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    • Indesit WIXE167 / Washing Machine / 138 Readings / 130 Ratings
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      01.04.2009 23:33
      Very helpful



      Time to upgrade that old washing machine!

      ==Indesit WIXE167 1600rpm washing machine==

      A few months ago my kitchen flooded...at first I thought my freezer had somehow defrosted itself, and then looked at my kitchen sink and washing machine and was shocked at the mucky looking water that had filled them both. I emptied the sink with the help of a jug and a large bucket, and then pressed the empty button on my washing machine, only for the water to start gurgling up through the sink again...and it really was stinking...almost sewage smell! Not good. So I mopped up my floor and used about 4 old towels soaking up the water too.

      So the next step was to try source the blockage, I remembered about 6 months previously my washing machine hadn't been working too well, and a neighbour popped in, pulled out the filter, cleaned it and replaced it....and the machine went like new again, so I thought I would try this. Big mistake! I turned the filter cover...and it basically shot across the room with the force of the water behind it...and yes, you guessed it, the floor was soaked again and yes I did a lot of swearing that morning (thank heavens the kids were staying over with their dad) I couldn't replace the filter cover it just wouldn't go back in, it slotted in but wasn't catching on anything so was pretty useless.

      Anyway as with all things that go wrong, it just happened to be a Sunday morning, and there was me with a slight hangover, and I had to call an emergency plumber who eventually turned up at 4pm that afternoon. Said plumber said the problem wasn't with my machine or my sink but with a main pipe outside which couldn't be sorted until the next day (which turned into late Tuesday afternoon) All this time I couldn't use washing machine as every time I turned it on, water would spew out the filter. And even when the blockage eventually got fixed the leaking problem still occurred...I thought it was finally time to replace my old faithful 8yr old machine!

      So online I went, read a few product reviews, decided I definitely wanted a white washing machine as everything else is white in my kitchen, I checked out a few websites and decided upon the Indesit WIXE 167 front loading washing machine. I had decided upon buying from Curry's as they were selling it for £249 + an £8 installation and collection service, which means they will collect your old machine and take away any packaging too (Free delivery for orders over £150) I chose to buy it in store rather than online though as I do prefer talking face to face with someone when making a large purchase, they did try to charge me a further £20 for delivery though but after haggling with the salesman got the free delivery. I notice now that Curry's online have this machine at £279.99 so I bought at the right time. Worth shopping around for though as you may find it cheaper elsewhere.

      What initially drew me to this machine was the LCD digital display which tells you how long is left to go on your cycle. My old machine wasn't half as clever as this.
      There are 12 different named cycles which are all quite well explained in the manual, although I don't use them all.

      1. White pre-wash @ 90 degrees this takes approximately 2hrs and 35mins. Never used in my house.
      2. White cotton @ 90 degrees takes approximately 2hrs and 30mins, again never used.
      3. Colour cotton @ 40 degrees takes approximately 1hr and 25mins. I only used this setting once and found the quick wash function performed just as well in half the time!
      4. Easy care @ 50 degrees this one takes about 1hr and 12mins.I use this setting occasionally when washing my duvet cover which has embellishments on it.
      5. Wool @ 40 degrees This is only a 50mins cycle, it does a good job of keeping woollen items fresh and clean without spinning too much so that they keep their shape.
      6. Silk/curtains @ 30 degrees. I use this one for some delicates. It takes about 45mins to complete the cycle and I haven't had any problems with clothes or delicates being ruined.

      ==Time 4 You==
      7. Flash clean. This setting takes an hour to complete the cycle, it cleans clothes well and I think it is set to 40 degrees as standard. Perfect for getting whites nice and clean. I use this regularly.
      8. Flash colours. This one takes only 50mins and is the one I use on a regular basis for cleaning my dark clothes and bright colours.
      9. Flash nylon. 40mins is all it takes for this quick wash, cleans nylons well, but is one I rarely use to be honest.
      10. Daily. My most used wash, ideal for washing through school uniforms, work clothes on a daily basis. It only takes 30mins so is economic as well; it uses less water and less electricity so is the one I will choose most of the time. My clothes come out nice and fresh and clean, although it doesn't do well with stains, unless I pre-treat them. I think this is also a 30 degrees temperature too.

      11. Special Shoes. A 50mins cycle especially designed for popping stinky old trainers in for a wash. I use this on a regular basis with two mucky children to contend with. The trainers generally come out a good bit cleaner than when they went in, I usually scrape off any excess muck before putting them in though, and I don't want to clog up my machine!
      12. Special Sport - 1hr cycle, designed for sportswear, ideal for getting sweaty gym, football kits clean.

      There is the usual rinse, spin and drain buttons if you require an extra rinse at the end and then you just press the spin and drain to empty the machine again.
      On top of all this it also has an easy iron function which when pressed will spin gently for a few minutes every 10-15mins or so which enables the clothes to move around reducing the likelihood of creasing.
      It also has an extra rinse button that you can press which adds the extra rinse on automatically, I've never felt the need to use this button though so cannot really comment on it. There is also a stain removal button which when pressed will enable you to add your stain removal detergent to the first drawer, again not something I use as I usually pre-treat stains or add my detergent along with my usual powder in the middle drawer.

      There is an innovative memory inside which allows you to programme your machine to your own specifications, perhaps there's a temperature you want to use most often, and have your machine spin at certain intervals throughout the wash, you can also set the timer for your machine to come on at a certain time if you should wish to do so. I haven't felt the need as yet to use this function as the settings already included are enough for what I need. The timer button could prove invaluable though but I have to stress it's not advised to have your washing machine turned on when your in bed or not home, if you've seen the advertisement about the fire you'd see why. I generally do my washings after 6pm as it's cheaper rate then, and then it's all washed ready to be hung on the line in the morning or popped into the tumble dryer.

      The machine is extremely simple to use, press the on button - a large oval button above the dial, which looks like it has a picture of an eye on it...turn the dial to the required wash, (paying attention to the wash instructions on your labels of course....again something I learnt to guess most of the time lol) and press the button at the left side of the dial to start the cycle. A red light comes on in the LCD display to let you know there's a cycle running, this light stays lit until it is safe to open the washing machine door. So no need for guessing the 2mins is up! Like with most machines it has a 2min delay and the door won't open until the time is up. The digital display will count down in minutes how long is left to go of the cycle, the only problem I've had with this is that when you get down to the last minute, it seems to take at least another 5mins to actually stop! Small grumble but it's a pain in the behind all the same.

      I've had my machine now about 6 months and it has performed well on every wash, it's not as noisy as my old machine, especially in full spin. You can hear it from the living room, next door but it doesn't rattle. One other grumble is that there isn't an option for a half load which means I usually wait until I have a full load to save on electricity. I had the half load function on my old machine which was great for washing through my work clothes.

      ==Cleaning the machine==
      To clean it I simply run a damp cloth over the top and front to remove any marks etc, and I take the drawer on the front out once a week to remove any clogged powder. I simply run this under the hot water tap in my sink for a few minutes, and then using a wet cloth clean the area where the drawer goes, removing any clogged powder from there too...I usually use a small jug and run some hot water down the channel to make sure it is cleaning inside too. then simply press the empty machine button to ensure it is completely empty again. A damp cloth wipe inside the drum after every wash ensures no build up too. I use a calgon tablet once a month to keep the inside of my machine nice and clean too.

      * Wash load capacity - 6kg
      * Ratings - A Energy A Wash A Spin
      * Wash controls - Variable spin & temperature
      * Dimensions - H:850mm W:595mm D:535mm
      * Time to end of programme
      * 53 litre water consumption - 46 litre drum
      * Energy consumption - 0.95 kwh (the lower this number is the less electricity it uses)
      * 1600rpm - the higher this number the faster the speed, which means less drying time.
      The door hinge is to the left and is quite a large door. With the 6kg load capacity you're going to need a big space for your load to go in. I can easily fit a single duvet in the machine and even my summer double duvet too. Although I think I would struggle to get a winter double duvet in it. It may fit but wouldn't have much room for spinning etc.
      I can't comment on how easy this was to fit as my delivery driver connected mine and took my old one away but it does use cold water to fill it as does all new machines nowadays so I believe.

      All in all this is a nice looking machine in a crisp bright white colour which does a great job of keeping my clothes fresh and clean, and isn't too noisy. It's not quite all singing all dancing but compared to my last machine is a definitely a tad more entertaining. I love the time to end feature especially, all machines should have this! Shame it doesn't have the half load or even a handwash function but apart from that I've really no complaints.
      I got a good deal as it was £30 cheaper than it is now, plus it's always worth haggling with these big stores to get a reduction, or a freebie. They want your business, especially at the moment with the credit crunch...now is probably the best time to get the price you want to pay on household goods.

      I hope this review has been of some help. Apologies that it doesn't contain loads of technical stuff but I am a normal user and giving an honest opinion on how this machine works for me personally.

      Thanks for reading
      Michelle April09
      also appearing on other review sites under same name.


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      • More +
        27.03.2009 21:47
        Very helpful



        Loses a star for having 1 year shelf life,

        ~~~Why I bought the kit~~~

        A couple of weeks ago, during a spate of really cold weather and living in a house which gets freezing cold at night with heating costs phenomenally high, I decided to use a hot water bottle in my bed to warm my little tootsies as I hate my feet being cold. I use my bottle most nights throughout winter and generally fill it using my kettle (after letting it cool substantially) my children have hot water bottle covers, nice fluffy ones! But the cover I have was in the washing as I accidentally dropped it into the sink when emptying the bottle the previous night. I decided to go ahead and use the hot water bottle without the cover, and as I was wearing woolly socks and long pyjamas thought no harm could be done anyway. (conjuring up that very sexy image there lol - and I wonder why I'm single!)

        So I poured the water into a plastic jug before pouring into my bottle and secured the cap in place and hugged the bottle, nice and hot - perhaps a little too hot at the top but it usually cools pretty quickly anyway so didn't let that bother me. Off to brush my teeth and then hop into bed all nice and cosy.

        Fast forward 7 hours until morning and I get up after hitting the snooze button several times (little blighter) groaning I make my way to the bathroom, strip off and jump under the shower. As I quickly wash myself I notice a small red mark on my right leg...I think nothing more of it and get dried and dressed quickly so that I don't get chilled.

        That night when I go for my bath I pop my leg into the bath and almost howl at the instant pain I experience, at first I think the bath water must be too hot, but on closer inspection I notice that the small red mark on my leg from that morning has grown, it is very angry looking and is beginning to welt up. I realise then that I must have burnt it through the night on the hot water bottle (nothing else could explain it)

        Next morning I woke up, after a very troubled sleep, tossing and turning to avoid rubbing it against the duvet. I look down and realise the burn has erupted into a huge water blister, with a tiny little one beside it, the size of the blister was about the same size as a 20p although slightly more elongated and was about 3-4mm raised. I know that burns should be allowed to heal themselves so for the first few days I left it to try allow it to heal, and reduce itself. Knowing that blister fluid usually absorbs itself back into the body and to check for any green/yellow colour (surely a sign of infection) it stayed clear thankfully.
        The blister didn't change at all for about 5 days, and then I accidentally bumped it whilst playing with the children; it wasn't too painful at the time, but liquid started leaking out, which I knew if left uncovered could get infected. I only had normal plasters at home so left it that night, with just a touch of Savlon applied.

        Next morning I popped into Boots on my way to work, and asked the pharmacy assistant for some advice regarding keeping it clean and she recommended the faster healing burn plaster kit.

        ~~~The Kit~~~

        This is made specifically for burns; it contains 2 dressings and 3 plasters, and cost me around £3.50 so not cheap at all. The dressings and plasters are contained within a foil wrapper which keeps them sterile until you need to use them. You are advised to clean the affected area well with a mild antiseptic or water first and to make sure you completely dry the area before applying the dressing/plaster. The dressings are 44mm x 74mm and the plasters 25mm x 75mm wide so are big enough for most small minor burns. To use them is simple enough, simply remove plaster from wrapper and place centrally over area, and then remove the wing layer on top. The dressing and plaster itself is clear so makes it almost invisible so won't look too unsightly. They have a gel layer which makes them very comfortable and cushioned. It is also advised you change the dressing at least once per day.

        ~~~My thoughts on the kit~~~

        I used the 2 dressings over the 2 days and then on the 3rd day just used one of the plasters which was just a smaller version of the dressing. After that I felt the blister had subsided enough that I could allow the air to get at it to heal it naturally. I was left with a moist looking area, which was beginning to heal. No open sores or scabbing so far, so far the plasters had done what they promised.

        The plasters were easy to use, and smoothed out quite well, although some may find it a little difficult to get used to it initially, the plaster once pressed down smooth won't shift about, it stays where it is until you peel it off. I even had a bath wearing mine and it didn't fall off or start to peel at all. The gel layer is very cooling, and helped soothe the soreness initially, and the only time I felt any pain at all was when I bumped my leg on anything or rubbed against anything.

        My only bugbear with the plaster was when removing the final dressing, I kept it on from early Saturday night after my bath and didn't remove it until after my bath on Sunday night, the gel had begun to dry out just a little and a little bit of my skin (dead blister) stuck to the plaster...it wasn't that painful at the time but left my wound quite shiny and open (although no bleeding or weeping) I put one of the plasters on it to make sure it didn't bleed or anything overnight, and then removed it in the morning. I then left my burn uncovered for 2 whole days and it began to heal nicely, you could see that a thin layer of skin formed just over the burn, no pus or weeping or bleeding has occurred and as long as I was very careful it didn't hurt too much, any slight knocks or bumps to it were a little sore though. But the main plus point for me is that there was very little scabbing at all and even now a couple of weeks later it remains a purple colour with what looks like a small hole just under the skin!


        There are a few warnings on the packaging, these are:
        DO NOT use on wounds or burns that are infected or bleeding, you should check with pharmacist for treatment of these.
        DO NOT use if wrapper is damaged or the gel is dried out.
        DO NOT use after the sell by date which is displayed on the bottom of the pack (the sell by date on my box was Feb2010 - just under a year from when I bought it.

        You are also given some advice - if the wound becomes reddened or swollen or does not appear to heal you should seek medical advice. And for larger or more severe burns medical attention will be needed.
        Nowhere on the pack does it say what the gel is made from and I cannot find the little leaflet that came in the pack. But I had no adverse reactions to this at all, but if you are unsure or have had any reactions to similar products in past then I would personally advise you to ask the pharmacist before you buy.

        Despite the high price for what is essentially 5 plasters it is money well spent in my opinion, I don't know how the blister would have healed without them, as I have never had such a big blister before, but I have read horror stories in magazines and newspapers about people who have had to have limbs amputated after burns becoming infected! Scary thought indeed!
        So for me this product comes with a high recommendation but don't rush out to buy it for your first aid box, because of the 1 yr shelf life you may not get the use out of it before it goes out of date, only buy it when you need it.

        Thanks for reading
        Michelle Mar09.


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        • General / Discussion / 98 Readings / 88 Ratings
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          24.03.2009 22:07
          Very helpful



          Another little look at what makes me ME!

          I've just read one of these question and answer things and as I am trying to keep my mind occupied, for a little while thought I would do my own - so sit back, grab a coffee, and read some insanely inane questions and answers about lil old me!

          1. What is your middle name?
          I don't have a middle name, but always wanted something unusual like Sapphire or Chestnut, don't ask why just felt my name was always a bit boring!

          2. Fire or Central Heating?
          I do love a big rip roaring coal or log fire but sadly these are no longer a common occurrence as we usually all have central heating these days. I remember my mum and dad getting up at stupid o'clock in the morning to lay the coal fire but how great it was to wake up and have that warmth.

          3. What are you listening to right now?
          I have the TV on in the background, not really listening though, it's turned down a bit low as my daughter is in bed asleep and son is not feeling great as he was at dentist today and had to have a tooth extracted...he's just laying on sofa watching Disney Channel.

          4. Clubbing or Romantic Meal?
          Would much rather share a romantic meal nowadays than go clubbing, just need to find the person to go on the meal with first though. Still like going out with the girls too though but only once every couple of months or so these days.

          5. What was the last thing you ate?
          Spaghetti Bolognaise... I used Quorn mince as it is so much more healthy for you than regular meaty mince....and to be honest neither my daughter or I really noticed the difference!

          6. Last person you hugged?
          My son. Poor lamb was sobbing as the evil dentist lady was pulling his tooth out this afternoon...he needed a huge cuddle afterwards.

          7. How is the weather right now?
          Bloody miserable. Rained all day, typical on my day off work really! Grrrrrrrr

          8. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
          My mum, she called to find out how my son was feeling, and also to find out arrangements for picking kids up from school tomorrow as I am back at work.

          9. The first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
          I tend to notice eyes and smile first...I love when a guys smile reaches his eyes - more so if those eyes are gorgeous lol.

          10. Favourite type of Food?
          Definitely Italian! I love pasta in all shapes and sizes, from Spag Bol to Lasagne, Pizza too....just a shame my waistline doesn't like it as much as I do!!

          11. Do you want children?
          I already have two of the little cherubs, Sometimes I think I would like another child but then one of my mites does something to change my mind like draw all over my newly decorated walls! I was advised against having any more by my doctor after complications during my daughter's birth...so going to have to say no to this one...No more that is!

          12. Hair colour?
          Originally a mousy brown colour, but have golden blonde and dark blonde highlights in at moment...and will be getting more in a few weeks time, I like to lighten up for summer time and darken back down in the winter...does anyone else change their hair colours with the seasons?

          13. Do you wear contacts?
          I do, I have four pairs of glasses, all totally different from each other and wear contact lenses too. I'm quite short sighted so have to wear my glasses or contacts all the time. Thankfully I work in an opticians so get good discounts (depending on boss mood lol)

          14. Favourite holiday?
          I have to say my favourite holiday so far was back in 1995, my first holiday abroad to Corfu. My best friend and I stayed in the resort of Benitses, and partied for 2 whole weeks, I don't think I was sober for the fortnight lol....those were the days eh? My holiday to Fuerteventura last year with both my children was a little more stressful as I was there on my own with two kids...but still enjoyed it...going away this year again to Menorca just the three of us again too...so couldn't have been that bad!

          15. Favourite Season?
          Definitely summer. I hate being cold and miserable in wintertime, Autumn just reminds me winters coming and Spring's still rather cold.

          16. Have you ever cried over a love lost?
          Of course, most women have at some point, and men too if they're perfectly honest with themselves...It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. 

          17. Last Movie you watched?
          I watched Pretty Woman last night. One of my favourite films, I just love the fantasy of finding my Knight in shining armour to come and rescue me from my everyday life.

          18. What books are you reading?
          I am reading Torey Hayden's - Sunflower Forest. Was a bit slow to begin with but is turning out to be quite a good read so far...might even tell you all about it when I have finished it.

          19. Piercing?
          Just got my ears pierced once. I did get them done a second time a few years ago but they got infected and so I let them heal over.

          20. Favourite Movie?
          I have lots of favourite movies, Pretty Woman which I mentioned before is one of them, but also love Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile, Braveheart to name but a few.

          21. Favourite Sports Team?
          I'm not really into any sports at all, so I am going to cheat a little on this one and say that my favourite team is my son's football team...which of course I am not going to tell you the name of here.

          22. What were you doing before filling this out?
          Eating a late dinner, had to make it later this evening as son wasn't able to eat earlier due to a numb mouth from dentist!

          23. Favourite animal?
          I love Tigers. gorgeous, graceful elegant creatures! I also love Elephants...strange looking up close but there is something so beautiful about them.

          24. Favourite drink?
          Alcoholic drink = White or Rose wine, preferably a Julio Gallo or Blossom Hill one.
          Soft drink = Diet coke unless I have a hangover, if that's the case then it has to be a glass bottle of Irn Bru!

          25. Favourite flower?
          I absolutely love Lilies, The oriental Stargazer lilies are my favourite but also love yellow, orange or white ones too. I love Chrysanthemums too. Roses are ok, but not a big fan of red roses....I know I'm a strange woman.

          26. Have you ever loved someone?
          Yes..I've loved many people in my life...I assume this question should have read "have you ever been in love with someone?"
          The answer to that one is also yes...

          27. Who would you like to see right now?
          No one in particular to be honest.

          28. What colour are your bedroom walls?
          I painted my bedroom a couple of months ago...one wall is a duck egg blue colour...the other walls are (top half cream - bottom half taupe) sounds strange but does work rather well together with my bedlinen and curtains.

          29. Have you ever fired a gun?
          Just a water gun! I would never want to fire a real gun.

          30. Do you like to travel by plane?
          I don't mind it. The only thing I hate is how cramped it can get.

          31. Right-handed or Left-handed?
          Right handed. I tried writing with my left for a while but couldn't read my own writing.

          32. If you could go to any place right now where would you go?
          Anywhere hot and sunny...this constant miserable weather is really depressing! My day off last week it was raining, then it was bright and sunny but cold the rest of the week...then on Sunday my day off again...it rained, as it did today too....grrrr again!

          33. Are you missing someone?
          No. no one to miss at the moment.

          34. Do you have tattoo?
          Yes, I have a Betty Boop tattoo on my right shoulder blade. I have had it since 1995 and it is faded quite a bit and could probably do with a re-colour but I just never got round to it.

          35. Do you still watch cartoons on Saturday mornings?
          Unfortunately not, I am usually at work on a Saturday morning. On the rare occasion when I'm off I will have a bit of a lie in, or will be off out spending quality time with my children.

          36. Are you hiding something from someone right now?
          I guess I am a little but don't want to go into it here.

          37. Are you 18?
          I used to be!

          38. What is the wallpaper on your cell phone?
          A photograph of my children dressed up for comic relief. Both sporting red curly wigs and red clothes for charity fund raising day at school. They managed to raise over £1000.

          39. Are you afraid of the dark?
          No. not if I'm at home. I hate being out alone after dark though. I am scared of my own shadow lol

          40. Favourite Hangout?
          My bedroom - especially on a Sunday morning when I don't need to get up for work!

          41. Three things you can't live without?
          My children - technically two but can't have one without the other...
          My Mum - enough said!
          My books - I love reading and would be lost without a book at bedtime.

          42. Favourite songs?
          This is a difficult one. I find my favourite songs change all the time, depending upon the mood I'm in. But the one which reminds me of my dad is "you are my sunshine" a song he used to sing to my sisters and I all the time when we were little. My dad passed away in 1991.

          43. What are you afraid of?
          I have a fear of deep water. I fell in a swimming pool when I was a little girl, and ever since then have had a deep rooted fear of being in water that I can not stand up in. This has resulted in me having a recurrent nightmare about being on a boat, and leaning over in time to see one of my children fall overboard and not being able to jump in to save them...I can never tell which child it is that has fallen but it scares the bejasus out of me every time.

          44. Are you a giver or a taker?
          I believe we are all both. We cannot truly and honestly say we are one or the other all of the time!

          46. What is your dad's middle name?
          Peter. Same as my son's middle name.

          47. What do you sleep in?
          A bed usually! Lol ...... wintertime will usually wear Pyjamas ad big socks, and summer a long tshirt. Or short jammies...

          48. Stuck on a deserted island, and can only bring one thing?
          My PC with internet connection LOL

          49. Favourite TV commercial?
          I loved the dairy milk ad with the gorilla and drums...

          50. First thing you'll save in a fire?
          My children...closely followed by the back up disc from my PC as it contains all of my cherished photographs.

          51. What is your favourite colour?

          52. What are the things you always bring with you?
          My glasses
          My mobile phone
          My watch
          My purse
          My keys

          53. What did you want to be when you were a kid?
          I always wanted to be a nurse until I discovered I really couldn't stomach the sight of blood! I then wanted to be a teacher and to some extent still would like this...although preferably pre school.

          54. What do you do when the alarm turns on?
          hit the snooze button a million times!

          55. What colour is your bed sheet?
          Taupe to match my walls and curtains.

          56. Who do you want to meet?
          Mel Gibson, Richard Gere, George Clooney.

          57. What do you think about before you go to bed?
          It's usually at this time that I have motors running in my head...I generally can't sleep because I'm worrying/stressing about one thing or another, be it something I've forgotten to do or something I have to do next day....I am one of life's worriers!


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          • More +
            22.03.2009 18:50
            Very helpful



            A great first kids joke book. For the little comedian in your life,

            Anyone who has children knows what disgusting creatures they can be at times. Dirty Bertie is no exception! Bertie is a boy who picks his nose, picks up sweets that have dropped to the ground and eats them, he also makes a lot of nasty smells (bottom burps) sound familiar anyone?

            I can totally relate to this book as it describes most children at one time or another and none more so than my own son, who naturally thinks this book is hilarious as he used to with all of the other Dirty Bertie books he read when he was younger, he's now 10.

            This book is a compilation of jokes featuring Dirty Bertie and other characters that appear in the series of books written by David Roberts with the help of Alan McDonald. The book is compiled by Amanda Li.
            David Roberts is the author/illustrator, born in Liverpool but now living in London. He wasn't always an author/illustrator though, he started off in fashion design, working as a fashion illustrator in Hong Kong before moving back to England as a couture milliner, and is now a full time illustrator. To date he has 30 children's books under his belt.

            The book itself is broken down into chapters,
            *Stinky Stuff!
            *My Pet Whiffer! (Whiffer is his dog)
            *School and Stuff!
            *Mind your Manners!
            *Creepy Crawlies!
            *Everything you need to Nose!
            *What a Load of Rubbish!
            *My Family!

            I can't resist giving you a "phew" tasters of some of the jokes to be found in this book...and I dare you not to chuckle at some.

            "Why did the toilet paper roll down the hill?
            ......To get to the bottom!" (groan)

            "How do you stop Whiffer (the dog) from breaking wind in the back seat?
            ......Put him in the front seat!"

            "BERTIE - Miss, would you punish someone for something they haven't done?
            MISS BOOT (teacher) - Of course not!
            BERTIE - Oh good, I haven't done my homework!"

            "What happened when Bertie burped in front of the Queen?
            ......She gave him a Royal pardon!"

            "DAD - Bertie! Stop picking bogeys and putting them in your mouth!
            BERTIE - Well you told me to eat my greens!"

            That's just a small taster of the jokes in the book, your children of all ages will love this book....although sweet little clean children will probably find it obnoxious, unfunny and rude....if they do, please feel free to swap children with me! The recommended age for this book is between 6-8yrs old, but my own children have been fans of Dirty Bertie for a few years and my son is 10yrs old and is only now showing signs of not finding the jokes as funny anymore but that may just be down to the fact that he's heard them millions of times...my 8yr old daughter though still laughs at her "own" jokes, and regularly quotes them. This is also a cue in our house for the pair of them to try outdo each other at making up their own jokes...(all very unfunny and nonsense but mummy has to laugh along and pretend they're the funniest she's ever heard!)
            Personally I am hopeless at telling jokes as I always forget the punchlines!

            The book is well set out because of the chapters, it is easy to sit and read it all in one sitting, but most children will probably refer back to it time and time again to refresh their memory of the jokes. The illustrations are great, simple pencil line drawings of Bertie and friends, and the jokes are paragraphed for easy reference, some in boxes or speech bubbles, so no two pages look alike. There's a page at the back where you can write your own jokes although I discouraged my children from doing this as I don't like them drawing on books.

            This book was published in 2007, by Stripes publishing and has 80 pages. It is paperback and the recommended price is £3.99 which is what my son paid for this at his school book fayre which comes around every year. It's currently £3.79 for a new copy from Amazon, but they also have used copy's on the marketplace for as little as 59p. It is definitely worth shopping around for, to get the best deal.

            All in all I would recommend this book for all children under 10yrs old. Under 5yr olds may not "get" all of the jokes, but there are still some they will laugh at.

            Other Dirty Bertie books in the series.
            *My Book of Stuff

            Thank you for reading
            Michelle Mar09


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            • More +
              19.03.2009 19:58
              Very helpful



              A gorgeous retro handwash that will look great in your guestroom/bathroom.

              Whilst out doing some last minute Christmas shopping at Boots, with the intention of buying a gift for a friend who I'd almost forgotten about, and an extra little thing for my mum...whom I always get a little something for her bathroom. And being the thrifty person I am, decided upon getting a few things from the 3 for 2 gifts range. One of my work colleagues has been using Soap & Glory products for some time and had been going on about them just the day before, so I spotted this hand wash and hand cream(previously reviewed) gift set for just £8 - having just purchased a No7 make up set for £10 and a lovely toiletry set for my mum for £8.50...this looked like the ideal freebie for me.
              Now you may think that £4 each is pretty expensive for a hand wash and hand cream, but it really looks very posh sitting on your bathroom shelf. Now Boots usually sell these items separately and I couldn't see it online at all...so am assuming it was only available as a gift set because of Christmas. You may still find it in some stores as a gift set but as it available separately I am going to review each one on its own.

              ~~~Wash your hands of it~~~
              The hand wash aptly named "Wash your hands of it" can be purchased in a 250ml (8.4 fl oz) pump action bottle, made of recyclable plastic. The bottle itself is clear so you can see exactly how much is left and also the lovely transparent pale pink liquid gel wash inside.

              Normally labels don't hold much interest for me but I really love the label on this as it just makes you want to pick it up and have a closer inspection. There is a black and white photograph of a woman, Very retro!

              Statement on the back - "At Soap & Glory, we believe that one should, whenever necessary, lend someone a helping hand cream. After all, there's a lot of dry skin out there, just begging for some relief."
              I love this statement...definitely none of your usual "will work wonders" droll

              "Wash your hands of it" was safety/efficacy tested in the UK on people who had an overwhelming urge to take matters into their own hands - before rinsing well and applying a little moisture lotion. - Again superb!
              Now I know you probably all know how to use hand wash so I won't bore you with a lecture on how to wash your hands...needless to say you pump the bottle add water and lather up....no more no less! Easy as pie.

              ~~~The trial~~~

              One pump of the bottle gives enough hand wash each time, the smell is very light and floral so perhaps not one for the boys. The floral smell comes from the lime tree blossom which it contains - apparently quite a soothing ingredient, couple that together with shea butter and you get the idea of a very softening wash. It also has built in skin conditioners. The actual ingredients list is very difficult to read and I had to use a bright light to see them. I'm definitely not going to list them here as it would take forever and to be honest I don't see the point of giving a complete ingredient listing, as the information can be found if the product appeals to you...it does however contain glycerine which I know some people may have problems with.
              After rinsing the wash from my hands I am left with soft feeling hands, no tightness at all, and definitely no residue. My hands smell fresh and clean and the smell lingers a little while too...but not too much so that it interferes with my perfume. It does recommend that you follow it up with a hand cream (obviously preferably their own) but I have washed my hands countless times without using the hand cream and not noticed any dry skin (My job involves washing my hands about a hundred times a day - well that may be a slight exaggeration but you get the picture) I do occasionally suffer as a result from dry chapped skin on my hands and especially around the knuckle area...and even at its worst this wash doesn't irritate it in any way. In fact it does go some way to soothing it, and that in itself does aid the healing process.

              Using the handwash is simple too, simply twist the top of the pump action quarter way and pump a couple of times initiall to enable the liquid to flow, then it usually only takes one pump each time to administer enough to wash hands with. You can lock it again to prevent little ones accidentally spilling it. One thing I usually hate with some pump action dispensers is that once you have finished they sometimes leak a little, with the gel rolling down the side and making the bottle sticky, this doesn't happen with this bottle.

              It's available from Boots priced at £4.40 for the bottle it may be quite a lot more than you'd normally pay for a hand wash. But I would say it is worth it, I fully intend on buying another when mines runs out. My kids have a bottle of cheaper hand wash set aside for them to use so that only mummy and guests use this one. At the moment Boots have all their Soap & Glory range reduced by 1/3rd.

              I have been using mine regularly and still have loads left so it should last some time. I don't use it at work as we have to use an antibacterial hand wash there, which is also quite drying - Hence my need for something a little more luxurious when I come home.

              All in all a really nice product and one I can wholly recommend to anyone who suffers from dry skin, or likes light floral fragrances. Ideal as guest soap too...your guests will be most impressed!

              Thank you for reading
              Michelle Mar09
              also appears on other review sites.


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              • More +
                17.03.2009 14:22
                Very helpful



                My daughter becomes Teen Pop Sensation Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus

                For the best part of a year now my daughter has been a big fan of teenage sensation Hannah Montana, brought on by the Disney Channel TV teenage sitcom of the same name. If you haven't heard of her? where have you been?

                Hannah Montana is the stage name of Miley Cyrus non other than the daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus (who remembers "Achy Breaky Heart?")
                In the show she plays a teenager who goes to school like any other girl of her age, this is Miley as Miley Cyrus, the brunette who lives with her brother Jackson and father Billy Ray, her two best friends are Lily and Oliver. Then she dons a blonde wig and suddenly she's Hannah Montana teen pop queen! Lily becomes Lola with a short bobbed wig (multiple bright colours, and Billy Ray becomes her manager with a dodgy pornstar looking moustache! Now we can see why little girls would love this programme. All you have to do to become someone else is throw on a wig and glitzy clothes and BAM you've got the best of both worlds!!!

                So for Halloween last year my daughter decided she wanted to dress up as Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus, not content with being one or the other she wanted it all!
                So off I went in search of an outfit which wouldn't cost the earth, and that we could get good use out of, and found myself in Tesco, in the toys aisle, where I spied a large flattish cardboard box in purple shades with photos of Hannah/Miley emblazoned on the front and back, and two wigs, one blonde and straight, the other brunette and wavy. Perfect! Not only had I got the wigs but they were also reduced from £20 to just £10 at the time too. Bargain! At the time of this review however Tesco direct say this set is discontinued, but Amazon have a similar one, and I'm sure you would still find some on Ebay and in some Tesco stores.

                The wigs are made from synthetic fibres, probably nylon? (I have since got rid of the box and so can't say for sure) and so tend to get quite tangled up if left lying around. A pain in the rear, but the tangles can be combed out a little, although do take care if doing this as you will remove a fair bit of the "hair" as you do it. I tend to leave both wigs sitting on top of porcelain dolls heads for storage, if they get a bit dusty I just give them a little shake.
                The wigs are quite well made apart from the problems mentioned and have a net inserted for easy wearing and don't feel at all uncomfortable when wearing either, no itchiness and only minimum sweating. They are just big enough for an adult head but are more suited for a child from about the age of 5-6 upwards. The wigs are quite long so please do make sure your child doesn't go near heaters, fires etc when wearing as it could be dangerous if it caught fire.

                My daughter gets loads of play from these wigs as either Hannah or Miley but they can even be used in role play as anyone else they wanted to be. Let them use their imaginations. My daughter also used her pocket money to buy the microphone and I managed to buy clothes which she could wear again to parties, which would be suitable for the fancy dress party she was going to. It's a shame Dooyoo don't allow you to upload photos as I have a few showing both my daughter and I wearing the wigs and a sneaky one of my son wearing the "Hannah" one...he'll kill me if he sees it online though haha.
                Anyone interested in seeing the pics send me a message and I'll send a link.

                Thank you for reading
                Michelle March09
                Also appears elsewhere on the net!


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                • More +
                  15.03.2009 21:45
                  Very helpful



                  A lovely hand cream in a retro design bottle.

                  Land of Soap and Glory...someone's taking a bath, who's that looking through the window....trying not to laugh.<<sing to the tune of hope and glory....

                  Whilst shopping for some gifts in Boots for Christmas last year I purchased a special offer gift set of the Soap & Glory hand wash and this hand cream for a nice price of £8 but for me was even better...as it was FREE. Bought as part of a 3 for 2 on all gifts at Boots just before Christmas. The products however are usually only available separately so that is the reason I am choosing to review them separately The hand wash is normally £4.40 for 250ml pump bottle. The hand cream as far as I can see on Boots website is only available separately in a pink tube container in either 50ml or 125ml £1.96 and £4.39 respectively. So my large 250ml pump action bottle was a huge bargain as well so it seems. At the moment there is no 3 for 2 on them but they do have a 1/3 off most of their Soap & Glory products. Worth having a look.

                  ~~~Hand Food~~~


                  "The most astonishing hand cream ever? You Decide!"

                  This is the opening statement on the front of my bottle...I did prefer the labelling on my hand wash to be honest. That was something out of a 50s TV advertisement. Even then it is interesting to pick up the bottle and read what it has to say.
                  It claims to be silky soft with a non greasy hydrating formula. It contains Shea butter (very moisturising) Macadamia oil and marshmallow extract. I love that! It sounds like it should be a topping for a hot chocolate drink! LOL
                  Turning the bottle around it says
                  "What to dew?" and then goes on to explain how to use, basically apply as often as you like to soften, smooth and soothe dry skin. It does give a warning not to use on irritated or broken/damaged skin and the usual keep away from eyes. Although to be honest this hasn't irritated my skin at all, and I do get occasional chapped skin on my knuckles due to having to wash my hands constantly throughout the day at work. (using antibacterial soaps)

                  "At Soap & Glory we believe that behind every woman there's a great manicure"
                  Got to love S&G's little anecdotes!

                  ~~~The trial~~~

                  Now as I mentioned my bottle is a 250ml pump action bottle, which you may find difficult to buy in the stores, although you can get the 125ml tubes no problem, and at the end of the day it's the contents which count.
                  One pump of the bottle(or small squirt of the tube) is more than enough each time you use it. It's a transparent clear bottle (although the tubes are pink and not transparent) so I can see through perfectly well to check how much is left. (I've loads left now and I've been using it since January) The cream itself is white and quite thick in consistency, which means a little does go a long way. Holding the bottle upside down the cream doesn't run at all. I'm sure though that when it starts running out I will be able to give the plastic bottle a good squeeze to get the dregs from the bottom.
                  My all important sniff test leaves me wanting to inhale more...Very similar light fragrance to the hand wash although not quite as floral. The website says "relish in the delightful aroma's of fresh bergamot, strawberries and mandarin, with floral and fruity midnotes, and musk, amber and warm vanilla" if you sniff closely you can almost detect all of these but I think the vanilla and the mandarin possibly come through more to me...although it is a very light aroma and by no means is strong enough to interfere with any perfume I'm wearing.
                  Upon rubbing the cream into my hands (remembering less is definitely more in this case) it does absorb in quite quickly...although for a few minutes afterwards my hands did feel just the teensiest bit greasy but after that initial few minutes it had sunk in completely and my skin just felt lovely and soft.
                  The packaging is of course recyclable.

                  Overall I would definitely recommend this product, it's not too expensive as a daily use hand cream and I have paid a lot more than this for hand creams in the past..some good some not so good. If you can, search in Boots for the duo pack that I got, as it is so much better value than buying seperately as you get a 250ml bottle of each...for £8 (possibly less in their sale) but you can buy the hand wash for £4 and a 125ml tube of hand cream for £4.40, But remember to watch out for special offers!

                  Thanks for reading
                  Michelle March09


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                  • Futura Airlines / Airline / 68 Readings / 68 Ratings
                    More +
                    19.09.2008 11:54
                    Very helpful



                    Overall good flight if a little cramped!

                    This year for my summer holiday I travelled to the gorgeous Island of Fuerteventura. I booked the holiday as a package deal with Thomas Cook and the flight which they offered me was with the company "Futura International Airline"

                    I am not going to give individual prices as more often than not this changes all the time, depending on how many are travelling etc. What I am going to describe is my experience flying with Futura.

                    As I booked with Thomas Cook, and it was an all inclusive package deal I didn't have a choice as to which airline I would be travelling with. I had never heard of Futura before, but then again I had never travelled to Spain.

                    On arrival at Glasgow airport (my chosen departure) We arrived about 2 and a half hours prior to our departure time, (really good flight times departing Glasgow at 4:40pm on a Wednesday, departing Fuerteventura at 9:30am on a Wednesday) The flight takes around 4-4:30 hrs to arrive at its destination.
                    Checking in was very quick and efficient, there wasn't a huge queue at first but more people did join after me, but it all went very smoothly. The staff at check-in were friendly and bid us a safe journey. After checking in, and getting our boarding passes etc, we made our way to have our lunch in the airport. Then we browsed some of the duty free shops...bought some drinks and snacks for the flight as we had declined to pay the meal surcharge.

                    Then we went through the search and my bag got searched...lovely! Only because my son's medication was in it though, which I had declared, they just wanted to check though so I didn't mind. Can never be too careful!
                    Soon we were sitting in the departure lounge awaiting our flight call, and it appeared on the board, telling us which gate to go to. So off we trotted to the gate. We had our passports and boarding passes checked and soon got on the plane, no one showed us to our seats, so we were left to try find them ourselves...ours being right at the back of the plane right next to the toilets....nice!
                    The seating arrangements were in the 3/3 formation...so quite a small plane really. I had expected the 2/3/2. Not to worry this meant that both my children and I were seated together and we had a window seat. It was my daughter's first time flying and she was very excited. Son pretended he wasn't excited at all, as he had flown a few times before but he couldn't hide his excitement very well as he talked non stop lol.

                    The staff on board the flight were all Spanish, or at very least definitely non British. It was sometimes difficult to understand some of them as it was obvious that their English wasn't perfect. But this didn't pose any real problems. They went through the usual safety procedures, then there was an announcement that passengers were asked not to eat any nuts aboard the flight as they had a passenger travelling today who was allergic (my son) and then the in-flight movie was announced. There were 2 TV screens on each side of the plane, one at front and one halfway. As we were sitting at the back the one half way was closest, and we could see it just fine, although my children did have to sit up on their knees to see it. The film shown on the way out was Alvin and the Chipmunks. We purchased 3 pairs of earphones for 2 euros each (why aren't these supplied free?) Once the movie was done we listened to some of the music channels.

                    There wasn't a lot of legroom where we were sitting and even for my 5'1" size I felt a bit cramped. My son and daughter were fine, and even had their small bags with their PSP and NDS at their feet most of the time. Also our seats didn't go back at all, possibly because we were sitting at the back...So very uncomfortable if you wanted to nap. No pillows or blankets were offered at any time and I didn't see anyone else get any. But then again it wasn't cold.
                    We opted out of meals but from what we could see, other people got the usual meat, potatoes and veg. and glass of fruit juice. The hostess came round a couple of times with snacks and drinks for purchasing and also came around about half hour before landing with duty free goods.
                    On the flight out I experienced no real problems apart from being a bit annoyed at people shoving past me to get in and out the toilets all the time. But to be fair this couldn't be helped as the aisles were fairly narrow.

                    On arrival at our destination, we were shown off the plane and into the airport bus to take us to the airport. We retrieved our suitcases...although it did take us some time, and my small suitcase was quite bashed, which I was very annoyed about as I had only just bought it. Whether this happened at Glasgow or on arrival I will never know. We then met our Thomas Cook rep who showed us where to get our bus.

                    Checking into Fuerteventura airport on the way home was pretty much the same as in Glasgow, no queue, quick efficient and friendly staff, with our rep helping out at the check in desk, My luggage was very slightly over the baggage allowance of 15kg per person, but it was overlooked...even though I had been told that they were extremely strict here about baggage weights. But to be fair it was only about a kilo in total over. (46kg for the 3 of us)

                    So we had another quick look at duty free, buying some snacks again for the flight and some breakfast as we hadn't had time for breakfast in the hotel.
                    We boarded the flight with no problems, managed to get through the search without being accosted this time, and only then did I look at my boarding passes, I thought we would have been sitting at the back of the plane again but this time we were seated a good few seats down and on the opposite side. This meant the TV screen was closer and we were a good bit away from the toilets. We re-used our earphones to save a few pounds. Soon meals were served and the hostess leaned over to make sure we were the passengers with the nut allergy...I informed her we were (my son is allergic to all nuts) and she handed me a specially prepared meal...I informed her that we hadn't paid for meals and she said don't worry we have extras. So we ended up getting free meals on the return...which was a nice touch. Albeit these meals were the usual meat, potato and veg micro-nuked rubbish that aeroplanes insist on serving.

                    My son asked the hostess for a coke when the trolley came around later, and I asked for a white coffee. We were ignored! The hostess walked right past us, and when I asked again a little more loudly in case she hadn't heard us, she gave us a look of total contempt! Not only was this very rude but it was very unprofessional. Maybe she was having an off day, but that's no excuse really in my book. We then waited a good 10 minutes at least before she came back and almost chucked a can of coke and plastic tumbler at my son, and thumped the coffee cup onto my tray which meant it splashed over me a bit. It was just as well it wasn't piping hot or I would have been burnt! I threw a look of total anger at her, but she just walked away oblivious to it. Nil points for her! The rest of the staff though couldn't be faulted in any way, one man in particular went out of his way to be friendly to people, asking if everything was ok now and again, chatting to children as they passed on way to toilet etc.
                    I can't recall what the in-flight movie was on the return flight as I was engrossed in the book I was reading, and my children were sleeping for most of it. But it couldn't have been that interesting or I would have watched it.
                    On arrival at Glasgow airport the staff thanked us for travelling with them, except the sulky one...whom I suspect had been reprimanded by someone as she looked positively fuming.
                    We got through customs with no problems and located our suitcases quickly and easily.

                    To sum up my travels with Futura I would say it went quite smoothly with no delays, and apart from one member of staff was quite a friendly flight both ways, with no real problems. The fact that my son's nut allergy was announced to the passengers was good, and that we got free meals on the return flight was an added bonus. The aisles were narrow and slightly cramped and seating wasn't that great either, although I am sure the seats at the front of the plane looked more spacious, I am sure that if you asked for more leg room at time of booking you would have got these seats. All in all I would choose to travel with Futura again, but just remember if you are tall or have long legs ask for more legroom or you'll end up feeling very uncomfortable!

                    Thanks for reading
                    Michelle (sept08)


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                    • More +
                      29.08.2008 19:43
                      Very helpful



                      If they improved the entertainment this would be an excellent place to stay

                      My summer holiday of 2008 was spent in Fuerteventura and my hotel of choice was the Hotel Costa Caleta. The hotel is also known by its former name Hotel Ocean Costa Caleta.

                      Address is
                      Av. Alcalde Juan Ramón Soto Morales
                      Caleta de Fuste
                      Fuerteventura Spain

                      I'm not sure if the hotel offers any car parking facilities as I hadn't needed any.

                      It's a 3 star rated hotel and is quite modern and situated quite centrally in the resort of Costa Caleta (or Caleta de Fuste, or Castillo as it is also known) Only a short 10-15 mins transfer time from the airport. It has over 300 rooms. It was built in 2005 so is still quite new. The hotel is only about 5-10 mins walk (it says 5km but seems far closer) from the beach and the shops and parks are all nearby too.
                      They do have internet facilities with 2 PC's in the lobby with pay to use internet, and also wireless connection in rooms for small charge as well.

                      I booked a 2 week all inclusive deal through Thomas Cook, for myself and my 2 children; I booked this in July 07 to leave at the end of June08. My complete holiday including flight and hotel cost me just over £1300. (I did manage to get it reduced from about £1500) Booking was simple and a Thomas Cook rep met me at the airport and arranged coach transfer to hotel. You can book this hotel alone (not part of a package) with various websites, always best to shop around for best deal as with any purchase online.

                      Checking in was quick and relatively easy, We arrived at the hotel around 10:45pm, to be met by the receptionist who took my passport, scanned it and asked me to sign a check in form, then he strapped our rather fetching luminous green all inclusive wristbands and advised us where our rooms were located, how to reach them and then said that because of the late hour the restaurant was closed but that a complimentary meal had been left out for us in the restaurant which was pointed out to us.
                      Now this was all very efficient but I had 2 young tired children in tow and had 3 suitcases and 3 flight bags to struggle with and had only been pointed in a general direction of our room....the receptionists English wasn't perfect so was a bit difficult to understand exactly what he said. So I wandered off in the general direction of where he pointed...to find myself in the middle of a busy bar. I went up to the bar to ask the barmaid where I could find my room...which she couldn't understand and she summoned another over to interpret. Not a good start, but eventually I was pointed towards the double door where I found an elevator which took me to my second floor room. I had been given 2 key card type keys which is the norm nowadays. The lighting is operated by leaving your key on the switch on the inside of the door...took me a few minutes to work this out of course, not being one who visits hotels on a regular basis.

                      My room
                      Now the room was on first appearance quite pleasant. Yes it was basic, with just one large double bed, with a basic checked bedspread, and nice clean white bed sheets. And one red easy chair....there was my first problem. I had 2 children with me and only one double bed. On closer inspection I noticed the chair actually converted to a pull out bed. Problem solved...daughter could share the double bed with me and son could have the chair bed. There were extra sheets and one extra pillow in the sliding mirrored double wardrobe. This was also where the digital safe was located. For a cost of 2 euros per day you can get a key from reception for this. (It is advisable you take advantage of the safe as if you lose any personal belongings your insurance may not pay out if you haven't) There was also plenty of hanging space in the wardrobes but more hangers would have been appreciated. The curtains in the room were great; they were heavy full length curtains which totally blocked out any sunlight...great first thing in the morning when you didn't want to be woken at the crack of dawn.
                      The en-suite bathroom was small but very clean. It was fully tiled with large light up mirror and a hairdryer included, and also a plug for shaver. The shower was over the bath with a plain white curtain which could have been better if I'm honest...it didn't reach the entire length of the bath and so the tiled floor did get wet every single time any of us showered which meant having to be extra careful when coming out of the shower...my daughter actually fell one time and hurt her bottom which bruised. I asked reception for a slip mat which they didn't have.
                      The shower itself was perfect though, with variable temperature control and also different settings so you could have a gentle pulse action or a full on blast shower.

                      There were 2 bedside cabinets with wall lamps above them; switches on both sides of the bed enabled each person to turn their own lamp on and off. A large dressing table with an equally large mirror at the foot of the bed meant I could sit on the bed getting ready instead of the chair provided.
                      Through the sliding patio door was our small balcony with a gorgeous pool view. There was a cheap white plastic table and 2 chairs. (Strange when the room was booked for 3 people) So I had to put the aforementioned dressing chair to use on the balcony or I would have had a fight on my hands.

                      There was a television on the wall socket, but to be honest we didn't even turn this on during our stay, we see enough TV at home. I refused to turn it on whilst we were away.

                      The best thing about the room was the air conditioning though. There were 3 settings for this...1, 2 and 3...with 3 being the coolest (and slightly noisier than the first one) The A/C worked again by inserting the key in the switch at the door, and then turning it on. If you opened the patio doors at all then it would switch itself off...which was a gentle reminder not to leave doors open at night.

                      The only downside to our room was no kettle or tea making facilities, which was a bit disappointing as I like to have a coffee first thing in the morning as I'm getting dressed and I had to wait till I went down to breakfast for it.

                      Service and cleanliness
                      I was definitely pleased with the levels of cleanliness throughout the hotel during my entire stay. The maids were seen cleaning outdoor areas throughout the day; rooms were cleaned daily, with fresh bed linen as and when needed (which was usually daily or every other day) and fresh towels daily. Our maid didn't speak any English but was very friendly and sweet.
                      The pool areas and bars, restaurant always appeared to be exceptionally clean and the toilets were also immaculate and always stocked with soap and toilet paper. 10 out of 10 for cleanliness!

                      The Restaurant
                      Now as I mentioned before, the receptionist mentioned a light meal had been left for us, so hungry as mules after the flight we made our way back downstairs to the bar and to the side of the bar where the restaurant was located, we noticed a few tables set out with bottles of water and covered plates. We sat down at one of them and uncovered our plates to find some meats, cheeses and there was also a basket of bread to choose from. Just what we needed to be fair, anything heavier at that time of night would have given us indigestion. Although my son didn't like the meat or cheeses...he ate a few bread rolls.

                      We went back to our rooms and saw an introduction to the hotel on the bedside table which told us times of meals, and some other useful information (i.e. safe hire, towel hire etc)

                      Breakfast was served between 8-10am every morning and as it was an all-inclusive hotel mostly it was all buffet style meals. Breakfast had all the usual, eggs, bacon, sausages etc as well as various pastries - croissants also cereals and fruits, plenty to choose from. There were also two toasters and a microwave for guests to use. At breakfast time you could use the tea, coffee, hot chocolate machine, and also the fruit juice dispenser machine. But at other times of the day this was covered over. There was always a plentiful supply of various breads.

                      Lunch was available between 12noon and 2pm and again was a buffet, there was always soup, a salad bar (which looked pretty fresh most of the time and was always filled up pretty quickly) various pasta or rice dishes were also available as well as meat dishes, and always seafood dishes. Desserts were always available at lunch and dinner and consisted of fruits, ice creams, various sweets, pastries etc (plenty to choose from) I did see some flies occasionally but to be fair there wasn't anything that could have been done about this given the restaurant had an open terrace where people could sit outside. The flies were never really a problem as there wasn't that many. All inclusive guests could help themselves to red or white wine during meals, and also local beer. As well as carbonated drinks, all of which were draught. Ice was also available and we were assured that all ice in bars/restaurants in Fuerteventura was safe to drink as it was all made from bottled water.

                      Dinner followed much the same rules as lunch, with similar types of food available, pizza, pasta etc I had to laugh at the description on the labels...a beef dish was labelled as "Cow" my son found this hilarious and asked if his bacon would be labelled "Pig" Which I wittily replied "no but we should get you that label greedy guts"

                      I have to admit the first few nights were a novelty, for both my children and myself eating in the hotel with a variety of different foods each time, but my son being a fussy little monster soon got bored and was beginning to eat a lot of the same things each day. He didn't seem to mind too much about the ice cream though...funny that! We did eat out once or twice to break up the monotony of the food...and to be fair there were a fair amount of different dishes available, but quite a lot that I didn't really like the look of being quite a fusspot myself at times.

                      The staff in the restaurant could only be commended on their constant hard work. The tables were cleared quickly once plates were emptied and always with a smile. Once a table was vacated they were quick to replace the table linen and cutlery as well which I thought was a nice touch for such a large busy restaurant. The manager was great with the children and made a point of always having a word with most people each day. My son nicknamed him the "Meanager" because he kept sticking his tongue out at him and twiddling his ears LOL.

                      The Bars
                      There are 3 bars within the hotel, one which is only used at night in the main bar area. One beside the pool and the other is located in the main foyer just indoors from the pool which to be fair is actually the same bar as the pool...but has 2 sides. 9 times out of 10 there was only one staff member working at this bar too. Now the bars are what really let the hotel down! For the whole two weeks of my holiday there, I had to wait almost every time I went to the bar to be served...especially by the pool. Now another fault here is that each person is only allowed to items at a time, this could be 2 drinks, or 2 ice creams or 2 snacks so if there were 3 people in your party you would all have to go to the bar at the same time to get your drinks or go up and down many times...waiting for anything between 5 -20mins each time! Drinks were served in small disposable cups and 2 of those cups would amount to about 1 medium sized glass anywhere else! So as you can imagine this was a pain - having to go up and down to the bar multiple times. Most of the bar staff with the exception of one or two were quite rude at times and mostly ignored children who were up getting juices or ice creams until adults were served regardless who was there first! Of course at the end of the day even I could see the bar staff were vastly overworked, some of them worked in the pool bar from 10am and were still working in the main bar at night at 11pm....and when you only have one barmaid on trying to serve a couple of hundred people throughout a day you can only imagine the sore feet and intense Canarian heat they have to endure. More staff would definitely be an attribute! Perhaps there would be less arrogant moody staff if there were more of them. Definitely a management issue...now bear in mind this was late June/early July so perhaps not their busiest time of year but even then...they do know how many people are staying with them.

                      Now this is one area which the hotel excelled. There was a vast amount of sun loungers available by both of the large pools. There was a notice in the rooms asking people not to leave their towels on loungers therefore booking them as theirs...but on our first morning there we noticed that everyone left theirs down before breakfast so we followed suit and did the same. There were two large pools both of which were freezing cold at first but you soon adapted to it and it was a welcome cooling off session from the intense heat! There was also a small baby pool for the little ones. We bought some armbands for my daughter who cannot swim yet, and a large inflatable boat for my son who is a confident swimmer, and a large ring which was a lot of fun for them both too. We left the inflatables behind with another family who we had met the day before.
                      The time of year we went it was busy enough but I expect at high peak times these pools could get really busy, but as it was the kids had a great time playing in and around the pools and I could keep my eye on them at all times. There is also a small play park at the rear of the pool area, but unfortunately this is uncovered so children could still burn here. It would be good if it were covered over; perhaps even a large gazebo type covering would be advantageous. Table tennis and Pool is also available and pool cues and table tennis paddles and balls available from reception, which have to be booked out paying a 10euro deposit which is returned to you when you return the items. A good idea I thought.
                      There is also a rooftop small pool and spa area, which has two jacuzzi's and pool and is like a little slice of heaven and was very quiet on the few occasions we ventured up there. There is also a rooftop mini golf course (again equipment available from reception for deposit) the golf course though looked in a bit of a sad state, and could have done with some fixing up in places. But the kids still loved it. Sun loungers are dotted over the rooftop too, allowing some peaceful sunbathing. It does state that children should not use the rooftop unattended...which is pretty self explanatory really.

                      Now this was another big letdown for someone who travelled alone with 2 children in tow who were looking for lots of fun at night time. I expected children's disco's, fun and games as well as entertainment for the adults every night, after all, I paid for an all-inclusive holiday I didn't want to leave the hotel to go out looking for things to do.
                      It soon became apparent that the kids entertainment team (The animation team) who consisted of one young man for the first 10 days - was absolutely diabolical. There was a room at the back of the pool areas which children should have been able to do activities in, such as painting etc to get out of the sun for a while, but during my entire stay this room remained locked, and apparently had been vandalised a couple of weeks prior to my stay. Nothing had been done to fix this during my stay, despite complaints from myself and fellow holidaymakers.
                      Now Mister Animation as my kids christened him, appeared at the pool daily to try to get people involved in games of water polo....but when my active son asked to join in he was told on a number of occasion's adults only just now, children later...but later never came! At night he introduced the act that was taking place that night...one night a snake show, a parrot show the next, a bird of prey show the next...you get the picture? No disco's for the children, and certainly none for the adults! One night there was some live music...but it was like a very bad audition for Britain's got Talent! Needless to say most of our nights were spent out and about in the town, either going to the parks, walks or shopping....or popping into other bars etc which had entertainment on which were suited to children and adults alike.
                      It wasn't until the Saturday before we were going home that Mister animation apparently got fired, and 2 new people replaced him...as we had booked to go on the Camel safari and trip to the zoo that day we never saw them until that night when there was actually a mini disco for the children...which lasted about half an hour. And then much of the same shows for the rest of us...yes those bird shows etc again!
                      Sunday was the animation team's day off, but on Monday morning they had organised various activities for adults and children by the pool and also in the downstairs court...games of basketball, water polo, water volleyball etc. A bit too little too late in my opinion.
                      Now any activities the children took part in they were meant to be presented with a little certificate at the mini disco that night and my son took part in most of the activities and didn't receive his certificate, he said it was ok but I could tell he was a little disappointed, I asked the Animation team if he could get his, and they said he would get it the following night as their printer had broken...ok fair enough.
                      But the following night, son having taken part in more activities that day he still had no certificate, and this being our last night, I again asked if he could have one, to be told that she had forgotten and would have it at reception after breakfast in the morning...I explained we were leaving before breakfast and would it be possible to have it that night...to which she said she couldn't possibly as she was going off duty in an hour! I was not amused and my son, daughter and I went off to bed not very happy.

                      Checking out
                      Checking out was relatively hassle free. I simply handed over our lovely green armbands leaving behind a nice white stripe on our arms, handed over the 2 room keys, safe key, and wrote down my room number for the receptionist who didn't understand a word I said! I then signed a sheet of paper which was a breakdown of any extra charges I had incurred (thankfully mines was zero) which I expect you would pay then and there. My flight luckily was an early morning flight so I was being picked up at 7am in the morning, but on speaking to other holiday makers who were leaving that night, I know they do offer a complimentary room if they have one available (which has to be booked) where luggage can be kept and also showers can be used if needed. A nice little extra touch as I expect a lot of hotels actually charge extra for this and on my understanding from the people I spoke to they didn't pay anything.

                      Overall I enjoyed my stay at the Hotel Costa Caleta, it was clean and tidy. Close to all amenities and the beach and whilst not the best food in the world it was mainly edible so can't really complain that much...the entertainment could definitely have been better and the bar could have been better staffed, and also it would have been a bit less stressful for me if someone had offered to help take my bags to my room on check-in. But I am sure that if more people make complaints about this then the problems should hopefully get resolved. I filled in a survey about the hotel just before my departure and mentioned all of the things that I thought could be improved upon and hopefully they will not fall upon deaf ears.

                      I would recommend this hotel if you are not too fussed about entertainment or eating buffet meals all the time, and don't mind a wait at the bar


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                        13.08.2008 22:11
                        Very helpful



                        A product I would miss if it were to disappear!

                        For years I have been plagued by the problem of greasy hair...now it is not greasy all of the time or indeed all over my head, but only at the roots, and usually the day after I wash it. The only way I could solve this problem was washing my hair daily. Now most hairdressers won't recommend shampooing and conditioning on a daily basis, as it can strip your hair of essential oils, which in effect can leave you with scalp conditions such as dandruff...which is true in my case a lot of the time...not only that it also strips colour from your hair so if you've had highlights/lowlights etc then those aren't going to last as long with continuous washing.

                        I tried loads of different shampoos, until coming to the conclusion that I had problematic hair, mixed with the problem of a crappy water supply! (If I just shampoo my hair feels like straw...so I HAVE to condition every time) This problem isn't only with my hair but also with my daughters and my neighbours have also complained about it too...so by method of deduction we have deduced that the water is rubbish!

                        Now as a busy full time working single mother, washing my hair on a daily basis can be quite time consuming, (my hair reaches between my shoulder blades at the moment after having it cut from mid back length recently) it usually takes me about 15-20 minutes to wash and condition it, and then a further half hour to dry it, my hair tends to be frizzy as well so I usually then have to straighten it with my GHD's, now as you can see I am constantly damaging my hair so I needed a solution which meant I didn't need to wash/dry daily!

                        Completely by accident I came across a product that sounded very bizarre to me, a friend of mine had what I thought a bottle of hairspray in her handbag, which I asked if I could borrow as my hair had begun to get a bit messy one day at work and needed a little something to hold it in place. She explained it wasn't hairspray but was a dry shampoo spray which she used regularly in between washes to keep her hair from getting greasy looking.

                        My ears pricked up instantly and I asked if it worked to which she replied..."it's like a little miracle in a can"

                        So off I trotted to my local Savers shop where I picked up a 150ml can for only £1.79 (Boots are also doing it for about £2.09 although check out your local chemist stores as you may get it cheaper) There were 2 different types on the shelf, a green can which I believe is the original one, not sure what this smells like or how it works as I bought the yellow can with the green lid, the same as my friend had. The one I purchased is called Batiste Tropical, and it really does smell quite tropical!

                        It claims to "refresh and revitalise hair between washes" and I can certainly vouch for that, as I can now wash my hair every 2 or sometimes even 3 days. Although even I admit by the 3rd day it is quite in need of that wash.

                        I usually use this as soon as my hair starts looking greasy at the roots; I give the can a good shake and spray quite liberally towards my roots, holding the can a good 12" from my head. It whooshes out quite fast and powerfully (being an aerosol) and basically coats the hair in a very fine mist which is almost talcum powder like. I then massage the powdery spray gently into my scalp and through my roots until I'm satisfied all of the greasy looking parts are covered. Now this does still look horrendous at this point as your hair will look grey, especially if you have darker hair...blondes will be fine (my hair is dark with blonde highlights but I do have some darker roots showing through a little bit) so once you have massaged the powder in, you need to leave it for about a minute to do it's work. Then give your hair a good shake, run your fingers through it quite briskly and then using a fine bristle hairbrush (preferably a natural bristle) brush it all out. I have found most of it does come out this way, and only occasionally do I have to repeat the process. Once you are satisfied that all of the powder has disappeared you can style your hair as normal. I tend not to use styling products (gel/mousse etc) on my hair very often as I really don't need them once I have GHD'd my barnet. So I am not sure how this would work if you use a lot of product every day.

                        Straight away after using this product I notice it is less greasy looking at the scalp, now this is never going to give you sleek shiny looking hair, but it will combat greasiness. Anyone who has blonde hair (highlights or otherwise) will know how dull blonde can look when it's needing washed...well Batiste actually brightens the hair a little too...so appears to look cleaner.

                        As I mentioned before this really does smell quite tropical, almost like a summer holiday perfume. Hard to put my finger on any one scent in particular but I think I detect a fruity, coconut smell, although it is not overpowering, but people do comment on how nice my hair smells when I'm at work.

                        For anyone who is worried about ingredients it contains Butane, Isobutane, Oryza Sativa (rice) Starch, Propane, Alcohol Denat, Parfum, Coumarin, Distearyldimonium chloride. Now I am not in any way scientifically minded so have no idea what most of these ingredients are, although most I suspect are not exactly environmentally friendly being an aerosol! Also with it being aerosol it is a highly pressurised container and will need to be disposed of as you would any other aerosol, as it is extremely flammable. So no smoking when spraying either!!!

                        I wholly swear by this product and will definitely be buying more of it. I noticed on a website when browsing for information on batiste that there is also another variety which I haven't seen before called Batiste Blush which is pink in colour....hmmm may need to try that one too! The website if anyone is interested is http://www.chemistdirect.co.uk/batiste-shampoo_v_740.html

                        Thank you all for taking the time to read and hope this review has been of any help to you.
                        Michelle Aug08


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                          15.07.2008 22:38
                          Very helpful



                          A wonderful country with stunning scenery.

                          I have just returned from a fortnight long holiday on the gorgeous sunny island of Fuerteventura - one of the Canary Islands. I travelled with my 2 children ages 10 and 7yrs old, and we all had a wonderful time. I will try to do some justice to this beautiful island in this review.

                          I travelled there on an all inclusive package deal from Thomas Cook at the end of June, and stayed at a 3* hotel - The Hotel Costa Caleta (which I will review at a later date)

                          During my time there the weather was around 38-42 degrees most days and was only slightly breezy most days. As you can imagine this got a little bit too hot at times and you really had to get yourself out of the heat by jumping in the pools. I would advise plenty of suncream and plenty of non alcohol fluids!

                          We actually had a sun care advisor who advised against using a factor higher than 25, and to use one which had the main ingredient of aloe vera. Apparently higher factors have been known to contain alcohol and other ingredients which can react with the Canarian sunshine causing blistering, sunburn and prickly heat. Also using a good Aloe Vera after sun was advised, I followed this advice and was glad to say neither my children nor I burned during the holiday.

                          As you can see by the hotel name, the resort I stayed at was Caleta de Fuste (also named Castillo or Caleta) This is on the west side of the island and is only about a 10min transfer from the airport in Puerto del Rosario. For the purpose of this review I will refer to this resort as Caleta.

                          Caleta is a resort which is mainly made up of hotels, apartments and holiday homes and is definitely a tourist town. It has it's own manmade beach with quite nice sands (not too hot to walk in either which was nice) the beach is horseshoe shaped and is safe for swimming in. There are various watersports available at the harbour at the end of the beach, including diving too. There is also the option to go out in a glass bottomed boat to do some whale, shark watching! I didn't get around to doing this on this occasion but definitely something I will do in future.

                          There are many bars, restaurants and tourist type shops along the main part of Caleta, including to my delight a Scottish bar (The Flower of Scotland) and a Scottish café (The Scotch Corner) which sold traditional Scots, English and Irish Breakfasts and meals. You can get many different types of food along the way here too, including Chinese, Indian, Mexican to name a few. If we weren't staying all inclusive I'm sure we would have tried them all out...we did try the Scotch corner and also a Chinese Buffet restaurant, both of which were lovely, and made a welcome change from the hotel food.

                          As I was travelling alone with my children, bars and nightclubs weren't top of my priorities, but after meeting up with people from my hotel we did go on a couple of occasions to some of the bars, including the aforementioned Flower of Scotland, which hosts a quiz and karaoke every evening. (I won a bottle of champagne in a music quiz one night)

                          Things to do in and around Fuerteventura are numerous. Personally I didn't have enough time (or money) to do all of the things I would have liked to on this visit.
                          I did manage to visit Coralejo on the North of the Island (around 40mins by bus from Caleta) to the Water park - Baku. This was a good day out for the children but beware as there are height restrictions for some of the slides and this was a little disappointing for my daughter as she wanted to go on some of the bigger rides but was unable to as she was a couple of inches short of the minimum. There is however plenty of other things for the smaller ones, including a lazy river which you go around in a tyre ring, you can hire these rings yourself or simply wait at the bottom of the slides for them to come down (I would recommend waiting on the rings as it can work out a bit expensive to hire them) There's also a baby pool for under 5's. And if you want to get out of the water for a while you can also visit the Animal Experience - where you can swim with Sea lions for 30 euros, and see lots of other animals too, including some flamingos and farm animals. This is included in the entry price so worth a look.
                          Prices are 30euros for adults and 18euros for children but I paid for it as an excursion through my holiday rep with bus link included for a reduced fee.

                          Still in Coralejo there are opportunities to visit the island of Los Lobos. Again I can't comment on this as I didn't get around to this excursion, but you can go over on the boat, spend a few hours on the uninhabited island, relaxing, taking photos etc Los Lobos is a nature reserve and is only a small 6miles² apparently a beautiful place to spot unusual birds and plants.

                          Another trip to take from Coralejo and one that I DID manage to take was the ferry crossing into Lanzarote! Boarding the Fred Olsen ferry at the harbour in Coralejo and arriving in the Playa Blanca in Lanzarote took only 20 minutes, and the journey across the gorgeous aqua waters was worth it alone! On first arrival to Lanzarote all you can see is white houses everywhere as it is Lanzarote law that all buildings are white with either green or brown doors! You can also visit the active volcano on the island which we didn't do on this occasion. We took a bus (around 30mins transfer) into the more modern town of Puerto del Carmen for a bit of Duty free shopping and relaxation and a short visit to my friend's holiday villa in the resort too.

                          Coralejo also boasts a fine harbour and lots of watersports activities too. It also boasts one of the most gorgeous white sandy beaches on the island, sand blows in from the Sahara desert in Africa creating natural white sand dunes, thus is called the mini Sahara! When we passed this beach on the bus at around 10am in the morning it was totally deserted, and even by around 6pm on our return past it, there still wasn't a lot of people around, except those windsurfing, kitesurfing and people flying kites, I imagine that is because even though the beach is gorgeous the water is quite unsafe for swimming as it has quite strong currents as the wind does tend to get quite strong on this part of the island.

                          One of the best parts of our holiday was the trip to the South of Fuerteventura to the wonderful La Lajita Oasis Park. There are animals from all over the world here and is well worth a visit if it's the only thing you do on the island. I booked the trip through my rep and was picked up at my resort and driven through to the Zoo, throughout the day you have a guide (ours was a wonderful French man called David) who will advise you on things to see, and take you through the park so that you see all the best parts, you are given some free time to explore on your own then taken to see a Parrot show, a Sea lion show, A reptile show, and a bird of prey show too....you are then given an experience of a lifetime....a camel safari ride! This was a wonderful trek up a small hill riding the camels...part of me was thinking this was very cruel to the poor animals having to heave all of us up and down that hill for 20minutes, but the selfish part of me loved every minute of it. On top of that we were also given a buffet lunch which was lovely too. For myself and 2 children I paid around 90 euros for the trip which included the bus from Caleta to La Lajita. (about 30-40minutes journey)
                          Some of the animals you can expect to see are Giraffes (including some very cute babies, Chimpanzees, Zebras, Cheetahs, to name a few! All in all a wonderful day out and the animals are kept in as natural environment as possible, and have all (we were assured) been born and reared in captivity.

                          Back to Caleta again and there is a small hill called Chipmunk Mountain where once upon a time a large colony of Chipmunks lived and people could go right up to them with handfuls of nuts and feed them, but as there is currently building work going on there the little munks have emigrated temporarily (or not) down to the other side of the harbour, where the probably get more visitors! We didn't manage to see any during our stay but were assured they were there. Another thing to take note of is the wonderful sand sculptures which grace the beach of Caleta, these are simply stunning creations which the artists have worked on for days sometimes weeks....and are definitely worth throwing a few cents down for the obvious hard work that has gone into them! If you throw some money to the artists they allow you to take photographs of their work, although I did see some people take photos without donating anything.

                          There are numerous play parks for the children dotted around the town and also a great crazy golf course for around 3-4euros per person. So I don't think anyone would be lost for something to do when visiting this wonderful island. Any questions please feel free to ask, although I am far from being an expert on the island but I definitely will return one day to do the things I didn't get around to.

                          All in all we had a wonderful two weeks on this island and only had one or two disappointments during our time there but that is an issue with the hotel we stayed at and will be reviewed at a later date.

                          I would recommend this resort for a family holiday, not one for someone looking for a lively resort perhaps...as it can be pretty quiet - I didn't see any actual nightclubs for dancing etc just plenty of bars with entertainment...karaoke, live etc.

                          9/10 for a wonderful holiday!

                          Michelle July08


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                          • More +
                            15.07.2008 21:17
                            Very helpful



                            One of my favourite perfumes at the moment.

                            "Diamonds are a girl's best friend" and never was there a more true statement!

                            I received for Christmas last year some vouchers for Boots, and had originally planned to treat myself to a new hairdryer with them, that is until one of my work colleagues came in smelling lovely of a new perfume her boyfriend had treated her to for her 21st birthday. I had a little squirt and loved it there and then. So off I went to Boots to treat myself to some courtesy of my kind friend (the one who gave me the vouchers)

                            Emporio Armani Diamonds is a beautiful fragrance endorsed on the tv ads by the gorgeous Beyonce. It is a fresh, floral, sexy scent with a fruity aroma too.
                            It comes in 3 sizes of bottle 30ml for £28, 50ml for £38, and 100ml for £52.(prices are from Boots but shop around you may get it cheaper) Mines is the 50ml bottle which I was pleasantly surprised came with a free 200ml bottle of the Body lotion. Not a bad bargain indeed...not sure if this is ongoing though, you would need to check with your store, or shop around for other bargains.

                            The box is white with a smattering(is that a word?) of "diamonds" around it, of course these aren't real diamonds just an effect added to the design. The bottle itself is adorable and looks lovely on my dressing table, although it is usually in the bottom of my bag on a regular basis as it is my most used perfume at the moment. The bottle is designed to look like a large diamond that can sit in the palm of your hand, it is a glass bottle which is multi-faceted, with a silver square shaped push down spray top. The trademark Armani eagle is emblazoned on the front of the bottle.
                            As with any or at least most perfumes, this is really strong when you first spray it, so use it sparingly, I recommend spraying the air a little and walking into it. If I do spray it directly on I do l make sure I leave enough time before leaving the house so that I don't smell like a perfume shop!
                            The main smell is that of a freshly picked rose, and usually I am not a flowery kind of person but I do really like this, maybe because of the fruity undertones, of raspberries and litchi(lychees perhaps?) According to Boots website this also has a woody, amber scent which is a good way of describing it as I am quite hopeless at describing smells, but woody does sound about right...so we've got, flowery, fruity and woody.....definitely a feminine fragrance that even my male colleagues have commented on a few times saying it did smell good enough to come closer for another sniff....I believe one of them even bought a bottle for his girlfriend!

                            It is definitely an anytime perfume, you could easily wear this everyday for work (I do) and it is also feminine and sexy enough for you to carry it on for evening wear or special occasions too.
                            I have found this perfume to be quite longwearing too, I usually apply mine before 8am and can still smell it quite well by mid afternoon and if I don't apply more then It is still there at the end of the day albeit faintly...I do tend to top up though around mid afternoon so it's still nice and strong by bathtime that night.

                            Wearing a nice perfume makes me feel good about myself and I believe that if you feel good about yourself then you look good too.
                            I would recommend this perfume for women of all ages, my friend at work is only 21 and wears this, and I am 34 and love it, my 60yr mum has even had a few squirts occasionally too and thinks it is lovely.
                            I think it is great value for money, especially the bigger bottles, and even more so if you manage to get a free gift with it too as I did.
                            So ladies drop your partners, husbands, sons a hint and let them know about this perfume....I don't think you'll regret it.
                            Thanks for reading
                            Michelle (2008)


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                            • Boots Disclosing Tablets / Oral Care / 69 Readings / 62 Ratings
                              More +
                              12.06.2008 21:04
                              Very helpful



                              Aids teethbrushing and makes it fun for children.

                              On a recent visit to the dentist with my 2 children (aged 10 and 7 1/2) I had to admit their tooth brushing skills weren't as good as I thought they were, which left me feeling a bit guilty as I didn't always supervise through lack of time in mornings, and now grudgingly admit also that perhaps my two little angels may even on some occasions have pretended to brush their little molars to avoid being late for school or making me late for work.

                              Whose fault? Mine entirely as I shouldn't try to rush them to get ready in time, and by doing so have neglected my duty in ensuring they are healthy in all ways. Instead I should be organising my routine better.

                              But enough of the guilt trips I've laid on myself, time for action! First of all a trip to Boots was necessary for some dental supplies. On the advice of my dental nurse I purchased some new toothbrushes aimed at my children's age, (by letting them choose the colour/theme) and bought each of them their own tube of toothpaste. The last thing on my list was to purchase some disclosing tablets.

                              Now we all must surely remember the days in school when the school dentist would visit and give each of us a small pink tablet which we would chew and then spit out, leaving our tongues, lips and teeth bright pink? Then we would brush away all that pink to reveal nice white teeth again. These tablets are exactly the same only now are a lovely shade if blue (somehow I couldn't see my son wanting to have a pink tongue)

                              Boots advanced disclosing tablets come in a pack of 12 and cost around £1.70 which may sound rather expensive especially when you have two children or more children to consider, but on the advice of the assistant in store these could be cut in half and so doubled the amount. I bought 2 packets so that I would have enough to last me a couple of weeks to give the children a good start. (watch out for special offers on these though as I suspect they would be on the 3 for 2 offers quite often)
                              They come in a blister pack similar to that of paracetamol, and so must be kept out of the reach of children as they could be taken for sweets as could any other tablet. They are recommended for use by children over the age of 6, this is because younger children may swallow them and this is not advised.

                              I prefer to get my kids to use them at night a little while before they go to bed, I say a little while because try getting children to do anything whilst they are tired and you are facing a tantrum! First of all your child has to brush their teeth as normal and then they chew one of these tablets (make sure they are over the sink when doing this as quite often they leak saliva and blue stains on clothing may come out quite well in the wash but it does take a fair amount of scrubbing to get that face clean) As I mentioned I like to cut the tablets into two halves, not a simple task but with a sharp knife can be achieved. There is a line across each tablet which makes it a little easier to do. Once my two have brushed their teeth and I am satisfied they have done their best I pop half a tablet into each of their mouths, and instruct them to chew it, making sure they swish it about in their mouths a little to make sure they coat all of their teeth in the blue dye. This only needs to last for a short time and then they spit the residue down the sink...or as my son likes to do, down the toilet turning the water blue...little imp! Only then do I allow them to look in the mirror to see where they've missed brushing, the blue dye sticks to the missed bits of plaque and allows they to see exactly where they've missed and then they continue brushing their teeth to try remove all traces of blue (plaque)

                              This has been hugely successful in that they now are more diligent when brushing their teeth, especially at night when using the tablets, but also a little more in the mornings when they remember how blue their teeth were and after I explained what that plaque left behind could do to their teeth and gums!

                              I will continue to use the disclosing tablets for a while longer until I am 100% confident that they are brushing their teeth to the best of their abilities twice daily and my son has been instructed by the dentist to use his brush at lunchtime in school also as he has very thin enamel possibly due to a mixture of drinking fruit juices and also using his asthma inhalers and other medication over the years.

                              The disclosing tablets use the food colouring additive E131 (Patent blue V) which is a synthetic coal-tar dye. This additive can cause allergy to some people, resulting in skin rash etc and is not recommended for consumption by children, It can also cause hyperactivity and is apparently banned in USA, Australia and Norway according to the UKfoodguide.net - I suspect though that the quantity of the dye is not sufficient to cause alarm and that with proper adult supervision that this is not swallowed then should cause no suffering to children or Boots would not sell it. I have noticed no adverse reactions in either of my children and my son as many of you already know does have allergy problems already with many things.

                              To recap, I would highly recommend using these disclosing tablets as a way of making sure your children are brushing their teeth correctly, perhaps not for an extended period of time but to get them into a better routine and seeing where they are going wrong. As long as the child remembers to spit it out it shouldn't cause any harm, although I'm not sure swallowing such a small thing would cause any damage either...but I am not a doctor or do I claim to have any medical knowledge so don't take my word on that! If you're at all unsure then I would consult your dentist for more information.

                              Thanks for reading
                              Michelle Jun08 (also on other sites)


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                              • Phones 4U / Highstreet Shopping / 92 Readings / 86 Ratings
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                                27.04.2008 23:16
                                Very helpful



                                I find it difficult to believe that a company operates like this!

                                Now it is not very often that something makes me mad enough to make a formal complaint but today I was absolutely fuming with the service I received by my local Phones4U store - Greenock, Scotland.

                                Phones4U in Greenock is situated on a corner of a busy high street and is in quite a prominent position. The layout of the shop is small but well stocked, it had all the latest phones and the staff seemed very knowledgeable about the stock too. They sell phones from all the major networks and are the only store in town that offer this. There are of course all the usual mobile providers around it, but I was looking for impartial advice from someone who sold all the networks...

                                Here is my story......

                                I nipped out on my lunch break combining it with an errand for the boss (meaning I could have an extra 10min skive) I popped into my local Phones4U store as I was interested in buying my son either a pay as you go lower price mobile phone for his birthday (in two weeks) or a cheap contract which would allow me to have some control over how he used it.
                                As soon as I entered the small corner store, I noticed 2 male staff members standing behind the counter, both of whom greeted me as I had a quick browse. A minute or so after I entered I was approached by one (I'll refer to him as Brian* not his real name) Brian* asked how I was and would I like any assistance...to which I replied I was looking for a phone, he said in a joking tone " ahh sorry we only sell televisions here" Ok I thought we have a wannabe comedian here, now that broke the ice and I thought he was very pleasant, helpful and made me feel instantly at ease.
                                I explained what I was looking for, the budget I had in mind and the type of phone I wanted...and asked for some recommendations. He recommended a phone with a nice cheap tariff on the 3 network, with an 18mth contract at £15 per month and said he would give me the first month free if I purchased it that day. I didn't have any proof or identification on me as I was at work so asked if I could return the next day with proof of id....he said this would be fine and told me what Id would be required and asked what time I could return. Now the business I work in, I never know when I will get my lunch break so I was only able to say that I would be back the following day somewhere between 12 and 3:30pm....he said he would still honour the free months line rental. He also informed me that Phones4U could also buy over my current contract if I wanted to upgrade sooner and I said I would also have a think about that, as it is a good 5 months until I can upgrade to a new phone.
                                At this point I was already sold and planning on returning the next afternoon with the required evidence....
                                At 5:40 that evening as I was on my way home from work, I received a phone call from Brian* who said he was just checking I was going to return next day...I thought this was a little pushy as I had already promised to return...but let it go and just put it down to the salesmen looking for the sale. (After all the business I work in, I can understand sales pitches)

                                So, on to today...I was run off my feet at work on a usually busy Friday so knew I could expect to get my lunch break when things quietened down a little. I was in the middle of a consultation with a customer/patient when a young man walked into my place of work and asked for me...I recognised him, but wasn't sure where I had seen him and thought at first he was one of my returning customers, so asked him to take a seat and wait for me and I would be with him soon....he then said, it's ok I can't wait, I'm just in to check you are still coming over to Phones4U to buy the phone!
                                My face instantly went red. And not with embarrassment as much as anger. How dare they come to my workplace to get a sale! I literally said "I am very busy just now, I said I would come in my lunchbreak which I haven't had yet, I will call when I have time"...at this he smiled and said "see you in a while then" The cheek!!!
                                My patient thought this was very rude as he had interrupted her as she was speaking to me, and this made me look very unprofessional. If my boss had been present then I am pretty sure this would have annoyed him greatly as he believes (as I do) that customer service is the be all and end all of our business.
                                Thankfully my patient understood and accepted my apology.

                                When I had finished with her, I took my lunch break and recovered my mobile phone from my locker with the intention of calling the store manager of Phones4U to ask why he felt the need to send a member of his staff to my place of work. When I picked up my phone there were 4 missed calls from Phones4U all timed within a 2 hour period prior to the young man calling into my workplace. Now I was absolutely seething...I had never had anyone as pushy as this in my entire life. I have heard of hard sell tactics and pushy salesmen but I had already promised to return and it wasn't even past the time I had given.
                                I immediately called the manager, and said I was very annoyed with the way he conducted his business and also informed him that because of it he had actually lost a sale as I was planning on returning, right up until his hard sell tactics convinced me it was not a company I wanted to do business with. He not only lost my custom for the contract for my son's birthday but he also lost the possible contract that I was seriously considering taking for myself too.

                                I am planning on writing a letter to Phones4U head office to form this complaint and inform them that they have lost a potential customer through the way they conduct their sales....perhaps more staff training would be beneficial to this small team.
                                Shame really as my initial thoughts of the shop were positive and I was already sold on the contract....if only they had known where to stop!

                                After telling my work colleagues about this episode I've since heard 2 other stories about the same store, using similar hard sell tactics with other people, on one occasion a relative of my colleague was stopped in the street to talk about getting a new phone...he was persuaded to give the salesman his current mobile number with the promise that he may get a short courtesy call, to see if he'd made a decision...he was bombarded with phone calls for weeks afterwards!

                                What really annoys me about the whole thing is that I could have lost a sale myself though his lack of professionalism! Thankfully this was not the case and my customer left happy.

                                I think I may just stick with my current mobile provider whom I've never had any issues with.

                                Thank you for reading my rant!
                                Michelle April08
                                (also posted elsewhere on the net)


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                                • More +
                                  18.10.2007 19:57
                                  Very helpful



                                  An Amazing smelling Hair conditioner!

                                  As most of you have probably guessed by now, I’m a bit of a Lushaholic! (another of my words) Having received a gift voucher recently I decided to stock up on one of my favourite Lush products….American Cream Conditioner.

                                  American cream will make you want to eat your hair….but I would advise against this, as it really doesn’t taste as good as it smells (now don't go experimenting ladies and gents)

                                  It comes in 3 sizes;
                                  100g bottle is £3.25
                                  250g bottle for £6.50 and
                                  500g bottle for £10.50

                                  My first bottle was the small 100g and I was hooked from then…I now have the huge 500g.

                                  Imagine if you will; lying on the beach covered in suntan lotion, sipping on a cocktail and enjoying the wonderful sunshine….that is where I am every time I wear this conditioner.
                                  The main aroma is a sweet vanilla with strong hints of honey and then the fruity strawberries and oranges come through…it really is intoxicating and I have to say you will get plenty of comments from anyone who gets close enough to sniff your hair…It really is a conditioner to wear on a date with a loved one.. Believe me ladies HE will not be able to resist running his fingers through your hair with this one…or cosying in for a cuddle or three!

                                  So is it just a smell?

                                  Of course not…it really does what it says and conditions your hair, I live in an area where the water leaves your hair feeling like straw…and so need a good shampoo and conditioner to be able to manage my thick coarse hair. After shampooing my hair, I pour a decent amount (usually about half a palm of the thick creamy liquid) into my hand and start rubbing it into my hair, massaging it into the ends especially. You can choose for yourself the time to leave it in for; this really does differ with your own personal preference. I usually shampoo my hair then apply conditioner, then jump into the bath for half an hour, then I rinse my hair with the shower attachment…I then wrap a towel around my hair for about 15-30mins and then will comb my hair and either blow dry or leave to dry naturally depending on the time I have. My hair combs so easily now whereas before I had to ease the comb through it carefully avoiding all the knots in case I caused even more split ends than I already had!

                                  So not only does my hair smell good enough to eat, it also feels good enough to touch (although this can be my downfall as I want to touch it all the time which ends up leaving it grubby again too soon lol) Even after 2 days I can still smell the conditioner on my hair which is fantastic in my book as too often these days I can buy a conditioner which as soon as you dry your hair you really can’t detect the slightest whiff in your hair.

                                  I recommend this conditioner to all the ladies out there as I am pretty sure most men wouldn’t really want to smell of vanilla milkshakes/cocktails…although they will love smelling it on their better half, so a good excuse to cuddle up too ;-)

                                  As with all Lush products a full list of the ingredients and Lush’ ethics and full product range can be found on their website.

                                  I have about 3 or 4 favourite products from Lush that I like to have in the house all of the time and this is one of them! Definitely the best smelling Lush item I have smelt so far.

                                  I have just found out as well by looking through my new Lush times newspaper that was delivered to me this week that Lush have just started selling the American Cream fragrance in a solid perfume especially in time for Christmas...I haven't seen this on the website yet but am hoping to go to Lush this weekend so will be looking out for it!

                                  Thanks for reading
                                  Michelle (Oct07)


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