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Member since: 24.01.2009

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    • More +
      14.04.2009 20:46
      Very helpful



      a little bit more than what you paid for but still room for improvement

      Me and my boyfriend decided to get a cheap city break down to London and we stayed in the Sydney Hotel in Victoria. We had a budget in mind and searched the internet to find the best deal, and we certainly got a fantastic deal by booking in here.


      We paid £150.00 for two nights bed and breakfast, so £75.00 per room per night, which was an absolute bargain, the day rate on the board when we checked in was £190.00 per room per night. We booked via their website, which was easy to use and navigate, and took advantage of their internet only rate. We did have to pay the full amount up front by debit card (you could also use credit cards) and this was non refundable if we cancelled. There was another internet offer of £90.00 per room per night where you had the option to pay a deposit and the rest upon arrival. As we were 99.9% sure we were travelling we opted for the first rate.


      The location was really good, a 10 minute walk from Victoria coach station, train station and underground, and there was a bus stop right outside the hotel with frequent services which took you straight into the city; so there were really good travel connections. The area was clean, there was no trouble, and there were a few restaurants in the next street and then a whole street of restaurants about 3 - 5 minute walk away. There were also a couple of papershops/newsagents which were open late and also sold travel tickets. So it was quiet but had everything we needed close by and the city was easily accessible.


      The room was beautiful, with budget hotels we have often found that what the present on the internet you don't usually get when you arrive, but this room was clean and modern, the bathroom had a glass bowl sink and corner shower unit, very clean and recently refurbished. The room was decorated neutral, the bed was huge and comfortable and there was a ceiling fan. It was small but had all the amenities, hairdryer, tea and coffee facilities, wireless connection, flat screen TV mounted on the wall, there was no iron though and the iron the hotel did offer was very disappointing. The ironing board was mounted to the wall on the first floor, and the iron was a tiny travel iron.


      The staff were very friendly, they had a left luggage policy so we were able to enjoy our last day in the city without having to worry about our bags. No complaints, very professional and friendly.


      This is the one this that really put a dampener on the experience, the breakfast left a lot to be desired (or perhaps our expectations are too high?) It was marketed as a full English buffet breakfast with continental option. The continental option was cornflakes, milk, orange juice and toast which I guess is just below average and not totally unacceptable. The buffet breakfast however left a lot to be desired to say the least. The sausages tasted and looked like they had been fried and put out and refried for a few days in a row, the fried eggs were hard and greasy and the bacon was strangely undercooked, I didn't try the beans or the scrambled egg. Needless to say we bought something in to have in our room for the next morning.

      Other than the breakfast, which really let the place down, it was a fantastic little budget hotel and I would certainly stay there again and recommend it, but I'd take my own breakfast or find a local cafe. Other than that Fab!


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      • Slimming World / Other Service / 38 Readings / 35 Ratings
        More +
        12.03.2009 12:26
        Very helpful



        Great slimming club, very friendly, it works

        Slimming world is a very successful slimming club with classes all over the country on most days of the week. It was my first diet club at the tender age of 17, I really enjoyed being a member and lost over 3 stone in weight.

        *Food plan*

        The basic plan 'food optimising' is split into original days (red days) and green days. On each of which you have free foods, healthy extras and syns. The food in each category depends on which day you are following, red days primarily have protein foods as free as well as fruit, most vegetables, low fat dairy, eggs and things like Quorn, the healthy extras are the carbohydrate foods such as rice, potatoes, pasta, on green days it's mostly the carbohydrate foods that are free along with the other things listed above and it's the meat/protein which are the healthy extras, as well as things like cereals, olive oil, dried fruit. The idea of the plan is that you pick whether you want to follow a red or a green day for that day and that's what you stick to, filling up on free foods and ensuring that you have your healthy extras and between 5 and 15 syns per day. It's really easy to stick to because there is never any need to feel hungry and you can always have a little bit of what you fancy using your syns, so there isn't a feeling of depravation.

        Here is a sample food plan taken from the slimming world website: (http://www.slimmingworld.com)

        Green day:
        Fruity filler:
        Munch on a big bowl of fresh strawberries, pineapple and black grapes mixed with unlimited strawberry Müllerlight yogurt and topped with 28g of crumbled Nestlé Honey Nut Shredded Wheat.

        Roasted vegetable and mozzarella couscous:
        In a big bowl, mix together loads of courgettes, red onion, mixed peppers, garlic and carrots that have been chopped, sprayed with Fry Light and roasted at 200°C/Gas 6 for 25 minutes. Mix in lashings of tinned sweetcorn, red kidney beans and cooked couscous, plus 42g chopped Mozzarella cheese.

        Steak and spicy sweet potato wedges:
        A real weekend treat! Dish up a piece of steak with lots of spicy sweet potato wedges Serve with peas, grilled tomatoes and grilled flat mushrooms

        Red day:
        Bacon and sausage frittata:
        Grill some Surprisingly Succulent Quorn sausages or 2 Bowyers Less Than 5% Fat pork sausages (2 Syns) and lean bacon, then chop them into chunky pieces and set aside. Next, quickly fry some red onion in a non-stick pan sprayed with Fry Light, add some halved cherry tomatoes, the chopped sausage and bacon, and cover in well-seasoned beaten egg. Turn the heat right down and place a baking tray over the frying pan. When the top's firm, sprinkle with 28g Cheddar cheese and tuck in! Finish with a bowl of refreshing orange segments.

        Soup 'n salad:
        Start with a bed of crisp iceberg lettuce leaves topped with piles of prawns coated in Marie Rose dressing, made from low-fat fromage frais mixed with a drop or two of Tabasco sauce and a level tablespoon of ketchup (1 Syn). Then enjoy a 320g serving Baxters Healthy Choice Soup Minestrone with Wholemeal Pasta.

        Chicken Tikka Masala:
        Creamy chicken tikka masala. Serve with basmati rice and garlicky sautéed spinach (spinach wilted in hot water, then fried in a non-stick pan with a clove of crushed garlic and a sprinkle of nutmeg).

        In between meals if you are hungry you can snack on fruit or any of the free foods listed for that day. I honestly didn't believe that this plan could work so well by eating so much, but it does.

        Slimming World have also introduced a new plan called 'Extra Easy' but I personally haven't ever followed that plan.


        Not everyone stays to class, the cost is the same whether you stay or not. Many members just come to be weighed, but I found that staying to the class really helped to motivate me. I went through a phase of not staying to class and found myself maintaining for a few weeks. The first half hour of the class is for weighing in and the consultant will also give her new member talk to anyone who is there for the first time, to give out the plans and to explain how they work.

        The consultant will start off the class with awards, which are given to people who have reached a landmark loss, half a stone, 1 stone, and so on in half stone increments. She'll also announce the slimmer of the week, which is the person who has lost the most weight that week, everyone who stays to class brings a piece of fruit and this is given to the slimmer of the week. There are certain rules that if it is your first week or you gained last week you don't qualify to be slimmer of the week. It's a great way of keeping each other motivated and celebrating achievements. There is also a raffle which is supplied by the consultant, tickets are sold for 10p each, the prizes are usually free foods and the class will offer suggestions of how to use them, which is really good for keeping inspiration and sharing of ideas.

        The consultant will never disclose your weight to the group, only the amount you have lost in total, if you've had a gain she will say you've had a small gain but never disclose how much. Everyone always claps to keep the encouragement going. Each member is given the chance to talk about their week and the up and coming week, whether there are any possible challenges such as eating out or food related events, also whether you have tried anything different. This really helps everyone to feel part of the group and to contribute.

        Other things that happen at class is recipe swapping, general support and frequently there will be a week where everyone cooks and brings something for the class to try. There is also the chance to buy the Slimming World books, magazines and Slimming World branded foods (these foods are not essential to following the plan and in fact I didn't eat any of them)

        *Online/postal membership*

        There is also an opportunity to follow Slimming World via post and online, I've personally never tried these plans but details can be found on the slimming world website.


        The joining fee is £10.00 but there are usually half price or free membership offers, especially around the times of year where people traditionally join slimming clubs, New Year, Easter (to lose weight for summer holidays) and September (post holiday leading up to Christmas).

        There is also a weekly fee to pay every week which is £4.50 (students and senior citizens get a reduced rate of £4.25), children get free membership when they join with a paying adult. There is also the chance to buy what Slimming World call 'Countdowns', where you make a commitment to attending for either 6 or 12 weeks and pay in advance, the financial advantage is that if you get a 6 week 'Countdown' you only pay for 5 weeks and if you get a 12 week one you only pay for 10 weeks.

        The first time I joined after a few months I became one of the volunteers who took the money, and in return I got to go to class for free!

        Also one you get to goal weight you become a life time member and don't have to pay for class anymore as long as you stay within your goal range.


        The consultants are all Slimming World members themselves who have lost weight and decided to become a consultant, they are all self employed. I've always found them to be very friendly, offering their phone numbers and email addresses in case I've needed to make contact during the week for extra support or had any questions. They usually run more than one class a week, so if you're not able to attend your usual class you can attend one of their other classes for that week instead of missing out.


        There is a huge wealth of literature available most of which are really useful recipe books, but also food directories which are really useful as they detail syn values (and free food) on supermarket branded items. I would do the bulk of my food shopping at Asda and found the Asda food directory an invaluable tool when following the slimming world plan. Although these aren't essential they certainly help to keep the plan full of variety, the book in the starter pack does contain all the basics but I think I needed a little more inspiration. They can be bought at the group, on line and there is also an order form in the back of the magazine.

        The Slimming World magazine is also fantastic, it can be bought for a reduced price in class and is full of food ideas, members success stories and fitness ideas. It's like a meeting in between meetings!

        *Final word*
        Slimming World is a way of life rather than a diet, if you follow the plan you do lose the weight but I've got so much more from it than that. I learnt how to introduce healthy eating methods into my cooking, and even though I don't follow the plan today I still use low fat cooking spray and eat recipes I discovered when following Slimming World. I personally found it much easier to follow because I wasn't counting points (as with other slimming clubs) and if I was hungry I could fill up on free food.

        Check out the website to find your nearest class: www.slimmingworld.com


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        • More +
          11.03.2009 22:19
          Very helpful



          We might not all like it but we've got to do it, let's make it as easy as possible

          I'm a (semi) mature student studying Law, so I can only share my experience of doing Law coursework and case studies.

          I think it's part of the human condition to leave things to the last minute but putting off university essays or coursework with the attitude of why do today what you can do tomorrow is one of the least helpful (but most popular) approaches to take. I'm the kind of person who doesn't function well under stress so it always surprises me when I end up in a place of complete stress because I've left it to the week before it's due to start my research! Over my first year I've developed a new approach, and although it doesn't come naturally, it certainly seems to make coursework a lot smoother and stress free.

          Coursework is usually issued two or three months before the deadline, so this process should be started on the day the coursework is issued, and then a little bit every day until it's finished. By putting in an hour every day it prevents those all night sessions fuelled by caffeine because the work is finished and turned in well before the deadline, which leaves a happy and stress free life (well with studying anyway).

          The first thing I do when I get a coursework is to read the question thoroughly. It may sound obvious but it's amazing how many times I've glanced over the question and thought it was about a similar topic or missed identifying all the key issues. I then highlight the key issues or words in the question and make a list of the topics on a separate piece of paper. I then read the question again to ensure I am clear what it is asking me and that I have made myself aware of all the elements.

          Then I read over the topics, from my notes, from recommended text books, from cases, statutes and law journals and taking note of the key points of law, as well as any controversial points and dissenting judgements. I make a note of points of law for both sides of the argument for each of the topics that I had previously listed from the question. I usually photocopy any key sections from textbooks or print out relevant journals that I'll be referring to, I also write the complete reference (of the book, case, journal) on the top of any sheets I've photocopied to ensure that when it comes to referencing my work I have the correct references easily accessible. The research part usually takes the longest, I usually spend about 3 or 4 weeks on this part, but I'll stress again this is just doing an hour or so a day. Once I'm happy that I understand the topic and that I have enough sources of law to support my arguments I sit down to write my answer.

          I'm not one of those people who puts pen to paper first in terms of writing a first draft by hand and then typing it. I type straight on to my laptop and edit as I go. Before I start I read the question again, I personally believe that you can never read the question too many times. I perhaps write my answers in different ways to others, but I always start with my conclusion first and work backwards. In law, if it's a problem question, that usually involves stating who has the strongest case based on the facts and briefly, using the strongest cases, say why. I then write the middle part of my answer, using the notes I made through my research and continually referring to the question. I argue each point from both sides, using relevant law to support each side of the argument. I reference as I go because I personally find that it's easier rather than picking through the coursework at the end. I then write my introduction, in which I usually explain the question and outline the issues to be discussed.

          I save it, both on my hard drive and a flash drive pen, print a copy and put it away in a draw for three or four days. I then go back to it and sit with a coloured pen/highlighter and look for mistakes, I read it aloud to check that my sentence structure makes sense, I check that my case citation is correct, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I edit it. By leaving it alone for a few days I go back with fresh eyes and am able to see where I may have been sloppy. I then edit on the computer and do the same thing. I'm usually happy with it during the second process, occasionally it has taken a third cycle of edit, print, sit in draw. Once I'm happy I hand it in, which is usually a week or two before the deadline. Then I sit back and relax while other people run round like headless chickens to get their work finished.

          I didn't master this technique over night, it has taken time and discipline, and occasionally I revert back to chaos coursework. I think I've just surrendered to the fact that if I just get on and do a little bit every day I don't really notice that it's there, if I don't it consumes my lie and causes me a huge amount of stress that could have been avoided. I actually love coursework, and much prefer it to exams!


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          • More +
            11.03.2009 17:52
            Very helpful



            Something for everyone

            moneysavingexpert.com is a fantastic website offering consumers the chance to 'fight back' against big companies, Martin Lewis (who is a financial journalist) gives people an opportunity to make their money go further and invest soundly by offering fantastic advice; but he does so on basic level so even I can understand it.

            The forums are fantastic and very friendly, there is a board for pretty much any money related situation you can think of. I particularly like the money saving 'old style' board which has taught me how to lower my shopping bills by cooking more from scratch, learning how to use my slow cooker better, how to buy cheaper cuts of meat, using up my leftovers ad learning how to build a store cupboard. It's also shown me how to 'make do and mend' rather than buying something new straight away to replace something that is damaged or broken, as well as giving me tips on cleaning my home without using expensive cleaning products. (Bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and soda crystals being a few of the gems.) I learnt that I didn't need to use the manufacturers recommended amount of washing powder and my clothes come out of the machine the same was as if they had. So many tips have been picked up for money saving around the home on this board, and the other members are so friendly and helpful that I don't feel silly asking questions that to perhaps some of the more longstanding old timers seem obvious.

            Other boards I frequently use is the student money saving board, where there is endless advice about student finance, how to budget and a great thread about the access to learning fund. It's also a place where people ask for support around their work or how to manage their time, all really essential stuff.

            The freebies board is fantastic too, on this board members post details of companies who giving products or samples away for free, and the 'quick grab it while you can' board has frequent posts containing postage only offers or newspaper offers. In the last few weeks I've had a set of free headphones from play.com, and via the Telegraph I've had a free Bodyshop body lotion and a free pashmina scarf from Tie Rack, none of which I would have known about if it wasn't for this site. There is also a discount code forum where up to date discount codes for retail websites are posted, usually between 10% and 20% or sometimes free postage, what is that that Tesco says...every little helps.

            There are lots of other forums, if competitions are your thing there is a forum dedicated to those, there are forums related to benefits, redundancy, switching your credit card or gas supplier, support for those trying to becoming debt free, the best interest rate saving accounts, ISA's and much more. There really is something on this website for everyone.


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            • More +
              10.03.2009 10:30
              Very helpful
              1 Comment



              Good quality product at a very reasonable price

              Lavender pure essential oil has so many uses, and I'm never too far away from a bottle. Pure essential oils can be expensive and Holland and Barrett sell 10ml bottles for £3.99 and 20ml bottles for £6.79, which is very reasonably priced. If you just looking to fragrance your home then I would suggest buying bottled of fragrance oil rather than essential oil, as it would work out a lot cheaper, but if you're looking for the aromatherapy benefits then this product is well worth the money.

              Lavender can be used in many ways, I find it particularly helpful for headaches and sleep - taking advantage of its sedative properties; but it can also be used to treat burns, as an antiseptic and relax muscles.

              There are a few different ways that I use Lavender oil. I sometimes put a few drops on my pillow at night to help promote sleep, it gently helps me to relax and drift off, especially if I'm feeling restless, I find that a few drops in a hot bath can help me to unwind and relax, as can burning a few drops in water over an oil burner, allowing it to slowly defuse in the room.

              A small amount applied directly to the temples and across the forehead can help to sooth my head if I've got a head ache. Something I like to do is make a lavender balm using melted Vaseline and a few drops of lavender oil, it's very effective for headaches and I use it when I'm travelling on long journey too.

              It can also be used for massage when a few drops are mixed with a carrier oil, although this isn't something I've tried myself.

              Lavender is a beautiful oil to start experimenting with if you are interested in aromatherapy; I've since gone on to learn about other oils and their benefits. It's amazing how much of a difference aromatherapy can make to your life, I'd usually get a headache and just pop a pill; it's wonderful to have an alternative.


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              • Lidl / Highstreet Shopping / 24 Readings / 24 Ratings
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                10.03.2009 10:11
                Very helpful
                1 Comment



                Not for the weekly shop

                Lidl is a European supermarket which has seemed to slowly become more popular in the UK. There are no frills to this supermarket, they often have items stacked on pallets and the decor isn't pleasant, but I guess this is to keep their running costs low to keep their prices low. You have to take your own bags or pay 3p per standard carrier bag (or slightly more for bags for life and cooler/freezer bags) and at the checkout you simply put everything back into your trolley and pack your bags on the packing bench, rather than as they come off the conveyor belt. The staff are not overly helpful, but they are polite, and they often only have one or two of the checkouts open so at busy times there can be a long queue; but because there is no packing at the checkouts the queues disappear quite quickly.

                Lidl used to be one of my favourite supermarkets, I started shopping there about 18 months ago because money was a bit tight and at the time it made a huge difference. Although they didn't stock a huge range of branded products their basics were cheap and reasonable quality, and they had a good selection of fruit/vegetables and fresh meat. As well as basics such as milk, eggs, cheese and bread. They also stock a good range of biscuits and cakes and there is a frozen section. I used to be able to do a weekly shop there for £50, but I've found in recent times that their prices have crept up, the fruit and vegetables don't seem to be as fresh as they did and they don't always have a great selection of meat, which is a huge shame.

                I know all the major supermarkets are increasing their prices, but when it becomes more economical to shop at one of the big four rather than Lidl which is marketed as a budget supermarket there must be something wrong. They've only put things up by a 5p - 20p here and there, but it all adds up. For example a tube of tomato puree was 24p 18 months ago and it's now 29p, their frozen pork chops have gone up by 40p, salmon filets by 30p.

                In terms of the fruit and vegetables, in my local store it's not unusual for them to be looking past their best still on the shelves, also I've tried going at different times of the day and often the fruit and vegetable selection is a little sparse.

                I do still shop at Lidl for things like olive oil and a couple of certain products that our household use, but for my weekly shop I go elsewhere because for the less money I can getting better quality food with a more pleasant shopping experience thrown in. I'm sad to have to say that about Lidl but unfortunately it's true.


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                • More +
                  09.03.2009 11:45
                  Very helpful



                  There isn't anything it doesn't clean!

                  Stardrops is amazing. It was suggested to me by my mum, she came across it because she had to find ways to make cut backs and started to research cheaper cleaning methods. Before stardrops I would personally spend a small fortune every month on cleaning products, from kitchen sprays to carpet cleaners, polish, bathroom mousse, shower spray, toilet cleaner, bleach, disinfectant, floor cleaner, window cleaner, you name it I bought it and I thought every one of those items were essential for keeping my home clean until I came across stardrops.

                  I bought my first bottle in Asda for a tiny 70p but even though my mum was raving about it, I have to admit I was a little sceptical at first. A small amount diluted goes a long way, it cleans the bathroom to a brilliant sparkle, and it cuts through grease on my cooker and splash back with no problem at all. I have a bottle diluted that I used for wiping down the work surfaces, and also cleaning my windows, in the bathroom. A little bit used neat down the toilet brings it up brilliant (although I must admit afterwards I always put down a little bleach, I guess old habits die hard). A little bit sprayed on the shower screen and then wiped over also works really well.

                  The only problem I've found with this cleaner is that it can be a bit too soapy to use on the floor, I have tried it a few times using a smaller amount of stardrops each time but the floor seems to dry a bit slippy.

                  When I first bought the bottle home my boyfriend had a wave of nostalgia, apparently his Nan used to use it when he was little and it came in glass bottles. It comes in a plastic bottle these days with a flip pour lid so you have quite a lot of control when pouring. Apparently it's still the same colour as it was all those years ago, a deep yellow colour. The liquid itself is quite thin but you really only need a small amount for it to be effective. I dilute 1 part stardrops to 50 parts water.

                  Startdrops has cut the amount of money I spend on cleaning products by more than half, all I Buy now is stardrops, bleach and disinfectant (for the floors) and that's it. Amazing!


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                  • More +
                    05.03.2009 14:46
                    Very helpful



                    not worth the money or time

                    I follow a very specific eating plan and it's essential that my food is weighed and measured with accuracy. About 2 years ago when I first started this plan I bought these food scales from Wilkinson for £9.99, which at the time I thought was an absolute bargain and for some people this may be true, but they don't meet my needs effectively enough.

                    They look very slick, the sliver coloured base with a glass weighing plate which screws of for easy cleaning. They have 3 buttons, one to turn the scale on and off, one to change the measuring mode from imperial to metric and one to TARE the scale (which means set it to zero once you have added a bowl or plate to the weighing plate, or if you want to weigh one ingredient on top of another). The maximum weighing capacity is 5kg which is reasonable for kitchen scales. So far so good.

                    Using the scales is more of a hindrance than a help, they have an auto shut of feature which occurs about 2 or 3 minutes after switching them on. Although this is meant to be a battery/energy saving feature it actually makes this scales very user unfriendly. There were many times where I would be half way though weighing a meal and my scales would automatically shut down and I'd have to start again and be quicker! These scales take 2 lithium cell batteries which can be bought in Wilkinsons for around £2.50 per packet of 2, if you are thinking of buying these scales stock up because they don't last very long at all.

                    These scales no longer live on my work top and I spent a little more money investing in another couple of pairs which I find much more reliable. They are still in my cupboard because I have a habit of hording junk but I can't imagine that I'll ever use them again. Think about setting fire to a ten pound note before you buy these because that is effectively what you'd be doing!


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                    • Baking / Recipe / 16 Readings / 15 Ratings
                      More +
                      05.03.2009 14:28
                      Very helpful



                      Cheap and healthy alternative for lunch

                      Wheatgerm bread

                      A great alternative to bread for those who follow a gluten free diet

                      1oz wheatgerm
                      1 egg
                      Carbonated water
                      A little oil for brushing

                      Just a word about seasoning - I like to flavour my bread sometimes sweet sometimes savoury, for sweet try a tsp of cinnamon and 1tbs of sweetener, for savoury try Italian seasoning, caraway seeds, onion powder, garlic powder...pretty much anything you like, experiment and see what works for you.

                      Weigh out the wheatgerm and place into a mixing bowl, add seasoning make a well in the middle and break in the egg, and 30ml of carbonated water and whisk, if the mixture is too thick add more water, the consistency should be broth like. Brush a plastic 1lt lunchbox with a little oil and pour in the mixture, cook in the microwave on high for 1 minute. The end result should be a spongy bread type product about 2cm thick. I usually slice the 'bread' in half down the middle to make two equal shaped squares and then sandwich with a filling of choice (salami, ham, egg mayonnaise, tuna mayonnaise, chicken salad or peanut butter, jam or honey if you've made a sweet bread...again imagination is the key here) it also toasts well.

                      I enjoy eating wheatgerm sandwich with a packet of beetroot crisps and a piece of fruit at lunchtime

                      (Wheatgerm can be bought from Holland and Barrett and all good health food shops)


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                    • More +
                      05.03.2009 14:16
                      Very helpful



                      great budget MP3 player

                      My 20gb Ipod finally died beyond repair, I'd had it for years and used it practically every day so it was no surprise really. I couldn't afford to replace it straight away and was Ipodless for while, which was torture. Another review website of which I am a member had an offer if you wrote so many reviews and reached a certain status you would receive a 1GB Ipod shuffle, so I jumped at the chance.

                      The Ipod itself is very small about 1 inch squared which is tiny, but very practical. It also had a clip so it can be clipped to your clothing which is really handy for the gym, I usually clip it to my vest or bottoms with no problems and thread the earphone wire through my clothes, fantastic and very practical design.

                      I was surprised just how much music can be stored on 1gb. After having a 20gb which contained my whole album collection (with space left) I was expecting no more than a couple of albums to fit on 1gb. How wrong was I? Very. At the moment there is approximately 10 albums on there along with a couple of recorded audios from the lecture and a couple of essential mixes and it's at its full capacity. I'm very impressed.

                      I'm unsure how long the battery lasts because I charge it every 3 or 4 days, and one downside to this product is that there is no display screen which tells you that the battery is running low. It's charged by connecting it to the computer too instead of plugging into the wall, I like this aspect because it means I'm not using any additional electricity to charge it, it's charging while I'm on the computer (which I am regularly).

                      Another possible downside to there being no display is that as you are skipping through to look for a particular album you have to remember what order the albums are or you could spend a lot of time, as I do, looking for it randomly.

                      All in all a great product, certainly better because it was free, but if this one got lost/damaged/broken I'd consider replacing it rather than buying one of the more expensive models.


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                    • Spinning in General / Discussion / 24 Readings / 21 Ratings
                      More +
                      05.03.2009 13:41
                      Very helpful
                      1 Comment



                      a bit like marmite

                      I think spinning if one of those classes that you'll either love or hate. I have recently joined a new gym (after being a coach potato for the last year and a bit) and they have a class called "Indoor cycling" which is just another term for the killer class that is spinning.

                      So what is it? Well basically a group of stationary bikes, with very uncomfortable seats, on which you sit and peddle for 45 minutes to an hour. There are gears or levels which increase or decrease the intensity at which you work, the idea is to keep up with the instructor as they take you through the work out. Sounds easy? Think again!

                      I convinced my boyfriend to come with me the first time, now he loves it and I go because I know its good work out for me. The class at my gym is always packed, they have about 10 - 12 bikes and if you don't book well in advance you won't get a place. It's important to make sure that the bike is adjusted to your height, our instructor showed us how to do this in our first class, and at every class checks with each participant before the class starts that they have adjusted the handlebars and seat on their bike. When getting on to the bike check that the resistance is at the highest level so that the peddles are stationary and step over through the front of the bike rather than cocking your leg round the back (which seems more natural but can be painful because there is a huge metal bar there!) Ensure that your feet are strapped into the peddles, and you are ready to start.

                      Our class starts with a gentle warm up on the lowest resistance for about 5 minutes, and then the pace is picked up. The class involves what I would describe as interval training, timed intervals at different speeds and resistances which are then repeated, some seated some standing. The good thing about spin is that you can turn the resistance down at any time if it feels too hard or difficult, but in my class there seems to be a competitive edge where people really push themselves. I combat this by sitting on a bike at the back so I can work at my own pace, each week I try to push myself a little harder.

                      Possibly the worst thing about spin for me is the uncomfortable seat, which can be painful for a couple of days afterwards, the instructor (quite seriously) informed me that you can buy special padded bottoms, I'm not sure that I'm quite into spin that much!

                      All in all a good work out which can vary in intensity from instructor to instructor. I'm not a huge spin far and choose to go to one class per week, which is enough for me.


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                      • General / Discussion / 30 Readings / 28 Ratings
                        More +
                        04.03.2009 12:04
                        Very helpful



                        I love talking about me

                        1 - First Names:

                        2. - Pseudo(s)?

                        3 - girl or boy?

                        4 - Towns? (Birthplace and living town)
                        Born Luton (oh the shame) now live in Nottingham

                        5 - Size?

                        6 - Age?

                        7 - colour of hair?
                        Black (dyed)

                        8 - colour of the eyes?

                        9 - Employment / current occupation?
                        Full time Law Student

                        10- astrological and Chinese sign:
                        Aries...no idea of Chinese sign!

                        11 - I like/love?
                        My beautiful boyfriend, my family, my life, shoes, boots, bags, lazy Sundays, going to the gym, cinema, reading, friends,

                        12 - I don't like?
                        people who smell on the bus of tram first thing in the morning, no excuse

                        13 - If you can meet one person of your choice, dead or alive, known or not, who would this be?
                        Gordon Brown and I'd give him a piece of my mind!

                        14 - What do you like to do, generally, during the weekend?
                        Meet with friends, gym, cinema, Sunday cook a big roast, curl up in front of the open fire and watch the football with boyf

                        15 - The town/country that you want to visit or even live in?
                        New York

                        16 - The first thing you do when you come back from school or work?
                        Go for a wee usually (sorry but you did ask!)

                        17 - Style of music or radio that you prefer?
                        Indie bands, chill out stuff, whatever really I'm easy going

                        18 - The most beautiful song which exist for you?
                        Nothing compares, Sinead O Connor

                        19 - The singer, or band that you prefer?
                        The Bravery

                        20 - The reality TV show that you prefer?
                        X Factor

                        21 - the advertising that you prefer?
                        The heat magazine one where the kids are in the car signing "we're going to London to buy heat magazine" no idea why I like it but I do

                        22 - Are you single?

                        23 - If no, are you happy?

                        24 - if yes, are you happy?

                        25 - Have you ever known an unhappy love affair?

                        26 - How many Harlequins' collection (books) do you have?

                        27 - Have you ever read "NOUS DEUX" (to make the bond with England, "Nous deux" is a tabloid)?
                        Occasionally read a red top paper yes

                        28 - The magazine, which you never miss?

                        29 - Your book of bedside?
                        Jodie Picolts new one

                        30 - The novel of which you would have liked to be the author?
                        War and Peace

                        31 - Your society game (or console) favourite?
                        Don't' play them

                        32 - The dish which you prefer?
                        Chicken wrapped in bacon with Mediterranean roast vegetables

                        33-What do you buy when you go to the fair when you are hungry?
                        Nothing I don't snack

                        34 - Drink preferred?
                        Lemon and giner tea

                        35 - colour preferred?

                        36 - fetish number?
                        Er what now?

                        37 - The quotation which you prefer?
                        the meaning of life

                        38 - Film Actor which you prefer?
                        Brad Pitt

                        39 - cult movies?
                        Got to be pulp ficton

                        40 - Preferred series?
                        Desperate housewives

                        41 - Your more beautiful quality?
                        Generous with time

                        42 - Your worst defect?
                        Can be very selfish when tired

                        43 - Your worst nightmare?
                        Floating on a carpet tile in the sea away from my family...bit dark eh

                        44- The worst shame of your life?
                        There are many from my alcohol fuelled younger days

                        45 - The most beautiful thing which one made for you by love?
                        This question makes no sense

                        46 - Most proud of ?
                        Turning round my life

                        47 - A fairy lends his magic wand to you for a wish: what you make?
                        Unlimited money

                        48 - The first thing you do in the morning?
                        Kiss my boyfriend

                        49 - what you think when you are not able to fall asleep at night?
                        Nothing usually, but if stressed then I usually process the day and think about what I've got to do tomorrow

                        50 - What will you bring with you on a desert island?? (5 max)?
                        I'd never go to a desert island

                        51 - If you have to buy a handbook of survive, that would be which?
                        I guess it would be one of those war ration type family survival books

                        52 - Your bedroom takes fire (or is flooded, it depends of the place), what do you rescue at first?
                        my laptop

                        53 - Quelle(s) peluche(s) partagent ton lit ?
                        I'm obviously not very cultured because I have no clue what you're saying

                        54 - What do you have on the wall of your bedroom???
                        Big mirror

                        55 - pets ?

                        56 - Do you get on with your parents?
                        My mum

                        57- are you close with your brother and sister ?
                        Not really

                        58 - Which is the cartoon which you preferred child?
                        Button moon

                        59 - And now ?
                        Don't watch them now

                        60 - Which is the job which you dreamed to have child?
                        I didn't, I was a fantasist who believed that a man was going to arrive on a white horse and take care of me, how wrong was I eh!

                        61 - Why the lady is big of her belly ?
                        Pregnancy or too many cream cakes?

                        62 - Tell us your most beautiful memory of childhood
                        My mum making me a dragon cake for my birthday

                        63 - Were you already scandalmonger (to say evil of people behind their back)?

                        64 - You have the possibility of saying your four truths to the person whom you hate more in the world, what you would say to him?
                        I wouldn't, just because I don't like them doesn't mean I have to cause them harm

                        65 - The insult which you say more?

                        66 -The word you overuse to much?
                        More of a phrase, at the end of the day

                        67- Do you speak another language that English?

                        68 - What countries have you been to?
                        Spain, Egypt, Canaries, America, France, Belgium

                        69 - The area (or the place) of England which you do prefer?
                        Down south

                        70 - The area you least like?
                        Cold north

                        71 - If one day you become hyper famous, in which would you become famous ?

                        72 - What you would buy if you won the lotto?
                        House, car, holiday, designer handbag

                        73 - Where and How do you see you in 2015? In 2040 ?
                        2015- hopefully married with children and a kick arse solicitor
                        2040- moving towards early retirement

                        74 - One makes it possible to you to use a "Stargate" (cf Stargate
                        SG1), which planet visits you of first?
                        The moon to see if man really landed there or if it was a conspiracy

                        75 - The Earth is destroyed. You have time to flee, where you go?
                        Don't be silly

                        76 - The Earth will be destroyed. You do not have time to flee. Which is the last thing which you make time to do?
                        Phone my mum

                        77 - How many children do you want ?

                        78 - How you call them?
                        Sophie and Luke, but my boyf may have other ideas

                        79 - What would you like, boys or girls?

                        80 - If you can change a part of your body, Which one do you choose?
                        Smaller thighs

                        81 - You dye your hair. Which colour you choose?
                        Blue black

                        82 - If you can have a tattoo, what?? And Where??
                        I've got one thanks, I regret it

                        83 - Are you beginning, intermediary or expert when it acts of Internet?

                        84 - What mouse mat do you have?
                        Don't have one as I use a laptop

                        85 - Which is your background desktop picture off?
                        Blue clouds

                        86 - What can we find under your bed ?
                        A couple of magazines but usually nothing

                        87 - How many times a week do you come on Internet? How many hours?
                        Every day, couple of hours a day

                        88 - What do you think about cyber sex on the internet ?
                        not for me but whatever floats your boat

                        89 - What was your resolution on the new year ?
                        To take vitamins daily

                        90 - Did you do it ?
                        I lasted about 3 days

                        91 - The best gift that somebody offer to you ?
                        Sharing life

                        92 - The worst gift that somebody offer to you?

                        93 - Somebody offer to you a house. You choose an igloo, an Indian tipi, a African box, the same house as your parents, a farm ?

                        94 - How much do you weigh ?
                        9 stone exactly

                        95 - How much would you like to lose ?
                        half a stone

                        96 - the best teacher did you have?
                        Mr Bradley

                        97 - the worst teacher did you have ?
                        Mrs Knight

                        98 - Dedicate this questionnaire to someone?
                        Kate Winslet

                        99 - What do you think of this questionnaire ?
                        Very long

                        100 - Would you recommend it?
                        If you looking for a distraction from something else then yes


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                        • More +
                          03.03.2009 12:02
                          Very helpful



                          Catwalk lashes every day

                          I absolutely love this mascara, having used the ordinary one for ages I was so excited when the waterproof version came out. I am one of those naughty people who touches and rubs their eyes though out the day, so by the end of the day I used to look like a panda, but with the waterproof version it seems to stay rock solid.

                          At £18.00 it is a little too pricey for my every day budget, so it's much more of a luxury item that I usually spend my boots points on or receive as a gift rather than something I pay myself.

                          The wand on this mascara is huge, and I mean huge, I've not found another mascara that measures up in size. It covers the whole of my lashes in one sweep; it genuinely makes my lashes look thicker and longer. Although there is no need to wear two coats with this mascara, I like my lashes to look extra loaded. There is very little clumping, each lash is individually coated and the effect is stunning.

                          I prefer to wear black because I like more dramatic eyes, but have also used in brown as it was bought for me as a gift and the brown gives a much softer, but still much defined look.

                          Being waterproof I can find it a little bit of a struggle to remove at the end of the day, a face wipe just doesn't do it. I have to use an eye make up remover and cotton wool pad to remove it completely.


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                        • Learning to Cook / Discussion / 35 Readings / 32 Ratings
                          More +
                          26.02.2009 17:00
                          Very helpful



                          open your creative side, start cooking

                          Learning to cook.

                          I guess I really learnt to cook the first time I went on a diet at the age of 17. Obviously I had cooked things before this, but they usually consisted of throwing a pizza in the oven or boiling some pasta and slathering in a jar of sauce, which isn't really cooking at all! And I'd taken 'food technology' AKA cooking at school, so I had some very very basic skills to build on.

                          I started off slowly by following simple recipes and as my confidence grew, as they were successful, I became more adventurous. In recent times I've learnt how to cook cheaper cuts of meat, how to use a slow cooker and batch cook.

                          These days I cook every pretty much every meal from scratch using basic ingredients, firstly because then I know what is going in my food and secondly because it's much much cheaper that way.

                          A pasta sauce for example I now make with a little onion, herbs/spices of choice, fresh garlic, a little chilli if you fancy it hot and passatta or chopped tomatoes with tomato paste, instead of opening a jar.

                          For me I've found that my oven and my slow cooker are my best friends. Chop it all up, season it and chuck it in until it's done. Some really delicious and very healthy meals can be cooked in this way. The great thing about the slow cooker is that you can make double the amount and freeze some for the days where there isn't time or you can't be bothered to cook.

                          Sometimes I look on the internet for recipes or look in my cook books, but most of the time I just make it up as a go along. I think I've learnt over the last 10 years what works well with what. I love cooking now, it's certainly opened me up to trying new foods like celeriac for example. I also feel much healthier too, and find that I don't snack between meals.

                          I'd love to pretend that I am Bree from deperate housewives, but I'm not. I get by though and have many good word spoken about my cooking


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                          • La Senza / Highstreet Shopping / 37 Readings / 33 Ratings
                            More +
                            26.02.2009 13:13
                            Very helpful



                            Fantastic service, fantastic price

                            I'm one of those women who had been wearing the wrong sized bra for years, I finally plucked up the courage to go and get measured in a well known department store and subsequently bought bras in the size I was measured, but they still weren't right. A friend of mine dragged me kicking and screaming to Lasenza instead.

                            I think had a perception of what Lasenza was all about without ever having been in there. I think I thought that all the girls were going to be young pretty things with big boobs and perfect make up, I also thought that the bras would be really expensive. I guess I'd always felt really intimidated and so I'd just walk past. Not these days!

                            The girl who measured me was actually really nice and helpful, I didn't feel embarrassed, yes she was a young pretty thing but she was really warm and friendly, and she kept telling me that she loves her job, which made me feel really at ease. She explained to me that I should be measured every time I buy a new bra just incase there is any change, she also showed me what signs to look for of whether a bra was too big too small, too loose. I had no idea, it was like a new science to me at the time.

                            The bras in lasenza are absolutely gorgeous, and actually reasonably affordable. They do various ranges which come with different price tags, so anything from £7.50 to £30.00 for a bra. They also do a bra for every occasion.

                            I love the 'two for £x' deals, often they do 2 bras for £18 or £20 and then also do an offer on the matching bottoms (thong, brief, shorts) so you can get really affordable matching underwear. They wrap it beautifully too, in paper and scented beads, they can even gift wrap in a box if you ask for no extra cost (I sometimes have it gift wrapped anyway just to make it feel that little bit more of a treat to myself) I love the sales in Lasenza the most, where you can often pick up a bra for £5 and the matching bottoms for a couple of quid, only problem with being a popular size is that you have to get in there quick. They don't gift wrap in the sale though, which I guess it fair enough.

                            They also offer a 10% student discount all year round, which makes shopping there as a student even more value.


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