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      13.06.2013 22:52
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      Good Old Fashioned American Nostalgia

      REASON FOR VISIT
      I was shopping in the Metrocentre one evening after work with my partner, and after missing lunch and dashing to the shops straight from work I was rather hungry. Ed's Diner had only been open a few weeks at this point, so I thought I would try it out.

      THE FOOD
      I ordered a burger as did my partner. I found that the burger was tasty especially as they asked how we would like the burger cooking, but my partner did comment that it was smaller than expected considering we were in an American style diner and the American's are both praised and ridiculed for their large portion sizes.

      I was also disappointed by the portion size when it came to the chilli cheese fries that we order to share. They were listed on the menu as a side, but at £4.50 (when the burger was £6) and being an American Diner, I thought would more of a sharer size side but sadly it was a single portion.

      We also ordered deserts as we still had a little room after our mains (which is never usually the case for me, I am usually looking for the nearest place to nap). We had waffle with ice cream and golden syrup and I found it very filling, but maybe would have liked 2 dollops of ice cream rather than 1, maybe I was just hungry this day or maybe it is because when I had an identical desert in Wetherspoons it was served with 2 scoops.

      Overall, we found the food to be nice (nothing to complain about, but nothing to shout from the roof tops) but it was quite expensive for what it was compared to other places you can eat similar food in the area.

      THE DRINKS
      As I was driving, I ordered a bottomless soft drink and my partner ordered a root beer. The soft drink was good value for money as you could refill it as often as you required. My partner loved his root beer (unfortunately this was not bottomless) as there are very few places round here that serve this drink. I did sample it and thought it tasted like cough medicine ... each to their own.

      In terms of price, I found the drinks to be pretty standard for a restaurant (read: overpriced compared to supermarket).

      THE ATMOSPHERE
      The atmosphere was 50:50 ...

      ... I loved the whole American diner theme and gave me nostalgia for my holiday to America last year. The 60's American music including Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash added to the theme.

      ... I hated the fish bowl feel of the place, as it is situated with 2 sides of the restaurant open to the shopping centre, I did feel a bit conscious of passers-by / fellow shoppers peering in to get a look at the food (I like to get burger all over my face in the company of other with burgers all over their face).

      THE STAFF
      One thing I could not fault was the staff.

      We were seated straight away (even though it looked pretty busy) and given a choice of two tables that we could sit at depending on the type of seating we would prefer. Once seated, the staff were efficient, which to me means we were neither sitting around ages waiting for our orders to be taken / food to arrive, but at the same time they were not hovering / we didn't feel rushed.

      There was a good atmosphere between the staff, they had rapport and were friendly towards one another, which as I used to work in customer service is one thing that I think comes across really well as it puts you in a good mood and you come across more friendly to customers. The staff had personality rather than just repeating STEP 1 STEP 2 STEP 3.

      CAREER
      This might be an obscure category to put on a restaurant review, but my partner applied for a job here before it opened. He received an email saying he had been short listed and would soon receive a selection of dates / times for an interview closer to opening and he has heard nothing back despite following up with an email.

      SUMMARY
      Good Food. Good Drinks. Good Staff. Overpriced in some areas, but still reasonably cheaper overall. However, I probably wouldn't go back again as there are other places in the Metrocentre that I prefer to eat.

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      • Natwest Credit Cards / Credit Card / 6 Readings / 6 Ratings
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        13.06.2013 22:15
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        Good everyday credit card.

        Apologies if this review seems a bit hashed together, I had just finished writing the review and my internet cut out and I am hoping have empathises that there are few things worse than rewriting a review.

        BACKGROUND
        I took out this credit card as I started University at the age of 18, as it was offered to me in a package with Natwest including student account, overdraft and credit card. I thought I might as well accept the credit card as at the age of 18 I needed to build up a credit history / credit score. This differs from most other cards that I have taken out, which are usually because of a specific selling point of the card.

        ADVANTAGES
        As I bank with Natwest, I can get access to my credit card and current account with the same log in details, which is great with so many passwords floating around my head. This also makes it really easy to pay off the credit card each month, as I remember it needs paying when I check my online banking.

        You can choose whether to pay the balance off in full each month or just the minimum repayments, I have mine set to minimum replayments but still pay the minimum off in full each month unless ...

        ... which brings me onto the third advantage, after having the card for 2/3 years I was offered 0% on purchases for 6 months. Most credit card companies only offer perks like this to new card holders, so it did make me feel valid as a current customer.

        DISADVANTAGES
        As with all credit cards, make sure you pay the balance off in full every month or at least make the minimum payments or you will get some nasty charges.

        SUMMARY
        This card is ideal for every day money needs, if you need a little extra to tide you over for the last week of the month before payday etc. It is not a "frilly" credit that offers a particular deal eg cashback, 0% currency exchange etc to entice customers in, but it is an easy to use credit card for those everyday things or for those people wanting to build up a better credit score.

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      • Capital One / Credit Card / 8 Readings / 8 Ratings
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        13.06.2013 21:50
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        A credit card designed to stay at home.

        BACKGROUND
        Capital One credit card was the second credit card that I took out, the reason for taking the credit card out was because I found the cashback element appealing. The credit criteria only require a low income (cannot remember exactly how much now) which was ideal as I was a student and working part time for minimum wage.

        ADVANTAGES
        The main advantage is I get cashback added to me account in January every year from the money that I have spent in the previous 12 months. As I have the direct debit set to pay the balance off in full each month, I never have any problems with incurring interest etc.

        Secondly, the online banking facility is easy to use. I can quickly go online and check my balance within the space of a minute. However as with most online banking facilities, purchasing made outside of the 9-5 working day are often not updated until the following day.

        DISADVANTAGES
        The main disadvantage is that this card only has £200 credit limit and the 6 monthly credit limit reviews are non-existent. I have had this card for 3 years and have yet to have the credit limit increased despite having a higher paying job now and being eligible for high credit limits on other cards.

        The main annoyance is that you are not allowed to ask them to increase your credit limit as with every other credit card company in the country. Even if you spend £150-£200 of the credit limit on a regular monthly basis, this does not encourage them to increase your credit limit come the next review.

        SUMMARY
        This credit card is what I refer to as my "computer desk credit card" for all those internet purchases, as I can check how much credit I have left. I do not dare take it out the house, as I could easily max out this card within a matter of hours .... I bought a vacuum cleaner the other day worth more than the credit limit on this card.

        After reading other reviews, I agree with everyone that Capital One need to improve their customer service, I do not believe asking for a credit limit increase is an unreasonable request (not saying everyone should get one regardless of their credit score, but everyone should have the right to ask if they are eligible).

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      • Hollyoaks / TV Programme / 25 Readings / 24 Ratings
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        28.05.2013 20:32
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        Great TV show for rewinding after work.

        OVERVIEW
        Hollyoaks started in October 1995 and I started to watch it around 2008. It is targeted at teenagers and young adults, unlike a lot of other soaps such as Coronation Street and Eastenders that are targeted at a middle-aged and older audience.

        Same as other soaps, everyone lives within a small area with a local pub, local club and local shop where most of the episodes are based. If several episodes are based elsewhere, they are usually shown outside the usual timeslot of 6:30pm on Channel 4, and played as "Hollyoaks:Later" around 9pm.

        FAVOURITE CHARACTERS
        My favourite characters have to be the McQueen family, in particular Mercedes McQueen. Most of the best story lines have been centered around Mercedes or her family as a whole. One of the biggest storylines was when she got slept with her boyfriend (Riley) father and fell pregnant, she did not know who was the father of the baby. Before the birth, she is kidnapped and hidden in the basement of the pub by her boyfriend' grandfather (Silas), who turned out to be a serial killer of women in Hollyoaks. This is the just the tip of the iceberg along all the Mercedes' scheming and plots.

        FAVOURITE STORYLINES
        Another good storyline lately was the storyline of Brendan Brady, who came onto the show as a drug dealing club owner, who I will admit bugged the life out of me with his mustache, weird facial expressions and mannerisms. He gradually became one of the most loved characters in Hollyoaks, through his storyline of coming out as being gay and coming to terms with sexual abuse he experienced as a child at the hands of his father.

        SUMMARY
        Hollyoaks is the first thing I watch when I get home from work to rewind. Sometimes I just watch it on Channel 4 at 6:30pm and sometimes I can't help myself and watch the next day's episode on E4 at 4pm. All in all, it is a great show to watch while you unwind (I am actually writing this while watching this evenings episode) as it makes easy watching and doesn't require your full attention like some shows.

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        26.05.2013 19:36
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        Hilton Hotel of a high standard with wonderful city view.

        FIRST IMPRESSIONS
        The main entrance was getting renovated when I visited, but this did not ruin the first impact, as the entrance we went in was still very grand. The lobby area was very large and grand with marble flooring and ushers were waiting in the entrance to help with bags (we only had 1 suitcase each, so we wheeled our own).

        THE ROOM
        The room was lovely, two large double beds and a sofa bed. We never used the sofa bed, so cannot tell you how easy it was to fold out, but it was a comfortable sofa. There was also a desk, TV, chest of drawers, 2 wardrobes, coffee table and tea/coffee making facilities. There was plenty of room for 3 of us to get changed at the same time. It also had a very large ensuite bathroom with a bath, overbath shower, toilet and sink with a lot of floor space.

        The view was amazing, we checked in around 10pm and got a lovely view of the lights of London from the 12th floor.

        I did find the pillows quite uncomfortable, one was not enough, but with two I was almost sitting upright. And it would have been nice to have somewhere in the bathroom to keep toiletries such as a cabinet, but storage elsewhere in the room was great, two large drawers and two wardrobes.

        THE LOCATION
        The location was great, only a 5 minute walk to the Edgware Underground Station (probably only 2 minute walk once the main entrance is complete). By Subway you can get almost anywhere in London, but if you are more of a walker, it is about 15 minutes walk to Oxford street. Alternatively you can get a taxi from the back of the hotel, they arrive regularly.

        One of the reasons we picked it was because it was the same distance from Kings Cross Station, Buckingham Palace for the garden party and close to Oxford Street and Meat Liquor (I have reviewed this restaurant too).

        PROS
        The main thing I liked about the hotel was the first impression, it looked like a 4* hotel and the second was that the room was spacious, clean and the mattress was comfy. I am not an exercise bunny, but my Dad enjoyed the gym, pool, sauna facilities that were on offer. It was everything I would expect from a hotel.

        Also these may seem like weird things to mark as pros, but the hangers can be removed from the wardrobe. I hate trying to hang clothes on the hangers that are fixed to the wardrobe in case someone steals one. The ironing board also moves, so you can position it in front of the window (which I find that be great ironing light).

        CONS
        Service in the lounge bar was slow, it took about 10/15 minutes for 3 drinks and despite asking to pay for the drinks straight away, there was a lot of confusion over charging them to the room and how we had no left a card at reception for room charges, this left us feeling as though the woman wasn't listening.

        It was £600 for 3 people for 2 nights. That is a lot of money at £100 per person a night especially as I don't make full use of all the facilities such as the gym and pool. I often feel that hotels are overpriced when people tend to just use them as a clean place to sleep.

        OVERVIEW
        I would definitely consider this hotel again, if I was to visit London again. The only thing to prevent me from staying here again would be visiting the city for an event further away from the hotel or if I heard good reviews for a cheaper hotel.

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        26.05.2013 19:00
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        Looks like a club, tastes like a restaurant

        LOCATION
        The restaurant, Meat Liquor, is based just off Oxford Street in London. I visited London earlier this week and having heard friend rave about this place I thought I would check it out. It was reasonably easy to find, we did get a little lost trying to follow the map on my phone, but only a 5 minutes detour, for tourists that isn't bad :)

        MEAT
        I ordered the Bacon & Cheese Burger, my Dad ordered the Chilli Burger (I think) and my Mam ordered the Cheese Steak. When they took our order, they asked how we would like our burgers cooked and that the standard was medium rare, my parents were happy with this and I asked my mine well done. We all enjoyed the food, the meat was well cooked and my Dad who ordered the chilli burger said it was very spicy. We also shared a portion of fries, which would have been too much for 1 person but perfect for between 2-4 to share.

        The other menu options were essentially different types of burgers and traditional american sides such as onion rings, so there is not a lot of choice (no point taking someone that does not like burgers).

        The food is presented on a canteen tray, which is OK when we are sitting 2 on one side of the table, 1 on the other, but as burgers can get quite messy, I imagine this wouldn't be idea for larger groups, where everyone cannot lean over the tray and eat. I would have preferred to have the option of plates, to make me feel less like a group of farm animals eating out of a trough.

        LIQOUR
        Alongside our meat, we ordered some liquor. I ordered a mojito (referred to on the menu as a meatjito) and while it was very tasty, with a nice combination of alcohol taste, mint taste and syrup taste, there was a lot of ice, so my cocktail was gone in seconds. My Mam had another cocktail, "Fallen Angelita" a take on the conventional margareta, this was a delicious strong alcoholic drink. While my Dad had a pint, first impressions weren't great when the waiter came out with a tankard and a coke can size beer, my Dad said it tasted fine but would have liked a full size beer can.

        They also offered soft drinks, spirits and mixers and other cocktails, but not a great beer / lager selection.

        ATMOSPHERE
        The atmosphere was grungy, black and red interior, a little like a punk club rather than a restaurant. It did seem clean from what I could see in the dimmed lights, but the tables weren't sticky which is a good sign. Not really suited to my parents though, who asked me to get my torch light out so they could read the menu ... I am guessing this would be an issue for people of any age that have poor sight. I quite liked it, because it was nice to be able to get stuck into the burger without worry that people would see you ... the eternal dilemma of trying to eat a burger while remaining lady like.

        SERVICE
        We went quite late at night, I think it was around 10pm, it is great that a place was open at this time and you didn't feel as though you were being rushed in and out so the staff could get home. However, I would have a preferred a little more service.

        The drinks were brought to use quite slowly, it must have took around 10 minutes for drinks and 15 minutes for the food. I think that is acceptable for food but drinks should have been a lot quicker, especially as there were quite a few members of staff and very few customers. I could sense my Dad get restless waiting for his beer.

        Later I went to the bar for a second round of drinks, our waiter told me I could order drinks though him as our waiter, his tone seemed slightly put out by the fact I had gone up to the bar, but we had not seen him since our food had come to the table. I understand that in the dark, it is probably difficult to spot if people are low on drinks without coming over every 5 minutes (which is also annoying) to check everything is OK. Maybe installing lights like at "YO Sushi" where the customer presses a button and waits for the waiter to come over would be useful.

        COST
        The food was good, the drink were tasty. The bill for 2 cocktails, 1 beer, 3 burgers and a side of fries was £45, which is £15 a person and in my eyes that is fairly reasonable. Although the mojito could do with less ice and more drink to make it better value for money for it's £7 price tags.

        OVERALL
        I would definitely go here again, as the burger was great. I think I would probably go with friends around the 20-30 age range rather than my parents next time as they had problems reading the menu and my Dad generally seemed uncomfortable, but my Mam thought it was "different". I have heard that there are often massive queues but at 10pm on a weekday, I got seated immediately.

        EDIT: 28/05/2013 based on comments.

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          25.04.2013 00:07
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          Better suited to someone that rubs their eyes often.

          THE COMPANY
          This product is made by "Estee Lauder", they have been around for a long time and stereotypically the brand is popular with elderly ladies. As a lady in my early 20's, I was first introduced to this brand through their Double Wear Foundation and have tried a couple of mascara's since, because at the end of day the target audience of elderly ladies don't get to 70+ without trying a fair few mascara's in their time.

          THE PACKAGING
          The packaging is suited to the stereotype of the product that it is aimed elderly ladies. The box is royal blue with gold writing, the same as the mascara tube itself, which is very regal and "proper" rather than being fun and flirty, but this does give it a certain level of sophistication. However, I do find the bevelled lid to be quite dating and old-fashioned for a cutting edge product that claims to be smudge proof.

          THE PRODUCT
          This is the second mascara from Estee Lauder that I have used, so I bought the product expecting it to be equally as good ...

          ... The smell was alright, I do not notice a particular odour when applying mascara. This may seem like a bizarre thing to comment on to many but after borrowing my sister's mascara (Maybelline) and finding that they have strong unpleasant odours I feel it is worth noting.

          ... Application was simple, the brush is plain and simple. You take the brush out of the tube and brush it onto your lashes. Personally, I find nothing wrong with a good old fashion brush and cannot get to grips with these weird rubber "S" shaped brushes that look like they were based on state of the art toilet brushes.

          ... It did lengthen my eyelashes. I have naturally long eyelashes, but they are unfortunately quite light on the tips so mascara is a must to make the most of them.

          ... The product did not thicken my lashes, but it did not claim to either so I am happy with this and it gives a natural everyday look. Personally I find mascara that thicken lashes are often more for a nighttime look.

          ... Smudgeproof? I am not one for rubbing my eyes as I got out of that habit quite early in my make-up wearing years. Over past week, I have suffered from a cold and the mascara has stood up to me constantly dapping around eyes, although it did flake off a little bit. I have also found that I do not get panda eyes if I go in the shower with this mascara on either, and often I find that even without rubbing my eyes the shower causes panda eyes.

          ... The texture of the product is the one thing that I dislike, it is very dry and does not make my eyelashes feel soft and moisturised in the slightest. They actually feel rather brittle when the mascara is on and as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, the product does sometimes flake off.

          THE COST
          This product retails at £20 in Boots at the moment, which I think is a little pricey as I tend to pay between £10 and £15 for a mascara.

          SUMMARY
          The mascara was bought as a gift, and I am unlikely to buy it myself. This is mainly because the selling point of the mascara is it being "smudge proof" and I have little need for a smudge proof mascara as I am not prone to rubbing my eyes. Also I am put off by the brittle feeling of my lashes when the product is on in case it ruins the condition of the lashes.

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          24.04.2013 23:30
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          Excellent cream for preventing dry skin even during winter months.

          THE COMPANY
          This product is made by Soap and Glory, who specialise in body care moisturiser before branching out into a small range of cosmetics . They offer an extensive range of products in both mini varieties and jumbo varieties. The main allure of this company is the packaging, it mixes modern and retro with a generous helping of femininity and I am always pleasantly surprised by the quality of the products.

          THE PACKAGING
          The packaging of the product is a cardboard box with a picture of a couple printed on it in grey scale. It was an attractive box on the shelf in Boots, but I didn't keep it once I got home and ripped into it to use the product inside. The product itself is in a heavy thick plastic jar, the heaviness of the product gives the illusion of a high quality designer product for a fraction of the price.

          In order to open the product, you need to twist open the lid and use your finger to get the product out. Unfortunately this means that I end up with a lot of product up my long nails. I would like to see the product brought out into a tube for this reason.

          THE PRODUCT
          I have used this night cream most nights over the past few months (the rest of the nights, I was too tired to have a good girl face regime) and have found that it prevent dry wintery skin. I sometimes used the cream on a morning too if I was staying in the house (not wearing make up that day).

          The texture of the product is one of my favourite things about it, as it is lovely and thick. I like a good thick layer of moisturiser on my face before bed, I am not a light lotion kind of girl. The odour of this product is quite nice compared to other face creams that I have used, which are often odourless and smell like "cream" or scented with Rose and Lavender. However compared to other products in the range, such as the body butters, scrubs and hand cream, I was disappointed that it didn't have as sweet a smell.

          I have use one entire jar of this product over the past winter and have not had my annual break out of flakey skin with patches of eczema, which is a definite improvement on previous years as I have not had to break out the steriod creams. I know a lot of people with eczema / sensitive skin avoid scented products, but I have had no adverse effects, so I will keep this product in mind to repurchase in the future.

          THE COST
          This product retails at £13, which I think is an excellent price so such a good product. Some of the other night creams that I have been recommended including the one I am using at the moment is in excess of £30, so this product is definitely good value for money in my eyes. As I needed to check the Boots website for the price, I noticed it is currently 3 for 2 (I have reviewed other Soap and Glory products).

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          24.04.2013 23:02
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          Excellent hand cream, great for home, work and on the go.

          THE COMPANY
          This product is made by Soap and Glory, who specialise is moisturisers and body care before branching out into a small range of colour cosmetics. They offer an extensive range of products in both mini varieties and jumbo varieties. The main allure of this company for me is the packaging, it mixes modern and retro with a generous helping of femininity and stands out on the drugstore self.

          THE PACKAGING
          The packaging is a bright yet pale pink with predominantly black and white text, making it save from your boyfriend's grubby hands, as you will want to use every last drop yourself. It comes in two different sizes 50ml and 125ml, I own both and tend to keep the smaller in my handbag and the larger on my work desk.

          In order to open the product, you need to open the lid with a flick and squeeze the tube. When you have finished using the product, place the lid back on and stand upright on its lid. It is easy to use and not messy.

          THE PRODUCT
          This is one of the many Soap & Glory products that I own and definitely one of my favourites. I use it continuously through the day as my hands get dry very quickly and often progresses to eczema. I find that continuous use of this product does prevent this, so I have lovely soft hands.

          The odour of this product is lovely as with the Soap & Glory products, it contains shea butter, macadamia oil and marshmallow making it very sweet and feminine smelling, but not sickly. When I have been out with friends, I have been asked what perfume I have on and it turned out to be my hand cream.

          THE COST
          This 125ml product retails at £5, and the 50ml retails at £2.50. I find that the larger product is better value for money and only tend to buy the smaller version when I need to spend a view more pounds to take advantage an offer at Boots.

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          13.11.2011 20:31
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          The worst Chuck Palahniuk book read so far.

          INTRODUCTION
          I have read both Fight Club and Choke by the Chuck Palahniuk and loved them both. They mess with your head in the best possible way and I thought that Rant would be the same,

          APPEARANCE
          The book that I borrowed from my friend had a wolf baring its teeth on the cover, rather gruesome and not my usual read. But the fact that I had read books by this author before and have been told on several occasions not to judge a book by its over, I thought I would give it a shot. PS Always judge a book by its cover, first impressions are usually right.

          OVERVIEW
          This book is about a boy nicknamed "Rant", who got bitten by a poisonous spider, when it didn't kill him and gave him an erection, he was hooked. His favourite past time was to put his hand in animal holes and let him bite him. He even worked as an exterminator for a while, but when he was caught with the animals on more than one occasions, they had to let him go.

          He moved from his small town to the big city, where he made some friends who were into party crashing. Not the short of party crashing where you go to someone's party uninvited, but the sort where people put decorations on their cars and crash into other people's cars.

          Despite his scarred appearance and unusual interests, he was a hit with the ladies. Everyone loves a bad boy right? And this is how the rabies epidemic spread.

          MAIN CHARACTERS
          Rant - An unusual boy that likes being bitten by animals, crashing cars and has a way with the ladies. Is he is misunderstood boy or a vicious spreader of a rabies epidemic.

          His Dad - He is the main twist to the story, but is his Dad in fact his Dad?

          Echo - His girlfriend, she is his party crashing friend, she has a disability as a result of a car crash when she was younger and party crashing is her way of dealing with it all.

          WRITING STYLE
          This books is written in the most unusual way. It is written in paragraphs from different people. In the beginning this is really annoying as it is difficult to work out how people know Rant. However as the book is nearing the end, you realise that you can read it a lot easier and it has allowed you to make up your own mind about his character as you are not swayed my Palahniuk's opinon. You can decide whether to agree with his friends and family, who admire him and show his as a misunderstood boy or you can agree with his foes, who see him as a malicious spreader for rabies.

          I hated the style of writing while reading the book, but looking back maybe it wasn't as bad as I initially thought?

          SUMMARY
          I had to keep myself reading with the promise that it had to get better, but it never did. This is definitely one of the worse books by this author that I have read.

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          13.11.2011 20:10
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          Similiar to the work of Chuck Palahniuk.

          INTRODUCTION
          This is another book (along with the previously reviewed Wintergirls) that has been in the back of my mind on my to-read list. One of my closest friends mention to every couple of years and usually her taste in books is very close to my own. Despite this, I had no idea what the book was about ... what a good friend not giving me any spoilers.

          APPEARANCE
          I slept at her house one night and borrowed this book, the cover was quite bizarre. A young boy with a box on his head, along with the title it all played into a similiar theme of things parents say to children ... " don't run with scissors" " you'd probably be happier with the box than the present" and it alluded to the fact that the main character probably had no friends, parents that didn't care and had to make his own fun. A tale of child neglect in memoirs.

          OVERVIEW
          The memoir is about a boy with no friends and a family that is more preoccupied with other things. His Mam wants to be a famous writer and dedicates all her time to that in between her mental outbursts and being taken in for observation. His father is angry, distant, drunk and generally a waste of space.

          When his Mam is away at the psychiatric hospital, he is looked after by his Mam's psychiatric and lives in his bizarre house. He has several biological children, some adopted children and some patients that live in the house. This is the weirdest house you will come across, children are considered adults and free to make their own decisions from the age of 13, school is not compulsory, children can poo on the floor, make DIY skylights and bring boyfriends home that for a two, three times their age without anyone blinking an eyelid.

          The book shows his transition from being a weird kid with no friends, who doesn't like dirt and is always dressed super smart with perfect hair. He wants to be a hair dresser but enjoys writing. To a kid that wears dirty clothes and has a steady boyfriend almost three times his age, smokes and takes valium like sweets.

          Is the psychiatrist really the crazy one or just thinking outside the box?

          MAIN CHARACTERS
          Augustan - He is the main character and he changes so much during the memoir that it is difficult to pigeon hold a description of him. I believe he is a messed up kid due to his upbringing, but has good intentions and means no harm to anyone.

          Deride - She is Augustan's Mam, she loves him, which is more than can be said for his dad. But her career and mental episodes take priority over the upbringing of her son. She allows her psychiatrist to adopt him as she believes this will give him a more stable upbringing and she can focus more becoming a mentally stable famous writer.

          Dr Finch - He is Deride's psychiatrist. He adopts Augustan among other children, he allows patients to live at his house and lives in one of the most chaotic houses that I have ever read about. He is a good guy, just thinking way out of the box ... or is he?

          Neil - He is Augustan's boyfriend, about twenty years older than him and the fact that he is paedophile in no uncertain terms does not enter your head until the end of the book as Augustan is the more dominant in the relationship for the most part.

          Natalie - She is Dr Finch's daughter and is off the rails. Augustan hates her dirty clothes, unkept hair and her general unruly manner at first but soon they become the best of friends. In the end she turns her life around.

          WRITING STYLE
          I love the way this book is written. I am not sure if I am the only one, but it seems to approach big issues in detail without you realising. Augustan (a 13 year old boy) is having sexual relationships with a 33 year old man and no alarm bells ring in your head. A psychiatrist has his patients living at home and rather than taking Deirdre to hospital when she has an outbreak, he takes her to a motel room for a week, but once again no alarm bell flag up until the book is over.

          SUMMARY
          This is an excellent book, a great read for anyone that enjoys books that mess with your mind and focus on people with mental disorders. If you are a fan of Fight Club and Choke by Chuck Palahniuk then you will love this book.

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          • More +
            13.11.2011 19:29
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            Disappointing read after all the hype.

            INTRODUCTION
            This book cropped up on my radar several time over two years, and was always put to the back of my mind as a to-read. All the reviews and opinions that I heard about it were all positive, it was a good story and a true portrayal of an eating disorder. I finally read it one evening in eBook format.

            APPEARANCE
            Although I read the eBook version, which doesn't have an "appearance" so to speak as it is just black text on a white background. I thought I would analyse the cover that drew me to the book over and over again. It was the US cover of a girl standing behind a frozen screen / window, so she is camouflaged by the winter elements reflecting the fact that an ED suffers usually tries to hide their body and feel the cold.

            OVERVIEW
            The book begins with Lia being told by her sister, Jennifer, that Cassie has been found dead. You discover that Cassie and Lia used to be close and bother suffer from eating disorders, but they have not seen each other in a while as their parents thought it was best to keep them apart. It turns out that Lia has several missed calls from Cassie the night before that she did not answer, Lia feels the death of Cassie on her conscious because maybe she could have saved Cassie if she had only answered the phone?

            Will the guilt fuel her eating disorder further or is the shock she needs to go into recovery?

            MAIN CHARACTERS
            Lia - She is the main character, she suffers from the eating disorder anorexia. As the book is written from her point of view, it focuses a lot on food. For example in the first chapter, her sister is letting her know that her friend has died, but the chapter focuses on the fact that her sister is eating a muffin while doing this, by putting it first in syntax.

            Cassie - She is Lia's friend, who also suffers from an eating disorder, and is dead throughout the whole book but is still worthy of being classified as the the second main character even in death. Her ghost reappears again and again throughout the book as a figure of guilt and mental instability.

            Lia's Mam - Not only is she Lia's mam, but she is also a doctor. She give the book the medical side and focuses on the treatments, Lia's weight and other facts and figures associated with eating disorders.

            WRITING STYLE
            The one thing that disappointed me about this book was the writing style, generally speaking I like a book with paragraphs of text, not too long that they bore me but not so short that I feel the author is just throwing ideas at the page. This book was structured in one line paragraphs and lines of direct speech, I think it was supposed to show the lack of concentration that the subject has for anything other than food, and how her approach to food is a list of quantities and calories. However, it meant that you never got much detail into the character and it took a few chapters to work out who was speaking when without having to really study the text (or maybe this is just me being a little slow).

            SUMMARY
            The hardest part of this review to write was the character summaries as there is not much detail in the book about the characters. I suppose that may be so the reader is free to make up their mind or so that they can focus on the bigger issue: the less than glamorous side of an eating disorder.

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          • Young's Admiral's Pie / Meat / Fish / 21 Readings / 18 Ratings
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            14.06.2011 14:47
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            Good Value For Money Fish Pie.

            INTRODUCTION
            I have been getting Young's fish pies for a few years now, one that I frequently get the is Admiral Pie. They can be found in the frozen fish section of your supermarket, and I am a repeat purchaser as they look a lot more tasty than fish fingers.

            FIRST IMPqESSIONS
            The box is quite appealing, it shows a photo of the fish pie with fish, sauce and mash ... all looking very tasty. When opening the box, I expected to see nothing more than mash potato, but I was pleasantly surprised to find some cheese scattered on top .... mmm melted cheese.

            COOKING
            Just like a ready meal should be, it is quick and easy to cook. All you need to do is take the tray containing the fish pie out of the box, stab a few holes into the plastic lid (my tool of choice is a fork) and put it in the microwave for the recommended period of time.

            The instructions only go up to a 850W microwave, and as I have a 1000W I subtract a minute from the cooking time. In a world, where technology is constantly advancing and 1000W microwaves are not uncommon, putting cooking time on for more powerful machines would be a step in the right direction. However, I have found that this information is something that no ready meals provide.

            Once the microwave beeps, leave the pie to stand for a minute (as instructed) then remove it. Be careful that no steam escapes out of the sides of the lid as it will be hot and the lid can come away slightly during cooking (I learnt this today -ouch-). Peel back the lid and enjoy.

            THE TASTE
            Important things the first, the Admiral Pie that I had today had 8 bite size pieces of fish in it. No, I do not count my food as I eat it usually, but for review purposes, I made an exception. If I had made the fish pie myself, I would have put much more fish in it.

            It has a cream rich butter sauce, which I love. The sauce is nice and thick, so you can eat it with a fork ... I believe you should only need to eat soup with a spoon not sauces. It also has a lovely thick layer of mash potato on the top, it is piped on so it looks appealing and tasty.

            The only thing missing is some vegetables, a few peas or sweetcorn would go down lovely. I have found that other Young's fish pies do have peas and sweetcorn in, so these are a nice alternative if you need one of your five-a-day.

            NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
            The main reason that I buy the Admiral Pie is that it only has 347 calories in, making it perfect for lunch while I am on a diet. There is only so much salad a girl can eat ... right?

            The following is copied directly from the Young's website:
            Typical values as sold per 100g

            Energy 443kj / 105kcal
            Protein 5.4g
            Carbohydrate 11.1g
            (of which sugars) 1.6g
            Fat 4.3g
            (of which saturates) 1.9g
            (of which trans) Nil
            Fibre 0.5g
            Sodium 0.23g
            (Equivalent as salt) 0.6g

            VALUE FOR MONEY
            I would say that the Admiral Pie is good value for money, I usually get them when they are on offer and stock up. The last few I got were from Sainsbury's for £1. Okay, you may only get 8 pieces of fish but for only £1 what more can you expect? When I make my home made fish pie for 2, with a healthy dose of fish and seafood it works out at about £7.

            I will definitely continue to buy this product for many years to come.

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          • Magic Bullet blender / Blender / 30 Readings / 24 Ratings
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            10.06.2011 00:17
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            Possibly £19 Overpriced.

            INTRODUCTION
            One day, I was watching Ideal World and this product was advertised by the presenters. I thought I would buy the product as it would make chopping, mixing and blending easier as my previous gadget had recently broke. The magic bullet blender appeared to be more versatile than my large processor or manual chopping that I had to do.

            FIRST IMPRESSION
            When I opened the box, I was pleased to find that it looked the same in the flesh as it did on TV. Other things that I have bought off programs like Ideal World or QVC have appeared larger or smaller on TV than they actually were when they arrived.

            PRACTICALITY
            I have found that it works well for blitzing foods, making it perfect for making soups, purées and sauces. However, I have found that if I want an onion finely chopped it does not do the chop effectively ... rather than getting evenly chopped onion, I get massive lumps or purée. Therefore, I have resorted to crying over the onions and chopping them by hand.

            It is the best kitchen appliance in the world for chopping nuts and parmesan cheese, as the parmesan cheese moulds if touched by hand, however clean they might be.

            VALUE FOR MONEY
            I bought it a few years ago, so I cannot remember exactly how much I paid for the Magic Bullet Blender, but I think it was roughly £44. When I first used the blender I thought it was good value for money. But when I discovered the issues with finely chopping vegetables, I thought it was rather overpriced and would not have paid much more than £25 for it.

            COMMENTER QUESTIONS
            Is the magic bullet blender noisy?
            Yes, it is quite noisy, I have found this especially when I am grating parmesan cheese, it sounds as though a Harrier Jump Jet is going off in your kitchen.

            Any dishwasher safe parts?
            Yes, all parts are dishwasher save other than the motorised unit, which should not be emerged in water at all due to electrical parts. I have never had a problem with this getting dirty, but a wipe over with a damp cloth would clean it right up as it is a smooth surface.

            How good is the quality of the product?
            It is very good quality, I have had it for a few years now (longer than 3 years) and it still works as well now as when I bought it back then.

            Does it have a long or short cord?
            The cord is at least a meter long, which is long enough for easy use in my kitchen.

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            • More +
              09.06.2011 13:22
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              What do you think?

              I think that Product Testing would be a good way of expanding Dooyoo, while still sticking to the roots of the website.

              Dooyoo is all about reviewing products that you use, how the individual feels about a product rather than how the corporation making the product feels the it will benefit the individual. Does a certain toilet paper really feel like you are rubbing your bum with silk? Does a certain kitchen gadget really make your life easier?

              To us people on Dooyoo that write reviews, product testing would mean FREE STUFF, we get sent the product, we review it and then get to keep the product. This would be a little extra bonus for our hardwork rather than cold hard cash and amazon vouchers.

              The benefit to the Dooyoo website, is that they can nominate the products that will be tested, for example if the "crime book" section of the website is inactive, push it with product testing. A reviewer might not usually go out and buy a crime book, but given one for free to review, most of us would be up for it.

              The advantage to the manufacturers of the product is that they are getting reputable reviews, people read Dooyoo and believe them to be honest reviews. Whereas the reviews on the company website, we believe to be cherry picked ... only the best make it!

              As for implementing this scheme, I think it would be unwise for people with only one review to be eligible for product testing as they are a higher risk for taking the product and not reviewing it. In the beginning, I think it would be wise to make product testing available to the elite members (I know I am cancelling myself out lol). An elite member could be decided based on a certain number of crowned reviews, a certain number of premium reviews overall a certain number of reviews in a certain category (if you have 50 beauty reviews, get product testing for beauty products),

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