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since 28/03/2003


Everything that starts with W ... 20/07/2005

Working Life of a Mad Cat

Everything that starts with W ... laura.mclean was the one who started this, it looks interesting so I thought I'd have a go! If you do it yourself, leave her a message in her guestbook. 1. Where do you work? I work in a video rental shop, although we don't just do rentals, we sell DVD's, videos, phones, games, sweets and a few other things besides. 2. What is your job title? I'm the Supervisor. Before that I was a sales assistant..... although that title only covers a small part of my job as you'll see! 3. What does you job entail? Huh. What doesn't it? A more accurate job title would be supervisory sales assistant/cleaner/security guard/paperwork filler-outer/cashier/trainer/stocktaker/complaints handler... It's probably easier to describe a typical Monday at work! I'd get in to the shop, lock the doors behind me and check the takings from the previous evening, fill out the relevant paperwork and take the money to be banked. I'd then get back, make sure the floats are in the tills and the CCTV system is running and open the doors. During the day, I generally serve customers at the till, book rentals in and out, sort out any odd emails and price changes, make sure all the new release films are on the system, boxed and filed correctly, check deliveries and book in new stock and other enthralling bits and pieces. I'd sort out the previous week's paperwork to do with takings, deliveries and a whole bunch of other stuff, then sort out which members are late in bringing their ...

Everything that starts with H ... 27/04/2005

How To Survive As A Homeless Family

Everything that starts with H ... Homelessness - the word usually conjures up images of people sleeping in shop doorways, having nowhere else to go and no help available to them. My experience wasn't anything like as bad as that, as nowadays families facing homelesness can have a lot of help from the Council where they live, and get a roof over their heads while waiting for a proper house or flat to be allocated to them. So this review is about that kind of homeless - I hope it will give you an insight into what can happen and what it's like. *********The Story of My Experience********* Way back in July 2000, we lived in a nice, privately rented house. I was eight months pregnant, we had a little girl of 13 months and I was working at the post office. My partner was a self-employed subcontractor for a company installling and repairing Sky TV systems. Together our income was very low as my partner was paid per job, and for a long time the company he worked for hadn't been passing enough jobs his way. I had arranged to work up until a week before my due date as the situation was dire - we were behind on the rent and the council tax, as nine times out of ten we couldn't afford to pay both each month. Our landlord was pretty unsympathetic, and finally lost patience with us, and gave us one month's notice to quit. There was no way we could afford the deposit plus one months rent in advance required to rent somewhere else, and as we were working we didn't qualify for enough help from either Council Tax or ...

Hotpoint WF840 14/04/2005

Hotpoint Washes Hotpants.... And Much More

Hotpoint WF840 Okay, let's get the boring specs out of the way first, then we'll get to the nitty gritty of what it's like to use. Well, it's a washing machine, it washes clothes. Most do (not my old one though, that died a month ago, or you wouldn't be reading this now). The Hotpoint WF840G is one of their Ultima range and comes in three colour schemes, has a new-fangled-style LCD display panel, can wash a load of up to 6kg, has many different programmes depending on what you're washing and how grubby it is and gives you a choice of spin speeds from no spin to 1400rpm and a choice of wash temeperatures from 25 degrees to 95 degrees. The price I paid was £399.99 at the Co-Op, but a quick search around various websites reveals that prices vary from £365.36 online and £499.95 in stores such as Currys. It is hailed as being Super Silent and is approved by Woolmark, I'm told this indicates it can wash wool items labelled handwash only without problems. It can wash football kits and smelly work jeans, it can wash your towels and your smalls, and pretty much anything else you care to chuck in. It won't make you a cup of tea in the morning, but with this range of abilities, I wouldn't have been surprised..... It needs both hot and cold water feeds but there is the option to have it running from a cold water feed only. You have to order the adaptor from Hotpoint, or buy one from one of their authorised service centres. This is very useful, as I originally wanted a cold-water-only ...

Everything that starts with E ... 01/03/2005

Exceptionals - The Thingywhatsit Way!

Everything that starts with E ... This is a challenge set by Thingywhatsit - the questions are cut-and-pasted from her profile homepage. The idea is to answer completely honestly and then see how you scored at the bottom. It's for fun, but I personally think it has a serious side too, because it makes you think about how and why you give Exceptional ratings and what that rating really means. 1. Someone in your cot has written the best review they have ever written. You can see that they have made an exceptional effort. Do you. A: Give it an exceptional to show them you can see how hard they worked ? B: Give them a rating based on content and layout C: Give them the same rating as everyone else did . After all the majority rules. I would choose A, an exceptional rating because of the effort and time that person has put into their review - maybe others didn't regard it as exceptional, but that changes nothing. 2. You read a review which you see has loads of exceptional ratings and you really cannot see why because it’s not that special. Do you A: Give it an exceptional. Why not ? Everyone else did. B: Rate it what you think it deserves regardless of popular thought. C. Don’t rate it at all because you don’t want to cause controversy ? I would never rate E just because "everyone else has", and 90% of the time I would rate it as I found it, which means B - but there have been times when I haven't rated something like this... I'm not sure why, maybe to avoid possible bad feeling? I ...

Birds Eye SteamFresh Oriental Chicken With Noodles 27/02/2005

As Long As You're Not Hungry...

Birds Eye SteamFresh Oriental Chicken With Noodles I'm not usually an avid eater of microwave ready-meals, but there's the odd occasion when I'm too tired to actually cook anything. I spotted the Birds Eye range of steam-cook meals in the local Co-Op, and bought them because they looked better than most other microwave meals and they were buy-one-get-one-free. They come in a deep oval plastic container, with an outer cardboard sleeve depicting a very nice-looking meal - the variety I picked was Oriental Chicken with Noodles. Cooking them is extremely easy - just remove the cardboard sleeve, DO NOT pierce the film covering and put in the microwave for between eight and ten minutes, depending on your microwave. You cannot cook this in the oven, it's microwave only. Because the meal is steamed, they are supposed to be healthier than other ready-meals, and the packaging's nutritional information bears this out: 335 calories per meal, and 8.8 grams of fat (which sounds quite high, but only 1.6g of this is saturated fats). It wouldn't be suitable for anyone on a low-carb diet though, as the meal contains 36 grams of carbohydrate. After heating the meal, and once I had finally managed to get the plastic film off the top of the container (difficult as it does not simply pull off, you have to cut it, risking burnt fingers because of the hot condensation on the underside), I was very surprised to see that the meal was so small - the tub is fairly large, and quite deep, but the food barely covered the bottom of it. Initial ...

How do you shop for food? 18/11/2004

Food shopping - the long way round

How do you shop for food? Since every other review on the most recent list in the Cafe is an answer to this challenge, I thought I'd leap in with my own - I think it seems very interesting! This challenge/survey/questionnaire *delete as appropriate* was invented by Jill Murphy and French CanCan, and I think I should include their notation; “French CanCan and I were wondering how y'all do your food shopping, what you buy, what you cook and how you eat. So we decided to run a survey. M. CanCan will, after a decent interval, collate the results and report upon them. So, it would be most super-duper if you would all answer our questions. Could you drop us a note in our guestbook’s if and when you do? Thankee!” *Note to self - remember to leave the message!* Q1: If your yearly food budget was £100, how much would you say you currently spend in big retailers – e.g. supermarkets? Explain why you spend so much or so little there? A) Probably about seventy quid. The local supermarket is very useful because it sells everything from food to underwear, tickling-sticks to Biros and a whole bunch more in between. If I'm strapped for time during the week (work, more's the pity, 'fraid I'm not one of these interesting people who does much else) then a quick Friday-happens-to-be-payday trip to Asda sorts out the food shopping, the kids new school uniform, the cards I've forgotten to buy for birthdays and even the stamps to post them with. I even get a long rest while waiting my turn in the queue of the ...

Buyer Beware! (urgent warnings about products/services to avoid at all costs) 03/11/2004

NPower Gas Service - Never, Ever Sign Up.

Buyer Beware! (urgent warnings about products/services to avoid at all costs) Ever since the gas and electricity companies were privatised, we, as consumers, are supposed to be feeling the "benefit" of choice, and being able to "shop around for the best deal". After a few years of being stopped on the street every five minutes by various company reps, and enduring the same salesmen hanging on the doorbell every other day, I personally long for the good old days of British Gas and Eastern Electricity, simplicity, peace and quiet. This opinion charts problems with NPower mainly, but also British Gas, and is written from notes I have kept on all phone calls and letters, since the problem has not been resolved yet. I wanted to warn others about these two companies. I have not used real names though, just my own made-up ones. My problems with NPower started out in March 2001 (thats 3 years and 8 months ago). I'd just moved into a new (to me anyway!) council house with two extremely small children, no carpets, barely any furniture and gas and electricity were the last things on my mind, beyond making sure we has supplies of both. We had a pre-payment meter for the electricity supply. For those who don't know, this is where you have a plastic card which you take to an outlet supplying cardboard electricity cards which you pay for. The shop swipes the plastic card so that the company you are with can see how many cards you buy, you take the cardboard one home and put it in the meter. If you don't buy the cards with the credit on them, you don't have ...

Burnout 3: Takedown (PS2) 01/11/2004

Seatbelts Not Included!

Burnout 3: Takedown (PS2) I'd been getting a little bored with the driving games I own at the moment. While they're fun to play, especially on a Saturday night with a bunch of friends, having a mad competition, I'd almost given up playing them by myself when I was bored - they all seemed to consist of the same thing (driving, obviously) but with nothing to liven things up a bit. Burnout 3: Takedown is therefore such a nice refreshing change. There are so many different ways of winning races in this game that the lifespan is likely to be well above any other driving game I've tried. The graphics are what you'd expect from a PS2 game nowadays - excellent and detailed but not overly flashy, and the soundtrack is perfect for the type of game - beware if you have a loathing of rock music though! First off, I need to explain something quickly - Gran Turismo, this ain't. Although you do get "proper" races, a goodish chunk of this game is concerned with smashing up as many other cars as possible. Good Playstation driving skills don't come into it much, being able to brake into corners and avoid sliding all over the road will lose you the race. In fact, the use of driving "skills" is actively discouraged. Excellent! I hear you cry. Well, read on. MENU ******* When you start the game, you'll be taken to a menu where you can choose to start a "campaign" style main game, which is in the form of a World Map (more on this in a mo'). Also on this menu are options for single races, which aren't a part of ...

Clairol Nice 'n Easy 27/10/2004

New Hair is Nice 'n' Easy

Clairol Nice 'n Easy While doing the weekly shop at Asda on a Friday morning, my friend decided to try another hair colour. Not having coloured my hair for about four years, and being bored with mouse-brown (my natural colour) I also picked up a pack of hair dye. After a few minutes wrangling over what colour to go for, I decided to go for Clairol Nice'n'Easy 120 - Natural Dark Brown. I am aware this review is quite long, so I've put information under headings. If you feel a section isn't interesting or relevant to you, please feel free to skip bits! WHAT COLOUR SHOULD I CHOOSE? *************** *************** ************** There are a few things to consider when dyeing your hair. First, what is your natural colour? It's never a good idea to use a home hair-dye if you're planning on changing your look dramatically, so unless you can afford the hairdresser's prices, go for a colour within two shades of your natural one. Secondly, you also should consider your skin tone. Most people have either pink-toned skin or yellow-toned skin. This applies to black skin too, but you'll have a different choice of colours which suit you. Have a close look in a mirror in front of a window. People with pink-toned skin should choose warm colours such as reds, mahoganies, or could choose many of the blonde shades. People with yellow-toned skin like myself, should steer clear of reds, or any blonde shade which is too pale, such as light ash blonde. Choose darker browns, or you can get away with blue-black, ...

Moral Dilemmas II 27/10/2004

You say immoral as if it's a bad thing...

Moral Dilemmas II **DILEMMA 1** It is your mother's birthday, and you would like to get her some flowers, especially roses because they are her favourite. However, you do not have any money, but your neighbours have some prize-winning roses growing in their garden, what do you do? ANSWER: Depends which neighbours. The ones to the right are good friends of mine, so I'd ask them if I could pick a few. The neighbour to my left however, is an a**ehole, so I'd have no problems skipping over the fence when he's out, pruning shears in hand. **DILEMMA 2** Some money goes missing from a colleagues bag at work. You saw your best friend hanging around their desk before and know that your best friend has just asked you out to lunch even though they are short on cash this month, do you tell on your suspicions about your best friend? ANSWER: Didn't realise hanging around someones' desk was a crime - and I'm pretty sure that, as evidence, it wouldn't stand up in court. I'd go for the lunch and not worry about it. If I'd caught my friend with her hand in the person's bag then it would be different. **DILEMMA 3** You have been recruited by a talent scout and have been offered a movie role that will make you famous and wealthy. There are some things you are not quite comfortable doing, however. The director says that if you want the role, you must do anything and everything you are requested to do, like it or not. He also reminds you that there are plenty of others waiting to take the part ...

Mr Muscle Over Cleaner 21/10/2004

Cleaning Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

Mr Muscle Over Cleaner I looked inside my oven today, remembering (for no apparent reason) that the last time hubby cooked a pizza in there, the cheese dripped through the shelf bars and ended up on the bottom. It was time to clean the thing, never one of my favourite jobs. Guilt set in when reaching for the tin of Mr Muscle Oven Cleaner...... there was a nice thick layer of dust on the lid, evidence that the last time I actually scrubbed the oven out was, well, a while ago. Bet you're all hoping I don't invite you over to dinner anytime soon........ Mr Muscle's oven cleaner comes in a green metal tin with the Mr Muscle logo on the front and a red band round the top with "Powerful Cleaning Action" in yellow capitals, and a warning to read the back of the tin before use. Reassuringly, there's a tough childproof lid which needs fairly strong fingers to remove. The Directions on the back tell you to read the entire label before removing the lid. There are a number of reasons for this, mainly to do with damage to you and damage to surfaces it's not intended for use on. Most cleaners contain surfactants as their active cleaning ingredient - anionic or non-anionic (go and have a look at what you've got in your cleaning cupboard) This one however contains something different as well as the usual ones - Polycarboxylates. I have no idea what this is, but since it's not standard fare in any other cleaner I use, I'm assuming it's this which gives rise to all the warnings plastered all over the ...

Poetry 18/10/2004

What war really achieves

Poetry This is a melancholy poem, but reading reports on the Iraq war day after day made me think about what it's supposed to achieve, and what it really does. Justice, justice, swift and strong Cleanse the world and right it's wrongs Our leader's thoughts on what should be Look closer, though, at reality Soldiers huddled in their trench Awaiting fire from o'er the fence A chance to kill, or perhaps to die Trained to fight, not question why Ponder on this scene, as well Inside a shack, a bombed-out shell A tiny child in shocked surprise Surveys his world with hopeless eyes Tyranny's wrong, but what is worse For those who ride behind the hearse Do they believe their sacrifice Of a loved one came at a fair price? We justify war on other nations In the name of peace, and liberation But heed these words, 'ere it's too late All we breed from war is hate Ali.

Jokes 15/10/2004

A little light-heartedness

Jokes Quick edit : Just before you read I would like to say I mean no offence by the first joke - I am Christian and found it funny so I do hope others won't take exception to it, or I would not have posted it. When God created the world, she knew it was a masterpiece, but something was missing. She decided to create Woman. Woman had two legs, two arms, two eyes, one head, one torso and three breasts. God set her new creation in the Garden of Eden, with plentiful food, beautiful surroundings and created animals of all shapes and sizes to be with her. God named her creation Eve. When Eve had been in existence for about a week, God came to see her, and to check whether Eve was happy. Eve said that she was, the Garden was stunning to look at, the food was plentiful and tasty, and she had no complaints at all - except one minor thing. The third breast got in the way, bouncing around and catching on tree branches. God had a quick think, reached an arm out from the clouds and plucked the third breat from Eve and threw it aside. Eve thanked God, and God said she would come back in a week and check on Eve again. A week later, God did indeed come to check on Eve, and again asked her if she was happy. Eve again said that the Garden was pretty, the food was delicious, and she had no real complaints - except one. She had seen all the animals around her in pairs - the cow and the bull, the hen and the cockerel, the sheep and the ram and wondered if she could have a companion like ...

Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome 15/10/2004

Innocence and adventure

Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome This book, Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, has been considered a children's classic by many people. I have loved this book, and the sequels to it, for as long as I can remember. I first read it when I was about eight, and the book seems to have been written with the age range seven-to-twelve in mind. However, it is a lovely book to read at any age, I still enjoy it as much now as I did then. The book is set in 1929, an age when children were more innocent than they are nowadays, and when being a child seemed to be a lot safer. It centres around a family of children, John, Susan, Titty and Roger who are on holiday with their mother and younger sister at a farm in the Lake District. Having a father in the Navy and being around boats all their lives has given them a love of the water and the ability to handle a small sailing boat. At the start of the story, the four have spotted an island in the lake, and have found a beautiful little sailing boat in the boathouse belonging to the farm. Plans are afoot to borrow the sailing boat and camp on the island, and all they are waiting for is a telegram from Father to say whether they can go or not. John, the eldest of the four is to be Captain of the boat, Swallow. He is to be in charge and make sure that his crew obey him. Susan, the sensible one and the one most trusted by the adults to ensure that her younger siblings do what they are supposed to such as getting to bed on time, is to be Mate of their ship. Titty ...

5 Life Changing Events in my Life 09/10/2004

My Life So Far

5 Life Changing Events in my Life Despite still being only 22, I can think of five life-changing events without having to over-tax the old brain too much - some good, some bad but all very important nevertheless as they've shaped the person I am today. At the time of some of these events I could not see the good which would come from what happened, yet good things came from them anyway even if it was something as simple as just teaching me a lesson about life. What doesn't kill your spirit makes you stronger, and in many ways that's a good thing. Number One Being thrown out by my father aged 13 No need to really explain how this changed the course of my life. At the age of 13 or 14 or 15, a lot of teenagers seem to believe that nobody cares about them, their parents do not understand them and they start to learn that life isn't always fair. Most kids manage to get through those years and find out they were wrong. Having all those actually confirmed to you, in words and actions, cannot ever be easy, nice or understandable. Being physically hit I could take - it was the years of being told I was useless, a waste of space and a nasty person that finally culminated in a huge row when my father decided the family would be better off without me. I left school with no qualifications, went on the run from the Social Services children's home I ended up in, got myself mixed up in various kinds of trouble and acquired a criminal record. No foster family would take me, and a children's home with ten other ...
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