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Body shop Satsuma Body Butter.
£12.00 for 200mls.
This review started life as a wee orange tub of stuff that I tried and thought it was so good I would review it. It actually turned out to be, for me, hours of poring over the internet finding out fascinating things about the main ingredient which is Shea butter and when I started researching the other ingredients I found lots of interesting facts about the moisturising qualities that most of the ingredients in this product have, some of them even say they help stretch marks, guess I'll be buying a big tub!
The main ingredient comes from the Karite tree in Africa, this tree Lives to two centuries; it bears fruit after 15 years and produces a full crop after 25 years. It grows mainly in West Africa, and can reach a maximum height of 15 to 20 meters. The Karite Tree cannot be cultivated. It blooms from June to July and bears dark green fruits which fall to the ground when ripe. Each fruit contains a nut with a hard white kernel - the source of the Shea Butter.
A lot goes into getting the oil from the nuts, first it's picked and then processed with water, the nuts are then spread out to dry in the sun, then they are hand pounded to crack them after that they are boiled while being constantly stirred, releasing the Shea butter from the nut.
The Shea Karite tree is highly valued in Africa. West Africans call the butter Ori or Oyi and use it for a variety of topical applications to the entire body. Also know as the tree of life, it is illegal to cut down these trees in many parts of Africa. The Karite tree grows in 19 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its scarcity makes it highly valued in the world market. And I just bought it from a wee shop not knowing any of its history or value.
I got my Satsuma Body Shop Butter in a free cosmetic case after purchasing over £35.00 worth of Body Shop products as Christmas presents.
It wasn't till yesterday when I realised that my husband would be arriving home from a month away at work that I would have to do some serious body maintenance.
My poor legs had become shadows of their formers selves, dry, flaky and tight. Then I remembered about the body butter and thought I would give it a try.
I first had a lovely hot shower to cleanse my skin and then moisturised my legs with the Satsuma body butter.
It comes in a round, bright Orange plastic tub ( which is recyclable), with pictures of Satsuma's on the top along with the Body Shop logo, the base has a sticky label with the ingredients listed and a statement saying "Against Animal Testing".
Upon opening the tub I am greeted with a very strong, very fresh smell of Oranges, with the slightly acidic aroma of lemons, I can almost taste the smell. The appearance of the cream is a thick shiny light peachy orange with the viscosity of room temperature butter icing with the same miniscule granular looking quality.
I scooped some onto my fingers and it feels extremely smooth to the touch, it looks like it would be heavier than it feels and it does feel slightly greasy; I put the cream on my legs and lightly rubbed it in. I could feel my dry flaky skin soaking up the body butter almost instantly and although it stayed feeling creamy on my legs for hours, it didn't feel greasy at all. It didn't even feel sticky when I put my pyjamas on, in fact it felt silky.
The scent however, was around all night, I wouldn't say that it was overpowering, just very much in evidence and I wouldn't put this on just before going out for an evening, but after a nice warm bath or shower it is delightful.
After reading through and examining the ingredients I found out that one of the ingredients is actually a natural insect repellent and was glad as I had thought if I had been wearing it outside in the summer a lot of insects would have been flying my way.
The product information on the Body Shop website promises up to 24 hours moisturisation and this delivers.
Now 24 hours later, my legs are still moisturised, feel lovely and there is not one bit of flaky skin to be found. An added benefit was that my legs felt soothed, I normally get restless legs at night and sometimes use Horse-Chestnut spray, but I didn't need it last night.
I have only used this on my legs so far, but will in future be using it all over as an intense moisturiser/skin rescue remedy. I'll also be buying other body butters in different fragrances. I feel that I have found a miracle cure for dry skin and it has been around for a long long time, why oh why haven't I tried it before?
To be honest, knowing now, where the product originates from and reading all about the natural ingredients I am even more inclined to use this.
It states online that this product has cocoa butter in it, but the ingredients don't list it. Information gleaned says that Shea butter is sometimes used instead of cocoa butter.
I have added the list of ingredients and my findings of them as I found it fascination. I hope you do too.
Shea Butter - Comes from the Shea or Karite tree, it is made from the fat of the fruit by crushing and boiling, it is an emollient agent and can also be used for cooking and sometimes it is used in making chocolate by substituting this for cocoa butter.
Cyclomethicone - A silicone oil used to impart shine and silkiness.
Glycerin - Glycerin is a humectant, meaning it attracts moisture to your skin. Glycerin is a natural by-product of the soap making process.
Citrullus Vulgaris - Watermelon. I see now why I only know it as Watermelon!
Seed Oil - err Seed Oil.
Glyceryl Stearate - A normal byproduct of digestion; can be obtained from animal fats and plant oils including Soya bean, palm kernel and corn oil - so it's an emollient, moisturiser and emulsifier.
Peg-100 Stearate - A natural special fatty acid blend. It's used to help keep creams, lotions and gels together with other ingredients in an emulsion; it keeps ingredients from separating so that the mixture remains homogenous.
Cetearyl Alcohol - Is an animal fat that moisturises.
Lanolin Alcohol - "sheep alcohol" or wool alcohol is a non-drying organic compound produced from lanolin.
Fragrance - Definitley Satsuma!
Limonene - A colourless liquid with an extremely strong smell of Oranges. (You don't say)
Phenoxyethanol - A fixative for perfumes.
Xanthan Gum - Is used to thicken the cream.
Citrus Reticulata - Satsuma Oil - More Orange smell!
Hexyl Cinnamal - An aroma substance. It's found naturally in the essential oil of chamomile - That'll be why it's nice and soothing then.
Citral - Strong Lemon Fragrance - I only caught a hint of this.
Tocopherol - Carries Vitamin E activity.
Benzyl Alcohol - exhibits bacterisostatic and antipruitic properties. ( I haven't a scooby what that means)
Disodium EDTA - Improves product stability.
Linalool - An oil that carries the odour of the plant it comes from - the ingredients don't state which species this is.
Sodium Hydroxide - This is found in soap, it's an alkali that I think in this product dissolves flakes of skin.
Dulcas Oil - Orange.
Citronellol - This is used as an insect repellent, good job as I think if it wasn't there half the flies in Inverness would have found me.
Geraniol - A natural antioxidant.
Yellow 5 - Colour. (See I'm clever me)
Red - 4 Colour (As above).
I was so surprised to only find one Definite Chemical - Sodium Hydroxide and two colours in this, reading and finding out about the ingredients really showed me what a natural product this really is. I could be wrong of course, I mean only from what I found out when researching all the ingredients.
You can be sure I'll be purchasing more body butter in the future and hiding it from my teenage daughter who was smelling it and eyeing it up tonight.
A great product worth the price tag, especially when you know where it comes from and how hard it is to get the nut oil in the first place.
Thank you for reading.
Sheena McCowan 2008.
As a footnote - this body butter won a Cosmopolitan Beauty Award.
Hurting Distance - Sophie Hannah
I bought this book at my local Tesco on a buy two for £7.00 deal and it was well worth it.
Im an avid reader and have read about 12 books this month of all different types. I tend to pick books by reading the back cover and then the first page and if it grips me immediately then I cant leave it behind.
The back of this book says Three years ago, something terrible happened to Naomi Jenkins so terrible she never told anyone and the first page is an email she has written to a website called Speak out and Survive; you know then from the first page what Naomis secret is, shes been raped. No Im not giving the plot away, far from it, thats what I thought as well when I read it. I then though oh well; Ill give it a go anyway.
The next chapter is about a man she is deeply in love with and how they met, blah de blah blah, well that was my feeling as I was reading it, I thought it was going to be a very slow book with no real story and berated myself for picking a book from an author Id never heard of before. Before I knew it I was halfway through the book and couldnt put it down. Im not telling you whats in it, wheres the fun in that, I can only describe this author as the new Danielle Steele of Crime Thriller authors.
This book is about deep psychological torture within a world where everything else seems normal. Its about a woman who is very private and thinks she is very strong, in fact her life is a lie and she doesnt know it. Her story is deeper and more profoundly disturbing than you could possibly expect from a victim of a crime of this nature. The twists and turns in this book are numerous, every time I thought Id sussed it; there was another twist or another lie unravelled.
Hurting distance is a psychologically unsettling crime thriller where there has been more than one crime committed and I was never sure of who had done what or why they had done it. Sophie Hannah added some really interesting facts throughout this book and I learnt some fascinating details about some everyday objects.
Another bit from the back of the book says Naomi knows how to describe in detail the actions of a psychopath. All she needs to do is dig up her own traumatic past
Its obvious from page one that there is rape involved in this book, it seems to be the entire book and yet none of it, its creepy and disturbing but youll need to find out for yourself. I will say this, the rape scene is written in a much understated way, so that you know its the reason for the story and not the story itself. I was glad of this as I dont really want to be reading about the violence involved in rape. Instead its about the psychological effects it has on the victim and how it affects their life and others around them with a twist only someone with a brilliant brain could have come up with.
Very powerful stuff indeed!
Sophie Hannah managed to keep me in suspense right to the end. In fact so much so that when I had to put the book down only four pages from finishing because the telephone rang, I thought that was that, the last twist was revealed and it was just epilogue; well I was wrong. The last pages exposed the story to its final depth in an understated but strong finale that made me nod my head and smile. Ahh a good ending at last, dont you hate a good read that has a rubbish ending, well this doesnt.
Id never heard of Sophie Hannah before but Im really glad Ive found her, Ill be buying her previous book Little Face about a mother that goes out for two hours only to come home and insist the baby in the cot is a stranger she has never seen before and her next book due out in February 2008 which is about a woman who has her work trip cancelled and goes anyway, not telling her husband, all is well until she is involved in an accident and strange things start to happen. Oh I cant wait.
After reading this I went on the internet to find out a little about her:
Sophie Hannah was born in 1971 in Manchester. She currently teaches at Manchester Metropolitan University's Writing School. She was awarded an Eric Gregory Award in 1995 and was a Patron for the Swansea Year of Literature in the same year. She is the author of several novels, including Gripless, Cordial and Corrosive, The Superpower of Love, and the psychological thriller, Little Face; she also writes for children and is the author of several collections of poetry, including Hotels Like Houses, which was awarded an Arts Council Writers' Award, and Leaving and Leaving You. Her most recent collection of poetry is Pessimism for Beginners
Sophie Hannah lives in West Yorkshire. In 2004, she was named as one of the Poetry Book Society's 'Next Generation' poets.
To me she is now one of my favored authors.
Sheena McCowan 2007.
Halloween Tales and Tudge.
In Scotland we do it properly, Halloween that is.
I lived in England for seventeen years so believe me I know.
In England Halloween was all about some kids knocking on your door and saying Trick or Treat, if you were lucky, but mostly in my experience Halloween Down South consisted of lots of riotous older kids chucking eggs at doors and windows and trying to scare people into giving them money not sweets. Sorry to everyone who hasnt experienced Halloween that way in England, perhaps it was just the areas I lived in!
In Scotland we have a rare old time at Halloween and really enjoy ourselves. I got an email yesterday from my friend Astrababe and she said, Are you still doing Halloween? Yours was always the best in the Village - so the kids tell me. Thanks for that Astrababe, made it all worthwhile.
When we lived in Skye it was in a small village and we had a Halloween Party; the children would all come round knocking at the doors and stay at ours for a while to bob for apples, bite marshmallows off of bits of string hanging from the ceiling and play Halloween games.
There was also a Halloween dance in the village hall where most of the villagers dressed up as well as the children and we had competitions, my poor daughter was a cat, one year, a witch the next and to her shame a huge bat the next, I made the wings from an old black sheet and some cardboard, she couldnt walk the wings were that big. I won one year in my Green witch costume which Id made from a pair of my mums green velour curtains, I lay down on one and drew round me and sewed a dress up with long sleeves and then made a matching witches hat from one of mums old church hats. I won the adult competition that year, but to be honest I think it should have been mum as no one in the hall recognised her.
Its a shame really as most costumes now seem to be bought from the Supermarket, I love making them and seeing what the children can turn themselves into with whatever is handy at home.
Now that weve moved to Inverness and our daughter is much bigger, I have to get my fun elsewhere, now I put up big skeletons and frankensteins in the window with lit pumpkins and we fill the hallway with fake cobwebs and spiders and ghostly thingies with black and red candles at the end of the hall. I dress up as well so that the children get a proper Halloween experience when they knock on the door. Its great fun.
Last year was a little different as my niece and nephew were here and they went round the houses, I of course had to dress up to go with them, I was a black witch and we knocked on lots of doors. (The neighbours now steer well clear of me! Cackle Cackle!)
Things are different here in Scotland; we dont say trick or treat we are old fashioned Scots that like tradition and all the children are expected to go into the house where groups of friends and families wait for them to do their Halloween piece. They tell a joke or a wee story and get paid in treats while the adults all have a great laugh.
In our day, Im sure some of you that are as old as me will remember, that we had to do more than tell a joke to get our treat, we had to recite poetry and sing songs, full versions mind you, and then wed get a toffee apple or some Scottish tablet, it was well worth the effort! I remember reciting poetry, heres a wee favourite of mine that was short and sweet.
The Horny Gollach.
The Horny Gollachs an awesome beast,
Souple an Scaley;
He has twa horns an a hantle o feet
An a forky tailie.
Another favourite of mine was to sing Punk Rocker, do you remember it I wanna be a Punk Rocker but ma mammie willnae let me, she says if am a punk she will throw me oot and hit me It was the B side of Allys tartan army by Andy Cameron. It was great it even has a line which says I wanna dae things that are offie, like pick ma nose and dip it in ma coffee My how I loved singing that song.
Another tradition we have is Scottish Tablet, which is like a drier version of fudge.
Ive tried to make tablet but for me it doesnt work, I made fudge and it came out as a cross between Tablet and Fudge; Thus Tudge was invented. Ive been making it for Halloween for a few years now, everyone that has tasted it says its yummy so heres the recipe and if I can make it anyone can.
1 lbs Pale Soft Brown Sugar
1 Large tin Condensed Milk (the tall one)
½ lb Butter
1 Tablespoon Milk
1 Dessertspoon Vanilla Essence.
Put everything but the Vanilla Essence in a heavy pan.
Heat Slowly till the sugar dissolves, stirring all the time.
Bring to the boil, still stirring.
Boil for 15 minutes keep stirring.
(Dont have the heat too high or it will turn into treacle toffee (hey not such a bad idea)
Beat slightly, stir in Vanilla Essence, beat again.
Pour into a greased tin. Mark into squares before it is cold.
Then eat all you can before anyone else gets near it, it has taken you ages and its all yours.
Last but not least on Halloween, make sure you keep your CCTV on all night so you can laugh at all your friends and neighbours costumes the next day when you play it back.
And try to keep a glass of sherry or two for the poor cold adults that have to stand outside and wait for the weans to do their party piece.
Have a lovely Halloween everyone, I know I will; now I just have to figure out what costume Im making this year.
Sheena The Green Witch 2007.
On the 15th of November 2006, my husband placed an order with Interflora.co.uk as an extra gift for my Birthday as he wouldnt be home.
The order he place was for a White Rose & Wine Basket (PL4020WH) £ 29.99, Interflora Delivery £ 4.99. Total Cost £ 34.98.
The item was described online as A smart and contemporary basket packed with scrumptious hand-made chocolates, a pretty cream Rose plant and a select bottle of Pinot Grigio wine. This basket is a perfect gift solution which is bound to impress.
My Husband placed the order to be delivered on my 40th Birthday; He didnt notice that it might be possible that it would not be delivered on the day requested. As a consequence I sat alone in my house all day long on my 40th Birthday waiting for flowers that never arrived.
My Husband was extremely upset about this, as he had ordered the flowers online from Angola in Africa; it was his only way of sending something to me that he thought would arrive on my Birthday.
The flowers arrived the next morning (The day after my Birthday) in a huge box; I was excited about what I was getting until I opened the box and was bitterly disappointed.
The flowers had indeed been put in a basket, which I note from their website" the basket is subject to change", this basket however was not a contemporary basket at all; in fact it was a huge traditional basket that dwarfed the meagre contents.
The small rose plant was crushed by the box of chocolates sitting on top of it. The soil had come out of the plant and was inside the cellophane that was stuffing the basket to make it look fuller.
I feel people should know what the Interflora warehouse was delivering out to their customers.
I am so glad that I did not receive this on my Birthday; it would have spoiled my day.
To add insult to injury the special instructions that were to be adhered to, were I not in at the time of the delivery, were only noted inside the document envelope and not on the outside. So had I not been here who knows what would have happened to them.
This was the most pathetic excuse for a Birthday flower display that I have ever encountered, and my husband was both furious and disgusted at what I received, when he had gone to such lengths to ensure I got a lovely flower gift on the very important occasion of my 40th Birthday.
Did I say yet that it was my 40th Birthday? LOL
It is fair to say that when customers place an order with Interflora, they generally don't get to see what is delivered to the recipient and the recipient in turn cannot turn round and say, "no it wasn't nice, in fact it was dreadful" when questioned by the sender about the flowers they received.
In addition the recipient would generally have no comprehension of the amount of money that had been paid by the sender and in this particular case, I myself would have assumed around £15.00 not £34.98 as it cost my husband.
In comparison, I received a bouquet from my sister and her fiancée; this was also purchased from Interflora, but it was collected by my sister, so they were able to see what they were buying. Admittedly this bouquet cost them £40.00, but both the quality and quantity was far superior to that of the one ordered by my husband and delivered from that warehouse.
Initially I emailed Interflora about this and after not getting a response, I telephoned them.
I spoke to a lady called Sam in their customer relations department, I was quite astounded by the level of compassion and help she gave me, she apologised for the both the lateness of the delivery and for the disappointment in the goods that I had received.
She offered to have another bouquet of the same type delivered the same day. I must say that I didnt really fancy another flower arrangement the same as the one that I had received and she started to offer alternatives, she said she would phone me later after she had organised something. I really didnt expect to hear from her again and started on my big email to the company to express my disgust.
I was really surprised when Sam did call me back, she told me that she wasnt able to get something similar to me but would I like to make a further choice, she made some suggestions and I chose an Orchid Plant. I was thinking that this wasnt really going to happen so Id just see how it went. She then went away to check for availability and called me yet again. This time it was with a choice of different Orchid plants.
Interflora were really starting to redeem themselves now, if not in flowers, but certainly in Customer Relations.
Sam then took my order and told me when it would be delivered. Lo and Behold, would you believe it, the Orchid Plant AND another box of Chocolates arrived bang on time from a local florist, all wrapped in pretty paper and with an extremely healthy looking Orchid in a lovely ceramic pot.
I was chuffed to bits, but decided that I still wanted to tell the Big Cahoona at Interflora what had gone on, so I emailed the Head of Customer Services, and enclosed photographs for his perusal, I just felt he should see what Interflora were sending out instead of a Contemporary White Wine and Rose Basket.
The following are excerpts from those emails:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for contacting me, surrounding your concerns with your order arrangements.
Here at Interflora we strive to ensure that all our customers receive only the very best in choice, value and service. To this end, I was very sorry to learn of your dissatisfaction and I can only apologise for the upset that this has caused.
I am very pleased to learn that a member of my Customer Care team, Sam, has sent an offer of goodwill to you, in our combined efforts to restore your faith in Interflora and trust that this meets with your satisfaction.
Thank you once again for allowing Interflora to address your concerns, and I do hope that we have the pleasure of being of service to you in the not too distant future.
Please do not hesitate to contact me, should you require further assistance.
Head of Customer Services
And my reply was:
Dear Mr ******,
Thank you for responding so quickly.
Sam certainly did your company proud and I would be obliged if you would pass my thanks onto her.
I was indeed satisfied with the outcome, Sam was more than helpful, she called me back when she said she would and was polite and helpful. She made a huge effort to rectify the situation and couldn't have been more apologetic on behalf of Interflora. She should certainly be commended. She is a very valuable member of your customer services.
I sent the email to show make you aware of what is being sent out of your warehouse.
I trust you will be looking into the products and deliveries from that warehouse more closely, in order to prevent this happening again.
Again, thank you for responding so promptly.
He even sent me a further email; I was pleased as its not often enough that praise is given to the customer service agents that do their job properly. I do hope that he passed on my thanks to Sam as it was her that redeemed Interflora in my eyes.
Good Afternoon S,
Thank you very much for your additional comments, and I will indeed ensure that Sam receives your kind words.
I can assure you we will continue to monitor the product and service delivery from our Warehouses, in an attempt to prevent recurrence.
Thank you once again, and enjoy your weekend.
Its nice to be nice sometimes, even if you didnt get the service or the product you purchased initially.
Im not sure I would take the chance of ordering from them again, I would hate to think that the recipient of my gift received the first package that I did.
Oh and the Wine was lovely and so were the two boxes of Chocolates. The Orchid is still going strong (Its been eleven months since Ive had it now).
Thanks for reading.
Sheena McCowan 2007
Ramada, Glasgow City, 201 Ingram Street, Glasgow G1 1DQ.
My sister and I stayed at this hotel on Saturday June the 9th 2007, we were in room 309. The hotel is being renovated at the moment; however, I dont think youll want to stay here even after the renovation once youve read this review.
To start with Ill give you an overview of the hotel and Ramada Jarvis. The following information was taken from their website.
Founded in 1990 by John Jarvis and David Thomas, Jarvis Hotels plc has established itself as one of the UK's leading hotel companies with a portfolio of over 60 hotels in around 50 locations throughout Great Britain.
In 1996 the company was floated on the UK Stock Exchange and in June 2001 entered into a 20 year arrangement with Marriott International Inc. to re-brand 56 of its hotels under the Ramada name in the UK.
Jarvis Hotels has now joined forces with Ramada International, adding 57 Jarvis hotels across Great Britain to the Ramada portfolio and bringing international standards to a UK hotel group.
From country houses to city centre hotels, Jarvis has always been associated with quality products and friendly service. The Ramada Jarvis partnership brings you the products you know, together with the service you'd expect from an International hotel brand.
So, wherever you see the Ramada name you can be assured you'll get the products you know, together with the service you'd expect from an International hotel brand.
In addition to Ramada Jarvis Hotels, Jarvis also own and operate further properties under the Jarvis and Travelodge brands.
This hotel has 91 bedrooms, which believe me; you wont want to stay in one of them. There are conference rooms, a bar, a restaurant, to be honest, Im not going to waste my time listing all the hotel details as I normally would such us check out times and the bar and restaurant as I couldnt wait to get out of this place.
The website where you book this hotel states Stay at the Ramada Glasgow City and experience everything you'd expect from an international hotel company. 3 Star Property in a city centre location with Arts Bar & Restaurant.
We werent the only ones in the hotel not to try the bar or restaurant as we had a peek through the doors and although the restaurant is open till 10pm, at 9.30 the bar and restaurant were both empty and the staff were setting up the tables for breakfast, complete with huge mugs for tea and coffee.
In every aspect this was without doubt the filthiest, most unfriendly, disgusting hotel that we have ever had the displeasure of staying in.
The front of the hotel shocked us when we turned the corner from Queen Street Train Station; the frontage of the hotel was less than inviting, as the steps, marble walls and doors into reception had not been cleaned in a while and the glass doors had smears all over them.
We arrived around Noon and were greeted by a very friendly young lady, who informed us that our room wasnt ready and that we could store our bags in a cupboard in the foyer until we returned.
We set off and didnt return to the hotel till approximately quarter to seven in the evening. We walked into the reception area to be met by the unsmiling faces of two male employees, one of them, the most unfriendly and unhelpful was called ******. He booked us in, barely speaking to us, even when prompted we received no response from him other than a few grunts. We then had to ask which way to go to our room and were pointed in the direction of the lift. Nothing was said, no Welcome to The Ramada or even a Good Evening was forthcoming.
We went to our room and could not believe what we found there, from the minute we walked in the door we were totally disgusted by the state of the place. We didnt have time to try and change hotels so we decided to make the best of it and just stay, however as we were getting ready to go out we discovered the room was a lot worse than we had first realised. Just before leaving I turned down my bed and discovered a huge disgusting, crusted brown stain on the blanket, we didnt have time to ask for a clean one before we left so we decided wed wait till we arrived back and request a clean blanket then.
In addition to this there were black marks on my sheets, the beds had no valance on them and my bed base had the most disgusting dirty marks on it. The wood round my sisters bed was covered in filthy stains. The ceiling in the bedroom had partially come down from what looked like water damage. The net curtains on the window were not properly fitted and were grey with grime. The window itself was also dirty.
There were crumbs on the floor and dust on every surface apart from the small table between the twin beds. None of the edges of the carpets or underneath the furniture had been vacuumed for what looked like months; the lamp was wonky and covered in dust as was the dressing table. And to top all this there was a pubic hair on my sheet.
The coffee and tea supplies were adequate, but the tray that they came on and the teaspoon had not been cleaned. The mirror in the bedroom had dust and marks on it.
The light fittings above the beds were covered in dust, so much so that fluff had started to form.
There was some kind of wiring coming into the room above the door which went into a conduit and down the wall, the wiring was very dodgy looking and there is no way that above this door had been cleaned in a long long time.
The bathroom was without doubt stomach churning to say the least, the ceiling had obviously had a vast amount of water damage and had been patched up, it was still dripping, which I found to my horror when it splashed on my back whilst in the bath.
The bath itself wasnt too bad, but it wasnt very clean either, it had a hair in it and was dirty and there were three bits of enamel that had chipped off and one of them had been half fixed with what looked like enamel paint. The sink had dirty marks all over it and another hair, both of which I can assure you were not ours as they were short dark hairs and my sister has long dark hair and I have red hair.
Down on the right hand side of the toilet was absolutely disgustingly filthy, this corner had not even seen the sight of a brush or a cloth or cleaning fluid in ages, the tops of the skirting boards were caked with muck, dirt and dust, the wall and floor were grimy, covered in dust and hairs and there was a tampon wrapper sitting there as well on top of all the other grunge.
We went out and arrived back at the hotel at ten to midnight, to be met again by two unfriendly faces; I requested a clean blanket for my room and was asked what for? I said the bed! I was told that a new blanket would be brought to the room. My sister also asked if the hotel was being renovated, expecting some kind of explanation of the renovations that were going on and why we hadnt been told about them when we booked the hotel, she was told Yes and that was it.
We went up to the room and waited till 12.15 am when reception rang the room to say tell us that they hadnt forgotten about us but they could not locate a clean blanket, we were told that this was due to the fact that the hotel was being renovated. I dont understand how a renovation of a hotel would mean that no clean blankets could be found; surely they have a laundry room for the room cleaners to collect clean linen from. Even if the hotel is being renovated and the laundry room had been started on. I would surmise that the laundry room would have been moved to a different location. If there is no laundry room, how on earth are the rooms being changed on a daily basis? This however is what I suspect is not happening at this hotel as the bedding on both beds was filthy.
At 12.30am I was presented with a folded blanket by one of the men that had been on reception, I was asked if I could manage to carry it, I said yes I could, and he turned and left. I said no apology then and shut the door.
I unfolded the blanket and started to put it on the bed and as it unfolded I could see a horrible brown stain on it; at this stage I thought Id turn the blanket over and try to go to bed to get some sleep as we had to get up early in the morning.
I turned the blanket over only to find lots of stains, far worse than the ones I had found already.
At 12.35am my sister rang reception and told them that the second blanket they had brought up was dirtier than the first one and that they should come and have a look at it. She was told that they would be up soon.
At 12.55 (almost an hour after my initial request) the same man that had brought the first clean blanket arrived with another that he said he had got from one of the other beds in an unused room and he apologised this time. We showed him the blanket and he said that it had just been washed, I said that there was no way this had been washed as the marks on it were crusted and would not have looked like that if it had been through a washing machine. He proceeded to put a knot in the second blanket, at which point my sister Norma said I dont think Id be touching that as I can hazard a guess at what the crusted white stains are. He said Dont worry; I will be washing my hands.
The third blanket was actually a lot cleaner and showed how dirty the blanket on my sisters bed was. In fact she slept with no blanket that night and neither of us used the top cover as they were both visibly dirty.
This room and especially the bathroom were the worst I have ever seen in any hotel in the world that I have ever stayed in. Price should not under any circumstance reflect in a lack of basic cleanliness in any establishment.
The hotel brochure in the room stated the following:
As Part of Ramada International, the global hospitality leader, we have a promise to exceed our guests expectations, a promise to provide the best possible stay.
Everyone at the hotel is dedicated to your comfort, safety and satisfaction.
The Brochure also states that Meeting the needs and expectations of our customers has always been our highest priority.
In actual fact they did exceed our expectations of how much dirt and dust, unhygienic stains, including other peoples body hairs and sanitary product wrappers that you could find in one hotel room.
Under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, we are entitled to expect the accommodation provided to be of a satisfactory standard, and for it to be as described.
This of course, in this instance, was most definitely not the case.
Both my sister and I had our first ever weekend away together ruined purely by staying in this sub-standard, disgustingly filthy accommodation.
We found our stay particularly bad as a lot of people in the hotel were tourists, obviously on holiday and we were embarrassed at the level of uncleanliness and unfriendliness in this establishment; after all this would be their first view of an hotel and people in our country. Truly abysmal and a sad reflection for tourism in Scotland.
Will we be staying here again or recommending it to others? I think not, even when renovated, the standards of cleanliness are so low that I would not risk it.
We have written a letter to Ramada Jarvis the contents of which are mostly included in this review.
We are awaiting their response .
Well they wrote back offering a free stay when the place is refurbished and our money back, but it's been three weeks and no money has been returned, I feel another letter coming on!
Somehow I don't think they have redeemed themselves.
Thanks for reading.
Sheena McCowan 2007.
Holiday Inn Express Aberdeen
This hotel is a modern, purpose built hotel with 155 bedrooms.
We Stayed at this Hotel on Friday the 18th and Saturday the 19th of May 2007. We were meeting two of our friends and wanted somewhere near central Aberdeen.
Location: Chapel Street, off Union Street; the main thoroughfare of Aberdeen, with The Bon Accord Shopping Centre and various pubs, eateries and lots of little side streets with exclusive shops.
Cost: Four person bedroom: double bed and sofa bed: £55.00 per room, per night.
The main Entrance has a Small reception area with a few comfortable sofas and a bar area to the left with further comfortable seating, coffee tables and two large screen televisions.
The staff were very friendly and courteous and gave us a warm welcome.
A little further along is the dining area where breakfast is served from 6.30 am to 9.30am weekdays and till 10.30 at the weekend.
I found the breakfast a little lacking in variety, with only cereal, toast, butter, Croissants and some sweet pastries, along with the obligatory marmalade etc. However, right across the road from the main entrance is a lovely little shop that sells bacon rolls and lots of other things, so if you really want something more than a continental breakfast with coffee/tea and juices you can nip over to Rosss Chapel Street Bakery.
We booked a Smoking room, which is a bit smelly as you would expect. The Holiday Inn Express havent found a way to fumigate these rooms as efficiently as other Smoking room in various other hotels that we have stayed in. However, having expected this I brought along some lovely smelling aromathery oil candles for the room and they seemed to do the business and made the room smell rather nice instead of stuffy with an old smoke smell. (Well I cant complain its me that smokes).
The non-smoking rooms in this hotel are just the opposite, very nicely scented and the hallways all smell fresh and clean, even in the smoking corridor, which is a very big plus for this particular Holiday Inn Express. In comparison the Holiday Inn Express at Glasgow airport, stunk from the minute you got in till the minute you left, even the non-smoking corridors were pervaded with plumes of stinky smoke. Not a place youd want to stay even as a smoker let alone as a non-smoker.
The bedroom itself is small, but serves its purpose, the double bed is a decent size and the sofa bed has enough room to be put out and you can still move around the room.
It is decorated in an Art Deco style with light coloured and blue wood. Very basic but okay and not unpleasant to look at. There is a 24 colour television with all the normal channels and some pay for movie channels as you would expect in an hotel like this.
The bed has bedside tables with Art Deco style lamps on either side and there is a dressing table with another lamp and a few shelves underneath the unit that the television sits on.
There is an Open wardrobe with eight hangers and a few shelves underneath. A full length mirror with a hairdryer hanging on the wall next to it. A few power points and two phone jacks so you can log on to web if you wish, this costs £15.00 for 24 hours, a lot of money perhaps, but if you are working away from home it is sometimes worth the cost.
The hotel has a high-speed wireless network.
Downstairs in the lobby are a few computers hooked up to the internet that you can pay for on an hourly basis. You can pay for this by credit card or by purchasing a pin number from the reception.
The bathroom was clean and small but neatly appointed, with a corner sink, a sizeable shower, toilet that can be separated by the bathroom door closing it in and locking. This can be handy if you have booked in with children and you need to shower and someone needs to use the toilet.
There is no bath, which I hate, but hey, we were only there for two nights so I figured Id survive.
The toiletries are a little lacking, Dove hand wash is supplied in a container affixed to the left of the sink area and a Dove body wash container is attached to the wall inside the shower.
Two large bath towels, two small hand towels and two throw away facecloths are supplied, although if you have more than two occupants, Im sure youd get a few more.
The pillows on the bed arent the biggest or the best and you only get one apiece, so lucky for us there were the two spare pillows for the sofa bed in a dust-proof bag above the hanging wardrobe area.
There is coffee/tea making station attached to the wall, with a small kettle and insufficient supplies of tea/coffee/milk and sugar. So take your own, or go downstairs and request extra supplies.
You can also get items like toothbrushes, razors, cotton buds, nail files and emergency sanitary items from reception if youve forgotten anything.
There was a heater in the room and no air-conditioning, which was fine as it was warm and we didnt need the heating on. If we were too hot, we could have opened the window fully to let some air in.
This was okay for us as our room was on the side of the building and you couldnt really hear the noise from the road and as the hotel is a few hundred yards from the main road Union Street. The noise levels werent bad and we got good nights sleep.
Its a bit of a different story if you are at the front of the hotel where you cant really open your window as the streets are cleaned for a few hours every night and its rather noisy.
Ironing rooms are located at the rear of the building on each floor.
There is a daily laundry service which includes dry cleaning services.
This particular hotel welcomes small house trained dogs, not something Ive come across before.
There are safe deposit boxes but not in the rooms, they are only available at the reception desk.
All plug sockets in the hotel are 200/240 volt. There is a dual voltage socket (110/120 or 220/240) in the bathroom and they recommend for your own safety you dont charge your electric razor using these sockets.
The hotel operates a wake up service which is utilised through the bedroom television; you just have to follow the on screen instructions.
I found our stay at this hotel a pleasant experience and good value for money. There are no frills here, just basic clean accommodation, which is very near to all the nightlife and shopping facilities that Aberdeen has to offer, it is also only a ten minute walk to the train station.
One drawback for this hotel is the lack of parking, there are a few parking spaces through an archway attached to the hotel, but we had to park in a multi-storey NCP car park at the end of Chapel Street, saying that though, its only a few minutes walk away and the parking is free all weekend, so we werent complaining.
Another drawback is that the hotel doesnt have its own restaurant, but there are plenty within walking distance to suit all tastes and pocket sizes.
I think if I had to go to stay in Aberdeen again, I would return to this hotel as its very convenient for the city and all it has to offer.
p.s There is a lovely little pub just around the corner called Filthy McNastys, but thats another story!
For this review about Wellingtons in General I am going to evaluate a pair of Tesco Butterfly Wellington Boots.
My Grey Dunlop Wellies died this year after a productive eleven years of hard labour, they did me a great service which is why I am mentioning them; they were used mainly for beachcombing, picking winkles (Whelks/Sea fish) and for long muddy walks with children.
So now it was time to find a new pair. As my new Wellingtons will be used for much lighter work like pressure washing the patio, washing the car, and simple walks in the rain and snow. I decided I should just get a cheap pair.
It didnt take long to find a suitable pair. In fact (like most things I buy) I found them along with my weekly food shop at Tesco Extra.
These wellies are from the Cherokee range, to give them their proper title they are the Tesco Kids Butterfly Wellington Boots.
Im lucky enough to have small enough feet to buy V.A.T free Wellies from the kiddies department!
My new Wellingtons are black with a delightful little heel (perfect for Scottish Mud Dancing), a buckle detail on the side and a substantial enough (for light use) Textured sole. They have a black background with blue, purple, pink and yellow butterflies.
At this point I am going to digress to a VERY short history of the Wellington Boot:-
The Original Wellington Boot was reputedly made or named after Arthur Wellesley the 1st Duke of Wellington.
The first Wellingtons/Gum Boots were based on Hessian boots that were worn by a northern German Tribe. The 1st Duke of Wellington had his boots made for him by a Shoemaker called Holby of St James Street in London.
These boots caught on quickly and were popular through the 1840s. In fact the Duke had his designed to be suitable for both the battlefield and the dining room. So Quit telling your kids off for wearing their Wellies in the house, posh people used to do it all the time.
In the beginning Wellingtons were made of Leather and then Rubber (this was outlawed in the 20th century due to fetishism) LOL, just checking you were reading. At this stage people saw sense and in 1856 an American moved his company to Edinburgh, Scotland. (Presumably he saw the potential for mass sales due to the inclement weather).
Newer Wellingtons are made of Neoprene (CR-Foam) used in the cushioning and leg. Neoprene is a light, but super dense, flexible material which is waterproof and warm. Its also used to make Maritime Survival suits, to which end my Oil Worker husband is very grateful, especially when he has to don one for underwater helicopter evacuation exercises.
Sadly my humble Tesco Wellies are made from man made fibres, the contents of which I am unable to determine from the symbols on the label which indicate only that the Wellies are made from textiles.
Because the Wellington Boot has such an auspicious history, I decided to test my new cheapie Wellies to the limit for you Sgathach style.
I decided that I would don my Wellies at the first sign of rain and test the boots out.
I bought my Wellies on the 15th of September 2006 and it was very sunny dry weather.
A week later, lying in the bath, it came to me. I would put on my new Wellies in the bath thus being able to test for waterproof-ness. I duly ran from the bathroom, put on afore-mentioned Wellies and climbed in (Shame Dooyoo dont allow pictures) otherwise you would have been subjected to a photo of my bare legs and the Wellies!
Conclusion: Warm, Dry and Definitely Waterproof.
I ran out to the back garden, well in Truth, I put on some clothes first. Then I stomped about in one of the flowerbeds. Thank goodness the neighbours couldnt see me, Ive had enough grief since I dressed up at Halloween and went round the houses doing my ditties and little dance!
Conclusion: These Wellies had a good grip and I didnt slip once. It was chilly outside and with thin socks on, my feet were still normal temperature after twenty minutes. The soles were also thick enough for me not to feel small stones through them.
Wellington Boots have lots of uses; an unusual one I discovered whilst researching this review is that they can be used for cleaning your shower. NO! I dont mean fill them up and splosh your shower doors with them; I mean put them on when you are inside scrubbing your shower. That way you can give your shower a really good clean and keep your feet warm and toasty and dry. (The things I do for Research)
I bought my lovely new Wellies from my local Tesco Extra; they are not available to buy online.
The cost was £8.00 when I bought in September 2006, but now in November 2006 they have been reduced to £6.40. . Not like me to miss out on a bargain.
I am looking forward to trying them out in the snow, which I know will arriving shortly, as I can see snow on the Mountains here already.
Overall Conclusion: A good priced, comfortable, colourful pair of Wellies any child or Sgathach would love. Thumbs up from me!
Welly Cautionary Notes- Please Take Heed.
1) Ensure you remove the elastic band that secures the Wellies together when new. Otherwise you will only be able to make short steps and walk very slowly.
2) Black Soled Wellingtons like these can, if used with hot water, leave marks you may have to scrub off your ceramic shower tray!!!!!!
3) ALWAYS remember to re-instate clothing to body after testing Wellies in bath and before leaving premises for outside tests.
4) At pain of death, do not put Wellie clad feet on my cream suite.
5) Remember Billy Connollys wise words which I quote herewith:-
If it wisnae fur yer Wellies
Whar wud ya Bee?
Yud bee in the Hospital
Or in the Firmary.
Yu wud hae a dose o the Flu
Or even Flurosee
If it wisnae
Fur yer feet in yer Weeeeellllllies
And last but not least, try and wear straight legged trousers or jeans tucked inside Wellington boots as larger flared trousers folded around your legs may result in loss of circulation in your feet and further-more make you look like a bad variation of Puss-in-Boots.
Consider yourselves well and truly Wellied.
Dulce et Decorum Est pro Patria Mori
Translation: It is a sweet and decorous thing to die for Ones Country.
(The above is the full quotation which part of is used for the title of
a Wilfred Owen poem: Dulce et Decorum Est.)
If you Like War films, youll love this. The only film I can liken it to is The Saving of Private Ryan and this film Saints and Soldiers is based on actual events.
Starring: Corbin Allred, Alexander Polinsky, Kirby Heybourne, Peter Asle Holden.
Directed by: Ryan Little.
Genre: Action/Adventure, War, Drama.
Saints and Soldiers- WOW! What a film, we picked this up at the rental shop on Friday night, just saw it and thought yeah that looks okay. We read that it was based on actual events and the cover said Awe Inspiring We rented it and watched it that evening.
My husband and I loved this film, it was all the more poignant because we knew that it was based on the reality of actual events in the war. I am going to try and review this film without telling the reader the whole story and the outcome as that would replace the need to watch it.
Firstly I have to tell you I was so taken in by the film that I had to go and find out a bit of the history of the events that took place. I discovered that the film was based on The Malmedy Massacre during The Battle of the Bulge. Now I am no historian, nor am I that interested in reading history, but hey some things have to be read ..
The Battle of the Bulge was the name given in the Second World War to a German counterattack in the Ardennes in December 1944. On Dec 16th 1944 a German force broke the undermanned American front in the Belgium Ardennes sector. The weather conditions were bad and therefore favourable for the Germans they then crossed the American lines creating a dent or bulge in the Allied lines. From thereon in this invasion was named The Battle of the Bulge.
It was during The Battle of the Bulge that the Malmedy Massacre happened.
American officers from the Battery B of the 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion had heard of the German invasion and were advised by Lieutenant-Colonel Pergrin of the 291st Engineer Combat Battalion to move their troops by a different route to avoid them but the officers decided to follow original orders and continued as planned.
This journey took them to the Baugnez Crossroads near the town of Malmedy; before they reached the crossroads they were outgunned and captured by the Germans. 113 men survived the battle; they were rounded up, put in a field and shot. When the Germans had finished shooting they went round the field checking the men were dead. Amazingly some men survived hidden under corpses. Because of circumstances neither the Americans or Germans could claim this field as their land and it wasnt until January 14th 1945 that 71 bodies were found buried in the snow.
And that is where the film Saints and Soldiers comes in and tells the story further.
The opening shots of the film are of the captured American soldiers, there are some bloody scenes that are filmed very well, some men escape into the woods, the story of these men and their lives unravel slowly; the characters are magnificent and there are funny moments, sad moments and some really thought provoking scenes.
The storyline is very true to life and you can image what it was really like for any man in war; be it friend or foe. I do not want to tell you what happens as it would not be worth your while watching the film, but suffice to say you will be glued to your seats watching it. It of course is very sad when you realize that the film is based on actual events and there were a few scenes where I caught myself thinking, my gosh if that is what really happened that is spooky.
The history pages and articles written by eye-witnesses and men in that field are shocking and this film gives you the same sense of outrage at indecent human behaviour just as real life would.
During my research I discovered that the film originates from a story written in a book called Saints at War, this was then turned into a film and Saints and Soldiers came from this. There is now a book on the market, which is a fictitious novel based on the film Saints and Soldiers.
I havent written about the characters in the film or what they did as I think you should go and see it for yourself, I really dont think that who played who, should influence your decision to watch this movie.
Saints and Soldiers won 16 awards and two nominations.
There is an official website which is well worth a look.
This is an amazing film, Very well filmed and directed. I will be watching this again and looking out for other films from the same Director and Film Company.
Rent it soon. Very worthwhile for lots of reasons, most of all for the real Saints and Soldiers that the film portrays.
I hope that this review helps anyone that reads it.
© Sheena 2006.
So Sue me, there are two more than there should be.
7 reasons not to mess with a child...
A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales.
The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a
because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very
The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale.
Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a
was physically impossible.
The little girl said, "When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah".
The teacher asked, "What if Jonah went to hell?"
The little girl replied, "Then you ask him".
A Kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while
they were drawing. She would occasionally walk around to see each
As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what
The girl replied, "I'm drawing God."
The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks like."
Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing, the girl
replied, "They will in a minute."
A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her
five and six year olds.
After explaining the commandment to "honour" thy Father and thy Mother,
she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our
Without missing a beat one little boy (the oldest of a family) answered,
"Thou shall not kill."
One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes
the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several
of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head.
She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, "Why are some of your
hairs white, Mom?"
Her mother replied, "Well, every time that you do something wrong and
me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white."
The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said,
"Momma, how come ALL of grandma's hairs are white?"
The children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to
persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture.
"Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you are all grown up
say, 'There's Jennifer, she's a lawyer,' or 'That's Michael, He's a
A small voice at the back of the room rang out, "And there's the
A teacher was giving a lesson on the circulation of the blood. Trying to
make the matter clearer, she said, "Now, class, if I stood on my head,
blood, as you know, would run into it, and I would turn red in the
"Yes," the class said.
"Then why is it that while I am standing upright in the ordinary
the blood doesn't run into my feet?"
A little fellow shouted, "Cause your feet ain't empty."
The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary
for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun
a note, and posted on the apple tray:
"Take only ONE. God is watching."
Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a
large pile of chocolate chip cookies.
A child had written a note, "Take all you want. God is watching the
These are not my own work and I do not know where they came from, but I enjoyed them and wanted to share them.
Sheena 2006. (Just before I hit 40)
The Marriot Hotel, Glasgow.
I booked this hotel for a two night stay starting on the 18th of August 2006. We needed somewhere to stay as we were attending the Ciao Glasgow meet, which incidentally was absolutely brilliant.
As we are rather fond of our local Marriot Hotel, we decided as a late Anniversary present, to treat ourselves to a visit to the Glasgow Marriot. We werent disappointed.
We drove to Glasgow from Inverness, which took about 3 and a half hours and we had directions for the hotel from Maporama.com. The last direction was to take the Clydebank/S.E.C.C. Exit 19 off the M8 heading Southbound, take the ramp 290 m and turn left and there we were. No driving into or through Glasgows main streets, I was so relieved as I dont know Glasgow at all and was dreading navigating our way to the hotel. So there you go easy as that! And on the way back out all we had to do was turn right out of the hotel and turn right back onto the M8 and Woo Hoo on the road to Home.
I booked our stay online through a link from a hotels website. Please be aware that some of these websites state that the parking at the Marriot is free and when you book your reservation your confirmation states that the parking is £3.00 per 24 hours. I think this is a total rip off, if you are actually patronising the hotel, why should you have to pay to park there?
The Glasgow Marriot is a four star Hotel with 13 floors, 4 suites, 13 meeting rooms and 843 sq m of total meeting space. The entrance to the hotel is a grand lobby with marble flooring and a dark wood reception desk. The reception desk is to the right and a concierge stands at the end of the reception desk to greet you.
To the left is a sunken bar/Lounge area with a grand piano, which was played in the evenings with an array of gentle background music; most relaxing. Unfortunately for us, we never got to experience this particular bar as we were far too busy going out and about and meeting with other Ciao member in various pubs. A hard life I know.
The Website for this Marriot describes the Hotel as perfectly in tune with this cosmopolitan city, it boasts a contemporary feel with its luxury designer-style bedrooms and state of the art leisure complex. An easy stroll from the main shopping area, the hotel puts you right at the heart of the city. Refuel at lunchtime at their Chats Café Bar American style dining with a range of mouth-watering burgers and other stateside favourites. (Eh I thought Id gone to Glasgow not America!)
Or enjoy dinner in our contemporary Mediterrano restaurant; the perfect ending to an action packed day in Glasgow.
This Hotel is near the SECC Centre, The Science Centre, Historic Tall Ships and the Willow Tree Tearooms, designed by Charles Rennie Macintosh (Not my cup of tea if you pardon the pun).
Smoking is not permitted in this Hotel due to recent Scottish Laws about smoking in Public Places, although they do have designated smoking rooms, Phew!
It is a short walk (5 mins in High Heels) to Glasgow Central Station; the nearest tube is St Enochs which is 0.5 miles away. And I did spot under the M8 Bridge right next to the hotel a station called Anderston Station, I looked this up on the web and it is a rail station, just one stop down from Central Station, now that could be handy if you book this hotel and are travelling by train, no need to get a taxi or lug your bags up the road. Its right next to the hotel.
Okay, Okay, Ill get on with it, we booked in via a receptionist from somewhere in the world where they teach English to make it sound like gobbledygook. Poor Woman, wonder what she made of me, saying Pardon, Pardon, Excuse me, Im sorry, I didnt catch that I gave up in the end and just nodded my head and smiled till she gave me the room key and I did catch Do you want one Key or Two I say One Please, Hubby Says Two, I look at him and he says in case you lock me out like last time. Okay fair enough, well have two keys.
Our room was on the 10th floor and it had an, ahemm, lovely view of the M8 to the left and the Holiday Inn to the right, the hotel car park below and another tall hotel straight across from us. It was fine though as we were so high up and the hotels were a short distance away I didnt feel hemmed in or overlooked by them.
The room was tastefully decorated in neutral colours; it was spacious and well laid out, with a King Size bed with six large feather pillows on it, sheer luxury. The linen was white and clean and crisp. There was a dressing table with internet access, a standard lamp, coffee table and an armchair. The usual television unit and a fridge, coffee making facilities, trouser press, ironing board, iron. Telephone, wardrobe with doors, these seem to be becoming quite scarce in Hotels these days. The doors were mirrored, which is always handy and there was an additional long mirror on the wall next to the trouser press.
The bathroom was spacious, predominately cream in colour and CLEAN, Yahoo, struck it gold, a clean bath, toilet and sink, plenty of spare toilet rolls, soft white towels, face cloths and very very nice freebies, sorry toiletries, which even came with their own little linen bag to snaffle them away in, sorry, put the empties in and take home with you. Seriously they were lovely toiletries, oh wait Ill go and get them; I brought the empties home in their little bag for the purpose of the review. ☺
They really are rather lovely, they are all aromatherapy products with Lemongrass Essence, (my favourite aromatherapy smell), made Expressly for Marriot; there is a 45ml bottle of Gentle Cleansing Shampoo, a 45 ml bottle of Gentle Soothing Bath Gel, a 45 ml bottle of Ultra Moisturising Lotion, a facial soap bar, a shower cap and finally a Gentle Moisturing Bath Soap.
They have a gentle aroma of Lemongrass, not too overpowering and very nice to use.
The room was air-conditioned, well actually we thought that it wasnt, it was an extremely hot and humid evening and we assumed the unit on the wall was air-conditioning, but we couldnt get it to work and there were no instructions for use in the Hotel Manual on the coffee table. We opened the window as much as we could to get a breeze in which wasnt so bad, as we were on the 10th floor there was access to outside free flowing air, albeit through a very small gap, which of course is regulation safety opening limits in Hotel windows.
We were in a bit of rush to get ready and go out so we didnt ask at reception about the air-conditioning till we arrived back at the hotel after Midnight. The concierge informed us that it was indeed air conditioning, but obviously at that late hour, he couldnt arrange to have it fixed, he offered us a fan and we were very happy with this. He said he would bring it up to the room and he did, about five seconds after we got there. Excellent service.
I didnt sleep much that night, but then I never do the first night anywhere other than my own bed. It was quite noisy with the window open as the M8 is only a stones throw away, but as there was so much traffic it wasnt a zoom, zoom, keep you awake noise, it was more like a constant white noise. When the room had cooled down considerably, I was able to shut the double glazing and the fan kept us cool for the rest of the night.
Another thing about this particular room was that the fridge wasnt working, no big deal to us as we werent going to sample the goods inside, we had brought our own wine with us. But saying that there was no-where to keep my extra milk cool either. The note inside the fridge does state that you shouldnt put anything in there as it affects the weight balances and may result in you being charged for goods that you never had.
When we got up the next morning and our fellow Ciaors were out shopping and availing themselves of Glasgows delights, one of which included a sheep handbag, (I thought it was rather lovely myself), anyway we spent the morning going down to reception to tell them about the broken air-conditioning unit and the non-working fridge.
The Receptionist was extremely helpful, apologetic and asked if we were in our room that day, we explained that as we were meeting people, we would be in and out all day. To which she replied, Well in that case, well just put you in a brand new room instead. Very nice apart from the fact that I had unpacked and put everything away nicely. Oh well, so off we went, gathered everything up and switched to another room on the same floor.
This room was the same, just the other way round if you know what I mean. And there they were again, those lovely little aromatherapy bottles. 
It was nice to try a second room to see if the standards were the same, well they were; it was equally clean and smelt lovely, the windows were cleaner in this room and the view slightly different. But the air-conditioner worked and we spent a very pleasant cool second evening in the Glasgow Marriot.
Oh and by the way, both rooms had hairdryers, in fact the first room had two, one in the bedroom and one in the bathroom, the bathrooms also had this nifty little magnifying mirror that extended from the wall for shaving purposes or make-up purposes, myself, I prefer to be a little distance from the mirror for a better outlook.
There are complimentary services for the rooms, such as newspaper deliveries or newspaper in lobby and your usual food service.
The Restaurant The Mediterrano is open for breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. We only had breakfast at the hotel, which was included in the price. It was a largish dining area, with three sections, one at floor level, one elevated to the right and one level down a few steps to the left.
It was rather nice as there were quite a few tables for just two. Breakfast was wonderful, whatever you can think of in a self service breakfast was there, piping hot and in abundance, this of course included Fresh Fruit Juices, Toast, The Full English and lots of other things like Croissants and buns and cakes and food too numerous to mention, in fact its the best Hotel breakfast selection I have ever seen.
In addition, the minute something ran out, it was replaced within seconds. Outstanding service, and there was a lovely lady who served us tea and coffee and toast at the table, I left her a tip for being so nice to us.
I cant comment on Chats Café Bar as we didnt partake.
The Hotel has the usual Marriot Leisure complex, which includes a swimming pool, gym, and a Spa with a Health and Beauty Salon. Again we didnt partake so cant comment, but if they are anything like our local Marriot, I imagine they would be quite nice.
Our stay at this Hotel was unusual in the fact, that we didnt actually spend much time there, normally when we go to an hotel we would sit in the lounge in the evenings or eat there, but as we were so busy, we didnt get time to do this.
We booked this online with the Marriot at a cost of £80.00 per night, this included Breakfast.
The Hotel has a lovely relaxing atmosphere and is obviously a favourite with the locals as we saw at least three wedding parties in the two days we were there.
If I were to have any complaints about the hotel it would be these, when I booked online, the link that sent me to the Marriot Website said that the parking was free.
When we booked, we didnt get our confirmation until I phoned three days before we were due to arrive and the confirmation stated that the car parking was £3.00 per 24 hours.
One of my biggest gripes is this, the car parking for the hotel is at the rear of the hotel, with no rear entrance, you have to park your car and lug all your stuff right rounds to the front entrance,
in our case in the rain, not too pleasant as Id brought far too much stuff and it was hard to carry.
Would I stay here again, yes I most certainly would and Im hoping it will be the next time I get to meet all those wonderful people who turned up for the Glasgow Ciao meet 2006. Thanks to you all for such a wonderful time.
© Sheena 2006
I don't know why the slug killer came up, but you can buy this product from the same manufacturer.
Nemasys Vine Weevil Killer.
Vine Weevils Scottish Name: Nasty Wee Beasties
Here is my experience with the Nasty wee Beastie and how I got rid of them.
As an amateur gardener I didnt know what these creatures were when I first encountered them in my garden.
I was out pottering around one day when I started complaining to my husband that one of our plants that had been in a tub for years didnt seem to be growing at all. It was then that I decided I would re-pot this poor plant to see if it was pot bound and could do with a bigger tub. We bought some new peat and I proceeded to take the old plant out. YUK! You can imagine my disgust when the whole tub seemed to be full of wriggling little grubs, some were white and some were going brown. Luckily I had my gardening gloves on. Well at least I know why this plants not growing I thought.
I thought that was the worst of it until I saw some other ugly wee creatures crawling about, I had no idea what they were, but they looked liked a kind of grey/black beetle thing with what looked like spots on its back. Disgusting they were. I re-potted that plant into new peat and then went off to look on the internet to see if I could discover what the crawly things were.
That was the start of my crusade against the Vine Weevil, not that I knew thats what they were then. There were lots of pictures on the internet, but nothing seemed exactly like the beetle like thing we had in the garden. I then had to go and buy a Garden Pest book to confirm that they were Vine Weevil. And yes they were.
Horrible looking things that crawl all over the place; I didnt really think much more about it, until a few days later when I saw some of them hiding under the lip of one of my other pots in the garden. Thats when I knew I would have to do something serious about them.
I had to re-pot, (or so I thought at the time) all my garden plants that were in any kind of container. It turned out everything was infested with the grubs and some adult Vine Weevil. My husband and I spent a fortune on new soil and I re-potted everything. When I found an eaten leaf in my flowerbed: I knew they were back. Thats when I found out about how to eradicate them and I felt I had to write this review to let other amateur gardeners know about Vine Weevil and how to get rid of them. So here goes; The real Technical information about the wee beasties that eat all your plants and invade your garden (and how to get rid of them) is below.
Vine Weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus)
The adult beetle feeds on the foliage of many herbaceous plants, especially woody plants like Rhododendron and Hydrangea (and they love Strawberry plants), but my pot didnt have one of those plants in; so as far as Im concerned theyll eat anything.
The adult beetle is flightless; it is dark brown or black in colour and looks dull grey. It has small yellow speckles on its back that are raised and look like lumps in lines down its back.
The Adults munch on the edges of leaves during the summer, around April to August, they are fantastic climbers and walkers, and this makes plants in hanging baskets and wall boxes just as vulnerable as the rest of the garden. (A point I didnt know first time round). The adults can be seen by torchlight at night, (personally Id rather not see them, and so I didnt try that one).
You can find them in the daytime in the base of plants, under pots and under garden rubbish, I even found one in the house, apparently this is not uncommon.
All Vine Weevil are female, so they can all lay eggs. They lay their eggs around the base of plants, each laying about 500-660 eggs throughout the summer, (YUK, can you imagine!) New eggs are white and they turn brown as they get older. The eggs then hatch into grubs (I know, it gets worse). They are about 1mm long, white with brown heads, they eat everything around them including succulent tubers and they gnaw at larger roots and stem bases. Basically, they eat your plant from the root tip to the base. They can grow to about 1.3cms after feeding. When they are fully grown they burrow down to pupate before hatching as adults.
The adults feed and lay eggs throughout the summer, and die out during autumn. The grubs lie dormant and then hatch in the spring.
HOW TO GET RID OF THEM.
You can use the pesticide imidacloprid and that will control larvae for up to 12 months, but I didnt even follow that road, it looked a little complicated for me. It involved re-potting and washing roots and as I am not a dedicated gardening fanatic this option didnt appeal (Not saying it doesnt work though, youd have to try it) Let me know if you do!
A better option is Nematodes this is a biological control for the larvae, you can get this as a microscopic pathogenic nematode (Steinernema KrausseI) dont stop reading, it really is simple to use. You can get these from many suppliers, nothing complicated here, just type in Vine Weevil Killers into your search engine and you will come up with various links. I got mine from Nickys seeds, and one pack to cover 12m squared, or 40 pots cost me £9.95 (no postage).
You apply the nematodes in August or early September when the soil is warm enough for them to be effective (5-20 degrees C or 41- 68 F) and before the horrible wee white slimy things have got big enough to cause damage.
A note to mention: Vine Weevil can be around all year in greenhouses. So you would have to treat more often. And if its a warm start to the year the adult can hatch before April.
Nematodes should be applied March-May and August to late November to keep them at bay.
Nematodes are extremely easy to use; you just dissolve in water and use a watering can to put in your pots or flowerbeds. You dont have to re-pot or dig up anything and clean the roots like I thought at the very beginning. Not only that they are completely harmless to Humans and animals. A good supplier will not deliver Nematodes through the winter months as they are useless then as the grubs are hibernating.
Note: When you receive your pack of nematodes, put into the fridge and use within a few days for most effective results. These are living creatures, though microscopic.
Finally- If you do have Vine Weevil, keep on your toes with the treatments because if you dont they can multiply under soil and the first you will know is when your plants stop growing again.
Well thats me, I feel much better for writing that, it took me more than a couple of weeks to positively identify the Vine Beetle, find the best treatment, buy it and successfully treat them. Hope this review has helped other unfortunate amateur gardeners out there, who, like me didnt know where to start. Right Im off to do my hanging baskets!!!!
Im not much of a handbag person, I only own three, my wee black one, one my mother-in-law gave to me and this one, the holiday bag, bought specifically for the purpose of a trip to Rome in July last year. I normally use the small black bag because you cant fit much in it and therefore its lighter and easier to hump around.
This bag was bought solely to be able to fit a spare pair of flip-flops, sunglasses, a mini-umbrella (which I use as a sunshade because I dont like getting burnt) and my obligatory bottle of water that goes everywhere I do. Oh and a mini purse for holiday money.
The bag did its job and thats all it carried while I was away. I fully intended switching bags when I got home but it never happened. It has become very clear in recent weeks that this bag, although not huge, is being used as a dumping ground for anything I come across and its become so heavy its hurting my shoulder and back to carry it, so Im going to empty it to find out exactly what I have collected in there since July 2005.
Im scared at what Ill find so Im just going to tip it out on the cooker top.
MAN ALIVE! ITS NOT POSSIBLE THAT LOT WAS IN THIS WEE BAG.
The Legendary Bottle of Mineral Water Still of course. Then:
First out is my wallet A Mans Leather Guess wallet which I think looks and smells rather nice, it would be nicer if it smelt more of money though. The wallet has the usual paraphernalia: Assortment of Credit card, Debit Cards, Store Loyalty card, Gift cards and receipts, (which I always keep) I have a receipt folder going back eight years! There are family photographs and a lovely wee card from my hubby.A pen, a book of stamps and my secret zipped pocket. Gee Whizz the wallet sounds like a handbag in itself.
The secret zipped pocket contains a red mini calculator, £2.00 in WH Smith vouchers, a £2.00 Choice voucher, Three plasters, Tesco Credit card contact details for emergencies, a metric to imperial weight conversion table, hubbys Tesco club card (so I can use his vouchers as well as mine), daughters Cash-line card, remote access menu card for home answer-phone, £6.00 in birthday cash and Finally the most important thing of all: £20.00 cash which was my grannys last Christmas present to me before she died at the beginning of 2005. I cant bring myself to spend it until I find something that will remind me of her.
Next out is a box of Aciclover tablets for Cold sores. Then my Antique cigarette case which I use every day. Its lovely, just like you see in the old movies.
In a little black case, a miniature multi-tool which has a set of pliers as its main attraction.
A disposable ball shaped toothbrush from an airport vending machine. 12.5g of Golden Virginia.
A re-order form for a prescription. (For Nose Spray) Bet you didnt know I had a spray on Nose!
Mini-sewing kit from hotel bathroom. Doctors Surgery newsletter.
A piece of paper that says: Cinema Kumala Half price, I presume I was going to buy a bottle of this delicious red wine and go watch Bridget Jones??
A 4head tube with menthol or eucalyptus for rubbing on my forehead in times of mental strain used 300 times a day usually. Three Lockets in half a packet.
Perfume atomiser (must have used this bag to somewhere nice in the last six months).
Some more Aciclover (Zovirax) tablets.
A tub of menthol crystals or is that mental crystals, which I use in a cup of hot water to clear my head. Again much needed.
Two out of date eye-droplet thingies (singles). A linen hanky with pretty wee pink and purple flowers on it, you see I can be a delicate thing when I want to be.
Shopping Notebook, half a swan vesta filter box with a shopping list written on it.
Isle of Skye Windscreen repair patches.
Marriot Hotel matchbook, Now that was a good night, that was the night we got dressed up in ball gowns suits and The Kilt for our anniversary and waltzed into the hotel looking like nutcases, it was great.
A packet of cotton wool. A folded up emergency plastic bag, for weeing in, being sick in, putting shopping in, whatever you want, the world is your plastic bag.
A sachet of vinegar in case of wasp or bee stings; stops the pain and neutralises the sting.
You should always carry one of these especially if you have children.
Two pieces of folded up A4 paper with product information on the Motorola V3; Bought and taken back to the shop the next day, what a load of rubbish that was.
Two refreshing wipes from TAP Airlines (Africa) thatll be from hubby. Two cotton buds in plastic wrapper. Small purse for loose change.
Hubbys fertility bracelet given to him in Gran-Canaria when we were on Honeymoon.
Card Wallet holding, Blockbuster, Vodaphone and BT payment cards.
Packet of tissues. Tin box of M&S Strong mints. Really nice mints these.
Another cotton hankie. An emm Afro-comb and no I have no idea why or how it got in there!
One scratched non-winning scratch card and a Boots money-off voucher.
A KLM tin for mints that I have Ibuprofen in. My NHS E111 Card, Daughters E111 Card.
Iberia Airlines mini-sewing kit, wet-wipe from same and a Vue cinema ticket. A piece of paper with two community healthcare index numbers on it.
Oh I forgot attached to the strap is a smart-light. A mini-torch and freebie from Gadget shop.
Another pack of cotton buds from The Melia hotel in Rome, more tissues and another refreshing wipe, this ones empty. A receipt for the swimming pool and flumes Can you believe it cost £7.43 for two of us to go swimming (Im well fluming!)
Oh my gosh! Another packet of tissues and a hair comb slide thing. A Nail file set from Concorde hotels (Im starting to look like a thief) its hubby that brings them all home.
Three Halls sweeties and my own fertility bracelet from Honeymoon, I have to say neither of these bracelets worked and nor did the fertility mask hung on the wall. But as my daughters friend saidit may be hung in the wrong room. Its in the living room- she may have a point!
A miniature metal retractable measuring tape. (Have you noticed I love miniature things)?
A boxed emery board from The Leela hotel in Mumbai. A New Years Day shopping list.
Other hair comb slide thingy. Another old shopping list. Another emergency plastic bag.
Mini black Solitaire Maglite torch. Loads of bits of paper and rubbish.
Driving Licence, Yaheeyyyyy, something of use is in there!
A voucher to claim freebie from Lancôme counter (For perfume and never collected).
Oh and another packet of tissues, for goodness sake woman get a grip, empty all the half filled packets and put them in one packet!
Two Citylink bus timetables. ANOTHER plastic bag.
A small (got fed of the word mini now) first aid kit with steri-strips and blister plasters and normal plasters. (Actually this was my holiday first aid kit)
Small size sellotape on holder. Mans comb (airline of course, my favourite brand). Vanity mirror in black case.
Tara ra tarrrra (Fanfare Noises) = Nokia 3310 Latest technology in phones in my little world.
Packet of Extra strong mints, travel toothbrush and paste, lens cleaning cloth. An airline rubbish bag in its own little plastic bag. Aww how sweet.
Prescription re-order form (yes another one) and inside is a sachet of pepper. (Figure that one?)
A post office receipt and who would have guessed it: A Refreshing wipe (Ah but this one is Air Malta) so the culprit (thief) is my mum.
Three more out of date eye-dropper things and a second swimming pool receipt. This one for £9.86, no wonder families cant afford to take their children swimming!
Second small roll of sellotape in its own holder but this one is that white looking sellotape stuff, so I think it is fully justified in being there covered in fibres and bits of hair etc.
Oh Hey Up! Were nearly there: A wireless networking information pamphlet, Library card in plastic wallet, refreshing wipe NO its not its a make-up remover wipe!
Packet of circular cotton pads, pen, Lighter, Carburettor screwdriver (Why? Because its a miniature screwdriver of course), Ball toothbrush thing, and my best item in the bag my mini Leatherman micra. Love it.
Finally another windscreen patch and a tube of Zovirax. And two tons of crumbs.
Well thats it, thank goodness I hear you say, but its all right for you lot, you havent got this huge pile of junk in front of you that you have to find homes for and neither do you have to re-load the stuff back into the smaller bag! And its Sunday dinner time and I have to go and do that. And finish this and Shut-up. Oh Okay! Hey you know who youre friends are! Well just for that Im keeping all my refreshing wipes to myself so there!
Thank you so much for reading this, I am really grateful and I am looking forward to all your comments extremely much.
The main part of this review is a copy of my letter to the owners of this Hotel, for the first part I will give you some details about this particular Holiday Inn.
The Holiday Inn, Exhibition & Conference Centre in Claymore Drive, Aberdeen is owned and run by Holiday Inn which is part of the Intercontinental Hotels Group who have their Head Office in Windsor in Berkshire.
On their website they state that they are a leading global hospitality group, with more than 3,500 hotels and 536,000 guest rooms across nearly 100 countries and territories.
Every year more than 120 million people find a welcome at one of their lodging brands.
Sounds pretty impressive, large company, dedicated to the traveller and lodger.
The Holiday Inn in Claymore Drive Aberdeen is described as a comfortable three star hotel within 3 miles of Aberdeen City. Good so far, just what I need for this trip.
Features: 123 Rooms. Room Minibar. Room T.V. 24 hour room service. Public lift.
Public bar. Public Restaurant. Modem.
Travel: Nearest Train Station is in Aberdeen four miles away.
Location: Aberdeen Seafront with some nice sea views. Hard to find the entrance to the car park from the main road.
Distinctive Features: Ill mannered staff. Dirt. Mildew. Crumbs. Long wait at the bar.
Standard Rooms Between: £68.00 - £88.00
Executive Rooms Between: £88.00 - £108.00
Suites: Between: £113.00 - £113.00
We paid £58.00 for a standard double room on a Friday, We booked through yeego.com
If you go to destinia.com it is listed as a four star hotel with more different prices. And if you look behind the main reception prices start at £75.00 for a standard room. Confused?
Me too various price differences on different websites and apparently a dual 3 / 4 star Hotel!
MMmm where am I going with this, well I have to start my review with the facts and figures as people may wish to know these things, however, you may change your mind after reading my full review.
One gripe that I have is that there was no mini-bar in our room, but no not because I wanted to drink the stuff in there, I wanted to keep my milk for my coffee cool. Ah well, glad I took my wee cool bag.
Here is my letter I have just sent to Their Head Office, omitting my personal details of course: -
15th March 2006.
Intercontinental Hotels Group
67 Alma Road
Attn: Customer Services Department.
Re: The Holiday Inn, Claymore Drive, Aberdeen. AB23 8BL. UK.
On the 23rd of February 2006, I booked a room at the above hotel for the evening of Friday the 24th of February 2006. I booked this hotel as I had previously stayed in it more than once when it was The Posthouse Hotel.
Before I booked I did a bit of research and the only information I could get on the takeover was that it changed licensee to Holiday Inn in April 2002; of course this could have been the wrong information but I decided that as it was only three years since the takeover and I have been a guest many times of various Holiday Inns and Holiday Inn Express Hotels (All of which have been excellent) that I would go ahead and book.
When I arrived at the Hotel I was a bit surprised to see it looking a bit dingy and rundown,
I was horrified when I reached the main entrance doors to find them absolutely filthy and covered in hand prints. I was even more disgusted upon entering through these doors to find a glass coffee table covered in very visible dust. Worse was to come, upon entering the main lobby, I was faced with a dirty and dusty floor, the main desk was desperately in need of a new coat of varnish as was the reception desk behind it.
Had I not already paid for my booking, I think I would have left immediately.
The receptionist was not altogether welcoming and as I handed her my voucher that I had been told to print off and sign by my internet booking provider, she just said "what's your name?" and ignored the proffered voucher. She then said "yeah, you've paid, will you be putting any meals or room service on your card?" I said "no" I don't think so, the reply was "right, here's your key, have you been here before?" After giving a positive answer, I was duly handed my card key and given brief instructions to find the room.
Our room was on the ground floor right at the end overlooking the Conference Centre and with a Sea View, not too bad I thought until I walked further into the room. The bedroom area was okay but none too clean, it had obviously had a "round the bed" quick hoover, but at the sides of the bed were dirt and crumbs and food bits. The sheets on the bed were clean, which I am very pleased about. There was also a full length mirror on the wall which was splattered quite obviously with some kind of gunk, no idea what it was and wasn't going to test it, but I have to say it was very obvious in the evening with the room lights on so it must have been clearly visible to the cleaner during the day.
The window wasn't working properly and there was a door stopper to stop the window opening fully, this rubber door stopper was loose and easily removed; a safety issue if a child were in the room as there is a long drop below the window to the basement floor level.
It was too late for us at this stage to find somewhere else to stay as we had a function to attend that evening. I figured that you get what you pay for, although I noted that as the Friday night room rate was £75.00 this didn't really apply to this hotel.
We decided that we would just get ready and I ran a bath. The bathroom was disgusting, the floor had smears from a dirty mop and the tiles had mildew between them, the sink had a large amount of mildew behind the taps (please see enclosed photographs). The toilet was clean looking and the bath looked alright so I just got on with it and ran a bath.
I cannot tell you how utterly shocked I was and how sick I felt when I got in that bath and felt the scum on the bottom of the bath and the ring of invisible grimy granular scum left from when the last guest had had a bath. I did wonder for a minute if the bath enamel was just so old that it wouldn't scrub clean so I tried it and I was able to clean it off, I have never felt so dirty in my whole life. What a nauseating, atrocious, preventable, unhygienic position to be put in when a bit of bleach and a good scrub would have sorted all of it.
In addition, there is a warning that the Hot water is very hot, so hot in fact, pieces of melted rubber bath mat (for when using the shower) had adhered to the bottom of the bath; I was able to get some of this off, so a cleaner using a suitable bath scourer would have no problem removing this residue.
Unfortunately this wasn't the end of the problems with this hotel. After a few hours we went to the bar area to get something to eat, I noticed the carpeted area by the main entrance was still covered in noticeable dirt, again a simple vacuum over would have sorted this out. We went to the bar to order some food and a drink before going on to our function; when we arrived at the bar there were only five customers waiting, twenty minutes later we were still waiting to be served. As more people arrived at the bar, the barmaid continued serving whoever was nearest her, leaving out ourselves and the other customers waiting further along the bar. We gave up and booked a taxi at reception to go to Aberdeen City-Centre.
Before leaving the bar, another gentleman, who was equally annoyed, left to complain to reception about the service, or rather lack of service. My Husband was standing there at the time to ask about a taxi and when the gentleman voiced his opinion, the receptionist was very off-hand with him. When he left reception to return to the bar, she said to my husband "What does he want me to do about it" I was so shocked.
I have never encountered such a lack of hospitality or professionalism in any hotel anywhere in the world.
We left the hotel to go to our function and mentioned to the taxi driver how appalling the hotel was and he said he was not surprised; he told us that the hotel had a bad name in Aberdeen and that the staff were all the same from the manager down. He also told us that the staff didn't bother too much with the cleaning as it was mostly "Oilmen" who stayed there and they didn't really care.
Well I beg to differ, my husband is in the Oil Industry and he likes a clean room and bathroom just as much as I do.
There is nothing that could not be sorted at this establishment; some staff changes or re-training in hospitality and professionalism, a good crew of cleaners, with clean mops and lots of bleach and some maintenance would bring the Hotel back to a decent standard.
We certainly won't be staying there again and would not recommend it to anybody; in fact I'm not sure I could bring myself to book a stay in another Holiday Inn in case it turned out to be as bad as this one.
Sadly when we left the next morning, the glass façade and the main entrance doors were still filthy and in need of a good clean.
It's such a shame as this used to be a very nice hotel.
I look forward to reading your response to the matters highlighted in this correspondence.
I await their response. I'll let you know what happens.
Thanks for reading and avoid this place, need I say more.
Update 28th March 2006.
Today I was surprised to receive not one but two replies to the letter I sent complaining about the Holiday Inn in Aberdeen. The first is from The Intercontinental Group's Head Office which is the address I directed my letter to and the second is from the General Manager of the Holiday Inn in Aberdeen who was obviously requested by Head Office to respond to my letter of complaint.
I will detail below some of the finer details of their responses.
From The Intercontinental Hotels Group Head Office:
Thank you for taking the time to write and inform us of your recent experience with the Holiday Inn Aberdeen. Your comments are greatly appreciated, since they give us the opportunity to uphold our standards and to ensure that we provide the highest quality of service to our guests.
We regret your disappointment and would like to extend our sincere apologies for any inconvenience you may have encountered.
Our department has recorded your comments for reporting purposes and has passed them on the management of the hotel for their review. The General Manager, ******, will be in touch with you shortly, if he has not already done so. We are confident that the appropriate corrective action will be taken where necessary.
They continue with another apology and end the letter.
The second letter is from the General Manager of the Holiday inn and this arrived in the same post and the contents are as follows: Please note I have inserted Blah Blah's in places where copying their letter is not necessary.
I refer to your letter of the 15th March 2006 sent to our Guest Relations Department regarding your stay, Blah Blah Blah. Your letter was forwarded to me on Blah blah to respond to your complaint in my capacity as General Manager Blah Blah.
First and foremost please accept my profound apologies for the unsatisfactory stay you experienced. From you're your detailed and comprehensive letter it is very clear that we failed to deliver the standard we promise to our guests blah blah blah.
I can assure you that as our customer your satisfaction is most important to us blah blah.
I have fully discussed your comments with my Management Team in order to improve our services in future. Your comments regarding cleanliness, condition and service issues have been fully taken on board and will result in action being taken.
In view of your disappointment and by way of apology please find enclosed a cheque for £50.00.
I am very pleased with the response to my letter; it looks to me like someone got their knuckles rapped. It is nice to see that this company did something straight away and encouraged the General Manager to not only respond, but to respond swiftly.
I just hope they do get the hotel cleaned up.
As for me, I'm off to spend my Fifty Pounds before Hubby gets home. LOL
Tesco Minestrone Soup can be found in the fresh soup section in one of the chill cabinets. The soup comes in a see through plastic tub which holds 600g of soup.
The tub describes the soup as An Italian style soup made with tomatoes, pasta, vegetables and herbs.
There is a lot of information on the tub which I am really not going to write down for you as it can be easily read at the supermarket. There are Allergy Advice notices, Caution notices, Ingredients list, nutrition list, additional info list. Cooking Instructions and freezing guidelines.
If my review was to be other than what I am going to tell you about this soup then I would have included these details for your convenience. However, this time I am just going to tell you about the soup.
This fresh soup costs £1.17 for 600g; the packaging is bright and attractive, drawing the buyer to pick this product up for a closer look. The product itself through the packaging looks nutritious and wholesome and its fresh of course.
I bought this for convenience sake although I normally make my own soup; I thought it would do no harm to try a shop bought homemade-style soup for a change.
I got home and put it on to cook immediately as I prepared the rest of the dinner, it looked really nice so I just bunged it into a pot and didnt even smell it, it has a rich red tomato colour with a consistency equivalent to a thin clear Chinese soup.
I could clearly see the fresh vegetables throughout the soup; tomato, carrot, pasta, pinto beans, courgette and I could also see fresh herbs floating about.
I cooked the soup as instructed, slowly without boiling it and served it.
The taste was extremely unexpected There was none! Well there was a slight tinge of tomato flavour, very thin, the courgettes tasted as though something had sucked the flavour out instead of it absorbing the flavours around it. There was no hint of the garlic described in the ingredient list; in fact it is the blandest tasting soup I have ever tried in my life.
We tried all sorts of things to liven it up, crushed chillies and piri-piri, salt, ground black pepper, garlic granules, sadly nothing helped it ended up tasting like spicy water with a hint of garlic (our own).
Now I love soup and even I gave up half way through my plateful, I just felt I was persevering with eating it as I had bought it.
In short (as this review is) this is a completely tasteless soup, I cant understand where the flavours went, you would expect with the ingredients being all fresh that some flavour would be derived from them and infuse the liquid surrounding them.
But No, The soup was so bad the flavour vacated the package before I got to it!
Thanks for reading.
Melia Roma Aurelia Antica Hotel Rome.
223 Roma, Italy.
The Melia is a four star Luxury Hotel with conference centre.
We stayed three nights.
Cost £196.59 for a standard room. This was for three nights (£65.53 per night).
(Breakfast is not included in this price)
Check in time 1pm. Check out time 12 Noon.
Booking Time: July 2005.
Location: About 6km North East of the Vatican City.
Airport we flew into: Fiumicino. Aprrox 24 Kms from The Melia.
Our visit to the Hotel Melia was an exceptional experience, we thoroughly enjoyed
our stay and would definitely go back. This is all about how we got there and what
it was like during our visit.
How we got there.
It was a little more difficult for us to travel directly to Rome as we live in Inverness
in the North of Scotland. Inverness is a city but our airport still doesn't have direct flights to all European and International destinations. We booked our flights using accumulated air miles so it was a little cheaper for us to fly; we still had to pay £75.09 per person in airport charges and taxes. I checked out the availability and prices of flights to both main airports in Rome and there are a lot of cheaper flights around from all over Britain, However, when you see the cheap prices bear in mind you will still have to add airport charges and taxes onto the flight prices. This can make your flight a lot dearer than you initially thought. There are lots of deals out there so just make sure you do your homework and check out lots of search engines for the best deal.
We flew from Aberdeen Airport after spending the night in the Speedbird Hotel, (This cost £54.95 per room per night) which is only a few minutes walk from the Airport Terminal. We then flew by KLM to Schipol Airport in Amsterdam; we had a few hours to wait for our connection to Fiumicino (Leonardo Da Vinci) Airport. When we arrived we took a taxi from the Airport to the Melia Hotel. Make sure you agree a price with the driver before you get into his/her car. The transfer cost us around 40 Euros (about £28.00).
When we arrived at the hotel we were very pleasantly surprised as it looked even better than it did on the internet. You can see pictures of this hotel on many Rome Hotel sights. The entranceway was situated in the middle of the hotel; the hotel and entranceway are excellently maintained and very inviting. To the left of the entrance is the low rise convex side of the building, to the right of the entrance is a six story high block of rooms. The overall first impression of the outside of the building is indeed of a four star luxury hotel (as promised on the internet). There are lots of different web-sites that you can book this hotel on so shop around and check out the various prices. We booked at Hotels.com.
On entering the Hotel we were delighted to find a spacious, opulent and welcoming area, to the left was a sitting area with comfortable sofas and internet facilities and to the right were notice boards and a long check - out desk. In the centre of the Lobby was the reception for checking in. There were two staff on duty at the time and both were smiling from the second we walked in the door, when we approached the desk we were greeted with extreme warmth and professionalism by the delightful staff. We booked in and were given a map of Rome, this map turned out to be the best map we had, shame we spent over £8.00 on two maps before we left. There was a problem with our room and it turned out that the room we had booked on the internet was not available, this however was no problem at all and with a little shuffling of further bookings we were put into a larger room at no extra cost. We paid £196.59 for a standard room which we booked at Hotels.com. This was for three nights and the price charged was per room. (Price per night: £65.53) We actually ended up in a room that was about £94.00 dearer to book so I know we got a really good deal.
The Hotel has stairs and lifts for both sides all of which are easy to access and use.
The rooms are easy to find and the hallways clean and well lit, with good quality carpeting and decoration throughout.
Plus Side: Exceptional Staff and free upgrade.
Minus Side: Got put into a non-smoking room.
Our room was spacious and very clean; tastefully decorated with clean good quality bedding and "nice" pictures on the walls. The bed was a large double with two side tables and lamps, the coffee and tea making facilities were on one of these small tables; There was a kettle and some sachets of tea and coffee, no milk cartons or sachets of dried milk are supplied. There were three large windows in the room providing plenty of natural light and even though we were in the low rise convex side of the hotel overlooking the parking area it was well insulated and we were not disturbed by any outside noise at any time. There is a mini bar and fridge in the room with the normal contents (and prices). On top of the mini bar is the television which has all the local stations and pay-per-view movies. The hotel also supplies some nibbles which are laid out on the dressing/writing table; these are also charged for on a daily basis if used. The opposite side of the room had a very comfortable sofa bed, small coffee table and two small armchairs. Opposite the bathroom door was a large mirrored wardrobe with a free of charge safe inside. The rooms have no balconies which may deter some people as it is extremely hot in Rome a lot of the year, for us however this was not a problem as we were only staying three nights. The room was carpeted, which I found unusual, but also very pleasant as I prefer carpeted floors. The air-conditioning was adequate and automatically shut off if you opened the window. The bathroom was very clean and well stocked with toiletries and clean towels. The shower was quite powerful and the temperature of the water was always hot whenever we used it. All in all our room was spacious and a pleasure to retire to. All rooms at the hotel have a view of either the gardens at the front of the hotel or the swimming pool at the rear.
Plus Side: Lovely Room.
Hairdryer attached to wall in bathroom.
Room Service Available.
Minus Side: Inadequate supplies of Coffee.
The kettle didn't boil for long enough and there was no milk of any kind
supplied. (Can you tell I'm a Coffee Lover?)
There was no mirror by the dressing table where the only spare plug was for me to use with my hair styling appliances.
Suggestions: Take your own travel kettle and your own supplies as there are no food
shops in the hotel or within walking distance.
The hotel has 270 rooms. There are 12 Executive Suites and a Presidential Suite.
This hotel has a lovely clean (smallish) swimming pool with changing facilities and a shower and toilet facility at the poolside. The pool is Kidney shaped and has the hotel to the left and a grass sunbathing area with sun beds and Parasols to the right. There is a wooden fence around the poolside to deter small children from just running up and jumping in. Large towels are available free of charge, you just have to sign them out quoting your room number and make sure you sign the towel back in. The Lifeguard doubles as the pool attendant and I never once saw the pool unwatched or anybody waiting around for towel service. The poolside and grassy area surrounding it were both very clean and rubbish free. There are small bins provided around the area.
Plus side: Clean and tidy.
Minus Side: Pool opening hours are from 9am till 8pm.
The pool also shuts if the surrounding garden area has been hired out for
a conference or party. This did happen while we were staying at the
Melia, but we were made aware of it on the notice board early in the
The pool is only open in the summer time.
The Pool Bar.
The pool bar is on the next level above and overlooking the pool area. Again this area is very well laid out with tables and Parasols. There is a bar and food can be ordered at the pool bar. The staff at this bar again were extremely helpful and courteous.
The food was very good and with a good variety on the pool bar menu we weren't stuck for choice. We ate here a few times and the meal along with a few glasses of wine each came to about £20- £25.00 and was very good value for money. Tasty and plenty of it, served by a smiling bar attendant that was friendly without being too familiar.
Plus side: Cheaper than the main restaurant.
Low level lighting and gentle music gives the pool bar a lovely ambience in
The pool itself is shut after 8pm so you can relax in the pool bar without
being disturbed by noisy swimming pool activity.
I have put the pool being closed as a plus and a minus, you have to decide for yourself which plus or minus suits you. For me it was both a plus and a minus. The pool being shut was a minus on the day we got back late from the city and then the pool being shut was a plus when I was enjoying a romantic evening meal in the pool bar with my husband.
The Sughereta (a la Carte Restaurant)
The main restaurant is open for Lunch from 12pm to 15.00pm and again in the evening, the times for the restaurant are displayed outside with a menu for you to peruse.
This is a four star restaurant and if you don't like getting served by lots of very well dressed "silver service" waiters/waitress at your beck and call that appear about every three seconds and hover about to cater for your every wish, this is not the eating place for you. However, if you like to be pampered, made to feel special and served with politeness, grace and professionalism you should eat here. It, of course, is not cheap and I have to say I didn't find that many choices on the menu, but what we did have was delicious. We both ordered Steak with mushroom and pepper sauce. We had Red wine and water with our meal. The cost was around £60.00 for both of us, which I thought was reasonable for the food and the service we received. I did ask if the meal came with vegetables like potatoes etc, but ahemm, not having any Italian I didn't make much headway and was told yes. Poor people must have thought I was mad the way I was trying to explain what I meant. I gave up in the end and they told me yes with vegetable. This was the first time that I came across any language barrier in the hotel and this reminded me that perhaps I should have made more of an effort to learn a little Italian. Serves me right. My meal was beautiful but it consisted of a huge piece of perfectly cooked steak (cooked to my liking: well done) served with a mushroom sauce and that was it. The meal was so big there was no way I could have eaten anything else anyway but I would have liked to have been able to order a side dish at least for some variety on my plate. But like I say that was my fault, not the restaurant.
There is no smoking in the restaurant but I don't find this a problem, I am a smoker but don't like to eat in smoky atmospheres.
The restaurant is quite large and gracefully furnished and laid out with high quality linen tablecloths and napkins, the cutlery and glassware are of the same high quality and this all adds to the pleasure of your visit. There are inside and outside areas to this restaurant and the outside is situated on a semi-circular terrace with canvas awnings, which can be closed in bad or windy weather. The terrace overlooks the pool bar and swimming pool. The view from the restaurant is of rolling fields, some houses and in the distance the mountains. It is well lit inside and out without being overly bright and citronella candles burn to keep any flying insects at bay.
This is a lovely restaurant to eat at and I left feeling full-up and pampered.
Plus Side: Great Service.
Minus Side: No Vegetables came with meal.
A Lobby Bar is advertised on the internet and it does exist but while we were at the Melia it was not open at all. It is situated up some steps to the left of the reception lobby, there is a bar and some comfortable sofa type seating opposite the bar.
Majorca "Breakfast" Restaurant.
The breakfast room is situation on the first lower level of the hotel where the conference facilities and rooms are. It is a large airy comfortable room where you can get your breakfast in a help yourself buffet style. However breakfast is not include in your room tariff and there are quite a few options available ranging from just rolls or croissants to a full breakfast. we just had the croissants and butter with coffee with cost around 8 Euros each which I thought was expensive.
Plus Side: Varied Breakfast selection.
Minus Side: Cost.
Services and Facilities.
There is what is described as a shopping arcade; this consists of a few (more expensive) kind of souvenir small shops and not much else. You can't buy any food stuffs or drinks (not even water) at this hotel apart from at the bar restaurant.
Plus Side: They are there if you forget to buy someone a gift in the city.
Minus Side: Cost and no edible goods.
There are Laundry services, parking and valet services available but as I did not use these services I cannot comment on them.
Likewise there are also (On Request) Car rental, Business Centre and Medical services; again I did not use these services so I cannot comment.
Courtesy Bus Service into the city.
This is an excellent free service, the hotel has a coach which leaves the hotel four or five times a day at set times which takes you into Rome to pre-determined stops and picks you back up again to bring you back. This was a full size coach when we were there and we had no problems with volume of guests, however we were told that sometimes there are too many people for the bus, so get there early. The coach takes you to drop off points within the city of Rome that are near to and around all the main attractions like the Vatican City and the Coliseum, It's best to plan your day by where you want to get dropped off.
There is also a late evening coach which will take you into Rome about 9pm and pick you back up around 11pm.
Plus Side: No need to hire a car.
Minus Side: If you miss the bus it could be a few hours till the next one and the taxis
in Rome are not cheap. We got a taxi a few miles from the hotel when
coming back one day and we got stuck in traffic and it cost us around 38
We booked this service for our return trip to the airport. Fantastic Mercedes, Black, very very posh with Black suited driver, who opened the doors for me to get in and couldn't get out at the airport quick enough to let me out. (Husband had to fend for himself though). The cost was about 5 Euros cheaper than the taxi we got from the airport when we arrived, so very good value for money. The feeling of everyone watching you getting out a posh car with a Chauffeur was priceless, great end to my holiday. We didn't have any Euros left to tip him so we gave him some American dollars and he was quite happy with that. Cost about 35 Euros and well worth it. You have to book this service in advance at the reception desk and they will advise you the best time to book it for to catch your flight.
The Hotel is listed as situated in 10 Hectares of woodland but to be honest although it surrounded by greenery it would be better described as outside residential areas in a semi-rural location. This suited us, but may not suit others as you cannot go for a wander at night or walk to any nearby bars or restaurants. There is of course the shuttle bus from the hotel which is free and runs throughout the day at set times, this bus can take you into central Rome at around 9pm and pick you back up for your return around 11pm so you are not stranded at the hotel by any means.
There is no entertainment at the hotel, again this suited us but may not everyone.
I loved this hotel and would have no hesitation in going there again.
When we were there we filled in an Hotel service quality questionnaire and we then received an e-mail from the staff at the Melia upon our return home thanking us for our custom and for our comments on the questionnaire.
When you compare this hotel with the Speedbird Hotel in Aberdeen where we spent our first night of our holiday you can see what a good deal it is. The Speedbird cost us £54.95 for one night at a standard airport hotel and the Four Star Melia with all its facilities cost £65.53 per night, a difference of only £10.58. Amazing!!
I hope that my review has helped. I wanted to write it as it was to give the reader a really good idea of this hotel without prejudicing their decision with things that I myself prefer. Happy Holidays wherever you decide to book.