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Member since: 09.09.2009

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    • More +
      01.12.2011 09:57
      Very helpful



      Well located Japanese restaurant with quality, value for money and plentiful food!

      My boyfriend and I really enjoy Japanese food as it's healthy, nutritious and tasty. I'm always trying to find new restaurants to visit as I like looking for them online, looking at reviews and as I'm vegetarian, seeing whether or not they have a good enough selection of vegetarian food - which I find Japanese restaurants usually do! We've been to a couple of Japanese restaurants in Glasgow, and although we had both heard a lot about Ichiban, had never been! Recently, we had a little date night and headed out to see whether Ichiban would meet our high standards. Well, my high standards, he would eat anything - as long as he had two pieces of bread to make a sandwich out of it.

      About Ichiban

      Ichiban is a noodle and sushi bar, serving a wide array of noodle and rice dishes, as well as sushi, teriyaki and tempura. They also have Japanese teas, which I can't find advertised on the website. These Japanese teas can be found on the back of the menu in the restaurant and look amazing! They have, what looks like, flowers inside the glass! Simply beautiful.

      There are two Ichiban restaurants currently in Glasgow. The first one was opened in June 1998 on Queen Street, the second was opened in 2002 in the West End of Glasgow, on Dumbarton Road. I visited the one on Queen Street. As the restaurant is situated upstairs, you can only see a small doorway from the street with quite a small sign saying 'Ichiban' (surprising, eh?) outside, so it's easy to miss. We found out quite easily though as we've probably walked past it 100s of times in our lives. It's easy to find as it is close to three train stations; Argyle Street Station, Central Station and Queen Street Station and is just along from George Square and the main shopping area of Glasgow. Great if you want a bite to eat after a hard day's shopping.
      As you enter, you are greeted by a waitress who will then lead you to one of the four long tables that are usually found in Japanese restaurants. There is an open kitchen, so you can see everything that's going on in there.

      What I Thought of Ichiban


      It's quite modern and doesn't look as though it's getting old, apart from the sign outside. I'm not sure if it has been renovated since opening in 1998, but it doesn't looking as though it's been there for over 13 years. It was quite bright inside, which I liked as I hate those restaurants that only give you a candle for your source of light. Romantic as it may be, I'm sure I don't look great trying to squint in the dark to see my dining partner. I liked how simple the layout of the restaurant was, not overly fussy, just like the food. I'm not so keen on those long tables though, I find that if you're trying to have an intimate dinner, having a row of people either side of you doesn't exactly aid this. It would be nice if they maybe had some booths were couples could go to eat. I also don't like the fact that there's a television on the back wall of the restaurant. It's hard not to be distracted by the television, so it seems to take away from the dining experience for me when the person you're with is staring above your head.
      Everything was also really clean, as they used disposable place mats and there weren't any covers on the tables, it is a lot more easy to keep it clean and looking clean. Also, although it's not really an item that comes under 'decor', but it is to do with cleanliness. They gave you chopsticks that were in a sealed packet, so you know that they are clean and that nobody as used them before which I really liked as I hate it when you get dirty cutlery, it's totally off-putting.


      The service was really quick and efficient. I couldn't fault this at all. The restaurant wasn't busy when we were there as it was around 5ish, so I'm not sure if the service is worse at busier times but I can't imagine so. The waitresses were really polite, accommodating and seemed to know exactly when to come over and when not to which I really like. I hate it when you're at a restaurant and you're either left waiting ages for somebody to come over, giving people 'The Eyes' and generally looking a little crazy or when they come over too much and keep talking to you. Ichiban have a nice balance of this, which I really enjoyed. I also liked that they didn't laugh or try to correct me when I was trying to say the names of the Japanese food. I've been in a few restaurants and ordered 'gnocchi' which I never remember how to pronounce and just say 'Guh-Noch-Chay' now and they've laughed or attempted to correct me which bugs me.


      Ah, the good bit. I'm not going to list everything that Ichiban serve as it is all listed on their website which you can find here; http://ichiban.co.uk/menu/

      I ordered the 'Wok Fried Yasai Chan-Han' and my other half ordered 'Wok Fried Ichiban Yakisoba'. Both our meals were delicious and we both really enjoyed them. The only thing was, that I was trying to eat rice with chopsticks with is SO difficult, especially as I am definitely no expert in chopstick-useage. My other half's meal had so many different types of meat/fish in it, so it was fun looking at his and trying to figure out which each one was.
      The meals came out really quickly, cooked perfectly and tasted really good. He's still going on about it days later and he didn't even have any bread to make a sandwich out of his meal! The portion sizes were really generous too, I couldn't finish mine!

      The only thing I would say, is that there aren't any deserts - well none that I could see. I wasn't too fussed really, as I had been filled up by the main meal, but some people do like deserts.


      All the prices are listed on the website, so if you want to look anything up specifically, have a look there.
      I'll just give an idea of how much everything kind of costs as I find it helpful when reading reviews. I hate it when you read a review of a restaurant, you get really excited about going there, only to look up the menu and see that it's extortionate!

      Our meal came up to just under £20, so that was just two main meals and a big bottle of water for us to share.

      In my opinion, the drinks are really expensive. It was £4.50 for a 1ltr bottle of water which was a little steep. Beers cost between £2.80 and £4, wines costs between £3.40 - £5.10 for a glass and £12.95 - £14.95 for a bottle. Soft drinks are all under £2.

      All the main meals are around the £8 mark, some being closer to £10, not a lot though. Bento boxes are around £13.90. Sushi is between £2.50 & £3 for 2 pieces, but you can get platters which work out cheaper as you're buying more. Sides are all around the £5 mark, with many being below.

      Apart from the drinks, I would say these prices are pretty good, especially for the portion size you get. I would say a main meal is sufficient as they are so big, so you probably wouldn't be spending more than £10/£15 each here. Obviously if you bought sides, it would be dearer.

      I'm happy paying the prices for the meals as I think it's value for money, the quality and quantity of the food is great!


      I would definitely visit Ichiban again.

      The food is really tasty, the service is great and the prices are good too. I do have really minor complaints, which to be honest, I'm being really picky about and they don't really impact on the whole dining experience too much so I won't be taking any stars of for these.

      Whole-heartedly recommending this restaurant if you ever are in Glasgow and are a fan of Japanese food or just want to try something new!

      Contact Details

      Address: 50 Queen Street, Glasgow. G1 3DS
      Telephone: 0141 204 4200
      E-mail: city@ichiban.co.uk
      Website: http://ichiban.co.uk/


      Can I ask if people could provide some constructive feedback on the review, either in the comments or as a message, as I am intending on writing a lot more restaurant reviews. So, if you feel the review could have mentioned something else or maybe mentioned something that wasn't important, or anything else, please let me know!


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      • The Invention of Lying (DVD) / DVD / 57 Readings / 56 Ratings
        More +
        08.04.2010 01:22
        Very helpful



        It could have been so much better.

        Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) lives in a world where you can trust every single person due to the fact that nobody can lie. Sadly, life isn't going so great for him. He's about to be fired from his job as a screenwriter and could lose his apartment if he can't pay the rent. On top of all that, he is quite fat and not very attractive. These are all very undesirable qualities, especially to the lady he loves, Anna (Jennifer Garner). We follow Mark as he tries to sort out his life in order to get the lady. The story line is quite straight forward and is common in romantic comedies, the added dimension of the world in which nobody can lie does make it a little more interesting but essentially, you know how it's going to end.

        I thought the idea of making an alternate reality where everyone told the truth sounded different and really made me want to see it, I knew it would provide some funny consequences and it did. It was interesting to see how much lying there actually is in the world and it provided some comic moments when you noticed little things where people couldn't lie such as in advertising. I thought this could have been taken a little further though as the film only focuses on a small number of things that 'not lying' affects. The first time you saw it, it was funny but then it lost its humour once you had seen it a few times. I felt it would have been better for them to have little snippets of the different things that it could have affected rather than just have a couple they put a lot of detail in throughout the film. I also felt that when people were telling the truth, they were actually just saying everything that was on their mind. For me, not telling someone isn't lying unless you're asked. Whenever two characters met each other, they just seem to say everything they were thinking. If not telling people what you're thinking was lying, then why wasn't everyone talking constantly? I also felt that the idea of only telling the truth made the characters appear like robots. Nobody seemed to feel any guilt for what they were saying, nor did anyone appear to be hurt even though a lot of personal, mean things were said. Just because you can only tell the truth, doesn't make it any less hurtful or emotional I don't think.

        I didn't feel the characters were that well developed. Ricky Gervais played the usual self-deprecating person, making his weight and unattractiveness the main 'comic' point in the movie. All we really knew about the character was that he was a screenwriter, who wasn't very good at his job due to the subject matter and that he was in love with Anna. I did feel that Ricky did exceptionally well in this role though, there were no high pitched screeches from him and he seemed pretty serious throughout. There's a highly emotional part in the film (I won't tell you what) and I have to say, I got a little lump in my throat. Gervais has done well in trying to turn into a serious actor and in this movie, you see that he is actually quite good. His character really needed more depth though, it would've been easier to relate to him and would've gotten me more involved with the story. We found out that Mark was 'in love' with Anna quite early on in the film, purely just because he said so. It just seemed a bit strange, it felt that we were in the world with no lies and we just had to believe that he was in love with her without any explanation. We didn't know how they knew each other beforehand or why he fell in love with her, it would have been nice to have a little knowledge about their history. Later on in the film, Mark and Anna were supposed to be 'best friends', but I didn't really feel any connection between the two whatsoever. They was absolutely no chemistry between them at all. The only reason I knew they were 'best friends' was because Mark said so. I feel that you should be able to follow what's happening in a movie without the sound because an actor's body language should be enough to convey whatever they want to show the audience. If I had turned the sound off whilst watching this, I wouldn't be able to get much of a story at all which is disappointing. Anna's character also lacked depth, I knew absolutely nothing about her whatsoever. There was a part in the movie where Mark was telling Anna how sweet and caring she was, at the point I was completely confused. So far, we had only seen this cold, nasty side to Anna and nothing else! It was just strange and again felt that because he had said that, we had to believe it. I haven't seen Jennifer Garner in a lot of movies, but the ones I have seen - I've not been that impressed. Sadly, I was equally unimpressed with her performance in this film. She seems to lack any emotion and she seems unable to control her lips! I felt she was just there to look provide some eye candy next to Ricky Gervais, which really annoys me. It seems OK for 'Hollywood' to put not-so-handsome men on screen but only incredibly beautiful women are allowed to appear in films, but I'm sure that's a whole other review! The supporting cast were what made this film, not because they were good actors but because there were so many people who you went 'Oh look, that's him/her out of that show'. There were a number of cameos from a few famous faces such as; Jonah Hill, Rob Lowe, Stephen Merchant, Christopher Guest, Shaun Williamson and finally the person I felt provided the best performance in the whole film; Tina Fey. She was the only member of the cast who provided some truly funny moments.

        I felt the movie should have focussed more on the idea of an alternate world where you can't lie rather than the love story between Mark and Anna. The romantic side of the romantic comedy was far too predictable, there was no chemistry between Gervais and Garner and it just wasn't believable. I didn't actually care whether Mark got his girl or not and was far more interested in the world where people only told the truth. Due to their attention being diverted from the alternate reality to the love story, the alternate reality didn't really feel like it was all that well thought out. There seemed to be some confusion over how telling the truth would affect individuals, as some people felt emotion when they were telling the truth whereas others, namely Anna, felt nothing and acted more like robots. The movie did make you think about the effect lying can have, even little white lies, and whether it's better to lie or to tell the truth. I think in the case of this movie, where people just poured out every single thought they had, it would have been better to lie. I felt that the fact the characters had to share every waking thought, was a way of moving the story along when it could (and should) have been done in a less obvious way. I actually found it quite difficult to grasp the concept of constantly telling the truth and was regularly saying 'So, why do they believe everything he says?' - forgetting that they would have no reason to think otherwise and they wouldn't have any clue what was happening. It was annoying that the only way the story moved along was by something that a character said, rather than the acting. It really did feel like Ricky Gervais thought that we were perhaps in the same alternate reality as the film and had to believe everything he said. Overall, it was a smart idea but sadly it didn't live up to my expectations. The love story was too predictable making that uninteresting and the idea of an alternate reality where you couldn't lie just didn't have enough attention given to it. There was just so much more that could have been done with this movie. Saying that, it wasn't actually a terrible movie, I just think I was expecting far too much. More attention could have been given to the idea of an alternate reality where people couldn't lie rather than the love story, as that was uninteresting due to the lack of chemistry between Gervais and Garner. It is enjoyable to watch and did provide a few laughs, so I will recommend it.


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        • More +
          08.02.2010 15:13
          Very helpful



          Just OK.

          At Christmas time, people tend to give my boyfriend (called The Man from here on out) a lot of aftershaves (hopefully not because they think he smells!) and this was the latest one he got. I, of course, am always on the hunt for new things to review on here so he is helping with this review. He is currently trying to think up a title for his first assisted masterpiece *cough*, so while he's doing this I'll give you the details of this aftershave.

          Cerruti 1881 Homme
          Cerruti 1881 is a men's fragrance that comes in a square, chunky bottle. It has a stone like, frosted glass effect on the front and back of the bottle, the sides being clear. I think this bottle looks quite rough and manly and not one that would make a man seem a little feminine carrying about with him. The Man quite likes the shape of the bottle, especially the rocky texture to the glass. For me to hold, the bottle is a little big, but for his hands they fit comfortable within. The cap is a little different from the bottle and doesn't really seem to 'go' with it, it's silver with thicker rings around the base of the cap. The Man doesn't really like this top as he's used to to caps that are still kind of half attached to the bottle, he's quite careless and would easily lose this.

          This aftershave comes in two sizes; 25ml and 100ml. The 25ml is £16.15 (Boots) and the 100ml is £36.51 (Boots). Although, the 100ml is available at The Perfume Shop for a slightly cheaper £29.99. You can also purchase a gift set which includes a 25ml bottle of Cerruti 1881 and a 75ml shower gel for an excellent price of £7.50. All these prices are correct as of 01/10.
          The Fragrance

          According to The Perfume Shop website; the heart notes are Lily of the Valley; top notes are Blackcurrant; base notes are musk and the overall scent has a kind of woody feel.
          At first, you are aware of the blackcurrant but that doesn't last long as it develops into a quite alcoholic citrus musk. Once it has settled on your skin, the alcohol disappears and you're left with a musky, deep smell (The Man's words, not mine). It isn't really a fragrance that you can detect all the different scents within, or we can't... It is really quite easy on the nose. The Man feels that scent isn't particularly masculine, but I think that's down to the fruitiness of it.

          I find the fragrance quite comforting, it's a pleasant scent but I think it's one for during the day. It's not strong enough to withstand the scents of clubs (even after the smoking ban!), it's quite a delicate scent - there's nothing overpowering about it.
          The fragrance doesn't have very good staying power with the scent fading within a few hours.

          Perfect for...
          I would say older men would prefer this fragrance, it's not as overpowering as some scents these days. I also don't think it's for the younger generations because my optician wears this and I'll forever be reminded of him when I smell it - lucky boyfriend...

          The Man agrees with these views (maybe not about the optician).

          In conclusion, a musky pleasant smell ideal for day-to-day wear. Perfect for when you want a nice fragrance that isn't overpowering. It's fairly priced, not the cheapest on the market but also not the most expensive. The Man wouldn't buy it and would not recommend it to a friend. I wouldn't buy it or recommend it either, it's not an unpleasant scent - it's just not my favourite.


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          • MAC Fluidline / Make Up / 68 Readings / 67 Ratings
            More +
            28.01.2010 12:45
            Very helpful



            A strange, but amazing eyeliner!

            I first came across MAC Fluidline when I was researching how to do a 1940s Pin Up look on YouTube, I came across Kandee Johnson's videos (check her out, she's amazing!). One of which included MAC Fluidline, I was intrigued as I had never seen anything like it before. I always thought eyeliner came as a pencil or as a liquid eyeliner - neither of which I am able to apply easily. This one looked a lot easier to apply than the other two types, so I had a little visit to my local MAC store and purchased this wonderful little pot!

            .::What is Fluidline?::.

            'Ultra-smooth, Fluidline's gel formula provides the precision of a liquid liner with a silkier, softer finish. Goes on "foolproof" with a brush in an easy dip-and-stroke action. Long-wearing. Smudge-proof. Lines up in a rich array of colours and finishes.'

            - MAC website

            MAC Fluidline is basically a tiny pot of a gel eyeliner. All you have to do is get an eyeliner brush, dip it in the eyeliner and put it on your eyes. The fact that they call it a 'gel' makes it sound as though it's of a really thin consistency, but it isn't. As it's thicker than a liquid eyeliner, but thinner than a pencil eyeliner it glides on really easily and gives you a really pigmented colour. It's actually amazing.

            It comes in tiny 3g pots, which have unscrewable lids. You can see a chamber within the pot holding the eyeliner. The pots look quite nice and as though they're expensive.

            None of MAC products are tested on animals.


            It currently comes in 6 different shades;

            - Rich Ground: This is a light reddish brown colour described as 'reddened coco with frost'. The 'frost' part describes the finish, which I would imagine being slightly shimmery or sparkly. I think this would look great on people who would like to wear a brown eyeliner, but have quite light features and would need a little bit of red to warm their face up a bit. I think those with brown eyes should avoid this as the red in the eyeliner wouldn't really go.

            - Macroviolet: This a gorgeous purple with a little hint of grey in it, MAC also say it has a 'pearl' finish. This would look great on a night out, especially if you have dark hair and eyes. It would be quite a dramatic look for someone with lighter features, but if it was done right it would look good. I think this would be suitable for people with all eye colours.

            - Dipdown: I really love this shade, it's next on my shopping list! Mac describe this as a 'deep dark flat brown'. The 'flat' part means that it'll just dry looking dry with no 'frosty' or 'pearly' aspects to it. Angelina Jolie wears a lot of brown eyeliner and I think it looks really subtle and a great day look, it totally changes the shape of your eye wearing it though. I think this would look great on almost everyone, although I think those with lighter hair colours should avoid this one.

            - Blitz & Glitz: Mac describe this as an 'intense black flashed with gold pearl'. The gold pearl makes it less severe and a little more interesting, it would look great on a night out. Again, it would look great on almost everyone, but it would look too dark on people with lighter features.

            - Blacktrack: This is the MAC Fluidline I have, it's just black. Again, it would be too severe for people with light features. It dries without any frostiness or pearliness and I think this would make great for both day and night.

            - Waveline: I also really want this shade, it's gorgeous. MAC describe it as 'navy blue with low level gold pearl', it looks absolutely gorgeous. As it's navy blue, I think it would look great during the day, even with the gold pearl. I also think it would look good at night. Almost everyone could wear this shade too, it would look especially good on you lucky people out there who have blonde hair. I think this really fits in with the nautical trend that's around just now.

            There is a good range of colours available, but they're all quite tame I'd say. I would really love it if MAC brought out some more, bright colours as they're supposed to be known for their wide range of colours in all their cosmetics.


            To apply MAC Fluidline, you need an eyeliner brush. MAC sell one called 209 Eyeliner Brush for £13.50 but I bought this and it didn't last that long. It's also very expensive. So I would suggest heading to your local art store and purchasing a brush there. Look for a small angled brush, you could also purchase some finer tipped brushes and see which one makes it easier to apply the eyeliner. I've found the art store brushes last a whole load longer than the MAC one I bought.

            Get a mirror, preferably one that has a magnifying side (especially if you're like me and are a bit of a blindo without your glasses!). If you position the mirror right infront of you, you'll have to close that eye and attempt to get the eyeliner on that way, but if you position the mirror so that you're looking down at it, you can keep both eyes open and be able to see the lid of your eyes. I didn't do this the first few times I tried to put this on, but as soon as I started looking down at the mirror, it made it a lot easier to apply this perfectly. It also means that you can get the eyeliner closer to your lash line and there won't be a gap. If I look down into a mirror, I find that I don't need to pull my eyelid taut to apply the eyeliner as well, but everyone skin texture is different there so you just need to figure out what works for you.

            There are lots of different looks that can be achieved by using this eyeliner, but the most flattering look is one that has a winged tip. It really extends your eyes and makes them look a lot bigger. You can have a look online and see what you would like your eye make up to look like and try replicate it. YouTube's a great place to start, it's full of some really great ideas on how to do make up. I've learnt a lot from just watching videos (especially from Kandee Johnson).

            When I apply this, I tend to start in the middle of my eye. I'm not sure why, it just makes it easier somehow. You tend to want the eyeliner to thicken a little just after the middle of your eye as it makes your eyes look wider. When you nearing the inner corner of your eye, try and get the line to be as thin as possible so that it tapers off instead of just coming to an abrupt stop. At the outer edge of your eye, stop just before your reach the outer corner. You can draw your wing coming up and out from the corner of your eye which means the eyeliner will be quite thick there. I think it looks better when you just have a little flick just before the corner of your eye, but all you can do is play around with it until you find a look that you like.

            You only need a tiny bit of MAC Fluidline to do your eyeliner. The less you put on your brush, the better and if it doesn't coat the area you want it to, you can always dip your brush in again. The pot may look small, but it really will last a long time as you use to little of. I've had my pot for about 4 months now and I'm still not even a tenth of the way through it.The eyeliner glides on so smoothly, it feels really creamy. As it is so smooth, the brush doesn't tug at your eye like an eyeliner pencil does and you can get a nice, consistent line. The texture of the gel is firmer than a liquid eyeliner, meaning that it doesn't go everywhere and you can get a nice, solid line.

            It really is a case of trial and error with this eyeliner, you just need to keep trying until you find a brush that suits you and a look that suits you. Keep practicing with the eyeliner too, it doesn't take long to get better and better at it and eventually you'll be applying it with your eyes closed.


            As I have only used Blacktrack, I will only be able to comment on the results of this particular shade, but I'm sure the quality of the other colours will be just as good as this one.

            When the eyeliner had dried, which doesn't take long at all, not even a minute - it doesn't budge. I wore it on a night out recently, I was in a club which was packed so I was very hot and sweaty, whilst the rest of my make up had gone elsewhere, the eyeliner stayed. I was also a very bad girl and didn't take my make up off before I went to bed and when I woke up in the morning, I really could have just gone straight out the door again. The eyeliner was still sitting upon my lids in pristine condition, no smudges or anything. I was always impressed with Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide On Liner for its staying power, but this is even better! You're supposed to put powder over eyeliner to make it stay put, but there is absolutely no need with MAC Fluidline.

            The colour is very intense, it's so pigmented. I don't think you'd be able to get as black a black as this with other types of eyeliners. The colour doesn't go away either, the black you got when you first put it on is the same black you get the next morning. I've never had eyeliner that's been such a solid black.

            It also doesn't irritate my eyes, which is a definite plus! Although, I don't wear contact lenses anymore, so I can't say whether it would affect contact lenses wearers.


            Considering how long this eyeliner can last, it's surprisingly easy to remove. A bit of soap and water will easily take it away, as will using an eye make up remover. There is no need to scrub away at it either, which is what I usually have to do with my make up and am left with red raw skin. Even just using a finger with some soap and water will remove the eyeliner.

            .::Price & Availability::.

            This is priced at £12.50 and for just 3g, that's a lot. I really do think it's worth it though, the little pot lasts a long time and definitely does the job it's supposed to and more! You can pay similar prices of other eyeliners which really do not match up to the quality of this one.

            You can purchase this product at any MAC store, you can search for a store near you on the MAC website or if you have a Fraser's or Harvey Nichols near you, they would most likely have a counter. You can also purchase products of the MAC website (www.maccosmetics.co.uk). Delivery can cost anywhere between £2.95 for standard delivery up to £10.95 for Saturday morning delivery.

            A scheme that MAC run so as to contribute to saving the environment is that if you return six items of MAC packaging, such as six of these empty pots, you will be able to choose a free lipstick. So, if you're ever able to finish one of these pots off, keep this in mind.


            MAC Fluidline is such a fantastic product. It provides a high pigmented colour which lasts a long time. It does take a bit of practice to apply the eyeliner, but once you have the hang of it, you will be able to apply it in no time. Even though the product doesn't budge at all once you put it on, it's remarkably easy to remove. I really do think all this is worth £12.50. The colour range isn't that wide, but there is a good variety of colours to choose from. Hopefully MAC will add a few shades to the collection.

            I wouldn't recommend this for use on your waterline, it would be too fiddly to apply.

            I would give MAC Fluidline 5 stars and I would definitely recommend it to a friend.


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            • More +
              08.01.2010 22:52
              Very helpful



              Colour Sensational!

              Maybelline Colour Sensational is the latest addition to Maybelline's range of lip colours. This lipstick has an amazing 26 different shades ranging from pale pastel pinks to deep browns, so it's easy to find one that you love! Maybelline claim that this lipstick will 'make you fall in love with high definition colour, again and again'. I'm not usually too keen on Maybelline cosmetics, but this really stands out from the rest of their make up range, I adore it!

              .::The Lipstick::.

              The lipstick comes in a rectangular container, the 'top' of the lipstick is the entire length of the tube apart from a wee silver bit at the bottom which you pull out to reveal the lipstick. The 'top' is transparent and is a similar colour to the actual lipstick. For instance, if you buy a deep red lipstick or a light red lipstick, the top will be red. The top is easy to remove and clicks back in place when you put it away, which wouldn't come off easily if it was in your bag.

              The actual lipstick twists out of the silver tube and has a little pointy bit at the top which makes it easier to apply. The lipstick isn't too wide, which also makes it easier to apply.


              As I said before, this lipstick comes in 26 shades. There are four different groups of shades; pinks, plums, reds and natural. You can find a complete list of shades here; http://www.maybelline.co.uk/PRODUCTS/Lips/LIPSTICK/NEW_Color_Sensational.aspx

              I bought two shades from the Colour Sensational range of lipsticks; Ambre Rose and Coral Pop. The Coral Pop was a lot darker than it appears on the website, so just watch for that when choosing a shade. It's much better to go instore and see them in person.

              I feel that there are a good variety of shades that will suit many skin tones.


              I usually line and fill my lips in with lip liner, this stops your lip colour bleeding, makes it last longer and will stop you having that horrible look you get when you lipstick fades in the centre and you just get a ring of lipstick on the outside of your lips. Also, you can make your lips look fuller using lip liner if you put it just outside your lips.

              I usually use a lip brush to put lipstick on, but I didn't really need to with this lipstick. The pointy bit lets you have a precise application and I didn't find that I went over my lip line at all. The lipstick is really soft and creamy and glides on really easily. I did find that with the darker colours, your lips didn't need to be in perfect condition whereas with a lighter shade you need to have perfectly moisturised lips as all dry bits will show up.


              At first, your lips are really shiny and glistening, the lipstick has a really glossy finish. This is a bit much for a day look I think, but is perfect if you're going out. There's absolutely no need for lipgloss with this lipstick! If you want to keep up this glossiness, you'll need to top it up after about an hour. The good thing about this lipstick is that although the glossiness fades, the colour doesn't. It just looks a lot more natural after a while. The colour lasts all night without the need for reapplication which i was really impressed with. It seems to tick all the boxes!

              My lips didn't dry out with this lipstick and I actually felt that the lipstick moisturised my lips. The Maybelline website says it's enriched with honey nectar which I presume conditioned my lips.

              It didn't transfer onto my teeth or anything else for that matter. The last time I wore this was at New Year and it really did last all night, despite the fact that I was kissing many people.

              It doesn't feel as though you're wearing any lipstick, it doesn't feel sticky or dry. It just feels smooth and creamy.

              .::Price & Availability::.

              So, this lipstick ticks all the boxes, but it doesn't do it at a big price. At only £6.99, it's not too bad. I've tried much more expensive lipsticks that are nowhere near as good as this.

              You can get Maybelline products at health and beauty stores, such as Superdrug. I tend to go to Boots as you can get a lovely 24 points for your Boots card when you buy the lipstick.


              I really, really love this lipstick. The shades are gorgeous and there are just so many of them. It leaves your lips feeling glossy and moisturised, although if you want glossiness all night then you will have to top it up. The colour last ages, which I was really impressed with as I've never really liked Maybelline products. 5 out of 5 from me! I'd definitely recommend it.


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              • Twilight [2008] (DVD) / DVD / 67 Readings / 66 Ratings
                More +
                06.01.2010 23:08
                Very helpful



                A movie that's only good point is a sparkly vampire...


                There was so much hype surrounding the film 'Twilight', it is absolutely everywhere. Adverts on the telly, Robert Pattinson in the top 10 sexiest men lists in magazines, everyone was talking about it! I decided to keep myself away from Twilight classing it as True Blood for Disney kids, but recently I decided to rent the movie from LoveFilm to see what all the fuss was about.

                The film is based on the first of four novels from Stephanie Meyer, although I'd heard of the films before I knew they were based on books. I have heard that the books are better than the movie, which is usually the case. Although, we wouldn't be able to perv on the amazing Robert Pattinson if we were reading the book...


                The film is about a young girl (Bella) who decides to live with her father after her mother leaves to travel alongside her new partner. She is dreading fitting in at her new school until she meets the gorgeous Edward Cullen, they of course, fall in love. Complications arise when she discovers he's a vampire, will their love be strong enough for him to resist munching her or will they have to live with broken hearts forever?

                This would be the usual teen flick if it hadn't have been for the vampires and it made it more accessible for an older audience as there was a little more to it. I did find that it took a long time for it to really get going, it was about 45 minutes in before Bella discovered he was a vampire. I felt this was a little daft as the audience weren't going to be wondering why he was so fast and strong as they'd already know he was a vampire from the advertising, it wasn't to keep them in suspense at all. It got a little more exciting nearer the end though, so it wasn't all bad.

                .::The Cast::.

                Isabella 'Bella' Swan - Kirsten Stewart: Bella is a quiet girl who tends to keep herself to herself. I found her to be a little strange, not really someone I could relate to. I think Kirsten Stewart was a little stiff in this role, I didn't find her to be a good actress. The story is narrated by her and as her voice is quite monotone, I did tend to lose interest whenever she talked.

                Edward Cullen - Robert Pattinson: Edward Cullen is a vampire who has been adopted along with four other vampires by Dr & Mrs Cullen. He's a bit strange at first and I found myself wondering why all these teenage girls were screaming in the cinemas for him (so I was told, lol) but as the story progressed I was completely in love with him! Robert Pattinson was really good in this role, although I think sometimes his magic spell was kind of broken by the special effects.

                I didn't feel as though Kirsten Stewart and Robert Pattinson kept up the chemistry throughout the film, there were moments but there wasn't a connection constantly.

                There are many other cast members in this movie, a full list of which can be found here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1099212/fullcredits#cast

                I would like to give a special mention to Billy Burke (Bella's biological father, Charlie) and Sarah Clarke (Renee, Bella's mother) who I thought, even though they had small parts, were excellent. They added a little bit of comedy into an otherwise serious film.

                Overall, the acting was ok, it was sometimes quite bland and I did feel that many of the characters (excluding Edward Cullen) didn't keep my attention for long.

                .::Special Effects::.

                The special effects were terrible, like really terrible. There's a bit where Edward Cullen goes into the sunlight and his skin 'sparkles', you could hardly notice it but it did look a little silly. It looked like he had lots of dirty gold sparkles all over him, whereas it would've looked better if his skin had glinted or gone a strange colour or something, but not sparkly!

                I also mentioned before how Edward had amazing speed, but when it showed you him running around (especially with Bella on his back) it looked really funny. It looked kinda cartoon style, it could have been done so much better.

                I think they tried to skip out on doing good special effects because whenever anything happened that would need special effects, they would just kind of cut out the camera and make it kind of stutter so you didn't see the action.

                .::The Vampires::.

                This is one of the things I hate most about the film, the fact that they didn't keep most of the stereotyped vampire traits.

                1. The vampires could go out during the day, but if it was sunny, they would sparkle. That's a little girly to me...
                2. Where are the fangs?! I didn't see any vampire fangs throughout the movie, what's more vampirey than some fangs...
                3. Too friendly! I felt there should have been more of a struggle inside Edward between his love for Bella and his instinctive need to have her for dinner.

                I just felt they made it too kiddy with all these changes, I'm a big fan of True Blood so I was constantly comparing it with that. I can see it from a teen's point of view though, it's a lot more appealing to them to have a nice, friendly man that the rugged sexy Bill we get in True Blood.

                .::The Backdrop::.

                I was really impressed with the background to the movie. It was set in a quiet little town called Forks in Washington, but when she went to see Edward in the forests it was so beautiful. The scenery was just wonderful and they did try to get as much of it in the film as possible. The backdrop to the film really added to the beauty of Bella and Edward's love and helped you become involved with the story.

                .::The Soundtrack::.

                I thought the soundtrack to the movie was awful, it stuck out like a sore thumb. It had songs from Muse, Paramore, Linkin Path and more, but they just didn't fit in with the movie. I felt that the music really detracted from what was happening onscreen and it totally changed what would have been a good scene. It made the film less atmospheric and stopped any tension building up. The songs are good on their own, but in the film, it just didn't work. All the songs were really bad choices for this movie.

                .::Price & Availability::.

                This movie is available from the following places at the following prices;

                Amazon - £4.98 (new)
                Play.com - £5.99
                HMV.com - £6.99


                This has been rated as a 12A in the UK, which I do think is appropriate. The film is very child friendly, I can't even remember there being any swearing. There are some parts which I would think younger kids may find a little scary, so if you're planning on letting your little one see it, watch it first and judge for yourself. There are some sexual references, but nothing crude and there is a scene where Bella and Edward getting a little close.

                .::Running Time::.

                It lasts just over 2 hours (122 minutes) which does start to pass quite quickly once you get into it. The first 45 minutes do seem to drag, but keep with it and you'll get to the end!

                I think younger kids may get a little bored with the first 45 minutes though and you won't really be missing much if you press fast forward.


                I did find the film a little dull and slow-moving, it took a while to get into any action. The love story between Edward and Bella was sweet but I did feel it should have had more ups and downs, also the chemistry between them could have been better. The acting wasn't that great, but there were some really good characters in the movie that made it more watchable. The backdrop of the movie was beautiful, I really enjoyed the scenery but they were over shadowed by the absolutely stunning Edward Cullen. I really do think this is one of the only attractions of the movie, I instantly fell in love with him and I can imagine that millions of teen girls with raging hormones would squeal at the sight of him! It's not the best movie I've ever seen, but it is watchable and not one that you need much thought for. I will recommend it if you're bored and have a fiver to spend.


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                • Priceless (DVD) / DVD / 62 Readings / 59 Ratings
                  More +
                  05.01.2010 15:30
                  Very helpful



                  A quirky French love story.

                  I love France & all things French and when I was given this DVD as part of a Christmas present, I was super excited to watch it! Originally a French movie called 'Hors de prix', it has been brought over to the UK with subtitles. I enjoyed this movie so much and it's been a while since I've seen such a wonderful comedy.

                  .::What's it about?::.

                  Priceless is about a woman who seduces rich men so that they'll pay for her luxurious lifestyle. She meets a bartender who she mistakes for a millionaire, although as soon as she discovers who he really is, he's dumped! We follow him as he attempts to get this gorgeous woman back with funny results!

                  It's a pretty straight forward lovestory. I haven't seen a movie recently when the girl was in control of the situation rather than the guy, which was what happened in this movie. It's a nice little twist to your usual romantic comedy.

                  It's set in the French Riviera which I thought was perfect. It was a beautiful backdrop to a gorgeous movie!


                  Audrey Tautou stars as Irène; the beautiful, young woman who wants to live a lavish lifestyle without paying for it herself. She goes around picking up rich men at bars to get all the designer dresses they can afford, she sees it as her 'work'. I loved Audrey Tautou in this role, I think she's such a versatile actress. She did a great job at being a cold hearted women who uses people, but she was also extremely comical at times. Especially during the scene in the lift.

                  The bartender who Irène mistakes for a millionaire, Jean (not pronounced Jeen), is played by Gad Elmaleh. I've never heard of this actor before, but according to imdb he's been in a number of French films. Jean was such a likeable character who you saw grow throughout the movie. He changed from this nervous, self-conscious boy to a suave, sophisticated man.

                  Other cast members included in this movie can be found here; http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0482088/

                  The acting was of really good quality, especially from the lead actors; Audrey and Gad. There was a lot of chemistry between both of them, it made you want them to end up together. I really enjoyed watching them on screen, they were really funny.


                  I know that sometimes watching movies with subtitles ain't everyone's cup of a tea, but this is well worth it. I didn't feel that trying to read what they were saying distracted me from what was happening on screen, it came second nature after a while. One thing I don't like with subtitled movies is that when some jokes are translated, it just isn't funny. I didn't find it that much of a problem with this movie, but my French is a little shabby these days!

                  I loved the backdrop of the French Riviera, it was ostentatious and beautiful. I really did feel completely involved with the culture in that area, the fact that money is everything. Also, the fact that you saw all the clothes and shoes that Irene wanted made you sympathise with her more. I'd love to have all those beautiful, expensive gowns and the fact that she basically prostituted herself for them is a little more understandable...

                  Excellent acting, which I think is essential when watching a subtitled movie as body language helps you understand what's happening. I really liked Gad Elmaleh, it was amazing to see him change throughout the movie with him ending up as a sexy, charming man who could melt any lady's heart.

                  It was a really funny story, especially the situations that Jean got himself into. Sometimes, nothing really all that funny was happening, but just the way Audrey and Gad were acting was hilarious. It made it really enjoyable.

                  .::The Stats::.

                  Drector: Pierre Salvadori
                  Rating: 12 - this is an approriate rating as there are some sexual references and some strong language. The language is easier to pick up on as it will be writen on your screen.
                  Length: 101 minutes, it's too short!
                  Price: It's available on Amazon for £3.28, bought new. So very cheap!


                  A really amusing, stylish movie with superb acting. It may not be everyone's cup of tea due to it being French and with subtitles, but I think it's worth a try. It doesn't take long to get into and keeps your attention throughout. A really witty romantic comedy.

                  I didn't watch the extras on the DVD, so this is a film only review. The extras are; the making of, deleted scenes, behind the scenes and the original theatrical trailer.


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                  • More +
                    30.12.2009 12:06
                    Very helpful



                    Easier done than said.

                    Everyday, women are blasted with photos of skinny, tall women; there a sections in many of our magazines on how to lose weight - especially how to lose lots of weight quickly. It really maddens me that everyone expects women to be super skinny without an ounce of fat on them. I don't know about you, but I let out a sigh of relief when I saw the photos of the plus size models on the runway over summer this year (2009). I felt like I'd taken off that tiny dress that I expect myself to fit into, I could finally relax. I thought those models looked amazing, much better than the usual skeletons you get. Since seeing those photos in magazines, I have stopped starving myself in the hope that I'll be happier with myself. As a young woman, I have tried many diets. I was on one diet that I could only eat a carrot, tuna and two dry crackers for dinner and other not very filling meals. I also went on the Special K diet, it lasted 3 days as I could not stand the sight of Special K after that. I bought loads of different types, but I couldn't force myself to eat anymore.

                    I have decided that I don't want to lose weight - well, I do, but I don't want to force myself to do something that's only purpose is to rid me of my extra weight. A much healthier way of losing weight is to have a healthy lifestyle; eat healthily, exercise and don't decide to completely cut out your favourite cake or chocolate! I think before, I wanted to be like the stick thin models you get on the catwalk, but I've now realised that that's not beautiful; the curves of love handles are beautiful, big thighs are beautiful (and supposedly more healthy than the skinny ones) and a bit of a rounded belly is more beautiful than a super toned six pack. It's much more important to be healthy, than just to be your target weight. A size 16 woman could be much more fit and healthy than a size 8, size doesn't matter! Lifestyle does.

                    .::Healthy Eating::.

                    I actually turned vegetarian which has helped me have a better diet as I'm trying more vegetables and actually cooking my own meals from scratch, whereas before I would shove some chicken nuggets in the oven. I think taking a bit more time to think about what you're eating is the key to healthy eating. The more often you do this, the easier it will become and eventually it will just be second nature to you.

                    Tip #1: Don't go for the easy route - start cooking things from scratch, then you'll know exactly what goes into your food. And you never know, you might actually enjoy cooking! I know it's hard in this busy world to be a kitchen goddess, but there many ways to cheat in the kitchen and when you start cooking, you'll figure them out.

                    Tip #2: Never go shopping when you're hungry - You've probably heard this a million times, but it's true. You'll just pick up things which you want to eat just now, rather than the good healthy stuff! Always take a list with you and stick to it, that way you'll be buying what you need rather than what you want.

                    Tip #3: Online grocery shopping - I know this means less exercise, but online shopping is a God send for people who want to watch their weight. At the supermarket, you're much more likely to pick up stuff like your favourite chocolate biscuits and never put them back on the shelf. Whereas with online shopping, you can see exactly what you have in your shopping basket and you'll see that packet of chocolate biscuits, you'll think 'these aren't good for me, I should put them back' and with one click, they'll be gone!

                    Tip #4: Make meal plans - I do these every week, on the Sunday I'll sit on Asda.co.uk with my cookbook next to me writing down what meals I'm making and adding the ingredients to my baskets online. If you make meal plans, you'll be less likely to say 'I can't be bothered cooking tonight, I'll just throw some crap in the oven/get a takeaway' and you'll need to use up the food you bought for that meal.

                    Tip #5: Never starve yourself - I know it seems like the quickest way to lose weight, but it's not. It has been shown that people who eat less, don't actually lose more weight. Also, if you skip a meal in the hope of losing that extra pound, when you have you next meal you'll just be craving carbs. I work 12-9 on a Saturday and only have breakfast and lunch, so when I get home at 9 for my dinner, I just want to pig out. I'll eat tonnes of chocolate and won't feel good about myself. So, never skip a meal!

                    Tip #6: Never restrict your favourite things - I eat a lot of chocolate, I love it and I know that's probably the reason I put on so much weight. Everytime I try and give up chocolate, I just want it more and then eventually give in to the craving usually having double what I would have had if I hadn't stopped myself having it. Everything is good for you in small doses, so if you're used to having a packet of crisps every day, just limit yourself to one a week. Or give yourself half a bag, twice a week.

                    Tip #7: If it's not in the house, you won't eat it - If you buy a family pack of Walkers every week when you're living by yourself, don't. If you keep a stash of biscuits in the house 'incase visitors come over', don't. If you have a bar of Galaxy under your bed, get rid of it! Honestly, this is the easiest way to lose weight, stop snacking on junk food. Buy breadsticks and tasty dips to keep hunger at bay, keep some carrot sticks in the fridge for when you're feeling a little peckish and maybe use the fruit bowl for storing fruit instead of the junk in your house!

                    So, these are all the tips I have for eating healthily. These are tiny lifestyle changes that will make a big difference. Try not do them all at a time because you'll just make it harder for yourself. Do it gradually so it's not that big a difference and you won't feel like you're forcing yourself to do it.


                    I was scared of this word too, but it's OK, it can be fun. Similarly to healthy eating, the tiniest changes can make a huge difference.

                    I found this a wee while ago, it's a BMR calculator and it works out how many calories you'd burn if you stayed in bed all day;


                    My BMR is around 1300 calories, so if I want to maintain a constant weight I just have 700 extra calories to burn (if I eat my full 2000 calories worth of food). But remember, that's if you stay in bed all day, which I tend not to. So even the smallest action such as walking around, doing housework, will burn loads of calories.

                    Tip #1: Walk as much as possible - I don't drive, but I know many people who do drive who drive everywhere. Even if it's just round the corner. So just getting out the car to go places will make a big difference. If you take the bus, get off a stop earlier than you would and walk the rest of the way. I take the train a lot, there's a train station just a little way from my house, but I walk to the next one which is about a mile and a half from my house. Doing little things like that will make you a healthier person.

                    Tip #2: Don't go it alone - If you want to take up an exercise class, do it with a friend. You'll be less likely to give it up if you have someone with you who you don't want to let down. Also, do an exercise you like. Don't just go to a class which claims to make your more fit and toned etc, go to one you like. Do swimming, dancing, trampolining! Don't decide to take up a number of classes at the one time either, it'll seem too much like hard work.

                    Tip #3: Housework! - Hoovering, dusting, scrubbing floors, everything helps you burn calories. It's not such a bad thing doing housework now, is it?

                    Tip #4: Set yourself targets - If you want to just be generally healthy, decide to get out the house three times a week for a walk. If you want to be super healthy, join a running club or another sport you enjoy and take part in competitions. So go for a 3k, then a 10k and keep going until you reach the level you want to reach.

                    I don't have very many tips for exercise because it really is the tiniest things that can make a difference in your health and fitness.

                    Don't go on these silly diets that force you to eat nothing but carrot sticks and cardboard for three weeks. Yes, you'll lose weight, but only for those three weeks. As soon as you stop doing it, the weight will pile back on. You need have a healthy lifestyle, you need exercise and you need to stop eating rubbish. That is the only way that you'll have the figure you want.

                    Also, don't force yourself to be something you're not. Don't think that losing weight will make you become a size 0, 6 foot super model. It won't. Just aim to be a healthier, fitter you!

                    As the New Year looms, I'm sure there will be a lot of people out there saying they will lose weight. Well, don't say that. Say 'I will be healthier' and try and do some of the things I've described above. You'll be much happier with yourself, believe me! And it's so much easier to do than never eating carbs, etc.

                    Good luck!


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                    • More +
                      16.12.2009 19:35
                      Very helpful
                      1 Comment



                      Perfect spot for gazing at the Christmas lights...

                      .::The Counting House::.

                      The Counting House is part of the Wetherspoon's chain of pubs, which you don't really notice from the outside. It's located in the centre of Glasgow on St. Vincent's Place, which is across from George's Square. It is located in a really good place, it's so close to the main shopping part of Glasgow and George's Square looks gorgeous around Christmas with all the lights.

                      From the outside, the building is amazing. It's quite similar to a lot of the architecture around Glasgow which I love. Inside, there are high ceilings and it looks really quite beautiful, you do feel like you're in an old-fashioned, stately home. There is a huge bar in the middle of the room, surrounded by bar stools. There are also high tables around the centre of the room. If you go a little further from the bar you will find tables and chairs for those wanting to eat, there are also some little rooms which are off from the main part of the pub.

                      The pub is open from 9am to midnight every day, but they stop serving food at 11pm. It's child friendly, the offer wi-fi access and there are television screens.

                      This place is always quite busy, especially post-work hours and on Friday and Saturday nights. It can be quite difficult to find a seat and often can find yourself standing if you're just having a drink.


                      As the pub is really busy, it's not a private place and I definitely wouldn't recommend this for a date. It can get quite loud at times, so not somewhere you want to have a serious conversation. It is good place to go before a night out, it has a bit of a buzz about it. There are several long tables, so if you've got a large group of people, it's a good place to go.

                      I also think it's quite good for a spot of lunch and a break from shopping. It'll fill you up and provide you with a good rest.


                      They've got a wide variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as coffees, etc. They sometimes do some speciality beers, I found Efes which is a Turkish beer! There are so many drinks here, so it'll be easy to find yourself something!

                      It can sometimes take ages to order a drink though, as I said before, this place is quite busy. So, at times, you will find yourself waiting absolutely donkeys before someone notices you.

                      They are very efficient at ID'ing customers and I have been ID'd many times in there. I even get ID'd if I go up to the bar with a friend who is buying alcohol even if I'm not. This is really responsible of them and I'm not one of those people who get annoyed at being ID'd constantly, but I'm sure those who do would get p!ssed off with this place.

                      One tip, never order the hot chocolate! I was eyeing up a cup with a mountain of skooshy cream and marshmallows on another table and desperately wanted it. My friend and I both got one, the cream and marshmallows were delicious, but when we got down to the actual hot chocolate - it was disgusting. It was just warmed up milk, no hint of chocolate whatsoever. Although, there was a slight hint of a chocolatey colour.


                      There are a wide variety of meals available and I was really impressed at how many vegetarian meals on the menu. This is quite unusual for a pub.

                      A full menu can be found here;


                      This is a general menu for all Wetherspoon's pubs and they do say there can be some regional differences. There is also a Christmas menu, which is available up to the 24th of December. You get a children's menu as well, which is good as I think an adult meal would just be too much for a kid.

                      To order your food, you go up to the bar with your table number, which is clearly marked on the table. You pay for your meal when you order it so remember and take your pennies up!

                      It takes absolutely ages for the food to come. On my last visit, my friends both ordered separately; one ordered a main meal and the other ordered a desert. The one who ordered the desert had to wait for ages before her thing came, she was raging.

                      Taste wise, it's OK. It's never going to be the best meal you've ever had, but it satisfies you. The portions are all really big, you get a lot for your money and it definitely fills you up. I would like it if the food was a little warmer though.

                      The price of meals range from about £2.69 for a starter to about £9 for a main meal such as a steak. Most of the meals are priced around the £5 mark which is pretty good, especially as you got a lot of food.


                      Ah, the staff. They are efficient and I really wouldn't want to be in their shoes with having to serve all those thirsty people. They do seem a little overworked though and they just seem to do the basics. If you ask for a drink, they'll give you it, but no more. They're not overly friendly and they probably could be replaced by robots with nobody noticing. I think it's too busy for them to provide excellent customer service, I really do sympathise with how much they have to work.

                      On each of my visits, I've noticed that they don't keep the place particularly tidy. They do eventually clean up the tables and whatnot, but I've gone in many times only to find many a fair few empty tables with people's plates and glasses lying on them and I've had to move them myself. This annoys me as you're really put off sitting down when a place is like that.

                      I have already mentioned the slow service provided, but I do think that's down to them not having enough staff.


                      The toilets are located at the back of the premises and you have to go down many stairs and through many doors to get to them. I'm not sure if they provide any other toilet facilities upstairs for disabled people.

                      I've got no complaints about the toilets, they always seem well maintained and I've never noticed a lack of toilet paper or handwash. There are a few full length mirrors at the end of the toilets, which I quite like, means you can check out your outfit. Also, there are no toilets up this end so it never gets too busy.


                      I'm not overly impressed by this place. You do get some good value food and it's a great place to go for a drink, but the customer service isn't that great - you have to wait too long to get a meal or to get a drink at the bar. I think they need to start tidying up after people have finished eating a bit more. It's not somewhere I'd choose to go to, but my friends seem to like going here because it is in a good location and I do quite like watching the Christmas lights in George Square from the warmth of it. I am going to recommend it, but I think this place has got to do a lot better.

                      The Counting House
                      2 St. Vincent's Place
                      G1 2DH

                      0141 225 0160


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                      • More +
                        09.12.2009 12:19
                        Very helpful



                        How to spend your money on something that will chip away the next day!

                        I came across Nails Inc last year when I was trying to find my mum a Christmas present and thought it would be nice for her to get her nails done. On my travels online in the search of a nail bar near me, I came across the most wonderful range of nail polishes. There were just so many colours, I was really impressed. I looked at the price tag though and decided not to invest as I thought £10.50 was a bit too steep for a nail polish. A few months ago, there was an offer in 'Glamour' magazine which offered a free Nails Inc nail varnish if you bought their magazine, it was only £2 so a good investment! Since then, I've bought two more nail varnishes from Nails Inc and to be honest, I've not been overly pleased with them.

                        .::Nails Inc::.

                        Nails Inc are a company, based in London, who have nail bars throughout the UK. They offer a wide variety of services and along with that, many different colours of nail varnish!

                        To have a look at the company and their services & products, just take a little look at their website: www.nailsinc.com

                        They say they provide professional quality nail varnish, but I'm not sure how true that is.

                        .::The Nail Varnish::.

                        The nail varnishes are all in plastic bottles which are about 2.5 inches high and an inch wide. They have a silver lid, apart from the limited edition 'Cystal Nail Polishes' which have crystal all over the lid. There are also limited edition nail varnishes which have charms attached around the bottle. The bottles are all 10ml, which I think is the norm for nail varnishes.

                        The brushes are all good quality, I feel they are the right size to effectively and easily coat your nail in the varnish. They're not too big, but not too small either. You could coat your nail in about 3 strokes.

                        The nail varnish is a good consistency, not too thin but not too gloopy that it's difficult to spread on your nail. You do need at least two coats with the nail varnishes to get an even finish, but I think if the product was any thicker it wouldn't coat your nail as easily.

                        As I said before, these nail varnishes come in a huge range of colours; you can get light, pastel pinks to deep purples, there are also neon colours. I was so impressed with the colours which were available to me and I think this attracts a lot of customers. The nail varnishes are all named after places in London, but sometimes they have limited edition varnishes which are named after celebrities such as the recent 'The Hills' collection.

                        .::My Experience::.

                        As I said before, I now have three different nail varnishes from Nails Inc. The first one I received free with a magazine which is called 'Shoreditch', this is a bright, hot pink colour. I found you need two coats of this for it too look even, which I wasn't too fussed about. It does chip really easily though, which I was so disappointed at. Not impressed!

                        My next nail varnish is called 'Portland Place' which is described as a dark teal colour, which it does look like in the bottle. On my nails however, it's a very deep green. After two coats of this stuff, my nails looked patchy and it didn't provide very much coverage. I put on a third to find it didn't really make any difference. I was left with patchy, green nails which of course chipped a day later.

                        The final nail varnish I have from Nails Inc is called 'Duke Street' which is a lilac colour. You only need two coats of this for it cover your nails perfectly, without any streaks or patches which was better than 'Portland Place', but again, it did chip within a day.

                        With all the nail varnishes, I found that they dried really quickly. I liked this as I hate waiting ages to do a second coat (or third & fourth, maybe even fifth in some cases?) and I don't get bored because it's taking so long and end up with one hand done and the other not.

                        I really liked the finish of the nail varnishes, they were all really shiny and your nails looked quite healthy...even though they were green! The shine stays as long as the nail varnish is on your nails, it doesn't fade even when it's chipping.

                        The nail varnish is easy to remove with nail varnish remover, it didn't leave my nails stained which is good as I don't ever put a basecoat on. The nail varnish didn't seem to damage my nails either, which can happen with nail varnishes, especially if you wear it for long periods of time.

                        .::Price & Availability::.

                        All the nail varnishes are available from the Nails Inc website; www.nailsinc.com. You can also purchase them at their nail bars, a full list of these can be found on the website but they're usually inside Fraser's. I got my 'Portland Place' & 'Duke Street' nail varnishes on ASOS, where you can find many other of the Nails Inc products.

                        The nail varnishes each cost £10.50, which I know is really expensive. You can also 'Create Your Own Collection' online (I'm not sure if this is available instore). You can get a number of nail varnishes for a discount price;

                        - 3 for £20
                        - 4 for £25
                        - 5 for £30
                        - 10 for £60 (with this collection, you get a free gift box)

                        This could save you a lot of money if you are considering buying a lot of the varnishes, whether it's for yourself or you want to buy a couple of friends the nail varnishes.

                        I got the 'Portland Place' and 'Duke Street' varnishes from ASOS for £12 as it came as a duo, so it's worth checking that out too if you want to make a little saving.

                        The limited edition varnishes (both the crystal and the charms) cost £15, which I think is a bit steep for something that nobody actually sees!


                        The quality seems to vary from varnish to varnish, but they all seem to chip! Maybe this would be helped if I wore a basecoat and topcoat and all that jazz, but I really resent having to pay extra just to get the nail varnish I paid a lot for to look good. I do like the range of colours, the finish you get with the nail varnish and also the fact that it dries really quickly. I can't give this more than three stars because the quality just isn't there for such an expensive product.


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                        • Room 101 / Discussion / 84 Readings / 79 Ratings
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                          04.12.2009 11:14
                          Very helpful




                          1. My first object in Room 101 would be mobile phones, or the functions that they have within them, such as the following:

                          - Key Sounds: This frustrates me beyond belief; why do people insist on turning up the volume on their mobile phone's key sounds? Why would you need to hear yourself pressing a key? Can you not see on the screen that you have, in fact, pressed the required key? I think it's really quite rude to do this, especially if you are in a public place. There's nothing more annoying that hearing random beeps emit from a mobile phone. If you don't know how to turn it off and ever meet me in the street, please ask me to do it. I'd be more than happy to. Generally, you just go to your phone settings and it should be under a tab there.

                          - Music: Don't get me wrong, I enjoy music, but not when it's coming from someone else's phone. I work part-time in a shop and regularly have people coming in with their phones in their pockets and rubbish music blaring from it. Why can't you use earphones? The sound quality would be much better and you wouldn't be annoying other people. I do not want to listen to your trance dance techno crap.

                          - Ringtones: I actually find quite a lot of ringtones really funny, such as the ones you get that are a cow mooing, etc. But I don't appreciate it when you are inside and you hear *beep* everytime they receive a text or some crappy ringtone whenever someone phones them. You are inside, you do not need the loudest ever ringtone to know that you've received a text or a phonecall. Just put it on vibrate, that's all you need.

                          2. The second thing I would put in Room 101 is really disgusting people;

                          - Manners: This is a biggy for me, I absolutely hate it when a customer asks for something and doesn't say please or doesn't say thank you when you complete the transaction. It's just so rude and if I treated you like that, you'd be outraged. It doesn't take long to say please or thank you and once you get in the habit of it, it comes naturally. Also, I hate it when parents don't teach their kids to say 'please' and 'thank you'. Grr...

                          - Bodily Fluids: When I was working, a man came in coughing and sneezing into a tissue, he then put this tissue down on the counter. When he left, there was a big, disgusting wet patch left on the counter. I was almost sick and I had to clean it up. Please people, keep all your snot, phlegm, spit and whatever else you have in you to yourself! The most horrible noise is hearing someone trying to get up some phlegm then spitting it on the street, it's revolting.

                          - Binge Drinkers: I am a 20 year old female who has many, many friends who go out every single weekend and get absolutely steamin'! I hardly drink, so I don't really understand the mentality of people who do this. What's the point in wasting all your money on a night that you won't remember? You want to pull? Well, let me tell you; the glazed over, half-unconscious look ain't that sexy! Limit how much you drink and you'll probably have a much better night.

                          3. Number 3 is going to have to be terrible dog owners; I know most people who have a dog are very nice and do everything they should, but there are a select few out there who continue to give dog owners a bad name:

                          - Leashes: I'm terrified of dogs and the other night, I was walking past a dog who wasn't on a leash and was trying to jump on me and I was so scared! Of course, the owner just said 'he won't hurt you' and I said a few words back to him that I shall not repeat. Please keep your dog on a leash, there are people out there just like me who don't feel safe around dogs. You may know that your dog would never hurt anyone else, but we don't and it's not fair on us to feel terrified everytime we pass a dog who hasn't got a leash on.

                          - Dog Poo: It's disgusting, it really is. How would you like it if I came round and crapped on your drive, then walked away? Part of the responsibility of having a dog is cleaning up after it; it takes two seconds. Just wear a glove, get a poop scoop or a plastic bag and pick it up. If you see anyone not cleaning up after their dog, please report them to your local authority.

                          - 'He's Just Playing': Never, ever say this to me when your dog is trying to jump on me. This drives me mad! I could not care less what it's trying to do, all I'm thinking is 'Oh My God, it's going to bite me!'. If you see your dog trying to jump on someone else; take hold of it by the collar, apologise and walk away.

                          I'm sure there are many more things that I could put in my Room 101, but these are the main things. I think the main theme in mine is respecting other people, it's always nice to remember that there are others around you and what you're doing could be driving them up the wall. Just be aware of this and if it would annoy you, don't do it!


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                            03.12.2009 13:35
                            Very helpful



                            I don't know why I haven't come here before!

                            I've walked past here many a time on my way up Buchanan Street, always noticing the fire they have at the front door. I've never really known what it was until I went with my friends to lunch there the other day and I was so impressed! I had such a lovely time and wanted to stay in there, out the cold, all day. But sadly, I had to come home and write this review!

                            Waxy O'Connors is a chain of Irish pubs, I'll of course be reviewing the Glasgow pub. The pub is open on Monday and Tuesday's from 12pm to 11pm, Wednesday - Saturday from 12pm to 12am and Sunday's from 12.30pm to 11pm. They serve great food from 12pm to 8.30pm (it says 8.45pm on the website, but we asked when we were there and the guy said 8.30pm) and you can also go there to have a little drink. They state on their website that it's strictly over 18s only, which I'm quite chuffed about as I never got ID'd (I'm 20, but regularly get ID'd for lottery tickets...). The also have a dress code, which is smart casual.

                            As soon as I stepped into this place, I was in awe. It's an actual maze of different levels full of chairs, sofas and tables! I was sure I'd walked up loads and loads of stairs, only to find myself sitting next to a window at street level. I think this because the pub is situated on a hill. It looks quite Harry Potter-esque... it's all wooden, with organs and trees - it's very strange! You can go on the website and take a 'virtual tour' if you'd like to see it for yourself, but then you'd be missing out on the delicious food!

                            We went in for lunch and a bit of people watching out the window! The menu's quite impressive and I found that it had a good selection for meat eaters (like my friends) and vegetarians (me) alike. You can go online and take a look at the menu yourself;


                            The menu changes seasonally, but there's always a good variety of food. They use fresh, local produce - so you know what you're eating is good! You can get sandwiches, salads, steak, fish and loads more. There is a good selection of sides (try the soda bread, it's amazing!) and also deserts.

                            To order your meal(s), you just go to the bar and ask for it and you pay for your meal at the bar when you're ordering. I think on Friday and Saturday nights it's different, but it does tell you on the menu. I can't quite remember.

                            I had the Soup of the Day which was vegetable soup and this came with stone baked soda bread, which was absolutely delicious. I really enjoyed it and felt it was of excellent quality. One of my friends had Sun Dried Tomato and Red Chilli Penne Pasta and as I was still a little peckish after my meal, I had a little taste of this and it was gorgeous. I wouldn't have gone for this from the description on the menu, but it tasted amazing and I'll definitely order it next time I'm there! My other friend had the Irish Stew which also came with soda bread. Sadly, I couldn't try a bit of this, but it looked delicious and my friend certainly enjoyed it!

                            Our meal was quite cheap, with my soup being only £3.50 and my friend's meals being around the £6.50 mark. The portions were really big, so it was well worth the money!

                            The atmosphere of the place was really nice, it was quite laid back and you didn't feel pressured to leave as soon as you had eaten. It was quite quiet, although I've never been here at night so it possible could be a little livelier! It was really relaxing and I could imagine myself coming here alone to read a book or something. The staff are all very pleasant, they didn't come over and interrupt our meal asking if we were OK, etc which I liked, they just tidied up when we'd finished. Overall, they were very helpful and I didn't feel intimidated to ask them a question.

                            The place was very tidy, clean and well-kept which is very unusual for a Glasgow pub! I didn't personally use the toilets, but I heard no complaints from my friends about them.

                            Overall, it's such a magical place. I really enjoyed my time here and can't wait to visit again. It's easy to find, serves amazing food and is just generally brilliant! I really can't wait to find myself here again and I hope that you get the chance to visit this place too. If you're ever visiting Glasgow, you should take a wee stroll up Buchanan Street and get yourself in here! Although, there are also Waxy O'Conner pubs in London and Manchester.

                            4 West George Street,
                            G2 1DH.

                            0141 354 5154



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                              02.12.2009 21:27
                              Very helpful



                              A fantastic eyeliner so such a good price :)

                              I used to use this eyeliner when I was younger and trying out the whole goth look...it wasn't good. I recently came across it again when I was looking for a white eyeliner and don't know why I ever left it!

                              .::What is it?::.

                              This is a soft kohl eyeliner which makes it really easy to apply, really smooth and soft. It's easy to create a smokey eye look as it's so smooth, but you can also get a sharp look as the colour is so strong. It comes as a pencil, which means you have to sharpen it. The whole pencil is the colour of eyeliner that you're using which comes in six different shades;

                              031: Jungle Green
                              064: Stormy Grey
                              071: Pure White
                              061: Jet Black
                              021: Denim Blue
                              011: Sable Brown

                              The name of the shades really explain themselves... There isn't a wide range of shades like you get with Urban Decay eyeliners, but there are the basic, low-key shades.

                              Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal Eye Pencil is available in many health and beauty retailers and are usually really quite cheap. Only £2.93 from Boots which would usually be the most expensive places.

                              .::My Experience::.

                              - The Pencil
                              The actual pencil is really good, it's quite thin so you can get an accurate application and the lid stays on really well, which is always good as I tend to shove this into my bag incase I need any top ups throughout the day and have ended up with doodles all over my important uni work in the past due to ill fitting lids. I find it quite easy to find the white one in my masses of make up, but I think if I had this in any one of the other shades, it wouldn't stand out much.

                              It sharpens really well which I have found a problem with other eye pencils as they tend to break really easily. I think Rimmel sell pencil sharpeners, but they're really easy to find.

                              - How I Use This Pencil
                              I use this pencil to make my eyes look a little wider, it works! Lady Gaga uses white eyeliner to make her eyes look bigger, take a close look at a photo of her.

                              All you do is put the pencil in the Pure White shade onto your lower waterline, it'll give you the illusion that you've got big, beautiful eyes! Remember and put mascara on your lower lashes or it'll just look a little strange. It seriously does completely change how your eyes look.

                              You could also use the white pencil to create a bit of highlighting on your eye; just below your eyebrow at the last third, just after the highest point in your brow. Put a little smidgeon along there and rub it in with your fingers and blend it. It'll make your eyes look fab!

                              I also saw a look in a magazine where they draw a line on black eyeliner on the lower lashline, but left a gap and filled this in with a gold eyeliner, but I think you could use white as well for a contrasting, different look.

                              There are so many uses for this pencil! It goes on really smoothly, so there's no need to worry about any snagging that may happen.

                              - The Effects
                              You're left with a very white, bright colour that actually does last all day. I'm sure all the other colours will be as vibrant as this one. This effect lasts all day as well!

                              I had a really busy day today and when I finally got home, it was still there as bold as it was when I put it on. Eyeliner tends to fade away throughout the day, especially on the waterline, but this one stays put!

                              Sadly though, this isn't waterproof...although, I don't know why it didn't come off my waterline if it isn't...

                              - Removal
                              It's really easy to remove although you may not want to use make up remover on your waterline... I tend to just wet a cotton bud with warm water to remove it. It comes off easily enough and you're not trying to scrub at it for ages!


                              It's a really cheap eyeliner that comes in a variety of shades, although these are limited. It provides really impressive results, which is really surprising as it is so low in price. I'm going to get the black one again and perhaps some of the other colours. I'd definitely recommend it :)


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                                29.11.2009 12:32
                                Very helpful



                                Nothing to worry about.

                                I got my first smear test this year, so I thought I would write a review on the experience that women find so terrifying. First of all, I was slightly disappointed at how un-scary the whole experience turned out to be. I was waiting and waiting for some horrible procedure to be carried out and then it was over! So, if you are worried about it, please don't be - although, that's easier said than done.

                                .::Why get a smear test?::.
                                Smear tests are very important and women are lucky that we have a way of preventing a cancer which is very common. Something like 70% of women who have cervical cancer have never been for a smear test, so it's obvious that having smear tests is a good way of preventing it.

                                .::What is a smear test?::.
                                A smear test is a 'procedure' (that makes it sounds scary, but it isn't) which takes some cells from the opening of your cervix so that they can be tested for any changes which might indicate the possibility of a cancer developing.

                                You get one every 3 years between the ages of 20 or 25 and 64 and they are completely free.

                                I'll go into more detail about the 'procedure' later on.

                                .::How to get a smear test::.
                                Most people receive a letter when they reach the age of 20 in Scotland, or 25 in England & Wales.

                                If you don't receive a letter, first thing I would do is check my birth certificate...! There is nothing stopping you from booking a smear test without receiving the letter. I was asked to go for a smear test a few months before I was 20 and was able to book it without having the letter.
                                In my case, it was the nurse at my doctor's practice that did the smear tests so I just phoned up the practice and made an appointment for a smear test with her.

                                If you're not sure who to go to for your smear test, just ask your doctor and she/he will be able to tell you.

                                .::Preparing for a smear test::.
                                You are generally asked not to have sex for at least 24 hours before a smear test, not to use tampons or a douche for 2 days before and generally not to do anything to your downstairs that could affect the results. If you are using anything to treat something down there, ask your doctor about it before getting a smear test. You should usually get a smear test between two periods, slap bang in the middle.

                                As it was my first smear test, the first thing I did was look up everything there is to know about smear tests. I even looked at videos - not pleasant by the way. I like knowing what I'm in for so that I can prepare for it and not be in for a shock, so if you're like me I would highly recommend doing some Google searches.

                                One bad point about this is that you will come across people who have had some bad experiences with smear tests or have negative opinions towards it. I found a website where women were saying that you don't actually need a smear test and it's just another way for the government to make women feel bad about themselves or to embarrass women. This could put women off or make them feel more nervous about what is going to happen, but I'd really like to assure anyone reading this that a smear test is nothing to be afraid of. It's uncomfortable, but that's about it. It's over before you know it.

                                One of the things I was most worried about was what I should do to my 'Hairy Mary' down there. I didn't know what the smear test etiquette was, should you get it all off so that it's easier for the nurse to see? Should you keep it the way it is so they don't think you're a big too young to get a smear test? I couldn't ask my friends as I was the first in my circle of friends to get it and I thought it was a bit embarrassing to ask my mum.

                                So I went for the all off route. I decided to do this because I thought it would make me feel more comfortable as I wouldn't be worrying about what the nurse thought about my 'hairstyle' down there. I'd feel less self-conscious about myself, which is a good thing.

                                I would suggest doing whatever makes you feel more comfortable. Maybe what you usually do before you go on holiday. Just anything that'll make the experience more comfortable for you.

                                The nurse won't actually care what you look like down there, she's there to get the cells and get out of there. She'll have seen many a vagina of all shapes, sizes and hairstyles and she won't be comparing your's with anyone else's.

                                If you've been through a traumatic experience such as rape, then obviously having a smear test may be a harder for you than usual so I would suggest talking to your doctor or to the nurse who will carry out the procedure beforehand about it and let them know your worries so they can make it a little easier for you. Maybe make a completely separate appointment to discuss these issues? It will be difficult for you to go through it, but it may one day save your life.

                                I think I've covered just about everything in preparing for a smear test, but if you can think of anything else that I could add in, let me know and I'll update the review.

                                One last thing, just do everything you can to make yourself more comfortable. Have a shower before you go for it or if you're appointment is later on in the day, get some fresh wipe things to make you feel less self-conscious.

                                .::Getting the dreaded smear test::.
                                This is from my experience, so it may not be the same for everyone.

                                The first thing the nurse will usually do is sit you down and ask you about your habits such as whether you smoke, drink, your sexual health, etc. This is the time to talk to your nurse about any worries you have or ask any questions about the procedure. Also, if you have any queries about your vaginal health like if you've had any unusual bleeding or discharge, just let her know.

                                The next thing is the awful undressing. The nurse will usually let you undress in private as it's a little unnerving to undress infront of someone even if they're going to see you afterwards. You just take off your trousers and underwear, I took off my socks as well because I feel I look really stupid if I'm just wearing socks. Then lie on the bed, I was given a towel to put over me to make me feel less self-conscious. If you aren't given one, but would like one, just let the nurse know. I then told the nurse I was ready and she came through and talked me through the whole thing.

                                I was asked to put my feet together and drop my knees to either side to give her access to my vagina. She then got out an individually wrapped clear plastic speculum, it was much smaller than I imagined it to be. I think this is the part that most people dread. The word sounds horrible and you have visions of being ripped apart and it being sore, but it wasn't at all. She just slipped it in and I could hardly feel it. The easiest thing is just to relax, think about something else and it'll be fine. Next came the item which collected the cells, the spatula, I can't remember but I think it was plastic. I was just looking at the ceiling at this point. The cell collecting is a little uncomfortable and you can feel it scraping you inside, it isn't sore at all. If you are in pain, let your nurse know.

                                She then took everything out of me and I was given time to dress behind the curtain. The whole procedure was over in less than a minute, all I had to do now is leave!

                                Afterwards, women sometimes bleed for a couple of days. Just like light spotting, if you get anything more than that, let your doctor know.

                                Another thing to note is that you can easily get some extreme sympathy from your other half, let them know about the "big metal contraption" that was shoved inside of you without any lubrication and it cutting at your insides, etc. Ham it up a bit! Let them know that the only way to feel better is a lot of chocolate and movies of your choice for a couple of weeks.

                                .::The results::.
                                The results usually take about 4-6 weeks to come through and should hopefully let you know that no abnormal cells were found and your next smear would be in 3 years.

                                Sometimes however, abnormal cells will be found and these are in 3 levels;

                                Mild changes (CIN1)
                                Moderate changes (CIN2)
                                Severe changes (CIN3)

                                If you have mild changes, you will be asked to have a follow up smear test 3-6 months later because usually the cells heal themselves if there are only mild changes. Sometimes they don't though and then you will be asked to go for a colposcopy which is basically just a tiny camera inserted into your vagina so that the doctors can get a closer look at what's happening down there.

                                Moderate and severe changes will automatically be given a colposcopy, this is nothing to worry about as there are many ways to treat abnormal cells long before they turn into cancer.

                                Sometimes, women are given biopsies just so the doctors can look into the cells further. I've never had a colposcopy or a biopsy, but there are lots of information on them on the internet and on the other smear test reviews on Ciao, especially this one;


                                Loop Diathermy - This is where a tiny wire loop is put around the abnormal cells and a current is passed through them to cut out and seal them. Usually local anaesthetic is given during this procedure.

                                Laser therapy - Abnormal cells are vaporised by a really hot laser. You are given an anaesthetic during this one too.

                                Cold Coagulation - In this procedure, the abnormal cells are burned away.

                                Cryotherapy - This is a very uncommon procedure as it's not very effective. They basically freeze away the abnormal cells.

                                To find out more information about treatments, there are many websites available and it would also be useful talking to your doctor if you are worried about it.

                                Smear tests only take a few minutes and could save your life, so it's not worth it not to get one - and you only have to get one every 3 years. There are slightly uncomfortable, but they're completely pain-free for most, so nothing to be worried about. Just do whatever you can to make yourself feel comfortable with the whole thing.


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                                  25.11.2009 20:19
                                  Very helpful



                                  A definite essential to a vegetarian!

                                  I was recently browsing Borders' bookshelves in search of a new vegetarian cookbook, of which there are many! I had gotten bored with my current one and tried many of the recipes, so I wanted to try something a little bit different! I noticed this one straight away and was drawn to it by its simple, but quite artistic cover. I flicked through it and was met with pages and pages of wonderful sounding recipes and lovely pictures to accompany. So, I bought it straight away. When I get a new cookbook, I tend to sit on the sofa and read through all the recipes, I'm not sure why. Whilst I was reading through this one, I found that a lot of the recipes appealed to me even though I'm a crazy picky eater. There's a wide range of different recipes that'll suit even the pickiest eater!

                                  The book is split into 18 sections; 'Foreward', 'The Vegetarian Adventure', 'Soups and Starters', 'Snack and Party Food', 'Pies, Flans and Pizzas', 'Pancakes, Fritters and Omelettes', 'Pasta and Noodles', 'Grains and Pulses', 'Casseroles and Bakes', 'Salads', 'Vegetables on the Side', 'Stir-fries', 'Savoury Breads, Muffins and Scones', 'Sauces, Dressings and Condiments', 'Deserts', 'Cakes, Pastries and Sweet Muffins', 'Drinks' and finally the 'Index'. Within many of the chapters, there is a little section about a certain type of food and different dishes you can make with this.


                                  This is just a page detailing how far vegetarian cooking has come as an introduction to the book.

                                  .::The Vegetarian Adventure::.

                                  This section is split up into a further 10 categories;

                                  -The Healthy Food Pyramid: This let's you know what food you need more of (at the bottom of the triangle) and (at the top of the triangle) what types of food you should eat less of, sadly this includes chocolate! I found this quite helpful as there's an illustration of the food pyramid which helped me understand types of food. Along with this, there is a description of the pyramid and a little section on menu planning.

                                  -Carbohydrates: This section lets you know why you need carbohydrates and which foods are particularly rich in carbohydrates, more specifically complex carbohydrates - keeping you feeling fuller for longer, which is essential when eating a non-meat diet as it tends to be the meat that fills you up.

                                  -Fibre: Again, this section tells you about why your body needs fibre and the different types of it and where you can find it and where there is none, such as in dairy products.

                                  -Protein: A lot of your protein comes from meat, so this section lets you know where you can find protein (bleuch, peanut butter!). You need protein for cell growth, tissue repair and reproduction so obviously it's essential for children and pregnant woman.

                                  -Vegans: This section tells you about the four plant groups; grains, pulses, vegetables and fruits and how it's essential to try and food from each of the groups everyday. I didn't really pay any attention to this section as I love my milk!

                                  -Vitamins and Minerals: I found this section really interesting as it told you about all the different vitamins and minerals, what they are needed for and where you can find them.

                                  -The Fat Trap: This sounds scary, doesn't it? This part tells you all about the different types of fats, what they do to you and where you can find these. There was also a little bit about dieting which was basically where you find fat and how you can cut it out your diet.

                                  -Hero Foods: This section sounds better than the last, doesn't it? This is a list of important foods in a vegetarian diet because they're full of nutrients that everyone needs, these are; lentils, soya beans, rolled oats, wheat bran, eggs, dried apricots, milk, yoghurt, cheese, spinach, unhulled sesame seeds, tofu, tempeh and yeast extract.

                                  -A Word of Foods: This section showed you what herbs and spices go well with particular foods. It also gave you advice on serving a vegetarian meal.

                                  -How To Use This Book: This part picked out various elements of the book letting you know what they're for.

                                  I really liked this section as it gave me a greater insight into a vegetarian diet. A lot of people had been telling me 'you need meat!' - including my doctor, but this really let me know that I don't need meat at all. There were lots of pictures throughout the section which are useful if you're just wanting to take a quick look at where you can get carbs or protein or whatever. I found this part of the book really encourages you to start making your own recipes, once you've got a little more confident in the kitchen. You learnt about what flavours go with what and how to make your diet as varied as possible. I learnt a lot from this part of the book and learnt the importance of getting as many different foods as possible into your diet. It's an essential read for anyone who just wants to start eating healthier!

                                  .::Soups & Starters::.

                                  There are many soups and starters in this chapter ranging from a straight forward watercress soup to a wonderful sounding 'soupe au pistou'. As well as soups, there are starters such as grilled vegetables with garlic mayonnaise and chilli puffs with curried vegetables. In this section there are little 'boxes' letting you know how to make vegetable stock and a couple soups that are simple and really quick to make. There is also advice on how to prepare dried beans or split peas as well as advice on how to freeze soups.


                                  The little section within this chapter is 'antipasto' which are little appetizers. Included in this section is marinated roasted peppers, sweet and sour onions, golden fried goats cheese, char-grilled spring onions and asparagus, mushrooms in lime and chilli.

                                  I have made a recipe out of this section; vegetable strudel which was absolutely delicious. It was quite straight-forward to make up, although I haven't ever made any pastry dishes before and the steps were really easy to follow. It didn't turn out looking as good as the pictures, but it tasted as good as it looked in the picture. I'm sure with practise, I'll have it looking as pretty as it did in the picture.

                                  .::Snacks and Party Food::.

                                  There are many recipes within this chapter which are as easy to make like cajun potato wedges. There is also vegetable spring rolls which requires no cooking time whatsoever, so this would be useful if you're having a party and want to limit the amount of cooking you have to do before it. The recipes are all quite different and unusual, so would certainly impress at a party. There are also a couple of fast recipes within this section and advice on peeling garlic.


                                  Tomatoes is the subsection within this chapter with recipes such as tomato salad, home-dried tomatoes, tomato pizzettas, warm tomato sauce and bruschetta with tomato. When you think of tomatos, you think of summer and salads and although there is a salad in this there is also warm, wintery food such as bruschetta and the pizzettas.

                                  .::Pies, Flans and Pizzas::.

                                  All these recipes are great for winter, what's better than settling in on a cold, rainy, winter evening to eating a roasty toasty pie? Nothing I hear you say? You're right! Recipes range from comforting vegetable pasties to unusual silverbeet pie (I have never heard of many of the ingredients in this pie!). The advice seems to be rather impractical in this section with it being about decorating pies...


                                  Potatoes are the little section in this chapter, they are described as the ultimate comfort food with gorgeous recipes such as potato wedges, potato gnocchi, rosemary oven roasted potatoes, warm and spicy potato salad and potatoes with creme fraiche & avocado salsa. It's amazing what you can do with potatoes and all these recipes sounds amazing.

                                  .::Pancakes, Fritters and Omelettes::.

                                  I actually never knew about all the different types of pancakes, fritters or omelettes you could get. It's actually crazy! One of the recipes that I'd like to try out the most is 'crispy fried mushroom crepes', but I am actually terrible at making crepes. There are many different ideas for frittatas which looks so filling, such as leek, courgette and cheese frittata. Don't you think that sounds as though it would satisfy you for years?

                                  -Vegetable Chips

                                  There are recipes for different types of chips and crisps in this section such as beetroot chips, crispy sweet potato discs, courgette ribbons, potato chips, pumpkin crisps and carrot & herb ribbons. I think these would be a great alternative to junk food like crisps. They would be food if you were having a little movie night or something and would like something a little different to the usual popcorn.

                                  .::Pasta and Noodles::.

                                  A lot of these recipes involve making your own pasta such as pumpkin and herb ravioli, which is something I've never done before. It does seem quite straight-forward though - I'll be eating my words I think when I try it! There are simple recipes like 'fettucini alfredo' and harder ones such as tortellini with mushroom sauce.


                                  I love mushrooms, so I was really looking forward to trying out a recipe from here. I got to choose from; pesto-filled mushrooms, golden mushroom tart, mushroom yoghurt tart, mushroom yoghurt dip and marinated mushrooms.

                                  I chose 'golden mushroom tart', it was absolutely delicious and so easy to make. It didn't take long and only used a few ingredients. One problem I did have with it was the fact that I'd never used puff pastry before and I wanted to be cheap and save money by not purchasing the already rolled stuff so I rolled my own. I rolled it out to about 2mm thick and it rose to 10cm in the oven, I was so shocked! It would have been nice if they had let me know how thick I should roll the pastry, but I suppose it isn't a beginners book. But it tasted gorgeous, even the onions - and I hate onions.

                                  .::Grains and Pulses::.

                                  This has got to be my favourite section as all the recipes sounds so gorgeous and filling such as chickpea curry, vegetable couscous and the one I tried out - onion and parmesan pilaf.

                                  I was so impressed with the onion and parmesan pilaf I made, it was delicious and it actually looked very similar to the one in the picture. I found it easy to follow the steps and cook, especially as I'm a cook by eye 'chef', which isn't good as I'm not very good at judging time. Each step let you know what it should look like at the end of it which was particularly helpful as my idea of 10 minutes is about 2 minutes in actual time.


                                  I've never had polenta, I actually don't even think I know what it is. So, this section taught me how to make it with 'basic polenta' and the various things you can do with it; mediterranean polenta frittata, char-grilled polenta, polenta with chilli jam, polenta sticks with artichokes, feta & peppers and polenta pizza.

                                  .::Casseroles and Bakes::.

                                  This has a range of bakes such as fettucini bake, mexican tomato bake (which looks great!) or carrot and pesto bake - which I have never heard of before. There are also casseroles such as Hungarian casserole, winter vegetable casserole and spicy chickpea and vegetable casserole. They all look great winter food, instantly warmness and comfort. There are also some unusual dishes like golden nugget souffles and stuffed pumpkins.

                                  There is no subsection within this chapter.


                                  My idea of a salad is iceberg lettuce, chopped tomatos, cucumber and mozarella...not very adventurous. There are so many different types of salads, most of which I would never have thought of. The warm lentil and rice salad sounds like a really good winter lunch meal, whereas there are other summery salads such as watercress salad which contains oranges - sounds strange, but looks delicious.


                                  I don't really like olives, but I don't actually think I have ever tried them. The recipes in this section sounds very tantalising such as marinated lemon & garlic olives, chilli-spiced baby olives with herbs, olive & tomato tapenade, olive salsa and bruschetta with olives, bocconcini & tomatoes.

                                  .::Vegetables on the Side::.

                                  This chapter is great for people who aren't vegetarian but would like to add some more vegetables to their diet whilst making them interesting. It can sometimes be quite difficult to find something to accompany a meal, but you can chose from a wonderful selection such as; potato & pea curry, stuffed courgette blossoms, sugar peas & carrots in lime butter. These would certainly add to some excitement to a meal instead of your usual carrots, peas and potatoes.

                                  -Vegetable Purees

                                  These are mixes that you can use either as a pasta sauce or maybe as a dip for some finger food if you're feeling a little peckish but don't want to open that packet of Doritos as you can finally fit in that dress! Some purees are; jerusalem artichoke puree, parsnip & leek puree, asparagus puree, red pepper puree and roast tomato & chickpea puree. I'm not too sure about these, I've never eaten anything pureed before as far as I can remember - apart from pureed pears, delicious! They're worth a try though, I think the last one looks quite good.


                                  In this chapter, you have the usual vegetable stir-fry, along with chinese vegetables with ginger and almond & brocolli stir-fry. I quite like stir-fries as they are a quick, easy and healthy dinner and almost anybody likes them! This is quite a small chapter in the book, but has a lot of different ideas about making a stir-fry. There is also advice on how to sprout your own beans, to make bean sprouts! I know this is silly, but I never actually thought that bean sprouts come from beans sprouting...

                                  -Tofu and Tempeh

                                  I've never had tofu or tempeh (I don't know what tempeh is), but I know that they're a great alternative meat and can add a bit of extra substance to a meal. There is only three dishes provide in this subsection, which are; spicy tempeh, steam tempeh with asian greens and sesame tofu bites. I'm sure you could add tofu/tempeh to most if not all the other dishes in this cookbook.

                                  .::Savoury Breads, Muffins and Scones::.

                                  This section's for the perfect little housewife who loves baking - not me! I tend to only cook for dinner and nothing else, mainly because I'm a student and can't afford to make extra special treats, lol. If you do enjoy making bread and whatnot, there is a wide range of recipes for things like; lemon pepper bread, focaccia, tortillas and chapattis.


                                  Ashed herb goats cheese, marinated grilled garlic haloumi, feta cheese & sun-dried tomatoes in oil, baked ricotta, pesto herb spread and almond ricotta cream with fresh fruits & berries. These are all excellent recipes for a little difference to your usual cheeses. I think they would all make an interesting talking point if you were having these at a dinner party.

                                  .::Sauces, Dressings and Condiments::.

                                  There are many recipes in here about the basics such as bechamel sauce, hollandaise and tomato sauce. There are also more difficult ones like chilli jam, butter scotch sauce. If you need something to make a dry meal a bit more juicy, it's so easy to find something in this chapter to satisfy your needs.

                                  There is also no subsection within this chapter.


                                  Everyone's favourite! One which looks fantastic is the blueberry cheesecake, there is also peach baklava and peach charlottes with melba sauce. A traditional favourite is apple pie or if you want to get a little more adventurous, you could try the hot passionfruit souffle, which sounds gorgeous!

                                  -Summer Fruits

                                  Here are some recipes that include some delicious summer fruits such as; raspberry fool, mango ice cream, nectarine tarts, fresh fruit with butterscotch mascarpone and cherry gratin. These all sound wonderfully refreshing and great for summer, or if you would like to just cheer yourself up on a horrible, winters' day.

                                  .::Cakes, Pastries and Sweet Muffins::.

                                  Instead of your usual banana cake, you could try the pineapple and banana cake, which sounds so delicious. There is a coffee liqueur gateau also and my favourite, blueberry muffins!

                                  -Icings and Frostings

                                  One of the best bits of any cake is the icing and this little section tells you all about different types of icing instead of your usual stuff out the packet. There is butter cream, chocolate icing, honey mock cream, citrus glace icing, soft citrus icing, cream cheese frosting and chocolate ganache.


                                  This isn't really a section I find in a lot of recipe books, but there are lots of recipes for different drinks if you're a bit bored with the usual tea, coffee or diluting juice. You could have some posh coffees such as vienna coffee, irish coffee or spicy coffee. Or if you fancy something chocolatey you could try iced chocolate or the chocolate thick-shake. If you need something fruity to satisfy you, what about energy shake, mango frappe or peach dream? They sound so delicious and I'm really looking forward to trying them out.

                                  There is no subsection in this chapter.


                                  This is an alphabetical list of all the recipes within the book which makes it easier to find the meal you want. From this you can see just how many recipes this book actually contains, it really will keep you satisfied for years!

                                  .::What I Thought Of The Book::.

                                  All the recipes are written with a list of ingredients including a variety of measurements so you can find one that you like using most. The actual recipes are then written in step form so are really easy to follow. The steps are all very short and there aren't very many of them, so you don't actually feel like you're doing a lot to achieve the dish you want, but when you're finished, you're left with an amazing looking meal.

                                  The recipes also have a star rating to let you know how easy or difficult a specific recipe is;

                                  -One star - simple and easy to make.
                                  -Two stars - indicate the need for a little more time or care.
                                  -Three stars - need a lot of time, care and patience.

                                  I quite liked these star ratings as I felt myself drawn to '1 Star' recipes as I'm not a very confident cook. I think once I start getting a bit better in the kitchen, I'll move onto '2 Star' and maybe even '3 Star' recipes! It was good to be able to know beforehand how hard it was going to be to make a recipe. It's horrible when you start making a recipe, only for it to get really difficult halfway through making it.

                                  Most of the recipes are for upwards of 6 people which I found a little annoying as I constantly needed to half all the measurements and sometimes even sixth them if I was just cooking for myself. It is straight-forward to lessen the quantities though, so it didn't put me off the cookbook. Because of the large number of people that these recipes are for, it would be great for a large family.

                                  The ingredients are all pretty simple and easy to find, they don't tend to cost a lot either. I tend to my shopping once a week though and by the end of the week, a lot of the ingredients were not as fresh as they should have been when I cooked them. There are a wide variety of vegetables used in the cookbook, but it's easy to swap ones that you don't like - especially if you take a little look at beginning of the book when they tell you where to find certain nutrients. Try and replace the vegetable you don't like with one which has similar nutrients.

                                  Down the side of most of the pages are some margin notes which could contain information about the recipe, perhaps its history or maybe a little history of the food. Also, how to deal with certain ingredients. I found these quite interesting, but so far, they haven't really helped me with my cooking.

                                  Within each chapter of the book, there is a little box that gives you an alternative, simpler and quicker meal. This is great if you know what kind of meal you want, but can't really be bothered making a super big one. Also, as they are so basic, it is a kind of starter. So, from this you can add in whatever you want to make a meal you love.

                                  There are also loads and loads of pictures in the book, which I really like. They all look so 'homey' & comforting and it feels really good when your recipe turns out exactly like the picture. I also like looking through the pictures and find myself looking for a recipe if I think the picture looks good; my favourite is the blueberry cheesecake.

                                  The little subsections that were within some of the main chapters I found it be quite quick to make (I made the mushroom tart one night) and extremely simple. The recipe isn't as detailed as the ones on the other pages, but you didn't really need a lot of information as they are extremely easy recipes. I did find that when I was making the mushroom tart, I was a little confused with some terminology used. I had to cook some onions in red wine vinegar and cook until the onions had caramelised, but I had no idea what caramelised onions look like so it would've been nice if it had gone into a little more depth about that. I'm sure I could have Googled it, but I was in the middle of cooking.

                                  The book is paperback, which I don't think would last long in my kitchen! I make a terrible mess when I'm cooking so any spills and stains are going to cause a lot of damage to the book over time. The pages of the book aren't thin, but nor are they food-proof!

                                  .::Price and Availability::.

                                  I purchased my copy in Borders, they original price was £12.99, but I got it for £11.69 due to have a student card. It's available on Amazon for a discounted price of only £5.19 new or you can buy one from an Amazon Marketplace Seller for £4.65.

                                  I think even though I did pay a lot for my copy and probably should've shopped around for it, it is worth the pennies. There are so many different recipes that it's easy to find something that you're going to like.

                                  ISBN: 978 1 74045 409 4


                                  Overall, it's a wonderful book with an amazing number of recipes! They're all very easy to follow and make, I actually enjoyed cooking all these as they were so simple. Most importantly, they taste delicious!

                                  I really liked the bit at the start which told you all about nutrients and whatnot, it has really helped me diet a lot more healthy, which it wasn't before. It does show you that even though you're eating all these healthy vegetables, it doesn't mean that your diet is actually healthy!

                                  It's an excellent book, even for meat eaters who just want to try and eat some more vegetables. You could even try having one night a week where you just have a vegetarian meal.


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