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hilly123

hilly123
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Member since: 03.03.2010

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    • Intelligent Finance / Bank / 42 Readings / 42 Ratings
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      14.06.2010 10:44
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      makes banking easy

      I have been using this bank for a number of years and have found them incredibly user friendly.

      When setting up an account it is all done online, all details are entered and within a few days, the credit agreements are posted out to your address for a signature and then the account(s) is set up a few days later and showing on the net.

      There are no high street branches so if you do need to have a bank where you are able to deposit cash then this is not for you, however cheques are easily deposited by posting them and I have never had to wait more than two days for them to show in my account before clearing. I have never had any cheques go missing in the post either.

      Saving jar (account) names s can be easily changed and your account can be easily enhanced all by online service. The names are a great idea as it means you can have a pot marked holidays, going out, house etc so it is the equivalent of all of your mums purses in various drawers in her dressing table....or is that just my parents?? It is very helpful that I can see how much is in each jar and so if I'm saving for something specific I don't get confused with other things I'm saving for too.

      If you want to speak to customer services you can either phone or send a secure message via their website, which is the option I choose to do. They generally reply within 24 hours and I find that they deal with everything quite promptly. My only complaint would be I recently changed some savings account for a better interest rate and I think IF should have been more pro active and contacted me first to advise me I could get a better rate without me having to start the process.

      Overall a great internet bank and have always received excellent customer service.

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        24.05.2010 21:26
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        great page turner and a must read series

        Firstly I loved the first two books, and could not wait to get my hands on the last in the series. As an introduction without spoiling the plot, a misunderstood young woman with various talents is under arrest for murder, a group of associates and friends believe she is not guilty and carry out an investigation to resolve the issues. The story follows this and you have to read it to discover what happens.

        Main Characters
        Lisbeth Salander - young woman mentioned above
        Mikael Blomkvist - investigative journalist, player, generally good guy
        Erika Berger - editor of Millenium magazine, sometime girlfiend to Blomkvist

        All of the old characters are there however it does introduce a lot of new names as part of the conspiracy theory and ongoing investigation. I did find I quite difficult at times to keep up with the new characters and remember who did what and what their part in the plot was. I don't know if it was because I was unsure of how to pronounce names, if I read it too fast and so it didn't sink in or if other people have had the same problem. I had to keep going back to other parts of the book or take a break and think about who was who.

        The much loved characters from the previous books were the same however there personalities were explored a bit more and it just did not concentrate of Blomkvist as it had in the other books.. We found out a bit more about Berger which was great, I liked her from the previous books but she had a much better personality in this. She came forward as a strong, dynamic woman who faces up to challenges and is not just a player. A bit more of her background was explored and also her weaknesses
        Blomkvist is a total player, obviously a talented guy who is a great friend, however why do so many women in this trilogy find this guy attractive? A challenge? I don't think so, too many strong, powerful, intelligent woman fall for this guy it is a bit too easy and I do think a bit of a weakness in this book.

        The story itself is fast moving, well written, and although it isn't that hard to guess the ending it is a real page turner as I could not wait to get to the climax of the story. However was despondent when I did as I did not want this book to end.

        Love this trilogy however gutted that no more books now.

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        • Waitrose / Highstreet Shopping / 29 Readings / 28 Ratings
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          24.05.2010 21:09
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          a great shopping experience just don't look at the bill

          I usually shop at tesco or sainsburys and recently I have taken to being more careful about how I shop and trying various discount ranges and in line with this Waitrose is not on my usual weekly shop run. This shop is vastly expensive much more so than M&S which is bad enough in itself but even the common branded items such as detergent or a sauce is so much more expensive than elsewhere. However saying this the quality of their own products is fantastic.

          The shelves are always neatly stacked, items are not thrown about any old way. The fresh produce looks delicious. Everything looks ripe and fresh and there are no small mean versions of items like I have seen on other supermarket shelves. Recently I bought some salad stuff from there, granted the lettuce was about a tenner (slight exaggeration) however it was fresh, tasted delicious and lasted for ages without going wilted like it tends to with other brands.

          The patisserie again is fantastic, everything is so delicious and at tea time most week nights they tend to have a bit of a reduction on which takes items down to normal price so cream cakes are definitely purchased if available!

          The selection of different items is much greater at my Waitrose, those slightly different items that are in your cook book can be purchased here, and it is nice to give different items a try which this shop enables me to do. Sainsburys etc have quite bland, same old food which I great a lot of the time however Waitrose does give a greater variety and a bit more exotic produce.

          There is not a line at the checkout at my waitrose store, again probably because no one can afford to shop there. But it is lovely on a Saturday afternoon not hang to queue like I do at the other chains.

          Overall the store is clean, the staff are friendly, selection is good and the shelves are always well stocked. However it is vastly expensive but as a treat or even if you are lucky enough to be able to shop there all the time, the quality is fantastic.

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            17.05.2010 18:09
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            very poor tasting yogurt

            I bought these yogurts as they were on special....BOGOF. I don't usually go for weight watchers food as I think they are a bit of a con, and if you look at the labeling a lot of the time you can find something as nutritionally good if not better for a cheaper price. However as I say there was nothing cheaper on the shelf and therefore I gave these a try.

            The pot itself is 120G and is only 1 weight watchers point per pot (whatever that means). 58 calories and only 0.1g saturated fat per pot means it is a fairly healthy snack and therefore quite a good snack by itself or even better on fruit which is the way I usually have it.

            The consistency itself is quite nice, thick and creamy however I don't think it is particularly flavoursome and this goes for all of the different flavours. The yogurt just doesn't really taste of anything. There are chunks of fruit in it however they are not very big and seem a bit squidgy. Some other brands of yogurts are much more chunky and when you take a bite you don't just get mush it actually feels like proper fruit. The bits in this yogurt felt old and not very fresh and so I did not really enjoy these yogurts at all. The tastes just don't vary, the strawberry tasted like the raspberry to me.

            I was disappointed in this product, they were ok however there are certainly better yogurts on the market and will not be buying these again even if they are on offer.

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            16.05.2010 19:02
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            does what it says on the bottle

            As mentioned in previous reviews, I do normally use liquid tabs when doing a wash, however as I'm on a bit of an economy drive I went for the cheapest laundry product for the best value I could. The product that stepped up was Surf small and mighty. I have never used Surf before and liked the idea that this range was good for the environment as was concentrated. Therefore it is in a smaller bottle, so not as much packaging is required. The liquid as it is concentrated does not need to be in such large quantities and so you can use less.

            The bottle I got was supposed to be enough for 42 washes I got more out of it than this as I didn't use a full cap each time (as you are supposed to). I didn't scrimp but I found after the first couple of washes that I would put in just a bit less liquid and the results were the same, still great. I only use this product on coloureds and darks, not white shirts as I find that I need a bio detergent for them. This is really effective on all different cycles that I put through on the machine. In essence this product does get your clothes clean and what else do you want really??

            This variance of Surf is supposed to smell of lemons and bergamot, now I don't know what bergamot is however the smell of lemons is lovely. As I hang out my washing the scent that comes of my clothes is lovely and clean and fresh, not overpowering but is that really nice clean smell. It does wear off slightly however it does still remain in the clothes when I have ironed them as well.

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          • Ariel Excel Gel / Household Product / 17 Readings / 17 Ratings
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            16.05.2010 18:54
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            It works

            When I bought my washing machine in the manufacturers documents it had a leaflet saying that I could send off for a free bottle of this detergent, which I duly did. I'm not a very big fan of liquids and I do prefer tablets as I am very lazy and just want to be able to thrown my laundry in a machine throw in a tab and go, however I love free stuff so though I would give this a go.

            I got the biological full size bottle, which is supposed to do 18 washes. I'm not sure if I've had 18 out of it as it has been on the go ages I actually think it is more than that. I only use this detergent on white washes as I got the biological and the non bio I was using wasn't cleaning everything as well as it should round the collars etc.

            As part of the bottle the cap is attached, squirt some of the thick liquid in the cap and then place in with your laundry. I have used this on 40 degree washes and also on my eco wash and it is fantastic. I now generally just use it on the eco cycle and all stains and grubby marks come out of all the white shirts. This stuff is fantastic. I don't know how it works and don't really care as long as it does the job.

            It is quite expensive, about 6 pounds I think however there are offers around a lot of the time, however considering if you can use a lower temperature then it is better for the environment and also you use less electricity so works out very cost effective I think.

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              15.05.2010 20:14
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              great smell lasting body butter

              Got this body butter as part of a set and I don't really like body butter as I find I use much more of it then usual body lotion as it is so much thicker. The body butter itself comes in a round pot with a screw off lid. It is tidy and nice and easy to put away or throw in my gym bag and no mess or leaking from the cap.

              The butter itself is extremely thick, when applying you need to dig your fingers into it and then apply over your body, it does take a while to rub in and as it is so rich not a lot of the product is needed. A little certainly goes a long way in this case.

              The smell....oh my god the smell!!! It is divine! I don't really like sweet smelling products but I want to gnaw my own arm of when I have applied this product. I also find that it sticks with me throughout the day and when I move I sometimes get a quick whiff of coco butter and it is gorgeous. I don't have many body products that the scent does not wear off and I think for a less expensive product this is a great advantage. Not suitable for an evening but great for during the day.

              My skin feels lovely and smooth after applying it and not too sticky like some other body butters I have applied in the past. I would recommend that you wait a few minutes after application before putting on your clothes but apart from that it is fantastic.

              Not sure about the price as I didn't pay for it, but I will definitely be having a look in Boots for this product once I run out as I will certainly be using it again.

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              • Fairy Liquid / Household Product / 36 Readings / 31 Ratings
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                11.05.2010 20:50
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                good value

                I was never that convinced by the claims on the adverts that this is the best & "original" washing up liquid. However following a special at the supermarket I bought an original fairy washing up liquid.

                Firstly its claims that a little goes a long way are completely correct. I was so used to supermarkets own brands that I used a huge splodge of it when I first used this and there were bubbles everywhere!! Only a little dab is needed and there are enough suds and enough soap for your dishes to get cleaned easily and quickly. A bottle lasts absolutely ages and so even though slightly more expensive than some of its competitors I think worthwhile as it lasts so long.

                I also leave my dishes into soak particularly when having roasted things and when the liquid is added I can see it eats the grease however I'm not too sure that the residue if left for long enough just wipes away. Or is it just the case that I have not left it long enough but I think overnight is!!!

                There is no real scent with this variant so can't claim that it smells the best however I have also tried some others and the lemon fragranced one is lovely and a refreshing smell.

                The bottle itself is plastic so able to recycled, and with a plastic flip top lid. I do tend to spill the liquid and don't know if that's me or the design, however I do think it's the design as there is always a bit of washing up liquid gunk around the lid.

                I'm not sure that it leaves your hands soft. I know the advert and the song but it doesn't work for me and as with other products I have used I still need to use hand cream after washing up. So maybe hands that use fairy aren't so soft......

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                10.05.2010 20:03
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                value hotel in good location

                Location
                Round the corner from Gare St Lazare, so well located for a number of main line trains as well as a metro being on the door step.

                The hotel itself is down a small side street, however less than 50m away there are a number of café/bars as well as supermarket, pharmacy and other amenities that are useful.

                Situated in 8th arrondissement and within walking distance to Opera, St Honore, Place de La Concorde and a number of other tourist attractions.

                Property
                The hotel itself is not an outstanding looking building. It fits in with the surrounding architecture and there is a small sign outside to advise the name of the establishment. Upon walking into reception, which is basically a small cubicle tagged on to the end of the wall, there is one person dealing with all queries and upon the occasion when I checked in, not very good English is spoken. I was quite surprised at this as every other major city where I have stayed in a 3*plus hotel the reception have always spoken good English. The area is clean however quite cramped and dark and not a particularly welcoming area.

                Bedrooms
                I booked a twin and the room was tiny, however other rooms I have had in Paris have also had this issue and I do understand that hotels in Paris do tend to have a bit of a size issue or lack of it!!! The beds in the room dominated the room and it was difficult to walk around them. Basically if one of the occupants was walking around the room the other person needed to either be in the bathroom or sat on a bed. However the beds were very comfortable and the linen was clean. A tv (with very limited channels) occupied the wall over the desk and a double wardrobe which only opened one side so if you wanted to use the other side you had to squeeze your arm in and scrunch your clothes pulling them out....not ideal.
                The bathroom itself has a shower over the bath and was a small size but perfectly usable however the shower did leak so every morning and night I had to perform a mopping up exercise and the hotel never fixed this issue during our three night stay.

                Food
                I never had breakfast here as the rates were too high. I found it much better to go down the street to the local bakery where the food was cheap and of very good quality. I did try and order food in the restaurant however they told me that it was impossible to eat in the restaurant but I could have room service. It was nearly 20 euros for a sandwich so I went to a place 2 minutes away and got a sandwich for 4 euros which was quite tasty and just did the job.



                Service
                Overall the service was ok. The maids did their job and kept the hotel and our room clean. The reception did not speak very good English and although not a huge problem, however I am a tourist and wanted some advise about where to go so I found this a bit of an issue and ended up going to tourist information or asking on the street. I did complain about the safe being broken and within two minutes of informing reception, there was a handyman trying to fix it which was quite helpful and the speed in which he came to us did quite impress me.

                This hotel is in a very handy location, we got a really good deal on the price as hotels in Paris are notoriously expensive. All attractions are either within walking distance or are easily accessible by metro or city bus so would recommend this hotel as a cheap well located hotel but be aware it is very basic.

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              • Benecol Light Spread / Spread / 23 Readings / 22 Ratings
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                08.05.2010 18:44
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                tastes ok and if it works defo worth it

                My DH was recently diagnosed with high cholesterol and although nothing too much to worry about I thought we should take action if at all possible. Therefore did my homework and along with all the nutritional changes I carried out I also stopped buying spreadable butter and started buying this product for him.

                Firstly it is quite expensive approx £3.60 ish and even when on special offer it still is not in the same region as the butter products I was buying before.

                This is a spread, like margarine so although supposed to taste like butter (there are different variances) it doesn't. It does not have the bad margarine taste however you can tell it is not butter but it is quite thick when it is spread on bread and it melts fairly easily on Jacket potatoes and toast etc. It adds a little bit of taste to something that is slightly lacking instead of the butter and the best thing is if you add a fair bit of the product you don't feel too bad as it is better for you than better and has the sterols in as well to hopefully help with the heart.

                I do now use this as well as my DH as although originally I bought it for him and I stuck with the butter I thought it was a bit unfair so I changed to this as well. Now I can't tell the difference whenever I add it and so after two weeks I don't think most consumers would be able to tell, especially if you have come from buying margarine before. It is not a very useful product as it is recommended that it is only bought for spreading, no frying, baking etc however as long as you are aware of this it just means that you have to have a couple of other products in your fridge as well instead of the one you may usually have.

                I'm unsure of this works or not, I appreciate that it states it is proven to reduce cholesterol and my DH's has gone down. But I don't know if it is just down to this or the other changes I have implemented as well.

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              • Kraft Philadelphia Light / Cheese / 9 Readings / 9 Ratings
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                08.05.2010 18:34
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                a good thing to have in your fridge as really useful

                When I was younger I used to love Philly on crackers and used to have them as a bit of a snack on an evening. However time goes by and I used to have it less and less until it was something that I never really thought about. When I got to an age where I bought my own groceries this never entered my trolley. However recently have got into baking and cooking and as part of this have got into doing various deserts. One of my favourites are cheesecakes and so although there are loads of different variances I bought some Philadelphia to include as the soft cheese ingredient. I bought the light version as thought with everything else going into the cake I could do with making "fat cuts" wherever I could.

                This cheese is perfect for cooking with. It's soft and creamy and has that distinctive flavour that mixes in with other ingredients such as cream, condensed milk etc. It doesn't curdle and sets really nicely, providing not too much lemon juice is added (one of my earlier failings!!) The sell by date is usually a good three or four months so if I do see it on special offer, I tend to buy several as they do last and a lot is needed per cheesecake.

                I also tried these on crackers to revert to my childhood as a snack alternative to my sweeter night time treats. Philly is delicious on a Jacob cracker!! It tastes savoury but with a hint of sweetness, is filling and is much lower in fat than some other traditional snacks such as biscuits etc. This also makes a nice lunch alternative if dieting as saves on bread and although it is not the most nutritional food ever it isn't the worst either.

                When opening the lid, there is a foil top which helps to keep it fresh and it is thick so when your knife or spoon dives in you can get a satisfying dollop of it and either spread it on your snack or add to your cooking.

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                  07.05.2010 15:45
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                  better places to stay in ambleside

                  When staying in ambleside I usually go for a week and get a cottage however only going for one night and we wanted something a bit better than a usual guesthouse so looking on the website I chose this one. They only had a superior room available which was £110 for two people B&B but the facilities and details on the website looked promising so I booked it.

                  Location
                  Just off vicarage road, close to the church. Some great walks straight from the doorstep so no need to use your car once there. The local fish & chip shop is the closest shop which is approx 25 metres from door and then after that there are a steady stream of restaurants, bars, shops all one after the other. The location is perfect.

                  Property
                  The guest house itself stands on a fantastic site. There are little path ways running of from the main drive way with secluded seating areas for people to enjoy the piece and quiet. Birdtables and other wildlife encouraging items are dotted around which can make a cup of tea and a piece of cake very enjoyable.
                  Inside I thought it looked a bit like a residential home. It was chintzy and a bit run down and a weird smell which I still cannot identify. Residents were welcome in the lounge and I suppose it was fairly comfortable but I would not want to spend a great amount of time in there.
                  The house itself has lots of little corridors running of it, with owls everywhere....not sure why!! There were dvd's, videos and games dotted around as well which is a good idea if the weather is bad or even if you have children staying with you to help occupy them.
                  Free car parking so no problem parking here as lots of places.

                  Facilities
                  A small swimming pool of approx 12 metres is in a basement with a sauna and Jacuzzi, great after a hard days walking and very relaxing. These close at 7pm but are open throughout the day and is in a very clean environment.
                  A conservatory with underfloor heating with lovely views of the fells so if a bit chilly outside a comfortable place to sit.

                  Rooms
                  As I say I stayed in a double superior. This was a good size with a wide screen tv with dvd and video, a king size bed and a lovely window overlooking ambleside. The bathroom had a Jacuzzi bath and a decent shower which felt great after a hard slog on the fells. Bath robes and slippers were also in the room along with tea coffee making facilities. The robes, towels etc did look and feel as though they had seen better days and to be honest I was a bit disappointed by the lack of luxury in the room as for £110/night which is not an insignificant amount I had expected better. There was hand soap in the bathroom, but no little bottles of anything, no cotton wool or any of the nice touches that I think should have been there. The bed was awful. It was hard and uncomfortable, and the choice of pillows was either 1cm thick or 10cm thick, nothing in between. I had a dreadful night sleep and this was directly attributable to the bed.

                  Breakfast
                  This was good, cereal, juice, tea/coffee, cooked breakfast. It wasn't the best I've ever had but certainly not the worst. It came promptly was well cooked, and hot when it arrived and was tasty as well. Nice little touches such as home made preserves and home baked bread may have been nice though as I have had these in other guest houses and you can certainly tell the difference.

                  Service
                  It was ok, not fantastic. When I checked out I told them about the bed, I was polite and just said that they may one to take a look at it. The guy I spoke to basically said there was nothing wrong with it and showed no interest whatsoever that one of his guests had not enjoyed their stay. I had also ordered a refreshments and had to remind them as they forgot to bring it, not a hugely negative thing but in a hospitality role not that positive either.

                  Overall an ok stay but too expensive for what it was and wouldn't go back. There is too much competition to be having this much of an average stay for this kind of price in Ambleside.

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                    05.05.2010 19:39
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                    better products for the money

                    I got this tube in a gift set in the sale at Boots. I had never tried this range before and didn't know really what to expect.

                    Ingredients
                    Boots claim this contains Fairtrade certified ingredients as the almond oil it contains is organic and sustainably sourced. Of course this can only be a good thing and probably why it is a bit more expensive than other body washes.

                    Packaging:
                    It comes in a plastic 200ml tube and stands on the cap which has a flat bottom. The cap clicks open but does have a tendency to stay ajar a little bit when you flick it closed. As I then throw it back into my sports bag when I am finished with it this is a slight worry, however it hasn't leaked yet but it is a possibility. I keep catching sight of it and need to close it properly. You need to squeeze it to get it out of the tube but it comes fairly easily and also doesn't leak over the cap and leave a gunky mess which a lot of body washes tend to do.

                    Product
                    This smells lovely, the scent does not overpower you but it is a nice subtle smell which is fresh and a little bit nutty. When applied to your skin the scent lingers but not for long and so it won't conflict with perfumes or any scented body lotion that is applied. I apply it using a shower puff/scrunchie and normally with body washes, I apply a small amount and then when rubbed over my body it creates a nice lather. But with this product I need to use a bit more than what I would normally with something like Imperial Leather (my last body wash). It is thick and creamy but for some reason lacks in latherability!! It does eventually get some nice suds created but it takes a while and quite a lot of product. Of course this means that it does not last as long as some other products. I would expect this to last 3 or 4 weeks looking at the size of the tube, however have been using it two weeks and have nearly run out already. If I had bought this at full price (£4 in Boots I think) I would have been a bit mad as I think there are better value products on the market and I'm not sure that it is worth the money.

                    After effects
                    My skin feels nice and soft and even though I apply moisturizer after showering as a matter of course with this product it is not really that necessary. My skin feels well nourished and doesn't have any dry areas and with the nice fresh scent lingering lightly it makes me feel a bit pampered.

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                      03.05.2010 18:37
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                      good choice at the end of a day

                      When I can't be bothered to cook on a night I nearly always do pasta with some kind of sauce. Quick and easy, fairly healthy and so always good to have a jar/tub of sauce in your cupboard or fridge.

                      I normally have the tomato and mascarpone sauce from tesco however was recently in sainsburys and thought would give this one a try. The packaging is exactly the same, a round tub holding 350g with a lid that gets snapped at the side and then opens by being pulled open.

                      The sauce itself is creamy but not as thick as I would like it to be. You can heat it in the microwave but I find that the taste goes a little bit this way and so usually heat it on the hob and it only takes five minutes. Once heated it pours easily over the pasta but as I mentioned is quite thin and so does run all over the pasta and if it was a bit thicker it would stick a bit more to the pasta and the taste would be a bit better. I think however this means there is always some on your dish so your garlic bread can mop it upJ

                      There are some green herbs in the sauce which from looking at the ingredients I'm guessing is basil however there is no real taste of this. Also the mascarpone is also masked by the strong taste of tomatoes and so overall just tastes very tomatoey.

                      The pot serves two easily, three at a very big push so I personally would stick with two.

                      Nutrition for half of the pot
                      151 calories
                      6.7g sugars
                      0.61g salt
                      5.8g sat. fat
                      10.3g fat

                      Fromt the above you can see that it isn't very healthy and it would be better to make your own pasta sauce. But for a convenient quick meal at the end of a long day this works a treat and works out healthier than most other things that are in the freezer or cupboard.

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                        01.05.2010 17:47
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                        nothing special - must be better in the price range

                        I had this bought for me as a present, as to be honest with a name like this I would never have bought it!! It came in a white round box with silver flowers with a small body lotion (will review separately) in as well. The box was a zipped case and is now being used for jewellery so was quite useful.

                        The perfume comes in a transparent glass round bottle with the name etched on it with a long white lid covering the spray. There is quite a lot in the bottle as is 50ml so does last ages. I'm not sure what the cost is as I mentioned before it was a gift.

                        The spray itself is quite powerful so when it is applied it covers quite a large area of the skin as I find that sometimes with other sprays it only hits a concentrated area so I have to give a couple of squirts whereas I don't with this bottle.

                        The smell itself is very sweet, I think there is some jasmine in there and it is not heavy enough for my evening perfume or light enough for my day wear. I tend to wear it around the house when I just get out of the shower for a bit of scent. When applied it is quite strong however this quickly dies down. It doesn't last a long time and I find that after a couple of hours the scent has gone so if I was wearing this out and about I think I would have to carry it with me and apply fairly frequently

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