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jamiebeck

jamiebeck
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Member since: 14.05.2009

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    • Daewoo Lanos 1.6 SX 5-door / Car / 34 Readings / 34 Ratings
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      11.02.2011 15:31
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      The Daewoo Lanos was a much needed improvement on the Daewoo Nexia and first came to the UK in 1997, I bought my 2000 Daewoo Lanos SX in the summer of 2004, by which time this particular car had been discontinued in the UK.

      --aesthetics--

      The size of the Lanos very in-between, larger than a Fiesta but smaller than an Escort, if you are after a larger car then the Daewoo Nubira might be more your thing. I certainly found it very pleasing on the eye, despite friend's digs that it looked 'like a hairdresser's car!' - I could see their point and perhaps it was aimed at the more femine side of the marketplace, however, like the Renault Clio, it successfully manages to attract a wider audience. The car has a very metallic look about it and the seat fabrics were more than suitable.

      --reliability--

      For me, it's the reliability of this car that makes it stand out from other cars. Reliability with this car is a good thing as parts, in my experience, were very hard to come by. The first thing to go in thiss car was the air conditioning, which from what I've heard isn't an uncommon 'feature' in this car, I didn't bother to replace it as it was quite costly and i was about to start unversity - plus windows have this very handy feature where you can wind them down and they'll let air in! :P Prices of parts obviously vary and the bigger the town/city you live the more likely you'll get a better deal. A clutch assembly should cost you roughly £124 where an alternator should be around £235. A starter motor will cost you £195 and an exhaust system is an unpleasant £650 (ish) and a replacement catalyst will set you back approximately £340. A radiator retails for roughly £180.

      --prices--

      I bought mine in 2004 for around £1,500 which was very good at the time, I reckon now you can get a good one for around the £1000 mark. Personally I'd refrain from buying cheaper through fear of getting a damaged (in some way) vehicle. Obviously it goes without saying to get someone who knows about cars to check it out first before purchasing it.

      --features--

      This car included a radio/casette player, twin airbags, engine immobiliser and side impact beams - another feature available but not on my car was tinted glass. This car is available as a 3 door and 5 door, mine was a 5 door and you don't need me to tell you the advantages of that, if you require a car for a young small family this may be your car. The boot boasted plenty of room, enough for the shopping and possibly a buggy, I never had any complaints but then I was a single male at the time. The alarm worked and is quite obvious to any budding car thieves. Electric windows but only for the driver and front passenger were a welcomed luxury.

      --in summary--

      I'd recommend the Daewoo Lanos if you want hassle-free motoring with low maintenace attached. I'd look for cars that are in very good condition and haggle hard on those that aren't, usually if the seller won't budge then it won't be worth it. You don't see many nowadays out on the roads due not so much which may say more about the car than the above!

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    • Ikea Grevback Bookcase / Furniture / 41 Readings / 40 Ratings
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      11.02.2011 10:40
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      We originally had a Billy bookcase from Ikea at our first place and whilst it did the job it wasn't very solid and did look around £20 (which is most likely what it cost us). When we moved into our second place we were of the mind to buy something that will last and not just solve an issue for the short-term, so we bought this Grevback bookcase for £50.

      --the retailer--

      Again it was from Ikea. Despite our cheap and dodgy looking prior bookcase I am of the opinion you get what you pay for and Ikea is a prime example of this. They have a great selection that ranges from cheap and perfect for a person/s moving in for the first time to affordable but of a higher quality - I havent seen anything in Ikea that I would class as over-priced.

      --vital stats--

      This is from the site but I thought it may be useful:

      Article Number : 301.044.35
      Width : 42 cm
      Height : 10 cm
      Length : 188 cm
      Weight : 42.9 kg

      Additionally this is useful to decide on if you need a bigger car!:

      Assembled size
      Width: 96 cm
      Depth: 35 cm
      Height: 190 cm
      Max. load/shelf: 20 kg

      --the bookcase--

      Ikea recommend that it is fastened to the wall, whilst we don't need to as we now live in a level floored house, it is definately something worth considering - but I advise that you check with your landlord (if you have one!) before nailing something into the wall!

      It is very easy to wipe clean and we haven't stained anything yet, touch wood! Ikea recommends that you use just damp cloth so that you don't run the risk of bleach stains!

      An additional feature that we've kind of made is that it can hold alot up on top of the bookcase, again without troubling it - we have a couple of boxes so nothing too crazy, it does look a little messy but we don't have the biggest of houses!

      The bookcase is very sturdy, solid and holds a lot of books! As you can tell by the 35cm depth you can hold all sizes of books, we have them currently piled (rather messily) on top of eachother, all over the shelf and it doesn't seem to trouble it at all - so if you have a lot of books, this is a great bookcase to get!

      --set up--

      The assembly of the bookcase was probably one of the easiest we've had to do (out of desks, beds, tv stands...etc) and we had it up in no time. The instructions, we found were clear and concise.

      --summary--

      Overall we are very pleased with the Ikea Grevback bookcase - it looks like it cost more than £50 which I still think is cheap for such a solid and eye pleasing feature of the lounge, dining room or wherever you want to put it. The antique style wood and colour makes it fit into most room styles.

      Another great thing about ikea is that we can get the whole set to match, we now have a Tv stand and bookcase that go together, I'm after a coffee table but the significant other won't let me! :( If you are interested the website allows you to check out the whole Grevback series so you can choose other pieces of furniture if you just relocating like we were.

      --price--

      The Grevback is still at £50 in all Ikea stores, I don't recommend the delivery service, despite never using it as it was going to charge us £30 just to drive it to 20 minutes away!

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      • Averatec AV6360 / Laptop / 44 Readings / 43 Ratings
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        07.02.2011 21:43
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        When I was first introduced to Averatec AV6360 it was love at first sight, our eyes met across a crowded computer store and the rest was history (until Averatec died, that is). We'd been through thick and thin together, had good times and bad times but all in all it was a great relationship.

        This was my first and only laptop I've owned - it's since died on me but it did last a good five years and all the way through university - it's had tea accidently poured on it twicd, I've dropped it a few times and I think I've even sat on it (all of which didnt really aid it's longevity). After all that it succumbed to old day and died peacefully around a year ago after battling against a serious plug illness of whic I'll go into more detail later. RIP Averatec AV6360.

        Whilst hard to come by in most reputable computer shops (i.e. PC World etc) I truely recommend this as an affordable reliable laptop that won't let you down! I originally bought this for £800 approx with 2 years warranty so I imagine the price has gone down dramatically since then! Parts aren't too hard to come by (despite it being not the most popular brand) if you are after memory installations, updates etc.


        --Specification--

        Hard drive 80GB
        Processor 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M 725
        OS Windows XP Home Edition
        Screen 15.4'' 1280 * 800
        Dimension 35 cm (W) x 27 cm (D) x 3.5 cm (H)
        RAM 512 MB DDR SDRAM - 333 MHz - PC2700
        Weight 3.1 kg
        Voltage AC 120/230 V


        --The good times--

        Set up was ridiculously easy, the instructions that came with it were straight forward and clear and once everything was installed we were up and running in no time!

        I found the screen of 15.4'' very suitable - not too big, not too small, just right. The general size of the laptop suited my surroundings also as, especially at uni, I have/had a very cluttered desk so it didn't really take up a lot of room.

        I don't know about the weight of other laptops but I didn't really consider Averatec that heavy, it was the optimum weight between too light (tacky) and too heavy (prehistoric). It wasn't the smallest of laptops but it could fit easily into bags and on the desk of course.

        The keyboard was brilliant in my opinion, the stuck out just the right amount for you to be able to tap on them speed typing or slow. They were well spaced and there were no unusual features as you find with a few laptops that take ages to get used to.

        I really hate touchpads, I find them too sensitive and can easily do what you don't want it to do as opposed to a mouse where you are very much in control of the cursor, however I must say I was very impressed with the touch pad, it could scroll when you wanted it to and additionally it was very good at being used as a general cursor. I was occasionally unfaithful and used a mouse but I used the touchpad most of the time without fail.


        --The bad times--

        Averatec and I hit a rocky patch every few months as do most laptops when it gathered a lot of dust in it's extractor fan located underneath the laptop. However, I found it quite easy (once I found a screwdriver!) to take apart and put back together again - a bit of compressed air in the right places and we were back on the road again.


        --The things we ignored--

        80GB on a laptop isn't too bad (it certainly wasn't at the time, I found myself getting an external hard drive of 250GB a year or so later but only because I keep a tonne of music / films on there. Generally I would say 80Gb tailors most needs for a laptop - it will certainly hold plenty of photos and documents, additionally it's only a laptop, they're not designed to hold a lot of data plus in the days where external hard drives are getting cheaper and bigger, I wouldn't really be worried by the 80Gb being offered.

        The Lithium Ion battery, mistreated as it was, on a good day could last for approximately 3.5 hours but on a bad day it could go through that very quickly - pending on the activity. Additionally it was also very easy to take out if needed - this is recommended if travelling and you don't want it turning on accidentally.

        Averatec only came with two USB connections however I soon solved that with a USB docker whic you can get in all good pound shops. Especially after getting speakers and an external hard drive I really needed more than two to be honest.


        --All good things must come to an end--

        Sadly Averatec AV6360 died after complications arose from it's plug adapter connection into the laptop, basically the metallic connector inside the laptop had broke into it thus rendering it pretty obsolete as I couldnt charge it any more. I have seen this problem on other laptops so I cannot really blame Averatec, especially after all the abuse she put up with from me!

        Whilst not having many amazing features like built in webcams that the latest laptops have it did what I asked and that was to last a few years to enable me to write dissertations and the like. This laptop did what it said on the tin.

        All in all I thoroughly recommend this beauty, it's a straight forward, aesthetic laptop that does the job and it's longevity proved it's usefulness and reliability to me - this is one tough cookie!

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          06.02.2011 10:25
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          The Labtec wireless desktop 800 is comprised of a labtec wireless mouse and a labtec wireless keyboard.

          The obvious advantage of having both a wireless keyboard and mouse is less wires! This makes a huge difference to me on my desk - i hate wires, i cannot wait until the world is wireless which surely must be one day! With my speakers, screen and desktop tower all having wires I do not need the extra clutter of a wired keyboard and mouse.

          --Set up--

          The set up was very easy - no software installation disk is necessary and all you need to do s take them out of the box, insert batteries and sync them by following the instructions - this is simply holding the red connection button for ten seconds on both. They rarely lose sync but if they do (i.e. if you've changed the batteries) then you'll just need to do that again.

          Insert the sensor into the USB - it is very small about an inch and a half long so doesn't take up too much room lengthways - this insures connection to the PC/Laptop.
          The down side to the USB port is that it's quite bulky so you're unlikely to be able to put another USB stick in next to it.

          --The Mouse--

          On the laptec website it is described as smooth and reliable, this is entirely true. There is no risk of getting dirt and dust in your mouse ball (back in the day!) as the mouse has an optical sensor (1000 dpi). I cant stand it when mouses (mice?) are jerky and not smooth but with this labtec mouse i have had no such problems.

          Additionally the mouse has a scroll bar in the middle which is very useful for perusing articles etc online.

          --The Keyboard--

          The keyboard is great, I like to sit back and use the keyboard on my lap and it makes for a much more relaxed, comfortable way of typing, especially when you have an essay to write or a dooyoo review of course!

          The keys are very soft and not sticky at all - additionally they are quite quiet. I don't know if this is true for all labtec keyboards or perhaps I got a dodgy one but the £ key is actually a hash key (can't type it as there isn't one! Strange but I'm not really affected by it - and that's if it is like that with all labtec keyboards.

          The 'space efficient' layout takes a bit of getting used to especially if you use the delete / insert / prt scr buttons often but you'll soon get used to it.

          --Additional Features--

          The reliability of use is due to the compact 27-MHz receiver and the keyboard also has a low battery status light on it to show you when you need to replace the batteries. The battery efficiency of both the mouse and keyboard are very good and I change them probably every three months - and I use them both alot!

          --Summary--

          Both are very durable - I've had mine for three years now and no problems whatsoever, I've spilt the odd cup of tea on the desk and the keyboard and mouse have both been exposed to it but their durability is very good. They both came with my computer but at the time of writing I believe you can purchase them both for £9.99 - £15 - a bargain in my opinion! These are straight forward computer tools, easy to use and do the job well - no need for these fancy expensive items as these are very reliable!


          --Technical Specification--
          - PC with Windows 2000 / XP / Vista
          - USB port

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        • Whittard Earl Grey / Tea / 49 Readings / 49 Ratings
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          05.02.2011 18:33
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          I love Earl Grey and I love Whittards - so yes I love Whittards Earl Grey tea! Although traditionally drank in the afternoon, to me, there is no better drink to consume whilst having a relaxing evening, whilst enjoying an afternoon chat or if your after that kick start to the day. Basically there is no set time of day to have this delicious drink - whatever time of day, where ever you are, make time for this.

          Whittards is a great shop reknowned for tea and coffee - please visit my other review for more on this fantastic shop!

          What separates Earl Grey to Assam, Darjeeling and other teas is the oil extracted from the rind of bergamot lime and lavender flavours which creates a brilliant aroma and taste that is next to none.

          --Recommended instructions--

          Each to their own but I prefer a bit of milk with Earl Grey, some prefer black, others a slice of lemon - what i don't recommend is drowning it with milk or having sugar - to me that isn't tea!
          1. Preheat the teapot with some boiling water so that it's warm before the tea and water goes in. Pour the 'heating' water out after 1 minute.
          2. For one person, put 2 teaspoonfuls of loose Earl Grey tea in the teapot
          3. Before pouring all of the water in, pour a small amount of the hot water over the tea leaves to allow them to bloom and release some of their bitter tannins. Drain immediately.
          4. Bring the water to a full boil - if you boil all of the oxygen out of the water will flatten the teas flavor.
          5. Fill the pot with the boiling water. Keep the spout of the kettle close to the teapot, so the water does not cool as you pour it in. You can cover with a tea cosy (if you have one!) Let the tea brew. In general, Earl Grey is best brewed for 4 to 5 minutes.
          6. When the tea is ready to pour, remove the tea leaves. Over-brewed tea is bitter and doesn't taste very nice!


          --Buying--

          There are plenty of brands of Earl Grey and some supermarkets own brand isn't bad (i.e. Morrisons) but if you want the ultimate, unique taste at an affordable price (that rules out Fortnum and Masons) I recommend Whittards. You can usually get boxes of 50 or 100 teabags for approximately £2 or £4 but keep an eye out for offers. I, however, recommend loose tea. Tea keeps for a long time and if you drink it as often as I do then it's usually worth getting the bigger box! Whittards also offers a great shopping experience and whether or not you're after Earl Grey the staff, I've found, are very knowledgable and helpful.

          --Did you know?--

          Earl Grey is named after the second Earl Grey who was also Prime Minister in the early to mid 1800's who received a gift from an unknown sender of a black tea flavoured with Bergamot Oil (typical in Asia but grown commerically in Italy).

          Even Jean Luc Picard (Star Trek: TNG) drinks this drink - what's stopping you?!


          --Health Benefits--

          Bergamot, a key constituent of Earl Grey tea, has been documented as a useful and healing fruit in 12th century Europe.

          Tea generally has 50% less caffeine than coffee and a lot than coke, but too much tea has been known to cause insomnia and nervousness. Note that out of the three main types of tea, green tea contains the least caffeine and black tea, including Earl Grey tea, contains the most.

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          • Logitech Z 10 / PC Speaker / 35 Readings / 35 Ratings
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            05.02.2011 16:21
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            A perfect peice of technology that will compliment any PC / Laptop

            After the death of the HiFi a few years ago I bought these speakers to compliment my PC / Laptop for when I went to Uni. The sound that comes out of these speakers is perfect - rich and clear.

            I have never had an ipod so unfortunately cannot compare it to ipod speakers however I can't speak highy enough of them!! I've had them since 2006 and have not had any problems with them so far (touch wood!). They are sleek, stylish and the colour black goes with most screens / laptops / PC's. The range of volume is tremendous with 3 inch woofers and 1 inch tweeters on each. This is great for parties or if you're just chilling listening to music.

            This is set up also with USB connection so really saves on the wires which can be a pain with speakers / computers / hard drives all on one desk - mine is small enough anyway! Some speakers have huge subwoofers which take up alot of space in the office/bedroom but with this it is unnecessary!

            This comes with auxiliary input (as most do admittedly) so that you can plug in headphones and listen to music or whatever privately or if it's late at night! At approximately 5kg this isn't too heavy plus with all the technology involved i'd be worried if it was lighter!

            I bought my speakers at Staples for £80.00 but believe they have gone down in price since - this is available in all good audio retailers.

            ...the technical bits...

            The speakers have a built in amplifier with both high and low frequencies (bi-amplification) using both tweeters and woofers. Furthermore this is a truely clever piece of technology with touch controls and presets for radio stations. There is a small LCD screen which shows what track you're playing (artist and song title).

            Output wattage: 30 watts
            Max Output: 60 watts
            Size: 9.7 inches tall / 4.5 inches wide / 4.7 inches deep

            Finally the bass is incredible! Turn it up!

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            01.02.2011 21:04
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            A great book analysing events of recent times exploring all possibilities

            I like a good consipracy, I like to think that there's always more to what we're told by the media, I like to think there is so much more to learn about humanity - who are we really? How did we begin? Where are we going?

            But when confronted by "The truth agenda", an inquisitive mind is faced with mind boggling facts that truely contradict official versions of so many world changing events. This book treats you with speculation but scares you with a balanced argument containing proof which cannot be ignored. When I say proof I mean proof that the official version is not so or at least 100% true. Andy Thomas does not convince of what did happen but convinces you that what you were told happened is not entirely true...

            Andy Thomas walks you through events that changed the world we know today, what we were told happened, what we can prove of that and what we cant. He also makes you think about if these stories were fabricated, why would they be, who stood to gain from the lie and who stood to lose.

            The events covered are of our recent history - the Moon Landings, the JFK assassination and 9/11 plus the consequences of each of them from the end of the Cold War, the growth of the intelligence agencies such as the NSA and CIA to the Patriot Act. Other 'sub events' which can all be linked together (through informed speculation) include the death of Dr David Kelly, the impending 2012 and various political events.

            I wont go into too much area in fear of spoiling it for interested readers or for fear of cheapening what are well articulated, reasoned and balanced agreements. Andy Thomas doesn't come across as a 'classic' conspirator who seeks to speculate on little fact and stubbornly criticise truths for favour of flamboyant stories. However he comes across as a man who has studied masses of theories with an open yet sensible mind who cannot ignore such 'coincidences' and non truths.

            I love to think there is something out there waiting to be discovered or uncovered - be it Aliens, Atlantis or how were the pyramids actually built. This perhaps makes me vulnerable to this sort of book, I can get carried away on wild speculation and dream of improbable reasons and consequences. Yet this book scares me, there's not much that can be ignored or shrugged off - without trying to scare you, it kind of does.

            Whatever your views and beliefs, be it open minded or sceptical, this book makes for a great read even if you're just after a few good stories.

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            • Harry Brown (DVD) / DVD / 34 Readings / 33 Ratings
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              31.01.2011 22:03
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              Vengeful Michael Caine seeks retribution against the gangs of South London

              Harry Brown was released in 2009 and stars Michael Caine as the titular character and Emily Mortimer as DI Alice Frampton.

              This film follows the story of ex marine Harry who lives in a block of council flats in Elephant and Castle, London surrounding by youth violence. Each day on the way to visit his dying wife in the hospital he chooses to take the long route rather than going via the drug and gang invested underpass. Later in the film a couple of significant events turn the story upside down and Harry is soon after the gangs that terrorise his community and who have brought great suffering.

              I live in London and whilst fortunate enough not to see this sort of heinous acts of violence, anyone in London knows that these sort of violent attacks and aggresive situations occur on a far too often basis. This should strike a cord with anyone who lives in a town/city where stories of gangs violently making people's lives a misery. This should also suit anyone who cheers the underdog or receives a sense of satisfaction seeing revenge films.

              Michael Caine is unbelievable in his role as a grieving man seeking retribution and vengance. One of the best films I've seen him in and wish he would do more of them! At first I was a little sceptical as I had previously watched Gran Torino with Clint Eastwood (which is another brilliant film which I'd recommend) however any doubts were blown away within five to ten minutes due to the realism in this film as well as the superb acting. Emily Mortimer also deserves praise as the determined humane police detective.

              As well as the lead's acting, this film wouldnt be as satisfying without the glorious acting of the supporting young actors portraying the evil gangs. They create dislike and resentment almost immediately and without saying a word sometimes.

              This film provokes frustration in the capability and attitude in parts of the British Police Force whilst creating debate over the often ridiculed British 'Justice' system. The film topicises many frequently argued points about all of what is wrong with the 'youth of today'.

              Daniel Barber's debut film receives a 7.4/ 10 rating on imdb.co.uk if thats anything to go by. Surprisingly however the film grossed only a fifth of it's budget - hopefully over time this film will prove to be a classic.

              Director: Daniel Barber
              Writer: Gary Young
              Duration: 97 mins

              Starring
              Michael Caine as Harry Brown
              Emily Mortimer as DI Alice Frampton
              Charlie Creed-Miles as DS Terry Hicock
              David Bradley as Leonard Attwell

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                30.01.2011 22:54
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                A great place for a weekend

                We visited Rome in April last year for a weekend. We were lucky and found a lovely apartment B&B 5 mins stroll away from the Colloseum, the location, we found, was perfect. Whilst the weather during the day was fine, not too hot, not too chilly, at night it rained. It was very funny to see the people who sold sunglasses during the day selling umbrellas at night! If you need either I suggest you haggle as they take £20 off at first time of asking when they'll settle for £5 (sunglasses that is).


                --Food--

                We were disappointed with the quality of food; Rome and Italy has this great reputation of making delicious pasta dishes such as lasagne and spaghetti however on our trip we found little evidence to back this up. I'm not dissing the nation as a whole of course but from our experience of around 6 pizzerias and restaurants we found that we only received decent food at a high price - around £30 per person. Obviously like it is in many countries, the more you pay the better the quality, but our experience suggested that £20 of food didnt bring alot of quality!

                Additionally stay clear of the stalls near Colloseum and other keys sites - their 'pizza' is simply bread and barely melted cheese on top!

                --Can't miss--

                There are plenty of free sites to visit such as the Trevi Fountain, you can also appreciate to a certain extent the Colloseum and the Roman Forum. We had a lovely day trip to the Vatican - I recommend reserving a day for it as it was a little walk from us but easily managable if you like walking, we got a bus on the way home as we pretty tired!

                At the Vatican it was breath-taking however I couldnt help but feel sick inside at the hypocrisy of religion flaunting all these marvellous paintings, gold statues and other rare pieces of art, but thats just me. It was amazing to see the popes shrines and of course the Museo de Vaticano is not to be missed. It did cost around £15 each but that includes the Sistine chapel. Apparently you can't take photos there but I'm guessing the fifty odd people we saw didnt see or hear that little rule!

                I definately recommend the Colloseum but pay attention to the ear phone tour guide because we didnt and got a little lost, it was a little confusing! Plenty to be learnt there, we got there around 10am but get there earlier if you can - very big queues! Also it's worth paying the five euros extra to include the roman forum which is truely beautiful and a place where you can take plenty of great photos.

                Another thing we did which we'll continue to do so I think in future will be to purchase a small guide book on the area such as Lonely Planet guides - for only around £5 in some shops it adds another dimension to the trip plus it makes it much more enjoyable learning history and random facts along the way - plus cities such as Rome have so many hidden features asides from the obvious sites.

                There is alot of walking to be done in Rome so I suggest you stop off on the way to where ever you're going to the many coffee stops they have every now and again - walking shoes is a must and travel light!

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                  30.01.2011 20:35
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                  a great little house keeper!

                  Firstly, lets start with the basic information...

                  - 1800 watts
                  - 205 air watts
                  - 6.5 metre power cord
                  - Weight 6.9 kg
                  - Length of hose: 3 metres
                  - Capacity: 3 litres

                  And the extra features...

                  - Side suction for edge to edge cleaning
                  - Variable power via a dial adaptable depending on the surface
                  - Washable filter
                  - Manual cord rewind
                  - Foot operated on/off control
                  - Adjustable floorhead


                  My girlfriend and I moved into a house last year and decided to get a hoover as opposed to the broom and dustpan we had at our tiny one bedroom flat last year. Admittedly I dont do a lot of the hoovering so she went out and bought this hoover. At first I was quite taken with the aesthetics of the hoover, very stylish and looks very advanced (which it is), for the price of £60 it seems to do the job a usually more expensive dyson would do. I think the price has gone up since so we were quite lucky but even at £100 I would recommend this product - my advice however would be to shop around and not just rely on argos whose prices seem to fluctuate quite a bit.

                  We have a small house but few rooms so they tend to be quite large, we have two conjoining rooms also but the 6.5 metre cord seems to be plenty to maneuvere around the house - nothing more annoying than having to unplug and reconnect to do two ends of the same room!

                  The smaller hoover head also make tasks such as cleaning the sofa very easy - we have a pet bird who leaves crumbs, poop and parts of a shredded argos catalogue everywhere but this tool is great and gets into all sorts of nooks and crannies. I know alot of Vacuums have them now but this is a feature we can't do without!

                  The suction is strong and picks up the trickiest bits of dirt and the noise is bearable - for a limited time of course! It is easy to remove the container, to empty and it is easy to wash out if you like keeping it clean - personally I don't really see the point as it's just going to get used the next week but it's still handy for those who are better than I! On the other hand, obviously the filter does need regular cleaning, we havent had to change ours yet so it has last quite a while with no technical problems so far (touch wood!).

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                    30.01.2011 19:27
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                    A great tale tackling all sorts of demons

                    I'm a liverpool fan and have been since 1992 so I remember quite clearly the two seasons "Stan the man" spent at our club. Although we don't come off too great in this book, it still brought back many fond memories. Reading about a youn Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler plus greats such as John Barnes, Neil 'Razor' Ruddock and many, some already forgotten, great past footballers.

                    And then there's Stan, I had forgotten his past at Nottingham Forest and his life after Liverpool at Villa and Leicester. This book brings his very interesting story to life...

                    I've read Ian Holloway's book "Ollie" and loved it, despite not being a fan of him, QPR or Bristol Rovers I thoroughly enjoyed his tale, but with Stan's book I remembered fondly the times he mentions; the Liverpool Spice boys, his fling with Ulrika, Nottingham Forest getting promoted and doing so well in the league...

                    As with most football books, the phrasing and terminology is quite basic, possibly for the perceived audience or because footballers tend to have a narrower vocabulary by stereotype, however as anticipated by hearing his stints on Radio Talk Sport, he's actually a very bright and intelligent guy. He know's his football and just his general intellect shines through in this well written book - obviously I understand that he wasn't the actual author but his words and concepts come through very well.

                    Starting with his unhappy childhood in Cannock, he details life with his turbulant father from Barbados and the eventual upbringing by his single mum, his life is described in two parallel lives, his football and his personal life, towards the end of the book, these two worlds are no longer separate and you finally learn alot of truth (or at least his perspective) on the many events that people have read about in the media.

                    Even if you aren't a fan of Stan or any of the clubs he played for I think that this book would make a good read for anyone, even those who don't like football as there is a lot of real life issues described in this book.

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                    • Ikea Benno DVD Tower / Furniture / 39 Readings / 38 Ratings
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                      25.01.2011 22:31
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                      holds 80 dvds with ease - very efficient and tidy

                      We bought the Benno DVD tower the year before last when we moved into our flat. We had a tonne of dvds and really didnt want them either taking up room on our bookshelf nor did we want them piled messily by the tv stand.

                      What Ikea seem to specialise in is saving space in a stylish and simpler way and they do it again here with this dvd tower. It's very tall, over 6 feet tall which allows the average height person to just about place a dvd on the top shelf.

                      Because of it's height it's able to efficiently hold around 80 DVDs (obviously depending on DVD's size/shape), you'd need alot of shelving to hold that many and that would take up alot of space. This is also able to be placed in the corner quite easily, out of sight-ish.

                      It comes with enough shelves to convert some if not all of the spaces into small enough sizes to hold CD racks if the user prefers however I believe Ikea do separate CD racks so I'd recommend using this primarily for DVDs.

                      We have built our collection since then and have bought another matching tower to go next to it. Ikea dont seem to change their styles often so you can be assured that they'll be selling these for a while if you're worried that you might want another but it would be out of stock. I'd be very surprised if these went out of stock

                      One disadvantage to it's height is that unless you have a level floor this is at risk of toppling over, however ikea do provide a hanger of sorts that allows you to clip it on and nail it to the wall so that it stays there. Unfortunately for us we were in the situation where we didnt have a very level floor in our flat and we werent allowed to nail into the wall - bl**dy landlords!

                      Currently £17.35 in Ikea

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                      • Argos Oil Drum Charcoal BBQ / BBQ / 26 Readings / 25 Ratings
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                        25.01.2011 21:57
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                        A great piece of the garden, easy to use and assemble

                        Admittedly I didnt spend much time looking for a barbecue once the sun came out last year for our first summer in our new house with a pati (before we've only had a flat with no garden!). However, we werent disappointed.

                        This was really straight forward to put up, only the legs, lid and grill holders needed fixing to the main drum, the instructions were clear and precise allowing me to set it up in no time.

                        The legs are very sturdy and hold the barrell well, obviously make sure it's on a flat surface but the legs do their job. The barrell can hold a lot of coal which is great if you're cooking for many people, however if only 2, 3 or 4 of you then bear in mind that it will most likely only need to be half full. There are small ventilation slits in both sides which enables the fire to 'breath' suitably.

                        The advantage of having an oil drum barbecue is that you can close the lid and it will keep the heat in well, if you cook a few too many burgers and you're not sure if you can fit a few more in then close the lid and you can come back to it ten even fifteen minutes later and it should still be of an edible temperature.

                        This didnt come with any barbecue tools of course but i still found it to be very good value especially compared to those £3 jobbies which are convenient but one every other week surely adds up.

                        Finally it is very easy to clean once it's cooled down. The grill obviously comes out to be scrubbed and the drum can be emptied no problem.

                        My only gripe is that there was no tray underneath or on the side to hold plates, food, baps etc - that would be very useful!!

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                        23.01.2011 20:19
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                        a great tool to warm up your house and eliminate that unwanted damp smell

                        Last year we moved into our current rented property and vene a few weeks into our tenancy we were told by a few people that there was a smell of damp in the air, of course, once they had said that we started noticing it too! As well as this problem we also had a very poorly insulated house - single glazing, no curtains, probably minimal if any wall insulation..etc.

                        We bought some window insulation which is a bit like cling film that is attached to the windows for extra protection, not quite double glazing but we had nothing to lose. One side effect of this was the extra condensation on the windows.

                        After doing a bit of research on these issues we decided to invest in a dehumidifier which would hopefully eliminate the damp smell and also by sucking the moisture out of the air, also make heat able to stay in the room longer than what it had before.

                        We invested in this Argos value range dehumidifier and although it wasn't the most expensive one out there, we feel it has done the job well. It certainly picks up alot of moisture in our house and the humidity sensor I bought suggests that it has gone down from 70 to 40!

                        We gave it a full work out when we first had the problem which probably used a bit of electricity but I think it was well spent seeing as we no longer have the damp smell, we use it every now and again, especially in the winter months. It has a bit of a humming noise once working but it is pretty bearable - it certainly isnt silent but I havent heard of many that are.

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                          23.01.2011 19:56
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                          An easy to use great coffee maker!

                          My lovely girlfriend searched high and low, bless her, for a coffee percolator for me for christmas just gone and I am very grateful to her for picking out this bad boy for me!

                          When/if you get one of these, it's very important to first follow the instructions and clean it by boiling water in it and emptying it out, I gave it a wipe down after that too.

                          It's very easy to use and simple to clean out. Just be careful when filling with coffee not to get any pure coffee into the funnel otherwise it will end up in your cup!

                          One feature I love about this machine is the inside indications of how much water to fill and how much coffee gets you how many cups. The maximum is 1.5 litres which is plenty for most congregations of people! The water mark is useful not only so you don't waste time in filling and waiting for it to percolate but also saves water and electricity!
                          How much coffee you use is really upto you and can be trial and error pending on how weak/ strong you like your coffee but i found following the instructions to be a good guide and i havent had a bad cup of coffee from it yet!

                          For cleaning, all parts easily come out of it and you cant simply boil/percolate the insides with water if you want to be thorough. Although I dont always do it (lazy!) , I recommend emptying and cleaning it after each use.

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