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We've been coming to Florida for 14 years. Sadly the first time was a disaster as me, hubby and 3 children were all holed up together in one hotel room. Not recommended! We must have looked the most miserable family there. Also eating out may be quite cheap -but when it is twice a day x 5 plus snacks and drinks-the bill really adds up. Also the hotel pool got barely touched-as we were so keen to get full use out of our Disney passes. We didn't go back for another 8 years and thankfully we have learned something since then. We hired a villa in the first instance-and what a differenc. 4 huge bedrooms, a kitchen, laundry and our own pool can make. We were so entranced that the following year we bought our own and 'Pooh Corner' became my oasis in the sun. Now some people dream of owning a villa. To be honest it never entered my head-we just sort of fell into it. But now it really spoils you for anything else. In fact I have no desire to stay on Disney-as it is so nice to get away from the theme parks and the razzmatazz-and relax and chill out in the pool. But each to their own. I just know that being cramped in 1 room in a hotel with a communal pool is no longer my dream holiday. Not when I can lie in my pool and watch the sunset and the birds of prey come out to hunt as they fly overhead. Since we 'dipped our toes' in the property market-it has really boomed. There is a villa to suit everyone and all pockets-and so cheap. Villas on the continent are so much more expensive and don't come with games rooms, playstations, fibre optic lighting and all the little extras we owners provide. At the end of this year we will have made our 17th visit. (I think you need 3 a year just to keep your villa updated!) and I don't regret one day spent painting etc! If you've always booked a hotel or suite-maybe you should try an alternative. You've nothing to lose-and you may get hooked-like we did. After all-what can be better having a lazy swim, breakfast by your own pool and then hitting the theme parks! Alison Lyon
Having just come back from Florida and Universal's Island's Of Adventure and enjoyed The Cat In The Hat Ride- I was very keen to see The Grinch. It was very spectacular and the special effects were brilliant. I think we are just taking them for granted now! It was very noisy in parts and I wondered if it really had to be quite so frantic in places-but I thought it was a very enjoyable film that children will love. I felt there was enough humour to sustain adults and felt it could be viewed as a satire on consumerism. Plus all the characters were there that make up a society from the puffed up Mayor, to the nerdy father, the school bully, the vamp and the precocious child. Jim Carrey was amazing and so versatile. I just wish he had chosen a different accent- it sounded like an elderly Sean Connery-perhaps it was meant to! The scene where he pinches the yodeller's lederhosen was a hoot. There were some very clever references to other films-but all passed by so quickly I can't possibly remember them But all in all i think it is a must see- if only cos it shows up well on the big screen.
Really felt that there was going to be nothing on this programme to remotely interest me- but like most of the watchers it has sneaked in and grabbed my attention. I still could not watch every episode and missed most of the first few weeks- just watching from the Nasty Nick episode. However I have to say that I am pleased that it has turned out to be not as tacky as it first sounded like it was going to be. I have to admire the people taking part. I think they have been very brave exposing their lives like this. Not to mention other exposes- but I think that the majority of them should be able to come out of the house and not feel ashamed for anything done or said. Unless that is in the episodes I did not see. Most of them have come across as fine people. people most of us could relate to. I have only voted once and that was last night for Craig. I have been torn between him and Anna. I'm not 100% sure about Anna but I believe with Craig that what you see is what you get. There is a notice in our gym that he will give all his prize money to someone who is ill. He and this girl called Jo are both members of our chain of Gym. I think that deserves a vote. Don't you? Being so much in the public eye he can hardly go back on his promise- and he comes across as the person least likely too. I also like Nicola. I thought she was a female version of Craig. I was really surprised she got voted out. She was so creative. The programme took a dive after she left
My third visit now and I am just starting to work up a bit of affection for it! I hated it at first because it didn't have a focal point of a town centre and a very fast road runs along by the beach all the way towards fuengirola- but it is compensated by the fact that it has a very nice promenade well tucked away from that road and the new marina has fast become the focal point and you can meander along between both Benalmadena and Torremolinos at your leisure. The Marina is lovely with lots of little white turreted apartments like mini mosques that meander in and out of the marina like the dusty blue bells and provide some cover in the little walkays from the heat of the sun. You can look down into the water at the shoals of little pescadas and bring a line and fish if you want. There are little shps and bars all along the prom and it is a really nice way to while away many hours. Like I said I am now appreciating its finer points. Eating and drinking is very cheap on this coast- you can really push the boat out for the price of a decent night out over here. Just up the hill is the Tivoli garden leisure area with rides and shows etc- you can even take e telecabina- cable car up into the mountains and back. Hiring a car is quite cheap. A punto with air/con- a must in the hottest months cost £45 for 3 days! That's virtually nothing- considering the use we got out of it. Gibraltar just 2 hours away, marbella 30 minutes and with the air/con it is a very pleasant way of cooling down when outside the temperature was 92. Loads to do for young and old on a night with clubs or if Irish Bars are your thing their is anarea where I counted 3 or 4 within 50 yards of another. Further up the hill is an area with bars, shops and restaurants called the arroyo de la miel which is lively and worth a visit and also is a train stop too! I can definitely recommend it!
Beautiful town on the coast with a wonderful drive through the mountains if coming from Malaga side. Very charming and picturesque. Quite hilly in places, but a nice flat busy square with plenty of cafes and restaurants and excellent views. Some really nice hotels but do beware if you go one of of these unamed holidays- we were put in a hotel up a hill which would not do for elderly or disabled. Nearly fell off the hill when looking for a bar as our small Spanish hotel shut up shop very early! Lively in the town though- but it was a good 20minute walk. Nice beaches, nice caves, nice shops and ideal place if you are not bothered about travelling any further than that. However if you want to see a bit more of Spain ie Gibraltar, Marbella etc- you are a long way out!
Its a couple of years since I last visited Benidorm but I'm sure it has changed little. I have been there in the first week in January for the festival of the kings, which was excellent and the weather between the hours of 11am and about 3pm made it good enough to go in the pool-but did get a bit chilly on a night. March I found a bit windy. May was good, August and September boiling hot and November quite iffy at times, but that's the beauty of Benidorm -it's a good all-round resort that there will be a month to suit everyone's tastes. Loads to do and see. You can stroll what I think must be one of the nicest promenades ever. Never too busy with too many cars going past-and that beautiful curved Levante beach- what more can you ask but to sit with a cool glass of something at the restaurant at the end of the bay in the new part and survey all that is going on. Paragliding, sand sculpting, people bathing and so much more. Or take a stroll along the equally elegant Avenida de Mediterraneo into the old part and do some serious window shopping at some of the lovely goods for sale. Then take a rest in the shade of the Dove Garden in the middle of the old part before exploring the little windey streets with the spanish tapas bars, restaurants, curio shops and stray cats. Benidorm must be the safest town for women to walk around at night on their own- because the streets are never deserted as the Spanish people rejuvenated by a daily siesta parade the streets at all hours with their families. In the streets of the old town, the air is heavy with the wonderful spanish perfumes and aftershaves and with all the chattering it is like some noisy street party. From Benidorm you can take the train to Alicante the area capital with more elegant shops, however the siesta hours do play havoc with serious shopping. Or you go north to Calpe, which is also worth a visit through the mountains on the little rickety train. I would reccommend Benidorm to a nyone and like Blackpool it isn't!
My last visit was last year and I thoroughly recommend it even if it is just to see how it 'works'. Just come back from southern Spain in August and didn't have a visit this time, but if I had read some of these opinions on dooyoo I would have done as I didn't know about the dolphins. So there you are -dooyoo works. I thoroughly recommend a trip round the rock-to see how it 'works'. The tunnels are fantastic, and if you are polite and chatty to your taxi driver he will possibly show you more or spend more time letting you see the apes and caves. The native Gibraltarians are fiercely proud of their british heritage and although their English is good-when a group of taxi drivers get together they will speak Spanish. A lot of the natives have originated from Africa many years ago- a taxi driver told me. The shopping is good- but as usual there is a lot of cheap junk-but you may spot a bargain. Only had 4 hours there so have not tried the hotels, beaches or botanic gardens- but it is definitely a must see. Leave your car in Spain and walk over. It is so much easier and only takes about 20 mins. You get to walk across the airstrip which is an experience in itself. By doing that you miss all the queues at the border which start to build up about 4pm when you are hot and tired and want to get on your journey again-especially if you are staying as far away as Torremolinos, which is about 2hours drive away. You can get a bus there and it wasn't very expensive. Trips around the rock were about £112 last year-but a must.
Just visited Mijas on Thursday Aug 31st. Beautiful small town in the mountains about Benidorm. We hired a car for £15 with air/con (a necessity in the 90 degree heat) and it is well worth it. The best road is from Fuengirola where the road is gentle. From Benelmadena it climbs (and possibly is more scenic) but halfway up it hadn't been finished and there were quite a few potholes. The shrine to the Virgen de la Pena is well worth a visit. it is carved out of the rock and there is a lovely peaceful atmosphere inside. A lot of the hair has been removed. (see earlier opinion). Outside there are the Mijas donkeys which is enough to make you weep. They are tethered ther in baking heat with no drinking water, obviously because the authorities do not want donkey urine all over the streets. Some of the owners are cruel. i saw one slap a donkey's neck hard and then drag him to a rail and push its face into the wall. It was tethered with very little rein to move its head. Awful, really awful. There is also a plaza de toros (bull-ring) which is in regular use. The houses are all white washed and look very picturesque against the mountains. The streets are narrow ans steep. Wheelchairs and buggies will struggle in places. There is a lovely art gallery/shop with some beautiful artifacts for sale. Particular the Ebano crystal sculptures from Barcelona. Air conditioning in the shop makes it a cool respite from the heat. Lots of bars and restaurants and cheap souvenir shops which spoil it.
Exhilerating and exciting! Before Sunday had never even heard of them let alone seen them till we went to Radio One's big sunday roadshow in Stewart Park Middlesbrough- and a great day was had by all! Even the weather was half decent. There were the usual girl groups etc like Nu Generation and then My Vitriol poured onto the stage. WOW! Did everyone wake up and take notice! They weren't just live they were alive! and definitely weren't miming- unlike everyone else. The rest of them could have gone home for me and just let us listen to some stupendous music instead of stupid miming from Billie and Victoria Beckham. Really Victoria was it really necessary to come all that way for one 3 minute spot- surely the day would have been better spent with hubby and baby! Then we could have let some real musicians let rip.
I can't think why anyone in their right minds should think that we want some toy money foisted on us! It's what it sounds like and to many people it will be what it is like. We are a small island community. OK so we are in the continent of Europe and we consider ourselves european but that is as far as it goes. We don't even get the same weather systems for goodness sake. We will never ever be comitted european people, because of our unique position in the north sea and the difficulty we have getting off this island. I believe the Irish are the same. It might make more sense to have a single currency between the germans, italians, french swiss etc as they move more readily between each other's countries- but i don't believe that the ordinary man in the french rue wants it any more than we do. People are very territorial, we like our customs, culture, language and anything else that defines us as British- and our currency is no different. Just look at the hoo-ha surrounding traders giving up pounds and ounces. Already there is starting to be a turn around and they are winning back the chance to advertise their wares in pounds and ounces again. In a world where we are all starting to look alike, especially in Europe and where we can dress alike national differences are being eroded. No wonder people are clinging on to their language and currency like grim death. Not only our nationalism has been eroded, but even our rights are being taken away- such as defending your home against intruders. It may make sense to have one coinage-but the idea is totally unworkable as everyone is too confused and scared to give up the familiar. We know where we stand with our currency and there are real fears that if it is taken away we may be worse off. Many people in this country are just managing to keep their heads above financial waters as it is. It is understandable their panic should the new system leave th em worse off than the old. When I was in America recently, I was asked if the euro was popular and I said it wasn't wanted not in this country and probably not in the others also. I think that was a pretty accurate response.
I really worry about the drug culture that we are forced to put up with. I don't agree in putting harmful substances into our bodies as there are enough harmful elements in the air we breathe, water we drink and food we eat to even contemplate taking in other substances. I don't believe the authorities (hate that expression) are stringent enough in their endeavour to stamp out illegal drug taking. Whether the police or courts don't have enough powers is another debateable issue as also is the fact that I would like to think that drug taking is not condoned in our prisons again another issue. It seems to me that the older i have become that the whole drug issue is almost becoming more acceptable- like the shock element has gone from it. I think that is dreadful and so indicative of the awful downward spiral we find ourselves in. Legalising cannabis is just another way to continue this trend. It is like the authorities (there it is again) have gone soft! Giving cannabis and other illegal drugs trendy names is another way that their shock value diminishes and becomes more acceptable in society. If you are not part of the problem then you should be part of the solution. I keep giving my grown up children good information about why drug taking is wrong. Often I get laughed at, but I hope deep down the message is getting across. I don't believe in cigarette smoking. it appears to be on the increase in young people. Cigarette smoking and cannabis go together. Ban one and the other becomes harder to take up. However there is too much politics wrapped up in the issues of smoking. It's a nice litle earner for the chancellor. I don't agree with 24 hour pub opening times. It's almost like the government are working from another agenda. On the one hand they spout about cutting crime etc and then bring in relaxed rules that allows society to break down. They are the keepers of society and they are doing a lousy job. I don't want to see us go back to the 50's but i don't think it would hurt to go back to a bit of moderation. Such as pubs closing at 11 and night clubs at 2am. None of this staying open till 8 in the morning as a certain one in Leeds does. I sound like a fuddy duddy and maybe i am. I want to see Britain as a nice place to live, where people can come from abroad and see as a courteous, generous and kind nation. In doing so we will be unpopular with many people in this country and it has got to start with the government. They may be surprised how many people would support them if they took a firmer stand. Let's face it, who is going to make rational decisions when we are all stoned out of our heads. Not only do we give our power away we just leave ourselves wide open to be walked all over by the people who run this country and the people who really run this country! I'm just sick of seeing Britain going down the sink.
I was very impressed at the layouts in DFS. I think they ought to be commended for the time and thought that they put into room settings from the traditional to the modern. It certainly must give them an edge on selling suites when you can picture how they would actually look in situ. I must give them full marks for that. I thought the displays were visually stunning and creative. I was not tempted to buy however as i felt that many of the suites were very overpriced and when I spotted the one I liked I then shopped around to get the best price on it and saved £500. I questioned them about their leather suites and different types of leather. Their staff were very helpful and knowledgeable and helped me undersatand about different grades of leather, the difference between english and foreign leather and how to care for the leather. All extremely useful in helping me make a decision.
The best thing to say about B&Q is that everything you need for home and garden is virtually under one roof. The worst thing is that I don't like the set-up of their warehouses. Not B&Q's fault I know but they bought up 5or 6 northern superstores which were more female friendly and were 100% better and sorely missed. They sold all the male bit, tools, nuts and bolts-boring stuff, but were also brilliant at furniture, fabrics room sets etc and this is what B&Q lacks. If they could only incorporate that which they have sadly bulldozed we would have the best of both worlds. What they are good at is kitchen planning. Someone will arrive at your home and set about planning your kitchen spending about 3 hours working it all out and present you with a graphic print out at the end of it. You are under no obligation to buy and it costs nothing. That's service and I wish they would provide a garden planning service. We bought a bog standard white melamine kitchen on offer in MFI, Wickes and another fancy place that cost the earth and B&Q were ridiculously cheap! It looks good too. You can also get someone to advise you with colours for it too. Their garden centres are pretty good as well. I got some brilliant geraniums last year half price and they were excellent. Service is usually good, helpful and friendly and they are pretty good at putting things right when they go wrong.
You people in London think you have it bad! Well at least you in the capital see buses coming along in convoys. Try living in the north eastern coast of England where a rather famous government minister has made it his adopted home and if you don't have a car you practically cannot get out of the town! In order for my son to fulfill his work contract he had to get a car. On an apprentice's wages this has been a real hard struggle and now with his insurance due again he just doesn't have the money, so he has to attempt to get to work by bus. Well it is damn nigh impossible. He starts work at 8am and he was sent to a site about a 30 minute car journey away. So I rang the bus company to sort out the times. He had to leave home about 5-45am for the 6am bus into Stocton, then he had to get another bus into Darlington ( a distance of about 10 miles) and then get another bus into Bishop Auckland (about another 10-15 miles). After all that he would arrive 40 MINUTES LATE!!!!!! Can you believe it 2hours and 40 minutes to do a car journey of 30! I think it is shocking and more so because we are not talking of rural communities here like the government would have you believe- but a town of nearly 100,000 people! The train is another no-no! Just to get to Darlington (20 miles away and 30 min or less by car) you have to change at Thornaby (not exactly a teeming metropolis) and Stockton or Eaglescliffe! It's crazy! Why isn't there a straight through train to Darlington a main line station and a link to the north and south. I'm sorry but I'm going to have to finish here! I'm so angry I'm just about spitting teeth! I don't mean to be awful about you Londoners-just don't think we have it cushy up here-cos we don't! If the powers that be are telling you otherwise-they're lying. Even the girl in the bus office could not believe it. Oh yes and the cost of getting to work late and getting home whe never- £60 a week! Try taking that out of an apprentice's wages and you can just about work out why so many people give up and go on the dole!
An excellent time was had by all! Music was great! Crowd was great! Police were great! and for a first time event you couldn't see the join. True we were only able to pop in for about 3 hours in total and left as the rain began- but what i saw was fantastic. Shed loads of people having a superb time and all behaving well. The police were brilliant- keeping a safe distance- but there just in case. There were babes in arms and dancing grannies in this funtastic city, which is how it should be. These festivals should not be just for the 18-30's! I personally thought that the floats worked best as you could get right up to them, dedicated followers of Passion and Creamfields had the crowd going wild at 4pm in the afternoon. It was much more difficult getting to the front of the main stages so the action at the back was a lot more subdued. But hey! It was all for free. They were even giving away free cider!