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I have been promising my friend for a long time that I would visit her in Carlisle and have finally got round to doing just that this month.
I managed to book the Travelodge in Carlisle at a very reasonable rate of £29 for the night.
I couldn't believe ow central this was and was so handy for the town centre, shops and bars.
I would say it is 3-4 minutes walk to bars such as Walkabout, Wetherspoons and local pubs on Botchergate as well as take-aways and restaurants.
It is a little further to the shops but you are talking about 10 minutes. This is a beautiful city and has a lovely square and of course 'The Lanes' which is a shopping complex, with fast food, cafes, and numerous high street shops. It is very well situated if you fancy a night out.
The travelodge is a very clean, and very spacious hotel. I was amazed at the height of the rooms though. I am not sure what the building was previously but the the height makes the room very echoey, but creates a lovely ambiance.
I booked a double room and it was big enough for a family room and had a spare bed (I suppose it may have been a family room they gave me as the hotel was a little quiet on a Tuesday night). The room was very basic and reminded me of a hostel a little due to the height, but was very clean and well looked after.
Unfortunately I only had a view of the back and looked out onto the back of a row of houses and nursery but there was no noise at night.
There is a a bar in the restaurant as well - which is situated by the reception/dining area and is small but ideal for a late drink. The staff were lovely and friendly as well and very helpful. They provided me with some local information of where to go and see and where was good to eat.
Great basic hotel and I will definitely go back. I don't think there is any parking here but there are a number of long stay car parks very close by.
I just had to write about this fantastic product. It's perfect for people like me who hate cleaning and don't like getting their hands dirty.
I had previously used other Cillit Bang products, such as their kitchen spray. I'd been impressed with the cleaning power of these other products overall, so decided to give the toilet cleaner a go too.
The thing I hate most about cleaning the toilet is that even after using bleach or most other toilet cleaners you still have to scrub the toilet after usin the product, but not any more! Cillit Bang toilet cleaner does all the work for you! I expected that this toilet cleaner would be good, but was amazed at how good it actually was.
I applied the cleaner to my toilet, in the same way as any toilet cleaner would be applied and then left it to do its job for about an hour. I flushed the toilet and got out my gloves in preparation for the detestable task of scrubbing the toilet. However, much to my amazement (and joy!) once the toilet had finished flushing, there was no work left for me to do - the toilet was completely clean!
From my viewpoint, this makes it the perfect cleaning product. However, there are some downsides. The cleaner is of a thick consistency and as such, you need to use quite a lot of it for each application. Most cleaning products are cheaper than this but, in my opinion, the extra cost is worth it.
There are also some nasty ingredients in the product which I am sure cannot be good for your skin or for the environment. Most of these ingredients are found in the majority of cleaning products but with a cleaner as effective as this, I'd expect that the ingredients are more powerful, and therefore probably more harmful than the ingredients in most other products.
I'm sure you've all seen the adverts on TV where the Cillit Bang removes all of the rust from a coin - that kind of cleaning power doesn't come from natural ingredients!
However, for me, the positives far outweigh the negatives - never again will I be forced to dirty my hands by scrubbing my toilet!
Bang, and the dirt is gone - trust pink!
Bosch bring to you the King of their pressure washer range, the Aquatak 160 Pro X! (If the title doesn't excite you then the specification certainly will)
The ''Rolls Royce'' of the Aquatak range. It's stylish body holds the 2800w heart, producing a maximum pressure of 155bar creating a 570ltr per hour water flow like no other Aquatak system. No job is too big (nor small) for the 160 Pro X.
Now the many features include, a hose reel, (no longer do you have to wind the high pressure hose up by hand and it spring back to life in your face), simply wind it back up onto the reel and voila! This is ideal for nice, tidy storage. The detergent tank is removable as well, a little tricky but none the less it can be removed.
I am not sure as to why people may want to remove it (pouring detergent into it is fairly easy) but it has that option to be removed. Bosch obviously found a reason why though.
Now, it is quite heavy weighing in at 29kg but thanks to the clever clogs at Bosch it comes complete with integrated wheels and is balanced perfectly meaning you don't have to worry about knocking it over everytime you catch the hose on it.
The machine itself comes complete with hose, high pressure and variable pressure lances.
The one thing I will say about this machine, it does appear difficult to obtain accessories or additional lances/rotary brushes, but they can be found.
I was first drawn to this product when I saw it as a top seller on another website. Once I read the discription of the product, I just had to try it for myself!
I must say the first thing that I noticed prior to placing my order was that the price was quite expensive for just a body wash, but I am the sort of person to give things a try (at least once ) before deciding if it's value for money or not.
When it arrived a couple of days later, my first impression was that the bottle looks quite nice and I wouldn't mind leaving this on the bathroom shelf. I have since become a big fan of Molton Brown.
I first used the product the next morning. Waking up still tired as usual I had my shower and was pleasantly surprised. I found that just a little bit of the thick gel was enough to lather up my whole body. Not only that, but the aroma really did feel like it was waking me up.
The lather rinses off really easily (unlike some of the cheaper one's) and leaves the skin feeling and smelling really fresh without any irritation. When you open the bathroom door, the aroma escapes leaving the house smelling really nice too!
On the downside as someone who regularly uses the gym, I found that it did not really do much for my muscles. The product claims to boost circulation but I found no evidence of this.
Overall I would say that this is an excellent body wash and would recommend it to anyone who can comfortably afford it. A little bit goes a long way so the bottle really does last a good few weeks.
I am terribly accident prone. From stepping off a dance floor and breaking my foot , to falling down the stairs umpteen times a year.
I recently had a very nasty fall / slip out of the shower and badly bruised my leg. I can honestly say I have never seen such bad bruising, which was on my knee and lower leg.
A friend of mine recommended Arnica, which I had never heard of before. I picked up a 30g tube from my local pharmacy for £3.29.
Arnica cream is a first aid application, effective for all types of bruises resulting from injuries, knocks and falls. It contains arnica prepared from the alpine plant Arnica montana - a topical herbal remedy traditionally used in the symptomatic treatment of bruises. I was told to apply it as often as I needed/wanted to and would feel and see the effects almost immediately.
Well - I have to say I have been very impressed. After rubbing the cream onto my large black and blue bruise only a couple of times - I was surprised to see the bruise actually fading! It turned a slight yellowy colour and then cleared in no time at all.
Thanks to the leaflet contained within, there are some precautions to think about as if you are using arnica cream for prolonged use, you may begin to have some reactions. Skin irritations, like redness, itching or blisters are a sign that it's time to stop using the cream. In some people, arnica can aggravate eczema. Eczema flareups can occur at the site where the cream was applied, or anywhere on the body. People who have allergies to arnica or other members of the sunflower family are the most likely to have adverse reactions. Finally, arnica cream should never be used on open woulds or broken skin and should never be taken internally.
It has certainly helped the unslightly bruises on my legs in a quick manner. I now have a couple of tubes in my cupboard to use on any future bruises.
I nipped into my local Sainsburys the other day to pick up something for my lunch. As I am on a health kick at the moment and trying to cut down on fatty foods, I headed straight to the crispbread section.
These were just next to them and jumped out at me as they were on offer of 5 for £1.50 (normally 36p a bag). I thought I would give them a try as I am a big (or was a big crisp lover.
The packaging is nice and bright and attractive and gives all the nutrional inofmation on the front. It says they contain 30 % less. Each 25g bag provides... 93 calories, fat is 1.5g, and saturated fat is 0.2g. They are also described as "mild" flavour and suitable for vegetarians.
The great thing as well is that on the back of the packet - it tells you how many "points" they are valued at on the weightwatchers plan.
These are a soya and potato snack with the main ingrediant being soya flour.
When I tasted these - I half expected them to be similar to some other "low fat" soya products. I was pleasantly surprised!
They were lovely and crunchy and the Thai sweet chilli really comes through although I do find them a little hot for me.
There are plenty in the bag too as again you often find there are very little in a bag of low fat crisps and you end up wanting another packet.
They tasted very similar to crisps which again can fool the brain (and stomach) into believeing you are still eating your favourite bag of crisps!
They do contain milk, white gluten and soya - so they may not be suitable if you have an allergy or are lactose intolerant.
I loved these though and keep them stocked up at home and work. Delicious with a sandwich or salad or just as a snack.
Ikea - -ooooh that word alone lightens up my eyes. Ikea Ikea Ikea - what a fabulous place to shop.
I live in Warrington and the Ikea (which is right next to the M62, Jct 8) is exactly 1 mile from my front door. I love this shop and visit it often. I can spend hours and hours at these place and am always delighted at the low cost of my wares!
It is open from 10am until 11pm Monday to Fridays, 9am til 10pm On Saturdays and 11am until 5pm on Sundays. So plenty of time to browse and shop.
And browsing is the key word here. I love visiting all the different "rooms". Seeing how they are set out and what furniture you could have in them. They are laid out in a way it is like walking round a real house from room to room. They are decorated beautifully and are very modern.
The Market Place is my favourite bit of the shop with hundreds of candles, picture frames, pictures, kitchen utensils, glasses, rugs, bedding, plants, pet accessories. The list is almost endless.
The prices they sell these items at are also bargains. I have numerous picture frames in my house and prints I have bought from Ikea. They are so reasonable I can afford to change the print 2 to 3 times a year.
I have countless "flavours" of candles as well. They sell a big range of these and you can find anything from tea lights to the largest pillars.
And then - after walking through all this (having a gentle saunter around the furniture and bargain basement section), you come to the food department!!
This is my childrens favourite. With meatballs and swedish sweets and cakes it is simply divine. I also love it at Christmas when they have the Glu wine - in different strengths. A lovely warming treat for a winters evening.
Another thing that I am impressed with and love (as do my children), is that although there is a Burger Place across the road on the retailpark, they love to have the hotdogs and ice cream which you can buy for less than a pound each! It works out much cheaper than a kids meal deal at a fast food restaurant and the kids love it. In fact - I often say to them "fancy tea at Ikea?".
If you ever find you are by Ikea - you must visit it. Just make sure you have enough room in your car for all your wonderful purchases.
We have recently returned from a trip to Butlins at Bognor Regis as a family of 3 (2 adults and 1 3 year old).
We booked to stay 7 nights in June, just on a room only basis (Silver Plus Accomodation).
It was my first time going to Bognor Regis - but my husband has been several times before. I have to say - Bognor was lovely. The weather was very warm and hot, the town was clean and within walking distance of Butlins site.
Our accomodation - although I wouldnt class it as Silver Plus, was a double room, with a TV & fridge in it, plus a seperate bedroom with twin beds. Our Bathroom was roomy with a shower. It was comfortable for us and just what we needed - but I feel the rooms do need a refurb.
The camp was great - plenty of entertainment for us and our little boy. Swimming was brilliant with lots of slides and the master blaster. We were there every day.
The food and prices in the shops did not seem inflated as they have been previously at Butlins sites, although we tended to eat out in Bognor Regis or wherever we had ventured to that day.
A few small things niggled us though. In the "Traditional Pub" - the seating looked like it needed a good steam clean and spruce up. The surroundings looked tired. Plus, I asked in there at the start of the week for a non-alcoholic drink and was told they did not have the ingrediants at the moment. I asked a few days later and at the end of the week - and they still did not have the ingrediants. My husband is also a big real ale fan - and although the pub advertises real ale - they did not receive any all week.
Also - with regards to the entertainment - although it was briliant when we arrived on the Friday, it was repeated later on in the week - and once you had seen it once - it wasnt worth going to or seeing again. We would have been better booking Monday to Friday and not Friday to Friday.
Having said that - my son loved the Thomas The Tank Play in Centre Stage and the Nickleodeon play with Dora the Explorer and Ming Ming from the Wonder Pets!! And we did see it twice!
All in all - we had a great time - just a couple of days too long for that time of the year.
Would we go back? Most definately and are booked again for the same time next year - but Monday to Friday this time and Gold accomodation.
Jellybeans in Warrington is a brilliant play centre that is ideal for tots to "nearly teens". It is also a sanctuary for mums, dads, grand parents and carers (well - at quieter times).
Jellybeans is situated behind the Riverside Retail Park on Bridgfoot. It has a car park which can get quite busy, but there is plenty of roadside parking at the side.
Inside you will be amazed. It is huge and airy and always nice and cool - ideal for when the children are running their socks off. There is a split level play area - with a seperate section for under 3's.
There is a big wavy slide in the main area - which I've often see adults wizzing down, a spooky, dark cave section, shooting soft balls section, an indoor climbing ball, two lane bowling alley, party areas an upstairs there is an massive scaletrix layout - where they even have a podium for the winners.
There is ample seating with wooden tables and chairs, stools by the side of bowling alley an a number of comfy sofas.
The children love this place as it suits so many ages and they can run off and do there own thing. And no need to worry that they can escape - the reception near the front of the place has locked gates - so the little ones are safe.
There is also a cafe that sells hot drinks and snacks and childrens meals - although it can be a bit pricey.
The cost per child can vary depending what day of the week you go - but the average is £4 a child - which isn't bad considering there is no time limit on your stay and I have often spent a whole morning or afternoon there!
They have plenty on during the week and certain ativities like Twins day, Streetdance, Tiny Strikers and Messy Eaters. They also offer discounts for childminders which is great as they can go an meet up with other minders.
All in all - a safe, fun, accessible environment.
I have just been to see this at the cinema and these films in the series just get better and better.
This is the third in the series of the Twilight Saga - and if you haven't heard of Edward Cullen or Jacob Black - where have you been?
The story continues with the heroine (Bella Swan) still wanting to become a vampire and join eternal life with the loveliest vampire around - Mr Edward Cullen.
But things of course will never be that easy. For starters her best friend and the sexiest werewolf ever (Jacob Black) - is hopelessly in love with Bella and will try everything to try and prevent her turning. He confesses his love for her and she pushes him away.
Then there is Riley - a new vampire, turned & "hired by the very evil and revengful vampire, Victoria. He doesn't realise it, but Victoria using him to enable her to get rid of the Cullen can and in particular Bella Swan.
Riley is a key part of this film (which he isn't featured as much in the book), as the author, Stephanie Meyer, wanted to explain fully in pictures what his role was. And his role was to create "newborns". The name of brand new, very thirsty, vampires.
Newborns are a lot stronger than vampires which have been roun a while - so he was creating an army of savages in order to complete his task.
The graphics and effects in the film are outstanding and the scenes filmed on the mountain are so intense.
Its a film you really don't want to stop and the love triangle with Bella, Edward & Jacob gets deeper and deeper. There are also some very witty and funny on-liners in this film. It certainly had the audience laughing out loud.
So - what happens with the love triangle? Do the Cullens get killed? Well if you haven't read the books - you really need to go and see this film. It will leave you sitting on the edge of your seat wanting more an watching in awe at the effects.
My little boy is a nightmare to try and get to settle & sleep. He is 3 year old and has hardly ever settled and gone to bed without a lot of crying.
I have tried allsorts to try and wear him out and "calm" him down. Have Tried lavender baby bath, lavender drops on his pillow, calming stories etc. Nothing has worked.
I love Lush products and spotted this ballistic which it says is ideal for helping little ones sleep. I bought a couple and thought I would give it a go.
WOW!!! Thats all I can say! He had a bath with the Ickle Baby Bot (and was highly delighted he had his own special bath bomb) which smelt gorgeous and made the water turn a bluey/purple colour, and was asleep within half an hour! Was it a fluke? Well I have tried the ballistic on other evenings - and they worked a treat!
Fantastic product and at £1.75 was quite affordable (especially as it enabled me to have a quiet evening).
They contain camomile & lavender which helps calm relax.
If you have a toddler who - like mine - has sleeping difficulties - I would definately recommend this.
As stated previously - I appreciate this states 2001 Beer Festival - but had to write about this years, last years and the year before's!
My husband is a big CAMRA & real ale fan and has frequented this and many other beer festivals over the years. He nagged me to go - but with 3 children in tow - I wondered how I would be able to enjoy it too!!
So a couple of years ago I agreed to go as I was assured there were excellent family facilities. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised!!
The festival is held in the main arena at Earls Court, London. On he upper level - probably where there would be bars or seats for concerts - there is a large section barricaded off which is the "family room". You have to wear bands to enter and leave this room and there are volunteers on the doors here to check the bands.
Inside there are lots of activities - all provided free of charge for the kids. There are plenty of toys for all from babies upwards. There are dressing up boxes, games, painting and drawing corners, make & create tables as well as a tuck shop.
The tuck shop is great as well as the kids can have sweets and pop at normally if not lower prices. They have lots of 1p sweets for the children to choose what they want.
There are also a number of volunteers that help the children make things like paper mache masks, do face painting, balloon creations. My children range from 13 to 2 and all 3 are occupied throughout the time there. The room was open from midday until 9pm and there is no-one saying you have been there too long!
It also meant that my husband and I could take it in turns going downstairs for a look round the stalls, which are not only beers, but ciders, fruit wines, lots of food stands, T shirt |& jewellery stalls, etc. We could bring drinks and food upstairs - so we could get the children some hot food.
Whilst sitting in the family area - you could look down and see the arena with all the people and stalls and be glad you had a sit and space to relax!!
I would have no hesitation in recommending a family attending the GBBF and using the family facilities. My children love it and can't wait for next years.
When I heard a couple of my friends talking about vampires & "Edward" and "Jacob" - I can't tell you what I thought!! I wondered why they were so obsessed with these "teenage" books. Being in our late 30's - I was curious as to what the fascination was.
So - the book was on offer in my local supermarket I thought I would give it a go. All I can say is - oh my goodness!! I could not put this book down and in fact finished it in 2 days!
It is a very well written book about a teenage girl called Bella who moves states to live with her father. She attends a new school and feels she is a bit of an outsider - always getting into bumps and scrapes and not wanting to mix much with the local kids.
But her saviour is a young man called Edward. He is very is unbelievably handsome and their friendship blossoms. Bella discovers that Edward and his family are vampires - but this does not stop the love she feels for him.
The story is so well written it is a real page turner. I haven't read a book in a long time and soon finished all 4 of these books in the series. I also fell in love with Edward - the main character, as have all my friends - and we are far from teenagers.
I was also surprised as to how many people are in fact huge fans of these books and this author. In fact when I mentioned them on facebook - so many of my friends said they also loved them.
I have not as yet spoken to or know of anyone who has read these and not enjoyed them.
I can guarantee that as soon as you read this - you will be onto the next book!!
I took my children to see this film when it first came out at the cinema. It was just a few days before xmas and I had been running round like a headless chicken - as most of us are.
I didnt really know what to expect as it was an animated/CGI film with Tom Hanks narrating as a number of characters.
The young boy in it has stopped "believing" in Father Christmas and is obviously quite down and a bit bitter.
On Xmas Eve - he is in bed when he hears a train approaching right outside his house (The Polar Express) . Of course he goes outside in to the snow to investigate.
He is invited to hop on board by the conductor (Hanks, to go to the North Pole. When he gets on he finds a number of other children on board who again - all no longer believe.
There journey is full of hazzards and problems and the young lad tries to escape. He meets a "ghost" tramp (again narrated by Hanks) who offers him words of wisdom.
They eventually make it to the North Pole to find the hundreds of elves preparing Santa's sleigh with toys etc and getting ready for Santa to give the "gift of xmas" before setting off on his travels.
Of course some of the children want to know if they are getting presents and what they may be...so they go off on their own investigating. Of course this backfires and they end up on a long trip and eventually onto a shute down onto the large pile of presents on the sleigh.
They are rescued by the elves and then there is the final ceremony where the man himself appears (Hanks). The reindeer are restless and ready to go and as they are jumping up and down one of the bells falls off the reigns. The boy picks it up and shakes it - but cannot hear anything.
Santa then asks who he sould select to give the gift of xmas to and selects the boy.
It ends up with the boy asking for the bell as a gift. If he received this - he would surely believe.
The train goes back and drops all the children back at home. The boy wakes Xmas Day and wonders was it all a dream?? Until he finds a the bell wrapped up under the tree! He shakes it - and can hear the ring of the bell again! He believes again.
It is quite funny at the end when the parents pick the bell up and shake it and hear nothing.......
It certainly put me in the mood for Xmas and made me "believe" again in the spirit of Xmas.
At this time of year it is rare we manage to avoid all the coughs and colds that are around - so this has to be a must for your medicine cabinet.
It comes in a small pot and looks like a white gooey jelly. Its ingediants include camphor, eucalyptus and menthol so is ideal for colds, coughs and aches.
I tend to rub it on my chest and back - especially after I have had a bath - to help relieve the stuffy nose or cough.
As it is in a jelly form as well - it can be used in hot water as an inhalant. This I have found to be very effective in the relief of head colds and it also seems to help my asthma. I lather this on when I have difficulty breathing and it quickly helps.
As it is not taken orally - it is suitable for most people although care should be taken if you have sensitive skin.
I can't get through the winter without it and often keep a small pot in my bag - so I can rub a little on a tissue for when I am and and about and need a bit of relieve.