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Nat.

Nat.
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Member since: 12.11.2001

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    • Tesco Clubcard / Credit Card / 45 Readings / 41 Ratings
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      01.11.2009 13:55
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      Sign up to clubcard online and check out the partner offers to get best value for your vouchers.

      TESCO CLUBCARD

      The clubcard is the Tesco shopping reward scheme. As a general rule, you get one clubcard point for every pound you spend in the store or on petrol, or three points for every pound you spend on topping up your Tesco mobile. Currently they have a special offer on where you get double clubcard points in store, so you get two for every pound you spend. Once you have built up 100 clubcard points, you get a pound voucher. The vouchers are sent out once every quarter. I have just received my vouchers for November, and the clubcard website tells me I will next receive vouchers in February.

      COLLECTING CLUBCARD POINTS

      In addition to the methods of collecting clubcard vouchers listed above, you can also collect points in the following ways:

      Shopping online at tesco.com and tescodirect
      Earn one point for every four pounds you spend on a Tesco credit card
      Earn clubcard points when you pay for your electricity with Eon
      Earn points from Tesco opticians
      Earn points for reusing your carrier bags in Tesco
      Earn one point for every two aluminium cans you recycle in the Tesco recycling points
      Earn points for recycling old mobile phones or ink cartridges
      Earn points for using Tesco broadband
      Earn points for buying Tesco insurance

      With regard to the Tesco insurance, you seem to earn a minimal number of points. I bought Tesco Value car insurance and Tesco breakdown cover, spending over £200, and only earned £2.50 in clubcard points.

      CLUBCARD REWARDS

      This is the bit that makes the whole scheme more appealing to me. You can obviously spend your clubcard points in the store, and just use each £1 worth of vouchers for £1 off your shopping. However, this is the least financially beneficial method of using your vouchers. If you use them with the "partner rewards scheme" online, you get four times the value on a massive variety of rewards. I'll list the categories of rewards and just give you a bit of detail on a few of them because there are far too many for me to cover without putting you all to sleep!

      Activity Days
      Annual Memberships
      Book Sets & Toys
      Movie and games rental
      Days Out
      Essentials
      European Attractions
      Exhibitions & Events
      Green rewards
      Health & Fitness
      Holidays
      Hotel Breaks
      Indulgence
      Learning
      Magazine Subscriptions
      Motoring
      Restaurants, Pubs & Bars
      Software Packages
      Sporting Events
      Theatre Shows
      Travel
      Airmiles
      BA Miles

      An example of a partner reward I have used recently, is a voucher for the Good Food Show in Birmingham. I wanted to go, but the tickets were £20 each, and as there are three of us going that just ended up being too pricey. So I checked on the clubcard website, and sure enough, if you use clubcard vouchers, you can get the tickets for £6 worth of clubcard vouchers each. So I've ordered my tickets and I can't wait!

      Now that I've discovered the partner rewards, I'm going to start saving Airmiles. You get 60 Airmiles for every £2.50 in clubcard vouchers. When you have 750 miles, you have enough for a free flight to Paris- and that includes tax.

      Another scheme that looks quite good if you've got children of that age, is the driving lessons. £52 in clubcard vouchers gives you a 4 hour BSM driving package. Well worth bearing in mind!

      THE CLUBCARD WEBSITE

      It's easy to register with the clubcard website. You just give them your details and your clubcard number, and you can keep track of how many vouchers you've got online. There's also a helpline number on there for if you want to change your contact details. I've phoned this recently, and they were really helpful. I'm going to be merging mine and my partner's clubcards, and this also seems like a really simple process.

      CONCLUSION

      As reward schemes go, I think this one's pretty good. It's easy to use, you earn decent rewards and they have some quite good offers on sometimes. To get your moneys worth from this, you need to be using the partner rewards scheme. I'd advise getting registered online and having a look through to see which reward is best for you.

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      • Tesco Redbush Tea / Tea / 36 Readings / 35 Ratings
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        30.10.2009 16:14
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        You need to try this for yourself, you either like the flavour or you don't.

        REDBUSH TEA:

        Redbush tea (also known as Rooibos) is a caffeine free alternative to tea. It is made of 100% Rooibos. It is said to be as hydrating as water, and it is lower in tannin than other sorts of tea (although it does still contain some). Tannin inhibits the absorption of iron into the blood from food. This can cause lower energy levels, and in extreme cases can cause anaemia. Anaemia is a lack of oxygen in the blood, although many people think that it is lack of iron. In fact, it can be caused by lack of iron, hence the confusion. If you drink a lot of tea, it can be worth switching to redbush for at least some of the tea you drink, you may find that your energy levels become higher as your iron absorption increases. However, I would recommend switching slowly, as you will also be taking on board less caffeine, and suddenly cutting out caffeine can cause headaches and lethargy. Redbush tea comes from South Africa, and has long been used over there both as an alternative to tea, and as a medicine by African Bushmen.

        THE TESCO VERSION:

        Tesco Red Bush tea is grown in the Cedarberg region of the Western Cape of South Africa. This region is also well known for excellent red wine! To compare prices, I've listed the prices for both this and the alternatives available at tesco below:

        Tetley Redbush- 40 teabags: £1.69
        Tesco Redbush- 40 teabags: £2.41

        Redbush brand- 80 teabags: £2.87
        Tetley Redbush- 80 teabags: £3.19
        Tesco Redbush- 80 teabags: £2.44 (currently on offer from £2.74)

        I will cover the taste of Redbush below, but it's safe to say I've tried all of the brands and can't taste the difference in any of them, so you've only really got price to decide between them. The Tesco 80 teabags box is best value. However, the Redbush brand do state that they donate a percentage of their profits to the indiginous peoples of the Kalahari, so the more conscientious consumers amongst us might be tempted to pay the higher price for that reason!

        MAKING REDBUSH TEA:

        1. Boil freshly drawn cold water- the oxygen in the water brings out the flavour in the tea.

        2. Use 1 tea bag per per cup, or in a teapot, one teabag per person and add one for the pot (or so they say).

        3. Pour on boiling water and leave to infuse for 2-5 minutes according to taste.

        4. Serve with or without milk and sugar.

        THE TASTE

        Don't buy this expecting it to taste like English Breakfast or any other tea you've tasted, because it doesn't. Redbush tea has a very distinctive taste. It is best made quite strong, but with plenty of milk. It should look like normal tea but slightly redder. I wouldn't describe the taste as being anything like ordinary tea. I'm drinking a cup now and struggling to describe it really. I think I'd say it's got a slightly malty quality, and it's quite creamy. That's with milk. Obviously the creamyness goes when you don't use milk. You can also add sugar if you prefer it a bit sweeter. You can also buy Redbush with vanilla (too sweet for me), and Redbush with orange (quite nice but you can't use milk in it, and I find a cup of tea with milk somewhat comforting).

        MY RECOMMENDATION:

        I would definitely recommend trying this, and perhaps persevering with a few cups if you don't think much of the first one. I think it's got a nice taste to it, and it's definitely a bit healthier than drinking ordinary tea (or coffee). If you're not a tea drinker, don't rule this out, it really doesn't taste like any other tea, so it's worth giving it a try. I hope you enjoy it.

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          29.10.2009 18:00
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          Great smelling range of products, not tested on animals, good for the environment and not too pricey

          I was going to write a review on the Original Source Manuka Honey and Cranberry Shower nectar, but that's not on here, so I'm going to write about the Original Source shower range because I've tried most of them! I'll divide this down into a few little sections so that you can just read the bits that interest you if you don't have time to read it all.

          1. Why buy Original Source?

          I initially started to buy Original Source because I've always felt a bit guilty about buying things that are either not very good for the environment, or things that don't say that they're not tested on animals. Original source products are really natural, containing fruit and plant extracts and essential oils. They're not tested on animals, in fact the following is stated on the bottle:

          We don't test on animals. In fact, we test our products ourselves, and only if we absolutely love them, will they make it to a shelf near you.

          In addition to that, Original Source have now started selling their products in pouches, rather than bottles. This means that in the standard 250ml size, there is 25% less plastic than in a normal 250ml bottle. In the 500ml size, there is 75% less plastic than a normal bottle. You can still recycle the bottles, but there's much less plastic to be broken down, so it's far better for the environment. In my mind, that's got to be a good thing.

          2. The range

          There is a large range of original source products. My particular favourites are the Manuka Honey and Cranberry (great smell, reminds me of Christmas), the Lime (REALLY refreshing, wakes me up in the morning!) and the Mint and Tea Tree (really zingy, gives you a cold sensation). Here's a list of the range of shower gels they do:

          Manuka Honey and Cranberry
          Lime
          Mint and Tea Tree
          Lemon and Tea Tree
          Grapefruit and Gingerlily
          Dragonfruit and Capiscum
          White Pear and Avocado
          Shea Butter and Honey
          Lavender and Tea Tree

          My boyfriend loves the Dragonfruit and Capiscum, not least because it's in a black bottle, so he thinks it's just for men- less embarassing to use in the rugby changing rooms apparently! It also has quite a blokey smell to it, so I think he may be right about it being aimed at men.

          3. Any disadvantages?

          Well, I do struggle to keep this one for myself. It mysteriously goes down a lot quicker than I can use it, and when the other half goes swimming or takes a shower at the changing rooms after rugby or squash, I can kiss it goodbye to the depths of his kitbag. He also doesn't like the pouches, because when you get to the bottom of them, they fall over and won't stay upright on the side of the bath. Personally I think that's a small price to pay for the benefit to the environment.

          4. Price

          The 250ml bottles and pouches usually retail at about £1.95, the 500ml pouches are about £3.00. However, they're on offer at Tesco at the moment- £1.50 for a 250ml bottle or pouch- bargain!

          To conclude, these are a fantastic range of products. They smell amazing, they give you great sensations of tingling, relaxing or revitalising- pick your fragrance according to what sensation you're after. They're not too pricey, they're not tested on animals and the packaging's great for the environment. It's a thumbs up from me all round!

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          • facebook.com / Internet Site / 30 Readings / 30 Ratings
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            29.10.2009 12:41
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            A great tool, just be careful.

            I'm sure I don't need to tell you that facebook is a social networking site, and probably the most used social networking site worldwide. It has it's advantages and disadvantages, and things you need to be wary of. I'll look at the different categories that you can use facebook for, and let you know the advantages and disadvantages of each.

            1. OLD FRIENDS. Personally, the major advantage I've found since using facebook is that I've got back in touch with people who I haven't seen for years. In particular, a friend of mine who I grew up with, but lost touch with was on there. She added me as a friend and we immediately fell back to being great mates, and now go out together regularly. For all it's drawbacks, I will be eternally grateful to facebook for bringing me and my mate back together. The only thing to bear in mind here is that sometimes you lose touch with people for a reason... that irritating chap who you spent years shaking off is bound to find you on there... don't accept his friend request just because you feel sorry for him, he's probably still irritating! That said, if you've accepted someone in a moment of madness, you can still remove them from your friend list and they won't be told, although they may well notice and add you again!

            2. KEEPING IN TOUCH. Many people these days will email each other using facebook rather than the usual emails. You can also invite people to join groups or attend events. You can regularly update your status to keep everyone up to date with what you are doing day to day. I do think that people who don't have a facebook account probably miss out on being invited to things which people just broadcast on facebook. I find this a great way of communicating things. It saves texting or emailing everyone, and you can put photos and information about events, and people can update everyone as to whether they're going, and add their comments and photos. On the subject of keeping in touch- this can be done publicly on someone's "wall" or by sending a private message.

            3. PASSING THE TIME: Facebook is pretty addictive. You can spend hours on there looking at people's photos and profiles. You can also play games on there, I got quite into scrabble (an electronic version of the boardgame), and scramble (like a wordsearch but against other people). I do enjoy this element of facebook, but once you get addicted it does take up a lot of your time!

            4. PHOTOS: I think that sharing photos is an advantage of facebook, but it could also be a disadvantage. It's great to be able to share your photos with your friends, but you need to be very wary. If you allow everyone to see your photos, you can end up in national newspapers (as has happened to people in the past). You also need to be really wary about putting photos of your children on there as you don't know who is looking at them. I would advise only allowing your friends to see your photos. You can change your settings through your profile. It's fine to allow your friends to see embarrassing photos of you, but once the "SUN" gets hold of a photo of you drunk and peeing in the street it's a different matter.

            5. STALKERS! It's great to be able to see what your friends are up to, hear about their pregnancy, upcoming marriage, or just what they've done at work today. However, I would be wary of putting too much information on facebook, because it becomes very easy for someone to stalk you. If you tell them where you're going on holiday, or on a night out, they can easily just turn up. They can look at all your photos, see who you're hanging around with. People can also put nasty comments on your wall for all your friends to see. You just need to be wary of who you add as a friend.

            6. AGE LIMIT: There is a theoretical lower age limit of 14 on facebook. However, this isn't monitored. You have to put in your date of birth on there, but my 11 year old brother just altered the year so it looks like he's 18. Just one for the parents out there to be aware of. Make sure that your children only add people they know as friends. Like anywhere on the internet, people aren't necessarily who they say they are.

            To sum up, facebook is simple to use, and it's a great way of keeping in touch with people, sharing photos and generally passing the time. Just take the usual internet precautions and keep your wits and common sense about you, and you'll probably find you enjoy using it and shouldn't have any problems.

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            • The Mooncup / Sexual Health / 29 Readings / 26 Ratings
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              28.10.2009 19:36
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              Not for everyone, but I would recommend it over tampons or sanitary towels

              The mooncup is a useful alternative to tampons and sanitary towels. It's certainly not for everyone and it's not suitable for all situations, but in my opinion it is a more environmentally friendly and cheaper alternative to the other products out there for us girls. Basically it is a small cup, made of flexible, hypo-allergenic rubber type material. You fold it twice, and insert it into you as you would a tampon. It comes with quite a long stem which can be used to pull it out. However, you do need to trim this to the minimum you need to take it out before using it or it can become quite uncomfortable. I would recommend rinsing it before insertion, and leaving it wet, which makes it go in a bit more easily. I would also recommend taking it out by the sink so that you can immediately rinse it out. You can just wipe it over the toilet, but it gets really messy and it's more difficult to insert when dry, and tissue sticking to it could cause infection. You need to rinse or wipe it after each use, and then boil wash it at the end of each period. You can buy this for £17.50, but it then lasts forever. There are two sizes, one for those under 30 years old who haven't had children, and one for those over 30 or who have had children. It's fine to go swimming in, and I find that if you put it in at the beginning of the day, you can leave it in all day at work and then take it out and rinse it when you get home. You are much less likely to get Toxic Shock Syndrome with this product than tampons, as no foreign bodies will stay inside you like they can with tampons. You do have to become quite in touch with your body to use this. All in all, I would highly recommend it. I've had one for about 6 months now, and I'm already saving money on what I would have paid for tampons. If you want to read more about it, go to the official site- www.mooncup.co.uk.

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                28.10.2009 16:23
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                Brilliant camera, wait for a special offer and then look after it!

                I bought this camera 12 months ago for £100 on amazon. The price it is advertised at now is more than double that (£264.99). Therefore, my first recommendation is: WAIT FOR A SPECIAL OFFER! This is an amazing camera. We took it to New Zealand for a month's holiday and we've taken some of the most spectacular photos I've ever seen. For example, a perfect shot of a humpback whale breaching about 50 metres away, but because of the 10 x digital zoom, it has come out perfectly. There are numerous settings on the camera, including close up, night view, portrait and snow scene. There is also the option of taking video footage with sound. If you buy a good sized memory card, you can take thousands of photos and videos without running out of space. The anti- shake setting makes for awesome photos everytime, with no annoying blur. The camera is so simple, you can just use it as a point and press. To zoom in, it only takes one movement, and you don't use any quality. For a £100 camera, I would highly recommend this. However, I wouldn't recommend paying the current price for it, I'm sure that you can get a cheaper one if you wait for the right time, and if you've got £265 to spend on a camera, there are others out there now with higher MP and greater optical zoom. One more warning- devastatingly, I got this camera a tiny bit damp and it no longer works. I've been told it would cost £125 to mend. Well worth investing in a case or insurance to avoid this situation!

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              • Terrorism / Discussion / 2 Readings / 17 Ratings
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                21.03.2002 00:52
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                On September 11 2001, the security of every country in the world was threatened by an unimaginable terrorist attack on the USA. As one of America’s greatest allies, the British government realised that Britain may be next on the list of terrorist targets. The vulnerability of even the most westernised and developed State had been exposed and it was immediately felt that new anti-terrorism measures were needed to help protect Britain against a similar attack. David Blunkett was faced with the task of drafting new measures in order to identify the loopholes and grey areas in our legislation that would need to be updated in order to counter cross-border terrorism. There have been criticisms of this action based on the fact that the last legislation enacted in this area of law, the Terrorism Act 2000 had only come into force earlier in 2001. Why was this not sufficient to protect our country from terrorists? After all, that was the only reason for its introduction in the first place. The new Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Bill was ten weeks in drafting, and became law in December 2001. It has cross-part support, but civil-libertarians have expressed concern at the supposedly draconian nature of the Act, and the infringement on human rights which they believe it will cause. When the Bill came before the House of Lords in November 2001, they suggested amending it to limit the rules on disclosure of information, give terrorist suspects detained without trial the right to judicial review, remove clauses banning incitement to racial hatred, time limit parts of the Bill and extend it to cover domestic as well as international terrorism. Certain of these actions were taken on board by the legislators, but others were not. I will explain why. The disclosure of information was requested to prevent investigating agencies from having unlimited access to information from public bodies. This would lead to a breach of the right of privacy. David Blunkett
                therefore agreed that information disclosed by public bodies must be proportionate to the investigation. It was also argued that the intelligence services were being given the power to perform otherwise illegal acts, whilst remaining unaccountable to police authority. However, this is the alternative to allowing terrorists to carry out numerous illegal acts, risking the lives of truly innocent people and remaining unaccountable to anybody. Which is the better alternative? The suggestion of judicial review was aimed to prevent the legislation from being used to remove asylum seekers from the country when they need protection. This was not incorporated into the act, because every certificate issued to detain somebody will be reviewed by the special immigration appeals committee, a judicial body with the power to reverse the decision having examined all the intelligence material. There were also arguments against the fact that suspects do not have the right to know on what evidence they are being detained. This does not mean that there is no evidence. Information is not disclosed because if it was, then sources who provided the evidence would be killed by the terrorists, it’s a matter of preservation of human life. If you want proof, look up the statistics on punishment shootings and beatings in Northern Ireland alone. The same thing occurs elsewhere. The suggestion of removing the ban on incitement to racial hatred from the Bill was taken on board, the Act does not contain such a ban. I disagree with this. Whilst I can see that it was maybe out of place in this Act, something needs to be done. There have been innumerable racist attacks on the Muslim community since the events of September 11th, as the ethnic origins of the terrorists are being used as an excuse for attacking innocent British Muslims. The suggestion of time limiting the Bill was also used. The Act will be reviewed after two years under a sunset clause. This will allow
                both houses to comment retrospectively on its effectiveness and suggest changes that should occur to best provide for the future. The final suggestion of the House of Lords of extending the Bill to cover domestic as well as international terrorism was dismissed. I disagree with this, as it is not possible to distinguish between terrorists on the grounds of nationality. Every person willing to endanger the lives of innocent people in order to portray a political message should be subjected to the same treatment. Whilst I am aware that the new legislation in Britain as in other democratic countries may compromise the civil liberties of suspected terrorists, it can also be said that where ever possible, legislators have tried to protect the human rights of these people. Although in a democratic society, debate over the effect legislation has on human rights must occur, we must not lose sight of the fact that if we don’t fight against these people to prevent them from destroying our democracy, then under their rule, no such debate will exist at all.

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                  20.03.2002 18:11
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                  The question of whether fox-hunting is a sport is soon to be decided in parliament. They will of course look at the pros and cons of the activity and come to an informed decision. However, it is unlikely that the decision they do come to will actually depend atall upon the research they have done into the subject, or upon the presentations given by other MPs or experts. This is because everyone seems to have an opinion on fox-hunting, and I have never come across anyone who was willing to change their mind, however much people try to convince them. I get the impression that the overall majority of people are against fox hunting, for obvious reasons. Personally, I think that, whilst it is, at the moment, accepted as a sport, it really should be an activity confined to the history books, at which people look back in disgust. The idea of chasing a defenceless animal around the countryside with the excuse that it is a pest seems absolutely vile to me. There are various arguments in favour of fox-hunting, which I will come to in a moment, but I honestly believe that the only real reason people do it is for the enjoyment of riding cross-country and enjoying the thrill of the chase. ***************Arguments******************** 1. The fox is a pest. It kills people's chickens, ducks, sheep and whatever else it can get hold of. It needs to be controlled. AGREE. However, fox-hunting is not an effective way of controlling numbers. More foxes are killed on the roads than by the hunt. Hunting is a barbaric method of control. It would be far more kind to shoot foxes. Farmers do not all agree with the hunt, and those who don't shoot the foxes that worry their animals, and this is a far more effective method of control. 2. The hunt is traditional. AGREE. So what?! The death penalty was traditional, marital rape only became illegal in the 1990s, should these things continue because they are traditional? I think not! Fo
                  x hunting is so barbaric, why should tradition be the reason for its continuation? 3. The enjoyment factor. AGREE. I don't think the fox sees it as enjoyable as you tear him limb from limb whilst he's still alive though, do you? And more farmers would agree to a drag hunt crossing their land than a fox hunt, wouldn't you get the same sort of enjoyment out of that? Does your enjoyment justify the torture and death of a defenceless animal? No. 4. The majority of people living in the countryside who it effects agree with it. DISAGREE. I hate the fact that the pro-hunters call themselves the countryside alliance. This associates me with them. I live in the countryside. Always have, always intend to. I hate fox hunting, and so do many people living in rural areas. Infact, I would probably say the majority. People who disagree with the hunt can't stop the hunt from going on their land. I know a farmer who has to patrol his fields with a shotgun when the hunt is on to stop the dogs from destroying his fences and going on his land. My eighty year old gran had the shock of her life when she looked out of her window to see twenty dogs and a man on a horse in her back garden. The hunt wouldn't pay for the damage they did. This seems rather unfair doesn't it? 5. It's a way of life and a way of making money AGREE. So drag hunt instead. Many people involved in it don't need the money anyway, as only upper middle class people tend to get involved. They are the only ones arrogant enough to think that their enjoyment is worth more than an animal's life. And where should the dogs go if hunting is banned? Drag hunt instead! Dogs do that too. Alternatively, stop breeding them now. The hunt will be banned eventually, so cut your losses and phase it out now. ********** Conclusion*********** I have presented my opinion on the arguments for fox-hunting. No doubt anyone reading th
                  is will have their own opinion, and I won't have influenced your way of thinking. All that I ask should come out of your reading this is that you don't associate the rural community with such a barbaric sport. We are not all murderers.

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                  • Ford Fiesta (pre-1995) / Car / 5 Readings / 14 Ratings
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                    19.03.2002 21:22
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                    My 1989 G Reg Fiesta (not the boxy model, but the next one) was the best thing I have ever bought. Not only is it incredibly reliable, cheap to run, cheap to insure, cute to look at and full of character, but it only cost me £120. I had been looking for a car for a while at this point, as I was fed up of using the trains which seemed to be getting more and more unreliable. I had put aside £1000 to spend on a car, but I was hoping not to spend quite that much, as it would have meant I didn't have much money left to run it on. Then one night, I got a phonecall from my boyfriend, saying that he had seen a fiesta advertised for £150 in his local supermarket. He gave me the phone number, but didn't recommend I phoned as he thought the price was probably a mistake or that he had read it wrong and it should have been £750. Anyway, I decided that I would phone on the off chance that it was £150, and, as luck would have it, it was. I therefore persuaded my boyfriend to go and look at the car a couple of evenings later, and he somehow managed to persuade the people selling the car to give it to him for £120! At the time, the car was in a bit of a mess. The speedo was broken, the paintwork was faded and the boot was rusted. Luckily though, I was able to get a new boot from a scrapyard for £50, I got the engine checked over and the speedo fixed and I got the car resprayed. It was soon on the road, looking and working as good as new. This was over a year ago now, and I've really had no problems with it. The fiesta drives like a dream and you don't notice that there's no power steering as the car is so light. For a little car it's very roomy and comfy, and I have a sunroof and an excellent radio. In all, I couldn't ask for a better car. Especially for that money! I have to say that buying such an old car and sorting it out won't suit everyone. I was lucky that I had friends and family who were able to d
                    o it cheaply for me, and who also help me to keep the car in good condition with all the TLC an old car needs. Respraying a car can be expensive, I was just lucky to know someone who would do it at cost price for me. I would also recommend buying a car with relatively low mileage on it if you're buying an old one, mine only had 75,000 on the clock. The other thing I would recommend is buying something like a fiesta rather than something which isn't so common. This is because it makes parts alot cheaper as there is a real abundance of them. A friend of mine bought a rover at the same time I bought my car, and ended up having to scrap it when it had a major fault as the parts would have been more expensive to replace than the car was worth. To conclude, don't listen to people who tell you that Fords are unreliable. An old car is as good as you make it, and as long as you have breakdown cover, you can't get into too much trouble. I know I was very lucky with mine, but there are always bargains out there, it's just a case of being flexible. Another place to look for a cheap car is the car auctions. My Dad picked up a bargain there the other day, but again, you have to be patient and not just out bid everyone for the first car that takes your fancy.

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                      18.03.2002 19:10
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                      A child called it is one of the most moving true stories I have ever read. It was written by Dave Pelzer, who, as a child, was abused so badly by his mother that it was documented as the third worst child abuse case ever recorded in California. The most appauling thing about this, as you will discover on reading the book, is that there have actually been two children treated worse than he was. And, of course, others across the world will also have experienced such horrendous suffering. This book tells the story of Dave aged between 4 and 11, before he was taken away from his mother and put into foster care. It is written from the perspective of a child going through such a horrible experience, so the vocabulary is fairly limited. The next book in the series, the lost boy, is about the chapter of his life when he was in foster care, and the final book, a man named Dave tells of his life as an adult. The book begins with the story of how Dave was rescued from his evil mother by the people he now regards as heros. The reason for starting at this point in time is, I assume, to prevent people from getting disheartened as they read the book. You know that, at some point, somebody does finally see how bad things have become for him. School teachers, social workers and police officers risked their own jobs to intervene and take him away from his mother. This was a very heroic act indeed, but I couldn't help but wonder why it didn't happen sooner. The book then moves on to describe the way he lived with his family before such abuse began, and from this point on, the book becomes more and more disturbing. He describes the way his life changed as his mother's alcohol dependancy and her bad relationship with Dave's father lead her to some sort of madness which she took out almost solely on one of her sons. It describes how Dave was subjected to stabbing, torture, humiliation in public and in private, being made to do all of the famil
                      y chores and being excluded from "her family," and referred to as "it." All events are described in horrifficly graphic detail, so the book is definitely not for the faint-hearted. The most amazing, even awe inspiring things are Dave's determination to survive against all the odds, and not to give up, whatever she does to him. His admiration for his father never dwindles, even when his father won't interfere with the way Dave is being treated. And, against his better judgement, Dave's love for his mother, and his dream that one day she will love him back, "as she used to when they were a family," never disappears. Dave becomes hated at school, his mother won't wash his clothes or buy him new ones, and the smell becomes more than anyone can bear. Dave is aware of this, but there is nothing he can do but suffer the humiliation. When his mother starts to starve him, things get even worse at scool. His determination to survive pushes Dave to steal food from other puplis and from shops, getting him into even more trouble at school. He falls behind with his studies, and school goes from being a place where he finds refuge among friends, to a place where he is regarded as a lazy trouble maker. But worse still faces him each evening when he comes home from school, as his mother forces him to vomit to prove that he hasn't been stealing food. He is then gased, beaten, humiliated, or treated in whatever other degrading way his mother can think of. He sleeps in the garage, is not allowed to speak to his brothers, and they are encouraged to treat him as slave. I am not going to go into any more detail on the story, as I cannot begin to capture the agony of his existence. The book will make you cry, it may even make you laugh at time, as Dave somehow retains a sense of humour. However, I would NOT recommend reading it if things like this generally upset you, as it is terribly upsetting. I would also rec
                      ommend putting aside a few days to read it, and reading Dave's other books immediately afterwards. The book somehow induces a necessity to find out what happened to Dave when he finally escaped. It makes you feel guilty, thinking of all the children who are still being treated like this. But most of all, it raises awareness that such things are happenning. I only hope that for every person who reads these books, there will be another person on the look out to prevent such things from happenning to other children, who may not always be lucky enough to escape.

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                        18.03.2002 17:09
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                        I have always been a keen sportsperson and have dealt with sports coaches and nutritionists galore to try to improve my performance. I have taken all sorts of legal performance enhancing supplements, and I have found no great improvement with any of them. While I would never consider taking steroids or any other illegal substance to improve performance, I think that anything we are actually allowed to take seems to have a minimal effect. For years, I put myself through the torture of drinking something called maxim, which is supposed to be a liquid food to keep up energy supplies during training. While this is a good idea for anyone who is likely to suffer from energy loss for whatever reason, it is just not suitable for everyone. Personally, I could not stand the taste of the stuff, and it didn't seem to do much for me anyway. Another girl was very unfortunate, becoming practically addicted to it. She put on an obscene amount of weight which caused her performance in sport to get worse, and she consequently gave up and has never shifted the weight. A more useful sports supplement is a drink called isostar, which is an isotonic drink that rehydrates you after severe physical exertion. This tastes better than maxim, and can be very useful, but only in moderation. It is quite expensive, but worth it for the odd occasion when you become dehydrated. There are also some more natural methods of recovery after sport. For example, putting a small amount of salt into a drink after physical exertion can prevent dehydration and cramp, as the body's mineral supplies become severely drained. Also, I tend to eat an apple after every training session to replace complex carbohydrate. This is also a very healthy and tasty snack, rater than eating a mars bar which is recommended by many coaches. This is used more prior to a race, but personally, it always made me feel bloated and had an adverse effect on my performance. With regard to
                        non-sports supplements, the only things I rely on are vitamin C and multivitamins with iron. I seem to pick up colds all the time if I stop taking vitamin C, although I have a healthy diet. Infact, I am out of it at the moment and have picked up an awful cold. Ecchinachia seems to get rid of colds quickly, this is becoming quite popular. As far as multivitamins go, I take sanatogen multivitamins for vegetarians, as I know I miss out on some essential vitamins and minerals being veggie, especially iron.

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                        • priceline.co.uk / Internet Site / 2 Readings / 10 Ratings
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                          05.03.2002 16:56
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                          Yes, you've seen the adverts, the people sitting on each other's laps on the plane, the guy wrestling with the cleaner for the mop, the family trying to get into the wreck of the car instead of the stunning motor they have hired... Well, I'm afraid I have fallen for the advertising gimmics yet again, but I was pleased with what I found! The site is one of the easiest on the net to find and to follow. It's dead simple- www.priceline.co.uk, couldn't be easier to remember. (The fact that I forgot it and had to resort to phoning my mum is neither here nor there!). Anyway, when you get to the site, the first screen you arrive at tells you exactly what the site is about- you name the price you are willing to pay for the product you want and they will try to buy it for you. One of their main selling points however, is that they only go to the top airlines, so although it may be an economy class ticket, you will not travel with a budget airline. At this first screen, you simply click on the service you want- hotels, car hire, or in my case flights. Then you are taken to the following screen where, in the case of flights, you type in the departure city and the arrival city and the dates you wish to travel and the number of people travelling. This is where I identified my first problem. I was hoping to travel from Nantes, France, to London return. This was not allowed, as you have to purchase a return from a British Airport. (You cannot purchase a one way ticket). Not deterred by that little problem, I decided to book my ticket back after Easter and the return for the date when my lectures finish here. It was perfectly easy to change the dates, and then you move on to the next screen. Here, you are asked which airports near the cities you have specified you are willing to fly from, and how many connections you are prepared to make. The more flexible you are the better, and you are obliged to agree to make a
                          t least one connection, although they will search for direct flights first. You also have to initial a box to say that you agree to their terms and conditions. The next screen asks for your credit card details, your e-mail address and your phone number. Then you can review the details of your application. Having confirmed these details, you then confirm them and the application will be processed. You can check whether your application has been successful within an hour, and if not, not money is removed from your card and you can try again. In order to be able to make another application without having to go through the process of typing in all your details again, you are asked to give an answer to one of numerous questions which only you will know the answer to. For example, what was the name of the first car you drove, where did you go on your first date etc. I would advise caution in answering these, as your credit card details are on file, so be absolutely sure that you give an answer only you will know. When all this is done, you will recieve a customer reference number. This should be written down in order to follow your request. However, it will also be e-mailed to you immediately, so don't panick if you forget to write it down. You will also recieve an e-mail saying that you have a 'personal profile', so you can make another request without fill ing in details. The other e-mail you will recieve is a direct link to the site, to review your request. This, they say, should be done in an hour, but may be ready in 15 minutes. I went back in 15 minutes, and was told that my request was unsuccessful. I then increased it and I also had to change the date. However, I was still unsuccessful, and they said I would have to change the date again, which I was not prepared to do. Whilst the service did not work for me this time, I would always try it again when I was able to be more flexible. Once you've used the site
                          once, they also e-mail you vouchers to make your purchase even cheaper, as they pay for a certain percentage of the amount charged. So if you're considering using it in the future, log on now and make it even cheaper for yourself. Let me know if you are successful!

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                            27.02.2002 18:52
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                            I had several amazing gifts for my 21st birthday, but none kept me entertained so long as this little gem! I recieved the boxed set of the Harry Potter books from my friend, and although this review is technically about the Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone, I have to recommend that you read them all! The Philosopher's Stone starts off in a normal house on a normal street. In that house live a family called the Dursley's. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley live there with their beloved son Dudley and an impostor called Harry who lives under the stairs amongst the spiders. Harry is treated badly by the whole family. There is something odd about him and he is ridiculed by everyone he meets. Harry believes that he lives with the Dursleys because his parents were killed in a car accident when he was just a baby, but little does he know.... The first time Harry realises something strange is going on is when he reaches the age of 11 and a letter arrives addressed to him. He has never had a letter before and is really excited, but in an extreme act of cruelty, Mr. Dursley confiscates the letter. Harry thinks nothing of it until another letter arrives, and another, and another.... Mr. Dursley is trying so hard to get rid of the letters that he decides to take the whole family off to a deserted hut where whoever is sending the letters to Harry will never find them. However, in the middle of the night, an enormous man named Hagrid arrives with a copy of the letter. He brings some amazing news... Harry isn't just some orphan boy whose parents died in a car crash, oh no, Harry is a wizard. And a very famous wizard at that! He defeated the most evil wizard of all time, a wizard who must not be named! And now Hagrid is going to take Harry away to a special school for wizards called Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This is just the beginning of the adventure. At Hogwarts, Harry battles with the forces of ev
                            il, becomes the star player in his school quidditch team and makes some brilliant friends, and a few enemies aswell! I'm not going to tell you any more of the story, because I think oyu should read it for yourself, there's nothing worse than a review which spoils the story when you get around to reading it! But what I will say is DON'T BUY THE BOOK WHEN YOU ARE BUSY! I guarantee you won't be able to put it down. And take no notice of people who say it's a childrens book! I don't know anyone who didn't like it, from my 7 year old sister to my 24 year old fiancé to my gran! Also, you may have heard that the book is quite controversial because of its references to witchcraft. However, in my opinion, there is no problem with giving the book to children. Whilst children do have vivid imaginations, there is nothing in the book which will give them nightmares. They will just find it incredibly exciting. If your kids do have problems with it then blame me, but please don't deprive them of reading it without atleast reading it yourself and making your own judgement. Go on then, I'll stop waffling and let you go and buy a copy! It took me a week to read all four that are out, so make sure you have the next week free. Enjoy your adventure!

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                              26.02.2002 19:30
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                              I have travelled all over Europe, and seen some amazing places, but, as they say, there's no place like home! Although I'm not originally from Cardiff, it is such a lovely city with such a friendly atmosphere that right from the word go, I felt perfectly at home there. I loved Cardiff as soon as I started university in 1998, and since then, the place has continued to grow and prosper. Well, where do I start to tell you about it? I'll break it down into sections, because you won't all be interested in everything the place has to offer. 1. Shopping 2. Other daytime activities 3. The Stadium 4. Food 5. Evening activities 6. Getting there 7. Accommodation 1. Shopping As you would expect with a capital city, there is everything you could possibly want to do in the daytime. The shopping centre is fantastic, it has the full range of shops, from little designer boutiques on St. Mary's street, right through to the big department stores in Queens Street and the out of town shopping centres and supermarkets. The one thing it was lacking shopping wise until recently was H & M, but luckily, that was rectified a couple of years ago! The Queen's Arcade is where the majority of shops can be found, and this is a huge indoor shopping centre, which is great when it rains! The other main arcade is the Capitol arcade, which has recently been renovated and now looks stunning- really modern. This has shops like the Gadget shop, Oasis, pilot, a few cafés, the virgin megastore and of course H & M! 2. Other daytime activities For those of you who are not shop-a-holics, there are plenty of other things to do! If you can manage to pick a day when it's not raining, then take a leisurely stroll around the stunning Castle, or head for the Bay. Alot of work has been done on the bay over the last few years, and it has gone from the place to avoid to the place to be. It's lovely for a walk arou
                              nd, and there are now loads of new restaurants and shops there, which you should definitely check out. The shops aren't up to much, but the restaurants are amazing. There is a lovely Turkish restaurant on the waterfront, which I'm not sure of the name of but you can't miss it, it's on stilts so you completely overlook the water. If you are feeling a little more adventurous, you could always head for Roath park, where there is a lovely lake where you can hire a little rowing boat for a couple of pounds, and row around the lake. Even more adventurous than that? Well there's always the ice-rink, when the Cardiff Devils are not training there, it's only a few quid to skate, which is always a good laugh! There is also a ski slope not too far out of Cardiff, but you would have to be able to drive to get there. 3. The stadium Of course, the one thing that is a must if you visit Cardiff, is a visit to the Millenium Stadium. I went to watch a rugby match and it's amazing. They also have some great gigs there, for example, the Manics played there Millenium Eve. If it's gigs you're after though, St David's hall also has some good ones, aswell as the Students Union and the Cardiff Indoor Arena. And if you'd prefer to watch sport, but you're not keen on rugby, the Cardiff Devils are always worth a look, they're supposed to be one of the best Ice Hockey teams around. 4. Food As far as food goes, there are a million places to eat. An old favourite is Old Orleans, there is one of these in town, but I prefer the one in the bay- you get more food and it's better quality. If you just want a cheap pub lunch, the Prince of Wales is a Weatherspoons pub, fantastic. Need I say more?! The list goes on and on, just decide what kind of food you want, it'll be there somewhere. The only thing I have to recommend as a student is a greesy spoon cafe called Ramon's on Salisbury Road. Try it, if you
                              're into that kind of thing, you'll love it! I do! 5. Evening activities As for things to do in the evening, again, it's take your pick. There are a couple of theatres, loads of cinemas and clubs and even more pubs. As far as cinemas go, I would pay a bit extra for the comfort of the UCI in the bay or the UGC in town. They're both great, and the UGC is not quite so expensive as the UCI, and it's easier to get to. The pubs and clubs are again a matter of personal choice, and there really is something for everyone. My particular favourites are the Tafern in the Union, Henry's for cocktails and then on to Zeus, liquid or evolution to dance the night away! 6. Getting there As far as getting to Cardiff is concerned, it's easy as pie. It's not a bad drive from any angle I've arrived at, and even the trains seemed to get there OK! You can also fly there, it has it's own airport about a £15 taxi journey from town. This is also useful for getting away when you've had enough of the rain! 7. Accommodation If you are looking for somewhere to stay, the Hilton comes highly recommended, although unfortunately I wouldn't know!! There's plenty of hotels about though, but book early, it's a popular little place, especially during the rugby! So, there you are, that's Cardiff! All that remains to be said is go there, see for yourself!

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                              • Reflexology / Archive Lifestyle / 0 Readings / 9 Ratings
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                                21.02.2002 23:17
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                                Reflexology is one of many alternative therapies becoming more and more popular.It is even recommended by many doctors as an alternative to drugs. Treatment is available for many conditions, and you can also have a general treatment which will relax you and may even pick up on underlying problems you were previously unaware of. All the treatment involves is a foot massage, which, for almost everyone is a really pleasant experience. Different areas of the foot are linked to different parts of the body. The reflexologist is trained in anatomy and physiology aswell as the actual structure of the foot, so that they know exactly which part of the body they are treating at any given time. There can be parts of the foot which are incredibly painful during treatment. This is very rarely anything to do with having something wrong with your foot, but is usually due to an ailment in the part of the body which that area on the foot is linked to. The reflexologist will gently work on the painful area of the foot, massaging it until the pain in the foot goes away. This does not mean that the ailment in the part of the body it is linked to is cured, but it should relieve tension, and can also relieve pain in that area. The idea of the treatment is that it stimulates th body to heal any problems itself without the aid of drugs. You may find that the area of the foot connected to the part of the body with which you are having problems does not give you any pain when it is touched. It may just be a strange sensation felt running through the foot to that area of the body, which, strangely enough, the reflexologist may also feel from you! Although refrlexologists mainly concentrate on the feet, they are also trained to give treatment using your hands instead. This may be more suitable for people with painful skin conditions or bunions on their feet, or for people like me.... You may be wondering why I seem to know quite a bit
                                about this treatment, yet I haven't mentioned my own experience of it. This is because my experience is a little out of the ordinary. My mum is a qualified reflexologist, and during her training and also now she is qualified, she has tried on numerous occasions to give me a reflexology treatment. Whilst she has had a 100% success rate on everyone she has managed to treat, I was, as usual , the exception to the rule. I am, without a shadow of a doubt, the most ticklish person I have ever met. Every other day for a couple of months, my mum lay me on the treatment couch, told me to relax and tried to massage my feet.... The result? I nearly rearranged her face with my foot! She couldn't so much as lay a finger on me without me screaming and kicking and giggling. There was no way she, or anyone else could ever use reflexology on me. However, don't let my experience put you off. I am the only person she has ever not been able to treat due to my ticklishness. And even then, whenever I need treatment for something, even just a cold, she treats me on my hands instead. In my experience, this is always really good for relief of both pain and symptoms, although most people feel tired the following day, so don't have reflexology the day before a big event. You should also be told by your reflexologist that you must drink plenty of water for the next 24 hours. This removes the toxins which have been released into the body by the treatment. The price of treatment can vary from free, if you can either persuade your mum to become a qualified reflexologist, or if you volunteer to be a guinea pig for someone who is training; to about twenty pounds if you go to one of the best qualified practitioners. I would recommend this treatment to anyone, particularly if conventional medicine has not helped. It can be particularly useful as an alternative to drugs in pain-relief. Don't let being ticklish p
                                ut you off, I can guarantee you won't be as ticklish as me, I am the person who can't wear high neck jumpers as they tickle my neck! And even if you are really ticklish, give it a try, they may be able to work on your hand instead.

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