- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
We recently flew with Bmibaby from Manchester to Malaga for a week's holiday and had a great experience with them.
We booked the flights several months before and so got the flights at pretty reasonable prices for the month of July. We chose Bmibaby as their prices were coming out cheaper than the other airlines like Jet2 and Monarch and hadn't heard anything too bad about them.
I can't say that I am a huge fan of Manchester airport but the Bmi checkin went very smoothly and the queues were well controlled. You are given your seats at checkin so there were no scrams when they announced boarding like with Ryanair! The boarding also was very efficient and the aircraft was probably only about 5 minutes late which you cannot really complain about. On the return flight we actually left the airport terminal ahead of schedule which you don't often hear of!
Onboard the food and service was as you would expect from a low cost airline. You had to pay for any snacks and drinks and the prices are not the cheapest but we had paid good prices for our tickets so didn't really mind too much.
The crew were very friendly and seemed very professional and the captain made several announcements explaining the weather and our route which was interesting to hear.
Overall I would recommend this airline and I will definitely fly with them again.
I travelled to Niagara Falls last year whilst visiting Toronto and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. The Falls are around a 2 hour drive from Toronto around Lake Ontario and are located right on the USA border.
My husband had visited the Falls as a teenager, and he told me that from his memory there was really nothing there apart from the Falls themselves. This is completely untrue nowadays though and Niagara has a lot of the feel of a mini 'Vegas' with casinos, luxury hotels, shops and restaurants. It really has all the look and feel of a full-on resort. They even have some original red London double decker buses running around the resort which is weird to see in Canada!
Of course the main attraction is the Falls themselves, and they are truely speactacular. You can see all the pictures in brochures but seeing them in real life is something else. We were lucky to be there on a picture perfect scorching hot day with clear blue skies which added to the effect. The great thing was that the spray from the waterfalls was blowing towards us and it really cooled you down in the 30 degree heat! Once we had finished gazing at the view and taking pictures, we bought tickets for the Maid of the Mist which is the famous boat tour that takes you right up to the waterfalls in the river beneath them. This is great fun but the crew make sure you get totally drenched! It is amazing how loud the falls sound and the immense power of the water. We also walked under the Falls which is where you go down in a lift to underground caverns that take you literally underneighth the waterfalls. This is also pretty good and gives you a different perspective of the falls.
The ticket prices are pretty hefty as I recall but then seeing the falls is usually a once in a lifetime thing and so is worth the money. The food outlets and souvenir shops are also quite highly priced as you would expect at a key tourist destination.
There are lots of other tours you can take if money is no object such as taking a helicopter ride over the falls which must be amazing. Then there are lots of attractions in Niagara resort such as the Bird Kingdom, waterparks and of course the Casino.
The whole place is so busy and buzzing in the summer and packed with tourists of all nationalities. This means that there are often long queues for the tours and a lot of waiting around required, but it is worth it.
The areas around Niagara Falls are also really lovely with lots of wineries and the stunning Niagara on the Lake which is a pretty village/town a few miles from the resort.
I would recommend a visit to Niagara Falls if you get the chance as I don't know how anyone could fail to love it.
We have had our Samsung ML4500 printer now for around 6 years, and it is such a reliable workhorse that I had to write a review about it.
My husband bought this printer when he was at university and needed a fast and professional printer to print out his coursework in the convenience of his home. The printer was therefore used quite intensively for its first year or so, and 6 years later it is still going strong. In the time we have had the printer we have had 2 different computers and are looking to buy a third one (new replacement) now, but touch wood the printer will still be going strong for years to come.
This printer is a laser and so is very quick to print and unlike a bubblejet printer the pages come out dry. It prints out at around 8 pages per minute. The toner cartridges also last us ages and are not too expensive at around £40.00 or so depending where you get them from. We last replaced the toner around 18 months ago but admittedly don't print an awful lot at the moment (maybe 5-10 sheets per week on average).
The great thing about this printer is that it is so reliable. We have spoken to other people who also have this printer and have also had it for many years, and they all say how good it is. I would highly recommend Samsung printers on this basis. We purchased a colour Epson one a few years ago and have had no end of troubles with it, but the trusty Samsung one has been completely without problems.
Google Earth is a brilliant program that is pretty easy to use and which has many uses. It is basically the world made up of millions of satellite photographs of the earth - a fantastic idea brought about by Google and all for free!
There are so many things you can do with Google Earth. Firstly, you can be a nosy neighbour, and spy on everyone else's gardens and back yards! We lived in North America for a while and looked at the neighbourhood on Google Earth to see which houses in the area had swimming pools in their gardens! You can also have a look at houses of the rich and famous if you know where to find them, for instance Madonna's house in Key West and the houses in the Hollywood Hills. It is quite interesting!
Google Earth was really handy for us when we were looking to buy a house, as we could find the house on the program and zoom into it to see how big the plot size was and what sort of area was around it. You can visit the exterior of the house virtually without having to leave the house, so if there is a huge road next to it or somthing you can rule it out without even seeing it. It also gives you an idea of what the countryside is like around the area.
With Google Earth you can virtually visit overseas locations and holiday resorts without leaving your lounge. We have used it many times to pre-plan holidays and see the exact location of hotels in relation to beaches etc. It is also just interesting to look at places - say Beijing or Sydney - from an aerial view whether you have or havn't been there before. You can see if you can pick out the major sights like the Opera House and so on which is quite fun. It is also a great educational tool for children and adults learning and improving their geography.
The downsides to Google Earth would be the privacy aspect, as people can see basically what it in your back garden and even the car you have parked there (if the photo imagery is not too old). Also, unlike Google Maps you do have to download the program to be able to use it, though this is not a big task and is worth it for all the functionality you get.
Overall Google Earth is a great program and another example of how the internet is changing the way we do things. I would recommend it to anyone.
I first discovered this restaurant on my first visit to Monaco whilst I was 'interrailing' round Europe as a student in 1998. At the time we were looking for somewhere that wasn't too too expensive in a great location and that would provide a welcome break from the cheap and cheerful food we had been living on in the youth hostels etc. But I have been back to Monaco a few times since my student days and every time I visit the Stars n Bars restaurant as it is such a fab place.
Stars n Bars is an American style restaurant/sports bar located on the left hand quay (as you look at the resort from the Meditterranean) in Monaco harbour. The style would be best described as that of the Hard Rock Cafe. The quay in question is called quai Antoine 1er and is really easy to find overlooking the harbour. One of the greatest things about this restaurant is the location. It has an outside terrasse seating area which I highly recommend as you can eat a meal there in the evening and watch the sun go down over the glistening yachts and sea, and just admire the Monaco skyline. Trust me it is impressive!
Stars n bars offers quite an extensive menu of typical American style cuisine, so tex-mex, pizzas and burgers are a speciality and the food is cooked to a very high standard with excellent service from my experience. The prices are pretty reasonable for Monaco with burgers and fries at around 14 Euros. I have only ever eaten outside at this place as it would be a shame to shut yourself off from the magnificent view, but inside the restaurant has 3 floors and is themed like a typical American diner/sports bar with old US car shells hanging from the rafters, F1 memorabilia and other artefacts scattered around the place. The building it is in is like an old converted warehouse and so is very roomy. Some of the stars have been know to visit this place too so look out for famous faces if you visit! The restaurant also conveniently serves food all day continuously until around midnight as I recall.
Overall this place is fun, has great food, and is in the best location in Monaco for a restaurant! I would highly recommend this to anyone visiting Monaco and the South of France.
Whilst growing up we had a Jack Russell Terrier and always used a Flexi lead for her, so I got very used to using one of these over a standard lead.
Flexi leads are great in that you can adjust the length of your dog's lead whilst walking them, and give them more length when in parks and open areas, and then shorten them up again for footpaths next to roads. They give you and the dog more flexibility than a fixed length lead.
When we got our new puppy, a Lhasa Apso, 3 years ago, I recommended getting one of these Flexi leads for him too as they had been so good for my other dog. We liked the idea that he could have some freedom whilst still being on the safety of a lead if anything were to happen. As he wasn't yet recall trained properly, we thought these leads would be really handy for us. But we later discovered that these leads are definitely not for all dogs!!
Our dog managed to successfully go through 3 Flexi leads in the first 18 month of his life, breaking each of them! And the reason? Squirrels and Pusscats!!! The Flexi leads seem quite strong initially but the extendable 'string' is just that - really like a long thin chord and this easily can wear away if your dog pulls and occasionally makes a dash for a wild animal! On 3 seperate occasions our dog saw squirrels and cats while out walking and managed to jerk so hard on the lead that it simply snapped. And this is from a Lhasa Apso which isn't much bigger than the size of a cat itself! So this just shows you that these leads are really not that strong and not 100% reliable even for smaller dogs.
After the 3rd broken lead we gave up on Flexi for a while and went back to a conventional lead, which actually lots of trainers recommend for proper lead training. However recently we have decided to revisit the Flexi - but only for walks on country paths and away from the traffic, and we shorten it up quickly if there are any sudden distractions that may cause our dog to make a sudden 'run for it'! So far this one has lasted a while. I do love the fact that when on a country walk you don't have to keep stopping while your dog has a sniff at a bush or a quick cock of the leg, as the lead will just extend allowing your dog to pause for a minute and then catch you up again. It does also allow us to try and train him on the recall with him actually being attached to something as a safety net.
The overall experience we have had is that the Flexi leads are really useful and give your dog great freedom if they are not trained to walk with you safely off leash, but their strength could be vastly improved and they shouldn't be used for dogs that continuously pull as the chord will just eventually wear away.
I recently bought a new car and needed to arrange car insurance for it. I obviously wanted to pay as little as possible for a fully comprehensive policy, and so took the advice of Martin Lewis and decided to use 3 of the main price comparison sites which together were suppose to cover the majority of the market ; Moneysupermarket, Comparethemarket and Confused.com.
I must admit that all the sites were pretty easy to use and straightforward to obtain a quote from, and from a usability perspective there was no clear winner out of the 3 of them.
It is fantastic having these comparison sites nowadays as you don't have to spend hours entering your details into various insurance companies' sites in order to save some money and get the best price. It is also amazing just how much the premiums can vary from company to company. The range on the quote for me and my car varied by around £400. Yes - some of them had extras in the cover but nothing that warranted an additional few hundred pounds really.
Moneysupermarket came out the best for me as the top priced company's quote on there was around £20 cheaper than on the other two sites. I also found it amazing how each insurance company's quotes varied from comparison site to comparison site based on the same info you input.
The process of buying insurance is so easy once you have decided which quote you want to go with. All you have to do is click the purchase button at the side of that quote and you are directed straight to that insurance company's site where all your details are already filled in, and just need to enter your payment details.
Moneysupermarket compares 60 different insurance companies and provides comparison for mobiles, credit cards, loans, gas and electricity and more. It is a really useful site that saves you a lot of time and certainly got me the cheapest price around for my car insurance!
One thing I cannot stand is buying a cleaning product on the promise of it being amazing and being totally disappointed with it when I get it home. There are lots of different cleaning products around and it is almost mind boggling knowing which ones to buy. Also, there are seperate products for bathrooms, kitchens and other areas and items, and it is hard to see through all the marketing bumph and figure out which ones actually work and how many you varieties you need.
Over the years I have figured out that the best all-round cleaning products that actually work are those that contain some bleach in them, and I now stick to one brand namely Flash with bleach spray. This spray is great - it cuts through the dirt in all areas of your home and really gets off stubborn marks. I use it on work surfaces and also to clean my kitchen sink (stainless steel) as it easily removes tea stains and other discolourations. The spray is also great in the bathroom and cuts though scum and build-ups in your sink and bath easily. I use it on my taps as it removes limescale build up quickly and leaves behind a brilliant shine if rinsed with hit water. I also use it on the toilet seat and rim as it is a disinfectant.
I have used the cream cleaners before but the Flash with bleach spray is much better as it is so convenient to use and easy to dispense.
Companies try to sell you as much as they can and so offer different cleaners for different rooms of your home, but this is really not necessary if you have one or two good allround cleaning products that work. I would really recommend Flash with Bleach as one of your 'staple' cleaning products!
I have recently purchased the BT Esprit 1200 telephone for our lounge as a replacement to a faulty and old phone we had.
The BT Esprit 1200 is a pretty stylish looking phone and is certainly more up to date than the one it has replaced. It is a DECT (digital) cordless phone in silver and black, with a colour display.
I have to say I am pretty pleased with the phone so far and it has a lot of great features. When I first got it out of the package I did think it felt very lightweight plastic and quite cheap feeling, but I then realised that I was comparing this phone to the quality of the casing on a mobile phone which is obviously designed with harder wearing materials as it has to be carried around a lot. The screen display is quite cool with the colour icons and choices of wallpaper, but is a far cry from the graphics of my iphone!!
The one feature that I think is particularly useful is that it has a Sim card slot where you can put your mobile phone sim card into the phone's base and it will copy across all of your contacts to the phone's address book. This is some thing that is so useful and very easy to do, and saves you so much time inputting people's numbers. Another handy feature is that there is a light on the base which becomes illuminated if you have missed a call. We do not have an answerphone so this light is handy to tell immediately if anyone has phoned, then you can see a list of recent caller IDs and also ring 1571 with BT to get any messages.
The sound quality of the phone is good and it has a good range meaning that it will work fine when I am out in the garden or upstairs. The ringtones are quite fun and are polyphonic, and there are some fun tunes to choose from.
The phone also has an SMS or texting functionality which I haven't used yet and doubt I will, as I use my mobile phone for that. I suppose it could be useful for some people but I think it is pretty much redundant if you have a mobile nowadays.
Overall this is a good phone. I have to say though that I bought it online from a company for only £16.99 and the RRP of the phone is around £60.00!! I must say that I really don't think the phone is worth the full price, and you can get it on Amazon for £60.99 right now - which I would not pay. This is overpriced for this phone and whilst it is good, it is not amazing or out of this world!
I have recently moved to an area which has a Wilkinsons store only about 10 minutes away, and I have found over the past few months that it has become one of my main shopping venues. I have to say I really love shopping in Wilkinsons now!
Wilkinsons is great for many reasons. Firstly, it has these amazingly cool shopping baskets on wheels that you can either carry (pretty heavy!) or wheel around. These are such a great idea and I haven't seen them in any other stores yet. They really save your arms and don't make the aisles too cluttered.
Secondly, (and more importantly!) it is really great value for money. The things I have bought from Wilkinson I have never seen cheaper elsewhere, and they have some great special offers and deals. Wilkinson is great for personal hygiene products and household cleaning items and is definitely cheaper than even Asda. They have their own brands in addition to all the main brands. They very often have buy on get one free on toothpastes, and Listerine mouth wash is currently £1.99 whereas in Asda I would pay around £3.00 minimum. They also have a great deal on Radox bath and shower gels which are buy on get one free.
Wilkinson also has fantastic DIY items including loads of different paints and varnishes, tools, screws/nails and so on. The prices are generally quite a bit cheaper than the DIY shops like B+Q and Homebase, and from my experience they are not bad quality. They sell all the know brands plus their own versions.
I have also bought a few plants from Wilkinson this summer, incuding a couple of Box (buxus) plants for £2.99 each which I thought was very reasonable as these plants can be pretty expensive from the garden shops. They were good quality and well established and are doing great in my garden.
Overall, everyone has a need for the products in Wilkinson, and if you have one locally you should definitely try it out as you will save some hard-earned pennies by shopping there for some of your items.
Ebay is a fantastic website and I really can't imagine the time when it didn't exist. I have been a registered user of Ebay for around 4 years now during which time I have bought and sold items in roughly equal amounts, and so have got the benefit of Ebay in both ways.
I don't think there are many people out there who haven't at least heard of Ebay nowadays, but for clarification it is an auction website that allows you to buy items online from companies/traders and from private sellers, and allows you to sell your unwanted goods, with Ebay taking a 'cut' of the sale price as well as administrative 'listing' fees.
The great thing about Ebay is that if you are sellng something your audience is massive; you have basically anyone with a computer in the country (and worldwide) making up your potential market. Instead of just advertising in your local rag like in the pre-ebay days, your item could end up being sold to someone who lives thousands of miles away, and your audience is far larger. This is especially good if the item you are selling is something very specialist as your potential market is already pretty small, and so reducing that market geographically by only advertising it is the local classifieds section of the paper may not get you your buyer. Ebay is also easy to use (once you have mastered the basics), and all you need is an internet connection, computer and digital camera to start selling your unwanted clutter. I have sold my old sofa, washing machine, clothes, old ipod, dvds and cds and a pair of skis over the years. The great thing is that the items all sold by auctions which means that if several people really want that partcular thing then the sale price can get really quite high. You also don't have to put a price on your items as its value is established by the auction process.
As a buyer Ebay is equally good. I have bought some great bargains on Ebay such as house telephones, clothes, car mats, skin creams and more. If I am looking to buy something I will always check out Ebay first as you can often pick up the item you are after much cheaper either brand new or second hand on there and save a lot of money. I have just purchased a brand new house phone from Ebay and paid around £15 for it. The same phone was selling on Amazon for £50!
The downsides to Ebay are that it can be quite daunting to get used to nowadays for those that have never used it, as over the years Ebay have added functionalities and features and it can seem quite complex. Also, there have been a lot of fake and fraudulent goods on Ebay and so you have to be careful who you are buying from. The site is also built heavily on trust and so there are occasions I have heard of where people misdescribe their items or where there are problems with sellers not posting out the item that has been paid for, but I have never experienced any issues like this. Ebay will also intervene and help resolve any such issues where necessary. Another downside is that the site is mainly an auction site, and so sometimes buyers can get carried away and the price of an item reaches such an artificially high price that you could actually get the item cheaper from the highstreet. Also, for sellers you really need a Paypal account for electronic payments to be accepted, and the fees for using this can be quite high and eat into your profits.
Overall, despite the downsides Ebay is a fantastic invention and has really changed the way people can buy and sell nowadays. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to find a bargain and also to those of you who are having a clear out and want to make a few pennies from things you no longer need!
I heard about Moonpig.com from their recent TV advertising and thought I would give them a go last month.
During the month of July I have around 6 birthdays in my family and so it is a busy month for choosing birthday cards. I usually find that I waste loads of time choosing the right card int he shops, and this is something my husband cannot stand to do, so I am pretty much responsible for all the card buying in our house. I thought that anything that made the whole process easier would be very welcome!
Moonpig is very easy to use. I set up an account with them in a couple of minutes online, and if you prepay a certain amount to your account, they give you a bonus amount free. So I pre-paid £20.00 and they gave me an extra £5.00, which I thought was pretty good. Once your account is set up you can browse all the different types of cards which are categorised according to celebration type (birthday, wedding etc.), and the by card type (humour, art etc.). When you select your card, you can then usually change the message on the front of the card and add the person's name, and also print your required content in the card and add a decorative signature. You can also choose the size of the card you want, and there are even various photocards you can order where you upload one of your own photos to the card. Moonpig will then send the card and envelope to you for you to post out, or else you can write a whole message in the card via the website, and Moonpig will mail the card directly to the intended recipient which is handy if you are at the last minute.
The cards range from £2.99 for the standard size to around £5.99 for the large ones with 4 small ones available for £6.00. Then there is a charge for postage on top. So - these cards are not cheap by any means, but you are paying for the convenience and for the ability to personalise the cards etc.
I must admit that Moonpig did save me a lot of time standing in a card shop looking through loads of cards to find the one I wanted, and I was able to browse the cards whilst watching TV which was pretty cool!However - they are not cheap and you can pay less for cards from the highstreet - but without the personalisation options.
I would recommend anyone to give it a go to see what they think and would definitely recommend it to people who don't want to waste time standing around in Clintons or Birthdays!
Skype is such a great invention and I would really recommend it to anyone. It is basically a software program that you download to your computer for free, and you can then use it and your internet connection to make free audio and video calls to anyone else with Skype installed around the world.
I really got to know Skype properly and used it regularly when myself and my husband moved to North America for 2 years. We wanted a way of staying in touch with our families without spending a fortune on phone bills. I mainly wanted to be able to keep in regular contact with my parents and friends, and so my parents got a web-cam so that we would both be able to see each other on live video whilst talking to each other 'across the Atlantic'.
The reasons why Skype is so good is that firstly, if you both have web-cams in addition to microphones (most webcams come with microphones in them), you can see each other whilst talking. This was so good for us as we rarely were able to return to the UK for visits, and seeing friends and family on the screen was just great and made you feel like you were there. We were also able to point the webcam to the windows and show people all the snow we had in the winter, show them round our house etc etc. Secondly, the cost of using Skype is totally free from computer-computer, and so you never feel under any pressure to talk quickly and hang up, and you can just talk in a relaxed manner as if you are there. My whole family connected on Skype when we gave my mother her 60th birthday present, so that we could feel like we were part of the celebrations. All the family gathered at my parent's house in the UK and we went online and could see and hear each other whilst my family in the UK gave my mum her present from us all. We could chat with everyone that was there and could see each other which was just fab!
The downsides to Skype is that sometimes the video can freeze and there are times when the sound may go so you have to get the person to repeat what they have just said. This can be improved with a faster internet connection and decent quality computer but even then there are usually always some gliches. But then you are getting the service for free so you canot complain too much!
Overall Skype is fantastic for keeping in touch with friends and family who are a long way away, as well as for anyone else who wants to chat via the computer for free.
There are some downsides, but the benefits far outweigh the bad points in my opinion.
I am a huge fan of Oust air fresheners and would not consider buying any other brand.
Oust is different to some other air fresheners as it claims to be an 'odour eliminator' rather than just a masker of bad smells. I firmly believe this is true - as it really does seem to work better than any other air fresheners I have used. Other air fresheners I have tried just simply mix the existing bad smell with the good smell, and don't really eliminate the bad odours.
My preferred scent is the Garden Fresh in the pink cap spray as it smells really cheery and I really like the scent that it leaves. I use this mainly in the bathroom as it really freshens the damp room up after morning showers and of course for those other bathroom smells! It is also great in the bedroom in the morning and I use it over the bedding to freshen the room up and remove stale overnight smells! It is also great at removing doggy smells in the house.
Oust is a little bit more expensive than some air freshneners but is sometimes on special offers, for example currently at Wilkinsons it is half price at 75p. I do think it is worth spending the extra on as it does last quite a while and really does get rid of nasty smells quickly. I would really recommend this to anyone.
Oust have now brought out a 3 in 1 spray which claims to be an air freshener and disinfectant/cleaner for surfaces, but I am steering clear of this. It is more expensive firstly and I am not sure that one product can be good at several different things, so I am sticking to the simple air freshener version of Oust.
David Wilson Homes are not to be trusted and are really out to con you out of hard-earned money! Ok, here goes:
We were recently interested in a new build property built by David Wilson Homes. We have a house wich is currently on the market and are relocating to a different part of England due to my husband's new job, and so were interested in their part exchange programme, what with the housing market being stagnant at the moment. We viewed a nice house that they had to offer on a new estate near to my husband's new workplace in Derby, and decided to enquire about the part exchange scheme whilst in the sales office.
We were told that David Wilson Homes would go and get 3 'market value' valuations of our current property, and then make us an offer for a part exchange on one of their new houses. There had to be at least a 30% differential between the house we were interested in buying and our current property. We thought this sounded ok and decided to get them to proceed in valuing the place.
Well, I received a call from the Estate Agent that is trying to sell our current house telling me that he had received a letter from David Wilson Homes asking him not to disclose the contents of the letter with the vendor (us), and asking him to provide a valuation on our house which would 'guarantee a sale within 30 days'. My Estate Agent told me that he wanted me to know what David Wilson were asking of him as he wanted to assure me that he was working in my best interests, and that to 'guarantee' a sale of our house within 30 days he would have to give David Wilson Homes a really low and unrealistic valuation which would slash around £30,000 off the current valuation of the house. Our Estate Agent wanted to advise us that he would not provide a valuation to David Wilson as it was against his principles.
Naturally, we were really disgusted with how David Wilson were trying to do business. They told us they were getting a 'current market valuation' but in reality they are getting estate agents to undervalue properties behind your back so that they can rip you off, basically. We have scrapped the idea of buying a new build now and this whole part exchange scheme, and will just hang on and try and sell our house for a more reasonable price when the market starts moving again.
So you have been warned! Do not trust the smooth talking sales people at David Wilson Homes - especially if you are considering part exchange schemes with them!