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gargrave50

gargrave50
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Member since: 06.07.2009

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      08.09.2009 13:11
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      Not sure about the "fit" - comfort flop?

      Fit Flops are marked as the flip flop with the "gym built in". They do not have a curved sole like the MBT, and I am not sure exactly where the gym is built in - however, for comfort these cannot be beaten. The toe post offered no rubbing or discomfort which can often be the case with flip flops, and appears to be made of a soft leather like substance. The design is reasonably fashionable, and they come in a good selection of colours including red, silver, mint green and pale blue. One of newer colours is a gorgeous deep rich purple, and they come in either a patent finish (around £45) or an elastic finish (around £36). They are generally stocked by footwear specialists, John Lewis and some high end sports shops e.g. Greaves Sports and Soletrader were where I found them in Glasgow.

      They do not come in half sizes. I am usually a 5.5 and can't say I noticed a massive difference between the 5 and 6, but opted for the 6 in case my feet swell in the heat! They seem to be an average fitting although I have read elsewhere that they recommend you go "up a size", however They are currently difficult to get unless you are a size 4 or 8 for some reason, and shops are unlikely to restock these until February as they are a "Summer" shoe.

      Incredibly comfortable, but overall quite expensive. I am not convinced I've found the built in gym yet! However, to be fair when wearing these and walking I am aware that I can feel my calf muscles working - although they haven't yet given me Jennifer Aniston's legs! If you are a fan of fit flops I would recommend them for comfort rather than their workout claims, but worth a try!

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        08.09.2009 12:59
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        Worth a try - only worth it for 3D

        The Imax Cinema is situated near to the Glasgow Science Centre and can be accessed from the Science Centre itself. It offers a number of films in 3D cinema with the best surround sound I have ever heard. The Imax generally shows around 5 or 6 films at a time, usually at least 2 in 3D. The Imax boasts itself as the ultimate movie experience. The large screen which is the size of a 5 a side football pitch apparently, gives crystal clear images easily better than any I have seen in any cinema. The sound is unlike other cinemas - and is called wraparound, which couldn't be more true. You truly feel like the sound comes from all the way around you, rather than from each side. We watched the new Harry Potter film here, and I am sure it felt 100% more eery than it would have in a "normal" cinema! Although cinemas generally have Dolby surround sound, this wraparound sound effect really makes it feel like you are in the middle of the movie!

        It can be very popular and you may wish to book seats online. Even if you book online, seats are on a first come first served basis. This doesn't really matter as the picture is excellent and the sound makes it a great experience regardless of where you sit! The prices are a good bit more expensive than other cinemas with adults at £8.95 and children £6.95. You can choose to add on additional areas to visit e.g. the planetarium for an additional £2.50 on top of your cinema admission.

        Tesco Clubcard vouchers can be used for Science Centre Admission, but cannot be used for admission to Imax movies - important for those Clubcard deals fans!

        Overall, an excellent experience and markedly different from your bog standard cinema visit although hard on the pocket for a family. Make sure if visiting you go for a 3D movie for the full benefit of your admission price!!!

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        08.09.2009 12:50
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        A great spot for a bite

        I have stayed in this hotel before it changed its name - it was previously known as the Millenium hotel and has now changed hands. The interior doesn't appear to have changed much and therefore I assume the overnight experience is relatively unchanged and therefore overall good. Although I haven't stayed overnight at the Crowne Plaza since its name change, we recently visited there after a show at the Armadillo. We booked a table for food at the bar which is in the centre of the reception area, great for people watching! There are a variety of seating options from soft booth style seating, to bar stools and tables, and just outwith the direct bar area are some soft sofas where you can enjoy a drink but can't eat!

        The food menu offered an excellent selection at fairly reasonable prices. We ordered a club sandwich with french fries, and a cheeseburger with french fries and a bottle of white house wine. The total for this was £21 which wasn't incredibly expensive given that it is within a hotel bar! The portions were generous and the food was delicious, served hot and within a reasonable time given that the bar was busy.

        The staff were friendly and made conversation despite the fact that the bar was packed with people from the show nearby! Definately worth a visit, even if just to pop in for a drink while you wait on a lift home from a show!

        When I had stayed at the hotel before they changed their name, the rooms were of a decent size, although we paid for a junior suite and it wasn't much more than a slightly larger than standard room. The breakfast was a buffet style with a good selection of hot and cold foods. I note from their literature on my visit that they still offer the same style of breakfast service.

        They often do good overnight rates for the weekends, ideal for those wishing to visit Glasgow. Its location is pleasant and great for those visiting the SECC. There is a covered walkway access to the train station where a frequent service would take any visitors into the city centre in less than 8 minutes.

        Overall a good base for those wishing to stay, but equally great just to pop in for food and drinks! A nice place to meet friends away from the hustle and bustle of the city!

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          08.09.2009 12:40
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          A fantastic hospital for children

          Yorkhill hospital is also known as the Sick Childrens Hospital in Glasgow, and provides top care for sick children from all around the country. Their facilities are excellent, they provide is an accomplished 24 hour A&E service, and the staff are caring and professional.

          We recently were at Yorkhill for my sons dental extraction. The staff were excellent both before and after the procedure, putting a small child (and parents!) at ease.

          The facilities are excellent, and Yorkhill benefits from a large number of donations raised by individuals by all manners including fun runs, can rattling etc. The hospital provides a caring surrounding for many children who require intensive care or therapy, caring for children up until their 13th birthday.

          Parking is poor - although there are exemptions from the 4 hour maximum stay for those who have children who have long term attendance or admission. Appropriate forms for exemption can be requested from ward staff.

          There is a small WRVS tea room which is open generally through the day, a small shop for confectionary, drinks, newspapers etc. There is a restaurant which serves hot foot only during selective hours, however given the general standard of hospital food - it is one of the better restaurants!

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        • Tesco Clubcard / Credit Card / 12 Readings / 11 Ratings
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          07.09.2009 14:48

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          Spend on groceries, save on entertainment

          Tesco offer their clubcard as a loyalty card. Currently they have updated the scheme and now offer 2 points for each £1 spent in store. I believe however that the points remain at 1 point for each £1 spent in the petrol stations. The scheme also offers additional points by way of vouchers e.g. collect 25 points when you buy a certain brand of butter. Points quickly mount up and can be redeemed in a number of ways.

          Some people choose to save their points all year round and receive a bumper load of vouchers around Christmas time. Others will receive mailings quarterly with their vouchers, money off or points coupons.

          In terms of value you can't beat Clubcard Deals. This gives you the opportunity to get 4 times the face value of your coupons at associated vendors. E.g. £5 clubcard vouchers can be exchanged for £20 to spend in Pizza Express. They have a multitude of offers available which include everything from hotels, jewellers, cinema tickets etc. This is a great incentive and certainly keeps me shopping at Tesco!

          Otherwise you can of course choose to save up your points and simply spend their face value in Tesco. This is a great idea for those who host an expensive Christmas dinner. By saving up your vouchers all year round you can choose to receive the full years rewards at the beginning of December and have a "free" Christmas shop when you spend your vouchers.

          A good incentive for a store which is generally good value for money! Watch out for your extra points coupons to really boost your points balance. The vouchers generally have a good date on them and their expiry is at least one year from receipt generally.

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        • Game / Highstreet Shopping / 5 Readings / 3 Ratings
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          07.09.2009 14:41

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          A good all-round game store

          GAME have a large presence on many high streets. They specialise in video consoles and games for the majority if not all platforms. The majority of their games stocked seems to be for the PlayStation, X-Box, Wii and DS although they stock just about everything.

          They offer a selection of new and pre-owned games as well as many consoles also both new and pre-owned. The store is well organised and the games are set out by chart games and then the remainder are usually in alphabetical order so easy to browse! All of the pre-owned games we have purchased have been in good condition. The only pre-owned game we had a problem with was for the wii where the game just kept crashing. I still had my receipt and took in back 2 days later where it was exchanged without any problem.

          They also offer an excellent trade in service. You have the opportunity to trade in old games for either credit to spend in the store, or cash in your hand. If you opt to trade for credit you are offered around a third more per game as a general rule. The prices you get depend on the how old or in demand the game is and generally for Nintendo DS games we have received between £2 and £14.50 each. Also, you can still trade games in even if you have misplaced the little booklet which comes inside, be aware this will mean you will receive slightly less for the game! You can also trade in consoles including Wii, Playstation 2 and newer, Nintendo DS and X-Box. If you have a different console it would be worth contacting them to ensure you can trade it in before you show up! If you are going to trade games or consoles in ensure you take photo ID and a proof of address as you will be unable to trade without these.

          The staff are friendly, helpful and knowledgeable as a general rule. The store is generally well laid out and split up into brands e.g. Nintendo, Sony etc. They have a good selection of pre-owned games which can save you some money!

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          07.09.2009 14:35
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          Stunning range of colours - great sound and easy to use!

          My son had been asking for an ipod forever! We bought this as he had been asking for an ipod and the others were simply too expensive. We paid £36 including postage from Amazon. It holds around 240 songs which is ample for his use, and its neat and compact as well as looking great. It comes in a variety of colours including silver, black, pink, blue and green, although some are becoming difficult to get as the models become superseded. We eventually managed to get a green one, but it was difficult. This model has been superseded a couple of times and therefore if you fancy a small cheap shuffle then your best bet would be to try Amazon rather than a retailer.

          It comes with a usb charging cable like all ipods and a set of in-ear headphones, all presented in a neat little package. The packaging is as modern as the ipod - its clear on the front and white at the back hiding all the gubbings which come with it and just showcasing the tiny little ipod! The downloading process is straightforward and once you download itunes the process is easy to follow.

          Like all ipods you operate by using the wheel to navigate through your song list. Unless you are happy to have the downloaded selection on "shuffle", then it can be a pain to go through all of the songs one by one until you get to the one you want. Holding down pause turns it off, although if it is paused for a reasonable length of time it will turn itself off. The battery life lasts around a couple of hours which is ample for our requirements but could be a pest for those looking for more. It takes around 2 hours to recharge the battery properly in our experience.

          Having used a shuffle before, I have to say I was impressed. There is good quality sound and it is easy to use which is great given that we have bought this for a young boy. It is incredibly small measuring around 3cm across! It is really light, clips onto clothing for security and looks incredibly neat. I am unsure about how tough this little gadget is, however it looks sturdy and well made and I hope it will stand the tests of a 6 year old! Bear in mind this is a 2nd generation model and apple recently launched their 8th generation - but for value for money its difficult to beat this one as the new smallest version retails at £45 for 2GB. Try to source this at Amazon where brand news ones start at around £29 for some colours!

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          • Royal Concert Hall / Musical Event / 6 Readings / 6 Ratings
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            07.09.2009 14:28
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            A central venue in Glasgow

            I have recently attended 2 graduation ceremonies in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. The concert hall when opened was aimed specifically at hosting music, however they also host shows and my husband went to see the comedy show "only an excuse" there also. The hall is large and must hold in excess of 2000 people in a semi circular shape. There is ample leg room in the seating for most people, and there does not appear to be any "blind spot" seating, although as with everywhere some seats are better than others.

            The hall sets the tone for grandeur and it was a lovely atmosphere for a graduation ceremony. All of the guests feel close enough to the stage so that when you accept your certificate you can actually see the faces of loved ones! Outwith the halls there are a number of bars, cafes and restaurants which are in the main reasonably priced for such a venue, and they offer a reasonable selection.

            I would like to visit the hall again to see it as a music venue, but in terms of a graduation it was top class.

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            25.07.2009 14:15

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            A great city centre university offering a diverse range of courses

            Glasgow Caledonian University is large city centre campus offering a range of courses. I recently completed a 3 year midwifery degree here. The university welcomes all students and offers a great environment for learning. The facilities are excellent, and the pride of the university is the state of the art library stretching over 6 floors. The campus is wheelchair friendly and has disabled access to all areas. There are several services including supported learning available to all students - supported learning is not only for those who have additional needs but can be accessed for anything e.g. help with referencing or sourcing the right types of literature.

            The new Saltire Centre is a state of the art library offering a large selection of PC stations, a publishing service and access to books and journals in the flesh or online. There is also access to a range of specialist library personnel specific to your course. There is an inter library lending service allowing you to access the libraries of other universities including Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities. You can choose to reserve books online when they are not available and this can be done from home or in the library itself. The books are checked in and out using a self service system, although there are staff within the saltire at all times if you require help.

            The tutors I have dealt with have mainly been midwifery, but all have been approachable and helpful. Every student is bound to have a different experience, however the basics are there to support every student. For those with children there are childcare facilities on the campus however places are limited and it would be worth contacting the campus in advance. However, if you already have childcare in place you can apply for help with your childcare fees, and paperwork for this (as well as many other things!) can be obtained from the reception desk at the saltire centre!

            There are a variety of places to eat within the Campus ranging from the refectory which is basically a massive canteen - always busy and looks like it could do with a refurb! However, the selection of food is great the salad bar is unbeatable and you can choose from sandwiches, hot meals, soup and pretty much anything else you might expect to find. Prices are reasonable and you could expect to pay around £2.60 for a hot meal and a drink. There are also Costa outlets around the campus including within the Saltire Centre which sell a selection of hot paninis, soup and of course tea, coffee, sandwiches and cakes!

            All in all its the only University I have ever been to, and as a mature student it was daunting enough to go to Uni. GCU have made my experience incredibly straightforward and rewarding.

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            25.07.2009 14:08

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            Worth a pound to rummage

            In Store / Poundstretcher offer a selection of homeware at bargain prices. If you are looking for something obscure this is the place to try! It has been rebranded from Poundstretcher to In Store, but still offers similar stock. Great for picking up odds and sods and their garden furniture and garden ornaments etc are great value with a good range.

            Ideal for picking up kids things e.g. toys and at the moment they offer a good Harry Potter range - ideal given its popularity at the moment. It can be like an aladins cave and you need to have time to rummage unless you go in with something specific in mind.

            The staff are mainly young, I've never asked for their assistance and therefore can't comment on their helpfulness. Generally the stores are crammed full and don't feel spacious but at these prices its not a big concern. Great for a rummage.

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          • First Choice / Travel Agent / 2 Readings / 2 Ratings
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            25.07.2009 13:59
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            First Choice holiday villages - a great affordable family break

            First Choice have recently launched a string of holiday village resorts. We visited one of these in April this year just outwith the school week and managed to bag a bargain all inclusive holiday for less than £900 for 3.

            First Choice sent out our tickets a few weeks in advance, and we enjoyed a comfortable flight. The cabin crew were helpful and pleasant, and the on board prices were no better or worse than any other airline.

            When we arrived in Costa Del Sol, we were met by a group of reps and ushered to a waiting coach. The coach went only to the holiday village which meant it was a short journey without all the usual stop offs! The coaches were clean and air conditioned. On arrival the hotel was beautiful and again the staff were wonderful. The resort is exclusive to First Choice, and the rep didn't make a nuisance of themselves unlike many!

            The holiday was family orientated, the staff were excellent amusing the kids day in day out and providing family entertainment at night. The food was excellent particularly for all inclusive and there was a great family atmosphere within the resort.

            I would travel again with First Choice as I found them well priced, but given the opinions of others I would stick with the holiday villages given our good experience!

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          • Argos / Highstreet Shopping / 2 Readings / 2 Ratings
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            25.07.2009 13:50
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            Convenient and generally cheap!

            The laminated book of dreams as Peter Kay once called it. Argos offers a convenient and usually cheap way to shop. You can pick up their latest catalogue browse at home. You are then able to either phone or reserve online so that you only have to visit the shop to collect your item, knowing one has been reserved for you. The other choice is to visit the shop, pay for your item and collect. The stores generally act simply as large warehouses.

            Generally the stores are reasonably well laid out, however their displays can be a bit rubbish, not surprising when they have so many items to display!

            The introduction of self service checkouts have improved queuing times, although they are often out of order particularly at Christmas! My pet hate is queuing for a person only to be offered insurance on everything you buy!

            As a general rule they offer a great selection particularly in toys, but you can find just about anything for your home in that book!

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          • John Lewis / Highstreet Shopping / 3 Readings / 2 Ratings
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            25.07.2009 13:44
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            What a guarantee!

            It was only around 5 years ago that I first discovered John Lewis, and it is now one of my favourite department stores. The store in Glasgow is well laid out and well signposted for every department. The store offers a good range of just about everything from home furnishing, lighting, toys, clothing etc. Their cosmetic and perfume department is on the ground floor as the enter the store via Buchanan Galleries, and offers a great range of brands from Clarins to Origins. All counters have friendly and knowledgeable staff eager to help and happy to give out samples if requested.

            It is mainly homeware we have bought from John Lewis - that and toys.
            The homeware department is near the top of the store which offers a large selection of soft furnishing, mirrors, lighting, furniture and just about anything else you might ever need for your home! They offer a wallpaper ordering system where you can order from top brands like Harlequin. They are happy to request samples free of charge and will call you to let you know when they arrive. They also have a wonderful fabric selection and offer a curtain and blind make up service. There is generally something to suit most budgets from the standard to the very extravagant with cushions ranging from £6 to £60, and accessories to co-ordinate any room.

            It is difficult to find a decent toy department now and John Lewis offer a reasonable selection at unbeatable prices. I have now shared their "never knowingly undersold" guarantee with my colleagues, and we all head there at Christmas armed with pages from Argos books etc to ensure John Lewis match the price if they are not already cheaper! They have a great selection of board games, and craft type toys e.g Crayola packs. Their branded toys generally stock the most popular e.g. lego, Transformers, Ben 10, High School Musical etc. They won't have everything you might find in Toys'r'us or similar, but they offer a good selection and can be a good store to find some of the hard to get figures!

            The clothing departments offer a reasonable selection of brands mainly top end but also including Warehouse and Coast for women. They offer their own brand of clothing for women, men and children however the adult clothing appears to be more classic in style than contemporary so would not be suitable for everyone. For men they offer Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Ted Baker amongst others. The John Lewis branded childrenswear is good value and their pyjamas make lovely gifts! Their stocked childrens brands include Timberland but could offer a bigger range.

            All in all, an impressive store - and I just love their price promise. Always my first stop.

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              25.07.2009 13:38

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              My love my life my M&S

              Marks & Spencer - the linch pin of our home. Marks & Spencer are synonymous with quality, and they have a presence on many a high street. The stores are generally large and well laid out, although recently M&S have launched a string of Simply Food stores for those who want to grab lunch straight in and out!

              The larger stores really offer the M&S experience. Their staff are helpful and knowledgeable, and the range offers something for everyone. Over the last few years M&S have been working to update their clothing range to ensure it caters for the younger market and Per Una and Limited Collection certainly address that adequately.

              School uniform is a great buy from M&S and at present their 3 for 2 on school clothing offers great savings for even the thriftiest mum! Their ultimate offering for us is their foods, good quality with a number of instore offers and the answer to a lazy cooks prayers! Their foods are well prepared, packaged and their cooking instructions are minute perfect. Their selections offer something for every taste, and they are all of the highest standard.

              Any problems? M&S have a world renowned returns policy - no quibble and I've never had any issues returning anything to a store that I am unhappy with.

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              25.07.2009 13:30

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              Run of the mill shopping centre.

              Buchanan Galleries is one of the newest shopping malls in Glasgow. It is well situated beside the Royal Concert hall on a pedestrianised Buchanan Street - the home of brands in Glasgow! It is well situated for public transport as it can be accessed via John Lewis from Buchanan Street Bus Station, or by train from Glasgow Queen Street Station.

              The shops are laid out mainly over 2 floors, and there is a car park sitting above and around the centre linked by an integral walkway - ideal when it is wet. Generally the car parking is no more expensive than the usual NCP prices, however on a Sunday you can park all day in the Galleries for only £2 although they do tend to do some deals from time to time where they reduce Sunday parking to only £1 all day. There is also a car valet service available within the car park which do a great job and are reasonably priced. A mini valet costs around £15 and I have to say I was impressed to find my boot hoovered despite the fact it was filled with rubbish at the time! When paying for car parking there are several pay machines within the car park lobby and 4 lifts so even at busy times you don't generally wait too long.

              Inside there is a good selection of high street shops to satisfy most shoppers. Buchanan Galleries brought to Glasgow our first and only John Lewis which is one of the highlights to the centre. Other than that there are the usual run of the mill stores Oasis, Warehouse, H&M and Next. There are a couple of stores which don't exist elsewhere in Glasgow and make the galleries worth a visit including Mango, Thomas Sabo and the Swarovski store which is good for picking up gifts.

              The food hall on the top is basic and could do with improving. They offer a jacket potato place, Burger King and a couple of generic overpriced sandwich style places. The seating is hard plastic and the tables are quite close together which can make negotiating a buggy or a wheelchair tricky!

              All in all, the galleries offer a good selection of stores, pretty much the high street under cover with good car parking facilities although can be expensive outwith their Sunday offer. A good base to shop in Glasgow.

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