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wheato

wheato
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Member since: 06.02.2009

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      06.03.2009 23:28
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      Another fantastic YSL product.

      Those of you who have read my previous reviews will know I am a big fan of YSL products. I think that although pricy, they are usually worth the money. This mascara is no exception and is fast becoming an essential make-up bag item along with Touch Eclat.

      My eyes are sometimes sensitive to new products and as this mascara is marketed as "water-resistant and suitable for sensitive eyes & contact lens wearers" I thought that was a good reason to buy it. I was right to, as I haven't suffered from any redness or itchiness since using this product for the last few months. My lashes are also in good condition and have not dried out since using this mascara.

      However, I am a little more dubious about the claim that it "delivers intense, bold and glamorous lashes". On a good day, perhaps, but for day to day use it is perhaps a little heavy and can look somewhat clumpy if you rush to put it on without the due care and attention it demands.

      My recommendation is to use a lighter mascara during the day, and save this one for the evenings when you are trying to impress with your false lash effect. Better still, for me anyway, is that the effect is achieved in only one coating, as it has fantastic covering and long-lasting staying power. My mascara stays on all night without having to retouch and it is waterproof and does not smudge at all.

      Pricewise, this mascara is available on the high street for around £20. You can find it on the internet for around £16, post and packing included. It has a classy loook, the gold tube is in sold in a gold box with the iconic YSL logo on. I am quite traditional, and always buy the black one (01), but if you are feeling adventurous why not try Extreme Blue (03) or Khaki Green (07)? Cutting edge, apparently!

      All in all, one of the best luxury mascaras I have tested, and is now a firm favourite for special nights out!

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        01.03.2009 12:53
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        A good all-round shampoo

        I have to say that I like Dove products. This is one of the reasons why I was attracted to this product in Asda the other day. Another reason is that I was attracted to the appearance of the bottle, the dark red colour stood out amongst all the other pastel-coloured bottles. I must be a marketing department's dream customer! However, I have to admit the main reason for buying it was the extremely good buy 2 for £2 offer on Dove products. Asda seem to promote this offer fairly often on Dove products, so watch out for it.

        I find this shampoo suits my hair type which is quite dry. Because of this, I always use separate shampoos and conditioners so I purchased this along with the matching conditioner. The shampoo was white in colour, smelt nice, and I only needed a small amount to work up a really good lather. This means it is really economical, especially when on offer, as a bottle lasts for quite a while.

        Dove Pro Age range would appear to be aimed at the older customer who is looking for a decent product at a reasonable price. It is advertised as removing dirt and build up to give more body and volume. I have to say that the first couple of times I used this my hair did feel noticeably shinier and bouncier, so I guess it worked for me! However after that, I didn't notice any further effects. I change my shampoo and conditioner every few months to avoid build up, but I would definitely use this again in the future.

        I must also add that, as mentioned earlier, my hair is very dry so I always use conditioner anyway. I would not recommend using this shampoo on its own, unless your hair is the sort that goes lank when conditioned, as I feel that it does not offer any protection from further drying out your hair.

        To sum up, this shampoo whilst not stunning, is a good, solid everyday choice, is good value for money, and so, in my opinion, well worth a try.

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        • Revolutionary Road (DVD) / DVD / 50 Readings / 49 Ratings
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          28.02.2009 00:35
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          Thought provoking film

          I had no expectations of Revolutionary Road. I am not a film buff. I don't watch many movies, dvds or go to the cinema very often. I don't know what Kate Winslet got her Oscar for. I wasn't that impressed with Leonardo in Titanic, it went on for way too long. In fact, I only went out last night to catch up with a friend I haven't seen for ages. It was her idea to go to the cinema and then she chose the film. I would rather have watched Slumdog Millionaire, at least I have heard of it.

          So why am I reviewing a film, I hear you ask? Well, because, if like me, you are interested in people and relationships then I urge you to go and watch this film. I am not going to go through the plot, I am not going to describe the quality of the filming, but I am going to say this film has left a mark on me. I am still thinking about the main characters (Kate and Leo), both of them fatally flawed in different ways. The superb acting meant that I totally believed in the characters and the twisted angst and torment they suffered within a supposed ordinary suburbian marriage. I did wonder why the children were never there, but we weren't ever really given a good answer as to where they were.

          However, I thought the mentally disturbed John, and his parents stole the show. I laughed out loud at the bluntness of his straight talking outbursts. I was alone though, nobody else did. I thought it was very clever to make the supposed pychiatric person be the only one who could clearly and concisely cut through the sham and pretence of suburban life. His parents were superb in supporting roles as well. Father turning off his hearing aid to drown out mother's non-stop chatter summed up their entire relationship with that one simple, solitary act.

          Many sad, despairing characters brilliantly woven into one film. Even the neighbours were interesting, and surely could warrant a film of their own.

          There was not much action, but there was much thought-provoking dialogue. If that is your thing, go and see it. Maybe I should go to the cinema more often!

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            27.02.2009 22:40
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            If you are a fan of eye gel, this product will probably suit you, if not stick to cream.

            I am a fan of Olay products so thought I would add this one to my ever-increasing array of beauty products to help keep age at bay. I have to say it is not one of my most favourite products from Olay, but neither would I stop using it either.

            The gel is clear and comes in a small, attractive glass jar with a smart, black screw-on lid. The small size is great for popping in your bag and its wide base means it is not easily spilled. Its classy image makes it appear more expensive and extravagant than it actually is and it retails at around £8.00 on the internet, although I paid slightly more than this from Boots.

            I have used it for several months now, and because you only use a tiny amount on each eye per application, there is still plenty left. As to the results, I have not seen any visible miracle improvements to the area around my eyes, but neither have I seen more wrinkles! When applied, my skin feels taut and fresh, and definitely smoother than before. This effect does not last very long though, before it wears off. I think this product needs incorporating into your every-day skincare routine and using very regularly to produce gradual results over a period of time.

            I saw no visible reduction in the dark areas under my eyes, nor in the puffiness I sometimes experience, especially after a late night. However, this is not advertised as a miracle product!!

            I will carry on using this product for the forseeable future as I find Olay products suit my oily skin type around the eyes. I prefer the gel formula of this product as opposed to a cream as I find it is more easily absorbed into my skin. I think that is a matter of preference and would recommend you try a sample of this product to see if it suits your skin type.

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              24.02.2009 18:48
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              Smooth and creamy, and light enough for everyday use.

              I have been looking for a while for a new day cream that is not too heavy for my skin. I have also been trying to keep an eye on how much I spend on skincare products that I never actually use.

              Anyway, I think I have found the answer in this product. It is neither too pricy, nor too heavy on my skin. It is just about right in both departments, well in my opinion anyway. It answers the skincare needs of the 25-45 year old woman, well that's if you believe the marketing blurb. And, yes I fit in that category, another plus, being grouped with 25 year old, another reason for buying it! I am not sure though about my skin being dewy, re-plumped, and younger-looking, but I am very happy with this product.

              I paid £13.99 in Boots, but I expect if you fiddle around on the internet you could probably reduce this by a pound or two. I had neither the time, nor the inclination. I went out, saw the product and bought it. I am quite impulsive at times!

              I was not disappointed. The packaging is attractive, I like the dispenser, it means you only get a small amount on your finger, which is good because a small amount goes a long way. The cream actually blended into my skin, which doesn't always happen with some products. It felt smooth and creamy with a pleasant, natural smell. It also has sun protection factor 15 which is a really good plus as it protects your skin from the sun without having to consciously think about it.

              I have used this product now for about a month, L'oreal products tend to suit me, and my skin definitely feels softer and not as dry. Maybe it does work! I would recommend this to anyone else looking for value-for-money whilst still buying a quality product.

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              • Office / Highstreet Shopping / 45 Readings / 44 Ratings
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                22.02.2009 10:32
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                Great bargains to be had if you buy in the sale.

                Office sells a wide range of shoes and boots both on the high street and online. I like the mix of footwear that they sell, I love looking at their designer ranges and often wonder who on earth can manage to walk in the highest of heels without falling over.

                Their shops are usually busy, especially during sales, and so latterly I thought I would try their online store. Their website is comprehensive and easy to use. It offers many categories to choose from such as ankle boots, knee boots, high heels, mid heels and flats. I particularly like the shoe size search facility as this means that only shoes that are in stock in your size are shown. There is nothing more annoying than getting down to having spent ages deliberating your choice only to find that your size is not in stock.

                The pictures are large and clear and I am impressed with the zoom facility and being able to view the product from all angles. I think Office are shrewd in offering this facility as I am sure it must lower the rate of returns, and so make the business more profitable.

                I have recently bought a pair of boots from Office online. Purchasing my size 5 Boogaloo (!) boots was a straightforward and relatively pain free experience, that is until I get my bank statement of course. My problem, not theirs I guess.

                There were many features that all helped persuade me to buy my new boots. For a start they were priced at an almost giveaway price of £30 reduced from £95, and I could add them to my wish list whilst dithering over my choice. I could rotate my view, look at different colours, read details of the composition, and look at sizes available. A really nice touch at the bottom of the page was a feature: "We think you might like these too" offering similar styles, tempting me into spending even more money. I resisted, this time!

                There is even a size convertor from UK to EU, USA and Japanese sizing! I am pleased with the fact that I am a size 24.5 in Japan, a useful fact I can store away and retrieve from a dusty corner of my memory if ever I go there on holiday and have the urge to purchase shoes!

                Delivery was as expected and I received my boots within 3 days of ordering, which I guess is pretty much standard for internet purchases these days. They were well packed, wrapped in tissue paper, in a large size shoe box and then in a well-sealed plastic bag. They charge £3.50 post and packing per order and do not debit your card for payment until the goods are despatched. Acceptable forms of payment are: Visa, Switch, Mastercard and Solo.

                To sum up, although I like browsing in their high street stores, I found Office online to offer a more comprehensive service. I was able to access much more information about my potential purchase in a very short space of time. I would recommend Office shoes. If you have time I would check out the options online and then go to the shop to check sizing once you know exactly what you want. Beware though, it is easy to get distracted by all the other must-have shoes in the shop!

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                • Clarks Shoes & Sandals / Shoes / 23 Readings / 20 Ratings
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                  22.02.2009 05:47
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                  Quality on the high street at affordable prices.

                  Clarks not only sell shoes and boots on the high street but also online. They have a good reputation for selling well-made classic footwear. I think their reputation is built on their excellent service for measuring and fitting children's shoes properly. Their brand name is built up from this and many an adult customer is a returning child.

                  I am particularly impressed with their recent sale. I bought a pair of boots and two pairs of shoes, having convinced myself that I would only keep one pair. Who am I trying to fool? Of course, I kept all three pairs. I am quite impressed with myself as I have actually worn the boots; the shoes are still sat there in the bottom of my wardrobe. But, boy does the bottom of my wardrobe look smart, what with the two pairs of still unworn boots that I bought in this sale last year alongside the two as yet unworn pairs from this year!

                  Pricewise, Clarks are not the cheapest, but in my opinion, offer good value for money especially if you look out for their regular sales. I ended up paying around £75 for a pair of boots, and 2 pairs of shoes, which I think is really good value for money.

                  I ordered my footwear online this time. I am happy that my feet are a standard size 5 and so trying them on to check the fit was never really going to be a big issue. I duly placed my order and sat back and waited. 3 short days as it happens. The package arrived at my place of work, and I could not wait to open the boxes. I just love the minty green colour; it always means I am in for a treat.

                  I am a teacher and we are making Tudor houses next term and we need shoeboxes. I think I qualify for the prize for the best reason for buying shoes. Clarks should thank me. We will have the smartest Tudor houses ever, and more importanly, teacher is very happy and looks smart in her new boots! Oh, and I am also teaching the next generation about the virtues of buying properly fitting shoes. You couldn't ask for anything more could you?

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                    21.02.2009 21:31
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                    An entertaining way to spend an hour if you are interested in property.

                    Ok, this programme should actually be called The Kirstie and Phil Show. Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer are the presenters of Location, Location, Location. They are actually the central characters in this Channel 4 house-finding programme. It is currently shown on a Wednesday night at 8pm for 1 hour, and in my opinion is very entertaining. It is an easy watch, and is especially interesting if, like me, you like having a nosey round other people's houses. It is undemanding, yet watchable, midweek armchair viewing at its best.

                    When not appearing on tv, Kirstie and Phil work together on many other projects, and their close friendship is obvious in the programme. They both have very strong personalities and are very likeable in different ways. Handsome Phil is the laid-back but headstrong character, and, on occasions, the delectable Kirstie lets her heart rule a little bit more. Kirstie projects an upper-class girl next door image, whilst Phil is the suave, sharply dressed smooth guy.

                    Although both married to other people, they actually seem to me like a long-time married couple, often bickering and then there are the little comic asides to camera about each other. Phil often raises his eyebrows as Kirstie has a rant at him about something she is not happy with!

                    Then there are the extras, the clients, usually a couple who are looking to sell their house and move to another part of the country. They often have very specific, completely unrealistic requirements of their dream home, and it is the job of Kirstie and Phil to lower their expectations and compromise on their demands whilst still finding something that they are happy with. This does not always happen, and Kirstie often gets hacked off with the never-ending criticism of the properties that she and Phil have selected for the clients.

                    I think some people take this programme too seriously, and are blaming this intriguing couple for the current downturn in house prices, and the terrible state of the housing market in general. I think this is very harsh because surely this is a light entertainment television programme and anyone putting a tentative foot in the property market would take professional advice (or maybe not). Listen to Kirstie and Phil by all means, but take their advice in the way that it is meant.

                    I enjoy the format of the programme, although it has been on for quite a while now and is becoming a little tired and dated. However, I always tune in and enjoy a ramble around several houses with this affable duo.

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                    • wallacesacks.com / Online Shop / 56 Readings / 52 Ratings
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                      16.02.2009 15:02
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                      A great website for buying good quality homeware at great prices.

                      Half term and I have decided to revamp a spare bedroom. It being Sunday afternoon, means I am too lazy to go and buy the paint, that will wait until tomorrow. Paint buying is a Monday job, not a Sunday job. So, I decided to track down some nice bedding on t'internet. Where to start? I was going to go down the usual route of looking at Laura Ashley or Marks and Spencer and then I remembered about some lovely bedding that my American sister-in-law purchased last summer for our holiday house in France. I trawled through a few emails from her and found the name Wallace Sacks.

                      I was pleased to find their website listed on Quidco, so straight away that's a 10 per cent discount thanks! The banner across the top of the homepage announced an automatic 20 per cent discount on everything on the website (from 14-16th Feb so be quick!), reduced at checkout, so immediately we're up to 30 per cent off everything, thanks. My Sunday afternoon was fast improving.

                      Wallace Sacks sell a wide range of household items, mainly textiles, and these are grouped into the following categories: bedding, towels, furniture, soft furnishings, lighting, tableware, kitchenware, rugs, home accessories, gifts and winter clearance. The site is easy to navigate, has good, clear descriptions of items along with pictures. My only minor gripe is that the duvet cover I have ordered showed a picture of it in a bedroom setting and the only zoom in feature was to show a corner detail of the duvet. I would have liked to have seen another picture inbetween these 2 extremes.

                      Anyway, the discounts they are offering are good enough for me to take a chance I think, my delivery is due later this week so time will tell.
                      I have ordered a linen bordered, plain duvet cover, with co-ordinating Oxford pillow cases. I also pushed the boat out, it being a Sunday, and ordered a co-ordinating jumbo cord throw. The RRP was around £150, which I know should be taken with a pinch of salt, but my order added up to around £50 after all the discounts which I think is really good value for money, and I would happily have paid more (please don't tell them).

                      Customer service is impressive. Being female, I changed my mind within hours of ordering about the colour of the throw. Maybe the chocolate one would be too dark. Maybe the cream one would be better. So I fired off an email to customer services and lo and behold this morning I got a personal reply from a very nice chap called Ben who said they would try their best to send a cream one as long as the order hadn't already been picked. Thanks Ben, top marks for effort! Now, I don't mind if you still send the chocolate one, as long as you have put a bit of effort in and tried your best to humour me!

                      To sum up, Wallace Sacks have a comprehensive website, their products are good quality, I am a returning customer which is always a good sign, and their customer service is great. Go on try them!

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                      • boohoo.com / Online Shop / 57 Readings / 54 Ratings
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                        15.02.2009 19:27
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                        A great website for buying fashionable clothes with fast delivery

                        I have just bought a winter coat from this website for a bargain price of £15 plus post and packing. There was a large choice of coats and jackets, the website was easy to navigate and delivery has been rapid.

                        I ordered on Thursday evening and the postman delivered yesterday morning, Valentine's Day. As I enthusiastically opened the door thinking it was my delivery of 100 red roses from a secret admirer I suddenly realised maybe maybe roses don't come in a flat package! Alas no, all I managed to do was embarrass the postman by answering the door in my dressing gown, and I hurriedly signed for my parcel, hoping nobody had seen me!

                        I found the boohoo website through a heads up on Martin's money website. I really should do a review of that fantastic website as I seem to spend most of my life on there. However, it is so comprehensive that I can't quite face writing it, yet. Anyway, back to boohoo. The ordering was very simple, too simple really, because it is so easy to buy things online, although maybe that's my problem not theirs in all fairness.

                        The home page of the website is aesthetically pleasing, if a little busy for my liking. I just didn't know where to click next! There are the usual drop down tabs across the top, the first of which features different categories of women's clothing. The best one, in my opinion, was the one simply labelled "looks" and it contained a selection of different outfits using clothes and accessories from the website. The different looks were: Be My Valentine, Prairie Girl, 80's Retro, Pearl Queen, American Dream, Grecian Goddess and Utility. Under each theme you could buy a whole outfit in one go, I like that idea, as it takes a lot of the guesswork out of getting your look right. The only problem is that the 80's Retro sent a shiver down my spine. What is that saying about if you wore it the first time you are too old for it the second time? That's me, for sure!

                        The confirmation email came through immediately as did a more comprehensive one the next morning saying my order had been despatched. I like that touch, it means I don't have to worry about when an item is going to be delivered, well ok, it narrows down the guesswork somewhat.

                        The coat came nicely packaged, wrapped in tissue paper with a hanger as well. It is the little touches that make you decide whether to order again. My coat is what it says it is, 30% wool, and half lined. I think it would have been better fully lined, but at £15 I really can't complain about value for money. It has a spare button, useful as there is a neat 5 button detail on each cuff. I like the purple and grey checks, I like the cut of it, and I think it will be a useful addition to my working wardrobe. My only advice would be is to order larger, rather than smaller, as mine is a good fit, but I won't be able to wear too many layers underneath.

                        I would recommend ordering from this website, from my (limited) experience the clothes seem to be good value for money. I might even have to have another look right now. I have no willpower!

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                        • Q / Magazine / Newspaper / 31 Readings / 30 Ratings
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                          15.02.2009 13:45
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                          If you are interested in the people behind the songs you should read this magazine.

                          I have just bought Q magazine for the first time in ages. It is the March 2009 issue, I have just broken up for half term and wanted something to read over the obligatory slobbing with my Chinese take-away and bottle of wine on the first night of the holidays. It is a ritual most teachers follow! I was pleasantly surprised with the magazine, the Chinese was ok, and the wine was great!

                          The price of Q is £3.90, seems a bit steep, but probably compares equally with all the other monthly, glossy magazines that line the shelves these days. I wouldn't know, I never buy them. For the unitiated Q is a monthly music magazine, and it has lots of features and articles on a wide variety of music genres. I find it interesting because the interviews help me understand the real people behind the sometimes manufactured personas.

                          Q follows a set format each month, this month it includes interviews and articles on Peter Jones, Gene Simmons, Amy Winehouse, The Rise and Fall of Top of the Pops, Katy Perry, Starsailor, Florence and the Machine and Take That. Ok, I have a confession, Take That are my guilty pleasure, am going to see them (again) this summer and I am torn between the talented Mr. Barlow and the diminutive Mr. Owen! So, there is an interview with Take That in Q, is this a clever marketing ploy I wonder, to get people like me to buy magazines like Q? It reminds me of the days when Princess Di on the cover sold the magazine, whatever was inside. Ok, ok, maybe not, but the mention of Take That on the cover sold the magazine to me, so job done!

                          I love the snippets of information that I glean from Q magazine. Did you know that Dragon's Den Peter Jones is Jay Kay's biggest fan? No, me neither, but now I do I will never again look at him in the same light. Did you know that Katy Perry's parents were pastors? No, me neither, but maybe I could have guessed that one.

                          My favourite part of the magazine is quite predictably the review section. Am i that transparent? Yes! There are over 20 pages of reviews and the reviews are described as "Morrissey having a good old moan, The Boss hasn't a care in the world, Lily Allen returns, Jimi Hendrix's legacy is lasting, how to buy Bob Dylan, and Metallica and Colplay in the flesh." These reviews are really useful, as I am trying to widen my music taste (for obvious reasons I hear you say) and I will be trying one or two new genres as funds allow.

                          There is a quirky, dry sense of humour running underneath most of the magazine, that really made me laugh out loud at times, a bit like me really!
                          For example, there is a letter asking why Bono has taken to wearing eyeliner, is it to look like Keith Richards? Also, why on earth did Clint Eastwood wearing white socks with black trainers for his interview with Jamie Cullum? The obvious answer is do you fancy telling Dirty Harry his fashion sense is rubbish! Probably not everyone's taste, but I found it really funny!

                          I found the subscription offer quite bizarre. I am quite interested in a subscription but surely any self-respecting Q reader will already own The Killers cd that they are throwing in for free, a bit of an own goal there I think. Cd aside I actually think the offer might tempt me anyway. £9.99 for 3 issues delivered to my door, with a Q Special Edition Magazine and Q Quiz Book free! I am still reading the magazine, it is so packed, my only gripe is that some of the text is so small in places, I think I may need glasses. Oh heck, is that a pre-requisite to be a Q reader? It does seem to be aimed at shall we say the slightly more mature music fan. I will definitely buy it again and let you know. All in all a very good read.

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                            14.02.2009 10:53
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                            Great value if you can book one of the special offers on the website

                            I have stayed in several De Vere Hotels over the last few years, and I still go red at the thought of one of them. More of that later! In my opinion, they offer good value for money and are great venues for a weekend away.

                            However, my recommendation is to join their mailing list. I have had a couple of fantastic deals over the last couple of months, taking up their offer of £19 per room deal. Yes, that's £19 per double room. Ok, breakfast isn't included, but can be added for just £7.50 which is pretty good value when you consider that it is a help yourself, full English breakfast along with all the trimmings.

                            I stayed at Daresbury Park, Warrington last Saturday night. I had taken advantage of the £19 offer, and the hotel looked inviting on the website, so I clicked the button, and off I went! These offers are usually for weekends only, and the hotels are obviously used for conferences during the week.

                            The hotel was very easy to find, being just seconds off the M56 and the clear map on the hotel website really helped. First impressions were good, the foyer was clean and inviting, the staff were courteous without being intrusive. The room was just what I expected, comfortable, not spacious, but not cramped either! The decor was slightly dated, as was the overbearing dark furniture, but there was nothing wrong with it, just my opinion I guess.

                            I had received an email a couple of days before my stay offering various extras from £15 for a two course evening meal to extending your stay until 2pm for an extra £5 per person. We took advantage of the evening meal, and were really glad we had, it was the highlight of our stay. Excellent!

                            The new restaurant was warm and inviting. The table was beautifully set and service was very good. The choice of food was somewhat limited from the set menu, but was tasty and the presentation was exquisite. Oh, and we also took advantage of the £5 off a bottle of wine offer that was in the email as well. Total price of the 2 course meal was £41.50 for 2, in a 4 star restaurant, I was very impressed.

                            Next morning, we took advantage of the spa facilities, well actually just sat in the jacuzzi! For some reason I was feeling a little dehydrated so the chilled water cooler was a welcome touch. The fun shower made me ponder. Surely the word "fun" is subjective? In this case, definitely so! The "fun" shower had a hot and cold button, an oversized central rose and smaller, ineffectual nozzles around the edge. It appeared to have lights as well, but they weren't working either. It didn't raise my fun levels at all, so I got back in the fun jacuzzi, went in the fun steam room, then swam a length in the fun pool!

                            It was time to return to reality. Checkout was smooth, no hidden extras, the only minor irritation is getting past the barrier to get out of the car park.

                            All in all, a great relaxing stay, at a great price! No embarrasing situations either. Back to my opening paragraph. My well meaning group of friends didn't tell me that a previous group stay had been booked as a Valentine special, so when I went to reception demanding my chocolates and wine for my single room I did not know what all the funny looks were for. Doesn't a single girl need the chocolates and wine even more than a loved-up couple? I got them!

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                            • More +
                              13.02.2009 19:06
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                              Ray of sunshine in an array of depressing credit-crunch programmes

                              The Secret Millionaire is, in my opinion, a very interesting tv programme. It is not currently on Channel 4, but repeats are often found on More4. It tracks a millionaire going undercover for a few days and working with various disadvantaged people and organisations. The millionaire usually works undercover with volunteers and charitable organisations, whilst living in the local community on virtually no money. At the end of their time the millionaire decides which worthy causes to donate a lump of money to. The cameras show the reaction of the person receiving the money, it is usually one of sheer shock and then utter humility. These volunteers have genuine hearts of gold.

                              I have enjoyed each series (I think we have had 3 now). The more I watch it, the more I think it operates on various different levels and so appeals to a broad spectrum of viewers for many different reasons. Although I am comfortable with the concept of the rich giving money to the needy, I still have a few nagging doubts in the back of my mind. However, rest assured, these doubts don't change my overall positive outlook to this show, they are just minor quibbles. Maybe I am just a cynical forty something but here goes anyway!

                              Firstly, now that the programme has been around for a while do these unsuspecting people not smell a rat when someone turns up out of the blue to do voluntary work? People seem to be very trusting, welcoming them into their workplace or community with open arms, knowing absolutely nothing about these people. Are the tv cameras and crew not a bit of a give away? Ok, I know, they say they are making a documentary or something but I still think I would be far more suspicious than them about these random acts of kindness. Maybe the volunteers are too busy volunteering, to slob on the sofa like me, watching volunteers being truly gobsmacked week after week when given money by total strangers.

                              However, the other aspect of this programme which fascinates me is the profound effect this experience appears to have on some of the millionaires. They have often gone back to their old, ostentatious lifestyle and made many changes, thankfully usually for the better. More than once, they have realised that money is no longer the most important driving force in their lives. The follow-up programmes have been very thought-provoking and in more than one case have made me think about my own values and beliefs. Funny old world we live in, don't you think?

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                              • Peugeot 206 LX 1.4 5dr / Car / 32 Readings / 30 Ratings
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                                11.02.2009 20:30
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                                Buy one if you want a stylish but economical car.

                                I bought my 206, as a nearly new car almost 6 years ago. I liked it then, and I still like it now, having clocked up 80000 miles in it. I mainly travel to work in it, but have also driven it to and from the south of France along with a roof box. That is quite impressive don't you think?

                                I won't go into massive detail over the spec as that is readily available elsewhere. However, I would say that the 1.4 diesel engine is more than sufficient for me to nip around town and zip up the motorway to and from work every day. Acceleration is good, not brilliant, but that is not high on my list of priorities.

                                My Peugeot is a very reliable car, and my bills have been kept to an absolute minimum with just the recommended services, and little work needing doing inbetween. Talking of spending money, the dreaded car tax has dropped to a ridiculous £35 per year, yes, just £35!! It is also in one of the lowest insurance groups, something I had to take into account as both of my children have learnt to drive in it!

                                I have to tell you about 2 features that really appeal to me. I wasn't told about them by the main dealer salesman when I bought the car, but I would have definitely bought the car on the basis of these features.

                                The first outstanding feature is that you can set the lights to come on automatically when the light fades, great idea, but even better is the fact that the lights also switch off automatically when you get out and lock the car. If you are the sort of person who, like me is completely forgetful, this will save many hours of angst when leaving the lights on has caused a flat battery. The only downside of this is that my lights come on full when i go into the multi-storey carpark and people must think I have a screw loose. Correct!

                                The second great feature, I would rate as not quite as outstanding, but still useful. The windscreen wipers react to a sensor on the windscreen and come on automatically when it rains. In addition, they automatically vary their speed according to the conditions, altering from intermittent when it is just spitting, to double speed when it is lashing it down.

                                The interior of the car is funtional and comfortable. It has a single cd player and radio and a digital trip recorder. Other than that there aren't really any other extras, but for the money you wouldn't really expect it. The seats are quite soft, so beware if you suffer from a bad back, I would not recommend this car.

                                All in all, a great purchase, I am still happy with my car 6 years on, and would definitely consider another Peugeot as my next car.

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                                • Grand Designs / TV Programme / 29 Readings / 29 Ratings
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                                  11.02.2009 18:41
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                                  A must watch for anyone interested in house design

                                  If you have an interest in architecture you'll love Grand Designs. If you have an interest in building homes and converting old buildings you'll also love Grand Designs. If you are also interested in why people would pour mega bucks into building their dream home to exacting standards then you will be in complete tv heaven!

                                  Grand Designs is back on our tv's on Channel 4 and is an hour long programme shown weekly on Wednesdays at 9pm. I look forward to it every week, and find the human aspect of the programme particularly entertaining.

                                  Kevin Macleod is the down-to-earth no-nonsense presenter whose quizzical looks and silences often say what a lot of us are thinking. Why on earth would some of these people pour so much money into designing and building their dream homes? I have to admit that I admire the tenacity and sheer grit and determination that is often needed in these projects to see them through to the end.

                                  Many of the projects are quirky and not particularly mainstream, for example the timber framed mock watermill in The Chilterns, although there are often design elements in each build that are superb as well.

                                  The stress and anxiety on the faces of the people undertaking the Grand Design often clearly shows in these programmes.Most people are extremely pleased with the results, although it is perhaps quite telling that many swear never to embark on such projects ever again.

                                  There is a useful website at http://www.channel4.com/4homes/on-tv/grand-designs/ that contains lots of details about each programme and you can look at extra features and competitions. I find this really adds to my enjoyment. Past episodes are also available free on demand here which is a useful tool if you don't record programmes.

                                  I thoroughly enjoy the programme because I admire people who not only undertake a project like this, but also allow the tv cameras to film them, warts and all. One day I will ring Kevin, maybe...

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