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durham_girl

durham_girl
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Member since: 11.10.2008

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      27.11.2014 18:05
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      • "Centrallu located"

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      • "Poor value"

      Not as nice as the price suggests

      Oldfields is a small restaurant located in the centre of Durham City, at the bottom of Claypath near The Gala theatre.

      Offering tradition British food, the menu includes meats such as duck, mackerel, chicken, pork and steaks. All of the food is locally sourced from suppliers in the north east, including venison form the nearby attraction Raby Castle. Even the vegetables come from local markets. In a time where lots of our food is flown half way round the world before it reaches our table I find this buy local attitude very refreshing.

      The food was above average but the portion sizes were very small. They also sell premade takeaway portions to reheat at home. I first tried these at a christmas fair and while the sample portion was tasty and the meat tender, I found the meal to not live up to expectation and the meat was fatty and stringy.

      The prices are higher than other similar eateries in the area although they do have a lunch time menu where you can get a three course meal for £14.50 which seems fairly reasonable. For comparison a three course evening meal would cost £29 plus drinks. We had an evening meal an to be honest weren't particularly impressed. The portion sizes were on the small side and overall I felt that the meal didn't live up to expectations.

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      07.07.2010 22:21
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      I can recommend it

      I'm not one to stick with the same fragrance for very long, I tend to go through phases depending on the time of year and whether I want to wear it during the day or in the evening. I first heard of this fragrance when it was first released a few years ago, but it didn't really register with me until some time later when I tried a tester spray. I really liked it so I bought the smallest size available.


      As with a lot of fragrances, it's hard to describe the exact smell of the fragrance, but I would say the most noticeable scent is a strong fruity smell, but not citrusy like most fruity perfumes. I also get a vanilla aroma, but this is very light and understated. The last main aroma I get is an almost woody smell which I find balances out the fruity smell very well.


      I found the perfume to be very versatile, it was great to for use during the day as it is light and airy, but it also worked very well for evening use as the fragrance is nice and strong without being overpowering.


      I was once told that if you suit a certain scent you shouldn't be able to smell it on yourself. I'm not sure how true it is but I can never smell it when wearing, but I seem to get a lot of people commenting on it. I can always smell it if other people wear it and it always smells good.



      I bought the Eau de toilette spray which is available in 20ml, 50ml and 100ml. Also available is a natural deodorant spray, skin moisturiser and a body wash. When I bought the perfume there was an offer running to get a free moisturiser which I also liked. It absorbed into the skin well and the scent lasted for a long time.


      Price varies depending on where it is bought from. I tend to shop around as the difference can sometimes be very large.


      It's not particularly summery, I would probably recommend this fragrance more for autumn use as the woody undertone would suit that time of year perfectly.

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        28.05.2010 20:39
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        It's like Marmite, love it or hate it

        Unless you've been living under a rock, it would be hard to have missed the latest hit show from the US - Glee. The programme centres round the lives of the members of the McKinley High glee club. What really sets this show apart from others is that it includes several songs performed by the characters each episode. Often the songs are reflective of what the characters are going through at that time.


        Main Characters
        - Will Schuester. The teacher in charge and ex glee club member.
        - Rachel. A self confessed diva, her biggest ambition is to become a star.
        - Finn. Star of the football team who is coerced into joining the glee club by Mr Schuester.
        - Sue Sylvester. Coach of the school's cheerleading squad and bane of Mr Schuester's life.
        - Artie. Wheelchair bound guitarist whose biggest dream is to be a dancer.
        - Quinn. Finn's girlfriend who joins the club to keep an eye on him, but she's hiding a secret...
        - Mercedes. Soulful diva who keeps being overlooked in Rachel's favour.
        - Kurt. Camp as Christmas male diva.
        - Puck. Football jock who joins the club after being persuaded to by Finn.
        - Tina. Quiet and shy she pretends to have a stutter to drive people away.
        - Miss Pilsbury. The school's neurotic guidance counselor.
        - Terri Schuester. Will's wife who fakes a pregnancy to try and rekindle her relationship with him.


        It's really hard for me to pick a favourite character, they're all so funny and they interact really well together. At a push I would probably say Sue Sylvester. She is Will's arch nemesis and the part is played to perfection by Jane Lynch. Cold and calculating she stops at nothing to get what she wants and she wants to bring Will and the Glee Club down...


        Episode List

        Episode 1 - Pilot
        After his own positive experience in the Glee Club, Spanish teacher Will Schuester decides to take on leadership of the club. He finds it harder than expected to reach the minimum number of recruits though.

        Episode 2: Showmance

        The newly formed Glee Club perform for the first time in front of the whole school. Quinn decides to join the club to keep an eye on boyfriend Finn.

        Episode 3: Acafellas
        Will forms male group Acafellas and starts to neglect his Glee club duties, leaving the club to fend for themselves.

        Episode 4: Preggers
        In an attempt to impress his Dad, Kurt tries out for the football team with hilarious results as he starts to rub off onto them... Quinn reveals something big to Finn.

        Episode 5: The Rhodes Not Taken
        Former club member April Rhodes is brought into the club to try and add an extra dimension. What Will doesn't realise is that April has a drinking problem and the rest of the club want to be just like her.

        Episode 6: Vitamin D
        Terri Schuester is hit with an attack of the green eyed monster and takes the job of nurse at the school to keep an eye on Will, despite having no nursing qualifications at all.

        Episode 7: Throwdown
        Quinn's secret gets out and her status as Queen Bee of the school is removed, but she soon finds out who her friends are.

        Episode 8: Mash-Up

        Will asks the club to choose a mash up of two songs to perform, but they all soon find out that sometimes two things just don't go together, no matter how hard you try.

        Episode 9: Wheels
        In an attempt to see how life is like for Artie, the club spend time in wheelchairs.

        Episode 10: Ballad
        After asking the club to sing their favourite ballad, Will finds himself in a sticky situation when one of the club members develop feelings for him.

        Episode 11: Hairography
        The club learn how get ahead of the competition - by using hairography!

        Episode 12: Mattress
        The club manage to land a singing job by filming an advert for a local mattress company, with unexpected results.

        Episode 13: Sectionals
        Due to Sue's scheming the club are at a disadvantage when it's revealed the song lists have been leaked and the competing clubs are singing their songs first! Can they come back from this?


        This has fast become on of my favourite shows, the vast majority of the acting is excellent and the actors seem to fall into their roles seamlessly. The songs are the icing on the cake, I love to singalong (not well!) and while a lot of the songs are very well known there is the odd one that isn't, but they are all picked well and suit the actors singing voice.


        The show has spawned several albums with songs from the show or you can watch the songs on youtube.


        Special Features

        - Welcome to McKinley!
        - Glee Music Video
        - Full Length Audition: Rachel "On My Own"
        - Full Length Audition: Mercedes "Respect"
        - Fox Movie Channel Presents Casting Session
        - Deconstructing Glee with Ryan Murphy
        - Dance Boot Camp
        - Jane Lynch A to Glee
        - Meet Jane Lynch
        - 5 Things You Didn't Know About Jayma
        - 7 Things You Didn't Know About Cory
        - 6 Things You Didn't Know About Amber
        - 7 Things You Didn't Know About Chris
        - Video Diaries from Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, Matt Morrison, Cory Monteith, Kevin McHale, Amber Riley,Chris Colfer and Dianna Agron

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        • GHD Mk4 Straighteners / Hair Care / 29 Readings / 28 Ratings
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          28.05.2010 19:44
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          My best buy ever!

          My name is Louise and I'm a GHD addict.


          I always wish I'd been born in the 80s. Besides the fab music and crazy fashion, big hair was in! From bouffants to backcombing, everybody had a massive 'do. Fast forward 20 years and poker straight hair is the norm. My hair when unstraightened resembles an afro so a good pair of straighteners are an essential weapon in my beauty arsenal!


          After trying lots of different brands I found several that did the job, but do as little as wave a cup of water over my hair and it would turn to a frizzy bush! My sister then started working in a hairdressers and came home raving about these straighteners they used called GHDs. At the time I was more focused on going out with my friends, so spending circa £60, which was what they cost the salon (they were going to sell them to me for cost price!) seemed like an unnecessary waste of money. How I regret that decision! When I eventually got round to buying them, they cost over £100, but even at that price they are well worth it!


          So are they really better than cheaper brands? Yes, absolutely. Over the years I've spent a small fortune on straighteners and I can honestly say the GHDs are far superior than any other brand. Too much heat on your hair is damaging and can easily burn it, one quick swipe and my hair is poker straight, meaning less damage! Less time consuming too, I've knocked a good 15 minutes off time spent straightening by using the GHDs. They seem to glide over the hair rather than clamp it and pull. Once done, my hair is feels smooth and silky and rather like I should be on an advert!


          The effects seem to last longer than other brands too.I wash my hair every other day and I only ever have to use them right after washing, unless I get rained on! With other brands I found that I needed regular top ups to keep the smooth look.


          When I was passing up the opportunity to get a bargain(!),my sister bought a pink pair. 7 years later they're still going strong! My little sister bought a pair around 6 years ago and hers are still trucking too! I find this to be very good value on a product that they both use every day.


          They have a really long cable, which is handy for those some distance away from a socket and the ceramic plates give even temperature distribution. My favourite feature though is the automatic shut off after 30 minutes of inactivity. I'm terrible for leaving them on so this feature is very reassuring.


          The only problem with this brand is the amount of fakes available. GHD have a list of authorised sellers on their website and I would only purchase from one of these places. Never ever buy a pair off ebay as the vast majority of them are fake! GHD also have a nifty feature on their website where you can put the serial number in and they will tell you whether your pair is fake or not.


          All in all, I can't recommend these highly enough, every frizzy haired person should have a pair!

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          • Vaseline Sheer Infusion / Body Care / 53 Readings / 52 Ratings
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            14.05.2010 19:20
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            I cannot recommend it

            There's nothing better than a good freebie, so when a small sachet of this product, Vaseline Sheer Infusion fell through my letter box this morning I was very pleased. I'm currently 5 months pregnant and my skin has gone haywire, so this was shaping up to be the perfect freebie.


            This is a relatively new addition to the Vaseline range and is marketed as being a super moisturiser. 'It infuses and suspends superior moisture across all layers of your skin' which is deeper and superior than most moisturisers out there.


            As I only got a small sachet, I applied it to my dryest areas - my face, chest and arms. When putting it on the cream seemed to go on easily and it had a pleasant, neutral smell. I rubbed the cream in and waited for it to be absorbed. 15 minutes later I had to wash my hands as they felt very greasy and tacky, even though I'd wiped the excess cream onto my legs. 6 hours later and I can still feel the cream on my skin. Everywhere I applied it feels greasy and not very nice. The best comparison I can make is to aftersun, which I can always still feel hours later. It's not a pleasant feeling and I'm looking forward to washing it off.


            My skin does feel moisturised, but not any better moisturised compared to Nivea which I normally use and even if it did, I wouldn't buy this product as I feel the negatives outweigh the positives.


            The lotion is available in 3 varieties; Botanical Blend, Vitamin Burst, and Mineral Renewal. The variety I tried was the Vitamin Burst which contains Vitamins B5 and E, both are nutrients known to boost the skin.


            It is available at most supermarkets and places like Boots etc for the princely sum of £4.99 for 200ml. Even if I did like the product, the price would put me off as I feel it's pretty expensive compared to comparable products.

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              08.05.2010 23:46
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              !niaga revo dna revo ti dear nac I

              Backwards is the fourth Red Dwarf novel, but the first written solely by Rob Grant, one half of the original writing team along with Doug Naylor. Even though this is the fourth book, it follows on from the second book, Better Than Life, completely ignoring the third book; Last Human which was written by Doug Naylor. Confused yet?!


              The Characters
              - Dave Lister. The last human alive, currently absent from his home universe and living in a universe where time runs backwards.
              - Arnold Rimmer. The hologram of Lister's former bunkmate. Generally a bit on the obnoxious and arrogant side.
              - Cat. The humanoid descendent of Lister's cat which he smuggled on board Red Dwarf over 3 million years ago.
              Kryten - A mechanoid who the crew go to for advice, laundry and a cup of tea.


              So, following on from Better Than Life, we find Lister living in an alternate reality in which time flows backwards. He was brought here after dying aged 61 in his own universe and the Rimmer, Kryten and Cat arrange to meet him on his 25th birthday. When Lister doesn't turn up at the arranged time, the crew start the search for him and learn he and the Cat have been implicated in a murder. Even though this murder hasn't been committed yet, Lister has spent the last 10 years in prison, unlike the other inmates who have a 'reverse' memory and know if they're innocent or not, Lister has no idea if he committed the crime or not. The reason he's late is because this is the day he is 'captured'. He is brought from prison, unarrested and meets up with the rest of the crew. They are reverse chased until they are back in the mountains where they landed their ship Starbug.


              After missing the window for take off and being able to return to their own universe they are stuck on htraE (Earth) for another 10 years. Lister is also revealed not to be the murderer, but one of the other crew members instead. During that 10 years Lister and the Cat both become younger, ending up with a physical age of around 15. They finally are able to take of and hit the second flight window and return safely to their own universe and head back to Red Dwarf.


              What they fail to anticipate is that Red Dwarf is not where they left it! The ship's computer Holly has been trading off his IQ to increase his lifespan. He's now left in the position where he can no longer remember how to reverse the process or even calculate his current IQ. In this weakened state, he neglects to notice an Agnoid boarding the ship. Agnoids are the ultimate killing machines and there favourite prey are the old human masters. After learning Lister is the last human alive, the agnoid sets a torturous plan in motion. Can the Dwarfers get out of this one?


              The reason this novel ignores Last Human, the third book is because after writing Better Than Life, the 2 writes decided to go their separate ways for various reason. The end result is that both Last Human and Backwards follow on from the same novel. Backwards follows Better Than Life a bit more closely, starting exactly where the previous book finished. It's also a bit more nice compared to Last Human where the characters are more complex and the whole book is a lot darker. In Backwards the characters are very similar to their TV counterparts and the jokes and one liners flow more freely. The storyline is relatively simple to understand and the concept of a backwards Earth is explained well, usually through Lister who has lived there for over 30 years.


              As with the rest of the books there are some recognisable situations and one liners which have been incorporated from the TV series. I quite like this as when I read the book I can see the actors in my minds eye and it makes the jokes etc funnier. The brilliant episode from Series 6 has also been incorporated into this book and I really think it's better in print.


              I'm a big fan of Red Dwarf, both the books and the TV series and I did enjoy this novel very much. I would recommend it to Red Dwarf fans and Sci-Fi fans alike.

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              • The Twits - Roald Dahl / Junior Book / 39 Readings / 37 Ratings
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                07.05.2010 23:28
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                A fab book enjoyed by all

                After reviewing George's Marvellous Medicine yesterday, I felt a compulsion to read more Roald Dahl, so as a bit of light bedtime reading I read another Roald Dahl classic, 'The Twits' before retiring last night.


                Roald Dahl is an author of mainly children's books, although he did write some adult novels he is best known for his ability to scare and delight children.


                The Twits was first published in 1980 and tells the story of a delightful couple, Mr and Mrs Twit. The Twits are not the nicest of folk, Mr Twit is covered in hair and has a large beard which he never bothers to wash. As a result of this he always has bits of food stuck in it which comes in very handy when he fancies a snack. He's very cunning and tends to always have a plan up his sleeve. Mrs Twit used to be a beautiful woman, but lots of ugly thoughts over the years have turned her into an ugly person inside and out. She walks with a stick which is used if any children or animals get in her way and has a glass eye.


                What they enjoy is playing tricks on each other. Mrs Twit regularly puts her glass eye in Mr Twit's mug of beer and has even served him worms instead of spaghetti. In return Mr Twit makes her think she is shrinking, by glueing a small piece of wood onto her walking stick every night. Desperate for a 'cure' she allows him to stretch her by tying her arms to helium balloons and her feet to an iron ring.


                The Twits hate anybody trespassing in their garden. They once spread glue on their tree and captured some boys who sat on it, they managed to escape only by leaving their trousers behind and running home bare bottomed! They also use this method to capture birds to make their house speciality; bird pie.


                The Twits have a family on monkeys called The Muggle Wumps that live in the garden. With the arrival of their friend, The Roly Poly bird they soon hatch a plan to get revenge on The Twits.....


                It's very obvious the book was written with children in mind, parts of it are very graphic when it comes to describing the food in Mr Twits beard and eating the worm spaghetti. Dahl himself agreed when critics said this, he said and I agree, children love to be disgusted.


                It's a pretty short book, so ideal for younger readers, the language used is simple and easy to understand. I myself first read it at a young age and considering the book was written before I was born, I think it's stood the test of time very well.


                Illustrated by Quentin Blake the pictures really do add to the story. There is a picture of Mr Twits beard and all of the disgusting things in it, a picture of him drinking his beer to find a glass eye in the bottom and lots more.


                The book has been adapted for a film and it is rumored John Cleese will play Mr Twit aswell as writing the screenplay. There is a release date of 2012.

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                • More +
                  07.05.2010 00:23
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                  Ideal for kids of all ages!

                  As a child I was a big fan of reading and I used to go through books very quickly. I can remember going to the library once a week on a Thursday with my Mam and my Great Grandma and taking out the maximum allowed which was 12 books. I always finished them all before returning the following week and sometimes I'd wait in the reading section for them and have a book half read before I'd even left the library!


                  One of my favourite authors was Roald Dahl. His sense of fun and his wild imagination appealed to me immensely and I read and reread his books often.


                  George's Marvellous Medicine was one of my favourites and I recently read it again after picking up a selection of Roald Dahl books at a car boot sale. Upon starting to read I immediately regressed back to childhood and devoured the book!


                  The story centres around George, who lives on a small farm with his Mother, Father and Grandma. His Grandma is a nasty old woman who only thinks of herself. One day George's parents go out, leaving George to take care of his Grandmother and give her her medicine. In an attempt to cure his Grandmother of her selfishness and general unpleasantness, George decides to concoct a medicine of his own to give her, using delights such as Golden Gloss Hair Shampoo, WaxWell Floor Polish, sheep dip and dark brown gloss paint. However George is unable to predict what effect the medicine will have on his Grandma....


                  Even though it's written for children, I still enjoyed the book and really like the writing style used. Roald Dahl really seemed to have a talent for getting into a childs head and knowing exactly how far he could go. I suppose it could be said that the book contains a lot of dark humour, especially towards the end, but children all over the world enjoy it.


                  This is the perfect book to get away from adult problems for the 15 or so minutes it takes to read and become a child again. We all have people we'd love to see get their comeuppance and this book almost makes it seem possible!


                  The book is illustrated by Quentin Blake, who did the vast majority of Dahl's childrens books. In my opinion Blake is just as responsible as Dahl for the success of this book as in this case the pictures really are part of the story and I don't think the book would be the same without them.


                  From the back of the cover....
                  George's grandma is a grizzly, grumpy, selfish old woman with pale brown teeth and a small puckered-up mouth like a dog's bottom. Four times a day she takes a large spoonful of thick brown medicine, but it doesn't seem to do her any good. She's always just as horrid after she's taken it as she was before.

                  So when George is left alone to look after her one morning, it's just the chance he needs...

                  The above quote really confirms for me that older books are better. Nobody would be able to get away with saying a character had a mouth like a dog's bottom nowadays!


                  The book is widely available and is currently on Amazon for 1p plus postage.

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                  • Weetabix Oatibix / Other Food / 29 Readings / 27 Ratings
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                    06.05.2010 20:00
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                    Stick to Weetabix instead

                    I've been a lifelong fan of Weetabix and ever since Oatibix was first released I've been meaning to try them as an alternative. I'm a bit picky though and wary of trying new things incase I don't like them. I was in Tesco last night and I saw they were on offer so I bit the bullet and bought a pack.


                    They're grouped together with the rest of the breakfast cereals and come in just the one size which is a pack of 24 individual biscuits. The packaging is very similar to Weetabix and is easy to spot. The outer is cardboard and the Oatibix are separated into 2 amounts which are both wrapped in plastic to try and keep them fresh.


                    I'm not a big fan of milk, so when I have Weetabix I normally just put enough on to mean the it is wet through, but not soggy. With the Oatibix I found that this wasn't possible. I put a decent amount of milk on that sat down to enjoy my brekkie. On the first spoonful I found that the milk had saturated the outside, but the inside was bone dry. Another healthy dollop of milk was added, but the same problem occurred. The only solution was to chop the Oatibix up, then pour the milk on. Not the ideal solution, but the only was I could guarantee I wasn't going to choke on dry biscuit!


                    Once I started eating, I found that taste to be very similar to Weetabix. Infact I could tell hardly any difference whatsoever. I was expecting them to have a nutty undertone as with oaty products I have tried before, but there was no hint of this. I also thought they were a bit more sticky and gooey than Weetabix and this didn't endear them to me at all.


                    All in all, I have to say I wasn't impressed. I won't be buying them again and will stick to Weetabix in future. I'm thinking of adapting a recipe for Weetabix cake into Oatibix cake as a means of getting rid of the remaining 22 pieces!


                    Nutritional Info per 2 biscuit serving.

                    Calories - 181kcal
                    Carbohydrate - 30.6g
                    (of which sugars) - 1.5g
                    Fat - 3.8g
                    (of which saturates) 0.6g
                    Fibre - 3.5g
                    They are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.


                    They are currently on offer at Tesco for £2, the usual selling price is £2.26.

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                  • More +
                    05.05.2010 19:36
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                    I like it, but it could be improved.

                    Freemans Quay is Durham's newest leisure facility. Located opposite the Cascada Bowl it is easily accessible via a junction halfway up Claypath. It doesn't have a dedicated car park, but opposite is a pay and display. This is pretty expensive to use, so I tend to use public transport.

                    Inside the large futuristic looking building, there is a 25 metre 8 lane pool, learner pool, dance studio and fully equipped gym. They also offer a wide range of different exercise classes to suit all ages and abilities.

                    I mainly use the pool and so far I've found it to be pretty good. The water is normally just the right temperature and I've not found any floating nasties yet! My only gripe with the pool is the lane swimming they offer is quite limited. As I work during the day I like to swim on an evening. However the Durham City Amateur Swimming Club also train on an evening meaning the lanes aren't open until they finish at 9pm. I've also found that the changing rooms aren't as clean as I'd like. I've noticed marks on walls that have still been there a week later and on occasion the tiled floors have been a bit slimy round the edges.

                    Next to the pool is a steam room and tepidarium. The steam room is usually pretty busy, but it's pot luck as to how hot it will become. Some days it's so hot I can't stand it, other days no steam will come out at all. Nobody ever uses the tepidarium as far as I can see.

                    For a single swimming session the cost is £3.20 at peak times and £2.60 at off peak times. I find this to be very expensive, however I have a monthly subscription which costs £13.10 and I can swim whenever I want. They offer other swimming services such as Aquanatal on a Wednesday for pregnant ladies and Aqua Aerobics on a Monday evening. The Aqua Aerobics is always busy and places need to be booked a week in advance.

                    I have been for a look round the gym and it looks very good. All of the machines are up to date and it wasn't overly crowded. As I don't use it I don't feel I can comment much further.

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                    • dorothyperkins.co.uk / Online Shop / 62 Readings / 62 Ratings
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                      24.04.2010 17:44
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                      Good value, fashionable clothes

                      Dorothy Perkins just so happens to be one of my favourite high street shops, but as my local is quite small, they sometimes don't have the full range of clothes that other stores have. This is where their online site comes in handy.

                      The site is very well laid out and is easy to navigate. On the homepage there is a list of different types of clothing, eg tops, skirts, trousers etc. Simply click on the item you're looking for and you will be taken to another page where you can narrow the search options further. I find this very handy as opposed to searching by size as I HATE searching through pages and pages of clothing to get to what I'm looking for.

                      Alongside their normal clothing range they also do ranges for people over 5ft8" imaginatively called the tall range, a petite range for people under 5ft3" and a maternity range. As a taller person I love their tall range. The jeans and trousers are long enough and usually have a leg length of 33". The tops have that extra few inches that I need to make sure I'm not flashing any tummy, especially now I'm developing a bit of a baby bump! I haven't tried the maternity range yet, but when needed I will definitely be buying my clothes from Dorothy Perkins. Clothes are available in sizes 6 - 22 so there's something for most people.

                      I have always found the quality of the clothes to be very good. I have jeans in my wardrobe that I've had for years and they are still in perfectly good condition. The only problem I've had in years of buying their clothes is a couple of tops that have become shapeless after a few washes, which I think is pretty good going.

                      While the clothes aren't on the cutting edge of fashion, they do keep up to date with trends and the clothes aren't unfashionable. They cater for women of all ages and have younger styles and more classic pieces.

                      The returns policy is very good too. If you change your mind within 14 days of purchase you may either return by post via a freepost label, or if more convenient you can return to any Dorothy Perkins store. I've never had any problems returning items this way and I thing free returns are a great idea as it means I can try things on in the comfort of my own home and if they don't fit, it doesn't cost me anything.

                      The pricing seems to be pretty average compared to similar high street stores such as Next and in my opinion the quality is better. They do have events on fairly regularly which offer discounts or free delivery. Normal delivery costs £4 and takes 2 - 4 days or you can choose a day for delivery at a cost of £5 or £7.50 for Saturdays. I always go for the cheapest option and normally get my order within 2 - 3 days.

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                      • More +
                        23.04.2010 20:22
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                        If you haven't already, try them!

                        I've never been a big fan of beans, they just aren't particularly exciting and tend to taste a little bland. Even so I occasionally have a fancy for beans on toast and I usually keep a tin of Heinz beans in the cupboard for occasions like that. I've seen these beans before while shopping, but never tried them until I saw them on offer at £1.49 for 4 tins. At that price they were well worth a go!

                        When I first opened the tin, I expected there to be a strong Branston smell, but there wasn't, which was good as I'm not a fan of pickle and if it had been strong I probably wouldn't have eaten them. They heated up nicely, I did them in the moicrowave and they came out well, not clumped together or overcooked.

                        Onto the taste test! I had them with toast and I have to say they were very nice! There was a slight hint of pickle which came through in the sauce rather than the beans. There was a decent amount of sauce and it was just the right consistency, not too thick but not runny either. They do look a slightly different colour to Heinz beans, a slightly more orange colour. The beans are nice and soft, there's nothing worse than chewing on hard beans!

                        Since launching Branston Beans, the company has branched out slightly to include beans and sausages, and spaghetti. The tins come in two sizes and are priced at around 50p per tin for the larger size and 40p for the smaller size.

                        In conclusion, I much prefer these to any other beans. Even though the Branston flavour is very subtle it gives the beans that extra kick that they need to make them interesting. I tend to add a bit of cheese too just for that extra flavour.

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                          22.04.2010 15:24
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                          Fab 80s TV programme

                          I'm going through a bit if a Sci-Fi phase at the moment, so after rereading the four Red Dward novels I decided it was only fitting that I was the tv shows too. I'm a bit obsessed with having things in chronological order so Series 1 was a good place to start!

                          The story revolves round Dave Lister who is a service technician onboard a massive space ship called Red Dwarf. He's a bit of a slob and is well known for his love of curry, often finishing off last nights curry accompanied by flat lager. His bunkmate and boss is Arnold Rimmer who is power hungry and more than a little bit neurotic. Rimmer is universally disliked by the majority of the crew.

                          In the first episode after an accident made by Rimmer the whole crew is killed by a radiation leak. Only 2 things onboard survive; Lister who is in suspended animation after smuggling a cat onboard and his pregnant cat who is sealed in the hold of the ship.

                          Fast forward 3 million years and Lister is released from suspended animation (stasis) to find everyone is dead. The onboard computer, Holly, kept him in stasis until the level of radiation was safe. He awakes to find Rimmer has been revived as a hologram and his pregnant cat's descendents have evolved into a humanoid race leaving the last surviving member, known only as, 'The Cat'. The Cat is vain and narcissistic, things that he sees as his best qualities. He is often aloof and thinks only of himself, just like real cats!

                          The onboard computer, Holly originally started out with an IQ of 6000, but after being alone for 3 million years, he's become a bit computer senile. He appears in most rooms on the ship and only ever as a giant head.

                          The series was first aired in 1988 (when I was only 4!) and consisted of 6 episodes

                          Episode 1 - The End
                          We are introduced to the Red Dwarf crew and see the accident that leads Lister to be stuck 3 million years in the future.

                          Episode 2 - Future Echoes
                          After travelling at top speed for over 3 million years, Holly discovers they are about to break the speed of light. This leads the crew to see future echos of themselves, sometimes in strange situations.

                          Episode 3 - Balance of Power
                          Lister wants to try swapping Rimmer's hologram with the one of a crew member he used to have a thing for - Kristine Kochanski, but Rimmer is steadfastly refusing leaving Lister attempting to pass the chef's exam so he can outrank Rimmer.

                          Episode 4 - Waiting for God
                          After following The Cat, Lister comes across an old Cat Priest and finds out he is the stuff of legends and is infact the Cat God!

                          Episode 5 - Confidence & Paranoia

                          After Rimmer hides Kochanski's hologram disc, Lister tries searching the ship to find it. He inadvertently goes into a contaminated area and contracts a virus. This leads to his Confidence and Paranoia becoming visible to all with unwelcome effects.

                          Episode 6 - Me²
                          Rimmer figures out a way to create a duplicate version of himself by copying his hologram disc. He moves out of the bunk he shares with Lister into a room with himself. Things don't go to plan though and the two Rimmers aren't exactly best friends. Lister decides one of them has to go, but which one?

                          I really love Red Dwarf, the humour is just up my street and the jokes are cheesy yet manage to be funny at the same time! Season 1 isn't my favourite as the crew are pretty limited in where they can go and most of the scenes are shot in a limited number of areas. That said, the only reason I look on this as a negative is because I've seen the later episodes.

                          The character interact very well with each other. In this series I find that Lister and Rimmer are the 2 main characters and they don't tend to interact with The Cat very often although he finds them if he wants something!

                          Each episode lasts around half an hour and I feel that this is just right. Any longer and it could get boring and a bit repetitive.

                          Cast
                          Dave Lister - Craig Charles
                          Arnold Rimmer - Chris Barrie
                          The Cat - Danny John Jules
                          Holly - Norman Lovett

                          DVD Special Features:
                          Cast commentary; Bonus writers' and director commentary on "The End"
                          Documentary: Launching Red Dwarf
                          "Drunk" featurette
                          Japanese episode: "The End"
                          Photo gallery
                          Deleted scenes
                          Model effects shots
                          Smeg-ups
                          Easter eggs
                          Isolated music cues
                          Talking book chapters
                          Original BBC trailer
                          Weblink

                          Currently available on Amazon for £4.66 or from the marketplace at £2.44 inc delivery.

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                            20.04.2010 21:16
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                            Not worth a special visit

                            Sedgefield is a tiny town in the North East of England. Its is perhaps best known for being the constituency of Tony Blair.

                            I quite like Sedgefield, it's a quaint town with several old fashioned shops where it's nice to have a browse. The main reason I go into the town is for a small shop called Number Four Tea Room that sells the best pies, quiches and cakes ever! While they aren't the cheapest available, everything is homemade and totally delicious! There is also a small tea room so they can be eaten in or taken out. It's always busy and the staff are friendly and welcoming. Sometimes it takes me a while to make a decision on what kind of cake I want and I never feel hurried or pushed into making a decision. Other than that there are a few more shops in the High Street, including a Co-Op, estate agent and a pub.

                            Parking can be a bit of a nightmare, there is some on street parking but this tends to be filled up fairly quickly and it's pot luck as to whether you will find a space or not. Alternatively there is a small car park next to the Co-Op, but again it's luck whether you get a space or not.

                            The other thing Sedgefiled is known locally for is the racecourse. It's open for 10 months of the year and holds regular jump race meetings. The racecourse is also available for hire for conferences, weddings and other events. Currently they are hosting the Miss Durham 2010 competition.

                            Twice a week the racecourse hold 2 car boot sales. These are on a Thursday and a Sunday and they open to buyers at 11.00am. I quite like rummaging through people's tat so I tend to visit once every few weeks. In good weather they are very large with lots and lots of people both selling and buying.

                            If you're a meat eater, there is a large meat wholesaler on the skirts of the town called G Bolam. There is pretty much every kind of British meat and cut you could think of. They have there own abbatoir so everything is as fresh as it could be. Besides meat, they have a wide selection of fruit and veg, fish and cakes. Everything is reasonably priced and it's great for stocking up the freezer.

                            Sedgefield is pretty easy to find, it's fairly close to Durham City and Bishop Auckland and is easy to find. Close to the A1 and just off the A689. It's well signposted and pretty much impossible to get lost! I wouldn't say it was worth a special visit, but if you're passing through it's a pretty place to call off at.

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                            • Travelodge Durham / Hotel National / 35 Readings / 32 Ratings
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                              20.04.2010 20:04
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                              Great for everyone!

                              Even though I live in Durham, when my new windows were being put in my house was a complete tip! Given that fact, I decided to book into the Travel Lodge until everything was finished.

                              The hotel is in a very handy location, just 5 minutes walk from the centre of the city. It has a small car park to the front which it shares with the adjoining restaurant Che Vita. There is an overflow car park a few minutes walk away.

                              When we first went it we were greeted by the receptionist who showed us to our room. Now the thing about Travel Lodge rooms is they all look the same! Personally I don't see this as a bad thing, at least you have a fair idea of what you're going to get when you book.

                              The room and en suite bathroom were both very clean and tidy and although the room itself was pretty basic, the bathroom was lovely and modern. Apart from the usual toilet and sink there was also a bath with a shower overhead. I love baths but my husband loves showers so there was something to suit both of our tastes.

                              Travel Lodge do not provide any toiletries, so you have to remember to bring your own, although they do sell miniature sized bottles from vending machines. I found these were on the pricy side, so better to bring your own! Also it's worth remembering that they don't provide a hairdryer or iron in each room either, although we asked at reception and they do have some that they can lend out on a first come first served basis.

                              As previously mentioned, there is an Italian restaurant adjoining to the Travel Lodge building called Che Vita. This used to be my favourite place in Durham to eat, but recently it changed hands and I have heard bad things about the food so haven't ventured in, although the reviews on Trip Advisor are less than favourable. I did try to post a link, but dooyoo wouldn't let me as it was over 80 characters.

                              If I were staying there now, I'd instead walk the 5 minutes into the city centre where there are lots of good places to eat. My personal favourite is The Court Inn. It's a little tricky to find and is slightly farther away, but the food is gorgeous! If you like good, homecooked meals with proper chips and lashings of gravy, this is the place to go! It is located next to Durham Courts, near Durham Student Union.

                              So, I would heartily recommend the Travel Lodge, it was clean, the staff were friendly and it's in an excellent location. It's literally 5 minutes off the motorway and would be an excellent, cheap base for exploring Durham and the surrounding area.

                              We paid around £50 a night, but Travel lodge often have deals on where rooms can cost as little as £29 or even £9 a night, so always check their website if you're planning a trip anywhere.

                              www.travelodge.co.uk

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