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Recently I visited Glasgow with my husband and a friend to go and see A-ha for the second last time in concert (I say second last time because we had tickets for Bournemouth a week later with my husband who has been following them since they started out). So we had our hotel booked and tickets safely in the glove box.
The evening went very well and didn't go on as late as expected so the next morning we had the perfect chance to drive into Glasgow and do some all important shopping. With the shops to be visited already planned (the apple store) we just had to make a decision on where to go for lunch.
My friend had recommended Wagamama's in Glasgow. I'd never heard of the place and I didn't know what kind of food to expect but he had said that it was really good so we followed him to the restaurant like lost sheep.
Wagamama Glasgow City Centre is situated on West George Street, for those of you familiar with Glasgow you'll be aware that this is very central for all the shops. For people like me who hadn't really been to Glasgow City Centre much, it is quite easy to find and I'm pretty sure that you'd be able to locate this restaurant quite easily. A two minute walk from Buchanan Street (one of the main shopping streets in Glasgow that I'm aware of) and several minutes walk from Buchanan bus station.
Well for those of you who have never heard of Wagamama it is (as stated on their website) a chain of award-winning pan-asian inspired noodle restaurants. So as you can imagine all dishes are noodle or riced based dishes.
We walked into the restaurant and my first thought was it was a very open and bright place. The kitchen on your right hand side had walls about halfway up, so you could watch the chefs making your meal. We were quickly seated and the first thing I noticed was the seats were like in school with tables and fixed benches. So in my opinion you definitely couldn't have an intimate meal in the restaurant as you are almost sharing your table with strangers. This isn't usually my kind of dining but I went ahead with it anyway.
Once seated I realised that although there are people sharing the same table and bench as you it does still have a feeling of being a table on it's own.
The next thing I noticed was the noise, because of the tables you could fit a lot more people in the restaurant than having it set like other restaurants. This made it quite loud although the restaurant was half empty. I think the open kitchen also added to the noise. I have to admit that the noise was actually more comforting than irritating and we soon got into the same way with chatting and laughing. One thing's for sure - other people wouldn't be able to hear much of our conversation.
We were given menus as soon as we sat down and to say I was confused was an understatement, I didn't understand want any of the dishes were meant to be. Underneath there was a small description of what each dish was. I also noticed at the top that it had a menu glossary which helped you understand what most things were.
We all decided we would just have a main course as it was through the day and we didn't want to feel to sluggish driving back home to the Highlands.
I decided to have chicken katsu curry which as it stated on the menu chicken breast deep-fried in panko breadcrumbs with a curry sauce and sticky white rice. My friend had the same and my husband decided to have teriyaki beef on a bed of teppan fried soba noodles. (Soba noodles being thin wheat egg noodles).
The meal took about 10-15 minutes to be cooked and when it arrived I was very impressed with how good it looked and also the portion size. There is a choice to use chopsticks or you can ask for a knife and fork like we all did.
My dish was absolutely delicious, it was cooked perfectly and I was slightly worried it would be to spicy for me but I was glad that it was quite mild for a curry. The food tasted so fresh and I think with the open kitchen so you can watch your food gives you added confidence that everything is cooked when you order your meal.
The meal was lovely but I couldn't eat the whole dish. The only thing I didn't like was the pickled salad but I think that depends on each person as my friend enjoyed his.
My husbands dish looked just as good as mine and I have to admit I did steal a bite and I will probably order his dish if we ever manage to go back again.
We had the same waitress throughout our visit, normally this is a good thing but unfortunately she let the restaurant down, when asked a question she wasn't very helpful and she didn't look happy to be there. It may have been due to the fact that she was running around serving her tables so maybe a bit stressed with how busy the restaurant was.
We didn't speak to any of the other members of staff on our visit but most of the other staff seemed to be happy and smiling, even the chefs seemed to be happy to be there.
My dish was £8.95 and my husbands dish was a bit more expensive at £13.25 but it was definitely worth the price. A glass of coke is priced at £2.15 which I found quite expensive for the amount you got.
My opinion was lowered a bit because of the noise and also the staff but still a lovely visit and I would definitely go back. It's just a shame my nearest restaurant is 4 hours drive away and hopefully they decide to open a restaurant in Inverness which is much closer to home for me.
If you would like any further information, to look to find your nearest restaurant or just to have a wee look at their menu then visit http://www.wagamama.com/home/ which is very easy to navigate and get all the information you're looking for.
First things first a little bit about me and my pets for you to fully understand me reviewing this product. I have recently moved in with my father in law which means we have our own cats, my father in laws cats and a litter of kittens. I won't tell you how many cats this is in total but let's just say we definitely have a good variety between us.
We are always looking for new things to buy our cats, mainly the older lot as they struggle with the big chunk of meat with jelly, but we also have a fussy cat who is used to certain foods and doesn't eat anything but what he's used to.
So doing the weekly shopping I came across Felix Sensations on offer for £3 per box but is usually priced at about £4.59 depending where you shop. This box contains 12x 100g pouches. There are two different boxes so you can either choose from the meat selection or the fish. I took 4 boxes altogether and it wasn't until I got home I realised that there was 2 selections to choose from, luckily I had picked up two of each.
It comes in a small cardboard box and if you are familiar with the Felix range you will notice the box straight away with the black and white kitten on the front with a blue background and a large plate of Felix cat food, on the right of the box the carton is a gold/yellow colour to stand out from the normal Felix boxes. On the yellow part of the box it also states what flavours the box contains which is different to the normal Felix pouches and actually sounds quite tasty for a cat. For example there is Duck in jelly with spinach and in the fish box Pollack in jelly with tomato.
Once you open the box there are 12 foil sachets containing 4 different flavours with three of each flavour. It tells you in large writing what flavour is in each pack but these are also colour coded e.g. purple is duck. So if you're like me and need to open two pouches for the one bowl then it'll be easy to notice if you have two of the same flavour.
The Cat Food
I decided to try the meat pouches first, I tore open one of the foil pouches which I have to add are really easy to open, the strong smell that come from these pouches are impressive. It even awoke a couple of the cats that came to investigate the smell.
I tipped the pouch upside down and the contents easily slipped out into the bowl, I couldn't believe how good the cat food looked. The meat actually looked like proper meat instead of processed artificial food. The jelly also looked great and for once there was a sufficient amount for the amount of meat, normally I find that there's not enough or too much.
Using a fork I quickly and effortlessly broke apart the food for the cats and placed it in front of my 10 year old black and white cat Hamish who of late has turned his nose up at absolutely everything. He had a sniff about the bowl and finally dug in.
So in the meantime I started opening other pouches for the other cats and putting it down for them to eat, I have to say as soon as the plates were set down it was like a stampede with cats and kittens practically flying towards the bowls to get there first.
I turned back round to see how Hamish was getting on to see him sitting next to an empty bowl happily licking his paw and cleaning himself. After this he sloped of to the nearest comfy chair and went to sleep for several hours. I have to add that this has never been the case with Hamish, never satisfied with dinner he usually wanders the house voicing his concerns at the highest pitch he can muster.
A few minutes later and all the other bowls were licked clean with a happy bunch of cats and kittens. To say I was impressed is actually an understatement . I couldn't be happier with the results from these pouches, which left me to the quietest night I'd had in the house in a long time. Even the kittens (who I refer to as locusts because the eat so much) were content for the whole night.
So as you can probably tell this is in my eyes the best cat food I've ever fed my cats and I can say I've tried several different products over the years. I actually went back to the shop that had it on offer and stocked up on several boxes because in my eyes £3 for a box of 12 pouches is an absolute bargain.
Every flavour of the meat selection went down well but I did find that the fish flavours weren't enjoyed as much by the older cats but the kittens still dug in. And every time they have this food I never see any leftovers, which in my eyes is the best result I could hope for.
The only problem is recently we run out of Sensations and I wasn't willing to spend £4.59 on a box as it begins to get extremely expensive to feed the amount of cats that I have. We decided to go for a similar product that was currently on offer for £3 per box again for 12 pouches. This is eaten by all the kittens but a few of the older cats have reverted back to sticking their nose up at what they are fed.
So now for my older cats I still buy this as Hamish needs medicine which is mixed up in his food, we've always struggled to get him to eat it but this is the only food that he will eat no questions asked. But if this does come back on offer then my other cats and the kittens will get a treat.
This varies for each different flavour so I have added the link to the Felix website for more information - http://www.catslikefelix.co.uk/
I know that the meat amount is roughly about 4% per pouch which actually doesn't seem a lot but the happy cats gives me the results I'm looking for in a cat food.
If this was constantly priced at £3 per box then this would be the cat food I would choose every time for all my cats but for now I will keep using it for the fussy cats and as a treat for the others, it is definitely highly recommended by my bunch of little tigers.
I have old, young, skinny, chubby, moggy and pedigree cats and not one of them refused to eat this food. It did make dinner time difficult with no room to move with all the cats round my feet.
I love board games and I have waited many years to find a game that I'm actually good at and one I could possibly beat my husband at.... Here comes the Logo Game made by Drummond Park Ltd.
I had seen this on TV quite a lot on the run up to Christmas and kept hinting to my husband for this. So I was over the moon when I opened my presents on Christmas to find this under the wrapping. I played this on Christmas day with my husband and my father in law.
The game comes with a board, 6 coloured pegs for players playing pieces and 400 question cards also with the instruction sheet. I did kind of have an idea in my head that the game would be played like Trivial Pursuit but it's completely different.
The board itself has spaces for players to move round the board but it swirls round and you need to reach the middle to win. No dice required as you move on the board depending on how many questions you get right on each card.
There are 4 questions on each card and these get harder as you go down the card. If you only answer the first question then you only move to the colour on the board that corresponds to the colour answered on the card. If you get all four questions right move to each one after each question answered as the board doesn't go in order of the colours on the card, making it quite easy to get all the way round the board pretty quickly.
The question cards vary quite a lot and as the name on the board states it's all about logos so expect questions about chocolate or a question about a car make/model. The question cards will either tell you on the front what the set of questions are about e.g. animals - you will then have to answer the questions about a product which is also an animal. There is pot luck questions and there is also questions relating to the pictures on the front of the card e.g. which brand of car has this picture as it's logo.
Although the questions mainly relate to products as stated above the questions on the card get harder as you move down the card. By the bottom question it can ask questions that even the most knowledgeable person would need to guess (which has happened on many occasion in my house).
This game is fun and also full of what some might say useless information about products. I have to say that I have learnt quite a lot whilst playing this game, if I don't know something then it can strike up conversations with everyone playing the game. This can make the game last a lot longer than it normally would.
The game is for 2-6 players but I rather playing with at least 2 other people, it makes the game more enjoyable and also if you're like me competitive.
The game is currently £23.99 on Amazon but shop around as sometimes it can be offer in places. I do honestly think the game is worth the money.
I would definitely recommend this game to people. We've played it several times since Christmas and every time we've played it we've had fun and a lot of laughter. The game lasts about an hour - I think it would be a lot less time if you were playing the game sensibly.
One of the best games I've played as an adult and I have actually managed to win this game a couple of times.
I will be honest and openly admit that I was very unsure about this product when I first heard about it. I managed to get this on offer and decided to go for it. There are 3 of us in the house and I decided that even if I didn't like it someone would get use out of the product.
What is it for?
This product is known as a SAD light. This is to be used if you have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). If like me you feel low or depressed when the winter weather comes in these products are meant to help you get over that feeling. It's a light that is meant to be like sunlight and used in the morning to feel like the morning is bright and you awaken naturally in the winter months instead of waking up in pitch black.
This product in particular is a Philips goLITE BLU. The light is (as it says on the box) blue in colour which is not a design flaw it's actually been researched and the reason they are blue is Philips have scientifically proven that the receptor in your eye responds to blue light as it simulates bright blue sky. I have to say that I was still sceptical at this point.
When I received this product I was surprised by how small it is, I expected it to take up most of the room on my bedside table. So I was pleasantly surprised at the size. The dimensions are 14 x 14 x 2.5 cm so even if you don't think you will have enough room you probably will.
Ok so why is it called a golite?
It's called a go lite because this can be easily used on the go as well as at home. So you could even have it on whilst travelling to work. This product has an adaptor to charge it but is powered by internal rechargeable batteries, which makes this product completely portable. It even comes with its own black leather protective case so no need to worry about scratching it. If like my husband you work away often and stay in hotels then it's the perfect alarm to take with you.
What else does the product have to offer?
Ok so for a small product you wouldn't expect much more from the product apart from the light or so I thought. I will admit I didn't read up much about the product before I got it so I was impressed to find that the light also had a clock too.
How it works
To switch the product on there is a power button on the side to turn the lights on and off to get it all working there is an LCD display below the light. It was very straight forward to set the clock and also to set the alarm.
You can choose to have the alarm as just the light coming on so you wake up naturally or you can have the alarm to beep as well as the light. You can also just have it to beep instead of the light coming at all. It really is your choice.
There is also a timer to set how long you have the light on for e.g 15 minutes. After the time you have it set the lights will switch off automatically. This is a great idea if you have the light on throughout the day so you don't forget to switch it off afterwards. It is recommended that you use the product for 15-45 minutes per day again the timer is great to make sure you don't use it all day.
There is also buttons on the LCD to change the brightness of the lights, to be honest no matter what setting you have it on I find that it's still extremely bright but you do get used to it once you've had it on for a couple of minutes. The LCD display also has a backlight so you can see the clock and what you're doing even if it's dark. The light does go of after a few seconds but just touch the screen again and it'll light up again.
How I got on
When I received the product I was really excited to see how it worked. So once taking it out of the packaging I couldn't actually believe how stylish the product looked. It was definitely one of the better looking SAD lights I've seen. It's white in colour which blends in anywhere.
We set it up in the kitchen to try it out at first and putting it on I first got a shock at how bright it was but as I stated earlier I did get used to the brightness. I set the timer for 15 minutes and stayed close to the light but didn't sit and stare at it. I couldn't believe how quickly the 15 minutes passed and the light went off.
After the first time I used it I set the alarm to beep and the light to come on in the mornings for me. I do suffer badly from SAD as I live in the Highlands of Scotland we barely get daylight. Getting up at 7am looks like 4am outside and it gets dark at about 3.30pm so no daylight at all.
The next morning the alarm went off as well as the light coming on and I have to admit I got out of bed very easily which isn't like me at all. I am not a morning person so this was a big surprise for my husband.
The next morning I decided just to have the light set to come on, I also used my old alarm to go off 10 minutes later just in case I didn't wake up to the light (I am a very heavy sleeper). So the next morning the light went on, I actually woke up, the light makes my whole bedroom bright so there was no getting away from it. Since then I've never had the alarm beep and just used the light - it's absolutely fantastic for me and I feel like I'm happier throughout the day with just using the light for 15 minutes each morning.
I have taken this light into work to show my colleagues and different people find they have different results from this light. A couple of people found they felt happier straight away and a few others felt after a few days they felt brighter and more awake, especially when they usually have their afternoon slump after lunch.
What I've missed
Just to add this product doesn't just help you wake up in the morning, it can also be used for jet lag, increase alertness and as above increase energy levels which a lot of people get late afternoon.
You don't need to stare at this light for it to work, as long as you are close to it whilst it's on should be enough to help you out.
The product can either be held or it can stand alone. To make it stand upright there is a metal stand that is stored on the back, there is a slot to put it in which doesn't need screwed in as it is magnetic, it holds very well.
The only thing I could criticise about the product is the alarm doesn't have a snooze button, but if you're using the light at the same time I would doubt you would manage to get back to sleep for a few minutes.
Amazon are currently selling it for £135 which is a really good price for one of these as they are priced in other stores at about £255.
To sum up
I would definitely recommend this light to others looking to feel better in the winter months. I was definitely surprised on how much better I felt after using the light for a few mornings. I know that it does sound too good to be true and I definitely thought this at first but now I wouldn't be without mine.
I also like the size of the Philips golite and think it's great that it uses a rechargeable battery as it means I can take it to work with me without having to rummage around trying to find a socket to plug it in.
Overall it has completely won me over.
Ok so nowadays there seems to be nothing but soaps or American teenage soaps on our screens and to be honest I have watched several of these. In this time I have come completely addicted to some and not interested in others.
One Tree Hill has got me completely addicted. Unfortunately I missed the first couple of seasons and was quite confused at first but in time I was learning who was who and how everyone linked together. Luckily though my husband bought me every season on boxset
So as you can probably imagine I have been stuck to the sofa with my eyes glued to the tv screen. And now it all makes more sense than it did when I watched the more recent episodes.
So how did it all begin?
As any other normal soap really, there are two friends Peyton and Brooke. Both cheerleaders for the school basketball team. Peyton is dating Nathan who is the best player in basketball but he has an enemy in school who Payton is attracted to. none other that Nathans half brother Lucas.
The two brothers start of as enemies, Nathan is full of himself and loves how good he is at basketball, his family are rich and are well known in Tree Hill. Lucas on the other hand has had a hard upbringing with his mum who loves him completely but the didn't have any money. Over time they are pushed together and become the best of friends having one main thing in common - a hate for their father.
Then there's Haley who in season 1 is best of friends with Lucas and is torn between being his friend and being Nathans coach at studying which leads to romance.
Overs the seasons follows these main characters lives and the paths they take after leaving school, including moving out of Tree Hill, kids, jobs new enemies and new friendships.
I won't go on further about how things turn out for them all, just in case you decide to begin watching it which I would recommend you do.
So why One Tree Hill and not another Teen Programme?
To be honest you may rather other programmes instead of this one but I love all the actors, there's drama on every episode and to a certain extent I can relate to the characters lives as for some people the things they go through aren't far from the truth.
The actors are fantastic and as all soaps if you watch it for long enough you can't stop yourself from tuning in. The only problem is that it's not on all the time and you really have to watch E4 to know when it's coming back to our screens.
Overall I would say that this is definitely one of my favourite programmes and I will carry on watching it until it comes to an end which I hope won't happen for a long time. It is a series that isn't too sad and the characters don't come across too depressing.
I recently went to Edinburgh and did a couple of tourist things. I always find that I always seem to go abroad and never really visit other cities in my home country. So Edinburgh was the choice for both of us which is a 4 hour drive from home.
We did all the tourist things that we could cram into our days in Edinburgh and on Thursday we were trying to keep everything we did in the same area within Edinburgh so once we had been to the dungeons we went up to the Royal Mile and decided to get some lunch as it was getting late.
James (husband) decided that we should go to Garfunkel's as he had been to one in London a few times when away for meetings and I had never been.
From the outside it looked like a small restaurant and it wasn't too busy. I looked at the menu on the outside and could see several things I would order so we went in and were greeted by a very polite member of staff who showed us to our seats. Because they were quiet we were asked where we'd like to sit so we sat beside the window.
The waitress came back and took our drinks orders. She also handed us two menus; one lunch menu which the offer was one course for £6.95 or two courses for £7.95.
On the lunch menu there is a limited choice and that's why they also give you there full menu which you can also order from. The full menu was a lot more expensive than the lunch one and again there were several dishes I could order from the lunch menu so we decided to order from that.
After a couple of minutes the waitress came back and took our order. Again she was really polite with a permanent smile on her face and was also nice and chatty which came across as she was actually interested in her customers and not just making small talk.
While we waited for our meal I went to the toilet which is actually located down two flights of stairs. As I reached the bottom I noticed there was another room down here which was laid out with dining tables as well so the restaurant was actually a lot bigger than I first thought.
For starters I had chicken wings in a BBQ sauce. They arrived in a bowl which also came with a wet wipe on the side plate. Very clever thinking as everyone knows you can't eat chicken wings without using your hands. There was also a side salad and a creamy dip.
There were about 10 chicken wings which was more than enough for me and I actually gave some to James to help me eat them. There was sauce covering all the chicken wings but also a lot of sauce at the bottom of the bowl if you really wanted them smothered in sauce.
The chicken wings were cooked perfectly and tasted absolutely delicious I could've easily had these with chips as a main course.
James had garlic ciabatta bread. He was given two ciabatta's cut in half with garlic on them. I had a try of this and they tasted lovely. They were full of garlic flavour so I would warn not to stand too close to people afterwards or eat loads of smints. They were nicely toasted and not too over done which again was perfect and I was left very impressed.
By this point I didn't know how much of my main course I was going to be able to eat as I was already feeling quite full but after a couple of minutes our main courses were taken out.
I decided to keep my option simple and had opted for the cheeseburger and chunky chips. This was served with a side of burger relish which I then added to the burger myself. The chips were as it states very chunky and tasted great but the burger was the best I have ever tasted and I made sure that I finished the whole burger because it was so good. The chips were slightly dry and although I usually like chunky chips these were too chunky for me and I actually left most of them.
James chose quarter chicken which was served with BBQ sauce, chunky chips and mixed vegetables. He said that the chicken was lovely but there wasn't enough BBQ sauce to go with it so finished the rest with my burger relish. The vegetables did look slightly over cooked and soggy and James actually left these. He also thought the chips were too dry to eat. So even though his meal wasn't fantastic he said the taste of the chicken well and truly made up for the rest of the meal.
As I've commented throughout my review that the staff were great and very friendly. They were also very attentive and didn't actually want for anything. I would also like to comment that they weren't overly friendly either, they knew not to come up to often and even though they were chatty seemed to understand that they shouldn't stand and chat to customers for too long either.
The staff overall I would say were the best staff I've met in a long time in a restaurant and you really felt like you were welcomed into the restaurant.
As we went for the lunch menu it cost us a total of £19 including drinks which of course is great value for money in a restaurant for two courses.
The normal menu seemed to be a lot more expensive but with the meal I had I would be willing to pay more for an evening meal in here.
First thoughts were that the restaurant was quite small until I found the secret dining area downstairs whilst at the toilet.
The restaurant was full of Christmas decorations but it wasn't too much. The restaurant upstairs seemed bright and airy and I didn't feel like it was too packed in with tables and chairs. My opinion might have been different it the restaurant was busy but at the time we were there we had no one sitting around us at all.
I really enjoyed my visit to this restaurant and I'm glad we went here instead of our usual trip when in a city to KFC or Burger King. The whole experience was a lot better than I expected and for this I will be returning to this restaurant next time I visit Edinburgh.
The staff really were fantastic and I really appreciate when staff are so great to their customers because it doesn't happen all the time, and I have previously had a great meal in a restaurant which was then let down by staff so to get an all round great experience was a big deal for me.
For the latest menu or to find where Garfunkel's are located go to their website and you'll find all the info you need;
I will start the review by letting you all know before reading that I Have put information off my whole visit in here. So if you plan to visit and want a surprise tour don't read this review.
For a short break away after the wedding we decided to visit Edinburgh for a couple of days and one thing my new husband James said he really wanted to do was go to the Edinburgh Dungeons. I wasn't so sure as I had previously heard they were really scary but decided that it was worth the visit as it was something James really wanted to do.
We had looked up on the internet for prices and we knew that you could get a discount for being a BT employee so we thought we would just wait until we arrived and give them the code from BT to get our discount.
Edinburgh Dungeons are situated in the City Centre and we actually found them by complete accident whilst looking for a parking space as Princess Street is currently closed at the moment.
The dungeons are located on Market Street.
Car or Public Transport?
Actually the dungeons have limited parking outside but it's very expensive (£2 per hour!) And you can only leave your car there for a max of three hours before having to move it elsewhere. Don't think you can get away with it either because I lost count of the amount of traffic wardens I seen walking up and down the streets checking the cars.
We were going to park at the NCP car park but couldn't get there due to road closures again this would be quite pricey to park there for the day also.
If we actually thought things through it would've been cheaper for us to leave our car on the outskirts of Edinburgh at the South Gyle shopping centre where it's free parking and then taken the bus into the centre of Edinburgh and walked everywhere. It would've probably been less hassle for us as well as neither of us have really been to Edinburgh before.
Ok so due to being on our way down the road already we had no proper access to a computer so we decided to look online at the prices and we were shocked to see the difference in price from booking online or booking once you got there.
Prices are from -
£7.50 for an adult if you book online or £15 at the gate
£5.50 for a child booked online or £11 at the gate
£6.48 for OAP's and students booked online or £14 at the gate
That's a 50% difference in price and we began to regret not looking into this before we left home. We only had access to internet via iPhone so not really able to properly book it. Again though with James being a BT employee we thought we'd get a discount at the gate.
Unfortunately when we went to pay we were told that for a BT discount you have to book via the internet so we had to pay the full cost which on the day was £15 each.
They offered us a guide which we were told cost £4 but both of us decided that it was too expensive just for a guide that would probably never be used again after the visit.
Once you arrive to the dungeons you have to go down the stairs to get to the entrance. It was really dark compared to outside so took my eyes a while to adjust making it difficult to follow the path down to the entrance.
Once there you are greeted by a really cheery member of staff who greets you and makes one of you go into the stocks and the other to hold the axe for a photo which you can then purchase at the end. They give you a ticket to keep hold off so you can then see the photo at the end and decide whether you want to buy it or not.
Once this is done you then go and pay. Prices as I have written above. You are then told to go into the room along the corridor which was called the holding room and wait for the tour of the dungeons to start.
The day I was at the dungeons there was a lot of giggly teenagers which I was a bit worried may ruin the experience.
After about 5 minutes the door was shut behind us all and we had to wait for our next tour guide called the Judge. I was a bit unsure at first but that's just because I'm scared of everything. After a minute or so the Judge appeared and took us into her court room where we all had to sit. I was right at the front on the end of the benches and I knew that something was going to happen to me.
The judge ranted about all of us being the next victims and then I was pulled up and told to go into the docks where she asks your name and then makes up a story about you. I couldn't help but laugh throughout it and I think it really broke the ice and made me less nervous about the whole thing.
Once she pulled another person up and made the crowd laugh at him as well we were then shooed out of the room and ended up in a torture room where we heard a little bit about the character and her life as it would have been living in these dungeons.
She then made someone sit on the torture seat and showed us all the instruments and told what they were used for. Making the guy in the torture seat very nervous at times as like the rest of us didn't know what to expect to happen. It was more amusing than serious and quickly we were then ushered through to the boat.
There we were told a quick story about where we were then going and then told to get onto the boat. The boat was quite big for such a small 'river'. Once we were all in we started to move through the doors into this tiny room were it was pitch black. This was actually the scariest bit for me just because I couldn't see anything. Things were hanging from the ceiling and you would feel it in your hair and face which was then met by a few screams from people in the boat.
The boat the stopped and there was talking which I am more than sure we were meant to listen to but unfortunately I was unable to hear from all the laughing and screaming on the boat. There was a flash of light and you could see what looked like dead bodies with blood everywhere.
Once this was over the boat slowly moved on to the next part of the tour. We all got out and were greeted by another scary character who led us to her room where she talked about how she killed people like her husband. Again it was more amusing than scary.
Finally she threw a strop which led to us being shoved into another room where there was a surgeon who showed us autopsy's and pulled out very realistic parts from a dead body. There was then what looked to me like yellow water squirted from the desk at everyone.
Again we were moved on to another room for a bit of information about Robert the Bruce and finally we were taken to the last ride.
This ride was optional and I decided that I wasn't going to take part in it but James was. So I went through to watch from another room and watched as everyone was led to the ride and strapped in.
The lights were again turned off and then put back on once the ride was raised to the roof to make sure everyone on the ride knew just how high they were. Again lights went off and the ride plummeted to the ground with one flash for the camera.
A lot of people said it was scary with others saying it wasn't so bad. I'm just glad I didn't go on the ride.
That was the tour over and the last room was where all the pictures from the start and from the ride were shown on screen. The people that had said were ok on the ride actually looked pretty scared on the photos and maybe didn't realise they had a photo taken so could pretend they were ok with it.
We didn't buy our photo so I'm afraid I can't tell you how much the photos cost but I can probably guess that they would be expensive due to how much the entrance fee was.
You then get a lift which takes you to the gift shop and through the gift shop to the exit.
I really enjoyed my visit to the dungeons. Although it wasn't too scary for me (apart from when it was really dark in the boat) it was still an extremely enjoyable experience and I'm glad that I went. I would say that £15 per adult is over-priced so try and book online before you go.
Staff in dungeons really get into being their character which makes the visit fantastic. They make the experience what it is and I don't think it would be as popular if it wasn't for them.
Try and get a day without teenagers, I felt that some of the tour was ruined because I Wasn't able to hear what was going on with the group giggling and chatting throughout the whole thing.
There is a height restriction at the entrance so if the children are too small you will be refused entrance.
You cannot take pictures whilst in there so there's no point taking a camera or video camera with you.
The tour lasted just over an hour so do make sure you know that you'll be in there for a while and it won't be a quick run through of everything. The staff can't make the tour go any quicker and spoil it for the rest of the people on tour so make sure you are prepared for this
There are dungeons in other areas which are run by the same company. Have a look on the website to see if there are any near you as I do really think they are worth the visit even if it's just the once.
A couple of weeks ago me and my now husband James went to Manchester to go to an A-ha concert at the MEN arena. I've never been to Manchester before but James has been a couple of times to meetings at BT so he knew that this hotel was in the centre of the city and close to the arena.
Arriving in Manchester we knew there was a NCP car park next to the hotel where we would park our car and you get half price parking if you stay at the Premier Inn. We thought it would still be expensive but for us the petrol and parking to get to Manchester would still be cheaper than flying down from Inverness.
Once we arrived though we noticed that Premier Inn also had their own car park and we phoned the hotel who advised there were spaces available so we went round the block (which took us 25 minutes at rush hour.) Finally we got to the car park and waited for a member of staff to open the door to get through to the parking area.
So we parked up and went into the side door to the reception of the hotel. The reception area was nice and bright with a seating area and a couple of vending machines. Including one to buy ben and jerry's ice creams!
Checking in was nice and easy they took our details and we paid which only took a couple of minutes. The staff were friendly and gave us all the information we needed. We were given our key card and told we were on the third floor. We went up the small escalators to the lifts which were also on the same floor as the restaurant and bar. This floor was really nice and very welcoming, we hadn't opted for diner or breakfast here as we didn't really have the time so I am unable to tell you how the meals were but the bar looked busy so I'm assuming the prices weren't too bad.
To use the lifts you have to swipe your key card before you can get access to them. I thought this was a great security feature as it meant people that shouldn't be in the hotel can't get access to any of the floors with the rooms on it.
Up to our room we were happy to see that we right at the end of the corridor which I always think is quieter than other rooms. We accessed our room by using the key card and once in the room switched on the lights. Some hotels have lights that you put your key card in to save electricity but these were just standard light switches.
The room was a nice size but it smelt very strongly of smoke. There were some no smoking signs in the room and I thought the hotel was a non smoking hotel now but I was positive someone had been smoking in the room.
I thought there was no point in saying anything as we would just have to move rooms and to be honest it was only for the one night. So about half an hour before we had to head out for the concert I sat down and decided to watch t.v. Unfortunately there was no signal so we decided to phone reception. Looking for the number in the room for reception we were a bit miffed that there was no way to contact the reception desk unless we went down to the desk. A bit of a pain, would make life so much easier if we could just have called them.
James went down to reception where they advised him that there were problems with the t.v's for the whole hotel. This was no fault of the hotel so it's nothing I can say was an issue with my stay here.
Last problem we had (well they do say things happen in three's.) It wasn't a very warm night in Manchester and the room was very cold due to the windows being left open before we arrived. We tried to put the heating on and there was a control panel next to the bathroom to switch heating or air con on but somehow this wasn't working either. The room stayed cold throughout the night and even for me who is used to freezing weather from living in the Highlands I found this pretty unbearable.
Off we went out to the arena and we were happy to find it was a couple of minutes walk away so we really didn't have a big walk. I expected the arena to be quite a bit away but the hotel is more central than I thought.
Back at the hotel we relaxed after our night out and I have to say the bed was huge! I have a king size bed at home but this bed was bigger than that. The bed was quite high up and really comfy. Sometimes I find the beds in hotels woo hard but this bed was better than my bed at home.
There was only one pillow each but like many hotels they have a couple extra pillows stored in the room. Which I needed because I can never sleep with one pillow. If the room was warmer the nights sleep would've been absolutely perfect.
In the morning we had a cup of tea before setting off again. There is a kettle with tea and coffee in the room. Again this is standard for most budget hotels and it would be a let down if the hotel hadn't actually supplied this as you do take it for granted.
This was so simple, we handed in our key card and the staff asked if everything was ok with the stay, We did mention the couple of problems we had and they apologised which was really nice of them and we went to get our car.
I did notice in other car windows they had permits for parking in the hotel car park and seemingly it was something we should've got when we checked in but no one mentioned this too us so now I don't know if the car park was free of charge or you are meant to pay this when you check in. For us though it was free :)
A few bits I missed out from my review.
The bathroom - This was actually quite small compared to other similar hotels. It had a bath and shower in the room but not a great amount of floor space once you got out of the shower which meant it was easier to go back into the room to dry myself off and get dressed. It was a nice modern bathroom though just a shame it was so small.
The view from my room - We weren't too high up with only being on the third floor but there is over 20 floors and I was glad I wasn't right at the top for two reasons, I'm awful with heights and I hate being in a lift for too long.
The view showed the NCP car park and a couple of other buildings but nothing exceptional. I didn't expect an oil painting though as we were in the middle of a city.
The price for a room only is £67 which is very reasonable for two people in the City Centre so I was very impressed. As I previously stated you can add breakfast or dinner to you reservation for an extra charge.
My stay here was pretty good for the price. I actually wanted to take the bed home with me. James said it wouldn't fit in the car which is a shame! :)
There was a couple of problems but nothing that really made my night here a bad experience and if I decide to go back to Manchester for shopping or just a getaway I would definitely choose this hotel again.
I signed up for this site a couple of moths ago after it being recommended by my sister. It is my favourite survey site and here's why;
What is it?
Lightspeed Panel is a company that ask you to carry out specific surveys for points. They send you a lot of surveys and you can also complete their mini polls and quick match surveys.
The surveys do vary quite a lot, on day you could be asked questions about cleaning products and the next it could be about bank accounts.
How to sign up?
http://uk.lightspeedpanel.com/ and fill in the short form for the site. Simple!
Quick Match Surveys - The survey is just a couple of questions about a certain subject to see if you would be right for an upcoming survey. You get entries to a prize draw which as yet I've never won but we live in hope.
Mini Polls - These are one question to see how you compare to others. They are also very varied and for each one you complete you get 5 entries to the prize draw.
Surveys - These are the most important in my opinion. They are surveys which tend to last about 20-30 minutes. There are different points for each survey and from the ones I've completed the points range from 50 - 2500 points.
At the end of each survey you are asked how enjoyable you thought it was. How you found the survey e.g. shorter than expected, too repetitive. And also how you feel about doing future surveys.
What are the points for?
The points go into your points account where they are stored until you redeem them. You can go here as much as you want to check your balance and also redeem them for vouchers or for moneys to be put into your PayPal account.
I will warn you that you do need more points for money to be put into PayPal than you need for Amazon vouchers. There is a huge list of places which you can choose to get vouchers for. I have only ever redeemed money for PayPal or Amazon vouchers.
How many points for money;
For Amazon points you will need 550 points for £5 voucher
For PayPal you will need 575 points for £5
How long does it take to redeem?
Once you have requested the vouchers it is sent to your email account pretty much straight away. You get an electronic voucher that you input into your Amazon account. Very simple.
It's a bit longer for money to go into PayPal though. It took me over a week to get the money into my account which isn't too long but if you're expecting it straight away like I first did then you'll be disappointed.
How do you know when you have a survey to complete?
Luckily Lightspeed send you an email to let you know when there's a survey available.
I love this site. I get surveys quite often. Recently they have quietened down quite a bit with surveys and I have 1045 points so just off getting a £10 Amazon voucher.
The surveys are mostly enjoyable but some can be slightly repetitive and a bit too long but I just give my feedback at the end of the survey.
I've have only been with the sight a couple of months and I've made about £30 so far which I'm delighted about but it's not a site that you can make money quickly.
I did one survey that took me 10 minutes and I received 2300 points. I was absolutely delighted about this. And it was a really enjoyable survey which really helped.
The Down Sides
There are a couple of little things that stop this site from being perfect.
1. Some of the surveys you take part in are not for you. You answer a few questions and then all of a sudden you get a message coming up to say quotas are now full for this survey.
2. The other problem I found was sometimes you can't access the survey and it comes up with a screen with an error in several different languages. There is an email address to contact if you have any problems but instead of fixing the problem they just email back and say there's nothing they can do and you won't be able to take part this time.
3. My last issue is the fact that you can't access a survey if you have previously started it and not completed it. So you start a survey and your wireless disconnects bringing you up with a page cannot be displayed screen. Well unfortunately that means you can't finish it and you won't get your points.
I am very impressed by this site and it's the most enjoyable surveys I've ever done. I would highly recommend this site to anyone that would like to earn a bit of extra cash.
This will be my last review (I promise) on Cardiff. Well until I go down again. As you probably all know if you have read previous reviews that I was recently down in Cardiff for my hen weekend and I had such a great time I thought I would review what I could about it in case anyone else is planning a trip down there.
We decided due to it being a hen weekend and everyone was on a tight(ish) budget that we would book a hotel in the centre of Cardiff to cut costs on taxis and trains etc. We also decided that we would book somewhere a bit cheaper as we wouldn't be in the room much and just use it for sleeping each night.
We came across the Travelodge website whilst searching and many of us had stayed at Travelodge's across the country before so we all knew what to expect from the hotels. Sometimes I feel I can trust to go to a budget hotel more so than private hotels as you know what to expect whereas with a private hotel you've never been to it can be a huge disappointment for twice the price.
There was 4 Travelodge's in Cardiff to choose from which was a choice between Cardiff Central which we thought would be noisy due to it being on the same road as most of the nightlife, Cardiff Atlantic Wharf which was located down in Cardiff Bay which is a lot quieter than the centre and I would probably choose this one if I was on a family break. There was two other Travelodge's that were further out from Cardiff so we riled them out before looking into them.
So we decided on Cardiff Central, we were a bit nervous about how noisy our room would be with the nightlife right outside the building but I was happy to stay there knowing it was only for 2 nights.
We booked online and we were happy to see that you could book up to 3 adults in each room which really cut the costs for us as there was 5 of us going so it meant we had one room with 3 in it and the other with 2. I thought there might be an extra charge for this as I know Holiday Inn charge an extra £10 per night for more than two adults in a room.
The hotel is located on St Mary's Street. This is a 2 minute walk from the Central Train Station and the bus station so it was great to be able just to walk to the hotel and drop off all our bags and head out again without anymore travelling.
It does state on the website that rooms are from £55.00 per night but for the weekend we went it cost us £60 for the Friday night and then £64 for the Saturday night. I still thought the prices were very reasonable.
Extras whilst booking hotel
Whilst booking online you can choose to add breakfast and dinner to your booking at an extra charge. To be honest with being in the centre with plenty restaurants about I would find somewhere else to get your meals.
Breakfast is charged at £5.99 which is quite high compared to Wetherspoons a couple of doors along priced at £2.85 for a fully cooked breakfast.
Dinner is charged at £6.00 for a two course meal which is actually a really good price but it is a bar café meal so you might just end up with a snack for dinner, it wasn't really for me.
The other extras are early check in prices and late checkout prices which is £10 per room for each. I suppose if you have a really early flight arrival and need in the room before hand then early check in would be good as you get to book in at 12 midday instead of 3pm. Or if you want a lie in then you can check out between 12 midday - 2pm. We didn't bother with this as we were checking in late and leaving early for a flight.
SMS confirmation - for a small charge of 15p you can get a text sent to your mobile with all the booking details, this would save you printing out the confirmations and then having to search for them when you arrive at the hotel. From past experience in a Travelodge I knew we wouldn't need the confirmation as they can bring your details up with your surname which is easy enough.
Pets - remember to specify if you are taking pets with you at the time of booking. If you turn up with pets without prior consent from the hotel you maybe refused entry to the hotel. There can also be an extra charge for pets but I actually think it's worth it as there's not many hotels you can take pets with you.
Arriving at the Hotel
Whilst pulling in at Cardiff Central Station it would be hard to miss the Travelodge with a huge sign on the side of the building, makes it easy for you not to get lost if you've never been here before.
It took us 2 minutes to walk to the hotel from the Station and I was surprised to see that from the front there was only a small entrance to the hotel so from looking at it maybe the hotel wouldn't be loud at night as there didn't seem to be any rooms facing onto the busy street.
We walked into the hotel and we were greeted by a very friendly receptionist who took all our details to check us in, as I thought we didn't need our confirmation and just asked for the surname the rooms were booked under.
The reception area was quite small and with all 5 of us booking in the reception area looked really busy. There was also 3 vending machines with chocolate, ice creams, juice and other items including toothpaste and sewing kits. I was surprised about the toiletries as usually the hotels supply these free of charge if you ask for them.
There was also a computer for internet access and a payphone. If we were here for work then maybe we would need to use this but we never tried it so unfortunately I can't comment on costs for this.
The check in was a quick process as we had pain for the rooms when we booked them online as far as I'm aware it's the only way you can book rooms for a Travelodge now, before they used to just take an authorisation of your card but now they take the full payment.
We weren't give any information about where the bar was in the hotel and I'm assuming that's due to us not booking in for the breakfast or the dinner.
We were given our key cards for each room and noticed that our rooms hadn't been put anywhere near each other in fact they were on two separate floors. I was actually really disappointed by this and we asked if we could get rooms at least on the same floor but they said they couldn't do this.
So we had checked in and we went off to the rooms. We hadn't been told how to get to the rooms which you normally are told but it was pretty self explanatory once you get through the security door (which you have to use your key card in) to gain access to the lift. There is also stairs right next to the lift so if you're feeling fit then you can just climb the stairs which is probably quicker than waiting for the lift.
Once we got to our floor we had to work out which way our room was as the numbers went off in different ways but again it's self explanatory and we went straight to our room.
You have to use your key card every tome you want into the room so make sure you don't leave the room without it.
The room itself was a nice size and had one double bed and a single bed. There was also room to hang up some clothes with only 4 hangers which for 3 females sharing a room wasn't enough for us.
As there is with every room there was a kettle with teas and coffees and a small tv. This is where the first problem lay for the three of us in the room they had only put enough cups in for two people, we looked around and noticed there was the same problem with towels again they only had a bath and hand towel for two people.
We discussed it and decided we would call down to reception to arrange for them to send up an extra cup and towels..... Erm where's the phone? Unfortunately there wasn't a phone so we couldn't call reception. So we decided we would do this once we passed reception on our way out.
The room was a standard Travelodge room and was clean enough, when we opened the curtains to let in some light and have a wee nosey to see if we could see what the street was like. To our delight we had been given a room at the back of the hotel so there was no noise and we could have our window open so the room wasn't so stuffy without being woken in the middle of the night.
I then went into the bathroom to freshen up before heading out and I notice there was a bath as well as a shower, I thought this was great that they had both as usually they just have a shower.
So far the room was average but good for the money. Off we went to go out for the evening and we stopped at reception to ask about extra towels, we were told that we would need to wait until the cleaning staff came round the following day. Slightly unhelpful as it meant not all of us could have a shower in the morning.
The Next Day
In the morning we all decided that one pillow wasn't enough and everyone had a pretty bad sleep so whilst requesting towels and cups we asked for an extra pillow for each of us. Finally we would have everything in the room we needed for our final night.
We spent the whole day in Barry and when we returned about 5pm the cleaning staff had been in the room. There was one extra pillow instead of one for each of us so I texted the girls and asked them to get one from reception as they were still out shopping while I returned to sleep due to a really late night the night before and a bad hangover. Thankfully they had given us extra towels but no extra cups.
That night we had a better night sleep with two pillows each and I would say that the rooms were really quiet with absolutely no noise from the hallways or outside at all which was great.
So it's home time and we're all feeling pretty down about having to head home. We had left the room as clean as we found it and went down to the reception area. There was no staff on so we just had to drop the keys in the box and leave. Easiest check out I've ever had, it was great to not have the hassle of paying.
I did have a great weekend and even though there were a couple of problems you do get what you pay for. The staff were all really friendly and I couldn't actually fault them for anything.
The rooms were basic but just what we needed for our weekend and I knew what to expect before I arrived. As for location you really couldn't have got anywhere closer to the train station and also close enough to the night life.
I do recommend this for anyone going for a trip away with friends but I don't know how suited it would be for families.
Just over a week to go for the wedding and what did we need to do? Travel 7 hours to Manchester to the A-ha Foot of the Mountain concert! My partner James is a huge fan and in the middle of the year when the concerts were advertised we decided that it would give us a mini break from wedding stuff.
Was it a good idea? The drive there......No. The concert........ yes yes yes!!! And here's why:
We arrived in Manchester unfortunately in rush hour and spent over an hour in traffic so arrived at the hotel at 6pm. The concert was at 7.30pm and we didn't even know where we were meant to go.
The concert was at the MEN Arena in Manchester. Luckily it was a 5 minute walk from our hotel so we had plenty of time to get there. (if we didn't walk in the wrong direction for 10 minutes!) Ok finally James asked someone and they pointed us in the right direction. We got there at 7pm so had enough tie to get in and find our seats.
It's been many years since I have been to a concert and when we got to the door we were checked to make sure we had no liquids with us just like at the airport and you had to bin everything if you did. They also check your bags which luckily I didn't take a bag with me.
So in we go and walk to gate 105 which we were told by the lady at the door. The arena didn't look too big at first which surprised me seen as it's in a big city. On the way to the gate there was a stall selling A-ha items. James got right in queue to buy all his goodies.
Eventually we got to the gate which wasn't too far along. We walked in and wow this place was huge. We were met by one the attendants who told us to go down the stairs and we were met by another attendant for the arena who took is straight to our seats. Talk about great service! Never before have I been shown to my seats at a concert!
We were 5 seats from the front of the stage on the floor seats so we couldn't ask for better than that. We got there just before 7.30pm and at that point not many seats were taken so I wasn't sure how busy it would be.
At 7.45pm the supporting act Donkey Boy started. They are a band from Norway and were actually really good even though their music wasn't my taste at all. They talked to the audience a lot and really got the crowd ready for A-ha coming on.
Ok so what we had been waiting for.... A-ha walked onto the stage at about 9pm. The opening song was an oldie - The Sun Always Shines on TV. As soon as they walked on stage the whole arena was standing and cheering nearly deafening me with the noise but I loved the atmosphere. By now the whole arena was full, hardly any empty seats left. I couldn't tell you how many people were there but the arena holds a maximum of 23,000! Who knew there were so many A-ha fans?
The night consisted of songs from the new album as well as their classics. There was a few songs I didn't know to which James replied that I am probably too young to remember but I enjoyed it all the same.
The stage was fantastic, it was really lit up and had tv like screens above the stage which had weird and wonderful pictures on it with every song. One which I remember vividly was the lizard... Why it was there I don't know but it looked amazing. In one song there was the band on each of these screens in black and white which looked perfect and the crowd went absolutely wild when these were displayed.
My favourite part of the whole night was when Magne came out and picked up a Wii remote and started drawing with it on the huge screens. Not that he could work it properly but it was fun all the same. I've always thought Magne was the best out of the band, he seems so laid back and quite normal. Always up for a laugh and joke. I'm smitten.
So after an hour and a half the concert was finished? Already?? They had already been out for 2 encores and were really brilliant. But how did that time go past so quickly!
Overall the night was the best night I've had in such a long time. I would definitely recommend going to this concert, even if you don't know all the songs the experience of an A-ha concert is completely worth it.
My favourite songs from the night;
Sun Always Shines on TV - The show starter that I couldn't help but sing along to and really made he night as good as it was.
Analogue - This is one of their newer songs but one of my favourites. It doesn't sound like their normal style of music and a bit more up to date. Maybe why I like it?
Velvet - I told James I didn't know this song before the show started but once it started I knew it and loved it. It was one of the slower songs from the night and it made me fall in love with A-ha.
Take On Me - Their all time classic song. And the ending song for the night. I obviously knew this song and they put so much effort into it even though they had been on stage for so long. Definitely the best song to leave the night on a high.
If you are an A-ha fan they did mention that they will be doing a farewell tour next year so if you have missed out this year, you'll still get the chance to see them live one last time.
2 weeks until the wedding and the hubby to be still hasn't bought a ring. A couple of weeks ago we went up to Inverness and looked around the shops. He ordered a couple in his size so he could try them on when they came in to see which one he was comfortable wearing. He has actually taken longer than me to choose a wedding ring but as he says you shouldn't rush things as he will be wearing it for a long time. Well that comment got him out of hot water quickly!!
At the time we were in Inverness the Ernest Jones store in the Eastgate Centre was closed and we had thought it had closed down for good as it was all boarded up and with a small range of their products online we had ruled them out even though I loved the quality of their jewellery and had actually bought mine from them online which is was absolutely perfect even though it was a bit more expensive that what we expected to pay.
On Saturday just passed we went back in to Inverness to look at the rings James (Hubby to be) ordered in. Walking up the stairs I looked up and noticed that Ernest Jones was re-opened and had had a makeover. Very impressed by the shiny new look we decided to go in and have a look.
The shop although small seemed to look so much bigger now they had taken down some walls and replaced the glass wall cabinets with a large waist height cabinet which looked so much better. The lighting had all been replaced so all the jewellery had an extra sparkle which made you more willing to buy things.
Ok so enough looking at pretty necklaces for me we moved over to the wedding bands. There was a great collection of plain wedding rings compared to other shops we had been to and also compared to their website.
I was under strict instructions to choose a plain white gold wedding band, nothing with diamonds, two toned colours or inscriptions. He wanted a plain ring (why has it taken him so long to find one then?)
There was rows of rings to choose from and we really did take a while staring at them. Finally a sales assistant came up and asked if we needed any help. We chose a couple of rings for James to look at more closely.
We were offered a seat at a desk and she took the rings out and over to the desk for James to have a look at. I was actually surprised at how shiny the seemed to be even now they were away from the spotlights.
I have to admit that the ring did seem much better quality than what we'd seen in other shops and that impressed me. But as always the price tag seemed so much higher than other shops. Now it was time for James to decide whether the ring really was worth the extra cost. Something which he simply couldn't decide in one day.
We decided to order yet another ring in, so speaking to the sales assistant again she checked how long this would take to come in and advised it would only take 6 days. Again I was impressed by this as it was the quickest delivery time we had been told from the shops.
They would also give you a call once the item was in as it may be a couple of days early or late. Saves you a trip if they don't have it in. They did stress that you have to keep your receipt for when you come back in as it has your order number. I don't know what would happen if you didn't have it but James made sure it was secure in his wallet
The only bad point about this shop is you have to pay a deposit for each ring you order in. Thankfully James had only needed to order one in to see if he liked it as much as the ones in other shops. Ok the deposit isn't a huge amount and we only had to pay £10 for a ring which was worth £115 so I don't know if the price goes up depending on the value of the jewellery.
We asked why there was a charge as no other shops charged us for this and they advised us it was because they didn't have enough insurance to have other items in store. Confused? I was. I still didn't understand why you only had to pay a deposit because surely the item would still be under their insurance as it was being delivered to their store. I'm sure there was a completely valid reason and I don't know if we were given the correct information as the girl serving had only started a couple of days before.
I had such a pleasant experience in the new look store in Inverness. I could spend hours looking at all their items. They have made the shop look more up to date and welcoming with the new layout and it's definitely somewhere I would go again for my jewellery.
The products are always off high quality and better than I've managed to find anywhere else. (Well on my budget!)
I'm now buying the finally items for my wedding and realised that I still hadn't found any wedding shoes. I decided I didn't want to wear heels that were too high as I'd be wearing them all day. (I'm still on two minds whether to have my trainers hidden somewhere in case my feet get sore whilst dancing.)
Last week I went to Inverness to go round the shops and have a look for shoes which actually turned out to be harder than expected, a lot of shops don't stock white or ivory shoes which was a slight disappointment.
I decided to try Brantano as a last attempt to get a pair instead of going home to search online for some.
Brantano in Inverness is located at the Inshes Retail Park next to Matalan. It's an area out with the city centre and would be easier to take your car up or a bus. It is a bit far to walk there but it can be done and takes about half an hour to walk there.
There is plenty of parking outside the store which is free parking so it's a bonus shopping here instead of going into the centre of Inverness where you have to pay everywhere you could park.
So going into the store on Wednesday afternoon my first impressions were that it was quite dark, this is mainly down to no windows for the store so it looked shut at first. Once the automatic doors opened though I knew I could carry on and see what I could find.
Passing the tills I was in a world of my own when I heard two people saying hi. I looked up and noticed it was the manager and the sales assistant. That instantly perked me up on such a miserable typical rainy day in Scotland. I smiled and carried on into the store.
I had been in the store many years before so I knew that all shoes were set out according to sizes. I have size 8 feet so had to walk right to the back of the shop to find shoes in my size. I have to say I like them having things set out in sizes, at least you know if you fall in love with a pair of shoes you won't be told that you can't get them because there's none in your size in the stock room.
Finally at the right aisle I decided to start looking up and down at all the shoes and noticed that although the store was really big there wasn't a great deal of choice for each shoe size. Finally I found a white pair of shoes with a small heel and decided to try them on.
The shop has loads of seating areas about at the end of each aisles and then more right at the back of the store so I doubt you would have a problem looking for a seat even if they were busy. The day I was in was surprisingly quiet.
The other thing I liked about this shop was they had the pair of shoes on the shop floor, so there is one on display and underneath that there is a shoe box with the other shoe in it. So again you don't have to wait for the staff to go to the store room for you to get the pair to try on. Once I had the pair of shoes on I checked them in the mirror and again noticed they had more than enough mirrors around for people to use. So far I was really impressed with this store and I wondered why I didn't come in here more often.
I decided that these were the shoes for me and checked the price. Only £18 so my experience in this shop was just getting better and better. I just grabbed the box of the shelf and went to the till to buy them.
The staff were so friendly and chatted to me throughout the whole payment which was really nice as this doesn't really happen in shops much anymore. They did offer me to get Brantano card and save 10% but I refused. It seems that every store as a store card nowadays and I am forever refusing them, it does get slightly annoying now that they keep asking.
There was also a sale the day I was in. A lot of the shoes were reduced in price but they also had another offer that you can trade old for new shoes. This meant if you took in a pair of your old shoes you would get £10 off the next purchase if you spend £50 or more. It's a really good idea as the old shoes you hand in are then sent over to an African trainer to repair and polish.
I would definitely use again. Ok the shoes aren't amazing quality but for the price they are definitely worth it. I do remember why I never used to use them, it was because they used to e too over-priced but now the shoes seem to be a lot cheaper than what they used to be.
The staff were lovely and my whole experience in the shop was fantastic. I don't know if this may also be because they were one of very few shops in Inverness to actually stock white shoes so it stopped me having to spend all night looking for some online.
The shop had wide aisles which were great so you wouldn't feel pushed about if the shop was busy. I also notice that the shop was really clean and there wasn't a shoe out of place. Many stores I've been to have had shoes and boxes lying all over the floor but this shop was completely clear on the floor. I am really impressed with this store and will no doubt shop here again.
Since moving into our new house back in July I've found it difficult to keep the laminate floor downstairs clean and feel like I'm forever brushing and mopping it. I was complaining to my partner and a few days later he returned from the shop with the Flash Power Mop.
Ok so at first I wasn't sure how I'd fid this, I thought he had just bought another silly gadget like he always did.
What is it?
The power mop is basically a glorified mop. It has pads which you have to attach to the mop to clean the floor and then you can bin them once you have used them.
The other thing that makes this mop different is you attach a bottle of flash spray that has been designed just for the power mop. It means with a touch of a button you can spray the floor and then mop it up to clean your floor.
James (my partner) bought the Power Mop from Morrisons a couple of months ago and at the time it was on offer. He bought it for £7.99 which claimed to be half price.
I have since looked and noticed that they are selling for £16.99. The pads cost about £2.99 for 6 pads and the flash bottle refills cost about £4.80. Prices do vary from shop to shop and I do try to stock up when they're on offer.
How I got on
Well setting it up I was quite excited about how easy this would be to clean my floors and assumed it would take me minutes to clean all the floors downstairs. The Power Mop claims to pick up dust and dirt from the floor meaning less vacuuming also.
Included in our set up pack was one pad to attach to the mop and also a bottle off the flash floor cleaner so you can get started without having to spend loads of money on all the other bits at the same time. Luckily James had bought the other bits whilst they were half price as well.
So once I attached the pad and put the bottle of spray in place which actually took me a while as the instructions weren't that straight forward and I put the pad on upside down and also didn't click the bottle in properly. I was beginning to wonder if this mop was actually worth the hassle?
Finally I got to work with the mop. The first thing I noticed about the mop is has a handle at the top for easier grip. At the handle there is a white button which is to spray the flash whenever you need to. I pressed the button and noticed that the spray did distribute very evenly and managed to wet quite a large area of the floor.
Pushing the mop across the wet floor it felt really easy to clean and thought that I would be done really quickly. I was wrong though once I actually got to dirty bits on the floor like spilt sauce in the kitchen I found that no amount of mopping would shift the sauce. Luckily flash have thought of this and they have added a scrubber onto the edge of the mop. All you have to do is turn the plastic mop head onto it's side and there you go nice and clean.
So far so good. So the mopping was done in a quick 20 minutes for the whole of the downstairs and I was able to get on with wedding stuff. I looked at the pad we had put on and noticed that it was really dirty so it definitely needed binned by the end even though I thought my floor was reasonably clean. It just shows how dirty the floors can gets so quickly.
Ok there were some bad points with this mop. I found that it didn't pick up hairs like it states it will and the advert showed so I was a bit disappointed. I have 6 cats so you can understand that I do need something that will pick up all their hairs but I suppose no other mop picks up hairs either.
The scrubber at the side to clean stuck on dirt (like my sauce on the kitchen floor) does take a lot of effort to use by having to put the mop head on it's side. Unfortunately this part of the mop can't be replaced so you have to wash it after every use. This make this mop needing washed as much as any other mop which defeats the purpose of this mop being quick and easy to get out and put away after use.
The pads take a bit of getting used to. At first I found it quite fiddly putting the pads on the mop head but once you get used to it, it becomes a lot easier and quicker.
To be honest at full price I wouldn't buy this mop as I really don't think it's worth it. It is handy if there's spillages to just pull it out and clean them up without having to get a bucket of water.
The price of the refills of flash spray and the pads also bumps the price of this mop up quite a bit and on the box it does state that the pads each will do 2 - 3 rooms so you do really need to bin them often.
I always expect products like this to be a lot better than they actually are and then get disappointed that they don't do as well as what they advertisements state but I should learn from this by now.
Now I am used to it I find it handy to have and love the fact that there is spray at the touch of a button. It has helped me out on several occasions and it does do a good job so I won't be getting rid of mine anytime soon but I wouldn't advise you to go out and buy it unless it's on offer and you're willing to pay for all the pads and refill flash bottles.
I have recently come back to writing reviews on Dooyoo after being off for a while, I have actually just noticed that all my reviews have been about places I've visited. I love writing reviews about places I've been, to give you an idea of what they are like but more for me to remind myself why I like a place so much and bring back all the memories.
This review is about Linlithgow which is a town located in the Lowlands of Scotland, about 20 miles from Edinburgh. Linlithgow is a place close to my heart as my Mum is from there and I spent a lot of my time here when I was younger staying at my Gran's house, unfortunately since she passed away I haven't visited much but I am going to review my thoughts of the town.
Linlithgow is quite a large town but when I was younger it always seemed like it had a great community feel with everyone knowing everyone as you walked along the street. My Gran lived about a 2 minute drive from the shops and I always knew we had arrived when I seen the canal (her house was right next to it). I always wanted to go on a canal boat for a holiday but never got the chance but now I've reminded myself of them maybe sometime next year you will get a review about that!
There was always plenty to keep me occupied as a child and also as a teenager including the swimming pool a variety of parks and the walks by the loch which passed by Linlithgow Palace.
The Palace is always what reminds me off Linlithgow. It's a huge palace which unfortunately is just a ruin with no roof, I don't know if you can still go in here but we were never able to go in due to it always being unsafe. Looking from the outside is spectacular enough for me though.
I always thought that St Michaels Parish Church was part of the Palace with it's a large metal spire that glistens in the summers but I'm sure also entraps lightning in bad weather. I've never seen a building so outstanding in my whole life and I am the first to admit when I see a picture of it on the t.v or in a magazine a get a bit excited about it. It brings back all my childhood memories and really worth a visit to Linlithgow just for this.
Within Linlithgow there is many shops to visit really too many for me to mention but there are many small businesses that you can buy small gifts and something a little bit different. There are small gift shops to buy yourself a souvenir to remind you of your trip.
There are also many other shops which are more chain shops like Peacocks and M&CO which is great to have within the town as it saves you travelling into Edinburgh if you don't want to.
There is also outside tennis courts so in the summer months you can spend hours here in the sun keeping fit. They are located just opposite some houses about a 5 minute walk from Tesco's. A bit of a strange place to have them if I'm honest because if you don't know the place I would say it would be difficult to find them.
As I've already mentioned at the start of my review Linlithgow has a canal centre which is located on Manse Road. They have two boats which you can pay a small price to go on a boat trip but on between April - September.
I would advise you to check the website to see when they have the boats running though as some months they have the boats running on weekends only. The website to check this is - http://www.lucs.org.uk/index.html
Definitely worth a trip if you're holidaying here.
Where to stay
Because I've only ever stayed at my Gran's when I've been down in Linlithgow I've never had to find somewhere to stay but I am going to be a little bit biased now and tell you to give Belsyde Guest House a go.
I was looking on the Linlithgow website at places to stay - http://www.linlithgow.com/stay.htm and came across Belsyde Guest House which is showing as a 4 star bed and breakfast and it gave me goosebumps seeing it here. Why? Because this is the house my mum grew up in.
I have visited this B&B with my mum just to have a look around and it was a gorgeous building which is outwith the actual town in a nice country setting. Looking at the pictures of the guest house now I can see why it's 4 star accommodation and I can tell that the have updated the property so much since I last seen it.
The rooms look absolutely stunning and very welcoming as well as looking homely. You should definitely have a look at the website as the pictures really lure you in to want to book a weekend here.
There are several other B&B's within Linlithgow if this one doesn't suit your needs or requirements.
Linlithgow is similar to may towns and villages in Scotland that it has a lot of history, You can tell there is a lot to learn about Linlithgow with all the old buildings and there is an old feeling around the town as if you can almost sense there is history.
If you are interested to learn more then I would recommend you visit the Linlithgow Museum which is currently run by Linlithgow Heritage Trust and it all about "The Linlithgow Story".
I would love to go back and visit Linlithgow just to see how much things have changed if at all. There is plenty to see and do here and with it being a short drive or train trip into Edinburgh I'm sure you'd have more than enough to do if you were there for a weekend or even a week.
It's definitely a place that makes me smile when I think about it and even though it's a busy town it still feels like a small village to me that I would be happy to spend many weekends.