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since 08/09/2000


Johnsons Baby Bath 07/08/2002

Best For Baby Best For Me

Johnsons Baby Bath I know I’m churning but having been away a while and with my baby (James) now 6 weeks old I guess its time to get back to writing and start being opinionated on all these new products in my home. This time it’s the turn of the wonderful, how did I live without it, Johnson’s Baby Bath. ~~~ First Impressions ~~~ I first purchased this product several months in advance of James birth and I’ve had the chance to consumer test it myself for a fair while during my pregnancy because I’m the sort of person who just can’t keep my hands off things! Whenever I’ve used this in my bath I’ve found that my skin felt soft afterwards and that I didn’t make the bath too slippery and oily feeling. I also liked the way I just got a subtle bubble effect rather than a full on bubble bath which causes problems with the cats (one of them likes to sit on the edge of the bath and bats at the bubbles, very painful if there is a knee hidden right underneath!). Finally the gentle fragrance leaves you with that lovely baby smell and doesn't interfere with your perfume. ~~~ As Recommended ~~~ When I was in hospital having James the staff kindly send an auxillary along to show you how to bath your baby. I found this mostly useless as at the time I was flat on my back in bed still recovering from my epidural and I really couldn’t see what she was doing. I do remember though that she put Johnson’s baby bath in and told me that I should ...

Johnsons Baby Shampoo 07/08/2002

Johnsons FAMILY shampoo

Johnsons Baby Shampoo Well the bottle says "no more tears" and its supposed to be kind and gentle. Then of course there is that advert where the little brat (sorry I meant darling child) is whining on the phone to "Mr Johnson" about her Mummy using her shampoo. It made me start to think about trying this for myself, so I guess the advert worked. Of course now I also have a 6 week old baby, James, so this shampoo is a staple in our bathroom. Also because I do the shopping dear Dave (my husband) uses whatever shampoo comes to hand so he too is a “Johnson’s Baby!) ~~~ My Haircare ~~~ I have long permed hair and the basic problem is that my hair is rather dry and in need of attention. To this end I'm using regular hot oil treatments and intensive conditioners. I have to be a bit careful about exactly what sort of shampoos I use because I have an itchty, spotty, flaky scalp. I suffer from both Eczema and Serbhorric dermatitis on various parts of my body and also on my scalp. I should really use medicated shampoo but I hate the smell of the stuff. Because of these problems I have used a gentle Body Shop shampoo for about the last 10 years. Until I "discovered" Johnsons Baby Shampoo. ~~~ James’s Haircare ~~~ Being only 6 weeks old James doesn’t have a lot of hair but what he does have is a lovely dark downy covering which seems to be thinning on top and thickening at the back (sounds like a lot of men!). Because he has suffered a bit from “cradle cap” the ...

Avondale Hotel, Bath 24/03/2002

Bath Time

Avondale Hotel, Bath A much needed break was to be had with some of my Ciao friends in Bath. Using the Internet as a reference manual we set about finding a hotel which was reasonably priced for a one-night break. Our needs were few, we wanted to spend as little as possible and to that end were looking for somewhere which was priced per room not per person. We agreed to share twin rooms so we also needed to find somewhere which had twins rather than just doubles. I was to share with KarenUK and lovely as she is, we don’t know each other well enough to share a bed! After searches and phone calls we finally booked in to the Avondale Hotel and we certainly chose well. ~~~ The Blurb ~~~ The hotel has its own website at htp:// and from the site certainly looks very impressive. “Avondale is a historic building, residents such as author and novelist L.P. Hartley, anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce and Dr. Oliver, inventor of the ubiquitous Bath Oliver biscuit, have all added in some way to the ambience here.” Although not in the city centre this can be an advantage in a city like Bath where space is at a premium. A huge bonus with the Avondale is that it has a large car park as hotels in the centre of Bath often have limited parking and public car parks can be extortionate. The Avondale is also renowned for its food, for which they have won a number of awards. If you are a resident then you can have dinner bed and breakfast for £16 per ...

Prima Automatic Breadmaker 31/12/2001

Guess What I Got For Christmas

Prima Automatic Breadmaker Well on Christmas day my life changed forever with the arrival of my breadmaker. The last thing I did before heading to bed on Christmas night was set the machine to make me fresh bread whilst I slept. Boxing day morning I awoke to the smell of freshly baked bread and my life was changed forever. ~~~ Gadgets ~~~ I love gadgets, hey I even have an electric vegetable peeler! (And damned useful it is too). After reading a number of reviews stating the excellence of breadmakers I began to think about asking Santa for one, the question is would it be a useful gadget, like my electric cheese grater, or a forgotten one like the pasta maker (I wonder where that is???). I needed an extra push to make that decision. ~~~ Confirmation From On High ~~~ I must confess that I am a Delia Smith worshipper. So of course I have a copy of "How To Cook Book 3" and in this cooks bible there is a section on machines which includes the breadmaker. "the advent of the automatic breadmaking machine has added a very special experience to day-to-day living. It's quite simply an outstanding invention, almost miraculous, when you think that a freshly baked, crusty, full-flavoured loaf can be delivered to you warm from baking after just a simple assembly of ingredients and the push of a button." After reading that I was convinced my life wouldn't be complete without a breadmaker. Delia recommended them and said they were easy to use and her word is gospel in my house. (NOT on cooking Turkeys ...

Member feedback on Ciao Community Points 25/10/2001

What Do Points Make NOTHING

Member feedback on Ciao Community Points Well the section says "community points" and I will mention them briefly but this opinion is really my complaint to Ciao about the recent changes. I'm putting it here so it gets exposure and read by members. This new section is pretty much the only Ciao section I haven't already written in. Rate it as you will, pull my ranking down with Unhelpful ratings if you like. I really don't care because this will be the last opinion I post here unless Ciao change their policy. ~~~ Community Points ~~~ I welcome the community points system, like many others I have been waiting for this system to be introduced in the UK. I'm proud of my red dot and I would have strived to become an orange dot. I think the system allows us to recognise and encourage new members with white dots. I think being a permanent white dot (or apparently no dot) will help in the struggle to discourage churners. Giving points for rating and writing comments will also encourage members to play a more active role in the Ciao community. To me the introduction of the community points system should have been a positive move by Ciao to encourage a better sense of community and active participation. ~~~ Non-Payment ~~~ Unfortunately I think that Ciao have destroyed much of the community by their ridiculous policy of only offering a paltry payment of 1p per read in selected sections. It's not all about the money but lets face it we all do like the payment. This is a consumer advice site so maybe its fair of Ciao to ...

Logitech Quickcam Pro 21/10/2001

I see NAKED people for FREE

Logitech Quickcam Pro Foolish though it may sound I recently decided the time had come for me to show my face with a web cam. After reading lots of reviews (one of which has been copied here and not removed despite a complaint from me!) I decided that I would go for the Logitech QuickCam Pro 3000, which I bought for just under £70 from Amazon. ~~~ Technical Specification ~~~ For all those techies out there here is the spec for you. Sensor : high resolution 640x480 (VGA) CCD Lens : manual focus Microphone : built in Video capture : up to 640 x 480 pixels Still image capture up to 640 x 480 pixels Number of colours : thousands of millions Video capture rate : 30 frames per second ~~~ The Camera ~~~ The camera is very sleek looking in silver and grey. It has a built in microphone and a button on top to press for still shots. Of course said stills show you with your arm in the air pressing the button! The area around the lens swivels to allow you to focus and if you want privacy it has "sunglasses" which you flip down to cover the lens. The camera swivels fully on the base and if you are using a flat screen monitor or laptop there is a special clip you can attach to secure it firmly. It does look very nice perched up there on top of my monitor. It also comes with a 2 year guarantee instead of just the normal year. ~~~ Installation ~~~ Installation is simple with this camera as it is a USB device. You simply plug it into your USB port and then install the software to run it. ...

BT CallMinder Service 20/10/2001

BT Offer A Great Service

BT CallMinder Service When I bought my house I knew that an answering machine would be needed. I don't need an answer phone for when I'm not at home though (although it is handy!) but mainly for when my phone line is constantly engaged i.e. when I'm online. Of course machines can't answer the phone if it’s engaged but BT Call Minder can and at £6 per quarter its not even very expensive. Especially if, like me, you sign up for a BT package that includes a free premium service (I'm on a Working Together plan). So basically I get the full Call Minder service for a zero charge. ~~~ Personalised Greeting ~~~ Call minder allows me to get all my calls answered when I'm busy surfing the 'net. I have a personalized greeting on my service which gives out both mine and my husbands mobile numbers, lots of people realise I'm online and call us on these now. Others leave a message, after the tone, just like with a real answering machine. With the free version of this service you don't get the option to record a personalized greeting, you have to have your calls answered by a recording of a BT woman. ~~~ Set The Ringing Period ~~~ This is the most useful feature of Call Minder and like the personalized greeting it isn't available with the free version of the service. I can set my answering service to pick up my calls after either zero, short, medium or long periods. The Zero option is very handy when you have taken a sickie from work and you go out shopping, if work calls the answering service will ...

PC World (Shop) 19/10/2001

The Best PC Shop Ever

PC World (Shop) PC World, the best computer shop ever! Massive choice, great sales staff. OK, stop screaming at me for being a madwoman and read my little story! ~~~ Fabulous Store ~~~ I once worked for PC World, in their Lakeside store. It was fabulous. I was actually there on opening day (read on to find out what I was doing). The store was then privately owned by a polish immigrant called Jan Murray and there were only two branches. These shops were an answer to a prayer for many PC buffs. Opening day was fantastic, extra staff were brought in from the Croydon branch and we were all rushed off our feet. I spent most of the day standing by the front door giving out free burgers! Another colleague spent all day running backwards and forwards to McDonalds to keep me supplied. The customers were happy and there was an amazing amount of return business. I regularly dealt with a guy who was building PC's and came there to buy the parts. ~~~ Well Trained Staff ~~~ Now the staff all knew what they were doing in this store. Even the cashiers were trained and tested on computing basics. This meant that if they were stopped by a customer whilst walking across the store they could point them at the right salesperson to deal with their query. The store was heaving every weekend and the sound of salespeople being called to the customer service desk rang in your ears. After about 3 months working in this Nirvana I left for a better job. I'm very glad I did because shortly afterwards the ...

B & Q (Shop) 18/10/2001

Bargains and Queues

B & Q (Shop) I have a confession to make here I am a B & Q addict! I simply love shopping in a store which offers me such a wide variety of home and garden products. Although having written this opinion I'm starting to wonder why…. ~~~ Helpful Staff ~~~ Every time I visit the staff are friendly and helpful. They have experts who can give you advice on your project and the building man helped me to work out all the materials I would need to build a patio. This is a free service and expert advice like this can be invaluable. Especially as the Warehouse prices can be cheaper than your local builders merchant. They don't even give me that "a woman shouldn't be doing this" look. That’s when you can find a member of staff to help you though. More often than not you are left fruitlessly searching for a red aproned staff member or worse queuing up at customer services to get them to page someone. Go there for advise about any DIY product and you will get it free of charge and with a smile. You might just have to wait half an hour until a staff member appears. ~~~ How To Leaflets ~~~ My dear husband Dave is not much of a handyman. Still that’s not too much of a problem as I can turn my hand to most things – and I love power tools! B & Q offer a range of how-to leaflets giving easy to understand step by step instructions on various projects. These come in a really wide range and also include garden projects, I picked one up today on lawn care. ~~~ Bargains ...

Lush (Shop) 17/10/2001

Join Me For A Bath

Lush (Shop) Lush to me is a sort of heaven on earth. I love a bath, far too much. Thanks to Lush I love a bath even more. I have to confess I'm a Lush addict and I'm also pleased to tell you that the products don't even irritate my skin despite being a sufferer from both eczema and dermatitis. ~~~ Lush History ~~~ Lush have only been around a few years, but they do have a big history of innovative products. The company was selling products to the Body Shop as long ago as 1978. Following this they became "Cosmetics To Go" who made bath bombs, massage bars and shampoo bars and sold them through mail order. My memories of Cosmetics To Go are of fabulous chocolate bath bombs and massage bars which really smelled good enough to eat. Cosmetics To Go floundered though and went under. This is probably a benefit really, Cosmetics To Go were interesting but not even half as good as Lush, and this time they went for shops rather than mail order. ~~~ Natural Ingredients ~~~~ Lush products are all made from fresh, natural ingredients, by hand. Ingredients are only purchased from companies who test safely and do not use animal testing. All Lush products are suitable for vegetarians and some are marked with a V to show they are suitable for Vegans. Where synthetic materials are used these are safe synthetics. Lush products also contain a lot of high quality essential oils to give your nose a treat and maximise on the benefits of aromatherapy. ~~~ Fresh Products ~~~ The majority of Lush ...

HobbyCraft Store (Shop) 09/10/2001

Witch Craft Will You Choose

HobbyCraft Store (Shop) Since I was a child I have enjoyed being creative through various crafts. For a number of years now I've been very keen on counted cross stitch and recently I've also started rubber stamping. For me a fabulous way of passing time is to be creating something original. My house and those of my friends and family are adorned with examples of my work. So of course when HobbyCraft opened in Basildon I was pretty happy. ~~~ Craft Superstore ~~~ You name the craft and you'll find there are materials and equipment stocked in HobbyCraft. I've found a great range of threads and patterns for my cross stitch. I also made all my own wedding favours from materials bought in HobbyCraft. Most recently I've started doing rubber stamping and HobbyCraft is where I head for all the materials. There is a fantastic range of art materials as well; although I'm no artist I've bought paints, card and paper to use for my other pastimes. There is also a large section of ready made frames as well as a framing service for all your craft needs. ~~~ Prices ~~~ The prices in HobbyCraft are very competitive. For cross stitch they stock both Anchor and DMC threads and the prices are a few pence cheaper than in other stores although not as cheap as you can get mail order. For my rubber stamping I have found a great range of stamps and I've found the prices again to be slightly cheaper than elsewhere. If you are looking for cards, paper and sundries you will find not only are the prices competitive the ...

Program Cat Injections 04/10/2001

A Little Prick For Pussy

Program Cat Injections Fleas are the bane of the pet owner. Every summer there is a fresh outbreak and you will find the flea products in the pet shop surrounded by people desperate to get rid of the infestation. Well my favourite method of flea control for Scribble & Honey is the Program injection. ~~~ Infestation ~~~ It takes just 12 days for a flea to breed inside your house. Scary eh? The fleas come in on your beloved pets and before you know they are in your carpets, biting you and your family and generally making a right nuisance of themselves. Fleas love our modern houses with deep pile carpets to breed in and all kept lovely and warm with central heating. Last year my Sister in Law paid a lot of money to an exterminator to fumigate her house and rid it of the fleas her cats had brought in. Sensible owners can nip it in the bud before it gets to that point with regular flea treatment to prevent your cat (and your pocket!) suffering. ~~~ Contraception ~~~ Program injections are like a form of contraception to stop fleas from becoming a problem. Program doesn't kill fleas at all, it merely stops the eggs from hatching. As such it isn't recommended when your cat has fleas but as a preventative measure. The injections are a wonderful way of administering Program as they are only needed once every six months. Program is also available as a solution which you mix with the food but this has to be given monthly, and somehow the cats always know its there and don't eat it. For dogs Program is ...

NatWest 03/10/2001

My 9500 OVERDRAFT Their Fault

NatWest Well today its official. I'm unemployed and overdrawn by £9,500. Yes nine THOUSAND five hundred pounds overdrawn, just think of the charges that I'm going to incur because of that! Well there had better not be any as this is really down to the incompetence of NatWest and their "Customer service officers". Now you may see some errors made by me in the following processes these were a direct result of me being a customer who expected a quality service. Had I remembered I was dealing with a bank who employs "customer service officers" I would have just converted all monies owned by myself to used fivers and stuffed them under my mattress. ~~~ My Original NatWest Opinion ~~~ My original (in my churning days) opinion on NatWest was all about their automated system. When you needed to talk to a staff member you had to go though a rigmarole of pushing buttons on your telephone and choosing which service you wanted to finally get connected to someone who would take all your details again and then forward you to someone else. Thankfully this has all changed, I no longer churn opinions and NatWest now offer you the option of talking to someone after pressing only two buttons on your phone. ~~~ Secure Payment ~~~ Mistake number one by myself was in believing that a Bankers Draft offered a secure payment method when I sold a car. Having paid me a substantial deposit, which had duly cleared my buyer arranged to get a bankers draft made out to me for £9,500. He appreciated that ...

Member Advice on Voluntary Euthanasia 26/09/2001

A Peaceful End

Member Advice on Voluntary Euthanasia There has recently been a story in the news about a woman with Motor Neurone disease who was going to court for the right to end her life. Because her wishes were known her husband spoke on the radio saying that he had been told he would be prosecuted if he helped her to die. I don't know much about the disease she is suffering from but I do know its terminal and that she would eventually die a slow painful death. She simply wanted to die quietly and with dignity. Surely she should have the right to do so? ~~~ Personal ~~~ Before you read on please understand that this opinion is written from a personal an emotional point of view. I should also warn you that you may find this opinion upsetting as it contains a fairly graphic account of my Dad's death. I have not researched the subject extensively but I have had first hand experience of it. I understand there is a lot of opposition to it, especially on religious grounds, but personally I am not a religious person and I don't live my life according to the dictates of a church. ~~~ Suffering ~~~ As many of you know my Father recently died of lung cancer. His was not a prolonged illness, looking back I still cant believe how quickly we moved from him saying he felt ill to us burying him. From the day we were told Dad had incurable lung cancer to the day he died exactly a week passed. Dad spent that entire week in hospital. He was never coming home, but would have been moved to a hospice had he lived. That week was the ...

Telephone Preference Service 26/09/2001

Stop Those Unsolicited Calls

Telephone Preference Service I don’t get any calls from double glazing companies interrupting my life. Nor from anyone else trying to sell me goods which I haven’t asked for. My number is still listed in the phone book but these annoying calls just don’t happen anymore. Why? Because I’m registered with the Telephone Preference Service, and its illegal for anyone to make a direct marketing call to me if I haven’t asked for it. This wonderful service is available FREE on any UK land line. ~~~~ My Experience ~~~~ I registered with the TPS at the beginning of November. A week after I signed up I received a letter confirming my registration and telling me it would be 28 days before it was effective. Its now been nearly a year since I registered and I havn't received a single direct marketing call. Companies who I have given my number to (like my bank) are still able to contact me with details of services they provide. ~~~~ The Service ~~~~ The Telephone Preference Service is run by the Direct Marketing Association and this is their brief: ~ “In February 1999 OFTEL issued an Invitation To Tender for the Management of the Telephone and Fax Opt-Out Schemes. The DMA has been awarded the contract to run the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and Fax Preference Service (FPS). The TPS enables Individuals to register their objection to receiving direct marketing calls with a central service.” The service does not stop calls from market research ...
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