- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
Nowadays it seems that just about every store has some kind of 'reward card' but one of the first (at least to my memory) is the Boots Advantage card... and still one of the best! But what makes the Boots card stand apart from the herds of plastic in my wallet?
1) 4 points per pound as standard. I can't think of a single other reward card out there at the moment which is as generous with it payback. Tesco has recently upped it's game to 2 points per pound, but I think that's the only one which is running as close. The Debenhams Beauty club card runs a complicated tiered scheme of points: their maximum being 3 points per pound but only if you spend over £25. Boots will pay you 4 points per pound whether you are spending £3 or £300. As Debenhams is the closest rival to the Boots Advatage card in terms of products it's clear that the Advantage card is the clear winner.
2) The points don't expire. Earned 100 points last year but done nothing with them yet? Don't fret.. they're still there for you to use or add to. Unlike Debenhams Beauty club whose points expire if you do not use your card.
3) Special offers and Deals
There are always offers on in store giving you ways to boost your points income. These are sometimes in the guise of vouchers mailed to you directly at home, or printed from the advantage card kiosks and generally give you a bonus when you purchase a certain product. Of course, these are only useful if you are in need of whatever the product is.. but you can only please some of the people some of the time!
Sometimes there are 'events' which you can attend where they are giving boosted points- these are often around Christmas or bank holiday periods. The most recent offer was a wopping 8 points per pound, as long as you spent over £15 in a transaction. On a £20 spend this would be 160 points, the equivalent of £1.60
Sometimes, you can also get free products if you have an advantage card. These are usually in the back of the Boots magazine (which is also free to advantage card holders) and are usually make-up products from the 17 range (great if you're girl, maybe not so much if you're a guy :) ) There has also been offers in the past where, if you buy 5 Boots meal deals with a certain period you get a sixth meal free. Not only do you earn points on the first five purchases but you get a meal worth £2.99 free at the end! If you habitually buy your lunch at work in the meal deal offer then this was a great reward! Hopefully it will return!
4)It's free to sign up!
5) You can choose to have it as a Donor Card too
6) I'm a girl. I spend an inordinate amount of time and money Boots. If there is anything which rewards me this then I'm a fan!
This product has just won an Instyle magazine award for 'Best Beauty Buy' but here is why it's my winner.
One of my ultimate goals in life is to find a range of beauty and bath products which are my 'staples'. The things which I can't live withoutand buy again when I run out. Sadly, I am still searching for most of my signature products but I am happy to report- for eyemake up removal I have found my match. :)
I first tried this when I bought some makeup at a Lancome counter in Boots during one of their 'gift' periods. The solution in Bi-Facil is a two phase liquid with a oily phase and a watery phase, which you need to give a good shake to mix it together before you use it. You only need a few drops on a cotton wool pad to thoroughly clean away all eyeshadow and mascara. There is no stinging, and it does not dry out the skin around the eyes. I guess this is down to the oily phase in the solution, as it does leave behind a slight oily layer. I don't find this a problem as I generally only use it at the very end of the night before bed and it seems to absorb well overnight. When I do use it during the day, I tend to have a quick swipe over the area with a toner afterwards to remove the oily layer.
This eye makeup remover is currently around £19.50 for 125ml, and I find that it last quite a good long time.
One of my ultimate goals in life (I understand my next statement will show how little ambition I have ;)) Is to find a range of beauty and bath products which are my 'staples'. The things which I HAVE to go and buy again when I run out. Sadly, I am still searching for most of my 'staple' products, but happily- I have found my mascara in Lancome's Hypnose Volume Custome Wear mascara.
I first used this mascara when I was given a trail size as part of one of Lancome's 'giveaways' when you purchase certain items. Straight away Iwas hooked. The beauty of this mascara is the ability for you to choose how much volume and drama you need. One coat gives subtle yet defined coverage, suitable for general wear during the day but if you add a few extra coats *POW* mega volume. What finally sold it to me was a picture I had taken of me on a night out. My eyes looked amazing (and I don't normally like photographs of myself) It almost looked as if I was wearing false eyelashes- that's how long and defined my eyelashes looked.
The only drawback I can think of for this product is it has a tendency to get a bit gunked up at the top of the bottle, meaning you have to do that scrapey thing with the brush to remove the excess of mascara on the brush before applying. Not great considering the price point of this product.
On to price- this mascara is currently retailing at around £20 at most departments stores and Boots which have a Lancome concession counter.
I like the packaging of Lancome products as they are good quality and look quite stylish with their sleek black finish. I'm not embarassed to whip it out of my makeup bag for a touch up
What's in my handbag? To be honest I have no idea, I tend to just chuck stuff in and let accumulate then- when it's finally stuffed full- empty it out and start again.
My handbag at the moment is quite a large black leather affair that I was given as a birthday present from people at work this year. It's very nice quality and has an unusual fastening with silver chains. It's a bit hard to describe... but best present from work people ever :)
So what's in it?....
* First out- Black Filofax with pen. I use this to keep track of where I am working as I work in different places everyday and without this I'd probably turn up at the wrong place.. The pen was a gift from my boyfriend who bought it when I went on a day trip to York without me, and it has my name on it.
* Rayban sunspecs in case. Bought these a couple of months ago. Not had a lot of sun since. I probably jixed the weather. Sorry everybody.
* Purse. A nice big squishy purple one which boyfriend bought me for christmas from Debenhams. Should actually be a clutch handbag by itself- that's how big it is. Got the usual cards and cash + a small pen, 2 little perfumes and a scratchcard I need to claim the £2 back on.
* Mobile phone. Purple Samsung. Can't remember what exact model it is... anyway it's quite sturdy and doesn't break when I drop it (like the last one!) and has a decent battery life.
*Umberella. Black with pastel cloured butterflies. Sometimes blows inside out in the rain and wind!
*Hairbrush. Nothing more to say about this... :)
* A watch with a broken strap
*Make-up bag. Cream coloured ruby and millie make-up bag. Contains-
clinique face powder, a broken mirror, clinique anti-blemish gel, boots 17 pure finish mineral blush in plum, Benefit benetint, benefit bad gal lash mascara, clinique superfit foundation. vital radiance HydraSmooth concealer, concealer brush, Revlon eyeglide eyeshadow in nude, prestige skin loving minerals eyeshadow in Amber and anatomicals 'no old bags allowed' under eye gel. That's a lot of makeup! And actually it's quite a small make up bag.. honest!
*Half used packet of paracetamol
* A piece of chewing gum. It's the new wrigley's 5 chewing gum which is supposed to be tingly. Not impressed. Actually- now I've found it lurking I'll throw it away.
* Purple Notebook and purple pen. Paperblank book in 'violet french ornate' which is a lovely pattern like silk. This my notebook for my secret thoughts.. not a diary as such....
* A couple of receipts. One from Lush for £22.16 and one for £10 from somewhere and I don't even know where or what for...
* Soap and Glory body spray in 'Mist you Madly'- apparently this is a flirty floral fragrent body spray.
*Some 'Sizzling summer saving vouchers' we were given after spending over £25 on food at Morrisons. They are now more than slightly creased.
* Pink 4GB I-pod nano. Purchased a year ago from Ebay for £50. Bargain.
*Calvin Klein In2U perfume- 'handbag sized'
* Credit card bill for May. Luckily it was paid before it was forgotten and relegated to the depths of my bag.
* A £10 waterstone gift voucher card which I had forgotten about! Result!
and a few random scraps of paper.
So there you go. Those are the contents of my handbag. :)
NB's Guesthouse is situated a little way outside the city centre. We walked from Waverley Train Station and it took us approximately 45mins (including map reading time!) We later caught buses to and from the guest house. There are bus stops very close to the guest house and the bus prices were reasonable at £3 per person for a day ticket, or £1.20 for a single journey.
When we arrived there was someone there to check us in. The guest house is quite small and their reception is located in their dining room which is right near the entrance. When booking you are advised to ring and let them know when you are expecting to arrive so they can be sure that someone is there to check you in, which we did, and there were no problems. The two girls we saw working reception were very friendly, helpful and chatty. And the girl who served breakfast in the morning was also very helpful, although her english was not very good.
The room we had was on the very top floor and was a large and airy room, as the guest house is a converted Victorian terrace house. The room contained a double bed- and also bunk beds which we were not expecting. I guess this was a family room. Our room did not have ensuite facilities. The communal bathrooom was large enough with a shower, toilet and handbasin although the bedroom also contained a basin and mirror for having a wash in the evenings/mornings. I must also add- the bed was very comfortable! Better than my bed at home!
Breakfast is not included as this is a guest house- not a B&B. Breakfast is £5 per person per day if wanted. You have the choice of 'breakfast in bed' of items such as toast and cereal, or 'breakfast out of bed' in the dining room where you can have toast/crereal etc or a full Scottish breakfast. The quality of the breakfast is not brilliant, nor is there huge quantities, but I personally enjoyed my full Scottish allthough my other half was not impressed with the slightly small quantities. The next day we chose to have breakfast elsewhere, although I would have happily had the breakfast again!
The thing I thought let down the guest house down the most was a general feeling of 'shabbiness' to the decor. One of the pillows was stained, the top blanket was spotted with stains and there was a large crack in the coving. The remote control was missing for the tv and two glasses provided for water were dusty and dirty. The light in the bathroom did not work and the landing light was temperamental to start with. I'm sure that had I complained then these things would probably have been remedied (bar the shabby coving!) As it was, we were happy to accept that everything wasn't likely to be 100% as the room price wasn't exactly steep. It all comes down to the old adage 'You get what you pay for'.
Although there are a few things we weren't 100% pleased with we would stay here again as the price was very reasonable, and if you book here expecting the Hilton, the you will be disappointed. But if you expect good basic accommodation then you will be happy.
review also on 'Tripadviser.co.uk'
100 Feet is a 2008 film by writer and director Eric Red (who hasn't directed anything since 1996...) and went pretty much straight to DVD or TV release (doesn't bode well...) It stars Famke Janssen as the lead role (Marnie Watson) and Bobby Cannavale (Shanks) and Ed Westwick (Joey) as the two other main characters.
100 Feet tells the story of Marnie Watson, a woman who has just been released from prison who must serve the remainder of her sentence under house arrest. She is only able to move 100 feet from a 'base unit' in the house before an alarm goes off and she will be sent back to jail for parole violation. In the beginning this is all we know, and the details of why she was in jail and the circumstances behind this are gradually revealed to us.
As the film progresses we find out that Marnie killed her husband Mike, who was a police officer, in self defense as he constantly beat her. Her husband's partner Shanks blames Marnie, even though she filed several police complaints and called 911 for help several times, but it was ignored by his colleagues. He is determined that Marnie will go back to jail and takes to sitting outside her house day and night waiting for her to break her parole conditions.
As Marnie settles into life in her house strange things start to happen: she sees apparitions of her husband and is pushed down the stairs and it becomes apparent that the spirit of Mike is still in the house and intent on continuing to make her life hell.
Her only contact with the outside world is Joey, who delivers to her groceries ad eventually become a bit of a love interest.
100 feet is one of those films which you can only classify as 'all right'. There is no great work of art her but it certainly passed an hour or so on a Saturday night.
Famke Janssen was a little weak in the lead role, but then I don't think she had a great deal to work with. This was not a plot with anything to showcase great acting skills- just the usual afraid/angry faces and screaming that you need for a run of the mill horror flick. The two main male roles of Joey and Shanks didn't really get enough screen time to develop any good character. Really, you don't care about these two characters very much.
One of my main gripes was that not enough was done with some elements of the plot- why did Mike have bags of cash under the floorboards? It is intimated he was a 'dirty cop' but what was he doing? Why does the blood splatter keep re-appearing on the wall? More character development would have made you more interested in the development of the attraction between Joey and Marnie (we only see them meet each other twice before we're meant to believe they are untrollably attracted to each other). I was constantly expecting a 'twist' as well, but there wasn't. And that left me feeling just a little deflated at the end. I guess overall- not a lot really happened in this film. I wanted it to turn out that Marnie had made up the Mike was an abusive husband and he ws coming over all 'venegful spirit' because she murdered him... but nothing so interesting as that happened I'm afraid/
And as a word of advice- if you are squeamish look away during the scene where Joey is attacked by Mike's spirit. It was bad enough to make me look away and I think it was more like an 18cert level of violence than a 15cert. It's pretty nasty!
~Where to get it~
I watched it 'On Demand' through Virgin Tv as it was in the special offers section at £2.75 for a 24 hour rental but it is available to be bought at Amazon for £8.98
A little weak and could have been better with more character development and a bit of a twist to the plot...
This is a review of the Halifax online banking website.
I joined Halifax bank about 18 months ago, enticed by their £100 offer for opening a current account. Even though I have banked with HSBC and Barclays in the past it is with Halifax that I first used online banking.
~What is good?~
One of the things I find good about Halifax online banking is it's easy login procedure. I now have other online banking accounts and they all have a much more complicated procedure, requiring you to remember complicated number passwords. Halifax allow you to choose your own user name, password and answer one of several questions. They ask you your mother's first name, your father's first name, the name of your first school or the place where you are born. These should be all quite easy to remember and they alternate so that you are not inputting the same details all the time.
I also like the fact that on the main page you can see all accounts you have with Halifax. I can see immediately the balance of my current account, the balance of my savings account and an access point for my credit card information. Next to each account is a drop down menu so you can quickly view the information you want. For example, next to the current account you could choose from the drop down meny to got straight to direct debit/standing order/bill payment information or to go straight to recent transactions on your account and see item by item information.
I also like the fact that on the main page I can quickly and easily move money from my current account to my savings account. At the to of the page there is a 'move money from' box with a drop down menu to choose between your current and savings account. And a 'to' box with a drop down menu to choose which account to are moving money to. And a box to put in the amount you are transferring. The site asks you to confirm the amount, then moves it instantly between the accounts.
You can also choose to receive 'paperless billing'. This is where you are sent electronic statements, which you can choose to print or not. You are sent an Email to let you know when new statements or letters arrive so you can log in to view them.
My main gripe with Halifax online banking is it seems to take a long time to transfer money to other accounts, and you have to give 48 hours notice. For example, on a Tuesday I cannot request money be sent to my joint account with my other half on Wednesday. Thursday would be the first day the money could leave my account. It would then take 3 days to show in the account. On the other hand, I can move money from this account to my Halifax account within two hours! It leads me to believe that it is something about the Halifax system rather than the other bank which is being awkward! Bizarrely, it also works like this when trasferring money from your current account to your credit card (paying a bill, overpayment etc) A way to get a little bit more interest out of us?
This review is based on my experience of applying for an account with Virgin Credit card, and getting the account up and running.
I was enticed to apply for the Virgin Credit card with it's current offer of 16 months 0% interest on Balance transfers. (there is also a 2.98% balance trasfer fee but this is fairly standard) I completed my application online at http://uk.virginmoney.com/virgin/credit-cards-v3/
The actual application requires all the details that you would have to give if completing an application on a paper form. These include your employment details, income and other credit card debts. The form is not too lengthy and took approximately 15 mins to fill in as it needed a few details I needed to look up. If you have to hand your bank details, income and outgoing information then it could probably be done a bit quicker. At the end of the form it says you will be contacted within 10 working days as to whether you have been accepted or not. With the form being online, and your email address being taken, I did expect to hear from them via Email but this turned out not to be the case.
~After the Application~
I heard nothing from Virgin money for a week. I did not find this untoward as they had said it could be up to 10 working days and I had applied at a weekend. Then, one day, I came home to find a letter from Virgin Money. It was quite a thin looking letter and I thought to myself that it was a 'Thanks but no thanks letter' but when I opened it was PIN for my new card. I was a little perplexed, but had to assume that I had been accepted.
I now expected to receive an email or a letter very shortly from Virgin money comfirming I had been accepted and what credit limit I had been given. I was wrong on this count, too. 5 days later I received a letter from MBNA saying that I had been accepted (MBNA being the provider of the Virgin Credit card) but giving no details of credit limit or other relevent information. What they did include was a booklet on the PPI insurance that they sell, which I had declined when filling in the form online. I found it a little annoying that they were trying again to sell me insurance.
By this time I was a little impatient to find out the details of my account as I wanted to make plans. I rang a number which I found on their website which said it would take you to the department which 'tracked your application'. I expected this to take you straight through to that department but in fact you had to listen to various options and press 1,2 *# etc to get through the right people. Luckily, it was a free phone number.
When I eventually spoke to someone and explained the situation, the girl was very friendly and helpful and quickly explained to me what credit limit I had been given. Even though I had not received my card yet she offered to organise my balance transfers straight away. I agreed, as this would save me paying interest to the other card! This girl also explained how long the 0% offer lasted and that failing to pay a minimum payment, or going over the limit, would result in the 0% offer being immediately withdrawn. I thought this was very good as I know that many people have been upset when they have missed a payment etc and the offer was withdrawn as they did not read the fine print! This whole phone call, and balance transfer, only took about 10 minutes and was handled very efficiently and proffessionally.
The next day I actually received my card. This also included written confirmation of my credit limit. When receiving a new card you have to call them to activate it. I called them straight away on the number provided to 'activate your card now' Again I expected this to go straight to this option but needed me to go through the usual 1,2 *# options again! I don't know why they have so many seperate numbers for different things when you always have to go through the number punching! Anyway, I eventually got through to a girl who asked a variety of security question before activating the card. All well and good, THEN she proceeded to spend 20 minutes trying to sell me the PPI insurance AGAIN, and identity theft insurance. I was particularly irritated by this further attempt too sell as when I said on severla occasions that 'no thank you, I'm not interested' I was asked 'Why?' and 'what other protection do you have?' With previous companies activating a card was merely a matter of confirming the card had been received and I was the intended recipient. I was not particularly impressed by the hard sell at this point. On a more positive note the girl on the phone this time was also very pleasent and friendly.
And so it remains to be seen if this will be a long and beautiful relationship with Virgin money. As it stands I am quite underwhelmed by the poor communication and hard sell, but at least their call centre staff are pleasent, friendly and UK based.
This year, for my birthday, I received a Terramundi money pot. What is a Terramundi, I hear you ask?
A Terramundi is a traditional Italian earthernware pot, used to save money in. A piggy bank with a difference. The difference is- once your money is in then you can't get it out until you break the pot. If you are anything like me then I am often tempted to raid my piggy bank in times of need, so being unable to get my grubby little mits on the dosh is a good thing!
Terramundi Money Pots have been around for two millenia, and there are examples of these ancient money pots in the British Museum. Each pot contains a lucky coin which you can only get to once it has been filled and broken. It also comes with a wish card so you can write on it what you are saving for and the date you start saving so when you eventually crack your pot you can see how long it takes to fill you pot! Once your pot is full then it is traditional that the first thing you buy with your money is a new Terramundi money pot so you can continue your saving.
Terramundi come in many different colours, and with many different patterns, athough the general shape is the same as the photograph above. I have a cream pot with brown and gold stripe so it works well with the colour scheme in my living room but there are so many different varieties that I'm sure there is one to suit everyones tastes. The website www.terramundi.co.uk offers a personalisation service so that you could have your name (or someone elses) on the pot, or even the reason you are saving: such as 'holiday fund' or 'wedding fund'. Pots without personalisation cost £19.50, and the pots with personalisation cost £21.50. I think that £2 extra would be well worth it in order to make a gift more personal.
Once opened the pot is need not go totally to waste. If you open the pot carefully then you can use the pot for a house plant, or to keep other bits and bobs in. Even if you smash it the broken pieces can be put in the bottom of plant pots to add drainage.. so don't be sad when it is time to open your pot. Look forward to spending your money (I'm saving for a holiday with £2 coins) and your pot's new lease of life!
'Burn this Book'
These are the opening words of Clive Barkers novel Mister B. Gone, which tell the story of the demon Jakabok Botch and how he ended up imprisoned in the pages of this book. The theory of this book is that the demon is talking directly to you... and by continuing to read the book you are putting your very soul in danger.
Unfortunately, I felt this book fell a little short of the mark.
(without going into too much detail and ruining it)
Jakabok Botch is a minor demon in one of the lower circles of hell. He is demon 'trailer trash', with a demon deformity- two tails! Life is tough for Jakabok, suffering abuse from his family and peers. he is horribly disfigured in a fire. So now he is horribly disfigured and has two tails. It never rains but it pours!
He is eventually brought to the surface by means of a net baited with beer and steak, killing his abusive father in the process. The people who catch him intend to skin him for religious artifacts, but he escapes.
Through out his adventures he joins forces with an older demon called Quintoon, and they get up to some demony things like bathing in babies blood and burning people alive. All good demon-like fun!
This eventually leads Jakabok into the middle of a fight between angels and demons, and his eventual imprisonment in the book from which he is speaking to you.
Well, not really. The problem I had with this book is that Jakabok really wasn't evil enough. Maybe I need a lot more to shock me but he wasn't really very scary. Throughout the book Jakabok is threatening to do all manner of nasty things to you if you continue to read the book, but you just don't 'believe' it. Oh no, you're right behind me coming to get me? Well, that's ok. I can take you! ;-)
It really was just, well, boring. The character of Jakabok is just not very good at making you care about anything that's happening. It was completely underwhelming. I did manage to finish reading this book, unlike another Clive Barker novel which I just could not be bothered to pick up again.
This is available on amazon.co.uk for £4.74 for the paperback version, or £10 for the hardback, if you still want to read it. But take my advice, and Jakabok's, BURN THIS BOOK!
As previously mentioned, when Christmas came around it seemed that a lot of people didn't know what to buy me so they all ran into Lush and grabbed whatever caught their eye first! :)
One of the products I ended up with was the Vanilla fountain bath bomb. I must confess I am not a fan of the bath bombs, Iprefer my baths bubbly, so this may have infuenced my opinion but I was totally under-whelmed by this product.
~The Bath Bomb~
The bath bomb's shape reminds me of a creme caramel desert, except it's not wobbly! It's a pale yellow colour with a vanilla pod in the top- this also make me think of the sherbert fountains you could get when I was a kid which had a licquorice sticking out of the top! Generally, however, I don't think it's very interesting to look at. I had seen these in the shop myself, but not bought one because there was always some thing more interesting to tempt me away...
Vanilla Fountain DOES smells good though. It smells like cinder toffee and vanilla. Literally good enough to eat. At least, it does while it is out of the bath. Once it was in the bath it seemed to loose all it smell. I expect that when I've chucked a Lush product in the bath, I'm going to come out smelling like that product. I really struggled to smell it while I was sat in the bath, let alone afterwards!
And the pale yellow colour? I'm afraid that does not translate very well into your bath water. Dirty yellow is probably the best way describe it. I don't know about you but dirty yellow is not the kind of colour I want to sit around in. It just doesn't feel clean...
I was also disappointed by the softening qualities of this particular bomb. A lot of Lush bath bombs or bubble bars leave your skin feeling soft, generally by including cocoa butter or other oils in the mix. Vanilla Fountain is sadly lacking any of these skin softening properties. Perhaps something like this would have helped the scent stick to your skin?
After my rather negative review, if you still want to try it then it is available in store and online for £2.69
Well, when Christmas came around it seemed that a lot of people didn't know what to buy me so they all ran into Lush and grabbed a handful of whatever pink glttery thing caught their eye first! :) This has left me with a box full of Lush goodies, many of which I haven't used before.
One such gift was a Flosty Gritter bubble bar. I'm a big fan of the Creamy Candy and Ma Bar bubble bars so I'm not sure how I missed this one up until now!
~The Bubble Bar~
Flosty Gritter is a ridiculously girly shade of pink: the kind of pink that little girls like! It is coated in a sparkly, pinky lilac glitter so it is twinkly. Very girly. I must confess I was somewhat dubious about the glitter. Some days I just want to have a bath and get clean... not come out looking like a fairy! I waited until I was 'in the mood' for a glittery bath and crumbled the bar into the bath.
According to the Lush website you get better bubbles if you crumble your bubble bar into the bath while it is dry, and then run the water. I gave this technique a try and can happily confirm that extra bubbliness was forth-coming!
My first impression of the smell of Flosty Gritter is it's a sexier more grown-up version of Creamy Candy. Flosty Gritter's main scent is one of Lush's secret perfumes, one of the ones where they just write 'perfume' on the label rather than break it down. I guess it's to stop those pesky competitors ripping off their products! The scents that it will admit to are Vanilla Absolut, Clary Sage Oil and Lavender oil and I could really smell the Vanilla, but not so much the Clary Sage and Lavender. The over-all affect is a sweet but musky perfume. I really liked the way Flosty Gritter smelt- perhaps it will be good for a nice soak before a romantic night in?! ;-)
Once your bath is run the water changes the same shade of pink as the bubble bar. I'm not a big fan of pink, but the colour was nice. I can only describe it as a 'sexy pink' rather than a 'girly pink'.
The glitter swirls around prettily, but happily does not stick to you very much, so you don't come out looking like you've escaped from fairy land. However, when you let the water run out it will leave all the glitter behind. (You will need to give the bath a good clean or people using the bath may come out looking like THEY'VE escaped fairy land, and they may not be very happy!)
It is available at Lush in store and online for £3.19 per bubble bar. If you want to make it last a little longer you can cut your bar into halves or quarters. I tend to go the whole hog and use it all in one go!
ps. It isn't at all gritty!
Tradeyourstuff.co.uk is quite a new site which allows you to sell old games and consoles, and also to buy second hand games and consoles.
You are only able to trade and buy for the following platforms:
I recently used tradeyourstuff.co.uk to sell several DS games so this review is of the selling process at this site.
~Navigating the site~
This site is easy to find by putting 'tradeyourstuff' into google or other search engine.
The home page has the 'tradeyourstuff' logo at the top of the page underneath which are 7 buttons:
Home. Games. Consoles. Sell. Wishlist. Sell Box and My Account.
If you do not already have an account you can browse games and consoles available by clicking on the Games and Consoles buttons, respectively.
If you want to register for an account (which is free) go to My Account. This will take you to page where you can register your details, which are the usual Name, Address, Date of Birth sorts of detail. You are not requested to give any bank details, which I liked as I don't like sites that seem to need your bank details for no reason.
By clicking on the 'Sell' button it takes you to a page where you can see the sort of prices that the games and consoles are selling at. For example as used boxed nintendo DS Lite is currently being purchased for £50 by tradeyourstuff. Here you can see if there are any items fetching good price, which you may be considering selling.
Once you have an account you are able to use the 'Wish List' and 'Sell Box' pages. The 'Wish List' lets you keep track of any games or consoles you are hoping to buy, and your 'Sell Box' lets you keep track of the games or consoles you have idicated you wish to sell.
At the top of each page are 'Buy' and 'Sell' drop down menus. So you can go directly to buying or selling, no matter where you are on the site.
This site is very easy to navigate. You always know which section you are in as the button is highlighted in orange, and if you decide you want to buy or sell an item you can go quickly and easily to the relevent section.
~Selling a game~
Go to the drop down menu and choose whether you are selling a game or a console. Type in the game or console you are selling and it will give you a price. If you want to sell it- hit the big blue 'Sell' button beside the price. Simple.
I found two small problems when I was using this system. One was that it always reset to console on the drop down menu so when I was selling more then one game I sometimes searched for the game under console an it said it was not on the system- but then maybe I'm just slightly silly. The other problem is that because it is quite a new site it doesn't have the largest catalogue, some games I was looking to sell just weren't on their system. I guess that as they expand they will get more titles...or maybe I was just trying to sell rather obscure titles!
When you are ready to sell go to 'My Sell Box' and view basket on the right side, where you be able to 'checkout' almost as if you are buying games.
One thing I really liked about this site is that they give you money towards postage- 50p per game. So if you are selling an old Xbox game for £3.77, you get £4.27 in total. If you sell several games you get an extra 50p for each, this soon adds up. If you are selling 5 games and extra £2.50 is not to be sneezed at!
Once you have 'checked out' they send you an email with an order number and an address to send the items to. You have to include the order details when you send it off so you an either print the email, or copy them out. I found the email arrived very quickly, with no problems.
The next day I sent my games by recorded delivery. (This is optional, I just wanted to make sure my games didn't wander off) and my bit was done!
I haven't used any other sites for selling games, but I was very happy with the amount they were offering for the games, it seemed quite generous to me.
I must say that I was very impressed by the service. While I was attempting to sell one of my games the site kept sending up an error message. I went to the 'Contact Us' section and sent an Email, not expecting a reply until the next day as it was 10.30pm on a Sunday, but i had a reply with an hour saying the problem was fixed and I could not sell my game. Brilliant
Once they had received my games it took 3 days for the money to clear into my account with them, I guess they were checking that they worked etc but once that is done you can ask them to send you a cheque, pay you by paypal, or you can spend the money on buying more games from them. I chose for them to send the money to me by paypal. I think this option is great as it is better than having to give out bank details. It did take a few days to clear into my paypal account, but I received an Email explaining that there had been some technical problems and apologising. As I was not in a major hurry for the money it wasn't a problem, but I appreciated the email.
My only slight grumble is that you can check the progress of your order in 'My Account' but all it says is 'In progress'. I would have thought that it could have given more info such as 'order received' or 'being checked' so you have a better idea of what is happening, but it wasn't really an issue.
After my order was complete I received another email asking if everything had been ok and how I had found out about the site. It didn't sound like a generated message so I appreciated the follow-up contact. I kind of imagine this site is run by a few guys who are just starting out...
~'Really, sex, violence and flowers?~Look at those happy smiley colourful animals in the picture-you gotta be kidding!' ~
C'mon I know that's what you're thinking.... :) but bear with me...I will explain!
Viva Pinata Pocket Paradise is a spin-off game from an XBox 360 game originally released in November 2006. It was one of those games that was critically acclaimed but then didn't do as well as it really deserved, and has recently been given away free with consoles... that's how slow it's sales were. But that has renewed interest in the concept and led to an XBox 360 sequel in May 2008, and this Nintendo DS sequel which was released in September 2008.
After playing the original version for a little while and enjoying it, I wanted to have the DS version for playing during my sometimes long and boring commute to work (that and my boyfriend got bored watching me play it on the TV in the living room!) So I asked Santa for it for Christmas and he must have thought I had been good this year because there it was on Christmas day...
~Ok, enough with the life story, what's the game about?~
Right, this may sound a little odd but basically you have a garden which you have to look after and fill with pinata (the hollow animals you have at Mexican children's parties which are filled with sweets and you hit with a stick until they break) with the aim of sending them off to childrens' parties for rewards.
You start out with a rubbishy bit of ground which you have to tidy up and plant grass and flowers, and then you attract your first Pinata. This is a worm like creature called a Whirlm. From there on you have to attract more pinata to your garden, meet certain conditions to get them to breed (this is called romancing in the pinata world), and feed them certain foods in order to develop different variants... or even get them to evolve to different species of pinata.
Some of the pinata are carnivores and need to eat other pinata in order to be ready to romance (the Whirlms are pretty much bottom of the pinata food chain!) but in a non-scary way. They throw things at each other until one breaks and then they eat the sweets which are inside the broken pinata to the sound of children cheering. Actually, that does sound a little sinister now I read it back. The others all eat various plants, flowers or fruits which you have to grow or buy. When your pinata are ready to romance, a little heart appears over their heads. You point them in the right direction and then they go off and do their little romance dance and a little while later an egg is brought by Storkos (a lady in a bird outfit who flies, of course!).
The egg hatches into a baby, and your garden population increases... you can sell the babies, wait for them to be requested by Pinata Central (the guys who send them out to parties) or leave them running around, although your garden will get a bit busy if you do this!
Other pinata can earn money for you (chocolate coins being the currency of this game) by producing items you can sell. For example, a Buzzlegum will produce honey and a Goobar will produce wool.
The general aim of the gaim is to attract all the pinata (there are 60 different variaties in this version with 7 new ones not in the original game), gain all the possible awards for breeding them and developing different variants and species, while earning as many chocolate coins as possible. And that's all there is to it!
Sex, incest (breeding children with parents/ grandparents/ aunties/ uncles etc!), cannibalism. General all round family fun!
I think it's great! The DS version handles much more easily than the Xbox version as you use the touch screen to menouvre (?) around your garden. Getting your pinata to do what you want seems a lot easier and you no longer have to complete a mini game every time you romance one of your pinata, making the game play a lot quicker.
The top screen shows you information about what is happening in your garden, and about your pinata. It shows animations of pinata which are visiting your garden or if they are doing their romance dance for the first time. This used to interupt the game play but now can you watch it, or carry on with what you are doing if you're not interested!
Most of the characters from the original game are here- but with the added benefit that they you don't have to listen to their repetitive phrases this time around! You can pop down to Costolot's to get your seeds and garden pharaphenalia, and Willey Builder is here too to build your pinata houses.
The pinata themselves are cute, with names based on sweets and sounds (my personal favourite in the Shellybean, which is a snail like pinata) and you can get quite obsessive about collecting them all- I got all excited the first time I got a pinata which wasn't in the original game. Sad, I know. You can even name them all individually and dress them up in hats and other silly outfits! Just don't get too attached to some of your pinata, if your favourite Whirlm gets eaten by a visiting Fudgehog you're gonna be sad!
This game is not as complicated as it sounds, but it's not really for people who want a game with a definite ending. This is an open-ended which I am told this a similar idea to games like the Sims and Animal Crossing, but I haven't played these games myself so I couldn't say how they compare. It's supposed to be aimed at children, in fact the concept has been made into an animated children's TV show, but I'm not really sure how many children will have the patience needed to complete all the objectives.
This isn't really my area so this won't be too in depth!
Developed by Rare Ltd
Published by: THQ
Genre: Life Simulation
Released September 2008
Official Nintendo DS Magazine rating: 90% earning a Gold Award
Currently £18 on Amazon.co.uk
It is something of a traditon that in the build up to Christmas my boyfriend and I go late night shoppng one time, and then go to the cinema. This year there was my chap really wanted to see Four Chrismases. I must admit that my first impressions from the trailers was it looked bad but, while I don't think it'll be up for any Oscar nominations, it really wasn't too bad.
~The boring stuff~
Rating: 12aRunning time: 89 minutes
Director: Seth Gordon
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, Robert Duvall, Jon Favreau
Brad (Vince Vaughn) and Kate (Reese Witherspoon) are a couple in their early thirties who have been dating for three years, and think that they are happy with their no marriage/no kids commitment because they are unhappy with their families as both sets of parents are divorced and they don't want to continue the cycle.
For the past three years they have been avoiding spendng Christmas with their families by pretending they are going abroad to do charity work, while actually jetting off for scuba diving, beach holidays. This year they are planning to escape to Fiji, but when they arrive at the airport bad fog has meant all the flights have been cancelled. While arguing with the guy at check-in they are interviewed by a TV crew for the news, wanting to know how the cancelled airplanes are affecting peoples Christmases. Before the interview is even finished their mobile phones are ringing- the families have seen them and they all want to see them!
So, off they go to visit 'His father, her mother, his mother and her father all in one day' (this is the tag line of the film)
During the course of these visits they learn a lot about each other, which makes them question how honest they have been with each other and whether their relationship has what it takes to survive their families!
As I said, it's not going to win any Oscar's but I did enjoy this film
I found the main characters to be likeable, even if their chemistry wasn't exactlly sizzling! It seemed a little unbelievable that they went from quite a cute happy couple, to doubting each other so quickly. It really didn't take much, after all they were only spending a few hours with each family. Let me tell you, I've spent weeks (!) with my boyfriends family. Now THAT's testing!
only kidding, they're lovely :)
But I think they did go to pieces a little too easily, especially as they had promised each other that no matter what happened they would still have each other.
Of the families, I found Brad's father (Robert Duvall) and brothers (John Favreau and Tim McGraw) the funniest. Perhaps because the comedy is a little more slapstick, rather than just putting people in embarrassing situations.
Kate's mother (Sissy Spacek) is a 'cougar' (apparently this is slang in America for older women who are predatory!) and so are her aunties and grandma. Watch out for Brad as Joseph in the Church's nativity. This was one of my favourite bits! My boyfriend found what grandma would like to do for Christmas the funniest bit, but I just found it cringe worthy!
After these two visits I felt the film started to rush, the visits to Brad's mother and Kate's father were much shorter that the other two (couldn't they think of anything funny to do?) and then the ending seemed quite abrupt. This is what let the film down a little for me, the beginning was funny and had a good pace, but then it just seemed to loose the plot (no pun intended!)
If you want a nice Christmassy film, with no real mental challenges then you won't go far wrong here. If you are looking for amazing work of cinema...well, you may be disappointed.
I would watch it again though, the funny bits were funny enough to make it watchable again.