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since 30/11/-0001


Everything that starts with D ... 24/02/2004

Don't ever forget it's just a website!!!!

Everything that starts with D ... "The Internet provides the perfect forum for cyberbullies, individuals whose aim is to gain gratification from the distress caused by provoking and tormenting others. The anonymity, ease of provocation, and almost infinite source of targets means the Internet is full of predators from paedophiles targeting children to serial bullies targeting ... anybody. Cyberbullies get a perverse sense of satisfaction (called gratification) from sending people flame mail and hate mail. Flame mail is an email whose contents are designed to inflame and enrage. Hate mail is hatred (including prejudice, racism, sexism etc) in an email.Serial bullies, harbour a lot of internal aggression which they direct at others. This may include projection, false criticism and patronising sarcasm whilst contributing nothing of any value. It may also include a common tactic of "a number of people have emailed me backchannel to agree with me". This is standard bully-speak which I've experienced on several forums. In every case it's a fabrication or a distortion - usually the former. It's also a variant of the serial bully head teacher who says "a number of parents have complained to me about you...". When challenged, the identity of the alleged complainants can't be disclosed because it's "confidential". The purpose of this tactic is to wind people up. Don't be fooled into believing it has any validity - it doesn't." Abuse on the internet. Does it happen often? It does here. Bullying, slander, obsessive ...

Does inclusion within the education system work? 14/02/2004

Sometimes Education can smell of wee too!

Does inclusion within the education system work? The government says that children with special needs should be educated within mainstream schools. Many of these kids are disruptive in the classroom and have very specific behaviour problems. This has an effect on the other children in the class. Does inclusion work? Is this fair? My eldest is in year 11 and about to take her GCSE's. She is an extremely bright girl and all her mock exams indicate that she will be looking at A's and A *'s in all her subjects. We are of course very proud. I totally understand therefore that having a disruptive child in the classroom would be devastating to her and if that were the case I would of course be concerned. My second child is on the autistic spectrum. He goes to a school for children with severe disabilities and we are very happy that he is there, although saying that, the road to get him there required hiking books and ropes, if you know what I mean. My youngest son has Aspirgers Syndrome and ADHD, he goes to mainstream school and presents as severely disruptive. Apart for the guilt that I feel over the disruption he causes, there is also real anger that many of his behaviours are being misunderstood and mismanaged. My son has been labelled disruptive, disobedient and a liar. My son's perceptions are very different to other children's. He sees situations in a very different way to the way you or I would. This doesn't make him a liar, but that is the label he very often carries around with him. He finds many situations ...

Candy AQW130 13/02/2004

There hasn't been a dry eye in the house since.

Candy AQW130 It's sods law isn't it? First the dryer coughs and splutters its last hot breath, just as Christmas approaches and I need it most and then the washing machine starts to sound like someone is mixing cement in it, making a grinding, crunching sound like it has turned cannibal and is slowly eating itself. Like most of you, there is no way I can manage without my washing machine, not with three teenagers and a messy husband to run around after. Well I started saving my pennies as soon as Christmas passed over but to be honest it was going to take me a while. Then I had a bit of luck. The local bingo hall had a prize draw and it was my ticket that was plucked from the basket. I found myself the proud owner of a brand new Candy Aquaviva 1300 washer dryer. Of course I was thrilled. It's not everyday you get something so useful for free. I was really excited, especially as it was delivered the very next day. What do you do when you win something so great? You jump straight on the net and see how much the little beauty would cost you if you had to buy it. This one is available from Tesco Electricals Online for a penny under two hundred and thirty pounds. Hmm, thats not a lot of money to pay for a good washer drier. I did wonder how good it would perform but hey, remember, this was a freebie. I was still chuffed. When it was arrived it was really well packed. I have to say though, that although I was happy that my new machine was very well protected, unpacking it was ...

Ikea 22/01/2004

Never mind the elephant, will it survive the kids?

Ikea Wouldn't it be a boring world if we all liked the same things? It is the choices that we make and the things that we find attractive that make us all different and that is definitely a good thing. Take furniture for example. There are so many different designs to choose from, so many styles, so many different materials. Some people find themselves drawn to very ornate pieces. Large, lavish pieces of wood with decorative corners and fancy edging are some peoples idea of style and elegance. This sort of furniture is not for me though. I like plain and simple. I like crisp clean edges. I like strong bold lines and smooth surfaces. I like simple, yet chic. When I am shopping for furniture I am looking for practical. As many of you will know, I have two boys with special needs and as you can imagine the furniture in my house can sometimes take a real battering. When I am shopping for furniture I need to make sure that the furniture I buy will be suitable for the, sometimes extreme treatment my boys might subject it to. So where do I usually end up when I need something in a hurry? Ikea! For those of you that don't know. Ikea is a Swedish company. The idea is that they provide a wide range of home furnishings with good design and function at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them. My local Ikea is about 5 miles from where I live in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. The store is well signposted and adjacent to the A610 and the M1, making it ...

My Ciao'ing 21/01/2004

Ciao time is my time!

My Ciao'ing Ok, my turn now. • Full name: My name is Amanda but my friends all call me Mand. • Ciao User name: MandyMinx. When I first joined Ciao I was registered as AmandaJean. How original is that! It sounded all sugar and spice and thats not me so I decided to change it to MandyMinx. • Date when you joined the Ciao community 29/09/02. It doesn't seem that long though. • Why did you join Ciao? I was recommended to join by a friend, when I first got my computer. I don't get out a lot and was looking for something to do. I found the prospect of getting paid for my opinions intriguing and to be honest I hadn't written anything in a long time so the practice would do me good. • Are you a member of any other review sites? I am a member of Dooyoo, under the same user name of course. • Reviews written to date: 162. Crikey thats a lot of opinions. When I first started writing here on Ciao I wrote mostly food ops, as these were the ones you get paid for. After a while I became really dissatisfied with some of the opinions I was writing and decided to only write about things and products that meant something to me. I love books and enjoy writing book reviews and I love writing about the places I have been to visit. Having two boys with special needs means that going somewhere new can often be difficult and I have learnt to appreciate the effort that some companies put into making their disabled visitors welcome. I try hard to get this across when I write an ...

Twycross Zoo, Atherstone 16/01/2004


Twycross Zoo, Atherstone I remember well, as a child, that wonderful moment when the car rounded the corner of what seemed an endless country lane and at last I could see in the distance the outline of the elephant house and if I was really lucky, a real live elephant. I remember the excitement that I felt as we drove through the gates of the zoo and the man that sold the tickets came up to the car window and my stepdad paid us all in. I think a trip to the zoo would rate very highly on my list of favourite days out, when I was a girl. As a mother now, I love to explore new places and new experiences with my family, but there is something wonderful about revisiting the places that meant so much to me as a child and sharing those experiences with my own children. Twycross Zoo is one of those experiences that we return to year in, year out. In an ideal world I would love the opportunity to introduce my children to these wonderful animals in their natural habitat, but seeing as so many of them are sadly now rare and protected species and I am no closer to winning the lottery and being able to afford a trip around the world, the local zoo is the next best thing. I do feel it is important that my children see these animals, if only to help them understand that when we talk about animals facing extinction they are living, breathing things, not just two dimentional pictures on the internet and in books. Twycross Zoo opened to the public in 1963. The zoo was the brainchild of Molly Badham and ...

Challenge Idol 2003 07/01/2004

Change a day in history.

Challenge Idol 2003 This is for Angus, or rather his Challenge Idol. I chose the option to change a day in history. Here is my fictional story. "I need this job. I have to have it. I will do anything to get it." Harold looked up at the building above him. Bloody hell he hoped the lift was working. Who it their right mind would put an office that high up? He straightened his tie and tucked his shirt into his pants. He wiped his brow with his handkerchief and plunged it back into his trouser pocket. It had only been seven thirty when he left the house. Maureen had been asleep on the sofa as usual, her favourite companion, a half empty bottle of Jack Daniels by her side. It hadn't always been this way. He'd been somebody once. Business had never been booming, but they had got by. They had laughed a lot back then. Harold couldn't remember how to laugh anymore, it seemed such a long time since they had laughed, unless you count the hysterical laughter poured from Maureen when the business burned and she realised that the insurance had lapsed. How they had got through those first few weeks he didn't know, probably with the help of the odd spirit bottle he imagined. This job was his way forward. His escape and hopefully his salvation. He had been a damn good salesman before they started the business and he knew that, given the chance, he could be good again. The lobby of the building was huge and even though it was still early there were people everywhere. Marble walls and ... 04/01/2004

Confessions.....WHY I LOVE LETTERS! Lets face it, writing a letter can be tedious and for this reason the E mail was welcomed as a fine alternative to putting pen to paper and adding a stamp. E mail is no longer the novelty that it once was though and tapping away at a keyboard can produce a piece of writing that looks as boring as pen on paper once did. So what is the answer? How can you make people sit up and take notice when you send them an E mail? The answer is simple.......Incredimail! Incredimail made its debut in the year 2000 and has in my opinion gone from strength to strength. The idea behind Incredimail is to bring E mail to life, wake it up, make it fun. With Incredimail you are able to customise your E mail making it both personal and more efficient. The download itself is available from (Download file size : 6 MB.) Incredimail is easy to download, but there is demo that all you sceptics out there can view before taking the plunge. Incredimail is available in a number of languages including English, French, Italian and German. The programme installs at the flick of a button. Great for me because sometimes the thought of downloading something new is a put off in itself. Incredimail did it all for me and very efficiently to. It chooses the best place to store your files, pops them away neat and tidy and gives you a nice little incredimail envelope to grace your desktop. On commencement of the programme, Incredimail send you a couple of easy to read, bright, ...

The Lord Of The Rings - The Return Of The King (DVD) 28/12/2003

A film fit for a king

The Lord Of The Rings - The Return Of The King (DVD) I have to admit that when those in the know, in the cinema industry, start talking about turning one of the worlds most magical books into a motion picture I very often cringe. Such books are so powerfully written that the reader creates their own interpretation of the characters and the scenery that make the tale so absorbing, so believable. Our imaginations are wonderful tools. The ability to close your eyes and lose yourself between the words on a page is a gift that we are very lucky to have and I am very often resentful of movie directors and special effects people, trampling over the many worlds and scenarios that I have created around the stories that I have shared. Lord Of The Rings- Return of the King is the third and final instalment in a trilogy that has long been hailed one of the greatest stories ever told. Episode one....The Fellowship of the ring left me wondering if the cinematographer had made a mistake with the film. One minute we were watching little Frodo discover the ring and the next there he was, standing on the edge of a mountain, this mighty quest ahead of him and then the credits began to roll. Huh!......What was that all about then. The scenery was stunning and the costumes amazing. We had been introduced to many of the main characters that would accompany us on this wondrous journey of discovery, but I think introduction is the right word for this film. The Fellowship of the ring, laid all the groundwork for the films that ...

Sendo S330 09/12/2003


Sendo S330 When it comes to all things expensive I am a real liability. I lost my wedding ring within a few months of receiving it, I have lost countless purses, handbags and of course mobile phones. If I don't lose them carelessly then I drop them, smash them, or sit on them and they break. As you can imagine when I smile sweetly at my husband and ask him to shell out for yet another new phone he is not impressed and moans for ages about how I should learn to look after the things he buys me. Of course he is right, but I do need a phone. It is really important that the school be able to get hold of me when they need to and I have an elderly aunt that I like to be able to keep a check on in and out. I have to admit I am a gadget collector too and I like all the fancy things that the more modern phones are capable of. Let me introduce you to the answer to my prayers. The Sendo S330. Sendo, the company, was established in 1999 so is a virtual baby when it comes to mobile phone supplying. I have to admit I had never heard of them until I was wandering around Salisbury's one evening and happened to spot this little phone, nestled among the nokia 33 whatevers. What attracted me to it? Well being the bargain hunter that I am, it was of course the price. This little belter was on the shelf at a penny under forty pounds. Add that to the fact that you got a very inviting 2000 nectar points thrown in, which equals a tenner off the shopping and you can see why I had it off the ...

Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Nottingham 07/12/2003

Not So Royal For This Family

Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Nottingham Nottingham castle sits high on it's hill, proudly welcoming travellers who happen to glance out of their windows as they enter, what we here consider, the world best city. Although the Romans had originally built a fortress on the land that the castle now stands on, it was William the Conquerer who ordered that a castle and moat be built on the top of the 133ft cliff that overlooks the centre of Nottingham. From the battlements of Nottingham castle, enemies could be seen approaching from miles away as the view stretched as far as the River Trent, which at the time linked the main road between London and the North. Nottingham Castle became a royal fortress for the next five centuries. Well as you can imagine over the years, the enemies of the crown threw everything they had at Nottingham castle. It was burned down twice, mind you it was made of wood back then, and when cannons and artillery were introduced it was battered from all sides. The castle was the stage for many a historic event. Edward IV proclaimed himself king in Nottingham in1460 and many years later in 1642, King Charles I raised the royal standard that marked the beginning of the English civil war, which led to his execution and the demolishing of the castle. After the restoration of King Charles II the rubble of the old castle was removed and the land was given to the then, Duke of Newcastle who had it rebuilt. Although it was still called 'castle' it now resembled a palace in design and it is this ...

Member Advice on the Rewards of Being a Parent 30/11/2003


Member Advice on the Rewards of Being a Parent Being a parent, having a little baby to love and cherish. A little someone to dress up in the latest fashions, a little someone to keep you company when you alone or bored. Yes, having a baby is all these things but being a parent is so much more. I remember the first time I felt my baby moving inside me. A little tickle, nothing more. I remember sitting for hours on the sofa with the palm of my hand resting gently on my tiny bump, desperate for a repeat performance. That feeling of life beneath my fingertips was one of the most moving experiences I have ever experienced. I know now that at that time I really hadn't realised the responsibility that came with motherhood. I think if I am honest back then I saw being a mum as a really great deal and my baby as the coolest of fashion accessories. Holding my daughter in my arms for the first time was a magical moment. My fashion accessory suddenly had a face and some pretty powerful lungs to go with it. I remember being proud, amazed, afraid and anxious all at the same time. My head was full of conflicting emotions. She was very beautiful. Perfect in fact. I remember suddenly realising the responsibility that lay on my shoulders. The life and the future of this little person was entirely in my hands, goodness it was hard enough keeping my own life together most of the time and now I had this precious child to look out for too. My daughter is sitting across the room from me right now. She is sixteen years old and as ...

Woolworths (Shop) 29/11/2003


Woolworths (Shop) There is something about some stores that makes you want to go and browse around. I know if I am in the mood for browsing there are some stores that I would definitely steer clear of. Argos for example, is an efficient place to shop. The appeal is the ease with which you are able to shoot in and shoot out again with whatever you needed to purchase. What you don''t get with Argos is that warm inviting feel that you get with some shops. I think the shop that sells 'welcome' to me, more than any other is Woolworths. Woolworths, or Woolies as it is often affectionately known has been on our high street for many years.I think the most noticeable thing about a Woolworths store is the welcome factor. Have you ever noticed how dull looking some shops are? Woolworths stores are always beautifully lit and the window decoration is usually very carefully thought out and exciting, whether it is decked for Christmas or looking forward to the latest blockbuster movie to come out on DVD. My local Woolworths store has huge automatic doors that swing open as you approach the store, sending out an invitation to come in and have a look around. I hate having to struggle into a shop with arms full of shopping. Some shops have really narrow doorways that take quite a push to get open. Once inside, one of the first things I notice is that the store is warm. I know I probably sound like I am nit- picking here, but so often I find myself in a shop that requires a hat and scarf for comfort. I ...

ieSpell 22/11/2003


ieSpell It's amazing how we pick up bad habits really easily and then find it almost impossible to get rid of them. I know since I have started using my computer keyboard I have discovered quite a few. When I have an idea, or something to say, I need to get it written down as soon as possible. I find that I very often type too fast, hit the wrong key and don't notice until I have hit the send button. Anyone who has spoken to me on msn will be able to confirm this as sometimes my spelling is absolutely atrocious. I don't know about you, but if I spell a word wrong once, I do it a dozen times. I soon realised that if there was one thing that was letting my writing down her on Ciao, it was my spelling and I was determined to do something about it. I ran a search for a spell checker on Google and found a great little tool that is now my lifeline. It's called ieSpell and it is a really handy spell checker that works as an extension to Internet explorer. I was looking for something that would make a sweep of my opinions and correct any spelling errors I might have made, before I posted them. I found what I was looking for with ieSpell. This handy tool can be downloaded from and the great thing about it is that it's completely free. I know what you are thinking, there has to be a catch. I worried about that too but ieSpell comes without spyware or adware and takes up only 2.44mb's of space. It takes a matter of minutes to install and once you have it installed ...

Loves music, Loves to dance - Mary Higgins Clark 18/11/2003


Loves music, Loves to dance - Mary Higgins Clark When a friend needs help collecting data for a TV programme she is planning on personal ad dating, Erin and Darcy are more than happy to help her out by answering ads and going out on a few dates with some of the guys. It's a bit of a laugh and gets them out socialising, not that either of the girls need to use the personal columns to get dates. Erin is a jewellery designer, she's just landed the job that will take her from unknown artist to elite designer and things for Erin could not be better. Darcy is into interior design and business is flourishing. The daughter of celebrities, Darcy has none of the airs and graces that usually accompany such an upbringing and lives quite comfortably by herself. The two are very close friends and have been since childhood. They know each other well and do almost everything together, so when Erin suggests that they answer the same ads it comes as no surprise to Darcy. The guys that place the ads in the personal columns are often not all they make themselves out to be. Liars, adulterers, conmen, those desperate for a free one night stand and the shy 'mummy's boy' types. The ads hide many secrets about the people who put pen to paper to write them, some should be pitied, some exposed, some place the ads for a laugh and others for more sinister reasons. There are all sorts of weirdos lurking between the pages of the personal ads, weirdos and a serial killer called Charley. When Erin goes out on a date and doesn't come back, it is ...
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