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missniff

missniff
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Member since: 11.08.2009

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    • More +
      31.10.2010 18:20
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      I like it

      This is such a cool little gadget.

      The Latteccino by Dualit will turn your kitchen into your local Caffe Nero.

      I bought mine the only place I have seen it, Amazon, back in July. At the time it set me back £49.99 and prices don't seem to changed since then.

      Dualit describe this as a milk frother and heater. I had wanted a frother for ages as a thick foamy daily cappuccino is one of my favourite treats and I wanted to be able to get this in my home, and without spending £2 a pop.

      I have never tried one of the tiny hand held whisks that you can get as a frother, I always felt that they were so small as to be a waste of my time, plus you have to heat the milk separately and this seemed a bit off a faff - there had to be something better out there. Lots of coffee machines come with a proper steam jet and so I assumed that you could get these without the coffee machine - wrongly it seems as I have been unable to find such a gadget. But I did find the Latteccino.

      The Latteccino itself is around the third of the size of a regular kettle - I compare it to a kettle sine it looks very much like one, and is cordless like many kettles these days. It has a powerbase with cord tidy so you can chose the length you need, the powerbase allows you to have 360 degree movement of the jug. The jug itself is heavier than it looks, this is because it is double walled - the outside is cool to the touch whilst in use, and mine is the cream colour shown in the image here. The finish is high gloss plastic and feels nicely made. The inner is much smaller than you would expect by looking at the jug - it has a non stock coating and is made from metal. The lid of the jug is made from a transparent thick plastic, the lock on the lid is plastic too - again very sturdy and high gloss with a feeling of durability and quality. Attached to the lid is the magic - Dualit describe it as a spindle, I would say it was a simply a thin metal rod, attached in the lid to a motor to that powers it. There are two attachments for the end of the spindle - one that is a small whisk for frothing your milk and a second that is just a little plastic T shape that will stir the milk if you are heating only.

      In order to use the Latteccino you decide firstly if you are frothing or just heating and attach the correct part. Inside the jug you can see two measurements indicated. There is a minimum amount that the jug will take, whether frothing or heating, then it says 150 MAX this means 150mls and it is the maximum amount that can be put into the jug if you are frothing. The second measurement is 250 MAX, this is 250mls and the maximum amount you can use if you are heating milk only.

      Once your milk is in the jug you can pop the lid on, taking care to ensure it is closed properly, the lock will click into place so you can be certain that you are secure.

      Next - simply press on! The power button is the round black button you can see in the image. It lights up too - a pretty blue neon colour, that doesn't really match cream, but there you go.

      The gadget will then get to work, it is quiet and doesn't move around like some kettles do, it just makes a small, fairly pleasant whirring sound.

      Frothed milk takes 60-75 seconds and heated milk a little longer at 70-80 seconds. Dualit say that the milk is heated to around 65C. I have no idea how it works out how long to go for, but the turn off is automatic, so you just have to look out for the light going out.

      Once you have poured your milk, the last and most annoying part of operation has to take place - cleaning! urgh. The manufacturer says that you should IMMEDIATELY rinse with warm soapy water and wipe clean after every use, and to wait for 2 mins before you use it again.

      ****

      So after a little description on how it works (which I could not find when I was looking over reviews before I bought it, hence why I have included it) what do I think?

      Well, it doesn't really give you the same kind of results as Caffe Nero's glorious milk steamers, but then it does work in a different way, so it is a different result. The milk is heated, which is always nicer and gives a creamier taste to the coffee. The froth is good and thick, and does usually last until the end of my cup, but the texture is definitely not as foamy and there isn't as much air running through the froth either. However, it is certainly better than nothing! We find that using the maximum amount of milk to froth is enough milk and topping for 2 cups of coffee. You can, of course be a real glutton and have it all yourself, but you'll need a big mug.

      The non stick coating certainly makes it easy to clean, but personally I'd like to just drink my coffee before I have to start cleaning up. We have left it a couple of times, but the cooled milk and froth residue left behind is difficult to remove once cold, and I think if the coating was damaged by having to give it a bit of elbow grease you may be in trouble as the milk would stick and burn to the side of the jug. Also you must be so very careful - the jug cannot be immersed in water at all, many reviews I read on Amazon mentioned operational problems with this product, (it stopped working) but I have a suspicion that these issues may be caused by a short circuit after the motor or electrical have gotten wet. We have been really vigilant about this and have had no problems with the Latteccino. Dualit seem to have included an extra leaflet in the box explaining again just how important it is to take care of the non stick coating and how not to get the item wet - they also mention that it cannot be put in the dishwasher. I do wonder how many people did this before Dualit had to make it totally clear!

      The instruction manual also has some hits and tips about what kind of milk to use - we use cold semi skimmed and the results are good. Apparently milk with a high protein level works best. They also tell you that the attachments are small and can easily be lost (?!). The product is guaranteed for 1 year. With all the working parts, and possible operational issues as described by reviews on Amazon it may be worth your while getting extended cover on this if you manage to buy it at an outlet that offers this.

      I can also recommend this as a great way to make hot chocolate!

      Whether you drink instant or posh coffee freshly ground this is a nice gadget that tends to impress friends and makes a pleasing addition to my kitchen.

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      • More +
        24.10.2010 18:27
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        Someone's gotta buy it

        Take a Break magazine... voyeuristic journey into working class horrors? A statement about the state of the UK? Reality TV in a easy to read weekly magazine?

        I've read Take a Break often over the last 10 years, I've never been a subscriber or regular buyer, but occasionally a powerful need to read about the latest hospital blunder or reunited family (usually with dire consequences) comes over me and I part with 80p in my local newsagents or supermarket.

        Take a Break has a consistent and reliable formula, I can't say I've noticed any major changes in the last decade.

        Cover: Usually some wholesome, mumsy looking lady on the front cover, Take a Break emblazoned in red and white in the top left corner, the rest of the cover is covered in strap lines about the best stories inside, I use the cover to determine if the stories inside the magazine sound more appealing to me that the stories wrapped around the front covers of other magazines. Sometime TAB wins and sometimes it loses, depends on how I fell at the time.

        the first double page is the taken up with 'Take a Break Street'. Here is where readers send in their own pictures of kids, dogs, flower beds, hen parties, actual hens, etc etc. Personally I would cringe with embarrassment if anyone ever sent a pic of me to TAB, I really feel this is the territory of proud grandparents who think that getting someone's name in print would be awesome.

        Real Life!! The majority of the magazines is filled with 'Real Life' stories. Anything from a families most devastating event, stories on illnesses, pregnancy, weddings, murder, domestic & child abuse. Sometimes they will follow a particular story each week - currently they are keeping us up t date with a story on a woman who became pregnant with quads. Well cheery. For me these stories are always really heart-wrenching and I almost certainly will cry. The best are tales of someone overcoming adversity - issue 41 contains a great story about a little girl who was told she would never walk having been diagnosed with cerebal palsy, she, her mother, her twin and the rest of the family have been so brave and determined to make the best life possible despite all the hard work and adversity put their way. Where these stories can fall down is if you think the person telling the tale is lying or wrong in their judgements, there is a cash incentive for these stories, and although TAB don't seem to mention how much, I believe the going rate is anything from £250 to £500, probably more for a real exclusive that TAB can tout around other publications.

        Brainwaves Roadshow is a single page dedicated to readers and their money or time saving ideas. There is always something pointless on this page like... 'Don't throw out your old summer dresses - wear them in winter as nighties' I mean SERIOUSLY, who is going to do that? Another I remember recently was 'If you struggle to put a cork back in a bottle of wine, turn the cork around' I mean, I worked this out for myself the first time I ever had to replace a cork, all you have to do is look at the cork, and you will realise that the end that has been further in the bottle is smaller! Jeeze.

        Competitions also feature heavily in TAB. they have Sudoko, wordsearch, crosswords, arrow word and many more. Issue 41 that I am looking at has details of 104 previous winners from issue 32, along with the entry coupon for this issue - there are 15 competitions I could enter from this issue alone, sometimes this value varies.

        They also have a 'Coffee Break' fiction page. Usually a single page of short fiction. I think these stories are always a bit rubbish and you can easily guess the ending before you get there, even though it only takes 2 mins to read.

        The Heartbeat section deals with health news, there is usually a large piece on a specific item of news, a couple of real life heath stories. A short Q&A with their doctor, along with some short news snippets. In this issue I have to say that I think TAB have been incredibly irresponsible. They have a large piece based on one Professor in Newcastle's claims that deadly melanoma (killer skin cancer) has been widely mis-diagnosed for those who have had benign (non cancerous) moles removed. He says that this has meant that the media (including TAB we have to assume) has scaremongered the GB public into believing that the sun is bad for us, and that sunbeds will give us cancer. This Prof. declares it as all nonsense and even goes so far as to tell us to top up our tans at the tanning salon should we wish. This piece made me so angry! To imagine that someone right now can use this as evidence that the tanning shop iss good for you when there has been extensive research that proves otherwise is wrong of TAB. I am no scientist, but surely they need to present a more balanced argument than they did in this article. Journalism should be there to educate where needed but this was just unhelpful and a backward step in the wider battle against skin cancer, until proper research is done.

        Take a Buddy is a slight spin on the usual agony aunt page, here a TAB staffer (Katie Fraser) helps with readers problems by asking other readers for their advice. I guess it is a nice opportunity for those who want to use their experiences to help others, but sometimes the advice given in this section is just not healthy for people to follow, and something a trained counsellor would never recommend. I think they believe they are giving some balanced views on what to do in some situations, but they are missing the mark in my opinion.

        TAB also feature a few pages of recipes, usually something the whole family can enjoy, or something simple. I like the recipes, they are really easy to follow and TAB give details on price per portion and nutritional information for the dish.

        Take a Break usually have a double page spread fashion section too, while it isn't even close to high end fashion I think they have got a good balance here, the clothes and accessories they feature are in line with trends along with usually being good value and easy for a busy mum to find (in Tescos for example, or at a large retailer/online).

        They also have a beauty advise page, touted as 'The most honest beauty advice you'll read anywhere'. I think this is a fair assessment. Some magazines will seem to promote a product, because the great Clinque (or whoever) PR machine is in full swing sending out samples to the beauty editor of major magazines, but dress it as advice, something that always galls me. The beauty page also has a small section where readers can recommend their favourite product, I like this aspect of the page too.

        The last page is 'Sensible & Barmy'. We're supposed to believe that Sally Sensible and Betty Barmy want to hear all our stories, be they utter drivel or not. Often they are - fortunately it is just a single page of readers letter on pretty much any old subject that pops into their heads.

        Overall I will buy Take a Break again. I give it a hard time in places, and some of the journalism is questionable. Sadly since it is the only way I can cry I have to keep buying it to ward off the mental breakdown I would have without the emotional release, and to help me remember that I am really a very fortunate person not to have all this crazy drama that goes on in some people's lives.

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        • Ash Virgin Trainers / Shoes / 122 Readings / 119 Ratings
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          18.10.2010 22:14
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          When can I buy them for £55 again!?

          You'd be forgiven for thinking that dooyoo have posted a picture of my old trainers from this photo. When I opened my supposedly spanking new shoes I thought they had sent me an old pair!

          Ahhhh fashion. Ash or fASHion has dictated that these trainers arrive slightly grubby! As you can see they have been vintaged up already so you are already street smart from first wear. Sweet.

          I bought mine from www.cocosa.com - this is an invite only fashion website who hold limited time (usually 48 hours) sales on top name designer brands. If you want an invite let me know! Anyway, I paid £55 including P&P back in March 2010. This is a bargain price for fantastic trainers that I had been lusting after for over a year. For the Virgin trainer style on the high street you'd be looking to pay around £125 from John Lewis and the same at ASOS or Oli. They are also available in select shoe boutiques around the country. I saw lots of ash shoes in the posh shoe shops in Athens too.

          Ash is an Italian brand, (see www.ashitalia.com) being Italian I expect excellent quality and high fashion with quirky European styling - that is exactly what I got here.

          My Virgin trainers have a mock-croc finish, in a granite colour. I would describe this as a very dark grey/black with colour contrasting lighter grey around the edges of the croc pattern - the official description is Grafite colour in Coccolone. I assumed this was Italian for crocodile, but according to google translation it means cuddly! They are also in high shine patent leather. The sole of the shoes is a thick rubber, with a shallow tread. There is lots of different finishes around and they change from season to season, my friend has silver snakeskin and I've seen a lovely soft black leather colour. You can also get them in a material finish for around £80 (ASOS).

          Being leather the shoes are super comfy once worn it - I bought a 39 as I am a UK size 6 and while they do fit, I did have a few blistery days, but one must suffer when one looks this good. The innersole of the shoe seems to be a good half centimetre thick adding a lovely cushy feel for your feet.

          This takes me back the styling on these shoes. Fabulous, in my opinion. You can wear them all done up, as you see them in the picture, but since each buckle does undo I have taken to wearing them with the top two buckles completely undone. This gives me a slightly sloppier look which goes nicely with my slouchy attitude. I find that I usually wear them with skinny grey or blue jeans. I've also worn them with opaque tights and a short skirt for a dressed up but down vibe. They would also suit opaque tights and hotpants as dela mode la season, but my knees (or dignity) can't take short shorts!

          Quality wise I can't fault them either, I've been wearing mine a few days a week since March and they still look like they did they day they turned up. So far they have remained dry as well. The only real wear is on the heel of the shoe, but since I don't drive its often shanks pony for me and I feel they have held up well.

          Overall I wouldn't hesitate to recommend these, I think they look really cool. I think they are versatile enough to wear with lots of outfits and that the quality is excellent. However, I will be looking out for the next Ash sale as I don't fancy paying top dollar for them, and I certainly won't wait for these ones to die before I buy my next pair.

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          • Maine Coon / Pet / Animal / 107 Readings / 107 Ratings
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            11.10.2010 00:15
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            I want more

            I'll be honest. I cannot, 100%, totally tell you my cat is a Maine Coon. I can tell you that I think he is a Maine Coon, and that I have done plenty of research on the subject. Because I am a sad, cat obsessed mental, with delusions of grandeur over her RSPCA rescued furry friend.

            We'll start with his appearance. Grey-Bo is my profile picture, so you have a idea of his colouring. He is fairly similar to the cat in the dooyoo image, except he is lighter in colour with some sandy tones and white feet, underbelly, chest and chin. In Maine Coon terms he would be described as a Mackerel Tabby with white. Mackerel Tabby means that his stripes are mostly vertical, fairly closely spaced together over his main body. The stripes then become more horizontal over his legs and around his neck. His white extends from under his chin, down his chest and over his belly where is becomes mixed with the grey tabby and sandy colouring. He has shorter fur on his face and shoulders that gets longer towards his backside, this results in a fantastic rear view of his very fluffy pantaloons! When Grey-Bo first arrived he has been in the RSPCA cattery for around 3 months having been found as a stray. His coat was greasy and grimy. He also had lots of shaved patched where the knots had been so bad the vet had shaved him. The grooming and stroking we lavished upon him got his own cleaning instincts going again, thank goodness! I groom him once or twice a week and he manages the rest of the time. His coat is typical of the Maine Coon - it is currently incredibly thick as in the last month he has been gaining his winter coat. The top layer is silky and waterproofed. When he hasn't been brushed or stoked it tends to tuft in little pointy sections which makes him look eternally scruffy, as if he just forced himself through a brush hedge. His undercoat is much fluffier and really thick. At the moment his coat adds about an inch and a half to his overall size all over!! His tail really is something else as well, as his winter coat has come in the diameter has increased from about 5cm to around 11 or 12cm! It is huge, if I could get him to do the dusting I would.

            Before moving on from his coat, I have to mention their fabulous ruff. This is a longer section of fur around their necks. the cat in the dooyoo pic has a very short ruff, perhaps it is a she-cat as their ruffs are shorter. Grey-Bo's is still growing back in some places where it was shaved, but his is around 3 inches at the moment. I've seen one picture where it looked about 6 inches! That cat looked like a half wizard.

            His ears are another Maine Coon feature. The inside of his ears is full of sandy coloured hair, it starts on the inside edge and extends past the outside edge of his ear. Sadly Grey-Bo is missing a Coon characteristic on his ears - in recent years breeders have been looking for points on top of the ears (made by extra tufty fur). This is not a total trait as the first breeding cats brought from the USA in the 80's did not all exhibit this, but it is something that has become popular. It wouldn't disqualify him from show though!

            The main body of a Maine Coon is quite square, but heavily set. They have long thick legs, the back and front sets are of even length. A large high head, and large ears. The enormous brushy tail is often long enough for the cat to wrap it around their body and it should be as long as the body itself.

            Speaking of length, at last measure GB was 80cm, this was a couple of months ago and I'm tempted to measure him again, but he looks so cute asleep I can't wake him. We were told his approximate age was 3 years. If this is true he has up to another year to grow as Maine Coons mature slowly. He weight around 9kgs. This is almost 3 times as heavy as the average 3.5kg cat. He is not a small boy. When I pick him up I have to use both hands, and he covers up most of my body! Maine Coon's are one of the domestic cats kings, MC's have held the largest domestic cat title many times, although I fear this crown is soon to be stolen by the gorgeous Savannah cats. The longest Maine Coon was recorded at 120cm & 16kgs. So GB isn't gonna break any records. Perhaps just chairs etc.

            The last main characteristic of his appearance is his lush paddy paws! his feet are massive at around 2 inches wide. Although all his feet are white, some pf his pads are black and some are pink. He has huge tufts of fur that come between his toes. These are known as 'snowshoes'. In their native home on the cold east coast of America they need these to be able to walk across the snow. All they seem to enable Grey-Bo to do is slide across our tiled floor. To match these impressive paws, he has some impressive claws. Razor sharp and over a centimetre, he only ever scratches the tree though!

            Maine Coons are known as the gentle giants of the cat world. They are often fairly bright and can be trained to fetch things. Grey-Bo has recently got a new toy that he likes to try and carry around (he looks super cute). I can vouch for his good temper - Mr Niff is really annoying! He will pull his fur and look at his teeth and claws and move him around and sings to him and Grey-Bo has never gone for him. Although I might one day.

            Maine Coons aren't really lap cats. He prefers to sit next to me on the sofa. Although from time to time I may be graced with a cuddle. When we got back from a few days away he fell asleep on me fully stretched out (I was lying down too) with his head snuggled into my neck. They are known as being loyal, but friendly. When we had a party in the summer he didn't run off and hide. He sat in the flower patch in the middle of the garden keeping an eye on everyone. He even put up with my small sisters who put sticky hands all over him. Not much seems to phase him... I dropped a plastic coaster behind him onto a hard tiled floor - he did not even flinch.

            Maine Coons are also known for being a little obsessed by water. There are stories of them getting in the bath with owners or after the after the bath has drained away for a little splash around. Grey-Bo stares at the wall when the pipes are gurgling, he will also knock his water bowl over deliberately. He never actually drinks from his water bowl, there is a filthy bucket of water in my neighbours garden instead. He will put his entire front leg into the bucket in order to scoop out water - he comes back half soaked. He will often use his paw to pick food out of his bowl to eat as well. I guess that is the advantage of having dessert spoon sized paws.

            I love my cat and he has lots of the Maine Coon characteristics, we've spoken to breeders who agree. I therefore feel confident to recommend this breed of cat to anyone who likes a big one, likes a confident animal who gets on with children, and who likes spending time with his family, without being clingy or mean. If you want a kitten check the breeder has all the right registrations etc, although it is likely to set you back anything from £400 to £600 for a regular cat. More for a good show cat or breeding cat. You could adopt a retired breeding cat if you want an older animal or contact the Maine Coon Cat club about rescue animals.

            Miaow x

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            • More +
              06.10.2010 15:52
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              Dispite the cost, I think I'll go back next summer

              I have stayed in this Hilton 3 times over the last couple of years. First in late July 2009, again in early July 2010 and finally early September this year. My July visits have been with the girlies and September was a birthday present from my mum.

              Getting to the hotel from the airport is simple, the first time we had to get the bus as the metro was off, this was hot and uncomfortable, and smelly (the temp was around 40C however) but really cheap at around 3 euros. It took around 45 mins. You get the bus from outside the airport arrivals. The Metro station is reached by a lift & a walkway, all air conditioned and the metro train itself is also has air conditioning. The single fare is 5 euros, and takes around 35 mins to Evangelismos Metros station and from there it is a few minutes walk to the hotel.

              You actually can't miss this hotel, it is a huge monstrous 1960's building that sits on a really busy corner, the traffic here is like nothing I've ever experienced and crossing the road can be a little tense! After negotiating the traffic you sweep through the revolving door and into a spacious, cool lobby. Here is reception, a very exclusive boutique, the hotel shop for books and bits you've forgotten.

              Checking in is simple and painless, the reception staff speak excellent English and explain everything you need to know about the hotel. Painless apart from the price however! Looking now at a night in November, the cheapest rate seems to be 160 euros, this is booking ahead and is non refundable. You need to add breakfast at 32 euro and if you want to be able to cancel and get a refund you can add another 40 euros to that. Obviously this is a standard rate, so shop around and I'm sure you can get better.

              I've had access to 5 different rooms on my 3 trips (my girlfriends had a different room to me). On the first trip our view was across the street at Lycabettus Hill, the highest point in Athens. On top of this steep, rocky hill is a lovely Church to St George. It is a popular tourist spot, you can either climb it or get a lift up. As darkness falls we could see the hill light up with pretty lights to the top and St George itself is beautifully lit too.

              On the second trip we had an adjoining room, but had to compromise on the view. This time we were facing north, it was a boring view of the banking district, and the northernmost suburbs of Athens.

              On my last trip with my mum we pestered reception for an Acropolis view, they complied and while we were only on the 4th floor we certainly did have a pretty view of the Acropolis and Parthenon. The view gets better the further up you are. A word of warning though - yes you can see the Acropolis and even the bay beyond, but Athens in the heat is hazy (possibly even a bit smoggy) and this hotel is a few miles from the Acropolis, the view is not outstanding, and the Acropolis looks fairly small from the hotel. But the sun sets on this side of the hotel so you can also sit in the evening sunshine after a hard day at the pool.

              All the rooms I have seen are clean and spacious (at least 33m2). The floor is a combination of marble and wood. There is a large lighted closet, with drawer space and room for your suitcase. The bathroom is a good size and well equipped, a separate shower with 2 heads being a personal favourite. Mum likes the bath too and felt like she was swimming! (she is only little) The bathroom is marble clad and lovely and cool. The king size bed or twin beds are really comfortable and it is tough to get out of them. Every room has a balcony, large enough for at least 3 girlies to sit drinking sangria as the sun goes down.

              There is also a smallish flat screen TV, and what looks like internet access points. We didn't use these at all, but I've read that the internet access is really expensive at 5 euros for 10 minutes! eek. No dooyooing in Athens.

              The hotel boasts four restaurants & main bar areas;

              Byzantine Restaurant
              This is a mixture of Mediterranean buffet and international food. We didn't eat here - except that it is where breakfast is held too. Breakfast is a huge buffet, consisting of all sorts! Fresh fruit, honey, yoghurt... cereals, bread/toast, pastries... bacon, sausage, beans... waffles & pancakes... salad & cheese & cold meats... There is also the Hilton Breakfast Chef. He will fry or poach you an egg, or make you an omelette. Coffee, tea and freshly squeezed orange juice finish it off perfectly. Sadly the staff here seem to be super busy... too busy to take the time to smile, or ensure that you are properly looked after. The buffet is speedily cleared away, with some items having run out and not been replenished. My friend asked for ketchup one day as there wasn't any in the usual place... her request was met with a blunt 'its gone' and a shoulder shrug. She eventually threatened to go in the kitchen herself to get it... suddenly a small pot of Heinz appeared!

              Galaxy Bar & Restaurant
              Again we didn't eat here, but I did look over the menu. It is quite a small menu, maybe 5 dishes for each course. We decided not to eat here partly because although there was one vegetarian option, it didn't appeal to my veggie friend - but partly because there is much cheaper options in the city itself, and you can sit down to dinner at midnight in the city of you like. The prices were around 25-35 euros for a main course, they have a char grill up here which did smell delicious though!

              The main reason for visiting the Galaxy though is a cocktail & the view! The bar & restaurant is on the roof of the hotel, and is almost entirely open air, though they can roll out a roof over the restaurant if need be. There is a good view of the Acropolis (although still a bit small) and the rest of the city. The bar has won European awards for its cocktails and the have a huge drinks menu. I like a Royal Mojito it is a classic Mojito but with the addition of Champagne, these are seriously strong drinks. My friends and I were quite squiffy after the second one. The price is fairly squiffy too - a Champagne cocktail will set you back around 25 euros. A regular long cocktail around 19 euros. Draught beer is around 8 euros (I think, I didn't have any!) Their cheapest bottle of Champagne comes in at 130 euros. Athens Hilton says that famous actors and sports stars and politicians hang out here. We wouldn't recognise them if they did though!

              Milos Restaurant
              Again I didn't eat here, but I can say that it is on the ground floor though it has a terrace I would suspect the terrace was very loud since it is right next to the road. You can get a modern Aegean meal here on the set menu for around 30 euros, a la carte is also offered, mains around 20 euros I think.

              Oasis Bar & Grill
              This is the pool bar and another place we frequented often! My friends and I have to admit that we did very little sightseeing and actually spent everyday sizzling out by the pool. There is a seating area undercover beside the bar and then all around the pool (the largest outside pool in Athens apparently about 12mx24m by my reckoning) there are sun loungers. If you are staying in the hotel you don't have to pay extra for the outside pool, although I have read that the indoor pool carries are 15 euro charge. The cocktails here are rubbish so I'd recommend you stick to the wine, a glass of rose is 9 euros. The Freddo Cappuccino is also delicious (cold capp, with ice cubes not crushed ice) at 7 euros. The menu is fairly basic, Hilton burger is 21-24 euros, pasta dish is 18 euros, Caesar salad around the same. I enjoyed the traditional Cretean dish Dacos. This is a brown bread rolls, toasted with feta and tomatoes, with herbs and oil. Simple but yum. The sharing platter they do is great too - I tried cold octopus! There was plenty of pitta bread and different olives and dips, we couldn't finish it between the two of us. I think it was around 20 euros.

              The pool itself is great. Most of the people there are hotel guests, there are a few locals that I got to recognise! The weekend is the busiest time, although we have always managed to find a sunbed. During the week it is quieter and I prefer this as I tend to find other people annoying! The staff here are really lovely and can't do enough to help you and look after you.

              All in all I really like this hotel. I would recommend that you ask for an Acropolis view, failing that a St George view. Ignore the breakfast staff's bad attitude and get to the pool as quickly as possible! Follow that by sitting on the balcony of your room for a couple of hours, then press R for Galaxy Bar (stands for Rooftop on the lift buttons) for an exceedingly excellent cocktail.

              TOP TIP
              Don't get a cab from outside the hotel lobby - they will charge you about 5 euros more. Go through the hotel car park, outside to the back of the hotel and flag down a yellow cab with a lit sign. It will cost you around 3 euros to get into the city center.

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              • cK Flash Ladies / Watch / 116 Readings / 115 Ratings
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                26.09.2010 15:43
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                I want another one so it must be good!

                This is a very striking timepiece. I have had mine for about 4 years now, it was a gift, but one that was very much wanted and lusted after!

                It was priced around £180 then and that price doesn't seem to have shifted much since, although I notice John Lewis are selling a slightly newer version (with ck at the 12 mark) in black for £280, if you shop around and don't want black you can find a better price.

                My cK Flash is the 'Mirror' colour. This means that the large glass face (which takes up about one third of the circumference) has a mirror effect that blends well with the high shine stainless steel bracelet that makes up the rest of the watch, except where the dial is. The Mirror colour is the same as he watch shown in the dooyoo image. You can also get the same watch in gold, black, a blue glass face with stainless steel bracelet, I'm sure a few years ago there was a more silvery colour watch too, but I can't find this online now.

                The watch also comes in two sizes, 55mm & 60mm. Mine is the smaller watch, but sometimes the pure rigidity of the bangle can make my wrist sore, so unless you have tiny bird bones, I would recommend the larger size. It doesn't matter if the watch moves on your wrist as it is supposed to look like a bangle anyway!

                The clasp on this watch is really secure, apparently it is called a deployment clasp, the lock is invisible from the outside of the watch, except the two little things that you squeeze in order to release the clasp. At the join of the watch 'cK Calvin Klein' is engraved, but it is subtle and can't really be seen from a distance. When you open the watch you see that the bangle is also hinged twice so that you can easily put it on.

                The inside of the bangle (that sits against your skin) also screams quality and good looks, it too has a high shine finish, the watch movement is encased in steel, tiny screws would let you open the back cover if you need to, and it has the Calvin Klein logo and unique watch number engraved here too. It also states that the watch is water resistant to 30m.

                From a distance it is very difficult to see where the glass and steel meet, the time on the watch can be difficult to spot as well because the face and hands are small, and in poor light I usually end up rolling my wrist around in an effort to get the flat hands to shine out at me and eventually guess at the time - I say guess because my watch has no number or markings on the dial, at least I am usually right! So you would need good eyesight to use this watch.

                But who cares what the time is anyway! Look at this watch, it is a beaut! I get lots of comments and mostly people think it is a thick cuff or bangle, it does sit at around 3cms thick all the way around and the stainless steel of my watch has a huge shine factor. They are surprised and interested to hear it is actually a watch, and the designer name usually raises an eyebrow too.

                I have worn the watch on a fairly regular basis for the last 4 years and there are a few scratches now on the steel, but they are only small and cannot be seen unless you are really looking! The glass has unfortunately cracked in the bottom left corner, but again this actually cannot be seen easily due to the super high shine finish of the mirrored glass, I've worn it with the crack for sometime and nobody has noticed - I don't feel the safety of the watch is compromised either.

                This watch is sturdy and striking, I have no hesitation in recommending this watch to anyone who likes its styling. I think I want the gold version for Christmas!

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                  22.09.2010 21:05
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                  If you get one, and I see you I will push you off, it is mine alone

                  It's a Ladies bike, for Ladies.

                  Actually the man in the shop said 'its a very elegant bike' my reply? 'Er yeah, I'll do my best'.

                  I bought my gorgeous bike in April as part of the 'Cycle2Work' scheme that allows businesses to buy the bike and then employees to pay for the bike directly from their pay packet on a monthly basis over one year, at the end of the year the employee then pays a nominal amount and the bike becomes theirs. This scheme saves VAT on the bike and you get to spread the cost over 1 year.

                  This is an excellent scheme and since I was involved in the set up for my small company I know it is EXCEEDINGLY simple. Go to www.cycle2work.info - there is an helpful and easy calculator so you can decide your budget, you can find a bike shop that is a member of the scheme (Halfords are if you really can't find a local stockist that is involved, but please try to use your local shops!). There is also a section for the employer to apply to, this took about 30mins! You get a quote from the bike shop, include your helmet, reflective clothing, bike lock etc as well, apply for the voucher (your boss does this) and bingo! a voucher appears within 3 weeks. Go get the bike of your dreams.

                  The bike has a strong aluminium frame, although it is not the lightest bike on the market, I can carry it up the short flight of stairs to get out of my basement flat. For someone less confident I wouldn't recommend this though, I do often get a couple of bruises or scrapes on my way up. The advantage however is a solid, stable ride, as someone who is not overly happy on the road I do feel safer than on my bike than one with a lighter frame.

                  The saddle that comes with this bike is lovely, brown leather and specially designed for girls bums it is wider and rounder than men's saddles (like girls bums!). The handles are ergonomically shaped rubber and very comfortable to use (both saddle and handles are Bontranger branded). From there, the gears are easy to flick through with your thumb, the manual display is simple to understand and clear to see. The gears are Shimano 7 speed. I only cycle in the city so I tend to stay on the middle cog. They change very easily, although it's worth remembering to change gear before you put too much pressure on the pedals as the gear shifts can struggle with too much torque - resulting in clicky-clicky-getting-nowhere-fast-opps-I'm-a-bit-scared-now.

                  The tyres and alloy wheels are quite thin, perhaps only about an 4cms, although I was worried about this having only ridden mountain bikes previously, I had no trouble adjusting, I may have struggled had they been any narrower though. Since this is a road bike there is almost no tread and if we have another winter like the last one I'll look into getting some better tread (or teeny tiny snow chains). Since April I have managed to puncture both of them (same morning) I'm blaming this on glassy streets though. Can't comment on how easy they were to change since I just paid the man in the shop to do it!

                  The brakes are by Tektro, and seem to work fine!

                  The pedals have good grip, I've not slipped despite wearing all kinds of ridiculous heels and slippy shoes.

                  On the front of the bike is a strange grey frame, but once you have a lovely basket on board (it is a bracket for a basket) you don't notice it at all. There isn't a rear wheel bracket though, but you can get one fitted.

                  I do only use my bike for my daily commute, love passing static traffic, hate grazing knuckles on wing mirrors, but I do know someone with the same bike who cycled Land's End - John O Groats last year and Barcelona to Rome this summer, so its safe to say this bike is reliable!

                  But why this bike? Because I feel like Miss Marple of course! When riding you are in a very upright position, I feel like I should have flowers woven over the handlebars and a cat in the basket (he looked murderous when I tried it). The classy pistachio colour (with matching mudguards!) is wonderful and my favourite aspect of my bike (shallow I know, but that's me). My bike makes me feel good, I am proud to ride it. I have had many comments from random people in town as it really is striking, other people love my bike too!

                  £400 - check online for your local stockist, mine is from John's Bikes in Bath, I'm sure they'd be happy to help you! www.johnsbikes.co.uk

                  £30 - Basket, essential for champagne, fags and cats.

                  £30 - Helmet, if you don't wear one, you are one, damaging to hair quiffs however.

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                  • More +
                    21.09.2010 01:04
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                    I am buying it again

                    oooo kitty litter! Very exciting! actually I must confess I do find cat litter reviews interesting and informative, NB must get out more.

                    Anyway, I have tried many types of litter, some recommended by family, some cheap (often nasty) yet always find myself returning, and settling for some time on Catsan litter, until I forget or feel poor again.

                    We currently have Catsan after trying wood pellets, scented clay, heavy cheap clay, rubbish clumping clay, and what a relief. When delicious Grey-Bo, Crown Prince of Milobo (see pic) first came to us he was an adult, but the Cats n Dogs home had only just neutered him and to be honest (don't tell him) he stank to high heaven, a real Tom cat stench. We had to keep him inside for a couple of weeks and being greeted by an acrid, eye watering delight is not my idea of fun in the morning. I found the scented clumping clay we had simply did not absorb all his daily doings and made only a pale attempt at covering up the smell. We ended up changing the entire tray once or twice a day. This is a pain in the ass, frankly, and not very environmentally friendly, or purse friendly. I think I bought 2 bags of litter that first week!

                    What an idiot I am. I had had two cats a few years previoulsy and never had these kinds of issues. I had fostered cats for Cat's Protection and kept them in one single room without this all-pervasive catty stink.

                    (thunder flash)

                    Catsan! Of course.

                    The difference is immediately noticeable. The litter is larger than any other I have used and therefore much less dusty and nicer to pour into the tray. This larger size apparently means it is less likely to get stuck in paws, although I can't say I agree, but Grey-Bo does have exceedingly large paddy paws. The grains are also a strong white colour. I mention this because the usual grey colour will discolour a set of white paws. There is no real smell from the fresh litter, only something I can describe as a bit like stones!

                    The litter itself is made from fine chalk and natural quartz sand, this gives fantastic porosity and allows the grains to act like a sponge. This neutral environment and fast action of the litter means that production of smelly bacteria is inhibited - cool beans. The grains themselves look like M&M sized pumice stones.

                    Odour control is great, while Prince Grey-Bo was still a bit tommy to begin with this soon wore off and now I never smell him. Well that's not quite true, I came home last week and was disgusted to find that I could smell cat wee! After a short conversation with Mr Niff it transpired we actually had not changed his litter for about 3 weeks! opps. Before you call the RSPCA, he does have access to outside, but even so it still took me some time to notice the litter was in need of a change. Better note it in the diary in future!

                    10 litres of this litter will cost you £5-6 depending on where you get it - it is available in most supermarkets and mini stores as the 'premium choice'. This is a lot more than supermarket brands and value ranges, but I really do consider it to be value for money since each bag lasts so long. I am also really confident that the litter does a good job, so don't worry about nasty niffs!

                    I strongly recommend this litter to white pawed friends and indoor cats.

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                    • More +
                      20.09.2010 20:35
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                      Actually, if you don't buy it, there's more for me

                      MmmmmMmmmm. This shower gel is divine.

                      Now, I am a Lush sceptic... I find the remarkably strong smell of the shops to be really off putting, but I will confess they always look inviting, well thought out and fun. If your local high street has a branch, you'll know about it. The huge fragrance of the shops non withstanding their promotion and branding is very striking and memorable. If you don't have a local store you can buy online (lush.co.uk).

                      So, why do I go? Well Lush seems to be one of the most animal friendly, people focused and honest beauty companies around. The majority of their product is vegan (although not this one), they do not test anything on animals and are interested in keeping their staff all over the world happy and motivated. This appeals to me.

                      Now, the product, why this one? I have always been a fan of honey scents and this gel is spiced with soothing Hungarian honey (3 different types, actually), another favourite of mine is Jasmine, and this gel is really strongly scented with Jasmine Absolute.

                      Honey has been used over the centuries for its skin soothing properties, it is also seen traditionally as a luxurious product. Jasmine is used in aromatherapy and massage for sensitive skin, muscular problems and to help lighten your mood.

                      I use a body puff to scrub all over in the shower, I use a good squeeze of the bottle (probably too much) and get a gorgeous white thick foam, the entire bathroom fills with a heavenly scent and I am transported...
                      the bubbles are long lasting and feel super smooth against my skin.

                      Afterwards I don't need to apply body moisturiser as much, my skin is left moisturised and ever so clean. I don't have very dry skin though, so you may need to moisturise if you have dry skin. The smell usually stays on my skin for around 5 hours, I love sniffing my forearm during the day to remind myself! I also use it as a foam for shaving my legs and they are always smooth.

                      Bizarrely, this gel is marketed by Lush as both an aphrodisiac and a soothing tonic for 'frazzled' peeps. I would not agree on the first count.

                      Some people may not like the very strong fragrance of this gel, but if you love jasmine like I do then jump right in!

                      I bought mine in a high street store for about £4.20 for 100mls. Now this is expensive but it lasted me about 5-6 weeks and now I'm on my second bottle! The more you buy the better value you'll find, for example you'll save over 20% if you bought 500ml for £14.55.

                      I have to heartily recommend this product, the ethics are right for me, the smell is right for me, the results are right for me. What about you?

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                      • Lush Rock Star Soap / Soaps / 70 Readings / 69 Ratings
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                        12.07.2010 20:59
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                        Treaty Sweety

                        When Lush first reared its stinky head at me from Canterbury about 12 years ago I could not stand it. The intense smell of the store infiltrated the city centre, it made me feel sick and head-achy, and quite angry actually. How dare this ridiculous shop annoy me so much. I steered clear.

                        I now live in Bath and they also have a branch of Lush, perhaps I have grown up a bit and there is less of a stroppy teenager inside, but it doesn't seem to smell as much as I remember. I am also becoming more aware of animal testing and Lush has an impeccable record in this area. They state that they neither test their products on animals, nor do they buy from suppliers who test on animal. This is an important distinction. Also they are a UK company and many of their products are handmade in store, although I don't think this applies to their soap, but I couldn't find the information on this. They also have fantastic ethical and environmental policies, alongside real green initiates and plenty of charity work too. What's not to love?

                        This soap caught my attention because I think the colour is very pretty, I would say it is paler than the image shown here. Upon sniffing a beautiful, delicate, sweet aroma fills the senses. I think this is more Candy Pop than Rock Star, but that isn't up to me. Lush describe it as being vanilla, and while there are many vanilla notes, I would say that the smell of sweets (Refreshers perhaps, or Love Hearts?) is most prevalent.

                        I snapped it up, Lush have enormous car-wheel sized blocks of soap and you can either have it cut to order, or pick one up from a few precut pieces on display. Lush use minimal packaging for these and it is simply wrapped in waxy paper and stuck with a price label and description (which includes the ingredients for those who are sensitive).

                        I couldn't wait to use it! Personally I find washing quite a chore and very boring indeed. Rock Star brightened up the necessary evil that is my morning shower, and even when just washing my hands I would swap the sink soap with this so my hands could smell of sweeties! The smell lasts well on skin, and in the bathroom after use too. My skin was well moisturised, not at all dry or tight. Rock Star has a luxurious white lather that is easily produced without a body puff. Using a puff will give you even better, thicker lather.

                        I used the soap for a couple of days and went on holiday... I left Rock Star behind. My biggest mistake. After 9 days away I returned to a very clean Mr Niff. But no Rock Star. It made me sad. He did have 2 other soaps to chose from, but somehow use the pink girly soap. There was a teeny tiny slither of pink. Enabling me to have a last, sad, sniff before it vanished forever beneath my tears.

                        I paid £3.25 (it is £2.90 per 100g), this is expensive for soap that barely lasts 2 weeks. I will buy it again, but only as a treat. And not for Mr Niff at all.

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                      • More +
                        29.06.2010 15:00
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                        For anyone wishing to increase their design kudos

                        This radio is so cool, just to touch it would promote you to design heaven.

                        Lexon are a French company, they've been going since 1991 and have racked up lots of gorgeous products in that time - their areas of speciality are mostly electronics and luggage, with a good smattering of office and leisure accesories. This radio was designed by Marc Berthier. He looks nice in his picture.

                        The radio itself is quite basic, it isn't digital and has no regular dial. You tune in and out using the antenna (it twiddles). Buttons include on/off on the top of the radio, volume + and - is the lower set of buttons on the front. AM and FM buttons are the higher set. The size of the radio is quite small at 5.5" x 3" d 1.75". It is powered by 2x AA batteries that has a secure screw-in section in the base.

                        The radio is encased in a tactile rubber material. It feels similar to all that silicon bake ware that you can get nowadays, although I wouldn't recommend you pop it in the oven. Thanks to this material you get fantastic bright colours! Funtimes. It is currently available in the blue (as seen here), limey green, bright red, white, industrial grey, and canary yellow. The depth of colour is excellent - I have the white and I bought the blue for my Chelsea loving daddio. I have seen all the other colours and they are all excellent. They also used to do a bright pink as well, but this was discontinued earlier in the year.

                        Due to the rubber casing the radio is fine to use with wet hands - mine is in the bathroom - and although I haven't dropped it I'm sure it would withstand a little rough-housing. Because it is battery powered the radio is portable and its small size means it can fit easy in your handbag should you wish to take it to the park or beach. Although the radio is encased in rubber, it is very sturdy and not bendy!

                        The sound quality is excellent - it is crystal clear when in a good reception area and seems to travel through the house in a startling way.

                        I've had no issues with the radio so far, it is used most days for an hour or so, but if there was a problem its is backed up with a 2 year manufacturers guarantee. So that is reassuring.

                        I bought mine from a gorgeous shop called Bloomsbury in Bath for £45 each, you can also buy online through Amazon (although I think the vendor is actually Bloomsbury). www.bloomsburystore.com

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                        • Right At Your Door (DVD) / DVD / 77 Readings / 75 Ratings
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                          27.06.2010 01:11
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                          For thriller lovers

                          I am not one for films. I fidget. I get bored. I realise that the washing is really very important and must be done, immediately. Mr Niff has all but given up on me, he loves movies and I ruin them for him.

                          However, I agreed to spend the evening on the sofa and watch a film, in the full expectation that I would get up half way through and clean the windows. I expect Mr Niff thought I would soon do the off as well. I didn't.

                          This film opens with a bitter sweet early morning scene where Brad has got up just before the alarm in order to make a delicious looking coffee for his wife, Lexi. She swiftly bats off his amorous advances and trots off to her high powered job in downtown LA. The radio in the back-round has told us her regular route is jammed and so the ever adoring Brad advises her to take the back roads. There is some underlying tension between them, with references to 'making up for last night' and 'are you practising today' (Brad is an out of work musician, aren't they all...). the action soon picks up. Whilst brushing his toothy-pegs Brad's radio is interrupted with an emergency broadcast; LA has been struck by a number of explosions during morning rush hour, residents are advised to stay away from affected areas and remain calm.

                          Next comes the first part of the film I can really relate to. Brad is gripped by the need to speak to Lexi and find out how she is. For me this really hits home. After the 7/7 bombings in London all I wanted to do is speak to my family, but the phone lines are jammed and information is scarce. The electricity fails, and thus communication with the outside world, so Brad jumps in the car to get downtown and find his wife. This breakdown in the mobile phone network really is reminiscent of past events and a indicator of exactly the situation we would find ourselves in should this happen again.

                          Brad has to abort his attempt to get to his wife as the city is sealed off, acts of authoritarian violence brings the seriousness of his situation to light. Not before a trip to the hardware store furnishes Brad with duct tape.

                          Official advice is to seal your home and stay inside. Anyone from the bomb affected areas are to be quarantined, indefinitely, this bad ass bomb is dirty. With help from the somewhat random handyman from next-door Brad seals the house up and sits tight.

                          Lexi makes it back however, and takes the movie forward.

                          Would you let me in Mr Niff?

                          She's coughing, and covered in ash, blood, and hysterical... is she death at your door?

                          This film is superbly acted, the situation could well be real and I could easily find myself locked outside with hacking Lexi or inside with desperate Brad. It is a very personal view on a huge event, there are no special effects, and the action all takes place in the increasingly claustrophobic house or garden. We don't see panic on the streets, only heartbreak in a home. This film is fast paced and tense. I was on the edge of my seat, my heartbeat was up and I was ready to seal the house, I found myself imagining where I could get tape and plastic sheeting at short notice.

                          There is no mention of politics or terrorism, there are no 5 star generals on the phone to the President. And actually this wouldn't be appropriate to the film. I think this is about what you, or I would do.

                          Who you gonna call? Well, no one, the network is busy. And your mum will only worry.

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                          • More +
                            21.06.2010 23:48
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                            My favourite, well ok Top 5

                            I love this book. It all started may years ago...

                            For a considerable period of my childhood i wasn't actually allowed to watch this movie... my mum's best friend had this on VHS and while I always wanted to see it I would always end up buried in my mothers skirts, sobbing inconsolably about Fiver an' Hazel an' Bigwig (I often didn't make it past the snare scene, and certainly not past Bright Eyes). Eventually I was banned from watching it and mum found a copy of the book in a charity shop, I was told I could watch the movie once I'd read the book. So, being that I was only 8 years old, forgive me, but the book remained unread and the film remained unfinished.

                            A few years later, I was aged about 11, Watership Down was picked up again. My old charity shop copy was yellowed and musty,
                            the pages crackled and felt damp. The type was small, misshapen and
                            higgledy piggledy. It was hard work. I didn't understand most of the symbolism, religion, language, or culture. I did understand a romping, epic road trip. I did understand friendship, the feeling of belonging that the tale evoked, and teamwork.

                            The story begins when runty Fiver and bigger, sensible brother Hazel wander to the edge of their warren... there is an enormous alien notice board. Fiver rapidly becomes consumed with a powerful urge to escape from the comfortable warren he and Hazel have spent their entire lives (just over a year). You may expect Hazel to treat this nonsense with older brother disdain, but Hazel has always trusted his brother's intuition, and after some serious thought he takes Fiver's suggestion to their Sandleford Warren's Chief Rabbit, The Thearah. The young bucks are treated with barely veiled disinterest and sent packing.

                            Hazel knows he must act quickly, they manage to gather a few other restless young rabbits and set off, with the last minute unexpected addition of Bigwig, a respected member of the Owsla. And there their odyssey begins. We follow our rabbity friends cross county and into dell, through river and up downs. Travelling with us are a number of tales from Rabbit mythology, El-ahrairah (The Robin Hood of Rabbitdom),
                            and his trustworthy mate and assistant Rabscuttle, the rabbits will often tell a tale to calm their nerves at tense moments in the story.

                            El-ahairah is a trickster more than a Jesus figure (IMO, but not everyone's) and his name translated from Lapine (rabbit language) and means Prince of a Thousand Enemies. This is often how rabbits see themselves, they believe that since they are smaller and weaker than may who would kill them for sport or food, they have to rely on brain power and problem solving to get out of sticky or even deadly situations with man, dog, cat or even other rabbits.

                            The story takes a turn from classic road trip when they have settled in their new home, Watership Down. The young guns realise they have no
                            girlies to make the burrows, and do the washing up no doubt. Using their rescued seagull, Kehaar (his name is the same as the sound of the waves on the beach) to get the lie of the land and find them a warren they could send a deputation to in order to gain some does. He finds them a warren, but it isn't quite what they expected...

                            We see the rabbits go on to make a daring and exciting break out from the found warren, Efrafa, hotly pursued by dangerous sworn enemies. Our Watership Down boys still have to make a last stand back on the down, to protect their freedom, their families and their very belief system against the unbeaten, all powerful systematic killer that is General Woundwort, the spurned leader from Efrafa.

                            This book never fails to take me on a emotional roller-coaster. Every chapter is packed with danger, love, fear and warmth. I've read it many times over the years, my understanding of the friendships and sense of loyalty between the characters is something I feel deeply connected to. The writing is easy to follow, yet beautiful, Richard Adams weaves Lapine into the text you can almost translate it (check out what Bigwig calls Woundwort while they fight in the tunnel near the end). His anthropomorphic rabbits, sit so well that you don't
                            think anything of it as they talk about silflay and harka.

                            I fall in love with this story each time I read it. Yes, it is a tall tale of fluffy wee bunnies but it is also a dramatic epic, taking you on a twisting journey, through the beautiful downs and dens of Hampshire. Reminding you of the so called human traits of trust, belief, and need for companionship.

                            I recommend this novel to anyone who invests in character relationships and who fancies a cross country romp.

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                              19.06.2010 14:41
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                              I might buy it again

                              This little beaut came into my possession about 10 months ago. I won't say I bought it because I didn't. There was a voucher at the Boots Advantage Card machine, and if I bought something from No7 I would get this free... worth £10! Gotta love a bargain.

                              Boots says there a 3 shades available, however on the day I was there they only had Dandy Pink available. I asked the No7 girly if this would suit me, and she quickly replied 'yes'. Excellent, excellent, all was going according to plan.

                              The packaging is actually quite surprising, looking at the image available here you may imagine it was plastic... but it is thick cardboard, and the powder is sitting in a shallow metal dish at the bottom. So fully recyclable then, and very lightweight. The cardboard has also held up well in my make up case (for travelling) and in the larger make up box I have at home.

                              There is very little in the way of instructions; Dust lightly over your skin to take your complexion from dull to radiant in an instant.

                              Hmmmm am I dull?

                              These instructions aren't really that useful - should I use it without foundation? With? Over? Under? I decided to use it as I would a pressed powder to help set my foundation and also how I use my highlighter - after applying all of my usual make up.

                              The application is straightforward - simply load up a large power brush and start spreading the good news. Since the packaging is quite deep before you get to the powder you can really swizz and whiz the brush around the pot ensuring that there is plenty of product on board brushy. Then simply 'dust' all over the face. I started with the areas I particularly wanted to highlight - across my brow bone, the very tops of my cheeks, quickly down my nose and slightly on my chin, the rest of the product I lightly applied to the rest of my face.

                              Personally, I can hardly see any highlighting! This powder is nowhere near as effective as my usual cream highlighter, so if you want a proper highlighter, don't bother with this. However, I think it does an excellent job of setting my liquid foundation, without adding more colour like a normal pressed power. It seems to smooth my skin somewhat and keep it non greasy for most of the day. I would say that it also does add some warmth and glow to my face, so the effect is subtle and pleasant. Also it doesn't have any fragrance - I think this is good as there isn't really any need for your face to smell of powder!

                              I think that £10 is a lot to pay for this, and I wouldn't have paid it - however, it is showing no signs of running out (admittedly I only use it 2/3 times a week) so that works out about £1 a month.

                              I would recommend this product for those who want a subtle, light brightening and illuminating effect, and an alternative to pressed power. You would be disappointed if you were expecting something intense and vibrant. Perhaps Boots could explain this product more to enable people to make a better purchasing decision.

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                              • dooyoo Rewards System / Discussion / 162 Readings / 144 Ratings
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                                16.06.2010 00:48
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                                Let's see how it goes... and I await more changes...

                                It is late... and while I wanted to write this review, I checked the time (23.12) and decided against it... then, Mr Niff turned to me, out of the blue, and said 'Did you know that after a caffeinated drink you are more likely to accept someone else's opinion?'. It was a sign.

                                Coke anyone?

                                I am, frankly, a bit baffled with the dooyoo change. If dooyoo make their pennies by traffic through their site, then why isn't that what we are paid for?

                                If we were not paid per rate by our fellow contributors then it wouldn't seem quite so unfair. If it was fully accepted that you were paid because you had written a review that was useful to a true consumer, and dooyoo kept us up to date with what products were most popular, this would surely be the fairest way to gain a monetary reward. Or, rather than do away with member rates perhaps a cap of 50 could be introduced, for miles anyway? Then we wouldn't lose the sense of community and we would have a good way of making sure the reviews being published were of an acceptable quality. As a reviewer you may be more excited to write a review if there was an element of surprise in terms of your reward. And we could strive to write reviews that would generate more traffic for the site... more current affairs (I write this with no idea if current affairs are popular) or brand new products.

                                It would also save me a lot of the time I spend rating. Sometimes with no reciprocation, this would be less annoying if we had the changes above in place.

                                Or something that is in the public eye at this time. My review of Heston & Waitrose's Lemon Tart is in the top 5 for google searches (exciting!) and has over 350 non member reads. Before these impressive stats and the dooyoo change my decision to write a review was based purely on being passionate about a product, rather than the commercial value of the review.

                                I have now submitted 2 reviews for level 1 products. I'll admit they are not my best work, but I am desperate for something from Amazon and actually the miles do increase much faster with higher payment and higher rate value. However, they are useful to consumers, they are written from my own experience with the product and I had something important to convey in each case. I have never written a review on a can of coke (still slurping I hope) because I would have felt a bit of a fraud and embarrassed to publish. I still feel guilty about my new level 1 reviews, but I'd have to write twice as many mascara (my fave subject) reviews to earn a similar amount.

                                Can dooyoo please tell us how many miles have been awarded for each review? This way we could easily monitor our most profitable reviews and adjust our accordingly.

                                Why didn't they even send us all an email? I don't check the home page everyday and only found out about the change through someone else's 'about me'.

                                I have never had a problem with churners, they keep the miles topped up. Can an essentially commercial site really be uppity about the reviewers being commercially minded. No, dooyoo are not uppity about that, but it seems some reviewers are.

                                We all have our favourite writers and keep going back for more. Sometimes it is refreshing to read a concise straightforward review rather than a load of stuff about my mum. Mum chat can't be very useful to 'outsiders'. Let's not talk about getting rid of anyone, or feeling like they are getting a better deal than you. We all have something we could review in level 1 and just because it doesn't deserve a crown, it doesn't mean it's not actually very useful to a reader actually making a purchase. That is one of the reasons we're here.

                                p.s Sorry this is a bit clunky... straight out the melting pot.

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