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Nickycool

Nickycool
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Member since: 11.07.2000

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    • More +
      24.11.2009 23:20
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      Expensive nail varnish that doesn't last the day

      Nails Inc

      I received this nail varnish as a gift. I've looked on their website www.nailsinc.com and it's an expensive brand. So if it's expensive it is any good? Let's see!

      Packaging and colours

      It's a 10ml glass bottle with a silver screw top. You can see the colour of the nail varnish through the glass. It looks expensive and classy. On the front of the bottle: it says nails inc. LONDON and then the name of the colour that it's in the bottle. Mine is Victoria. It's a crimson red. There are loads of different colours.

      The product

      It's a smooth liquid that has that nail varnish smell to it. With the dark colours, you need at least two coat so I can imagine that with the lighter colours, you might need three. It takes about 5-10 minutes to dry depended on how thick the coats are. After you have put the layers of nail varnish on, it looks shiny and smooth. I've only had my nail varnish one day and it's already chipped. I've had nail varnish from Primark that last three days before chipping and it was a tenth of the price of this one.

      Price and where to buy

      £20 for 4 in a packet or around £10 for one. You can buy them on their website. Also you can find them in Selfridges and Debenhams.

      Verdict

      Looks good but isn't worth it as it doesn't last long and it's expensive. I will stick to the cheap and cheerfull nail varnishes from Primark.

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      • HTC Magic / Smartphone / 40 Readings / 37 Ratings
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        23.11.2009 21:07
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        The magic in the phone appears with a touch of button

        Feel the Magic

        The HTC Magic is my current phone and I love it! It's exclusive to Vodafone and it is the next gen of the T-Mobile's G1.

        ... Overview of HTC Magic ...

        Design: It's sleek and white. It's completely touch unlike the G1 that had a push up keyboard. It had Home key, Menu, Back button, Search key and the normal green and red call buttons. In the middle of the phone at the bottom, you have a roller ball. It's like the ones you might have seen on older Blackberrys (Pearl, Bold or Curve.)

        Features: It's a HDSPA phone (it's faster than 3G as it can pick up 3G+) and built in WiFi. It runs the operating system called Android. Like the I-Phone, it's mainly for the internet, applications and music. It has a 3.2 megapixel camera but it's not the best camera ever.

        ... Touchscreen ...

        The screen is 3.2 inch TFT-LCD. It's touch responsive. Only with heat of your finger, not with a pen or stick. It's easy to use and quite responsive to the touch.

        ... Messaging ...

        It's a touchscreen and messaging is very straightforward on this. You have a QWERTY keyboard and you just tap away. The great thing about the messaging on HTC Magic is, it's saves all your messages that you sent or received by person like a conversation. This is great especially when you're like me and forgot if you already asked someone something. You can change the keyboard to other keyboard by downloading applications for example, Handcent Keyboard or Slidetype Keyboard.

        ... Browser ...

        This is just a standard feature on the phone. This allows you to go onto the internet through the Google Search Engine and gives you the full screen access to the internet. It allows you to zoom in and out to enlarge the text. You can bookmark pages. It's just like your normal internet but on a smaller screen and no wired keyboard. The keyboard is on the screen.

        ... Sounds/Music ...

        The presets for the ringtones and notifications are really boring and you really need to download Ring extended, otherwise you can't put your own music as ringtones or notifications.
        The music player looks like any MP3 player and that I've seen. There's loads of different applications to change things to due with music, ringtones too many to mention.

        ... Calls/Contacts ...

        The calls on the handset are clear. Everyone can hear me and I can hear them. The dialer is easy to use in conjunction with the green and red buttons. The call log is easy to read. You can even put favourite for people that you call a lot.
        Transfer your contacts from your Sim Card is easy but it does seem to put it back to front. I ended up editing quite a few but they are easy to access.

        ... Google Features ...

        You have an automatic Google search bar on your phone. You have Google Maps, Google email, Google Talk and YouTube. It's a Google phone so what did you expect lol.

        ... LED Lights ...

        There are two LED lights at the top of the phones. Left one is for the notifications, flashing to let you know that you have a message, email or the application you were downloaded is on the phone etc. The right one is for the battery. It changes to amber colour when you're low on battery and also lights up when you're charging your phone.

        ... Camera ...

        The camera on this phone is 3.2 megapixel. I don't rate it very high. I've had other phones that have been 3.2 megapixel and they have been a lot better than this. It's not always about the megapixel that the manufacture uses but it's mainly down to the lens that they use on the camera. That's why you get such a big range of difference in-between cameras of the same megapixel.

        The phone doesn't have the usual camera button on the side but can take pictures or videos by using the roller ball or the button on the screen. There isn't much that you can change in the settings. Just the focus mode, picture quality, picture size (2 or 3 megapixel), video quality and video duration. There's no settings to change for the lighting (day or night mode) which makes this camera unused by me as I only take random snaps on a Saturday night.

        ... Battery Life ...

        The battery life on this phone is quite poor for two reasons. Firstly is because it's constantly on the internet updating applications and secondly, because it's a heavy data using phone, it calls upon the 3G network more than a normal handset. 3G seems to zap more life out of the battery than 2G does. This also depends on how good your signal is. At my old house I only use to charge my phone every other day but now I've moved and I have to charge it every day. I've checked my coverage and my 3G signal is a lot lower in my new area than it was in my old. There's a useful option on the phone that shows you what your phone has been doing since its last charge.

        ... Market, Bluetooth and Apps ...

        This is where you can download all these applications that I've been talking about. This is the place where you can get them for free or pay for them. Also here you can manage your installed apps. If you don't like an app just uninstall it.

        The HTC magic does have bluetooth but it was only designed for headsets and inbuilt car systems. I know what you're thinking, not really much point put this on a phone if you can't bluetooth music to your friends, well think again, this is why this phone is brilliant. Everything can be changed by an application. So let's have a look at 5 must have applications for Android phones.

        Bluetooth File Transfer - As I was saying earlier, bluetooth was designed only for audio proposes only but not any more with this application. This lets you send and receive all the things you want to send. This application lets Bluetooth be something more than just standard Bluetooth. It lets you connect completely to the other phones and see everything that on their phone. All their files, songs, pictures etc. not just the item that they want to send you. This could be potentially be dangerous for the other people so don't leave your Bluetooth open on any phone.

        Facebook - Love this. You can put this on your front screen. Instant access to Facebook.

        FunTowers or Solitaire - There are card games. Kills the boredom on public transport or in the car (as a passenger)

        TasKiller - this can close all your applications in one go and saves your battery life.

        Other features

        WiFi - it's faster than your network's internet and if you don't have internet built into your price plan or you're on PAYG, it's cheaper way of gain access to the internet.

        A-GPS - You can use Sat Nav on this phone. There's a free app to download but it still need some tweaking. Also Google Maps uses the network to get your position but it can also use the GPS to get your position.

        ... Cost ...

        Free from £25 - 75mins + 250 mins + Internet
        £30 - 600 mins + Unlimited Texts (fair usage policy of 3000 texts) + Internet
        PAYG - between £230 - £300
        ... Overall opinion ...

        I love this phone. I love the design. It's sleek. It's white. Surprisingly, doesn't get dirty like a black phone does. I can go onto the internet anytime I like. I can discover new apps, games, etc with just a click of a button. I've got used to having to charge my phone every day and I wouldn't pick it if I was more actively using the camera. This phone is for anybody that likes the I-Phone but doesn't like the price attached to it.

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        • Sony Ericsson W595 / Mobile Phone / 50 Readings / 48 Ratings
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          11.11.2009 11:50
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          If you want a basic phone with brilliant music, this is the one for you

          Yes, another phone review. I haven't done in any in ages. I still work for Vodafone so in the last year, I've had a quite a few phones. So this is the first one of many.

          ...Overview of the W595...
          Design: It's a slide phone that comes in different colours. Vodafone only does it in the black with a red backplate but I have seen it in blue and pink. The list from the Sony Eericsson's website says that it comes in Cosmopolitan White - Jungle Grey - Ruby Black - Peachy Pink - Lava Black - Active Blue - Sandy Gold - Active Silver. The phone has proper buttons for the keypad and side buttons for volume and the Walkman functions.
          Features: It's a 3G phone with a 3.2-mega pixel camera on the back which is protected when it's is slid down and VGA on the front for video calling. As it's a Walkman phone, it has a MP3 player; stereo bluetooth, Shake control and many more music orientated features. It has all the usual features that you would find on a phone these days like WAP, email, MMS, alarm clock, calculator and many more. It's a quad-band phone with an internal memory of 40MB and memory card slot that takes a Sony Ericsson M2 memory card up to 8GB.

          ...Walkman...
          It's a Walkman phone, so of course you expect good quality sound and MP3 player functions. You can access the Walkman part of the phone with the flick of a button on the side. This brings up the Sony Ericsson's version of a MP3 player, the format hasn't changed at all for a few years now. It tells you the album, song, artist and has room for album art. The navigational buttons for the Walkman are quite standard. You have your play/stop, rewind, fast-forward, up and down buttons for scrolling through your playlist. It's easy enough to add songs to your playlist (as many as you like) Either bluetooth it from friends, transfer it through your PC or download it from the internet. Also if you sync your music with Windows Media Player if you have any album covers attached to your songs, it will transfer this info to your phone as well. You can set music to shuffle or repeat, rate individual tracks, adjust the equaliser or watch visualisation on the screen. Also, it plays a variety of music formats including MP3, AAC files and protected Windows Media files.
          So what's the quality like? Well, with the headphones that you get in the box, the music sounds brilliant. It's one of the best Walkman phones on the market at the moment but they haven't really changed much since the W850i. Though saying that, why fix something when it ain't broke?

          Other music features on the phone are

          Track ID, which if you record a few seconds of a song, it will search the internet and send you the information of what song it is, by whom and off which album it is. It's quite good but it doesn't seem to be able to recognise mashed up songs but hey ho, nothing is perfect.

          Shake Control - You press the Walkman button, you shake it for side to side horizontally and it skips the track. It's a bit of novelty feature of the phone. Yes, it's amusing for the first couple of times but there's also the button that's called the fast forward for skipping tracks.

          Ringtones - It's pretty standard these days that the ringtones can be MP3s and that they can be used for calls, messages, emails, alarms and so on. This one does it so no problems there.

          ...Battery Life...
          Sony Ericsson says that the phone has a standby time up to 385 hours and a talk time of up to 9 hours. I think that the battery life is good, it used to last me about 3-4 days depended on my usage but I have had phones that have had longer battery life than this. Though saying that, the more you put on a phone and as technology gets more advanced in the phones, the less the battery time seems to be.

          ...All about the menu and phoning...
          The menu may look different depending on what network it's on but Sony Ericsson haven't changed their menus in a long time either with Vodafone nor with other networks. They sometimes changed the order of it but you still get the main headings like Entertainment, Calls, Contacts, Walkman, Camera, File Manager, Messages, Organiser, Alarm Clock, Video Calls, Settings, Vodafone Live.

          Calls are quite easy to make and receive on this phone. No dedicated green or red call buttons but still easy. The quality of the incoming and outgoing calls are fine. Have had no problems. Reception is good but if you're not a good 3G reception area, turn it off in your settings and save a load on battery! It has the feature speaker phone which is great when you're talking family and everyone wants to hear.

          ...Camera...
          It has a 3.2 mega-pixel camera/video camera. As it's a Walkman phone, the camera isn't the best but it's brilliant for outdoor shots in the daytime. It has no flash or even light, evening and night time are a little bit on the grainy side. Indoor pictures aren't bad but sometimes too much light or too little light does make the picture unviewable. You can put little frames around your pictures. Funny but a novelty that wears off after awhile. It only has a 2.5x digital zoom, which is a little unimpressive but all in all this camera has capture brilliant pictures.

          ...Messages...
          Text messages are easy to do on this phone. Not really changed much. I had about 1000 messages in the inbox. The more text messages you have in the inbox, the more the phone seems to slow down so you're better off deleting your messages so often.

          ...Added features...
          Google maps - it uses the network's to find your position but this can be way off about 3 miles out as it's trying to pinpoint your location by triangulation through the masts in your area. The more masts you have in your area, the better google maps can find where you are. You have map, satellite and traffic mode. I love the satellite mode as you can see a lot of details, your garden even sometimes your car parked outside your house.

          Geo tagging - you can tagged your pictures with information on where it was taken. I personally didn't use this feature but sounds like a good idea if you take a lot of pictures of similar scenery.

          Support PictBridge. Basically, this is for connecting your phone to a printer. You use the USB cable next to for example HP photo printer and it will print any photos that you have on your phone memory or memory card. It's fast and easy.

          ...In the Box...
          Phone with Battery and Battery cover
          Charger
          USB Cable
          2GB M2 Memory Card
          Headphones
          User guide and Manual
          CD with Software for the phone

          ...My thoughts...
          I loved this phone when I had it but it felt a bit boring after awhile. Sony Ericsson haven't really changed anything on the phone to make it more appealing. I've had a lot of Walkman phones and they haven't really changed since the W800i which is a couple of years ago. Also Sony Ericsson's phones now seem to always have software problems. I never had a problem with this phone but I know that a lot of people that bought it have had. The battery life is good but I just feel like there's nothing about this phone that makes it stand out from the crowd. Don't get me wrong it's a good phone but it's one of the more basic phones these days especially when you have the Iphone, HTC Magic and Nokia N97 etc lurking around. I've seen it in the shops for between £100 - £150 and Free on the lowest contract.

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          • More +
            04.07.2008 19:22
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            It's okay.

            You know how much I like my chicklit. It has been ages since I've read anything by Freya North, mainly because I used to get her books free with Cosmo and other such magazines but now she's an established writer, she doesn't really give many of her books away free. So I was browsing through Amazon to see what offers they had and I saw this book "Pillow Talk" for £3.86. The story sounded interesting so I bought it.

            ...A bit about the author...

            Freya North was born on 21st November 1967. She's well-known for chicklit.
            In 1991, she gave up on her PhD to write her first novel. Her parents and friends told her to stop being silly and get a proper job but she didn't listen and personally I'm glad she didn't listen to them otherwise her first novel "Sally" wouldn't have been published. Ever since then, she's been publishing chick lit novels left, right and centre. Her latest book, "Pillow Talk", won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2008.

            ...The Story...

            The whole story revolves around two main characters, Petra Flint and Arlo Savidge.

            Petra is a talented jeweller who works in a lively London studio with her friends, Eric, Kitty and Gina. There are only two problems in her life. One is her constant sleepwalking for no apparent reason and her boyfriend, Rob. She works so hard at loving him but he doesn't seem to love her back in the way that she loves him.

            Arlo is a brilliant musician but he escaped the Rock n Roll lifestyle to teach music at a boy's boarding school. Like Petra, he has problems with his sleeping habits. He's an insomniac. He has chosen to be celibate, as he doesn't want to love again but that all changes when Petra and Arlo meet again in a sweet shop. Petra and Arlo were once teenage sweethearts. Could this be their second chance and put the past to bed or are they both going to be disappointed in love again?


            ...My thoughts...

            I was slightly disappointed with this book. I'm not saying that it's a bad book and I did want to know what happened in the end but this book didn't give me the same feeling that I had with her other books.

            The whole story was too focused on Petra and Arlo even though they are very likeable characters. I wanted to know more about the others too. The other characters in the book like Eric, Gina, Kitty, Jen etc I felt there was no connection to them. It felt like they were put into the story so Petra and Arlo would have friends. Detail and depth is what it needed. Just some little extra details so that it would have felt real to me. It felt like Arlo and Petra were the only ones that had problems and that we didn't need to know anymore about the other characters because they were perfect with no cares in the world (with the exception of Rob). I think if Freya North would have added these little extra details it would have made the book, an outstanding chicklit novel.

            I'm actually quite surprised that this book has won an award because it's just like all the other chick lit novels. Good but could have been so much better if the author had just sat down and thought about the other characters. Just paid a little more attention to detail. Maybe it was the pressures of the publishers to churn out another novel but still, I expected more from the author.

            Saying all that, the book does have some touching moments and I must say that some of the bedroom scenes were very graphic and well written. I also liked the way it flipped from Petra's point of view to Arlo's.
            Would I recommend it? Yes, it's still a good chick lit novel but it just didn't live up to my expectations that I have when it comes to Freya North.

            For more information on Freya North or her books, visit http://www.freyanorth.co.uk

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            • Vodafone / Employment / 54 Readings / 54 Ratings
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              10.06.2008 11:37
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              Work for Vodafone Retail and get rewards

              ...Working for Vodafone...

              I've worked for Vodafone since 2005. I work in a retail store in a precinct as a Sales Advisor though I will be Senior Sales Advisor in a few weeks (if NVQs people get a move on). I originally started on 8 hours but am now on 30 hours plus overtime. Normally I do on average 38 hours per week.

              ...Getting the job...

              A lot of things have changed over the years including on how they recruit people. I saw the job advertised on the Customer Service board in the precinct. I handed in my CV to the manager, he phoned me to arrange an interview, went to the store to have the interview and then was phoned that I'd got the job.
              Now it's a little bit more complicated. The jobs are now advertised through Adecco, a poster in the store and our career's website, http://careers.vodafone.co.uk/.

              When you visit the website, you can either search for a particular job in certain locations or you can submit your CV without choosing a job. Basically keeping your CV on file until there's a job opening in the location or the job description that you want.

              If you've applied, you will have two telephone interviews that you have to pass before getting an interview in the store. They ask you about your experience and give you different scenarios and ask you to call on your experience and knowledge to answer their questions.

              If you pass the telephone interviews, you will get invited to the store to have an interview with the manager (or manager from a different store if the manager is away or cannot attend for whatever reason) and either an assistant manager or a senior person. They will ask the usual questions that companies ask in interviews. Then the manager will ring you up to tell you if you have the position or not.

              ...Induction...

              With Vodafone, there is the induction and in-store training. The induction can be before or after you have had your in-store training. It depends on when they are. The induction has changed since I went on it so the information might be a little out of date.

              The induction was one day that told you all about Vodafone as a company, the past, the present and the future. What they expect from you as an advisor. You also do those role play games. Learn to work as a group. I remember that the food where I had my induction (the Hilton in Leeds) was lovely!
              Now, the induction is three days long and incorporates the training we had do with last year. (Went down to Luton and it snowed.) Training was about how to handle customers, to go the extra mile if you can etc. They also tell you about Vodafone, what's expected of you as a trainee advisor (in my day, there was no such thing as a trainee advisor) etc.

              In-store training has also changed since I joined the company. Before you did all your training of the different systems and basically anything to do with the job at your own store. Now, you go away for 5 days to a training store. You get your expenses paid so if you have to stay over or have to get the bus or train everyday, you will pay for it but they will reimburse you at the end.

              ...Training...

              You might think that I've covered this with the induction section but no, there's more training after you've started. There are web-based courses and internal training. After your week at the training store (or my case no training store), you get to go to your store and learn. Believe me there's lots more to working in the mobile industry than you think. There's the different systems that you have to learn to help customers, there's lots of technical info like settings for WAP and MMS that you have to learn (or just pass it to me as I'm quite good at these). Also when there's something wrong with for example, with a customer's phone you have to know to eliminate things to get down to the bottom of the problem. Sometimes, it's is simple but other times, you have to send them away to work on the problem.

              Basically, you learn all this from watching your team members work but I started in October just before the Christmas period. You either pick it up fast like I did or you won't make it. It's either sink or swim.

              The web based module and courses are to learn new products, price plans, systems or if they change something to the way they were before.

              There are also internal courses that are run on a regular basis that are revelant to your job title. Managers and assistant managers go on more courses than the other staff. I've been on two of them since I started. One was for Business and all about business price plans (though they have just changed it again) and another about customer experience and how to handle 'challenges'.

              There's also roadshows. One in the summer and one just before Christmas trade. Sometimes we all go, sometimes it's just for managers and assistant managers. These roadshows gives us information on how the company is doing and gives more info on things to come.

              ...Qualifications and education...

              Also something new in the company since I joined. NVQs! Before you filled in a booklet, you went to another store for a day to demonstrate everything you knew and you got your Senior Sales (or not).

              Unluckily for me, I was in the middle of filling in that booklet, when the NVQs came in. Nobody knew what they were meant to be doing. They told me that I would have to start on Customer experience Level 1, which is for a trainee starts. I told my manager that this was unfair and after a few weeks (months) of waiting, I was told that I could go onto Customer experience Level 3 but I wouldn't get the NVQ as I didn't start at the bottom. I'm not really bothered about not getting the NVQ as I have a degree.

              You have to complete Level 1 to become a trainee advisor, Level 2 is to become Sales Advisor and Level 3 is to become Senior Sales Advisor and Business Sales Advisor.

              There's also the management NVQs, Level 2 is to become Assistant Manager when you have been Senior Sales Advisor for more than 6 months. Level 3 is to become Manager.

              With the NVQs, you have to fill in a lot of paperwork and wait a long time for your NVQ assessor to get back to you.

              ...Uniform...

              You wear a red company shirt and black trousers. We used to be able to wear any top that we liked with black trousers when I first started. I do miss that but I do understand why they changed the policy.

              ...Reviews...

              Every month, you have 1-2-1s and every 6 months you have your PD a review of your performance during those 6 months. There can be action plans if you have fallen down on something badly. These 1-2-1s and PDs will determine how much of a pay rise you will get.

              ...Benefits of working at Vodafone...

              You guessed it phones! You have the right to 2 normal staff contract with no line rental and calls, texts and data are half the price of normal. Third contract that you can have is called a Feast, where you get all unlimited calls and texts and upto 500mb of data, free insurance with no excess for £25 a month.

              The normal staff contract are annoying sometimes as you either end up getting a phone that's been out ages or paying for a phone that new as you are classed as have the lowest contract thus paying for phones. Unlike been able to discount these phones for new customers, we can't discount it for ourselves.

              The feast contract is brilliant value for money, the only thing is that you either have to give your phone back at the end of the contract or buy it for £50 depends on how much you like the phone I guess.

              We also get 40% discount on accessories and used to get 20% on PAYT handsets but since February, we don't anymore. They said they might bring it back in.

              Pension is another benefit. They will match up to 4% of what you put in so if I put in £60, they will also put in £60. Life insurance is also another benefit. If I were to die, my beneficiaries will get 5 times my basic salary. I pay 28p per month for that but it is free if you only want 3 times your basic salary.

              Another thing is shares. For the last few years, every employee gets shares. You can't touch them for two years and if you leave the company before you can cash them out, you lose them.

              There are also incentive to win things like holidays, vouchers, money, etc through mobile phone company like Samsung, Sony Ericsson. Also the reps come around and give you pens, key rings etc. It might be little but it all adds up.

              ...Managers and Team members...

              I'm very lucky to have a great manager and brilliant team members. We all get along great and I'm lucky to work there. Yes, there are days where I get bored or extremely annoyed by the customer's attitudes. Thankfully, this is not every day. Lol you might be surprised to know that I nearly turned down the job as I didn't think I would like it. I thought the atmosphere would be like Phones4U (some of my friends work there) and that I would be fighting for sales all the time. Luckily, we work on store based commission. We work as a team to achieve targets and I think that's a much better way.

              ...People outside my store...

              We have a excellent regional manager who listen to your queries and challenges. I have met quite a few different people through Roadshows, meetings and courses. Most of them are a great bunch of people and I would be happy to work in any other store across my region.

              ...Salary...

              Depended how long you have been with the company, the salary can vary massively. People who start with in the retail stores start off on minimum wage for 21+ even if you're not over 21. After six months, you get a pay increase. Well, that's how it used to be. They are thinking of changing the way they do it so when you join start on more than minimum wage and you get nothing for when you pass your probation, which I think is a bit silly.
              You also generally get a pay raise every year in June to start for July. This is between 1.5% - 4.5 % depended on your 1-2-1s and the profits of the company.
              Of course, in addition to your basic salary, there's commission. Like I mentioned earlier, commission is shared by the team and is based on how many hours you have worked in that month. If you have worked overtime, you get more commission.

              ...Overall thoughts...

              I can't speak for the whole of Vodafone as there are many different parts and departments but it's well worth it to work in the retail stores especially if you have a manager and team members like mine.
              Though getting into Vodafone Retail now is quite hard, the job is rewarding most of time, the benefits and rewards are great and the pay is good. Higher than any retailer I've ever worked for.

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              • Glade Aerosols / Homeware / 47 Readings / 48 Ratings
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                03.06.2008 19:03
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                A brilliant air freshener!

                As I have my own house now, I need my rooms to smell nice and clean when I haven't the chance to open the window as I've been at work all day or it's been too cold to. Also I have a lot of my partner's friends over. They seem to love leaving the seat up but also smelling out my bathroom or sometimes it's just my mum's cat using his litter tray.

                My mum has always use Glade Air Fresheners. The smells of Glade reminds me of home so I decide to go into Wilkos and get some.

                ...The Range...

                Glade is made by the company SC Johnson. Glade offers lots of different freshening products. In the Glade Air Fresheners, there are many different fragrances. The ones that I seen regular on the shelves in the shops are Magnolia & Vanilla, Clean Linen, Lavender, Lilly of the Valley and Refreshing Spa. On their website, there seems to be more fragrances. Apple and Spice, I've only seen it in the shops near Christmas. The others ones I've never seen them on the shelves. Maybe my Wilko don't like to stock some of these or the fragrances are meant for other countries.

                At work, we also use Glade and our company sends us the industrial cans and we have Pacific Breeze and Marine, which I've also not seen in the shops. That could be due to the fact that both of the cans have been there ages and maybe they don't make those fragrances anymore.

                ... The price ...

                When I got them in Wilkos, they were 69p each. I bought Magnolia & Vanilla and Clean Linen. I have seen them in Tesco and Adsa for around 90-£1.

                ...Packaging ...

                The cans come in all different colours dependant on the fragrances.

                Magnolia & Vanilla has a pale yellow colour. On the front of the can, there's a beautiful picture of some magnolias and vanilla pods.

                Clean Linen has a powder blue top colour and has a lovely picture of clean linen and open window leading to fresh grass and the sunshine.

                Both cans are the same in their layout. There's a logo that says 2 in 1 - Freshens & Fragrances. At the bottom of the can, there's the Johnson logo.

                The cans are both 300ml. The ones we have at work are 500ml.

                ... Using the Product...

                On the back of the can, it says to shake well. To freshen the air, point can towards centre of room and spray. This is product is not recommended for use on fabric.
                Then there's all the usually information. For example, protect from sunlight, do not spray onto or near a naked flame etc.

                So I follow the instructions. I grab the can and put my finger on the button, hold it up to the centre of the room and spray. A short gust of product is sprayed out. Looks a lot like mist and as it settles, you start to smell that wonderful fragrance.

                ...The Smell...

                Magnolia & Vanilla - At first, you smell the vanilla but as the spray begins to settle, you smell an undertone of Magnolia. It's not too sickly but just right.

                Clean Linen - it's smell exactly like I would imagine. It smells of washed clothes in a lovely fabric conditioner.

                ... Length of time ...

                The fragrance lingers for about an hour but it also banishes the other smells for a lot longer so even though you can't smell it, it's still doing the job.

                ... My thoughts...

                I notice that my rooms smell a lot fresher. Sometimes, I just spray it to smell the wonderful fragrance but I do say that it definitely works in the bathroom as that's where we mainly use it. If you also get the glade plug-in in the same fragrance, your house will smell wonderful. I definitely recommend it as it works and it smells nice.

                For more information about Glade and their products. You can visit their website http://www.glade.com/air-fresheners/, or email them on ask.uk@scj.com or you can telephone them on 0800 353353 or you can write them a letter to SC Johnson Ltd. Camberley GU16 7AJ.

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                  01.06.2008 16:54
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                  Eye Remover that works instantly

                  Nivea Visage - Extra Gentle Eye Make Up Remove
                  I always find that my face wipes never fully remove my masacra. It is quite annoying to find that I have panda eyes in the morning and have to work doubly hard to get the black stains from under my eyes. I happened to see this in Superdrug and thought this might solved my problems. So did it solve my problems or do I still look like a panda in the morning?


                  ...The Range...

                  Nivea Visage do lots of different products but there seems to be two versions of the eye remover - a cream and a liquid remover. I bought the liquid remover.

                  ...The price...
                  I bought this from Superdrug for £2.35 (it's on offer - original price £3.35) but I have seen it for over 4 pounds in other places. So I would shop around for the cheapest deal on this product.


                  ...Packaging and product ...

                  The first thing you notice about the packaging is the blue liquid that you can see through the bottle. There's a logo - Nivea Visage. Under that, it states Extra Gentle Eye Make-Up Remover. Oil Free with ProVitamin B5. 125ml. For sensitive. The bottle fits quite nicely into my hand so it's easy to grip so you can use it without spilling loads everywhere. There's a flick up cap, which is easy to open. You can keep it upto 12 months after its been opened.
                  This product is meant to "remove eye make-up without leaving any greasy residue. Its extra gentle formulation with soothing ProVitamin B5 gently hydrates the delicate eye area, minimising the risk of irritation. This product is oil free and ophthalmologically tested as suitable for contact lens wearers."

                  That last bit is interesting and very important to me as I wear contact lenses.
                  The smell is that typical Nivea smell. I can't describe it but everyone knows that Nivea smell. I spilt some of the liquid on the side so I can look at it without being on cotton wool. It looks like water. It doesn't seem to have that same blue look to it in small quantities. Now for the testing.


                  ... Using the product ...

                  On the back of the bottle, it says Apply to cotton wool and wipe lightly over the eye area. Tissue or rinse off.
                  So it's evening and I have my day make up on. I do as the bottle says and put some of the liquid on the cotton wool and start to wipe my eye make up off gently. It doesn't sting and feels quite refreshing on my eye lids. I wipe and wipe and then I look at the cotton wool. A blend of mascara and eye shadow. One bit of cotton wool for each eye and I'm done. Just to test that there's no make up left on my eyes, I get some cotton wool, put some more of the product on it and wipe one of my eyes again. I look at the cotton wool and it's virtually clean. So it passed the day make up test but how about the night-time make up test?

                  Well, I did expect to use more of the product as I do put a lot more make-up on an evening than I do in the day and I did use more of the product but not really much more. It seems to remove all the mascara and eye make up no matter how much or how many layers of make up you have applied on your face.
                  After using the eye remover, my skin around my eyes didn't feel dry like it normally does when I use my facial wipes to get the mascara off. Maybe it's because I didn't have to rub hard to get it off.


                  ...My thoughts...

                  Well, I no longer look like a panda in the morning and my eyes feel refreshed after I've used it. I think it's a bargain. It seems to last for ages as well. I would recommend this to anyone.
                  For more information about this product or any of Nivea's other product, please visit http://www.nivea.co.uk/highlights/local_highlight/LOCAL_nvs_oxgenuk.

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                    26.05.2008 12:20
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                    Great deodorant all around!

                    I wear a lot of red due to my uniform at work and I noticed that my normal deodorant was leaving white marks on my shirts. I was going to buy a new deodorant but I happen to spot this on my mum's side of the cupboard of our bathroom goodies. The first words I saw on the can were 'Invisible Dry' and 'Anti White Marks'. Just what I needed so I decided to pinch it for the day and buy some of my own if I liked. So did I like it or did I find something else that was better?

                    ...The Range...

                    Dove do lots of different products but in the Invisible Dry range there's three. There's the roll on, the stick and the spray. I have the spray.

                    ...The price...

                    I've seen the price for the spray, stick and roll on ranging between £1.80 - £2.49. I try to buy mine in Bodycare as it always seems cheaper there but the price does vary in there too. Like everywhere, it depends on what offers they have on.

                    ...Packaging...

                    At first glance, it looks very elegant. It's a creamy white with the word Dove and under that, written in purple, Invisible Dry, Anti White Marks, Anti-Perspirant Deodorant. Then it says 0% alcohol and 24h. The shape of the can makes it easy to grip.

                    ...The Smell...

                    It's light and fresh like all Dove products seem to be. It's subtle and over the days, the fragrance does start disappeared but I wouldn't say that the Anti-Perspirant bit isn't working anymore.

                    ...The promises...

                    Anti White Marks on any colours, it lasts 24 hours and moistures the skin. I agree with the anti white marks. When I sprayed it, I didn't have any of those nasty white marks that I had before especially with my red shirts and my going out tops that are usually black but the claim that it lasts for 24 hours is a bit farfetched. I would say that the fragrance lasts about 6 hours but it works upto 8-10 hours but that could depend on your body chemistry as everyone is different when it comes down to fragrances and body ordours. Also I tested when I went to the gym and then it doesn't last as long either so lifestyle (or if you sweat more than the average person) can make a difference.
                    The moisturising bit, well, I didn't feel any difference but it felt lovely on my skin when I sprayed it so maybe that's it.

                    ...My thoughts...

                    Brilliant. Not a bad price and does the job. You can use this anytime and anywhere. Fair enough you have to re-apply it more than it says on the tin but I'm not bothered about that as long as I get rid of the white marks and it lasts about an eight hour shift at work. Also I found no problem in using it after I had shaved as there is no alcohol so painless spraying before I go out clubbing. I definitely recommend this product to anyone.

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                    • Walkers SunBites / Snacks / 49 Readings / 43 Ratings
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                      12.05.2008 21:31
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                      Yummy bits of sunshine in a ripply crisp

                      At work, I usually get a meal deal at Boots. A sandwich, a drink and a packet of crisps. I was trying to cut down a bit and saw these on the shelf. Wholegrain, I thought, isn't that meant to be good for you? So I put it in the lunch meal deal bag and off to the till I went. 36p in Boots they are but I have recently bought a pack of six for £1.36 but they were from the bargain sections as they only had 3 months left on them. Silly eh? The original price was £1.55, which works out to about 26p a packet.

                      Flavours and the packaging.

                      They come in two different type of packets. Single packet (28g) and multi pack x 6 (25g). I only found this out from the website. I always wondered why the packet in Boots looked slightly bigger than the one I had at home. Just thought it was my eyes playing tricks on me.

                      The packaging is really appealing. A beautiful sunrise over a big meadow/field with trees. The word SunBites is in the middle of the meadow/field. Then under that, 2 crisps showing you what the SunBites actually look like and each different flavour has a different picture of a bowl with the ingredients of the flavours.

                      There are three different flavours at the moment. Original, Sour Cream & Cracked Black Pepper and Oven Roasted Onion & Rosemary. I haven't tried the Oven Roasted Onion and Rosemary one as I've never seen it on the shelves when I do the shop but it sounds lovely so I'm keeping my eyes peeled for them.

                      Fattening or not?

                      The packet for 25g, it contains 117 calories, 2.1g sugar, fat 5.4g, saturates 0.6g, fibre 1.7g and salt 0.3g.

                      Initially, I thought ouch 117 calories. That's quite a bit for such a small packet but it is more than one third of my wholegrain recommend intake, they have 30% less fat than normal crisps. They are made with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and also prepared with Sunseed oil, which is naturally higher in mono-unsaturates and lower in saturates. So I would go with not so fattening but don't eat too many packets.

                      The product

                      So on my lunch break, I open my sour cream & cracked black pepper packet and would normally expect to see a crisp. A normal greasy crisp but not in this packet. This crisp is in the shape of a square or an oblong, depends on how big the crisp is. It's a light shade of brown (cardboard colour) and have a rippled effect (see the front of the packet). In the crisp, there are flecks of the grains. To be honest, not that appetising to look at and they don't really smell of anything. So I take a bite. Crunch. The crisp has a lovely crunch to it and it tastes lovely. The sour cream hits my tongue immediately but give it a minute and you get the kick of the black pepper too. There's no funny aftertaste and before you know it the crisps are gone.

                      The overall opinion

                      They are absolutely delicious and not too bad for "crisps". Not bad value either. They only thing wrong with them, well with Walkers, is that they haven't brought out a share pack yet as people at work or my mum always nick some.

                      For more information, just visit the Sunbites website where you will find the Nutritional information and more about wholegrain and how it's good for you. http://www.sunbites.co.uk

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                      • Blackberry Pearl 8100 / Smartphone / 72 Readings / 66 Ratings
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                        27.04.2008 00:18
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                        Lovely little phone that does wonders

                        ...Blackberry 8100...

                        As I'm going for Business advisor at work, thought I would make myself more familiar with the Blackberry family. I asked my boss if I would borrow the demo phone The Blackberry Pearl or 8100 for awhile so I could learn and mess around with it to figure out the settings and so on. To be honest, I've never liked Blackberry phones but have I changed my mind? Let's see.

                        First of all, what are Blackberry's? Some people call them mobiles that can send emails, others call them PDAs, other just think they are a fancy mobile with a qwerty keypad. Blackberry's website states "A wireless email solution for mobile professionals."
                        So why would some choose a Blackberry when they are so many phones on the market that do emails now and to some point, I agree but most phones have what we call pull email and the Blackberry uses push email. I hear you cry, what is pull and push email? For people that don't know and believe me I didn't until I worked in the mobile industry is that push email lets you know when you have a new email, whereas pull email you have to check yourself to see if you have a new email. The way I remember it is, you have to pull your own emails on an ordinary phone. I imagine a little envelop on the end of a cord. On Blackberry it gives you push (vibrate/message tone) to let you know. I imagine a little envelop being pushed through a letterbox.
                        This is why a lot of businessmen loves this phone as it literally emails on the move where ever you can get a mobile signal, you will get emails.


                        ...Getting started...

                        So you have your Blackberry switched on and ready to go but you're not completely ready until you synchronise it with your PC. Install the Blackberry software on your PC, then by using the USB cable, there's are various options to copy all your email addresses, telephones numbers etc onto your Blackberry and also get you link into your email address. It took me about 30 minutes to set up the Pearl. So now it's time to play.

                        ...Main Screen...

                        There are 5 different links on the screen. Short cuts to different areas of the mobile.

                        Voice Mail: Just automatically calls Voice Mail for you. When you first use it, it asks for your voice mail number. Mine on Vodafone is 121.

                        Call Log: This is where you can see all your calls that have been made, received or missed

                        Email: This is where you can access your email quickly and it only tells you at the side of the word email if you have any new emails.

                        Text/Media Messages: This is where you can access your text or picture messages quickly and it only tells you at the side of the words 'Text/Media Messages' if you have any new texts or picture messages.

                        Calendar: This is where you can view all your appointments and meetings and it will warn you with an alert if it's nearly time to go to meetings etc. Will come back to the calendar later.

                        ...Keyboard...

                        Unlike other Blackberry's, this doesn't have a full qwerty keyboard where each letter has a individual key but this made more like a mobile but in qwerty. So on a normal mobile 2= abc, on the Pearl 2 has ty.

                        There are 2 ways of using the keys. SureType is a bit like predictive type but if it doesn't recognise a word, it lets you build the word on the screen. The other way is multi-tap is just the same as non-predictive on other mobiles. Just tap until you get the letter you want but it is slightly easier on the Pearl as it only has two letters compared to three on ordinary mobile.
                        The pearl does have more buttons that a normal mobile. It has 8 extra keys down the sides to do symbols, capitals, enter and delete key.

                        It's quite hard to get used to because I'm so used to have abc instead of qwerty on my mobile but I can understand why they have done it like this. This is the first device to combine the quirkyness of a mobile with the logic of a PC and voila this keyboard on the Pearl.

                        The keyboard makes this the smallest Blackberry yet as Blackberry in the past have been bulky due to the full qwerty keyboard. I also feel that Blackberry wants to appeal the younger market that uses emails for personal use to get a bigger share of the market. Hence the more mobile like slim Pearl instead of a bulky PDA. I think they have done a good job. It looks trend but smart so it will still appeal to their loyal customers the business users but also appeal that younger market.

                        ...Trackball/ the Pearl...

                        Well, Sony Ericsson has the joystick and Blackberry has the trackball. It's a translucent ball that lights up in the dark that you can scroll through the menu. That's why the phone is called a Blackberry Pearl because of the trackball. Also instead of it being at the side of the device like on other Blackberry's, I called it a scrolley thing (it's actually called a scroll wheel) is now in the middle of the phone and work like a joystick but just with a ball. It's very easy to use and just right. Not too fast and not too slow.


                        ...Main Menu...

                        A bit like the Nokia, the menu button is a separate button. The symbol on the button looks a bit like a blackberry. In the menu, you will recognise many symbols if you are used to using newer mobiles. All the normal things that you would find are there. For example contacts, text messages, settings, bluetooth, profiles, camera etc but there are a few that are new or not normally in a main menu on most phones. Email inbox, compose email, saved email.

                        ...Email...

                        Once everything is set-up, emails will just come in when they like. Everything will go into the inbox. Inbox has good capacity for emails. At the moment, there are about 900 emails in mine but I know you can get loads more in.

                        Each email entry shows the date, time that you received it, email address or the name of the person if in the address book and subject. This makes it very easy to scan for spam and get rid of it.
                        You can set it up so if a certain people emails you it will sound a different email tone. You can change this in the set up wizard but I haven't gone into that as my emails are mainly junk or boring.

                        Sending an email is easy too. Just go to the special designed icon. Type away your email and send. You also delete emails and you have the choice whether you just delete them off the handset or delete them off the handset and your actual email account.

                        ...Phonebook...

                        You can fill in loads about the people you know. Mobile, home number, work address, home address, webpages, notes. You can add a picture too. FBI-R-US lol On the other hand if you lost your phone or it got stolen, the person would be able to find out everything about the people in your address book.

                        ...Calling...

                        Another thing it was especially designed. Calls. Calling on this phone is really simple either just type in a number and press the green button or just find it in the address book, press the green button and there you go. The quality of the call was good. You could hear the person speaking clearly. Part of the call quality can depend on signal strength or the network itself. The loudspeaker is quite good as well. It's loud and clear.


                        ...Calendar and Alarm...

                        The calendar is brilliant on this phone. You can set it to daily view, weekly or montly. This gives you an overview on your shedule, not that mine is very busy. You can choose different reminder times, you view the previous week, the following week, the next day. I'd never be lost if I can all my things to do planned in this.

                        The alarm is also easy to setup but slightly disappointed with it as my D900I has more alarms and settings like what day you want to be woke up on. For example, I hardly work Sundays but in the blackberry I would have to program it to be active on weekends as I do work Saturdays so I would have to remember to turn it off but with D900I I only have to program it to wake me up on the Saturday and it will be still be set for the next Saturday if I so choose so.


                        ...Browser...

                        The internet is available but it's quite slow, a bit similar to my D900I but very slow compared to my old W880i. Though it does load the pages nicely but the older Blackberry's and new Curve 8310 have the bigger screens so you can view it better.

                        ...Battery life...

                        A really important thing for me. Because I'm sad and I don't get many emails, the battery life lasts for absolutely ages about 5 days but with a realistic use, it would say it would last 3 days maximum depending on what you're doing with it. You can charge it through the PC using the USB cable or the charger. In my box, I've got the English plug and the American one. I wouldn't have minded a European one as I'm more likely to go there than the US.


                        ...Camera...

                        It's a 1.3 megapixel and is the first Blackberry with a camera. The picture quality is nothing to write home about it but it's not bad. Compared to other phones that takes pictures, it definitely won't be winning awards but it's just an extra feature, not the one of the main features and for the first attempt, it's a good one.

                        ...Other things on the phone...

                        The Pearl takes a micro SD memory card. It can take upto 4GB memory card but the software on the phone has to be after May 2007, otherwise back up your phone and update the software but I don't feel a phone like this needs 4GB of memory anyway.

                        Media player is where you can view all your pictures, listen to music and ringtones and watch videos. I wouldn't say the sound quality is of the best if you like your musical ringtones and this is where I think the Pearl wouldn't win over the younger market that they are aim at.

                        ...Overall opinion...

                        It's a lovely phone. I can't believe that the looming name of Blackberry has put me off these phones for so long. People think Blackberry are hard to use. Well, they aren't. They might be slightly more tricky to set-up but once it is, it makes your life so much easier. Only things that I would change is the camera and the sound quality when playing music if they really want to start winning with the younger market. Other than that, it's a brilliant phone and I can't fault it. I'm not saying that I would switch to a Blackberry as I wouldn't use half the main functions on it but I will be recommending them from now on.

                        You can get the Blackberry 8100 in different colours (black, pink, red to name a few) on a contract for free now as it has been discontinued and two new Blackberry's have been brought on the scene. Blackberry 8310 Curve which has a bigger screen and gone back to the bigger keyboard and the Blackberry 8110, which is the direct upgrade from this phone and similar to use. Both of these Blackberry's have Sat Nav on it so I will be testing them soon.

                        For more information, just visit the Blackberry website where you will find the user guide and all the software that is on the CD. http://www.blackberry.com/

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                          23.04.2008 20:32
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                          Stylish holiday for a good price and fun

                          Falesia Hotel

                          The hotel isn't actually in Albufeira but in Acoteias, which is about 15 minutes from the city of Albufeira, 20 minutes from Villamoura and 30-40 minutes from Faro Airport. We booked the holiday through Thomson. This is classed as a Thompson Gold holiday as the hotel is a 4 star. We paid £330 per person for 7 nights half board in the month of April. So was it worth it? Let's see.

                          When we arrived at the hotel, we had to queue up for our rooms to get allocated. The people on the desk were friendly and helpful.

                          ...The Room...

                          The hotels has 170 rooms. I think because I had requested a double bed, our options were limited. We were given a room on the second floor but unlike the rest of the rooms that had keycards, we given keys.

                          Room 211A. The room was nice but seemed to be a lot smaller than the other rooms that I had peered into as I walked passed when the maids were cleaning them. My boyfriend had stayed here the year before and had a TV, a fridge/mini bar, a kettle, fruit basket, a bottle of water everyday and free slippers.
                          This time, there was a TV, a fridge/mini bar, a bottle of water everyday but no kettle, no fruit basket, no slippers. Was little disappointed about that as my boyfriend holiday was last minute so he had paid about £150 less than what we had this time per person. We had quite a big balcony but we overlooked the front of the hotel so every morning when a bus load of people came, we could see and hear it if we had left our door open at night.

                          Other than that, the room was quiet, clean and well kept. The bathroom had a bath/shower, toilet, bidet and a big mirror. The bathroom was clean on arrival and the maids came every day (even Sunday) to clean the room.


                          ...Meals...

                          Because we were half board, we had breakfast and dinner included in the price. Breakfast is from 7 in the morning until 10 and dinner from 6.30 in the evening to 9.
                          At breakfast, there was a big selection. Your traditional English breakfast, cold meats, toast, a selection of cakes, croissants and danishes.

                          At dinner, they had themes nights. While we were there, we had Portuguese and Chinese nights. There's loads to choose from. Salad bar, soup, at least 5 different main meals. Some English meals, some not so. For example, Paella, Duck with Orange, Chicken with Peppercorn, Roasted Lamb, Roasted Beef etc. Also there was Cheese and Biscuits or a sweet dessert like Ice Cream, Cakes, Profiteroles, Cheesecake, etc.

                          Everything was lovely. Of course, there's new things that you try and don't like but everything was presented nicely and there was enough choice for everyone.


                          ...Leisure...

                          There are 2 pools, indoor and outdoor pool. Also there's a Jacuzzi and steam room. Beware that the outdoor pool is not heated and if it has been cold or raining, well it's freezing. Indoor is heated so it's a nice temperature. Around the outdoor pool, there are loads of sun loungers around the pool and the gardens. The gardens are beautiful. It's lovely just to take a stroll through it.

                          There are two bars. One inside and one outside (which is only open in high season). We didn't really spend much time at either bars. I know that it cost my boyfriend 6Euro for a bottle of Magners. There's a pool table and ping pong table outside so you can have some fun if you're bored of just sitting in the sun.

                          Each night we were there, there was a football match on in the TV room, where happily watch the Man U match and the Liverpool match as it rained all the first three days of our holidays.

                          Also there was entertainment by the Thomson reps but we happily missed that as I'm not one for that kind of thing.

                          The beach is about 15 minutes walk away if you use the lift in the Sheraton Hotel next door. It's a beautiful beach and clean too. We had many evenings strolling along the beach.
                          If you want to stay in your room a bit (or if you're forced to by the weather), there's Satellite TV in every room. There's some Portugese Channels, one french one, many news channels like CNN, Sky News etc and BBC1, BBC2 and ITV1. Also one radio station which plays all kind of music.

                          There's also a gift shop, which sells all kind of different items and also magazines and newspapers. Some of the items are a bit pricey but what do you expect? It's a gift shop in a hotel.

                          ...The Resort...

                          The hotel complex is nice. Like I said before, it has a big garden and the area around it is quiet and peaceful. There are 2 supermarkets nearby. There's a wonderful Chinese restaurant as you come down the steps from the hotel. There's a few clothes shops, a chemist and transfer/trip organiser place. There's many bars, restaurants and cafes down the road from the hotel but if you want a busy night life, you need to go to Albufeira or Villamoura.
                          We went to the Piri Piri Restaurant that is owned by the Sheraton Hotel. It's lovely but expensive but I would recommend it to anyone for a change from the Falesia Hotel food.


                          ...Trips from the Hotel to various places...

                          Of course, there are trips from the hotel organised by Thomson themselves but my god are they expensive. Here's a little tip. Go to the Bar called Trotters (it has a Del Boy Van parked outside). Next door to there, there is a place that does autographs but they only do trips for a fraction of the price of the Thomson. We went to Loule Market on the Saturday for 10Euro per person when the hotel wanted 18Europp. A day trip (4 hours) to Albufeira or Villamoura for Euro5pp. A taxi ride to Albufeira cost about 7-8Euro each way and a taxi to Villamoura cost about 10Euro each way. The great things about these trips are that they even pick you up from the hotel.

                          ...Staff...

                          Everyone is really friendly and helpful. On the first day of arrival, I already managed to get some blisters, I asked at the reception desk where they had any plasters, they asked me what size I would like and if I need anymore just to come and ask. They also provide paraceptamols free of charge if you need them which is great to know when the shops are open in the evening. Maids that cleaned our room were really nice. Because my boyfriend had stayed there before, the desk manager sent us up a small bottle of wine and few biscuits, which I thought was a lovely gesture. Honestly, you can't fault them. Need extra pillows or blankets, just ask reception and they will sort it for you. The staff in the restaurant are just as helpful. If there's any dietary requirements, just let one of them know and they are happy to help or find someone that can help you.


                          ...Overall thoughts...

                          It's a beautiful hotel with really helpful staff and great food. Yes, the food can get a bit same especially if you stayed for 14 days. The hotel is for only 16s and over, which rules this hotel out for a few people but not to sound mean or anything like that but it was lovely have no kids around for once on holiday. The hotel is situated in a really quiet location. It does really depend on what kind of person you are on whether you would like it or not. If you're a party person, I do not recommend you stay here as you're too far away from the main cities of Villamoura and Albufeira. If you want a quiet relaxing holiday, it is definitely the place.

                          For more info, check out their website http://www.falesia.com/ or go onto the Thomson Website http://www.thomson.co.uk/ and type in Falesia

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                            17.04.2008 18:44
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                            Brilliant read!

                            I bought this book purely for the fact that it looked like a good holiday read. I bought it from Bargain Books for £2. I've never read anything by Tina Reilly (who now is re-publishing her books under Martina Reilly). The cartoony front cover looks bit naff and doesn't really do the book any favours but like people say "Never judge a book by its cover".


                            ...The Story ...

                            The book is about a woman called Vicky McCarthy who finds out when she was younger that she's adopted by her cousin telling her that "she was ready made". Now, she's older, she still hasn't really learnt to deal with it and she feels that she can't fit in anywhere until she knows where she came from. She decides that she wants to search for her birth mother. Her adopted parents who have brought her up since she was about 4 months old are divided. Her mother just wants her to be happy but her father thinks it's stupid idea. Vicky should know where she belongs. She belongs in the McCarthy family and doesn't need to meet her birthmother to know that.

                            Besides, searching for her birthmother, she has to deal with an new employee at the toyshop where she's the manager. Not only is he a brilliant salesman but he's her bosses' son but not everything is what it seems. She believes he's there to be groomed her job but Ed O'Neill is not daddy's favourite person and has another reason why he's working in his dad's toyshop.

                            Will Vicky find her birthmother or will she find her adopted family the family that she needs? Will she find out the real reason why Ed is working in the shop?

                            ...My thoughts...

                            I loved this book. Yes, it may be classed as chick lit and yes, it is but there's a lot more to it than just a normal chick lit novel. There's a bit of romance, a woman trying to find herself in the world, wannabee celebs but there are tender moments that just leap off the page and worms its way into your heart. There's a lot of emotion going on in the story and it really pulled at my heartstrings. There were moments especially towards the end of the book where I wanted to cry. There aren't many books that do that.

                            The characterisation of Vicky is very real. She felt like a real person to me while I read the book. A part of me thought that that Vicky was quite selfish, she had loving parents what more can you ask for but another part thought that she was brave and courageous to find her birthmother and maybe risk reject by her.

                            There are a few sidestories running along side the main one of finding her birthmother and I won't spoil it for you but just let say that the sides stories are just as interesting as the main story.

                            The book consumes you and you have to read it all in one go. I must admit that the first few chapters/pages were a little slow for my liking but I do appreciate that you have build a story like this by giving a little history and introduce the characters.

                            Also, Bridie, who's Vicky's co-worker at the shop is just a wonderful character but you only really get to know about her as the book is nearly at an end. Also Vicky's flatmate, Sal, I absolutely grew to hate her and her annoying friend, Mel.

                            I would recommend this book a 100%. You buy it for £6.99 new or used for 1 pence on Amazon or you could buy this book and Wedding Blitz (which I also bought after I found this one so brilliant, which I'm reviewing next) in one book for £7.99 new or again used for 1 pence on Amazon. Believe me, it's funny, witty, sad, warm, interesting and a very satisfying read and really worth the 1 pence + postage.

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                              15.04.2008 22:35
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                              Brilliant beach read!

                              I picked this book off the book/holiday reading table in the hotel that we stayed at in Portugal. My copy was a free copy that you got with the Cosmo. You can get this book on Amazon for £5.59 new or 1p used. The reason why I read this book, well, as you might know I used to like Chris Manby but lately her books are hit or miss for me but the other books on this table looked very dull in comparison so I decided with all my other books read, I might as well.

                              The Story

                              The story is about Dr Jennifer Niederhauser, who is expert on ape behaviour. She has just accepted a job at Prowdes Animal Sanctuary as a project manager to rehabilitation some of the chimps so they could be released back into the wild. Jennifer is very focused career woman, which makes the others believe she's emotionally cold and uptight. The reason for that could be her first and only love, Dr Timothy Lauder, who broke her heart by cheating on her.

                              The story starts off with Jennifer's best friend's hen night, she meets a stripper (who had been arrange by the other girls). This stripper, Guy Gibson, not only ruins Jennifer's best dress but turns out later on to be a colleague at the sanctuary, who is doing the stripping act to earn some extra cash due the fact that Prowdes Animal Sanctuary isn't making any money.

                              Luckily, Prowdes Animal Sanctuary gets chosen to be on television, which will give them the cash to keep the sanctuary open but the presenter of this documentary is Dr Timothy Lauder. What will Jennifer do? Will she start dating Dr Timothy Lauder or will she reist his advances and start a relationship with Guy Gibson?

                              My thoughts

                              This is definitely one of Chris Manby's better books. The book seems well researched and it was very funny in places. You could really relate to the two main characters. Jennifer, the focused career woman, she takes it to a new extreme but part of her character was very me and underneath everything Jennifer is a heartbroken person trying to mask the pain with just throwing herself into her work. Guy, head keeper come stripper, is passionate about his work even willing to take a pay cut to help the sanctuary survive.

                              I like the way that Chris Manby split the book in a way through the chapters into two main stories. Jennifer and her love life / life at the Prowdes Animal Sanctuary. It gives you the full picture of Jennifer. Work Jennifer and friend/lover Jennifer. At times, Jennifer has a character is weak and flimsy but I think that she is meant to be like that. Strong at work and slightly weak at home. I know quite a few career women that are brilliant that their jobs but they don't do very well when it comes down to the emotional part of their lives. Jennifer, in the story, looks like she is well capable of doing her job but still there's that little person underneath that wants to be liked by her fellow collegues and is trying to create a balance. Guy is also portaited in a similar way. Guy at the Prowdes Animal Sanctuary and Guy as stripper and friend.

                              Though the book could have been a bit longer to round the story off better instead of a page epilogue, it's a good book. It's a very easy read even though it's 416 pages long. I would recommend it as a beach or just chick lit read. If you like Chris Manby, you will like this as it contains some of the magic that she has lost in her later books. If you like chick lit, you will like this. It's very funny but with just enough romance not to bore you.
                              Though sometimes I think the book would have done better if the title was Girl meets Stripper.

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                                02.04.2008 19:48
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                                Great if you like a flowery scent

                                Again in Lush at Meadowhall. I was looking for holiday clothes but stumbled into Lush as usual. I looked around and saw my old favourites but something else caught my eye. Blackberry Bath Bomb. I thought I'll buy that and relax myself with a gorgeous bath before the holiday. The Bath Bomb was £2.35 and weighs 180g.

                                So tonight, aching and tired from work, I decided to have a bath. While I wait for the bathroom to warm, I take the Blackberry Bath Bomb out of its paper bag and look at it. It's a purpely blue colour with the word BOMB engraved on it. I take another sniff like I did in the shop and my nose doesn't like what it smells like. Did the atmosphere of Lush deceive me? Or was it my cold that messed up my sense of smell yesterday? Yesterday, it smelt lovely, sweet and girly. Almost like a blackcurrant sweet. Now, it smells like flowers and a bit like it was meant for my gran. I decide that it might just be my cold affecting my judgement and might smell wonderful as the aroma wafts around the bathroom.

                                So I run my bath and plop the Bath Bomb in the bath. It started to fizz straight away like all its predecessors did. The water starts to turn pink, then violet and then a deep purple. It looked very pretty but now the aroma was worse. It smelt soo flowery and not very blackcurranty at all. None of that sweetness that I had smelled in the shop. I felt robbed. My own nose deceived me.

                                So I sat down in my bath and yes, the bergamot did relieve my tension and it did leave my skin absolutely smooth but I do not like the way I smell. I was expecting a fruity smell to come out of that Bath Bomb but got a flowery smell. I never buy flowery perfumes or body lotion as I usually don't like the smell of them.

                                Normally, my baths are relaxing and long but tonight, I'm afraid the smell got the better of me and drained my bath after 10 minutes. I have a feeling that the smell on my skin is going to last awhile. I would normally use body lotion after my bath but I fear it would clash and make me smell much worse.
                                At least, this time, it didn't stain my bath with a big ring of various bits and bobs to clean off like some of the other bath bombs I've used.

                                ...My thoughts...
                                If you love flowers, then this is the bath bomb for you but if you are expecting a fruity smell because its name, then think again. So this is a word of warning to anyone buying Lush products when they have a cold, just don't or you might end up like me and get a product that you hate the smell of. Also, if you're buying off the website, be warned, their description aren't always accurate. "With bergamot, frankincense & berries for uplifting, grounding, fruity feelings." Is the blurb for Blackberry Bath Bomb. I could smell no berries, no uplifting, grounding, fruity feelings. Just the feeling of disappointment and aroma of talcum powder flowers. I've never been so annoyed about Lush product before. This must be the first Lush product that I liked the smell of in the shop but when it came to using it, absolutely hated the smell of it.
                                Let's just hope that new soap that I bought yesterday wasn't affect by my nose as well.

                                Extra Information
                                I've included a list of ingredients for people with allergies so you can check whether this bar would suit you or not.
                                Sodium Bicarbonate , Citric Acid , Perfume , Bergamot Oil (Citrus bergamia) , Frankincense Oil (Boswellia carterii) , Colour 18050 , Colour 42045

                                For more information or buy the product, go to http://www.lush.co.uk. You can find Lush on MySpace and Youtube.

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                                  27.03.2008 19:04
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                                  A teenage life on view

                                  The Perks of Being a Wallflower

                                  I bought The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky because of Facebook. Strange yes, I know but on Facebook, there's application called Visual Bookself. It lets you see all the books that your friends have read and what is popular at the moment. I was on the hunt for a different kind of book as I just wanted to broaden my horizons. I saw this book recommend a few times so I went to look on Amazon.co.uk on how much it was. It was £5.49. Not too bad and with lots of Amazon vouchers left, I thought why not.


                                  ...The Story...

                                  The story is all about Charlie growing up. Charlie is a freshman at school and whilst he's not in with the popular crowd, he's not really a geek. The only way you can describe him as, is a wallflower. He's shy, really reflective and very intelligent. Like any high school kid, he struggles with making friends, family problems, relationships, drugs, depression and many more. On top of that, he has to deal with his best friends' suicide. At a football game where he's trying to fit in more and get into the school spirit of things, he meets Samantha and Patrick who are seniors and brother and sister. He embarks on many adventures with them and faces many highs and lows.

                                  ...My thoughts...
                                  The story is written in the form of letters. In a way, it's more written like a journal but there are some moment where he speaks to the unknown correspondent. The book could have been called 'Charlie's journey' because in a sense that was it is. Following Charlie through the school year, learning things as he learns them. Though, you don't get a description of Charlie, you get to know him and how he is through his thoughts and words.

                                  As the book continues, you learn that there is much more under the surface to Charlie than an ordinary freshman. He has depression due to his Aunt Helen dying in an accident and in a way, he thinks it's his fault. Also the suicide of his best friend probably added to that depression. Even if you never were in the situations that Charlie finds himself in, I think it's written in a way that makes you understand. Some moments of the book are very sad and I nearly cried in a few places. The way it's written makes elements very emotional and touching as the author nearly puts you in Charlie's shoes for a moment and then puts you back to being the reader of the letters.

                                  You could compare the book to Jack Kerouac's book 'On the Road' and J.D. Salinger's book 'Catcher in The Rye'. It has the same feel to it. It's similar in its storytelling and also follows a person on a journey. I think I would have appreciated this book more if I was 16 again and the same age when I read 'On the Road'. For me now, this book is looking back on similar situations and things that happened in my teenage years. If I would have read this book years ago, then I would have seen it with different eyes. It might even have helped me, who knows.

                                  Again, I was slightly disappointed with the end as it doesn't tell you who Charlie was actually writing to. I guess some authors like to keep you guessing even when the book has finished.
                                  I'd recommend this book to people that like real life situations or read books about people who are on a journey. I wouldn't recommend it to anybody under the age of about 13 years as some of the language is inappropriate and it talks about taking drugs and suicide.

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