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I love a bargain, so when I saw the Bandai Super Badge making machine for half price I decided that I would pick up 2. I gave one away for a present and have kept the other hidden away for over a year, with it being the summer holidays I decided that it was time to break open the box and try the machine out. Imagine the scene, I go and visit a friend and her 5 year old daughter with my boys aged 3 and 5, the weather is a lot overcast so we are stuck to inside activities. I pull out the badge making machine and we decide to make a badge without the children so we know what we are doing when they want to join in. Price and availability Ours was bought from Tesco at £10, however they are generally available for around £20 in places like Argos, Toys R Us and Amazon. Do check around for the best price. I have a machine that is made of blue and white plastic that seems to be an old model, the newer models are purple and see through so you can see the inner parts working. The purple colour would put me off buying one as my boys wouldn't really want something so girly looking, however the older model we have is very unisex! What do you get for your money? When unpacking the box you realise that the machine isn't as big as you first thought, there is quite a bit of cardboard keeping everything in place. The machine stands about 20-25cms high and is smaller in size than a standard diner plate. With this machine you get 3 different attachments that clip into a drawer in the bottom of the machine. 1 attachment for each different size/shape of badge in different colours. White for the small round badges, blue for the big round badges and purple for the rectangle badges, each of these is in it's own plastic bag with a template included (each attachment has 2 different sides, one for the front of the badge, one for the back of the badge and a magnet attachment which is separate). Then of course are the bits for the badges. We found lots of little bags of different sized metal badge fronts and backs, plastic seals and safety pins on plastic backs to finish the badges off. There is also a sheet of designs which you need to cut round to make your first batch of badges. After that you can use the templates provided to make your own badges out of photo's or pictures that you have made yourself. Ours had a bonus pack which had extra badges, probably enough for around 30 badges in total. How well does it work? At first you have to read the instructions to get all the right pieces in the right order to make the badge, however after you have made a couple you really get the hang of it and it becomes really easy. I don't think I would forget how to use it, but it's always handy to have instructions. Initially it seems quite difficult, but if you just go with it eventually you get the hang, it's definitely worth doing the first badge without help from children so you can work out what you are doing and avoid disappointment if you don't get it right the first time. The instructions tell you to push the drawer of the machine until it clicks, however the click is so slight that at first myself and my friend pushed too hard and it didn't seem to be working properly as it was pushed through too far and the magnet wasn't lined up to pick up the badge. However, once we worked out that it had indeed been designed so that a 6 year old could work it (i.e. a very gentle push) we were well away. Basically you put the attachment into the drawer (drawer 1) with the magnet attachment on top, you push the drawer in, turn the screw top of the machine down until it clicks and then back the other way (your magnet should now be picked up inside of the machine), then you open the drawer again (drawer 1), next you put your badge front into the machine (it will sit flush inside the attachment) and then your paper design and if you choose the plastic seal on top. You then push the drawer back inside and screw the top of the machine down until it clicks again, and then back up the other way. Lastly, you turn the machine around to see the second part of the attachment in the machine and put the badge back into the attachment (drawer 2), then you push the drawer back in, screw down until it clicks and then up again, when you open the drawer again (drawer 2) you should find your almost finished badge inside. The finishing touch is to push the plastic tab of the pin attachment into the hole in the back of the badge and then you can wear it! To get the magnet attachment out you push on the purple button just below the screw top and it will drop out. We did find that the results seem to vary from badge to badge, with no real reason as to why it works brilliantly sometimes and fails the next. However I have found that using too thick paper means that the badge does not bind together properly. The finished product The finished badges were mostly of good quality, the children were all very happy with what they had made and the grown up's also. In fact my 5 year old was so proud of one of his badges he was showing it to someone who though it was a badge he had bought as it was of such good quality! Would you recommend this product? Yes I would, but only if you find it with a bonus pack for making more badges. The badges can be made very quickly and once you get into it you don't realise how many you are making, so you definitely need a good stash of materials for when you start. You can buy refill packs, however these range from around £7 to £15 depending on how many badges you get and where you buy them from, mostly I have found refill packs online so you have to add p+p to those prices, so it's not cheap! However, as a rainy day activity to keep the kids busy for a half hour this is a great purchase, especially if you find it on half price offer somewhere! Although the machine says that it's suitable for children over 6 years old, there is no reason why a younger child could not enjoy using this machine, so long as they were supervised by an adult. And as with any badges that have pins, care should be taken by people of any age when attaching to clothes to avoid injury. My 3 year old was able to make his own badge with only a small amount of help, that was mostly making sure that the screw top was all the way down as it does get more stiff the closer you get to the bottom. I would also suggest that if you know any adults who like craft things this may be a good gift for them too. I can see me using this for future craft projects, scrap booking pages would look great finished off with a badge or two! *This review may be on other sites under the same user name*
I thought it was time that I shared with everyone one of my favourite shops to go and visit, and even hubby doesn't complain too much when I tell him I need to go for a visit and his assistance is required. Which shop could you possibly mean? The shop to which I am referring is The Range, this is a chain of stores that have various shops located in the UK up and down the country. Check out www.therange.co.uk for details of where your nearest store is and what times it opens. My local shop is open 7 days a week. What does it sell? The answer to this question is a little more tricky, they seem to sell a bit of everything. The main reason that I visit so often is due to their extensive range of craft goodies, they sell everything you could want for painting, card making, scrap booking, sewing, knitting, and many other hobbies in the craft category. But not only do they sell craft items (usually much cheaper than places like hobbycraft, which incidentally is on the same retail park as my local Range so I always go and see what great bargains I have bagged in Range afterwards), they sell furniture, paintings, toys, garden essentials, pet food, kitchen and home wares, camping stuff. Basically if you name it they probably sell it. And unlike other shops that sell a bit of everything, where usually you have to rummage to find what you want and feel like you are walking into a junk shop, Range is well laid out, you can easily get up and down the aisles with a pushchair with ease and everything is well labelled so you can see what items cost. Hubby is none too impressed with the amount of time I spend looking at all the craft items (dove craft, papermania, do crafts etc), however there are enough other items to hold his attention that I can have a quick look. And often when I mention that we need either something for the garden or a homeware type item (think lunch boxes, new plates etc) he will often respond that we should check out Range as they will probably have whatever I need! By the tills they have a section selling sweets, crisps, chocolate and drinks, so be prepared to have the children pestering you as you walk towards the tills, however their prices are quite good, much cheaper than most newsagents so it's not all bad news! Any other things to mention about the shop? They have a café, in my local store it is located upstairs with the larger pieces of furniture and they often have a cake and coffee deal and also a children's meal deal. They have public toilets also in my local shop which are not the best, but seeing as how I can easily forget how long I have been standing looking at a longed for piece of craft equipment my 3 year old is often in need of the toilet at some point on our frequent trips so I am glad they have toilets even if they are a bit in need of a renovation. My local store often has craft demonstrations, usually on the weekends and they also run workshops occasionally for different hobbies such as card making and cake decoration. There is a small charge for the workshops, however the craft demonstrations are free and frequently held. What are the staff like? To be honest the helpfulness of the staff varies quite wildly. Sometimes you really struggle to find a member of staff if you have a question or need help finding something, and the staff on the checkouts can be a bit surly and stand offish, and other times there are plenty of staff on the shop floor who are more than happy to help you in any way and you get a really cheerful person at the checkout happy to have a little chat! At the weekends it can get quite busy, but they do get through queues of people fairly quickly, although I have never seen queues of more than 3 people at any time. Sometimes the only tills open are the customer service ones but they will happily wave you over. They accept cash and cards, although I do believe that they no longer accept cheques. Any down sides? Apart from the fact that you could spend a small fortune in the shop I can't really think of any downsides. They provide baskets and trolleys so it doesn't matter if you buy loads of stuff, there are easy ways to get it to the check outs! Although the baskets and trolleys are all at the entrance so sometimes you have to go back to the front of the store to grab a basket after seeing a few 'essential bargains' you just can't pass up. Should I go and take a look then? I would recommend anyone to go and take a look at one of these stores if they have one close by. They are great for gardening things, we picked up lots of packets of vegetable seeds last year. And if you are a crafter then it is an absolute necessity to go and have a look at their extensive range of goodies! If you like places like TK Maxx for their home wares (Range do not sell any clothes) then you will love Range, but probably more because there isn't the jumble sale, last item left feeling that you often get from T K Maxx. 5 out of 5 for a great shop that I would now feel bereft of if it closed down!
I came across the book Girl with a one track mind, written by Abby Lee after reading a review about it on Dooyoo. The person who reviewed this book warned that it had plenty in it to make anyone blush and was better than black lace books, which seemed a bit too middle of the road for their tastes. Being a reader of previous black lace books (for anyone not in the know these are erotica books written by women for women and can be found in places such as Ann Summers, as well as on line book retailers) and finding them great myself I thought why not try something a little bit more risqué? This book is written in the style of a diary, we are told that this book is taken from the diary of Abby Lee who is a self confessed sex addict. Apparently she started writing a blog about her exploits and decided to write an entire book sharing all her sordid secrets! We start in January and end in December, thus seeing a whole year in her life. In between each month is a list of top tens or 'do's and don'ts' which are quite funny. Her style of writing is fine and you quickly warm to her and there are a few parts where she is quite witty and funny, however as erotica I didn't find this book very good. It seemed to focus more on her inability to find a partner and generally sort her life out than on the sex. Having read black lace and even short stories from random top shelf magazines I was expecting lots of descriptions to really get me in the mood. However, what I found was mostly a woman constantly fiddling with herself (frigging, fingering etc, what ever you want to call it) and when she was actually lucky enough to find a man to sort her out she was skimpy on the details and left you feeling like you had been cheated. Yes some of the things she does detail in the book would probably make some people blush, she has a passing encounter with BDSM (Bondage, Dominance, sadomasochism...in other words rubber, leather, whips and chains), girl on girl action, threesomes and the likes, but again she is quick to skim over the bare minimum of details, so whilst it is an at times educational read, it isn't going to get you going...well it didn't get me going anyway. Overall I did want to finish the book and read it within about a week, it was a fairly compelling read once I had started, however it wasn't quite what I expected and I felt a little let down. Would I recommend this book? ---------------------------------------- Probably not, although it's an OK read it's nothing special, if you like erotica then stick to proper erotica books. As just a general reading book unless you like things a bit controversial then this probably isn't for you either. Although I wouldn't say this was a complete waste of time I won't be reading it again. As I managed to pick this book up from ebay for less than £3 delivered in fair condition I can't complain too much. If you do think this sounds like something you would still like to read I would advise against it if you are easily offended by sexual content, and as it is basically all about sex I would say this is only for adults, 17-18 years and older. Bookish bits ---------------- Printed by EBURY PRESS £7.99 (can be found cheaper at various online shops) ISBN 009191240-7 310 pages
Ok, so I'm not very technically minded so please take this as a non-tech review of a Epson SX100 printer. What does this printer do? ----------------------------------- Nowadays like most home printers this device also photocopies and scans, which are handy things. I do scan quite a few photos and have found this to be ok for my amateur needs. I would say the quality is probably not to a professional standard but the software included allows you to change bits and bobs as you see fit. The photocopy is of an ok quality but nothing to get too excited about, generally the copy is better if scanned and then printed. The printing (colour and black and white) however is not of a brilliant standard I have personally found. My main problem is that although I print very few things it seems to drink ink with a passion! I find myself being told that the cartridges need replacing every few pages I print, and this is just letters, nothing fancy like photographs as I can never seem to get the contrast right to print a photo. Everything it does, be it printing, scanning or copying it does make quite a noise, in fact even turning it on makes a noise, this could be forgiven if it did everything else well...however, that is just not the case! Actually loading the printer and software onto the computer was easy, but you would expect Epson to have this well covered by now. Can you get hold of replacement cartridges easily then? ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Yes you can, and when we first bought this printer (which we coincidentally bought because our old one was too expensive to buy the correct cartridges for) you could buy them fairly cheaply and in a range of places. However they do seem a bit harder to come by and generally cost about £15-20 to replace the black and colours in one go depending on where you buy them from. And a word of warning, I have tried some cheaper cartridges trying to quench the thirst of the machine, and after printing only 1 page it refused to recognise the cartridge at all! How much did you pay? ------------------------------- I think we paid around £30-£40 for this around a year ago, which actually worked out cheaper than buying cartridges for our old printer, so it was a bargain as it came with some cartridges included. It also came with software and printer to pc cable. Would you recommend this? ------------------------------------ Even with being such a bargain I would not recommend this to anyone, and am thinking about getting rid of it already. Not only does it insist on having the cartridges changed on a far too regular basis, but the quality of the printing seems to be getting worse. And actually changing the cartridges and getting it to recognise that I have put new ones in can take as much as half an hour and a lot of stress. And then it won't print properly the next time I turn it on! Also I'm not sure where everyone else keeps their printers now a days, but mine is on a shelf just above shoulder height and trying to get paper into the top feeder is a nightmare and I end up having to climb onto my table to see what I am doing, I didn't have this problem with my other printer. However the paper tray thing at the bottom holds quite a few sheets of paper without any problems and folds away well so you can almost forget that what you have is a printer instead of just a large black box! When it was new and behaved itself I thought it was a good little cheap printer, but the more I use it the more I dislike it and find it harder and harder to get it to work properly. So only 2 stars as it seems the more you use it the worse it becomes! Arggghhhhh I have too much stress with this and am starting to regret buying such a cheap printer! It seems like a false economy...if anyone can recommend a low usage printer that is good value I would be grateful!
I decided that the next time I needed to buy a new vacuum cleaner that I would do some research and get a great one, that I would love! But unfortunately, whilst in the middle of clearing up a big mess the kids had made in my living room my current vacuum cleaner packed up and I was left with a floor half covered in flour. I sent the hubby out to go and pick up the first available vacuum cleaner that he could find, and just prayed that it would last longer than the one that was now dead in my hands! I only have 2 rooms in my house that have carpets in, so I was surprised when my old vacuum packed up as it was only a couple of years old...maybe all the raisins I suck up on an almost daily basis are not good for the mechanics? What did hubby bring home? ------------------------------------- Hubby duly went to Argos and bought a Panasonic MC-E4061, he had chosen this model for various reasons. 1. It was one of the few in the price range he wanted which was less than £100 but more than £40 (deemed as too cheap to be any good in his opinion). 2. It was a bagless model, he knows how I always struggled to find the right type of bags for our now dead vacuum. 3. It had a function where you could fold the handle down to make the vacuum half the height. 4. It was a Panasonic, the name is one he knew and trusted for electronic equipment. I had told him that I needed an upright vacuum as I'm not keen on the drag along type, it's just a personal thing of mine, I'm sure some people would prefer a drag along to an upright. I also told him not to spend too much, as I would have been happy to have a cheap one for then and replace it in a few months when I had done some research. Trying it out ---------------- Taking the vacuum out of the box I was quite impressed (although I wasn't too impressed with what hubby had spent, I think it was in the region of £70-£80 which was more than I wanted him to spend), it was a lovely sleek looking bagless model, in black and maroon. Hubby was quick to show me the button at the bottom of the handle that then let you swing the upper part of the handle down, which then allows you to carry the vacuum around with much more ease, and would take up less room in the cleaning cupboard. It had all the usual parts that seem to come as standard, a little brush attachment, a hose extender attachment etc. I do on occasion use the hose extender but not any of the other attachments. I started up the vacuum and thought that a jet had flown into the room, it was quite noisy compared to what I was used to, but was hopeful that all the noise meant it would clean up better than I was used to as well! There is a pedal on the right side at the bottom which you press to allow the vacuum to tilt to your required angle for use. It works really well and my carpets have never looked so clean! So I have to conclude that hubby has done a good job, and the vacuum was worth it's price after all! Also hubby insists on using this on our hard floors and laminate flooring, although it makes a huge noise he is happy to use it for this. It does work well and sucks up all manner of dirt from the laminate floors, but due to the noise I personally would prefer to use a brush. Still going strong ---------------------- My vacuum is now over a year old and I have to say that it is still going strong, I often use the hose to suck up all the raisins and other crumbs that get pushed under my sofas and find this a very easy bit to slot in and out of the vacuum. My children are 5 and 3 years old and make a huge mess, so this vacuum really does have a lot of work to do in my house. As you can imagine with 2 small boys I have often sucked up the odd toy and pencil crayon and can report that I have managed to retrieve said objects with no damage to either object or vacuum cleaner! The filter does get fuzzed up on a regular basis, however if you give it a good bash on the side of the bin all the dust bunnies will eventually come out and the vacuum then sucks much better! The part that collects the dust is easy to clip in and out and the filter system that does need emptying regularly is easy to take apart and put back together again. You will find that the filter needs cleaning out long before the compartment that stores the dust needs emptying. Would you recommend this vacuum to others? ----------------------------------------------------------- Yes I would as I have been more than happy with the performance, although the handle does swing down for ease of carrying about, it's not quite light enough to be moved around by anyone who is frail. I don't struggle too much with getting it up and down the stairs and I am a bit of a weakling, but I wouldn't want to be carrying it up and down more than 1 flight of steps! Overall it does a good job, the filters need cleaning out a little more often than I would like, but at least it shows that the filters are working I suppose. 4 out of 5 stars for this one, if it needed less cleaning then it would be 5!
I have just recently taken an interest in ice hockey and thought I would share some of my experiences with you so that more people can enjoy the sport. It seems to be a growing sport in the UK at the moment, with more teams starting up and more fans taking an interest. With only recently finding the sport I don't quite have a full knowledge of all the terms and know all the rules but I understand the basics, which I can hopefully explain to you. Firstly, how did I find ice hockey? ------------------------------------------ I currently live in Nottingham and this city is lucky to have a fantastic team called the GMB Nottingham Panthers who play in the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL). They pride themselves on being one of the oldest teams in the UK My husband knows that I'm not really a sports sort of person but felt that I really should go and see at least one game of ice hockey. After the first game I was hooked, we soon started taking our then 4 year old to matches, he decided he would love to have a go at playing ice hockey so we booked him into the 'little squirts 5 star hockey programme' which runs at the Trent FM ice arena and we've never looked back! So what are the games like? ------------------------------------- Each game will have a start time, which is referred to as the 'face off' time. Make sure you arrive before the face-off time to find your seat, sometimes we get there early enough to watch the players warming up on the ice. The games are split into 3 periods of 20 minuets play on the ice, time is stopped for injuries, penalties and fights, so a period can last for longer than 20 minuets. In between each period is a break of around 15 minuets so that the Zamboni can clean and resurface the ice. At the Trent FM Arena one of the breaks will showcase a young talent on the ice, usually a small(ish) child doing some ice dancing. The teams are made up of 18 players with only 5 players and 1 net minder on the ice for each team at any time (the net minders can be swapped for an extra player if needed). The point of the game is to get the puck (a frozen block of rubber) into the opposing teams net, using ice hockey sticks. Ends are swapped after each period. There is quite a bit of time during the 20 minuet period where the game starts and stops for various reasons, and there is loud and vibrant music played to keep the fans happy. For regulars to the matches there are special little snippets with lots of clapping and chants and things to keep everyone entertained. With a special song being played when the home team score a goal! Overall the atmosphere at the games is great, there is no violence between opposing teams fans and it's marketed as family fun, no swearing is tolerated in the stands! Basically the games are good fun, sometimes the scores are so close that extra time is played and the game is eventually decided in a penalty shoot out, which is truly on the edge of your seat entertainment. I have been to a couple of games in the leagues lower down and the main game is the same, but there was less fighting and the flow of the game was a little bit quicker. Ummm, did you say fights? ---------------------------------- If you don't know anything about ice hockey the fights might come as a bit of a shock! There is usually at least one fight every game or two, these are usually between 2 of the bigger players who have been chosen to play in the team as an enforcer position. Basically both of the players will decided that they are going to fight, they will throw their gloves off, take their helmets off and stand face to face waving their fists around like prize fighters. Eventually they will start throwing punches, as soon as someone falls/slips over onto the ice the referees step in and break it up. The players will then be issued with penalties for fighting and sometimes misconduct as well. Although some people thinks the fights are horrible, other people complain if the match doesn't have one! I think a few fights are good for the sake of entertainment and as the players are always punished afterwards it's good to show my children that if you fight you get punished after, even as an adult! It never really seems to be too much about punching the other player, more about putting on a show for the fans, although sometimes the fans can get a little carried away and be a bit blood thirsty! Are the rules hard to understand? ------------------------------------------- Like any sport there are quite a few rules, however you can watch a match with only a slight understanding of them and still enjoy the game. For instance the players are not allowed to trip each other up or pull them with their hockey sticks (if a player is seen doing any of these things he will be given a penalty of 2 minuets, where he is put in the penalty box and not allowed to play until 2 minuets of play has taken place), they can slam each other against the sides of the rink though. The players will jump on and off the ice very quickly so it's hard to tell who is on the ice, there are different types of 'lines' but you don't have to understand this to enjoy the game. I still haven't got my head around the various reasons for stopping and re-starting the game at a different part of the ice. The husband informs me its to do with being off-side or something similar, but I can't grasp the concept. I do have Ice Hockey for Dummies which I am reading and learning a lot from but a lot of things you just pick up from watching the games. Like football there are different leagues of ice hockey, now unfortunately I do not understand these leagues at all. However if you check the internet for your local ice rink they should have information on any local teams, and they should be able to inform you in what league the local teams play. So should I give it a go? ------------------------------ If you are lucky enough to have a local team to go and support then you should really go and try a game. I don't enjoy watching many sports but ice hockey is a really entertaining night out. I've even organised a girls night out to a hockey game and every one of the girlies had great fun and can't wait for the next match! The matches are really family focused and win or lose there are never any fights off the ice, I feel safe taking my children to the games and know that no-one is going to be sat next to me swearing at the players or referees, unlike at some other sporting events (or so I've heard, not been to many myself). I have taken my not quite three year old at the time to a match and he really enjoyed the experience so I would say that anyone of any age could enjoy watching a game. The only problem with ice hockey is how fast the puck moves, sometimes you lose track as to where the puck has been shot, but you do eventually get used to keeping an eye on it, and it's not as tedious as watching something like tennis where the ball just goes back and forth, in my opinion any way! Being the sort of person who doesn't really enjoy watching sport of any kind I can 100% recommend giving this a try, I really love ice hockey and am so glad that it seems to be getting bigger and better here in the UK. I can't wait for my chance to go to either the states or Canada to see a really big team play!
The Enemy - Lee Child It's been a while since my last Lee Child book so I decided the time was right to grab the next in the 'Reacher series'. The Enemy is the 8th Reacher novel by British author Lee Child. Lucikly my dad has really gotten into the story of Jack Reacher and now has the whole set of books, this means that when I am ready for the next book I don't need to go and visit the library and pay my 25p to order in a specific book, instead I can just borrow my dad's copy! What's the story line this time? --------------------------------------- If anyone has read 2 or 3 of Lee Child's books they will probably be aware that Jack Reacher is an ex-military man living in the states, who often ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time and usually finds a person who needs helping in some way. You would also be aware that the books seem to follow the same formula which is why I haven't read one for a while as they were getting a little too predictable. However, this story sees us going back in time in the life of Reacher (he is known to all, including his own mother as 'Reacher' rather than Jack), who as always is the main character and the story is told through his perspective. We go back to 1990 to the fall of the Berlin wall while Reacher is still in the army. Reacher has been called back to the states to head-up Fort Bird (a US military base), he was called back from Panama by official orders and isn't sure why he has been chosen to 'man the fort' as it were. Being the dutiful army MP (military police) that he is, he asks no questions and gets on with his new post, for a while at least. However things take an interesting turn when on his first night on duty he is called to a local motel to deal with a dead 2 star general, it appears he may have had a heart attack whilst in the company of a hooker! The army are keen to cover up any embarrassments but Reacher finds it difficult to believe that it was a heart attack that killed the general when less than 24 hours later his wife is found murdered. Will Reacher find out what happened to the general and his wife? Will Reacher still be in the army at the end of the book? My Opinions ---------------- I was pleased to see that Lee Child was prepared to share some of Reachers history with us, in previous books you do learn more and more abut his time in the military, but never in as much depth as there is in this book. It was a nice change and didn't have me feeling like I'd already read part of the story. There were similarities between this story and others, there is a female lead that Reacher gets close to and as you read on you get the feeling that it's only a matter of time before they do the dirty! You'll have to read the book to find out if that assumption is correct though! As this is looking back at Reachers history you do get to know a bit more about his family, there is another storyline based around his mother and his brother, I won't say too much as I don't want to spoil the story. As always this works well as a stand alone story, as it's a kind of prequel you don't need to have read the other books for this one to make sense. However it does fit in well with the previous books. The chapters are short enough that you could read one in about 20 to 30 minuets, each chapter is broken up into a few sections so there are plenty of places you can stop along the way if you need to break up the reading. It didn't take me long to finish the book as the story was quite gripping and I really wanted to see what would happen next. Overall I really enjoyed this book, so much that I've already borrowed the next in the series to get stuck into! Would you recommend it? --------------------------------- Yes I would, as this is based on Reacher's history I would say that you could pick this up and make it your first Lee Child book, or you could read them all in order. I would say the books in general are aimed at an adult audience, however there is no reason why a teenage reader would not enjoy this story, there is little in the way of bad language and no really explicit scenes. If you have read other Lee Child books, then this is defiantly a book for you. If you've read a few books and got a bit bored with the seemingly recycled storylines then I think this one will revive your love of Reacher! Bookish bits ----------------- ISBN 0-593-05182-3 (hardback version) Price £12.99 (check on amazon or other sites for best price) 412 pages, 25 chapters
With the half term holiday upon us a few of the mum's at my oldest son's school decided we should organise a visit out somewhere. Someone suggested Sundown Adventure Park, as none of us had been before we decided to take picnics and make a day of it. Where is it? --------------- Situated in Rampton, Nottinghamshire it's not the easiest of places to find, neither is it particularly hard. Directions are on the website and my sat nav found it no problem which is unusual for my sat nav (I really do believe my sat nav has a personal vendetta against me!). Prices and opening times? --------------------------------- (correct as of June 2010) Adults and all children over the age of 2 are charged at £9.50 each (children under 2 are free). If you book as a group of 20 or more then you can get in for £8.00 each. At certain times of the year when all outside parts are closed the charges are £6 per child and £2.50 per adult, you can have the use of crash landings (indoor soft play area). You can purchase a season ticket for £50 per person which gives you year round access to the park. Open daily 10am to 5pm (seasonal variations mean earlier or later closing times). Only Crash landings open during certain seasons. Check www.sundownadventureland.co.uk to check opening times. What is it? -------------- Sundown Adventureland market themselves as a children's theme park, aiming at the under 10's. They have a large car park with decent sized parking bays, which is a great start. When you first enter the park you are given a map so you can find your way around. I feel that the map is perhaps a little misleading as it makes it look a bit bigger than it actually is by showing more space between the areas than there actually is. The park is split into sections such as Smugglers cove, which has lots of pirate/boat based play equipment and a water ride. Wild west area with a run away train ride. A farm area with a tractor ride. There are a few other areas but I won't spoil it for you in case you decide to visit. There are actually only 5 rides, the rest of the park is made up of various play equipment and little houses that you can go and explore. I actually liked the idea of not having to queue up for the whole day waiting for ride after ride, however for £9.50 I was expecting a few more rides to keep the kids excited. I can see why it's aimed at under 10's, I think any children over the age of 10 would be bored very quickly here. However the three 5 year olds, 3 year old and 8 month old really enjoyed themselves. There is a lovely big picnic area that is covered, and a big open grassed area that you can also use for picnics, and plenty of picnic tables dotted around the play equipment so you can have your lunch almost anywhere. You are able to get out into the car park to collect your picnic, they stamp your hand on the way out so you can come back in. There are also 3 main café areas in case you don't want to take your own lunch, the prices seemed about average for places like this at £1.20 for a bottle of coke, around £3 for a jacket potato and around £2 for a portion of chips. Not over the top prices but not cheap either! The toilet facilities were clean and they were placed in a few areas in the park, they were large enough to not have queues and even had lower sinks for the children to wash their hands. There were disabled toilets and baby change areas, but no areas for preparing baby food, although the café's will warm food and bottles if asked. There was no entertainment laid on compared to other theme parks that we have been to, no people walking around in animal costumes etc, although the staff were friendly and happy to help the children on and off the rides. Of course there was a gift shop, I wasn't very keen on the selection of things on offer, not much in the way of merchandise that related to the park except pencils, lots of generic swords and cuddly toys though! My favourite place was lollipoppet castle where the different rooms in the castle and surrounding area smelt of different sweets. There was a mint room, a sherbert room and a few others, it was quite odd and something I've never seen anywhere before. Would you recommend it? --------------------------------- I find this quite hard, as although we had a great day out I just can't justify £9.50 per head for what is on offer. If the price was £9.50 per child and maybe only £5 per adult then I would probably tell everyone to go. If they charged £5 for adults and kids then I would say it's one of the best places I have been aimed at under 10's. I really loved the idea of the children just being able to play on slides and swings and climbing frames, I could see them making up games and using their imagination more than they would at a normal theme park, but to me this wasn't really a theme park, it was an adventure park with a few extra rides. If you have money to spare then I would recommend this as a great day out for the little ones. However, if you are a bit of a penny pincher I believe that there are other theme parks that don't charge a whole lot more but have a lot more rides, and things for the adults to enjoy. My 5 year old asked if we could go again, when faced with the choice of here or Gullivers Kingdom (another theme park aimed at younger children, and only £3 per head more), he chose Gullivers Kingdom because they have so many rides to choose from, and he can go on ride after ride all day long. I give it 3 out of 5 stars, because it is a good day out but the price lets it down.
It's the start of the school holidays yet again, so of course it's raining...just as well Mum thought ahead and bought lots of sweets and popcorn and a new movie to keep the kids entertained. This is a film only review. Whats the film about? ----------------------------- Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears A Who is a children's animation. It uses the voices of Jim Carrey and Steve Carell. It runs for around 82 minuets. The basic story is about an elephant, called Horton, who one day hears something like someone calling for help as a speck of dust flies past him. He manages to catch the speck of dust on a pink clover and eventually hears someone calling again. Horton decides that there must be someone or maybe a whole family of tiny people living on the speck. He manages to talk to a Who, who lives on the speck and vows to save them from harm. However, in the jungle where Horton lives is a very bossy kangaroo who says "if you can't see it, hear it, or feel it, then it's not true". For some reason she feels the need to destroy the clover and the speck on it to teach Horton a lesson. The film is narrated in a style particular to Dr. Seuss' with all being in rhyme, however there is less narration and more from the characters as you get further into the film. The story goes on to show how the whole town of Who-Ville are affected by what Horton is doing to try and save them. I would say that there are a few morals to this story. The first is that it's hard to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, especially on your own. And secondly that if you really believe in something, even if other people try and put you down, that you should always be true to yourself. Having said that I don't think my boys really took on board the morals. They did however enjoy the film. They found some of the scenes funny and watched it fairly quietly without asking too many questions so I'm taking from that, that they understood what was going on. My boys are 3 and 5 at the moment and I would say that it's fine for children of any age. Where did you get I and how much did it cost? ------------------------------------------------------------ I picked up my copy of Horton Hears a Who from Tesco for just £3, I felt that was a good price for the amount of quiet time I would get! If you shop around you might be able to get it a bit cheaper. Would you recommend it to anyone else? ----------------------------------------------------- This was an easy film to watch, it's also easy to have on in the background and it not be annoying, which is great because I will probably have to put this on for the kids at least another few times in the next few months! I would recommend it at £3 to anyone with kids to entertain as I think that's a bargain for a kids film. I would say most people would enjoy parts of it from the young to the old. As is often the case with children's films these days there is a bit of adult humour thrown in to please the parents without being offensive to children. I wouldn't however pay anymore than £5 for this film as I don't think the story is interesting or funny enough to make it a classic that any children would want to watch more than a handful of times.
Breaking Dawn is the fourth and currently final book in the Twilight Saga written by Stephenie Meyer. I say currently as although this book does have a definite ending, like all good money spinners I am sure there is a way more could be written at a later date as either prequels or sequels! Also I have heard rumours of a further book being partly leaked already. And Tesco's are already selling books about 'The Real Forks' and the such, including a documentary type DVD about the town and surrounding areas! As this book is the last in a series please do not read this review if you intend to read the other books as it may give away some of the plots from the previous books, and I really don't want to spoil the end of the other books for anyone. The Book -------------- The book is mainly black with the red and white colour coming from some chess pieces on a chess board on the front (I think it's a queen and a pawn but I'm not 100% sure on that!). This book is noticeably ticker than the three proceeding books. This book is currently only available in hardback, but I would imagine that the paperback will follow shortly. The Story -------------- This is the final part in the story of Bella and Edward, and starts off where Eclipse left off. It starts with the wedding of Bella and Edward and their romantic honeymoon which follows. Bella decides that maybe she would like some more time as a human before Edward comes good with his promise to make her immortal by turning her into a vampire. However, before Edward is able to properly decide when the right time would be to turn Bella into a vampire, things take an unexpected twist. Will Edward be able to turn Bella into a vampire at all? And will the Volturi have a reason to come and visit sooner than expected? At the back of the book is a very helpful list of all the vampires that we have met throughout the saga and who they are linked with as partners and families, those that have special powers and also includes those that have died! My opinions ----------------- This is by far my favourite of all the Twilight books. A few of my friends warned me that this book does drag a little and that the ending is a little weak. But to be honest I found this book just as gripping as the first book, Twilight, and it was the ending that I really had been hoping for so I was very pleased! This book I found to be slightly more gory than the others even though it was not quite as action packed. If you are squeamish about blood then I guess you wouldn't be reading a vampire story, but they do take it up a notch, so be warned! And don't read this book while you are eating! Although having said this I kind of forgot at times that this story was about vampires as to me it is one of the best love stories I have read for ages! This book is slightly different form the first three where we only see things from Bella's perspective, however in this book we are treated to a few chapters from Jacob's perspective, which was a nice change and I did eventually get used to Jacob talking about himself, at first I got confused at why Bella was turning into a wolf! The only complaint I had about this book is small, after so much sexual tension is built up between Bella and Edward, spanning over the first three books, I was hoping that after they were married there would be a fantastic sex scene to really get your teeth into, however as soon as it starts to get slightly risqué Stephenie seems to loose interest and then picks up the story in the aftermath. I found this frustrating, but seeing as how these books are supposedly aimed at teenagers I guess I can let her off! Again the book is broken up into quite a few chapters which makes it easy to put down after just a few chapters if you have stronger will power than me! The language used was easy to read and overall very well written. Would I recommend this book ------------------------------------------ This book refers to so much that happened in the past that I don't think you could read this book and understand it without reading the previous 3 books, I would recommend starting at the beginning and working your way through. If you have read and enjoyed the previous books then this is a must to tie up all the loose ends and to see if there is a happily ever after. Again this book is more gory than the first two, so anyone younger than a teen my be a little upset by the descriptions used, and there is a sense of dread in this book much more so than in the others. Overall I have been so impressed with Stephenie Meyer and the way she is able to write such a compelling story, and I am slightly sad that I don't have any more in the Edward and Bella story to read, at least I feel that the ending is quite final and I don't feel like she has left anything out. I can see why the films have done so well as the story is fantastic, but in my opinion a film could never do these books the justice they deserve. I'm not the sort of person to read a book twice as I feel that there are so many great books out there that I only have time to read each book once, however I am really trying my hardest not to go out and buy my own copies so that I can read the complete set through again as I am sure that they would be great to read a second or third time. Once the price of these books has come down I will buy my own set, but perhaps try not to read all of them in less than 2 weeks! It got to the point where if I wasn't reading one of the books I spent my time thinking about the books, and have done for a while since finishing them. The Twilight Saga deserves way more than 5 stars! Bookish bits ------------------- Hardback version 702 pages ISBN 978-1-905654-28-4 Price £14.99 (Amazon and all the other sites will have it cheaper I am sure) Published by Atom in 2008, reprinted 24 times since then! *This review may appear on other sites under the same user name*
Eclipse is the third and penultimate book of the 'Twilight' saga written by Stephenie Meyer. Having read the first two books I was really eager to read this book as quickly as possible so I could finally finish the story and get on with my life, these books have taken over my social life because I just couldn't put them down! Just to warn you this review will contain things from the previous two books so please don't read this if you intend to read the other two books! It really would be impossible to tell you what happens in this story without giving away what happens in the other two books! The Book -------------- The book is mainly black with the red colour coming from a broken ribbon that is twirling across the front. This book is noticeably ticker than the two proceeding books. The Story -------------- This story follows on from the last book, New Moon. Edward and Bella are back together as they should be, but Bella feels torn between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob. As mortal enemies of each other will she ever be able to have both men in her life at once? As usual Bella's life seems to be in danger from an unknown enemy and Edward and Jacob must come up with a plan to protect her, but can they work together or will they fight with each other? We learn more of the Quileute tribes' stories in this book and the reason behind Jacob's reluctance to be happy that Bella is back together with Edward. We also learn more about the Cullen family and how they came into existence. My opinions ---------------- Overall I enjoyed this book, just not as much as I had enjoyed Twilight and New Moon, which left me feeling a little disappointed. I found some of the history told through the characters was a little boring for me and I just wanted to rush to the more action packed story that I just knew was on the way! The last 150 or so pages were the best part of the book showing the most comedy so far in the story, but also some of the more gory stuff. The last 100 pages of the book were so action packed it was really hard to put down again, and I did lose myself completely in the story. The ending was a little predictable, although to be honest it's the ending that I wanted so I can't really complain. Also there is one part that bothered me about Bella continuing to tell Edward that she wanted to become a vampire like him so she could spend eternity with him, his one condition made Bella shy away which I thought was a little odd (I won't spoil the story by telling what his condition was), it just seemed a little pathetic from Bella! The language used was very easy to read, a few of the tribe stories had some difficult names, so if you were reading this aloud to someone be ready to trip over some tribal leader names! The ending of this book left it wide open for another book to follow so it doesn't really feel like the story has ended for me. There is also a lot of reference to the previous two books so I would recommend that you don't read this book before you read Twilight and New Moon. Most people who I have spoken to about this book have said it was their favourite, so I was a little disappointed until I got closer to the end where all the action was. Would I recommend this book ------------------------------------------ If you have read the previous two books then you definitely need to read this book, after all, just one more book to go after this and then the story will be complete! These books are aimed at teenage readers, some of the content would not be any good for younger readers, but as an adult this book was not too far off for my taste either! I am looking forward to reading the final book so I can get my social life back, and I am hoping that I can find another book soon that will capture my imagination as much as these have. However, overall, this is not the best book out of the saga so far for me. I still have high expectations for the next book! Bookish bits ----------------- Paperback version 559 pages ISBN 978-1-904233-90-9 Price £12.99 (Amazon and all the other sites will have it cheaper I am sure) Published by Atom in 2007, reprinted 13 times since then! *This review may appear on other sites under the same name*
New Moon is the second in the 'Twilight' saga written by Stephenie Meyer. As I had enjoyed the first book so much I decided that I would crack on with the second book as soon as possible, almost certain that I would be disappointed, how could the second book come anywhere near close to being even half as good as the first? The Book ------------ Again this book's front cover is mainly black with a splash of colour this time coming from a white red and green flower. Again it doesn't really tell you anything about what to expect from the book. It is a very heavy looking book, but as I'd read the first one in no time the size of the book didn't put me off as much this time. This book picks up the story between Bella and Edward from where the last one finished. They are currently studying their last year at high school and trying to have as normal a relationship as a vampire and a teenage girl can whilst keeping the secret of Edward being a vampire. The Story ------------- The story takes a sad turn quite early on when Edward realises that the only way he can keep Bella safe is to leave her forever. The story then follows how Bella tries to get her life back on track whilst vowing she will never live a normal life without Edward. Her new life sees her renewing her friendship with Jacob Black from the nearby settlement of La Push, the Quileute tribe land. Her friendship with Jacob becomes very intense and starts to make you think that maybe Edward is not her one true love after all. Bella seems to be a magnet for danger however and all is not quite as it seems in the friendly town of Forks. Could even more mythical creatures than Vampires exist and would they be good or evil? I don't want to spoil the story for you, so I will stop there, but there are a few twists and turns along the way that will have you wondering just where the story is going and each one is fantastic. My opinions ---------------- I loved this second book almost as much as the first one. I found it just as hard to put down and at no point found myself bored by the story. It took me a little over 24 hours to read this one, although I could have read it faster if my children hadn't needed to be fed! I cried so much at the start of this book when Edward realised he would have to leave Bella, which made it hard to read all the words! And by the end of the book I was literally on the edge of my seating waiting to see what would happen next! The ending of this book made for more of an opening for the next than I felt the first one had, which ended as a stand alone book with the possibility of a follow up, but without one being forced quite so much. Again I found the language in the book was easy to read, the chapters well laid out and the story telling was top notch again. It left me itching to start the third book almost immediately (next review that will be coming lol). I would warn that this book does introduce a gore that wasn't really in the first book as much, so maybe this book wouldn't be good for very young readers, but certainly older teens would be fine with it. I'm not really a fan of gore but it was used effectively to tell the story, and I feel that if it had been left it the story would have felt like it was missing something. Would I recommend this book --------------------------------------- If you have read the first book and enjoyed it then I would highly recommend this book. I would suggest reading Twilight first, as although you could read this story as a stand alone book it's nice to know the history of Edward and Bella before you start. There were a few parts of the book which referred to the previous book, but enough explanation was given so that you didn't feel like a huge chunk of knowledge was missing if you didn't read Twilight first. Overall I was very impressed with the second book. I was sure that it would be a let down as I had enjoyed the first one so much, but was so happy to find that this book was very almost as good as the first and kept in keeping with the story telling and emotions so well. I actually started the third book the morning after I finished this one because I enjoyed it so much and I just couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next! Bookish bits ---------------- Paperback version 497 pages ISBN 978-1-904233-87-9 Price £12.99 (Amazon and all the other sites will have it cheaper I am sure) Published by Atom in 2007, reprinted 18 times since then!
I seemed to be a bit behind everyone in jumping on the twilight saga band-wagon. I really couldn't see the appeal as a grown adult in reading stories that had been written for teenagers, and once the films started coming out I was put off even more. All these middle aged women (I base this on the mum's I see at my son's school, some of them are actually quite young to be honest though!) swooning over some actor I'd never heard of who looked almost young enough, from the adverts I had seen, to be my son! However, my curiosity got the better of me when so many friends told me the books were so much better than the films, that I decided I couldn't resist any longer. A friend helpfully agreed to lend me the whole series so I could make up my own mind. The Book ------------ The four books in the saga all have similar covers so that you can tell they are linked. The first one is black with a picture of pale hands holding a red apple, quite arty but it doesn't really tell you anything about the story. The book is broken up into 24 chapters (with a preface and an epilogue) which are just the right length to read one at a time and not lose a whole afternoon, they are broken up nicely so you can leave the story at a sensible point. Although I challange you to want to put it down after reading just one short chapter! All 4 books are quite thick, which makes them rather daunting, especially when handed all 4 in one go, but don't let this put you off. However, when you read them they don't seem long at all. The Story ------------- The basics of the story without spoiling too much is based around the life of a girl called Bella Swan who moves from Phoenix where she lives with her mother to a small town called Forks to live with her father. As the story unfolds you find out that she moves because her mother has a new husband and isn't able to be around for her as much so she believes that living with her Dad who is all alone is the only option she has. She remembers forced childhood vacations with her father and isn't looking forward to the move, not least because this is a town with the highest recorded rainfall in the USA. As she tries to settle into school she is taken aback by a group of children who are particularly pale and incommunicative with the other students. It becomes clear to Bella from early on that one of these children, Edward Cullen, who also shares a biology class with her, is different in more ways than she could imagine. We get to see life through Bella's eyes as she gets to know Edward better and learns more and more about him, and at the same time learns things about herself as well. She learns about some local myths that you never quite get to the bottom of, which leads nicely to another book or three in the future, There is plenty of tension in this book leaving you in no denial that it is a love story, of sorts, but you are never sure if it will work out or not. The Author --------------- I had to search to find out a bit about Stephenie Meyer, she has written other books which I will now need to track down and see if they are just as good. She currently lives in America with her husband and 3 sons. The Twilight Saga are her first real attempts at writing and from her photograph she looks very attractive, as well as being loaded from all the books she has sold she must be the ideal woman! My opinions ---------------- The last book I read took me 4 months to finish so when I looked at the enormity of this book I thought it would take me at least a year to finish it. I was so wrong, from about the third chapter in I was unable to put it down and finished it in less than 24 hours. I found the story line compelling, the tension almost unbearable and the characters instantly likable. I really got a sense of who each person was and the language used to describe people was simple but very good at helping to paint a mental picture. So much that I couldn't imagine watching the films that have been made based on these books as no-one actor could possibly fill the role of Edward Cullen as I have made him in my mind. The language used in this book is easy to understand and the violence is kept to a minimum as you would expect with a book aimed at teenagers. Would I recommend this book? ---------------------------------------- Yes, yes, definitely and undeniably yes. This is one of the most compelling books that I have read since the first Dave Peltzer book about 10 years ago. I really enjoyed this book from chapter 3 onwards, the first 2 chapters were a little slow but once the book got going it just never stopped. I enjoyed the book more than any other I have read recently and am really looking forward to reading the rest of the Twilight Saga books, although I really need to set aside a whole weekend to read the rest in one go, as if they are as compelling (and I have been promised that they are), then I won't want to put them down. I haven't read any other teenage books in a long while (since I was a teenager I think) and was surprised at how good this book was. I couldn't see anyone not enjoying this book, I would say any competent reader above the age of about 10 would enjoy this book. Bookish bits ---------------- Paperback version 434 pages ISBN 978-1-904233-80-0 Price £12.99 (Amazon and all the other sites will have it cheaper I am sure) Published by Atom in 2006, reprinted 9 times since then!
Looking along the biography shelf in my local library I came across the book 'Dear Fatty' which claimed to be autobiographical by Dawn French. I must admit that I had heard that Dawn French had written a book, and at the time I was quite interested to read it, however I soon forgot all about it, already having an overflowing pile of books to get through! I was very pleased to have found it in my library as they are not always that quick at getting new(ish) titles on the shelf. So I went to the checking out desk and carried the book home happy that I would finally get to read this little gem. What is the book about? -------------------------------- Obviously it's about Dawn French for starters! We get to find out quite a bit about her family, a little about her school days, a fair bit about past boyfriends and all about her comedy career, how she got started and where she is up to in her life with a bit of a hint as to what she plans to do next. This book doesn't go into the problems her and her husband had a few years back, she does mention them but not in any detail. I found this a bit of a disappointment as I was hoping to get a true account of what actually happened as the press never seem to report what really goes on. In fact Dawn even says that the press got it all wrong, but she still doesn't set the record straight! Would I enjoy this book? -------------------------------- That is an interesting question, I'm not quite sure about this book myself so how can I recommend it to others? The reason I'm not overly enthusiastic about this book is that I don't much like the format. Rather than a usual autobiography where you start, usually, in childhood and touch on important events leading up to, in Dawn's case the start of her famous career, she has opted to share parts of her life in the format of letters. These consist of letters to her dead father, her best friend, various boyfriends, Jennifer Saunders and a few others such as celebrities. Some of these letters are utter nonsense, such as letters she writes to Madonna, where as the letters she writes to her father are, at times, quite touching. However it's not clear whether some of these letters were written a while ago whilst she was in the moment (such as one about being a teenager in love with David Cassidy), or if they have all been written at the same time just for the sake of this book. Overall I would say that I have been disappointed with this book. I first checked it out of the library in November and it's February and I still haven't quite finished it yet (I have however renewed it so as not to owe the library more than the book is worth in fines!) I do plan to finish the last few pages before I finally return the book to my library. I have now indeed finished the book in March, but only because the library told me I couldn't keep it any longer and I hate not finishing a book right to the bitter end, acknowledgments and all! So it's not a real page turner, more of a slow read. It's a book that you can easily pick up and read just a few pages and then put down. There are quite a few pages of colour photographs of Dawn with her family and friends and former colleagues (think lots of comedians). These are interspersed throughout the middle part of the book, she does mention some of the photographs specifically in her letters but obviously the publishers found it too difficult to put certain photos right after these letters, instead they have bunched them up into (I think) 4 sections. If you are a huge fan of Dawn's comedy then you may enjoy this book, however if you only have a passing interest then I would suggest that this is not the book for you. I would class myself as a fan of most of Dawn's work and I was still not all that interested in much of this book. Yes some of her comedy does shine through, and you do learn a bit about her background and how she met her fellow comedian's, however it just wasn't enough to keep me interested. I would conclude that I wasn't a fan of the style of writing and if I saw another book written in a similar style (nothing but letters) I wouldn't bother to pick it up. Bookish information -------------------------- 366 pages (paperback version) ISBN 978-0-09-951947-8 £7.99 Printed by arrow books (first printed by Century in 2008)
This programme is my only true guilty pleasure. I know that I shouldn't watch it, I know that it's a bit of an awful show and try not to let people know that I watch it, but it's time to confess. My name is mum2boys82 and I love watching Doctors. Where can I watch this too? You can see Doctors every weekday (currently showing in 2010) from 1.45pm to 2.15pm on BBC1, and if you miss it you can catch up on the BBCi player at any time. What's it about? The basic plot of the show is simple...watching the lives of GP's, staff and patients of a medical centre, The Mill. Each half hour episode follows an in depth story based around 1 or more of the main characters of the show whilst also showing you what is going on at The Mill. The pure genius of this programme is that so many awful things happen to the staff in and around the surgery that you just can't stop watching. If all these events happened in one town it would be fairly unlucky, but for all to happen in one surgery is amazing! And as if the excitement wasn't enough they decided to branch into the student medical mishaps by opening the Campus Surgery. Before I get any further I suppose I should admit that this is indeed a soap, it's the only one that I watch as I find the others too much hard work, the story lines get too complicated and if you miss a few shows you lose the plot completely, however I don't find that a problem with Doctors. Sometimes I miss a whole week of shows but can still pick up what is going on with the long running storylines. The most recent big story in the show was based around Ruth the receptionist, she has mental health problems that started to come out and manifest as a type of multiple personality disorder where she believed she was someone else. This stayed with her from being sectioned, through her treatment, and her return to work, whilst showing some little slips along the way. I felt that this story was handled very sympathetically and showed how this type of illness can affect everyone around you. I have been watching Doctors on and off for a couple of years now and have seen quite a few of the GP's knocked off. One quite literally as he was run over by a car, another went to work in Singapore and you know that as soon as they have gone a new character will be introduced to fill their slot, and so far I've not had a problem with any of the replacements either loving the new character straight away or them eventually growing on me when they finally get a tasty storyline for themselves! Any downsides? For me no, but you do have to be prepared to believe just about anything that can happen will happen at The Mill Health Centre and their Campus Surgery. Yes some of the stories are far fetched but to me it's half an hour of fiction that I very much enjoy. Don't expect to see any big name actors on this show, you sometimes see someone from Doctors in an advert, or a bit part in another BBC drama but no really big names. However the standard of the acting is good and makes for an entertaining show.