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Squiddly450
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Member since: 25.01.2009

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    • Laithwaites / Online Shop / 18 Readings / 16 Ratings
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      17.01.2010 14:42
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      If you like wine, you'll love Laithwaites

      My OH was a member of Laithwaites wine when I met him. He was enormously proud of this but, in my ever more frugal way, I thought I could wean him off this and reduce his wine buying habits to once a month a three for ten option at Tesco's.

      What I wasn't prepared for was the level of service and value for money that you get from this company.

      He is on the four seasons package where I believe, you get a case per quarter. The wine that you get in these cases, is always delicious. I have never tasted a bad bottle. This is great (for me especially as I buy wine depending on what the label looks like) as you never waste a bottle.

      Every now and then he is sent a booklet of special offers, the latest being a "mystery case" where the case you buy is guaranteed to be worth about £30 more than you have paid for it but it could be worth up to £600. In the past these cases have included Bolly or Chateax Neuf du Pap etc so well worth a punt. Other offers include a large (double size) bottle of Rioja for about £10 which is fab as a gift or jusy to keep for yourself!

      One of the enormous bonus points with this company is that when you phone them (whatever time or day of the week), you get to speak to a person, you never have to say or put in your membership number just to get in the queue to speak to someone. An actual person always answers the phone.

      So, my tightness in the wallet department has been replaced by a desire to support a company that give us good VFM. We are having a party next week and have ordered our wine from LW. We got free delivery and the cases were on our doorstep within three days of the phone call.

      It costs about £70 for a case of 12, including delivery.

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        13.01.2010 15:04
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        A super getaway, and very sexy!

        I first heard about this hotel in the Telegraph where they described it as one of the ten sexiest places to stay in the UK. I subsequently learnt that it had been voted this by Red magazine. I will try to take you through my experience of staying here in the hope that I won't miss out anything important!

        **********
        WEBSITE

        I am often out off by company websites, ones that seem out of date or haven't got enough information on them, the Miller of Mansfield's website is just right. You can look at all of their rooms, (they have 13, all with different attributes-more on this later), they have a sample menu from both the bar and the restaurant, as well as links to what's in the area, what's in the press about the hotel and the usual maps and directions.

        Quite inspired by this I filed it in my mind for a rare occasion when we could both get time off work for a quick break.

        This time came in October, so I set about booking a couple of days here for OH and myself.

        **********
        BOOKING

        This is very simple via their website, the booking page pops up in another window and has a colour coded calendar where you can see the next six weeks or so and look at the availability. At the time I booked they had a special offer whereby if you stayed on a weekend you got the Thursday free or something similar, I can't remember the exact details.

        One thing to be aware of is that they have minimum stays at weekends so you can't just stay for one night, you need to book both.

        So, as well as deciding the dates you want to stay, you also have to decide which room you would like. As I said before, there are thirteen (I think another two under construction). They have the following:

        Small Double
        Standard Double
        Superior Double (one of which is also a twin room)
        Luxury Suite

        These have varying levels of luxury (as well as price from £100-£200 per night depending on when you want to stay, not taking into account special offers), lines such as

        "The ensuite marble bathroom features a walk-in, wetroom like shower to refresh your senses with a torrent of steamy water."

        And

        "Room 3 provides luxurious accommodation with a decadent black leather sleigh bed,"

        Really give you the impression that no time or effort has been spared with regards to the decoration and accessorising of the rooms.

        The pictures on the website are excellent at giving you the feel of the atmosphere of the different rooms, some are smoky and sultry, some are fresh and light, others are "boudior-esque".

        So, if you can decide where and when you want to stay, a credit card for authorisation is needed and the booking is made. You will get a confirmation email but if you need anything clarifying, they are also good at responding to emails which makes a nice change from some companies.

        **********
        ARRIVING

        Goring on Thames is a very charming village, it is slightly out of the way, certainly travelling from the M40, however the train station is about ten min walk from the hotel so you could very easily get the train.

        The outside of the hotel certainly doesn't disappoint, apparently it is an 18th century coaching house and it looks absolutely lovely. There is very limited parking at the hotel which was disappointing but there is plenty of on street parking next to the church which is opposite the hotel.

        You walk in through the bar which had a lovely atmosphere although I didn't see any children (that makes a good atmosphere in my book!) so I'm not certain how family friendly it is.

        Opposite the entrance is also the restaurant (more on this later)

        Checking in was very easy, as an added bonus they had had a cancellation so kindly upgraded us from standard double to superior. The check in desk was also very helpful and gave us directions to the station (we were going on a pub crawl the next day so needed some transport!).

        **********
        THE ROOM

        We were guided upstairs and along a couple of corridors, that really gave the place some character I think. Our room was lovely, a huge bed and a lovely colour scheme. The complimentary biscuits were lovely cookies (I'm a sucker for this!) and the bathroom had the most enormous bath with an overhead shower and luxury bubblebath and shower gel etc. All very lovely and showed some real attention to detail.

        Unfortunately the window opened onto the main road through Goring so the traffic was a little noisy but we're not talking about the M25 so it was bearable!

        **********
        AROUND AND ABOUT

        It was a very short walk up the road to a lovely pub with no music, fruit machines, TV etc. Perfect for us. As I said, the train station is very close and trains to Oxford and Reading run regularly. There are hundreds of things to do in the area. National Trust properties, the river Thames is about 400m away, there are numerous sporting activities (shooting, fishing etc), so it's perfect for a weekend break. These are really well detailed on their website but also they have lots of leaflets etc at reception.
        They also recommend a number of restaurants in the area so there is something for everyone.

        **********
        THE FOOD

        We had supper in the restaurant on the first night. The prices were what I expected for a hotel in this area so we didn't feel ripped off, the menu changes frequently and they have samples of it on their site. I really fancied the mussels but they were off so I had pork belly and it was delicious. The restaurant was quite busy (I had booked a table when I booked the room) and there were a number of locals in there which I took as a good sign!

        They also had bar snacks available for less formal dining.

        Breakfast was included in the room price and didn't disappoint, we were given menus with prices on which confused us slightly but when we actually read the menu, almost everything was included. Two Full English breakfasts, two pots of tea and four rounds of toast later, we were happy!

        **********

        Our stay was lovely, we weren't pestered or pandered to but we felt happy that, had we asked for something like peanut butter on a baked potato for breakfast, they would have done their best to accommodate us.
        If you fancy a local stay in a lap of luxury then do have a look at this hotel, it's not cheap but it really helps you to forget what's happening in the world for a few days.

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        01.09.2009 21:35
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        Several health benefits

        I'm going to review airwaves because it's the brand of chewing gum I prefer, (especially the black one), however, you'll probably find that this is a review of chewing gum in general as well.

        Chewing sugar free gum is known to help reduce dental decay and prevent bad breath. This is largely down to the fact that it stimulates saliva flow which helps to reduce the acidity of your mouth (which is a large factor in decay), increasing saliva flow also helps to reduce the proliferation of bacteria which can cause bad breath.

        I usually concentrate on the anti-decay properties when recommending gum to my patients (if you look up Stephan Curve on google you'll understand why), and almost always it is news to them.

        One point to note is that chewing gum whilst smoking is potentially bad for you as it prolongs the time which the carcinigens in tobacco smoke, are in contact with the oral mucosa. This can lead to an increased chance of developing oral mucosal lesions and ultimately oral cancer.

        Other, perhaps less scientifically sound reasons for chewing gum include:
        Stress reduction
        Reduction of cravings (like giving up smoking)
        Weight loss (apparently chewing burns 11kCal per hour!!)

        Airwaves in particular comes in several very strong flavours including Cherry, Black mint, and menthol and Eucalyptus.
        The strong flavours of airwaves is the main reason I enjoy them so much, I find the flavour lasts a decent amount of time-my drive home is an hour and it does me well for at least that long.

        Whilst I am a supporter of gum chewing in general, I abhor those who spit it on pavements, train furniture, under desks etc, as well as those who loudly chew and snap it for all to hear and see-yuck.

        In all, sorry for not being massively specific about airwaves but I hope you have learnt something about gum and its goodness.

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          26.08.2009 22:14
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          Worth a try, if only for the funky bottle!

          My fiancee and I have recently moved house, before we even made our beds we had bought a new wine rack that houses sixty (count them 6~0) bottles of wine. This was important to him because he feels he is somewhat of a conoisseur. I try to tell him that being in a wine club doesn't make you Jilly Goolden but he won't have it.

          So anyway, we decreed that in order to keep the rack full, every weekly shop we did, we should buy three bottles of wine (on special offer only) to supplement the quarterly case delivered from the wine club.

          So, three weeks ago, the weekly shop fell to me and JP Chenet was on offer, three bottles for a tenner or six for £19, not bad I think!

          I bought one red, one white and one rose. I really have to say I enjoyed every one of them. For a £4 wine (when not on offer) this really is a decent drink. If you're a true wine sniffing, swilling and spitting purist, then I imagine it's probably not for you. However, if you just enjoy sitting on the patio with a chilled bottle of something not too special or fancy a night in front of the fire with a red that didn't break the bank, this is perfect.

          The wine itself is fruity, you can drink it with food or without. (The white and rose are lovely but I'm mainly talking about the red) It is mellow and easy on the palate- not like a rioja which is strong tasting and not to everyone's taste, "easy drinking" which is a term I dislike but seems to describe it well.

          We have chosen this wine for our wedding for the simple reason that most people will find it pleasant, the hardened wine fans among our guests may find it a little bland, but those who would normally drink lager or somesuch will find it inoffensive.

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            16.06.2009 20:38
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            Great Service, convenient location, massive bed!

            I needed to book a hotel as I was in Gateshead for a fencing competition. The other half agreed to come if I booked a nice hotel so that is what I did! Initially we had planned to get the train so I booked this hotel, attracted by the fact that it's walking distance from the metro centre-this is like a hub of local trains so easy to get to.
            In the end we deided to drive as trains are so expensive.

            ANyway, I digress. I booked the hotel through Quidco and thus expedia. It was easy to book and cost £138. This is quite pricy but I wanted to stay somewhere nice and clean and generally feel like a hotel guest.

            We arrived at the hotel at about 2230, which is quite late but this wasn't a problem at all. We were greeted by a very helpful and friendly member of staff and check in took about 2min. Always a good start.

            I was concerned as there was a wedding party going on and previous experience has indicated that this can make for a noisy night...more on this later.

            We were absolutely starving, having decided to do the trip without a break in order to get a reasonably early night so once we dropped our bags in the room, we checked out the restaurant. Unfortunately this closed at 2230 so we had missed the service. The menu looked pretty good though and reasonably priced for a hotel. We asked about restaurants nearby but because it's out of town, there was nothing that would be open. Room service however, didn't finish until 2300 and we could even order after that albeit from a reduced menu.

            We decided on 2x burger with one pint of close arrest (Stella) and a diet coke, no ice. This (including the room service charge) came to £26 which I think is fairly reasonable (more than I would like to pay but better than going hungry!). This was delivered within 15min and all was well.

            The room that we were allocated was on the 4th floor, it was very spacious with an en suite bathroom. Everything was extremely clean and tidy. The bed was enormous (to the point that I actually felt like I'd been reunited with OH when we got up the following morning!!) and the decor was tasteful. There was a TV, kettle and the standard complimentary biccies and tea/coffee etc.

            Despite my previous concerns about the noise, the room was almost silent and the curtains were so thick I didn't even know it was the morning when I woke up! A brilliant night's sleep had by us both

            Breakfast was included in our booking and there was an absolute spread laid on. Comprising cereals, pastries, cooked breakfast, continental cheeses and meats, fruits, juices etc etc. The service was quick and friendly and not intrusive.

            We checked out in a matter of seconds and were off to some sword fighting (via the gate controlled free parking).

            It's not cheap but you get what you pay for.

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              08.06.2009 17:28
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              A lovely product but spoilt by the bits.

              I was prompted to buy some moisturiser by one of my friends. The conversation went something like this:
              "What moisturiser do you use Squiddly?"
              "I don't use moisturiser"
              "You'll look like a raisin in ten years!!"

              The thought of that made me get straight to Boots and look for something to stave off the dried fruit look. I was attracted to this moisturiser, firstly by the packaging, it looks very clinical and tidy, and secondly by the fact that it contains an SPF. It's only factor 8 but I have mediterranean skin so this is ok for me for day to day use. I would always use something stronger if I was out and about but I work inside and am just outside on the drive home so don't get too much sun!
              I leave it on my desk at work, I'm usually so idle in the mornings, I get up, go for a run, have a shower, brew and brush my teeth. I just about manage to get dressed before it's time to leave for work so no time for skincare.

              When you open the cream, the first thing you notice is the smell. It's sweet and buttery, it smells very rich and really quite tempting. When you put it on, it is light and not greasy at all, it is absorbed well and immediately improved the texture of your skin.

              The only criticism I would have is that it leaves "bits" on your skin, if (like me) you are too harried at work to look in the mirror, you will pop to the loo at some stage and think.... how many people have I spoken to looking like someone has sneezed on me!!??

              I think these "bits" are a result of what they use to improve the radiance of your skin. Improvements in radiance are mentioned on the back of the jar and as these "bits" look a bit silvery, I can only put it down to that. It's a shame because it spoils what is otherwise a lovely product.

              Recommended but be warned!

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                06.03.2009 21:32
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                Learn how to do it because you won't get away without it!

                From an early age my parents have tried to instill confidence and good delivery into me, in fact, my earliest memory is sitting on my dad's knee reading the paper outloud to my nona (italian grandma). I did public reading whilst I was at primary school and won a prize for presenting my final year project at Uni. Nevertheless, I still hate the thought of standing up in front of people. I get extraction face (see previous reviews) and generally shake and think I sound like an idiot.

                Picture this scene: Captain Squiddly is tasked to brief groups of soldiers on a new policy the MOD is introducing. Capt Squiddly is a subject matter expert having studied the subject at Uni, and having read widely around the subject for about four weeks. Captain Squiddly asked to brief groups of 20 or so to improve the interaction and to ensure people weren't afraid to ask questions.
                Captain Squiddly went to do the brief and walked into a room of 200, yes, two whole hundred soldiers aaaarrrrrrrgggghhhh. But there was no getting away from it and I had to give my brief.

                I had carefully written my script and I knew everything there was to ask about the subject so I was confident that whatever happened, I wouldn't look stupid. However, being the only girly in there made me feel so uncomfortable I can't even describe it.

                Fast forward two weeks and another brief, this time the requested 20 turn up. No problem at all, I even managed to make them laugh.

                So, my top tips: There are only two-the first being:

                1: Prepare prepare prepare. Write exactly what you want to say, what words to use and not use so you avoid saying anything risque or anything that could be misconstrued.

                2: Learn everything you possibly can about your subject so that you won't be stumped if someone asks an awkward question.

                Those are the only two bits of advice I can give, if someone can tell me how not to blush, I would be eternally grateful!!

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                  06.03.2009 20:04
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                  Highly recommended for chilling after a hard week

                  After I left a particularly onerous day at work today (Friday is POETS day so I left at 1500) my skin felt very hot and dry and I had what my nurse calls extraction cheeks for no reason (when I take teeth out I get rosy red cheeks for some reason). It was cold outside but hot inside and I hadn't drunk enough water and my skin felt generally uncomfortable.
                  As we've just bought a house and are saving literally every penny, I haven't treated myself for ages so I thought I'd nip into town and get something nice and indulgent and spend the afternoon having a bit of Squiddly time.

                  I went into boots and had a good look round for inspiration, my eyes settled on the Montagne Jeunesse range (the price may have had something to do with it), there was a selection of about six face masks-peel off ones, cloth ones, deep cleansing ones-I wanted a soothing one and the chocolate one was the only soothing one available. I had to check the ingredients as I am allergic to chocolate-as it doesn't contain cocoa solids I was pretty confident that I would be ok. At 97p, I managed to pay for this with my advantage card so that made me a happy bunny.

                  Anyway, I got home, did my packing (the big move is on Monday) and decided it was bath time.
                  As I was running the bath, I washed my face, leaving it damp as per the instructions and opened the pack. The smell was very much chocolate pudding rather than chocolate bar (the smell of them gives e a headache bizarrely) so it was quite pleasant although I'm no chocolate fiend. I think if you do eat the stuff you would like this product very much indeed!

                  It was pleasantly thick and creamy, not too difficult to apply to damp skin and there is plenty in the pack for someone with a massive forehead like mine (apparently it's a sign of intelligence don't you know). So on it went, avoiding the delicate eye area of course and in I went (into the bath).

                  It started to dry after about five minutes but didn't get really dry so it felt tight-perhaps because I put it on quite thickly and the bath was steamy- and I felt it kind of doing something but it wasn't tingly, I can't really describe the sensation.

                  After 15min, I decided to wash it off-this took quite some time and made the bath water very dirty. I then patted my skin dry and had a look in the mirror. Well, my extraction cheeks had gone and my skin felt smooth and looked pinkish, almost like the circulation was better and more even, so happy with that, I put some bio oil on.

                  Then I had a look in the bath, yikes! It was filthy so I gave that a scrub, I would probably put it on and then shower it off in future.

                  For the price these face masks retail at, they really are brilliant. You can choose from so many varieties and there is something to suit every occasion and skin type.

                  This one was lovely, it made my skin feel soft and almost dewy. I would recommend it after a stressful week at work.

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                  • freecycle.org / Internet Site / 58 Readings / 57 Ratings
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                    03.03.2009 22:43
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                    Brilliant idea, somewhat limited items on offer

                    OH and I have just bought a house together, so very exciting. As we have stretched ourselves somewhat to get our deposit and stamp duty together, I decided to give this freecycle phenomenon a go.

                    I expect you all know the philosophy behind this site, if you've got something you don't want to or can't sell, you can offer it (for free) to someone who lives locally to you before binning it.

                    My first step was to sign up, to be perfectly honest, I found this a little complicated and I'm no luddite! I googled freecycle and when the main "freecycle" site came up, I clicked on "UK Groups" and narrowed it down to our area. So far so good.
                    After this, I had to sign up for a yahoo email account in order to access the listings. I'm a lifetime hotmail user and to be honest, I don't find yahoo as easy to use, nevertheless you need a yahoo login so I got one!

                    To become a member, you also have to write a short sentence on why you would like to join, I expect this is to reduce the number of chancers who just want free stuff for no effort.

                    Once you have been accepted, you'll get an email in your yahoo inbox, along with two or three emails telling you the etiquette expected from you. My group is fairly tightly moderated which is good.

                    Basically, there aren't many rules, but they do ask you to give something before you ask for something-fair enough.
                    I decided to get rid of a VCR that we no longer want, isn't it dreadful, no one watches videos anymore! (Not many people in any case). So, I checked up on the format and composed an email. This must have a subject heading following the guidelines of: OFFERED-VCR-Squiddlytown.
                    This is succinct but gives enough information for someone to decide whether they want to open the message or not. Once you have the title, you just put some detail in the main body of the email and send it to the "group". In my group, this goes to one of the Mods and then on to the group. I got the heading wrong first time and the guy sent it back to me and asked me to change it-they run a tight ship!

                    This is emailed to all the group members and also posted forum style, to be honest I only read the emails and don't check the forum but I suppose it depends on what you find easiest.

                    Our VCR was snapped up, several people emailed and I just chose the most polite one and we arranged to meet in the pub carpark (nice and easy to find-does sound a bit dodgy though!!). To be perfectly honest, I have asked for a couple of things and not been lucky, I also posted a wanted ad and had no replies.
                    The main items on there are childrens bits and pieces, understandable as they grow out of things so quickly, not very helpful if you can't have rugrats and you're looking for a wheelbarrow!

                    I would highly recommend you logging on, particularly if you are having a clear out-things like box files go very quickly- or have just decorated and have old curtain rails or half tins of paint left over, they will be welcomed with open arms. If you've got kids it's definitely worth a look as there are tonnes of clothes and toys offered on there, if you can't afford/don't want to buy new stuff, you'll do well on here.

                    Freecycle is like a small community, which gives it a nice trusting feeling. Having said that. I would highly recommend not letting people come to your house to pick things up, I know that sounds very sceptical but better safe than sorry, especially as you have probably just advertised the fact that you have two children and you're throwing out your husbands clothes or you've got builders round etc etc.

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                    • Bio Oil 200ml / Skin Care / 40 Readings / 39 Ratings
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                      02.03.2009 18:22
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                      A great all round moisturiser

                      The reason I started using this stuff (you'll all laugh at me) is because, in the summer, the skin on my upper lip darkens slightly. I think this makes me look like I've got a tache (I'm a lady, honest!) although OH assures me it doesn't. When we were at my parent's house last year, he dared me to ask my mum if she thought I had a moustache and she said "Oh, well now you mention it"!! I was gobsmacked!

                      So I saw this advertised and it said it helped with pigmentation so I thought I'd try it.

                      60ml costs about £4 but it varies quite a lot depending on where you get it from. This is a good size to start with I think. The packaging looks a little bit retro and the oil itself is pink (not very macho but then I'm a lady so that's fine by me).
                      It smells quite fragrant, almost flowery and quite feminine. The smell disappears once you have applied it though so this is nothing to be concerned about.
                      The oil itself is quite light, the top of the bottle has a small hole in so I hold my fingers over the end and tip it up to dispense some onto my fingers. Once you have the oil on your fingers, I find it works best to massage it hard into your skin. Because it's light, it doesn't feel like you're making your skin oily (which is what I was worried about) and it sinks in pretty quickly. If you don't rub it in well enough, your skin will look a little oily but if you thoroughly massage your skin with it, it will just leave you looking radiant. For this reason I use it as an all over moisturiser on my face rather than just on my moustache (!).
                      So-the results! To be honest, my moustache goes away in the winter so I'm not sure whether it's fixed that, I can say that the resto of my skin is so soft and the skin tone has improved vastly. I had some hyperpigmented acne scars on my temples and they disappeared within about two weeks of using it which was great. If I don't use it, I can tell a huge difference within two or three days.

                      As far as helping to reduce scarring (what it says on the advert), I'm a bit of an Al Capone when it comes to scars and i have them all over my body. I have tried using Bio Oil on a two inch linear scar I have on my forearm from a car accident about 10 years ago and to be honest, it has made no difference. In the early life of a scar, it will fade from red to white and I have a feeling that this may expedite the fading of a scar in this way but once a scar has faded and become a bit older, I don't feel it will work.

                      My skin isn't particularly sensitive although it is sometimes tight, I can't comment on how this would work on sensitive skin but it definitely smooths, soothes, and relaxes my skin.

                      In all, it is expensive but not compared to some skin creams out there, and it is a lovely product which can be used for problem areas or simply as an all round moisturiser.

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                        27.02.2009 18:50
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                        Try your very best not to let them become scared

                        I first thought of writing this review when I read an article on MSE. I haven't treated children for quite some time now but I'm sure I will before too long and I can certainly remember the little darlings!

                        One of the problems with dentistry is that in the 60's, 70's and 80's, a lot of dentistry was done. Much of this may have been done by "old school" dentists who were taught little about pain relief and patient management. This is by no means the case all of the time but is certainly a recurring theme. This era is also when NHS dentistry encouraged the "drill and fill" culture that so many people remember.

                        Fast forward 30/40 years and many of the people who went in the chair during the aforementioned period are parents of young children. Children are enormously perceptive and pick up on even the tiniest suggestions that something might be in store for them. Case in point:

                        Mum: We're going to the dentist, you can have a MacDonalds later
                        Child: Thinks *why will I get a treat after this then? It must be something nasty*

                        This is a classic case of a parent projecting their preconceptions onto their child, it is so easily done and I do it myself with my stepdaughter but it explains why children are scared of something that they have never experienced. Remember, fear is a taught emotion.

                        Have you ever told your kids about the bogeyman? I don't have my own children and have no first hand experience of bringing up children under the age of 13 but I would imagine that it's fun to tell them a story that's a little bit scary? Case in point:

                        Dad: You've got to have a filling
                        Child: How do they do a filling?
                        Dad: They stick a massive needle in your mouth and drill out your tooth (possibly embellished by drill noises and actions)
                        Child: Thinks *that doesn't sound like fun*

                        I'm all for being honest and teaching children about the wider world and what to expect etc etc. However, these days, dentists can administer anaesthetic painlessly, they can carry out a technique called ART (atraumatic restorative technique) without using drills, and dental practices are pretty much child friendly places. If your child needs a filling, or dental treatment, ideally you could leave it to the dentist to give an explanation. Otherwise, try not to use emotive words and phrases like "don't worry, it won't hurt", "be brave", "injection", "needle", "drill" etc etc.... you get the picture.

                        All of these can plant seeds of doubt in a child's mind, leading to them growing up as a dental phobic for no good reason.

                        One of the most difficult times I had when treating children was with an autistic boy, he was delightful and very intelligent. His mother was also lovely but very very protective. The first appointment they had with me, she just talked and talked to the point where I could barely speak to my patient. After I gained their confidence, they would arrive together and then she would leave to go shopping whilst we got on with the task at hand. Perfect. Try not to be too protective over your children if at all possible, they will grow in confidence enormously if you feel you can leave them in the surgery by themselves. Clearly this depends a lot on your child and their age etc.

                        I remember the second most difficult small person I treated. A beautiful eight year old girl with blonde hair down to her waist. She came in, in tears because of her toothache. The tooth, which had an abscess was a baby tooth and I'm afraid I couldn't fix it. She sat in the chair like an angel while we gave her some local anaesthetic. Then, as we told her we were going to give her tooth a wobble, she was out of the chair like a rabbit from a trap. In her mind, the toothache had gone away so there was no way on earth she was going to let some dentist pull it out. I tried to explain what would happen if she didn't let us take it out, her parents tried bribing her, tears, tantrums but this young lady was adamant we weren't doing anything.

                        Well, I thought to myself, we casn't make her have it done and off they went. The next day, in the faily came again, this young lady sat in my chair and said "please take my tooth out". Perfect. I learnt a valuable lesson that day, and I think her parents did too.

                        In essence, what I think I'm trying to say in this part is, you may hate going to the dentist for a perfectly valid reason. Please try your very best not to give this phobia/hatred to your children. There are some amazing children's dentists out there (I'm not one of them and I'll happily admit that), and there is no reason in this day and age for children to grow up afraid.

                        Lots of my patients ask what age they should take their children to the dentist. There is no rule, personally I wouldn't examine a child under three however, if you are going to the dentist and you can take a friend, relative older sibling with you, then bring them in to the surgery so the young un can get used to it. As long as you're not leaving them crawling around the floor on their own, most dentists will think that's great.

                        I will now discuss the final case I have in my armoury. I treated a boy of 9, he had caries (decay) in all of his teeth so we started fixing them. At his third appointment, I found that his caries rate was so high, the fillings I did six weeks ago were falling out! I explained this to his mum and she shouted at him: "I TOLD YOU NOT TO PUT SUGAR ON YOUR CORNFLAKES".

                        I thought, hold on a minute, where does he get the sugar from? It's not his fault that he doesn't know what's bad for him. Maybe you don't know what's bad for him either but please don't blame him! I'm not suggesting for a minute that any good dooyooer would do this but maybe we could spread the good word.

                        As I said before, I haven't treated children for nearly three years but the time I have spent is firmly etched on my memory!

                        It's a difficult thing to do, make your child undergo an experience that terrifies you. Like I mentioned before, invest in their future by not making them scared for the rest of their lives. My only aim in this is to help educate people and hopefully, make some small improvement, even if it's just to one person's dental experience.

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                          26.02.2009 20:18
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                          See above!

                          I'm quite biased on this subject, the reason why will become clear.

                          It is obvious that there are many jobs for which a degree is compulsory, medicine, law, dentistry, vet science, physiotherapy etc etc. Despite having one of them myself, I'm going to discount them in this review.

                          I'm going to compare two boys of the same age, one of whom is my brother, the other a family friend. My brother is of the opinion that everyone should have a degree and if you don't have one, you're a lower form of life.

                          Nick (my brother) did his A levels in 1998, despite several resits and some dedicated tutoring, he achieved a less than dazzling CDD (Chemistry, Maths and Physics). My parents tried to persuade him to do something else, Nick was hell bent on going to Uni. Nick went to Uni, didn't pass a single of his first year exams, and got well and truly kicked out. He then spent a year in Australia, a year doing an HND (getting sacked fro the associated job in the process) and joined the army. He managed to persuade the army to send him to Uni (how, I have no idea) and is doing a degree in logistics (age 28 now). To give him credit, he is in his third year and hasn't been kicked out yet! However, in one of his first year exams he got 4% (!) and he has just failed his dissertation. Talk about flogging a dead horse, he's not an academic but just can't accept it. Still when (and if) he finally gets his (ordinary) degree, he will look down on anyone who doesn't have one.

                          Family friend, left school at 16 with a few GCSE's, managed to get a place on an apprenticeship as a painter and decorator, finished his four year apprenticeship (whilst saving for a house). Worked for someone else for two years, now has his own business and employs four people. No degree, no letters after his name, just hard graft and dedication.

                          I know who I would rather employ.

                          One of the problems is that the government are convinced the more people who go to Uni, the better. This means that the country is flooded with small colleges that have turned themselves into "Universities", offering degrees in surfing, golf or "leather technology" (what is that?). People are forgetting that maturity, the right attitude to work, and relevant experience, are the keys to employment.

                          Degrees which encompass a "sandwich year" in industry are particularly valuable, they provide a good balance of academia and relevant experience-something that is missing from many degrees provided in the rarefied atmosphere of tertiary education.

                          To summarise, degrees have their place, experience is more valuable.

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                          • Crest Spinbrush / Electric Toothbrush / 0 Readings / 0 Ratings
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                            25.02.2009 20:27

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                            I just want to write a quick note regarding electric toothbrushes, not specifically this one but definitely pertaining to those toothbrushes which use batteries rather than charge up from the mains.The main problem being that the batteries run out sloooowly and you may not realise they are almost dead, all the while this means that your teeth aren't getting the TLC they need. Once you change the batteries, you'll feel like the blimmin thing almost takes your head off!! If you're good at changing the batteries regularly then no prob. I just want everyone to have good teeth then I can just do whitening and have an easy life!!

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                            25.02.2009 20:02
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                            A great book for students and postgrads alike.

                            I'm going to review this book as I feel it is one that is suitable for "soon to qualify" dentists, and qualified dentists alike.

                            The book retails at about £35 and can be ordered at Waterstones as well as being available on amazon and other such sites. It is a paperback book, A4 in size and has nearly 300 pages.

                            It is edited by Edward Odell who is a bit of a legend, he's a professor and honorary consultant in Oral Pathology and Oral Medicine at GKT (Guy's, Kings and St Thomas' Dental Institute and has special interestx in many forms of head and neck cancer. He has more letters after his name than I have in my name and address. There are about 50 other contributors gathered from almost every aspect of dental specialities, and from many different institutions and organisations.

                            The book is slightly different from normal textbooks in that it is divided into chapters, each based on a clinical problem. This is very much in keeping with the current trend in both undergraduate and postgraduate exams and coursework, of being able to cross reference subjects and not simply know about something in isolation from its practical application. The chapters also cover the key skills as the Royal College of Surgeons examine.

                            I will name a few of the chapters and then give an example of how this works.

                            1: A high caries rate
                            6: A dry mouth
                            11: Sudden collapse
                            15: Oroantral fistula
                            17: A lump in the neck
                            21: Impacted lower third molars
                            22: A phone call from school
                            25: Caution-X-rays
                            34: An anxious patient
                            37: Management of anticoagulation
                            48: Oral cancer
                            54: A child with a swollen face

                            This is a sample of the 56 chapters in the book and it can be seen that the book covers simple cons, paeds, radiology, medical histories (as well as emergencies) as well as more tertiary care issues.

                            I will take oroantral fistula as an example chapter:
                            The chapter starts with a summary and clinical colour photograph.
                            A 42 year old man presents with pain following extraction of an upper first molar. What is the cause and how will you treat him?

                            The first section is
                            History
                            This is divided into the usual components of Complaint, history of complaint and medical history. A full history is provided.
                            Then comes
                            Examination
                            Both extra oral and intraoral examination summaries are provided.

                            Then
                            Differential Diagnosis
                            What causes for the pain are possible and why? Sinusitis secondary to OAF or dental pain (giving a summary of each)
                            What is an oroantral fistula? (again, summary follows)
                            What is the aetiology of OAF?
                            What factors predispose to formation of OAF following extraction of teeth?
                            What are signs and symptoms of OAF?

                            Then
                            Investigations
                            What investigations would you carry out, how and why?
                            A periapical rad is included and questions asked about it. In this investigations section, there is also a table with aims of investigations and methods. The chapter also includes an occipitomental view.

                            Then
                            What is your final diagnosis?

                            Then
                            Treatment
                            How would you treat this patient?
                            Would you treat this patient in general practice?
                            How would you excise the fistula and remove the root?
                            How will you close the defect?
                            What flap designs are available?
                            What post op instructions are required?

                            Then
                            Other possibilities
                            How might formation of OAF be prevented?
                            Another rad is shown here and questions asked about it
                            How could an OAF be confirmed at time of extraction? How might this help?

                            So the chapters are thorough revision of typical subjects, this exact question came up on my MJDF part 2 exam. I also did MFDS at Glasgow, the OSCE questions there were definitely more detailed than the MJDF questions.

                            I would say that all necessary topics for general practice and MJDF/MFGDP/MFDS exams are covered in this book and I found it invaluable in stirring the old grey cells back into question answering mode three years post finals.

                            The book is expensive but it has colour photos and is a real one stop shop for revision and reference.

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                            • redletterdays.co.uk / Online Shop / 51 Readings / 51 Ratings
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                              23.02.2009 22:06
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                              If you want a convenient, once in a lifetime birthday present, this is for you.

                              I have bought gifts for people using Red letter days and also have had days booked for me so Ill try to give you some insight.

                              Red Letter Days is a company which allows you to buy "experiences", these range from spending a day at a spa to being a zoo keeper for a day to driving a landrover around a cross country course.
                              You can buy the "experiences" either in shops like WHSmiths or House of Fraser, or more conveniently, on their website.

                              The website has the following sections available:
                              Driving
                              Couples
                              Adventure
                              Pampering
                              Flying
                              Short Breaks
                              Gourmet
                              Lifestyle
                              Culture
                              Sports
                              Animals
                              Water
                              Kids

                              Plus a few others such as VIP, London and vouchers etc.

                              OH loves cars, we don't have the moolah to get a smart one of our own so I had a look at the "driving" section of their website.
                              Here, you can choose a package to suit your taste and pocket. For example, I bought "Aston Martin vs Ferrari Driving" where you get laps round a track driving each of these cars. You can drive practically any car, Lotus, Hummer, Mini etc. In this section are also Rally Driving packages, Off road experiences, JCB driving etc.

                              I can't list all of the experiences available in the other categories as there are so many.

                              I have been bought Aston martin driving and rally driving, and I have bought the Aston vs Ferrari experience plus horse riding for my step daughter.

                              Some of the experiences have height/weight restrictions and for the driving ones you will need a full driving licence.

                              Once you have bought the experience and paid for it, RLD (redletterdays) send you a smart red box containing a card with booking codes on and other information including disclaimers etc. You can either get this sent to you so you can book the actual experience, or you can have it sent to someone you have bought the experience for.

                              Once you have the booking codes, you can log on to their website and choose your venue and date. At this stage, you can change the experience to something else so if you've been bought JCB driving but you'd rather have a manicure and facial, that's fine!

                              For some experiences, the dates available get booked up really quickly or are only on week days so that is worth checking before you choose.

                              Once you've chosen your venue and date, you will get a confirmation letter giving you directions and phone number to call in case the weather is bad on the day.

                              Once the day arrives, you get yourself to the venue and register, in my experince this is fairly simple and registration is well signposted. The staff are helpful and do as much as they can to help you enjoy the day to the max.

                              When I have bought experiences, I have always searched the net for offers and usually manage to get a 15% discount. If you go through Quidco, you can also get cashback.

                              I think the experiences are a little overpriced and you could get a better deal if you organised it yourself. For example, I now live in Berkshire but at my family home in Herefordshire, my parents are quite well connected in the equine world. If I had tried to get a "beginners lesson" for my step-daughter at a local stables, it would probably have cost me £50. The RLD experience cost about £100. You pay for the convenience though as RLD sort the logistics out for you.

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