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Ottavia

Ottavia

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Reviews written

since 08/08/2008

58

Best Western Westminster Hotel, Nottingham 18/07/2010

Best Western Westminster Hotel Nottingham - Great Hotel!

Best Western Westminster Hotel, Nottingham I really enjoyed our stay at the Best Western Westminster, it was only one night but what a great stay! I really didn't expect the hotel to be this good, given that we paid about 30 quid for the stay including breakfast (I think it's around £26 without). The location was great (cash point and shops across the road, garage around the corner) and fairly close to the city centre. The taxi into town only cost about £3 on the way in and £4 at night coming back, which is very reasonable given that google maps said it would take half an hour to walk to the centre of town. There was a relatively large car park (given the street it was on) there also, so you could drive and park with plenty of ease. The staff were all really friendly, everyone from the reception team to the waitresses and cleaners. Even the delivery man outside was lovely! We had a junior double, which we booked just because it was cheaper, so I was a little worried about the bed size given that both me and my fiance have arthritis and need a good bed for a good nights sleep. But it was more than enough room - and very comfortable. The room size was plenty, the bathroom immaculately clean and there was a large telly and a hairdryer amongst the usual hotel room items. The shower was a little lacking in pressure but it really wasn't something to complain about given how clean the bathroom was. Breakfast was included for us, and it was lovely - both continental and full english available (OJ and Coffee/tea etc too). ...

The Pod Hotel New York, New York 18/07/2010

The Pod Hotel - Great Location NYC

The Pod Hotel New York, New York So I was recently staying in the Pod Hotel for 5 nights and had a pretty mixed, but ultimately pleasant experience. I'm glad I stayed there, but I may have done things a little differently in hindsight. So the hotel is located in Midtown, on the east side. There are two close by subway stops - 51st/Lexington (which is nearest) and 53rd. Generally this is a useful position to be in, but perhaps not so much so as being on the west side which just seems to be a lot easier to hop on/off. On a previous trip to New York we stayed West 40-something and we were travelling all over the city and didn't seem to do as much changing and faffing about as we did over in this area, so I'd say that was something to bear in mind if you're just looking to stay in any area. Anyway, there are bars and restaurants of the usual price range, but of good quality, either side of the pod. Theres a Chase bank on the corner of the next block, which for a 5 dollar fee (but no other charge) changes currency. There's also one of my favourite places in NYC literally around the corner - Ess a Bagel, which is the best place to get a bagel in the whole city (so delicious). So there are a lot of places around of varying price ranges to visit. Also in walking distance (although not a short walk) is the Museum of Modern Art and the Rockerfeller centre. The hotel foyer is large, has a reasonably sized lounge area with WiFi and a cafe (not run by the hotel) which also spans outside into the nicely decorated ...

A Garden of Eden in Hell - Melissa Muller 08/10/2009

Incredible - Another Testimony To The Unimaginable

A Garden of Eden in Hell - Melissa Muller In A Garden of Eden in Hell, Melissa Muller tells of the life of Alice Herz-Sommer - an incredibly gifted pianist, who along with her mother, husband and young son, was forced to reside in the Czech ghetto Terezin or Therasienstadt in which nearly 35,000 prisoners perished. During her time here she managed to not only survive but also to hold frequent performances for the other ghetto prisoners - playing Mendelson, Bach, Beethoven and Chopin's etudes which Herz-Sommer said saved her life. Muller describes Alice's childhood in fascinating detail, altough a little slowly at first, showing us the world that she lived in which would all soon tragically change. She was born in 1903, when Prague was still German-speaking, at the time of the Austro-Hungarian empire. What amazed me about Alice to begin with is how young she was when she began to play the piano. Alice was only four years old when she sat at a piano and began to make up tunes and by the time she was in her mid teens she was performing, touring and giving lessons to others. Alice's mother was a childhood friend of Gustav Mahler, and Alice's brother in law was close friends with Franz Kafka - whom the family saw often. These descriptions are fascinating as a historical record on it's own, let alone the tale that is yet to be told, further on in the book. From her childhood in Prague, Muller moves to the brief period of time before the war that Alice was married, and happily living with her husband and son. ...

Jazz Cafe, Bath 21/08/2009

Jazz Cafe - Charming, Unpretentious and Worth a Visit!

Jazz Cafe, Bath If you've been to Bath, or live there as I do, you'll have noticed that prices are high and getting decent ordinary, unpretentious food can be an obstacle if you want to sit somewhere nice indoors. The Jazz Cafe sets to remedy this by giving us the option of siting in an atmospheric environment and eating some lovely grub for a reasonable price. Food And Drink You can eat and drink all sorts of things here. The breakfasts range from various things on toast (including eggs) and light bites to the Jazz Cafe Breakfast - which is a double the usual size full English. That'll sort you out for a day walking around Bath! The quality of meat is good, the bacon's thick and the sausages taste really nice. The cooked breakfasts come with two enormous pieces of toast, beans, egg and - get this - REAL mushrooms! Not tinned! The Full English is around the £4 mark and the Jazz Cafe Breakfast around £5. Yes, a little pricey, but you wont find this amount of food at this quality anywhere else in Bath. Anyway, this means that getting breakfast here is more of a treat than an every day thing. The lunch and dinner menu caters for those fancying salads, soups, sandwiches, wraps, jacket spuds, and hot dishes such as lasagne, or chilli con carne. The menu is nice and varied and there is always a full specials board in full view, on the back wall. I've had lasange here in the past and it was really tasty, as were the various other meals I've eaten including spicy tiger prawn wraps - my ...

Philips HP 4829 18/08/2009

Makes Bad Hair Go Good

Philips HP 4829 The Tresemme Travel hairdryer is something I make sure I take everywhere I go. I've been converted, seen the light, smelt the daisies and just blinkin well love it. I honestly think there's some kind of Good Hair Fairy in this hairdryer as no matter what length my hair, the amount of time I have in the mornings (usually not enough!) or where I am, this thing just sorts me out. I'm sure most of us feel this way, but there's something about having a good hair day that just makes you feel 100% nicer! Well, I won't use anything else now. I've had really long, mid lenght and really short hair and for each style I've been able to produce good results with this. It seems to be that the power behind this hairdryer just tells your hair how to behave. With this particular style I have at the moment I'm able to just to dry it and go, without any product if I'm really running late. Which I was never able to do before. It's incredibly handy for travelling, and can always find a space in the smallest of overnight bags. I like to travel light and this is perfect because I don't get the 'I've brought the kitchen sink' guilt when going somewhere. The hairdryer folds in half at the handle-join and the cord is easily wrapped around the handle itself. It takes up less space in your travel bag than a pair of heels might. Not only is it great for travelling but being smaller than the average hairdryer, it takes up less room at home too! There are two choices for pressure (if that's the ...

Ray (DVD) 18/08/2009

Outstanding - You Don't Have To Be a Fan To Love This Film - Ray

Ray (DVD) What'd I say? (That's right I'm cracking out the puns) I say it's an extrordinary film about the genius of Ray Charles, the musician and his life - from growing up in a poor area in Florida and slowly turning blind, to becoming one of the worlds greatest musicians. This film features excellent acting by all involved, the classic Ray Charles hits, which punctuate the performance well and a tragic but ultimately uplifting story of a man who is truly iconic. The DVD The film itself is 146 minutes long and is rated a 15 certificate. I'd say this is pretty fair due to the harrowing scenes involving Ray's heroin use and subsequently getting clean. Although, for a modern young audience I wouldn't say that any of the material was shocking or traumatic. You can buy Ray on DVD from online retailers such as Play and Amazon, for differing prices. I had a quick look and at the moment Amazon's New and Used starts at £2.09 The Story The film starts with Ray as a young man, waiting for a bus to take him from the country in Florida to city life in Seattle, Washington. The opening sequence sets the scene in showing the viewer that racism and predjudice in America during this time was rife and very much ingrained into society. For young viewers this is great as it's subtly integrating a history lesson that they may not have come across in much detail previously. We then see Ray becoming a musician in Seattle, alongside the likes of Quincy Jones, and becoming incresingly ...

Cadbury Dairy Milk Apricot Cumble Crunch 18/08/2009

What's The Point In Cadbury Apricot Crumble Crunch?

Cadbury Dairy Milk  Apricot Cumble Crunch . Having been given the excuse (thanks Ciao) to add Cadbury Dairy Milk Apricot Crumble Crunch to my lunch today, I was eager to test out this new product and report my findings. Overall I wasn't that impressed with the bar as I don't think it's all that different from other products in the Cadbury range, certainly not enough to warrant producing and marketing this as an entirely new chocolate bar. Cadbury's Apricot Crumble Crunch was enjoyable, but it had no distinct taste of apricot which made me wonder whether I've lost an alarming amount of tastebuds, or whether Cadbury's getting slightly desperate. What Is It? Cadbury Dairy Milk Apricot Crumble Crunch (what a mouthful, no pun intended!) is a chocolate bar, in the standard Cadbury form - so it's shaped like the plain chocolate or the fruit and nut bars, for example. It's got about 6 or so chunky squares of chocolate, infused with pieces of apricot crumble. What Does It Taste Like? Well, actually it just tastes like a lighter version of the Fruit and Nut bar. There's nothing wrong with it, it's a great tasting chocolate bar, but the fact is it really doesn't have any discernable apricot taste. So I certainly wouldn't recommend buying this because you're a fan of apricots - I think it would be a slightly disappointing purchase. The crumble was enjoyable and was actually like crumble, which was good as I though there might be more of a resemblance to biscuit. I've got a bit of a weird dislike for ...

Amy Ruth's Restaurant, New York 16/08/2009

The Best Soul Food Is At Amy Ruth's

Amy Ruth's Restaurant, New York I was planning a day out for my lovely other half, as it was his birthday and we were going to be in New York on holiday. We love eating to put it simply, so I knew I was going to need to find somewhere great to have lunch. I was apprehensive as I wanted to go somewhere pretty special, and not being able to see these places before we went I was completely reliant on the reviews of strangers - some picky, some not so. So I really had my fingers crossed when we approached the building. I really shouldn't have worried at all as Amy Ruth's turned out to be one of the best restaurants I've ever eaten at. So, I'll describe the experience... Where Is It? Amy Ruth's is located on 113 W 116th St (New York 10026 in case you need to sat-nav it) and is visible and in a large open area - so if you're looking out for it you can't really miss it. We took the subway from Midtown and got there nice and easy. We got off at 125th st because we went to see the Studio Museum in Harlem before hand (very good by the way, well worth a visit if you're in the area, or even if you're not!). Anyway, you can get of at 116th station. So it's a stones throw. If you haven't been to Harlem before, don't be put off by stereotypes or previous reputation. It's a vibrant, lively atmosphere only odd for us in that in certain streets it looked quite a lot like some parts of London which was surreal! What Can You Eat? This should be 'How much can I eat?' or 'How many days should I fast for in preparation for ...

Carmex Cherry Lip Balm 16/08/2009

Mmm Yummy! Carmex Cherry Lip Balm

Carmex Cherry Lip Balm Carmex Cherry Lip Balm won't change your life, it won't make you stare at your other lip balms with disappointment and it will not give you a whole new face... But it is really rather nice and is now a crucial part of my 'beauty regime'. I first bought this product before going off to Glastonbury festival this year. I'm quite happy to be amongst the greasy unwashed masses, there's no way I'm scouting out a shower at 4 am to avoiding the usual morning queues. I just cannot be bothered. But whilst I'm lazy in bundling up my hair into a headscarf or doing the babywipe wash, I do like to try and make my face look at least a little more presentable than the rest of me. A white kohl, bit of tinted moisturiser and a nice lip balm and I'm out of the sweltering heat of the tent and off to see a nice band or something. So, I wanted something that looked natural and was long lasting under the sun (and inevitably the rain) - I figured if it survived Glastonbury and actually did some good, then I'd definitely make it a permanent feature in my bag at home too. I'm glad to say I really liked Carmex's product and I use it at home all the time. The Balm Lovely and soft, it's easily applied by fingertip to the lips. As the name suggests it's cherry flavoured. The cherry isn't at all over-powering, in fact it's pretty subtle. It doesn't smell sickly or sugary, like a lot of flavoured products do. It feels more like buying a product with an organic ingredient or something. It's not sticky ...

Apple iPhone 3G 16GB 14/08/2009

iLove My iPhone!

Apple iPhone 3G 16GB I'm absolutely head over heels with the Apple iPhone 3G. I've become far too proud and a bit too obsessed, but that's because it really is an excellent phone. For what it offers personally, I am happy to forgo the few traditional phone features that are not available on the iPhone 3G. It's looks brilliant, is easy to navigate and get used to. It has useful and fun applications installed. With the touch of a button (or screen in this case), you can add any number of the thousands of applications that have been created for this phone from iTunes. It's certainly the best phone I've ever used - not that that's saying too much, as compared this I've been carting about one of those 80's breeze-block sized 'mobiles'. As the previous owner of what were fairly up to date Samsung, Nokia and Motorola mobiles and as a user of Microsoft at work and (until recently) at home as well, I'd never really had all that much experience with Mac products. I'd had an iPod back when you could only get them in white (look at me doing a flashback for something that's only about 5 years ago!) and have since updated it about 2 or so years ago to a nice shiny black one. As I mentioned, I was only used to Microsoft computers until about a year and a bit ago when I spent a lot of time at my fiancé's flat - where his Mac lived too. When we moved in together I began to use it more often and now I'd say that I'm fairly competent on it. The great thing that I've found with Mac products, now that I'm used to ...

Rajpoot, Bath 07/08/2009

Perfect Indian Food!

Rajpoot, Bath The Rajpoot Indian restaurant has been in Bath since before my family moved down here some 18 or 19 years ago. My dad claims sole responsibility for the restaurant having a takeaway option because apparently he asked for it until it was decided to do so...but is still yet to be proven. As a result of my dad liking this place so much we've come back here countless times over the years. From takeaways when I was four or five (when I used to take handfuls of Bombay mix back to the car, scoff it all and hope my dad would drive faster so I could put out the fire in my mouth) to family occasions such as birthdays, congratulatory meals or just for fun. I now regard the Rajpoot as a restaurant that is in a little way a piece of our family life, in the sense that it's something we've always done. The restaurant is located at 4 Argyle Street, Bath, Somerset. BA2 4BA. Argyle street (and Gt Pultney St, which look as one) is a great place to have a restaurant. It's beautiful location gives you the feel of grandeur and implies a night of great dining and having a good time. You should probably call to make a reservation at the Rajpoot as it's a popular place to have a meal, especially on a Friday and Saturday night. The number to do so is 01225 466833 / 464758. Opening hours are 6.00 – 11.00pm (11.30 on Fri and Sat). It's also open for lunch, between 12pm – 2.30pm. Good news is it's open all year round, only closing on Christmas and Boxing day. The staff here are ...

Rexel Centor Half Strip Stapler Vertical 29/07/2009

Brightens Up an Otherwise Dull Desk...

Rexel Centor Half Strip Stapler Vertical There's a running joke in my office (ok, with just me) that my stapler - the Rexel Centor Half Strip - is the superior piece of office equipment...and it is (and not just because our office is a bit on the dated side). It's pretty (important details first), ergonomic, takes up very little room and is pretty robust. Appearance and Storage Measuring in at 13cms in length or height (as it stands upright) and 4cm in largest width, it's reasonably compact - certainly shorter than the older flat bottomed staplers that most offices have. It stands nicely, meaning it can take up even less space on your desk. Due to the design, it wont fall flat when standing upright, and it is just that little bit quicker to use - on account of being able to pick it up in the position that you would begin stapling. It comes in the following block colours: Silver and Black Silver and Blue And the following part translucent colours: Purple Blue These translucent ones, are brighter in colour than in the picture. The purple is especially colourful. They're the more fun of the four. Using It As mentioned ealier, it's easy to pick up. This stapler also has an ergonomic soft feel finger-shaped grips which means it's nice and comfy in the hand - no aching hands after far too much stapling! You can get between 2 and 25 sheets per go, which is handy and that's a fair few more than other makes I've used. Buying a Rexel Centor The price is usually around the £6 - ...

BT Vision 29/07/2009

BT Vision - Cheap, Reliable and Extremely Entertaining.

BT Vision The BT Vision package was the only purchase I've ever made after being asked if I was interested in 'some information' on a product (usually code for 'at least 20 minutes of naff scripted sales pitch') and I'm so glad I did. Not only is the service a hell of a lot cheaper than it's competitors, but it's basic package alone offers more hours of entertainment than any other. I've been recommending this to family members and friends who are all on less reliable and more expensive packages with other companies. The Package With BT Vision you can either opt for one of the packages (Bronze, Silver or Gold) or you can 'build' your own package by picking the types of chanel that you would like. That way you can cut out the things you're not so interested in. Personally I prefer the Bronze/Silver/Gold options as I think you get a lot more for your money. With the DIY BT Vision the prices of each viewing pack vary from £2.93 to almost £7.00 per month. I'll discuss these packs in a moment. I opted for the BT basic Bronze package, as previously I'd not owned a telly (yes, really) and only watched programmes from BBC iPlayer, so I assumed that I would want the bare minimum - just a bit of Friday evening stuff and something to ease the Sunday morning hangover... But I was to be more than pleasantly surprised, as even the basic package includes so many extras that I don't think I would have found the time to even use a Silver or Gold package! Bronze BT Vision comes with the ...

Night - Elie Wiesel 15/07/2009

Night - A Must Read Book.

Night - Elie Wiesel When I rate this five for Excellent I am of course referring to the reading of the book, what you will gain from the important information and the quality of the narrative, not to the actual events it depicts. Night, by Elie Wiesel is a stand out book, as synonymous with the Holocaust as The Diary of Anne Frank. The testimony is of course rare, for there were few survivors and it's even more rare for it's full depiction of the death marches from Auschwitz, from which even less people survived. Each testimony to the holocaust is unique, I will not compare this to any others because the point of reading these is not to find 'the best story', 'the most horrifying', 'the easiest to read' etc. It is to really understand the terrible things that occured to each author and to those whose testimony would never be made. Many survivors vowed that if they survived they would tell the world what they went through - thankfully we now have many records of a horror which each generation should be aware of, so as to work towards never letting this happen again. Elie Wiesel was born in Sighet, Hungary, which was occupied by Nazi Germany in 1944. Before the war Elie enjoyed a religious lifestyle and a close family. He lived with his mother Sarah, father Sholomo and siblings Hilda, Beatrice, and Tzipora. On the arrival of the Germans, Jews of Sighet were ordered into two ghettos. They lived in the ghetto as best they could. On May 16th the Hungarian autorities allowed the German army to ...

Fanta Orange 06/10/2008

Let Your FANTAsie Run Wild....

Fanta Orange . Fanta Orange is a fruity fizzy drink that has conquered the global market, selling 70 variations of the original product to over 180 countries. It's remained a popular product both overseas and in the UK and today sells billions of cases per year. Yet, Fanta have still not completely dispelled the so often told myth about Fanta being the fizzy drink of the Nazis. So What Is It? Fanta is a fizzy orange flavoured drink, that has a good smooth taste and when served ice cold can be ever so refreshing on a hot day. It's a real thirst quencher and easier to drink than Sprite or Coca Cola, even though it retains as much fizz. It tastes less abrasive, in the sense that the fizz doesn't leave you taking half-sips and waiting for gas before the next one! The orange flavour is light enough for it not to be a sticky, artificial drink. But there's enough substance there for the flavour to be appreciated. In the UK and Europe Fanta Orange contains orange juice, as opposed to in the USA, where is does not contain any. The strange thing about Fanta, which I didn't realise until fairly recently, is that the product changes depending on where it's being sold. For instance, the most Fanta is sold in Brazil and over there it contains 10% orange juice (the most in any bottle of Fanta). So the taste of the drink varies, depending on where you bought it. I remember seeing bottles of Fanta whilst on holiday in Greece that were a brighter, more yellow colour, whereas when I was in ...
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