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Member since: 04.02.2010

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    • hotmail.com / Internet Site / 15 Readings / 15 Ratings
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      13.04.2010 12:29
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      It's as simple as you want it to be

      Hotmail.com is an internet based email provider. Ever since I started using the internet I have used Hotmail and have found it very easy and reliable. When you visit the website to register these days they have the tagline "The simple way to do Email." That is true it is simple but they also have so many new features now that it can be as complicated as you want to make it.

      From what I remember it was very easy to register and only took a few minutes. You just have to provide the usual details and choose what you would like your email address to be. They will then tell you if this address is available and if not provide you with similar alternatives.

      Then you are free to start sending and receiving emails. The actual mail area is very simple and you have your basic inbox, outbox etc. and can create and manage your own folders and delete and move messages simply. Message writing is clear and simple too and you can easily add attachments to your messages. This is about as in depth as I go with it. I really don't take advantage of all the features they offer such as to do lists and online calendars. I have linked my account to Outlook so these benefits are of no use to me. However I do know people who use them and they seem impressed.

      The only problem I have ever found with my email account is when someone tries to send me a file that is very large it sometimes gets rejected. They obviously have a limit on the size of files you can receive, although I'm not sure what the limit is.

      To be honest so much has changed with this website I can't be bothered to sift through it all to see if there are any features that interest me. I'm happy with the email service and they probably would have something else there that would be good for me but I like to keep things simple so for me Hotmail.com will always just be about email.

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      12.04.2010 15:21
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      A lovely relaxing resort, perfect for couples

      We stayed at this resort for our Honeymoon in 2006. It was definitely the right choice as it is so peaceful and romantic. Disney resorts are split into budget, moderate and deluxe and Riverside is classed as a moderate resort. However, there is nothing moderate about it.

      Riverside is the larger of the two sections of Port Orleans and it is lovely to spend a quiet evening walking around the extensive grounds. The resort is built around the Sassagoula River and the buildings and theme are based on the Mississippi area of Louisiana. At one end of the river, in the area called Magnolia Bend, the buildings that house the guest rooms start out in the style of large plantation style mansions and the further down the river you go the more rustic they become until you reach the Alligator Bayou area. The buildings in this area are more like bayou style wooden buildings.

      Apart from the difference in appearance, all the rooms are essentially the same. They are all the same size and contain two double beds, a table and chairs, a dresser with drawers, a TV, a safe, a bathroom and a separate sink area that can be curtain off for privacy. The theming inside the rooms is slightly different in each area, the Magnolia Bend mansion rooms are decorated in light colours with dark wood furniture. Whereas the rooms in the Alligator Bayou area are more rustic with log effect bed posts and quilted bedspreads. We have stayed at this resort twice and have been allocated rooms in the mansion area both times and have always been more than pleased.

      Riverside has a food court that is worth a visit even if you don't eat there as it houses an impressive working cotton press powered by a huge waterwheel. There is also a full service restaurant called Boatrights where you eat inside what looks like a boat workshop with a huge unfinished boat attached to the ceiling. Yet again, more of Disney's amazing theming. I have eaten at both places and would definitely recommend them. There is also a lovely bar that has a good range of drinks and also serves some small snack type meals.

      At the centre of the resort is the main swimming pool which can get quite busy but is worth a visit. There are also quieter pools in the mansion and bayou areas which are a lot better for relaxing in. There is also a really good shop selling lots of Disney goodies including clothes and toys as well as daily essentials that you may have forgotten to bring with you.

      There is a bus service to take you to all the Disney Parks and the buses are fairly regular. However, they can get very busy later on at night, especially coming back from the Magic Kingdom. There is also a boat tha will take you to the neighbouring Port Orleans French Quarter and then on to Downtown Disney. This is worth using and is a lovely scenic journey.

      We stayed at a different resort on our last visit but we still returned here just to have a leisurely walk around and reminisce.

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      12.04.2010 14:46
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      A must do ride as long as the queues aren't too long.

      Big Thunder Mountain is basically a runaway mine train type roller coaster. It doesn't go too fast and the drops aren't huge, the thrill comes mostly from the rattling, tilting and shaking as you travel through the fake abandoned mine.

      As with all Disney rides it is very well themed with lots of detail. If you can ride with your eyes open there's plenty to look out for including the elusive Hidden Mickeys. You will have to ride it quite a few times to see all the detail but it is, worth it.

      You board the train and sit in little carts like you would expect to see in a gold mine and after some banter and sometimes singing from the cast members the train sets off. On your journey you encounter falling rocks, an earthquake, various animals and, if you can spot him, a man in a bath. It is fairly tame and would appeal to youngsters and older people as the entertainment is more visual than from high speeds and thrills. A way of making it more exciting is to ride it in the dark. This ride doesn't scare me when I can see what's coming but I rode it in the dark one night and the anticipation had me screaming.

      It is a very popular ride so during peak times you may experience long queues. However, this attraction has the fastpass facility so you can pick up a pass then return at your allotted time and bypass the regular queue. I have only ever visited during quieter times of the year and the longest I have waited for this ride was half an hour. That seemed like a very long wait to me but sometimes people queue for up to two hours! It's a good ride but I wouldn't recommend waiting that long as the ride only lasts about three and half minutes.

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        12.04.2010 14:27
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        It's not just for kids

        It is nearly impossible to write a review of Disney World in general as there is too much to mention without going on and on for pages and pages. You really cannot comprehend the scale of it until you actually visit and see it for yourself.

        Our first visit was for our Honeymoon in 2006. We had both always wanted to go and thought this would be the perfect opportunity. When we told people where we were going we got the very common reaction of "Why?." People who have never been really don't understand why two adults with no children would ever want to go there. No matter how many times you try to explain to them they just don't understand.

        There's just something magical about the whole place and you feel it as soon as you arrive, it's an amazing feeling but very hard to describe. After our first visit we were completely hooked and are going back this year for the fourth time, taking our daughter for her first visit.

        The first image that usually springs to mind when you mention Walt Disney World is Cinderella Castle, but it's so much more than that.

        It is actually made up of 4 separate theme parks - The Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney's Hollywood Studios and The Animal Kingdom, 2 water parks - Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, the Downtown Disney shopping and entertainment area, 22 resort hotels, Disney's World of Sports complex, 4 18-hole golf courses, and 2 mini-golf courses. Every single area has its own theme and all have so much detail you see something different every time you visit.

        Obviously the parks have lots of rides and attractions but even if you don't like rides you can find plenty of entertainment just strolling around and taking in all the scenery and watching parades and shows. There really is something for every age from toddlers to pensioners.

        If you've visited theme parks in the UK you might think you know what to expect but Disney is like another world completely. You get so absorbed in this magical place while you are there that you can easily forget the rest of the world exists.

        To me it definitely is the most magical place on earth.

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      • shopandscan.com / Internet Site / 39 Readings / 37 Ratings
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        23.03.2010 12:35
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        Very rewarding very minimal effort

        I joined this site about 5 weeks ago as it seemed like an easy way to earn some rewards and so far it's working.

        When you register with them you supply basic details about yourself and your household then they send you a handheld scanner in the post with an instruction book and CD.

        Then all you do is scan the barcodes on your shopping every week, then plug the scanner into your PC with the USB cable provided and transmit your barcodes.

        It's quite fun to do the first few times but eventually gets a bit boring and can be annoying as you can't just come home and put all your shopping away. But I still think it's worth joining as you do get rewarded quite well for minimal effort.

        The instruction book you get has various barcodes in that you need to scan before your shopping. There's a barcode for each member of your house, then a few pages of codes for shops, then for amount spent in £s, then for various loose food items like fruit and veg.

        You start by scanning the name of the person who did the shop, then the shop that you went to and how much you spent, then you just scan your shopping. There's also a special barcode that you have to scan if you purchase multi buy offers.

        At the end of the week you plug your scanner into your PC, go to the shop and scan website and click transmit barcodes. It then takes the information and resets your scanner ready for the next week. Every week that you transmit you get 1100 points.

        You also get 500 extra points if your scan your receipts and upload the images.

        When you reach 10000 points you can get a voucher worth £10 for various places such as shops and restaurants.

        When you join they give you enough points to get your first voucher without you even having to do anything. So far this is the only voucher I've had but I'm very close to my second.

        The only problem is you can't just sign up you have to be invited. I'm not sure how I got an invitation but if you get one I would definitely recommend joining if you don't mind people keeping tabs on all your purchases.

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          23.03.2010 12:14
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          Don't do it!

          I have watched every series of this programme and always end up asking myself the same question - Why?

          Every year I say I'm not going to watch it and every year I get dragged back in. For some reason as soon as it starts it's like I've been brain washed and can't help what I'm doing. For the rest of the year I moan about how pointless this programme is and I am completely sane.

          I can justify watching the first series as it was a completely new concept and very interesting to throw a load of random people in a house and see what happens. I suppose I could also justify the second series by saying I wanted to see if the idea would still work. But I really don't know why I carried on.

          Every time I watch it I feel like I'm wasting my time and I know I'll regret it but I just can't help it. All this programme does is produce untalented Z list "celebrities" who think they can get anything they want after their 5 minutes of fame.

          Of course there will always be some contestants who will linger around for a while such but essentially they're all crazy attention seekers. I can't understand why anyone would want to appear on this programme they must be so desperate to let cameras follow their every move and have the press ridicule them and their families.

          There have been the odd ones who I've liked and they've seemed fairly normal but I still can't comprehend what would prompt them to do this.

          It's a waste of time so try not to watch it, if you do you'll get addicted and when it finishes you'll wonder why you bothered.

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          • Just Dance (Wii) / Nintendo Wii Game / 19 Readings / 18 Ratings
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            23.03.2010 11:41
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            Embarrassing, but gets you off your bum

            Games like these are the reason I bought my Wii.

            I love video games but feel guilty for sitting on my bum playing when I should be excercising. Therefore I always buy any game that is remotely active to stop me feeling so guilty.

            I've been playing this today so thought I'd review it. I bought this when it first came out as it looked like a lot of fun. It's the simplest game ever, the instructions come up on the screen when the game starts and all you do is hold the wiimote in your right hand and mirror the movements the person on the screen makes.

            To start the game a screen comes up where you scroll through various different well known songs from the past few decades including Cindi Lauper - Girls Just Wanna Have fun and Spice Girls - Wannabe. The song choices are very cheesy but then so is the game.

            The songs have a star rating for effort and difficulty with one star for the easiest and three for the hardest. The ones with three stars for effort make you work up more of a sweat, and the most difficult have more moves to copy and can get a bit confusing.

            You select your song then, select an icon to represent yourself then choose wether you want to play the full song or just a sample and thats it. The music starts and the figure on the screen dances and all you do is copy. The more accurate your moves the more points you get.

            You can play on your own or with up to three other people. I prefer to play on my own as I don't like to embarrass myself. It is very funny to watch other people playing though and great for a night in with friends.

            If you really put effort in and go for it you can get a good work out going. The only problem I've found is sometimes you think you're doing everything exactly right but the remote just doesn't seem to register it.

            Another point to note is that the words to the songs appear on screen so if you want to sing along you can. I find this impossible as I'm too out of breath while I'm dancing.

            It can get a bit repetitive after a while if you play it too often but I'd still say it's worth buying if you can get it cheap and you like rhythm/co-ordination type games.

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          • HMV / Highstreet Shopping / 14 Readings / 13 Ratings
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            22.03.2010 16:48
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            Visit for inspiration but don't waste your money here

            I don't usually shop here as I find it very overpriced and usually shop online to get a better deal. However, today I was passing and noticed an offer on Ipods and decided to go and have a look.

            The first thing I noticed when I entered the store was the lack of staff. It was 10am and the store was quite busy but there was no-one on the shop floor and only one person serving at the tills.

            I had a wander around to see if there was anything that caught my eye but as usual everything was so expensive. There are no other music/DVD stores in my town so if I don't want to buy online I usually go to a supermarket as everything in HMV seems to be at least £5 more expensive than anywhere else. Even when they have a sale on the DVDs cost the same as they would at normal price elsewhere.

            Anyway, I found the Ipod display and got myself a bit confused and couldn't tell the difference between the various types so I asked a staff member to explain it all to me. She was so friendly and helpful, I didn't expect this at all as usually in shops like this I find the staff are usually yound and not interested and just grunt at you. She managed to explain everything to me in a way that I could understand without any technical jargon. I didn't make a purchase in the end but was really impressed with the service I received.

            If the prices were a bit more competitive I would definitely shop here more often as they have so much on offer. They don't just sell CD's and DVD's they have all kinds of technology and accessories and even clothes. The best thing about this shop is you can have a good look around and see what you like then go home and find it so much cheaper on the internet.

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              22.03.2010 16:29
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              Ok for one night

              I visited this hotel a couple of weeks ago with my Husband as we needed somewhere to stop overnight while travelling.

              I've never stayed at a Holiday Inn before so had no idea what to expect.

              When we arrived the outside looked similar to most other chain hotels, nothing special. However when we entered the lobby area I was very surprised. It was decorated in a very modern and contemporary style with some really nice photos and artwork on the wall and light fittings that I liked so much I wanted to take them home with me.

              Check in was simple, I had made my reservation over the phone a few weeks before we arrived and just had to give my name and they handed over the room key.

              I was not so impressed with the room. I couldn't believe how small it was. I had booked a double room and originally we were going to bring our daughter so had asked for a cot which they said would be no problem. In the end we left our daughter with my parents so didn't need the cot. I'm so glad as I really don't know where they would have put it. There was just enough room to walk around the edge of the bed but you had to squeeze past the desk that was in the corner. There was a TV one top of a chest of drawers with just enough room to open the drawers. There was also a wardrobe in another corner. It had all the features you would expect but crammed into a tiny space. There was no room to spread out at all.

              The bathroom was bright and would have been nice if it had been cleaner. I couldn't bare to go anywhere near the bath, there was mould between the tiles on the floor and walls and rust running down the wall from the handle over the bath. It just needed a bit of TLC.

              We ate in the restaurant that night and could not fault the food at all. It was delicious and I would highly recommend it. Plus it wasn't too pricey.

              They also have a health club which is free to use if you are staying there. We tried out the pool, steam room and sauna. The pool was rather small and at one point when there was 5 of us in there we had to co-ordinate our laps so we didn't crash into eachother. All in all though it was a good little place and worth a free visit.

              However, I'm not sure if I would try Holiday Inn again just because of the size of the room. I've stayed in lots of Travelodges over the years and their rooms are so much large with lots of room to spread out. So I would probably rather stay in one of those instead.

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            • The Blind Side (DVD) / DVD / 14 Readings / 11 Ratings
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              22.03.2010 16:08
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              Not to be missed

              *This is a review of the film as the DVD is not out yet*

              When my husband suggested watching this I wasn't too excited as I presumed it was going to be a movie about American Football and I'm reallly not interested in that. However I was wrong. Yes it is about football but this is just a small part of it. You don't have to understand the game or be a fan to like this film.

              The film is based on the true story of a young man called Michael Oher. He is poor, homeless and not very well educated but has a talent for sport. He is taken in by the Touhy family who help him come out of his shell and reach his full potential. It is all about the challenges he faces and how he overcomes them. Without spoiling the end of the film, he ends up becoming an excellent american football player.

              Sandra Bullock won the Best Actress Oscar for this film and I have to say she was very good. I'm really not a fan of her, in fact I usually avoid her films completely but for some reason I kept forgetting it was actually her in this film. I was quite impressed with her acting although her Southern accent did keep slipping sometimes.

              In my opinion though the actor who played Michael was the star of the movie. His portrayal was so heartfelt and believeable you couldn't help but love him.

              After I watched this film I saw review online that completely slated it and said it was not worth watching at all. I disagree. It was very emotional and moving and had me crying several times. I'm so glad my husband made me watch it and I would highly recommend it.

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            • Retail Eyes / Employment / 33 Readings / 31 Ratings
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              21.03.2010 11:45
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              Lots of fun if you've got spare time.

              I joined this company a few months ago as a way to make a little extra money after having my daughter. So far I've been very impressed.

              It was very easy to register with them unlike other mystery shopping companies. All i had to do was provide the basic information about myself and agree to their terms and conditions and that was it. A point to note is that if you do sign up with these companies it is your responsibility to sort out your tax and national insurance payments.

              As soon as you have registered and gone through the process of confirming your email address you are free to start searching for jobs. I find the website very easy to navigate. All you need to do is set up your preferences for how far you are willing to travel and what type of jobs you would like to do then every time you log on it will tell you how many jobs are available in your area. You can then click on the number of jobs and it will bring up a list of them in more detail.

              There are lots of different types of jobs such as visiting pubs, shops and restaurants. All jobs usually involve making a small purchases which is reimbursed and many also give you a fee for going as well. When you first become a member you can only accept one job at a time and you are classed as being on a probationary status until they are happy that your work is of a good enough standard.

              I have done a few jobs for this company and have no complaints so far. Before you carry out a job you have to read through the instructions carefully and you also get a questionnaire that needs filling in afterwards. It is all fairly simple as long as you follow the instructions carefully. Plus it can all be completed online inlcuding uploading your receipts so no need to write everything out by hand and post it off to them like I've had to do for other companies in the past.

              They have some excellent jobs on there for some very well known companies and the work can be very enjoyable. They don't pay as well as other companies I am with but they do have quite high limits for reimbursement so if you like free food and drink then it is worth giving it a go.

              It won't make you rich but it's fun and will get you a bit of spare change and a free night out occasionally if you're lucky.

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              • Carte Noire Instant / Coffee / 23 Readings / 22 Ratings
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                19.02.2010 16:37
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                Good for a lover of strong coffee

                I've always liked the taste of coffee but if I drink too much it plays havoc with my stomach so for a long time I stopped drinking it completely. My husband is the kind of person who drinks several cups a day and always likes a nice strong flavoured one. He picked this up when it was on offer one day and as soon as I smelt it I just had to try it. Since then I have been back on one cup a day, I just can't resist.

                *Packaging*
                The jar is square and almost completely black apart from the writing and logo. The packaging straight away suggested to me that it was a premium brand of very high quality and strong flavour. The description on the back confirmed this: "Unlock and savour the sensual pleasure of pure Arabica coffee. The rich and velvety body of this deeply aromatic blend will seduce your palate." I read this while waiting for the kettle to boil. I have no idea what Arabica is but it made mouth water just thinking about it.

                *Price*
                The usual price of a 100g jar is around £2.50 but it is quite often on offer and we got ours for £2. Bargain!

                *Taste*
                The smell hits you as soon as you open the jar and spoon the granules into your mug and seems to get even stronger when you pour the water on. The taste does not disappoint, it is just as strong as the smell and has a lovely smokey flavour. This may be a bit strong for some people but I like mine as black and strong as possible and sometimes add more than the usual one spoon of granules just for an extra kick. However for the normal coffee drinker one spoon of granules would be quite enough.

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                19.02.2010 16:05
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                A lovely story for children of all ages.

                This book is the sequel to the best selling "The Gruffalo" and was first published in 2004, five years after the first book. It is a lovely story and cleverly written but, as with most sequels, is not as good as the first book.

                As the title suggests, the story is about The Gruffalo's Child. The Gruffalo has told his child about the scary mouse that lives in the wood and one night the child is feeling brave and decides to go and search for him. The story continues with what happens along the way.

                It involves all the same characters as the first book but is written from the Gruffalo's point of view instead of the mouse's. The story is written in the same catchy rhyming style as the first book so is lots of fun to read. It would also be good to read with a toddler age child as after a while they would be able to pick up on the repeating rhymes and say them along with you. The illustrations are nice and bright with plenty of full colour pages with lots of details to point out and discuss with your child as you are reading.

                I would say this is suitable for boys and girls up to the age of about 8. Even before they can read it by themselves I'm sure they would love it read to them as a bedtime story.

                This book won WH Smith's Children's Book of The Year and deservedly so. However, despite the fun story I still prefer the first book.

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                19.02.2010 15:39
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                A very worthy winner of the Smarties Book Prize Gold Award.

                I had never heard of this book until the TV adaptation aired at Christmas. I tried watching it but couldn't get into it. However, after this I had a look online for a bit more information about it and was intrigued. My daughter received this as a gift a few weeks ago and as always the book is definitely better than the TV programme.

                Ever since I was very small I have always loved books and if this had been published when I was younger I'm sure it would have been one of my favourites.

                The book is about a little mouse who goes for a stroll through the woods. I don't want to give away what happens but basically he encounters some animals who want to eat him and to scare them away he invents an imaginary creature called a Gruffalo. They all get scared and hide but then the mouse actually comes face to face with a real Gruffalo. You'll have to read the book to find out what happens next.

                The book is written in rhyme and is very fun to read. My daughter is only 6 months old and already loves listening to this story. She pays lots of attention to the brightly coloured illustrations and sits very quietly and seems to be taking it all in. There are lots of opportunities to do character voices as well which makes her giggle. It isn't very long and only takes a few minutes to read so she doesn't have time to get bored so I'm sure this will be one of her favourites as she gets older.

                I have read this story to my daughter several times and I haven't got tired of it yet which can only be a good thing as I'm sure as she gets older it will be one of those books that we have to read over and over again. The only problem I've found so far is that the rhyming makes it very easy to remember and I often find myself in bed at night with the story going round and round in my head!

                It is a very worthy winner of the Smarties Book Prize Gold Award.

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                • Loose Women / TV Programme / 12 Readings / 12 Ratings
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                  19.02.2010 14:50
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                  Change the channel!!

                  I'm not a fan of daytime TV and this programme does nothing to convince me otherwise. The TV is not usually on during the day in our house but my daughter was having a nap earlier so I decided to flick through the channels. I had This Morning on in the background as I pottered about and when it finished Loose Women started.

                  I have seen this programme a few times and it never fails to annoy me. It is basically just a chat show with four female hosts who engage in lively banter with their guests. They sit behind a long table and their guest sits in the middle. I'm not sure if they have female guests because every time I've seen it the guest has been male and has been subjected to all manner of questions and flirting from the hosts. They must be either brave or stupid to agree to be interviewed on this show!

                  The four "Loose Women" on the programme change regularly and there are a variety of different "stars" who take a turn. However it seems that no matter who is on when I watch it the conversation always ends up being of a sexual nature. Obviously nothing too crude as it's daytime TV but there are always innuendos flying about. I'm far from easily offended so this doesn't bother me and this is not why I don't like it. I really can't put my finger on what it is that bothers me about this programme. It could be the fact that I'm not a girly girl and this is a really girly programme. There's just too much giggling going on and all the hosts seem to be obssessed with men. Depending on what mood they're in they either love them or hate them.

                  I think if I was a man watching this programme it would scare me off women forever! We're not all like that though!!!

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