it does what it says on the tin! It removes hair and keeps your legs (or wherever!) smooth for a couple of weeks :)

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      • More +
        12.05.2013 15:57
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        If you've not got overly sensitive skin but are prone to dryness, this might work for you.

        As a BzzAgent, I was given a bottle of the new E45 Nourish & Restore Body Lotion to try out then give my honest opinion of... which I'm doing here!

        I've never used any E45 products before, mainly because they're not vegan (they contain lanolin, from sheep) and because the company's animal testing policy is a bit wishy-washy (they say they won't test on animals unless they have to - make of that what you will!).

        As I was given the bottle, I checked Superdrug.com to find out the price, and at the moment (May 2013) it's £2.66 for a 250ml bottle and says it normally costs £3.99 which I think is fairly good value for the size.

        Appearance: it comes it a sturdy plastic bottle with a flip-top lid and the brand name is clearly visible. The cream itself is pure white and opaque, it also looks the right consistency.

        Texture: rubbing it between my fingers, it feels soft and luxurious but with a slight greasy feel too.

        Scent: this lotion, unlike the original E45, is 'lightly fragrance' which means it doesn't quite have that medical/clinical smell that E45 normally has. It smells a bit floral but there's still that trademark E45 smell underlying it. However I think it smells nice enough not to worry.

        Using: I applied liberally as the bottle suggests and found it soaked in fairly well, it left me a bit shiny but didn't take ages to soak into my skin. My skin certainly felt soft and refreshed after using but within a few hours my sensitive skin areas (the tops of my arms and my knees) started to feel a bit itchy. I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt, and continued to use it for a whole week. Unfortunately the itching continued after each use, maybe the fragrance that has been added is the cause?

        Conclusion: It definitely nourishes the skin but I wouldn't say it 'restores' it because of the slight irritation I felt. I think I'll use it occasionally, like a dry skin First Aid treatment, but it's not something I will be using regularly.

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        • More +
          14.04.2011 16:09
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          York Alternative B&B is a really chilled and relaxed place to stay for the ethical traveller.

          When I decided I wanted to stay in a bed and breakfast in York the first thing I did was a Google search for "York vegan B&B" because it was important to me that they'd be able to cater for my diet (there's no point paying for bed and BREAKFAST if you can't have the brekkie!).

          The place that showed up regularly in the results was this one, York Alternative B&B, their website is:
          http://www.yorkalternativebandb.co.uk/

          After doing a bit more Googling I decided this place would be worth a try so I sent an e-mail asking if they had a room available on the nights I needed and in less than 24 hours they gave me a phone call to confirm they had. I didn't book straight away as I wanted to organise my coach/train ticket first to be sure I could actually get there for a reasonable price but they were happy to reserve the room for me for a few days.

          The actual booking was really straight forward; I just phoned back then sent a deposit for £32 (the cost of one night's stay) and let them know when I'd be arriving. They sounded really friendly on the phone and checked that I knew how to get to them and that I wanted vegan breakfasts.

          Using the directions and map links from their website I was able to find the place easily, taking just ten minutes to walk from the train station. However, as you can see from the photo, York Alternative Bed and Breakfast is a house that's been converted into a B&B and it's not obvious that it's a B&B as there's no sign outside and it was hard to see the house number due to the garden being a bit overgrown. I don't mind 'natural' gardens but I would've expected a house number on their gate so travellers can clearly see they're in the right place.

          On arrival Di Hennell, the person who runs the B&B with help from her husband, gave me a warm greeting, an information pack, a quick tour of the place and asked if there was any specific information about the city I wanted or if I needed anything.

          I was staying in the 'lizard room' (I've called it this because it was decorated with lots of lizard models, pictures etc.) which contains the two single beds. I felt there was plenty of space for two people to share this room although I was travelling alone. It had a real 'home' feeling to it (as does the rest of the B&B) with knickknacks on shelves, books to read, a TV, spare blankets, bedside lamps etc.

          There was tea/coffee making facilities and soya milk was provided for me although I made more use of the filtered water as I'm not really a hot-drinks-person! As the water was just stored at room temperature it wasn't cold which didn't bother me but I know many people prefer water to be colder. There was also Original Source bathroom products (shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner) for me to use during my stay which is fantastic as they're vegan, cruelty-free and smell great!

          Each visitor is given a laminated card on which to mark their choices for breakfast and asked to leave it outside their room by 10pm the day before. I really liked the sound of the cinnamon toast so I chose that for my first morning.

          I was given a key to the house so that I could come and go as I pleased during the day but I wasn't given a key to my room which did make me a bit concerned about leaving my belongings there. However as the B&B only has two guest rooms and is quite small I thought that it would be too risky for other guests to steal my stuff so I put my trust in Di and her hubby, and I wasn't disappointed - my things were safe all day.

          Overnight my bedroom wasn't too hot or too cold but I could've opened a window or popped an extra blanket on the bed if I'd needed to. The bed was comfortable and I had a wonderful night's sleep.

          I stayed for two nights so enjoyed two breakfasts as well! I enjoyed the cinnamon toast so much on the first morning that I chose it for the second one too! Di used a homemade seeded loaf to make it and it tasted lovely (I'm now trying to recreate it to have at home!). There were also different cereals to choose from as well as toast and fruit. It was all very tasty and great not to have to worry about checking ingredients labels or asking lots of questions about what was vegan as Di had sorted it all for me.

          I met Hoover the cat on my second morning (there's a whole page on their website dedicated to him!). He was really friendly but Di warned me that he can act all friendly one second and then suddenly nip. He must've liked me because I left with nip-free hands! Considering a cat is in residence, there were no noticeable cat hairs or the typical 'catty' smell you sometimes get.

          The bathroom had a bath with an electric shower attached, toilet and sink, and is shared by everyone staying in the house. It was clean and airy with plenty of space for dressing and has a towel-drying rack too. I'm normally one of these people that has to ask others how to use a shower when staying with friends or family but I managed to figure out the B&B's shower easily so it must've been simple to use!

          On my departure I settled my bill and handed back my door key. Di said I could use my room for a bit longer if I wanted to leave my bags there while I went for a walk before my bus was due but I declined as it was just easier to take them with me.

          Overall, York Alternative B&B is a really chilled and relaxed place to stay for the ethical traveller (all the products they use are environmentally friendly, locally produced or homemade when possible, not tested on animals, fair trade and organic!) and it feels just like staying at a relatives house as there are photos, pictures, knickknacks, plants etc. all over the place. Some would say it was cluttered but I really liked it as I love looking around at what people have on display in their homes (my house is just as 'cluttered'!).

          When I go back to York I definitely intend to stay here again and am going to recommend it to any of my friends/family who will be visiting York, five stars! It's an 'alternative' to all the other B&B's out there and that's definitely a good thing :)

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          • More +
            27.09.2010 21:40
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            If you've tried everything else then this is definitely worth a go to help you drift off.

            I've suffered from insomnia all my life so I'm always willing to try something different to help me get to sleep. I already have a mood light and often listen to music to try and drift off but I thought this product was interesting as it combined the two.

            I spotted it on PrezzyBox.com for £14.95 when I was browsing their online catalogue (I had a voucher to spend there) so I thought I'd give it a go.

            It's really easy to use, just pick the setting you want on the base then press the top of the pyramid to activate. The only annoying thing about the buttons being on the bottom is they're not easy to get to if you want to adjust the settings once you've turned the main bedroom light off.

            There are five different sound settings:
            - Chirping birds
            - Croaking frogs
            - The sea (with the occasional seagull!)
            - A babbling brook
            - Nature sounds (a combination of the birds and the water sound).

            Each of the sound options are on a loop which I thought I'd find irritating but the constant repeating sounds is actually quite comforting. I find that the individual bird sounds bug me but I'm a fan of the ocean sounds, I guess everyone likes something different.

            There are three main settings: On, off and 30 minute timer. It's a shame that the timer on it is only for half an hour, I would've liked an hour but it's handy that it does actually have a timer on it. I also really like that you can choose between light and sound together or just light or just sound, it means I can pick the settings that suit me best.

            You need three AA batteries for this product but they seem to last well because of the handy timer. It's not too big so it comfortably sits on a bedside table without taking up too much space.

            The big question is: does it actually help me get to sleep? The answer is a big YES! I wouldn't say it's a miracle cure for insomnia but it certainly helps me get to sleep a bit quicker than I normally would. I'd recommend this product for people of all ages that find drifting off to sleep difficult.

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              16.09.2010 16:20
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              A very well written book with excellent characters, it kept me gripped to the end!

              I was sent 'The Left Hand Of God' by Paul Hoffman free of charge from the publisher (Penguin Books) because they wanted me to read and review it for them. It's taken a while but I've finally got around to it!

              However if you want to buy it the RRP for the large paperback is £12.99 or you can buy it for as little as £4.60 from Amazon.co.uk (ISBN 978-0141042374) although the cover is slightly different to the one pictured here on Dooyoo.

              The book focuses around a character called Thomas Cale; he arrived at The Sanctuary as a young boy and knows no other way of life. The Sanctuary of the Redeemers is a horrible place: it's a like a huge monastery but all of the Redeemers (monks) are violent and cruel towards the boys to force them to believe their doctrine and to prepare them to fight in the war against the Antagonists.

              Cale and two other boys manage to escape but the Redeemers desperately want Cale back and will do anything to get him. They make across the arid Scablands to the corrupt city of Memphis but the Redeemers won't give up without a fight...or even war!

              I really enjoyed this book; I found a dark humour to the story which softened the harshness of the boys' experiences. I found myself liking the central characters and wanting them to succeed. Hoffman gives some insight into their thoughts and feelings but not too much so you still end up feeling intrigued, especially about the mysterious Cale.

              There's mystery, plenty of action and even some romance in this story. I'm not keen on love stories but Hoffman manages write about the relationships without it seeming overly soppy. There are a few parts that are not for the squeamish!

              The plot contains some twists, a few were expected but that didn't spoil my enjoyment. It leaves quite a few unanswered questions and the ending was left in a "to be continued" style which is why it only gets four stars; it really annoys me when authors leave you wanting more. The copy of the book I have says nothing about a sequel but I've done a bit of online research and it turns out this story is going to be a trilogy, the next book is titled 'The Last Four Things' and is out in January 2011. I'll definitely be reading the next one to find out what happens next!

              Here's what the blurb says:
              "'Listen. The Sanctuary of the Redeemers is named after a damned lie for there is no redemption that goes on there and less sanctuary.' The Sanctuary of the Redeemers: vast, desolate, hopeless. Where children endure brutal cruelty and violence in the name of the One True Faith. Lost in the Sanctuary's huge maze of corridors is a boy: his age uncertain, his real name unknown. They call him Cale. He is strange and secretive, witty and charming - and violent. But when he opens the wrong door at the wrong time he witnesses an act so horrible he must flee, or die. The Redeemers will go to any lengths to get Cale back. Not because of the secret he has discovered. But because of a more terrifying secret that lies undiscovered in himself."

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                15.09.2010 17:50
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                If you want to know their history check Wikipedia or listen to this CD for free online!

                I had a voucher for Zavvi.com so I searched their website and discovered a CD called 'Maximum Evanescence' for £5.95. I decided to take a chance and buy it.

                When I ordered this CD I didn't know anything about it; the description on Zavvi didn't say it was a biography (in fact the description didn't say anything!) and the track titles made me think it was a music album (see below for the track listing). It's an unauthorised biography and it's interesting but in my opinion most of the things it discusses won't be new to any true Evanescence fans. It comes with a mini-poster (slightly bigger than A4) which features Amy but I wouldn't say it's the best image of her. It runs for about an hour and after listening to once I probably won't bother listening to it again which makes it a bit of a waste of money. It does contain actual interview clips with the band but it doesn't feature any of their music, all the background music has been written by someone else although it does compliment the presenter well.

                If you're a new Evanescence fan then you might like to listen to this to understand the background of the band but if you're a die-hard fan then I wouldn't bother, you could probably find all the information contained on this CD online if you know how to use a search engine!

                Track listing:
                1. Intro/Staring At The Sun
                2. The Immortal Friendship
                3. Away From The Light
                4. Connections
                5. Bearing Fruit
                6. The Band Without Fear
                7. Spreading The Darkness
                8. The Christian Controversy
                9. Masters Of The Stage
                10. The Faerie Queene
                11. The Dark Rebel
                12. Fortune Favours The Brave

                ISBN: 1842402382
                Published by Chrome Dreams www.chromedreams.co.uk

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                16.08.2010 17:36
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                I don't think any good book collection is complete without these original tales.

                I got given this book as a birthday gift and at first glances I wasn't that impressed but after having a flick through I realised it wasn't quite the traditional girly fairy tales that I had expected!

                You can buy this paperback book from Amazon.co.uk for £6.49 (RRP £9.99). The ISBN is 978-0099511441.

                I'm only halfway through this book but I feel I've read enough to review it anyway. The reason I'm struggling with this book is that it contains 279 short stories, some of which are quite similar; I feel this book is more for dipping into than reading the whole lot in one go. It gets boring if you just sit and read one tale after another so instead I've decided to read one story per day. It definitely makes great bedtime reading, it almost takes me back to my childhood of having a story before I went to sleep.

                Even though I've said it can be boring it's not actually a boring book, it's just too much to read the whole lot in one go. The book starts with an introduction by Jack Zipes who translated all of these folk tales. It's quite long but worth a quick skim read at least because it's interesting to learn about the history of the Brother's Grimm and how they collected these stories.

                There are several pages of contents but this makes it very easy to find the exact story you're looking for and, just in case this doesn't help, there's also an index.

                The tales are split into eight different categories including complete tales, religious tales for children, omitted tales and published tales. You really couldn't find a more comprehensive book of traditional fairytales if you tried!

                I found the tales very entertaining; some of them have obvious morals to them while others aren't so clear in the lessons they're trying to teach. Many of them are quite dark, violent and twisted, certainly not the sugar-coated Disney versions that everyone knows about these days! For example, at the end of Rumpelstiltskin he gets so angry he tears himself in two and in Cinderella her stepsisters chop off parts of their feet to try and fit into the gold slipper. They're gruesome but somehow fascinating too.

                This is definitely a book for adults although a parent/guardian may decide to read their children a few selected tales if they feel they wouldn't get nightmares from them! If you're the sort of person who tends to be a bit morbid or you enjoy traditional tales then I'd definitely recommend this book to you.

                Here's what the blurb says in case you need anymore convincing:
                "Wolves and grandmothers, the seven dwarfs, a goose made of gold... the folk tales collected by the Grimm brothers created an astonishingly influential imaginative world. However, this is also a world where a woman cooks her stepson and an evil queen dances to death in a pair of burning shoes. Violent, funny, disturbing and wise, these stories have intrigued both children and adults for generations.
                The only complete edition available, this collection features the 279 stories in an acclaimed, modern and unexpurgated translation."

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