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Member since: 04.10.2007

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      30.01.2014 22:21
      Very helpful
      1 Comment



      One of the best dry shampoos I have used

      I have very fine hair which is also dry from over bleaching so I only wash my hair every three days to try and prevent it getting even more dried out. Due to this I often get greasy roots so I have started to use 'dry shampoo' - shampoo that you spray onto dry hair at the roots like hairspray meaning you don't need to wash your hair as often. Batiste is probably the most well known dry shampoo brand in the UK and they now have quite a large range of different dry shampoos in many different scents.

      Batiste Cherry retails at £2.99 for 200ML and there is also a travel sized can available at £1.50 for 50ML.

      The dry shampoo is packaged in an aerosol spray can, prettily designed with a pattern of cherries all over leaving you with no doubt what scent to expect when spraying onto your hair. The can is very bright and colourful, I like the Batiste can designs a lot as they look very pretty on your bathroom shelf, and they're also easy to spot on shop shelves jam packed with other similar products.

      The spray only has a slight smell of cherry which I imagine a lot of people would be disappointed by, but I'm actually quite glad the smell isn't too strong as I don't like hair products that are too overpowering. Like all dry shampoos, the consistency of the spray is quite thick and can look quite white when first sprayed onto the hair. The directions on the can are to spray it onto the roots of the hair and then massage in with fingers and then comb through and style as necessary. The effect the spray has on my hair is amazing, even on days when my hair is really greasy, I spray this and it has my hair looking it's best again. Usually the effect lasts all day but there have been a couple of occasions where I've had to respray my hair again in the afternoon. Batiste dry shampoo is also good at giving flat hair more volume, it also seems to be good at covering root growth if you dye your hair blonde - probably due to the fact it has a white consistency.

      The only real drawback I have found with using Batiste Dry shampoo is that if you run your fingers through your hair during the day absentmindedly you will often find that some of the powder will transfer to your hands and can get on your clothes where it leaves white marks. These do however wash out easily.

      Overall, a great product that I will continue to use.


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      • Twitter.com / Internet Site / 108 Readings / 101 Ratings
        More +
        12.05.2009 18:43
        Very helpful



        Great if you can get into it

        It was only a matter of time before another social networking site popped up and here it is in the form of twitter.com. 'Not another one' I can already hear you thinking! Twitter calls itself a 'free social networking and micro-blogging service', and enables you to read what other users have posted in updates known as 'tweets'. These posts can be upto 140 bytes in length so really are micro-blogs, I'm used to reading much longer blogs which go into more detail so immediately I'm sceptical as to whether this is enough. People will use these tweets to talk about anything, from what they are having for breakfast to the latest news around the world.

        Using the Site

        Twitter works slightly differently to other network sites in that you don't add people as friends as such, you can choose to 'follow' them instead. This will give you access to their status updates straight away, they don't have to approve you as a friend and you won't automatically be on their list. If they want to follow you back they will have to click this option on your profile. I can see both good and bad points from this, the bad is obviously that people could be following you when you have no idea who they are (although you can set it so that only people who you've chosen to follow can follow you). I've seen Twitter in the news a few times, it seems that quite a few celebrities use it such as Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears. I guess the advantage of it from their point of view is that they can let their fans know what they are upto without having to be bombarded with status updates from thousands of people they don't know.

        The first few times I visited the site, I was at a loss as to exactly what there is to do on there.. All you can do is set your status to say what you are doing, change your photo if you want and read other people's statuses! Don't we have facebook and myspace for that?! Facebook has the advantage of having a lot more people you know on it and Myspace has all the celebrities on it so if you are on both of these I don't get why you would use Twitter at all, as they both have more to do on there such as photos and applications. Only a couple of my 'real life' friends actually use Twitter so the only people I really follow are celebrities and random people who picked to follow me for some reason! This means that I sometimes feel that I am talking to myself when writing status updates as only a couple of people are actually following me on there. It is quite interesting to see what the likes of Lady Gaga are upto.. for about 5 minutes and then I get bored. I'm not a big enough fan of any celebrity really to care about where they went clubbing the night before or what they had for breakfast.

        You can't upload photos and there isn't a photo album function. You can have one main profile photo up at any time and that's it, this appears as a small square on your profile (though people can click it to enlarge). You are also able to have a background on your profile, they have a few patterns for you to chose from or you can upload one from your computer. There isn't a restriction on what background you can have on your profile, I have another photo of me on there as it's a sneaky way of having two photos!
        The website looks very simple to use, the design is a nice aqua blue colour and everything looks very fresh and neatly laid out. You post your tweet update in a box at the top of the homepage and other people's appear underneath it in a list. It's not as simple looking as it first seems though, it took me a few days after using it to realise there is a search function as the link is small and right at the bottom, and I only found it in the end after complaining there wasn't one and my friend pointed it out to me!

        Despite my initial feelings, I've given Twitter another chance. It seems that if you find an interesting topic to comment about you get random people interested in following you and you can get involved in some interesting discussions. The best way to do this is to search for topics and then reply to people, you are able to do this even if you don't follow them. This may all seem a bit too much like hard work for some people though who may just wish to follow their friends.


        When writing your 'tweet', there are a number of things you can do to characterise your post. You can add URLs to your messages, to post links to other websites. If you want to post something that is a direct message at someone, but is also public on your profile, you can write their username before the message with an @ symbol, for example it would look like: @username hello, how are you doing? You can also send people private messages that only they can see.

        There is also the function to reply to other people's tweets, there is an arrow next to each tweet, you click this and send your reply. You don't have to be following someone to do this, you can reply to anyone. Another function you can do is retweet, copy and paste someone else's tweet and insert 'RT' in front of it to show you are reposting what someone else has written. The final function you can do when tweeting is using hashtags. Hashtags are simply a word which relates to your post with the symbol # in front of it. This means if people search for this tag your post will come up before others.


        There are many applications which have been developed for when using Twitter, most of these do not come from Twitter themselves and all have to be downloaded separately. These include twitpic, which gives you the chance to upload photos and gives you a unique URL for each one so you can post them on your tweets. There is also applications you can download which displays tweets in a small box on your browser so that you don't have to keep the main webpage open all the time, and applications for your mobile phone which displays all your tweets on there.

        Overall Impression

        This is the kind of site that some people will log-on onto a couple of times, try it, and get bored and never come back. Even regular facebookers won't always 'get it'. Others will log-on and become addicted instantly. I was going to give this site 2*s out of 5 but it doesn't deserve it as it does have potential, and the more I use it the more I enjoy it. If you're willing to give it a chance and find some interesting people on there you should have a great time using it.


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          16.04.2009 09:15
          Very helpful



          Not one I can recommend

          Although, I have the odd itchy scalp moment, I have been lucky enough never to have suffered from dandruff in my entire life. So imagine my horror when I woke up one morning and looked in the mirror to see clumps of flakes all around my hairline! Dandruff can be aggravated by stress apparently so this may have been the cause, as my life is definitely stressful at time! I also have my hair bleached at a salon every 6 weeks which I think may have made my scalp quite dry and itchy, it definitely seemed to get worse straight after the last time I visited.

          I know absolutely nothing at all about itchy scalp products, having never had to use them before, so I decided to drop by my local Lush store to see if they had any products they could recommend to me. Lush is a store which specialises in natural products which are kind to the environment as they are not tested on animals. Now, my hair is definitely not natural, I've been dying it bright, light blonde since I was 16 so I'm always a bit dubious about buying hair care products from Lush as I think my hair is too fake for Lush to cope with! However, it was recommended that I buy Snake Oil which is suitable for use with all hair, whether 100% natural or 100% fake. Plus, I figured as it's for my scalp rather than my hair anyway I should be alright. The bars cost £3.87 each currently.

          The Product

          Although the product is called Snake Oil, no actual snakes were used to make the product so there are no worries there. I think the name of the product is kinda cool though, snakes have very smooth skin and are definitely not scaly contrary to what you'd expect, although they do shed their skin a lot like I seemed to be doing!

          The product feels like all the other Lush massage bars, this may sound crazy but I love the feeling of just holding a Lush massage bar in my hand as they feel so soft and creamy. They don't feel like soap at all although they look a little bit similar to them. The Snake Oil bar is a dusky pink colour with an S emblazoned on the top and is quite thick with rounded edges.

          Using the Product

          I got the bar in my hand and rubbed it between my fingers to try and get the oils to rub off into my hands. I've used Lush massages bars before which operate in a similar way, I found them to melt into my hands really easily, however this one seemed more stubborn and didn't seem to be melting. I tried to melt it by rubbing it between my hands for a good few minutes, I still wasn't happy with the amount that had come off but I massaged it into my scalp anyway and went to take a shower. Surprisingly for a Lush product, it didn't actually smell of anything (normally Lush products are strongly scented and often have unusual scents).

          After using the first time, I was disappointed with the results. I still had a flaky, itchy scalp and it didn't seem to have improved even a little. In fact, there was no noticeable difference at all, it was almost as if I hadn't used it! However, I put this down to me not using the product correctly, obviously I hadn't applied it right, it hadn't felt like I had at the time.

          The second time I applied the bar was three days later when I next washed my hair (I don't wash my hair too often as it is dry). I had the same problem again that I couldn't get the bar to melt enough in my hands. However, I massaged what I could get off into my scalp and then washed my hair. As I was in a rush, I didn't shampoo my hair enough and when it dried I could feel the Snake Oil bar still on my scalp, so be careful to wash it all out when using it as it made my hair go really greasy really quickly! My scalp was noticeably flaky still after being washed, so obviously hadn't done much good again.

          Again I applied the bar a third time after three more days. This time, I warmed my hands up on a radiator first so that the bar had no excuse not to melt in my hands! I found this helped to melt the bar much easier. The results were a little better this time, I still had flakes but they didn't seem to be quite so bad apart from around my parting, and my scalp was itching less.

          I didn't use the bar the next time I washed my hair as it simply slipped my mind. By the time after that, my dandruff seemed to have disappeared so I haven't used the Snake Oil bar since. I'm not really sure whether the massage bar helped to get rid of my flakes or if they just went away naturally. As it hadn't really seemed to make a difference after I used it I have a feeling it didn't really help that much. I can't really recommend this product because of that.


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          • More +
            14.04.2009 13:44
            Very helpful



            Use Sunscreen


            Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers and frighteningly is on the increase. This may be due to people exposing themselves to harmful rays of the sun which are getting evermore powerful with the damage of the o zone layer, and may also be due to the popular use of one of my pet hates, the sun beds. As you all should be aware, skin cancer is often caused by exposure to the sun, in fact this is the case in a whopping 85% of recorded cases. The cancer generally develops in the epidermis (outermost layer of skin), so a tumour is usually clearly visible. There are actually 3 types of skin cancer, the two most common are called basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, both are rarely fatal and easily treated. The third type is more deadly and known as the malignant melanoma.

            When I was younger, my family would often go on holiday to far away, sunny continents such as Africa and North America. I would often decide that I wanted to catch a tan and would 'forget' to put my sun block lotion on occasionally, causing my skin to burn under the harsh sun. I wasn't really aware of the risks otherwise I certainly wouldn't have done it. The worst tanning incident was when I went to Egypt when I was 13. We went the hottest time of the year and my skin literally burnt bright red. This is something I worry is going to catch up with me in a few years time as it seems impossible nothing will happen to me after I damaged my skin so badly. When I was 17, I noticed a small mole on the top of my arm had a dark dot in it and I decided to go to the doctor with it. The doctor took a look at it and said it looked fine but I could get it removed incase it got worse later on. This scared me enough never to ever purposely try and tan my skin again. It really does frustrate me to see a lot of my friends go out in the summer wearing skimpy clothes, which is fair enough, but they don't bother with sun block at all! I have a couple of friends who use sun beds, despite me pleading with them not to.

            Who is at risk?

            Everyone is at risk, although some people can be more susceptible than others. The people most at risk are:

            People with a high amount of moles and / or freckles
            People with red or fair hair, blue eyes, fair skin
            People who burn easily in the sun
            People with a history of the disease in two or more family members

            This is not to say that people with darker skin cannot get skin cancer. Black people are said to be the least at risk, however the soles of the feet and palms of the hands can be at risk. Bob Marley famously had skin cancer on his toe, which combined with brain cancer sadly led to his death.
            More women than men get melanomas. Skin cancer occurs mainly in the 40-60 year age group, but it can strike at any age (it is the second most common cancer in the young population, 20 - 39 age group). Children are rarely affected however.

            Basal Cell Skin Cancer

            Basal cell skin cancer takes form in the deep basal cell layer of the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). It is six to eight times more common than malignant melanoma, but is nowhere near as dangerous as it is slow growing and won't spread to other parts of the body. Despite this, it should still be treated to avoid it spreading and it is important you see your doctor if you have any worries. It is most commonly found in the face and neck. Sunlight is the main cause for this type of cancer.

            The first warning signs that you may have this variation of skin cancer may be small lumps, scar-like changes, or eczema-like changes on the skin. Another sign can also be a small sore with raised borders.

            These are usually removed surgically, or by exposing the tumour to heat and scraping it off. In other cases, the tumours can be exposed to radiation or frozen with nitrogen.

            Squamous Cell Skin Cancer

            This variation of skin cancer begins to form in a different layer of the epidermis, the squamous layer. It is not as common as basal cell although it grows faster and is also more likely to be found in the face and neck. It is not a very dangerous cancer but can become more dangerous if not treated in time, so you should seek advice from your doctor as early as possible. Sunlight is the main cause for this type of cancer.

            The first warning signs of this cancer are patches of scaly eczema and a sore that will not heal, grows bigger and leads to a tumour. The cancer can grow faster if located near orifices such as eyes, ears and mouth. In rare cases, it can spread through the lymph vessels.

            The cancer is often removed surgically, though radiation therapy is sometimes used. A tumour located around an orifice may require more extensive surgery leading to the patient being hospitalised for a while.

            Malignant Melanomas

            Melanomas are the most dangerous types of skin cancer. This is scary as more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with these a year in the UK. Melanomas occur on sun-damaged skin, and people are particularly at risk if they have sudden, short bursts of sunlight on holiday in places with a particularly strong sun. A malignant melanoma is basically a cancer that forms from a mole.

            There are many symptoms to look out for which may indicate you have a malignant melanoma. If you have any of these symptoms, you should notify your doctor immediately. These include moles getting bigger, changing shape or colour, itching or any pain, bleeding or looking inflamed. The mole I had removed was dark on the inside and then had a lighter brown ring around it.

            Moles are very easy to treat if they are precancerous. They can be removed under local anaesthetic and an early melanoma will be cured this way. If you leave them however, they will become very difficult to treat and you may need chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

            Melanomas can spread two ways, horizontally, or downwards which is more dangerous as it may invade the lymph glands.

            How To Help Prevent Skin Cancer

            A lot can be done to prevent skin cancer. Unfortunately, vanity gets the better of a lot of people and they are not ready to give up their tanning habits, possibly because they underestimate the damage they are doing to their skin or perhaps because they don't think it will ever happen to them. A tan is not a sign of health as is widely believed but a sign that the skin has been damaged by ultraviolet radiation. When skin gets damaged, melanin rushes to the surface to provide protection should it happen again, this gives the appearance of a tan.

            Sunburn doubles your risk of skin cancer so it goes without saying that you should use sun block at all times in the summer. You should also keep out of the sun when it is most intense, between 11am and 3pm. You should never use sun beds. If you want a tan, fake it! Fake tan does you no harm at all as no chemicals actually enter your body, just the top layer of your skin.


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            • More +
              25.03.2009 13:55
              Very helpful



              Good if you need somewhere central and are on a budget

              I have stayed in hotels from time to time after a night out as it often works out as cheaper than getting a taxi home for me! This is what first brought me to stay at the Britannia, and I have stayed there a total of 4 times so far.

              Features Provided in the Hotel

              The Britannia Birmingham is a large hotel in the city centre of Birmingham, and part of a chain of Britannia hotels across the country.

              The Britannia boasts:
              195 rooms
              General Restaurant
              24-Hour Front Desk
              Non-Smoking Rooms
              Business Centre with free of charge internet
              The 9th floor of the hotel is devoted to conferences and banquets
              Room Service

              Check-In from 14:00 hours
              Check-Out until 11:00 hours


              I usually book my stays at the Britannia through lastminute.com as I find it is often cheaper than just turning up on the day. The cost of a room is usually £47 for a double room and £42 for a single, although this can go up and down depending if it is a peak week or not. The cheapest I've ever managed to get a room here for is £20 and that was through booking it in advance with lastminute.com.

              If you wish to cancel your room up to 1 day before the date of arrival, no fee will be charged.

              All children under 11 years can stay free of charge when using existing bedding. All children under 3 years can stay free of charge with use of cots. Pets may be allowed to stay upon request but must be approved prior to arrival and you may incur a small charge.


              The hotel is bang in the centre of Birmingham on it's busy high street, New Street. It is a five minute walk from Birmingham's biggest train station, also called New Street and about a ten minute walk from it's second biggest station Snow Hill. There are plenty of bus stops dotted around which can take you to and from various places in the Midlands. Birmingham's main shopping centre, The Bullring is five minutes round the corner, there are also many shops along the surrounding roads, including a Primark next door, H&M, HMV, BHS and House of Fraser. There is an Odeon cinema opposite and across the road. It's not the best location if you plan to drive and park up, parking is expensive in Birmingham and there is no parking at The Britannia.


              The hotel doesn't look all that awe inspiring from the outside, there are a couple of blue flags flying outside with the Britannia logo on them and the building itself is pretty unnoticeable. A lot of my friends don't even know where the Britannia is despite walking past it every day! This may partly be because the entrance is down a side road called Union Passage, which is between the Britannia and Primark. There is a revolving door at the front (plus wheelchair access door) which takes you into the main reception area. The decor is quite brown and a little bit dingy. There is a staircase to the
              left with tatty old carpet and there is old fashioned wallpaper all over the walls. In fact, the whole hotel has an old fashioned feel about the place, almost as if the decor hasn't been updated since the 70s, but it's not retro in a good way. The staff are nice enough, you never have to wait at reception despite the fact there are only two desks. Check-in is really fast if you have already booked, you simply give your name and then fill out a form with your address and phone number and then a plastic key card will be given to you (I was half expecting a rusty old key so at least that's something they've updated).

              My Personal Experience

              Everytime I have stayed here the rooms have always been completely different to each other in the way they are laid out and furnished. The first time I stayed I had a single room in the middle of the building with no windows! The was a small, very old looking tv in the middle of the room with lino on the floor and a very small, basic bed. The decor was dreary and there wasn't really a colour scheme to the room and nothing really matched. The bathroom was better and was at least moden which was a relief. There was complimentary shampoo and soap. The other times I went, the decor was different but equally dreary and the bathroom was the only modern bit of the room again.

              With the hotel being so centralised to the city you would probably expect to hear a lot of noise from outside at night preventing you from sleeping, but this wasn't really the case. In fact, even when I had a room right opposite the Odeon I didn't really hear a peep from people outside the hotel in the evening, maybe because all the main bars and clubs are much further up the road and well away from the hotel. The daytime was a different matter however and there was a huge amount of noise, so if you are planning to be in your hotel room a lot during the day be sure to ask for a room on the other side of the hotel! The walls seemed to be really thin and we could hear people next door quite clearly. Unfortunately, one time we stayed we had a problem with noisy neighbours keeping us awake all night! We did tell the guy on reception about it twice and he in turn sent security up twice, but the most that happened was they got a telling off and a 'this is your last warning before we kick you out' kind of conversation which unfortunately did no good at all.

              I have never used the bar or restaurant but the restaurant is an open-plan kitchen which allows you to view the chef as he prepares your meal. There are separate fixed price and vegetarian menus. There is also a buffet breakfast available.

              Overall Impression

              The hotel is a nice hotel which does it's purpose, though without the frills so to speak. The best thing about the hotel is definitely it's location as you are right in the city centre. I would recommend this hotel if you are looking for a centralised hotel in Birmingham and are on a budget.


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                16.03.2009 09:04
                Very helpful



                A great game, definitely recommended

                Pokemon is a massive franchise which is popular all over the world,
                consisting of a tv series, series of films, collectible trading cards,
                collectible figurines and toys and a series of computer games. Although not
                as popular over here as it was some 8 or so years ago, the computer games are still very popular and I still enjoy playing them despite growing out of my pokemon phase!


                The format of the game is very similar to previous pokemon games, if you
                have played any of the previous versions it will all seem very familiar to
                you. The majority of the game involves battling your pokemon against
                various challengers, using various battle attack and defence moves. The
                experience of this will make your pokemon stronger throughout the game. Each pokemon has a 'type', for example, grass, and it's type will be strong
                against certain moves but weak against others. Grass pokemon are weak
                against fire pokemon, but strong against rock and water pokemon.
                You are given a choice of three pokemon at the start of the game, the
                choices available to you are either a fire type, a water type or a grass
                type. You are then introduced to your 'rival' who also picks his pokemon
                which is always the dominant type over yours. You are then ready to set out
                on your adventure, you visit towns and cities, explore them and play little
                minigames. Routes connect these towns and you are able to find, battle and catch more pokemon and also battle against other trainers that you encounter. In order to progress through the game you also need to defeat
                gym leaders at the cities to gain gym badges. There are 8 gym badges to
                collect in total and once you have collected them you are able to battle
                against the 'Elite Four' to become Pokemon Master and ultimately complete
                the game. However, even after completing the game there is still more to

                The Gameplay

                There are a few drawbacks to the game. The pokemon you are able to catch before the end of the game has finished is not a great selection and a lot of them available are very weak. Some of the most common ones available to catch seem to be geodude, gastly, machop, zubat and ponyta. This means you have to try and complete the game with a limited choice of strong pokemon. Geodude learns some reasonably good moves once it levels up and evolves but rock type pokemon are weak to two of the most common pokemon types, grass and water. A lot of the trainers you encounter on your journey also seem to have the same pokemon over and over again, you can find yourself battling an endless stream of zubats and magikarps at times which is quite boring!

                There are only 150 pokemon which you will see up until you have defeated
                the Elite Four. Once you have seen all of these and defeated the Elite
                Four, over 400 different pokemon will become available! Previously, I have played other Pokemon games. The ones I've played are Red, Blue and Silver. Although there is a lot more depth to Diamond, I actually prefer the earlier games in some ways, in terms of the storylines and the range of pokemon you are able to capture from the start. You are able to build a better 'squad' right from the beginning whereas in this game it seems to take time. A lot of the storylines seem reused in this game, although you can't really change the format of the game a lot as it wouldn't really be Pokemon then.

                There is a lot of new stuff in the Diamond and Ruby games though compared to the first Blue and Red games. The most obvious one is that now the game
                has progressed to the DS, there are two screens and the touchscreen has
                been made use of. Most of the time, the touchscreen is occupied by a new
                feature called the Poketch. The Poketch is meant to be a watch and has
                different applications you can collect for it as you progress in the game.
                These applications include a calculator, coin flipper and a map showing
                available berries.

                There are now berries scattered across the land which you can pick and feed to your Pokemon. The berries do various different things depending which ones you pick, some recover lost HP, others cure status changes such as burns and paralysis, others do more interesting things. These berries can also be used to make Poffins, poffins are fed to your Pokemon to help them in Pokemon contests, another new feature to the game, but not one necessary to complete it.

                The best thing about the Diamond and Pearl games is that once you have
                completed the game, there is still a lot more to do. You can try trading with friends or with people around the world to find new pokemon and train these up. There is also the option of importing pokemon you have caught
                from previous Gameboy Advance games. Battle Tower to visit, a place where
                you can battle against the strongest players across the world, and you can
                go back through the game and replay a lot of the trainers you have fought
                already, including the Elite Four, again and again as many times as you like. I have clocked up over 88 hours gameplay so far and have still not explored every single area! I would definitely recommend this game to people who are fans of the previous pokemon games.


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                  04.03.2009 11:31
                  Very helpful



                  One of the best of the 6 new flavours

                  I love crisps and I particularly love trying strange new flavours of crisps that I've never tried before! This what attracted me to try this particular flavour of crisp..

                  == About Walkers ==

                  Walkers is probably the most well known and successful crisp company in Great Britain and Ireland, and has been around since the 1880s believe it or not, and was setup by a meat company in Leicester. Nowadays, Walkers is owned by a company called Frito-Lay, which in turn is owned by Pepsico. The American crisps 'Lays' are also owned by the same people. Walkers still has it's roots in Leicester, sponsoring Leicester City's football stadium and Gary Linekar, a former Leicester City player, is the 'celebrity face' of the company. According to Walkers, "11 million people will eat a Walkers product every day".

                  == The Product Range ==

                  Walker's crisps ran a competition during last year called "Do Us A Flavour", to find a brand new Walker's crisps flavour! Although there were thousands of entries, these were short-listed to 6 flavours which were considered the best ideas. These were:

                  Onion Bhaji
                  Cajun Squirrel
                  Chill and Chocolate
                  Builder's Breakfast
                  Crispy Duck and Hoisin
                  Fish and Chips

                  All these flavours were released to the general public to buy and try in January 2009, and then customers were encouraged to vote which flavour they preferred by texting in or logging on to the website (www.walkers.co.uk). The winner only will then become a permanent flavour. It's not clear exactly when the other flavours will cease to be available anymore, but the closing date for voting is 01/05/09 so it will be around this time I presume. The onion bhaji flavour was thought of by a lady called Carole who is from Durham.

                  == About the Product ==

                  I'm not a fan of Indian food at all, though this didn't put me off trying the flavour as I'm a vegetarian but still love bacon and chicken flavoured crisps more than any others! I enjoy most crisp flavours, so you could say I'm easily pleased, and they have to be particularly strong or horrible for me not to like them usually. The onion bhaji flavour appealed to me as I love onion flavoured crisps and it sounded like one I would definitely enjoy.

                  Nutritional information is given on the front of the pack. As with all Walker's crisps, the crisps are fryed in sunseed oil rather than sunflower oil which makes them healthier as they are low in saturated fat at only 0.6g.

                  The packet is light blue with blue bordering and an illustration on the front of a plate of real onion bhajis. The packet design is okay but is not that exciting in my opinion, I've seen Walker's packets a lot more brightly decorated when advertising competitions and the like in the past.

                  These crisps are available for around 65p for a larger than average bag, or are available in smaller bags in a multipack along with the chilli and chocolate and builder's breakfast flavours, these work out at about 21p a bag!

                  According to the back of the packet, these crisps are suitable for vegetarians, coeliacs, contain no artificial colours and no MSG.

                  == Taste Test ==

                  Upon opening the bag, I noticed the crisps didn't smell particularly strong, I was expecting the smell to be quite overpowering for some reason but this wasn't the case at all. The crisps looked like normal crisps, though they were slightly more yellow than usual. After trying the first crisp, I wasn't that impressed as they didn't seem that strong to me. They tasted very similar to cheese and onion crisps so I was quite disappointed. However, I found that the more you ate, the more you noticed the spicy flavourings and the stronger they seemed to be, at the same time without being too strong. The taste didn't linger in my mouth too badly, though I always tend to chew gum after having a bag of crisps just to be on the safe side!

                  == Overall Impression ==

                  I quite like these crisps, I definitely like the taste and would eat them again, though I'm not sure I would go out of my way to specifically buy this flavour. After trying all the other "Do Us A Flavour" new flavours, this flavour is probably my third favourite after Cajun Squirrel and Crispy Duck and Hoisin, so obviously I would prefer one of these flavours to win.


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                  • Samsung SGH-U900 Soul / Mobile Phone / 61 Readings / 59 Ratings
                    More +
                    13.02.2009 13:29
                    Very helpful


                    • Reliability


                    A great phone

                    I have decided to review my mobile phone as I haven't really reviewed many electrical products yet. When it comes to mobiles, I must admit that I am extremely shallow. I usually go for the most attractive looking phone available at the time. I am on contract, so my choice is limited to whatever Orange decide to offer me at the time of renewal, although I normally get quite a wide selection to choose from. Six months ago my contract was renewed and I was told I was entitled to a free upgrade, I scoured the list of phones available and my eyes soon fell on this crushed pink coloured phone by Samsung. The Samsung SGH-U900, or 'Soul', is a part keys, part touch screen phone. This was ideal for me, as although I liked the look of all the touchscreen phones I'd seen, I wasn't ready to completely give up my keys just yet! Unlike some touchscreens, you don't need a stylus to control it, you can control using your fingers.


                    As well as all the normal features most mobile phones provide, the phone also has the following capabilities:

                    5 million mega pixel camera
                    4 x digital zoom
                    Java Games
                    Email compatibility
                    100 MB internal memory
                    FM Radio
                    Music Player
                    Included in the box it came with were:

                    8GB Sandisk memory card
                    Memory card USB holder
                    Phone to PC USB Wire
                    Earphone set
                    User's Guide

                    Using the Phone

                    The Soul is a very stylish phone and is available in two colours, black and pink. The main screen takes up a lot of the space on the front of the phone, and there is also a small square screen underneath which is the touch screen. The touch screen predominantly lights up to allow selection of 'left', 'right', 'up', 'down' and 'ok', however it's choices change depending which part of the phone's memory you are in. There are also four keys at the side of the touchscreen, the dial and hang up buttons, and two selector buttons. The Soul slides out to elongate itself for phone calls and to reveal the number and letter keys. Some of the Soul's features can also be navigated without flipping the phone up which is convenient.

                    There is a video camera on the front of the phone above the screen to use when making video calls. I've tried making video calls several times only to be told I am 'out of range' so sadly this is not something I've been able to try out as yet, although this is a fault of the network rather than the phone. There is also a 5 million mega pixel flash camera on the back which takes digital photos. I've found the quality of these photos to be exceptional for a mobile camera, as the zoom is pretty good and the flash is powerful too you will be able to take many good photos. There is a button on the left hand side of the Soul which controls the zoom of the camera and the volume of the phone, there is also a port on this side to connect the earphones and charger. On the right side there is a slot for the memory card and another button which takes photos when in camera mode. Everything is very compact on the phone giving more room for the screen.

                    The battery life I have found to be quite good, there is the usual '3 bars'
                    logo on the screen at all times to show you how much you have left. I do find that as soon as it hits the last bar, you don't have long before it
                    starts warning you about having low battery.

                    Wear and Tear

                    At the time of writing this review, I have had the Soul for 6 months. I
                    must admit that I don't look after my mobiles as much as I should do and they normally look pretty battered by the time I have finished with them! The screens are doing well though, there are only really a very small amount of minor scratches. The back of the phone hasn't done so well and there are a lot of deep, long scratches on the back already.

                    Connecting to the PC

                    There are two ways to transfer data from your Soul to your PC. The first
                    way is by taking out your memory card and slot it into the memory card
                    holder that should have been included with your phone. This then plugs into the computer using a USB port. I prefer using this method as it is quick and easy and I can just click and drag all items I want from one to the other. Using this method, you can only transfer objects such as sound files, photos and videos which suits me as this is all I wish to transfer anyway. The other way is by connecting your phone to the computer using the USB cable. You can then transfer from your phone by using a program called Samsung PC Studio. This program can be downloaded from the Samsung website
                    (www.samsung.co.uk). You can download all sorts of things from your phone using this method, including text messages, your phonebook, your email address book and your calendar.


                    I've noticed a couple of negatives whilst using the phone. The touchscreen can be quite slow at times and I sometimes find myself having to press it a few times before it responds, and then it will respond to all the times I pressed it in one go causing problems like me sending blank text messages to friends. It is also slow at flicking through photos I've taken or uploaded to the phone, and when flicking through my message inbox it takes quite a while to cycle through. This wasn't a problem I was expecting to happen as I don't store a lot of photos or any other data, my memory is nowhere near full! I had a few problems with the internet too, the main reason I would use the internet on my phone is to access facebook and the phone seems to have problems connecting to facebook.


                    This is a very nifty phone which looks good and has a lot of great
                    features. However, a lot of these features will go unused for the average user, for example, the ability to be able to send email from your phone is not something I've ever felt the need to do and I don't personally know many people who would benefit from this! I'm impressed with the design of the phone and find it quite easy to use and think it makes good use of the space. I like the way it slides out as it keeps the keys well protected when the phone is not in use.

                    Although the phone has a few bad qualities, for example, it can be slow at times, I still think this is a great phone and I am glad I chose it.

                    The price of this phone if you wanted to buy it on pay as you go is just
                    under £200 at the moment, although mobiles devalue all the time of course.


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                    • Valentine's Day / Discussion / 71 Readings / 65 Ratings
                      More +
                      01.02.2009 13:11
                      Very helpful



                      Make sure you show your loved one how much you love them!

                      Sweet and Romantic Valentine's Ideas

                      It's almost that time of year again, and I must confess, one of my
                      favourite days of the year. This is largely down to the (mostly) lovely
                      boyfriends I have had over the years who have treated me like a princess on
                      this day. I love receiving Valentine's gifts but I do think that there is
                      way too much tat being sold out there in the shops and that many shops use it as a way of making money by selling cheap gifts at inflated prices.
                      Restaurants do the same and it is often difficult to book anywhere nice, or
                      you will turn up there on the night and find it really crowded. This year,
                      a lot of people are feeling the pinch of the credit crunch so I thought I
                      would share with you my Valentine's Day ideas for people who want to spoil
                      their loved ones with special, thoughtful gifts but don't have a lot of
                      money to spend.


                      Sometimes, the best gifts are ones which the giver has either made
                      themselves or personalised as this shows they have thought about the gift
                      rather than just buying the first thing they see in a shop!

                      Personalised CD

                      Most people enjoy listening to music so a really nice gift to send someone
                      is a personalised CD containing either your loved one's favourite songs or
                      a selection of love songs. You can make this by downloading the music from
                      the internet and then burning onto a blank CD. The case cover can also be
                      decorated with hearts and flowers to make it more special! If you are
                      computer clever, you could even make a special dvd for your loved one to
                      watch, full of cute, mushy messages and photos of the two of you together.

                      Photo Album

                      A nice present to give your loved one is a photo album full of photos of
                      the two of you having fun together. You can buy photo albums quite cheaply
                      from discount stores / charity shops, and you can jazz them up by
                      decorating them in red paper with hearts and glitter around the outside. If
                      you run out of photos to put in the wallets you could always put little
                      extras in between them like 'I love you' notes or short romantic poems. If
                      you are a new couple and don't have many photos together, you could give
                      your loved one a photo of yourself in a red photo frame.

                      Make Your Own 'Valentine's Hamper'

                      If you have a bit more money to spend, you may consider making your loved
                      one a special Valentine's Hamper. To make the hamper, you need a small box, basket or plastic container to put everything in. Nicely decorated boxes
                      will look better but a plain one will do as it can be covered in red paper.
                      You can then add little gifts for your loved one into the hamper, these can
                      include things like their favourite sweets, cakes and chocolates, scented
                      soaps. Lovehearts are a great Valentine's Day sweet, and you could bake
                      your own biscuits and cakes and decorate them with hearts and add them to
                      the hamper too. The bigger the hamper, the more you'll be able to put in

                      Love Poem

                      One of the sweetest presents I ever received was a poem handwritten for me by one of my ex boyfriends. He wrote it himself and decorated it himself too which made it even more sweet. I'm too shy to post it up here, though it still has sentimental value for me.

                      Love Coupons

                      This idea will not be to everyone's taste but I personally think it is a
                      lot of fun ;) 'Love coupons' can be given to your chosen one for them to
                      redeem at any time they like! These are pieces of paper with something
                      written on them like, 'Coupon for a free massage' and the idea is your
                      loved one can claim these off of you. You can either make these yourself or
                      buy them quite cheaply in birthday card / gift shops. They also come in the
                      form of chequebooks.

                      Romantic Picnic

                      This one depends on the weather really, it's not often picnic weather in February! Why not take your partner on a little lunchtime picnic to the park, make sure you pick a quiet spot though, free from prying eyes.

                      Hope you enjoyed reading all my little Valentine's Ideas!


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                      • More +
                        04.08.2008 13:52
                        Very helpful



                        There are cheaper alternatives out there


                        At the moment, I work in an office in an admin position where I am constantly having to deal with an endless stream of paperwork. This fact, coupled with the harsh air con which is blasting down on me all day long, has lead to me having the unfortunate problem of dry hands most days. It's not an unbearable problem, but it is something which distracts me from work a little bit as it makes me feel somewhat uncomfortable. Due to this, I have started buying handcream and keeping it by my desk for those moments when I need it. I had been using a cheaper Boots own brand hand cream, but received Lush's 'Helping Hands' as a Christmas present.

                        PACKAGING AND PRICE

                        Like all Lush products, the packaging is very much minimalistic and they have a 'No frills' policy to spend as little on packaging as possible so you are only paying for the product and also to help save the environment. The product either comes in a round 100g black tub which you dip into or in a little black 45g bottle with a pump dispenser. The label around the front declares it to be a 'Healing, soothing handcream', and also goes on to describe itself, 'Makes light work of dry, sore or rough hands. With skin softening linseed oil, almond oil, shea butter and cocoa butter'. All Lush products are handmade, and they will always have a green sticker on it with a cartoon picture of whoever made it and the date it was made and the date the product should be used by. Looking at the dates, I have over a year to use it which is good.

                        It also gives a list of ingredients:

                        Essential Oils and Absolutes: African Marigold Oil , Lavender Oil

                        Fresh and Natural: Alkanet Extract , Almond Oil , Chamomile Water , Cocoa Butter , Glycerine , Honey , Linseed Mucilage , Shea Butter

                        Safe Synthetics: Cetearyl Alcohol , Methylparaben , Propylparaben , Stearic Acid , Triethanolamine

                        The product costs:
                        45g bottle £3.75
                        100g tub £5.95


                        The cream itself is quite thick and smooth and glides on really easily. It's a pretty pale pink colour and has a light, slightly floral smell. You only need to use a small amount as it leaves behind a slight film on your hands, although not too much to make your hands go greasy and feel unpleasant. It absorbs quite quickly leaving you with softy moisturised hands. Once the product is on your hands, it hardly smells at all which I was pleased about as I don't really like empowering smelling lotions, although a lot of people do so they may be disappointed that there isn't more of a smell considering how smelly a lot of Lush products are! My hands feel nice and soft and it's gets rid of the horrible dry feeling. Sometimes, I don't need to reapply for the rest of the day as it keeps my hands hydrated for hours, other times I do have to reapply, especially after washing my hands.

                        OVERALL IMPRESSION

                        Although I like this product, the price puts me off as I have seen similar sized bottles in other shops for half the price or less! I'm not sure I like Helping Hands enough to justify me spending double what I'd normally spend on something else that will do the job just as well, especially on something as simple and unglamourous as hand cream!


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                        • More +
                          30.04.2008 13:54
                          Very helpful



                          Won't be buying it again


                          I received the Comforter in a large ready made gift box from Lush that I was given for Christmas by my Aunt & Uncle. Upon getting it out the box, I was a little unsure as to what you are meant to do with it as it is unlike anything I've ever seen before! A quick look on the Lush website tells me that you use it in the bath by crumbling it under the running water. It is then meant to lather up to create a soapy bath. I wouldn't normally buy this kind of product as I prefer having showers as they are quicker and more convenient. But as I received it as a gift I decided to give it a try. Looking on the website (www.lush.co.uk), The Comforter normally costs £3.75 - ouch! I would never spend that much on one bath!

                          WHO ARE LUSH?

                          Lush have almost 100 small stores in the UK and Ireland. They sell skin and bodycare items such as shower gels, shampoo, soaps and belt melts. You can usually smell the stores before you can see them as most of their products are very smelly!
                          Lush are different to other bodycare manufacturers as they make most of their products from fresh and 'safe' ingredients. They also believe in protecting the environment as mush as possible and never test their products on animals. All their products are handmade with a sticker on them telling you when they were made, when to use the product by and who made it.

                          The Description of The Comforter According to Lush:

                          "A warming, fruity, fluffy bath to protect you from the big wide world. There are times when all you want to do is wrap up warm in a snuggly blanket and defend yourself against life's insurmountable problems. That's when you need the warm, pink, blackcurrant scented waters of The Comforter's reassuring presence. Take a long, soothing bath, have a good night's sleep (allowing your unconscious mind to do a lot of sorting out for you) and when the day dawns things won't seem so bad. Promise."


                          Sodium Bicarbonate , Cream of Tartar (Tartaric acid) , Sodium Laureth Sulfate , Lauryl Betaine , Perfume , Titanium Dioxide , Cocamide DEA , Bergamot Oil (Citrus bergamia) , Cassis Absolute (Ribes nigrum) , Cypress Oil (Cupressus sempervirens) , *Limonene , *Linalool , Colour 45410 , Colour 17200

                          * Occurs naturally in essential oils.

                          The Lush website has a feature to click on the ingredients to find out more about each one.

                          PUTTING THE PRODUCT TO THE TEST

                          I decided to take a relaxing bath after a particularily stressful day at work. The product was not packaged at all, other than the big gift box it came in, so I simply took it out and began to run the bath. I noticed that the bar was very smelly already, it had a nice flowery, slightly fruity, soapy smell. I started to crumble the bar under the bath. It took me a while to crumble all of the bar under the water and as the bath was nearly full I turned the tap off and just dropped the rest of the bar in the bath to let it dissolve. In hindsight I probably could have got away with cutting the bar in two and getting two baths out of it, although I've no idea if the effects would be the same.

                          I got in the bath and noticed the water had gone bright pink! This was a nice treat for me as pink is my favourite colour. There was also a lot of bubbles which lasted right until the end of my bath. The smell had almost disappeared though oddly, I could still smell the flowery smell a little but it wasn't overpowering and I had to sniff hard to sense it!

                          My skin after I had finished the bath was just the same as ever, not particularly soft and didn't smell particularly flowery either!

                          OVERALL IMPRESSION

                          I'm a bit disappointed with this product as I was expecting something more from this considering how much it costs just for one use. The bath water went pink which was all well and good but other than that it wasn't particularly different from any other bath bomb out there (it terms of what it does, not ingredients). I doubt I will ever buy this, I will probably only ever use it again if someone buys it me.


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                            More Comments
                          • Jane Norman / Highstreet Shopping / 60 Readings / 58 Ratings
                            More +
                            11.03.2008 09:36
                            Very helpful



                            Worth a look every now and then


                            Jane Norman is a boutique like high street store for women. Their clothes seem to be aimed at young, reasonably slim women from teenagers to late twenties. The chain has been around since 1952 and at the time of me writing this there are 157 stores in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

                            THE PRODUCTS

                            Jane Norman sells clothes, bags and accessories but does not sell shoes or underwear. Their style is formal, but with a bit of a sexy kick! If you're looking for work clothes this is an ideal place to look. It is also a great place to buy 'going out' clothes. The tops are mainly fitted to flatter your stomach and to show off your cleavage, and they specialise in pretty patterned tops. Their style of clothes doesn't change much from season to season and they don't tend to follow fashion much. Instead, you can buy 'classic' pieces that are always in fashion. If you are looking for something more casual, they don't really sell boyfriend jeans or t-shirts. I do like their style of clothes, however there is not much variety and sometimes it does feel like a case of looking at 'the same old stuff'.

                            I didn't used to shop very often in Jane Norman as I used to find their clothes wouldn't last very long as the quality was below the standard I'd expect for the cost. However, more recently I have been drawn to their store and have bought some very nice things.

                            In terms of pricing, the clothes seem to cost about the same as other similar high street stores aimed at the same age group, for example, Topshop & River Island. Their tops on average seem to cost about £30 and their trousers are on average about the same. One thing I have noticed is that most of their tops are not machine washable, and that they advise you to hand wash them. I don't really like andwashing my clothes as it is much easier to put everything in the machine. Their bags tend to be plain black shoulder bags with the Jane Norman logo on the side, they don't really sell different designs of bag. You do get a free bag with every purchase anyway, these are thick plastic bags with cardboard enforcements and rope handles so you can carry it on your shoulder. These bags come in different colours and have the Jane Norman logo along the side, they usually give out one colour for a few weeks then switch to another. I quite like these bags as they are pretty useful for carrying stuff around in and they tend to last a few weeks before you have to chuck them away. In fact, I remember seeing a girl at school with one of these plastic bags and it's what first attracted me to go in the store in the first place.. so it's brilliant advertising for them!
                            The most recent thing I have bought from Jane Norman is a brown leather belt, very nice but I have noticed that the stitching has already come undone in one place despite only wearing it a couple of times! I tend to find that their trousers wear out quickly, I bought one pair of brown work trousers and the stitching came undone along the inside leg! I wasn't exactly bursting out of them so there was no reason for it to happen. The tops I have bought from Jane Norman on the other hand have lasted pretty well and don't seem to have worn out at all.

                            THE STORE & STAFF

                            There are three Jane Norman's by me, two of them are normal shops the other has a section in a department store. I find the two shops to be very small and everything is cramped in not leaving much space to move. As the shops are popular it is often a case of having to fight your way to the rails, this is especially bad over the Christmas period when it is more busy. Everything is always arranged neatly on the rails however and despite the small space mess is never a problem. The shop decor isn't that inspiring, there isn't really much art in the store to speak of, the walls are generally plain and painted, and the floors are the same.

                            There are always a lot of staff members on hand to help out, usually more than enough for a small store. The changing rooms are about average for a clothes store, the lights are bright and you get a curtain to hide behind. There are usually only three or four as obviously it is a small place.

                            OVERALL IMPRESSION

                            This a store which often has cute clothes and is a pleasant enough shopping experience. However, there's just not a lot of variety to make you want to do the majority of your clothes shopping here. If you're after something unique you probably won't find it here.


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                            • More +
                              23.11.2007 13:29
                              Very helpful



                              Great day out

                              Cadbury World is located in Bournville, a village in Birmingham which was actually founded by the Cadbury family and named after a nearby river, 'Bourn' There is bar of chocolate named after this village, it is a dark chocolate bar and comes in red and gold packaging.

                              I do not live very far from Cadbury World at all and over the past 21 years I must have been about 10 times or more. I usually go with family and each time we visit there is something new there or something has changed. Not all changes have been good in my opinion! The most recent change is a new section called 'Essence'.
                              The last time I went was 14/10/2007, first thing Sunday morning. At the time I was on a diet so I wasn't really looking forward to it much! I'd not eaten a single piece of chocolate for two weeks and was enjoying the new slimmer me. But as I'd arranged to go there months previously I decided to still go, after all I wasn't craving chocolate and thought I'd get away with walking round without eating any! Needless to say I was very wrong as you get offered chocolate all the way round and it is all very tempting!

                              Parking is free and the car park is right in front of the entrance to Cadbury World. There is a reasonable amount of spaces and there is an overflow car park if that one gets full.

                              ENTRANCE FEES
                              At the time of writing, these are the ticket prices:

                              Adult - £13.00
                              Child - £9.95 (Children aged 4 - 15 inclusive)
                              Senior Citizen and Students - £10.00 (Students with a valid NUS card)
                              Under 4s - Free
                              Family (2 adults +2 children) - £40.00
                              Family (2 adults +3 children) - £48.50
                              Ticket prices for Adult Groups of more than 15 people
                              Ticket prices for School and Youth Groups

                              Once you get inside you will have to queue up for your tickets. The queues can get long no matter what time of day you visit. Your tickets will have a specific time which you can start the 'Cadbury Tour' (It is called a tour but you walk round by yourself). If you have a little time to wait before you can go in, there is a cafe and gift shop by the entrance which you can waste some time in. There are also toilets by the cafe. If you need it, it's best to go now as you could have quite a long wait till you get to the toilets halfway through the tour.

                              Once it's time to start your tour, you queue up outside the tour entrance. Your tickets will be checked by a member of staff and they will give you some free chocolate! We were given a bar of Dairy Milk Caramel and some Cadbury's Buttons, although this may be different to what you are given.
                              SOUTH AMERICAN JUNGLE

                              Upon entering the first part of the tour, you may be quite surprised when you walk in as it is like stepping into a dark jungle!
                              This section gives a little history of the first use of cocoa beans (which are used to make chocolate) and shows how the Mayans and Aztecs first used cocoa beans as a type of currency. There are lifelike models, sounds and boards of accompanying information. It is quite interesting to find out just how long chocolate has been around for.

                              People I know with children who've taken them to Cadbury World have told me how their kids got scared at this part, there was an upset child when we were there too so if you have small children you may want to walk through this part.
                              INTRODUCTION TO EUROPE

                              The next section of the tour shows you how cocoa was first introduced to Europe. This is done with five scenes and hologram people acting out the story. The story is in a loop so if you walk in halfway through you have to wait for it all to come round again. It doesn't last very long, about 3 minutes. From this you learn that chocolate was first drunk as a liquid rather than eaten as a solid as is more common today. I'm a bit disappointed as they used to give out samples of this drink to try but they no longer do this now.
                              BULL STREET

                              You now walk through onto a replica of a street in Birmingham, made to look how it would have done in the days of John Cadbury (founder of the Cadbury corporation). There are shop windows you can stand by and have your photo taken and look through. But basically this is just a waiting area to go through into a theatre. There are a few benches to sit down on if you are tired already! There is a TV screen by the theatre doors which tells you how long you have before you can go through into this section. Before you go through, you are shown a short film of John Cadbury (or rather an actor) telling you about his family's history. There used to be an interesting video here showing you the history of the Dairy Milk bar, showing you the different image changes throughout the ages. I'm sad to say this has gone now and can't currently be seen anywhere else in Cadbury World.
                              CADBURY FAMILY HISTORY

                              You are shown into a theatre where you sit down facing a stage. John Cadbury appears on a statue of his face and introduces his two sons Richard and George who appear on screens. They then tell you how they turned around the Cadbury business from small and struggling to a very popular company. You learn a little bit more about their factory at Bournville and the way the employees were treated as family.
                              COCOA BEANS TO CHOCOLATE

                              Upon entering this room which is lined with benches, you are told that anyone of a nervous disposition should sit on the back row. This made everyone very excited and there was a mad scramble of people who wanted to sit on the front row! Me and my family sat on the second row. There is a screen at the front of the room where a zany looking man will appear and tell you all about how beans are transported from South America and what happens once they reach the UK. It will then show you how the cocoa beans are processed to make chocolate (still in a unsolidified stage. When doing this there are a few effects which go with the presentation eg. speed and heat. Not wanting to give too much away, the seats will move! All this is quite a fun way of educating you about chocolate.
                              One thing I should note at this point is that for all the last few sections you can hear sounds coming from all the other rooms! You can even hear sounds from the Coronation Street room which is coming up near the end of the tour! This is quite annoying and off putting at times.

                              The next part of the tour will take you into the factory where you will get to see chocolate actually being made and packaged.

                              In this section there are various machines with screens where you can see how certain types of chocolate is made. These include, Buttons, Dairy Milk, Crunchie, Roses, Creme Egg and Turkish Delight bars. To see how each one is made you press the corresponding button. The same man who taught you in the last section is back and talks you through how each one is made. The ones with fillings were interesting to learn about, such as the crunchie, but once you'd seen one the others were pretty much the same. What I found annoying was there weren't really enough machines for everyone, even when people grouped into families, and often the machine next to yours was louder than your machine so you couldn't really hear it properly!
                              CHUCKLE BEAN

                              There is a section just before you go into the factory where you get the chance of having your photo taken with a Cocoa Bean who goes by the name of Chuckle Bean! This is a kids thing really so we didn't do it (although I secretly really wanted to but was too embarrassed!). If you want to buy the photo it will cost you

                              Next you go up some stairs until you reach the factory floor. The first thing you see is a huge vat full of chocolate which is being stirred. The smell is quite strong and very tempting, and it will stay like this for the duration of the factory section! You then walk on and there is a conveyor belt with huge dairy milk bars being wrapped, ready for the Christmas rush. You also see it being loaded into boxes.
                              There is a video to watch a little further up which will show you bars being wrapped and packaged. After this bit, there are a couple of quiz machines. All of the questions are to do with Cadbury's naturally, and most of the questions you would have already learnt about on the tour. There is also a 3d film to watch here, but it wasn't working when I visited.

                              CADABRA RIDE
                              There is a ride to go on called 'Cadabra'. Just before we got on, we were handed another free bar of dairy milk!

                              Don't worry it's not a rollercoaster, just a small ride in which you take a 'car ride' through Bean Town. You will get to see singing cocoa beans in their village and various other characters you will recognise like the Mini Egg bird and the Cadbury's Caramel bunny. The ride is okay, but probably only fun for really young children.
                              For £5 you can buy a ride photo.

                              DEMO AREA
                              In this section, we were able to write our names in runny chocolate on a marble table! This was kind of fun but we were told that we weren't able to eat it as they reuse the chocolate. Last time I came here there was more than one demonstration going on, the other one we were given a piece of chocolate covered fudge. We didn't get that this time, there were three demonstration tables but they were all doing the same thing.

                              HAPPINESS ROOM
                              The next part of the tour takes you out of the factory and over to something called the Happiness Room. This is basically a room where you stand on shapes in the room and they light up, an interaction area for the children. The location is strange, it would have been better placed with all the other interaction machines at the end of the tour. You can't help thinking they are just trying to use the space up!

                              CORONATION STREET ROOM
                              Cadbury's are the sponsors of Coronation Street and a few years ago when they first started sponsoring them they had adverts in which characters from the street and the street itself are re-created into chocolate in a short, fun advert. This section shows you how they made the adverts and shows you the 'chocolate street'. The characters are basically made out of brown plasticine and the street is made out of brown plastic. You get the chance to watch all the adverts which were made too, you press a button and they are played out on the tv screens in there.

                              The next room shows you a history of Cadbury's adverts, from the 60s to the present day. The room is covered in large screens and there are small seats round the edges to sit on. The adverts fun to watch and see how Cadbury's have changed through the ages. It's like taking a trip down memory lane in some places everyone shouting out how they remember them when they come on! Even a youngster like me recognised some of the adverts from the 90s. One point though, the room wasn't set out very well as people who just wanted to walk through walked in front of you when you were trying to watch.

                              PURPLE PLANET
                              The purple planet room is a really fun room. There are interactive games to play like chasing creme eggs round the floor and hitting chocolate buttons around your body on a screen. There is also a fun section where you get your photo taken and you get filled up with chocolate so that you look like a chocolate model. This room does get a bit crowded as people stay in here awhile but you shouldn't have to wait too long to get to the game you want to play.

                              THE WORLD'S BIGGEST CADBURY SHOP
                              As soon as you are ready to leave the Purple Planet, the exit door takes you directly into the Cadbury's shop. It's always a disappointment to see as it means the tour is over! The shop is the world's biggest Cadbury shop, but to be honest it;s not massive or anything. They do have all sorts of souvenirs here (stuffed toys, stationary etc) and a variety of different chocolates. The prices are quite high, but there is also a section of the shop where you can buy chocolate at factory prices. You can also buy bags of 'Mishapes', which are reject chocolates because they came out in the wrong shape (nothing else wrong with them).

                              There is a cafe just to the outside of the shop and opposite the ticket booths. Here you can buy lunch / breakfast and also try some of their delicious chocolate cakes! There is quite a large seating area, the middle section is often cordoned off as there are children's parties taking place. I've never had one of these parties before but they look really fun! They put balloons up everywhere. For more information on this, visit the website (link at bottom of review).

                              There is more to see outside as well. To get to the attractions outside, you simply exit out of the main entrance and make a right. You will see a ramp and when you start walking down there you will see the children's playground.
                              CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUND

                              There is a really good children's playground here. I remember having lots of fun on this as a child, sadly I can no longer go on it as I'm too old but if I could, I would! There is also a drinks machine (very expensive) and a stall selling ice creams, chocolate and drinks. There is plenty of seats with tables for adults to sit and watch their children playing.

                              Essence is at the back of the playground. There is a queuing area at the front and a board next to the door telling you that people are let in every 5 minutes. Along with another couple, my family were the only people waiting to go in! When you enter, you are led into a room with a big screen with no seating so you have to stand. This wasn't a problem for me, but is just something to bear in mind if you are tired by this point. The story is told of how Dairy Milk was invented and you see some characters you have already 'met' again along with a couple of new ones. You then go into another room which has a stage and holograms will continue the story and talk a little about how changing ingredients can make a difference. After this, you are taken into a third room where you are given the chance to 'make your own chocolate'. This isn't quite as exciting as it sounds though, you are basically given a paper cup and asked to choose between a variety of fillings (they had popcorn, biscuit, rice crispies, jelly babies, amongst other things)! I was a bit disappointed as you could only choose one. They then covered these with melted chocolate. I had rice crispies and was very pleased with it, it was so yummy! Once you exit, there is another shop to look round.
                              THE CADBURY COLLECTION

                              The final stop of the tour is the Cadbury Collection. This is a museum like room and has information in particular about Bournville. There is information on the wall along with old photographs. There is also a model village of Bournville. There is a section where you can design your own Cadbury's Flake bar or Milk Tray box. When you have finished, it is made into a poster with your name along the bottom. This poster is then flashed up onto a looping screen in front so everyone can see it.

                              OVERALL IMPRESSION

                              This is a really fun day out which I can recommend for all members of the family! It's not exactly cheap but you will get a lot for your money including free chocolate!
                              This is a great place to visit again and again as they are always adding new features and changing things around.

                              For more information, visit: http://www.cadburyworld.co.uk/


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                              • Top Ten Chocolates / Discussion / 58 Readings / 49 Ratings
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                                14.11.2007 13:16
                                Very helpful



                                Yummy chocolates

                                I love chocolate and I'm sure that I eat far too much. In the past, I've sometimes eaten more than a bar a day which can't be good for my health! So a couple of months ago, I took on the almost impossible task of trying and give up chocolate altogether. I'm doing well so far, but still get chocolate cravings quite a lot! As I can't eat it, I decided to write about it instead. I've somehow managed to come up with a list of my favourite chocolates.


                                One of my absolute favourite chocolates are the Malteasers. These are small round balls of honeycomb biscuit covered in chocolate. They come in small plastic bags and are advertised as being the 'lighter way to enjoy chocolate'. More recently they have started selling them in bigger bags at the cinema and it is really nice to watch a film with a big bag of Malteasers by your side!


                                This bar is really chunky and tastes quite sickly if you eat too much of it! Even though it's 'not for girls' and it makes me feel sick afterwards I still eat it again and again! Unfortunately, it is really high in calories so it's probably not the best choice if you are watching your waistline.

                                KINDER BUENO

                                This is a really delicious chocolate which I first discovered in my works' vending machine. The Bueno is seperated into two finger bars, and each finger has three segments. The segments have a delicious creamy filling surrounded by biscuit and chocolate, and they really do melt in the mouth. A couple of weeks ago we had two Kinder 'hunks' come round our office giving these out for free, I thought I was dreaming!

                                MARS BAR

                                Mars bar has to be one of the best chocolate bars ever created! This is one of the first chocolates I can remember eating as a child. The nougat and caramel go really together giving you a really nice treat. The bar is really thick and chunky and unlike a lot of chocolate bars, they actually make you feel full after aswell.

                                DAIRY MILK

                                There is something really irrisistible about the Cadbury's chocolate taste. The milky, creamy texture is really morish, and seems to be a lot more addictive than most other chocolate brands. As it tastes so good, it's really nice to eat a whole bar of if it with no filling and let it just melt in the mouth!

                                TOFFEE CRISP

                                There is something really tasty about rice crisipies covered in chocolate, and if you add toffee to the concoction it's pure heaven! This bar does just that and is really delicious.

                                GALAXY CARAMEL

                                I'm not usually a fan of bars with just caramel in them, but the one by Galaxy is so good! The caramel is really sweet tasting and tastes so smooth. The chocolate tastes heaven like heaven too, in fact probably as good as Cadbury's!


                                The twirl bar is another brilliant offering from Cadburys. The bar is milk chocolate and the chocolate is twisted round like a flake is and then covered with more chocolate. It's really delicious, like the flake bar but less messy!

                                KIT KAT CHUNKY

                                Kit Kat Chunkys are huge versions of the Kit Kat bar. You only get on finger but it is massive and somehow tastes even better than the smaller version. It can be quite sickly, but it's so nice and there will always be a friend willing to help you finish it off!


                                White chocolate is lovely and tastes really creamy! The best white chocolate has to be the one made by Milkybar. The only bad thing about this bar is that it is quite thin so it leaves you wanting more!

                                There you have it, I hope you enjoyed reading about my favourite chocolates and hope it didn't make you too hungry!


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                                • More +
                                  14.11.2007 13:12
                                  Very helpful



                                  A good mascara


                                  I'm a big fan of Maybelline and in particular, their mascaras, as I think generally they are better quality than others out that which are the same price. This particular type of mascara (double ended) seems to have been a fad which has pretty much worn off now. A double ended mascara has a white base coat at one end of it which you apply first and then a black mascara which you apply over the top.


                                  As already stated, the mascara comes in two parts, on one half (step one) you have a white base coat which is used to lengthen the lashes, and on the other (step two) you have the black mascara. The packaging is quite cute, the two brushes point out from the middle. The white topcoat side is white obviously and the black mascara side is black (non waterproof) or blue (waterproof).


                                  So firstly I applied the white base coat in the same way I would if I was applying regular mascara, taking care to ensure I covered every single lash. Then I waited for this coat to dry, I had to wait a good ten minutes so it's definitely not good for those in a rush! When it had eventually dried, I applied the topcoat. I had to sweep the mascara through my lashes more than I normally would to ensure that there was no white showing. I had difficulty covering it all up and was left with a couple of lashes with a white trace on them that I just could not seem to cover. Apart from that they did look fantastic when I had finished, really long thick and beautifully fluttery! If you curl your lashes beforehand they look really professional, but I hardly ever do this as I'm always in a rush.


                                  The mascara lasts all day long so you don't really need to reapply it, however I did find it quite hard to remove so would recommend also buying a good eye make remover.
                                  When I first started using this mascara, I actually managed to stick a clump of my eyelashes together along the top of one eye! I think this must have happened because I did not properly remove all my makeup before I went to bed and then just reapplied it over my old mascara in the morning. So I would recommend you make sure you remove all traces of this mascara before you go to bed and don't be lazy like me!

                                  OVERALL IMPRESSION

                                  The mascara cost me £5.99 which I would say is about right for what you get. Although, there are cheaper mascaras like this which are just as good. The black mascara part does run out faster than the white, but if you have another black mascara you can use it till the white runs out.  I recommend this mascara.


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