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I've known about The Sims for many, many years. I first was introduced to the Sims universe via the likes of SimCity, which I played obsessively and loved to pieces. Then when the first Sims game came out I bought it and loved it. I literally played it all the time. I was fascinated by the little people and their little lives, plus I loved decorating the houses and the like.
Sims 2 I didn't love so much. It was buggy and slow to do anything. The ideas were great, but the game was just too clunky. I hardly ever played it.
But when Sims 3 came out a few years later, I hoped that the bugs and the speed had been improved... and I was right!
Sim Design -
It is really, really easy and fun to design your own Sims. They have improved this feature a lot and you can now make your Sims really unique and different from each other. One of my favourite features is to be able to give the Sims completely un-natural coloured hair, which you can then see down the genetic line as children and grand children arrive...
(A little side note about genetics... As individual as you make your original Sims... By the time grandkids come along, they'll have generic identical faces. The hair and hair styles will be different, but the faces are very, very similar. I'd really like to see more distinct faces come in Sims 4 (which is on the way I believe!))
There are lots of choices of things like hair styles, but I've found that the really nice, natural styles are only available via expensive add-ons. I'd like to see more options in the future.
The clothes available are okay, but again, I'd like to have more customisation ability.
House building -
This is fantastic now. Really custom content is possible and you can do some really imaginative stuff. The only feature that doesn't work very well is roof design. But I can imagine this is because the designers (rightly) figured that not many people would care about this, and they were right.
The furniture and interior decorations are great in Sims 3. Lots of potential and customisation options. It is also nice to have more ability to place furniture at different angles. There are now 6 angles available, rather than the original 4. So you can have stuff on the diagonal now, which is more natural looking.
The game is great fun to play. I've been playing Sims 3 on and off for a year now, and am still noticing funny little things the Sims do. They really are a riot sometimes.
Nit-picky things I like -
The ability to mess around with the age-up process. You can force moving up to the next life stage any time you want. For instance, you want to move a teenager out, to make room for another baby? Age them up to Young Adult and kick them out.
The little side activities you can do. I enjoy growing the garden and finding and collecting seeds for instance.
Nit-picky things I don't like -
Some Sims literally seem to live forever. It's not unreasonable for a fit and healthy Sim to live to 110+, which can be frustrating if your playing a generational style game. Just hurry up and die!
Ghosts. Cute at first, but they seem to hang around all day and disturb the living Sims. Doesn't seem to be a way to keep remains on site, but not be plagued by ghosts.
There are still some bugs. Sims randomly freeze and have to be deleted by use of a cheat. Occasionally they'll wander back into the game later on, but usually they are gone for good. Annoying to lose a Sim you've invested time in.
But those are just nit-picks. I really love this game!
Before getting my Tomtom, I'd have described myself as a nervous driver. Not nervous in that I didn't know what to do, or was scared, when on the roads, but I'd find myself getting nervous if I didn't know exactly where I was going.
I'd planned to buy a satnav for some time, but had found myself put off by the cost. They aren't cheap, and for someone on quite a tight budget, I wandered if I'd use it enough to justify the cost.
Anyway, I researched around, and time and time again, Tomtom were coming out as the brand to rely on, despite the annoying tv adverts I remember from when they first launched!
After some internal debate, I decided that if I was going to get one at all, I might as well get a decent one, and so I ended up with this one, which was then one of the newest/best models available.
When I got it into my car, it literally is plug and go. There is some initial set up, like language, the voice, the colour of the car on the map, what your home address is. Nothing complicated. Then, to choose where you want to go, you can either enter town then street, or a postcode, and narrow down the address from there.
On the screen it shows you your speed and the speed limit of the road. Which is helpful on unfamiliar roads where there might be speed traps. It shows you the distance to your next junction, as well as the direction it'll be. This is an incredibly handy feature, especially approaching roundabouts, as you'll then know what lane to be in. It also gives you the current time and the time of arrival, which alters very accurately based on the speed you travel. On motorways it'll also give you guidance about which lane to be in, which is handy for when motorways merge/go off elsewhere.
It is easy to alter the volume of the voice, turning it right up or right down as suits you. There is also a handy "night time" setting, which darkens the screen and gives an accurate night time appearance, which is very good, as you wouldn't want to be dazzled by the bright day time screen when driving in the dark.
And at the end of your journey, when you want to go home, you simply click the "home" button, and it'll take you back to your front door!
99% of the time, it's direction are very good. There have only been 2 occasions where the satnav has let me down. The first time was when I was visiting a stately home and it tried to take me in the staff entrance. The second time it took me to the wrong end of a very long road in Milton Keynes. However, I should have been more precise in the address I wanted, so the satnav wasn't entirely to blame!
I will hold my hands up now and say that I am completely not bothered (scared!) about waxing. It's not something that has ever appealed. Ripping hair out by the root? No thanks!
Now, hair removal cream is something that I've tried in the past, but not for some years, and I'd never had a great deal of success with it, finding that it didn't remove the hair terribly well, and that I'd still have to go over the area with a razor anyway, making the whole thing completely pointless.
One day though, pretty much out of the blue, I decided to go and give the hair removal cream another go, and just by chance, the Veet was on special offer. I knew that Veet was a trusted, established brand, so decided to give it a go.
The cream itself had a refreshing, quite pleasant scent. It didn't smell at all chemically, and wasn't one of those smells that seems to get into your lungs. I have to be quite careful with strong chemical smells, as they can trigger my asthma. Luckily, no such problems with the Veet.
The cream is spread on wherever you want it with the smooth side of the included sponge. This was easy to do and much nicer than spreading it on with your fingers or a spatula-thing. You then wait the advised time and then rinse off, using the rough side of the sponge to rub off the cream.
It does say on the packaging that you can get the cream wet in the shower, before the scheduled wash-off time. I avoided doing this though, as wanted to give the cream the best chance to work.
The cream comes off easily and cleanly, and leaves the area feeling smooth and soft.
However, I didn't find that re-growth was any slower than just using a razor. The hair seemed to grow back as quickly as before. Now weather my skin/hair is just weird, I don't know. But I wouldn't rely on a hair removal cream to last through a weeks holiday, for instance. However, the cream is great to use if you want the appearance/feeling of a really close shave for an event the next day.
I received this radio as a gift in 2010 and can honestly say that I think it's fantastic!
Because I live in quite a small flat, I wanted something that wasn't going to take up a huge amount of space and would fit snugly into my kitchen. I wasn't disappointed with the Pure One Mini. It really is a petite little radio that doesn't take up a lot of space and is quite happy to be tucked into a corner.
The instructions for set-up were easy to follow and it was working in no time. The volume button is suitable sensitive and is worked through a dial on the side, rather than buttons, which I find works better for greater control over the volume.
Perhaps my only small complaint would me that it isn't that easy to change between different stations. It's an odd combination of various buttons, and turning the dial. It would probably be easy to learn and remember if you change the station regularly, but if, like me, you have your favourite that you listen to a lot, you might find that you need to get the instructions out if you want to remember how to change the station to something else!
Sound quality-wise, I'm very impressed with it. It's crystal clear. I honestly don't think the sound quality could be any better than it is. It sounds like the DJ's are in the room with you.
In all, a lovely little radio that has fantastic quality in a small package!
When I moved into a new flat, brought a new tv, I decided to treat myself to something I'd been wanting for a while, that is, a game console. However, I'm not terribly up-to-date on what's hot and what's not, so I asked around to find out what there was. And for my needs, the xbox came out as the clear favourite. The Wii was turned down because it's too "kiddy" and lacked a great selection of readily available adult games. The Playstation 3 was said to be too dated, so that left the xbox.
I was very pleased to find out that it was also able to play DVD's, which was a big plus for me, as I have a large DVD collection and spend a lot of time watching films. In fact, I spend a lot more time using it as a DVD player than playing games on it!
Navigation And Use - It was very easy to set up. Literally "plug and play". The controller feels comfortable and solid in your hand, without being too heavy. The buttons and sticks are easy to use, but I did find that the sticks weren't sensitive enough at times when in the heat of the action during a game.
The on-screen instructions are clear and easy to us.
Quality - The quality of graphics on-screen are excellent. Clear and sharp.
In all, a highly recommended product.
I have been eating a brand up from this product for some time now and really enjoy it as a quick and easy tea with some boil in the bag rice. So, when I saw a brand down on the shelf, I thought I'd give it a go. It is currently retailing in my Tesco for 53p, which is a good saving compared to the £1.39 of a brand up.
Opening the tin, there was a nice curry smell and it looked appetising. No layer of grease or manky dried bits around the top. I tipped it into a microwaveable saucepan and put it one for 2.5 minutes. During cooking it exploded rather in the microwave, flipping the saucepan lid off with its force! Just watch out for that. Once cooked I tipped it onto a plate of rice but found it very runny.
To eat, I would only describe it as okay. It didn't have the nice flavour of a brand up, and while the flavour was okay, to me it was like eating a child's version of the more adult flavoured brand up. The chicken pieces were few and far between, and although well cooked and attractive, were flavourless. The sauce was bulked up with cubes of carrot and potato and these were too soft and flavourless.
That being said, it wasn't BAD. Just not as good as the next level up. Which I shall be sticking with.
I bought my 54 plate KA about a year and a half ago, and am very pleased with it. I learnt to drive in one, and my sister has one, so I know them to be good little run-about-town cars.
I seem to be be seeing them on the road more and more these days. They are sweet little cars that can quite happily get through the smallest of spaces and negotiate the tightest of carparks. Mine is a pale silver and I think, for their size, they are quite attractive little cars. The inside is nothing special. Comfortable, but functional. I've never really felt stiff or tired at the end of a long drive.
I find it is actually quite a zippy little thing! I have a 1.2 engine and although it is quite slow to get up to speed, particularly on a hill, it will leap off from stationary at a speed! Often much faster than the more powerful, but heavier cars waiting at junctions with me. It also means I can sneak over roundabouts easier than other cars!
Price: Day to day, it's cheap to run. A full tank of petrol costs almost £30 and lasts me nearly a month. But of course, everyone's is different depending on car usage! I only do about 40 miles a week.
I've had this printer for 7 years now and have generally been pretty pleased with it. It survived all the way through 4 years at university without causing me any problems.
As for the printer itself, it is quite large and bulky, but because it also scans, it needs that surface area to do that effectively. It also photocopies.
As for how much I use the particular features, I have only used the photocopying feature about twice, while I was a study and copying a research paper. I do use the scanner fairly regularly and it works well. But for me it is primarily a printer.
But then we get on to the printer cartridges. They are horrendously expensive! I paid nearly £40 quite recently to get a black cartridge. I can't see how Lexmark manage to justify this cost. Because of this, when my current printer finally dies, I will certainly be factoring in the cost of ink before choosing a new printer. And it almost certainly won't be a Lexmark for this reason.
Print quality is good, I find. I wouldn't print photos I wanted to display, but it is fine for knocking off a copy to shove in a Christmas letter or something.
In all, printer is good, price is not.
I think about this every time the EuroMillions amount gets high!
I'm pretty much decided that the first thing I'd do would be to book myself a beach holiday somewhere incredibly luxurious. Somewhere I could hide out and digest it for a while. Then I'd return and book myself some more holidays. I'd go on tours of Egypt, Rome, Australia and America's West Coast.
After I'd been well holiday-ed out, I'd like to buy a reasonably large flat in the heart of London so I could be near theatres and restaurants. I'd also like to buy a holiday home in New York.
As for charitable giving. If I'd won some insane amount, I'd give hundreds of thousands to my nearest and dearest and some to charity. Charities that are close to my heart are the British Heart Foundation, Asthma UK, Cancer Research, RSPCA and the NSPC. They would all be receiving large donations from me. :)
My bag is a brown leather, hangs across your body type. I like the over the body sort because it keeps your hands free. I hate having to clutch at a bag. I've had this bag and used it every day for about 3 years. Before this I had a very similar bag in a brown corduroy material.
Things that are always in my bag:
Keys. My house keys are separate to my car keys. On my house keys are the 2 keys for the front door, the special key to open the electricity metre, a metal flower keyring that was a 2-christmases ago present, and one of those fake coins to put in supermarket trolleys.
My car keys just have a keyring from the garage I bought the car from! Very boring!
Vaseline - one of the little tubs. I have one for every bag I owe!
Rennies - Just in case.
Ibroprofen - Just in case.
Bach's Rescue Remedy - I get stressed out easily!
Superdrugs "Be Calm" tablets.
I also quite often have Stepsils or Sudafed, just on the off-chance.
A nail file in a little case.
A notebook and pen.
A small compact mirror.
Another little lipbalm.
My camera. I have a Canon Ixus, which I love. And it's small enough to carry around with me.
Mobile phone - I have a Motorola... Something. It's like 4 years old.
My purse itself is a Radley one. I saved up for it about 2 years ago and plan to use it forever! I love it.
Cards inside: Drivers license, credit and debit cards, reward cards, emergency contact details.
I think that's about it!
I visited Windsor Castle for the first time on a bright but very cold day in late January.
First of all, the approach by road to the castle. It is appalling. Approaching from the M4, the castle is sign-posted off the motorway, then gets you round the usual large roundabout, then that's it! You are directed onto a dual-carriage way type road, which then branches into 2. With no sign. Of course, I took the wrong one. Then even when I realised my mistake and turned around, it wasn't sign-posted from the other direction either! So I took the other road, figured from my map that the castle was somewhere "over there" and just drove until I found it! Poor, I thought, considering it is a major tourist attraction.
Interestingly, there is no "recommended" parking for the castle that I could see. I ended up in the railway station carpark, about 10 minutes walk away. Which turned out to be unintentionally ideal. Parking cost me £4 for all day, which I thought was reasonable.
Getting into the castle itself was easy enough. But be careful, you actually pass the exit before you get to the entrance! You need to keep going up the hill as far as you can.
On arrival you are given a small handset to type numbers into, to hear a commentary as you walk around. You are also offered an ear-piece if you like, but I declined on that.
First I walked round to Queen Mary's dolls house. Although very intricate and pretty, it was only ok. It was very crowded and I didn't feel comfortable standing still for a long time to really look at the details. I didn't stay for long.
I then went into the State Apartments, which were delightful. Generally very quiet. I quite often had rooms to myself! The accompanying commentaries were interesting and well-informed, without being too long. I also appreciated that they didn't talk too much about the paintings, of which there were lots. Some were talked about and that was quite interesting, but I wouldn't have wanted too much of that.
My only slight complaint would be the wardens situated around the rooms. At quite a few points, they were just standing around having loud conversations! I had to turn up the volume a couple of times, just to hear it and drown them out! Inappropriate I thought.
I then went to St George's Chapel. It is lovely from the outside, but I didn't find the bulk of the inside to be particularly inspiring. However, as I got near the front, by the choir, it was really nice. I spent a long time looking at the tomb of George VI and the Queen Mother. I thought it was very tastefully done and very attractive. The choir itself, with all the helmets of the knights was facinating and the commentary was excellent at this point.
In all, I arrived at the castle at about 10am and left at about 2pm. And I was taking it quite slowly. It's certainly not an "all day" attraction, particularly as there is no where to eat or drink inside. But still well worth a visit. I shall be going again in a few years. Most definitely.
I'm on my second bottle of Cuticura now, which says something for the brand!
I work in childcare, which can certainly be a messy occupation, and definitely germ-ridden! These days I always carry a little bottle of it in my handbag and use it if I have to touch something that is less than pleasant!
The bottle: It comes in a few different sizes, but I always buy the smallest, as that is the most handbag friendly size. The bottle design isn't much to look at. It's practical and sturdy, which really, is all you want.
The product: It has an (i think) quite pleasing cucumbery smell. It always makes me think of tuna and cucumber sandwiches. :) I can imagine the smell being a bit off putting to some people, but I actually find it quite pleasant. To me it smells "clean".
I find that I only need to use a little bit of the product to cover all my hands, and so the bottle lasts for ages. In fact, my first bottle lasted me well over a year. So it's excellent value for money. :) Recommended.
I love Yankee Candles!
An internet friend of mine in America raved about them for ages, and when I saw one whilst shopping in Newbury, I picked one up to sample. I think it was the peach melba scent. For a long time it sat on my bookshelf, giving out a lovely smell, without even being unwrapped! When I finally got around to burning it it was just gorgeous!
At the moment I am burning Fresh Linen, which does indeed have a lovely clean smell. In fact I am burning it in a Yankee Candle holder, which is cream and decorated with ivy leaves. Very sweet.
What I love most about Yankee Candles is that while the smell is strong, it's not TOO strong. In the past I have found that strong smelling candles have given me headaches, which I have never encountered with Yankee Candles.
The only downside I can think of is that they aren't cheap. However, the biggest candles cost about £15 and have a burn time of over 100 hours. Which works out pretty cheap.
In all, highly recommended and they make lovely gifts.
I went to Ragdale Hall last weekend, just as a day guest, and can honestly say I've never had a more relaxing Saturday!
As a day guest you are allowed to check in from 10:30. We were a little bit early and were waiting for another member of our party (there were 5 of us) to arrive, who was stuck on the motorway. We were kept comfortable in the cafe area, with complementary drinks while we waited. When our friend arrived a consultant talked us through our schedules and helped us make our first plans.
We decided to head straight for an exercise ball class, which was good fun and although hard work on the muscles, we felt comfortable to go at our own pace and not push ourselves too far.
When then went up to the day guest changing room, which was very comfortable and well-appointed and changed into swimsuits. We then went off to sample the spa. The underground candle pool was my favourite and we enjoyed sampling the different saunas. The little outdoor pool, with waterfalls was also fun.
We then went off for our included in the price lunch, which was lovely! A thick soup followed by a bagel. It was in fact too much for me to finish, and I thought we'd just get given a salad leaf!
We then all went off for our individual treatments. I started off with Hopi ear candling, which while it didn't do much, was incredibly relaxing. I then spent 15 minutes or so relaxing with a magazine before going off for a foot conditioning treatment. Also very pleasant, but the "salon" was a bit noisy to be very relaxing.
I then went off myself for a bit, had a water pilates class, which I was rubbish at, but enjoyed, then went to sample the heated outdoor pool in the grounds. I had it to myself and found it very pleasant.
I caught up with my friends and we went up to the changing room to get changed back to regular clothes and settled up the bill. We all felt very cleansed and very relaxed.
It cost £96 for the day, not including treatments. Although I found that expensive, the day was so pleasant and the environment so lovely and staff so helpful, I'd like to go back again. My friends and I are already talking of perhaps making it a yearly event.
Ragdale have made fans of us!
What would I consign to room 101? Here's a list!
Corn on the cob:
I always sigh when it appears on my plate. If there is a way to eat it elegantly, it must have passed me by. I have a tough time getting my mouth round it, and when I do finally bit in, I always end up with liquid running down my chin! THEN I end up with bits stuck in my teeth, which I hate.
I hate being late, and especially people who are late. I'm one of those people who are always early for everything, because I hate lateness. Frankly, people who are late with no good reason I showing a real lack of respect to the people who are stuck waiting for them!
Most of all I hate people who cut me up on the road. They are usually lone men (salesmen I guess) who are rushing from A to B. But what makes them think they are more important than me? I also people to tail me to try and get me to go faster. I'm not going to. In fact, I might even go slower, just to annoy you. Get over yourselves.
Especially foreign ones. I can never understand a word they are saying!
Door to door salesmen:
If I want double glazing, my carpets cleaning or satalite tv, I'll let you know. Until then, go away.