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since 09/11/2003


Q & A 14/06/2007

Want to know more about me? Well read on...

Q & A 1. Name Louise 2. Age and Date of Birth I’m 31, born September 26th 1975 3. Hair Colour Dark Brown 4. Tattoos None, yuk! 5. Job Operations Manager for a company that sells vending franchises, quite dull but it’s pays the bills. 6. Favourite Colour Blue, I like most shades of blue, apparently I have a blue aura so that might explain it. 7. Home County. Well, I currently live in Sydney, Australia so my home state is New South Wales. I was born and raised in Liverpool, Merseyside. 8. Current Relationship Status Single and looking! 9. Favourite Food Chicken… Chicken wings, Chicken legs, fried Chicken, grilled Chicken. I love it all. Have recently been on a vegetarian detox plan for 2 weeks and Chicken was the thing I missed most. I almost had cold chicken… hem… I mean turkey. 10. Been to Africa Yep, holidayed in Tunisia once, didn’t like it much to be honest, someone tried to buy me. 11. Loved somebody so much it made you cry? More times than I care to remember. 12 Been in a Car Accident. A few minor scrapes, nothing major touch wood. 13 Sprite or 7UP You don’t see 7up much here but that would have to be my favourite. Could take or leave them both though to be honest. 14. Favourite Movie Oh god, how to you pick just one. I guess Dirty Dancing if I can only have one but also love Goodfellas with a passion. 15. Favourite Holiday I’ve been fortunate to have many fantastic holidays but I’d say my favourite was ...

Crown Casino, Melbourne 19/05/2007

Melbourne's Crown and Glory

Crown Casino, Melbourne I’ve complained before to all the good people on Ciao about not being much of a fan of Melbourne. It’s just one of those cities that doesn’t grab me. There is a local tension between Sydney people and Melbourne people, each side saying their city is the best and it’s true that Melbourne was once voted the most liveable city in the world. Although it’s got many things going for it, it’s just not for me. It was with some reluctance then that I spent a few days there last week for work. On Thursday night I had a colleague with me so when we’d finished the daily drudge of meetings we thought we’d have a night on the town. Crown Casino is the jewel in Melbourne’s crown (excuse the pun) of night life. Standing resplendent on the south bank of the Yarra River in the heart of the city, the casino, built in 1996 is a must see. The 39 storey, six star hotel and casino complex has something to offer every visitor, young or old and almost every pocket from fast food and a movie to gourmet cuisine and a night at the gaming tables. Last week was my second visit to Crown. The first was on the weekend of the Grand Prix back in March. On that occasion I was really taken aback with the inside of the building more than anything else, it’s all very Las Vegas with lots of marble and glass. You get the sense that the place is never ending, it’s absolutely huge and we spent a couple of hours just looking around. In the foyer they had a display of vintage Ferraris, very nicely done and ...

Sydney Harbour Bridge 12/05/2007

Climb the Bridge, I dare you!

Sydney Harbour Bridge As many of you may know, I live in the beautiful harbour side city of Sydney, resplendent with its Opera House, magnificent city skyline and of course The Sydney Harbour Bridge or ‘The old coat hanger’ as it’s sometimes known. I used to live on the North Shore of Sydney and drove over the bridge every day, occasionally looking up and seeing some grey lumps on the side which on second glance appeared to be people. I was well aware of the ‘Bridge Climb’, an organised ascent of the bridge where you are strapped on to the bridge via a wire and led by a trained group leader. You climb up to the very top and have pictures taken and admire the breath taking view before climbing back down on the opposite side which gives you a superb city view. Despite my knowledge of the whole thing I’d never actually done it in three years of living here until last week. I had some friends down from Queensland and one of them was very keen so I went on to the web site and paid $169 AUD each or about 70 quid and booked for an evening bridge climb last Friday night. In the peak season you can expect to wait weeks for a climb but i booked ours just a week before. We arrived at the bridge climb base at 5.05pm. We were let into a room, introduced to our group leaders and issued with a very unflattering grey boiler suit. We got changed, left our belongings in the lockers and started the safety induction. First of all we were breathalysed; they don’t let any one on the bridge with a blood alcohol level ...

44 Scotland Street - Alexander McCall Smith 24/04/2007

A visit to Scotland Street

44 Scotland Street - Alexander McCall Smith Background Alexander McCall Smith is a Rhodesian born Scottish writer, born in 1948, and now native to Edinburgh, which is of course the setting for this book. Alexander is in fact an accomplished academic, currently residing as a Professor at Edinburgh Law School but having many impressive academic feats to his name including being the former Chairman of the British Medical Journal’s ethics committee. I mention all of this not only to prove I can do my research, but also to help give one an insight into the talent behind the book. In fact without giving the contents of this review away too soon, I was quite surprised to find out Mr McCall Smith was such a man of standing and literary accomplishment as in places the plot of this book is somewhat thin. I didn’t actually buy this book. My Aunty back in Liverpool bought this for me for my Birthday in 05, so it’s been kicking round at home for a while. I’m a vociferous reader but managed to avoid this for some reason, I just didn’t fancy it. I’d heard of Alexander McCall Smith, read the back cover and the preface but something about it just didn’t float my boat. Anyway, last week I was flying down to Melbourne for a meeting and I have a problem with always buying new books at the airport. I was determined not to do it on this occasion so I went to my shelves and noticed this. I was still unsure but my resolve not to buy anything new was strong so I picked it up and off I went. 44 Scotland Street was not written in ...

Daintree River Cruise, Cairns 24/03/2007

Don't miss the Daintree!

Daintree River Cruise, Cairns As some of you might have noticed from some of my other reviews, I have recently been on holidays in far North Queensland, Australia. It's such a beautiful and diverse place I can't help but write some more about my trip. Hope no one thinks I'm going off topic but I've decided to write about the whole day trip rather than just the river cruise. On Monday of last week we boarded an Oztours four wheel drive bus to the Daintree Rainforest. This has been on my list of Australian places to visit since I came here as a traveller in 2003. On that trip it was just too far off my route to make it feasible. I did come to Queensland but I only got as far north as Brisbane. The Daintree is about a days drive from Brisbane which gives you some idea about the size of this place. I selected this tour from some flyers at the reception area of the resort we were staying in as it included what to be where the must do places of Cape Tribulation and The Daintree River. It also visited Mosman Gorge which I hadn't heard of but nevertheless looked impressive. We were collected from the resort at 8am and started 1.5 hour trip up the Captain Cook Highway to the Daintree. Our first stop was to be the Daintree River Crossing. On the way our driver and guide, Mat told us about all the movies which were filmed along this stretch of coast (none of which I can remember now!) and he also pointed out a couple of famous people's mansions as we passed through the magnificent area of Port Douglas. ...

Green Island, Green Island, Great Barrier Reef 22/03/2007

Green & Great

Green Island, Green Island, Great Barrier Reef Many months ago during the long and bleak English winter one of my friends asked me if she could come over to Sydney to spend some at my place. She'd just gotten over a nasty illness and was looking for some sunshine and some R&R. I always love seeing friends from home so I said that she was more than welcome to come but I couldn't guarantee the weather in Sydney in March. It's our Autumn and although it should be pretty warm and nice, beach weather is possible but not guaranteed. We started to discuss taking off up the coast for a week during her stay, that way I got to have a holiday and spend some proper time with her as well. She was happy with this and I promptly booked a couple of flights to Cairns on the far north Queensland coast. We stayed in a small resort town called Palm Cove, about 30 mins north of Cairns which was lovely. Being in such close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef it would have been almost criminal not to go and have a look but my friend and I had different ideas of what we were looking for in a reef trip. I was looking for a boat trip with some snorkelling, I wasn't too bothered about doing a dive but I thought a snorkel was a must. My friend on the other hand is not a big fan of snorkelling or diving and she was looking for maybe a glass bottom boat or something of that nature. I was confidant we would find something that would meet both of our requirements so I went and spoke to our very helpful receptionist at the resort and amongst some ...

Ibis Hotel Little Bourke Street, Melbourne 20/03/2007

A night at the Ibis

Ibis Hotel Little Bourke Street, Melbourne This past weekend I was lucky enough to have tickets to the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, held at Albert Park in Melbourne. We had booked a 7.30am flight from Sydney and we landed in Melbourne at 8.45am bleary eyed but exited. The hotel is about 25 minutes way by coach from Melbourne's main airport, Tullamarine, and we pulled in at Southern Cross bus station which was a short 5 minute stroll to the hotel. It was too early to expect to get into our room at the Ibis but we were hoping they'd keep our luggage safe for is so we could get off to the track. When we arrived we explained what our plan was for the day and the receptionist was very helpful and accommodating, giving us a couple of options for luggage storage and checking us in so that we would have no hassle when we returned that evening. We went off and had a great day, not having to worry about if our room would be kept for us or any of that stuff. We returned to the hotel just after six and were given our room cards and directions upto the second floor. The room was quite small but tastefully decorated, much like the Ibis's I've stayed in in England. As I was with my friend we did opted for a twin bedded room and I thought this might have caused a problem as I remember staying in an Ibis in Manchester once where they said they only did double beds. Anyway, no such problems on this occasion. The beds were firm and clean and I wasted no time in collapsing on mine as I'd been standing up all day and was knackered. ...

Lush Imperialis 08/03/2007

Simply Lushious

Lush Imperialis I had never really thought about buying a moisturiser from Lush to be honest. I was a staunch Clinique girl for many years, then a friend got me to try some of her Clarins stuff which I quite liked and that seemed to break the spell. I began to wonder if it was really necessary to spend fifty quid or more on moisturiser or if something a bit more economical might do the job just as well. I think one of my main reasons for changing was that my skin felt almost water logged, or a bit suffocated, like my cream was too heavy. My skin usually looked quite good though and I often got compliments from my friends about how clear my skin was, so I was a bit nervous about changing to something cheaper. One day about 6 months ago I was browsing around Lush, as you do, smelling stuff and dipping my fingers in things and I noticed for the first time that they had a whole selection of moisturisers on display. How I'd missed it I don't know but I felt like it was my duty to put it right and try something. I was drawn to Imperiallis primarily because of the price, it's 8.25GBP or $29.95 AUD. Which is a huge reduction on what I would normally pay for a cream. The second reason I was drawn to it was because of the ingredients, Imperialis contains Lavender, Orange Blossom Water, Shea Butter, Coco Butter, Tiger Lilly extract, Elderflower extract and St. Johns wort extract, as well as a few other bits and pieces (all natural of course) full ingredients list is available on the web site for ...

Perth Ambassador Hotel, Perth 08/02/2007

A short stay at the Perth Ambassador

Perth Ambassador Hotel, Perth As regular readers will know I'm lucky enough to live in the beautiful city of Sydney on Australia's Pacific east coast. I settled on Sydney for no other reason that it's a beach city with a fantastic climate and is vibrant and busy. If I'd have wanted a slightly more relaced pace of life then without question I would have plumped for Perth in Western Australia. Like Sydney it has a temperate climate, beautiful beaches on the Indian Ocean and a thriving economy. I'm currently on my third visit to Perth and I'm fortunate in that I'm here on business and the company are picking up the hotel tab (not to mention the bar tab!). I picked my own hotel and the criteria was that it should not be to far from the office and not to far from downtown area or the CBD (central business district). I'd also stayed in a backpackers hostel in East Perth on my first visit here in 2003, so because I was a little familiar with the area thought I'd try and get somewhere close to there. I came across the Perth Ambassador on the web site and it caught my eye because it was in my price range, my hotel allowance runs to $150.00 AUD a night or 40 to 80 GBP. This must have been up rated recently as while Ciao states this is a two star hotel it's actually now three and a half stars. It's recently been brought under new management which probably explains it. It's located on Adelaide terrace which is close to everywhere basically, with the main shopping area a 10 minute walk and the banks of ...

U2 25/01/2007

Dublin's Finest

U2 I first discovered U2 as a ten year old in 1986. You see my best friends sister was crazy about them, she was 17 and therefore automatically, in our eyes at least, very cool indeed. We hung around while she played Unforgettable Fire ('84) over and over again and although we probably liked it at that time because she liked it something must have stuck because when 1987's Joshua Tree album was released I saved up my pocket money and bought the tape. It was the first album I ever bought and for the next two years it was hardly out of the cassette player. The Joshua Tree was my introduction proper to U2. and I found it (and still do) quite an emotional piece of work and a major departure from all of the bubble gum pop music of the 80's I'd listened to thus far. I was hooked. To understand how U2 rose to be Time Magazines 'Biggest Band of the 80's' we must go back to Dublin, Ireland circa 1978 when Larry Mullen Jnr placed an add on the notice board of Mount Temple Comprehensive school, a progressive co-ed school that all four of the future members of U2 attended. Larry could play the drums a bit having been a member of the Artane Boys Band earlier in his youth and his add attracted a cluster of boys round at his house all trying out to be part of the band. The group included Bono, the Edge and Adam Clayton but perhaps with the exception of the Edge there wasn't much talent on show. Bono was trying out to be the guitarist but the guys shuddered at his efforts and it's said he's ...

Lush Think Pink Bath Ballistic 03/01/2007

Think Lush

Lush Think Pink Bath Ballistic I was a very spoilt girl this Christmas and one of the presents I got was some lovely treats from Lush. As regular readers will know I'm a huge fan of Lush stuff and I'm yet to be really disappointed in anything I've had from there. Yes, there are some things I prefer to others, for example, I find their face masks are just ok on the whole. I've had some foot cream type stuff that was messy and hard work to put on but as I say, I love the stuff and ballistics are a particular favourite. The Think Pink Ballistic lives up to everything you expect from a Lush Ballistic. It's about the size of a tennis ball (200g shipping weight), has a lovely luscious floral aroma and has four candy flowers pressed into it. It looks and smells very girly and using it feels like a bit of an occasion. On dropping it into the bath it fizzes madly turning the water a deep pink colour and producing a few bubbles. It must be said for the sake of the uninitiated that ballistics are an altogether different proposition to bubble bath. Although you do get some bubbles that's not really the point, the point is it's luxurious, a treat, you're getting more than just bubbles it's a whole experience. The candy flowers melt away when the ballistic has gone and as I stepped in to the water I noticed there were small glittery hearts floating on the water, just a few that I could only see when the light caught them but it was an unexpected little bonus I must say. The smell is devine, if pink had a smell ...

Apple iPod Nano 8GB Second Generation 02/01/2007

It's the Apple of my eye!

Apple iPod Nano 8GB Second Generation Before Christmas when I wrote my list to Santa, I asked him for one of those cute new Ipod shuffle things, the really tiny silver ones. Well Santa got it wrong and I'm happy to say I ended up with a rather smashing 8Gb Black Nano instead. I had never been particularly interested in owning an Ipod. I've had various other MP3 players over the years and after the novelty has worn off I've never really bothered with them again, in fact I've used the last one I had more as a memory stick that anything else. The reason I fancied having the Shuffle was purely and simply because it was cute and I suppose combined with the fact I'm spending a lot of time hanging around airports at the moment I thought I might get a bit more use out of it. So I was slightly disappointed when I first pulled the Nano out of my stocking. When I unwrapped it I was quite impressed with the case it came in, it's like a little plastic coffin with a see through lid. It looked really smart. The trademark white headphones, instructions and the USB connector where hidden underneath so all you can see is the Ipod itself. There was no software included so I downloaded Itunes (the Apple music software for buying and playing music) off the web as instructed and set about copying all my CD's to the library. I must say at this point I was a bit weary of Itunes, I've heard a few horror stories about people loosing their libraries and not being able to get stuff off it but, look I took the plunge and so far so ... 06/12/2006

Is Skype a load of trype?? I first heard about Skype a year or so ago now, it was put over by several friends as a fantastic new way to call people over the internet, using just the Skype software and a mic/headset. I looked into it a bit and couldn't really see much difference between what MSN messenger or Yahoo do. The main difference was that most of my friends had one of the afore mentioned messenger services and not many of them were on Sykpe at that point. I downloaded it but really never used it, that was until I started my new job. Our head office is in Auckland, NZ so we were all equipped with Skype, a headset and a web cam so we can chat for free rather than having to make international calls all the time. The theory of this is of course fantastic, free calls to anyone, anywhere in the world that has Skype on loaded on to their computer. The reality is sadly not as fantastic. Skype to Skype calls are a bit hit and miss. Sometimes they are great, as good as a normal phone, but most of the time there is some delay or the sound can be a bit faint. Still usable though. They say Broadband is an absolute necessity but my Mum, in the UK is still on dial up and we still manage the odd chat but unless you have a good fast broadband connection and a decent spec computer I wouldn't count on it as a regular means of communication. After using it for work for a while and being fairly pleased with it's performance I decided I was going to do away with having a landline at home, I moved house and ...

Clinique Take the Day Off 03/09/2006

Did Clinique take the day off?

Clinique Take the Day Off I've been a regular Clinique aficionado for many years now. I've always been a big fan of their moisturisers, particularly the Dramatically Different creams. I've tried a whole heap of products now and in the main I've been pretty impressed. I particularly like the special offers they do where you get a bunch of free stuff when you spend over a certain amount. This is where I came across Take the day off make up remover for lids lashes and lips. I'd never noticed this product before and I certainly wouldn't have considered paying £11.50 for it so this idea is a smart move on Cliniques part, (as I'm sure they're aware) I you like it of course you'll buy the next one. The liquid comes in a 50ml bottle, a strange looking thing with a lilac tint and a green screw on cap like you would find on a tablet bottle so that the kiddies won't swallow anything they shouldn't. The bottle states that it's allergy free and 100% fragrance free which is all very nice but there was no list of ingredients on the bottle which unnerved me slightly. Compared to a product from say, Lush, there is no information whatsoever on what this stuff comprises of. Now I have to say, once I started looking at it and smelling it the lack of ingredients bothered me. It looks to me like there is a fine layer of skin sitting about halfway up the bottle, the bubbles float like cooking oil in water and when I shake it up it goes very murky and cloudy before settling back into the strange layer in the middle. I ...

General: Hong Kong 16/07/2006

Hooray for Honkers!

General: Hong Kong When I decided on Hong Kong as a holiday destination the main reason was that it was kind of in the middle between Australia, (where I am) and good old Blighty (where my friend and travelling companion is). Well I say in the middle, it's a 9 hour flight from Sydney and a total of 15 hours for my friend who would be travelling down from Manchester, going through Heathrow and then a short stop in Dubai. I don't really know how we settled on Hong Kong, I think it must have been her idea as although I was keen enough to go it wasn't on the top of my places to go list. As the trip got closer, I bought the guide books and searched the Web and began to realise we'd made a dam good choice! Getting There Easy peasy for me. Direct from Sydney to Hong Kong with Virgin Atlantic cost me $1080 AUD which is about £415 at the current rate of exchange. I wasn't very impressed with the Virgin plane, for such a long flight they used an Airbus A320 which is all very good for four or five hours but for just on 9 hours and with every seat taken a 747 would have been much more like it, it was uncomfortable and cramped. My friend flew from Manchester with Singapore Airlines and at Heathrow boarded a Jumbo and all reports were good. She paid just a tad under £500 for her flight, which is a bit pricy I think but as we booked it quite late on was all she could get. First Impressions We landed within an hour of each other and after much hugging and general delight at the opportunity of a ...
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