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Whilst browsing around Comet on a typical Saturday afternoon shop, I happened across the most amazing site. Tall, great body, fantastic curves and a look so appealing. Not the sort of thing you'd expect to see in an electrical store. But there it was. The Dyson DC01. And I knew we were destined to be together. One impulse purchase later and we were back home. Of course, with something this good looking, you have to play and right away I was ripping it out of its box and testing it. The results were absolutely amazing. One quick sweep of what appeared to be a clean carpet produced a huge amount of dirt and dust. This upright cleaner was easy to use, and cleaned thoroughly, effectively and very quickly. The handle cleverly doubles up as a great attachment for reaching those hard to get to areas of the house and made cleaning the skirting boards, the side of the fridge and window sills extremely easy. In fact, it even saved doing the dusting too. In short, the Dyson really does live up to its name. It looks so damned sexy that it's a shame to store it in a cupboard. Of course, it works quietly and effortlessly and produces the most amazing results too. Good looking and hard working. That's what justified the instant attraction!
UGC, who recently took over the Virgin cinema chain from Sir Richard Branson have recently opened a fantastic new cinema in the heart of London's trendy docklands at West India Quay. Boasting 10 screens in a stylish building along with two great bars a fantastic selection of snacks and a great movie store it is the ideal location to spend a quality night out. Ticket prices are reasonable for London (at £6.50 per adult) and UGC offer an incredible range of season tickets - the best of which offers unlimited cinema for only £9.99 a month. The bars are elegant and offer a wide range of soft and alcoholic drinks and a limited menu of food including Nachos, Hot Dogs, Pasta, etc allowing you to spend a good hour relaxing and taking in the atmosphere before heading for the film. The usual assortment of Popcorn, Nachos, Ice Cream, Pick and Mix and soft drinks greets you at the snack kiosks before you head for one of the 10 spacious and comfortable screens - all with stadium style raked seating and ample legroom. All in all from start to finish the UGC offers a reasonably priced night out or just cheap cinema - all housed in a great venue with friendly flambuoyant staff!
Living in the docklands area I often use the DLR - Docklands Light Railway to travel around the locale. The DLr stretches from Stratford in the North and Beckton in the East to Lewisham in the South and Bank and Tower Gateway in the west. It offers excellent links to the Jubilee, Central, Northern and District underground lines and operates efficiently and to schedule in the majority. The DLR is computer controlled and is without the traditional train driver. Security onboard is provided by the train captain who also controls the doors to ensure you get on and off safely! The DLR offers great links to Canary Wharf for bars, restaurants and cinemas and to Greenwich for a day in the park and boasts some of the greatest views of the incredible docklands area. In short a really exciting, efficient and inexpensive way to get around London's East end.
I flew Emirates very recently between London and Sydney and was most impressed. The staff were extremely friendly and attentive. The seats, even in economy were extremely comfortable and featured additional lumber support and footrests. Information and entertainment were provided via seatback touch screen TVs which offered not only numerous film and television channels but additionally a skymap showing where the plane was, when it was due to land, etc and skycams which broadcast live pictures from two cameras - one on the front and one below the plane. These skycams gace the most incredible view of take off and landing! Food and Drink were frequent and varied. The meals were innovative and delicious and included such delicacies as duck, sea brill and prawn salads as starters and thai and arabic chicken, beef stir fry, omelettes and various fish for main courses. The finishing touches were added with the provision of hot towels to refresh passengers and screens showing connection information for those transferring at the various airports along the way. Flying for some 23 hours with only an hour in Dubai and an hour in Singapore might be considered a very unpleasant prospect but this was far from the case with Emirates who deserve the hundred of accolades and awards they continue to receive.
Having been warned by my Australian friends not to expect too much of Melbourne on a recent visit, I can safely say it was a most pleasant surprise. I flew to Melbourne from Sydney for a couple of days visit. The weather, although colder than Sydney was still pleasant. After a 30 minute trip by bus from the airport to the city centre, you can easily travel using the trams, trains and buses (one day travelpasses are cheap and available in most newsagents). The city centre is filled with a great collection of shops from department stores like Myers (Grace Bros) and David Jones to the usual chain stores including HMV, Body Shop and Target (many bargains to be found there!). There are a great range of places to eat both within the city and its cosmopolitan suburbs. We chose the Colonial Tramcar restaurant which serves up a three course silver service meal including champagne, wine and liquers in beautiful surrounding on the move around the tram network. In terms of sightseeing there is the impressive views of the Rialto Towers, the casino and its fire and water displays, the aquarium and the old gaol where the infamous Ned Kelly was imprisoned and subsequently hung and many beautiful gardens. There are plenty of places to stay and the nightlife is legendary apparently. Well worth a quick visit and a pleasant escape from the buzz of Sydney, particularly in its Olympic season. See for yourself - you may well be surprised too.
Having used e-bookers on three separate occassions now I am pleased to report that I have had no problems whatsoever. In fact I have found the whole service very easy to use and safe and secure. On two occassions I have booked return fares to Australia. The choice of flights and details of availability have been clearly stated and the whole booking process has been quick and straightforward. In addition, payment online has proved fully secure. On both occassions I paid by Visa and have had no subsequent problems. Indeed, using the EGG visa card with ebookers also allows you to earn an additional 1% cashback! Following payment, tickets have been issued promptly and check in has presented no surprises. On the third occassion, I have used ebookers for domestic flights and similarly found the whole process easy to follow. The breadth of travel options, including many exclusive low fares, is excellent whilst the site boasts many further features including flightwatch which sends flight progress details in text message format to a mobile phone (ideal if someone is meeting you at the airport after a long flight!). Other services including useful immigration and health information is provided and I was fortunate to have a multiple visit visa arranged by them at no extra cost. All in all, ebookers provides a first class service which I have not yet seen any other travel site match.
Of all the places in all the world, I truly have found Sydney, Australia to be the most amazing City in the world. Forget New York, Los Angeles, Paris and London - Sydney is miles above the rest. From the fantastic beaches only a short ferry ride away to the incredible Sydney Harbour Bridge (which you can climb right to the top of), from the vast range of shops and restaurants to the great museums and attractions you will find your time spent there flies past. The transport links both throughout the town and to the airport are great with a choice of buses, trains, subway or ferries to carry you away. The city centre itself has a stunning skyline whilst the parks and pavements are some of the cleanest I have ever seen. Attractions include the centrepoint (AMP) tower which boasts a revolving buffet restaurant where you can enjoy a feast including Kangaroo steak, the powerhouse museum, the opera house, taronga zoo, Imax cinema and Fox Studios. There is a great array of shops including the fabulous Grace Brothers department store and the great value Woolworths Metro with a huge variety of restaurants ranging from the budget fast food outlets (McDonalds, Hungry Jacks, Taco Bell) to thai, indian and authentic australian! Nightlife is equally entertaining and a visit to the bars, clubs and Delis of Oxford Street or the new town area are a must. Check out also the theatrical goings on across town and the wonderful Hoyts cinema and Bent Street shopping complex out at Fox Studios. Of course, the weather itself - especially during Australia's summer months - is stunning and adds to the whole experience. Check out Mission Impossible 2 for a glimpse of the city and book those flights now. It really will be a trip of a lifetime. I wrote this opinion after a visit in spring this year. I ended up returning to Sydney in August and found it even more incredible. In preparation for the olympic games the city has been truly spruced up. There is now a rail link
from the airport into town and the city centre is immaculate. I really can't wait to go back again.
From start to finish, Mission Impossible has proven itself to be a surefire action adventure which will have you engrossed from the very start to the finish. The film starts with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) climbing rocks like you've never seen before. The film centres on Hunt's attempts to investigate and reclaim an horrifc genetic disease stolen from a pharmaceutical company in Sydney, Australia where the majority of the film is set. John Woo's influence as director on the action sequences is clear and brings a fresh style to the film. A rocking soundtrack and great supporting cast (the leading lady beautifully played by Thandie Newton is the perfect love interest whilst Dougray Scott's villain and his accomplices ooze pure evil) alongside the stunning Sydney skyline make for what will become one of the year 2000s biggest box office hits. It has to be seen at the cinema and it has to be seen soon!
It seems that at last that UK drivers have finally had enough of the ever increasing petrol prices. From week to week we see an extra penny added here or there and have until now appeared to have put up with this. My car which used to take only £35 to fill now costs me £45 a time - and that increase is only in the last six months or so. I accept that the government should take some duty from petrol to fund the roads - and they certainly need some funding - but the level of duty is absolutely unacceptable. Britons are in revolt and it is very likely that unless Mr Blair and co take heed, they will find that their failure to act may well be the final straw. Re-election, already looking slightly less definite, could be virtually written off without some action. I fully support any reasonable action which will make people take notice and will certainly not be filling up on 1 August.
Having graduated from Heriot-Watt University in 1995, I would thoroughly recommend it to any one looking for a great place to study. Set just on the outskirts of Edinburgh, on a beautiful campus Heriot-Watt boasts many highly acclaimed and recognised degree courses from Accountancy and Finance through to Brewing and Distilling and beyond. The teaching standards are excellent and the location and facilities highly recommended. The campus offers various levels of accommodation, many of it only recently built and is complemented with restaurants, snack bars, shops, travel centre and of course the Student Union - itself a modern facility. Lecture theatres and teaching rooms and labs vary in size but all fit the purpose well. A well equipped library with some of the longest opening hours of any university is also located on campus. The campus itself is set in acres of beautiful woodland and fields and there are many great features including the 'loch' with bridge across to the union and the sunken gardens which provide the perfect setting for that gradiation party in four years time. Being located so close to Edinburgh, with buses throughout the day and night means great shopping and nightlife in one of Britain's finest cities although the events and entertainment provided by the Students Association on campus should be more than enough to keep you occupied. The only distraction is of course the lectures and study time you need to achieve that balance. A degree is well worth it but a degree studied for at Heriot-Watt is even more enjoyable to achieve and highly rewarding!
Pathe, Dreamworks and Aardman animations should truly be proud of this amazing feat in cinema. Chicken Run is set to take the UK by storm and should be the must see movie of this summer! The voice talents of Mel Gibson, Julie Sawalha, Jane Horrocks and Imelda Staunton blend beautifully into the stunning animated characters of Rocky and Ginger and their fellow chickens who are cooped up on a farm desperately trying to escape the daily egg laying for pastures green. After many hilarious but unsuccesful escape attempts, Rocky (Gibson) turns up one day in the coop and provides the answer - they will escape by learning how to fly! Whilst Rocky trains the chickens in preparation for their flight the farmers becomes suspicious of the chickens - much to his wifes disgust. She hatches a way to earn much more money with the help of the chickens - her own home made pie factory and begins to fatten them up for the process. The story of the 'great escape' is well told and in most parts absolutely hilarious. Never before have an audience got so carried away about the fate of a few chickens!! Many clever references to other films from Braveheart and Star Trek to The Great Escape add further humour to the mix and will have you talking about the film days afterwards. Too many great nuggets in this great chicken film! Definitely one you'll want to see again.
New to DVD comes Muppets from Space fresh after its cinema outing late last year. Far from being a movie for kids, this film is bound to appeal to all the family or the legions of Jim Henson fans who have never grown up. For over 20 years the muppets have been keeping us entertained and they continue to do so now with Muppets from Space which tells the story of Gonzo finally discovering where he really comes from. Space, funnily enough is the answer and the film follows Gonzo as he awaits his family's return to earth to collect him. Kidnapped by a government agency determined to establish the existence of UFO's, his friends come to the rescue by breaking into the institute and attempting to free him. Packed with typical muppet humour, some hilarious sequences including a typical morning in the muppet household, Rizzo's participation in laboratory experiments and a demonstration of Dr Bunsen and Beakers hilarious inventions and a few cameos including Andie McDowell you'll find plenty to laugh at. Plus, for the serious film buff there are many 'takes' and references to other titles such as The Shawshank Redemption and The X Files. Muppets from Space is out on DVD from 26 June ahead of its video release in October The disk is packed with extras including 4 trailers, 19 deleted scenes, music video and a commentary from the stars themselves and promises to provide hours of fun. Roll on the rest of the muppet movies on DVD!
I finally made it to Saving Grace and am pleased to say it was well worth the wait. A typically British comedy with the usual ensemble stretching from the stalwart talents of Brenda Blethyn - in a much more glamourous role than usual which she carries off elegantly yet hilariously - through Leslie Phillips and Martin Clunes (adding suitable and expected comedy with their typical roles reprised) to Phyllida Law (Mum of Emma Thompson) who steals the show with her tea drinking exploits. Saving Grace is the sweet tale of a newly widowed Grace who is left severely in debt on the passing of her husband. Just when it looks like she will have to give up everything, she and her gardener (Craig Ferguson) hatch a plan to turn his ailing collection of Marijuana plants into a full scale drug cultivating business venture which will save the day. The village though fully aware of what's going on - how could they miss the huge glow of the powerful greenhouse lights - turn a blind eye and it is only when the debt collectors, nasty drug dealers and local police are closing in does all become clear. Of course, a happy ending is to be had - despite a hilarious twist involing Naked policemen and the Women's Institute (they do get everywhere!). The story is typically British and wanders to its conclusion providing the audience with a lot of laughs on the way whilst some scenes are simply side-splitting! All in all a great film which will have widespread appeal despite the anti-Scottish humour!
British Airways pride themselves in being the UK's biggest carrier. Undoubtedly this results from them growing up as a nationalised company with the funding and support of UK government. Now, as a privatised airline, under intense competition they must ensure top service to continue to attract their loyal customers. I have travelled BA on a number of occassions, both within the UK and to the United States and have not always been totally impressed with the whole experience. In particular, I have found domestic flights the least impressive. Check-in staff at London Heathrow appear to have lost the ability to smile, particularly when you do not present yourself in full three piece suit complete with executive club gold card (or your one world connection). On some occassions, apart from being asked whether I packed my bags myself, I have had no conversation and simply been handed my boarding card. In flight, the staff are friendlier but don't really exude the warmth you might have expected. It really does seem that their heavy trade union involvement prevents anything but the basic contracted tasks. Despite this, the flights are comfortable and run to time mostly. The only drawback being the way you are treated. The basic concept of customer service is the one that seems to be fading fast which is a pity. We should be proud of British Airways but time and time again they disappoint.
Given the choice of all the domestic flight operators in the UK, I think British Midland remains the best. Having travelled frequently between London and Scotland, both for business and for pleasure I have used quite a few airlines. In terms of comfort, reliability, standards of service and value for money, I feel British Midland excel. An economy flight, which if booked early enough is as cheap as any of the operators (including Easyjet) has many advantages. You can travel from one of London's main airports (Heathrow), the check-in process is quick and the staff friendly and cheerful (unlike the 'Worlds Favourite Airline!). On board there are still the frills which help pass the time - a complimentary newspaper, bar and meal or snack. The flights are generally very punctual and the staff both on the ground and in flight a pleasure. For those on Business, the Diamond Class fares also offer an exclusive comfortable and relaxing lounge in the departure area and larger seating in a separate cabin area for the flight. Whether you are travelling business or leisure, I'm sure it really will be a pleasure.