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Member since: 19.10.2006

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      19.03.2013 23:22
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      Not to be missed out is ever near it!

      I think I wanted to write about this place for a long time and was always afraid I won't do justice to it. It is a magical village thrown on the map and once discovered you can't keep yourself from falling in love hard! This village by it's name Kakopetria has still kept its originality and roots by preserving the core of it and some smart people took advantage of its beauty and came up with the idea of Linos Inn, which actually is a project of restoring as many houses as possible with the scope of polishing what was once shining like little gems under the sun and mould as one the past with the present to be shared in the future.
      Even though all this is done to make a profit from the investment, I truly believe many other sites gone to ruin would have been better off with such fate as people would have had the opportunity to relax and enjoy a holiday while learning history, bask into tradition, eat the best local food and drink the greatest refreshments each region has to offer.

      Location

      Linos Inn is in the heart of Kakopetria Village, which is up in the mountains, on your way to Troodos, actually on clear days the high mountain can be seen in its splendour. As a concept Linos is mostly small house scattered about and you can book one according to their accommodation facilities, location and how many people it can host. Or you can simply book a room that's above the main body of this Inn.
      Kakopetria is the best place to be during winter, as it is not as freezing, but if you are lucky you can catch the days with flakes making their way to land, and during summer to breathe some fresh air and cool yourself down. And if you are a fan of eating trout, here's the best place to find it, some restaurants and eateries cook it better than others, but for sure they do know what they're doing as the fish tastes just madly good!
      It is not as near, or a smooth road, but once you are up here all the rest doesn't matter any more, believe me, I love tradition and history and this place delivers both.

      Booking

      First time I came across their site I could not believe what they were advertising, it looked too good to be true. I mean Kakopetria has many B&Bs and one famous hotel, Mill, which is build on the side of the rocky hills, making you believe it just grew there as the rest of the trees.
      In 2010 where not as many rooms as there are right now, and the ones available then where greatly advertised by each small detail, making my choice so much easier. I look for spacious rooms and with lots of light and if possible to be separated by a wall and have a balcony to put my husband on at night when he snores. While roaming on their site I came across one such room, though with no wall to split the space in two. It said it could accommodate 4 persons and that it was a suite.
      The price was not something I could afford every weekend, but because this one was special, my husband came to celebrate his birthday I thought what nicer surprise than this. I chose one room and set to call and reserve it. At the time, when talking with the nice guy on the phone I was told that the suite was available for 115 euros a night and that the check out is at 10 AM but they are flexible on off seasons and can stretch it until noon.
      I gave my credit card details and booked room number 20 for 2 nights and hoped for it to make a great gift for my other half, though I think I was the one being most eager to explore those narrow streets and examine this Inn.

      On their site they advertise the sister location of this Inn, Hani Protopapa, where the guests from Linos have free access to their pool, down side is that it is 2 km away from Kakopetria, but if summer begs for you to bask in the sun rays, then the pool is for sure a plus.

      First impressions

      After a long day and a long drive, Friday at 7 PM we arrived in Kakopetria, on the road to the Inn we saw a sign pointing to Linos parking, which is behind an old wall that has on it one huge poster with what Old Kakopetria Village is all about. We turned in, parked on one of the slots and luggage in hand we started towards the old stone paved road.
      One thing the site doesn't mention is that to be safe not to get stuck with the car on the narrow roads or scratch it for that matter, it's safest to park outside the old location and you'll have to cover the rest of approx. 500 m distance until the reception, by foot. If you happen to own an original '70 Fiat 500, then you are in luck, because it might fit just fine.
      Because of the stoned road, it is greatly advisable to wear flat shoes, otherwise it might prove quite challenging to walk that road and arrive to destination in one piece; lucky I was inspired as I usually wear high heels.
      Down the road, the view at night is fantastic, small houses peaking at you from behind the trees at the same time stone and wood buildings climb the hills in all their splendour. As I was taking everything in, I heard water flowing along with us, and was told by my other half that Kakopetria is full of springs and many people come here just to fill their barrels with water to have for drinking instead of buying it from supermarkets. With all these beauties spread before my eyes, I almost missed the sign of Linos Inn to the reception.
      Once I stepped inside the interior yard, which looks more like a keep, I think my face mirrored a cartoon character and I believe my tongue flew out like Jim Carrey's in The Mask. Simply gorgeous and you'll just have to trust my words written here until you'll have the chance and be there to see it for yourself. Everything was restored to perfection, every detail in place and the only thing that was missing was the keeper of the place with those large pants and funny shoes to appear and check us in. Stone pavement, wood stairs that were leading to the rooms above the main building, long smoky dark tables with benches covered in traditional carpets, unique and charming. On the right hand as you enter this keep there's a small kiosk looking like reception, made of course of wood and dressed up in red coloured ornaments and rugs and one nice receptionist lady with a genuine smile on her lips welcomed us in.
      The check in was a quick deal, once the keys were handed to us we were asked to follow her out again, down the road for about 20 meters to get to our house. We were wished a nice stay and the lady went off. It was dark and the light was not so great, but there are stairs, kind of steep because I almost tripped over 3 of them, and there are only 8 if I remember correctly, though narrow too; these steps lead up to a nice spacious terrace with a table and two chairs and a double wood latched door was the entrance to the room.

      The Room

      Once the creaking door opened and the lights came on, the room welcomed us with its faint smell of smoke from the fireplace, freshness from the linens and pine used for ceilings and furniture. The room looked glamorous in its traditional fashion, the four poster bed dressed in white, the single bed by the window covered with a pleated blanket, the cupboard carved by masterful hands and the 4 chair table all came together as if they came out of a painting. The couch was not exactly from the 1800s, but I guess modern furniture is more practical in front of the hearth, than sitting on a rug on cold days.
      The mini-bar was actually a normal fridge, full with all kind of things to eat and drink that were free of charge (it seems suites get this kind of gift). By the sink there was a tray with a kettle on top, cups, and a great selection of coffee, tea, sugar and milk.
      Opposite the entrance is the door for the balcony, but it does not fit a person on it properly, to my disappointment that is, but it may be a great way to relax and watch the bees' traffic and swallows passing by. Here the wall feels shorter and it is not a great deal of a distance from the ground up, makes it easy to jump, not that it is advisable, just an observation.
      The bathroom was the best surprise of it all, the perfect example of how modern can mesh with tradition. The door is similar to the one at the entrance, the same for the windows without glass only with double barn shutters with a latch and it is best to keep it closed while having a bath and it is winder as you might just freeze or never come out from the tub. Now, the tub is a mini jacuzzi with all the powerful jets and bubble gadgets, makes not get out of it one in, though it is only for one person which makes it kind of impossible to enjoy a bath in two.
      I later found out that every perfect thing comes with a trick, and here the trick was the hot water, if you're not careful you might burn yourself or you might get a cold shock while having a shower, I guess the boiler is to blame for it, it does not succeed to heat the water while on shower mode if it is the maximum power jet used.

      The only thing I might add is that the bed was fantastic, the crispy white sheets smelled fresh and the pillows where fluffy and made me rest like no other time. I guess the room itself gave me peace and made me totally relax and imagine I was in another time entirely.

      Breakfast

      Breakfast is included in the price of the room, and of course it is a must up here as most of the things served are locally made and are fresh freshness. That's the only reason I woke up and got out of the bed the next morning, to taste some of the cheeses and sausages that Kakopetria has to offer.
      As the sun was up I could see that my terrace view was over the river and on the left side other 2 houses had numbers on, stating they were Linos property, but without neighbours in. Lucky in a way, we had our small corner all to ourselves.
      Out on the road, turning up for Linos main entrance a new paradise revealed in front of my eyes, I barely held myself in check not to start exploring before eating! Inside the keep people were already eating, it was a sunny morning, perfect to eat outside, and we noticed no places were available for us to chose the same option. We entered the restaurant, which I might add is split in three: up restaurant, pub corner, low level restaurant. The breakfast buffet could be found in the upper restaurant, a place that looked cute and made you think everyone should step with care not break something. Seriously, this place, small in size, nothing great, had everything arranged in such a way that it made it look a lot bigger. Of course that even here, everything was decorated in dark wood, table cloths in red, floor tiles in red and the famous stone walls made the picture perfect.
      Once in front of the buffet, I was amazed with how much food it can be made for guests to have a choice and eat a great breakfast: cheese, feta, sausages, salami, kaskavali, olives, a great selection of fresh vegetables and fruits, coffee, tea, milk, cereals, nuts, muffins and the choice to order English breakfast, pancakes, and/or eggs. The fresh fruits where the best for me, as those were made from local production, what else can you ask when in the country side, than a glass of fresh juice squeezed right then and there from the village's fruits.
      I was impressed and I kind of over did it; I for one barely eat in the morning, if ever, but this time I really had enjoyed my breakfast.

      Restaurant

      Diner time came and we were assaulted by charcoal smell and made the decision to eat inside the inn and not go down into the village like we did lunch time. Once we were ready we went to have our meal. This time I did adventure to put on high heels, and I have to say I'm really glad that from the parking up to the reception I was wearing flats otherwise I know for sure my adventure was to end in crutches.
      Again we entered the keep, crossed through the up restaurant, pub/bar area, got out of this building, crossed one narrow road to enter another building. Welcome to the most beautiful room ever! It looks like a cave, a beautified one at that, small and cosy, not with too many tables but strategically arranged not to feel crowded. It was designed like the rest of the Inn and the red table cloth was present here too, though the bar it is smaller than the one in the upper one. One important thing that's advertised about this restaurant is the live music. While the program is on it is hard to hold any kind of conversation, even with the waiters you communicate through signs when the band goes at it.
      The menu is not big but not small either. The food is a choice between local meze and international dishes. For me going on a trip it always rules the international cuisine out, local food is the must try thing, no change on this night's schedule. We had local meze, which I thought the dishes will never stop coming, they were good, the halloumi was fantastic, the mushrooms were the best thing I have ever tasted, the village salad is still vividly remembered by my taste buds and that marinated chicken still makes me sigh. When it came to choose something sweet, I just had to pass, otherwise I was to explode right in the middle of the restaurant! One thing I need to say I was impressed with, their local wine was great and cheap and not the usual rip off! So the restaurant is highly recommended.

      Sports Bar/Summer Pub

      This place I don't know what to say about it, it operates as it fits best for every season. Mostly it is another building, next to the diner restaurant, for people that would like to watch the games and have a glass of alcohol without going deaf by the loud live music.
      During summer, the huge terrace at the back is open and the view is exactly the small narrow neighbourhood roads and houses under it, this is something very picturesque and unique; I think I over use some words, but it is just that.
      The only complaint for this part of the inn is that if there are not too many customers to be tended to, the staff tends to make itself scarce, and it is not exactly the greatest pleasure to chase after them in all that maze of buildings and rooms to find the right one for the bar for a refill or the check.
      What it is nice though is that here too the modern makes a perfect mesh with tradition and comfort is just at home. The couches are really welcoming and after a day of roaming about it feels like they just hug and soothe your aching muscles.

      Other Linos Inn attractions

      Believe it or not, it has a pottery shop which sometimes hosts pottery classes, I have not been too one as there was not one hosted at the time but I'd have to believe the manager on his word. The shop is loaded of items to choose from: dishes, vases, decanters, ashtrays and so many other strange looking things all reasonably priced. Above the shop of course there are two rooms, the famous jacuzzi ones.

      Further down this time after the small and gorgeous church, there's a museum. It has quite a small entrance, I hit my head when I entered and when I exited the place. Inside can be admired all kind of agricultural tools and machines, and wine makers and pots and the stories about the place where these things were found and what they actually are. Several small screens are showing different short clips with Kakopetria village pictures or places to visit about. I was impressed about it and the fact that they thought to do something as this. It is not to be missed as some interesting things are to be learned while the jacuzzi is filling up and waiting for your return.

      Overall

      I've been to Linos 3 times already, twice stayed in the same room, as it was during winter and once in a jacuzzi room, number 15. Here the jacuzzi was a proper one, with lights and everything; it took lots of time to fill up though as the water had no pressure.
      Both rooms are almost the same, the decorations, furniture, 4 poster beds and flat screens. One has a fireplace that you can light up a fire if you pay a little bit extra for a sac of logs at the reception and the other one has a huge jacuzzi that you can relax and enjoy your muscles say thank you for thinking of them.
      Room service is available, and you can even see it coming on the road towards your room, though not on a push cart as you can imagine, but brought by waiters or room maids which are polite when they want.

      I guess the only thing they could improve is training their staff not to shout at each other around houses that have guests in, not to swear in their native language believing no one else can understand them, some electrical things could work better (boiler), but I guess it has to keep up to the authenticity of the place; the water pressure could be improved in the jacuzzi room if the guest is to have a soak in the next 24h.

      On the other hand I love the attention to detail over their guests, each time one towel was used it had been replaced while we were out for a stroll, the same goes for the tray of goodies and toiletries. I really do appreciate this, I like when they are doing their job without being told at least once!

      All in all this little gem of a Inn should be given a try at least once. The place is not only original it sells tradition and good food at a reasonable price. The air and the views are just a bonus.

      Their website is worth giving a go, if only to see their 360 panoramic pictures.

      www.linos-inn.com.cy

      A suite now can be booked at 125 euros/night
      Suite with cooker and extra facilities is 135 euros/night
      Jacuzzi room 105 euros/night
      One standard room is 95 euros/night

      I tell you go for the suites and you won't be disappointed and ask for number 20 or 18 and you'll have dream rooms.

      That's about it, I know there's more to write about it, but it would spoil the surprise for some and it would become way too much to read for others that's why I hope you enjoyed reading so far and thank you for taking the time in doing so.

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        11.03.2013 21:05
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        A promise should be a promise and not a trick for sales...

        Exactly one year ago, while roaming through Debenhams I stumbled upon the beauty and fragrances section. As my husband chokes where there's too much aroma floating in the air, I was left on my own to lose as much time I wanted there as he headed to the second floor where the men outfits could be found.
        I had no purpose to look for something specific, just wanted to try out samples, get some for free and sniff as many perfumes appealed to me. While doing so, Helena Rubinstein stand ended my adventures as there was a new offer which winked to my inner make-up artist soul. I'm not actually working as a professional, but I did go for a 4 month tedious course to grasp the art of applying paint on my face that did not look like was done by a house builder. That said, I do like to try new things that advertise new revolutionary transformation by simple application; that's what this mascara, LASH QUEEN FATAL BLACKS, should/would have to do.

        Packaging and promises

        The mascara tube looks like a short fat snake, with scales and everything, just that it is hard plastic and not real skin; brown in colour with darker brown emphasizing the scales. The same goes for the packaging box when you buy it. The brush looks like a python's head, that's the revolutionary thing that this mascara stands by and advertises it will help your lashes curl and look as sexy as never before just by simply applying it on your lashes, with no helpers whatsoever.
        The down side of this mascara is the brush cap, the result consequence of the tube's shape. It feels big between your fingers and from experience I'm telling that it doesn't help when you try to paint your lashes, as much as I tried to have a firmer grasp on the fatty cap, it felt like I was about to drop it. Up side, it does roll between the fingers to help out with the curving effect?; the final result this mascara promises.
        Does it hold its promise as advertised? Here's the trick, if you have curved lashes you're in luck as it just follows the shape of your lashes and it blackens them nicely, if you do not have them naturally curved, you're in for hardship and disappointment. You'll still need to use the eyelash curler to have the desired effect; so this mascara is kind of a let down on its promise. I can stand by my statement and experience only because I have semi-curled eyelashes and it does not improve their "curves"and my friend has them straight (down side) and it does not curve them even a bit, that is if the eyelash curler doesn't give a "helping hand".

        Price and availability

        Now, let's just say this thing is not the cheapest thing out there on the market for the things it can do. I say this because my usual mascara costs as much and it delivers more than I can ask from it.
        When I bought my sample I paid 35 Euros; now, one year later I'm amazed to notice that it can be found on:

        www.amazon.co.uk for £26.50 and the waterproof one for £34.95

        It is ridiculously overpriced, even for a brand name. Maybe if it kept its promise at least 30% it would be worth a try and maybe its price.

        Overall experience

        When I was in the shop I was impressed with what the seller was selling and how she was selling it. I liked the poster with the model on it that had amazing curled lashes and sexy eyes; I admit that's what appealed to me and made me buy it. I could not try it on the spot as I had my eyes done with my usual mascara and could not wash my make-up in a store to try it for myself.
        The first time I had it applied was not such a WOW effect and thought maybe I had done something wrong only because I could not hold the brush cap properly between my fingers. But when the second time I applied it came with the same result I realised it was better to try and use my eyelash curler and see what happens; and there it was the result I was seeking for, which was delivered after all with help and not by the mascara brush itself.
        The mascara does cover the lashes thoroughly from one simple application, but because any other mascara can do the same it is not such a big of a bonus to make me spend so much money for it.
        One big disadvantage I experienced with this one is that it dried pretty quickly and without being used so many times. I mean, I had not opened it daily to apply it on, maybe once a week? If that did happen, and after only 3 months I realized the mascara dried up, even though the tube was still full. The brush could not assist with the dried mascara any more and the use for it was mainly to brush up the overloaded eyelashes covered with my everyday mascara, that stuck together, thing that can be done with the lash comb instead of a python brush that's sold with an overpriced mascara.

        Would I recommend it?

        I'm one of those people that will recommend any thing to anyone. Why? Because every experience is unique with different people, rarely do things happen the same for two or more people. This time though I'd say if there's a tester to be given away, try it, if you receive it as a gift enjoy it, if you find it on special offers like 70% off just pay for it and you'd know what to expect of it, or maybe you'll enjoy it better than I did. However if it is to buy it at full price and pay almost £30, I sincerely advise to buy something else. I was disappointed and still am, though I'm happy I already have my favourite one, even though it is a different brand from this one.

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          01.03.2013 15:04
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          5 stars hotel in the 1970s not today though...

          Weekend gift

          Last year at the beginning of July, I was presented with plane tickets and hotel reservations. The hotel being Portemilio Hotel & Resort in Kashlik, Jounieh - Beirut Lebanon. My husband was more excited than I was, only because he had been a guest to this hotel a few years back and he couldn't tire himself in telling how great it was and that the service will please me to no end. Could I deflate him and tell him: "Wait for me to see it and after I'll be the judge of that?" No, cause it was a surprise so I had to be surprised and after express my opinions.
          So, on 13th of July, after lots of waiting here and there, delayed flight and one crazy taxi ride to Kashlik we arrived safe and sound to the resort.

          First impressions

          As we entered the gates the only impressive thing was that the parking lot was full, and this hotel has an impressive parking space. The building as such, looked ancient and not in the good way, in the "need some painting" way. It looked the same as it looked when Portemilio first opened its gates, nothing done since then to make it sparkle. I say this, because my husband was the one to exclaim: "Woah, nothing's changed, it looks the same!" In some cases this might be a good thing, but believe me, the walls of the resort might do without the rust on the walls, the faded window frames and the darkened entrance. And because they say don't judge a book by its covers, I tried to do just that and think positive ahead about the accommodation and the resort facilities.

          Reception

          Once out of the taxi and grateful I was on stable ground, we were assisted by the bellboy with our luggage through the big entrance on to the reception desk, where 3 receptionists were assisting other guests. Now, no one told us that in Beirut the first language spoken after their own is French. My husband was a bit lost because he did not remember the guide that had accompanied his business group years back to speak French or to be informed Lebanese people prefer it to English. Here the real adventure started and it was really fun for me!
          You have to know, if ever you find yourself in Lebanon you have to take things lightly and most of all not to show anger or frustration because you'll be ignored and believe me it is most frustrating than anything.
          I know French, hubby doesn't. Advantage you might say, yes, if they were to deal business as in Europe, well they don't because they expect the man to be in charge, which my man was at a loss and started to grumble about: "civilized countries should speak English". If you ask me this is a typical English behaviour, no offense here because I agree too, although you can't quite force anyone in their own countries to speak to you as you desire, after all you chose to go there they did not force you. I was having fun though, I always have fun at his expense, it might not be the kindest thing, but sometimes he really deserves it!
          Finally understanding that my husband has nothing to do with French language and that their English was so basic they could not come to an agreement or better yet understand each other, after being totally ignored one of the girls asked me if I know French. I simply answered "Oui" and from then on it was very simple and quick. We had a standard room which we upgraded to a junior suit only for 20 dollars difference, total per night was 240 dollars parking view. Yes, in Lebanon they favour dollars even more than their Lebanese Lira. We were informed that our room is on the 7th floor, we were given 2 card keys and the password for the 7th floor Wi-Fi connection.

          The room

          Once the elevator doors opened we were presented with a maze of hallways, though we just had to turn right and a few rooms further, last in the corner was ours. We opened the room's door still chatting and laughing about the language skills of the receptionists, when we stopped to an abrupt halt. I have to say that the pictures found on their site are way too Photoshoped or prettied up, because it looked as ancient inside as outside. The charm of Middle East you might say, but for sure it is not the same kind of 5 stars hotel you will find anywhere else in Europe. For me the room looked as any other room you'll find in a 3 stars hotel. The doors were creaking; the furniture in general looked like they had seen better days. The bathroom was, let's just say asking for more cleaning, and here I'm talking about the en-suite and not about the other toilet which I haven't used or seen it for that matter. It had a kitchen area with hob and huge refrigerator, lots of cupboards, no cutlery though. There was a full mini bar, or at least we guessed it was full as it was sealed and we haven't broken the seal to look inside. The living room had one couch and 2 chairs to match, one dining table that could fit 6 people and it ended on a double glass door that leaded on to the balcony which this too had a table with 4 chairs. What was a bit of a let-down was that the balcony didn't look clean. And I don't mean the obvious dust you might find in a very hot and dry country, I mean the dead bugs in the corners and the webs in the high corners. All in all if I was to be told from the beginning the room had 3 stars facilities for the same price I wouldn't rate right now 3 stars out of 5. I always find it a bit disappointing to be misled and presented with something that it's not what it should be. In the end the room served me well, because I just needed separate sleeping arrangements only for the simple reason my husband snores in such a way that could bring any nice looking room from a 5 stars rating to 1 star, without joking or anything, everything would be shattered.
          Oh, there's a note on the table stating that they are not responsible for the disappearance of anything of value that was secured in the room's safe. It would be more secure to opt for the hotel's reception safe.

          The pool area

          This hotel has as stated, pool area. After our long walk and area discovering, when we returned we went straight to the pool area to have a look and drink something to cool us off. To get there we had to get out of the hotel and cross through guarded gates, where you have to present your hotel guest keys, and walk along a path full of "To the pool" signs. On the way there we saw the bungalows that were once accommodating short visiting guests, now where rented by families which had the choice to live here. Though the gardens looked really nice kept and the grass was trimmed to perfection and the sprinklers danced all day long to keep the green lively for the whole duration of summer.
          Once arrived to the pool area we decided it would be our favourite spot. Palms were surrounding all three pools. The original pool is as deep as 2 m, but over the years there were added one for kids and one for design purposes as it is located in front of the outdoors restaurant which is mostly used for weddings and receptions or parties; though during the day is used by the guests who chose to laze around the pool.
          The bars, because there are 2 of them are operated by 3 barmen, 4 waiters and 2 hookah guys who are in charge of your hookah's charcoal. They are very quick and on that aspect better with English than the receptionists.
          One thing I noticed, all the guests at Portemilio were not roaming around like us crazy people in the sun, they were by the pool, occupying each and every sunbeds available. I think all the rich ones preferred this pool, because they were just sparkling, and it made me understand that Portemilio's Pool was one of Beirut's favourite getaways during weekends.
          One huge bonus was that they were serving food too, and not only around the bar area, but to your sunbed side table too, the same goes for the hookah and for the drinks. I can say that here they were very organized and still spot on as in the old times.
          I did not swim in the pool, but my husband did and he told me the water was sea water and very pleasant. Well, I guess it was, as most of the people were swimming or just splashed about.
          The Pool area is exactly by the sea, if not on the sea; you just need to take some steps out of the Bar Pool area to admire the Mediterranean Sea and smell the salt and get lucky to see the sun set over it.
          Here I might add, Portemilio has my 5 stars, only because their service is up to standards, the waiters are pleasant, they do offer towels for their guests if you present your rooms key card and they do cater to all your needs.

          Spa

          I must be frank and say I really wanted to try it, but it was fully booked as every weekend happens. The hotel was full, the spa was full; here I can rely only on what their site says, because I haven't had the chance to try it out myself.
          Room Service

          We did try to order room service, but they were kind of slow so we gave up. Besides, after our experience with the dry towels, we just accepted that is was their way around foreigners. We did inform them so many times we need dry towels and we got them the day we had to check out, I guess our tips was not as big as the receptionist is used to get for us to have what we required.
          Hotel restaurant

          Well, here I have a complaint. You can mess around with my accommodation, even with my facilities if you want, but surely don't mess up with my stomach. I just ask for my dinner to be as rich as the breakfast is. It might not be entirely Lebanese, but sure is rich. You have a choice of sausages, all types of cooked eggs, fruits, cereals, cheese, bread, croissants, fresh or boxed juice, vegetables, jam, and butter. But when it comes to dinner you have to be prepared to eat only the basics of Lebanese cuisine. It is very poor. Yes you'll find the taboulleh in the menu, fatoush too, the chicken minced kebab and that's about it. I guess they can proud themselves in snack kind of food, not main dishes as such. Even the Pool Bar has more choice than the actual restaurant inside the hotel.
          At night, mostly if you don't know the area and you don't quite understand the receptionist you are forced in a way to eat in the hotel. Though if you are a bit adventurous you can get out of the resort and follow the uphill paths and you might find a vast choice of restaurants and bars to eat to. And the food is just exquisite and cheap too. Only the alcohol in Lebanon is expensive, the food is just more than cheap. And their local humous is to die for!

          Overall stay

          For me this hotel was an adventure, maybe not the best place I stayed at but for sure was full of contradictions. If the piano bar was empty every night, the Pool bar was full; at least until 11:30 PM when the service was to close. If you did not want to use your mini bar, as we did, you could just buy during the day things from the mini-market that was located exactly opposite the main entrance of the hotel. If you really wanted to be paid attention to, you had to know who to tip, which was a bit funny; I know it can get frustrated, but you take it as it is, otherwise you will succeed to ruin your holiday.
          You just have to be prepared that the restaurant will not satisfy your Lebanese food cravings, which is a pity, however I guess because they cater mainly Middle East guests the choices fir them perfectly. One great advantage is that the nearest restaurant is just a good 500 m walk, which is really a pay off at the end of your small trip.
          At least there's air conditioning in the rooms and one TV for each room, though you can mainly watch Arabic channels, but there are channels with movies only; just ignore the subtitles and you are in for a treat before falling asleep.
          If the A/C will stop, or the electric power will be just cut off, wait for a few seconds and it will return, as the Resort works mainly with generators, these types of accidents might occur, thought they won't take long until they'll fix it.
          It is such a shame people get to chose this one and pay as much they'd pay to a genuine 5 stars only because their site sell something else entirely different from reality.
          It really is an adventure to stay in this hotel itself, adding to the real adventure outside the place. If I recommend it or not is relative, everyone I guess can have their own experience here, though for the price given, you can for sure find a glamorous 5 stars hotel and have all the comfort in the world and no bugs, rust or ignorant staff around.

          PS: Review might be found under same user-name on ciao.

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          • More +
            27.02.2013 00:26
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            Dye for the strongest of hearts

            I should start by saying that I live in Southern Cyprus and here the market is kind of limited, not many things on for sale, thus choices are limited; for sure you find the brand names, everything well known worldwide is here too, however if you want something more unique you're to face Lady Bad-Luck, or you can do as I do and order things on line just to drive the ones at my local Post Office mad when I lose or packages are delayed.
            Thus my review today, about the new hair dye I started using and added to my must have list of on-line shopping.
            Before Valentine's Day I was browsing cheapsmells.com for a nice "smelly"present for my other half; and while looking at anything else than "smelly"things I remembered I needed to dye my hair and I was in need of something ammonia free. I started to search for the one and only; I'm quite particular about my hair colour, it has to be brunette, but not black, with a hint of red but not on fire, changing shades in the sun but not too traffic light-ishly obvious. I usually use HerbaShine, though the number I use is out of stock everywhere I looked for, for weeks (still is till today) so I could not let my white hair grow more obvious and make me look like I was wearing coloured extensions! I'm 29, but because of genetic laws I took after my mother and had white hair since 19, now looking almost like Mrs. Clauss, though I wear no round spectacles.

            First impressions

            Here's the thing, while searching and reading which was best and why and of course did not have Ammonia, I came across Fudge Paint Box Vendetta Red. Even though it said Red, the tube looks more dark lilac so I did a quick Google search to find pictures with actual dyed hair using this colour and have an idea of what was what. The pictures that came up where more like some Japanese comic book's characters, with very shiny and strident dark burgundy rose. I just blinked, checked again and again different images, turned the laptop sides, picked it up, looked under... I seriously was intrigued, the idea was naughty to say the least. I wanted to try it on, I wanted to feel childish, but I had no idea how it would look on my very very long hair. I guessed it could not look worse than a mass of dark burgundy blood under the sun, in my head imagining I won't be the last person to walk the face of earth like that and neither was I to be the first, only I had to dare and come out of my comfort zone.
            Not to change my mind, I added 2 tubes in my basket along with other product and went straight for check-out not to doubt my sanity any more than I do it daily.

            Reality check

            When I received my package, the first thing I did was to rummage in for my paint boxes and when I had them in my hands was surprised by the small size these recipients were. Shorter than my palm, the actual thing looked like the miniature of an original, though it is the original size; as it is stated on the back of the tube, this is a very strong dye and there's no need of excessive use of it to have fantastic results. It even says this dye it is not for the faintest of hearts. I might agree with this statement if it comes as warning for the blue or yellow colour, but not for this one. Anyway, not to stray from my experience and to move on with the facts as they happened.
            It is a small tube, but it is full of text and it looks cute, you can see the shade of the colour through the plastic and for the words to be visible they are written in white on a silver background. I had a quick look at the instructions and reserved the day for the transformation of my hair. Had it washed (it is required), and set to apply the new colour on.
            If the step by step follow-up says to squeeze the paint into a bowl and after to use a tint brush to spread evenly on your hair, I did exactly as I do every time: had my gloves on, applied some cream on my forehead and started on with the squirting and spreading... Big mistake, please you the one reading this and future buyer do as the instruction instruct, otherwise you'll cry like I did.

            Colouring

            First and foremost, if you go around it the way I did, you'll not have enough dye for the very long hair and second you'll not dye only the hair, but even the scalp and forehead with all the precautions taken afore, cheeks, ears and whatever else your glove touched! Now I truly understand the warning "not for the faintest of hearts", because it is meant only for hair and hair only and nothing else. Well, maybe if you want to change your looks for a good period of time without applying too much make up every day, you can find this as the easy way out (do not try that!)! You see, these are other warnings I had ignored: not to apply dye on my nape (did so), to avoid touching the scalp (it was dark bloody looking like) and the main was to keep it as far as possible from the skin (I was good to play in the 101 dalmatians, just that I had dark burgundy spots).
            Only because I used this dye the way I used any other in the past, I finished the first tube way too quickly and I had no other choice than to open the second one too and continue what was already looking like a painting done by a 2 years old; maybe even a toddler was to do a better job.
            Finally every strand was covered in paint, all I had to do was to wait 30 minutes (on the tube it is said to wait between 15 to 30 minutes, but I always wait longer), meanwhile saving what I could from my face not to be stained.

            After results

            30 minutes waiting done, washing and drying done, treatment combed in my hair, was time for the light test. Took my mirror out on the balcony and had a look. Ignoring the very visible stained face, neck, ears my hair had a great colour! Was so pleased about that I squealed like a newborn! Not a very powerful colour effect to stand out like a cartoon character, but not too tame either. It was a perfect result and I really was surprised in more than a pleasant way, because when I saw that I was burgundy painted all over I thought it would be an entire disaster. It was all worth it and I know now for next time, that warnings are to be followed sometimes and ignorance would be punished when thinking you know best.

            The Fudge Paint Box

            This line of hair colour is ammonia free and peroxide free. Colours available are as follows:

            Goldfinger - 75ml
            Hot Chilli - 75ml
            Red Corvette - 75ml
            Cherry Bomb - 75ml
            Vendetta Red - 75ml
            Raspberry Beret - 75ml
            Blueberry Hill - 75ml
            Purple Haze - 75ml
            Blue Velvet - 75ml
            Blue Hawaii - 75ml
            Pink Moon - 75ml
            Pretty Flamingo - 75ml
            Clockwork Orange - 75ml
            Electric Blue-75ml
            Green Envy-75ml

            The price I paid for one tube was Euro 7,22 from cheapsmells.com.
            http://www.fudgehair.co.uk/ has it on offer for Euro 7,90
            www.amazon.co.uk has it for £6.75

            Reasonable price for the amount and of course the end result. And it doesn't harm your hair the way the usual with ammonia dyes do.

            Overall experience

            It was a lesson that I learned using this paint colour, that I should take care before changing my hair colour, second I should read instructions carefully and third was: coming out of my comfort zone was a positive thing to do. I love the paint itself as it doesn't smell as strong as many brands do, doesn't make you feel faint from all the chemicals. The hair after washing doesn't feel heavy or stuffy, the fingers just slide through and it feels refreshed and shiny.
            There are now 3 weeks since I dyed my hair and I'm just satisfied to still see that my hair kept the same shine to it, the colour doesn't show yet any signs of fading which is more than I can ask for. I can still hope that it will keep like this for another 3 weeks. On the tube it does say that the colour will hold on between 15 and 30 washings, until now it proved to be as advertised, so thumbs up.

            I would recommend it, and not only because I think it is one of the best hair dye I ever used, but for the funky and daring colours this line has. Maybe I won't ever use Metallic Blue, but you never know if some of my own screws will come loose and I'll just want to be the bad version of Tinker Bell.

            Great product to be tried at least once by the ones that dye their hair and want a change, radical or mild one and of course like this kind of colour; and for the price that it is sold it really does what it says. Go funky with your hair and you might love the new you!

            Of course even this paint comes out with the allergic reaction warning and that you should try it first on a patch of your skin to make sure you won't have any problems with it for at least 24 hours and then to go ahead with it. As you can see this is another warning I ignored, because this is how I am, taking risks to feel brave I went full on ahead and had my dye battle and came out the winner.

            Thank you for reading and I hope you'll feel pleased with this product as I am.

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            • More +
              21.02.2013 23:27
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              Middle East's green gem

              My 1001 nights shorter version came up with my husband's 3 days away surprise. We had a long time to travel somewhere on the impulse, all our travels were because of business or family emergencies. So he thought the little escapade from the daily mundane world would be a blessing in disguise. And oh dear God it had been more than that, with all kinds of events whirling about us and making us believe we would never breathe calmly again!

              The destination was Beirut, Lebanon the green gem of Middle East, better known as Paris of the Arab world. I haven't been there before, hubby has, though both of us did not know what to expect from this trip as Beirut went under a lot of changes because of wars, neighbouring attacks and internal political disputes.

              Friday morning we were in the airport excited as you like prepared to get this adventure going. Well, as always with us, it had a bumpy start. At the check in desk were only 2 ladies and the queue thick and long and not all waiting were for the same flight. Alarm went red light in my head and I was already seeing my trip cut shorter than it already was! After 50 minutes, our luggage was checked in, our tickets printed and we were running like mad to the gate. Of course all this running was for nothing, because the plane was delayed 45 minutes to take off! Even now writing this I don't know the actual reason we were delayed so long to take off, for a flight that has the same duration as the delay, funny in the frustrating way.

              When our plane landed on Lebanese soil, we were happy to be able to get out of it, because the loud people inside made our eyes to be out of focus, we were worse than Tom and Jerry with flying birds around their heads. First thing you notice once you are in Beirut's airport is the soldiers that are roaming up and down, the vigilant eyes measuring you up and down watching every step you take. Second thing you notice is that most of the signs are not translated in English and you kind of trail the people who know which corridors to follow. Of course here too only 2 desks were working! I think it was the rule of the 2, everywhere it had to be working 2 by 2 only to have long queues forming and my short holiday to really become a waiting thing.

              Once faced with the passport checking officer I thought I would faint, he had such a hard look on his face I thought I did wrong to come to his country without announcing him first! The list of questions was not short, but it had the common one: "What's your reason to visit Lebanon." an entire interview if you ask me followed after that! I thought I would be put on the bench and my holiday refused, but I later learned that since they are on the red alert of war the army took charge of all the border points and they dealt with everything and everyone, army like to ensure the safety of their country and try as much as possible to keep at bay new problems. I was not one, because I was left to pass as my husband was, though because he had the British Passport he had a larger list to answer to!

              After picking up our luggage we went to change some money, from euro to Lebanese Lira and American Dollars. In Lebanon everyone works best with Dollars and everything is valued in Dollars. Is best to have 20 Dollars bills, everything is 20 Dollars and I'm not kidding. And if you'll read further on my review you'll see what I mean. While my husband was changing the money, already the taxi drivers had their eyes on us; we were like little mice ready to be eaten by the big cats, in this case taxi drivers. One of them, not very bashful either, approached us straight and asked us where we'd like to be taken to already reaching for our bags. My husband answered with the name of the hotel, Portemilio Hotel & Resort, Kashlik, Jounieh. He said it would take only 20 minutes to take us there. Good we said, thinking it was really close. Wrong!!! It is outside Beirut, a really long way, those 20 minutes entitled the crazy ride at the crazy speed the driver took us there. I'm not even thinking to make it light and joking through what we went until we got to the hotel. I swear those people have no traffic signs, they don't even look in their mirrors to make sure no one will hit from the back; as for the sides, why should they use the mirrors when they can get their heads out of the windows to make sure they have space to cross from one line to another! This guy I think had all the tics in the world, eye twitching, restless hands, foot trembling and no sense of whatsoever he was saying because he started one thing to say and ended on something else entirely. I'm not exaggerating when I say I prayed all the way from the airport to the hotel to get there safe and sound! This was one crazy adventure, really, I don't know what kind of Lady Luck was watching over us that day, but she had some weird kind sense of humor.

              Once we stopped in front of the hotel's doors it was like the storm passed and the sun was shining again, even though it did shine all right since we landed, July is one of the most humid month in Beirut. The thing I did hold myself not to do was to kiss the ground once I felt it under my feet, because I thought better not scare the people around me with my stupid reaction. I recovered quick though when I heard how much the taxi driver wanted for the crazy ride; 70 dollars and he had the guts to ask for "something for him" too, which made me wonder if he was for real or just tried to rip us of as much money as he could. My husband added 5 dollars more and sent him on his way.

              Inside the lobby we thought no more crazy adventures and the day will start being good and no more surprising surprises as the taxi ride. We went to the reception desk and surprise surprise, the receptionists had no talent with English, their main foreign language they spoke fluently was French. Beirut's not Middle East Paris for nothing after all! I started getting irritated and not because the poor guys could not speak proper English or understand what we wanted, because my husband doesn't know more than Merci and Brigitte Bardot and I was not given too much attention. I guess as civilized as they are, the Arab way is still the Arab way and the man has to be dealt with and the woman to follow. I know French and in the end they had to deal with me if they did not want to have one raging animal (my other half) bite at them. We upgraded from a standard room to a Junior Suite only because of sleeping arrangements (I have a raging animal as a husband that snores as a broken tractor's engine) for the difference of 20 dollars, original price being 220 dollars a night and a Junior Suite being 240 dollars a night. The receptionist handed the room keys to us together with the Wi-Fi password connection and told us our room is on the seventh floor with parking lot view, if we wanted a Senior Suite with gardens view we had to pay another 20 dollars extra. We said no, after all the room was only for sleeping as we had plan to use the full 3 days to really explore as much as we could.

              We entered the room and we had a shock what 5 stars meant for Portemilio Hotel; everything was not only outdated, was kind of dirty, screeching, creaking, rust in the bathroom, bugs on the balcony and spots on the couches. I think no hotel inspector had been by to see the state of it to downgrade it to a well worth 3 stars. I wouldn't have minded if they were to sell it to me as such, than to sell it as a 5 star and way too pricey for something that was like a joke. Getting over it, cause we could do nothing more than change it and for the amount of time we were to stay was not worth it, we just took our sun glasses and headed out. At the reception we were told that once we turn left at the gates we should follow the up hill roads and we'll get to the shops, restaurants and markets that are in the area. That's what we did, we hit the road on a hot and humid day and played the tourists role.

              Kashlik is nice, as it is bordered by the mountains where most of Jounieh area lies and the sea which is full of entertainment, restaurants and people basking under the sun. We walked as much as we could under the sun, we lost ourselves on the narrow old streets and we admired the rocky hills on top of which are the most beautiful villas, the lizards that were running up and down. It was only 10 AM, and the day ahead was a long one and promising at the same time after all it was just the beginning. When we thought we got lost we arrived to the bustle and hustle of Kashlik center where all the shops were aligned and all the traffic seemed to crowd the narrow stone paved roads. As hot as it was, the side-walks were full with people just window shopping or strolling about. The coffee shop on the other hand were empty and as in any other Middle East country the owners tried to bait costumers from the side-walks with generous offers. You know, what I loved best in this place was the fact that every coffee came with free sweets! And I don't mean a chocolate biscuit, I mean big savoury Lebanese sweet, full of syrup and nuts! If you ever find yourself in Kaslik or Jounieh and there's a coffee shop owner bribing you in with various offers, don't think twice, cause the vast competition makes the package offered bigger, tastier and cheap.

              We had lunch at one of the restaurants by the sea, which had their terrace on the water. Bad thing the Lebanese don't clean the Mediterranean as the rest of the countries do; while we had our lunch our panoramic view was filled with trash floating on the sea and people having their swim in between. Excluding the view in the near proximity, the one deeper on the sea and surrounding us was stunning, sky kissing sea sheltered in the crook of the mountains made our copious meal even tastier. God the Lebanese know how to make their humous and the taboulleh is just fantastic; the white beans never tasted better and the meat had the best condiments in its mix! I loved the food over there, I think one great thing about this trip was the food, no European restaurant with Arabic cuisine can ever match the original! I vouch for it cause I had a taste and I still crave for more, though I don't think I could ever go as soon back and have some.

              When we could not eat any more and had no power to walk we took a taxi back to our hotel, of course the rate was 20 dollars, the same as the lunch was charged for. Once back, we went to the Pool Bar to relax and have hookah, no trip to the Arab world should be made without having a taste of the flavoured tobacco. The Pool area was like a small Paradise on earth, nothing to do with the hotel as such, made you feel like it was not even under the same management, which I guess is the thing that keeps Portemilio alive and on prime positions amongst other hotels in Kashlik. At the bar the staff fussed around us and served our orders in minutes, our hookah set we just relaxed and admired the sunset in front of us. After 5 minutes I was dizzy, laughing like an idiot and started seeing double. My husband fret about my well-being and told me to stop play with the hookah cause it seemed quite strong. Even to this day I say that was no flavoured tobacco, something else was in it, because I have occasionally hookah at the bar we go each Friday and I don't laugh like an idiot and see double.

              For dinner, we opted to eat in the Hotel, we were dead tired to go for another stroll and lucky find a place to eat, so we risked and stayed inside. The menu was kind of basic but did the trick to cover the hunger so with that Day 1 ended. Actually that night we had some scary things going on as the electricity was interrupted many times and the sirens went on alert and we thought the bombing will start shortly! Though it was only to announce the generators needed fixing, phew.

              Day 2 started early in the morning with a big fat breakfast while planning what we should do. Now, I have to say we had no plans, ideas or even maps with important places to see. We said we'd start walking again and where our feet will take us there will stop if it looks interesting, if not walk further and after take a taxi which will have a reasonable driver and will not crazy drive us back to the hotel. Breakfast finished, we asked for a taxi at the reception and we were ready again to face some of Beirut's beauties. Mall is was!!! A beauty indeed, huge as nothing else I have ever been given to see. At the entrance of course there were soldiers to check in your bag or even body search you just in case you were to carry a weapon or something.

              The mall has 4 levels up and 4 down, and is very long, covered surface of 50 000 m2, all I can say is that we got inside at 10 AM and left at 9 PM. We learned inside that if you don't want to pay big bills when having a meal, don't order alcohol that's imported, stick to the local beer and you'll be safe; instead of paying 40 dollars for 2 persons and drink wine better drink the local Almaza beer and is as cheap as water. We had so much beer that for one week after we returned we kind of avoided it. We were also told that you can bargain your route with the taxi driver and pay for almost all the trips 20 dollars!!! Even to the airport the fee will be the same and that we were played by the taxi driver that took us to our hotel! Again in the mall we learned that electricity in Lebanon is cut every 6 hours for about the same amount of time as it is on because their station is old and most of the households and hotels work with power generators; here was the explanations for our imaginary bombs and sirens.

              Once we decided to return to the hotel we went on and tried the bargaining thing with the taxi drivers, and it worked! We were so proud, ha ha ha, after we spent more on taxi than on anything else since we landed, we finally had the hang of it. This taxi driver was very polite and helpful, one of the few Lebanese we met and did not try to rip us of. He became our guide in Beirut for the next 24 hours. Lucky hubby could finally talk with someone that knew English and did not need my help to translate for him. John, this was his name, told us that we should not leave the country before we went to shop in Bourj Hammoud and had a nice meal in Broumana where the famous Mounir Restaurant is and of course he'll take us around. Why had not we found this guy from the beginning?

              Next morning we skipped breakfast and at 8 AM we were already in the taxi on our way to Bourj Hammoud. I love this place, it looks like the old centre of any city in the world, the old trading centre of Beirut which is mainly occupied by Armenian sellers. God, there was everything everywhere. Here was the gold shop with the most exquisite jewellery as for next to find the vegetable trolleys and fruits on the ground. You could find the small corner dealers that had on offer all kind of fake watches, glasses and pens; flawless, they could have been passed as originals easily. The streets where humming with people all over the place and once I looked up I saw the fanciest wiring I have ever had the pleasure to admire. I mean, half of the production of wires in the world where used in Bourj Hammoud! Neighbors stealing electricity from one another, sharing the satellite TV and internet and the wires for clothes made the sky seem a far away world and the people on the streets feel trapped in the webs of a giant black widow. I made sure to snap as many photos I could to be able to prove my seeing.

              Any tourist in Beirut should not miss Bourj Hammoud as it is fascinating, I loved it. It has coffee terraces in the middle of the street. What in other places should be roundabouts, here they were transformed in little islands for relaxation with a cup of coffee in front of you. You find brands to buy in originals or copycats, you hear thousands of languages see all sort of faces not knowing if they are to mug you or they're just upset about personal problems. You can easily get lost around here and lose the notion of time. We spent quite allot here, it was impossible not to, if not for the beautiful things we bought, for the way each seller presented their products. You felt like you were at a private auction and you could not miss the rare opportunity not to buy it. We ate trolley delicacies, mostly spicy, made us drink lots of water, made friends with lots of people, because they were simply friendly here. A nice spot pointed out by our personal taxi driver guide.

              When we finished with Bourj we called John to take us to Mounir. Breath taking sites, we were driving to high mountains, and as we advanced the air started getting cooler and more bearable. The restaurant is on top of the Jounieh, from up there you can see the whole Kashlik downstairs and part of Jounieh and some amazing views of the sea! This restaurant if huge, mostly used for weddings, parties, baptise celebrations and so on. At lunch time it was full and it had even two baptise celebrations. Because it was summer when we were over, the terrace was open and it was endless; on one side there was a rocky wall with mini water falls, at the back the was a green garden for kids and adults alike to take small walks and unwind as for the opposite side it opened on the valley and the breathtaking views of the sea and the city under. The place it is magic, even though it is opened space during summer, it had the long curtains here and there to emphasize its magic and give a royal feel to it. The food was not great, was gorgeous and in big portions and the attention given for each table was overwhelming! The place had 150 staffers, everything was on speed, no one suffered from waiting, everyone had what desired when desired. This was and is a 5 stars place not only for the food and great service but for the location too.

              After our meal we had to return to the hotel and prepare for our departure. I was happy and sad at the same time. Sad I discovered the best of the place towards the end, happy that I was to leave the extreme humidity! During summer Beirut is a real sauna under the sun, not such great fun, everything feels hot and burning.

              We left the hotel happily earlier than planned only because John said he'll show us Beirut city to have a glance at how it looks in the centre. If I have never had the pleasure to see extremes in the same place at the same time in my life ever again, now I did. Buildings tall and shiny on one side that are shouting modernism and money and black, with holes from bullets with carpets on their windows on the other side. Rich and poor face to face on the same street and in the middle the presidential palace circled with giant blocks of cements and barbed wire, a reminder that conflict is still lurking in the air.
              On some army points you can see badly crashed cars with signs on top that say: "This can be you if you don't pay attention how you drive." and on others you can see stopped cars that are checked all over for illegal guns or suspicious weapons. This controversy of rich and poor, free but always being followed, beautiful but full of scars makes the place fascinating. And when it is only for a short trip is more so of an adventure.

              Once arrived at the airport, we paid our driver the famous 20 dollars plus some more for he was the greatest help and we said goodbye to the extreme Paris of Middle East and went on to catch our flight back home. Of course we had to go through the same ordeal of being checked at least 4 times, the security is really intense and a bit scary; and of course even the flight back had a delay of 45 minutes to take off. I still don't know the reason why.

              What I really want to point out is:
              -take care where you exchange your money and make sure they are small bills
              -try to bargain as much as you can, because in the end you'll gain more than you can imagine
              -while still home try to find the best offer on one clean with positive reviews hotel
              -try to eat only traditional food as it is the cheapest, tastiest and fresh
              -drink local beer as you'll spare your pocket to pay extra money
              -try to stick with the same taxi driver, you'll save lots of money
              -when you receive no help, try and tip and you'll be amazed by how smooth things will work out
              -Bourj Hammoud is a must to get lost into
              -Mounir Restaurant is my recommendation for the best meal ever
              -try the hookah over, and after tell me if I was right
              -try to cover as much ground as possible
              -don't miss the Mall
              -the night life Beirut has to offer is multivariate, this city does not sleep at night (Middle East Paris)
              -be brave, that's the way they drive!

              I hope I did not bore anyone with my experience, however this trip was balanced between good and bad, though the good won in the end; Beirut was, is and will be one of the greatest Middle East gem. If ever the opportunity will be presented to you, don't miss out, it truly is one unique experience.

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              • More +
                11.12.2006 14:45
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                Christmas songs . . .

                As Christmas is around the corner, I thought will be better write about "These special moments".
                What is more appropriate than listening on Christmas day, Christmas songs...?
                For these days I always liked listening the classic choruses like: Holy night, or Ave Maria, or Happy Christmas...and so on, as we all know that are so many other Special Christmas Songs.


                These Are Special Times, I love it, I received it as a present last Christmas; knowing that I love Celine Dion's voice very much, my husband bought it for me from All Records Shop. I was so happy, because I wanted to have her album for a very long time, but as the times were, always I was forgetting buying it, or when I was remembering there was no other album on the shelf...bad luck, till last year ;-)


                As I found it under the Christmas tree, I smiled and I took it to listen to it in the very next moment. After I've unwrapped the cellophane, taking out the gold gift I've just received, I've inserted in the CD player and the soft lovely music came out so nice form the stereos, that made me lay down on the bed closing my eyes and enjoy these nice Christmas songs.


                Celine Dion for me has the most beautiful voice; it's not so strong but neither so soft, its just balanced, and instead of making you changing the CD to listen something else, makes you wishing for more, so as you could imagine, I wake up realizing that I'm listening to her songs from the morning till the night comes, and still thirsty to listen for more and more. As this album it's just for these kinds of special moments, when December comes, it's just like my wish for a perfect month just came true.


                I don't think I have to say so many things about Celine, as I may imagine that each one of you knows who she is and you know at least one of her songs. But I have to say that this album it is different from all the others she made, not only because she made it especially for Christmas time, but because she showed in the same time she can be different, she can sing almost everything...


                This CD contains 16 tracks, which are:
                ==========================

                1) O Holy Night
                2) Don't save it all for Christmas Days
                3) Blue Christmas
                4) Another years has gone by
                5) The magic of Christmas Day (God bless us everyone)
                6) Ave Maria
                7) Adeste Fideles (O come all ye faithful)
                8) The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire)
                9) The Prayer (Duet with Andrea Bocelli)
                10) Brahms' Lullaby
                11) Christmas Eve
                12) These are the Special Times
                13) Happy Xmas (War is over)
                14) I'm your Angel (Duet with R. Kelly)
                15) Feliz Navidad
                16) Les Cloches Du Hameau


                Inlay Details & Price
                ==============


                This CD comes with a mini-book which has the description of all the songs compiled on this album. The lyrics of the traditional Christmas songs are not on, only the ones that are made especially for Celine or with her collaboration. There are some pictures of Celine and her family...
                On the last page there is a Christmas wish for all those who are and will buy her album...


                You can buy this album from:

                - ebay.co.uk prices between: £2 - £7
                - amazon.co.uk prices between: £2.99 - £4.99
                - All Records £12


                About the album
                ===========


                As I said above, I really love this album and most of all I love Celine Dions' voice...
                This angelic voice makes these Christmas songs to sound like crystal jingles in the cold nights of winter when you are near of the fire place looking at the sparks, making you believe that something more wonderful can not be on this world. Well at least this is how I feel. I always liked Christmas time and each time this Special Night makes me believe that it is magic, or at least it is something magical about it.
                So I can not imagine Christmas without Christmas Songs or Christmas songs without Christmas :-)


                The album starts with Holy Night which it is amazingly sang by this singer, smooth waves of musical notes, which are like a warm cup of milk before going to sleep. (Maybe it is not the best way to describe I like this, but this is the way that makes me feel ;-)) Don't save it all for Christmas Day continues in the same rhythm, so by now I think I'm dreaming and thanking God that I'm still on earth enjoying these Special Moments.


                My favorites are Blue Christmas, Ave Maria and The Prayer; the fantastic voice of Celine makes me feel the real magic. The duet between Celine and Bocelli, makes The Prayer song sound like you'd never get more than this; these 2 voices are making a sparkling song, which makes your deepest feelings to get come out to light, maybe your eyes will drop some tears, or maybe just mines are :-) About Ave Maria I do not think I have to say more than the song expresses out through its lyrics. I think all of you that are reading this now, heard at least once this piece and you pretty well know how it makes you feel...


                The organ from Adeste Fideles (O come all ye faithful), transforms your house in a cathedral, and when Celine starts to sing, it is like you have her singing only for you!
                Brahms' Lullaby it's like a bed time sweet little story for children...the magic sound makes you involuntary close your eyes, and listen to its tunes. Sweet song for happy hearts, this song is...and if you are sad, maybe this one will help you out, showing you that Christmas it is for everyone...


                All the other songs are pretty much the same, but much flavored, and full of joy, and knowing the choruses will make you sing and enjoy your Holly Times.
                This CD has the magic touch for these happy days...can really feed your soul with positive energy...


                Why do I recommend it?
                ================


                Well, because I know many people really love listening Christmas Songs, and they are some out there that were waiting for these days to come, one year now; I can consider my self one of them :-)
                If you are a Christmas Lover, and you like Christmas songs, I really can say, but this CD will make your Special Days happier and will get you in the mood of a Happy New Year that have already passed! Will make all your bad moments feel like they've already disappeared or at least will make your thoughts get in the positive side, giving the hope that tomorrow it is a new day and it will be far way better than the whole year that now it is gone...will give you the positive look for the new year which is coming...


                I love the album and I guess you already know this after reading all this review, but I can not help it without saying: If you'll close your eyes on this one, you'll lose!
                Have a Happy Christmas with your family and with your friends...but make it magic with some magical tunes...


                All in all, my dears I wish you a Merry Christmas and all the love and happiness in the world...keep your selves healthy, and be your heart as kind as Christmas is!


                I have a few wishes for you,
                First of all, good health...mixed together with peace of mind...topped off with happiness, and surrounded with love...o you and your family from me.
                Merry Christmas ! * Joyeux Noël !

                Celine...


                And from me, thank you for reading, and once again Merry Christmas!

                Sincerely,
                cam3lot

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                • Samsung SGH-E730 / Mobile Phone / 102 Readings / 92 Ratings
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                  29.11.2006 18:18
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                  An useful fashionable cell-phone...

                  Samsung E730, it was released only after 2 months of the previous model E720 (March 2005). You can say these 2 phones are the same, but in fact they have some differences, let's say that E730 its E720 updated.

                  I will make a small presentation of E730, because this is the phone I own for 1 year now, after I got it as a gift for my birthday.
                  Samsung E730 it's a phone that can fit anyone, mostly because of the range of the colors, which are: black, white, red and silver; I think red and white colors are not so easy to find, as I saw only black and silver till now. (I have to say that I saw them here in Cyprus, on the Internet you can find other colors too)

                  My phone is black and I love it, it's smaller than my palm, and many times I "had the opportunity" to lose it....

                  The Package
                  =========
                  This phone came in his black box, which shows on all the sides what kind of model it is, and what you have to find in the box. The phone comes with different accessories, depends from where you buy it or after how many months from the release you buy it...because mine was purchased on July 2005 came with the following items:
                  1. 1 Samsung E730 Handset
                  2. 1 Battery
                  3. 1 Travel charger
                  4. 1 Hands free
                  5. 1 Strap
                  6. 1 User's Manual

                  Samsung E730
                  ==========

                  As I said above, my phone is black...and looks very sexy I can say. Having a first look at it, I can tell you that it is pretty simple, as you look at it you'll see the "eye of the camera", the small display screen, under it are 3 buttons, that can be used for the mp3 list when you want to listen to your music you have on or for the radio, on the right side it is the snap-shot button for the camera and in the left side are the twin buttons for the volume, used for the tone volume and music volume while you are listening to it.

                  Now getting trough the menu of this little piece made by Samsung, I can tell you that it was special made for people that are used with simple technology. Yes! This phone can be used by children too, so easy it is the navigation!
                  The menu has almost everything you wish:
                  - text message, MMS message (for picture, music and ring tones), and e-mail
                  - file manager (you can delete/add pictures, videos, music, sounds and other files you have in here)
                  - settings (here you can make your own settings, the way you want your phone to work, very simple steps)
                  - applications (this small phone has 3 nice games - OK you can lose your battery with these ones- which are quite nice to play when you are bored - this only if you don't have other alternative to make your time pass more quickly-, the mp3 player, voice recorder, FM radio, world TIME, alarm, calculator, converter, timer, stopwatch, and maybe the menu of the line you are using - as I have the menu of my CYTA Vodafone online cervices)
                  - the phone-book (you can make your own groups, setting a different ring-tone for each one of it, and for each friend or family member you can attach a picture which will appear when they'll call you)
                  - call records
                  - browser (if you have the internet option, WAP connection)
                  - calendar (you can make your phone to be your digital notebook if you want, and after all why not?)
                  - camera

                  I really think this phone is very nice, not only because it is a flip phone, but because looks smaller than other phones that have the same menu as this one. The menu is displayed on the left side as you look at the main screen display. And from there everything you want to do it is very simple, as eating a cake : -)

                  Menu of the phone can be displayed in the following languages: German, English, Italian, French, Spanish, Nederland's, Portuguese, and Turkish.

                  The phone has 90 MB storage memory; I think it is enough when you know that after you take some pictures you'll transfer them into your computer, through your Bluetooth, MMS option or e-mail option. I use all this memory only for my music, I like to think that this cute small phone can do both jobs, as an mp3 player and cell-phone in the same time.

                  OK, Samsung E730 doesn't have IrDA option, but has Bluetooth which is more efficient in my opinion; you can connect your phone with other compatible ones, and with your computer is you have a Bluetooth Adapter (as I have the D-Link Bluetooth Adapter, which works perfectly fine - see my review about this tinny little piece of technology)
                  A small tip, but very useful, because in the User Guide Manual the Samsung people are not mentioning it, to connect your telephone with another one or with other Bluetooth device you have to insert the phone code, which is 00000000 (8 times 0), you can change it if you like, I think the reason why they are not mentioning it any more is because people who like Samsung phones they would know already the code from previous phones ;- ) or maybe they just forgot to add it lol.

                  The Camera
                  =========

                  For the past few years I used to have only Samsung phones, with incorporated cameras. But to be sincere, I have to say that I was not so satisfied, the clarity of the photos was not so perfect. With Samsung E730 it is a different story! The 1.3 MP camera makes a fantastic job. For me it is no difference between a photo made with a digital camera or made with the Samsung E730 camera. Ok maybe a digital camera has more many options and the photos can be bigger than this small camera makes them to be, but I am amazed by the clarity of the photos.

                  You have flash on/off option and light on for when you'd like to make videos. Which I can say, those are getting out being amazingly clear and with great sound.

                  Even the camera settings are pretty simple, and I have to say that you can make your own photos if you like, without the help of a mirror. As you have the phone into your hands, press the snap-shot button from the right side, and on the small screen will appear the camera, now facing the screen you can make your own portrait picture! Maybe it is not such a great thing, but when you want to keep busy a child it is a fantastic idea!

                  The battery
                  ========

                  Ok, here I can say I'm a little upset with this phone. Why?! Because before I was speaking hours and hours on it, making photos and videos, and the battery would still be charged for 3 days! But after one year it holds on only for 1 day and a half, if I do the same things. Lately because I'm not making photos any more with it, I have my lovely digital camera for this job; the life of the battery extended her limit to 2 days. That's why, I know should have spear battery, but I don't bother any more, knowing that I'm using it just for phone calls. And I have to tell you that I speak almost 20h/day, and still "it is alive".

                  When you buy this phone, the procedure tell you that you have to charge it for 4 hours; well I did it for 8, as far as I know if you charge it longer and less use it in the first days, you'll have for sure a good functional phone for a longer period.


                  You can buy it from:
                  ==============
                  - MyWorldPhone.com $204
                  - FonePlanet.com £169,99

                  My Verdict
                  ========

                  I have this phone for over a year now, I'm more than pleased with it, and I really can not change it yet for a new one, even though I was tempted so many times. Since I have it till now I didn't have so many problems with it, besides the one with the battery which doesn't want any more to be as it was till now. But this matter it is almost solved because on Friday I'll have my new battery, so the telephone it is saved, will be my "talk partner" for another year maybe ;- ) This will depend only on the new model that will appear not to be so "gorgeous".
                  I really do recommend this phone, the sound quality it is very very nice and makes you believe that instead of ringing the phone it is just playing your favorite song! The videos and the pictures are very clear and make this phone being very useful when you don't have a digital camera with you.
                  It can be your digital notebook, if you want to be reminded when you have a meeting, anniversary or special occasion. If you are that loving mother which misses her child when you are away from him, you can do a small trick with this phone; you can record the voice of your child on your phone and after set it as a ring-tone ;- ) It will be more nicer to hear your baby saying: "Mammy, pick up your phone!"

                  Many times I had the occasion to lose it, luckily for me I found it each time, or it was returned to me! What can I say, I can not feel the difference with or without it in my purse or pocket.

                  At first it was expensive, now after one year and a half after it was released it is almost half the price, you can buy it and enjoy you new acquisition, I can tell you that you'll like it ;-)

                  Thank you for reading!

                  Sincerely,
                  cam3lot

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                  • asos.com / Online Shop / 103 Readings / 91 Ratings
                    More +
                    23.11.2006 14:08
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                    Asos.com! A small virtual mall!

                    Now I really can say, welcome to my world! This site saved my life and continues to do so. I discovered ASOS.COM one year ago, searching on GOOGLE an on line shopping site which can be trusted, but above all will have something that I'll love to wear. For the past few months I'm "locked" in the house, health problems, and I can say that having this on line shop it was saving my life, it is easier for me now to buy gifts for my dear ones and to shop items that I know I need.

                    Asos.com

                    As you could figure out, this site it's an online shopping small mall, and I don't exaggerate when I say that. If you are looking for fashionable clothes for men and women here is your virtual shopping mall. Each collection has a name, and can fits each taste, you can find: dresses, skirts, shirts, tops, pants, nightwear, jackets and coats, jewellery, accessories, beauty items, and shoes.

                    As a first look, when you get to visit for the first time the site, it is not a wow feeling, but after all is not the site that you have to like, the clothes are! The special characteristic for this virtual shop is that you will find only copies after the clothes of your favourite idol, if you have one. Casual, or for special occasions the clothes are pretty cute and pretty good quality. Lately, as I was getting on the site each week I noticed that once again Paris Hilton fashion is on vogue, but not only, are many other styles, like: Charlize Theron one, Christina Aguilera, Victoria Beckham, Keira Knightly, and many other well known stars. In the men section you can find styles like: Johnny Depp one, Robbie Williams, David Beckham, Jake Gyllenhaal, and etc...

                    Maybe you are not having a fashion passion, or you do not pay attention for the clothes that celebrities are wearing, it will worth paying a visit, because I'm sure you can find something that you'll like, and mostly if you don't have time shopping out, when you have 1 hour free you can buy online, and like this the crises will end....

                    The site is easy to navigate on; as you have the main page you can see the covered categories: Women Fashion, Men Fashion and Asos beauty. Clicking on each one of them a dropping menu will appear and get to chose whatever you would like to see. If you are looking for something specific, search for it with Search ASOS browsing bar.
                    On the top of the page, right side, you will find:
                    - Track your order: this option is for registered costumers, here you can see the status of your orders: ready for shipment or shipped.
                    - Your Account: here you can change your address and credit card details.
                    - Help & Contact: for any inconveniences you can contact them or ask them a question about the site and other kind of things that you do not understand. You will get an answer in less than 12 hours...

                    What I love about this site is the Clearance section, and they really make discounts! Usually are between 30% and 60%, but sometimes you can find some exceptions; for example last month I got a dress for 80% discount, how good is that???
                    What is bad for me, and I'm very upset with it, but what can I do when the rules are made to be respected, is that being abroad I can not order shoes :-(, or at least Cyprus is on the banned list for this kind of products, and for leather products as well, so bye bye leather jackets, I can not buy you :-(...

                    But hey, now that I found a disadvantage, I can come with hundreds of advantages, for example Asos.com has all the time before Christmas or Easter time special gifts stores, so if you don't have time to go shopping, here is one possibility for you to buy something special for someone special; maybe you'll not find such a wide range of products, but items like: Jewellery, Perfume, Gifts, Hair Care, Accessories, Lingerie & Nightwear, Stocking Fillers, and Home ware for her; Jewellery & Watches, Aftershave, Grooming, Clothing, Accessories, Stocking Fillers, and Home ware for him. I can not say that the products are expensive, regarding the thing that Christmas in no time will 'knock to our door', affordable prices, so take a look if you are one of the workaholic people, with no time to go and buy gifts, but you really want to surprise your dearest ones ;-)

                    Once you chose what you want and you want to purchase it, the item will be noticed in you Shopping bag, which is located under the Clearance option, almost on the bottom of the page in the left side. You can always mark what you want to buy, and in the right side of the Shopping bag you'll notice the number of the items you just picked. After your decided that your bag has everything you wanted you can go to check out, which can be done after you edited you account details and you have an available visa card.

                    The check out is pretty simple, not to much trouble with it; you check once again if you really want all the items you picked, and that the sizes are correct and you click the ok button for purchase, after this step is done, you have to wait for an e-mail confirmation, which you'll get it in a few minutes if is during the week or in a few hour during the weekend (sometimes during the weekends the e-mail confirmation will not come but for sure you'll get it Monday morning), after this step is passed too, the delivery will get to your door in 4-5 days if you are from UK, and 5-11 days if you are from outside UK. (Always I got my delivery in 7 days) if you want your delivery sooner you can have it, by paying an extra tax and you'll have your items in 24 hours, but this it is available only in UK, for the outsiders it is more difficult if you want to use this option.

                    There is a note on the site for the Christmas and Easter time, if you want to order something and you want to have it in a day or two, you have to purchase it with a few weeks before (2 or 3) and to specify the date you need it to arrive.

                    Now if you are not pleased with the products you bought you can return them, this can be made only with the returnable products. While you are visiting the site, and looking at what kind of items are in, you'll notice that some products have a + sign, those you can not return if you are not pleased with them, the ones without + sign you'll not have any difficulty to do so! (Till now I didn't return anything, I liked everything I bought)

                    If still you are not convinced what all is about and how you can buy things from Asos.com, you can go on Help & Contact; there you'll have answers to everything you need to know. But if still something is missing you can send an e-mail to Asos.com, by going on Contact Us option. (I did it once when my VISA card was not accepted, and the answer came back in 2 hours, telling me that my credit card was blocked from my bank for internet payment - now is not anymore, and I didn't had any problems after I paid on line, I mean no hacked account or missing money from my account)

                    Notes:

                    + Sign - non-returnable for hygiene reasons.
                    Payments accepted only by Credit Card, Charge Card or Debit card.
                    Currencies accepted: UK Pound Sterling (GBP), US Dollar (USD), Euro (EUR), Danish Kroner (DKK), Swedish Kroner (SEK), Norwegian Kroner (NOK).
                    Extended Christmas Returns: Items ordered between 1st November and 21st December may be returned up to Wednesday 8th January.

                    My Opinion

                    Well what else can I say?! As I said before, I really find this site as small virtual mall, and very handy for people that are working all the time, but they really want to buy some new stuff, and very appropriate for people that are having health problems and they can not get out of the house when they like it. Now because Christmas its around the corner I find it very useful for me, as my family is not a small one, I can do my job by buying my Santa gifts from here; the fact is that I already ordered what I wanted :-) maybe the products are not exactly Armani or Gucci but are good for me and I find them wearable, well more than this, fashionable. I will never be Demi Moore for example, or Charlize Theron, but I know I will feel comfortable in the clothes I'll buy or I already bought. Maybe Asos.com it's the stars fashion clothes selling site, I know I am a star my self, I don't buy things because they look alike with celebrity clothes, just for the simple reason this products are fitting my taste and I'm ok with my self when I'm wearing them.
                    If you want to be a star, you can be one ;-) If you want to look like Paris Hilton for example (not my favourite, but it just came in my mind) I can say that you shot 2 rabbits at once, you can look fantastic in your own skin and share the same taste with your favourite celebrity.

                    I really recommend this site, and I'm giving you the advice at least to take a look. And if you'll like what you see and more, you'll purchase something, tell me how pleased you are with your new things or if you are not pleased with them.

                    For free delivery worldwide I really do recommend it!

                    Thank you for reading.

                    Sincerely,
                    cam3lot

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                    • More +
                      14.11.2006 18:56
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                      One of the best Albums...

                      "As long as I can remember, music has always been something extraordinary in my life." Ray Charles

                      On September 23, 1930 a star was born. This star is to blame because I'm writing a review about his music today...Ray Charles Robinson.
                      I think everybody knows who Ray Charles is, or at least saw the recent movie about his life, Ray...


                      Ray Charles
                      ========

                      Ray was born in Albany, Georgia and grew up in Greenville, Florida...maybe his childhood could be a normal happy one if it was not to happen for his brother to die and him to be there to see it. After this unhappy incident, at the age of 6 he started to lose his sight from glaucoma...
                      At the age of 7 Ray was send to St. Augustine School for the Deaf and Blind where, besides learning how to read and write in Braille he took piano, clarinet, and saxophone lessons...
                      After he left school, Ray wanted to work as a musician, and so he did. He played with many bands, different styles of music; but his real career started in 1949 when his first hit was released "Confession Blues" (initially released as by "The Maxin Trio", this being the name of the band he formed)... After this success many other came, such as: "Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand", "I Got a Woman", "Unchain My Heart", "You Are My Sunshine", etc...

                      The life of Ray Charles was something amazing for me...in his music life he was full of success and everybody loved him, but in his personal life he was a mess...he was addicted to heroin, thing that almost killed him and at one point on his career almost destroyed him. He was arrested a few times for drugs possession, but this didn't made him to stop...he struggled for 20 years with his addiction for heroin. But this was not his only problem; he was addicted to women too...he was married twice and both times he divorced...this didn't stop him to have other relations...so as a result from all his relationships he ended up having 12 children.

                      Ray Charles had a life full of events...but amazingly a long one, despite his drugs problems and he continued to shine through decades having hits after hits and concerts after concerts...
                      Sadly he died on June 10, 2004 in Beverly Hills, California, of liver disease. But he will live forever through his music...

                      The Very Best of Ray Charles Album
                      =========================

                      Originally released in 2000, this album has 16 tracks which are the very best ones...
                      In 2005 the same album was re-released on the market with the same songs but sorted on the CD in a different order...

                      The album is just great, has in order hit after hit, a delight for the ears of those who love Ray Charles style...
                      He is the soul singer who helped shape the sound of rhythm and blues and brought a soulful sound to everything from country music to pop music...and I think this album proves it!

                      1) "Georgia on my mind" - is the first song on the CD, which was released in 1960. This song became his first No. 1 pop hit and as a result made him win 2 Grammies. The voice of Ray and the violins are making this song to be like milk and honey getting together...
                      But this song was written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell, and still nobody knows for sure if this song was written about a woman or about the state...but Charles took it and sang it just because his driver told him it would be a good idea, and he did so, after all he was coming from Georgia, so this song was fitting his roots...9/10 (3:38)

                      2) "Unchain My Heart" - is one my favorites; it was released in 1962 and reached the top ten, both pop and R&B. Charles is singing about a woman who won't let him go, and that he wants to get free...
                      Accompanied by his Raelettes and by his longtime saxophonist, David "Fathead" Newman, the song gets out beautifully...10/10 (2:51)

                      3) "What'd I say" (parts 1&2) - was released in 1959 and has a pretty funny story...one night after he performed his program on a night club, willing to leave, he was stopped and informed that he still has some minutes to perform and that he has to continue singing...so what Charles did was something amazing! He told his bands and his Raelettes: "fallow me"...and because he needed time to improve his lyrics the song starts on a Latin influenced drum beat and keyboard riff for about 1:33 and after he starts to sing...the chorus are repeated by the Raelettes...Somewhere in the middle of the song, the people that are listening his performance they get involved too, asking for more...just amazing!
                      This song the way is made and the way was composed made me love it more than all the other...10/10 (6:26)

                      4) "Hallelujah I love her so" - it is a very cheerful song, it is about "the girl next door" that which he says he loves her so much. This song was in the top 5 in 1956, and it was representing Charles' first tentative into the lucrative pop-crossover market. Ray's rumbling piano intro is sky-high in sanctified drive before the horns enter, brisk and bright; the rhythm of this song it's an invitation on the dance floor, so take your partner and do as it is asked! 10/10 (2:32)

                      5) "Hit the road Jack" - is my No.1 song! I love this one so much, and I have to confess that is my favorite line to say when I'm angry too and I want to be left alone...This song has been the across-the-board chart-topper in 1961, and it was one of the reasons why Ray won a Grammy Award. The way Margie Hendrix sings the choruses makes her sound like she is imploring him to "hit the road"...but what makes more spicy this song is the way Charles replies, more like shouting than singing - desperately - imploring the woman not to send him away because he will change...at least this is what he is promising...but how can she listen to him when she heard this lines so many times before?!?! :- P 10/10 (1:57)

                      6) "I've got a woman" - is another big hit...the song got to be on the R&B top as a No. 1 in 1955. Because had such a great success, Elvis Presley had it as a cover on his RCA debut album the following year. To be sincere, I don't like it so much...I don't know why but this song when I listen it gives me the impression that Ray was an opportunist and he was taking advantages from the woman he says it is his "baby"...Maybe I get it wrong, but what can I say it is the way I understand it...8/10 (2:54)

                      7) "A fool for you" - gives me spine-chilling...the pathos that gets out from the notes of this song makes you believe that Ray Charles has the heart broken. This song was for a long time in the peak of the R&B top in 1955; I can say that "the dance of his finger" on the piano keys gave this song the "perfect perfume" to wear when your heart is broken. I cry all the time...but I really feel happy to sing it to you even though I can not have you anymore...these are the words that are coming into my mind when I'm listening to this song....10/10 (3:07)

                      8) "Drown in my own tears" - it is another sad song; Ray Charles is more moaning rather than singing it, but as he knows how to do it, gets out a beautiful blues which makes your soul dance. Even though lets you a bitter-sweet taste, it is a pleasure to hear it over and over again. Drown in my own tears, was not written by Ray, Henry Glover is to blame for this smashing hit which was released in 1952 first time. But in 1956 Ray broke all the myths and brought out the very best of this song in his original way, and once again he had another No. 1! 10/10 (3:20)

                      9) "(Night time is) The right Time" - again another song that was not written by Ray. The song was originally done Nappy Brown in 1954 and was revised by Charles, who is helped in the song by lead Raelette Margie Hendricks. The sound of this song is almost the same since it starts till it ends...what makes you to pay attention to the song is the part where Margie starts to "squeeze" her voice in such a way that makes you curious to find out what she's saying; I really can say that this Raelette has a fantastic voice, she's really doing a fantastic job! This song got to be the No. 1 on the R&B singles chart, but only No. 90 on the pop singles chart. 9/10 (3:23)

                      10) "Sticks and stones" - was a tailor-made follow-up of "What'd I say", which came out in the summer of 1960. The lyrics are not something so special, in fact are very simple, and Ray is singing about how the peoples are gossiping and are trying to separate him from his girlfriend...but he does not care about this and he will never do something that he is being told to do, worse he is complaining of being abused. I like very much the short part where you can hear only the piano...8/10 (2:13)

                      11) "One mint julep" - paced the R&B chart at the beginning of 1961. No lyrics in this one, just a simmering instrumental treatment. Ray tried to show that he didn't forget from where he is coming and he proved out to the world that not only his voice can make his songs spicy, but more than this his fingers with the help of a Hammond B3 Organ can do miracles. 9/10 (3:03)

                      12) "I can't stop loving you" - the love song that reached the No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, R&B chart for 10 weeks, and Pop chart for 5 weeks going gold, the Grammy Award was justified. The lyrics were written by Don Gibson, that originally he is writing and singing country songs, but this one was far away from being a country song. This song is so different from the other ones which Ray is singing, his voice is so smooth and it is like he is singing a story on musical notes...if you are not in love you can get in love after you listen the lyrics...10/10 (4:12)

                      13) "You are my sunshine" - originally this song was sang by Jimmie Davis, somewhere near 1940; Ray took the song and transformed it in his own style, singing it in a duet with his No. 1 Raelette Margie Hendrix and as a result of this fantastic work, this song topped the R&B hit parade in 1962. I like this song for a simple reason, Margie's voice; she is fantastic, when she sings her part makes you forget that Ray is singing too and the instrumental arrangement completes her and makes the song to be a cut above the rest. 10/10 (3:00)

                      14) "Busted" - another hit which was released in 1963, was in both R&B and Pop tops and Ray won his third Grammy Award. Ray is singing without his Raelettes, but I can say that the horns are the "backup voices" for this one. Ones again he's voice is very smooth, no high notes for this song, his "story" it is expressed calmly as nothing was such a serious problem; after all the lyrics of the song are about how he got to be broke and not having any solution or possibility to solve out this problem. Ray tried with this bitter-sweet story to make people smile, and in my opinion he did a good job. (I'm smiling all the time when I'm listening to this song) 10/10 (2:11)

                      15) "Let's go get stoned" - was No. 1 in July 1966, and Ray had made some changes. Because the times were changing, his style needed something new, something that had to improve and in the same time to positively help his music to be on the top. The pipe organ it's like salt for this song, compiles the sound with the nice lyrics which are played by Ray in his original way, and the backup voices of the Raelettes are adding that little extra which makes you listening this song over and over again. 10/10 (3:03)

                      16) "Seven Spanish Angels" - a fantastic duet performed by Ray Charles and Willie Nelson. The lyrics for this song are written by Eddie Setser and Troy Seals back in 1985. This country song is the story of two people that are killed by the Texans, I think it is related to the times when it was the Spanish-American War; so the story says that the man didn't wanted to be taken back in Texas, better he will die...so he launched him self in the battle of the guns and died, because his lady loved him so much, she took his gun and prayed to God to forgive her, but she couldn't live without her man; "And she knew the gun was empty/And she knew she couldn't win./Her final prayer was answered,/When the rifles fired again." So the seven Spanish Angels took the souls of this two with them...
                      This song it a very nice country ballad, me I love it...the performance of this two great singers makes this story to be so real and so touchy...10/10 (3:51)


                      Inlay Details & Price
                      ==============

                      The CD comes with a small intro; all about Ray Charles career and from which albums are coming all this songs compiled on this album. This small intro has some black and white photos of Ray and some small paragraphs where he is explaining how music changed his life and what made him to choose this road.

                      This Album can be found on:
                      - ebay.co.uk £5.99
                      - amazon.co.uk £6.97
                      - All Records £11

                      Final Opinion
                      =========

                      I have this CD since 2001, I bought it from All Records, and I'm listening to it almost each time when I'm feeling down. I don't know why but I think the voice of this great man makes me feel better. Maybe he was not such a great example in his personal life, but in his musical life for sure he was and still is an inspiration. Even though music changed and will change in the future too, even though singers are coming and leaving, the music that Ray Charles did and played/sang will always remain, because even if he died in 2004 he's still alive through his music.
                      This album did came out to be a very good idea, to have 16 hits on a single CD at such a low price I think it is more than a great deal. This music it is very relaxing and if you like oldies then don't hesitate to buy - The Very Best of Ray Charles - album.
                      If it was one long review and bored you than I have to apologize, but each song came from one specific year and had a small story...which I hope I wrote it as short as I could and it was helpful. About Ray Charles and his songs there are so many other things to say...but I kept it short, eh not that short but neither that long...

                      Thank you for reading x

                      Sincerely,
                      cam3lot

                      ...and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more : -)

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                      • More +
                        13.11.2006 14:28
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                        An useful tool for your PC...

                        I think this is the tinniest product I ever reviewed...but being so useful to me I thought I'll write some words about it.
                        D-Link DBT-122 USB Bluetooth Adapter it is a very helpful tool for those people who'd like to transfer some files from one machine to another. Me I use it to transfer mp3 music from my PC to my telephone.

                        I bought this small item from www.expansys.com.cy and I paid for it only £12, a bit expensive but what's cheap today?
                        It came in a very big box (I really don't understand why it has to be so big) which had inside:

                        - The USB Bluetooth Adapter
                        - CD-ROM
                        - USB extension cable
                        - User Manual

                        Driver Installation
                        ============

                        After you get everything out from the box, the first thing you have to do - as I did - is to insert the CD in your CD-ROM Drive and to follow the steps which will appear on your Desktop. The installation it's pretty simple, you have to chose: Install Driver > Next > Accept the terms in the license agreement (this is something that you have to do almost all the time when you install a new program) > Next > Destination Folder (the best place to save it is Program Files) > Next > Install > OK.
                        The software finished its installation, and will start to look for the Bluetooth Device...which of course will not be found because it is not inserted in a USB port, and will appear a small windows warning you that you have to insert the small item in one of your PC USB ports. After this small operation it's done, you click ok on that warning window and a final step window will appear which will announce you everything is done. Now you can do your job with your new tool.

                        *Note*: If you have Windows 2000, Windows Me, or Windows 98SE, you have to restart your computer after the install in order to use your Bluetooth.

                        I love this tool, since I have it I changed all my music from my phone and not only; I can transfer my small videos from my phone into my computer, the same thing with my pictures and voice recordings.

                        To connect D-Link Bluetooth Adapter with another Bluetooth Device, you have to follow some small easy steps:

                        - if you have a phone which has Bluetooth, activate it;
                        - go on the toolbar and look for the Bluetooth icon (this shortcut was automatically made during the installation), once you found it - click the right button from your mouse, go on Quick Connect > Bluetooth Serial Port > Find devices.
                        - when the device will be found you have to click once again the mouse right button on the small blue icon and go on Explore my Bluetooth Places option which will open a folder with some other small folders letting you to chose the right one, meaning to chose what you'd like to transfer from your phone on your computer or the other way around.

                        Some tips when using D-Link Bluetooth
                        ==========================

                        If you are surfing through web pages on the internet and you'll find something that you'd like to have it on your phone then you'll have to follow other small steps...
                        - You'll save the picture, video, mp3, ring tone in your Bluetooth folder, in the sub-folder more appropriate for what you are downloading from the internet. But if you get lost and you don't find this folder, then you'll save it in My Documents and after you'll click on the item you saved, on the mouse right button, selecting copy option; after you'll go on the toolbar, Bluetooth icon, right button click, and get into first option that you'll see on the window will open: Explore my Bluetooth Places, and from the main folder you'll chose the sub-folder you want, again right click button and chose paste and your item you saved earlier will be copied now on your Bluetooth Folder and after you can transfer it on your phone.

                        D-Link Bluetooth Adapter can be bought from:
                        ===============================
                        - Excite IT £10.66
                        - amazon.co.uk £10.54
                        - PC World £11.29
                        - Pix Mania £11.90

                        Product warranty
                        ============
                        The warranty for this product it is for one year and during this time if something goes wrong you can change it for free.

                        My opinion
                        ========

                        I really think that this was a great deal, because now I don't have to buy anymore a ring tone that I like or an Mp3, all I have to do is to connect my phone with my PC and I'll have what I wish. The user manual and the user guide from the CD-ROM are very easy to follow and there for are very useful. If you are looking for a Bluetooth device to help you transfer some files from a PC to another PC or from a PC to a phone and/or the other way around, this tool can be very very useful, and believe me can make you life easier. If you have a phone with big space on it you can have your on Mp3 player and you can change all the time the songs; and now you don't have to send your phone pictures in your e-mail through your MMS service, pay once and transfer you pictures into your PC in the most easiest way possible. If you'll get to purchase D-Link Bluetooth Adapter you'll not regret it!

                        Thanks for reading.

                        Sincerely,
                        cam3lot

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                        • Dove Colour Care / Hair Care / 81 Readings / 71 Ratings
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                          08.11.2006 16:47
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                          Affordable treatment for your coloured hair...

                          Note: This review was first time published on Ciao on 4th October 2006...

                          If you use to color your hair, then this review is for you. Today I'll speak about the range of products I use for my hair. But particularly I'll speak about Dove Colour Care; it really changed the "life" of my hair. But first things first :- )


                          Blond with tresses, lightened brown or darkened one, blue-black or black to brown - it is clear: you are more beautiful when your hair is beautiful! This is the secret! :- ) the beauty of your hair has its own secrets, a few of them, I will write here today.


                          »» How I started to use Dove products? ««


                          Well, by trying everything else; this is the only way that makes you at one point to stop looking : -). Maybe I'll be considered crazy by many of you, but me I'm more than crazy when it's about my hair. I used to have a very nice and thick hair, but during the years because was going white (it's a genetic thing I think, my mother's the same, I say this because I have only 23) I had to color it, and as you well know, this kind of paints are destroying the health of the hair. So after intoxicating it with colors, I had to treat it with some "respect", if I wanted to be happy about the way it looks, and to start some treatments to make him healthy and shiny. After trying and looking thru many products (I mean manyyyyy) I said to my self, a bit disappointed that I was not finding the right one, I'll try Dove Colour Care too, after all I lost so much time spending to find something that will please me, I started to loose hair too, so another more product will bring me more lost or something good and very welcomed in my life, making my searching period to end. I was very happy, let's say lucky this time, to realize a change in the way my hair looks. For this change I have to "blame" the full range of Dove Colour Care, because to be fair, you can not use only the shampoo and to get a "wow" result, as many people expects, after all that's why Dove people made the Conditioner Colour Care and the Mask Colour Care. Ok this means you'll spend more, but at least you know for what, and I can assure you, that at the end you'll be very pleased about it.


                          Now I realize that I did a good thing looking, and looking, and... until I found what my hair needed, because today I'm not the only one who is happy, even my hair is, its smiling to me (this is how I say all the time :- ) ) by the way its shining.

                          But too much talk will get you bored, so I will start presenting you these little secrets I discovered during my searches.


                          »» About Dove Colour Care ««


                          Colour Care comes in two categories: Colour Care Shampoo for Lightened hair & Colour Care Shampoo for Darkened hair.
                          This to ranges makes everybody happy, because anyone could buy to use it, mine is for darkened hair, because my color is blue-black.


                          *** The Shampoo Colour Care ***

                          This shampoo is made especially for the colored hair. Comes to complete the tone you have chosen to "wear" making your hair soft and silky. Because the shampoo contains ¼ hydrating cream, all dove range it's based on this, makes you feel the difference from the first time you used it, the hair is like silken made of, sliding between your fingers. When you start to apply the shampoo you have to have in minded these following base rules:
                          1) wetting your hair very well
                          2) applying as much shampoo as needed (depends how long is your hair)
                          3) get all the hair in the top of your head and massage it slowly, don't rush it
                          4) once the foam started to become thick, leave the hair to take a break in it at least for 1 minute(I'll recommend 3)
                          5) rinse out the foam until the hair is clean and you don't feel it foamy


                          I wrote this rules here, not because I want to offend someone or showing that they don't know how to use a shampoo, just because is very important how you follow the steps and to keep in mind how this product will give the best results. After all we like to have only excellent results :- ) And as we all know, the shampoo is taking care of your hair from the bottom to the top, the bottom here being the hair thread root.

                          After the shampoo, and all the steps following the shampooing, is very welcomed to use the Colour Care conditioner.


                          *** The Conditioner Colour Care ***


                          This indeed, will make your hair more relaxed. I think everyone knows what a conditioner is for, but I would like to mention about this too:
                          - The role of the conditioner is to make the hair more smooth and easy to work with, to be less painful (for some women) to brush it and to feel it more lax.
                          Now that I mentioned this too, I'll continue with "how to apply" for that exceptional result to be noticed.
                          You'll apply the conditioner on your hair, massage it first, until will cover all of it, after you spread it you'll let your hair to feed at least for one minute. (2 minutes will not harm him). Once again you rinse your hair until you don't feel any trace of conditioner.


                          *** The Colour Care Mask ***


                          If you want you can apply after the mask, that will complete Dove range, but this is only if your hair is really damaged from the color and you feel it really dry. If so, the same rule, like the conditioners will be kept in mind, only that you have to leave it 3 minutes and rinse-off.

                          Once you used these products, fallowing all the steps, you'll start to feel the difference. What can be nicer, than to feel your hair, well not to feel it, because will become so light and so lax that will have the impression your head is not in his place(joke) what I mean is that you'll start to have a perfect healthy hair, without tangling any more and starting to shine in its beauty.


                          *** The package ***

                          Dove Colour Care Shampoo comes in a pinkie-lavender colored bottle, with the silver bird on it (the actual mark sign of dove products). Has 250ml shampoo, pink color, as the package is. On the back of the bottle they are some instruction of how to use it and what kind of results you'll get after washing your hair with it. It's very easy to handle while you are in the shower (or bathtub).
                          The same package style has the conditioner too; the only difference is that the lid of the bottle is up-side-down, sits on it.
                          If you bought the mask too, that one is coming in a pot, but the same, has 250ml.

                          *** Price ***

                          Dove Colour Care range it is very wide, this means you can choose everything that you need for your hair, from the shampoo, till the protection milk...but if you want to buy only the 3 principal products I described than you'll not pay more than £14, and I think it is a great deal...because the results are amazing...
                          And if you want to buy the protection milk and the Dove Colour Care Spray you can get to pay between £22 and £24, and you can find this products in supermarkets, pharmacies and beauty shops....

                          *** My advice ***

                          As I said at the beginning, you can not use only the shampoo if you want the very best, but being a product range for every pocket, with such a great result, I think it worth to be given a try. Only if you have a greasy hair, but in the same time you color it, you can use only the Shampoo Colour Care and a mask for greasy hair, that dove has it too. Why I like so much dove? Because till now made me happy, gave me all I needed for my hair; even when I recommended to some friends of mine, the same answers and results I heard. So, why not you too, use this product? Give it a try, and you'll make your hair "smile". My hair is "happy" now for almost one year; this is the period, since I'm using Dove Colour Care, and I'll continue to do so.


                          Thank you for reading this review, and maybe will help you too for the future.

                          Sincerely,
                          cam3lot

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                          • Arrasando - Thalia / Music Album / 53 Readings / 50 Ratings
                            More +
                            07.11.2006 18:03
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                            Shall we dance...?

                            'Sangre caliente' this is what Latino Music is...meaning Hot Blood...I really don't know how each country uses the term for this kind of music, but I know that the Mexicans are considering this music being the 'Spicy Music'. Me as Monica (this is my real name) I think they are using the perfect expression for this style...
                            Latino Music is so full of life, makes you dance without noticing it, you can feel how your blood is getting on fire...but of course you have to like this style, this is what I can say about me, I love this kind of music....

                            =====================================================

                            Arrasando (Devastating or It's My Party) CD I bought it a few years ago, I don't remember exactly when, but I saw this album on a shelf of All Records shop, and as I love Thalia I took it without hesitating...what can I say, my blood is on fire all the time lol...
                            I think I paid something as £11 a bit expensive for a few years in the past, but I didn't care...neither now I don't care so much if I pay a fortune for an album that I really like and want...

                            Who's Thalia?
                            ==========
                            (I'll say in some words who is Thalia, just because here on Ciao is only one album of her and no review, so I think this way is the best)

                            This singer is an actress too; she played in many Mexican series (Telenovelas - Soap Operas), a bit too spicy for me...because the stories of these movies are so predictable and the actors are crying almost in each episode...but now I am writing about the music, which makes you vibrate! (At least this is the feeling I get to have) But many of you I think you've heard the song Amor a la Mexicana, and maybe you saw the video too...this is the song that made her famous, launched her in the world of Latino Music and became so successful worldwide.

                            As a singer Thalia has a great voice, so sweet and full of honey, her charm and beauty I think can make an iceberg melt...
                            She started her career in 1981, as a member of the group Din Din, she was just a child in those times, but after she left from this group her movie career started, her first movie was not such a success, but hey, many celebrities started like this. Many other changes were happening in her career, but I think is not the case to write them here, because is not on the subject, I try to keep it as short as possible...1990 her first album was released, called Thalia - what a typical name - this album was fallowed by: Mundo De Cristal, En Éxtasis, Amor a la Mexicana, and Arrasando the album I will review here today...ok, after this album many others are released, such as: Con Banda, Grandes Éxitos; No Me Enseñaste...etc. She won many awards allover the world; many are saying that this happened because she got married with Tommy Mottola, but is not true, she's a very good singer, better say a great Latino singer.

                            As an intro about Thalia, I think is enough, you can find out more information about this singer on her official site (they are so many other sites, because of her fans) www.thalia.com

                            Arrasando Album
                            ============

                            This CD has 12 songs, Arrasando is the 4th one; the songs are very cheerful, I think they were fitting in the time when this album was released; this thing was happening on 25th of April 2000 when dance music was all the rage in fashionable circles. The choruses of the songs are very easy and simple, but this is in a way what make's Thalia's songs so nice... The album was nominated for 3 Latino Grammies, and won in the category Best Engineering Album. This album contains 8 songs authored by her in conjunction with other writers too, as a result form all of this Thalia became an authentic international superstar.
                            I have to say that all the songs from this album they are sang in Spanish, so I think can be a disadvantage, but the original Latino Music like this has to be made...and now I'll repeat my self, if you like to dance, especially Latino dance, then this album is for you!

                            1) Entre el Mar y una Estrella (Between the Sea and a Star) 10/10
                            2) Regresa a Mi (Come back to me) 10/10
                            3) Reencarnación (Re-birth) 7/10
                            4) Arrasando (Devastating or It's My Party) 10/10
                            5) No hay que llorar (You don't have to cry) 8/10
                            6) Quiero Amarte (I want to love you) 10/10
                            7) Suerte en mi (My luck) 8/10
                            8) Menta y Canela (Mint and Cinnamon) 10/10
                            9) Tumba la Casa (Tomb the House) 7/10
                            10) Pata Pata (Step by Step) 9/10
                            11) Siempre Hay Cariño (Always you feel Love) 9/10
                            12) Rosalinda (Pretty Rose) 9/10

                            The one that is different from all the other songs, is the first one 'Between the Sea and a Star', sounds like a poem on musical notes, soft and slightly romantic' it is a slow song which when you listen it makes you feel like you are standing on a beach watching how the sun goes to sleep...or maybe like this make me feel. Marco Flores, the same one who wrote for Patricia Manterola and Millie, wrote the song lyrics.

                            Lets dance! This is the message that these songs: Arrasando, Quiero Amarte, Suerte en Mi, Menta y Canela, Tumba la Casa, Pata Pata, and even Rosalinda are transmitting you while you are listening them. The rhythms of the songs are so cheerful, that I think even if you sit you can not stay without moving your body, you can not, and here I have to say that only if you do not understand what happiness means you will just listen...

                            With 'Come back to me', the second song from the album, Thalia tried a different style, which I think she did it very well. This one is not Latino style anymore; it is pop-dance if I do not make any mistake, and it sounds very good. It is a love song, but the tune makes it different than 'Between the Sea and a Star' for example, at least on this one if you have a broken heart you don't start to cry, you better dance :- )

                            'You don't have to cry' it is a bit twisted. It is a slow, comes like an advice for those who are crying because of love. The lyrics are written by Thalia, and with this song she's trying to say: don't cry for something that's gone (love), someday will come back; here is the twisted thing, she doesn't refer her self to 'he', he will come back, she tries to say that the feeling will get back but from someone else. So, do not cry because you will never get him/her back; you will love again, someone that really deserves your love. Something like this, yes? (Ok I am lost) The same message 'Always You feel Love' song transmits.

                            Rosalinda is the soundtrack of the series with the same name. A very spicy Soap Opera!! I could not watch it, even if I wanted...only when I was seeing Thalia's crying face, I was going crazy. Ok she is sexy, she is talented, but this Soap Opera was too much for me...
                            Rosalinda song is pure Latino, not too much 'fire' but neither a slow. It is a song that you can dance it only with a partner.


                            Inlay Details & Price
                            ==============

                            As you buy the album, you have Thalia's face picture. I have to admit she has sexy lips, but it was not necessary for her finger to be between them...or? The CD comes with a small intro written on the back of her mini poster, which you can find it inside the frame of the album.

                            The price of this album on:
                            - ebay.co.uk - £9.60
                            - amazon.co.uk - £11.99
                            - All Records shop - £12.50

                            What do I think about this album?
                            ======================

                            I think is very good, especially because I love this kind of music and because I'm a huge fan of Thalia's music. I like Latino music, I like how this singer is sing it, and I like Spanish too. I think this music made me learn this language...
                            Thalia is one of the most famous singer in the Latino World; she succeeded with her nice voice, pretty face and her charming smile. She may be talented as an actress too, but her series are not for me; I'm so sorry Thalia, but they are too much for me.
                            You like Latino? You can give this album a try. You are not into Latino music? I think if you'll listen at least one of the songs from this album you'll get to like Thalia :- )
                            Maybe this album is not Thalia's best one, but for sure is something that I like...
                            Soy muy loca, perro no ago dañó (I'm very crazy, but I'm not dangerous)

                            Thank you for reading...

                            Sincerely,
                            cam3lot

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                            • More +
                              01.11.2006 10:23
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                              An useful tool for your PC...

                              Registry Mechanic is an easy-to-use application that uses high-performance algorithms to quickly identify invalid or orphaned references within the Windows Registry and allows you to repair each problem selectively or repair them all automatically.

                              To make my self more clearly and for you to know about what I'm writing here today, I'll give some definitions, maybe this will bring to light for what this program is made and like this you'll have a better picture about what you'll read next.

                              &&&& Definition of: Registry &&&&

                              The configuration database in all 32-bit versions of Windows that contains settings for the hardware and software in the PC it is installed in. The Registry is made up of the SYSTEM.DAT and USER.DAT files. Many settings previously stored in the WIN.INI and SYSTEM.INI files in 16-bit Windows (Windows 3.x) are in the Registry.

                              &&&& Definition of: Registry cleaner &&&&

                              A utility program that scans the Windows Registry and looks for outdated and invalid entries. Applications often create Registry entries for temporary data and pointers to other files, but never delete them. In addition, if folders are manually deleted by the user, Registry entries may point to files that do not exist. A Registry cleaner can be part of a package of system utilities or a stand-alone program.

                              I bought this program a year ago, with a license key for 2 years (the standard package has the licence key for one year), means I still have one year to run it and after I have to renew it. I took it from the internet, the main site of Registry Mechanic program, which is -- www.pctools.com --. Why I did so? Because my PC started to slow down, he was not processing as before, and I'm not the patient person kind, so I wanted it to "fly" when I was working on the internet and especially when I was downloading something, to be installed in the most quick time possible. Ok, this it was not the entire problem, as I like to try everything, many times I was taking from the internet programs that later I'll not need, so as a result I had to remove them from my PC. When the program is removed, they will still remain some registries with no backup on the system, that they can be cleaned with this Registry Mechanic program.

                              So after installing and removing programs (and they were not a few, I can assure you this) I realized that my computer is going less than slow, like is happening before crashing; you know that time when you try to open a program and is taking ages until does so, and you double click over and over until seems for you that has some effect and the program is opened, but in fact at one point they will be hundreds of windows opened and as a result your system may say "bye bye, I'm shutting down", and this will mean reformat and if you didn't had any back up made to save your important files, all your work will be gone for ever and after you'll have to take it from the beginning making your nerves to explode.

                              I hope till here everything is clear, at least to know for what this Registry Mechanic program is good for.


                              ***** Registry Mechanic Program *****

                              You go on the internet, on www.pctools.com or ebay.co.uk or from a shop and you buy the CD with this program. The price will be different, depends from were you'll buy it, me I took it with 29 $ from the internet.

                              You download the program into your PC, in the startup section, for your program after is all done, when you open your computer to run a quick scan, to clean and fix errors, for your day to be more pleasant in front of the computer; after you purchased a license key, and you introduced it in the window that appeared after install asking you to register your program, you'll be having now in front of you the main page of the program.

                              On the main page they are:

                              5 buttons on the left side of the page:
                              1) Status
                              2) Start Scan
                              3) Restore
                              4) Option
                              5) About

                              1) Status

                              This button appears on, as the Main Status Screen; on the status page they are 3 options:

                              - Scan your registry: starts an immediate Full Scan of the Windows Registry for problems. The result of the scan will appear at the end of it. Then you have to click the Repair button which you'll find it on the right side, down in the corner of the page. After the registries are fixed will appear the page that will let you know if all your errors were fixed and will advise you to click the Continue button.

                              - Optimize your system: Introduces a series of Windows Registry tweaks to improve system performance.

                              - Compact registry: Displays the Registry Compacting screen, where you can start the registry compaction process to improve system performance by clicking the Yes button. Registry compacting optimizes your registry by removing gaps and wasted space improving system performance. (if you want to use this option, you have to make sure you will not work on your computer for at least 30 min, because even if you want the program will not allow you; so better do it when your job with the PC is done) This option it will be done in 3 steps:
                              - analyse your registry
                              - preview results
                              - backup, compact and optimize your registry.

                              If you want to create a restore point for all this scans and logs to be stored, you can choose so by marking the option Create Restore Point, that is on the same page were you'll find the menu of Compact Registry.

                              2) Start Scan button

                              The second option from the left side column, on the first page of the program; if you press it, will start to scan, and as I explained earlier, will fix all the error if you follow up the steps.

                              3) Restore

                              Displays the Restore registry backup screen, where you can undo any changes to the Windows Registry made by Registry Mechanic after running a Scan and Repair. You'll find there 5 buttons that will help you to decide and to process what you want to do: Restore, Open, Delete, Refresh, Finish.

                              4) Option

                              This button provides access to the Options categories, which includes: General, Custom Scan, Scanning Paths and Ignore Lists. Registry Mechanic's overall functionality and scanning behaviour can be adjusted using the settings available in each Options category. After you save your changes, and give a short scan to your system. As I have, not to bother all the time to click repair button from the scan utility, I marked here on the general option, remove all problems automatically, so all I have to do when the scan is finished is to press Continue button and after to close it.

                              Scanning path will allow you to choose which locations you want to be scanned. You just check C:\ and is ok.

                              As a general idea, Option helps you to choose how you wish your scan to be...and which paths to be scanned, if you want to save the scan logs, and to choose the favourite language (English, Dutch, Spanish).

                              5) About

                              If you choose to click this button, the about screen will be displayed were you'll see the version of your program and to whom is licensed to (You'll see your name and the license key number).

                              If you want to update your program, you can do so by pressing the Smart Update button which is on the top of your Registry Mechanic screen, in the right side. If after you pressed it will appear to you that a new release has to be downloaded, you'll press next and the hard job is finished.

                              Near to smart update button there is Help Option that has a small menu: a Quick Start Guide, the PC tools web site short cut, the Support online page, and once again About option, where you have the version of the program and the license key number.

                              Registry Mechanic program, after you scanned your registries, and you close it, will still be running through Registry Monitor, that will be found on the tool-bar, where the timer is. When an error will be found, a message will appear on your screen telling you about it and asking you if you want to precede a registry scan, to eliminate it.

                              As a big picture, this is Registry Mechanic and its functions. I can tell you that since I have it I'm very happy about how my systems works, and because is running all the time when I start my computer, fixing all the errors, nothing goes wrong.

                              This product as I said, can be bought on-line or from a Computer store, but I'll give a tip, I saw on eBay, Registry Mechanic plus Spy ware Doctor (protection against: Spyware, Ad-ware, Spyware Trojans, Key-loggers, Identity Theft, Hijackers, Tracking Threats, Rogue Anti-Spyware, Unwanted Software, Phishing, Pop-ups and Bad Websites), both of them at the price of £26.99. I really think is a good deal, you can find the same package more cheap, again on eBay offers.

                              If you'll decide some day to buy it, I know for sure it will be useful for you as it is for me, so enjoy this product and the fact that your computer will work as new!

                              Thank you for reading.

                              Sincerely,
                              Cam3lot

                              Comments

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                              • More +
                                30.10.2006 12:25
                                Very helpful
                                (Rating)
                                11 Comments

                                Advantages

                                Disadvantages

                                Metropolitan, one hotel that can offer everything...

                                WOW!!! Like this I will start, because the 3 days I spend in the Metropolitan Hotel, they were far away from fantastic, they were WOW :- ), yes I repeat my self. But can you imagine everyone treating you as a royalty? Without any lie, I can tell that, you think to something, you don't say it out loudly and you have it!!!


                                ~~ Reservation ~~


                                Now I'll tell you the reason of being there, on 26 September me and my husband we made 2 years since we are together, not so long time, but for us it was a big day, and we wanted to celebrated as we felt it will the best. So we took a trip on the internet hotels offers, we analyzed, and we got to a conclusion, because we love each other so much, we should treat us with what is the best in our anniversary day. (We did this because this year, as busy we were we didn't had a holiday trip, or at least an weekend to consider it free one) So we booked our self for 2 days on the main site of the hotel which is http://www.chandris.gr/athens/, for a corner suite, internet special 250 Euro/day, checking in Friday and checking out Sunday, the amount resulted to be 500 Euro with breakfast included.


                                Ok, all this was happening at the beginning of September, because again, we wouldn't have free time to be there on the 26th. Each period, from what I understood, has a different charge, but this depends on how booked is the hotel. Mainly being a business clientele that will check in, is always busy, but not full booked al the time. We can consider ourselves very lucky to find a corner suite, because they are the most wanted. You really have to book your self with 15 days before to be sure you'll find one free.


                                ~~ So, till here everything ok, now I'll continue presenting the trip from the airport to the hotel. ~~

                                You can ask the reception from the hotel to send a taxi or a car after you, they will do it. We didn't do this, we took a taxi from the airport and we told the taxi guy to take us to the hotel. We made something between 40 and 50 minutes, I can't tell exactly, because I was not paying attention to the time, I was amassed about the surroundings, by the buildings, streets, shops, about how mush traffic can be and how many people they are allover. Ok maybe like this are all the capitals, but frankly Nicosia, where I live, is not like this, we don't have sidewalks, in Athens they are.


                                ~~ The Metropolitan Hotel ~~


                                Driving towards to main entrance to the hotel, is difficult to understand the real size of the Metropolitan, as you get near of it, from a side street, not Syngrou Avenue. But if you walk on Syngrou Avenue and you look up, you'll face the hall and actual size of Metropolitan which has a beautiful stainless steel appearance in a model minimalist design.

                                When we arrived to the hotel, a butler came out and took our luggage and we went to the reception to check in. Now if I'll say again "WOW" maybe it will be to much, well is not, because is one of the nicest reception I ever seen, besides another one, pretty much the same, but now we are speaking about Metropolitan's one. If I'll start to make now a description, maybe I'll not cover all the beauties I saw and this reception has, but how can you imagine a 5 stars hotel one to be? Frankly from the moment a got in and I saw how it looks, I was already asking my self how it will be the room. Yes, now you'll say that I saw photos first, well photos are photos, they don't speak as much as the reality does. Ok, we got the keys, and we went to the elevator, the room was exactly on the top floor, can you imagine our luck? :- ) Lets say a disadvantage it was that when we got out of the elevator, the corridor was like taking a walk on the avenue, ok it is a joke, but our room was the last one, at the end of the corridor.



                                ~~ The Room ~~


                                Our room was on the 7th floor, with a very beautifully panorama overview. On the right hand side we could see the Syngrou Avenue, leading into Athens, which is one of the principal arteries from Piraeus into the city. The best time to watch Syngrou Avenue is at night when it comes alive with all the bright lights on either side from restaurants, night clubs, discos, cafeterias, hotels and night spots. Although is one of the busiest roads in and out of Athens, because of the excellent sound proofing of the hotel, you can hardly hear anything. Now if you decide to take a walk on Syngrou Avenue at night it will be a great experience as you'll meet all sorts of people from the rich coming out from them expensive cars going into fancy restaurants and night clubs, to simple people going into cafeterias or even street walkers trying to find a costumer. On the left hand side you can see the Olympic Stadium of basketball and indoor activities, the Piraeus Port and a bit further is visible the Flisvos Boat Marina. You can also see the remains of the old Athens Hippodrome. Looking over the horizon, there is Attika Mountain range, witch surrounds Athens.

                                The room was fantastic, beside the fact that it was a corner room and you could see many things from up there, inside was so nice that if it was after me, I would live there for ever, as this thing can not happen, I'll tell you now about the interior. As you get in the room, a big couch is saying "hello" to you, inviting you to sit on it; near the couch a small bar full with fruits, coffee, tea and many other delicious products. The small fridge has all you want and you don't want, from water to whiskey, and chocolate :- ) (this was kind of a surprise for me, because I could not keep my fingers away, till I didn't finish it all; a adore chocolate)


                                The bed, better say the king extra size bed, is something you don't sleep in every night, so huge, soft, nice smelling, so many pillows, nice color bed sheets it is promising you, a very nice comfy sleep. The bed is facing the window, at night if you still can't sleep (but is hard to believe you wouldn't in that kind of bed), you can see and count the stars :- ).
                                The room has separate dressing room, witch I consider a very good idea, maybe you like to make surprises, and you don't want to been seen, or to reveal the "surprise", for me this was a great advantage. All the furniture is made from rustic color wood, giving you the slide impression of being in castle guest room.


                                The bathroom, my favorite, is amassing, has hi-fi system, you can listen music during your bath, has towels all kind of sizes, two bath robes, slippers and all the products you need to use as long as you are a guest in the hotel. The bubble bath, aroma therapy kind, make you relax in the bath tub, taking you with your thoughts on places that makes your mind get relaxed and makes you enjoy each moment that you are going to stay in the bath tub. But if you are in a hurry to get down to dinner or to go out to discover all the beauties around, you are free to take a shower, which I have to warn you has a very powerful jet, if you are skinny pushes you away :-) (thing happened to me, is not such a good experience, that's why I thought better give this advice, when you open the shower not to turn it to maximum)



                                ~~ The Trocadero Restaurant ~~

                                Breakfast is being served at the Trocadero Restaurant, which offers a self service or a waiter service facility and has an excellent selection of Greek and Continental breakfast, for both: cold and warm dishes. Even in the choice of self-service, waiter service is on hand for hot and cold beverages. The waiter service is of the highest standards as you may find at all times staff available to cater for your needs. The decoration of Trocadero it's kept to simple and practical basis and for those who don't smoke there is a non-smoking reception. The Trocadero restaurant is situated on the ground level of the hotel and on the one side you may look out on the Syngrou Avenue, and the other side looks into part of the lobby and part of The La Veranda Restaurants, which are all separated by windows.



                                ~~ La Veranda Restaurant ~~

                                La Veranda is an out door restaurant, situated on the top of the hotel, from where you can see a big part of Athens. In the night, as I said at the beginning, the view is astonishing. The rich menu you'll find in this restaurant, if you are not a gourmand you'll become one, has all the categories food you can imagine. Us when we went to eat we ordered piper steak, both rare, the dish decoration, makes you to look at the food, to saturate it with the eyes first and after to taste. It's a very nice place to sit and look at the city in the late summer nights, let's say very romantic, because is more appropriate the word.


                                ~~ Room Service ~~

                                If you are not in the mood to go at the restaurant to eat, you can order room service. You can choose from the menu that is in the room, call to order and you'll have it as quick as possible. As long we staid there (not so long) we ordered a quick snack that came in 10 minutes. The personnel is very pleasant and polite.


                                ~~ Hotel Facilities ~~

                                Maybe you are not such an active person, but the high quality of the fitness centre is somehow asking you to get in, now you'll really say that I'm taking advantages, maybe so, but the dream anniversary I lived made me be like this. The fitness center has everything for everybody, from bicycles to roads, and a very well trained staff that will assist you and supervise your exercises. From fitness you can get out to the swimming pool that looks very exotic and very fancy, let's say a metropolitan look. But us because we wanted to see so many more other places and things, we didn't had the time to stay by the pool, but I'm not sorry because I saw it, I "tasted it" and maybe next year I'll try it :- )

                                You have so many other options if you don't want the swimming pool or to go to fitness; you can go to play tennis, or to sail, or even horse riding, what can I tell they have the hall menu, you just have to say your wish and the fairy will make it to come true.

                                The hotel has many other services for the costumers, especially for the business people, they have meeting rooms, business meeting equipment, ball room, and gala dinner room. This one I could just see, as much as I wanted for somebody to give me a tour of the hotel (and I think I'm not the only one who wants this, and I'm sure they have the appropriate staff for this) my husband is not such a patient guy, so we had to take a morning walk just before getting to check out. Not that this was making me happy, but as every nice dream, has to end at one point and you have to walk up. The good thing though is that you can feel the sweet taste that this dream let it you.

                                This time it was a car from the hotel that took us to the airport, the driver, was a very polite one and he was smiling all the time, even when I stepped on his foot, he was acting as nothing did happen, even if I apologized. Once I got into the airplane I knew that was a fantastic 2 days holiday and I'll always remember it. Thanks to those from Metropolitan who made my dream nicer than I ever imagined.


                                ~~ Information about Metropolitan Hotel and facilities ~~


                                The Metropolitan Hotel has 374 elegantly appointed guest rooms, including 10 spacious Suites, and 14 Executive rooms. The hotel is ideally situated for leisure and business travelers, only 15 minutes away from Athens city centre and the port of Piraeus and 35 km from Athens international airport.

                                ~~ Guest rooms facility ~~

                                * Individually controlled Air Conditioning
                                * TV, video on demand
                                * Satellite TV channels
                                * Broadband internet connection
                                * Direct dial Phone ISDN line, voicemail
                                * Radio, Minibar, Hairdryer, Digital Safe
                                * Working Desk, phone with data ports
                                * Marble Bath
                                * Individual trouser press
                                * Smoke detectors & sprinklers
                                * Iron & Iron board available
                                * Babysitting on request

                                ~~ Hotel Facilities ~~

                                Hotel Health and Fitness

                                * Supervised Hotel Fitness Centre with CYBEX cardiovascular & strength equipment
                                * Marble steam bath
                                * Outdoor Heated Swimming Pool
                                * Beauty Salon
                                * 18 hole golf course 10km from Hotel
                                * Tennis courts 5 km from Hotel
                                * Jogging path across the hotel, Sailing 4 Km, Horse riding, 15 km

                                Hotel business services

                                * Business centre with PC, scanner, printer, photocopier, ADSL internet connection
                                * Secretarial Translation/Interpreting services
                                * 8 conference Halls (Networking & internet connection among them available)
                                * Wireless internet access available in public areas

                                In Room Services

                                * 24 hour room service
                                * Video on Demand
                                * Broadband internet connection
                                * Non smoking rooms
                                * Fax machine (on request)
                                * PC and Fax machines connection
                                * Direct dial telephone with voice mail
                                * Trouser press in upper floors
                                * Digital safe deposit boxes
                                * Working Desk
                                * Hi-Fi Stereo music (in Suites and Executive rooms only)
                                * Coffee/Tea making facilities (in Suites and Executive rooms only)
                                * Contemporary TV sets (30'' Plasma Screen in suites and executive rooms)
                                * Massage on call
                                * Doctor on call
                                * Babysitting on request

                                Guest Services

                                * Valet service (Dry cleaning Laundry & Pressing)
                                * Free shuttle bus from/to Athens centre
                                * Wake Up Service
                                * Currency Exchange
                                * Mobile Phone rental
                                * Wheelchair Access and facilities
                                * Post Office box
                                * Daily newspaper (on request)
                                * Free Garage and open air parking located in Hotel
                                * Valet parking
                                * Gift Shop
                                * SIXT Car rental
                                * Translation/Interpreting Services
                                * Limousine & Taxi Service

                                Business Meeting Rooms

                                * Syros I + Syros II Conference Rooms
                                * Mykonos
                                * Aegean Sea Ballroom
                                * Delos Meeting Room
                                * Corfu I + Corfu II Conference Rooms
                                * Crete Conference Room
                                * Chios Conference Room
                                * Rodos Conference Room

                                Business Meeting Equipment

                                * PC with scanner and printer
                                * Translation - Interpretation
                                * Telefax
                                * Photocopies
                                * Bookbinding
                                * Technological equipment for hire
                                * Mobile phone services for hire
                                * Internet - e-mail

                                ~~ Prices ~~

                                The rates are different from a month to the other.

                                A standard room can be from : 98 £ to 125 £
                                A suite can be from : 150 £ to 250 £

                                But to be more sure about the rates, when you make the reservation you'll get the offer too.


                                This is all I had to say about Metropolitan Hotel, I know they are many more to say, but in 2 day of being a guest in, this is my impression, thank you all for reading this review, and if you are going some day to Metropolitan Hotel, Athens I know for a fact you'll have a good time.

                                Sincerely,
                                cam3lot

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                                  More Comments
                                • HP Photosmart M407 / Digital Camera / 56 Readings / 56 Ratings
                                  More +
                                  23.10.2006 18:04
                                  Very helpful
                                  (Rating)
                                  3 Comments

                                  Advantages

                                  • Reliability
                                  • Reliability

                                  Disadvantages

                                  Great picture quality...

                                  HP Photosmart M407 I received it as a gift after I purchased my computer and some other accessories that I need it. This was happening in December 2005. Because it was a gift I didn't gave to much attention to it, and I throw it somewhere in the house.
                                  Not long time ago I came with the idea of making my self a new photo album and I wanted to buy a new photo camera to do so, but my husband reminded me I already have one. This it was the first time - after 7 months - I used it and I could not believe how easy it was to use and how nice the pictures were...they still are.

                                  The package contents:
                                  1. HP Photosmart M407 digital camera with HP instant share
                                  2. Two AA Photo lithium batteries
                                  3. USB cable for connecting camera to PC
                                  4. USB cable for connecting camera to printer
                                  5. User's manual
                                  6. User's manual on CD (contains PDF of user's manual in Arabic, Slovak, Croatian, Romanian, Slovenian, Estonian, Lithuanian, and Latvian)
                                  7. CD with HP Image Zone software for Microsoft, Windows, and Macintosh.
                                  8. Wrist strap

                                  General
                                  * Depth: 3.7 cm
                                  * Height: 5.3 cm
                                  * Weight: 0.1 kg
                                  * Width: 10.9 cm
                                  Camera parts:

                                  This photo camera has lots of buttons (I think that is more gifted than my TV remote lol), these buttons are:
                                  * On the Image Display side you can find:
                                  1. Power light - this light is telling you the actual status of the battery power; normally when the batteries are full charged the color of the small light will be green, and of course when the batteries are discharged, the light is turning orange, starts to blink rapidly and the camera is shutting down.
                                  2. ON/OFF switch button
                                  3. On the right side up there is the Zoom Level Button ( allows you to zoom in and out before making a picture and the actual picture you made)
                                  4. The memory light (if the memory light is off when the camera is on, means that the memory of the card or the internal one are full)
                                  5. OK/Menu - here you can change the settings of the camera, delete pictures, etc.
                                  6. Controller button is the one that makes the navigation thru menu possible and helps you to modify your settings with the up, down, right and left arrows.
                                  7. HP instant share/Print button
                                  8. Timer/Burst button - with this option you can make normal pictures or Self-timer pictures of your own or video clips when nobody is around to help you.
                                  9. Mode button - here you select different shooting modes for taking still pictures
                                  10. Flash button
                                  11. View Finder
                                  12. Live View
                                  13. Playback

                                  This camera also has: microphone, self-timer for the video, incorporated flash, power adapter connector, USB connector, tripod mount, camera dock connector. On the top of the camera you'll find Sutter button which records audio and takes picture and Video button which starts and stop recording a video.

                                  The memory card I purchase it separately, but the camera contains internal memory - 16 Mb - which allows you to store images and video clips. ( The card I purchased is HP Photosmart 256 MB SD memory card-L18113A - not that I understand very much this technological name, as far as I know is that you can make 100 - 4 MP best - pictures or more and a 30 minutes video-good for me)

                                  So if you have a memory card or not, you can use the camera from the first minute that comes after inserting the batteries on, thing that can be done by sliding the ►ON/OFF switch to the right and then releasing it. (The same thing if you want to turn it off) When it's turning on, the HP logo displays on the Image Display.

                                  First time you use the camera, you have to make some settings, such as: choose your language, setting the date and time, and after installing the software from the CD on your PC for you to make the transfer of your pictures later on...
                                  To make a picture you can use your Image Display to fit in the parts you want to shoot, but this comes with a disadvantage, the batteries are discharging quickly; what you can do is to turn off the Image Display from Live View Button which you can find on the top of the camera on the screen side and is displayed as a small red camera. If you want to turn it on again, you press the small red camera and you'll have the image that you want to capture on your display.

                                  What I find very helpful on this camera is the Timer/Burst button, this option is very practical for me, I can make my own pictures without any help from a second person; This option has Self-timer and Self-timer 2 shots, which I think can be very helpful if you are going in the sea for a swim and you want to make your self some pictures. Ok is not only for this, it can be - as I did for example - when you are making some photos with your pet and nobody is home to help you, or who knows what kind of other shots. This Self-timer option can be used for videos too, you secure the camera on stable surface (or if you have tripod, is better), and press the Timer/Burst button until Self-timer is on the Image Display, frame the subject, and start making your own mini-movie.

                                  When you make pictures with this camera, you have to set a shooting mode from the Mode Menu. You can find it by pressing Mode Button from the Image display side of the camera. Here you'll find 7 different settings, and the first one is Automatic; but not all the time is good to set automatic, I say this because my self I did the same at the beginning, I was using this option. So, besides the automatic option, they are: macro, fast shot, action, portrait, landscape, and beach & snow. The one I love the most is Action, this one made my work much easier. I have something to confess, I like very much to make photos to my cat, but whenever is seeing me with the camera on my hands he runs away, well here comes this Action options which allows me to capture my pet very clear in the most strange positions ever.

                                  The beach & snow option as you can imagine balance out harsh lighting, so if you select this option, don't be afraid that your picture will not get out perfectly clear because the results will amaze you.

                                  When you want to make pictures in the night, HP Photosmart M407 again is a good choice, by going on the Flash Menu (you are doing this by pressing the Flush Button which you can find on the top of the Mode Menu Button) and select Night option, then the camera will use the flash with red eye reduction.
                                  The Flash can be set on auto, but then again you can set it On/Off, or Red-Eye. So the best solution is to set it always manual, before every capture session day/night.

                                  HP Photosmart M407 has a 1.8 inch LCD screen that allows you to frame pictures and videos, with the option Live View. The image on the screen is very clear, the colors are defined very well, and with the help of the Zoom option, you can freeze every subject you want in your frame and after capture it in a perfect picture. But as I said, to use the screen will make the batteries life shorter. That's why if you started to know the camera pretty well, you can use the View Finder...at this point HP Photosmart will become a classic photo camera...but personally I find it more practical (as for example when you want to capture small things in your picture, this option is the best, or it should be as it is for me)

                                  HP Instant Share:

                                  With this feature you can select images from your camera to be sent automatically to all the destinations you desire, when you'll connect it to your computer. If you want, you can select images to be printed; by doing so, when the camera will be connected to your printer, automatically the images selected will be printed.
                                  Instant sharing is the third option in the Menu of the camera, from where you can select:
                                  - print 1 copy
                                  - print 2 copies
                                  - HP Instant Share setup (you can add an e-mail if you want, and when the camera is connected to a computer, will sent automatically the photos to that address)
                                  - Exit (you will get out from the Instant Share menu)

                                  All this options you'll set them with the camera connected to a computer, some screen boxes will appear, showing you step by step what you need to do next. At the end when the computer confirms that your settings has been saved to your camera, you can disconnect it and start to use it; for the next time when it will be connected again on the computer to be more easy for you to transfer the photos in your folders, send them by e-mail or print them straight from the storage card of the camera.

                                  Managing Batteries:

                                  As I wrote at the beginning, the camera has two Energizer Lithium AA batteries rechargeable. It is not indicated to use normal batteries as it can affects the camera functions. To recharge them you can buy the quick recharge kit for your HP M-series, is not so expensive just $49.9 on the official site, which is www.hp.com/eur/hpoptions (copy paste this port number L1815A and insert it on the search bar from the site, enter, and you'll see the charger)

                                  For extended battery life, don't use to much the Image Display, the small little camera button which means Live View should be set on Off command, so when you press it, your screen will turn off (you can set this option On/Off Live View, by going Menu-Setup Menu-Live View Setup-Live View set off; the same steps for when you want to put it on), change the Display Brightness to low (you can do this by following the next steps Menu-Setup Menu-Display Brightness-Low), minimize the use of the flash, just when is necessary, and last but not the least use the zoom option only of need it. Ok this tips are only if you are going in a holiday and you forget the charger home or worse you are somewhere on the mountains for a weekend and you don't have where to charge your batteries for a few days. I said this just because, after a few times of recharging, these batteries, will get weaker...
                                  Maybe you will change them buying another ones, but what's the point of being rechargeable batteries after all :- ) ( I have a set of six batteries, and still I'm using the ones that came in the box of the camera, they proved till now to be the best).

                                  HP Photosmart M407 Warranty

                                  This camera, after purchase comes with one year warranty; during this year if something happens to your items - camera and accessories - HP will either repair or replace these products which prove to be defective.
                                  You can upgrade your warranty if you want. After you purchased this item, go on the official site register your product, and get 3 years HP Care Pack Service.

                                  For more information see:

                                  - www.hp.com/home/ownersevices (United States)
                                  - www.hp.com/uk/warranty-extension (UK)
                                  - www.hp.com/ie/warranty-extension (Ireland)
                                  - www.hp.com/hps/index_support (Asia-Pacific)

                                  Do I recommend it?

                                  Well, let's see...Of course I do, is one of the best cameras I ever had and worked with, the only thing I can consider a disadvantage is that is a bit big and heavy. But if you are traveling you can not feel the difference; it's very practical and very easy to use; once you made all the settings needed and the settings you would like all you have to do is: frame, freeze and capture...doesn't matter if it is a picture or a video clip....
                                  So if you are looking for a digital camera, this one can make your life easier, maybe it has only 4.1 MP, but I can assure you that the results will prove to be fantastic...

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