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I have never imagined that one day I would climb a mountain. I have just come back from North Wales and I am glad to say that I climbed Mount Snowdon...half way. This is my review on my experience half way up the mountain.
Mount Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa in Welsh) which stands at 3,560 ft (1,085m) is the highest mountain in Wales and the second highest in United Kingdom. The mountain is situated within Snowdonia National Park in the county of Gwynedd in North Wales.
It's picture perfect at every angle; from glistening streams to sheep grazing grasslands and silhouette of distant mountains, it's also a photographer dream of capturing their magic moment. On a clear day, you might even see as far as Ireland, Manchester and the Peak District in England.
Climbing Mount Snowdon is a big thing to me as I had lots of fear before the attempt. I worry about my fitness level, my fear of heights and falling. After much persuasion from my husband, I decided to take up the challenge.
Taking the Snowdon Mountain Train to the summit is just too costly; a return ticket cost £25. We could do it one way and descend on foot but in the end we decide that we will walk as much as we can.
We begin our route using the Llanberis path. This path runs parallel with the Snowdon Mountain Rail track and as I found out later, it is one of the easiest but longest paths to the summit. Its sounds quite misleading to call it a path, the initial road towards the gate are tarmac and it's pretty steep. After which, the path are made up of rocks, sand and rock debris.
We decide to walk towards the grassland where the sheep were grazing. As we do not know where we were going but there was a feeling of adventure. As we trudged past the staring eyes of the sheep and their lambs, sounds of laughter and water came up in the distance. It was a low lying rocky stream and a family enjoying the sun on a big rock boulder. It was a pleasant and relaxing sight.
Our walk finally brought us in the view of an oncoming steam train and we were able to capture a few photo shots of the steam puffing train. The Llanberis path becomes clearer as we head uphill and much to our amazement, it have so far been easy and we congratulate ourselves on the distance and the height we have surmount.
The rest of the path was gradual, a little bit of a steep climb at times but nothing that I can't handle. Stopping occasionally to catch my breath and the scenery makes the walk pleasant. There was no rush and we even have time to chat with fellows walkers about their adventure.
As we reach the halfway point, a quaint stone cottage appears before us. It is also a cafe, which is simply delightful. Dusk is upon us and after 3 hours of walking, we decide to head downhill. Walking down can be challenging too. There are times where we have to scramble on loose rocks, hop and skip on the rocky path and the constant pounding makes my soles sore.
We may not have reach the summit this time but the experience of being able to climb half way up Mt Snowdon makes us determined to come back for the summit. It was an exhilarating time for me as a novice mountain climber. I would never thought that I can make it this far and the admiring look from people in the train as they passed is pretty satisfying.
If like me, you are unsure about climbing Mt Snowdon, take the Llanberis path. It might not be the most picturesque of all paths in Snowdon, the views on a clear day is still spectacular. To make the best out of your walking trip, wear a good pair of walking boots, carry extra clothing in case the weather change, bring sufficient water and some energy boosting snacks. Finally, take your time and enjoy Mount Snowdon.
There is more than one thing about Lidl that attracts me. Though I shop in Tesco and Sainsbury, I tend to look forward to going to Lidl. I think it's the selection of foodstuff that is not commonly found locally and the weekly offers.
What I like about Lidl?
Chocolates selection- The Amazonian Dark Chocolate at 64% is my favourite buy. It's not only inexpensive as compared to other dark chocolate brands (89p), it's also less bitter.
Fruit and Vegetables- Most of their fruit and vegetables selection are cheaper especially those that are in season. However, it is important to check the fruit and vegetables as very often you can find over ripe and slightly spoilt ones.
Variety of European food- Very often Lidl will stock unique food stuff from Europe. It's fun trying out unfamiliar cuisine.
Weekly Offers- Every now and then we will come across very good buys like photo papers, remote controller and household appliances. These offers go very quickly and Lidl don't always carry the stocks again.
Wine- If like me, you are not fussy about wine, Lidl have a good selection of wine that is not very expensive. You can easily buy a bottle of red wine at £3.
The store layout is not as sophisticated and well organised like Tesco and Sainsbury, the store sometimes looks messy with empty boxes lying around. Perhaps that's what makes shopping in Lidl interesting. Rummaging through the weekly offers and stumbling into foods that I have not seen before.
I was looking for a new 2 in 1 shampoo and was choosing between Pantene and Vo5 Sheer Vitality. I decided to try Vo5 Sheer Vitality as I have used Pantene before and would like to try another brand.
The light blue colour plastic container has a flip open cover and the shampoo have a light and pleasant smell. It is easy to dispense but it is not easy to control the amount needed. The 2 in 1 shampoo contain extracts of white tea and is infused with 5 vital oil blends. They are nutrient rich avocado and jojoba oils, strengthening apricot and almond oil and lastly, shine enhancing grape seed oils. This was the reason why I choose to buy this shampoo.
I can't tell if the shampoo have strengthened my hair as I still experienced daily hair loss. It definitely did not make my hair shine. In fact, my hair feels coarse and there is definitely no shine. Unlike Pantene which makes combing easy, this shampoo makes my hair tangle. The so call nutrient rich oils did not do its job.
I bought the 300ml shampoo in Tesco at £2.12 and I am definitely going back to Pantene.
After using two bottles of Ariel Excel Gel liquid detergent, I decided to switch to another brand. Surf Small & Mighty caught my eye as I was shopping in Tesco. The white slender plastic bottle with pastel and summer flower designs looks attractive on the shelf. It was offering at £2 per bottle, which I believe is a promotional price. After looking at the different fragrance, I decided on the Small & Mighty Carnival Burst with Tangerine.
This is a super concentrated biological liquid detergent which contains natural essential oils. Essential oils are known to be therapeutic and the fragrant is usually more subtle. I bought the 730ml bottle which is useful for 20 washes. Using only one capful on a full load, my clothes feel clean and best of all; it gives a fresh and citrus smell. I like the design of the cap. It is designed in such a way that excess liquid detergent does not drip out of the bottle after closing.
Though the Surf Small & Mighty Carnival Burst with Tangerine is not suitable for woollen clothing, I will probably be using this brand for a long while. I hope the price would stay the same if not reduced after the promotion.
Situated along white sandy coast and amongst lush mountains, Thailand is renowned to be a popular holiday destination. Thailand is a country in South East Asia, it borders Myanmar (Burma) to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Cambodia to the southeast and Malaysia to the south.
There are many things I like about Thailand. The spicy selection of delicious Thai food and Thai desserts, the intricate design of Thai fabric and silk and the immensely deep culture that is still very much prevalent in South East Asia.
I have been to the Capital city Bangkok several time and I have always enjoyed wandering through countless market stalls located scattered around the city. The other places I have enjoyed are the white sandy beaches in Phuket and Phi Phi Island and the lifestyle that is very bohemian.
Here are some of my "What to do and see in Thailand" -
The Capital City
Bangkok, the capital of Thailand is a vibrant city that captures modernity and yet retained the uniqueness of Thai culture. There is a feast of attractions for visitors in Bangkok. Glittering Buddhist temples portray the devotion of the Thai people, magnificent palaces that tell stories of Thailand glorious past and massive arrays of shopping places are amongst the endless things to see and do in Thailand. A visit to the Chao Phraya River is a must, the river wind through the city and is an excellent way to explore different parts of Bangkok. Thai classical dance with intricate head gear and costumes can easily be observed on temple grounds or on stage in some of the shows around the city. Thailand is also known for its markets and if you are in Bangkok over the weekend, rides on a Tuk Tuk to Chatuchak market. The weekend Market or known to locals simply as "JJ" Market sells a myriad of products ranging from clothes to antiques. It covers over 35 acres (1.1 km square) and is one of the biggest market in the region. Be prepared to do some haggling as it is a norm at the market stalls.
Thailand is blessed with beautiful beaches wash by clear waters. There are over 500 islands on the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. As the list of beaches in Thailand grew, the current popular beach and islands include Phuket island, Krabi, Phi Phi islands, Koh Samui, Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Koh Chang, Koh Samet, Pattaya, Hua Hin, and Cha Am. The amenities in these beaches range from traditional to modern. You can opt to stay in luxurious hotels with spa facilities and large pools or experience the Thai style of living in wooden huts and bungalow. There are plenty to do and not do in Thailand. The rich marine life also makes it a great place to scuba dive or snorkel. Water sports such as water skiing, wind surfing and fishing are amongst some of the activities available. However, the inviting white sand and sea breeze is so therapeutic, you might not want to do anything but relax.
There are several cities in Thailand that is steep with history and rich in culture. Cities such as Ayutthaya which served as the Thai capital for 417 years (1350 to 1767) is now a tranquil city with spectacular ruins of its glorious past. Surat Thani, a former capital of the Srivijaya Empire, the kingdom that dominated the Malay Peninsula and much of Java whose empires grandeur can still be admired in many areas of Chaiya District. Chiang Mai, affectionately known as 'rose of the north' is the heart of the Lanna culture and a place where traditions is still very much preserved. The city lies amidst the rolling foothills of the Himalaya Mountains and houses more than 30 temples within the remains of a historical wall city.
Thai culture is heavily influenced by Buddhism. Moving around Thailand, Buddhist temples known as wats, resplendent with gold and multicoloured architecture is a common sight. Thailand Buddhists follow the Therevada School which follow closely to its Indian roots and places heavier emphasis on monasticism. However, one pre Buddhist tradition still exist in Thailand and that is the spirit house. The spirit house structure is usually found at the corner of houses or business. A renowned spirit house is the Erawan Shrine located in central Bangkok on the ground of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. The Erawan Shrine attracts thousands of visitors from around the world every year, most asking for blessings and protection.
Thai culture also encompasses the culture of the hill tribes in the northern mountainous region. They are the Hmong, Karen, Lisu, Lahu and Akha. The hill tribes culture are very much alive in the province of Chiang Mai and visitors can experience these culture from the many museums and practices there.
If you are in Thailand during the Songkran, you are in for a fun time. Songkran is the celebration of the Thai New Year. The celebration happens in April, officially April 13th to 15th. During these days, water pistols and super soakers are used to spray at friends, relatives and passerby. This water throwing event is a signify washing away sins of the prior year, hence be prepared to get wet when you are there.
There is an air of fun and hypnotic relaxation wherever you are in Thailand. Couple with the hospitality of the Thai people, you will feel very much at ease when visiting Thailand.
A visit to Cape Town will not be complete without spending a few days exploring the Garden Route. Though I have already make a few reviews on places around Cape Town, I feel the need to write about this magnificent stretch of coastline.
The Garden Route is a scenic stretch of coastal highway that combined stunning views of lush, indigenous forest on one side and endless views of the sea in the horizon on the other. The garden route sandwiched between the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountains and the Indian Ocean begins from Mossel Bay and ends at Storms River, a rustic village towards the direction of Port Elizabeth.
Here are some of popular destination on the garden route.
Situated halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, Mossel Bay is the first stop in the garden route for driving or touring from Cape Town. It was quiet when we were there, perhaps it's the begining of summer and the town is not overwhelmed with visitors as it usually do during the summer holidays. The Maritime Museum which display artefacts of shipping and sailing history is an interestin pace to visit and the 800 years old Post Office, is truly a representation of the town's rich heritage.
As the sixth oldest town in South Africa, George is the Capital of Southern Cape. George is halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth and hence an ideal base for exploring surrounding towns and scenic landscapes. I like George, it's quaint and yet modern. There are plenty to do in George such as learning about the history behind a National Monument, an ancient English Oak known as The Slave Tree embedded with large chain and lock, enjoy a nostalgic ride on Africa's last remaining passenger steam train, the Outeniqua Choo Tjoe as it meanders through the beautiful fynbos and temperature forest toward Knsyna.
Set between the Kaaimans River and the Goukama Nature Reserve, the approach into Wilderness is a sight to behold. Lying by the border of the Outeniqua Mountains, Wilderness is surrounded by many rivers and lakes. The National Park within Wilderness is a great place to observe many types of wildlife and is especially ideal for bird watchers. Sport enthusiasts will also be spoilt for choice when it comes to adrenaline pumping activities like hang gliding, paragliding and mountain biking. The rustic charm of Wilderness is further enhanced by the presence of quaint, wooden houses perching at the edge of the cliff. Remind me of houses in the Alps without the snow.
Sedgefield is a small resort town between Wilderness and Knysna. Known for its many hiking trails and bird hides, Sedgefield is a delightful place to marvel at colourful wild flowers and fynbos. There is even an estuary for bathing and fishing. Sedgefield is a good stopover for coffee and shopping too.
Knysna is Southern Cape best known holiday destination. Knysna striking geological features ranges from treacherous channels, beautiful lagoon and a large indigenous forest, home to many ancient trees of such as stinkwood, yellowwood, blackwood and white alders. One of the best known attractions in Knysna is the Heads. The Heads are two sandstone cliffs guarding the mouth of the lagoon and it connects the estuary within the sea. The lookout at the Eastern Head is a great place to watch swirling current flowing from the open sea into mouth of the channel and eventually calming down as it blend into Knysna River. Western Head is a privately owned nature reserve, Featherbed Bay and can be visited on a guided walking tour. I did a review on Knysna in dooyoo not too long ago...I simply loved this place.
Plettenberg Bay is a nursery to the endangered South Right Whale. The whale comes here to calve in winter. From July to December, you can have an opportunity to watch the South Right Whale and its calf frolicking in the waters of Plettenberg. Like most places on the Garden Route, Plettenberg have its share of beautiful forests and varied wildlife. The pretty town is also blessed with a varied ecosystem, one of which is a unique marine reserve which is home to soft coral reefs and a host of marine life. There is a vibrant nightlife in Plettenberg Bay. Pubs, clubs and fine restaurants can be found in every corner of the town. The Bay is a favourite vacation spot for students. We didn't stay very long in Plettenberg though I wish we did. The town have a suburban feel and its not too touristy.
The Tsitsikamma National Park is an internationally recognized nature reserve. The forests in Tsitsikamma is home to a giant Outeniqua yellowwood tree. This enormous tree has survived unchanged for millions of years and is one of the few true monarchs of the world's forests. We drove into the national park, the rich vegetation cools the environment and shoreline is simply pictureques. Though we didn't go through any hiking trails, I found out that one of the best known hiking trail is the Otter Trail, which takes about 5 days to complete. The trail runs through rugged, rocky shoreline, river crossing and lush forest. You need a certain level of fitness to go on a Otter Trail, perhaps I will do it the next time after some fitness training.
Personally, I think the best ways to see the Garden Route is self drive. It is easy to drive to the Garden Route. Ideally,it takes about 4 to 5 days to totally absorbed the splendour and beauty of Garden Route.
The Apprentice currently screening on BBC One on Wednesday is the 5th series since the reality show make its first appearance on our TV in 2005.
The show is a TV franchise from US where 16 contestants from various backgrounds compete to become an apprentice to Donald Trump.
In the UK version, the boss is Sir Alan Sugar. The job interview as Alan Sugar put it runs for 12 week and only one can become his apprentice.
During the competition, the candidates are divided into two teams and each week, they are given a new task. It could be a task to test the candidates' capability such as selling skills, marketing skills, ability to lead, manage and organise. Each task stretches the candidates' creative and business skills and they are watched by Sir Alan's advisers Margaret Mountford and Nick Hewer. At the end of the task, the candidates will be called into the boardroom to face Sir Alan and his advisers and the team who wins will be given a celebratory treat. The losing team will face heated grilling and one of the candidates will be fired by Sir Alan.
I like watching The Apprentice; it keeps me in touch with the corporate and business world which I have left. However, I don't recall meeting awful, rude and arrogant people like the ones portray in the reality show.
The Apprentice is a good TV program for motivation and education for would be entrepreneur and business people. It show how some people can coordinate, lead and still work as a team and how some people failed to do the right thing as they are blinded by their eagerness to impress and compete.
In the current series of The Apprentice, it is good to see Sir Alan's adviser, Margaret and Nick taking a more active role during the show and there are definitely more footage on them. I do recognise that this is a reality show and some footage we see is more for our entertainment. However, it becomes unreal when the person who was fired wasn't fired because she/he was responsible for failing the task but because he/she is boring. In last week episode, it was obvious that Debra, the project manager was responsible for failing the task, the person fired was Mona. Could it be because Debra, who is rude and arrogant, makes good TV entertainment or was it because Sir Alan see something good about her. If the latter is true, I question the type of people he have in his organisation.
Anyway, I shouldn't take the show too seriously, it is after all a reality show and the main objective is entertainment. I definitely do not believe that there are many arrogant and merciless people out there in the business and corporate world.
Jersey is the largest of the five Channel Islands and is well known for its beautiful countryside and pristine beaches. The island which is 45 sq miles with 44 miles of coastline can be easily explored by foot, car, cycle or bus.
We decided to take a short break to Jersey recently and found that one of the best ways to get to know the island is cycling and walking. The island seems to be designed for cyclists and walkers. The Green lanes which were introduced to provide safety are an intricate network of 50 miles of country lanes where walkers, cyclists and horse riders are given priority over cars. Hence the speed limit on the Green Lanes is 15mph. The green lane links the beaches, places of attraction and is a useful guide for first timers in Jersey. Using St.Helier, Jersey's Capital as our base, we cycled and walked with the Green lane as our guide to many of interesting places in Jersey.
The beaches are never too far away in Jersey. St. Aubin's Bay, a popular stretch of sandy beach starts from St. Helier Harbour to St. Aubin's Harbour. The waters in St. Aubin's Bay are also a hot spot for water skiers and windsurfers. I was told that the sandy beach in St. Aubins' Bay is ideal for building sand castle. The other beaches in Jersey include Beauport, an area of secluded and protected coves, ideal for sunbathers wanting to get away from the crowds. For surf enthusiast, the Atlantic waves from St Ouen's Bay are provide one of the best surfing experience. Besides enjoying popular beach activities like water skiing, jet ski and fun boat rides, walking along the beach against the golden ray of the sun as it sets in the horizon is both breathtaking and serene.
The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is a major landmark in Jersey. Founded more than 50 years ago by naturalist Gerald Durrell, the conservation trust is famed for its work in saving and breeding endangered species. The Trust is located in an area of landscaped parklands and water gardens. Among the endangered species are a gorilla family of five lead by a silverback called Ya Kwanza, three generations of Sumatran Orang Utans and a Madagascan gentle lemur community. The animals live in large open spaces with environment created to be as close to their natural habitat. Some of the endangered species like the Mauritius Kestrel have been successfully conserved and bred and will be returned to Mauritius to re establish a new community of Kestrel. The Conservation Trust is opened throughout the year except on Christmas Day. The different types of admission charges are available from the website;
Elizabeth Castle build during the 1500s is a historical monument in Jersey. The castle was built on an islet in St. Aubins' Bay and for over 300 years, it have been used for military purpose. Inside the castle are three permanent exhibitions, War and Peace, Granite and Gunpowder and the Jersey Militia. The castle is open daily in summer and access to the castle by the amphibious ferry adds a novel start to the visit.
Jersey War Tunnel formerly known as The Höhlgangsanlage 8 (Ho8) was built by the Germans as their defence against the Allied forces when they occupied Jersey during World War Two. The tunnel was built by forced labours and the terrible conditions and suffering of the slave labourers are portray in a sculpture entitled 'Silence', currently standing on the grounds of the tunnel. The displays in the galleries tell the story of evacuation, deportation, captivity and siege, to eventual liberation of Jersey.
For lovers of Sea Shells, the Shell Garden is a paradise. Imagine a garden filled with stunning display of dolphins, doves, sea horses, mermaids all made from shells. Started by Colin Soudain in 1957, shells are continuously added to the largest shell garden in the world. The combination of colourful flowers as they dance to the backdrop of the beautiful sea shells makes the Shell Garden a delight to be in. There is even a shop selling handmade shell craft. For more info about hte Shell Garden, visit http://www.jerseyshellgarden.com/
Mont Orgueil Castle is one of the best preserved castles on the island. The dramatic castle which was built in 13th century, towers over the Gorey. There are many things to see in the castle. At the end of each winding stairs are displays depicting the practices and lifestyle of the medieval inhabitants. From witchcraft to more than 50 exhibits, Mont Orgueil Castle is definitely the place to appreciate the history of Jersey. Beside exhibits, I enjoy watching re-enactment of Jersey's medieval history by the Living History team and the spectacular eagle flying demonstration. Mont Orgueil opens daily from 18 March to 2 November.
Our walking and cycling holiday in Jersey was a delight. We took our time to explore this beautiful island. The published guides from the tourism board are very useful and informative. There is never a moment where we are at a loss of what to do. The 3 days in Jersey was definitely well spend and we are going back again for more.
I have always wanted to try Starburst Choozers since it first appeared last year. As Tesco is currently offering the sweets at £1.00 for a 160g bag instead of the usual £1.37, I decided to give it a try.
I like the original Starburst chewy sweets, the individually wrapped sweets have a nice fruit flavour and the chewiness is very addictive. I could finish a whole tube of starburst sweets within minutes. Starburst Choozers is quite similar to the original version except that each sweet is filled with fruit flavoured liquid that is supposed to ooze out as you chew on the sweet.
Starburst Choozers in the bag is individually wrapped and the oval shaped sweets is much firmer than the original starburst chews. However, as you chew on the choozers, it gets chewier especially when the fruit flavoured liquid contained within the sweet flows out and blend with the rest of the sweet. The flavours combinations are Orange and Mango, Raspberry and Orange, Pineapple and Orange. The other ingredients include: Glucose Syrup, Sugar, Invert Sugar, Hydrogenated Vegetable Fat, fruit Juices (3.7%) (Orange, Pineapple, Raspberry, Mango), Acidity Regulators (E296, E330, E331, E337, E451), Dextrin, Flavourings, Modified Starch, Maltodextrin, Gelling Agent (Pectin), Colours (E160a, E122, E104).
I do like Starburst Choozers, it is as addictive as the original Starburst. The only disappointment is the pack does not contain equal number of flavours. There were only 4 pineapple and orange, 8 orange and mango and lots of raspberry and orange. I also wonder if there is any unfavourable effect from the E numbers contained in the sweet.
In conclusion, though I like Starburst Choozers, the original Starburst will still be my favourite sweet.
The World Wide Web has given us limitless source of information. The world is smaller now as information such as places of interest, tradition, customs and lifestyle of people living miles away from you become easily and instantly available.
Wikipedia is one such information web site. This free content web site is probably the most used site for research, knowledge and updates. The name 'Wikipedia' is form out of two words, a portmanteau of the word 'Wiki' which means a collection of web pages and 'pedia' derived from encyclopaedia. Wikipedia is run by Wikimedia Foundation, a not for profit organisation based in San Francisco.
Almost every well known person, places around the world and events old and news is recorded in Wikipedia. It covers topics like history, geography, arts, biography, mathematics, science, society and technology. It is an encyclopaedia with a twist. The contents in book based encyclopaedia stays the same. It changes only when a new edition is printed. A web based encyclopaedia like Wikipedia allows information to be updated constantly and sometimes in real time. Visitors or editors to the site can contribute contents to existing information or create new information. The contents are monitored by the site administrators as a way to ensure that Wikipedia guidelines are conformed.
I look upon Wikipedia as a tool for research. The free web based encyclopaedia has cut down research time, saving time which will otherwise be used scouring the internet for small bits of information here and there. It is simply amazing that almost 99% of the time, the information I need is available in Wikipedia. The links within a single page also enable me to expand my understanding of unfamiliar words.
The advantage of allowing contribution of new contents is that the information can be verified and corrected by others. Leaning towards transparency of information and maintaining neutrality, the contents often provide views that show both sides of a coin. As old contents cannot be changed by editors, new contents are placed alongside the existing ones for comparison and verification.
The disadvantageous on allowing visitors to contribute contents in Wikipedia is unchecked information. Editors can sometimes provide inaccurate information that has escaped the radar of the administrator. Though such instances are usually corrected when they are pointed out, it might take days before it happens and visitors will be misinformed.
When there is no more research to be done, I enjoy reading the headlines in the main page. It contain a treasure cove of information with featured articles, current news, what happen 'on this day' in history and abstract of newest articles.
Wikipedia is now available in more than 80 languages and there are also several sister sites offering web based information such as Wikinews, Wiktionary, Wikibooks, Wikitravel and Wikiversity.
Hotmail is not unfamiliar to many, they are one of the first free email service provider in the world. I started with hotmail many years ago; it was my first taste of email communication. I wasn't disappointed, hotmail is very user friendly and the storage capacity was sufficient. But as more free email provider surfaced, I decide to switch to them thinking maybe I will get a better deal there.
My verdict after trying out many free email service providers is, I am back with hotmail and I have cancelled most of the other free emails. In my experience, hotmail provide a larger storage capacity, up to 5GB (expandable when required) which is essential for emails filled with graphics and pictures. Hotmail is operated by Microsoft and the hotmail team are constantly upgrading and improving the hotmail feature, both on page appearance and useful add on. One useful feature is the ability to link to more than one email account in a single login. I have two hotmail addresses, one for friends and the other for enquiries I made. Though hotmail have an effective anti spam feature, my hotmail for enquiries was set up to handle the junk mails sent by people who bought my email address from these enquiries. I can easily delete them without opening the mail. Another feature (probably not a new) which I have recently discover is the ability to customise my page with theme design provided by hotmail.
The other features built into hotmail are virus scanning, SMTP authentication, phishing heuristic detection, mailing list detection and spell checker.
Hotmail - one of the first for free email and definitely one of the best.
When we were looking for a flight out to Asia last year, we decided to try Qatar Airways. We based our decision on the price and its claim for providing 5 star services. Finally, foolishly we thought, since Qatar come from the same region as Emirates ( we like Emirates as their quality of service is good) there shouldn't be a wide difference.
Well, our not so nice experience start from the time we booked our ticket through the Qatar website. The website is not user friendly and the prices change haphazardly. We keyed in our first booking and just before confirming our flight with credit card payment, we discover the need to make some changes. So we start the whole process of keying our requirements again with the same date, same flight and same time. We were shocked to find the price had increased by £50. As we need to go on that flight, we went ahead with our booking. After making the final confirmation with our credit card, a notification appear on the site and informed us that a confirmation email will be sent. The problem is the email address indicated was not the email address we gave. Luckily the email did come to us but it was really worrying. We wrote to the airline about the price change but had only received a confirmation email about our grievance and no further follow up.
There are definitely no five star services with Qatar Airways. The first leg from London to Doha was terrible. The food was lousy, it was not heated probably and it doesn't have a nice flavour. The presentation looks cheap and there isn;t a wide of selection of drinks either. The staffs weren't friendly and were only interested in chatting with each other. The second leg, from Doha to Singapore was much better though. The staffs were friendlier and they look more groomed too. They do move around to make sure that the passengers are comfortable. Food however remains bad.
After a bad start with Qatar Airways, we weren't looking forward to our returned journey. It went quite well without major hiccups, except the wait in Doha for our transfer was uncomfortable and tormenting. Perhaps it is because we no longer have any great expectation from the airline. We do know however that we will not be taking Qatar Airways again.
I remember in my younger days watching my grandmother making fresh soya milk out of soya beans. As I grew up with soya milk being a common drink, I have never thought much about its benefits. In fact, soya milk was never a favourite drink of mine. Ironically, since being here in UK and after knowing that I have lactose intolerance, soya milk suddenly means more than just a leisure drink.
Soya milk or soy milk is a protein drink similar to cow's milk. It is a beverage commonly drank in Asia especially China and South East Asia. The drink is made by soaking dry soya beans and grinding them with water. I remember watching the traditional method of making soya milk during my girl guiding days, soya bean and water were mixed in a large stone slab and a wooden paddle was used to churn the stone and consequently grind the beans. As a teenager then, I thought it looks rather unappetising.
Nowadays, commercially packaged soya milk is made using high tech machinery. However, there is also an option of making soya milk at home. The method is quite simple, soak soya beans overnight, when the beans are soft; blend them with water in a juicer. Extract the soya milk using a muslin cloth and pour the milk into a pot. Boil the milk for about 25 minutes, stirring continuously to prevent it from sticking . Simmer for another 20 minutes and leave it aside to let it cool down. You have just made your own soya milk.
Soya milk has almost the same properties as cow's milk except it does not contain galactose, a product of lactose breakdown. Hence, it is a good alternative for those suffering from lactose intolerance. Soya milk also contains a good source of lecithin, vitamin E, isoflavones and it has no cholesterol and contains far less saturated fat than cow's milk. Most commercially packaged soya milk has calcium added to the drink because soya milk on its own contains only a low level of calcium.
Though the health benefits from soya milk are plenty, there is also certain health risks associated with soya milk. There is an ongoing study about whether the isoflavones in soya beans could block absorption of certain minerals such as magnesium, iron and zinc. The study on the benefits and risks of phytoestrogen in soya bean is also currently on a limbo. Soya beans could also cause an allergic reaction for some people.
Generally, I do believe that the health benefits for soya milk outweigh its risks. And as long as the study about the health risks is still inconclusive, it wouldn't do much harm if it is consumed in moderation.
After several weeks of looking around for a foundation suitable for my skin tone, I decide to try Rimmel Renew and Lift Foundation. The critieria for my selection is that the foundation must not be of matt quality as my skin is not as oily as before, it must not look heavy upon application and it should spread evenly and easily on the skin. Finally, the foundation must have the shade that I need.
I bought the Rimmel Renew and Lift foundation after trying out a few make up foundation in Superdrug. Most foundations are either too matt or pricey and there aren't many foundations with the right shade for my skin tone which falls between beige and honey. I was told that the best way to find the suitable shade is by spreading a little foundation on the back of our hand, below the thumb area. It seems that the skin tone there is closest to our facial skin colour.
Rimmel renew and lift foundation is available in 7 shades and they are; Ivory, Natural Beige, Porcelain, True Ivory, Classic Beige and Warm Honey. The foundation contains peptides and ceramides which are known to help lift and regenerate skin. There is a sunscreen factor of SPF 15 and several other natural minerals that will protect the skin.
The 30ml foundation comes in a glass bottle and the liquid foundation dispense easily from a pump nozzle. I bought the Classic beige shade which is closest to my skin tone. Each pump releases a small drop of liquid which is ideal as there will not be any wastage. The foundation is creamy and it is not too thick. It spread smoothly and easily on the face and it's great as a concealer for blemishes too.
The Rimmel Renew and Lift foundation is available in Boots, Superdrug and some supermarkets. It cost at £7.82 at Superdrug but the price does differ at different shops.
The foundation is great for skin that is going from oily to dry. It does not have the dryness of a matt foundation and yet it is does not make my face look shining and oily.
Glad to have found this foundation.
Not long ago, I bought a box of Twinings nettle and peppermint tea. As a believer of natural therapy, I have heard of the many health benefits of nettle and peppermint.
The stinging nettle which many of us dislike especially when walking in the woods, is filled with many health benefits. It is a well known body cleanser and there are properties in nettle that can help relieve coughs and asthma, counter arthritis, fight skin problems and treat urinary infections. I have tried nettle tea on its own and it taste awful. The dark green tea give out a grassy smell and it looks unappealing. Normally, I would not add any sugar or honey in herbal tea but in this instance, I have to add a teaspoon of honey to improve the taste.
Peppermint tea on the other hand gives a pleasant menthol taste and smell. It's a tea that I would always take after a spicy meal. Peppermint tea not only aid digestion, it can also help to relieve symptoms of the common cold or flu.
Twinings have cleverly infused the awful nettle with pleasant peppermint. I am glad that I can now get the benefit of both and enjoying the taste at the same time. The tea is caffeine free and it is definitely a refreshing drink especially after a heavy meal.
There are 20 bags in a box (92p) of Twinings Nettle and Peppermint tea and it can be found in most supermarkets. To brew the tea, simply add boiling water to the bag and let it infused for 2 to 3 minutes. You can add honey to sweeten or add ice to make a cold and refreshing summer drink.
Definitely worth a try.