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vintage_laurie

vintage_laurie
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Member since: 13.09.2005

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      29.11.2005 20:06
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      Can I give it six stars please?

      There are hundreds of curry houses in Manchester and I live two minutes from the widest choice - the famous curry mile - an entire street of about 50-60 curry houses. why then, for the last two years, have I only bothered with one? Because Spicy Hut is, I have no doubt, the best curry house in Manchester. The interior is fabulously gaudy. A riki tiki hawaii style bar? check. faux medaeval flickering torches? check. mirrored walls? again, check. If you're lucky, you might even get sat next to the tropical fish tank. the menu specialises in both sizzlers - hot meats brought to your table and somehow set of fire (i.e. chargrilled there and then) - and in Kashmiri foods. There is the usual range of starters, all delicious substantial portions - and, of course, as soon as you arrive, there are plates of poppadoms, dips and fresh indian salad brought over. the main courses are arranged by the substantial bit - the meats/veg/my favourite Panneer - then the sauces. There are about 20 sauces to choose from, all the old favourites though more flavoursome and rich than anywhere else - and some specialities, including fruity Kashmiri Korma, which I'd eat every day if I could, and the orangy Malta, which is really delicious. There are also plenty of chef's specials, including fish curries and the aforementioned sizzlers. My absolute favourite is the Kashmiri Korma Panneer, although some people find it a bit sweet, so I can also recommend heartily the Panneer Malta. It's all good though - I've never met anyone who has had a bad meal. To go with it, I recommend the fluffy, flavourful Pilau rice and the naans are also fluffy and delicious. The drinks are inexpensive - about £2.10 a pint and you can even BYO wine if you ask politely. The service is also wonderful. All the staff are helpful without being intrusive, quick to come over, will sort you out for more-or-less anything. And when you get the bill, you always get a plate full of soft mints, fruity softmints and vimto lollies! It's just opposite the Somerfield petrol station on Oxford Road ("town end of Curry Mile" to taxi drivers) and I'm off to pick up something now!!!!!!

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        28.11.2005 10:15
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        Probably my new favourite high street shop ....

        For about three months, there had been builders working on a shop on Market Street - it was completely covered up on the outside with chipboard except for the sign - Urban Outfitters. I had to walk past that at least twice a week for three months hoping that this time it would be open. And finally, after weeks of thinking they'd just given up and we Mancs would never have one, it appears, open at last! It's a pretty impressive looking store, so I can forgive them for three months work. The frontage is all glass and steel, with the yellow-gold signage and, currently, christmas displays. Inside, it is wooden floors throughout, with incredible stairs which look like they're made of railway sleepers. It has an upmarket, but young look, with a strong hint of American North-west - probably because the wood looks like Redwoods. The ground floor is novelties, home and women's clothes; the first is women's clothes and changing; and the top is menswear. there are also mezzanine levels between each floor with - respctively - women's clothes, women's accessories and records/CDs. The home stuff is very nice - lots of quirky painted crockery and big plastic bowls with photo-real prints of popcorn or salad or whatever they're meant for. The novely bit is less to my taste - lots of 'Jesus is my homeboy' and talking Mr. T things, which are fine, but they don't amuse me enough to pay more than about 50p for. Now onto the clothing, the only bit I'm really interested in! I mentally spent about £1000 in ten mins. There is a slight topshop feel - by that, I mean the slightly quirky, boyish stuff they sometimes have, although UO seems much better quality. There also seem to be quite a few US and small boutique designers, as well as their in house stuff. There wasn't one particular look going on - apart from maybe the colours green, seal grey and cream - but there was a really wide range of style, from the quite boyish jeans and printed tees/vests look, to quite pretty velvet empire line dresses and chunky knitted stoles. The accessories were also impressive - lots of beads and broaches, as everywhere has at the moment, but mostly in lovely copper and black shades, and with a heavier, better quality feel. There were also plenty of hats - from trilbies to knitted - scarves, handbags and so on. I didn't bother going up to menswear or the records, but the music played in the store was pleasant enough, I think I heared pavement, but it wasn't very loud so I might just have had it in my head. The staff were smiley and helpful when you asked for advice, but didn't approach me to sell, which I always hate. Price wise, I thought it was reasonable. About £12 for vests, £60 for jeans, the velvet empire line dress I'm coveting was £68. It all seemed good quality, so I'd be willing to pay more than for similar at topshop. In summary, I'd definitely recommend it if you like topshop, but want something better quality and a bit more unique. I have a terrible fear I'm going to blow my wages in there.

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          27.11.2005 17:12
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          Going onto my letter for Santa

          Like everyone else, I'm trying to Christmas shop at the moment, but I have my usual problem of finding one present for someone, and about two i'd like for myself. And in Lush it's especially bad; I think I bought more for myself than anyone else ..... well, at least it's a chance to write a few more reviews. 'Letters to Santa' is one of the special Christmas bath bombs of which Lush brings out several each year - the most popular, I think, is the Lush Pud, which looks like a Christmas pudding complete with brandy butter and sprig of Holly on top. However, it's a bit early - even for me - to go for that one, so I went for the less obviously Christmas scented Letters to Santa. Letters to Santa is scented with orange, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper. I don't like cinnamon and wouldn't have bought it if i'd noticed it had it in it, but thankfully (for non-cinnamon fans) you can't smell it. The orange is the strongest scent and is quite sweet, but is balanced by the clove and pepper, which make it quite spicy smelling. It also has a hint of lime. Letters to Santa is an average sized bath bomb at 200g. It's a pale green colour and you can see some of the foam letters poking out, which brightens it up a bit. It does look quite childlike and not like most of the other Lush products. It does the usual fizzy thing when you chuck it in the bath and the letters flow out, only a few per bath bomb, but the inner scrabble champion in me liked trying to make a word out of 'b' 'o' 'v' '?'. I came up with 'vob?' maybe i need another few more, collect the alphabet. The lush times lists them as candy letters, but, after my flatmate tried them, I can say they are definatly foam. In the bath, it's average. the smell is pleasant and lingers well both in the bath and on the skin. it isn't very moisturising, unlike some bath bombs - i needed to moisturise afterwards. Pricewise, it's what you expect for lush: £1.95. I'd have been happier if it was moisturising too, but on the whole it's pretty good.

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            27.10.2005 12:44
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            choclatey, caramel treat

            dairy milk caramel is my chocolate bar of choice at the moment, I have one most days, so obviously, i'm a big fan. I usually buy the 37g bars, as shown in the photo, which cost between 35p and 60p depending on where you go (avoid WHSmith at stations as they're about 60p!)- usually, they're 42p. They're also available in a 400g size, which costs about £1 - £1.50. The bar consists of about 6 squares (well, rectangles) of chocolate, each filled with a soft caramel. The chocolate is your usual dairy milk. it's not as smooth as galaxy, but isn't as gritty as yorkies - it's the happy medium. the caramel is soft (usually) without the aftertaste you get with some cheap caramels, but still with that rich taste and smell. it melts nicely in the mouth. sometimes it can feel a bit claggy in the mouth (i'm not sure if i made up that word, it looks odd written down); by that I mean, it sometimes feels as though it's sticking on the inside of my mouth and teeth a bit. I only really get that when i'm eating it in warm weather though, probably a sign I shouldn't eat it when it's 30C. the only problem I find with these bars is that the caramel can be a bit hard and flavourless if it's too cold - I never put these in the fridge. obviously the calorie and fat content is bad (from memory, about 350 cal a bar), but we're going to ignore that because if we don't think about it then (hopefully), they won't have any effect ...... overall, i think they're good value compared to other chocolate bars, i just wish they could make it fat free!!!!!

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            • Benefit Benetint / Make Up / 18 Readings / 17 Ratings
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              17.10.2005 20:58
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              Not easy to use, but worth it for the look

              I had to give in and write a review for this product, seeing as I use it almost every day! Benetint is a classic beauty product, according to a lot of magazines - it's always on 'editor recommends' or 'beauty expert secrets' lists. It's been around for years and is one of the best know products of the hugely popular benefit range. It's both a lip stain and a blush. It costs £22.50 for a bottle, which is the size and shape of a nail varnish bottle, maybe a little larger, but not much. It's a big outlay for a blusher, but as it's very good quality and you only need a small amount per application, i don't think it's too bad. It has a rose scent as it is made of crushed rose petals, which appealed to me as I love tea roses. There is only one colour available - red, which, in the bottle, looks scary. I'm not a red lipstick kind of girl, usually i prefer a very subtle look - like I'm not wearing makeup (which is the look which usually requires the most make up!!!!). However, on the skin, it looks completely natural (though again the caveat: if you use it well - more later....) On the cheeks, it looks like the colour you get after a short walk in the cold - a sheer, light pink. On the lips, it looks redder, but a redder version of natural, if that makes sense. It's more a bitten lip look than a Dita Von Tease look! It's applied like a nail varnish, which is a little hard to get used to - it's a thin, fine brush, which you make small, light strokes onto your cheeks. You have to be very gentle, even though it makes it a slow process. On the lips, it is more difficult to apply. You need to paint it on while pouting and then keep your lips dry while it dries, so you have to pout for a min or two. It is a little drying on the lips and rubs off quite easily, so I tend not to bother, although it is worth the effort. When I'm wearing it, I tend to get complimented more, but also IDed more in bars - it makes you look quite young and 'English Rose' like. However, you have to keep it subtle and not overloaded - the first time I wore it, I got told how pretty/healthy I looked all night. The second time, I was so pleased with the first night's reaction, that I loaded it on. That night, I got asked if I would like a window opening and was I feeling ill? So keep it subtle! On the whole, I'd recommmend it. I'm giving it four stars rather than five though as I think the price is a little high, plus I wish it was easier to use on the lips.

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                09.10.2005 09:51
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                Moisturising and beautifully scented

                I first noticed 'Ceridwen's cauldron' because of the packaging - the bath melt looks very attractive and suitable for a present, coming in a little muslin pouch tied with ribbons - it's very feminine and looks luxurious. It would make a great wedding favour. I was also attracted by the scent - in the shop and in the bath it has a strong scent of sandalwood and rose. Unlike some lush products, I found that the scent stayed well in the bath and on my skin. The first instruction is to drop the melt, still in its muslin wrapper, into the bath and to leave it to slowly melt. I found that this took about 5 mins. The scent grew stronger as it melted and it left a thin layer of very moisturising foam across the surface of the bath. It also turned the bath water a pale creamy/pink colour. It made the water feel so soft and moisturising. The main ingredients in the 'cauldron' are cocoa butter and walnut butter and they are extremely effective in this product. The second instruction is to take the muslin bag, which now contains oats and a little of the butters which have not melted, and to stroke it over your skin. It's meant to gently exfoliate and mositurise, and it works amazingly. My skin felt fab and smelt gorgeous after doing this. I also save the muslin bags after I've used it and find I can repeat the second stage for a few baths by dunking in in the bath for a min before using. So the good points in short - smells gorgeous and extremely moisturising. There aren't too many bad points with this product, but the main one is that you need to have quite a hot bath to use it - i always have very hot baths, so it always works for me, but some people find it doesn't work well with an averagely hot bath. One way to get around this is to pop in it, then leave the bath to cool for a bit. Secondly, it is quite expensive at £2.95. For effectively one bath that is a lot. However, it is a treat and once in a while is well worth it.

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                  22.09.2005 21:30
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                  Great location, good for the price.

                  We booked through lastminute.com for two nights at this hotel in march, paying about £35 a night for a double room without bathroom. The hotel is 2*, with cafes and bars on the ground floor. However, the main reason we booked the hotel was that my OH had plans - without me :( - both nights, so we wanted somewhere central, so I would be safe walking back to alone and so that I wouldn't have to travel too far. When arriving, it took about 10 mins before we could check in as there were 2 large groups of non-English speaking people trying to book rooms, but once we were served, it was quick and we were soon directed, via the lift, to our room. The room itself was adequate, pretty good for that price in London. The double bed was comfortable with plenty of pillows and blankets. There was a huge wardrobe and plenty of drawer space, and a sink with a couple of towels and some toiletries. There was an chair with table, and an armchair. The room itself was a decent size - we weren't tripping over our stuff - and was clean. There room was decorated neutrally, with a really good print of a cartoon of London. There were a few scuffs in the paintwork, but for the price, it didn't bother me; I was just glad at how clean it was! The view was of the building next door, so a bit boring, but there was enough natural light. There was a telephone and a TV, with the usual UK 5 channels. The bathrooms were pristine, as were the bedrooms - there seemed to be cleaning staff everywhere and they did a good job. The bathrooms were plentiful and really clean, so the saving we made by not having a bathroom was worth it. The best bit tough is the location; it is literally two metres from Picadilly circus and the tube station. We usually end up staying miles out of central London, so it was nice to be in our room at 8.58 and shopping in Picadilly circus by 9am. It felt really safe when walking back there even when very late at night and alone. In the hotel, there was a small 'fish and chip'/trad English cafe, a coffee shop, mock irish bar, internet terminals and a newsagents, with sweets and cigarettes. We didn't use them though as there was much more choice in the restaurants and shops in the area. Checking out was also fine, and the staff were friendly and competent. We didn't have any need to have any communications with them apart from checking in and out, but there seemed to be plenty about, they were friendly and they spoke several languages.

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                    22.09.2005 20:30
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                    A must see on any visit to Northumbria

                    The visual image most of us have of Holy island is the castle, stood on a volcanic outcrop looking over the sea. However, the most important part of the history of the island can be found a few miles away, on the edge of the village, at Lindisfarne priory. The priory costs £3.60 to enter, with the usual discounts for students/senior citizens/children. It is open from 10-6 each day in summer, 10-5 in October, 10-4 in February and March, and 10-2 from November to January. It is open every day apart from in Nov, Dec and Jan, when it's only open Monday, Sat and Sun. However, when it's open is only half the story. Holy Island can only be reached by boat or by the tidal causeway, which varies each day. The way to find out the tide times is to go to the signboards across from the RNLI station in Seahouses - where you can also catch the boats if you don't want to drive (costing about £7). You enter via the visitors centre, which has a permanent exhibition on the history of the island, emphasising the role that the early Christian church had on the island - and the effect the Lindisfarne settlements had on the Christian church. The exhibition has added 'child friendly' bits, with the information at a child's height and fun sections. For adults, there is plenty of in depth information about the history and culture of the site and the island. There are also artefacts relating to the priory and island. It took me about 30-40 mins to read it all - my younger sister took 20 as she found it less interesting, but she was more than happy to browse the gift shop for a bit! It's at the end of the visitors centre, and contains lots of books, handcrafted items, quality soaps and candles, and the ususal 'English Heritage' bits. After that's done, you go back outside, through the yard of the very pretty medieval church which was built on the edge of the site, and through the main door of the ruined priory. It no longer has a roof or most of the walls, but is still impressive. The main hall still has half the walls and the windows and an impressive vaulted arch (you can see it on the little photo above). You can also see the living quarters, guest rooms, kitchens, brewing rooms and the baking room, which still has the oven! While ruined, there is still a lot to see and you get a good feel for the scale and way of life there. There are noticeboards dotted all over the site explaining the uses of each room. There is also an impressive modern statue of St. Cuthbert, and lots of information about his life. Disabled access is not great, mostly due to the limitations of the priory ruins - the visitors centre is very wheelchair friendly and I *think* I saw a notice that there are audio guides available for the partially sighted. However, the priory itself has a slightly uneven, grassed 'floor', and there are some steps and low walls, where original parts of the floor remain. Guide dogs are permitted on the site, as are pet dogs, as long as they are well behaved, on a lead and you pick up any poo! I loved my visit to Holy Island as it is steeped in history and is beautiful, with a wonderful unspoilt, isolated feel. It is best to visit outside of the holiday seasons, as it can get a little busy, which spoils the isolated feel! I would definitely recommend a trip to the Island, and to the Priory.

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                      21.09.2005 00:25
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                      Have a sniff - if you like it, it's a 4 star!

                      Bubble bath bars are one of my favourite products in the Lush range, partly because they're good value compared to the bath bombs. The Karma bar costs £1.80 and you can get 2-4 baths from it - depending on how bubbly you like your bath - by breaking chunks off. You crumble it under hot running water until you have reached the desired level of bubbly-ness. The karma fragrance is one of Lush's signature scents and is available in several products, including soap, a bath bomb, a perfume and a solid shampoo. It contains patchouli, lavender and orange, among others. It is meant to be the scent of 1969 - London, Glastonbury, the swinging 60s. It's not a scent I'm a huge fan of, but I got one free, so I tried it! Most people - I find - tend not to be that keen on the scent, finding it too spicy and the patchouli too strong, but I've met a few who adore it. So next time you're in Lush, search out the soap or the perfume for a sniff. The bar is pink and orange, and turns the water a bit of an orange colour, which doesn't stain the skin. Unlike most lush bubble bath bars, which make the water feel soothing and moisturising, this bar felt a little drying - I needed to use moisturiser afterwards. In the water, the smell is quite powerful, and you can smell it on your skin for some time afterwards. So to an ambiguous conclusion ... I disliked the scent, so it was never going to please me that much. However, if you do like the scent, you'll love the way it lingers on your skin and that it is quite good value (for a lush product). The only real negative is that, unlike other lush bubble bath bars, it is not particularly moisturising.

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                        20.09.2005 23:44
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                        Flawed, but absorbing and hugely represtentative of a generation.

                        I'm completely amazed that no-one has written an op for Gen X yet, so here goes! The novel follows Dag, Andy and Claire, all mid to late twenty-somethings as they discuss life, relationships and jobs. Well, that's it, review over. Really. They do nothing else for the rest of the novel. There's no driving narrative, no great events, no twists. They sit around, have sarcastic discussions about TV, drink too much, talk about life. Yet you still find yourself absorbed - it's thoroughly compelling. It is essentially a discourse - in the literal sense, as it is largely either dialogue or 'stream of conscious'/interior thought, and also in the sense that it's explaining and representing a generation - the X generation who won't have jobs or even careers for life, who have degrees and can't get a job, and who are likely to have a standard of living below that of their parents. Dag and his friends discuss and represent those frustrations, and the antipathy they feel both to the cultural norms of previous generations, and to the 'stress and money' culture of the Yuppies who also faced their concerns. Coupland's skill in building characters is clear in this novel - they feel very real, in that they are all contradictory, often unpleasant and not easily likeable. He also shows his trademark awareness of pop culture, which fills the novel, and his understanding of both the generation X and the concerns and fears which face most twentysomethings. He doesn't show if he is capable of writing a compelling narative - personally, I feel he's only just started to, with the novels 'Girlfriend in a coma' and 'Hey Nostradamus' - but that's not the point in this novel; the meadering, discursive style of the book is an echo of the characters' and the generation's uncertain, aimless mood. Negative points - well, it's a first novel, so there are rough edges, but not so many as most - the odd bit of clunky dialogue or description, but I'm being pretty critical here. A lot of people I lent the book to (ok, ok, I forced them to read it) found the footnotes definining generation X events and slang irritating. The thing which irritated me most was way the chapters are so numerous and brief - it can feel a little fractured and distracting at times, but the structure does fit with the tone and style of the novel. Would I recommend this novel? If even the concept of the 'I love the 70s/80's' shows repelled you, then stay away - you'll hate the constant pop culture discussions. I'd recommend it as it's an innovative book, the first of its type, and is clearly an influence on a great deal of early 21st century writing - I have no doubt it will be an A-level syllabus book in 30 years time. It also is a good introduction to Coupland and to his later, and in my opinion, more interesting works -it introduces his style and tone well, without being his best work (I have a tendency to read an author's best work first, love it, then end up disappointed with everything of theirs I read later!) Generation X was Douglas Coupland's first novel, it's been out in paperback for some years - RRP £7.99

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                          18.09.2005 21:32
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                          Beautiful and not far from Lincoln

                          The only reason why I've visited Gainborough is to visit family there; apart from that, the only interesting thing in the town is the beautiful Old Hall. It's Tudor in origin and has been added to over the next 100 years, meaning it is an absolutely storybook half timbered and red brick hall. It's the type of place that makes tourists grab their cameras; it really is stunning. Inside, the main attraction is the remarkably well preserved interior; there are lots of beautiful fireplaces, carved ceilings and wall panelling, and windows. There are informative displays about the history of the building and the era, but not too much else. However, I think this is a good thing; they have a beautiful building and that's what you're there for, so why mess it up with wax works and silly 'interactive' (usually broken) displays? The staff are all very friendly and well informed. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to see it comfortably and take lots of photos! There's a small gift shop with the usual crafty / 'national trust' (though it's not an NT property) bits and bobs. They have regular craft fairs and concerts - I can especially recommend the Christmas craft fair and carols events. There are also regular recreations of historical events and plays; they have a very full schedule of events. The lack of other things to do in Gainsborough itself mean I wouldn't recommend a long trip to see just the Old Hall; however, Lincoln is close by and if you are planning a long day/weekend there, Gainsborough Old Hall is well worth the small detour.

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                          • Secretary (DVD) / DVD / 18 Readings / 11 Ratings
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                            18.09.2005 21:08
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                            Super sexy and clever film.

                            I first saw this film in Paris in a cinema on the Champs Elysee, and it fitted Paris perfectly; while it's a Hollywood film, it has a dark heart and is pretty sexual for a mainstream film, justifying the 18 rating. It stars Maggie Gyllenhaal in one of her first major roles as Lee Holloway, an insecure, self harming young woman and James Spader as her slightly odd and equally lonely employer. Gradually, they begin a strange and seemingly destructive relationship, which you are unsure, for most of the film, whether it is appropriate, healthy or even love. The cinematography of this film is just gorgeous - the clean and stifling domesticity of Lee's home, compared to the dark, oppresive atmosphere of her workplace. It is witty, not remotely sentimental and challenges your idea of relationships and needs. There is a lot of sexual and graphic content, some of which is violent/destuctive, and there are also graphic scenes of self harm. However, they are justified by the film and don't seem gratuitous. The extras on the DVD are the usual - audio commentary, interviews, trailers and so on. The Prism edition, which doesn't include the extras, is on sale widely for about £5 and is fantastic value.

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                            • InStyle / Magazine / Newspaper / 8 Readings / 7 Ratings
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                              18.09.2005 20:30
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                              A glorified catalogue.

                              Instyle is one of those magazines I buy every so often and quickly regret. it costs about £3 an issue, so is comparable with similar monthly glossies such as Vogue and Elle. It usually attracts my attention by having a free gift; lots of bags, toiletry rolls, sample sizes of products, books and so on. It usually looks quite thick and substantial - more on that later... After you've flicked past the hundreds of adverts and had a wodge of leaflets fall out onto your lap, you reach the opening pages. These consist of several pages of photos of celebrities and models with captions saying 'Celeb X in dress by Designer Z', with a vague theme running through - i.e. 3 pages of women in green dresses, then 3 pages with women in sparkly sandals. After that, theres usually a a load of pages of new products and clothes currently available, in themes such as 'work wear', 'autumn', anti-ageing'. After that, you'll reach the main feature, usually an inerview with the celebrity on the cover. If, like me, you read US magazines, chances are you'll recognise the interview; instyle do tend to borrow from US publications. Even when you haven't read it before, it tends to be a puff piece, with lots of chat about their take on fashion, but nothing challenging. Then there are the fashion pages - basically, there are 20-30 full pages of captioned fashion photos - they're glossy and often very pretty, but basically, just photos. After that, there are lots of brief sections, including books, films and music. These tend to consist of descriptive one paragraph reviews (which are useless) and a 'feature' of a half page interview with a musician/actor. The make-up section is the largest section after fashion. There's lots about new products, and usually a quite good review of several similar products. Then there's a step by step of how to achieve different make up looks; these usually take up a full page of which products to achieve it/how to apply it, and a full page photo of a models face wearing that look. It doesn't really appeal to me, and there's much too much space dedicated to it. There's also a 'society' section, with several pages of photos of celebrities/models/royalty at parties and events. Lastly, there are sections on home decor (lots more photos of new products), an ok food section with recipies and a travel piece, with lots more glossy photos. Interspersed between every item seems to be at least one or two adverts; the magazine is full of them. There are usually a couple of sachets of new products attatched within the magazine. I tend to buy Instyle when I've been travelling a lot - often, I've read all my usual magazines and in a hurry. so I just grab anything. I always regret Instyle though because there is literally nothing to read. It consists of adverts, photos and glorified adverts for new products - it sometimes feels like you're looking through a catalogue. I can often read the actual articles in it within 10 or 15 minutes, which for a 2-300 page magazine is ridiculous. In summary, I don't like Instyle as there is no real content; I prefer magazines like marie Claire which contain articles and real journalism, instead of just endless photos!!!!

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                                18.09.2005 18:47
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                                Adequate, but not as special as they think they are.

                                There is actually more than one Kro-bar in Manchester, so I'll mention the two I know ( I think there are 3 or 4). The Kro in kro bar is apparently Danish (or it might be Finnish?) for Bar. So it's name is bar bar. I think they chose it because it sounded funny, but the bar does have a slight Danish/Scandanavian influence. The original Kro bar is directly opposite the Manchester University union, which leads, obviously, to it being dominated by one particular group; yes, students. However, the prices mean that it's not too rowdy a crowd. It's situated in an old Georgian/Victorian townhouse, with bench and table seating outside at the front and back, a long thin room downstairs and a similar room upstairs. Inside, it's mostly tables, although with (usually) bar service. Inside, it can be a little dark, due to the distance the middle is from any windows. There's usually ok music playing, tending towards the moby/coldplay type. The second kro bar (Kro2) is nearer the metropolitan uni, but because it's also close to the BBC, lots of offices and the city, it has a slightly older crowd. It is purpose built as the ground floor of an office building with all glass walls. it's a really cool design to look at but, basically, it's all window, no walls. Which means you can watch the street really well, but it makes me feel like I'm on display in the zoo. It's also seated with bar service, and with a bench and table beer garden. The drinks are what you expect from any vaguely good bar; lots of bottled beers, a couple of lagers - including some Scandanavian ones - on tap, decent wine list, lots of spirits. My OH always moans about the lack of bitter on tap, but then I don't really think it's that kind of bar. Prices for a pint draught are in the £2.50-3 range. They also do hot drinks; however, the cream on the hot chocolate always seems to be off, which puts me off. The food in the first kro bar (haven't tried kro2 for food) is adequate - lots of nachos, tortilla wraps, burgers, potato skins etc - which are all fine as pub food goes, but it's not a place you'd go to for the food specifically - it's just convenient and adequate. As a guide, the nachos are about £3.50 and the burgers about £4 - £4.50. Atmosphere - well, I'm not crazy about either kro bar, kro2 because it feels like a fish bowl, kro 1 because I always end up next to some noisy, arrogant student git who's bragging about something or other loudly. Plus the staff in the first Kro (but not the 2nd) seems grumpy and more interested in chatting among themselves. Plus both are at lunches and in the evening, very busy and sometimes (thurs-sun nights) standing room only. Would I recommend them? Kro2 is worth a look for the design and it's not bad as a stop on a pub crawl, though I'd never be able to stay in there all night (cost/noise). Kro1 is convenient for my classes and is better than canteen food, but I'd never really bother specifically going there.

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                                18.09.2005 17:51
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                                Works really well , smells gorgeous.

                                As a bit of background on my skin, as soon as I hit 13, my skin erupted. I had an t-zone so oily I was getting paranoid George Dubya was about to invade and my cheeks were so dry and flaky that if I rubbed them, clouds of white skin dust appeared. I had a lumpy forehead, spots all over my chin and blackheads over my nose. You'll be amazed to hear I didn't have a boyfriend, LOL. After about a year of trying every skin product available, I ended up at the doctors, who put me on oral and topical products, which made me look fine until I was 18. Then she made me come off them, just to see what my skin was like. Since then, I've had slightly spotty skin around my cycle and one or two spots most of the time, none too bad. I still have the weird combination of cheek dryness/t-zone oiliness, though it's nowhere near as bad. I'd been using lots of different products from lush, neutrogena etc - they helped a bit, but not much. Cue me buying a copy of elle. Inside was a voucher for free sample sizes of the origins perfect world range - eye cream, skin guardian and moisturiser. So I picked them up, where the sales girl explained they're great for wrinkles and skin ageing. I'm 21. So I took them home and left them on the shelf, thinking I'll give them to my mum next time I see her. Forward two days - I have no moisturiser and my skin is looking horrid. I notice the origins products on the shelf and think 'well she'll only be alergic to it anyway'. I dab on the eye cream, smoothe on the skin guardian and after a few minutes, the moisturiser. I noticed then how lovely it smelled - a hint of oranges and baby powder. I also noticed how little I needed on my skin. About an hour later, I left the house, noticing in the mirror how I don't look as bad as I thought I did. At work, my collegue mentioned how well I looked - glowy. My skin felt moisturised and soft all day even with the air con on. The next morning, the same routine. My skin looks less red and no new spots. I was complimented by a different person on how well I look, again saying I look glowy and how my skin looks better. A week later and I SHOULD be in PMS hell with my skin - it flares up with lots of spots, redness and my chin literally aches. Today, I have one tiny spot on my forehead, which I had to point out to my OH before he noticed it. ONE! My skin looks fab, even if I say it myself. It looks transcluscent, healthy and clear. It's even improved the scars I have on my chin and forehead, and I've felt comfortable for the first time in a few years in going out without concealer on them. I also don't have undereye darkness for the first time in a while (although Ihave never really had bad dark circles. The only criticism I've been able to see with this product so far is the price, but even then I'm not sure about that. The prices in my local John Lewis yesterday were - Eye cream - £24 for 15ml - Skin Guardian - £28 for 30ml - Moisturiser - £26 for 50ml From my sample sizes, I've used maybe 1/10 of the 3ml eye cream, 1/8 of the 6ml skin guardian and 1/20 of the 7ml moisturise in EIGHT DAYS. So based on that, I think they would last for ages (did you think I'd do the maths there? no chance, it's long lasting, that much I know). I'm trying not to get my hopes up yet with this range - it's only been a week, but I've never known my skin to respond in this way to anything, even the stuff prescribed by my doctor. I hope I won't have to update this op in a few months saying 'no, forget it'. But so far, it has been amazing and I would recommend trying it to anyone.

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