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At 10 weeks pregnant I was diagnosed with sinusitis, and I have to say it was the worst pain I've ever felt - well apart from childbirth!
After 2 sleepless nights of being unable to lie down due to the agonising pain across my nose, teeth and jaw I went to the docs to beg for antibiotics and pain relief. I was told that due to being preggers I could only take Paracetamol - great! And due to my complex history with pregnancies he couldn't give me antibiotics. He advised me to go to the chemist and purchase a bottle of Sterimar spray.
Sterimar is a sea water spray which moisturises and clears nasal passages to help relieve nasal congestion. Its gentle micro diffusion spray is delivered through a shaped nozzle that will fit even a baby's nose. It has no preservatives and is drug free making it ideal for expectant mothers and children.
It comes in a tall slim blue and white box, with a dolphin logo. Inside is a 100ml aerosol can with clear plastic lid. On top of the can is the triangular applicator nozzle. Each can has approx 300 standard sprays.
It can be used as often as required. To irrigate tilt your head to one side, insert nozzle, press and hold until fluid runs out of nose.
Remove nozzle after each use and clean with soapy water. Rinse well and dry before reattaching to aerosol can.
DOES IT WORK?
I was extremely sceptical when I bought this but it did seem to work. It wasn't an instant miracle cure but certainly delivered some relief instantly and gradually all of my symptoms went. I'm not sure how much of this was the spray or whether the infection had just run its course! The product website is very informative and also had very positive review from people who've used it to help with allergies, asthma, and even snoring.
WOULD I BUY IT AGAIN?
I would definitely keep a bottle in the medicine cabinet. My son suffers from blocked ears and nose occasionally and I would prefer to try a natural drug free product before resorting to medication.
not available on prescription unfortunately
My husband and I stayed here last year with our two boys and my brother and sister in law and their two kids. It's in the exclusive Balcon al Mar area of Javea on the Costa Blanca, situated halfway between Alicante & Valencia it's about an hours' drive from the airport. Within a 5 minute walk from the villa is a good supermarket with an excellent deli and bakery. Tennis courts, a swimming pool (free to use) and bar with takeaway pizza restaurant are next door. Another 5 minutes up the road are two restaurants which have stunning views of the Cap de la Nao.
It's a very modern contemporary style detached villa on a ¼ acre plot. It's on an exclusive estate of villas so you're not isolated. There are electric gates and an entry phone system for added security, there is parking for 2 cars. I suggest you hire a car to get around in.
The interior has double height ceilings in the open plan lounge and dining area and has a great American style kitchen/ breakfast bar. For the kids (and the husband!) there is a fully equipped games room with pool table, ps2, CD, TV & video player.
The sitting area has a large black leather corner sofa, which comfortably seats 4 adults and 4 kids. There is a large TV with SKY, coffee table and a fireplace.
The dining area has two glass tables put together to offer one long table and seating for 10 people. There are placemats and a table runner on there - all were unfortunately in need of a good clean on our arrival.
The kitchen is very spacious with plenty of work surface space. There is a small under counter fridge, hob, oven and microwave. All crockery and cutlery etc are provided - again, all unfortunately needed a thorough clean. Off the kitchen is a utility room with sink area, dishwasher, fridge freezer, washing machine and ironing board.
There are 4 bedrooms sleeping a maximum of 9 people. The master bedroom is upstairs; it has a double bed, a couple of bedside tables, a chest of drawers and a wardrobe. It has an ensuite wet room decorated with black marble tiles and contemporary fittings. It also has its own private terrace with small table and two chairs perfect for a glass of wine in the evening or to enjoy your morning coffee in peace! There is also a ceiling fan, hairdryer and alarm clock provided.
The other 3 bedrooms are downstairs. One has a double bed with bedside tables, drawers and fitted wardrobes. It has an ensuite shower room and bidet.
The second has 2 single beds with bedside tables, wardrobe and chest of drawers. It has a ceiling fan, hairdryer and alarm clock. This room has patio doors out to the pool area.
The third has a single bed and one bunk bed. This room is tiny so only has a couple of bedside tables and a fitted cupboard. It also has a ceiling fan & alarm clock.
Air conditioning fitted to all bedroom areas and is free from the hours of 7pm to 7am for all peak season bookings.
Next to the second and third bedrooms is a third bathroom (bath & shower).
There is a 10x5m kidney shaped private pool with roman steps to one end - again, perfect for young children. There are floats and inflatable toys provided and a poolside shower area. There are two terraces which overlook the pool and gardens. The BBQ area has a shaded pergola and seating for 10 people. A charcoal BBQ is provided.
The poolside terrace has a table and 4 chairs with a patio umbrella and 10 sun loungers.
The gardens are well kept and there is a lawn area to the side of the villa which is big enough for the kids to kick a football around on.
Towels are provided, there is a safe under the stairs, the bedrooms are air conditioned and free to use in the peak season, villa has central heating and linen is provided. Take your lap top because there is free wireless broadband.
The villa is non smoking, pets aren't allowed and it's not suitable for wheelchairs.
WOULD I RECOMMEND?
I am glad that we stayed there, it is a wonderful location and I would definitely return to Javea. However I wouldn't return to this particular villa.
I think it's quite overpriced for what you get. It is luxury in the respect that it's situated in an exclusive development, it's got lots of marble in the bathrooms and granite work surfaces in the kitchen etc... however the contents look like it's all been purchased from IKEA - not a bad thing but not 'luxurious' as advertised. The beds aren't king sized, the sheets and towels basic and the kitchen appliances all basic/budget models.
As I mentioned before, when we arrived at the villa it should have been cleaned for us, however we had to spend our first hour there washing all the cutlery/crockery and mopping all the floors which were grubby.
The bedding is changed once a week, however you need to strip all the beds yourself and leave the linen by the front door to be collected. Also we were told the towels would also be changed - when the lady turned up she said they're not so we had to wash all the towels and reuse them.
It's a real shame because if the interior of the villa was luxurious, and they had little finishing touches - like molten brown toiletries in the bathroom, top of the range appliances, perhaps basic things like milk, bread, eggs, tea, coffee and mineral water, washing detergent, dishwasher tablets, BBQ charcoal etc.... maybe even a cleaner provided for peak rate guests - then it would have been worth every penny of the £1650 per week we paid!
I can't fault the outside area & pool - and that is after all what you go for!
From £1000 off peak to £1750 per week peak season
If I was rating the outdoor area and location then this villa would get 5 stars, however the interior and lack of attention to detail lets it down badly so only 3 stars I'm afraid.
My husband and I first stayed in this hotel 2 years ago when my brother & his wife held their wedding there. It's a 1930's style Tudor style building surrounded by gardens and set in the Surrey countryside. It's a very pleasant hotel with an excellent restaurant.
Guildford Road, East Horsley, Surrey, KT24 6TB
It's accessed easily from the M25 and 1 mile from Horsley train station. It's just 6 miles from all the shops, bars and restaurants in Guildford and Leatherhead and 20 miles from Heathrow airport.
Chessington World of Adventures, Thorpe Park and Legoland are nearby as well as Effington Golf Club.
Directly outside the hotel are a petrol station with small convenience store and a tiny little pub which was ok for a drink - however the food wasn't great!
The hotel has 87 rooms, many retaining original features of the house. We stayed in a standard room which was clean and basic. There was a flat-screen TV, broadband internet access (costs extra), ensuite bathroom with power shower, hairdryer, complimentary toiletries, complimentary hot drinks and biscuits, trouser press and desk. It had a double bed which was relatively comfortable. The pillows weren't great but they were fine for 1 night.
The hotel also has executive rooms and interconnecting rooms for families and a suite.
All rooms are non smoking and in my opinion would be suitable for disabled guests. There is lift access from the car park, reception, bar and restaurant are all on the ground floor. There are rooms available on the ground floor and the communal areas are spacious.
The hotel offers room service and check in is at 14.00. Check out is at midday.
FOOD & DRINK
Thatchers is the hotel restaurant, tastefully decorated featuring oak beams and a fireplace. They serve a wide variety of starters, main meals and desserts starting from £5 for a starter, £12 for a main course and £5 for a dessert. They also offer a selection of wines to go with your meal.
I found the food very good, the staff were polite and attentive but from what I can recall the room was very cold and the 'background' music a bit too loud! Both of these things are of course minor & easily rectified.
Dinner is served from 7pm to 10pm. Breakfast is served from 7am-9.30am on weekdays, 8am- later at weekends.
The club bar is attached to the restaurant & offers a range of beers, wines, spirits, soft drinks and light meals. It's pleasantly decorated with chandeliers and has live piano music every Sunday. It also had a flat screen TV by the bar.
WOULD I RECOMMEND?
Yes I would. We have gone back and stayed there since - however this was a last minute deal, and this time we had a room in a separate block to the main hotel and it wasn't very nice. I'd recommend that if you book here, you ask for a room in the main building.
Also, upgrade to an executive room for an earlier check-in, and leather recliner & unlimited movies!
And take a jumper or shawl into the restaurant!
I don't remember the exact amount we paid - although it was reasonable. We got a deal which included dinner. The Ramada Jarvis website gives up to date information and prices.
A very impressive luxury hotel in the beautiful City of Bath - my husband and I stayed there for our honeymoon and loved it!
The hotel occupies the two central buildings in the Royal crescent, both are Grade I listed. Behind is a completely secluded garden, perfect for afternoon tea. That leads onto what would have been the coach houses, which are now individual bedrooms and suites, the hotel spa and the Dower House restaurant and bar.
The Royal Crescent was built between 1767 and 1775 the crescent contains about 30 houses including the hotel. It's situated at the top of the city and it's only a very short walk into the centre.
The Royal Crescent Hotel, 16 Royal Crescent, Bath, BA1 2LS
Each room has been carefully restored, recreating the authentic period details - carpets, furnishings and colour schemes are all as they would have been in the 18th century.
These include a collection of paintings from such eighteenth century masters as Reynolds and Gainsborough. Throughout the hotel there are also portraits of famous people who visited Bath, or lived there - Lord Nelson and Charles Dickens amongst others.
There are 45 luxury bedrooms, made up of 16 classic double rooms, 15 deluxe double rooms, 7 classic suites, 4 deluxe suites, 3 master suites.
We stayed in a deluxe room. The entrance takes you into a sitting area with a spacious walk in closet off to your left. Then through some double doors into the spacious bedroom area, with King Size bed and a huge ensuite bathroom.
In every room there is complimentary bottles of water, fresh flowers, business and leisure magazines, a selection of books, TV and DVD player and hairdryer. They use luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets and eiderdown pillows as standard. Dressing gowns, slippers and miniature products from the spa's bespoke range are provided. As I said before, we were there on our honeymoon so we also had a bottle of bubbly and box of thorntons chocolates with a lovely little note from the hotel manager congratulating us.
FOOD & DRINK:
The Dower House Restaurant overlooks the hotels stunning gardens.
The food was out of this world and the staff polite and attentive - nothing was too much trouble.
Children's menus are provided and picnics can be prepared for guests looking to explore all the attractions of Bath. The restaurant is open to non residents.
In the summer months, the sunny terrace makes the perfect setting for morning coffee, lunch, afternoon tea or a quiet drink in the evening.
The cocktails are delicious but extremely expensive; I think 4 of them cost us over £50!!
A number of individually designed rooms are available for private dining.
Personally I wouldn't take my children there - the restaurant was very quiet and relaxed with classical music playing softly in the background - not something which would appeal to my two!
The Bath House is the hotel spa set within a converted coach house and stables accessed through the beautiful gardens.
It has a heated relaxation pool, cool and tepid plunge tubs, sauna and steam rooms, gym and they offer a wide range of holistic treatments and complementary therapies. I had the shiatsu massage, Indian head massage and reflexology and highly recommend all 3!
They do their own range of products called The Numbers Range, developed by local apothecary, which smell and feel gorgeous. There are miniature versions in the hotel room - most of which managed to end up in my suitcase before we left!
The spa is open to non-residents, although as a guest at the hotel the use of the spa is included in your rate - although treatments do cost extra.
Children over 12 are allowed in if accompanied by an adult. Gym use and all treatments are only available to those over 16 years of age.
THINGS TO DO
The hotel can provide a champagne cruise along the Kennet and Avon waterway in the hotel's 1923 Thames river launch, the Lady Sophina - she won the best restored boat at Henley.
Bath and the surrounding area is packed with things to see and do. The city centre is small and easily explored on foot.
The most famous tourist attractions of Bath are the Roman Baths, the Pump Room, Bath Abbey, No1 Royal Crescent, the Assembly Rooms and the Museum of Costume.
There is obviously the Royal Crescent and The Circus, but also Queen Square, Abbey Churchyard, Abbey Green, Pulteney Bridge and the Weir. Victoria Park is also close by.
There are plenty of restaurants and pubs. 2 cinemas and comedy clubs, The Theatre Royal, there's also regular ghost walks and a comedy walk. The Rec - bath rugby clubs home ground is situated on great Pulteney Street.
There is a vast selection of shops - both high street names and more quirky little shops and boutiques hidden away down Baths many back streets and alleyways.
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT TO OTHERS?
Definitely! My husband and I love Bath. It's a beautiful romantic city with lots to see and do. The Royal Crescent hotel was amazing - we had a magical few nights there and we'd like to return one year for our anniversary. The only thing I would bear in mind is in the summer months it is PACKED with tourists - and also there is a university in the city so lots of students and quite a 'young' nightlife.
It's not cheap....
Classic doubles start from £195; Deluxe doubles from £295, Classic suites from £440, deluxe suites from £620 and master suites from £740.
The above prices are per room, per night and include a full English breakfast and VAT.
The Clearblue fertility monitor is a more comprehensive version of a single home ovulation test.
Most home ovulation tests identify the 2 peak fertility days during your cycle by detecting the surge in the hormone that triggers ovulation.
The Clearblue Fertility Monitor tracks 2 hormones to identify up to 6 fertile days, it not only shows you your 2 peak fertility days, it can also inform you of an extra 1-5 days of high fertility prior to your peak fertility.
Since your other half's best swimmers can survive in your body for several days, making love on all of these days can lead to conception!
The Monitor records your personal cycle to build up a picture of your most fertile days. It counts the days and tells you when to test. Tells you if you're on a low, high or peak fertility day, and even warns you when your next period is due.
According to Clearblue info, recent research shows that the Clearblue Fertility Monitor increases the chances of conceiving by 89% over the first two cycles of use.
The monitor arrives well packaged with full comprehensive instructions included. It's a discreet plain white hand held monitor - which would easily fit in a hand bag should your test window be when you're at work. Boxes of test sticks and batteries need to be purchased separately.
HOW TO USE
You start using the monitor on the first day of your next period.
On this day, you set the 'm' Button, which tells the monitor that your period has started and a new cycle has begun. It also establishes the 6 hour Testing Window in which you can do a test, so it's a good idea to do this at a time when you normally get up in the morning.
Then all you need to do is switch on your Clearblue Fertility Monitor every day at any time in the 6 hour Testing Window. You'll see the 'm' Symbol displayed for the first 5 days of each cycle. The number on the display screen changes each day to show you which day of your cycle you are on. On days when the Monitor needs further information about your hormone changes, it will request a test.
When your Monitor asks you to perform a test, you remove a test stick from its wrapper and use it immediately. You take a sample of your urine by holding the sampling end of the test stick pointing downwards in your urine stream for 3 seconds only. Or, you can collect a sample in a clean, dry container and hold the sampling end in the urine for 15 seconds. It's important to use the first urine after you wake up, as this contains the highest concentration of hormones.
Then, keeping the test stick pointing downwards, you take the cap off the handle and place it over the sample end of the Test Stick. You are now ready to insert the test stick in the appropriate slot on the monitor. It's very easy and just clicks into place. Full instructions are included with the monitor.
When you have inserted the test stick correctly, a symbol flashes for 5 minutes while the monitor interprets the information from your sample. At the end an arrow will flash to the right of the stick symbol indicating its time to remove it,
And the monitor will then display your fertile status.
1 bar = low fertility, very little chance of conceiving
2 bars = high fertility, increased chance of conceiving
3 bars = peak fertility, highest chance of conceiving.
The Clearblue Fertility Monitor lets you know when you are approaching the end of your cycle - the 'm' Symbol begins to flash.
The majority of women will need 10 Test Sticks in each cycle. Women with irregular or long cycles may have to use 20 Test Sticks each cycle in order to detect their most fertile time.
The Clearblue Fertility Monitor is suitable for women whose natural cycle normally lasts between 21 and 42 days.
If you've recently been breastfeeding, using hormonal treatments (the contraceptive pill, emergency contraception, fertility treatments, HRT), or any other treatment that might affect your cycle, you should wait until you've had at least two natural periods before using the monitor.
Also if you have recently been pregnant they advise you to wait until you've had at least two natural periods before using the monitor. This is to ensure that the results are not affected by any pregnancy hormones you may still have in your body.
Please speak to your doctor if you need further advice.
Certain medical conditions and medications COULD affect the performance of the monitor. If you have menopausal symptoms, PCOS, impaired liver or kidney function, or have recently been pregnant, you MAY get misleading results.
You may also get misleading results if you are using certain antibiotics, hormonal treatments (the pill or HRT), fertility treatments containing certain hormones, or if you're undergoing any treatment that might affect your cycle.
There are a few other conditions the monitor may not be suitable for, the Clearblue website gives a comprehensive list.
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT?
Yes definitely - it worked for us! I was surprised as I was ovulating a lot later than I thought I was - so for the last few months we'd been completely missing my fertile window. 2 months of using this showed me my cycle pattern and we fell pregnant in the 2nd month of trying!
I have packed it away carefully and will use it for a couple of months to gauge my cycle next time we try for a baby. However as I appear to ovulate regularly I wouldn't use it religiously because the test sticks are quite expensive - £20 for a box of 20, however I believe you can get them cheaper online.
Please Note: There are no products available that can guarantee success in achieving pregnancy. The Clearblue Fertility Monitor is designed to help you become pregnant and is NOT intended to be used for contraception. Some medications are contra-indicated in pregnancy and we therefore recommend that you consult your doctor if you are taking any medication before you try to conceive. Couples with medically diagnosed fertility problems should consult their doctor before using this product.
Chocolate ice cream with marshmallow, gooey caramel swirls and chocolate shaped fish! Over half a tub of Ben & Jerry's is milk and cream - so delicious but calorific!!
It's presented in a 500ml drum shaped cardboard tub made from 90% renewable paper stock.
I do have a sweet tooth and enjoy ice cream - however I find some brands quite bland and not chocolaty enough. Ben and Jerry's Phish Food is just to die for! The ice cream tastes like melted chocolate and the marshmallow, chocolate chunks and caramel takes it to a rich and indulgent level. The combination of textures and flavours really work well together.
As you can imagine, you can only enjoy a little bit at a time without feeling sick so a tub does last me a while! I can recommend putting a little bit in a pancake with a dollop of extra thick double cream - heaven!
Retails at approx £3.99 in most supermarkets. Often have half price or 2 for £5 offers. Also available at Blockbuster stores and cinemas.
They do many different flavours but this is by far my favourite. Due to the price and calories I tend to buy it occasionally as a special treat!
My absolute favourite fragrance of all time - I've used it for years and am still not tired of it.
It's a gorgeous feminine fragrance - ideal for evening wear. I tend to use something slightly lighter in the day. You only need a couple of squirts so it lasts ages!
Top note: the tenderness of rose is spiced up by the freshness of star anise
Middle note: the sweetness of orange blossom and the aphrodisiac notes of ginger.
Base note: the caressing scent of vanilla and the sensuality of amber wood.
It's packaged in a sleek cylinder metal tin, then once opened the perfume is in a gorgeous glass bottle in the shape of a womans body - very elegant.
Perfumes are a very personal thing - but if you're after a lovely present for someone special then I would definitely recommend this.
A very distinctive, sexy, sensuous scent - the only perfume I've worn that people have actually complimented!
Available in department stores and online. 50ml bottle costs around £40, obviously cheaper abroad, in duty free, and worth checking online for offers.
I find the occasional bargain on ebay when people are selling unopened ones as unwanted presents.
Riemann P20 is a product which protects from sunburn (SPF20) but allows a tan to develop. It only needs to be applied once a day (10 hours protection) - however it is vital that the instructions for use are followed exactly. It's non-greasy, not shiny, and fragrance free once dry - so you no longer have to apply sticky sun creams throughout the day.
The product is in a white plastic cylinder shaped container with a screw cap that covers a small hole where you pour the oil from. It comes in a box with a comprehensive information and instruction leaflet.
Apply generously each morning in an even layer to clean, dry skin, at least 15 minutes before exposure to sun or swimming. Pay particular attention to the vulnerable areas such as the face, ears and nose, shoulders, shins, feet and the top of the head if your hair is thinning.
If your skin is VERY sun sensitive then it's recommended a repeat all-over application after 10 minutes to ensure an adequate even coverage.
The oil is quite runny and has a strong smell to begin with, but it absorbs quickly and is fragrance free when dry.
DOES IT WORK?
In my case yes it does. I have pale sun sensitive skin; I burn often and will only tan slightly if I spend a fortnight in a very hot country whilst constantly applying a high factor sun cream!
I have only burnt once with this product, and that was when I first started using it and didn't apply it properly. Since then I don't ever burn and always get a nice colour very easily!
WOULD I BUY IT AGAIN?
Definitely, I take it away on every holiday and use it in the UK during the summer.
It's a bit fiddly until you get the hang of it, I didn't like it the first couple of times to be honest. However persevere because it is worth it!
Make sure you apply it evenly otherwise you will end up with a streaky burnt or tanned look - and that is not a good one!
Definitely apply BEFORE going out in public, as I said before it can be fiddly but gets easier with practice.
Excellent to use on kids before school during the summer, it covers them all day and retains 90% of its protection even after swimming.
Remember the sun is at its strongest and should be avoided between 11am and 3pm.
PRICE & STOCKISTS
100ml is £11.95; 200ml is around £20. You can buy it in most high street shops, supermarkets, department stores, online and in airport tax free shops.
We bought this washing machine when we moved into our house in 2007. We bought it as we'd read good reviews about Zanussi products and this seemed to have the spec we needed at a good price.
On the whole the machine has been fairly good. It gets a lot of use and has been reliable.
Good points are it's a 1400 spin and it has a large drum more than capable of accommodating a huge family sized load of washing. It has a half load button, a quick wash button (so you can shorten the time of some wash programs) a pre-wash option and a time delay system allowing you to set the wash to start in 2, 4 or 8 hours time. It offers a 95 degree wash - perfect for whites and work clothes. And has a minprogram which is a 30 min wash cycle. It's fairly quiet and is easy to use.
Bad points are it seems to have stopped taking fabric conditioner after about 18 months of use, I believe other reviewers have also commented on this fault. I've got around this by using 2in1 laundry liquid which seems to work just as well.
Mould also forms easily in the water jets in the drawer. Every few weeks I scrub them with an old toothbrush and put the machine on the 95 degree program with soda crystals in the drawer and drum to clean it out.
The economy program takes 2.5 hours, and there's no program indicator to show you the stages of the wash. It would be useful sometimes to know how long you have left!
On the whole it always produces a lovely clean wash - and it's a good machine for the money we could afford at the time (I believe we paid around £220). However for our next one I'd invest a bit more money and get a Bosch. My mum has had hers for years with no problems.
This lotion is classed as a 'beauty booster' which claims to perk up tired skin. It fills out fine lines and sets to a firming film giving skin a radiant glow.
It's suitable for all skin types.
It's presented in a 50ml tube and comes in a box with a comprehensive leaflet explaining the product. The balm had a thick consistency and is peach in colour with a light pleasant fragrance. You need to use very little so it lasts ages!
Apply morning or evening to clean dry skin a thin layer over the face, neck and eye area. It's important not to massage the balm in - as it's meant to sit like a 'film' on your skin.
It can also be applied more generously as a facial mask 2 or 3 times a week.
I use my normal face wash and moisturiser and then apply the beauty flash balm on top of that. I find I can get away with not using foundation when I use this product as it seems to even out my skin tone nicely.
I only have two beauty products that I really splash out on - that's my Olay Regenerist moisturiser (see my review on that) and this Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. For me it really seems to work, I'm very pale so easily look 'washed out' so it's nice to have found a product that gives me a bit of radiance without having to keep using makeup.
It retails for around £25 in dept stores. Worth looking online or getting it when abroad or in duty free.
My husband and I stayed in this hotel last September and I would rate this as one of the best hotels we've ever stayed in!
The hotel was built in 2006 and offers a bar, 24 hour reception, non smoking rooms, facilities for disabled people, room service, meeting rooms, tourist information, wifi connection, catering services, a wine cellar and has a private garage.
It's fully equipped for the disabled and also welcomes pets.
The hotel itself has a modern boutique design and has 53 spacious air conditioned twin & double rooms with a comfortable modern design and completely furnished with plasma TV, WIFI connection, mini bar amenities and safe box.
FOOD & DRINK:
The zinc bar is one of the hotels top attractions. Designed as an independent establishment and open to the public, it is accessed directly from the street - although you can obviously get to it through the hotel to!. Worthy of a mention are its cocktails, wines, cheeses and delicatessen goods. The interior design revolves around a fireplace and grand piano which creates an intimate atmosphere. This is where breakfast and dinners are served - the food was excellent and the staff friendly and attentive.
It has a quiet area above the reception with 2 computers for guests to use with free internet access. It has a reading area with papers and books available and between 5 & 7pm they serve tea, coffee, mineral water and a selection of pastries - again all free.
When you need a bit of fresh air you can escape up to the roof of the hotel and enjoy its fantastic 200 metres squared terrace with floating wood flooring and is decorated with outdoor sofas, sun shades and palm trees. If it gets chilly in the evening then staff bring lovely big soft towels for guests to wrap up in! The rooftop terrace is a must to visit after a long day enjoying the city!
It is set in the Ravel District of Barcelona - about 10 mins from the city centre, and is a 1 minute walk from the Rocafort Metro station. This is two stops from Placa Catunlya and Las Ramblas. Various tickets are available from the stations such as two day passes and these are bought from electronic machines which can be set to various languages. Two day pass for unlimited journeys was 10 euros. The metro was easy to use, very clean and we felt safe even late at night.
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT TO OTHERS:
Yes most definitely. We've already recommended it to our friends who stayed there and enjoyed it. It's excellent for young singles, a romantic getaway, honeymoon, older travelers, pet owners and families with teenagers.
I would be reluctant to take my young children there though as there is not much on the menu that they would eat.
They have an excellent website and have consistant great reviews on a travel review site.
Average cost per room per night is around 128 - 148 euros.
I wasn't intending to buy any pregnancy books or guides as personally, I don't believe there is such thing as a 'textbook' pregnancy - everyone is different. I work in the nhs and was concerned I'd find a book a bit patronising.... However I was bought this book as a present from a friend so I decided to have browse through it.
I was pleasantly surprised - it isn't 'preachy' or patronising. It contains everything you could think of about pregnancy and new parenthood and provides tried and tested advice.
Background info and practical tips are given on things such as easing pregnancy complaints, what to expect from antenatal care, how to stay healthy and how to make the most of your birthing experience.
It gives illustrations and pics of an unborn baby forming week by week with info on the size of the baby, how developed he is and what he can do.
Its got a section on antenatal tests, medical emergencies and newborn medical complaints. It also has a chapter for future dads, preparing them for being involved with the pregnancy and birth.
It's not a book that I'd read cover to cover. However it has been handy to dip into every now and then just to check up on things or see how my unborn baby is developing! My hubby also reads it occasionally.
My only criticism would be there's 6 pages of info on breastfeeding, and only 3 pages on bottle feeding. It definitely pushes the whole 'breast is best' idea. However, most health professionals I've encountered so far are very pro breast and horrified when you mention a bottle!
Oh and I also found the life size diagram of the cervix dilating slightly eye-watering to look at too!!
£22.99 according to cover. Seems slightly pricey, however it is a very informative book.
The Femfresh range is specially developed to cleanse and refresh the most sensitive area of your body. The sensitive formulas are gentle to your skin and all products are dermatologically & gynaecologically tested.
I'm reviewing the feminine wash - a PH balanced soap free and hypoallergenic delicately fragranced product which has extracts of chamomile and aloe vera.
There is also a deodorant spray and cleansing wipes.
The feminine wash comes in a 200ml clear oval shaped bottle. White lid. Actual wash is a peach colour.
Use daily as part of your usual bathing routine, or when you've got your period as your pH changes then. Please note it's for external use only.
DOES IT WORK?
Personally I find it works. It's a lot gentler than using regular soaps or shower gels. It makes me feel very clean and fresh down there which gives me more confidence in the bedroom and therefore makes hubby a very happy man ;-)
WOULD I BUY IT AGAIN?
Yes. I use it daily and a bottle normally lasts about a month. I've even caught hubby using it a couple of times!
Even if you don't want to use it daily, it's handy to keep a bottle in the bathroom cabinet just incase you suddenly get any irritations from a sudden change in your pH.
This can be caused by many things such as taking antibiotics, being pregnant, after intimacy, taking the contraceptive pill, Heat and sweat caused by exercise or tight clothing, your monthly cycle and some perfumed or high pH wash products.
The wipes are handy to keep in your handbag or take on your summer hols.
Costs around the £2.50 mark. Differs from shop to shop. Look out for regular discounts in Boots and Superdrug. Often cheaper to buy on the high street once you've paid p&p with online purchase.
I occasionally shop online and tend to use either Sainsburys or Tesco.
£££ was a bit tight last month and Asda seemed to have some great deals and cheap delivery so I thought I'd give it a go.
I've got no complaints with the website. It was clear and I found it easy to use. I had no problems with getting the delivery date and slot I required - they come in 2 hour windows and I chose a 4-6pm time slot.
No issues with payment.
After I had completed the order my friends called and announced that they were in the area and coming over for dinner on the day of said delivery - and I was able to easily return to my order and add some bits to it so I could feed them too!
4pm came and went - Tesco are normally dead on time but I wasn't concerned at all. It is after all a 2 hour window.
5pm came and went, thought it'll probably be here within the next 30 mins. 5.30 pm came and went... getting a little nervous now. The kids are hungry, my guests are arriving soon and I haven't been able to prepare anything! 6pm came and went so I phoned the helpline number on my order.
After being in a queue for 5 mins, I was greeted by a seemingly helpful chap who looked at my order, stated there's no problems written up on the job and offered to call the store to locate the delivery. I explained I needed to know within the next 5 mins if delivery was imminent, because if not I needed to go out then and there to buy some dinner for my family and guests. He promised to call back in 5 mins.
20 MINS LATER.... I called back. Spoke to someone else who said they couldn't get hold of the store! I asked again where my shopping was and how I go about getting a refund on the products I'm now going to have to go out and buy. She told me to speak to the driver when he turns up. No apology, no expected time of delivery, nothing!
AN HOUR after it should have arrived, the van finally appeared! The driver was very polite, apologetic and explained that my order had been missed off the afternoon vans, that the staff at the store knew and should have called me!!
He was also embarrassed by the state of my groceries. Some were packed in bags - most were just loose in the plastic delivery boxes. Uncooked meat in with fruit and veg, tins in with kiwi fruits - which were completely squashed and inedible. Bubble bath had leaked over fresh produce. It was basically a mess!
My husband, kids and guests had to help me bring the shopping in. I then started preparing dinner over 1 hour later than planned! The evening was rushed and not enjoyable, the kids were grumpy and in bed late, and this was all because of poor communication from ASDA.
The next day I was sorting out my sons lunchbox for school, went to add a carton of juice which according to the receipt was delivered the day before. And they weren't there. I had to stop at a garage on the way to school at twenty to nine to pick up a drink for Harry. That was the final nail in the Asda coffin!
I emailed customer service and got no reply. Phoned the asda.com helpline and they offered me refunds on the missing items and the kiwi fruit. And a free delivery next time.... I explained there wasn't going to be a next time but they refused to refund me the delivery charge I'd paid!
Following several more phone calls and an angry letter to the store manager I finally had my measly £3.50 refund! The manager even stated that poor communication is the top complaint from asda.com customers! WELL WHY NOT DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT??
WOULD I USE THEM AGAIN?
I'm not an unreasonable person. I'm not angry at the mistakes made - I accept they do happen. However I was furious at the lack of communication. A simple phone call to let me know my delivery was going to be so late would have enabled me to go out and buy what I needed and avoid the drama we had.
Their subsequent 'customer service' has made sure that I'll never shop with them again.
Bio-Oil is a specialist skincare product, formulated for use on the face and body. It claims to help improve the appearance of new and old scars,
helps prevent the formation of stretch marks during pregnancy and can improve the appearance of existing stretch marks. Helps improve the appearance of uneven skin tone, smooth and tone aging skin, and finally replenishes the skins natural oils stripped away by weather, chlorinated water and the drying effects of air conditioning and central heating.
It comes in a clear bottle with a white lid and has info on its uses splashed across the packaging. It has a small hole in the top of the bottle that the oil is poured from. The packaging is a very similar shape to that of P20 sun protection oil - for anyone who's ever used that. It comes with comprehensive instruction/advice leaflet within the box.
It should be massaged into the affected area twice daily until fully absorbed and used for minimum periods of 3 months to achieve full results.
It can be used alongside other skincare products however when using it as part of a grooming routine - make sure it's applied to clean dry skin and allow it to fully absorb before applying other products.
Use sparingly as although it's marketed as a 'dry oil', I found it surprisingly greasy in large quantities.
DOES IT REALLY WORK?
I bought it to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy - and it seemed to do the trick! My friend recommended it to me after it worked during her pregnancy. I'm not sure how much it is to do with the oil - or just down to lucky genes?? My sister in law unfortunately got stretch marks - however Bio-Oil seems to be improving the appearance of them - they look less 'angry' lighter in colour and feel smoother.
WOULD I BUY IT AGAIN?
Definitely. I'd use it during any future pregnancies.
ANY HINTS OR TIPS?
If you're unsure about trying it then go on their website for details of exactly how it works and results of clinical trials.
If you're still unconvinced then purchase the smaller 60ml bottle just to try it.
Use bio oil in conjunction with an effective sunscreen as it doesn't contain a SPF.
Allow longer than a few minutes for it to completely absorb. As I said before, it's marketed as a 'dry' oil, but I didn't think it was really!
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
RRP ranges from £8.95 for the 60ml bottle and £19.95 for the 200ml bottle.
It can often be cheaper abroad, it's produced in Johannesburg so is only about £10 for the large bottle in South Africa apparently!
But for all of us who aren't regular jet setters - ebay often has good deals or keep an eye out on the high street for promotions.
I redeem my nectar points in a leading supermarket to get money off this product!