- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
As much as I love using liquid soap and a soap dispenser as I find it a bit less messy than a bar of soap, I do still however cringe at the thought of all the gems on the plunger, not just my germs but everyone else who uses it too! When I saw the add for the Dettol No Touch Hand Wash System I was so excited (sad, I know) a new gadget I just had to have! I didn't realise just how expensive it would be at around £10 but Tesco had it on special offer for £6.97 so I just decided to go for it.
The Dettol No Touch Hand Wash System came packaged in a shaped, clear plastic moulded packet that was quite difficult to get in to but I eventually did and was able to remove the contents quite easily. Included in the pack was a dispenser, a 250ml hand wash refill and 4 AA batteries, along with instructions on how to set up, use and look after your dispenser.
Firstly you insert the 4 batteries into the battery compartment on the base of the dispenser, you then remove the tamper evident label from the bottom of the hand wash refill and place it into the dispenser, you should hear it click into place. Next you should place the dispenser where you would like it to sit and then switch it on using the on/off switch at the back of the unit. A red indicator light on the front of the unit will blink a few times, once this stops blinking the unit is then ready to use. You should then place your hands under the nozzle and above the indicator light and magically soap will be dispensed, this may have to be done a few times for the first hand wash to appear.
Sounds easy, but as usual I didn't read the instructions properly and omitted to remove the tamper evident label from the bottom of the hand wash bottle with the result I probably used up all the battery power trying to get the soap to dispense before I decided to remove the hand wash and start again, this time actually reading the instructions! This time it worked and the soap was dispensed on the second try.
I like the look of this unit, it is white with the clear hand wash bottle sticking up out of the top. It looks quite classy and is about the average size of a hand wash dispenser, perhaps a bit taller. It works well and as described, dispensing a small amount of hand wash onto your hand without having to touch the dispenser at all, therefore creating less chance of cross contamination.
Refills for the unit are available at approximately £ 3.00, although it is possible just to take the lid off the refill bottle and fill it with whatever hand wash you would like, including cheap ones. The refills are available in 2 fragrances green tea and ginger and refreshing grapefruit essence.
I would definitely recommend this hand wash system and my only complaint would be that every time I move it for cleaning I always manage to get hand wash all over my hands. It looks good though and it very easy to maintain and it seems to make the kids actually want to wash their hands.
For more information you can visit their website at www.dettol.co.uk
When we came back from our last holiday to be greeted by a terrible smell and a big sticky puddle creeping out from beneath our fridge freezer, we knew it was time to bite the bullet and invest in a new one.
We didn't want to rush into buying just any one, we wanted as big a one as we could possibly get for the space we had and I did a bit of research on the internet to find the best one for the best price.
Eventually we opted for the Indesit BAN 12NF, a completely frost free fridge freezer. This fridge freezer is approximately 175cm in height x 60cm in width x 65.5cm in depth. It is white and the door handles are flush, which I prefer, avoiding the risk of bumps and bruises from handles that stick out too far. The fridge compartment is at the top with the freezer underneath. It has an Energy Rating of A with the fridge compartment having a 175 litre capacity and the freezer having an 85 litre capacity.
When fitting this appliance, because it is frost free, the compressor and condenser to the rear need good ventilation as they give off heat. You should also try to place the fridge freezer on suitable flooring which is solid and level, if the floor is not level then the front feet can be adjusted to suit. You are advised in the instructions to allow space of at least 10cm above the appliance and at least 5cm space at the sides and rear. You are supplied with spacers with the fridge freezer, which can be fitted to the rear fan grill, just to make sure you have left enough space.
The fridge compartment is slightly larger than the freezer. It has 3 glasses shelves and 2 salad drawers in the bottom of the main compartment and in the door it has a lidded egg tray, a small multipurpose storage shelf and a bottle shelf. All the shelves have various positions where they can be placed allowing room for larger, taller items. There is a large lamp which lights up when the door it opened and there is also a temperature knob, which has minimum, medium and maximum settings, with the medium setting being the advised choice. Mine is always set on medium and has always kept my food super chilled. On the back wall of the fridge there are aeration cells for the No Frost System, which continuously circulate cold air and collect humidity so preventing the formation of ice and frost. These cells should always be kept clear and not blocked by food stored in the fridge. I have never had a problem with this, as where they are situated, it would be quite difficult to cover them unless you fridge was over packed, mine is always full, but never too packed.
The freezer compartment, as I said above, is only slightly smaller than the fridge. The temperature control for the freezer is a small knob discreetly placed in the door rim of the fridge, it has 4 settings - off, which turns the fridge and freezer off, maximum, minimum and eco. You are advised to set this knob to the eco setting as this is the most efficient energy saving setting. It has 3 large deep drawers with ice trays attached to the top of the front of each drawer. The bottom drawer is slightly shallower than the other 2, but as far as I know this is normal on upright freezers. The ice trays are blue plastic and lift easily from the top of the drawer front. These should be filled with water to the maximum fill level, which if you don't stick to can cause problems when it comes to trying to get the ice cubes out. Once you have filled to the advised level, when you turn the tray back to the horizontal the water is supposed to divide evenly between the little ice cube compartments. This is relatively easy to do if you stick to the maximum fill level. The lid is then placed back on the tray and it is put back into position. Once the ice is ready you just bang the tray on a solid surface and hey presto you have a tray full of ice cubes.
==My Views on this Fridge Freezer==
I love this fridge freezer! I love the size of it, it is so much deeper than my last one, giving so much more storage space. It has more than ample storage for a family of 4, 2 of whom are particularly big eaters. The light in the fridge is situated on the back wall and is a large panel, which gives off a great light when the door is open. The glass shelves are lovely and easy to clean and also easily moved into other positions. I think the variety of positions to place the shelves, giving plenty of room for taller items, stopping the potential risk of leaks from tall items being placed on their sides is a real added benefit. Again the shelves in the door can be placed into various positions allowing more than enough room for tall bottles of juice, wine etc. The salad drawers are very roomy too and keep my salad nice and crisp.
The freezer has so much room in it too, with lovely large deep drawers, the only draw back with these being the fact that you have to pile things on top of one another, which can sometimes cause frustration when you are trying to find something.
My ultimate love of this fridge freezer though, has to be the fact that it is completely frost free. I used to HATE defrosting my freezer, I would leave it so long that the ice was so thick it took hours to melt. Having a completely frost free fridge freezer helps keep cleaning and maintenance to a minimum and indeed makes cleaning very easy, it also helps to keep the fridge working to its full potential keeping he food fresher for longer.
The fridge freezer looks great, brilliant white, all flush and with the bright light inside sparkles when open.
The one and only complaint I did have is the fact that being frost free, a few times a day, the condenser makes lots of weird popping and cracking noises, which did concern me a bit at first and were quite annoying, but now I am used to them and know that there is nothing faulty with the appliance, I don't really even hear them any more.
We purchased this fridge freezer from appliancesonline.co.uk almost a year ago for £268, which was a really great buy, I have actually seen this priced as high as £429 in Currys and it is still working as well as the day we got it (touch wood!).
I would definitely recommend the Indesit BAN 12NF Fridge Freezer to anyone with the room to have it.
After a recent terrible computer virus our internal pc speakers just decided to stop working. We tried everything to get them going again but to no avail. As my husband is a You Tube fanatic and missed browsing through and listening to many clips I decided to treat him to a new set of external speakers. Not really wanting to spend too much on them but obviously wanting to get quality worth buying, after much research I decided to go for the Technika 2.0 Stereo Speakers at £9.97 from Tesco.
The speakers came well packaged in a cardboard box along with the 3.5mm jack with lead and the power supply lead and a small instructions leaflet. They were easily unwrapped and equally easy to set up and install.
These speakers are quite tall, slim and attractive and actually look really good standing proudly at either side of our monitor. Each speaker measures approximately 24.5cm in height, 18.5cm in width and 9cm in depth, although fairly tall they are pretty compact and don't take up much room on the desk. The speakers are matt black and slope back slightly giving them quite an elegant, stylish look.
The speakers come with a 3.5mm jack, which can easily be plugged into the back of your pc. They are plug and play and are very easy to install. Once you plug the speakers in you are prompted to accept the new hardware and off you go.
One of the speakers, in my case the right hand one, has a small on/off power button on the side along with a volume control dial, a tuner control dial and a small blue power on light. The speakers give 9w of sound, which I thought was quite respectable for small plug in speakers. Being multimedia speakers means that not only can you use them for your computer but you can also use them for portable devices as well. We have tried out my son's Ipod Touch use these speakers as well and they worked really well.
Overall I would definitely recommend these speakers. They were easy to set up and look really good. The sound quality is brilliant, my husband even tested them at full volume (much to my dismay) and even then there was very little distortion. They have a good deep sound quality to them with no tinny sound quality at all, all too often small plug in speakers can give quite a tinny sound, but these definitely do not. I like the fact that there is a sound control on the speakers themselves, making it much easier to control the volume, rather than having to use the controls on the computer. I also liked the fact that there was just the right amount of cable. Previous speakers we have had seemed to come with way too much cable, causing an untidy tangled mess, but these ones did have plenty cable, but it was easy to neatly hide the excess cable. Of course I can't forget to mention the super price tag too, £9.97 from Tesco, a super buy, easy to use, look good and give super sound quality. Well done Tesco!
It's that time of year again when we try to take the kids away for the weekend using our Tesco Clubcard vouchers. We usually stay up North - Aviemore, Inverness and Aberdeen but this year we thought we would try something a bit different. The kids are both getting a bit older and both quite enjoy shopping now so we thought we would give Glasgow a try, just for a change. We managed to get booked in the Thistle Hotel in Glasgow City Centre.
A Bit About The Hotel
The Thistle Glasgow is a 4 star hotel and has a really great location, situated only minutes from the M8 Junction 17 it was very easy to find by road. It is also situated close to Glasgow Central Train Station and Glasgow Queen Street Train Station, with the bus station only being a short walk away as well. Situated right in the heart of Glasgow the Thistle Glasgow is only a few minutes walk from Sauchiehall Street and the main shopping area of Glasgow with a huge variety of bars and restaurants on offer as well. The Glasgow Thistle is also a prime location for those of you who love to wander around art galleries and museums, with Glasgow offering a huge selection to choose from including the Glasgow School of Art, which again is only a short walk away and has ample exhibitions for you to enjoy.
From the outside the hotel was nothing special, although the entrance was nicely done with large windows and tubs of plants ouside. The hotel has a choice 300 rooms and suites with 115 of these having been newly refurbished. These are available at an extra charge of £10. The choice of different styles of rooms which the Thistle has on offer is great with something on offer for everyone, these include:
Executive Double Double
A huge variety of choice!!
Each of these rooms offers BT Open Zone Wi-Fi, coffee and tea making facilities, complimentary toiletries, a direct dial telephone, a flat screen TV with freeview, a hairdryer, an iron with ironing board and a room safe and some of the rooms are also available with a separate sitting room, a trouser press, a walk in shower and a work desk.
The hotel offers a choice of 18 meeting rooms, which can also be used for weddings, offering facilities for numbers as little as 40 or the newly refurbished ballroom, which will cater for up to 1000 at a wedding and 1500 theatre style for conferences.
There is a car park situated under the hotel, which has enough spaces for 250 cars. This is charged at £5 per overnight stay depending on the room type. We had expected to pay this but when we were leaving they told us it was free because we had stayed in an executive room.
Once settled into your room you can relax in the Cabin Bar, quite a traditional style bar with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. You can also have meals and breakfast in the Annlann Restaurant, a well decorated large eating area again with a lovely atmosphere.
If you want to work off the big cooked breakfast or indeed just relax and chill out for a while then you can pay a visit to the Otium Leisure Club, which offers a fully equipped gym, treatment rooms and a swimming pool with Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room.
Our Experience of the Hotel
As I said earlier the hotel was easy to find by road and when we arrived we were glad to see the car park below, otherwise there would have been nowhere to park with the hotel being situated right in the centre of the city. On entering the car park you take a ticket, which opens a barrier. This ticket is then validated at the end of your stay and if required you will then pay the £5 overnight charge, but this depends on the style of room you are staying in.
There are 2 large bright mirrored lifts which take you from the car park to the reception and then on to your room, alternatively there are stairs.
The reception area was large and welcoming, tastefully decorated with soft lighting and homely touches such as paintings and plants. The reception desk was long and had 5 or 6 people doing check-in. It was quite busy when we arrived and we did think we would have a to wait a while, but this wasn't the case. Check-in was done very quickly. I had a booking reference number which I quoted and all our details came up on the receptionist's screen, I was given paperwork to sign and then we were handed our room key card and directed to our room.
We took the lift to the 4th floor where our room was situated. I really liked the lifts, very roomy and VERY fast! When we left the lift there was a large open area, which was again nicely decorated, quite art nouveau in style with a tiled floor, large mirror and paintings. There was a long windowed wall with a large double door in the centre and we had to use our key card to get through this door. We then entered the corridor where our room was situated. We found our room and easily opened the door (first time!) using the key card, which did actually work every time!
I couldn't believe the size of the room when we walked in - it was huge!! A lovely bright and fresh room with a large window. When we booked we didn't really get much of a choice in what room we could have, having booked using our Tesco Clubcard vouchers we really just had to take the room and rate offered to us. Having said that we definitely were not disappointed. An Executive Double Double with bed and breakfast was what was offered to us. That was for 4 of us - myself, my husband, our son Kyle (17) and our daughter Erin (12). The rate we paid was £120 per night, which I thought was very reasonable, of course, with the added benefit that it was Tesco paying for it and not us!
In the room were two double beds, one of which was up against the wall. There were 2 bedside cabinets, one situated in between the 2 beds and one at the other side of the bed, which was not up against the wall. At the end of the beds was a long dressing table with a large mirror hung on the wall with drawers and cupboards below. In one of the drawers was the kettle with mugs, tea, coffee, milk and biscuits. In another drawer there was a good quality hairdryer. In one of the cupboards was something I found to be a great addition, there was a fridge!! It had a little sign on the outside of it saying mini bar and you could phone reception to have this stocked up accordingly, but we just stocked it up ourselves. Alongside the dressing table was another drawer unit with the 32" LCD TV on top. There was a large easy chair and footstool, comfy enough to sleep on, a coffee table, a couple of chairs and a large desk with a lamp and chair. The room was well lit with a mixture of wall lights, ceiling lights and lamps and most of these could be controlled from switches by the bed.
Near to the door there was a small cloakroom with a large built in cupboard with plenty of coat-hangers and a small safe, which could be used at an extra charge. Also in this cloak room was a vanity unit with a large basin and a large mirror above.
From this cloak room you then entered the bathroom, a small compact room, which housed a bath with a power shower above, a toilet and a vanity unit with a large mirror above it, this is where the complimentary toiletries were placed (and no basin). Above the toilet was a towel warmer with plenty bath and hand towels for the 4 of us.
What I liked about the room most was the size. It made our stay so much more comfortable, giving plenty storage space and lots of room to relax without feeling cramped in the slightest. I loved the fact that we had a fridge, I've never had that in a hotel room before. It was small but was big enough to keep a couple of bottles of juice, a large bottle of water, a bottle of wine and a few tins of lager. I liked the large window, it let in plenty of light and even although we were in the centre of a very busy city the window was double glazed with another window on the inside 3 or 4 inches from the double glazed window, which cut out all of the noises of the city. The easy chair and the desk with chair were also great additions, instead of having to sit on the bed to read the newspaper Scott was able to sit at "his" desk and read the paper in comfort, while Kyle was able to sit and relax in the easy chair listening to his ipod.
The only thing I found rather odd about the room was the fact that the basin was in a cloakroom outside the bathroom. You go to the toilet and then you have to open the door and go to another room, where there are no towels and nowhere to put them as they are hung in the bathroom on a towel warmer, and then wash your hands. A bit odd considering there was a large vanity unit in the bathroom with plenty space to fit a basin.
So far so good we were very pleased with our room.
We did have a couple of drinks in the bar which was very friendly with a great atmosphere but unfortunately, as is usually the case with hotel bars the prices were ridiculous. This was when the fridge came in very handy, we were able to relax in the large room with the kids who were happy to play cards or watch the television while we relaxed with a couple of chilled drinks.
We didn't have any meals in the restuarant but the menu was quite extensive with a great choice of food and what I did see looked very good, but again for us, we couldn't justify paying the prices they were asking, £13 for steak pie and chips! and with such a great choice of bars and restaurants within walking distance of the hotel we prefered to go and explore a bit and choose where we wanted to eat ourselves. We did however have breakfast in the restaurant. This was served between 7am and 11am and was wonderful. The kids liked to go for a swim first in the pool so we usually didn't get down for breakfast until about 10.30am but there was still plenty of fresh food being put out, in fact, from the looks of things most people did seem to leave it until later. There was a super choice, cereals, cold meats, cheeses, pastries, porridge, toast and then of course the cooked selection, again with a great choice, bacon, eggs, (scrambled and fried), black pudding, potato scones, hash browns, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, sausages. There was also a variety of fruit juices , yoghurts and fruit and you coffee/tea cup was never allowed to empty. I liked the dining area, it was very large and very informal with slate tiles on the floor and wooden tables and chairs, quite classy looking but at the same time relaxed in atmosphere. Food and drinks were available in your room through room service at an extra charge of £4.50 (nothing is ever free!)
We visited the Otium Health Club as well which was also very adequate. There were 2 rooms for the gym, one with free weights and weight machines and one with bikes, treadmills, cross trainers and rowing machines. Both rooms were quite small but were well equipped, bright, clean and air conditioned. They each had a large television screen on the wall and a water cooler machine. The pool was also very nice, quite small and cool but I found this quite reviving after a workout in the gym. The jacuzzi was wonderful and left you with red lines on your skin from the heat of the water. The sauna and steam rooms were just as they usually are, small and hot!
Overall I really cannot fault our stay in the Glasgow Thistle. The location was great and although it was right in the centre of Scotland's largest city it was still very quiet. The staff were very friendly and helpful. I can also say, through expereince, that their fire regulations are up to standard as well. When we were there the fire alarm was sounded and we were all quickly and calmly ushered from the hotel to the front of the building where we stood for about 15 minutes until the fire brigade, who arrived in about 2 minutes, had checked the building. We were actually in the bar at the time and were not allowed to take our drinks with us, but everything was as we left it when we got back in. The breakfasts were great. The lifts were super fast and very large making transportation of your suitcases a breeze. The room was wonderful, the beds were very comfortable and there was ample space for the 4 of us. I loved the fact that we had a fridge. Oh and I didn't mention earlier but all the rooms have air conditioning as well, not that we needed it in Scotland in April, but it was there anyway. Wi Fi internet access was available throughout the hotel. As I said my only real small complaint would be the situation of the basin. The furniture in the room was also a little tired looking I suppose, but the room itself was very clean and fresh and functioned well for our needs and the fact that the furniture wasn't new did not take away from the enjoyment of our little break in the slightest.
I would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Glasgow and I would definitely stay there again myself.
For more details of the hotel and prices and availability of the room you can visit their website www.thistle.com
My kids and some of my work colleagues had been ranting about how good these MaltEaster Bunnys from Mars are so I decided I had to have a try. I had really not been that interested in them having thought they were just a big bunny shaped malteser and not too exciting - oh how wrong I was!
The bunny weighs 29g and comes in a red foil wrapper which is easily torn open revealing the bunny inside. Once opened a pleasant and temptingly tasty sweet and chocolately smell greeted me. I must admit I didn't really think it looked that much like a bunny, more of a chocolate blob with bunny ears and no face, I thought! After studying the bunny I decided to start with the ears as they looked the easiest part to bite into. I bit into the ears and was very pleasantly surprised - lashings of very thick creamy milk chocolate covered a malteser centre, but not what I was used to. The chocolate seemed tastier than that found on normal maltesers, probably because it was so thick, but it was wonderful nevertheless, thick, creamy and very moreish. The centre was delicious, not quite as hard and crunchy as that of your average malteser, it seemed to be smoother with a milkier, slightly sweeter taste to it. It was still the same creamy malt centre but it also incorporated tiny little balls of honeycomb as well, I feel this was what gave it its smoother creamier flavour. The combination of the very thick creamy milk chocolate and the smooth and gently crunchy centre was a real winner for me. I loved the way the bunny was completely and evenly covered in thick chocolate, not just parts of it.
I suppose, as with most indulgent treats, there are also some down sides, the bunny is quite small and has 157 calories and 9.2g of fat, which I feel is quite high, but then we all need a treat every now and then and they are just around for Easter Time, although I am hoping like mad that they bring out one for the whole year! I loved this bunny and would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a chocolate treat every now and again!
The bunny is suitable for vegetarians. It is still available in the shops and most are selling now for half price, they were originally 59p but are now selling for around 29p or even less, so I would stock up now before they are sold out until next year.
For more information you can visit the Mars website at www.marsconsumercare.co.uk
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed.
Also posted on other sites.
I was recently in desperate need of a new mobile phone. I quite like to keep up to date with everything, but when it comes to mobile phones a basic phone, which will allow me to phone and text and generally keep in touch with others is really all that I need. And of course, as always, keeping to a tight budget is also top of my list. However I did still want to have a phone I could rely on, that functioned well and looked fairly stylish. After a lot of shopping around and research I decided to go for the LG KS360.
==A Bit About The Phone==
The LG KS360 is a fairly basic phone aimed at that those who prefer texting and emailing with its slide out QWERTY keyboard. It is stylish looking and reasonably compact in size but does lack 3G, WiFi and a large memory. The phone comes with a 15MB on board memory, which has allowed me to store around 20 photos, 4 or 5 MP3 tracks with room for 2 or 3 more. There is however a micro SD slot on the side of the phone which can take a memory card of up to 4GB giving extra storage.
The phone is available in a variety of colours - blue, black, pink, red and silver. It is a good sturdy phone which feels nice to hold. Quite light at 106g with a smooth and rounded shape, the compact size (101.5mm x 51mm x 16.8mm) also makes easy to slip neatly into your pocket.
On the front of the phone there is a 2.4" screen, which gives a really bright, crisp clear display and is easy to read both indoors and outdoors. Just below the screen are a few buttons, the menu button, directional arrows, call and end call and a button which allows touch screen dialling. This is the only touch screen feature of this phone but is quick and easy to use without having to slide open the keyboard. All buttons on the phone are a slightly raised round bubble style of button, which are all well spaced apart, are a good size and really easy to use with the good spacing cutting out the risk of hitting 2 buttons at once.
The slide out QWERTY keyboard is amazing. I never used to be a great texter but having 2 teenagers I find that I text now, probably more than I phone, and having a proper keyboard makes texting much quicker and easier, although I must admit it did take me a few days to get used to (even although I am a touch typist) I kept hitting the keys several times as you would normally do when texting, but it wasn't long before I'd mastered it. When using the QWERTY keyboard as soon as you slide it open the display turns from portrait to landscape giving a widescreen view, which again is great when texting. The keyboard also has 4 directional keys allowing you to move swiftly around your text for corrections. Moving between lower case, capitals, numbers and symbols is also very simple using the shift key and Fn button, which I love.
Emailing is also a breeze as you can connect to the internet simply through GPRS. I am also reassured instant messaging is also very simple and easy to do but is not something I am every likely to use.
The 2MP camera is simple to use. It takes clear and crisp photos and can also take short video clips with sound, however there is no flash so you do really need fairly good lighting. But as I said earlier I didn't buy the phone for a wonderful camera so this more than suits my needs.
==Other Functions the Phone Has==
An FM radio
An MP3 player
Phone Number grouping, which allows you to arrange your numbers into groups e.g. family, friends etc.
Text threading (like the iphone) where your texts to a certain person are continuously shown on screen, first showing their text to you and then your response to them and so on and each text is also enclosed in a speech bubble (better than my sister's iphone!) making it look like a real conversation and allowing you to actually understand the response to a previously sent message.
You can attach photos to your numbers allowing you to see who is calling you.
You can also connect your phone to the computer using a USB cable.
The phone also automatically locks when not in use, which is a feature I particularly like.
==My Views on the Phone==
I have been using my phone for 3 months now and am generally really happy with its performance. I love its robust sturdy feel, all too often slide phones can feel a bit like they might break when you slide them open, but this one is spring loaded and feels really good. I also liked the whole rounded look to the phone. The touch screen dialling is super, quick and easy to use. A real must though, is the QWERTY Keyboard, so simple to use, making texting a pleasure instead of a chore.
The camera, although only 2MP still gives super clear and crisp pictures if taken in a well lit area, and definitely suits my needs. I also love the feature of seeing who is calling you using photos - I cannot only hear my babies when they phone but see them too!
I love the threading of the texts, all too often I get an answer to a text I've sent my teenagers a couple of hours later and of course by that time I've forgotten what I'd asked them. Now I don't have to go back and look at the text I sent, it's already on the screen with their answer - wonderful!!!
Overall I would definitely recommend this phone to those of you, who like me, don't really want anything too complicated. I have found this phone very simple to use and very reliable. The charge lasts well and it performs well. My only grumble with the phone would be the fact that it doesn't have a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can only use the headphones supplied with the phone, which I don't like as they don't stay in my ears.
Supplied in the box with my phone was a charger, USB cable and a set of headphones. In January my phone cost me £60 for pay-as-you, but the prices at the moment seem to range from £40 to £70 depending on where you buy.
Many thanks for reading.
Also posted on other sites under the same name.
Sitting proudly on the supermarket shelf the Lindt Lindor Egg adorned in its shiny red, gold and white foil wrapper was just screaming for me to eat it! So I relented and bought.
Lindt have been making chocolate since 1845 when a father and his 29 year old son started to produce their mouth-watering chocolate in Zurich. Lindt is still going strong to this day and now produces chocolate in factories all over the world.
Anyway... enough about the company, I have a chocolate egg to enjoy.
Carefully and with ease I slowly peeled the foil wrapper from the egg. Quite similar in size to a real hen's egg but probably slightly narrower and of course, made from chocolate! When I took the egg from its wrapper I was immediately met by the wonderful aroma of the Lindt chocolate - quite a distinct chocolatety aroma, pleasantly sweet and very tempting. The outer chocolate shell of the egg is delicately embossed with a pretty design and the Lindt name. The egg itself is actually two halves loosely joined together, which can quite easily be broken apart, making it slightly easier to eat.
As I bit into the egg the crispy outer shell cracked and fell into my mouth with little splinters escaping, but not too far, as I had pre-empted this and held my hand under my chin so I wouldn't lose any of my wonderful treat. Once the outer shell had been broken, my teeth then met the soft, melting chocolate centre, a very soft and richly smooth chocolate that seemed to have a slight chilled texture to it, almost as if it had been in the fridge, my teeth slid into it with ease but there was a slight firmness to the texture, which immediately started to melt across my taste buds as it was met with the heat from my mouth.. A wonderful rich and creamy tasting chocolate with the crispy outer shell taking slightly longer to melt than the smooth centre, leaving a wonderful flavour in my mouth making me want more. I tried to take small bites, letting the chocolate melt slowly in my mouth hoping it would make the egg last longer. The smooth soft centre actually reminds me of chocolates my dad used to buy for me as a child. It was chocolate that had been poured into small brightly coloured little foil cupcake papers. This chocolate was also smooth and creamy but had that slightly firm almost chilled feel to it too and I loved these as well!
As much as these are definitely one of my favourite chocolates I must admit that along with the wonderful taste and the way in which it melts in your mouth one of these eggs is definitely enough for me. The creamy, milky sweetness of the chocolate actually does make it quite sickly if you eat too much, but luckily this egg seems to be just the right size, leaving me quite satisfied and pleased with my treat.
The ingredients of the egg are printed on the foil wrapper and there may be traces of nuts, but this is all the information given, no nutritional values, which I probably like. I don't really want to know the calorie or fat content - I am quite happy to enjoy my treat without the knowledge of these facts!
The egg I have reviewed is the milk chocolate one but this egg is also available in dark chocolate, which comes with a black foil wrapper and a white chocolate egg, which comes in a gold wrapper. They are usually priced around 59p each but I managed to get mine from Asda where they are selling them for 23p at the moment.
Many thanks for reading - I hope I made your mouths water!
Also posted on other sites.
Over these really cold winter months my skin has suffered more than usual. Having very dry skin at the best of times I have found it even worse this winter. I love the Body Shop body butters but do find at times (especially around the start of the year) that I just can't afford to buy them. Recently however, the Body Shop has been selling various products on special offer at half price so when I saw the Shea Body Butter for half price I snapped it up right away.
The Body Shop Shea Body Butter is particularly good for dry to very dry skin. The base of their body butter is made from cocoa butter, which is well known to cool and moisturise the skin, having been used for centuries by women in the great African heat. Shea Butter is extracted from the seed of the Shea or Karite Tree, which is a tree native to Africa. The extract is known to help moisturise the skin, promote skin regeneration and even aid in skin healing, often being used on burns, stretch marks, sunburn etc.
The Shea Body Butter is unlike other body butters I have tried, which all too often resemble plain old creams or lotions. This body butter actually does resemble butter, having a similar texture, quite firm and not at all runny. Not too sure if I like the smell too much, quite a nutty scent but not too strong, which quickly fades and doesn't linger too long. I find with its firm texture, when I try to scoop some of the body butter out into my hands it wrinkles, the way butter does when you run a knife across the top of it. Once you have some of the body butter in your hand it feels quite cool and when you start to massage it into your skin the butter seems to melt into your skin on contact with your body heat becoming softer and slightly runnier, making it easier to massage evenly into your skin. I also find that a little seems to go a long way. When you first see the firm little lump of butter in your hand it doesn't look like it will go very far but as it melts into your skin it's amazing just how far it can go.
I love the feeling of my skin once I have finished massaging it in to my body. It feels soft and moisturised, even after only one use and, although quite oily when I am massaging it into my skin it doesn't leave my skin feeling oily at all. Instead it actually feels quite dry but there is a definite coating to my skin, almost like a waterproof coating that locks the moisture into my skin and seems to protect it from the elements of the world outside.
I also have extremely dry skin on my hands with my fingertips almost looking at times like they are flaking away, but I find that rather than using a specific hand cream I have found that rubbing the Shea Body Butter into my skin regularly really helps the skin on my hands as well. It also gives instant cooling relief if I have any dry itchy patches on my skin.
All in all I would definitely recommend the Body Shop's Shea Body Butter to anyone with dry or very dry skin or even to those of you with normal skin. It really does moisturise and leave your skin feeling fully hydrated and totally protected.
The Shea Body Butter is available from the Body Shop in 2 different sizes 50ml for £5 and 200ml for £12.50. It is quite expensive but it is definitely worth it and like I said at the start, the Body Shop often have special offers on so it's a good idea to keep any eye out for these on their website www.thebodyshop.co.uk.
Many thanks for reading and I hope this helps relieve someone's dry skin problems out there.
Also posted elsewhere.
I purchased this toaster from Argos a couple of months ago and now feel I've used it long enough to give it a thorough review.
The Cookworks Signature toaster is available from Argos at the price of £16.99, quite reasonable for a 4 slice toaster I though.
The toaster itself is quite stylish looking, even considering the low price. It is silver in colour with the main outer body, levers and knobs all being in a cool touch plastic, with the toaster slots being finished in a silver metal. Quite a compact square shape of toaster (only h 16cm x w 26cm x d 24cm in size) and therefore not taking up too much room on the worktop, which was just exactly what I was looking for.
Before using the toaster for the first time you should switch it on and use it as if you were toasting bread at the maximum setting, pushing the levers down into position a couple of times, this is just to burn off any oil residue left on the elements and may cause some smoke and odour but will clear.
The toaster works in 2 halves allowing you to use 2 slots at a time if need be. Each side of the toaster has its own toasting lever, its own heat selection knob and 3 buttons - cancel, reheat and defrost, each side of the toaster also has its own crumb tray underneath. The flex on the toaster isn't too long but the excess cable can be neatly wound underneath the toaster.
The toaster is very easy to operate, select the desired browning position using the browning knob, these range from 1 - 7, I found it easiest to select the middle position at first until I gauged what setting would be best for my tastes; then put the bread into the slot, lower the corresponding lever down until it clicks into a locked position and wait for the toast to pop up once it is ready. If you feel the bread has been in long enough or perhaps it is starting to burn you can then push the corresponding cancel button, which as it would suggest, cancels the toasting session making the toast pop up immediately.
I mentioned earlier that each side of the toaster had its own 3 buttons, I have explained the cancel button above. The next button is the reheat button, which as it would suggest reheats toast that has gone cold, I particularly like this function as I HATE cold toast - toast should be hot with butter dripping from it! The reheat setting just does the same at the toasting function only for a shorter period of time therefore allowing the toast to get hot again without actually toasting it any more. The final button is the defrost button, one which I personally found a bit confusing, but then perhaps if I actually read the instructions first then I might have not been so confused. I took it this button was to defrost my bread so I placed a slice of frozen bread into the toaster expecting a defrosted slice of bread to pop out but instead a piece of toast popped out! This setting is purely a slightly longer version of the normal toasting setting so it defrosts the bread first and then continues to toast it. (See these folk that don't read instructions!). All these buttons are illuminated when they are in use.
Ok so now I've told you how the toaster functions I'd better tell you my views on its performance. As I said earlier I liked the look of this toaster and also the size because it fitted quite neatly onto my worktop, but I do however feel that perhaps the slot size length wise may have been compromised slightly to accommodate the smaller design. I did find large slices of bread were difficult to fit into the slots, often having to physically push them in, therefore running the risk of the bread jamming in the slot. And pitta bread was a definite no, if I am toasting a pitta bread I have to do this standing the pitta bread on its end, toasting one end first and then turning it around to do the other end, which isn't convenient but did work. Width wise the slots were great with thick bread, bagels and muffins all fitting in perfectly. The design of the toaster was all very smooth and flush, making it very easy to keep clean and very easy to wipe over with a cloth, obviously cleaning should only be done when the toaster has cooled and is disconnected from the mains power. The crumb trays were also very easily removed, cleaned and replaced. With the metal slots all being flush with the top of the toaster I do find I sometimes burn my fingers on the metal when I'm taking the toast out, but that's really my own fault as the lever has a high lift function allowing you to lift the toast clear of the top of the slot, but I always forget to use this!
Overall I would definitely recommend this toaster, it functions well and is very easy to maintain. My only fault would be that the slots are slightly short in length for those of you who prefer large slices of bread or pitta bread.
Many thanks for reading. Posted elsewhere under the same name.
I apologise in advance for the length of this review but the Hilton at Coylumbridge really has so much to offer I didn't want to leave anything out!!
Having heard a lot of good reports about the Hilton Coylumbridge just outside Aviemore, we have been trying for a few years now to stay there. The Hilton at Coylumbridge is well known for being a very good hotel for families, with lots to offer the kids. When our kids were younger we often tried to stay there but we either couldn't get the dates we were looking for, as it is usually fully booked, or we just couldn't get a price package to suit. This year however we were lucky. We managed to get the dates we were looking for (having learned my lesson I booked 5 months in advance) and we also managed to pay for almost all of our weekend stay with our Tesco Clubcard vouchers!
Situated just a couple of miles outside Aviemore the Hilton Coylumbridge is situated in a 65 acre woodland estate within the Cairngorm National Park. Quite an impressive looking building from the outside the Hilton has ample car parking both in front of and behind the hotel. The hotel offers 175 guests rooms with a range of different guest rooms, family rooms and suites. They also have lodges suitable for up to 8 people within the hotel grounds. There is a conference room, which will cater for up to 800 people. The hotel is smoke free and wireless internet is available.
The entrance foyer is very large with a well laid out and beautifully furnished lounge/sitting area. This is also where you will find the large reception and a Costa Coffee shop. Booking in was very quick and efficient taking only about 10 minutes to complete. We were told where our room was, told a bit about the hotel and what it had to offer and also asked to book a time for our evening meal. One drawback of this hotel is the fact that it does not have any lifts, although ground floor rooms can be requested and there are plenty porters to hand to help with bags if need be. As it was we were only there for the weekend and were fully capable of carrying our own bags up to the first floor where our room was.
In the lounge/sitting area there were very large windows looking onto the 2 swimming pools the hotel offers its guests, which was really pleasant, sitting relaxing with refreshments watching people having fun in the pool.
Just past the lounge/sitting area there is a bar. Children staying in the hotel must be out of this area by 8pm. I thought this was quite a good idea as you were still able to buy drinks and sit with kids in the sitting area but it gave the guests without kids a little bit of peace and quiet without kids running around all over the place, which is exactly what they were doing in the sitting area, but I like that anyway! On past the bar is a gift shop selling local crafts, handmade toiletries and newspapers and sweets as well. There is also a beauty salon if you would like a bit of pampering!
Our room was on the first floor. Door opening was by the usual key card, which seems to be the norm nowadays, and I have to admit this one actually worked every time! We had a family room, which was for 4 people. The room itself was well maintained and tastefully decorated but, for a family room, I did feel was a little on the compact side. It had 2 large, very comfy double beds with only one small bedside table in between the 2 beds, with nothing at the other sides of the beds. I prefer to have a bedside table at both sides of the bed because I read in bed and wear glasses, I like to have somewhere to put my things without having to get out of bed again. Probably me just being a bit picky but I did think this looked a bit odd. There was a dressing table with a large mirror above it and a chair below. On the dressing table was the kettle and a good selection of coffee, tea and biscuits. There was also a hairdryer in one of the drawers and a folder with lots of leaflets giving details of things to do during your stay. There was an easy chair and a coffee table. The coffee table had a bottle of water on it to welcome us, with a note stating that the bottle of water costs £4!!!!! Of course we told the kids not to drink the water and go thirsty! Next to the coffee table there was a chest of drawers with a 32" LCD TV on it. A shelf unit and hanging rail gave plenty storage space for all our clothes, coats and shoes. There was also an ironing board and iron provided in the room, but thankfully I didn't need to use these!
Overall the room was very adequate and comfy, clean and well kept with my only grumble being the fact that I didn't have a bedside table and it was quite a small room with little or no floor space around all the furniture.
The en suite bathroom again was very tastefully decorated with a shower and shower curtain above the bath. There were small bottles of shampoo and body wash and small bars of soap provided. No window in the bathroom, only a noisy fan. Again this room was adequate but very small with nowhere to put our toiletries, there was no shelving and no vanity unit with only a small basin being attached to wall. It met our needs for our weekend stay but definitely could have done with a vanity unit or some shelves, just somewhere to put all your toiletries. Plenty towels were provided and if you wanted them changed you just had to leave them in the bath and the daily maid service would replace them.
**What the Hotel has to Offer**
As I mentioned earlier there is a large sitting/lounge area with a Costa Coffee shop, a bar and a gift shop. There are also 2 swimming pools, which are free to use by residents. One of the pools is shallower and has a small slide in it for the younger ones and the other pool is slighter deeper with a Jacuzzi and sauna. The pools were great, well kept with nice clean changing rooms and towels provided if need be.
In total there are 5 bars and 2 restaurants - the Grant Room and the Terracotta Bistro. Breakfast and evening meals are served in the Grant Room, but if your evening meals aren't included then you are welcome to eat elsewhere.
Outside and in a separate building is the Fun House, a must for the kids. Here you will find a large play area, a games room and an indoor mini golf course. There is also an American Style Diner here. The only complaint I would have about this facility was the fact that it closed at 6pm. We had been out for the day and Erin wanted to go and have some fun when we got back, but when we arrived it was closed.
If outside fun is more your thing then you can have a go on the dry ski slope or the tennis courts, do some climbing on the climbing wall or try you hand at some trampolining. This again is all provided within the grounds of the hotel. The Fun House and the Outdoor Discovery Adventure Park are all provided at an extra charge.
In the evenings to hotel provides family entertainment, which was excellent. The first night we were there, there was a local band playing and they played a good mix of really catchy music. All the kids were up dancing in the sitting/lounge area having a ball. The second evening we stayed there was a family disco, which was good fun too.
If you prefer to stay in your room in the evening the large LCD tv is wonderful with a fairly good choice of channels and many different movies or programmes to order on demand, although one movie cost £8, which I felt was a bit expensive, particularly when some of the movies on offer were quite old - Monsters Inc being one of them.
**Eating at the Hilton**
The kids get to stay in their parent's room free up until the age of 18, which I feel is a really good deal. Scott and I got our meals included in the price of the room but with the kids staying free we had to pay for their breakfast and for their evening meals. The breakfasts were £6.99 each and the evening meals were £7.99 each. Kyle (16) was very disappointed at the prospect of having to eat from the children's menu - he thought he was going to be starving (but he soon changed his mind)! When we arrived for our first evening meal we were taken to our table. The Grant Room is a very large dining room, bright and cheery and quite busy. We were immediately offered bread rolls and Scott and I were shown our menus, quite a good choice, a starter with 4 or 5 options, 2 of which were vegetarian, a main course with 5 choices again with 2 vegetarian and the dessert with 4 choices. If your meals were not included in your package price then they would have cost £20 each.
The kids were not given menus and I asked our waiter for the children's menu, he just looked at me blankly, muttered something and then walked away. This would be my main grumble in the dining area. The majority of the waiters and waitresses were foreign. Whilst I do not have a problem with foreign workers I do feel that when they are having a lot of one to one public contact then their English should be quite good, our waiter did not speak English well at all and had trouble understanding us and in turn I could not understand him. In the end I actually had to ask another guest who had a child with her about the children's menu. She explained to me that it was a buffet menu for the kids and they could just help themselves - Kyle's face lit up immediately!
There was a good choice for the kids with soup, pasta, macaroni, different sauces, chips, potatoes, vegetables, beans, roast beef, chicken and different desserts. Needless to say neither of my kids left the dining room hungry.
Scott and I both enjoyed our meals too although did feel they were a little on the light side. It was nice to have a 3 course meal included in the price of your stay but I don't think I would have been happy at paying £20 each for the meals we received. Very tasty food with a good choice but could have done with more.
The breakfasts were served until 11.30am at the weekends, which was great, no rushing around and, in fact, we actually had time to go for a swim before breakfast. I don't know about the rest of you, but when offered with a buffet style breakfast we always tend to over indulge and swimming after breakfast just doesn't have the same appeal.
When we walked into the Grant Room for breakfast we were greeted by the wonderful smell of fresh toasted waffles. I had never seen this before in a Hilton but the kids loved it. There were 2 waffle machines where you could make your own waffles. There were jugs of batter mix, you just poured some into the waffles maker and set the timer and 3 minutes later you had a lovely, very large fresh toasted waffle to eat. Alongside the waffle makers were a range of sauces, jams, fruits, chocolate sprinkles etc to cover your waffle with. They were wonderful and a real novelty for the kids, although kids under 16 had to be supervised by an adult. Beside the waffle makers there was a chef standing making fresh omelettes. You could choose what you wanted in your omelette, ham, cheese, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes etc. again this was a great change from the usual breakfast. There was also the more traditional style buffet breakfast to choose from as well with plenty cereals, fruits, breads and rolls. There were toasters to make toast and a huge selection of cooked breakfast items from bacon, eggs and beans, fried bread, potato scones and mushrooms. There was a good selection of fresh fruits juices on offer and you could have as much tea and coffee as required. Definitely one of the best breakfasts I have ever had, a great start to day that definitely left us quite satisfied until the evening!
**My Overall Views**
I would definitely recommend the Hilton Coylumbridge to those with families. It is a great place to stay with kids. I would also recommend to those without kids as well so long as you don't mind kids running around wild. It is definitely not a place for a quiet break. I would however recommend looking out for bargains or special offers if you plan to stay here, or even paying with Tesco vouchers like we did. Our room rate was £167 per night this included breakfast and meals for Scott and I and on top of that we had £30 a day for the kid's meals. If the kids want to go to the Fun House or try out some of the outdoor activities then a stay here could potentially prove to be very expensive. I have heard that they do offer a lot of quite reasonable deals though and on our last night we actually received a letter under the door offering us another night or 2 at the rate of £99 per night for room and meals or £79 per night for B & B, which just proves how expensive the rate we were paying really was!
They definitely do cater really well for families. Their rooms were lovely and well kept and very clean but could have been bigger and the meals too were lovely. The breakfast I would go back for in a minute!
I also liked the fact that they provided evening entertainment suitable for the whole family, it gave the hotel a bit of atmosphere and with everything else the hotel offered if meant that you really didn't have to leave the hotel at all if you didn't want to or if the weather was particularly bad. There is so much on offer within the hotel and grounds that you could spend your whole stay there, never having to leave, although this could prove to be very expensive.
Thanks for reading.
Also posted elsewhere under the same name.
On a recent weekend stay in Aviemore we decided to visit the Highland Wildlife Park. The park has actually been in the news over the past couple of weeks as it has just received a new resident. Mercedes, the polar bear, has just arrived from Edinburgh Zoo, where it is hoped she will really benefit from her new environment, a huge enclosure of approximately 4 acres, which in the winter months will provide her with natural snow. Of course, unfortunately, we visited the week before she arrived so missed out on seeing this magnificent creature. However, there were still plenty other spectacular animals to see.
The park itself is situated 7 miles south of Aviemore on the B9152 at Kincraig, just off the A9. The park is well signposted and very easy to find.
When visiting the park I would advise good sturdy footwear or wellies as there is quite a bit of walking involved and some of the paths can get quite muddy if it is wet. Most of the park is accessible by wheelchair users, with many of the paths covered by wooden strapping. There is only a small section of the path, which would not be accessible as it is quite steep and not the best of surfaces. The car park is quite a large car park and again this too can get a bit muddy when it is wet.
When we arrived at the park we decided to have a drive around the reserve first, it was pouring so we wanted to delay getting soaked a little bit longer. This part of the park we did actually find to be a little bit of a let down. I don't know if it was because of the rain or not but the only animals we really saw were the bison, a couple of camels and some deer. Quite a nice drive around a lovely well laid out park with stunning scenery in the background, but we were actually there to see the animals we wouldn't normally have the chance to see and we did feel slightly disappointed.
Once we parked the car we decided to have our picnic in the car because of the bad weather, although there were picnic tables dotted about for the drier days.
The visitor centre it situated at the end of the car park. A lovely chalet style building where you will find the Wildthings Gift Shop, a great shop offering a wide range of local crafts and loads of interesting wildlife and nature related products ranging from pocket money gifts to the more expensive items. In this building you will also find the Antlers Coffee Shop, a lovely warm and welcoming room with plenty of tables and chairs (enough to seat 50 - 60 people) with a wide range of homebaking, home made soup and a good choice of hot and cold snacks. A nice little respite from the elements outside. This is also where you will find the lovely clean and well kept toilets with baby changing area. This building is fully accessible for wheelchair users.
The remainder of the park is still very extensive and a good couple of hours, at least, should be allowed to have a worthwhile wander around the animal enclosures and take in the sheer wonder of seeing these otherwise elusive creatures.
What I really enjoyed about this park was the size of the enclosures. Really large areas for each of the different species with most of the enclosures having glass viewing areas. We loved the glass viewing areas, it was amazing just how close we could get to these wild animals. It was quite surreal being only a matter of inches from very large Amur Tigers, knowing how potentially dangerous these animals could be and yet being close enough to almost touch them! Each enclosure also had an information plaque with details about each of the animals, which was very interesting and educational.
The park has a really good wide range of different types of animals, not just from Scotland, but from all over the world giving the visitor the chance to learn a great deal and indeed see a large number of animals they might normally never have the chance to see. There are of course plenty Scottish animals, from red deer and wild cats to pine martens and red squirrels just to mention a few. There are European animals such as bison, elk, eagle owls, wolves, beavers and wild boar and a good range of the more exotic creatures from the mountains and the tundra such as Amur tigers, red pandas, Mercedes the polar bear, Arctic foxes and many more.
The animals and enclosures are obviously very well kept and looked after. All animals looked very healthy and happy giving the visitor lots of entertainment. I was amazed at the red pandas, I knew they were a lot smaller than black and white pandas but I hadn't realised just how big they actually are. While we were watching them, I think they were actually showing off a bit. They climbed very, very high into the trees and stood on the thinnest of branches, some of which didn't look strong enough to hold a bird let alone a red panda! It was good hearing the gasps from the visitors as we all watched these agile and brave creatures climb so high.
We were very lucky when we visited. The pair of Amur tigers have been mates for a while now and the female tiger gave birth to 3 healthy cubs, a male and 2 females, in May of this year. The cubs have only been out in the enclosure for the past couple of months. These 3 cubs alone gave us enough entertainment for the whole day! Feeding time was amazing. The tigers were all locked up and the keepers went out into the enclosure where they hung up some huge pieces of meat. Once the keepers were safe again the tigers were let back out into the enclosure again. It was amazing watching them feeding, almost like they really were in the wild. The cubs were gorgeous and so entertaining.
Another one of my favourites was the wolf enclosure. Again their enclosure was very large with the glass viewing area. The pair of wolves certainly knew how to entertain their spectators. It was almost as if they were playing a game of hide and seek. One would be hiding behind their den waiting for the other one who was creeping up quietly behind the first one, when the first one realised this he took off at full speed with the other chasing close behind. They were obviously having a ball of a time and looked so happy and contented.
Many of the Scottish animals were situated in enclosures in a small pine forest, obviously mimicking their natural habitat. It was quiet and peaceful in the dark pine forest with mad, hyper, red squirrels running around everywhere. I loved the way we were able to watch the wild cats. They were able to wander between enclosures by way of overhead wooden walkways, which were enclosed by way of a mesh netting. It seemed a very natural way to watch these predators in their own habitat.
The only animals we didn't get to see, which we had hoped to see, were the beavers. They were in hiding and just did not want to be seen.
Daily feeding times or displays for the animals are advertised at the visitor centre and are definitely worth taking a note of, especially for the tigers.
First opened in 1972 the running of the park was taken over by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland in 1986 and it has obviously been very well run since then. They pride themselves in providing their visitors with "the wonder of living animals". They specifically promote the conservation of endangered species and have many co-ordinated breeding programmes. Many of their animals can be adopted with the proceeds going towards research, raising awareness of wildlife issues and the ongoing upkeep and welfare of the many animals the park is proud to own.
I would definitely recommend a visit to the Highland Wildlife Park. It is a very well run park. It is very clean and well maintained with the animals all obviously very happy and healthy and really benefiting from the wonderful environment which has been created for them.
==Opening Time and Prices==
The park is open every day of the year except Christmas Day.
April to October 10am to 5pm with the last entry being 4pm
July to August 10am to 6pm with the last entry being 6pm
November to March 10am to 4pm with the last entry being 3pm
If there is heavy snow then you should probably phone the park beforehand.
If you are on holiday and have a dog with you there are free kennels and an exercise area available at the exit.
Adults - £11.50
Senior Citizens/Students/Registered Disabled £9.50
Children (age 3 and under free) £8.75
Family Ticket 2 adults & 2 children £37.00
Family Ticket 2 adults and 3 children £42.00
Season tickets are available, which allows a year's free entry:
All prices include a voluntary 10% donation, which is to help raise funds for the enclosures. This obviously does not have to be paid, but when you see the quality of the enclosures it's definitely well worth it.
Published on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
We recently decided the have a healthy, fun, family day out. Having visited Loch Katrine a few years earlier we decided this would be the idea place to meet all our needs for a lovely day out. The last time we visited we hired bikes to cycle around the loch but this time we decided to take our own bikes.
Loch Katrine is a bit of a hidden gem. She is situated 8 Miles from Callander along the A821 through Brig o' Turk or alternatively 7 miles from Aberfoyle again along the A821 but this time travelling through the Duke's Pass, quite a narrow winding road but beautiful and scenic nevertheless.
The Loch is set in the heart of the Trossachs and is absolutely beautiful, surrounded by rolling, heather covered hills and many different species of trees. It is also so unbelievably quiet and peaceful, almost as if the hills are sheltering you from the noises of the world outside. The loch is the main supply of fresh water for Glasgow and has been since 1859. Since 1843 there have been paddle steamers ferrying passengers across the loch and today the SS Sir Walter Scott, one of Scotland's oldest screw driven steamers, is still in use after more than 100 years, giving many visitors a relaxing cruise across the lake. Named after the 19th century poet who wrote "The Lady of the Lake" the steamer was refurbished in 2007 and is now fighting fit and still giving great joy to so many. With the growing popularity of the Loch Katrine cruises, there is now a new cruiser, The Lady of the Lake, also available daily for pleasure cruises.
Around the loch there is a super tarred roadway 13 miles long , which takes you around the top of the loch to another pier at Stronachlachar where you will find the Pier Coffee Shop offering home baking and refreshments, a nice place to rest before your trek or cycle back again. The road does stop here and you will have to return the way you came.
Before you reach the loch itself there is a large well laid out car park, which is pay and display, so make sure you have some change to hand. Where the car park meets the loch you will find the bike hire office "Katrinewheelz", The Anchor's Rest bar and bistro, The Katrine Café, Katrine Gifts, which is housed in the former boathouse and the pier where you will board the boat for your cruise. This is also where you will find the lovely clean and well kept public toilets with baby-changing area.
If it's a day of cycling you are after then don't despair if you don't have your own bike. There are a great range of bikes on offer at Katrinewheelz. There are children's and adult's bike, tandems and trailers, tag-a-longs (one wheel and one seat to be attached to the back of an adult bike) and there are also electric buggies for hire for over 21s only and with a valid driving licence. Safety helmets are recommended for all riders but must be worn by those under 16. Bikes can be hired for 1 hour, 2 hours, half a day (4 hours) or a full day (5 hours) - not sure how they work out half a day 4 hours and a full day 5 hours but anyway! All bikes are well maintained and of a high quality.
The first time we visited the loch we hired bikes and they were great, Erin was younger then so she had a tag-a-long with her dad, which was good fun. This time however, we took our own bikes. The roadway around the loch is perfect for a family cycle. A super tarred path that is quiet and very peaceful with little or no traffic. It isn't an open road but there are one or two houses around the loch and the owners use this as an access road, but both times we were there we only saw one car, and they were driving very slowly. Being on a bike you should always take care as there are always plenty people walking as well, although the further round the loch you go the fewer people you see. I wouldn't class the road as an easy cycle, it is very up and down so, yes, there are some very easy bits (downhill!) but there are equally as many hard bits. If you are used to cycling then this is a great cycle route. For the beginner the first mile or so is fairly easy and not too exhausting and is pretty good for the younger cyclist. This is what we did the first time when the kids were younger and they both managed it well. This time however we managed to go a bit further, although not as far as we had hoped. We had hoped to make it round to the Stronachlachar Pier but it proved to be too much for us unfortunately, maybe the next time! We did however manage 8 miles giving us a total of 16 miles so not too bad at all!
The scenery along the way is spectacular with lots of trees and evidence of squirrels, although we didn't see any, lots of little waterfalls falling by the path and then heading under the path to the loch. There were also lots of little pebble beach areas suitable to stop for a picnic, or for the more conventional picnic there were plenty picnic areas with a few tables too. Plenty to see with lots of interesting nature topics to chat to the family about along the way.
Cruises are available daily for both boats from the start of April until the end of October with different timetables being available throughout the seasons. There are cruises to take you around the loch returning to where you started and there are also cruises to take you to the smaller pier at the other side of the loch at Stronachlachar. This one way cruise is quite popular with those who don't want to cycle or walk around the loch and back again. You can either take the ferry (with your bikes) over to the pier and cycle back again or the other way around, cycle round to the pier and then get the boat back again.
Once you have finished your activities for the day you can either stop for a snack in the Katrine Café or alternatively you can have a meal in the Anchor's Rest Bar Bistro. You can also have a browse around the little gift shop, which sells lots of lovely local crafts and also plenty Loch Katrine Souvenirs.
I would list the prices and times of the cruises and bike hire but there are so many different options for both it would be more sensible just to list the web address and if you plan on visiting the loch then you can look at the times and prices to suit yourself www.lochkatrine.com
If you are ever in the area I would definitely recommend Loch Katrine as a great day out. Suitable for all ages and fully accessible for wheelchair users too this really is a great place to visit and have some outdoor family fun.
We usually like to try a new place every year for our summer holidays but this year we decided to return to the resort of Puerto Rico on the island of Gran Canaria after staying there last year. One of the main reasons for the return was the fact that we loved the apartments we had stayed in last year and the other main reason was for the wonderful Amadores Beach. Not being a family of beach lovers after visiting this beach once, we were totally hooked and just couldn't get enough of it!
Set with the unusual backdrop of newly built, extraordinary and very classy looking hotels built into the high volcanic rock the Amadores beach should not be missed. The beach itself is actually manmade and almost forms a complete circle with the sand being crescent shaped with huge boulders then arching out into the water leaving only a fairly small gap for the sea to make its way in and out. These boulders have huge mosaic starfish attached to them, which look wonderful, giving the beach a bit of character.
For those of you who haven't visited the resort of Puerto Rico, it is a very hilly and steep resort. The beach is situated at the bottom of a very steep hill. We always liked the walk down to the beach, it was hard work as it was very hot and the pavements are made of stone tiles, which because of the very dry climate, can become really quite slippy, and when only wearing flip flops and sandals it can be quite a challenge. Having said all this we did like the walk, a good way to workout after over indulging the night before! If the walk isn't for you, or if you are perhaps at the other side of the resort and a bit far to walk then there are plenty taxis and buses available to take you directly to the beach. The taxis were very cheap, probably just a cheap as the bus and most of them were estate cars so you were able to put all you towels, inflatables etc in the back of the car and the taxi drivers were always more than willing to take you just so long as you weren't dripping wet and most preferred you to have a top on. If you have hired a car for your holiday then there is also a large car park situated at one end of the beach.
As you walk or indeed drive down the hill to the beach the view is stunning, beautiful golden sands with clear blue waters. To get to the beach you have to go down a number of stairs or alternatively down the big wide ramps. The back of the beach is lined with palm trees along a lovely stone tiled promenade where you will find a number of shops and restaurants. Plenty shops for all your needs from beachwear and inflatables to newspapers, juice and snacks. There is also a really good choice of restaurants from the more expensive, full meal restaurants to the more affordable family orientated snack bars. All restaurants and shops are covered by canopies, which is really pleasant during the day, giving you a chance to escape from the sun for a while whilst enjoying the cooling breeze rolling in from the sea. We also ate in a couple of the restaurants in the evening and again this was very pleasant as the canopies were pulled back once the sun had set and the breeze rolling in from the sea was wonderful. The view of the evening sun setting over the beach was truly breathtaking and unforgettable.
This is also where you will find the toilets. Beautifully well maintained and very clean toilets. Very large giving plenty room for all and reducing the risk of queuing. You can also use the showers here if you like to shower immediately after having a swim, but we just preferred to wait until we got back to our apartments. Along the promenade there are foot washes dotted all the way along, which was great to get the sand of you feet and shoes before heading up for a taxi.
Once you reach the sand and find your "spot" you can either lay out your towels or mats or alternatively you can hire a sunbed for only a few euros for the day. Personally we preferred our towels and mats and it seemed that this was probably true for most of the Brits with it tending to be more of the Spaniards who seemed to hire the beds. You can also hire a parasol, again for a couple of euros, but I do think you have to be fairly early for this as they do seem to go quite quickly, even although there were hundreds of them. We didn't bother hiring one as we do like to work on our tans and when we felt we needed a break from the sun we preferred just to go and sit out of the sun for a while. We did also find that the parasols could be a bit of a nightmare when it was windy, which was just about every day, with people chasing after them or being attacked by a rogue runaway parasol!
Now that you are settled you can begin to enjoy what the beach has to offer. Firstly the sand, it's wonderful. Imported from the Caribbean the sand is golden in colour and quite rough with big grains, not fine like most sand. Erin and I liked to sit with a little rake and sieve and rake through the sand looking for tiny little shell, which had managed to survive, there were so many of them, perfectly formed and yet so tiny. This is just the first of many reasons why I loved this beach so much. I absolutely HATE fine sand that sticks to your skin and you seem to fine in every crease of body days after leaving the beach. The sand here didn't stick to you, obviously when you were wet it would stick to you skin, but once you were dry it was easily rubbed off, and it didn't get into your food. You could actually eat on this beach without your sandwiches crunching in your mouth.
You'll probably find after about 10 minutes on this beach you are so hot you can't wait to get into the water. Well once you are in the water you won't want to leave. It is truly wonderful, beautiful clear blue water lapping around your body. When you first go in the chill makes the hairs on you body stand to attention, then you take a deep breath and let the water rise about your shoulders, it takes your breath away and then it's heaven, cool and refreshing and so easy to swim in, you just seem to float effortlessly. Alternatively you can lie back on your inflatables, chill and soak up the relaxing atmosphere.
There are bins dotted all the way along the back of the sand. They were filled with white bin liners, which were emptied regularly and indeed in all the times we were there I never saw an overflowing bin and I certainly never saw any rubbish lying around either.
There is a lifeguard on watch during day light hours helping to make you feel safe. He is also there for the disabled visitors, which is another reason I find this beach so wonderful, they obviously want everyone to be able enjoy every aspect of the beach. There was a Spanish woman who we saw visiting the beach every day, she was always on her own and she was a wheelchair user and yet she managed to enjoy a good hour swimming in the sea every day. "How did she manage this?" I hear you ask! Access from the road to the beach is easy for wheelchairs and buggies with well maintained and suitable ramps taking you right down to the sand. The woman we watched daily would get herself to the sand using her powered wheelchair where she was met by the lifeguard with a large 3-wheeled buggy. The lifeguard would then help the lady into the buggy and he would wheel her down to the water. The buggy was made of bright yellow plastic and had 3 very large and chunky wheels, obviously making it very easy to wheel across the sand. There was a roped off section of the beach in front of the lifeguard's post always allowing him easy access to the sea in case of an emergency. Once the lifeguard had reached the water with the lady he would wheel her right out into the water, this was amazing to watch, the yellow buggy floated out into the water until it was deep enough for the disabled lady just to slip off into the water. She obviously really enjoyed her daily swim in the sea and it was very satisfying to watch just how easily this could be done, something that could potentially be quite difficult.
Ok, so I've covered the normal things you do at the beach, the sunbathing and the swimming. If however you need a bit more excitement then there are still a number of things for you to do.
To one side of the beach you can hire a pedal boat. There were a good number of them and we never had to wait any time to get one. They were great fun, quite big pedal boats, with seats for 4, with the front 2 pedalling. We did however see 5 or 6 people on a couple of the boats, as I said they are quite big and there is quite a large flat area at the back where a couple of people could sit. It was great fun pedalling around the sectioned off area of the beach, which was very large. The kids had fun jumping off the boat into the sea and there were a couple of steps at the back of the boat to make it easier to get out of the water again. If you are not the strongest of swimmers or if the kids are a bit younger you can also wear a life jacket if need be. We really enjoyed this and at only 8euros for the boat for an hour we felt this was more than value for money.
Once you've finished with the boats at the other side of the beach is the Amadores Aqualand. This is a floating inflatable play park. Suitable for all ages this park looks great fun. I have to admit I didn't manage to pluck up the courage to have a go but my 2 kids (12 and 16) thoroughly enjoyed themselves. There were 2 huge inflatable trampolines, a huge rocking see-saw, a very large inflatable climbing wall, which you could either jump from or slide down the other side, there were slides and spinning tops to run around and there was a long inflatable, narrow "plank" connecting the 2 trampolines, which entertained us with plenty laughs as we watched everyone, wet and slippy trying to run across it from one trampoline to the other without falling in. Again for the weaker swimmers or indeed the less confident you could wear a life jacket if required. This again was very reasonably priced at 5 euros per person for 45 minutes.
For the younger ones who are perhaps a bit too young for the Aqua Park there is aPictures of Amadores Beach, Gran Canaria
Amadores Beach, Puerto Rico, Gran Canariawell maintained play park, just beside the Aqua Park. A lovely park suitable for the younger generation.
If you still have time to cram any more fun into you day then there is also the Amadores Crazy Golf. This is open from 10.00am until midnight and is absolutely wonderful. The most beautiful and well maintained crazy golf I have ever had the pleasure of playing on and there's been a few! This is situated just beside the beach car park. There is a truly nautical theme to the whole place, with signs and plaques embossed with shells and a bin at each hole in the shape of a ship's funnel. Each hole is very well maintained with a green carpet to putt on and some very tricky obstacles to manoeuvre around. There are sharks, and mermaids, ship's wheels and fountains. A true masterpiece of workmanship, which is spotlessly clean and still looks as if it had just opened. At the end of the 18 holes there is a small covered area with drinks machines and a few tables and chairs. We played here both during the day and at night but did find the day time game just too hot. Both times it took us about 1 ½ hours to complete the course and during the day time we did find the sun just a bit too intense, I think I preferred the night time game. Both times however we were able to watch lizards running around, which we all really enjoyed as well. For the 4 of us, 2 adults and 2 children we were 15euros, which we felt was a bit expensive at first, but once we had seen and played the crazy golf and the length of time it took us we all agreed it was well worth the money.
There is the Amadores Beach Club also situated beside the car park where you can go to use the sauna and solarium or perhaps relax and enjoy a massage but to be quite honest this is not something I would use on this type of a holiday. We didn't go in here but it did look very expensive.
I think I have just about covered everything! Sorry this has been so long but as you can see there was so much to cover and I wanted to get the true feeling of the beach over to you all.
I really love this beach and everything it offers. It has something for everyone and plenty of exciting activities to chose from. You can literally spend the whole day there without having to leave and you certainly will not get bored.
I loved the fact that it was so clean and well maintained.
It's quite odd too because there were no seagulls at all. Here, we are so used to seagulls attacking us on the beach, especially when we are eating, but it was very peaceful with no screeching gulls, instead there were pigeons walking around the sand all the time. Grey pigeons, white pigeons, speckled pigeons, but they didn't annoy, they just wandered around the sand, not getting too close and eating crumbs.
There are signs up saying no ball games but a few people played with bats and balls on the sand, my kids included, and a few men were playing boules, but everyone who did this stayed well up the sand to the back of the beach where no-one was sitting, therefore not annoying anyone at all.
We did find this beach usually very busy but there always seemed to be room for everyone without having your space invaded at all. It also tended to be fairly peaceful, not too noisy. I also found it quite easy to keep my eye on the kids and we always found some sort of marker to remind us of where we were sitting, just in case any of us did get lost. This really is a wonderful place to visit with something for everyone.
Also posted on Ciao under the same name.
It's wonderful coming home after your holidays. Even if you've had a great time there's nothing better than putting your key in your door knowing that you have had a safe journey home. Well that's normally the way it is any way! This year when we put our key in the door we were met with a very stale smell and a rather large sticky, wet puddle making its way across the kitchen floor from beneath the fridge freezer! I stocked up my freezer before we left so that there would be plenty food for us when we got home without me having to do a shopping and also for the fact I knew we wouldn't have any money left! Unfortunately all the food was now only fit for the bin.
Devastation! No money, no food and no fridge freezer. We did get an engineer in to have a look at the fridge freezer but of course if wasn't worth fixing. At first we went around a few shops to see what deals they could offer within our very strict budget, places like Currys, Comet, Argos etc. but as we do need a fairly large fridge freezer we just couldn't find anything within our budget so it was back home to scour the internet to see what I could find.
Due to the fact that there are so many fridge freezers to choose from and so many different sites selling them I felt the best way to go about things was to find 2 or 3 fridge freezers I really liked and then find the best price. As I did the price checkers for every one I found over and over again the same website appearing all the time with the best price www.appliancesonline.co.uk so I decided to read a few reviews to see what there performance was like. I wasn't too impressed, although they did have a few good reviews they also seemed to have as many really bad reviews but their prices were so much cheaper than anywhere else, in most cases over £100 that I decided to give them a phone and see how helpful they were, I will tell you how I got on a bit later in the review.
==A Bit About the Website==
As the name would suggest the website sells kitchen appliances from washing machines and fridge freezers to cooker hoods and ranges. The website is very easy to navigate and find your way around. Each appliance group has its own section and this is shown with the title of the appliance e.g. freezers with a picture of a freezer and then subsections like upright freezer, chest freezer etc. so you can go directly to the type of appliance you are looking for without having to go through lots of other pages first. Once you are in the correct section you can then look through the different choices. Once you have found the product you like the details of this product are very easy to understand and very self explanatory and you are also given customer ratings with short reviews as well, which I really liked and found very helpful.
The delivery details are also very easy to understand giving you different options. Standard delivery is £29.99 and guarantees delivery within 3-7 days as long as the product you have chosen is in stock. I felt this was quite expensive but at the time I ordered my fridge freezer they were offering free delivery if you took out a trial of Which Magazine for £1, which I obviously did, saving £28.99. At the time of writing this review this offer is still running. If you want to upgrade to Next Day Delivery this is an extra £9.99, Rapid Delivery - guaranteed within 2-3 days is an extra £3.49 and if you would prefer delivery on a Saturday this is an extra £5.99. The delivery men will take away your old appliance for an extra charge of £9.99 and they also offer fitting your appliance for £19.99, I take it this is more for washing machines and cookers.
Delivery is by 2 men who will delivery your appliance to the room of your choice, help you unpack your appliance and wait while you check it over making sure there are no obvious dents, marks or damage in general, if there is any damage you must phone 0870 9001 640 whilst the delivery men are still there and before you sign for your goods. Obviously in most cases you will not be able to tell if your appliance is in full working order but if it isn't you just contact appliancesonline as soon as possible to inform them and they will either arrange for a replacement or for an engineer.
Overall I was very impressed with the website. It was laid out well and was very easy to find your way around. I also felt that everything was covered in great detail. I wasn't left wondering at all about any aspect of the appliance I was hoping to buy or how it would be delivered.
==My Experience with www.appliancesonline.co.uk==
As I said earlier because I had read quite a few bad reviews I wanted to phone and actually speak to someone, just to see how helpful and professional they were and to make sure that the fridge freezer I intended to buy was definitely in stock. I also wanted to check the measurements as the space we have was just the right size for the measurements given on the website with no room to spare.
My phone call was answered immediately with no holding on for ages. I first spoke to a man who was very pleasant and helpful. He was able to answer all my questions without hesitation, which made me feel relaxed and quite confident about the fridge freezer I had chosen. He also confirmed that the fridge freezer was definitely in stock and he explained the delivery process to me giving me a suitable time slot for delivery. As I had not yet fully discussed this with my hubby I thanked the man for his help and told him I would phone back once we had decided whether or not we wanted to go ahead with the purchase.
After discussion with hubby we felt quite confident that there would be no problems and decided to go ahead with the purchase. We decided to place the order over the phone, although placing the order on the website was very easy, I think because it was such a big item I wanted to actually speak to someone about the delivery.
This time when I phoned it was a woman, again she was very pleasant, very helpful and very professional in her manner. My order was taken along with my payment details and I was given a delivery date for my appliance. I was then told that I would receive a text message the night before my scheduled delivery date, between 5.30pm and 9.00pm informing me of my 4 hour delivery slot for the next day. I was also told to expect a phone call from the delivery drivers on the morning of delivery giving me an approximate time for delivery. I received an order number just in case I had any problems. So far so good, no problems at all and my order was taken very professionally and delivery was explained excellently to me.
After my order was placed, within minutes, I received an email confirming all my order and delivery details, basically just confirming everything that had been said on the phone.
My text message arrived the day before as planned but it actually arrived at 3.00pm instead of the stated 5.30pm - 9.00pm, but this didn't cause any problems, I was really pleased I had received the message as planned. It confirmed that my delivery would be the next day between9.00am - 1.00pm. My husband was in for the delivery and he received a phone call about 12.00noon from the delivery drivers just letting us know they were on their way and would be there in about half an hour.
The delivery drivers were very friendly and helpful and helped with the unpacking of the fridge freezer just as they were supposed to. All was well with my new fridge freezer, they left it where I wanted it and took all the packaging away.
I now have a lovely new fridge freezer taking pride of place in my kitchen. It arrived as planned at a super discount price. I certainly could not complain about any aspect of my experience with www.appliancesonline.co.uk. They were very helpful and very professional in the manner in which they answered my questions. I felt at ease ordering from them and the delivery went like clockwork with no problems whatsoever. I would not hesitate to use them again and I certainly would recommend them to others.
Phone - 0871 64101560 (Monday - Saturday 8am-8pm, Sunday 10am-10pm)
c/o DRL Limited
Well done and thanks for the tremendous service!
Also posted on Ciao.
Barry Mill was recently one of eleven National Trust for Scotland Properties earmarked for closure as a cost cutting exercise. It was touch and go, but thanks to generous funding from Angus Council and the Gibson Graham Charitable Trust the mill will now remain open for the foreseeable future.
Being members of the National Trust for Scotland we have, over the years, visited many of their properties, but it always seems to be the ones closer to home that we tend to forget about. At the earlier part of the school holidays my daughter and I were looking for something to do, preferable quite close to home and also something that didn't involve too much money. As I had only visited the mill once before and Erin had never visited, we decided to make a day of it.
Barry Mill is situated just North of the village of Barry between the A92 and A930. We found it quite easily and it was well signposted, although there didn't appear to be any signposts for the mill on the A92, main Dundee to Arbroath road, which is possibly something the Trust should think is easily reached by car and there are buses available from Dundee, Carnoustie and Arbroath to the village of Barry, which is ½ mile from the Mill.
Barry Mill cannot be seen from the road. There is a large car park in front of the Mill, which is basically part of a grassy field, the grass was short and well kept. To reach the Mill, which is approximately 50m away you must either go down steps or a long ramp. It is possible for disabled people to park closer to the mill but prior arrangements must be made.
The first building you will come to is the reception area and toilet facilities. The reception is quite small, there is no shop, although there is a small selection of book s about milling over the years available and a few leaflets to browse through. The toilet facilities are clean and well laid out with disabled access and baby changing facilities.
Barry Mill is a very beautiful, well preserved stone built building in a picturesque setting surrounded by trees, flowers and many different types of plants, with the Barry burn and the mill lade running peacefully by. It was rebuilt in 1814 following a fire and was extended in the 1930s. You can either choose to wander around the mill by yourself or alternatively you can take a guided tour. When Erin and I arrived there was another couple arriving at the same time and the guide offered to take the 4 of us around on a guided tour, which we all agreed to.
The first part of the tour took us to a large room within the mill where there were boards explaining the working of the watermill and the hard times the farmers and their wives had many years ago having to carry many huge sacks of grain to the miller, and how the miller would keep some grain as payment for his work. It was all very interesting and easy to understand and with the guide explaining things very clearly as well it almost felt like we had gone back in time.
On the second part of the tour we were shown how the water wheel actually worked. A small bypass door, holding back the water was opened allowing the water to run through freely and slowly the wheel began to turn until eventually is picked up quite a good speed. We were then taken upstairs to the top of the mill where the guide explained in great detail the working of the mill. We were shown how the heavy sacks were lifted to the top floor by means of a water-powered sack hoist, this being the youngest piece of equipment in the mill and is dated from 1910! We were also shown how the 2 huge mill stones grind the different grains. We were then taken into the very large drying kiln where the grain would have been dried.
Our complete tour lasted around 1 ½ hours and I can honestly say every minute of it was so interesting. I was immediately impressed when I arrived as the mill was such a beautiful building and it was set in such a picturesque setting. It was also really amazing to see something so old working so remarkably efficiently. Having said that it definitely would not meet today's health and hygiene or safety standards. There were numerous accidents over the years in watermills with people becoming trapped in the workings, obviously there was an emergency door, which could be closed quickly to stop the water turning the wheel but the guide did this and we watched while it took the wheel a whole 2 minutes to stop completely!
I think the fact that the guide was so knowledgeable also made the tour even more pleasurable. He was an older gentleman who was actually English and had only lived in the Angus area for a few years. He had been born and brought up working in a mill and therefore knew first hand about the workings and he put me to shame knowing more about the area I have lived in all my life than I did. No only did he explain the workings of the mill but he also told us quaint little stories of when he was a boy and growing up around the mill.
Once you have finished your tour of the mill you are then at leisure to take a stroll by the burn or the lade (a canal build to direct the water to the waterwheel) and there are plenty areas for picnics, in fact you could probably spend the whole day there.
Barry Mill is thought to be one of the last 3 working watermills in Scotland.
Although there is disabled access, the upper floors of the mill are only accessible by stairs and therefore not suitable for wheelchair users, but the rest of the areas are and the paths along the side of the burn are all grass paths.
A beautiful and very interesting place to visit if you are ever in the area.
1 Parent £10
April - 31st October, Thursday - Monday 12.00 - 5.00pm, Sunday 1.00pm - 5.00pm, although the grounds are open all year rounds for walks.
For more information you can visit the National Trust for Scotland website at www.nts.org.uk