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ElizaF

ElizaF

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Reviews written

since 14/08/2003

73

Everything that starts with A ... 13/12/2007

Arts & crafts - Making your own Xmas cards (2004)

Everything that starts with A ... Picture the scene; it is 3 weeks before Xmas, we have 33 Christmas cards left to write. There is very little money in the kitty left over to buy cards as Daddy (quite reasonably) refuses to live on cheap white sliced bread and 12p per can baked beans from now until the new year...... From yonder, a choir of Angelic children's voices are heard singing through the rapidly approaching dusk.... "Christmas time, mistletoe and whines, Children screeching without tune nor rhyme, She's like a briar, the gifts haven't come free A time for not strangling all that she sees" Seeing how it felt like they were singing just for me, I empty the last of the kitty into their copper collecting tin. Now what to do for Xmas cards.......... "Right kids", I yell, startling the life out of the little darlings and causing youngest nephew to drop his grip on the chunk of hair he had previously, and lovingly, being trying to remove from his sister's head. "We're making our own" I dispatched the little darlings to find card paper and envelopes. Two hours and one wreaked house later, we counted up our spoils. Two half packets of card paper (from Jonelle at John Lewis £2.49 for 40 sheets) and some matching envelopes (from the same range and shop, £1.49 for 20, a dog leash (we have cats) a dolls head that had been missing for years and a pair of Daddy's battered slippers that I was sure I put in the bin 11 months ago. The first port of call was to find pictures suitable to put on ...

Members Advice on Labour And Birth 01/02/2006

So I huffed and I puffed.....

Members Advice on Labour And Birth My advice to any pregnant woman who is nearly at the end of term is to read and talk to as many mothers about their varied birth stories as possible. This takes the terror of the unknown out of the equation. If you have heard the worst that can happen and seen a woman stand in front of you telling the tale, you realise that as bad as it may get, you do survive. This is my birth story. ############### ############### ###### As soon as you get a chance, write down your birth story or as the weeks go by, you will forget the details. ############### ############### ###### This review comes from a piece I wrote for my group on babycentre.co.uk a few days after I gave birth to Jack. I am glad that I did because I cannot remember most of the details now. Remember, despite pain never having killed anyone, there is no shame or weakness in having pain relief. There will be people who try to convince you that there is. Agree with everything that they say and then do what YOU want. Bugger them. In fact, your whole philosophy should be one of 'sausages to you' towards anyone that tries to twart you in ANYTHING. This is one of the few times in your life that you will get away with this behaviour so enjoy yourself. ############### ############### ###### If you have never been to the Glastonbury music festival, go while you are preganant rather than never at all. There are typically four midwives on duty every year, so there is no reason for you to miss out. I was 38 weeks ...

My Ciao'ing 01/02/2006

One Ciao or two?

My Ciao'ing This is a simple 25 questions on people's ways and means of using Ciao. I hope it will be fun to do and interesting to read. I would really appriciate it if you could leave a note in my GB when you complete the survey so I can have a nose around your answers. i. Full name: Elizabeth F. - Hence the username. ii. Ciao Username: ElizaF iii. Date when you joined the Ciao community: 14.08.2003. My first birthday on the site came and went without me even noticing. Oops. iv. Why did you join Ciao? I was doing research on the Internet on breast pumps as I was considering returning to work after giving birth to my son, Jack. I found a very good review on the Medula electric breast-pump but no information on where to buy it in the UK and the only way I could ask the reviewer a question about it was to join..... and so an account was born. v. Are you a member of any other review sites? I joined Dooyoo (http://www.dooyou.co.uk) a few months back but I am not as active there as I am here. Ooooh, for more hours in the day :) vi. Reviews written to date: When I first wrote this review, I had just written my 50th earlier in the day. This was my 51st. I thought it might be interesting to do a survey on people's use of the site. Now I am up to my 70th op and writing about two pieces a month. I wish I could say that it was something like quality over quantity but it is more like time verses pleasure. vii. How many ops/reviews do you write in average a week? It ...

Youngs Winter Warmer 24/12/2004

Brrrrr....Baby it's cold outside.....

Youngs Winter Warmer Samples of Ales produced by Youngs brewery: *************** ******** Young's Waggle Dance Ale, Bottle 1 x 500ml £1.65/bottle Young's Special Ale, Bottle 1 x 500ml£1.66/bottle Young's Special Ale, London, Bottle 1 x 500ml £1.70/bottle Variety being reviewed today: *************** ******** Young’s Winter warmer (tap) Quantities and availability: *************** ******** 500ml bottles (very limited availability) I found it in a local Co-op for £1.59 per bottle. The bigger supermarket chains do not seem to be stocking this beer this year (2004), which is disappointing. On tap in public houses where Young’s beer is served. These are especially prominent in the Wandsworth area of (South-West) London. Period of availability *************** ******** This is a seasonal beer, which is only on sale as long as stocks supplied from Young’s brewers last. They send out their batches from November to December annually. Alcohol content: (ABV) ************* Alcohol 5% Interesting tit-bits: ************** This beer is suitable for veggies Background to Young’s brewery: *************** *************** ****** The site of Young's brewery in Wandsworth is the oldest place in Britain on which beer has been continuously brewed. Production here started during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I! In reverence to Youngs, they seen very keen on tradition and shy away from a tendency to 'modernise, modernise, modernise. Their beers are delivered to local ...

Clarins Lengthening Mascara 07/12/2004

Blobs of the world unite .... on my eyelashes

Clarins Lengthening Mascara Ok I can admit that my first flush of youth has gone. Time was when I glammed up I looked like a film extra in a vampire flick, now I look more like the subject of a BBC3 documentary on insomnia. The hair is slightly peppered and full of kinks from living in scrunchies all day where it once was curly and glossy, there are wrinkles around the eyes where I once had skin like the palest alabaster as moulded by Michelangelo and weighted (we apologise for this computer distortion) stone less. I can claim however to still posses my thick eyelashes and sculpted eyebrows. (Although I have never put a tweezers near the latter in my life.) The only problem is that although my lashes are thick, they are not long hence my occasional purchases of ‘lengthening’ mascaras. It just happened that my latest bout of facial examination was under a harsh light and in front of the reflection of a particularly distorted mirror, I thought that I could see the beginnings of a delicate and becoming line (ahem…) around the outside edges of my eyes. This coincided with Boots in Waterloo train station reducing their stock of Clarins Lengthening Mascara from £13 to £7 so checking my natural impulse to cram the whole lot in my shopping trolley with the ridiculous notion of applying a tube at a time, I purchased one in the ‘deep black’ shade. Other shades available: *************** *************** *** Flawless brown Midnight blue I did have a cursory look at the brown but as it was the ...

Everything that starts with D ... 03/12/2004

A very Diiiiiiiirtty word

Everything that starts with D ... Ok, it is Dec. 01 and to date I have studiously avoided mentioning *that* word all year. It wasn't easy, believe me. In my Baileys review I told a story of an aunt who has a large glass of that substance during *that* time of year. In a real ale review I remarked that the featured liquid was bitter-sweet enough to be a useful bind for a *that* time of year pudding. If I had to write the word I put it in a format usually reserved in print for words that rhyme with pitt and luck. Then I realised the * on my keyboard was looking worn and tired so I refrained with what I reckoned to be admirable restraint. Now however, as it is now December I am going to let go and mention the word with gay (old-fashioned meaning) abandon. It is with the relief of a matronly-figured woman releasing her bosoms from the restraints of underwiring at the end of a long day that I am going to go on about CHRISTMASSSSSSSSSS!!!!! There are some musings I have had on how I know it is the Christmas season. They are all my own demented ravings by the way but don’t worry if you haven’t the time, patience or inclination to read them, I daresay they will be coming to an email in-box near you as a part of the continual re-cycling of all new jokes introduced to the small intimate domain of the interweb thingie. So do any of these seem familiar to you? - # Suddleny people riding home in taxis wearing glowing antlers and making up demented verses to ‘Jingle bells’ seem commonplace. # You buy ...

Everything that starts with S ... 22/11/2004

Sexy, sassy, scandalous, scurrilous and saucy

Everything that starts with S ... It’s been a few weeks since I wrote a review so to get me back into the swing of it all again (and fill the mailboxes of those unfortunates who have me on alerts) I have decided to do a challenge. “Boo, hiss, complain” I hear you yell but don’t worry, it won’t do you the reader, any permanent damage unless you are hyper-sensitive or of artistic temperament. If that is your disposition, then look away now before it is too late. 1.DESCRIBE THE BEST FEELING YOU'VE EVER HAD. With or without the aid or stimulating substances? Haar! The best feeling I have had was on my wedding day when I got to say ‘Yes’ in the surroundings and company that we both wanted. It was a small country church that we squeezed 156 people into. This included 15 2 year olds and 7 other under 10s who all stayed pretty quite throughout the ceremony. There were a couple of palpitating points like when the vicar mentioned marrying my husband to a bottle of baileys during his sermon which stopped my heart as I wondered if he was cracking up on the job but it was only as a part of a theme on the things Rupert loves. During the “does anyone here know of any lawful impediment to this couple being married” bit the heavy oak church door opened and I did think… “it couldn’t be” but it wasn’t. Just merely a two year old coming back in after a fit of wanderlust in the church grounds. 2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? My Mother, also Elizabeth known as Lily by all. Now that I am pregnant with a daughter ...

The play wot I wrote 13/09/2004

Bring me laughter....

The play wot I wrote Date we saw the play: 2/12/2001 This review has been published in a Theatre newsletter and “somewhere” on the internet by a fan of the actor Mr. Ralph Fiennes on her tribute site. I wrote it two days after seeing ‘The play wot I wrote’ in London. Small piece of explanation time: Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise were a couple of old time British theatre comedians who together, recorded over 169 TV shows and 3 Feature Films between 1961 and 1983. Their viewing figures highlight was the 1977 Christmas Special, which pulled in a record audience of 28 MILLION viewers. This review is not about a play wot I, personally wrote (or a piece pointing out my awful grammar) but a play wot the playwrights Hamish McColl, Sean Foley and Eddie Braden wrote about the play that Eric Morecambe promised Ernie Wise that he was writing at the end of every one of their television shows. Confused? Excellent, then you are in just the right state of mind to read on. The play stars Hamish McColl as Morecambe and Sean Foley as Wise. The plotline of the show is based around production of the aforementioned play, which has finally been written. The boys need a star for the show and so have special guest after special guest auditioning for the lead role. This makes it a comedy about a play that has finally been written, now inspiring a comedy that involves auditions for the lead role in the play that was wrote. Ya got me? If you can’t follow what I am saying and want to see the play, lock ...

Cork City (Ireland) 07/09/2004

How to have a Corking time.....

Cork City (Ireland) AM I QUALIFIED TO TELL YOU ABOUT CORK CITY? From the years 1996 to 2000, I attended UCC in Cork (the big university there) and have gone back every year for varying amounts of time from weekend break to ‘using up holiday time’ week long holidays. Presuming you have a week or so to spare, some cash to spend and are curious to visit the city which will be the European city of Culture in 2005, here is a 'week-filling guide' for that city..... Each of the days can be taken as a whole or part of the others, if you are only there for a weekend, just look at the weekend section etc. CURRENCY CONVERSION: 10.00 Euros = 6.77 UK £'s 10.00 Euros = 12.06 US $'s HOW TO GET THERE... *Fly directly into Cork airport **Train from Heuston Station Dublin into Kent Street station Cork. Warning - the evening trains (post 4.30) are PACKED beyond seating room and FORGET trying to get on a train from Dublin after 2.00 pm on a Friday. (Train Station is 15 mins walk from City centre) Trains are wheelchair / buggy friendly. ***Bus from Busaras, Dublin's Central Bus Station to Parnell Place Bus Station Cork (Bus Station is 5 mins walk from City centre) The long distance buses are not wheelchair friendly as there are four steep steps from the group into the bus and the doorway is too small to allow someone who is severely incapacitated to be carried into the bus. Buggies can be stored in the large roomy boot of the bus. AIRLINES THAT FLY INTO CORK ...

Hovis Best of Both Loaf 01/09/2004

Meet the loaf I hang about with ....

Hovis Best of Both Loaf Best of both bread varieties produced by Hovis: *************** *************** *************** ****** A 800g sliced bread in a smooth plastic blue and cream cover off the shelf (about 17 slices) A 700g unsliced, unpackaged version available from the bakery (about 12 slices) Variety being reviewed today: *************** *************** * The sliced stuff Availability: *********** Somerfield Asda Sainburys Really anywhere that sells the Hovis brand Shaggy dog and unfortunate squirrel stories: *************** *************** *************** *** A long time before I got my tender hooks into my beloved husband, his mother stood red faced and flustered from the blast of heat that scurried towards her as she pulled another tray load of home made brown bread out of her Somerset oven. Oven closed, the bread was left to cool on a wire tray in front of a slightly open window as Mrs. F cleaned her large kitchen table of the cooking implements and flakes of ingredients which had scattered three sheets to the corners as she mixed her bread. With four growing boys in the house to feed she could not afford one of those new fangled bread-makers or even a food processor to mix her dough in. The back door slammed as if the forces of hell had come through its portal but it was not the devil himself but her eldest boy come home. It was his turn that week to use the only bike the four boys had between them so he was first in the door from school. The bike was ...

Midsomer Murders 22/08/2004

Big trouble in little England

Midsomer Murders "Midsomer Murders" TV-Series of 105 mins approx. running from 1997-present WHAT’S THE STORY? “It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside" So said the seminal English detective Sherlock Holmes to his faithful companion Watson in the novel ‘The Copper Beeches” It is MY firm belief that the writers, producers, directors and everyone associated with the television series ‘Midsomer Murders’ are making it their lives’ work to prove just how true this statement can be. Every episode follows a similar outline; a body is found, usually murdered in gruesome circumstances and Detective Tom Barnaby of Corston CID is called in to investigate. Along with his sidekick he works through the clues and the interviews (and usually several more bodies) to find the murderer. Simple enough? Well no, not really. There is usually a healthy dose of past feuds, insanity, pagan rituals, jealousy, drug taking, adultery, matricide, patricide, incest, gay sex triangles, heterosexual sex triangles, sado-masochism, oh and the odd row over planning permission mixed in just to make things ‘interesting’. When I was younger I remember coming across a Sunday magazine ad for a series of Agatha Christie books. There was a picture of a little old lady with a silver bun in her head wearing a cardigan, blouse and long skirt, sitting upright in a rocking ...

Duchy Originals Sunflower Seed and Honey Bread 21/08/2004

Born and bread....

Duchy Originals Sunflower Seed and Honey Bread Background to the Duchy Originals company: *************** *************** ****** Duchy Originals was started in 1990 to market the produce of the Prince of Wales all-organic farm at Highgrove. The concept of the farm was to prove (or not) the commercial viability of organic farming and if successful, to encourage others to follow suit. As if proving the profitability of organic foods were not enough, as if employing 100’s of people directly and indirectly as well as seasonal workers were not enough, the company also gives away all it’s profits to charity (the Prince of Wales charity incidentally). To date, this sum comes to millions from the 70+ products in their range. To show how deeply the Prince and his achievements are embraced by the Organic community, the Soil association has made him their patron. Other bread varieties produced by Duchy Originals: *************** *************** ****** Organic Malted Oat Bread Organic Mixed Seed Bread Organic Vintage Cheese & Onion Bread Cost and availability: *************** *************** ****** Sainsbury’s, Budgens, Tesco, Waitrose & Safeway £1.25 - £1.39 Quantities available: 400g Erm, the cost is up to a whopping 2.8p per gram of bread, justify this: *************** *************** ****** All Duchy Originals breads are produced from the La Fornaia bakery in London (Acton), they are one of the few handcraft bakeries left in the county. By handcraft they refer to the treatment of the ...

Member Advice on Having Children 06/08/2004

Only kidding...

Member Advice on Having Children Kids, children, monsters, rug-rats, midgets, call them what you will - we all have an opinion on them ranging from "Oh, shit - I'm pregnant" to (self-righteous voice time) "they are the best part of a sanctified loving relationship between a married couple" However neither polarity comes near to what it is like to the actual reality of having something that turns from an adorable gurgler to a certified home demolition expert in the time it takes for you, the parent, to go grey-haired. If you are lucky you can go out there like the American comedian Denis Leary and make a living from telling tales in tones of shock and bemusement of jam sandwiches stuffered in new DVD systems and then stand at the head of a “little people’s court” being told that maybe it was a "flying accident" He also sensibly compares a home full of children to drunken midgets on acid which is not the most unjust or unfair metaphor ever. "We started out with three" he claims. "Now there are about ten due to OTHER parents dropping their midgets off and driving away very quickly" However if you are just a bog-standard parent like me or one of those couples who are trying or one of those couples who have decided on a tied tube or a snip and a sports car rather than an off-spring; we all have one thing in common. Namely we are all deadly curious as to what peoples experiences with a separate representation of their DNA trailing after them looking bored in a supermarket is like. The parents reading ...

Aveda Black Malva Shampoo 05/08/2004

Malva number fiiiiiiiiiiiive

Aveda Black Malva Shampoo Aveda - Black Malva Shampoo The company behind the products: *************** *************** ** Aveda was founded in 1978 by Horst Rechelbacher, an Austrian who wanted to start a plant-based cosmetics company run on ethical employment principles. He made the company remit to sell personal grooming aids untested on animals made with ingredients sourced on fair-trade principles. All very lofty and admirable aims, I am sure you will agree. Today, Aveda are considered the trail blazers in the organic and ethical side of the beauty business. They are the ones who laid down the path for others to follow in order to make a profit in the ‘green’ area of the market. For example, not only were their hairsprays environmentally friendly on the inside, made from organic, ethical ingredients but on the outside as well, propelled by air-infused technology rather than the ozone layer destroying CFC’s used in other canisters of the period. My first experience with their products was when my Mother-in-law-to-be included a sample bottle of their Hydrating Lotion in my Christmas stocking one year. I was converted to this lurvely brand when I woke up 13 hours after first applying it and still had that super-soft feeling on my skin as if I has just come out of a mineral spa. Obviously with an experience this good with one product, I was left very well disposed towards the brand in general. Shampoo "Flavours" available: *************** ************** Aveda Black Malva Pure ...

Duchy Originals Lemon Refresher 13/07/2004

Easy, easy, lemon fizzy

Duchy Originals Lemon Refresher Cost and availability: *************** ** Bakers of Holt - 750ml bottle. £1.95, http://www.organicchoice.net - 750ml 2.09 http://www.simplyorganic.net - 750ml 2.09 Tescos - 750ml £1.99 Sainsburys - 750ml £1.75 The air conditioning in work is broken, really broken, the type of broken that if shot with a black and white video camera would look like a contender for the 1950’s Hollywood film noir genre. All we need is Humphrey Bogart and John Houston. You get the idea, don’t you, in mid-July, we are hot and sweaty with all the windows open, covered by battered metal blinds throwing strange shadows all over the room. It was out of this hothouse I stumbled at lunchtime looking for something to curb the growth of the dust-ball that had taken residence in the back of my throat - Sainsburys, it was then. There I came across a bottle of “Duchy Originals Lemon Refresher”. Now, I have been known to demolish 2 cans of Finches Lemon (an Irish brand) in one sitting but I find brands like Fanta and supermarket’s own too sweet, too fizzy and not lemony enough. More like sweet phish than sharp whoarrrr! By 'lemony', I mean a drink that is so lemon-like that it makes your mouth go “ooooooh” and your left eye involuntarily shut with its sharpness I decided I would give this Lemon refresher stuff a go as I wanted to stay true to this healthy-kick I have been on for the last few weeks. Oh yes, it had the word “Organic” on the label. So what are Organic ...
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