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Being Erica is a great quirky entertaining show at first you think it's a typical American Sit-com but its not. First of all it's set in Toronto in Canada and it's all about a girl named Erica Strange played by Erin Kerpluk. It does an American flavour to it but that's not a bad thing.
The plot is that Erica is in her late 20's and like many people she carries a lot of baggage and regrets in her life. She feels that her life is going nowhere and that she hasn't achieved anything. She is advised to see a physiatrist called Dr Tom and eventually she goes to have a chat in his office. He is a brilliant character and helps to make the show. He asks her to list all her regrets out and she promptly does this and it's a massive list. He works through each thing one at a time. He seems to be very fixed on getting a commitment out of her to follow through with his programme. This is where it all changes. Every item on the list is discussed and after the discussion she is taken back in time to relive the regret in any way she sees's fit. It's great to see her thrown into the past as a teenager, collage student or any time from her past. Dr Tom's office moves at will at she can walk into it at bizarre times without knowing when or where. Sometimes she can go through her office door or toilet door and end up in his office any time day or night.
That's the basic plot, now I will take you through some of the other characters:
Gary Strange (John Boylan) - Erica's Dad who is also a Rabi and seems to have spent much of his life smoking dope. He is divorced from her mother and you learn more about this as Erica goes back in time more and more.
Barbara Strange (Kathleen Laskey) - Erica's mother who she has a strained relationship with, but loves her really.
Samantha Strange(Joanna Douglas)- She is Erica's younger sister who she is very close to at the start but things get harder with her, mostly due to Sam's husband who is a real sleaze.
Leo Strange (Devon Bostick) - He is Erica's younger and much loved brother. As series one moves on you realize that he has died at some point. When she goes back in time she tries to advise him so he won't do whatever it was that caused his death. She soon finds out that there's certain things she can't change.
Josh Macintosh (Adam Macdonald) - This is Samantha's husband and he is quite a nasty sleazy character. I won't give too much away about what he gets up to.
Ethan (Tyron Leitso) - Erica's best friend since collage. There's a lot of chemistry between the two of them but I wont give away how that story progresses. At the start of series one he is married but separated. Ethan lives next door to Erica.
Katie (Sarah Gadon) - She was best friends with Erica as a kid but had a big fallout sometime throughout the years and this is another regret of Erica's
Judith (Vinnessa Antoine) - Currently Erica's best female friend she is married at the start of season one with a baby on the way. I'm not very keen on this character I always have the impression she is just waiting to fall out with Erica.
Julie-Anne (Reagan Pasternak) - She is her boss and a really bitchy back stabbing boss who is always putting Erica down. Brilliant character.
Brent (Morgan Kelly) - He is Erica's co worker and well dressed, quiet and I think as things move on he will become dangerous.
This can be quite a feel good series but not in a cheesy way. Dr Tom always has a quote for every situation from an ancient philosopher to a modern day saint and has even been known to quote Yoda. Dr Tom also turns up in the past to help her and guide her. What's really nice is to see how she is changing. I'm now part way through season two and I feel its well worth the watch. It's written by Jana Sinyor and first released in 2009. Give it a go. I got the information for the actors who play all the characters from Wikapedia.
I've had my iPhone 3G for 3 months now and I love it. I would advise anyone who hasn't got one to go for it but shop around as there are good deals to be had.
So what's so good about it?
Looks great but looks aren't everything. Phones have to be practical as well and I feel it is. The touch screen works very well. I was concerned about this as I've had other touch screen phones and they weren't good. The screen is very responsive and I don't find myself hitting the wrong keys very often.
It's also very easy to operate and works a bit like a PC. All the programmes also known as apps are on the screen and you just touch the one you want to use. The apps start quickly and mostly are simple to use. It comes with some basic apps on the phone but there's thousands on the istore to download. Lots are good but some are rubbish. I will list some of the apps and give you details of them:
Tesco Clubcard: I love collecting clubcard points and this appears as a full size clubcard on the phone. It gives you up to date points but wont scan on the self service checkouts.
Footsteps: This is a pedometer, activate it and it will keep track of your steps, calories burned, distance etc. It saves all the information and gives you it in different forms to analyse.
Mail: Email and SMS. I have it on my Yahoo account and I can send and receive emails open attachments. Really handy on the go. SMS is cool the speech appears as bubbles and keeps a note of full chat on a single page. Really like the SMS.
Monopoly: One of my all time favourite games and it doesn't disappoint. To role the dice you have to shake the phone.
Formula 1 game: Rubbish game really hard to control.
Apps range from free to £40 is the dearest I have seen. Most are about 0.59p which is great value for money.
It also operates as an iPod which I still think is the best digital music player; you can watch videos, read books and listen to your music.
The camera isn't bad either, I think its only 3.2 million pixels but it must be decent quality from the photos I've taken they seem to be good and you can email them direct from your phone or send them as a media message.
It also has an app called Safari which is really just an internet operation like internet explorer on your PC. It's quite fast when it's operating on my broadband and even when it's running on 3G I've been quite impressed.
Some people I know haven't been overly impressed with the phone side but I find it quite simple to use and you can set up all your contacts with their own pictures and ring tones.
As you can see I'm quite a fan so you must be thinking can I say anything negative about this and here it is. You need to buy a protective cover as it can get scratched easily. I bought a fake leather one online for about £5.00. The SMS predictive text is very basic and most of the time it gives no suggestions. You need to charge it everyday which was the biggest disappointment with it. I think if I was going on a long flight and using it for games and music it would run out really fast. The only other thing that annoys me is how easily the screen gets smudged but I guess all touch screen phones are like that.
Overall I think they are great. One of the things I really liked about it was after I connected it to my laptop it had downloaded my diary and all my contacts to it. I am finding that I am using it more and more for my work life. This helps to keep me organized. If you don't have one go for it you wont be disappointed. I got mine from Vodafone for £25 a month and I get 150 minutes and 75 texts, also 1GB of internet use. Shop around there's deals to be had especially with the iPhone 4 out now.
I just love chilli; it has to be one of my favourite dishes simple and delicious. We have never tried making it from scratch and this is so easy for a family dinner especially on a week night when you don't have a lot of time. In my opinion its one of the best jars of chilli you can buy. I've tried loads of different ones from Tesco's finest range, Uncle Ben's, Olde El Passo and all the other main supermarket brands and none even comes close to the Asda sauce.
The best thing about it is that it says its hot chilli sauce and it is. You get a nice kick off it from every bite MMMM. I always think a good chilli sauce leaves a really pleasant aftertaste and this does. Although its hot sauce it doesn't leave you with your eyes watering but if you don't like your food to spicy then there is a mild version as well. You can taste the garlic but its not overpowering. It doesn't have that smoky flavour that other brands can have which is probably the only criticism but the over all flavour works really well. The sauce can be a little to thick but I always add a little water to get the right consistency. I'm not a big fan of the kidney beans but the Asda sauce doesn't have too many in it and if I've got the time I sometimes pick them out.
I always use frying steak with this sauce and serve it with rice and the essential sour cream. You've got to have sour cream; the coolness with the hot chilli is a great compliment and finishes it off nicely.
The cost of the jar is usually £0.99 and well worth the money. The jar holds 570g and
An average serving has about 80 calories. Until you add the sour cream.
Tomato Purée (46%), Tomatoes (14%), Red Kidney Beans (13%) [Kidney Beans, Lactic Acid, Salt] , Water , Onion (3.5%) , Sugar , Maize Starch , Red Chilies (2.1%) , Red Pepper (1.5%) , Lemon Juice from Concentrate , Vegetarian Beef Flavor Bouillon [Salt, Yeast Extract, Wheat Flour, Flavorings (contains Milk, Celery), Vegetable Oil , Onion Powder] , Chili Powder Blend [Paprika, Chili, Cumin, Salt, Oregano, Garlic] , Cumin , Acidity Regulator (Citric Acid) , Garlic Powder , Coriander , Salt , Kibbled Chilies , Chili Powder , Oregano , Reduced Fat Cocoa Powder , Black Pepper , Cayenne .
I got the information for the ingredients and calories from the Asda website. This is a great sauce and we usually have it at least once a week.
I am a Diabetic or at least that's what it says on the card in my wallet. I am 34 nearly 35 and I developed diabetes at the age of 12 so you could say I'm an expert or it feels that way at times.
What is diabetes?
There are 3 different types of diabetes, diet controlled, pill and diet controlled and insulin dependant or type one diabetes where you inject insulin every day (type 1). What happens is the pancreas that produces insulin to control blood sugar stops producing insulin. In type 1 the pancreas produces no insulin so you have to inject insulin to control your own blood sugar. Quite literally if you eat any sugars/carbohydrates you need to inject insulin to control it. You also have to test your blood sugars to keep an eye on your blood sugar level to make sure it's correct. This is where most people make the mistake with diabetes. It is a balancing of the blood sugars and for type one it's a myth that you cant eat sugar. This really winds me up when people make comments to me that I shouldn't eat sugar! I used to really get annoyed at this but over the years I've changed and try not to let it bother me. I will explain more about the balance a bit later on.
My history with diabetes
When I developed it they had no idea how I developed it as there was no history in the family and I was a healthy 12 year old boy very active and as healthy as any other 12 year old. Over the period of about 3-4 months I slowly became ill. I was always tired and thirsty and running to pee every 10 minutes. Ten I started to loose wait and became gaunt. It sounds drastic but all these symptoms came on slowly and it took a bit of time for my mum and dad and I to realise something was up. The thirst at the end was shocking, I would walk for 5 minutes and I would be desperate for a drink. I would down a can of juice and 10 minutes later I would be desperately thirsty again. When I went to bed I would wake up to go to the toilet and my mouth would be physically dry to the touch. On top of this came extreme tiredness. It was the summer holidays when I became really sick and I slept really late and just couldn't be bothered doing anything.
My mum took me to the doctors and he did a blood test and a urine test. He was a young doctor and I don't think he was aware that he said out loud "Oh No" when he tested my blood sugar and I remember looking at my mum convinced that I was about to be told I was dying, more than that I remember the look on my mum's face which confirmed that she thought the same. It was all rather quick and it was almost a relief to hear it was diabetes.
They took me into hospital that night which was a really old hospital and I was put in the men's ward which was full of old men some very ill and for a 12 year old it was scary. However the doctors and nurses were brilliant and the old guy next to me was really nice. I was in for the weekend as they taught me how to control it. The best thing they ever did was when it was time for me to do my first injection on my own they brought in 2 female student doctors and some young female nurses. And as a 12 year old boy I didn't want to look like a chicken in front of these females so I stuck the needle in and went for it. I've always been convinced they did it on purpose.
I got home and I just got on with my life. I never though of it as being a hindrance or a problem nobody told me it could be a problem so I just got on with it. Over the years the insulin has changed drastically as has the blood testing equipment. The first insulin I was given was taken from pigs but that quickly changed and they started to give me the man made stuff. They would give you about 6 syringes that had to last for a couple of weeks. You would reuse them over and over again. They would become really blunt and sore to use. My parents were good enough to buy me syringes which made a huge difference. They insulin I took also took about 45 minutes to react. The new insulin reacts in 5 minutes, it's brilliant. Also at the start you had to plan how much you would eat for the day but modern insulin lets you eat what you want when you want. You can even skip the odd meal although your better not to. The old blood testing equipment used to take about 3 minutes to work and was really expensive to buy. The new ones take 5 seconds and are really cheap.
I want to say something about NovoNordisk who produce the insulin I use. They supply all my pen injectors for free as long as I use their insulin. The pen injector is the modern equivalent to the syringe. It just looks like a pen and it holds about 3 days worth of insulin. You can change the needle as often as you like. The needle is only about 8mm long and so sharp you very rarely feel it going in. So good.
I have never let it hold me back. I am married with two children and I have a good job as a sales manager. I drive allot and I have to renew my licence every 3 years to make sure I am still healthy. Its no big deal and the DVLA are always really helpful. I keep good health and although I do get a bit tired every now and again I don't let it stop me doing anything. I go to the hospital twice a year and the eye clinic once a year. The NHS is so good at keeping an eye on you and making sure you are in top health although I do need to loose about two stones. As I said earlier diabetes type 1 is a balancing act and with the way you count food you can more or less eat what you want as long as you take it into consideration when you are taking your insulin. Sometimes with diabetes you can have to much insulin in your blood because of not eating enough or making a mistake, this is called a hypo and you need to eat something sweet to bring the sugar levels back up. This is when it's annoying when you are mid hypo and someone walks up to you and points out that your diabetic and shouldn't eat sweets!!!! If you go hypo you start to become dizzy and light headed and you need something sweet quickly. If you don't get something sweet you become unconscious and would need hospital treatment. I am really blessed because when a hypo comes on me I get really good warning signs in my body so that I can take care of it quickly. Many diabetics get no warning signs and I'm not sure how I would cope with this.
If you see someone who is diabetic and there is something wrong chances are they need something sweet. A sugary drink is always a safe bet. As I said earlier it's a balancing act sometimes you need sugar sometimes you need insulin. With type one you have more freedom because you can make the choice what to eat and how much insulin you take. Diet and tablet controlled diabetes isn't as easy, they have to keep away from much of the sweeter things because it's not as easy to control. So although type one is more serious it lets you have the control.
Do us all a favour though if you know little about the condition then don't tell us what we should or shouldn't do. I have found over the years that I usually know more about the condition than most doctors or nurses do unless they are a specialist but even then I often find I am ahead of their knowledge on how to control it. This isn't arrogance it's just having almost 23 years of experience of dealing with it and being on various courses throughout the years. More than this I know how my own body feels with diabetes.
Not sure what the future holds. I keep good health just now and you never know when this will change. All I know is I have an amazing wife who is just great and they are ploughing millions into research every year. There are new things around like insulin pumps and stem cell research. You've just got to make the best out of life and as a Christian I am a firm believer that I am watched over.
I think in Scotland we only have three Disney stores that I know off. I have mixed feelings about this shop some good some not so good and I will endeavour to bring these from the deeps of my mind. To start with this is a bit of a young Childs wonderland and as you enter the store you are normally greeted by someone with a big hello and a warm welcoming smile. A bit over the top for my liking and very Americanised but what the hey.
The shop itself is really bright and colourful with all the Disney characters, themes and colours. Very impressive, the staff is all uniformed in what looks like Disney theme park clothes and this is not a criticism it looks good. They always have the most up to date products from the latest Disney blockbuster and from the classic Disney lines like Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Winnie the Pooh with all his friends as well.
In most of the ranges they sell everything from very young kids toys, t-shirts, cups, bags, pencil cases, pens, mugs, dressing up outfits, towels, teddies, adult clothes, watches, remote controlled cars, snow globes, boxes, sweets, DVD's and many many other items. The main two things that get me here are these:
1 The prices hugely fluctuate from really reasonable to ridiculas prices for various items. E.g. my daughter always gets her school bag here every year for the last four years. And they have ranged in price from £18-£25 all reasonably good but then you look at the pencil case set which to go with her bag this comes in about £15 which seems a bit over the top. The other things that are expensive and the DVD's usually a minimum of £12.00 but what's really outrageous is the silly small items, I suppose you would really call them the Disney souvenirs like small cheap action figures or cheap plastic cups and they are really over priced a minimum of £5.00. This is probably what they would charge at the theme parks.
2 They quality of much of the goods really is below what you would expect. Ceramics and soft toys are good but many of the actual play toys just seem below the standard you would expect from a company like Disney.
The best time to go is when they have a sale on. They really do have some good bargains then. It's not a really bad shop just some of the prices and quality leave a lot to be desired. However your kids will love it with all the colour, sounds and Disney theme it's enjoyable especially for younger kids.
The year is 2009 and mankind seems to have finally found a cure for cancer but there are some drastic side effects! Namely almost the whole of humanity is wiped out with this new virus that is the wonderful side effect from the cure. The virus seems to have another side effect. If it doesn't kill you then you become a mindless zombie type creature. I use the word zombie as there is no better way to describe these mindless creatures. And at the start of the film you have no idea if anyone else has survived the virus although you are very sure there must be.
Robert Neville is played by Will Smith and he plays it brilliantly. The information I have given above is gleaned from flashbacks in the film where Robert is switching back in his memory from the past to the present. He seems to be a high ranking military scientist and I don't know if he had something to do with creating the virus as you see him talking to his wife before the virus really takes hold and he's telling her he's going to fix it.
They live in Manhattan, New York and this seems to be ground zero for the virus. The leaders of the country decide to try and isolate the virus on Manhattan to stop it spreading and cut off all links to the island.
The main stage in the film is Neville living with his dog in Manhattan. He lives in a beautiful town house with his laboratory in the basement. The zombie like creatures can't stand the sunlight so he is safe to roam around during the daylight hours as long as he stays out of darkened buildings and when night comes he heads home before the sun sets. His house is well kitted out with iron shutters and is quite a substantial fortress that you get to see as the film goes on.
The film opens with him in what appears to be a Mustang hunting Deer and as I've always said if I'm not driving a Mustang then I won't hunt Deer. He seems to be hopeless and never catches a Deer. He has a set routine which involves research in his lab to find a cure. He has test animals with treatments going in to all of them. One looks promising but he needs a human/zombie to test it on. He has been in this situation for over 300 days and you can see that the loneliness is starting to get to him. When he's in his house he always has news from the days before the virus took hold playing which is quite weird but I suppose its company for him. He also goes to a local video store every day and talks to the mannequins, probably keeps him from going totally over the edge. One of the great scenes is he's hitting golf balls off the wings of a fighter jet that's sitting on an aircraft carrier.
He has a recorded message that plays constantly and tells people that he will be at a certain bridge for an hour every day at 12 noon when the sun is highest in the sky. If any one is out there he can provide food, shelter and protection.
He has a couple of altercations with the zombie's and you get the impression that they are brighter and more organised than you first think. I don't want to give the whole plot away so I will stop at the next stage. He gets into a lot of bother one night with the zombie people and is rescued by a female who brings news of other survivors and this is when the story really gets interesting. I forgot to mention that if he gets bitten by the zombies then he catches the zombie disease.
Hopefully all that makes sense. It's a film I really enjoyed and you really get the sense of the madness of the loneliness and the quietness. It's quite captivating. Not the greatest film in the world but good entertainment. I had heard that it was really like Independence Day but I didn't find that at all. I do also think Independence Day is a great film as well.
My wife is a cinema fanatic and most weeks she goes to the cinema with her sister leaving me at home with the kids!!! I hope you all feel sorry for me. I don't mind though I love films but I would rather stay at home in the comfort of my own living room and it also gives me some time to spend with the kids on my own. Everyone wins.
We have a Cineworld in our home town and they used to go every Tuesday as it was a bit cheaper on a Tuesday by about £1.50. Not now though we have Orange Wednesday's its loads cheaper.
How it works is you need an Orange phone and it doesn't matter wither its pay as you go or on a monthly contract. On any given Wednesday you simply text "film" to 241 and in turn they send you back a code that you take to the cinema and they will give you a buy one get one free for the cinema tickets. It's really that simple and there's no catch. My wife has been doing this for about the last two years, it's brilliant. We didn't even have an Orange phone but I picked up a cheap pay as you go and I topped it up with £10. It's the only thing she uses this phone for as we don't get a brilliant signal with Orange from our home. Its so worth it though.
We have only ever had a problem with this once. I had tried to send the text in the morning and by lunchtime I had no response. I chased it up and even sent it again to be told by Orange customer service that there was an overload of requests in the system and it would come through eventually. It never came through on time for that night but I guess one hiccup in two years is pretty good going so I forgive them. The rules say you can only use this once a week from each phone which is fair enough. I think you can also get this deal if you are an Orange broadband user.
I dont know if you've seen any of the advertising they do for this service but it's always quite entertaining.
It's simply a brilliant deal if you like the big screen.
If only they could do something with the price of the cinema snacks!!
Fawlty Towers has to be one of the best and most original sitcoms ever made from the comedy genius that is John Cleese also co written by Connie Booth who was his wife in real life during the first series and they later divorced which delayed the second series but none the less it was worth the wait. They only made two series and there were only 12 episodes in total. It may sound strange to say but I'm glad they stopped there as it would have been so easy to ruin the whole concept. It was made in the seventies and was about a couple who own a small private hotel in Torquay and their staff and guests. To start with I will take you through the main characters:
John Cleese- Basil Fawlty the main character and joint owner of the hotel. He is a complete snob and thinks very highly of himself. He is ruled over by his fierce wife who he is scared of. He is also one of the most prudish people around. To see him in action the hotel guests are just a nuisance unless they are upper class or attractive females.
Prunella Scales- Sybil Fawlty, she is Basils wife and very much wears the trousers in the operation. She bullies her poor husband and you get the impression that they married young and are still together for no other reason than to torture Basil. But I think deep down she really loves him. She has the world's most annoying laugh and I believe this was actually based on Connie Booth's real life laugh.
Andrew Sach's- Manuel, he is from Barcelona and can hardly speak a word of English but he is hired because he is cheap. You get the impression that even without the language barrier he's not the brightest. Basil takes out most of his anger and aggression on the poor Manuel. Basil bullies him just because he's there. A loveable character.
Connie Booth- Polly the waitress and general dog's body. She's young and pretty and seems to get caught in the middle of Basil and Sybil and more often than not she ends up covering for Basil.
There are also some other characters like the Major who stays in the hotel on a permanent basis and is completely senile there are also two old sisters and I cant remember their names but again they live in the hotel and are both fairly senile. Very funny characters.
I'll run through the different episodes and give a few points about each without giving to much away.
A Touch of Class: Lord Melbury is a guest at the hotel and as he's Lord Basil is all over him and every other guest goes right down the scale. Lord Melbury is not what he appears to be and a low life cockney comes to Basil's aid. Very funny when Basil's looking for revenge.
The Builders: Basil and Sybil disagree on what builders to use. Basil goes behind Sybil's back and hires O'reilly the Irish builder who's the skinniest man I've ever seen and has never finished a single job in his life. The work gets done when Sybil and Basil are away for the weekend. Polly and Manuel are left in charge and disaster strikes. The funniest bit is Sybil venting her full anger on Mr O'reilly with an umbrella.
The Wedding Party: Basil's sexually repressed nature really comes out in this one as he's totally convinced there is an outbreak of huge immorality in his hotel. You really see his nature in this one. Once again he makes a complete fool of himself.
The Hotel Inspectors: The hotel awaits a secret inspection from a professional group. Basil becomes the most paranoid man ever. Bernard Crivens is the man who is mistaken for the inspector and naturally Basil is all over him until he realises he mistake. Crivens is hilarious and could be the most annoying guest ever. Basil's revenge on him in the end is brilliant really funny and he even works with Manuel to deal with him. Naturally the inspectors do arrive.
Gourmet Night: Basil organizes a special night and invites only the best society has to offer. I think on the invites he actually puts the phrase "no riff raff". He hires a new chef who has a drink problem. When the new chef has an attraction to Manuel and Manuel spurns his advances the chef gets blind drunk. Basil is forced to order food from another restaurant and drive across town to pick it up. This goes unsurprisingly wrong and leads to the famous scene of Basil screaming and his red Mini because it's broken down then swearing at it and thrashing it with a branch. Sheer brilliance. Needless to say the guests are getting really impatient by this time. The rest of the staff tries to keep them amused.
The Germans: One of the funniest episodes. There are Germans staying at the hotel and Basil is a little obsessed about not mentioning the war in front of them so they don't cause offence. This is fine until Basil gets concussed and can't stop mentioning the war and he even goes as far to demonstrate how the Nazi's used to March, which is a bit of a throw back to the Monty Python days. Really funny.
Communication problems: A guest arrives called Mrs Richards who is an old deaf lady and one of the most awkward gusts to have ever been in a hotel. She has a hearing aid but never turns it on because it runs the battery down. The other story line that inter mingles with it is that Basil puts a bet on a horse and wins. This is against the rules with his wife and the two story lines twist together with the help of Polly and Manuel.
The Psychiatrist: Basil doesn't trust or like them and thinks that everything the psychiatrists talk to him about is to do with his sex life or to get into his head. I can't remember too much about this one. Sorry.
Waldorf salad: An arrogant American arrives late for dinner one night with his wife. Basil is too cheap to pay the chef to stay later than normal and tries to sort things himself. All the American wants is a Waldorf salad and Basil being Basil won't admit that he doesn't have a clue. Basil is really intimidated by the American and in a rather normal meltdown for Basil he explodes and criticises all the guests and tries to throw them all out. Sybil is particularly funny at the end which I won't spoil for you.
The kipper and the corpse: A hotel guest dies in his sleep through natural causes and the mayhem that follows is brilliant especially between Manuel and the doctor absolutely classic.
The Anniversary: This is my least favourite episode but it's not bad. It's the Fawlty's wedding anniversary and Basil pretends he's forgotten when really he has friends coming over. Sybil is so incensed by all of this that she storms out and Polly steps in to pretend she is Sybil in bed ill. Not the funniest but still worth a watch.
Basil the rat: Manuel has a pet rat that he lets out for a run around; the rat is named Basil after his beloved employer. Hardly surprising but it's the same day as the health inspector arrives its brilliant. The rat itself has to be one of the worst props ever conceived by the BBC especially when it turns up in the biscuit tin but this just makes it even funnier, don't ask me how.
That's the full two series and I have left a lot out so I don't spoil it to much. Some of the funniest things in the series are the comments Basil makes behind his wife's back and the guests for that matter like when he is commenting on what Sybil's packed for a weekend away he is running through a list and just as she goes out of earshot the last item he mentions is a knuckle duster. I know it doesn't sound much but the timing is brilliant. Sybil is asked at one point if a guest can cancel a pudding of fruit salad and her reply is "it's a little tricky as chef has just opened the tin" so good.
The show was actually based on a real hotel called the Torbay where all the guys from Monty Python were staying at while they were filming a film or show and Basil Fawlty is based on the manager called Donald Sinclair. It really is a classic British comedy and I think every household in Britain should own a complete set. Just don't mention the war!
Thomas Cook credit card is like a lot of other decent credit cards with a couple of extras that make the difference. I originally applied for it when I was booking a holiday at Going Places the travel agents. They are part of the Thomas Cook group and I always book with them. There was an advert for the card in the shop and what attracted me was that if you book a holiday with any Thomas Cook outlet then you get an extra couple of month's interest free credit and also you earn travel miles from Thomas Cook. These can be exchanged for money off a holiday or foreign currency.
I received the card and on top of what I've mentioned I also got an interest free period on balance transfers which I think was 6 months. They gave me a decent credit limit and I was all set to go. However this is the only negative side. My first card was faulty and it took about 2 weeks for a new one to arrive which was a bit annoying. This is the only trouble I've had with them. They have a 24 hour help desk and when you get through it is a UK call centre and the staff are always very helpful and have a good knowledge. I do most of my dealings with them on line. The website is very useful and tells you all your current transactions, payments due and all the usual stuff. You can pay on line ask for a credit limit increase, send a customer query and check you travel pounds to see how much you have to claim. The only difference I would like to see is that instead of claiming the travel miles I would rather have them deducted from my balance.
A bit more about the card: It comes in different designs surprisingly all travel orientated. I picked an African scene with an elephant in front of a setting sun. There is also a beach scene and a skiing scene. All look good but aren't really that important. More importantly is the dreaded APR and I have just checked and it's currently at 19.9%. A bit higher than some cards out there but not to bad. The minimum payment each month is 3% or £5.00 whichever is higher. And one of the things I really like about this card is that if you pay the card online the payment is usually clear the next day. I've never known a card to clear a payment as fast as that which is always good.
I should also mention how the travel points system works. You get one travel pound for every £100 you spend at Thomas Cook or Going Places and you get £1 for every £200 you spend elsewhere. A travel pond is equal to the good old normal British pound and as I said earlier can be used against a holiday or changed into currency. I ended up with about £70 when I went to Portugal at Easter time. Well worth it. I haven't been using the card as much since Easter but I already have a balance of £7.35 worth of travel pounds. I'll just let it build up slowly. All in all it's a good card with excellent back up service and I can't really say anything bad about it.
I simply love Disco's and its one of the types of crisps that I have continued to buy over the years since I was very young. I can't remember when they first hit the shops but I do remember buying them when I was very young. They are different from normal crisps mostly because according to the packaging they are made from wheat. They are thicker than normal potato crisps and they are mostly round in shape. The texture is a bit rough but the best thing I like about them is that the flavour really sticks to them and although they don't have a huge range of flavours what they have is a really strong flavour in each type. The other thing I like about them is that sometimes normal crisps can splinter in your mouth and I get the odd stray shard piercing my gum, but not with these. I'm sure it's the wheat mixed with potato that gives the unusual texture.
Salt and vinegar is probably the strongest one and my favourite one. They are really strong with the vinegar so much so that they can make your mouth feel like its burning. I mean that in a good way as I like things to be a bit spicy.
Beef flavour again is very strong and not unlike Roysters T-bone steak flavour. With this flavour you can see how strong in flavour each crisp will be by the amount of beef flavouring on them.
Bacon flavour are ok and again you can really taste the bacon but there's just something missing in the bacon that I cant put my finger on. But if they are in my cupboard I will eat them.
Cheese and onion just taste very much the same as any other decent brand of crisp, however I do like these with a small dab of salad cream with them. This seems to really bring out the cheese side although be aware your breath does stink afterwards. Worth the pain though.
I have only commented on the above flavours as this is the ones we get in the multi packs. They usually come in packs of nine with three of each flavour. It was always salt and vinegar, cheese and onion and beef but that has changed recently and the beef have been replaced with bacon. The price of these multi packs varies from the odd deal at £1.00 up to about £1.59 for the pack.
I have just finished two packs so I have some of the facts on hand:
Per bag 28g
Energy kcal 146
They also claim to now have 50% less saturated fat and to be honest I don't care as long as they taste good.
The only thing bad i would say is that about 10 years ago they produced a flavour and from memory i think they were called really tangy flavour or something like that and they were the greatest flavour of crisp snacks i have ever expeirianced. They were so spicy that they could make you break out in a sweat. C'MON KP BRING BACK THE TANGY ONES!
I also have this review posted on ciao under trevn74
Makro is really a shop for small traders, the traditional corner shops, caterers, hotels or news agents. At least this seems to have been what it's set up for but I think over the years they have realized how many people come in with the Makro card that aren't in any of the above mentioned trades. The Makro card I mentioned is what you need to get in. Without it they won't let you in although they may give you a trade pass for the day. The way to get a Makro card is you have to apply for it through a business with a note on headed paper and preferably from a manager. I got one through the business I am in. If I'm honest though I never use it for business and I usually buy things for myself or our household.
The shops are huge and they hold a massive range of goods including clothing, electricals, stationary, toys, office furniture, household furniture, linen, household goods, beds, mattresses, catering items, dairy, fish, cleaning products, masses of food stuffs and huge amounts of alcohol and soft drinks. The range of products changes often and like most shops is very seasonal. The quality varies as well and they do a lot of branded names but also the cheaper end of the market, so there is savings to be made.
I generally use them once every couple of months and I mostly stick to the same products like large packets of dishwasher tablets, washing powder, boxes of crisps and usually a box of penny sweets which I don't need but I look upon it as my treat. I don't find they are cheapest for everything but its worth going to see what deals they have on at the time. Often I get deals on the above products that I buy. The Fairy dishwasher tablets are often buy two for £10 + the vat. I also used to buy cans of juice in the 48 cans per pack but I now find that the supermarkets usually have deals on that are cheaper. None of the prices have vat included so you always have to be aware of that. I quite often see a deal and think it's good until I add the vat and often it's about the same as the supermarkets. I tend to stick to bulk buying deals and stock up on some of our cleaning products.
The shop its self is very big and well laid out but you can find the shelves can be a bit messy but it really is designed as a cash and carry sort of place. It is worth a look and when you become a member they post you out special offer sheets every month which always carry a bargain, but beware always check when the deals start because these offer sheets come out before the deals start in the store and they wont budge on this. I once went in to buy a bar B Q that was advertised for £15 and the original price was £25. I hadn't realised that the offer didn't start until a couple of days later and when I challenged the price I was told that I would have to come back in a couple of days when the offer actually started. Annoying but such is life.
I don't want to end on a negative note. I usually find the staff are very helpful and after sales has always been good to. There can be queues in the shop but they usually open other checkouts when they get to big, they always have enormous car parks and I have never been stuck for a space. I like going to Makro it's always worth a look to see what deals they have on, and if they have none there's always the penny sweets.
I have also posted this review on ciao under the name of trevn74
Up until a few years ago I used to be a bit of a snob when it came to shopping but my wife who is a bargain hunter has convinced me otherwise especially over the last couple of years. Poundland opened in Falkirk about 18 months ago and I was utterly convinced that it would be a waste of time with a lot of cheap items that were junk. This was based on the fact that there have been a couple of these shops in Falkirk before, they were just small privately owned shops and were mostly full of rubbish. They also seemed to only last 6 months or so before they went bust.
Poundland is different, they seem to be part of a larger chain and they deal in loads and loads of stuff including named brand items. They still have some items that the quality is fairly low but there is a good mixture. We generally buy things like shampoo, shower gel, sweets, the odd gardening item and a cheap version of red bull which tastes good and seems to have the same effect. Everything in the shop is a pound as you may have already guessed.
I'll take you through some of the deals. There are deals on cans of Pepsi, 7Up or other things like them, usually 4 for a pound. A pack of 10 Polo's for a pound, they seem to be seconds and aren't quite as good as the normal ones but still good. Branded shampoos like Head and shoulders or Timotie. The products change from day to day I suppose depending on what buying deals they are getting. I started buying shaving foam made by the Original Shaving Co and Poundland recently started selling it as opposed to buying it for £2.50-£3.00. My wife also has bought wicker border things for the garden and they look great. Last year she bought quite a number of wicker type trellises and they are all looking a bit worse for ware now but for that price it isn't too much of a problem.
I'll give you an idea of the different range of items they do, toiletries, batteries, dog and cat food and accessories, books, gardening items, cleaning products, CD's, sweets, juice, kids toys, tinned foods and sauces, lighters, crisps. Such a range of stuff. They only time the products have been a waste of time is we bought our son a couple of torches and the first one was useless. One time we got our dog some chew sticks and she threw up with them. It maybe wasn't the chew sticks but it put me off buying anymore of their non branded dog snacks and foods.
This shop has now become part of our weekly shopping and we buy most of our toiletries from here, it saves us money. It's always interesting to see what they have on offer and I like to have a wonder round. The sweet deals are especially good. If you've not been in it's worth a look.
I also have this review on ciao under trevn74
I discovered these crisps about five years ago and when I picked up a packet for the first time I thought they were going to be a cheap average packet of crisps. How wrong could I be, I love them, they are brilliant and I haven't tried all the flavours yet.
They are different from other crisps for a number of different reasons:
1.The packaging seems to be quite basic, mostly in white. Unlike other crisps they have avoided moving to foil packs. Not sure if this is a cost thing or environmental but its no big deal.
2.They are crinkle cut which isn't unusual, the difference is they are much thinner than their competitors and seem very light. I prefer this to the McCoy's crisps and I enjoy them more for this reason.
3.The flavours are very rich and seem fresher than other brands, the prawn cocktail are my favourites with the cream cheese & chive coming in a close second. The prawn cocktail reminds me of crisps from my childhood where most other brands moved away from this and now taste like a cross between tomato sauce and prawn cocktail.
4.They are slightly more oily than other brands but it doesn't put me off, and according to the website they are cooked in sunflower oil so that should make them a bit healthier.
I have just been on the website and I cant believe how many flavours they have, beefy, cheese & onion, pickled onion, sea salt & vinegar, Smokey bacon, unsalted, Canadian ham, cream cheese & chive, prawn cocktail, sea salted, tomato ketchup, Worcester sauce, hot & spicy 2 chilli, hot & spicy oriental, hot & spicy mustard and hot & spicy wasabi. I also discovered that you can buy individual boxes of crisps off the web site.
I have only tried about four different flavours which are prawn cocktail which are really strong and quite tangy. Cream cheese and chive, with these you can really taste the cheese and chive although I think if the cheese was a little stronger and the chive a little weaker they would be amazing. Worcester sauce is quite disappointing, you can really taste the Worcester sauce and its probably more true to the proper taste but not hot enough for me. Finally the pickled onion is quite good and you get that lovely tangy pickle taste in them. But I have a lot of work to do to get through the rest of the flavours to see how good they are.
The company is based in Bradford and was started in 1949 and seems to have expanded in the late seventies into Allerton and the bag holds the claim that they are "Britain's tastiest crisp" and who am I to disagree. I almost feel that some of the other manufacturers just try to hard, the only other crisps I rate this highly are KP especially the Worcester sauce.
I should mention that for every 31.8g bag you get 1.7g of protein, 17.3g of carbohydrate, and 11.7g of fat, 1.25g of fibre and 0.37g of sodium. If I'm being honest though I'm not really bothered about these figures as I expect crisps to be fairly unhealthy which is half the fun.
You can buy them in individual packets or multi packs. Not sure what price the multi packs are but I think the individual packs are around 0.30p. The only problem I have with these crisps is that one pack is never enough!
I have also posted this review on ciao under trevn74
I have now bought two of these one of the Xbox versions and a cheaper version. The idea behind this is that the Xbox controller comes with a pack that fits two double A batteries but these are a bit of a waste of time because they run out of power so quickly.
When you buy this play and charge kit it has a power lead and a rechargeable battery. The idea is that you connect the power lead to the Xbox by a USB connection and the other end is attached to the controller. It charges the battery as you play The Xbox version is definitely a better quality than the other brands but I have had problems with the one I bought.
It only charges sporadically and I keep running out of charge. Very annoying! I won't criticise it to much because I bought it at Gamestation, it was pre owned. Unfortunately I didn't keep the receipt so I couldn't return it. The idea is handy and when it is charged up you can disconnect and run it wirelessly, which is a bit more convenient. When the rechargeable battery is fully charged it seems to last for days. Much better than using the AA's. It's also available in other colours, the only other colour i've seen is black.
The main complaint I have about Xbox accessories is that I feel that almost everything is an extra with them even the internet online gaming and this annoys me but I guess that's why the machine is so much cheaper than the Playstation 3. It would be nice to get a few of these things included with the main console. However I digress and it's not my main aim to moan about Xbox. The play and charge kit is a good bit of kit. It cost me £9.99 pre owned and I think the full price is £15. The one thing i find odd about the pricing of all Xbox accesories that every retailer is more or less at the same price and even in the sales there is never much money off them. Not that i'm suggesting price fixing.
I bought the quick charge kit today which I will review after I get a bit of use out it.
I also have this review on ciao under trevn74.
I have suffered from hay fever since I was 12 and it's horrible. The symptoms I get are itchy eyes, streaming nose, sneezing at the worst in the summer it can be 6 sneezes in a row. After I've had these symptoms for a few days it gets worse I get tired because I can't sleep at night and my throat starts to get sore. Its rotten I just want the summer to end and the rain to come. It really spoils some of the summer for me.
I have always had medicine from the doctors which I have to start in April so that it builds up and is ready for the bad months usually the end of May until the end of July. I even get a steroid nasal spray to boost the tablets and they work to a degree. What I find is that they seem to work for a couple of weeks but they can't cope and the symptoms break through for 4 or 5 days, then they begin to work again. I am on really strong tablets but nothing seems to be fool proof. Until now:
I heard about the Lloyds hay fever allergy reliever from a friend how had heard about good results with it. When you get it as bad as this you will just about do anything to get rid of it. The device is a two pronged thing that appear to be made of glass. You push both of these things up your nostrils and press the button on the control pad. It fires light up your nose two specific types of light for about two and a half minutes. The light is meant to kill the histamine blood sells in your nose that cause the hay fever symptoms thus stopping all symptoms including the itchy eyes.
Does it work?
For me yes it did. I used it for about 4 days before it took effect and I used it 4 times a day which is the maximum recommended usage. It said in the instructions that you can use it in conjunction with other medicines which is what I did. It really made a big difference to me. I bought it at the start of July and it really helped me through the summer. There were a couple of days when I didn't use it as much as I did at the start of the summer and it was amazing how quickly the symptoms came back. It feels a bit weird when you first use it but when you start to see the results it's worth it. There is no major discomfort when you are using it. Your nose glows red from the light which my kids found highly amusing.
The retail price was £29.99 but there was a special offer on and it cost me £14.99. I was really sceptical when I got it but like I said before when you get it so bad you'll give anything a go. It really worked and I can't wait to get to next summer when I will try it without any other tablets or the steroids