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Excerpt from dooyoo's information page: dooyoo and the daytime TV programme Trisha have teamed up to find volunteers to appear on the show. They are looking for people willing to talk about the following subjects. "Are you having relationship difficulties? Maybe you have a sexual problem? Or perhaps a jealous partner is pushing you to breaking point? Do you suspect your partner of cheating on you? Perhaps you're sick of their lies and deceitful ways and want to do some honest talking. Or, are you the one who feels it's time to come clean? Maybe your marriage has hit a rocky patch and you're sick of the constant arguing - do you want to save your marriage?" I have a confession to make. You see by day I'm a respectable loving mum, but by night, I'm a rampant sex obsessed beast. I'm here today to tell you "Make love to me 20 times a day or we are finished? What's that you say *turns to lover of twenty years* you're really a woman? Oh no, I never knew! Yesidoo gasps in horror as audience begins to laugh uncontrollably "but how did you make love to me for all these years without me noticing? Trisha makes innuendo about not missing much anyway. "Well the truth is Yesidoo, that I used to make love with the lights off every time, and I had a good deal going with the local chippy and their savaloy sausages! But that's not all, I never really loved you, I was just using you to shield my sexuality, and I'm here to tell you that I've been sleeping with your brother for five years!? Cut to audience hissing and booing. Trish interrupts, "But Mr Yesidoo, how could you do this to your lover of twenty years, don't you feel ashamed? Why would you bring Yesidoo on National TV to tell her this?" Mr Yesidoo (now known as Ms Yesidoo and revealing noticeable cleavage to delight of male audience members, that Yesidoo had never noticed in all her time with Ms Yesido o) gives cocky shrug. Cut to audience member who wants to talk. "Well I fink vat it's well wrong wot you is doin! it's sick innit? You ought to be locked up wiv all the uvver wierdos? Audience claps and makes agreeing noises. Audience member sits down hoping her comment has earned her a free bottle of bubbly for being the most outrageous and offensive comment. Yesidoo begins to cry, Trisha walks down to sofa and crouches beside her. Trisha attempts to talk in a caring I know how you feel, I've been there and I ache for you type way, which will give the show a bit more depth? Scene ends and Yesidoo is carted off with the promise of some counselling for her reward as coming on the show and a promise that she will find herself and be stronger for having come through this. Ms Yesidoo is booed off the stage along with her brother in law (having had fisticuffs with Yesidoo earlier) Producers and assistants then trundle on the next group of victims, ahem I mean guests, this week it's "I slept with your mother while you were at the chippy" REALITY ALERT (makes alert sound) Obviously this show is about light entertainment and gets it's viewers through the shock factor. The Trisha show has many predecessors in the "counsellor TV" area as I call it. Before her it was Vanessa, and of course who could forget the lovely Jerry Springer? The Trisha show tries to be a jumbled mix of the two. Whilst aping Jerry with it's ever crazier situations and mock anger/laughter from the audience, she tries to retain some dignity by constantly referring to her league of counsellors readily available, and by telling everyone that they can really "heal" and grow from this experience? EXCUSE ME! How can anyone "grow" as a person by being publicly humiliated on national television, and pouring out whole chunks of their intimate private lives in all it's revolting glory!! Trisha regularly asks her guests "but why bring him/her on National TV to tell her blah blah?" well, Trisha, the answer is glaringly obvious isn't it? Because if they didn't, you'd be out of a job and secondly because the majority of the people (not all) who go on the show seem to rate their fifteen minutes of fame higher than the feelings of their loved ones (albeit soon to be ex loved ones) I feel sorry for those poor souls who genuinely believe they are going to be helped in anyway by airing their dirty linen in such graphic detail to a bunch of strangers who are only there to mock and jeer at them. But that said, these are willing participants in a voyeuristic show, and they know the consequences of going on such shows. That said, Trisha does do other shows which don't always include, wife swapping. Transvestites or closet thumb suckers. Occasionally she will do a show about finding lost relatives or adopted children etc. The show is harmless enough, and nowhere near as aggressive or shocking as it's American counterpart, Jerry, but at least with Jerry, you knew he was having a laugh, and that the majority of his guests were too. Trisha tries too hard to cover it all up with a sickly helping of "group hug" therapy and "I can feel the love in the room" codswallop. Still, that's daytime TV for ya!! Now, If you'll excuse me I'm off to feel the love in the room and learn and grow from this experience of sharing with you all about my home life "Mr Yesidoo, where are you putting that lemon squeezer?"
patriotism [páttri tiz m , páytri tiz m ] noun national pride: pride in or devotion to the country somebody was born in or is a citizen of Is it so wrong to be patriotic? I have just come back from America, where as you are all aware they have recently suffered a most horrendous terrorist attack. Whilst I was there, I felt privileged to be a part of this fantastic community. Everywhere we went we saw the American flag, on cars, on houses on pin badges, stickers, whole families wearing matching T-shirts with the flag on. Every restaurant we passed had ?God bless America? ?united we stand? on their bright flashing neon signs, usually reserved for advertising. The sense of community, of togetherness was palpable and touching. Everyone there, whether a migrant, immigrant or born and bred united together to wish there country well. Whilst at the pool one day, I got talking to two young men from New York, both mixed race. We were discussing the recent troubles, and I mentioned to them how touched I was to see the unity and pride in their country, and how sad I felt that we didn?t have the same sense of community in the UK. As I spoke, I realised I was saying things out loud, that I had known for a long time, but saying them out loud made it seem to hit home suddenly. They asked if the UK was as proud as they were. I answered without hesitation?NO. You see, it seems to me, that these days it?s politically incorrect to be proud to be British. The welsh are a fiercely proud nation, and good on them! The Scottish are proud, the Irish are proud, they revel in their languages, their heritage, their stereotypes and all with good humour too. The British though! That?s another story. I explained that to me, the George Cross has become over the years, something to be ashamed of. It has been used to signify so many bad things, such as football hooliganism, the National front. To me it seems almost rascist, and I would rather associate myself with t he Union Jack, than with the George cross. The young men seemed amazed that this could be true, as they said themselves ?but America has far more races than England? They thought of us as all white, with maybe a few blacks, or Asians, and that as a predominantly white land we would all stick together and feel united. I felt ashamed that we as a country couldn?t be more united. I wondered, do we really need a calamity such as America has suffered to bring us back together? The last time the whole nation felt truly patriotic was in the 2nd world war, and after that possibly only in 1966 when England beat Germany in a football game. Each morning at school, the Americans sing the national anthem to the USA flag. Every child knows there own Anthem. Does ANYONE in England know ours? I certainly don?t. The only time we ever sing it, if that can be the right word, is when we play football, and then we only sing, the first few lines. I mean who knows the rest? Where would you have learnt it from? I wish we had the same sort of thing in our country. Where each and every child, no matter what race, creed or religion, sang to our flag. I don?t see why any child should be excluded from this because surely, living in this country you should be hoping for the best for this country, being united and wishing us all well. It has nothing to do with religion to be patriotic, and quite frankly, if you don?t want a sense of community in this country, then why live here? You see, even that tiny statement could in these days of heightened PC be deemed racist. I can quite honestly say, I have not got a single racist bone in my body, but why am I made to feel bad for saying something like this? As a nation I feel that we are slowly being stripped of our identity to appease newcomers. I personally rejoice in our new society. I am proud to have Jews, Indians, Chinese, Africans and many more sewed in to our rich tapestry of life, but am I wrong t o want these people to be proud of us too? I know that our country, looking back over the centuries has many things to be ashamed of, I also know, we have many things to be proud of. Show me a country that doesn?t have both pride and shame tied up in their Flag! I am proud to be British, I am proud to be linked with Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. I am proud when England, or my Celtic counterparts win in a national football tournament. Why? I don?t know because I?m no big fan of football usually. I am proud when I think of our Language. Such a tiny nation as we are, and yet EVERY country can speak it, even if only a little. I am proud of our literature history, I am proud of our accents, I am proud of being me, and where I come from, I just wish all of the UK could feel it too, without feeling ashamed to be so. Apart from jazzing up our national anthem a wee bit, we could do with a new anthem. An anthem that EVERYONE would be happy to sing. The Americans sing to thier flag, and to thier country, yet we sing about our Queen, and God. In this day and age, the meaning to many of us has become obsolete. Don't get me wrong, I wish the Queen good health, and if there is a god, I hope she (hey, hey, who said God as a he?) looks after Elizabeth as much as she looks after you or I, but we need an anthem that we can all aspire to. Removing the religious and monarch associations from the national anthem would mean that EVERYONE despite their religions or political leanings could have pride in our country, and in our anthem. Plus, we could make huge wonga if it got to the top ten!!! (don't laugh, it happens in America you know!) God save our gracious Queen! Long live our noble Queen! God save the Queen! Send her victorious, Happy and glorious, Long to reign over us, God save the Queen. Thy choicest gifts in store On her be pleased to pour, Long may she reign. May she defend our laws, And give us ever cause, To sing with heart and voice, God save the Queen. O Lord our God arise, Scatter her enemies, And make them fall: Confound their politics, Frustrate their knavish tricks, On Thee our hopes we fix: God save us all. (last verse with thanks to RIC!) UPDATE Having thought about this opinion quite a bit since I wrote it, and reading and taking on board some of the comments, I thought I would add a few more thoughts to my opinion. I have been giving a lot of thought to ?why? I am patriotic and to what extent I am. Comments and opinions that I have read from others for both sides of the argument have made me take a step back and give it some more thought. I was struck by a comment in my thread, which made me think twice about my opinion. At first, I felt maybe I was wrong to feel this way, or at least maybe I should rethink my values. Well, I did, and I have still come to the same conclusion as before. There are many people who don?t feel a sense of national pride, or community. For many there, are good and just reasons. When I say lack of community spirit, I don?t necessarily mean everyone in the street being best friends, or going to rallies in support of our country or anything like that. I quite literally mean the spirit inside of us. To know that if the chips were down and push came to shove (and other clichés) would we fight for our country? Would we support our country?s mission? It was in our parents and grandparents lifetime that we had to do just that. There were many people I?m sure who disagreed with the Second World War, and who don?t think we should have fought in it. There are many, I?m sure who must have felt angered that they were forced to sign up against their better judgement. But what would have happened if the majority had felt this way? Technology has advanced our communications threshold almost beyond recognition since then. We now have global communities, and therefore maybe this is why a lot of people lose, or never have a sense of nationalistic sympathy. Right now as I type, I am connected to Freeserve unlimited, and if I wanted to I could email anyone, anywhere in the world if I so wished for no more than the cost of my monthly bill. I could strike up a ?friendship? with anyone of these people. The people on our own doorstep become the strangers in our lives as their void is filled with these email friendships. It is a good thing, and I hope will lead to more friendly relations with all countries in the world by breaking down these barriers, but I don?t think we should ever lose sight of our own country and it?s values. We may well not agree with everyone here, we may hate the government, we may disagree with many of it?s decisions, we may dislike many other things of the British way of life, we may even not particularly care for anyone in particular purely because they are British and may prefer to merit people on their characters rather than their nation. But let us not forget that we are a democracy. Many brave men and women in many different countries have fought for the very fact that you can have these thoughts. You may not care for the piece of land on which you live, or for your fellow countrymen in day to day thoughts, but consider a world where Bin Laden, or Hitler and many other powerful fantasists could have their own way, and everything you ever cared for, or felt safe with suddenly changed. It is worth ~IMHO to retain your sense of pride, or at least community, in your country for these very reasons. It is your base, where you bring your children up, and have the right to act more or less how you want to. Even though it is terribly un-political these days to think that way, or if you voice your fears/concerns/thoughts in general, you feel as though you get a polite little pat on the head and ?ahhh, isn?t that s weet? type comments. I know that I am grateful for my grandparents? generations? input all those years ago, so that I can live as I do without fear, and I hope that the time never comes again when the nation as a whole has to do that. But I also hope that should that time ever come, and our freedom, and rights are jeopardised that we would as a nation rally the troops so to speak, out of concern for our nation as a whole and our everyday life and values.
"A furious storm once roared across the sea Catching ships in its path, helpless to flee Instead of a certain and watery doom The Winds swept them here - to Typhoon Lagoon." I have dropped (voluntarily) almost 214 vertical feet in a water chute, I have put my poor little 2 year old treasure down a water raft ride (on her own) to come out clinging for dear life, and nigh on burnt me wee (ahem, poetic license you understand!) botty whilst floating on a rubber ring in a continuous flowing river…and I’ve had the best time of my life! Typhoon Lagoon is one of Disney’s three water parks, and probably IMHO the best. The main feature of the park is Castaway Creek, a continuous flowing river around the whole of the park. You can swim/float your way round or just laze on a rubber ring which are available in adult and child sizes. The water is only 3 feet deep, so NO DIVING!! On you way round you can stop off at several points to reach other places of the park (saves you walking!) as you go round there is a mini waterfall to go under, which if you have young children you might want to shelter them as it can be a bit frightening when they don’t understand. Also be on the lookout for people on the land who have water guns at the ready in places to squirt you as you go round, although this is a welcome relief from the heat and actually quite refreshing. In the centre of the park, is the lagoon! A huge pool which at it’s deepest is 8ft deep, although when the waves start it can rise to well over that. The waves happen regularly, and to begin with they start as a rocky “small” set of waves, but wait for the big one! (don’t we all?) When the ship at the top of the mountain blasts it’s horn, be prepared!!! You need to be a fairly strong confident swimmer to stay at the deep end, as it can take as long as half an hour for the big one to come (I do apologise for any innuendos… t hey aren’t intended!) and when it does a huge tidal wave engulfs the entire pool, sending everyone right to the other end, but what a way to go! Less confident swimmers and children can still enjoy the fun, but it’s best to stay behind the 5ft deep red line in that case. The lagoon is surround by a beautiful sandy white beach, complete with beach huts, surf music, beach bars, and recliners. All around the park are showers to cool off or just to wash the sand from you, and fan operated water coolers which is a refreshing treat. The main shop is Singapore Sal’s where you can buy a range of beachwear and souvenirs from your trip, and with a sheltered roof to the outside, it’s also a good place to hide when inevitably the heavens open. It’s the law at Typhoon Lagoon, no matter which day/season you go, it always rains, but don’t worry, it rarely lasts long, and it’s still warm! Ok, so now you want to know about the rides don’t you? You fearless people you. Well, how about the Humunga Kowabunga, twin speed body slides with a 214 vertical drop! Not for the faint hearted, and if you do go on, beware the disappearing cossie, you can guess where gravity and force pushes it, but just think of all that water you’ve just slid down too, that has to go somewhere too you know! Another fantastic part to the park is Shark Reef, where you can go snorkelling with many tropical fish and yes some sharks, don’t worry, they are not the huge, bite your leg off type sharks. The water is FREEZING, trust me. You are supplied with snorkels and an insulation vest but it still literally takes your breath away. I was concentrating so hard on breathing through the snorkel, whilst still trying to breathe normally anyway, that I didn’t actually have time to see any fish! Ketchakiddie creek is specifically for children and families where you can ride on family raft rides and slides. Although one raft ride is for families, there is a single ride too. We were told that our daughter Lara (who is just 2) was old enough to go on, but would have to ride alone. We ummed and ahhed, but decided that they if it was bad, they wouldn’t let children that young go on it unaccompanied! The ride is quite fast for a toddler, and gains momentum as it goes down, with a waterfall halfway down. It isn’t a steep ride, but after being on it, I really wish I hadn’t let her go on it. In hindsight I think this should have a minimum age limit on it of three, or a warning to parents of the nature of the ride. That said, she wasn’t too upset by her little adventure, although she was a little stunned god love her! OK so that’s the main bulk of the park, I suppose you want to know how much now don’t you? Damn you, you’re so insatiable for knowledge. The park is open from 9am to 7pm in the busy seasons and 10am till 5pm in the quieter months. Admission for one days pass is $25.95, $27.51 INC tax, but you can buy it in a package with the other parks. Children under three are free, and children under ten are $21.73 (INC TAX) Take advantage of this park too, as it is the only Disney park that doesn’t charge for parking. So there you have it, altogether a fantastic park with something for everyone. If you are going to Orlando, don’t miss this one out, you’ll have the time of your lives I promise you.
Hannibal Lecter is back, and this time he’s…….not quite as intelligent as last time! For those of you familiar with The Silence of the lambs, (TSOFTL) you will no doubt have been expecting, as I was, a film similar in it’s intensity and intellect of Hannibal. Silence of the lambs centred mainly on the attraction of two intelligent minds, Hannibal, and Clarice Starling, the FBI agent called in to help find a serial killer at large. Some of the most gripping and poignant moments from TSOTL was centred around Lecter and Starlings conversations. Every step of the way, you could see Lecter gleaning more knowledge about Starling with each conversation. Foster gave a fantastic, believable performance, giving the character great strength, and vulnerability at the same time. In Hannibal, I couldn’t honestly say the same. To be fair, I couldn’t blame this on Julianne Moore, who plays Starling in this film, but more so on the writers. It is fair to say Julianne plays a good part, and by her acting ability is believable, it’s just a shame that in places, the plot isn’t. The film takes off some years later from TSOTL with Starling still an FBI agent, although seemingly hardened by the hand of fate she has been dealt. Starling has been at the forefront of many high profile drug raids, and has earned herself the accolade of being in the Guinness book of records as the Female agent who has fatally shot the most amount of people! In a predominantly male environment, Starling finds she is being used as a scapegoat, and eventually as bait to lure Hannibal out of hiding. All this is being watched avidly from afar by Hannibal. A new dimension to the plot this time is the emergence of Mason Verger, the only surviving victim of Hannibal’s. Verger, played well by Gary Oldman, is a horribly disfigured man confined to a wheelchair, hell bent on revenge for his disability. We learn that he was a homos exual, paedophile who befriended Lecter hoping for some unusual night time activities! What he got was certainly unusual, as Lecter led him on a drug fuelled frenzy ending up with him slicing off his own face. Verger is a rich intellectual who believes money can buy everything… even the police’s morals. The scene is set for Lecters return, and Verger, having persuaded Starling (or should I say, the powers that be) to once again hunt down Lecter sit’s back and let’s his plan take place. Whilst searching for Lecter, it soon becomes apparent that a greedy Italian policeman, Rinaldo Pazzi, played by Giancarlo Gianini has cottoned on to the search, and desperate for the 3 million dollar reward, takes things in to his own hands, inevitably cocking things up along the way. That is the basic plot, and to go further into detail will spoil it for those that haven’t yet seen the film. There is more blood and guts (quite literally) in this sequel, but it seemed to me that the film had traded the intellect of TSOTL, for action to appeal to a more American audience. However, the gore scenes were not as bad as I had been expecting at all. If you hadn’t seen the original you could be left wondering why there is such a rapport between Starling and Lecter. Or how a man (not in disguise) can pass through Italy to America in days when he is on America’s top 10 most wanted list! Another let down to me, was the way in which some of Lecters escapes left you with too many questions on your lips about how he managed to do certain things. It isn’t that I want to be spoon fed every minute detail, and it is sometimes best left to the imagination, but there were some aspects of the film that you just couldn’t visualise happening, or that Lecter would have got away with, without anyone but Starling noticing. The escape scene from TSOFL was fantastic, and you could believe that he had escaped with only a pen to h elp him, however, I found too many aspects of this film unbelievable for me to enjoy it as much as the first. That said, this is a good film with good actors and is well worth watching as long as you don’t go into it with too many high expectations of it equating with, or even exceeding TSOTL.
If you are looking for a new video to entertain your little ones, or are just trying to re-live your childhood, you can now buy the complete Bagpuss. The video is over three hours long and contains every single episode ever made. Bearing in mind, that were only 13 original episodes, this makes for a brilliant christmas present. The video to buy is currently £9.99 on Amazon, but was £10.99. Alternatively you can buy it on DVD for £16.99 (was £17.99) Emily owns a shop, her very own shop, she is 7 years old and she her shop is very unusual indeed. Why? Because she doesn’t ever sell anything. She only finds things, usually lots of broken bit’s of things. Bagpuss is her cat. The most Important The most Beautiful The most Magical Saggy old cloth cat in the whole wide world. Such a difference to your rotten blooming Tweenies! The whole episodes are filled with that childhood innocence and wonder. The programmes always started the same way, in black and white. Well that’s not strictly true, it was more of a sepia colour, and the beginning was the only time you would ever see Emily, and only ever in still shots. When Emily had found a thing, that someone had once owned, she would take it to Bagpuss, who was always fast asleep in the shop window. She would wake him with her song. Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss Old fat furry cat-puss Wake up and look at this thing that I bring Wake up, be bright Be golden and light Bagpuss, Oh hear what I sing Now when Bagpuss wakes up, so does the rest of the shop (and we go into colour) the rest of the shop being Professor Yaffle, a wooden bird who is very clever! Madeleine Remnant, a ragdoll who is happy to play mother to the rest of the shop. Gabriel, a toad who can play the banjo, and lastly, but not leastly, the mice. My own personal favourite! Directed by Oliver Postgate (voice of Yaffle, Bagpuss and the mice) and Peter Firmin, each episode revolves around a thing being brought for Bagpuss and his friends to mend, and there is plenty of opportunity for music and poems in each tale. A total of thirteen episodes were made, which is hard to believe as the character has remained so popular after all these years, with so few made. The episodes are: Ship in A Bottle The Owls of Athens The Frog Princess The Hamish Flying The Ballet Shoe The Wise Man The Giant The Mouse Mill The Elephant Old Man's Beard The Fiddle Uncle Feedle The wise man, one of my favourites! Professor Yaffle tells a tale of a chinaman called Ling Po. Ling Po did love turtles, but he lived on island where the locals ate turtle soup! Ling PO asks them not to, but the locals just laugh, so he walks across a wooden bridge destroying it as he goes over. The locals laugh, and call him a silly old fool, but Ling Po just turns and walks briskly of back to his island again.! Of course, he wasn’t magic, his friends the turtles had floated just beneath the surface so Ling Po could appear to walk on water! Or how about these lyrics from a song in the Episode The Hamish! A friend of mine, a porcupine Went up in a balloon He sailed it here, he sailed it there He sailed it nearly everywhere Except, perhaps, the moon He sailed with ease across the seas An inch above the waves And only joked at getting soaked At which an ancient codfish croaked "How nicely he behaves!" He sailed it rough, with snarling tough Wild animals below He sailed it blind, and tried to find Some gentle things who lived behind The sunset's rosy glow He sailed it hot, above a lot Of scorching desert sand He sailed it cold, as I've been told Where crowds of happy penguins hold Their flippers hand in hand He sailed it high beyond the sky And then I must explain A spiky spine of porcupine Popped his balloon so proud and fine And brought it down again The storylines are simple, and the animation isn’t the stuff of Steven Speilberg, but if you, or your children can allow yourself to slip into the simple childhood thoughts of yesteryear, then you are sure to enjoy this timeless classic. Bagpuss gave a big yawn, and settled down to sleep, and when Bagpuss goes to sleep, all his friends go to sleep too. The mice are ornaments on the Mouse Organ, Gabriel and Madeleine are just dolls, and Professor Yaffle is just a carved wooden book-end in the shape of a woodpecker. Even Bagpuss himself, once he is asleep, is just an old, saggy cloth cat, baggy and a bit loose at the seams. But Emily loved him.
Debi was a perfectionist. Debi was always better at school than her friend. She was a fantastic athlete. She wasn’t particularly gifted academically but she studied hard, revised and made up the difference of the natural intelligence that had eluded her. Debi was 5ft 2in tall, she wasn’t particularly attractive, but she had a certain something about her. She was quiet, but had an amazing sense of humour, and her parents pushed her all the way so that she could be the best she could. Her friend was slim, always had been. Embarrassingly so at times. She ate whatever she wanted, when she wanted but still she had arms like stick insects, no breasts, and no curves. Little Debi, though small had a lovely slim curvy figure that all the boys at school would secretly drool over. Her friend was tall, and it only accentuated her lack of curves, and breasts. Her friend used to feel silly walking next her, she used to feel like a monkey, with arms too long, and if they were ever stood talking together, at 5ft 8in she would always bend one leg to appear more like Debi, and so be smaller. Debi and her friend used to talk about all sorts of things, one of them was about weight. At 14 this was not usually a great deal of talking, because neither of them, although very slim, never put on any weight, and if they did, it was only in relation to their height and growing bodies. Debi was always (and probably still is) a size 8 and she used to feel fat if she went to a size 10. But Debi was only petite, so it was ok. The two friends grew up, but remained firm friends, sharing the same humour and goals in life. They moved in with each other when they were a little older, by this time Debi’s friend had a baby. Debi’s friend felt really fat and frumpy with her stretch marks. Being taller than Debi was hard for her, sharing a house with Debi was hard for her. Debi was so slim, no matter what she ate, she stayed so slim. Her friend wondered how she did it. < br> Her friend found out one day why she was so slim. Debi was Anorexic. She would starve herself, and rejoice in her denial. Even though the hunger pangs were almost killing her, she would feel joy…delight at her perseverance. Sometimes, she would jokingly mock her friend if she was eating a mars bar. She would say with a wry grin on her face “naughty girl, look at me, I’ve not eaten for two days, you big fat pig” but she was only joking. She was not being nasty to her friend, she was doing it to make herself feel better. I’m sure she never meant for her friend to feel bad. But then, that was Debi, always the perfectionist. If she said she was doing something, she didn’t do it by halves. Debi would survive on one apple a day and would do one hundred sit ups in her room. Her friend didn’t have the time or inclination to do this, partly because she was always a bit weak, and could never stick at anything, and partly because she had a young baby to look after. The little boy would love sausages, cakes and sweeties from the shop, and you know what kids are like. They never finish anything off do they? So what do you do? Well of course you finish them off for them, shame to see it go to waste isn’t it? Her friend, was 21, had given birth and was a very slim size 10. She was tall and was always complemented on her figure, but she couldn’t believe what they would say. She had no boyfriend, a young baby, and rarely went out. If what people said was true, why wasn’t she in love? Why weren’t the men flocking at her door to go out with her? She knew why. Well, Debi was thin, so controlled, her friend envied her discipline. Her friend trie d to emulate Debi. She tried strving herself, but she wasn’t as disciplined as Debi, and she couldn’t always starve herself because she had to eat with her son. Her friend soon realised that she could starve herself all day with Debi, and th en when Debi had gone to bed, she could gorge on whole packets of biscuits, then a sandwich or two, perhaps some toast, maybe even four bowls of cereal, and then make herself sick. She hated doing it, but she felt jubilant when she had finished. It was almost as if she was the one who was now “better” than Debi. After all, Debi was racked with hunger pangs, but her friend wasn’t. Her friend would look forward to her evening binges. Sausages, chips, chocolate, bread, crisps, pizzas, anything. If it was there, she would eat it. Then she would be sick, and she never put weight on. Sometimes her friend lost weight, but on the whole she stayed exactly the same weight, so her family and Debi never realised what she was doing. Her mum was particularly envious of the way she could eat whatever she wanted and never put weight on. After a while, she became tired of being sick all the time, but she soon realised that you could use laxatives to get rid of the “excess” too. The laxatives were painful. I mean really painful. She wouldn’t know when she was going to have to “go” or for how long, and it was embarrassing. The flatulence was really noisy and smelly and very hard to disguise! I know, gross isn’t it? But then, it was effective, so who cared? She became weak, and knew the calorie content of each and every thing that entered her mouth! People think eating disorders are about weight. It isn’t. It’s about control. When you feel you are losing the grip on everything around you, you can control this one thing. If you are weak, there are ways round it, like binging and vomiting. To the outside world you are thin and in control. It has taken her friend, me Lisa, a long time to realise that the only way to really be in control, if only of your weight, is to not to think about it. To this day, I still watch what I eat, and I do get down if I put on weight, and I do get happy, na y overjoyed if I lose it, but I know now that the only way to be in control is to be me. If I want a pizza, I will have it, if I want a chocolate bar I will. The worst thing for an anorexic, or a bulimic is to be in competition. They spur each other on. With every pound lost of the other one, they want to match it, and more. They can’t bear for the other to be thinner than them, because to them, the other one is “winning”. For Debi and I, it was never about who was thinner, it was about who had more willpower. I was always the weakest, and so I became bulimic, she was “stronger” and could deny herself far more than I. Luckily for both of us, we moved out. I will always have the same feelings regards food, I will always watch my weight, and have the same worries about it, but now I am more relaxed about it. I have no-one to compete with now, only myself. I haven’t binged, vomited or used laxatives for ages. I will always have feelings that started the bulimia, but I am older and wiser now. I have two children to look after and I know that it doesn’t matter what I weigh, they will love me. The stupid thing is, I have always been slim, even when pregnant, I just always want to be slimmer. I am now5ft 9 and 9ST 12lbs. Do I wish I was slimmer? Of course. Will I put myself through hell to be slimmer? No way! Life is for living, not counting calories.
Working mums are evil. They are the scourge of our nation, ruining our children’s futures with their self centred, ludicrous attitude to life. I mean, you have a child and you stay at home forever, you raise them to be good law abiding citizens that will have fantastically well paid jobs and fulfilling lives of their own don’t you? Unless you are a single parent who stays at home it is a different story. Apparently they should get a job, even though there is no-one else at home to help with the parenting, but that’s a whole other ball game and opinion. The truth, as we all know is nothing like this picture painted at all. There is a study that has recently been produced that followed the achievements of 1,200 youngsters born in the 1970’s, by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The study found that youngsters who’s mothers returned to full time work in their pre-school years were less likely to achieve A-levels. It also found that children of full time working mothers were more likely to suffer psychologically in later years. The study in my opinion was on such a small scale, I fail to see the significance of these findings. The study results were also used from families where the father worked in both scenarios, and the only difference being whether the mother worked or not in each case. There was no comparison to say, a family where both parents worked full-time and neither worked at all. I wonder what the findings would have shown then? Another point to note from this study is that in the 70’s there was no-where near the amount of adequate childcare available then as there is today. There is such a demand for good quality childcare that nursery’s are springing up all over the place. They are huge big bright buildings, with more than enough staff to cater for all your Childs needs. There are activities, painting sessions, singing sessions, dancing sessions, nature trails, visits to local parks. Not o ne minute of your Childs day in a nursery is over looked. The children mix with so many other children that they interact better, they learn to talk quicker, walk quicker, the list goes on. Another point of interest is that, in my opinion, mothers who work full time tend to have more of a career as regards “just” a job. The difference in these two comparisons, is that the career is likely to pay far more , and therefore the offspring of these mothers are more likely to have a higher standard of living than say some part time workers. I know money isn’t everything but what I’m trying to get across is that the children of these full time working mothers are not left to bring themselves up. They are in childcare with more social stimulus than the mother may be able to give in the day anyway. They no doubt reap more holiday time with their parents in exotic locations and spend more time with a happy family (because there may be less money worries) in a relaxed atmosphere. The study has failed paint the true picture and it is a shame, because many people will read it and think it justifies their disgust of working mums. There are however, many examples of working mums. Some mums work part time for a little bit of extra cash, maybe for holidays, or just for those little extras in life that make it that bit more enjoyable. Some mums work part or full time because they have to. That’s me. They have to because without their income they cannot pay the bills. They don’t work for holidays…pah, what’s one of them (8 years ago the first and only time I ever had one) Working mums are nothing new, they are not peculiar to our generation. My grandma used to work as a cleaner in the evenings when my dad and his siblings were asleep, although she would not have dreamed of taking a day job. Even if she had, there would have been no-one to look after her children anyway. Some mums who stay at home are amazing m others to their children. They take them out, they do different things every day, they cook, they paint, they read, they watch, they teach. I envy them I really do. I wish I could be that good to my children, and still be happy myself and fulfilled. Some mums stay at home and are atrocious mothers. They leave the children to raise themselves, they don’t stimulate them, they don’t take them out. They take little nor no interest in their brood. There are some mums who stay at home a little and work a little. Some are good at juggling, some aren’t. Some mums work full time, and are appalling mothers, but you know what? yeah, you know what I’m going to say. Some mothers work full time and are amazing mothers too! It doesn’t matter what you do, or why you do it. If it’s because you have to work, or because you want to, if you don’t want to etc. As long as you are still the same caring mother who makes time for their child (and themselves) when they need it, then why should anyone judge them? There is no right and wrong way, if you are still a loving parent, who nurtures the Childs needs. Maybe a study should be done into why studies are done? Or maybe I should start a study in to working fathers. Oh gasp horror! Do what you think is best, and ignore anyone who judges you or tries to make you feel guilty, whether you work part or full-time, whether you stay at home or not. All that matters is you love your children and do you best by them, no-one can make you feel guilty for that.
: Should we try to stop un-ethical trading? Well of course we should. We all hate the idea of a seven year old boy working from dawn to dusk for 3p a week, in conditions so appalling that we wouldn’t let our house pets live in. We all read about the terrible conditions, and we sigh, and we feel sad, and we think how disgusting it is. Then most of us here, be it for ourselves or our children (you know how important it is to wear THE right gear at a certain age) will rush out and buy the latest Levi spectacular jeans, or the latest Adidas trainers. If you don’t do it now, I bet you did at some point in your life. When you are buying these jeans, or trainers are you thinking of the old women who spent countless hours, days in hot, sweaty working conditions with no breaks, or the young children barely old enough to talk who sat stitching your finery? I doubt it very much, and if given the choice between Levis latest jeans, or an exact identical pair of jeans (that have Fair trade) but a not so well known name, which pair would you buy? Bearing in mind that little Johnny had set his heart on the former and would be so UNCOOL at school for having a different brand.! Add that to the fact that the fair trade jeans might be dearer than the Levis, I think the case would be clear cut. I know there are many people who, if given a choice between say, J Sainsbury’s T-bags, and Fair Trading T-bags would choose the latter. I also know of far more people who don’t have the luxury of that option. Even though, as a nation, we earn far more in a year than these people we talk of could ever earn in their lifetime, we still have to watch the pennies. If I had the choice, I would only ever eat 100% organic, free range, fair trade products. I don’t have the luxury of that choice, and my guess is that most of you don’t either. If you do, well then lucky you, and go for it I say. My point is, that it is all well and g ood for us all to say that it is unfair to trade this way and things should change, but for most of us, we do little if nothing about it, because the goods seem much more expensive than the other products. It is this point that raises my suspicions. Companies use overseas workers as a means of cheap production to supply richer nations with fancy goods or with other products such as food. As a result they produce the products at a drastically reduced amount than they would say in the UK, but don’t necessarily pass that reduction on to the consumer, more so they just reap extra profit. As a result of consumer/media pressure they realise that their work ethics are coming under scrutiny and decide to change things. We then start seeing the self same products arrive on our shelves but with a FAIR TRADING symbol on it. Usually it is a lot more expensive than our usual brand, but we say to ourselves “at least the employers are in fair conditions” Now, call me cynical but INMHO the Companies that sold us these goods were already reaping a huge profit on the goods supplied. Even with Fair trade regulations, they are still businesses out to make a profit and are not overly concerned with philanthropic concerns. The fair Trades ethics label on goods, hasn’t suddenly incurred huge costs to the companies involved, they were already making huge profits anyway, they are just not making as big a profit as they once were, and so in my opinion, we, as consumers shouldn’t have to incur the costs. Companies already make us pay for any loss they incur. WE pay for shoplifters, we pay for damaged goods, (theses goods are not always damaged by customers but sometimes are damaged on arrival in huge loads, trust me, I work in a supermarket, I know) we pay for wage increases etc. We will also incur the costs for the company to implement the new guidelines for overseas workers. My point is, the companies were already making a huge profit, and they will still make a bit profit, just not as much as they once did. We would not even get to this stage if the companies involved used workers from their own country. Companies reject workers in the UK (or whichever country they reign from) with their fine skills, home tuned for generations, for overseas workers and the reason is profit. If they are so concerned about these working conditions abroad, then why not look closer to home and employ in their own country, making more jobs and increasing wealth and trade in this country, whilst still adhering to strict guidelines about working conditions. To say that these companies seek to have their work done overseas to help third world countries is a lie. They do it for profit and nothing else, and even with these guidelines, they will still reap that profit regardless, but we will pay for it. If they made such a huge profit before these guidelines, they surely they can still sell the products at the same price, but with not as much profit? I an not and idiot, and I realise that all companies wish to make profit, otherwise they would not do business, but I think they have got greedy. They are far to used to making such a big profit that they are resentful to lose that, and so we as consumers pick up the bill, whilst they still receive their handsome salaries as they did before. So in conclusion, buy the products endorsed by the Fair trade, because it is truly a worthy cause, but don’t for one minute think that these companies are doing it for the good of us, or those that they employ. They are doing it because of pressure. Let’s face it, if there wasn’t any pressure or exposure of these conditions, would the companies have done this off their own bat? Of course not. Don’t think that these companies are doing it because of love, or anything else, they are doing it because they have to, but they will still make sure they reap their huge profits. These people should never have had to endure these awful conditions if it wasn’t for greedy companies, and in effect, greedy consumers who always want something cheaper
Firstly, I should start by saying that I am not about to give you any advice on how to write amazing opinions, so mind blowing that everyone will love you and regularly come back to tell you how wonderful you are. Secondly, I am not in the slightest bit better than anyone of you reading this. Ok, so now I've given my warning, I can write about something that particularly gets up my nose! Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to tell you about bogeys or anything like that!..no this is far worse! (winks) Scenario one: You've joined Dooyoo and had your fair share of Nu's, Su's and hopefully lots of worthy Vu's. You are quite happy going along through the site, reading and rating, commenting and generally building up a community spirit. You've put a lot of thought and effort into your opinions and watch happily as your reads and comments soar. It's nice to get the lovely comments when you've earned them isn't it? But what if you haven't earned them through your own hard work? What if you have stolen those opinions from someone else? What if you come across someone who you think has done this? How do you know for sure? Who do you tell? Why should you tell? This is my guide to spotting a plagiarist. It isn't fool proof, and I don't go looking for them, but with over a years experience on Dooyoo you can't help but start to see a pattern that alerts you. In my opinion, I shall give what I consider to be the warning signs, but it should be noted that any member displaying some of these signs is not necessarily guilty of being a plagiarist or churner. The first minor warning sign is when you click on the 'new opinions cross site' drop down menu. When you go to the opening page, if you see more than a few (say three ish) opinions by the same member, written in very close proximity this COULD* be either a churner (someone who writes poor reviews one after the other) or someone who has copied opinions and pasted them in to the site. *disclaimer: however, this COULD also be something as innocent as a member who writes and saves opinions in word to paste at a later time. The second sign may be that you go to a members homepage and see that he/she has been a member for 1-2 days and they have already written 12 reviews or more. When you think how long it takes you to plan and write just one op ask yourself, could you do 12 ops of your usual quality in two days? Now, bearing in mind that I am writing about plagiarists and not churners (which in my opinion are two different things, at least churners use their own words) the next thing that may alert you is that all those 12 reviews are rated as VU. Again, be very careful before you jump to conclusions. The point of this is Not to say that ANY new member who writes a lot is a plagiarist. The point is that it is rare* for a new member to write this many ops of this high quality in only two days. Remember when you first joined? Trust me, even the older members held in high esteem and who regularly receive crowns, used to write poor reviews. *Disclaimer: rare, but not unknown, also, in no way does this mean that only new members cheat, old ones do too. Another almost giveaway sign is that there are glaring Americanisms in the opinion*. These can either be American spellings or words we don't generally tend to use in the same way. Words such as humor, labor, leash, gas tank, etc. *Disclaimer: Some Americans, do write on the site, so don't take this alert too literally, also other foreigners write for the site who may use the American vocabulary more than the English one. Be wary of opinions that give 'too much' detail* It generally happens that when you read someone's opinion, when you may have already had one or two of my warning signs already, if it seems too good to be true, it just may well be. By too much in formation I mean, if they 'continually' give references to (for example) other websites, or authors, etc. In general, someone writing their own op would give references perhaps only once or twice (depending on the subject) so if it is continually pointed out, it may be that it is a copy. *just because someone gives a lot of detail, it could just be that they are really up on their stuff, so don't go making wild accusations. Another cautionary note, is if you go to the members first few opinions and notice that they are fairly poor, and three hours later they have written 8 more reviews of the most fantastic quality. I don't think I've EVER met anyone who can go from writing extremely poor opinions, to fantastic ones in less than a day* have you? *but I will eat Alkaligurus beard if you show me one!! Now, once you've got one or more of these warning signs, what do you do about it? And why should you do anything? In my opinion* it is wrong to copy from another site. Dooyoo was set up as an independent consumer advice platform, for us, written by us, about genuine experiences with our products etc. What's the point in reading about a product that you think you are getting some genuine, non-biased feedback on, when you could just go to the manufacturers website and find the opinion there anyway? Why should you put all that effort and hard work into reading and writing, waiting ages for your miles to add up, when someone else just comes in and cheats, stealing (because yes, that's what it is) miles from Dooyoo, and yourselves. What if you had written an op in the same category, but a plagiarist comes along and 'writes' one much better, then nobody needs to read yours do they? *Disclaimer: it is ONLY my opinion So by now, you've got your suspicions, you know that you want to react, but what do you do? Firstly, you have to be really sure that you haven't made a mistake. I f you go round making wild accusations to all and sundry and you are wrong, then you are in effect, just as bad as what you were accusing the other member of being. The first thing to do if your suspicions are aroused enough, is to try a search engine. A fantastic site, which has sadly died now, was www.findsame.com. This site would literally let you paste in the entire opinion, and would search for anything on the web with the same words. Sadly now that site has gone, but it is worthwhile checking out google.com and many other search engines too. You will have to cut and paste a few lines from an op that you are suspicious of. It is worthwhile trying to find the most obscure sentence you can find as this will help the search engine be more specific. Once you've found your copied opinion you must by now be sure that you have finally caught your cheat! WRONG!! Make sure that the page you found the opinion on is EXACTLY the same, and is not from their own web page, (try looking at their profile page, see if there is a home web page link) secondly make sure that, for arguments sake, you found the same op on Ciao, or another site of similar content, that it isn't the same author. After all, you can't cheat by copying your own stuff can you? Once you are sure as you can be email email@example.com who will investigate for you further. But please, don't waste your time looking for these people, and don't try to incite any ill feeling. Just bear it in mind if you ever do come across an opinion that seems too good to be true, it just might well be.
Is Marriage outdated? Well, no not really because people are still getting hitched left, right and centre. Are the meanings outdated? Well, no again because people do still get married for mainly the same reasons as years ago, that is that they are in love. So what is it about marriage that seems to be dated? In my grandmothers youth, as a female it was the norm that you grew up, you got married (preferably in your very early twenties) you then had children and looked after your new family. Dinner was on the table when your husband came home, and the children were never left alone or shuffled off to someone else to be looked after. To many women of this era, marriage was a godsend. It was highly unusual that you would get a job and sustain yourself financially, never mind have a career, and lets face it, with no decent financial prospects as a single woman in sight, it was not a very pleasing thought that your only alternative was to live at home with your parents and be a “spinster” In those days, although it did happen, sex outside of marriage was severely frowned upon by the whole of society, and it is difficult to imagine now just how restricting and imposing that view was. Yes of course it still happened, but it wasn’t the done thing, and you wouldn’t advertise the fact at all. So, if you were a healthy young person with all the same desires and needs as youth today, to have any sort of sexual relationship it was going to have to be within a marriage. There was also the view that children should never be born out of wedlock (mainly because to have a child would be devastating visible public proof that you had actually indulged in the sin of sex outside of marriage) and so again instilling the notion of marriage as the only way to have a family or indeed a fulfilling sex life. However, as time goes on, and women’s roles and expectations in life have progressed, it is no longer frowned upon to have sex out side of marriage, or to have children out of wedlock, by the vast majority of the population. Yes there are still many people who do still see it as sinful, or morally wrong, but that tends to be restricted now to people with religious faith, and not society as a whole. So firstly, attitudes have changed and made marriage less necessary in the context I have given. Women are fulfilling their career ambitions, thus going to college or university. By the time they have finished their degrees they are about 24/5 (already older than the “usual” age of marrying in my grandmothers time) but they don’t want to go through all that hard work and years of study to get married and start a family as soon as they have finished it. They may want to work a good five or more years in the career path they have chosen before they settle down. This is bringing them to around about the age of 30. In 1999 the marriage rate of a single (never been married before) woman aged between 20 and 24 was 37 per 1000, compared to a decade before it was 92 per 1000. In the same year, the average age of a male to marry was 34.4 and 31.8 for women. But men have a lot more choice now too. They also don’t “have” to conform to the views of my grandmothers era, and they can sew there seeds much more freely too. They don’t have to get married by a certain age, and if a man in his late twenties, early thirties isn’t married, it is no longer presumed that they must be “gay” just because they haven’t chosen to marry yet. So what you have is not necessarily marriage itself as outdated, but yes marriage as a necessity is outdated for sure. It has only been in the last few years that marriages can be performed in virtually any place that has applied to have the rights, and this also means people have more choice about where to get married, and not marry in either a church (they may not be religious and fin d it hypocritical) or in a register office. When there was only the two choices many found that some churches were not willing to marry them anyway, for example, if they had been married before, if they were of opposing religions, if they lived together, etc. Most churches realise the many changes that have happened over the years, and are not as harsh now as they once may have been when deciding if couples should marry or not. You can now choose your own vows to say, or to amend the original vows (most notably the omission of the “I will obey”) you can choose to have your special day on a football pitch, in Barbados, Las Vegas, a country hall, your back garden, under water, in the air etc. The formalities and expectations that used to be associated with marriage have changed dramatically, but Marriage as a concept has not changed or become outdated at all. People still fall in love, and still want to declare their love for one another by the union of marriage. It is the restraints and expectations that have become outdated and not marriage. After all, marriage, when you take away everything else, is about two people committing themselves to each other as life partners and declaring their love for one another publicly, and I for one hope that the concept of true love and the union of marriage associated with it, never becomes outdated. Wouldn’t it be a sad world without it eh?
I bet there’s not many of you reading this, that can’t admit to the odd sneaky bounce on the large inflatable’s at the fair ground or local fair is there? NO, stop sniggering, I mean the bouncy castles silly!! If you have kids you watch them forlornly as they jump and fall, bounce, go giddy, and generally just have an all round damn fine time. You toy with the idea of getting on with them in the vain hope that the large muscularly challenged man with the moustache (who takes the money) won’t notice, or will allow you to have a quick jump! As soon as you begin to take off your shoes and sneak on, he gives you a stern glance, and you retreat in embarrassment declaring loudly “I just wanted to check little Johnny was OK” Never mind that little Johnny stopped being in need of parental help on a bouncy castle years ago, but that’s beside the point. Until a few years ago, if you fancied a bounce in your garden (ahem) you were limited to having to hire a bouncy castle for roughly £50 a time or getting Granddad to lie down in the garden whilst the kids jumped on his belly. Obviously this isn’t much fun for child or Granddad, mainly because from the kids point of view, you don’t get very high, and from Granddads, he would be feeling decidedly green after a few near misses on his nether regions. These days, there are a few bouncy castles on the market that you can buy for home use. ELC’s 4 in 1 bouncy castle is a fantastic yet affordable one for your garden. The set comprises, a swimming pool, the castle, and a squirting dragon!!! All the pieces come separately in the box, and so it is very, nay VERY time consuming to blow up. The set will have roughly 12 different parts to blow up. The set comes with a foot pump, but trust me… you really want to invest in a mini generator (Argos £20) it will probably take just as long to blow up, but you won’t be as knackered! The instruct ions say, that using the foot pump to blow up all the apparatus will take roughly 1 hour. BOLDERDASH, RUBBISH, and other words of dismay! I attempted to use the foot pump and 1 hour later, I had a very, very sore foot, one rather limp turret and 11 other pieces still needing to be inflated. This was last year and I hadn’t yet realised about the Argos generator, so my solution was to go to the garage at the top of my road, flutter my eye lids and ask the gentlemen if they wouldn’t mind blowing it up with their tyre hose! Luckily they agreed, and thus saved me several more frustrating hours with my foot pump, although please don’t ask how I got it back to the house (blown up) as I haven’t quite yet recovered from the scene to this day! J The bottom of the bouncy castle is the part that will take the longest to blow up, (over an hour if using the generator, two hours + if using the foot pump) the turrets are attached to the base, but they inflate separately, and the sides are not joined, but hold to the turrets by string. A slide going down from the castle to the swimming pool (again attached by string) is also separate to the castle, and you can choose to have either the bouncy castle up, or the swimming pool without having to join them both up, or to have them both out at the same time. ( a good tip is to put a LITTLE bit of baby oil on the slide, as it does tend to get a little dry) The castle is H154cm x W182cm x L398cm, and is quite strong, although I wouldn’t advise any adults jumping TOO hard on the base of the castle, as it wasn’t intended for adult use and if you jump even slightly high, you can actually feel the ground! (however, don’t let that stop you nipping on now and again) There is a puncture repair kit included, which comes with the plastic in various matching colours, which is handy if you get more than one puncture and it blends in well. Two new additions to this castle from last year, are the drawbridge feature, and the squirting dragon. The drawbridge is simply one of the edges to the castle that can fold down in a drawbridge fashion for easy access to the castle, and the dragon can be situated anywhere near the swimming pool with a hose-pipe in it providing the splashing spout! (all well and good till the inevitable hose-pipe ban comes in) If you are thinking of buying this brilliant toy, then the main points to remember are: The foot pump is adequate but will take you a long time to achieve the maximum inflation, so it’s worth investing in a small generator. It will take a long time to deflate by hand, and therefore the generator is also handy, as it sucks air out too! The material is not as sturdy or strong as those at fairs, so be careful, check for anything sharp on the ground before you lay it out, as it will puncture. The strings that attach the loose parts to the main base can come undone quite easily, so if you have young children (or indeed boisterous older ones) it’s worth keep checking that they are still tight. If they come loose the sides will fall off, and your child may fall off whilst bouncing on the floor. It is quite large when all put together, so you will need a fair size garden, or to not mind having a small garden that is entirely taken up by the toy. The Bouncy castle once erect will start to deflate after about a week, so if you are going to put it up, think about the weather long term, it’s really not worth the effort to put it up for one day. Finally it costs £50, happy jumping people!
I’m usually rather hesitant upon buying underwear, especially of the bra variety. Why? Because I’m a typical woman, who with a less than perfect body, doesn’t particularly relish the idea of standing semi-nekkid whilst some teenage Saturday girl chewing gum measures my boobs. You know the type, where you go in saying, “yes, I know what size I am” but you don’t really, you only ever got measured once possibly twice in your life. The first time was when you had your first Bra and your mum took you to be “done”. You spent the whole time cringing thinking, HURRY UP! And so therefor, not wishing to repeat the experience, you go through the next god knows how many years of your life saying that size. Even though you were only 13, and probably at least 4 stone lighter then. Anyway, I digress. As I was saying, I don’t usually relish the thought of going on a spending spree for my “personal attire” but having found La Senza, I could quite happily stay there all day, in a kind of Bra and pant frenzy. (do I hear the men agreeing here too? I thought so) La Senza is a pleasant and welcoming style shop. The layout is very open and I never feel “pervy”. You know, sometimes in some shops (not THOSE shops, I mean like Debenhams etc. TUT TUT) because the Bras and other paraphernalia are all lined up on swingy round things, all very close together, and you never like to spend too long in one place in case you seem a little “too interested”. Damn that British reserve. La Senza has everything laid out on tables, and up on the walls, clearly displayed in colour and size, and you don’t feel uncomfortable at all. As soon as you walk in to La Senza, the chances are you will be pounced upon by one of the many staff, trained to assist you. Make use of them, I know it’s pretty annoying, but you may well need them. La Senza utilise all their space, and this includes bras and knickers on the wall, going right to the top. I’m a tall girl, and even I struggled, so don’t always be so quick to rebuff their offers of help. The staff will also aid you if you need your sizing checked, or just if you go in with a specific need, they will direct you to the most suitable item for you. La Senza has just about every lingerie item you could possibly imagine. From chicken fillets, ( you know, those rubber things that you use to enhance your bosom ) cotton comfies, easy tigers, nightwear, and even toiletries! Having shopped there for quite a few years, I have to say though, that I don’t ever remember seeing a size in stock larger than a 40DD, so if you are a buxom lady, you may find you are out of luck in these stores, however, the sizes do seem to start at 32A, so if you’re not so well endowed, this could be a good place to start. The ranges are varied, and will suit whatever mood you’re in. From cotton everyday wear, to something a little more racy, and they also have swim-wear in stock. For me personally, I like their range of push up bras. They are by far the most comfy ones I have ever tried, and trust me…I’ve tried a few (I’m still talking about bra’s btw) and they manage to give you a good size cleavage, without feeling uncomfortable, and still look sexy, not just a thick wad of padding as some do when you strip off. If you find a bra you like, you can always find a matching pair of briefs, or if you prefer, you can have a thong, as they tend to do both styles to match the bras. La Senza offer good value for decent products, and they always wash well, retaining their size and shape in the wash time after time. On average a Bra will set you back around £20 (give or take) and briefs are roughly £6 a pair, although they do have offers on some briefs, whereby you get 4 for £5, but these don’t tend to be as nice as the ones you buy individually. Probably the nicest part of the La Senza experience is when you come to pay. You can have your goods gift wrapped if it’s for a present, and they really make it look lovely, even adding scented beads to your bag. Ok, yeah I know, other shops do this too, but I tell you..you don’t get service like that at Marks and Sparks now do you? (well, I don’t lol) So if you just want to treat yourself, or if any young men (or old men for that matter) are reading this now, and fancy treating her indoors, I thoroughly recommend La Senza for a nice romantic shop!
BB is back, the programme that stole our summer last year, making us spend endless nights watching the daily anecdotes and escapades of the BB household. Not content with just watching the near nightly shows, you could also watch the crew live from your computer anytime, night or day via their website. In the last BB series, the website was very poor for a programme with such a high profile. There were far too many “busy” looking things, that weren’t actually all that interesting, and ended up taking ages to load. The new site, is far better, although on first glance, I thought it seemed rather grey and dreary, but none the less, it loads far quicker, and there is much more to do. You can click on each housemate’s picture as before, and get a short bio on each person, as well as reading the daily diary of events as before, with the latest updates, and the story so far, so that if you miss any tit bits, you can still catch up. In the previous website, you could only read the story so far in one context, and if you were only interested in one person, or one particular event, you may not have found what you were looking for. This time however, you can click on an individual’s name, and follow that one persons storyline alone, or you can still choose to read about all the housemates, which is in a more condensed form. You can receive instant updates in four forms, via email, SMS, WAP, or PDA. The SMS service is totally free if you choose the standard package, but you can also choose to have the upgraded SMS service. For the upgraded service you have to purchase a BB voucher from wherever you normally buy your top up vouchers. The site doesn’t say how much these vouchers are, but I hope they aren’t that expensive seeing as the text updates are only given out at a maximum of roughly 8 per week, ranging down to one a week, depending on which service you choose. The WAP service brings you all the latest news, fly on the wall (two new comic characters to BB) updates, FOWL language (from the chicken with no name) which is basically anything juicy, the daily log, and news on recent polls and evictions. The email and PDA service goes without saying that it is basically a much more in-depth version of the two previous descriptions. The live video is of course still present! This time it is slightly better in both quality and sound, and certainly in loading time. Although to be fair, at the time of writing this, the housemates have only been in for less than a day, and the show has not been aired yet, so maybe when more people start clogging the system, it may get slower. You can view the Diary room, and click on a members name to view them in the diary room, or choose the live mix cam number one or two. These cameras are automated, and change depending on who’s in what room when. Another added extra this time though is the pan cam and the Fan cam. The Pan cam is situated in the kitchen (I think, couldn’t tell really yet, having not see the programme yet) and you control the camera. You can zoom in, out; left up, down, right, whatever tickles your fancy. The zoom range however is not all that good, and does go out of focus when on full capacity. The Fan cam follows one particular housemate throughout the day, and the person who is followed is chosen by website voters, who choose which member they would like to see most, the housemate with the most votes, gets the cameras on them all day…. lucky fellow ;-) One thing I noticed from last time, and has started already, is that whenever I would log on to the cameras, sometimes I would get an error message, and all my windows would close down. Now I don’t know if this is a fault with my comp, or with BB, all I know is that it only ever happens with BB web cam, and that it’s ruddy annoying! The site also hosts a number of free downloads f or you, such as screensavers, wallpaper etc, with more being added daily. Online BB games, voting, polling, tours through the house…what more could you want? Overall the site is much better than last time, much more user friendly and more simply laid out. Now I just hope the programme is going to match the improvements of the website
Trying to summarise my top ten favourite songs of all time!! How can I do it? I admit to being terribly fickle where music is concerned, and as long as it's catchy I'll probably like it! I tend to fall in love with any chosen song of the moment. It doesn’t have to be something in the charts, just a song that I have heard and fallen in love with. My top ten singles that I am about to bore you with, are just a few of my favourites, and I’ve missed out loads, that I would love to add, but I don’t have the time, nor the inclination to do so..lol. I’ve added songs that I might not particularly be overawed with now, but at the time, they meant a lot to me. First of would have to be: 1.Jerry Rafferty, Baker Street, from the album, City to City. Fantastic instrumentals, fantastic lyrics. This song is extremely short on verses but has a brilliant meaning to it. I first heard this when I was 16/17 and at college. It had been re-released by someone I can’t remember now, but then I heard the original and was smitten. I played it incessantly for weeks. When I say incessantly, I mean, I recorded the song onto a C90 tape, the same song for the whole duration of the tape until I, and indeed my parents could no longer stand it. To me the song represents the smugness of ourselves thinking that we have it all worked out, and it shows you a person, who also thought they had it worked out, but they are just kidding themselves. I love the chorus: You used to think that it was so easy, You used to say that it was so easy But you’re tryin’, you’re tryin’ now. Another year and then you’d be happy Just one more year and then you’d be happy But you’re cryin’, you’re cryin’ now. Sums things up in a nutshell to me!! 2.The Verve, The drugs don’t work, from the album Urban Hymns This song h as beautiful music, with fantastic wording and the voice of a rough angel. A lot of people hear the lyrics, and presume it is about drug taking! I prefer to think that is about love, and the many ways we have to hide our feelings and how only once you’ve been so low, can you pick realise what is really important to you. Once you cut out all the rubbish, that’s what you want ultimately isn’t it? My favourite verse from this has to be: All this talk of getting old, It’s getting me down my lord, Like a cat in a bag, Waiting to drown, I know I’m coming down. 3.REM, Everybody hurts, from the album Automatic for the People. Ok another deep heavy going song for thought, but still a classic. The reason I have deemed this worthy of my top ten list is simply because I love the music and the sentiments. When this first came out I was a teenager, I was at college, and had the usual teenage angst that we all have/had. This song was like a release to me. It was saying to me, that yes, things happen, you couldn’t always deal with it and tidy it away in a neat little package. It is ok to feel hurt, and you are not the only who feels like that so BUCK UP. The song was released at a particularly profound time in my life, when a lot of bad things were happening, and I didn’t know how to cope with it all. This song will always have a special place for me in my memories, as I used it to come to terms with things. “When the day is long, and the night, when the night is yours alone. Hold on, when you think you’ve had too much, of this life, hang on. Don’t let yourself go, cos sometimes everybody cries.” 4.Day we caught the train, Ocean colour scene, acoustic version from the album B-sides, seasides and free rides. The words to his song, although brilliant, actually fade into the background for me on this song, because the acoustic version is just so mesmerising. You will no doubt have heard this song before from their critically acclaimed Moseley Shoals album, but the song is repeated on this album in acoustic version, and is so much better. For those familiar with the song, the chorus of “Oh la la la la, Oh la la la,” is replaced purely by instrumentals. Much slower than the original version, but with much more soul to it, rather than having been tailored to the “pop” markets tastes. “I never saw it as the start It's more a change of heart Rapping on the windows, whistling down the chimney pots Blowing off the dust in the room where I forgot Yeah I laid my plans in solid rock Stepping through the door like a troubadour whiling just an hour away Looking at the trees on the roadside feeling it's a brighter day Anyone who can tell me what Troubadour is I would love to know lol 5. Yellow, Coldplay, from the album Parachutes. The music to this and the vocals just melt me! Quite literally. I haven’t got a Scooby doo what the fella’s on about, but I’m sure it has hidden depth. I love the energy in his voice, the softness of it, and the beautiful melodic chants. “Your skin Oh yeah, Your skin and bones, Turn into something beautiful, You know, you know I love you so, You know I love you so” 6: Erasure, I love to hate to hate you, from the album, Chorus A bit out of place so far with all my other favourites, but I couldn’t let dear old faithful Erasure slip by on this list. This song reminds me of school, I was about 15, and the energy in this song just blew my mind. I love the irony in it, the way it portrays love and hate as an inseparable entity from each other. For every emotion that is felt so much, there is an unequivocal opposite to reset the balance. As a 15 year old, with all your hormones, flying up and down, th is song at the time was certainly one of my “annoy the parents by recording it on your C90 tape” songs!! “And the lovers that you sent for me didn’t come with any satisfaction guarantee so I return them to the sender and the note attached will read How I love to hate you I love to hate you I love to hate you I love to hate you” 7. Stone Roses, I wanna be adored, from the album, Stone Roses. This song is another from my teenage years, that somehow managed to etch itself indelibly on mind. The band, (usually off their heads) used to sing so that sometimes, you couldn’t quite make out what they were saying, and I in my youthful stupidity (some would say it never stayed with my youth) genuinely thought the words were “I wanna be a door, that or I wanna be a dog! As you can imagine this was met with howls of laughter from my much cooler and more “with it” friends! “I don't have to sell my soul He's already in me I don't need to sell my soul He's already in me I wanna be adored I wanna be adored” I’m not terribly clever at summarising the acoustics, or how the various instruments lend themselves to this music, but all I can say is, I just the love the sexiness of the lead singers voice, it’s really beautiful, and I love the guitar sounds. An excellent tune, with good meaning. GO BUY IT NOW! ;-) 8. Wonderwall, Oasis, from the album, What’s the story morning glory. What can I say! They may be a pair of drunken egotistical fools, but they are magnificently talented for sure. Written by Noel for his then girlfriend Meg Mathews, in an attempt to tell her how much he loved her, as he couldn’t say it to her face. The words speak for themselves. Because maybe You're gonna be the one who saves me? And after all You're my wonderwall I Suppose a Wonderwall is something terribly good!! 9. Human League, Don’t you want me baby? From the album, Dare Ah, another out of place one, but I just had to add it. I still like the song now, but really it was my first ever song that I took any notice of. I was 5 when it was released, and I used to dance like a mad thing in front of the television on Top of the pops night! (again, not much changes) I suppose the fundematnla reason I like it at the time, was just the catchy tune, and in a strange way I liked all that strange make up man thing! The song still brings back happy memories of being a kid, and all that went with it, you know, when street cred didn’t matter! “I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, When I met you.” Need I say more ? 10. Eric Clapton, Tears in heaven, from the album, Unplugged LIVE Eric wrote this song when his son tragically died at a young age. The song has particular meaningfulness to me, as I when I learnt that my much-loved Grandad had died, it was the only thing that seemed to know how I felt. I had never suffered a loss before, I was 21, and I loved my Grandad dearly. I remember coming home, having been out with the whole family. We went to a pub, and all sat around together, remembering the good times. It was a bittersweet night. I slumped to the floor and listened to that song, incessantly as usual (you see a pattern forming here?) and hoped that when my time comes, Grandad will be there to meet me. “Would you know my name if I saw you in heaven? Would it be the same if I saw you in heaven? I must be strong and carry on, 'Cause I know I don't belong here in heaven.” I’ve gone on for long enough, and congratulations on anyone who stayed long enough to know my music tastes! Not particularly brilliant I know, but nonetheless, all have a special place in my life and memories.
An opinion on religion. Where on earth do you start? There are so many different religions, with many different theories that you can’t possibly cover it in one small opinion. So I shall just cover my general thoughts, if you fall asleep, sorry! My paternal grandparents were atheists; they were hard working, poor down to earth people. My grandmother, when her children were small, was more concerned with day to day aspects of her life, such as keeping up two small menial jobs, running a household and feeding her brood, than having to go to church and pray to a God who she never saw, had no proof existed and with no amount of praying would he increase the lining of her pocket to help her. My father was raised in the belief that you are born, you grow up, and then you die. He was never hit as a child, and punishment was usually the restriction of something, or sent to bed. He went to the local school, where religion was not a big issue and grew up with a relatively healthy attitude to life, but rather pessimistic. He married at the age of 27 to my mother. My mother was raised a Catholic, her parents were wealthy devout followers, and she attended a private school run by nuns. She was made to attend church every Sunday, and undergo confirmation at the age of about 11. Punishment was usually a beating with a stick, if she failed to live up to the catholic way, this was meted out by both the nuns and her parents. She led a deeply sheltered life, and boys were a massive no no. At the age of 19, she rebelled and ran away, soon after my brother was born, and soon after that my other brother was born, and soon after that I was born. You see, to me religion is not so much about who believes what anymore. It’s a way of life. To be a good girl, or a good boy. To live your life in the Christian, or whatever other beliefs way. My mother ran away, and to be honest, her mother probably heaved a huge sigh of relief, because at least the shame was not on her doorstep to be seen. She could distance herself from it, because to her, my mothers’ bloated belly was a sign of her shame. Not only was her daughter living in sin, with three children out of wedlock, but also she had failed in her own duties as a good Catholic mother. This type of over zealous attitude towards religion has created a void in their relationship for over 27 years, and looks like there is no chance of healing it before its too late, despite old age and a stroke taking its toll on my grandmother in the last year. I was raised with a totally open attitude towards religion. My father mainly has instilled in me a complete respect for anyone’s religion, race or beliefs. To be fair, this probably more through apathy than anything else, as he genuinely doesn’t believe in anything. My mother tells me she has no religion, but every now and then you catch a glimpse of the Catholic guilt that is so hard to shake off, having been instilled in her for years. So, I went to school, and I had my RE lessons, and they taught about me about this person called God, and his son Jesus. I celebrated Christmas, and Easter and was made to pray to god before I had something to eat at school each day, and was more concerened with how many presents I would get at Christmas, or eggs at Easter than the true meanings. As I grew older and went to senior school, I was taught about the Jewish religion, Hindus, Muslims, and their different ways of life and religion. Then you get older, and you have all this information in your head, and you have to decide what YOU believe. Not what everyone else has told you to believe, but what you do. I call myself a non-believer. I see the destruction around the world that religion has brought us and I just can’t comprehend how God would allow this to happen. I think of the troubles in Northern Ireland, the conflicts in Iran and Iraq, the Jews and the arab people fighting for the l and in Jerusalem. I see the deaths on television of yet another innocent child blown to pieces by a suicide bomber. I read of the children abused by their priest, of the children forced to conform by their over zealous parents and I can’t fathom out at all how God would let this happen. If you say this to someone who is religious they have all the answers. They will tell you, “God lets us choose the way” “God is not wrong, he gave man free will” and other meaningless fob offs. Of course, then we can also blame the devil for all the bad things can’t we? If you are raped, abused, or lose a loved one tragically then surely that is the work of the devil isn’t it? Or is it Gods way of “making us stronger” Why would he do this if he loves us so much? Why would he create diseases that kill us in the most awful ways? Why would he let young babies be abused, tortured and killed? I understand that for many people, it is their faith that keeps them going, and I think we all have faith in some way, whether it is religion or something else. I believe totally in the theory of evolution. It makes perfect sense, and is incredibly interesting. But then what is religion. You know something, I may not go to church, I may live in sin, and have two children out of wedlock, I may have had a few (chose that word carefully!!), more sexual partners than God intended, but I don’t see that I live my life much differently to any one else that is religious. I follow the Ten Commandments in theory and teach my children the same values, albeit in a non-religious sense. 1. Thou shalt not have no other gods before me. 2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 3.Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that t aketh his name in vain. 4.Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. 5. Honor thy father and mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 6. Thou shalt not kill. 7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. 8. Thou shalt not steal. 9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covert they neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. Well, give or take a commandment or two, (I mean, I don't wish to mock it at all, but trust me, you haven't seen my neighbour, never mind his ass, why would I covet it?) I live by these rules in general, only I don’t call it religion, I call it morals.