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dottilotti
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Member since: 15.02.2010

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      15.06.2013 12:08
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      Superb restaurant!

      ~Location~

      This restaurant is in the town of Dalyan on the south west coast of Turkey and is situated beautifully opposite the Dalyan Cayi river. The views from this restaurant are amazing, you could sit there all day and just watch the boats passing by and take in the pretty green scenery and mountains.

      ~What attracted us~

      We hadn't booked for evening meals at the hotel we were staying at as we wanted the choice of being able to eat out at night and during our welcome meeting we were handed a leaflet for this restaurant with a 10% discount voucher which I just put straight in my bag. Later that evening we were getting ready to go out and we had decided we were going to take a walk along the river and in to town and see what restaurants caught our eye. I remembered about the leaflet we had received and had a quick flick through and put the discount voucher in the purse just in case we came across the restaurant and we liked the look of it.

      There is such a large choice of restaurants in Dalyan from your traditional Turkish from Chinese to Indian, there is something there for everyones taste. Once coming out from walking along the river we were in the town and the first restaurant to greet us was The Green Cottage. It is a quant looking little restaurant lightly lit inside with soft lighting and candles but it is quite eye catching with its bright neon signs. A few things attracted us to this restaurant the look, how busy it was compared to others situated nearby and the welcome from the owner. We walked up outside to have a read of the menu board and were greeted by the owner and we were immediately sold, the food looked great and the friendly welcome is always a bonus. He wasn't pushy at all just wanted to make conversation and introduce himself, obviously I know this is a tactic to get people in and they want as much custom as possible but his friendly personality really made us feel comfortable and at ease.

      ~The Restaurant~

      The Green Cottage is a traditional Turkish restaurant but they do offer other variations such as Italian, Seafood, Steaks etc. They are open all day from around 8:00am till very late and offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. They have inside and outside seating available but everyone seems to sit outside and the inside only really gets used if they are exceptionally busy or there is a thunderstorm :) (which Dalyan gets plenty of!!) The tables are fairly close together outside but not on top of each other and are nice and spacious.

      They offer three different types of breakfast and even though we had pre-paid for breakfast at our hotel we ended up eating here a couple of mornings because it was so nice. They offer three different types of cooked breakfast, I can't quite remember what they call them now but basically you have a choice of small, medium or large and each has a different variant. The breakfasts were lovely and in my opinion better than some breakfasts you can buy in the country. They proud themselves on using Heinz baked beans and offering HP sauce with the food, which I guess is a nice little touch. We never really fancy cooked breakfasts while on holiday but we really were impressed with these especially if you fancied a later morning breakfast. The breakfasts come with sausage, bacon, beans, fried egg, toast etc and the larger ones come with extra items and hash browns etc. They are really reasonable as well with the dearest only being £4.00 and it looked huge, you got a lot for your money.

      We only had lunch here a couple of times and they offer the usual lunch menu of cold/hot sandwiches, burgers, chicken burgers, salads etc. The menu once again was very reasonable and the food was lovely, I had a hot chicken baguette and it came with salad and a small portion of chips all for around £4.

      Dinner is when the restaurant comes alive and it is always busy, usually with regulars that are going back night after night. They have a large evening menu with so much choice, I ended up trying something different every night as I never knew what to pick! As previously mentioned they offer all types of food you can have your traditional Turkish kebabs, casseroles or you have a got a choice of pizza's, pasta, seafood dishes, steaks, lamb shank etc.

      They are very well known for their "Plank Steaks" and Casseroles and I would really recommend these along with the lamb shank. Their steaks are wonderful and the presentation of their meals is very appealing. With most the dishes you get rice, whatever vegetables they have been able to buy from the market that day and some form of potato based side depending on what main you have chose, with the steak you get their homemade chips and with the other dishes you get boiled or mashed potato. Their lamb shanks are to die for and are huge and so tender, I couldn't eat all of mine.

      A lot of their traditional Turkish dishes come to the table flaming which is a nice touch and I would highly recommend their traditional meatball casserole, I could have eaten this every day.

      With their seafood dishes most of the fish is freshly caught that day and you can definitely tell it is fresh.

      They offer such a big range there is something on that menu for everyone. They also offer quite a few desserts, I never tried any of the hot desserts as I was always too stuffed but managed their ice cream sundaes on quite a few occasions :) and these were very nice and come to your table with sparklers and other decorations.

      They have a wide variety of drinks on offer basically anything you can think of and they are all very reasonable. They have an extensive cocktail list and these are only about £2.00 each an absolute bargain and they are really fancy, again they come with your usual sparklers and fancy paper decorations and fruit.

      ~Overview~

      This really is an amazing restaurant with brilliant, accommodating staff, from the first day we were made to feel like family and nothing was too much which really speaks millions. Some nights we were sat there until 2am just casually drinking and chatting with them and they would get the backgammon board out and ask you to play with them. They treat all their customers the same and I think this speaks for itself when they have the same people going back night after night for their entire holiday, you can just go and sit there and have a chat and not buy a drink they really aren't bothered. On our last night they wanted to give us free drinks/cocktails but we were leaving for the airport at 12am so didn't want to be drinking so they went to a shop and bought as a present instead, which we found so kind of them. They still keep in touch with us now which proves that they are just genuinely nice guys who aren't just interested in you while you are spending money with them.

      The food and drink here is so reasonable and great quality most nights we were having 2 starters, 2 x steaks etc, beers, cokes, wine, cocktails etc and the bill never came to more than £40 for both of us! It is a bargain and I dread to think what you would pay in the UK for all of that and it wouldn't be as nice either!

      Overall if you are going to Dalyan and want a friendly, relaxed, family (they love children!) restaurant with great staff and food this is the place for you, I really cannot fault it in any way and I think most other people that have been there would agree. I cannot wait for our next holiday!

      Five stars from me!

      The Green Cottage, 48840 Dalyan, Ortaca

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      • More +
        13.06.2013 13:18
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        Beautiful Hotel

        ~Overview~

        We stayed at this hotel in June last year and we couldn't have been happier. We booked the hotel through Thomas Cook as a package holiday and decided to go Bed & Breakfast as we wanted the choice of being able to eat out at night. It is rated as a four star hotel.

        ~Location~

        Club Alla Turca is based in Dalyan, Turkey which is a town situated between Marmaris and Fethiye on the south west coast. It is a lovely quiet, pretty town and still has a good nightlife with a lot of restaurants and bars to choose from but without the nightclubs etc. The Dalyan Cayi river runs through the town and you will see all the little boats plying up and down the river all day long taking people on trips and to the famous Iztuzu Beach, also known as Turtle Beach as it is the breeding place for the endangered loggerhead sea turtle. You won't be disappointed if you choose to stay in this town with its pretty green scenery and the lovely walks along the river.

        ~Hotel Location~

        It is set in a lovely quiet location just off the river and from the hotel it is just a 5/10 minute stroll along the river to get in to the centre of town.

        ~Arrival~

        We arrived at the hotel at about 1am and the transfer time from the airport was a speedy 30 minutes. Even though we arrived at the hotel very early in the morning the staff were very welcoming and helpful. The check in was nice and speedy and all our paperwork/welcome pack etc was there waiting for us. We just showed the receptionist our passports and signed some paperwork and we were on our way to our room. Obviously this may be different during the day when they have a lot of flights arriving etc. A bellboy took our cases and showed us to our room, I am happy they had someone taking you as I don't think I would have been able to find my way otherwise.

        ~Room~

        We booked to stay in a standard room while there and we were really happy. The rooms are nice and spacious, plenty big enough for two adults and very light. Every room comes with a balcony with table and chairs and the balconies either overlook the beautiful pool area or the gardens, from our room you could see the pool and gardens so we had the best of both worlds! Every standard room comes with either two single beds or one double, minibar, hairdryer, TV, wireless internet, electronic safe, air conditioning etc. You have a nice big spacious wardrobe with plenty of hanging and shelving space and we even managed to fit both our suitcases in the bottom so they were hidden away. There is also quite a lot of drawer space within the room. The bathrooms are lovely and come with your basic toilet, sink and shower and free toiletries!

        Most importantly the rooms are lovely and clean and are kept spotless by housekeeping every day.
        There are quite a few different rooms you can book while there and they are currently updating all the rooms so some have the new decor and some the old. Available they have the standard rooms, bay window rooms, family rooms, deluxe rooms and the honeymoon suite (I was secretly hoping they might be overbooked when we arrived and we would be upgraded to this room :o) but no such luck!). We were moved to a bay window room on our last day as we paid to keep our room for an extra day because of our flight times and the room was once again lovely, it was the same as ours but just with a large bay window and seating area.

        ~Mini Bar~

        The mini bar is stocked up every other day with your usual soft drink cans and beers and the prices were about 6lira for a soft drink which is about £2.00, so not too bad for mini bar prices. The beers were slightly more. We found the best thing to do was to go down to the local supermarket and buy a few bottles of beer and coke etc from there and keep them in the fridge. The people filing the mini bar didn't mind and it saves you quite a bit of money as for a big glass bottle of Effes beer from the supermarket it is 3lira which is £1.00 its a bargain and in my opinion the nicest beer I have ever tasted. You also get glasses and a bottle opener in your room so you are nicely stocked up.

        ~Housekeeping~

        Housekeeping come every day and are lovely and friendly. Your towels get changed everyday and the bed linen every other day and the rooms and balcony are sweeped and mopped every day.

        ~Pool Area~

        The pool area is beautiful and relaxing and there are plenty of sun beds and parasols, you can go to the pool at 11am and you will still find a place to sit. The pool is quite big and heated and has a pool bar which you can go sit at which is always a bonus :o). There is also a little separate pool for the little ones. The views from the pool are amazing and when you are lying on your sun bed there is lush greenery and plants all around you and beautiful views of the mountains.

        ~Pool Bar~

        The pool bar is open from around 9:30am till late and they offer everything you can think of from soft drinks to spirits, cocktails, beer and tea and coffee. All the drinks are branded and come in glass bottles and are very reasonable at around £1.20 for a soft drink. You don't need to take money with you either as everything is put on to your room tab and after about three visits to the pool bar they soon remember your room number! They guys at the bar are great and friendly and were always happy to sit and chat to you, they also love their sports and will usually have Sky Sports on the TV. You can also get ice cream from them and at 4pm everyday they do a tea/coffee and cream cake hour which is very nice!!

        ~Restaurant~

        They only have one restaurant at this hotel and it is an open buffet style and offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfasts are lovely and you get your usual choice of cooked breakfast items, pastries, fruit, toast etc there is a wide variety for all different tastes. You can also get your tea/coffee etc and fruit juices, the only thing you have to pay for is the fresh squeezed orange juice which is about 3lira, some people were moaning about this but I don't see the problem myself. Fresh squeezed orange juice isn't cheap and it isn't like it was the only drink they were offering they just had it as an added extra if you fancied it.

        We never actually had lunch in the restaurant so I can't comment on this but we did go to the snack bar a few times which I will comment on lower down.

        We only had dinner here a couple of times as every other night we walked in to town as we found a restaurant that we fell in love with. To be honest I wasn't overly mad on the food offered at night, don't get me wrong it was of lovey quality there just wasn't much choice and it was the same most nights. You had your hot choices which were usually different cooked meats and vegetables etc, soup, salad and little seafood dishes etc. The desserts were the same most nights but were lovely and beautifully presented. As previously mentioned the quality of the food was lovely it was just the choice that we weren't keen on it can get a bit repetitive. Unfortunately I really cannot remember how much dinner was, it was a set price for all you can eat and I don't think it was too highly priced but we just preferred going in to town.
        The restaurant is lovely and clean and the staff once again are very friendly and accommodating.

        Every fortnight they hold a Turkish night in the restaurant with Turkish food and dancing, we didn't attend this as it was on a night where we got back from a trip quite late but we could see the dancing from our balcony and it did look a good night.

        ~Snack Bar~

        We went here a couple of times during out stay and it is open from 11am till 2pm. They offer a lovely variety of snacks ranging from sandwiches to burgers, pizzas, salads etc. I had the chicken caesar salad most times and it was to die for. The service was exceptionally quick and once again everything just got charged to your room.

        ~Room Tab~

        As mentioned above everything you order in the hotel gets charged to your room which is great as it means you are not constantly carrying money around with you. You can go in and pay your bill anytime during your stay so you can keep on top of it and don't get a nasty shock on checking out :)

        ~Grounds~

        The grounds are beautiful and very well kept the balconies are all draped with gorgeous colourful flowers and if you take a walk through the gardens there are some hidden away sunbeds/ seating areas if you want a bit of peace and quiet.

        ~Everything else~

        I don't want to go in to too much detail about the area etc as I am going to write a separate review on Dalyan but one thing I thought I would mention is the insects. In the hotel you are fine but if you are walking along the river at night please use insect repellent, as the town is on a river you get quite a few mozzies and for some reason they loved me :( my legs were covered in bites and I had to go to the local chemist to get some medication and cream. My other half was fine and only got about two but I must have tasted good!

        Also the tour operator information in the hotel is great and kept very up to date with flight times and information etc.

        ~Overall~

        I really could not fault this hotel, the grounds, staff, accommodation etc was all perfect. My only disappointment was the evening food choice but everyone is different and some people would probably be more than happy. If you want a small family friendly, relaxing hotel then this is the hotel for you.

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          12.06.2013 12:05
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          The be all and end all of exfoliators!!

          I absolutely love the Soap & Glory brand and have made it my mission in life to try all their products. So far some have blown me away whereas some I have really struggled to be positive about, however Pulp Friction is definitely one of the products I will be adding to my regular purchases.

          *What Soap & Glory Say*

          Get fresher, smoother and softer skin with fig powder, pumice, peppermint oil, lemonade tree liquid, orange waterjuiceTM and vitaminballsTM (A,C,E). Scented with our new FruitigoTM fragrance.

          *Packaging*

          One reason that I love this scrub and prefer it to the others in the S&G range is that it comes in a squeezy tube with a flip lid and not a tub! I have an issue with tubs in the shower as I find them difficult to use and before you know it they are filling up with water etc I just find tubes a lot more user friendly when showering. As with all the other S&G products the packaging is pink and very eye catching with their large slogans and quirky phrases on the front and the ingredients and usage instructions on the back.

          *Soap and Glorys Instructions for Use*

          Squeeze out a handful and rub it between your palms, then work it around in circles on damp skin. (You can start at your shoulders and work down, or tackle dry shins and feet before scrubbing up.) Rinse when you're finished.

          *My Experience*

          I am always worried when using new body scrubs as my skin can be sensitive at times but I have always found the S&G range to suit my skin. When you first squeeze the product in to your hand you are greeted with a pleasant off white thick substance which easily flows out of the tube which is quite different to S&Gs other scrubs which I find to be quite thick. When applied to the skin it has a thick, creamy feel and starts foaming instantly, it doesn't feel any different to using a normal shower gel, you can feel the little pumice particles working through on to your skin. It foams up lovely on your skin and has a very luxurious, gentle feel, some scrubs can feel very harsh on the skin whereas this is very different but still packs as much punch as a full on body scrub. It doesn't feel scratchy on my skin and once I have rinsed it off my skin feels soft, smooth and refreshed with no red patches (which is always a bonus!) I have also noticed that my skin never feels like it is burning after using this, as with some scrubs once I have got out the shower and dried myself my skin can feel like it is on fire!

          The other thing I love about this product is the scent, it isn't your original S&G scent which I am a big fan of. It has a quite a sweet citrus fresh scent and the only way I can describe it is when opening up the tube it is like walking in to an old style sweet shop, I just feel it has a really sweet mixtured scent. When applied to the skin the scent erupts and you are met with quite a fruit, clean exotic scent.

          A personal opinion of mine is that I find it great as a self tan prep scrub as previously mentioned it is gentle but really leaves your skin feeling smooth and works wonders on your elbows, ankles and knees etc. I have never come out streaky after using this scrub and it is a lot cheaper than the brands recommended by the tanning companies.

          I have also found that you don't need t use much of this scrub at all for an all other application so it lasts a very long time which is very appealing!

          It also has three accompanying products which can be bought separately which include body butter (pump or tub form), foaming shower gel and hand cream.

          *Price, Where to Buy*

          The scrub is priced at £8.00 for a 250ml tube and can be purchased from Boots in store or online. I tend to wait for the 3 for 2 offers as it obviously works out better value for money or just ask everyone to buy me it for Christmas :) The price isn't too bad when you take in to consideration how well the product works and how long it lasts.

          *Ingredients*

          Aqua (Water), Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Butylene Glycol, Hydrated Silica, Pumice, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Acrylates Copolymer, Coco-Glucoside, Ficus Carica (Fig) Fruit Powder, Lauric Acid, Glyceryl Oleate, Sodium Methyl Isethionate, Sodium Chloride, Parfum (Fragrance), Citrus Reticulata (Mandarin) Leaf Oil, Citrus Sinensis (Orange) Peel Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Synthetic Wax, Tetrasodium EDTA, Dipropylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Zinc Laurate, Limonene, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Water, Polyquaternium-7, Propylene Glycol, Lactose, Cellulose, Citric Acid, Methylisothiazolinone, Adansonia Digitata Fruit Extract, Ficus Carica (Fig) Extract, Coumarin, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Potassium Sorbate, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Triethyl Citrate, Lecithin, Sodium Citrate, Benzyl Alcohol, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides Citrate, Sorbic Acid, Trisodium EDTA, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Metabisulfite, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 73360 (Red 30), CI 77491 (Iron Oxides)

          *Conclusion*

          My favourite scrub by far in the S&G range and any other range! It is gentle enough for sensitive skin and to be used daily and leaves my skin feeling and looking refreshed and healthy with no unwanted redness or scratches! If you haven't tried this product give it a go as I am sure you won't be disappointed!

          5 stars from me!

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        • More +
          11.06.2013 13:36
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          Super, stylish, little coffee machine!

          The Krups KP210040 NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto was bought for us as a gift last Christmas after we had spent most of December eyeing them up in different shops! At the time of purchase it was on offer for £69.99 in a well known electrical store so we jumped at the chance of getting one as they were flying off the shelves, not surprising really when in most stores they were still priced at around £130.00.

          The Machine Appearance

          You can buy this machine in three different colours black, cream and red, we went for the black as we figured if we changed the colour scheme of our kitchen the black would always match whereas the cream or red might look out of place, they are both lovely colours though! The appearance of the machine itself stands out from all its other competitors it is a curved design with a clear bubble tank on the back to hold the water and smaller bubble on the front to hold the pods, it is a very stylish looking little thing and is smaller in size than a lot of its competitors currently available but still packs as much punch. Some people even say its appearance resembles a dog and I suppose in some ways I can slightly see it!

          Machine Features

          The machine has Thermoblock technology, which heats the water as required and ensures fresh water is used for every cup, this really appeals to me as you know the machine is only heating the water you need to fill your cup the whole water tank is being heated up and going to waste. The removable water tank also makes it really easy and quick to refill and clean as does the removable drip tray. The pod tray also has a built-in magnet in the holder making the machine really safe to use.

          The machine is so easy to use, it looks quite intimidating when you first look at it but it really is a doddle. To make a drink you fill up your water tank, turn the machine on, select which drink pod you want to use, pop it in the pod holder and slide back in, press down the little lever above the holder until you hear a click and once the on/off button has turned green move the lever on the top of the machine left or right depending on if you are having a cold drink or hot drink. It really is that simple and it doesn't leave any mess either, just pop your used pod straight in the bin, rinse the pod tray and thats everything done! The other thing I really like about this machine is if you are making a couple of drinks in one go the on/off button with start flashing red when it needs a few seconds to regain the right temperature so you just pop the lever back to the middle and move it again once the button has turned green, this ensures that your drink is always at its perfect temperature.

          The Drink Quality

          Having tried previous machines in the past like the Tassimo etc I really think this one stands much higher than the rest. The drink quality is amazing and I really believe that if you put a drink from a decent coffee shop in a plain cup next to one made in this machine majority of people would not be able to tell the difference! I am sure some people will disagree with me but this is my personal opinion, I really do think the drink quality matches that of well known coffee shops. The coffees are rich and smooth in flavour and the hot chocolate is smooth and frothy. Also if you purchase some latte glasses the drinks come out looking amazing with the separation in colours etc they are very impressive.

          Pods

          As far as I am aware there are 30 different pod varieties available at the moment so there is definitely something for everyone, I won't list them all as I don't want to take up my review with all the different flavours but some of them are: Chococino, Mocha, Lungo, Latte, Chai Tea, Cappuccino, Cappuccino ice etc. They do so many different varieties/strengths of coffee and you can even get a Nesquik hot chocolate pod off Amazon I haven't tried these yet but I am tempted. My favourites so far are Chococino, Mocha and Caramel Latte!! The pod packs average at about £3.60 a box and you get 16 capsules to a box but in some boxes you get 16 drinks and in some you only get 8 drinks as with some drinks you need two pods to make the drink so for example you would get 8 milk and 8 mocha in a mocha box and in a chococino you get just one pod so you get 16 drinks out of that pack! I find the cheapest place the buy these is on Amazon you get much better value for money than in the supermarkets!

          Purchasing/Price

          As previously mentioned we purchased the machine when it was on offer for £69.99 a real bargain but its RRP is around £130.00. I still think this price is a bargain I would happily pay £130.00 for it but always look around as it will probably be on offer somewhere! In the box you get a Dolce Gusto starter pack which comes with some sample pods and a registration card, make sure you register your machine on the Dulce Gusto website as you get a £10 welcome bonus to use in their online shop so you can get two free boxes of pods etc which is always a nice touch.

          Overall

          This is a brilliant machine which really packs a punch, the drink quality is brilliant and it really is a robust little machine we use ours everyday and we haven't had a problem with it so far! A little tip I would offer is when filling up the water tank use filter water this keeps the descaling down to a minimum :)

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          • More +
            10.06.2013 14:02
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            Lovely looking fridge/freezer but shame about the freezer space!

            We purchased this fridge freezer last year when moving in to our new house. We wanted something stylish looking but not too big, as lovely as they are some of the proper American style fridge freezers can sometimes be too big especially if yo haven't got much kitchen space to work with!

            First Impression

            What first attracted me to this fridge was its stylish appearance and the fact that size wise it was exactly what we had been looking for. They only had one model on display in the shop and it was stainless steel version which was nice but we really wanted black to match our other appliances. When looking at the fridge it looked sturdy and well made (what you would expect from Hotpoint I suppose!).

            Purchase

            We purchased the item in black from a local independent electrical shop for £500 which I didn't think was bad at all for a Hotpoint fridge freezer, we had seen it priced a lot higher in certain big name electrical stores.

            The Fridge/Freezer

            It is a lovely looking piece of equipment especially in the black colouring and it comes close to looking like an American fridge freezer but without the huge size. As far as I am aware it is available in three different colours black, gun metal and stainless steel. The fridge has two doors that pull wide open and there are two freezer drawer compartments.

            The fridge compartment is lovely and spacious with two big vegetable/fruit compartments, four safety glass shelves and a metal drinks shelf which you can easily fit in bottles of wine etc the average size soft drinks bottles fit in but at a bit of a squeeze! In each door there are four nice sized compartments so eight in total, the bottom compartments are nice and spacious and perfect for your milk/juice cartons etc. The other compartments are perfect for your butters, sauce bottles, cheeses etc. One of the compartments is a metal can dispenser which I find really useful, as cans can take up a bit of space in your fridge. It fits around five 330ml cans and every time you take one from the dispenser another one appears at the bottom. Fridge capacity 295 Litres.

            As previously mentioned there are two large fruit and vegetable drawer compartments with humidity control, all my vegetables etc keep very well in these, nothing every seems to sweat like it can some times in these compartments. I can easily fit my weeks shopping in this fridge with no problem and no overcrowding and I would say our weekly shop is the average persons size shop.

            The fridge also comes with i-care which sets the fridge temperature to the optimum energy efficient level depending on the contents.

            There are two freezer drawers the top drawer is the smaller of the two and comes with a twist and serve ice cube dispenser which once again is a handy little extra. You fill up the ice cube tray and pop it back in to the dispenser and once frozen you twist the buttons on the front and the cubes are dispensed in to a little removable tray underneath. Probably not an essential feature but its handy. The second drawer is bigger and deeper and comes with a plastic sliding tray which when you slide back reveals the storage space underneath. In the shop these drawers look quite spacious but they are a little bit deceiving! Once you start filling them with your average bags of chips/vegetables, meat joints etc they are soon full so this is a little bit disappointing. I think most families would need to buy a second freezer in addition to this one as there is just not enough space! The other thing which I probably should have thought about at the time of purchasing is that it is quite difficult to store items in the drawers due to the layout as you are constantly rummaging through to find the items you want and this can be difficult when the item you want is at the bottom. Freezer capacity 102 Litres.

            Maintenance/Upkeep

            The fridge is really easy to keep clean and comes with anti bacterial protection. The only niggle I have and once again this is my own fault not a fault of the fridge or Hotpoint is the colour!! Why oh why did I get black!? No matter how hard I try and clean it it always looks smeary!! If little things like smeary smudges bother you get one of the other colours, as lovely colour as the black is it is a nightmare to keep clean my Mum purchased the gun metal version and this stays a lot cleaner looking!

            One thing I have noticed as has my mum is that the top freezer drawers seem to rust a little bit at the top, I noticed a couple of months ago that in the top corner some of the black colouring was peeling away and you could see a little bit of rust underneath. I contacted Hotpoint and they sent me out a new drawer straight away and so far it seems fine it just seems strange that it happened to my Mum as well but once again it isn't really a problem especially when Hotpoint are happy to send a replacement out.

            Conclusion

            Overall I am happy with this fridge freezer my only issue is the freezer space but if you do have another separate freezer then this really isn't a problem. I tend to try and keep my joints of meat etc in my other freezer and keep the bits I use day to day in this freezer. If you are wanting a stylish looking fridge freezer which doesn't take up too much room with good fridge space then this will be perfect for you.

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              06.02.2012 20:56
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              Best Body Butter EVER!!!!

              Soap And Glory's The Righteous Butter
              This product has earned its place as one of my essential buys now, as it is one of the best body butters I have ever tried! In this review I will attempt to tell you why I love it so much!

              Why Did I Buy It?
              I actually have yet to purchase a tub of Righteous Butter, despite having four tubs (yes, some of them are empty now) on my shelf. No, I am not a sneaky shoplifter who crams half of Boots in her handbag, I am just fortunate enough to have a selection of friends who know me well...
              November 2009. It's cold, it's raining, and I am in a right state - huddled in my winter coat holding my umbrella which is turning inside out and doing it's best to escape in the icy wind. I never thought I would think this, me being the shopaholic that I am, but I would actually rather be anywhere but here, in the middle of Leeds, today. However, I have no choice, I simply must get my friend her birthday present as I am meeting her later today to celebrate and it would look so rude me turning up without a present. So, I take a determined sip of my Cafe Latino hot chocolate, throw away the cardboard cup and rub my chapped hands together before heading into Boots. Teeth still chattering, I whirl round the store brandishing my Advantage Card and blue plastic shopping basket with a menacing look on my face. I'm 'serious shopping' for once, like a woman on a mission, determined to get in, buy my lovely friend a present and get the next bus back home so I can wrap myself up in a duvet and hibernate until this darn rain STOPS. I spot a few pieces of make up I know she was after and thrust them into the basket, before heading round the bath and body aisles to add some 'little extras' to her present for the finishing touch. I spot the cute, vintage and very, very pink Soap & Glory display and smile. She loves this brand, and so do I. Then, to my delight, I see that the miniature products are on 3 for 2. I grab three, a Hand Food, a Flakeaway Scrub and a tub of Righteous Butter. I head to the tills and pay. When I get home I am wrapping my friends present and the Righteous Butter catches my eye. I am in need of a new body moisturiser and this seems to fit the bill perfectly, however I can't see myself heading back out into the dreaded wintry weather in the near future, so I conveniently "forget" to wrap that tub and give it to my friend (in my defence, I had bought her many other lovely products!) and I thought to myself - that was the free product anyway, I would have only spent another fiver which is what it came to, before slathering the lovely stuff all over me. So technically I didn't buy that tub, did I?!

              December 2009. I'm in a much better mood today. It's nearly Christmas and snow is falling outside. It's still minus temperatures, but tonight I don't care because I am not shuffling down Briggate in Leeds with frostbite, I am safe and sound at my friends house, having a bit of a Christmas celebration. Hot chocolate with marshmallows and Shakin' Stevens playing in the background. I am full of Christmas spirit and we swap our presents, giggling excitedly. My friend, Jen, sensibly places hers under her Christmas tree, waiting for the big day, however I am much less patient, plus she really wanted to "see the look on my face" when I opened it, and so I unwrapped her gifts there and then. A photo collage on a pin board of all our good (slightly mad) times together, a floaty top I'd had my eye on, a keyring declaring her everlasting best friendship-ness to me and two large Soap & Glory products - Clean On Me and The Righteous Butter. That miniature tub I bought back in November is scraped completely clean now, and so I was delighted to have a new massive tub that would hopefully last me ages. She knows me too well, does Jen!
              January 2010. My birthday - hooray...another year older. I insisted I didn't want much of a fuss, but my lovely girls still made a massive effort; shopping in Leeds, paying for my food and drink and showering me with gifts wrapped in spangly bows and shiny paper (hey, one or two may be wrapped in leftover Christmas wrap, but that's what you get for having a January birthday, and who really cares?). I unwrap them to a chorus of 'ooh's and 'ahh's. I open one from Jools. It's a Soap & Glory set, called 'Sooper Heroes'. "I know how much you love that stuff" she grins, and I smile delightedly as I see it contains miniatures of all the bestsellers - Clean On Me, Girligo, Hair Supply, Flakeaway and of course that Righteous Butter. I didn't even notice another of my friends go a little quiet and subdued, it didn't even register until I opened her present later and discovered the exact same gift set. "Whoops!" Jools grins, and my other friend smiles wanly back, rolling her eyes and looking slightly worried. "I'm so sorry," she says, "I had no idea!". I'm not in the least bit bothered - a girl can never have too many cosmetics! "Hey, it's just that you all know me so well!" I say, "Great minds think alike!". And do you know, I am so glad that I got two of those sets because I absolutely love it!

              So, there you go, a fun account of how I came to acquire four tubs of The Righteous Butter. But that really doesn't matter if it was all a load of rubbish, does it? I need to tell you all about what it was like and why I'm not fed up with the stuff by now!
              The Packaging
              The tubs are a fetching shade of bright, candy pink. On the side of the tubs it reads 'The Righteous Butter', but on the big tub it obviously can fit some more information on so it's got a little more text. On the lid of the small tub, it has 'Soap & Glory' printed largely on it, with a sentence of simple instructions written around it. The lid on the large tub is again similar, however it also includes a retro style, black and white picture of a lady. This adds S&G's typical vintage effect to the tub and it looks really pretty and expensive. I am proud to have it sat at the front of my make up table as it just looks so appealing! The instructions on the tub read:

              Butter yourself up: After showering or bathing, smooth onto damp skin and massage until it all sinks in.
              Using The Butter
              The butter itself is thick and luxurious - it has a much 'gloopier' texture (but in a good way) than my usual Body Shop Body Butters, and in is rich and creamy. In colour, it is white, and I would liken the scent to that of Soap & Glory's Clean On Me shower gel, its an indescribable sort of scent but it just smells lovely! When I am pampering myself I lather Clean On Me all over in the tub, rinse it off and after coming out of the bath, dry myself off with a fluffy towel so my skin is still a little damp, slather this everywhere and finish off with S&G's moisturising body mist, Girligo.
              Based on my experience, I would make sure that your skin is only a little bit damp, as if it is quite wet then the butter finds it harder to sink in to the skin.
              A little goes a long way; I find a small dollop can last for most of your body; however I prefer to use a lot to ensure I make the most of it. It works great after shaving your legs; it really makes them smooth and shiny!
              Although I would always use the butter after bathing or showering (using a body butter locks in the moisture you have already got from the other bath products and the water), I also use it on my skin when dry. It works a treat, especially as the body butter has a dynamic moisture tarp matrix, so that it helps hold hydration for longer.
              When massaging the butter in it feels soft and silky, and leaves my skin feeling so much better - it gives me a little bit of a glow! My skin does feel so much more hydrated and the feeling lasts for ages!

              Ooh, and it has also won the lovely Gok Wan's How To Look Good Naked award for Best Body Butter, so you see, it must be the best!

              Best For Value?
              One of the miniature Righteous Butter (50ml) will only set you back a purse friendly £2.25, and it is often on offer too, whilst in comparison the same size Body Shop butter costs a slightly heftier £5, over double in price. Bearing in mind that The Righteous Butter is much more effective and lasts for longer, I would definitely recommend you to choose that.

              If you discover you love The Righteous Butter as much as me, you might like to treat yourself to one of the bigger tubs, 300ml, for £10 (The Body Shop's larger version is also more expensive - £12.50 for 200ml). It lasts for ages, does the job and looks really pretty too!
              Soap & Glory products are available from Boots and Harvey Nichols, although Boots has the offers and the Advantage Card points so I would recommend you buy it from there!

              Information
              * Use within 24months after opening.
              * Made in the UK
              * Includes softening shea butter and aloe vera!
              All In All...
              I would recommend this for absolutely everybody, but especially for those with dry skin. Perfect in every way, five stars from me!

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                05.02.2012 21:57
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                Superb series wish there were more programs like this!

                BRIEF OVERVIEW OF SERIES

                Arrested Development is an American comedy television series, which ran from November 2, 2003 to February 10, 2006. The series was the brainchild of Mitchell Hurwitz, who also created The Ellen Show.
                The main story revolves around Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman), the only seemingly "normal" one in a dysfunctional family of crazies, who is forced to stay in Orange County and run the family real estate business after his father, George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), is sent to prison for shifty accounting practices (including building estates from Saddam Hussain).

                BACKGROUND

                I was first introduced to Arrested Development a few years ago when I happened to by channel surfing and the program caught my eye. The channel was BBC Two and the program was an episode in the first season of Arrested Development. I've been hooked ever since. What really caught me was the really dry and witty humour used throughout. The exclusion of a laughing-track and the inclusion of a narration (brilliantly done by Ron Howard) only added its laugh out loud funniness.
                I really enjoyed the first season and the second season was almost as good, in my eyes this program is the best to come out of the US in many years. But there was already signs during the second season that the show was going to be cancelled in the foreseeable future - with the 22 episodes first ordered by Fox being cut to 18 and ratings continually falling. The show did thankfully come back for a third season (what this review is on) but having its episodes cut to 13 as apposed to an original 22 and rating falling even further. Thankfully though they were able to give the show a good farewell and ending it properly at the end of season three. In my opinion season three is the funniest of all the seasons - with all the comedy of those planned 22 episodes condensed into just 13 - Brilliant.

                THE DVD
                Language: English
                Number of discs: 2
                Classification: 15
                Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

                The DVD's packaging is brilliant and will look good in any DVD collection. The menus in the DVD are also very easy to navigated and very well designed.
                SEASON 3 EPISODE GUIDE

                Season three consists of 13 brilliant episodes. The episodes names and a short synopsis are described below.
                - 1. The Cabin Show -
                Writer: Mitchell Hurwitz, Jim Vallely
                Director: Paul Feig
                The first episode in the season centres on the family cabin that George Bluth Sr promised to bring Michael to every year, but in the end always took a woman there instead. The family, becoming bankrupt, decides to sell the land that the cabin is on and have the cabin trucked to the house. Michael is excited that the company stock rating has gone from sell to don't buy. He decides to go to the prison to gloat and realizes that it is Uncle Oscar not his father in jail. Elsewhere Gob receives a letter inviting him to a father and sons reuniting outing and thinks that it is his dad looking to secretly meet with him, but as it turns out he actually has a son he was unaware of by a high school girlfriend.


                - 2. For British Eyes Only -
                Writer: Richard Day, Mitchell Hurwitz
                Director: John Fortenberry
                George Bluth Sr claims that a British group set him up; Michael goes to "Wee Britain" to investigate and becomes infatuated with a beautiful woman named Rita (brilliantly played by guest star Charlize Theron). Lindsay attempts to seduce the new family attorney, and Gob does everything possible to avoid his newly discovered son.

                - 3. Forget Me Now -
                Writer: Tom Saunders
                Director: John Amodeo
                Michael tries to hide Rita from his family; Tobias tries to help Buster gain some self-confidence; George Michael confronts Steve Holt about Maeby - All the events culminating with disastrously hilarious consequences.

                - 4. Notapussy -
                Writer: Robert Weiner
                Director: Lev L. Spiro
                Rita calls Michael a word that he thinks means "weak" when - in the British sense - it actually means "sweet". Michael tries to show Rita he's not one of those by trying to convince George-Michael to join him in some manly activities, but George-Michael is too busy prepping girlfriend Ann for an "Inner-beauty Pageant".
                - 5. Mr.F -
                Writer: Richard Day, Jim Vallely
                Director: Arlene Sanford
                Michael must find out who the mole is in the company in order to rescue a major real estate deal with Japanese investors. In an effort to help Michael, Gob and Buster team up with George Sr.'s surrogate, Larry (guest star Bob Einstein), to devise a plan and save the deal.

                - 6. The Ocean Walker -
                Writer: Sam Laybourne, Jake Farrow
                Director: Paul Feig
                Michael announces he's marrying Rita, but George Sr. thinks that she's after the family's money. And Rita's Uncle Trevor tries to stop the wedding by revealing some surprising information about Rita.
                - 7. Prison Break In -
                Writer: Karey Dornetto
                Director: Bob Berlinger
                Michael is worried when he learns that Lucille is dating the warden. Buster has some trouble with his new turtle and the family plans a benefit for Tobias' life-endangering hair transplant.

                - 8. Making A Stand -
                Writer: Chuck Tatham, Mitchell Hurwitz
                Director: Peter Lauer
                George, Sr. continues to pit Michael and Gob against each other. Bob Loblaw gets Lindsay a new lawyer, because he says it's a "conflict of interest" to date and represent her, and then represents Tobias in the divorce.
                - 9. S.O.B.s -
                Writer: Jim Vallely, Richard Day
                Director: Bob Berlinger
                The family decide to hold a fundraiser at their apartment in an attempt to pay for a new lawyer and Lindsay becomes a mother figure in the Bluth household, with mixed results. Lots of guest stars in this episode including Andy Richter, Andy Dick, Ben Stiller, Zach Braff et al.

                - 10. Fakin' It -
                Writer: Dean Lorey, Chuck Tatham
                Director: Lev L. Spiro
                The family appear in a mock trial show, hosted by Judge Reinhold (played by guest star Judge Reinhold). Meanwhile Buster fakes a comma to get out of testifying.
                - 11. Family Ties -
                Writer: Rob Weiner
                Director: Bob Berlinger
                Michael thinks he has a sister he was never told about and he tracks down 'Nellie' and hires her as a consultant in the company. But Michael may have made a big mistake.

                - 12. Exit Strategy -
                Writer: Jim Vallely, Mitchell Hurwitz
                Director: Rebecca Asher
                Gob goes to Iraq to perform his Christian magic act and ends up incarcerated - Michael and Buster travel to Iraq to save the day.
                - 13. Development Arrested -
                Writer: Jim Vallely, Chuck Tatham
                Director: John Fortenberry
                The last ever episode. The family throw a yacht party to celebrate their recent successes, but it isn't all smooth sailing.

                CAST

                Jason Bateman: Michael Bluth
                Portia de Rossi: Lindsay Bluth Fünke
                Will Arnett: George "Gob" Bluth II
                Michael Cera: George-Michael Bluth
                Alia Shawkat: Mae "Maeby" Fünke
                Tony Hale: Byron "Buster" Bluth
                David Cross: Tobias Fünke
                Jeffrey Tambor: George Bluth Sr.
                Jessica Walter: Lucille Bluth
                Ron Howard: Narrator
                I think who ever did casting did their job perfectly, I couldn't think of a better cast to play these such strong characters. Every actor is on par!
                DVD EXTRAS

                The DVD has some extras including 3 episodes with commentaries on them and a host of extended and deleted scenes. There are a few more extras but there is not very much. You must remember they have 13 episodes packed onto two DVDs.
                RANDOM TRIVIA

                In Episode 11 - Family Ties - Nellie, is played by Jason Bateman's (Michael) real life sister, Justine Bateman.
                VERDICT

                The Arrested Development Season 3 is a must-have for anybody who says he or she likes comedy. I would also highly recommend Season 1 and 2. Arrested Development is one of those rare treasures of a program that has a sophisticated sense of humour. My favourite character throughout must be Gob - he gets some really funny lines and is played brilliantly by Will Arnett. George Michael also has some brilliant parts and is very amusing to watch. My favourite episode in the series is probably For British Eyes Only - it's brilliant! If you haven't seen this TV show before you must really check it out, and if you have I would expect that you already can't wait for the DVD. The show is really another prime example of a great show that fails to live on due to poor ratings, but is still held dear by a cult following of a few fans. A brilliant Season Three of a brilliant TV show, well worth of my 5 stars. I cannot more strongly recommend this series, it really is brilliant.

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                  16.05.2011 21:54
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                  Fab hair colour!!

                  I've been colouring my hair since my early teenage years - well, technically my mum has as, luckily enough for me, she was a hairdresser (now retired and living the high life!). I've been pretty much every shade out there and tried lots of different hair colour products, however i've always tended to lean towards the more alternative/unnatural shades such as deep purples, reds, pinks and blues.

                  After moving a fair distance away from my parents (boo!) i'd started colouring on my own using brands bought from Camden Market such as Stargazer, for so called bright and dazzling effects. These products however were slightly disappointing as they left my hair feeling brittle and didn't produce great results unless the hair had been bleached first. At the time there wasn't really anything representing bold and dramatic unnatural hair colours in the average highstreet retailer. This is why i was so pleased when Schwarzkopf launched their XXL range of colours into supermarkets and other highstreet retailers!

                  ON TO THE PRODUCT:

                  From personal experience Schwarzkopf have 12+ colours in their XXL range which gives a good amount of choice for all hair colours. The colours i have personally tried are ABSOLUT PLATINUM 00A, MYSTIC VIOLET V87, RED PASSION R43 and DEEP BLACK 99. All of them produced vibrant sumptuous results which i was very pleased with. For the sake of this review i will talk in detail about my experience with the colour i use the most which is - Red Passion (i think it may have been re-named to "real red" now!)

                  PACKAGING:
                  Live Color XXL comes presented in an average shaped box, nothing different from the norm there. The front of the box displays both a man and woman which is unusual but great in breaking down the barriers that only women are allowed to dye their hair. On the sides there is the typical safety information to do with hydrogen peroxide, ammonia and skin reactions. (NOTE: Due to the ammonia in this hair colourant i would highly recommend NOT using this whilst pregnant) Also present is a handy predictions colour chart of what colour your hair may turn after using the product. These aren't usually too accurate on any hair colourant product, but its nice to have nonetheless. These is also a list of what the pack contains, and the information that this is a permanent hair colour and will take time to grow out rather than wash out.

                  CONTENTS:
                  1 tube of Live Color creme
                  1 bottle of developer
                  1 tube of Live Color conditioner
                  1 pair of gloves
                  1 instruction leaflet

                  THE COLOURING: If your hair is long or thick I would suggest using 2 boxes as you will get a more even colour and to be honest it is still a lot cheaper than getting a professional colour!

                  After spilling the contents out over my towelled bedroom floor in front of the mirror, i sat down to have a quick readthrough of the instruction leaflet, which the folded up plastic gloves are gently stuck to. The product is to be applied to dry unwashed hair which is much more convenient for me than having to wash or dampen the hair first. There are two different sets of instructions, one for a first time application and one for root regrowth. As it was my first time using this particular colour, i chose the first option.
                  Preparing the colour is explained step by step and very easy. Simply take the top off of the Color Creme tube, reverse the lid and pierce through the foil protection to open the tube up. Remove the cap of the developer lotion and squeeze the color creme into it. Replace the applicator nozzle securely and shake the bottle until the products appear fully mixed. This took a matter of 2 minutes. Once that was done i was ready to colour! As i've mentioned before, i had towelled the area i was coloring in to avoid any nastly spillages/stains and had also changed into old clothes i didn't mind getting stained. I also had a comb and a few plastic hairgrips handy to help me seperate my hair into sections and hold the hair i wasn't coloring out of the way. A handy hint is to put vaseline around your hairline, ears and neck as this cuts down possibility of the colour staining your skin.

                  The gloves aren't as good quality as some of the other hair colours i have used but they fitted ok and didn't leak during application. I generally section my hair and work from underneath to the top, coating the lengths first, roots second - as i've found strong hair colours tend to activate faster on the roots. The mixture went on evenly and with ease. It was slightly drippier than some others i've used before so i was pleased i'd used the towels and old clothes! Smell wasn't too pungent, quite fruity for a permanent hair colour although i did have the odd cough where i breathed in too close to the area i was working on.
                  The instructions advise leaving the colour on for approximately 30 minutes. I must admit i tend to leave mine on a little longer and did with this particular one too. After application (which took about 15 minutes) and leaving to develop i'd say i had the creme on for about 40 minutes. The pack also advises using two packs if your hair is very thick or long. My hair rests on my bra strap and not too thick so i found one pack to be satisfactory for good coverage. Any longer than that though and i would reccommend investing in a second pack.

                  When rinsing my hair off, the colour started coming out immediately. My 6 year old said it looked like someone was bleeding into the bath as there was so much red dye! After a 5 minute rinse with warm water and an imulsifying blob of shampoo mixed into the equation, the blood (i mean dye!) started to ease off and eventually the water ran clear. The conditioner was easy to open and apply. It smelled similar to the hair colour without the nasty side effects of ammonia and peroxide and really moisturised my hair. After rinsing the conditioner off, my hair felt wonderfully soft and hydrated and smelled gorgeous. Another handy hint is to have an old towel ready to wrap and dry your hair with as even though the water runs clear, the colour still leaks after washing and you will get red stains on white/light coloured towels. The colour had hardly stained my skin though, probably due to the vaseline, and whatever had seeped through was quite easy to get off with soap and water.

                  RESULTS:
                  I towel dried my hair until it was barely damp, then blow dried and styled. My hair was so smooth and felt in great condition. My split ends had seemingly been eliminated and i felt very pleased with the quality of this product. The colour change was quite intense! My natural hair colour is chestnut brown and the colour achieved with XXL was very similar to that on the front of the pack. The only slight difference was mine was possibly a shade darker than that shown, however i was not disappointed with this result. Colour distribution was completely even and the shine on my hair was superb.

                  I would definitely recommend this particular product, and all of the Live XXL colours for people who want to be a bit bolder and stand out from the crowd. This range of colours does just that, and also leaves you with deeply conditioned lovely smelling hair. It lasted a fair while, and i didn't need to do a regrowth application until a good 5/6 weeks after the first. Everyone always comments on how shiny my hair is after using this product and my hairdresser actually advised me against getting my hair coloured professionally when I get such good results from this hair colour!!!

                  The average price i've found is £4.69 in Superdrug and Sainsbury however they are often on special offer in both of these stores as 2 for £7, both of which are great value for money.

                  They have also brought out an XXL Salon Colour hair dye now which is supposed to be as good as what the well named salons use I will give this a go next and write another review!

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                  • More +
                    24.03.2010 13:45
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                    Amazing hotel in an amazing location, book it :)

                    We stayed at this hotel in February and we couldn't have picked a nicer hotel and I wish I was still there :(

                    Overview

                    My mum and dad stopped at this hotel in 2007 and absolutely loved it and they didn't have a bad word to say about it so my boyfriend and I decided we would book to go to Cuba and stop in this hotel. After looking photos of the hotel on the internet I was really excited as it looked lovely and really couldn't wait to go but I soon made the mistake of looking on the dreaded Trip Advisor. Don't get me wrong it is a great website but some times reading some of the reviews on the hotel you will be stopping at isn't a good idea and lets just say there were a few not so good reviews and this worried me a bit, but I shouldn't have taken any notice of them as we couldn't find anything wrong with the hotel.

                    I will try to outline as much as possible in my review with regard to the hotel so hopefully you will pick to go there yourself :)

                    The hotel is a 5 star all inclusive in Playa Pesquaro, Cuba.

                    Location

                    The hotel is located in Playa Pesquero on the white sand beach and is about 17km from Guardalavaca a little local shopping village. The transfer time from Holguin airport is about 1 hour and you will be taken past lots of little villages and the scenery throughout the journey is amazing. Playa Pesquero has a natural beach and isn't man made like Varadero I would also say that it isn't as touristy as Varadero it is more of a relaxed location. When you are driving to the hotel it looks like you are in the middle of nowhere and when you arrive it is hard to believe that such a large hotel could be so neatly tucked away.

                    There isn't really much to do outside the hotel you can get the train to Guardalavaca to do some shopping but that is about it so if you want a nightlife etc then Varadero is more for you. We just wanted a relaxing holiday to chill out so the location was perfect for us.

                    Arrival

                    Arriving at the hotel couldn't have been easier, when we stepped off the bus they told us to let the bellboys unload the luggage off the coach and to go check in and leave our cases by the coach.

                    When we walked in to the lobby to check in we were greeted with a welcome cocktail, I can't remember what it was called but I know it had orange juice and Cuban white rum in it and it was lovely!

                    When we got to the check in desk we were greeted straight away and they just asked to see our passports then gave us our room key and a map of the hotel (believe me you need one!) and then told us to go to our cases and we will be taken to our room. They weren't messing about they were getting through people really quickly to keep the lines down which was really good considering the Cubans being known for their very laid back personalities :)

                    When we got back outside our cases were waiting on a golf buggy and the bellboy took our key and drove us to our room, it was so hassle free and exactly what you need after being on a 10 hour flight. You might be thinking why do they use golf buggies to take you to your room, well the hotel is so big and spread out that if you don't know your way around you could easily get lost and end up walking in circles. Once we got to the room the bellboy carried our cases up for us and showed us to our room.

                    The Room

                    We were in room 1117 and this was close to the front of the hotel and overlooked the pool and pool bar. I am not 100% sure if we had an upgraded room as we did send an email before we arrived which I will explain later.

                    The room was wonderful and very spacious. As we walked through the door on the left there was a large built in wardrobe with slide across doors. There was lots of space to hang your clothes and they did provide some wooden hangers for your clothes, I would suggest taking some of your own in your case as there aren't enough available to hang up all your evening clothes. There is also a big section of draws in the right hand side of the wardrobe so you can fold up your vest tops, underwear etc. You will also find an ironing board and iron in the wardrobe so you don't need to take a travel iron with you also there are some extra sheets and pillows etc.

                    On the right is your bathroom which is fairly big and has a bath/shower, large sink with a large surrounding area for all your toiletries and obviously your toilet. You get quite a wide selection of towels, 2 large bath sheets and about 4 different sized hand towels. Also next to the sink you get a box of tissues and large bottles of shower gel, moisturiser and shampoo which is good, we took our own toiletries as we didn't expect the hotel to provide them and I prefer to use my own shampoo on holiday as your hair does get quite damaged from the sun exposure. The toilet roll isn't of great quality but it is fine for using for just a couple of weeks, they struggle to get hold of toilet roll out there so you should be happy you have it in the hotel!

                    In the main room you have your large double bed which is really comfy and decorated with a yellow bed sheet. Next to the bed you have two bedside cabinets with draws and lamps etc. You get a dressing table and chair with a large mirror opposite the bed this also has a draw for your items. Towards the balcony doors we had two separate wicker chairs with big comfy cushions and a long wicker foot rest, opposite is a TV cabinet with your TV with multiple satellite channels and a CD player. The TV has a wide range of English channels like BBC News, CBS, Cartoon Network etc so when getting ready in the evening you have got a bit of choice, the TV also has a DVD slot so if you want to take a couple of DVD's you can. In the bottom of the cabinet behind some mesh chicken wire door is your mini bar, people may think the chicken wire is strange but you have to remember they are a poor country and they try their best to make the rooms look as appealing as possible. You also have a coffee machine in your room and they supply you with sachets of coffee. On your balcony you have a table and chairs and the balcony is quite spacious there is room to sunbath on their later in the day if you wish.

                    The floor throughout the room is all tiled and the walls are covered in a dark yellow wallpaper and there are pictures painted on the walls, they are decorated really nicely and look lovely and tropical.

                    The air conditioning system works brilliantly and we just left ours on low all day when we weren't in the room.

                    Safety Deposit Box

                    This is situated in the wardrobe and is a digital safe. It is quite roomy and inside we fit: 2 passport holders, my purse full of English money, Nintendo DSI, ipod touch, 2 cameras, 1 blackberry, 1 i-phone and holiday tickets etc. So as you can see it is quite spacious. All you have to do is set a four digit code before you lock the safe for the first time (there are instructions on the safe) then you just use your code to open the safe whenever you need to.

                    Mini Bar

                    This is stocked up daily with a large bottle of mineral water, 2 cans of Cuban coke and 2 cans of Cuban beer. The coke is lovely way nicer than our coke here, it isn't as gassy and is really refreshing. The beer is also really nice and refreshing as it is ice cold out the fridge. We usually took out our cans before we left for the day so the fridge would be fully stocked up when we got back :) they only replace what you have used.

                    Housekeeping

                    We had the same cleaning lady the whole time we were there her name was Baby :) I am not sure if that was her real name but who knows. She was lovely and cleaned them room thoroughly from top to bottom every day. Every day we returned to the room after it was cleaned it smelt lovely and fresh and the bed sheets were changed every day along with the towels. Every day we had a different towel figure on our bed and these always had fresh flowers incorporated in them. We didn't leave her a tip every day just at the end of our stay.

                    Pool Area

                    The pool is huge and there are two separate pools I think they are both heated but they were still quite nippy but it was quite cloudy some days while we were there so that could be why. To be honest they were both always quite empty considering the amount of people in the hotel there really wasn't many people in the pools at all. There are hundreds of sun beds available so you haven't got to worry about saving a sunbed first thing in the morning as you will be guaranteed to get one whatever time you turn up during the day. They also have an activities pool which they play volley ball in etc at about 2:00pm every day. The pool is really clean and the surrounding area is kept looking lovely there is an island in the middle of the main pool and the flowers are all kept trimmed back and looking nice.

                    Pool Bar

                    I love pool bars! you can't beat sitting in the pool while it is hot sipping on a cocktail :) You can enter the pool bar from both sides either from the path area or from the pool and there are about 5 stalls in the pool around the bar. You can have any drink you want and they are served in plastic clear cups obviously due to them being served by the pool etc. From what I can remember the bar is open from 10:30am - 5:00pm.

                    Beach

                    The beach is lovely and there is so much space to pick from. I would suggest walking to the left near where the beach bar and pizza hut is this is where we always sat and it was more quiet than the middle of the beach. If you go down about 8:30-9:00am and get a sunbed you can choose a spot under an umbrella they have people giving out the sunbeds that work for the hotel so you tell them where you want it to go and they will drag it over there for you which is nice, we gave them 1 peso each day and they really appreciated this. We spent most our days at the beach instead of by the pool it was just a lovely relaxing area and I do prefer beaches.

                    The sea is a gorgeous blue and it isn't warm when you first step in but you soon get used to it :) I would definitely suggest going snorkelling it is great out there not as good as Egypt but you still see quite a lot of different fish so if you like snorkelling I would definitely have a go!

                    All the water sports at the hotel are free and every day we took a pedalo out at about 2:00pm, you have to book these at the towel kiosk and they give you a little card with your room number and time on. You get to take them out for an hour and I would suggest going left towards to local camp and follow the sea round in to a little private mangrove it is amazing and so pretty you might even see some very large crabs near the trees, they are so cute and won't come near you! You can also take the pedalo out a bit deeper and go snorkelling you have to take life jackets which is good.

                    Beach Towels

                    When you check in you get a towel ticket which will have the number of towels you are allowed on it this is permitted to one towel per member of your party. You take the ticket to one of the two towel huts either the one by the pool bar or at the beach and they will give you your towels. They then keep your ticket and will give it back to you when you return your towels for the last time before you leave. You can take your towels back every day to get fresh ones they just give them straight to you. Make sure you get your ticket back at the end as you have to hand it in when you check out otherwise you will get charged a 10 peso surcharge per person.

                    Beach Boulevard

                    Leading up to the beach you will walk through the boulevard and in here you will find four shops a camera shop selling film, disposable cameras etc, a drink shop selling Cuban rum, liquor etc they also sell some biscuits, sweets etc, a toiletry shop that sells your every day toiletries but this is very expensive as toiletries are very expensive in Cuba so I wouldn't recommend using the shop.

                    You will also find 2 restaurants there the Caribbean a'la'carte and one of the lunch restaurants also at the bottom is the beer garden which sell drinks and snacks. Try the pork and pineapple it is gorgeous I could have eaten about 5 plates of it :)

                    There is an ice cream parlour at the bottom that has homemade ice cream. You can either have the ice cream in a cone or cup and there are a choice of sauces and toppings. The ice cream is so nice and you have so many flavours to pick from including Rum and Raisin, Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Mandarin, Cookie, lemon and so many more. I used to have a scoop of chocolate and rum and raisin yum yum :) The girl that works there is lovely and gave me a present for giving her a tip which was so nice, she was so friendly and at the end of the holiday I gave her about a 5 peso tip and some old make up etc she also has a 2 year old little girl so I gave her some crayons!

                    Restaurants

                    There are two buffet restaurants available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. These are located near the lobby.

                    Breakfast is great and you have so much choice there is a hot section full of pancakes, sausages, bacon, eggs etc and there is someone making fresh omelettes for you, you just let her now what filling you want and she makes it while you wait. There is a wide selection of pastries and fresh cold meats and cheese etc and obviously your usual cereals and milk. You have so much choice and can have something different every day, I loved the pancakes especially with maple syrup :)

                    Dinner is brilliant they have so much choice again and the desserts are so nice there are too many to pick from I was like a child in a sweet shop. There is a lady that cooks kebab skewers for you or any fresh meat or fish that you want. The meat is very nice and she seasons it with garlic and red wine, you can pick from chicken, port, steak, salmon, tuna and so much more, she also grills vegetables for you and these include peppers, onions etc.

                    The food is lovely it is all fresh produce grown on the premises or nearby and I can't find one bad thing to say about the quality or choice of the food.

                    There is loads of choice for lunch you can go to the buffet restaurants and pick from a choice of food including salad, fresh fish, burgers, hot dogs etc. There is also a restaurant in the boulevard that offers lunch and you order from a menu and they offer fresh pizza, salads etc.

                    There is also a restaurant on the beach that offers salads, hot dogs, burgers, fresh fish you also order this from the menu. This is also the seafood a la carte restaurant at night. They also offer ice cream or fresh fruit for dessert. I would definitely recommend getting the fish of the day!

                    There is a pizza shack on the beach that opens from 12:00pm till 2:00pm and offers fresh slices of pizza these are made to order and are very very nice. The queues do get very big though as it is very popular so I would suggest going later on.

                    Next to the pool is a little burger and hot dog cart and they open from about 12:00pm till 4:30pm and you can have fried onions etc the burgers are very nice and you can tell they are 100% meat and not crappy ones.

                    The a la carte restaurants are lovely and I think there are about 8 in all, make sure you book these in the conference room the day you get there though so you can get the ones you want as they do fill up very quickly. You are allowed to go to 4 per week so if you are staying for 2 weeks you can go 8 times.

                    Unfortunately most of our reservations were for 9:00pm and we found these too late so ended up going to the buffet instead but we did get two for about 7:30pm which was good. You can pick from seafood, Italian, steak house, Caribbean, Asian, The Gondola (which is the fancy restaurant) I can't remember the rest.

                    We wanted to book the seafood restaurant on the beach but this was fully booked but they said the Caribbean offered seafood so we decided we would go there instead. This restaurant is located in the boulevard and is really nice, it is a set menu so if you don't like lobster then don't book this restaurant. For your main you get a platter of fish, steak and lobster it is lovely and I really enjoyed it the lobster was huge but there isn't any other option for your main so if you don't like lobster you are a bit stuck.

                    We also went to The Gondola and this restaurant was amazing it is very quaint and there is a pianist the plays in the corner while you are eating. I really would recommend you go here the food is lovely and I had chicken in parma ham and that was nice.

                    All your drinks are free in the a-la-cartes and you can have a bottle of wine with your meal but ask for house wine as they can charge for the more expensive wines and you won't find out until you get your bill at the end!

                    The Italian is supposed to be lovely and I wish we had gone but we were starving by 8:00pm and didn't want to wait until 9:00pm.

                    Bars

                    The bars offer every drink you can think of and most of the drinks are Cuban but you can also ask for branded drinks but you can't obviously get brands like coca cola etc because it is an American brand.

                    The range of cocktails they offer is endless and if you can think of one they can make it, they know of nearly every cocktail going. There isn't a cocktail menu so you have to know what you want but they will explain to you what they have. I used to look at what other people had and ask for that I found that was the best way. The Pina Coladas were lovely and two of my favourites were Miami Vice and Heaven, give them a try.

                    There is also a coffee bar in the lobby a bit like Starbucks they offer tons of different drinks and pastries.

                    Tipping

                    Cubans don't expect tips but they are very grateful if they receive one. They say if you want to give a tip to give about 1 cuban peso which is 50p in our money. We gave tips to the barmen, sunbed guys on the beach, ice cream lady and at the a la carte restaurants oh and some times to the ladies cooking the omelettes etc. They were all really grateful and appreciated them a lot, a little goes a long way out there.

                    They also love old toiletries, make up, pens/pencils, notepads, tampons etc as these are so hard to get out there and are very expensive. I took a bag of old make up in my case and some crayons etc to give out to someone and like I said I gave them to the ice cream lady as she was so lovely and you would have thought you had given her the world!

                    You don't have to give tips but remember that their monthly wage out there is £25.00 so giving the odd tip helps them quite a bit.

                    Also if you have any cans of beer in the mini bar chuck one to one of the gardeners every now and again they don't get many drinks and really appreciate it when it is hot.

                    Trips

                    There are so many trips to choose from including swimming with dolphins which may I add is only £50.00 I paid £150.00 to swim with dolphins in Florida I was surprised to say the least :) You can also go on a day trip to Havana or an overnight trip which I wish we had the money to do but it was quite pricey at about £200.00 per person.

                    You can also go on day trips to cigar factories etc there are some really interesting trips.

                    I would really recommend going on the speedboat trip it only lasts half a day but you get to go through the mangroves and on the ocean. It is amazing and really thrilling you go very fast and it is bumpy but the adrenaline is great. You and your partner both get to drive if you want and it is so fun. It only costs £30.00 each and is about a 20 minute coach trip from the hotel. Well worth doing :)

                    We really wish we had taken more money for trips but at least we will know for next time.

                    Currency

                    The Cuban peso is a closed currency so you can only get it in Cuba and can't take it back out the country. As you go in to the lobby to the left you will see a currency exchange where you can change your pounds I would suggest just changing a little bit for tips and use your card for the trips. You can change virtually any currency apart from US dollars.

                    The don't accept American Express cards or any cards associated with the USA like MBNA etc so check before you go, bank debit cards are fine as long as the bank isn't American.

                    People

                    You will be ashamed when you see the people in Cuba they hardly have any money but are the happiest and most content people you will ever meet. The children are so happy and do things children should be doing like climbing in trees and making fishing rods out of sticks and plants, they put us all to shame. They have no money yet they are so house proud and proud of what they have got it really makes you think. They are very kind and friendly and love children we didn't meet one person we didn't like. They don't hassle you in the shops and just leave you to your own devices which is nice I hate it in places like Egypt where they hassle you constantly, its a nice place to go on holiday but I hate being pulled in to shops I don't want to go in etc.

                    Insects

                    We read a lot of comments about large spiders etc but we didn't see one actually we didn't see any insects other than a few ants on the beach. I didn't get bitten once while there which was good! Believe me I am petrified of spiders and was so scared about seeing one but I didn't even see a small one so I was very happy. Just don't walk through long grass and you will be fine :)

                    Overall

                    Please don't listen to the bad reviews about this hotel it is amazing, yes it may not be like other 5 star hotels in other countries but they are a poor country and you can't expect the hotel to be absolutely perfect looking and like those in the Maldives, Dubai etc.

                    I cannot find a bad thing to say it has got everything you want nice food with a brilliant choice, tons of drinks, great facilities and lovely beach and pool, the rooms are clean and spacious and the people are wonderful.

                    If you want a relaxing holiday with perfect weather then this is the place for you!

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                    • Top Ten Songs / Discussion / 46 Readings / 42 Ratings
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                      23.03.2010 16:52
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                      Love Music!

                      I was browsing through peoples reviews earlier and noticed a few people had written a review on their top ten favourite songs so I thought I would jump on the bandwagon :). I love music and it plays such a huge part in my life and I would be so stuck without my ipod. I know a lot of people won't be interested in my top 10 but it is something different to do so I will give it a go :)

                      I will work down from 10 with number one being my favourite song!

                      Ten - Lost Prophets - The Fake Sound of Progress

                      This song was released in 2002 and this was the song that got me interested in the Lost Prophets. It is definitely my favourite song by them and loved the video for the song that was filmed in Las Vegas. I love the intro to the song and how it breaks in to such a heavy chorus it is such an high energy song and always makes me feel great when listening to it.

                      Nine - The Kennedy Soundtrack - Killing Music

                      I doubt many people will have heard of this song as I don't think it got very high in the charts and I can't remember when it came out I think it was around 2001/2002. It was by an English rock band who I know are still doing gigs around the UK and are quite popular in the rock world still. I don't know what I like about this song I think it is the catchy guitar riff and the originality of the lyrics, it is a great song and I am surprised it didn't do as well but I am glad I found it :)

                      Eight - Saliva - Always

                      This song was released in 2002 and was one of Saliva's most successful songs, it also was the theme song for WWE's 202 Survivor Series if there are any wrestling fans out there. The reason I love this song is the lyrics relate a lot to a certain part in my life and this song got me through quite a tough time.

                      Seven - Linkin Park - Somewhere I Belong

                      I have always been a massive fan of Linkin Park and I remember being at school the day their second album Meteora came out and I couldn't wait to get home to play it and this song was the one song I fell in love with, my parents must of got sick of me playing it 24/7. This always reminds me of my last year at school and the great friends I had, I also remember being amazed with the video for this song and always watching it on Kerrang. It was released in 2003 and I still listen to it as much today Chester Bennington's voice definitely helps make this song what it is. I could list all of Linkin Parks songs in my top 10 if I wanted to as I love them all but that would be boring :p

                      Six - Linkin Park - My December

                      I love this song so much and wish they had released it, it was only really one of those songs you knew of if you liked Linkin Park as it wasn't a song that was on any of their albums. It is a very slow delicate song which you wouldn't expect from Linkin Park but its wonderful and I would really urge you to listen to it even if you don't like Linkin Park. The thing that I love about Linkin Park are their lyrics and this song doesn't disappoint on the lyrics!

                      Five - Hoobastank - Crawling in the Dark

                      This song was released in 2002 and reminds me of the time I met my boyfriend and the early 2000's where rock music was at its best in years. I love the guitar riff at the beginning of this song and it is such a feel good song, you don't really hear much about Hoobastank any more but they have some really good songs.

                      Four - Evanescence - My Immortal

                      Yet another tear jerker that makes it in to my top 10 but this is an amazing song and the lyrics are so powerful and have you mesmerised especially with Amy Lee's voice singing them. This was released from their album Fallen in 2003 and there are many different versions my favourite version is definitely the band version which transforms from the elegant strings to the heavy guitar are drum instrumental in the final phase of the song.

                      Three - The Fray - Look After You

                      This song was released in 2007 from the Frays debut album How to Save a Life. I heard this song before it was released as I bought their album when I heard their first release. I just love the lyrics in this song and love the way Isaac Slade plays the piano, it is quite a slow song but this suits the lyrics.

                      Two - Goo Goo Dolls - Iris

                      I think this song is so wonderful and I can guarantee it always brings a tear to my eye. This was released in 1998 by American rock band the Goo Goo Dolls and was a hit song from the film City of Angels. The instrumentals in the song are heavily driven by guitar riffs, violins and cellos with a steady drum beat beneath and it absolutely captivates me. This is so close to being my number one favourite song its unbelievable but my number one choice means just that little bit more to me!

                      One - Metallica - Nothing Else Matters

                      I can not put in to words how much I love this song, it is one of those songs that makes me shiver every time I listen to it no matter how many times I have heard it. It was released in 1992 and was written by James Hetfield it is one of the few Metallica songs in which Hetfield rather than Hammett plays the guitar solo. The guitar solo at the beginning is truly amazing and I am just mesmerised by this song, it is not your typical Metallica song but from my point of view it is their best!

                      Well there you go they are my favourite songs, I doubt many people will have the same taste as me but the world would be boring place if we were all the same :)

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                      • More +
                        23.03.2010 13:44
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                        Reliable, Cheap Service AMAZING!

                        Every time we have been to Orlando we have used the i-ride trolley to get around as it is so convenient and cheap, anyone who has been before will know how big International Drive is and I can't begin to imagine how long it would take you to walk from one end of the drive to the other. Also it would cost you quite a lot if you used a taxi to travel up and down the drive. Going to Florida isn't the most relaxing holiday you can go on so finding a cheap and reliable service that transports you around the drive is an added bonus.

                        The Bus

                        The i-ride is a green and white bus that is designed to look like an old fashioned tram. It is quite a small bus with probably about 41 seats available, the seats are more like wooden benches and there are about 8 two seaters then the other seats are just two long benches along the side of the bus. There is also standing space available with rails to hold on to along the roof etc. The buses also have two wheelchair spaces and a hydraulic lift at the middle door.

                        Routes

                        The i-ride offers to different routes up and down I-drive the Red Line Route and the Green Line Route.

                        Red Line Route

                        The red line starts at the North end of International Drive and travels down from the Prime Outlets to the Premium Outlets at the sound end of the i-drive. There are multiple stops down the i-drive on the way and this route will also take you direct to Aquatica and Sea World. It will also stop outside majority of the attractions down the i-drive for example Wonderworks, Ripleys, Pirates Cove Golf, Wet 'n' Wild etc it will also stop outside most the Walgreens. Once the bus gets to the Premium Outlets it will turn back and start heading north again and so on. The buses on this route run every 20 minutes which is very handy so if you just miss one you know you haven't got a long wait.

                        Green Line Route

                        The green line runs from the Boulevard business district and travels along Universal Boulevard it then follows the same stops as the red line once that hits the south side of the i-drive. This is the bus you use if you want to go to Universal Studios. These buses run every 30 minutes.

                        Bus Stops

                        The i-ride has a trolley stop marker system down the i-drive which makes it really easy to navigate your way down the i-drive and where to get on. Each stop has a 10 foot high roadside sign on both sides of the road with either a large circle or square on top displaying a large number. The square is for the red route and the circle for the green route, the stops are all the way down the i-drive and only have a few minutes walk between them so you can imagine how many there are. Also at the stop is the i-ride map which shows you which stops you need to use to get to certain places etc. If you wait at the bus stop the bus will always stop for you and if you are on the bus you just need to ring the buzzer about 20 seconds before your stop and the bus will stop there. The bus won't stop at every stop down i-drive it will only stop if someone is waiting or if someone on the bus wants to get off.

                        There is also a stop outside every hotel down the i-drive which is also very handy.

                        Fares

                        There are two ways to travel on the i-ride you can either pay by cash each time you get on or buy an unlimited pass (this is the most cost effective way).

                        Cash Fares

                        A single fare is $1.25 and senior citizens can ride for $0.25 which is a bargain. Children under the age of 12 also can ride free if they are accompanied by a paying adult which is also good. You do have to have exact change though as the drivers don't carry change you just put your money in a machine and it prints out your ticket.

                        Passes

                        If you are there for 7/14 days then an unlimited pass is the best thing you could buy. The prices are as follows:

                        1 day pass - $4.00 per person
                        3 day pass - $6.00 per person
                        5 day pass - $8.00 per person
                        7 day pass - $10.00 per person
                        14 day pass - $17.00 per person

                        Once you have purchased your pass you can ride the bus as many times as you want during the time you have taken the pass out for. When you get on the bus you just wipe the barcode on the pass along a scanner and it beeps to say it was accepted the driver then lets you aboard.

                        You can purchase the passes from tons of destinations down the i-drive and all the hotels down there will sell them in their ticket/attraction desks. The buses don't sell the passes though!

                        Hours of Operation

                        The buses the every day between 8:30am and 10:30pm.

                        Overall

                        This is a great bus service that saves you a fortune when on holiday down International Drive it is convenient with the large variety of stops down the i-drive and the fact that it stops at over 100 different attractions and hotels etc.

                        The only place this bus doesn't go is Disney but you can get the service to a certain i-ride stop and then get on a local bus to Disney which works out so much cheaper than booking a bus through your hotel, you save about $15.00 and it isn't really a local bus it is full of tourists going to Disney the locals don't really use it.

                        The red line is the route you will use the most and is great at night if you want something to do and fancy going to the premium outlets as the service runs until 10:30pm so you have plenty of time to mooch around and have a bite to eat.

                        The green route really is just for Universal but is handy again if you want to go to the Boulevard at night for the bars and clubs etc.

                        Florida is an expensive holiday with your park tickets etc so finding a cheap way to get around is very welcome, I can't recommend this service enough and if you have children under 12 it is even better value as they can go for free.

                        Its getting 5 stars :)

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                        • More +
                          22.03.2010 16:15
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                          Worth a watch!

                          As you probably already know if you have read my previous reviews I am quite a big Twilight fan and couldn't wait for New Moon to arrive and I was very chuffed when it arrived on Friday 3 days before the release date. That is Amazon for you :) they never disappoint me!

                          I have only recently got in to Twilight after reading all the books so I didn't go to see New Moon at the cinema last year as I wasn't really very interested so I was very excited to watch the DVD as I really enjoyed reading New Moon so I was hoping the DVD would be just as good.

                          First Impressions

                          I bought the special 2 disc edition and I think the cover on this DVD is different to the basic cover. On the front you have a picture of Bella in between Edward and Jacob (obviously showing how she is torn between them both so is stuck in the middle) and in the top right hand corner you have a picture of three of the members of the Volturi and obviously the New Moon logo at the top.

                          My Plot Summary

                          The film starts the same as the book with it being Bella's birthday which is very unwelcomed by Bella as she doesn't want to get any older as every year she gets older she gets a year older than Edward. After pressure from Alice she goes to a birthday party at the Cullen's, while opening a present she clumsily gets a papercut. The one tiny drop of blood that falls off her finger turns the evening in to a mad frenzy and not the celebratory occasion it should have been and leads Edward having to rethink his future with Bella.

                          Edward decides he has to leave Forks and him and his family leave the next day. Bella is left distraught not knowing how to cope without him and starts to find her rebellious side as she promised Edward she would stay safe and she figures that if she puts herself in danger Edward might come back to save her.

                          During this time Bella starts to build a strong relationship with Jacob while spending nearly every day with him. She soon finds out his secret and once again takes it in her stride the same as she did with Edward's secret. She slowly starts to fall in love with Jacob and begins to forget about Edward but when she least expects it Alice appears back in her life to tell her some worrying news.

                          Edward has gone to Italy to visit the Volturi as he thinks Bella is dead and doesn't want to live without her alive in the world. Much to Jacob's disgrace Bella leaves with Alice and goes to Italy to try and stop Edward from making a stupid mistake.

                          My Thoughts

                          I loved the book Twilight as it focused on such an intense love story between Bella and Edward and you couldn't help but become enthralled in the fantasy but even though I really enjoyed the film I preferred the book so much more as it went in to so much more detail. With New Moon it is the other way round I really enjoyed the book but loved the film a lot more.

                          New Moon is very Jacob heavy and if you prefer Edward you might be disappointed as he is only in the actual film for about 20 minutes at the beginning and then about 30 minutes at the end but if you are just a huge fan of the Twilight Saga like I am you won't mind about any of this.

                          I was not a big fan of Jacob in Twilight and thought he came across as this annoying naive teenage boy who was trying to cause trouble between Bella and Edward but in New Moon my perceptions of him changed a lot. You find out that he is madly in love with Bella and would do anything to protect her and keep her happy and his character really starts to grow on you.

                          The reason I like the film a little bit more than the book is because the book does get a little bit repetitive when you are constantly reading about Jacob as a lot of people will find when they read Breaking Dawn :) but the film breaks the Jacob part down a lot and it goes by a lot quicker and smoother.

                          Taylor Lautner has obviously had to work very hard preparing for the transformation of Jacob and you can tell this has definitely worked in his favour.

                          Robert Pattinson seems to play a lot more grown up role in this film and Edward seems to have transformed from this not so confident young guy in to a confident adult and to be honest he is quite out shadowed by Taylor Lautner.

                          Dakota Fanning also plays Jane in the film who is a member of the Volturi in Italy and she comes across as a stunning vampire and plays her part really well.

                          New Moon isn't as romantic as Twilight but there is still the odd love scene but none of them make you nearly stop breathing like the ones in Twilight. There is a bit more action in New Moon and some of the fighting scenes look a lot more intense and you can tell the have progressed on these a lot since filming Twilight. However this could be because Christ Weitz directed this film whereas Catherine Hardwick directed Twilight and he seems to bring the characters more to life the detail in the werewolves is amazing and the fight scene at the Volturi is a lot better than the fight scene with James at the end of Twilight.

                          There isn't as much tension and momentum in this film as there is in Twilight but I think the added better special effects and attention to detail make up for this and I think that when Bella is running through the streets in Italy and she is running past all the people in red capes this makes a gorgeous colourful eye catching scene. Twilight was a very grey film with not much colour as obviously Forks was meant to be seen as a grey dismal place but in New Moon you slowly see the introduction of colour.

                          The last scene of the film is a bit of a cliffhanger and will have a lot of Twilight fans gasping for breath obviously most will have read Eclipse and Breaking Dawn so will know what happens but still it is quite a clever ending and is probably the only breathtaking scene in the film. Obviously to watch and understand this film you will have had to watch Twilight as you would not be able to follow the story properly and it wouldn't have the same effect.

                          Overall

                          This is a good film with more action than Twilight and I do prefer it that tiny little bit more than the book. Edward addicts might be a little bit disappointed with the film as he isn't the main character as in Twilight but I think the last half hour of the film will make up for this! If you weren't a Jacob fan in Twilight you will be after watching this and you will be torn between who Bella should choose.

                          The only disadvantage to this film, Twilight and most likely to the sequels to come is the fact that I think quite a lot of people like them for the wrong reason and that is because of the so-called Jacob and Edward sex appeal and they watch because they are madly in love with the Characters. In Twilight I was drawn in by Edward and the love story but I didn't watch the film because I wanted to see him with his kit off etc and I think that is why a lot of people watch them now which is a shame! This also puts a lot of men off watching it which is also a shame I think it has been branded more of a girls film now and not many men want to be associated with it! Also a lot of the characters are left in the background and not followed through very well like Jessica, Victoria and Laurent you see them for a few minutes and then that is it there is no follow up and hardly any detail where they are involved.

                          Overall it is definitely worth a watch but only if you have seen Twilight otherwise it won't make any sense and won't be anywhere near as interesting!


                          Director: Chris Weitz
                          Running time: 131 minutes
                          Certificate: 12A

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                            19.03.2010 13:11
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                            Great Fun Breakfast Show!

                            I have been listening to Radio 1 now for about 9 years and it provides me with many happy hours while sat at my desk at work.

                            I tend to catch the shows from 8:30am to about 4:30pm so I get a good 8 hours of this station a day, sometimes it is background noise as I am too busy to listen but I do try my best to listen to as much as possible.

                            I always though make sure I listen to the Breakfast Show with Chris Moyles as this sets me up for the day!

                            Background of Radio 1

                            Radio was launched at 7:00pm on 30th September 1967 and was aimed primarily at the 15-29 age group, the first DJ to broadcast on the station was Tony Blackburn and he was put on the prime breakfast show slot. In the 1060's/70's Radio 1 was quite unpopular with its target audience because a lot of its airtime was shared with Radio 2 and this station obviously didn't cater for that age groups needs but despite this it did become the most listened to radio station in the world with audiences of over 10 million for some of its shows and 20 million for the breakfast show.

                            The nineties saw a large addition of new shows and also the introduction of the new music genre shows in the evening.

                            Slogan

                            The UK's new music first!

                            Show

                            The Chris Moyles Breakfast Show

                            6:30am to 10:00am

                            Background

                            Chirs Moyles became the breakfast show presenter on 5th January 2004 and had Comedy Dave at his side from the beginning. The show originally aired from 6:55am to 10:00am but in October 2007 they changed the start time to 6:30am.

                            Team

                            Alongside Chris you have:

                            Comedy Dave - He is the co-presenter and is the genius behind a lot of the written comedy and games on the show.

                            Dominic Byrne - He is the newsreader and has been since Chris moved to the breakfast show.

                            Rachel Mallender - Since January 2004 she was one of the producers on the show and was also daytime producer but this month she was confirmed as executive producer of the show. You will regularly hear her contributing on the show.

                            Aled Jones - He is the welsh producer of the show and he also presents the Sunday Surgery on Sunday nights.

                            Tina Daheley - Tina took over from Carrie Davis as sportsreader in February 2010 as Carrie left to have a baby. You will also occasionally see her presenting 60 second news on BBC3.

                            Finally "to a lesser extent" :) Matt Fincham - He is the assistant producer and when things go wrong on the show he usually gets the blame!

                            The Show

                            The show lasts three and a half hours with the news and sport headlines every half past the hour. The show always starts with a lengthy cheesy parody which changes most days but it always goes along the same route of describing Chris Moyles as the "Saviour of Radio 1".

                            There is a lot of talking in the show and this has mixed reactions some people really enjoy it in the morning but some people can't stand listening to him going on and on. In a typical half hour there is probably about 20 minutes chatting between the team and about 10 minutes of songs. To be honest I enjoy all the talking, it makes it more interesting driving to work and sometimes their conversations have your stomach killing with laughter but I can understand why people do get annoyed.

                            He does get some good guests on the show and they are usually on between 8:00am and 9:00am, he always has a good laugh with them and isn't afraid to ask them questions that other people wouldn't. He doesn't like it if people are late for his show and he will make it clear on air and won't hold back what he thinks, I remember once he said Katie Price couldn't go on because she was 10 minutes late, classic :)

                            Throughout the year they travel to different places in the UK usually in the summer to broadcast the show and have random events such as karaoke evenings etc which you can get tickets to if you are lucky.

                            When they do play music they play some good songs usually whatever is in the top 20 and he does get some good new single releases.

                            They also make a lot of parodies on the show to popular songs which is great and some of them are really funny. It is usually Chris and Dave that make these.

                            Features in the Show

                            Rob DJ's Monday Night Pub Quiz

                            Rob is one of Chris's friends who writes quizzes for a pub in their hometown of Leeds every Monday evening and then on a Tuesday morning on the show Rachel picks 5 questions from the quiz and tests Chris, Dom, Dave and Tina.

                            Listeners are able to play along by texting in and they will usually read some of the texts on air. Until the BBC's fake competition scandal two listeners used to be able to join in live on air but obviously this was axed. The team have to write the answers down on cards and after all the questions have been read Rachel will ask them to show their answers. There is always some debate between the team over the questions and this is usually quite funny.

                            Tedious Link

                            This is Dave's feature and is played every morning around 9ish. Dave links one song in the previous show to another with cleverly written facts to connect the two names of the song title or artist. After the song is played the link between the songs is checked for any mistakes and Chris plays comments from random celebrities they have had on the show either saying the tedious link was great or rubbish.

                            Car Park Catchphrase

                            This is probably the most popular feature of the show and is aired about 9:50am every day of the week apart from Friday. Two listeners sat in their cars listen to three catchphrases and beep their horn when the think they have the answer. The person who gets the most right then goes on to play the next day and this will carry on until they are knocked out by another listener. The listeners used to be able to win a car park catchphrase mug but since the competition scandal this was also axed.

                            The feature begins with the Car Park Catchphrase jingle, followed by Moyles introducing the feature by saying "Good Morning Car Park Fans!", Dominic Byrne is then invited to 'bum' along to the base of the Car Park Catchphrase jingle, followed by a chat with clips of Roy Walker. The two callers are then introduced, and then asked to beep their horn, to which comments are made by the team. The feature is then ended by a clip of Roy saying "Say goodbye Mr Fish... He's waving!"

                            Sometimes the comments Chris makes to the listeners playing makes you cringe but if you apply to go on the show you know what you are getting yourself in to, so you can't feel too sorry for them.

                            Some of the pre-recorded comments from Roy Walker are funny and so make him sound a bit stupid but they do make you laugh.

                            Cheggers Pop Quiz

                            In January 2009 Car Park Catchphrase was replaced by another feature, starring Keith Chegwin called "Cheggers Pop Quiz". Within this Moyles asks two callers questions related to pop music and popular culture. The winning caller (the contestant who has answered the most questions correctly) returns the following day in a 'winner stays on' format. On Wednesday 29th July, Moyles announced that it would be the last edition and due to demand Car Park Catchphrase soon returned.

                            Where Am I?

                            This is a more recent feature created by Dave and runs at about 7:30am. This features the one and only Tim Westwood and the team excluding Dave have to guess where Westwood is in the world with the help from about 10 pre-recorded clips from Westwood. The team get more points the quicker they get the correct answer from the given clues.

                            Golden Hour

                            This is my favorite feature of the show and airs between 9:00am and 10:00pm every Friday. For the first half hour Chris will play songs from a certain year and the rest of the team and listeners have to guess what that year is. Listeners can participate over text and a lot of texts will be read out during the feature they also get texts from various other Radio 1 dj's and other celebrities. At half nine Chris then asks them team for their answers and confirms the year.

                            From half nine to ten they team all get to play a song from the past that they like and the listeners can vote by text if they like the song or think it is rubbish. The songs played during this feature are always great and bring back memories, some songs can be old cheesy classics like backstreet boys, hanson etc.

                            There have been various other features including Celebrity Tarzan, Who Knows Dom and Girls Going to Football.

                            Overall

                            What I like about this show is that it is a team effort, they all contribute in their own way and this makes the show interesting and exciting and it wouldn't be half as good without them. The thing that is strange is Moyles brands himself the "savior of Radio 1" but without the rest of the team the show would be rubbish and wouldn't be worth listening to as listening to Moyles for 3 ½ hours would drive you mad, so really they should all be branded the saviors of Radio 1.

                            Don't get me wrong I do like Moyles and he does make me laugh but listening to his self obsessed, big headed personality would annoy me after a while. He does sometimes over step the mark and the show has had plenty of complaints to Ofcom but I think if you listen to the show regularly you know that the comments he makes do have you in stitches and I don't think he actually means any harm by them, I think he just likes to speak the truth and what he is thinking.

                            Like I said above the constant talking will annoy some people but it doesn't bother me I quite enjoy it in the morning I prefer to listen to their banter than listen to loads of songs, all the others shows provide the songs during the day so it doesn't bother me.

                            I will be sad when they do axe the breakfast show as I guess at some point they will do! As I don't really think you will be able to get another team as good as this breakfast team.

                            This show always puts a smile on my face in the morning and it is one show on Radio 1 that I try to listen to all of without fail!

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                            • More +
                              18.03.2010 13:43
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                              As good as some of the more expensive brands!

                              What Revlon Say

                              Do you want make-up that is flawless looking and weightless for 16 perfect hours? Revlon has the solution - Colorstay makeup with SoftFlex foundation.

                              First Impressions

                              I had heard some good reviews on this foundation so when I went shopping one day I decided I would have a look for it and see if it looked any good.

                              I decided I would go to Boots as I had about £15.00 of points on my advantage card from buying Christmas presents so I would use these to purchase some makeup. I don't usually pick Boots as I find over high street shops usually have better offers available but like I said I wanted to use my points.

                              My first impressions when I saw the foundation was that it look expensive and quite "professional". It is in a long thin 30ml glass bottle about 4 inches in height and it has a black screw top lid. The front of the bottle tells you the name, shade etc and on the back the bottle reads:

                              - SoftFlex provides all day comfort
                              - Oil free shine control
                              - Natural, flawless look
                              - Transfer resistant

                              You can also peel the label back to reveal the ingredients and application instructions.

                              The instructions state - Shake well. Apply to one area at a time, blending quickly. Remove with facial cleanser.

                              Where to Buy

                              You can get this foundation in most high street pharmacies including Boots, Superdrug etc and also as I stated in my other foundation reviews you can also get it on Ebay for about £4.00 cheaper and free postage so I tend to buy a few off here when I am running low. Always make sure you use a proper shop for buying make up on Ebay though and not an individual seller you never know how long they have had the make up!

                              Price

                              The recommended retail price for this foundation is £11.99 and the prices ranges between £10.00 and £11.99 in different shops. It isn't the cheapest foundation on the high street but it is worth every penny!

                              Shades

                              This foundation comes in 10 different shades in two formulas, Normal/Dry Skin and Combination/Oily Skin. They also have SPF 15 protection which is good!

                              Ivory, Buff, Nude, True Nude, Sand Beige, Natural Beige, Fresh Beige, True Beige, Natural Tan and Toast.

                              I stick to True Nude as I find this is perfect for my skin.

                              Application

                              As I mentioned above the bottle has a screw lid which is a little bit annoying as the liquid is quite runny so when you pour it out it does come out quite fast, it would have been much better if they had put a pump on top instead but never mind.

                              As I said above the liquid is quite runny but very thick (which is strange) so I use my fingers to apply this foundation sometimes I use a brush but it usually depends on the consistency of the foundation I am using.

                              I pour a bit of the liquid slowly in to my hand, you don't need a lot so make sure you do pour it slowly! I then dab it on to my face evenly and work the liquid in with my fingers, you do have to be quick though as this foundation does dry quickly so you have to make sure you have got every area on your face covered quite quickly. I tend to do an area at a time this way you haven't got to rush as much and you get a much better even colour.

                              The smell of the foundation is lovely and it is hard to describe it isn't a fresh feminine smell but smells a bit like coffee!? This might sound strange or even horrible but it really isn't it is actually really nice and I love putting it on in the morning so I can smell it :)

                              When applying the foundation the consistency of the product on your face is lovely and it feels very soft and moisturising.

                              The Look

                              Revlon say that Colorstay is a medium to full coverage foundation and I couldn't agree more. It gives you perfect coverage and dries with quite a powdery finish leaving the skin looking airbrushed and flawless.

                              As I said above it feels so soft when you are applying it to your skin and once you have completed your make up it doesn't feel to heavy or claggy it just feels and looks wonderful.

                              I use the True Nude shade and this matches my skin tone perfectly you can't even tell where the foundation ends and my normal skin starts. This makes it look so natural and this is what I want out of foundation.

                              Overall

                              To me this foundation is as good or even better than any MAC sell and is available for the half the price.

                              I cannot explain how wonderful it leaves your skin looking and how perfectly it blends with your natural skin tone.

                              It may take a little longer to apply but surely this is a good thing as it means you are spending more time getting your foundation perfect!?

                              I tend to wear this more for evenings and when I am going out etc as it looks stunning when you have done all your make up properly in the day I only wear foundation, eye liner and mascara so it seems a bit of a waste, so I just stick to Rimmel Recover during the day.

                              I cannot recommend this foundation enough and it really is as good as some of the more expensive brands out there so I would definitely recommend going out and buying a bottle, you won't be disappointed!

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                              • Rimmel Recover Foundation / Make Up / 20 Readings / 17 Ratings
                                More +
                                18.03.2010 12:54
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                                Rimmels best foundation to date!

                                My skin can be quite sensitive at times and I have always struggled to find a foundation that suits my skin and that I feel comfortable wearing well that was until I found Recover by Rimmel.

                                First Impressions

                                I was recommended by some of my friends to try this foundation as they couldn't find a bad thing to say about it and said that it was the best foundation they had ever tried.

                                Reluctantly I headed off to Superdrug to scan the Rimmel make up section to see if I could find this foundation. When I arrived I wasn't surprised to find it in the special offers section in the middle of the shelf and was on offer for buy one get one free. The 30g bottle is a pearly beige colour with pink writing on the front and a twistable pink lid, it also states on the front on a little round sticker what colour the foundation is. To be honest if I hadn't been recommended this foundation I probably would have bought it when I saw it in the shop as it is quite an eye catching bottle and I love anything that is pink :) The only thing that I wasn't too sure about was the size it did look very small compared to my usual foundation so I wasn't sure if it would last as long.

                                What Rimmel Say

                                Illuminating anti-fatigue foundation. Energy boost complex energises tired skin. Brightening formula helps skin glow. Light to medium coverage. Get up and glow

                                Where to Buy

                                You can buy the Rimmel range of make up from most major pharmacies in the UK.

                                Superdrug, Boots, Tesco all sell this foundation but Tesco only sell a few different colours they don't stock the full range.

                                You can also get them new and sealed off Ebay for about £2.00 cheaper per bottle so if you aren't in a rush it makes sense to order a few bottles off there before your last one runs out. I would only buy them from the proper pharmacy shops on Ebay though and not the general sellers as you aren't always sure if they have been used and if they have how long they have been open for.

                                Also if you have an "Original Factory Shop" near where you live they get Rimmel foundation in quite a lot and when they have this foundation they sell it for £2.99 a bottle which is a bargain and they get nearly all the colours. I always make sure I stock up on it if I find my colour!


                                Price

                                The recommended retail price is £6.49 for a 30g bottle and this is what most high street shops sell it for. I don't think this is a bad price at all for a foundation, to be honest I think they could get away with charging more but we won't be telling Rimmel that :)

                                Shades

                                The foundation is available in 7 shades Bronze (402), Amber (401), True Nude (303), Classic Beige (201), Ivory (100), Porcelain (101) and Soft Beige (200).

                                Those with very pale or darker skin might be disappointed by the shades available as there isn't really any choice available for these skin types.

                                I always try to stick to the more natural shades like True Nude and Classic Beige. I find that Classic Beige suits my skin better in the summer as my face has more of a natural colour but in the winter months my skin better suits True Nude as my skin is more pale and this just provides a nice natural finish.

                                Smell

                                If you are sensitive to fragranced products then this foundation isn't probably for you as it does have quite a strong fragrance. I think it is a lovely feminine smell and smells lovely when you are rubbing it in to your face.

                                Application

                                Everyone has their own way of applying their foundation either by using their hands or a brush and my preference changes with what foundation I am using. If I am using a more fluid liquidy foundation I use my fingers but if the foundation is of more of a thick consistency I use a brush as I feel this helps blend it in better.

                                This foundation comes out more as a fluid so I tend to use my fingers, I squeeze a finger nail size amount on to my fingers and dot the foundation around my face evenly. A small amount goes a long way and covers nicely so you don't need a lot! It isn't a quick drying foundation like some so you have a long time to be able to blend it in and make sure that every crevice is covered and that one application is all you need you don't need to use any more foundation. Using the small amount gives you just a nice natural cover without looking too caked! You can also buy a Rimmel Recover Concealer, if you are using this foundation I would suggest buying one of these as you can buy them in the same colour as the foundation so it blends lovely and hides imperfections perfectly.

                                The Look

                                Rimmel state that this foundation will bring a new lease of life to your skin and say that it will look a lot brighter and radiant. They also state it will last all day which I am never convinced about but this foundation has exceeded all my expectations.

                                I always try to look after my skin and always take my make up off at night but sometimes it can still look dull and de-hydrated in the morning. However this foundation always brings life in to my skin and makes it look more radiant and it is always so smooth to touch all day.

                                The foundation has a slight shimmer which leaves the skin glowing and everyone I see always comments on this I think it is a nice touch. It isn't too much though just a very light shimmer which is more radiant when the sun catches it, you wouldn't want too much shimmer for a foundation you were during the day.

                                The most important thing for me is the cover and if it does actually last all day and this foundation does, I never have to re-apply it or feel that it is starting to rub off. I wear it alone most days and it still last nearly all the day, it does last longer though if you seal it with powder but during the day I just like to wear simple make up so only really wear foundation, eye liner and mascara.

                                As I said at the beginning my skin can be sensitive at times and I find this foundation very gentle on my skin and it doesn't seem to clog it up so I am very happy with it. I think I have only ever found two foundations that I am really pleased with and they are Rimmel Recover and Revlon Colorstay these are both great foundations for what they cost.

                                Overall

                                I love this foundation and it offers is a perfect flawless light cover that doesn't weigh your skin down. I would definitely recommend trying it as it really don't think you will be disappointed!

                                It is a great price and even though it is a small bottle it lasts ages as you only need to apply a small amount each time so it really is a bargain!




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