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since 30/11/-0001


Pilgrims Choice Vintage Cheddar 31/10/2001

Strong and tastebud tickling

Pilgrims Choice Vintage Cheddar I am a self-confessed cheese lover, especially of strong Cheddars and Pilgrim’s Choice Vintage Cheddar is a particular favourite. This mouthwatering, extra mature Farmhouse-style cheese is made at North Downs Dairy in the heart of the West Country using a traditional “handmade” process. Only rich, creamy milk from selected farms in Devon, Dorset and Somerset is used for Pilgrim’s Choice Cheddar.The cheese is carefully made by master cheese makers using a method which includes open coolers. This allows the cheese to pick up the strong, Farmhouse flavour which marks it out as a cheese of distinction. The cheese has an open, crumbly texture and as it matures, it develops a strong bite, which is heavenly. Pilgrim’s Choice Vintage Cheddar is allowed to mature for between 12 and 14 months before it is deemed ready for the consumer. This is an ideal cheese to offer on a cheeseboard, where it will complement other cheeses well. It is also excellent for cooking, and because of its strong flavour you only need to use a small amount. I love it grated into warm, buttery mash to serve with chops, steak or bangers. It also makes the tastiest Welsh rarebit I have ever tried, accompanied by pickles of your choice. And what could be nicer for a quick lunch than some crusty bread and a chunk of Pilgrim’s Choice? (Or a “noggin ‘o cheese”, as we say in the Black Country.) Once opened, Pilgrim’s Choice Vintage should be ...

Member Advice on Gout 17/10/2001

Terrible Tale of a Tender Trotter

Member Advice on Gout Gout is not a laughing matter, no sirree! When my hubby had his first attack I didn’t laugh. Well…maybe just a little titter behind my hand. I mean, after all, gout…you know…the rich man’s disease. And when I saw his big toe doing a passable impersonation of a belisha beacon, all round, red and shining, the titter became a snort. Then I realised how much pain he was in. In fact, I felt his pain. Just a second or two after the TV remote control hit me on the head! “Sorry dear…did that hurt?” “Yes, it did hurt!” “Well…so does my ***** foot!” (expletive deleted.) Within the hour we were sat in the A&E department of our local hospital, hubby perched on a trolley with naked feet dangling over the edge. The doctor arrived and peered at the aforementioned feet, one of which looked quite normal with five healthy little pinkies, the other looking swollen with four healthy little pinkies and one looking like an over-ripe plum tomato about to burst its skin. “Which foot is it?” the doctor asked. I have to tell you, we were not filled with confidence. “The right one,”hubby replied in a strange voice. “Ah, yes.” The doctor then went on to make his second error. He moved to touch the offending foot. I stepped in just in time to stop hubby’s good left foot from propelling the doctor straight from A&E up to ITU. “Hurts a bit, does it?” said the ...

Clairol Herbal Essences Moisture Balancing 2-in-1 Shampoo plus Conditioner 15/10/2001

Meadow Sweet and Mountain Fresh

Clairol Herbal Essences Moisture Balancing 2-in-1 Shampoo plus Conditioner Q: Right then, here we go. So, tell me the name of this product which you are reviewing. A: It’s called ‘Herbal Essences 2-in-1 Moisture-Balancing Shampoo for Normal Hair.’ Q: Bit of a mouthful, that! Who makes it? A: It’s made by Clairol, which is a trademark of a company called Bristol-Myers Co Ltd, of Uxbridge, UK. Q: Okay…now, you said ‘2-in-1’. What does that mean, exactly? A: As well as being an excellent shampoo, the product also contains a light conditioner, which will leave you hair feeling soft and manageable, as well as imparting a healthy shine. Q: So, no need to use a separate conditioner? A: No, not necessary at all. Q: Sounds good. No need to take two bottles into the shower…(Heh, heh!) A: Could we get on please? Q: Err…yes…sorry. Please explain ‘moisture-balancing.’ A: Well, some shampoos are quite harsh and can strip your hair of its natural oils, leaving it tangled and frizzy. Others can be too heavy on the conditioner, leaving your hair lank and dull, with a heavy build-up of the product. Herbal Essences 2-in-1 strikes the right balance by leaving your hair clean and refreshed, with just the right amount of conditioning to eliminate tangles and restore softness and shine. Q: I’m impressed! I notice the shampoo is called HERBAL essences. So what herbs does it contain? A: The product contains lavender, jasmine and aloe. Q: Ah, I know ...

Levonelle Morning After Pill 09/10/2001

Oops I Did It Again

Levonelle Morning After Pill Earlier this year, in a storm of controversy, the so-called “morning-after” pill was made available over the counter at pharmacies. This means that women who have had unprotected sex and are worried about a possible unwanted pregnancy, can now go to their local chemist and buy the pill, which is marketed under the brand name “Levonelle”, rather than waiting for an appointment at the GP’s or Family Planning Clinic. I do not intend, in this review, to enter into any moral, religious or social debate about whether emergency contraception such as Levonelle should be freely and widely available. That is the individual’s choice. I am just reviewing the product on the basis of how it works, how reliable it is and how it can be obtained. ABOUT LEVONELLE Although known as the “morning-after pill”, Levonelle, like its earlier versions, is more correctly known as the “post-coital pill” (PCP). The pill can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex; although women should be aware that its effectiveness does decrease the later you leave it. Levonelle is thought to be 95% effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 24 hours of intercourse. This drops to 85% after 24 hours and 58% after 48 hours…so don’t delay! Levonelle, which is manufactured by Schering, contains only progestogen (not oestrogen) and side-effects are generally less severe than with the earlier types of PCP.The dose consists of two ...

Member Advice on Back Pain 08/10/2001

Ooh Me Back

Member Advice on Back Pain Back pain is one of those medical misfortunes that is either not taken too seriously or is regarded as a bit of a joke (much like haemorrhoids or gout.) Probably this is because a “bad back” is often used as a good excuse by malingers to get a sick note from their doctor. But if you suffer or have suffered from genuine back pain, you will know only too well that funny it ain’t! A couple of years ago I began to get a very sharp pain in my left calf. At first I ignored it, hoping it would go away (as you do.) It didn’t go away, in fact it became worse. So off I went to the doctor, apologised for wasting her time on something so trivial, and could she just prescribe some painkillers for me, please? She thought I had pulled a muscle and I got the painkillers - co-proxamol. But over the next few weeks the pain changed sites. It was now originating in my left buttock and down the back of my left leg, into my lower leg and the top of my left foot. It was a deep, gnawing pain, that was keeping me awake at night. Whichever way I lay in bed, I could not ease the pain enough to get off to sleep. During the daytime, there was no position I could adopt in which I felt comfortable. If I sat down, the pain was there, if I stood, the pain was there, if I lay down, the pain was there. I was also experiencing a tingling sensation in the toes of my left foot. By this time I was taking between ten and twelve painkillers per day, which was more than the maximum ...

The Silent Lady - Catherine Cookson 03/10/2001

Her last and possibly her best novel

The Silent Lady - Catherine Cookson The woman who entered the offices of the distinguished firm of London solicitors Alexander Armstrong & Son one morning in 1955 was clearly a vagrant. Her clothes were filthy and torn, and the rather peculiar hat she was wearing had most definitely seen better days. Furthermore, the creature (for how else could such a person be described?) was evidently simple-minded, for she was unable to speak properly, being able only to mutter the odd word. The receptionist was sure that the woman had come into the office by mistake, and was keen to get her back through the door and back onto the streets, where she so obviously belonged. However, the woman continued to ask for the firm’s senior partner, Mr Alexander Armstrong, and it was the manner of her asking that further puzzled the receptionist. Although the woman had the appearance of a tramp, a down and out, she had the refined voice of a lady. More amazing yet, was the reaction of Mr Armstrong when he learned of the name of the woman who had appeared in his offices. For this woman, this frail piece of humanity, this bundle of rags, was none other that Irene Baindor, for whom his firm had been searching for the past twenty-five or so years. Where had Irene been for all these years? How had she survived? Who had looked after her? And how much of her former life could she recall, for it was obvious that her mind had been affected by some dreadful event in her early life, the horror of which Armstrong could only guess ...

Member Advice on Sleep 27/09/2001

Did You Get Any Last Night?

Member Advice on Sleep I don’t know about you, but personally, I need quite a lot of it on a regular basis. If I have to go without it for any length of time, I get really grouchy and irritable. In fact, if I’m not getting my usual amount, I get really miserable. Sleep, that is…what did you think I was talking about? WHY DO WE NEED SLEEP? No-one really knows for sure, although there are lots of theories. One is that it is the brain’s way of sorting out and filing all the events and memories of the day. Another is that the body needs sleep purely for physical rest. Yet another theory hearkens back to prehistoric times, when, during the hours of darkness, it was safer to be curled up inside your cave than out wandering. What is known is that it is during sleep that your body releases its greatest concentration of growth hormone – which helps to repair damaged tissue. There is also evidence that people who do not sleep well are more prone to depression. Lack of sleep is also thought to compromise the immune system, leaving you more susceptible to infection. WHAT HAPPENS DURING SLEEP? Sleep is really quite a complex process made up of a series of regular cycles, each with various stages, which the brain goes in and out of during the night. As you fall asleep you brain enters stage 1: your core body temperature falls, and the levels of stress hormones (adrenaline and corticosteroids) in your blood decrease. Your brain secretes a hormone called melatonin ...

Tesco Washing Up Liquid 26/09/2001

For your two legged dishwasher

Tesco Washing Up Liquid I don’t have a dishwasher…(shouts of “Oh yes you do! Me!” are heard coming from the vicinity of the kitchen….) Ahem…’scuse me just one moment while I close the door. That’s better…now then, where was I? Oh yes…. As I was saying, I don’t have a dishwasher, so I have to do the washing up the old-fashioned way in a bowl. All those greasy plates, baked- on burnt bits, congealed fried egg…Yuk! Therefore, I am always eager to try any new product that promises to get sparkling results in double quick time with the minimum of effort. (There, there…you shall go to the ball, Cinders. Or at least be sitting down in time for Corrers!) Tesco Ultra washing-up liquid with anti-bacterial agent was a recent BOGOF in my local branch. Now you know how much I love BOGOFs (Buy One Get One Free) so I popped a couple of bottles in my trolley. Now, in the interests of fair play, and knowing that my fellow Ciaoers also love a bargain, I have decided to make this op a ROGOF (Read One Get One Free) by reviewing two varieties…. Tesco Ultra washing up liquid (Tea Tree) and Tesco Ultra washing up liquid (Citrus). Actually, there isn’t a lot of difference. The Tea Tree liquid is blue and smells fresh and lightly antiseptic, and the Citrus liquid is lemon and smells…er…. lemony. Both come in a sturdy, transparent plastic bottle, which curves in halfway up which makes it very easy and ...

Diamonds Behind My Eyes - Graham Swannell, Nicola Pagett 26/09/2001

Painfully frank

Diamonds Behind My Eyes - Graham Swannell, Nicola Pagett Nicola Pagett is a RADA-trained actress who has appeared in west End theatres and also on television. You may well remember her for her role in the TV drama ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’, where she played the part of Elizabeth Bellamy. Nicola has also suffered from manic depression, and ‘Diamonds Behind My Eyes’ is her searingly honest account of her fall into illness, her treatment and recovery. It is in turn moving, frank, distressing, bizarre and funny. Nicola describes her illness thus: “…. I had a crack-up, breakdown, burn-out. what you will. Where did I go? I went where the air was too thin. I went up too high, for too long. I went where you don’t go…” Manic Depression…. Is a severe mental illness which has two quite dramatic and opposing sides. In the manic phase, the brain races out of control; the mind becomes unbalanced and thoughts and ideas come racing through thick and fast, many of them irrational and bizarre. To the sufferer, other people seem dull and slow-witted; consequently the sufferer grows impatient and irritable. At the same time, the senses are heightened. The world appears more colourful; images are more vivid and startling. Somehow, everything is just so much more beautiful. There is often an overwhelming sense of optimism and a mood of over-confidence. The sufferer may feel that he/she can do anything, be anything, achieve anything. The manic stage is always followed by the ...

Member Advice on Happiness 25/09/2001

Happy Talking Talking Happy Talk

Member Advice on Happiness “Happiness, Happiness, the greatest gift that we possess.” So goes the song. But what is happiness…? And how far is it achievable? Why do so many people these days walk around looking glum? It’s said that you use more facial muscles to frown than you do to smile, so constant frowning is only going to give you wrinkles anyway. What would make you, personally, happy? Is It?…… Wealth? “The love of money is the root of all evil.” So the saying goes. And a popular Sixties song proclaimed “Money Can’t Buy Me Love.” And people often say, “Money isn’t everything!” These sentiments are usually expressed by people who have money. If you have a few shekels tucked up in the bank, then you can feel secure. Of course, money isn’t the be all and end all…. unless you don’t have any! In my job, I meet people from both ends of the spectrum…those who have money to invest and those who are struggling to make ends meet from day to day. The single Mum, who is existing on Income Support, paying her bills weekly, a pound here and a pound there, just about keeping her head above water. But her child is clothed and fed, and his needs attended to. It reminds me of the song “Living In The Love Of The Common People.” Then there are those who have money and don’t know what to do with it. The recent fall in interest rates has been a blow to these people…they ...

Trust Me - Lesley Pearse 25/09/2001

Suffer Little Children

Trust Me - Lesley Pearse “Trust Me!” she spat.”As soon as someone says ‘Trust Me’, you can be sure they’re going to let you down, or hurt you!” Dulcie Taylor and her little sister May haven’t had the best start in life. Following a family tragedy, the two sisters are placed in the care of the Catholic Sisters at The Sacred Heart convent. Dulcie is apprehensive, but she is assured by the adults she is supposed to trust that everything is going to be fine. But the Convent is a cold, dank place and the Nuns are unfeeling and spiteful to the children in their care. So when the chance arises for Dulcie and May to emigrate to Australia on the Child Migration Programme, they jump at the chance. Sold a dream of a country of perpetual sunshine, where the trees groan with ripe fruit ready for the picking, where horses roam free and kangaroos abound, where sandy beaches stretch for miles, what child wouldn’t want to go? Once again, Dulcie is told that everything is going to be fine. But the dream turns out to be another illusion. Life at the Australian orphanage of St Vincent’s is, if anything, harsher than back in England.The displaced orphans are little more than slaves at the beck and call of the evil Sisters.Beatings are handed out on the flimsiest of charges, the children are kept short of food, letters from home are withheld, friendships discouraged. Some of the children are sexually abused. Worst of all is the psychological abuse ...

Persil Washing Tablets 11/09/2001

I Creased Up

Persil Washing Tablets The latest sales ploy by detergent manufacturers seems to be to cash in on our dislike of, or lack of time for, ironing clothes. Now, I don’t actually hate ironing, but anything that makes an admittedly tedious task quicker and easier has got to be worth checking out, wouldn’t you agree? Enter new Persil Biological Washing Tablets with Crease Release.I quote from the box: “Persil Biological Tablets with Crease Release leave your clothes clean and easier to iron.” What Is Crease Release? The box doesn’t give much away. It just refers to “a smoothing softener to make ironing easier.” How To Use Persil Tablets with Crease Release. The tablets come wrapped in twos, which should be sufficient for a load of light/normally-soiled clothes. You may need to use three tablets for very heavy soiling (e.g. overalls) They are white with a blue layer, which I assume is the Crease Release stuff. Place the tablets in the washing net provided and then put on top of the load towards the back of the machine drum. Do not put the tablets in the powder-dispensing drawer. The tablets should dissolve and disperse evenly throught the wash. (I had no problems here, although I have read of other members’problems with Persil tablets not dissolving properly.) Persil Tablets with Crease Release are a biological product containing enzymes and a brightening agent. They are, therefore, not suitable for cleaning clothes made of wool, silk ...

Astonish Power Cleaner 11/09/2001

Astonished I was Amazed

Astonish Power Cleaner I wandered recently into my local branch of Wilko’s to pick up a can of my favourite scouring powder. I won’t name that particular product here, as it is not the subject of this review. (But it is named after a Greek hero, so the more erudite amongst you will know which product I was looking for.) Anyway, I digress. I was informed by a very pleasant young man that Wilko’s no longer stock Brand X. I was distraught. Oh, I know there are lots of other loo cleaners to choose from, but I like scouring powder. To me, there is no greater satisfaction than getting a brush around my U-bend. (Otherwise, I am quite sane…really.) “But,” my ever so helpful assistant continued,”we now stock this.” “This” turned out to be Astonish Power Cleaner. I pondered, I vacillated, I mused. “Oh, go on then.” (I’m easily swayed.) At only 45p this product is quite a bit cheaper than my former purchase (Oh, how fickle the British consumer can be!) Astonish Power Cleaner comes in four exciting varieties. (I’m getting carried away now.) Mountain Fresh Orange Fresh Peach Fresh With Bleach. I, being of a somewhat conservative disposition, chose “With Bleach”. Arriving Chez-Moi, I donned apron and rubber gloves and set about cleaning my loo. Astonish Power Cleaner is a very fine powder, and you only need just a sprinkling for superb results. The powder fizzes on contact ...

Angel Falls - Kristin Hannah 10/09/2001

Wake Up,Angel

Angel Falls - Kristin Hannah Mikaela Campbell is a very lucky woman. She is married to handsome Dr Liam Campbell, and is the devoted mother of two healthy, attractive kids, Jacey from her first marriage and Bretster from her marriage to Liam.The family lives in the town of Last Bend, in Northwest Washington State, a town which was founded by Liam’s respected father, Ian Campbell.The Campbells, although of Scottish descent, are a typical, All-American family, as wholesome as apple pie, as steady as a rock. Until the day when Mikaela has a devastating accident whilst riding her horse, Bullet.She is rushed to hospital with severe head injuries and lapses into a deep coma. At first the priority is to merely keep her alive. But after a time, the question everyone is asking is.”When will Mikaela wake up?” For the first time in his life, Dr Liam Campbell is helpless. His medical skills cannot help his wife, and so he has only one weapon left to fight with…his love. But is it going to be enough? For what Liam does not know, is that Mikaela has a secret past. A past, in which he plays no part. A past in which there was some one whom Mikaela once loved as much as she now loves him. Possibly, more so. When Liam discovers the surprising identity of this shadowy figure, he slowly realises that this is the only person who might be able to bring Mikaela out of her coma and back to her family. The question is, if this person does come back into Mikaela’s life, will she then be ...

Top Sante 09/09/2001

Top marks to Top Sante

Top Sante Top Sante is a monthly health and beauty magazine, published by EMAP Élan, which retails at £2.It is an excellent publication, with just the right balance between articles on health and articles on beauty and personal care. The advice given in the magazine is reliable as many of the regular contributors are medically qualified, although the advice is never patronising. There is a regular feature called “In the Surgery” where readers can write in for advice from the magazine’s panel of doctors, and everything is explained in layman’s terms, often with the help of diagrams. I am also pleased that alternative medicine is not ignored, as I am very interested in herbal and homeopathic remedies. Sexual health is discussed, as is emotional health, both subjects being treated with sensitivity. Each month there is a healthy eating guide, not as boring as it sounds,and you might be surprised at just how many of the foods you love can come under the "healthy" label (even chocolate...yippee!) The beauty sections contain advice on exercise, skin care and make-up tips. My only gripe is that some of the products reviewed can be rather expensive, and probably out of many readers’ price ranges.I would like to see a budget section introduced. However, each month you can have a go at winning some goodies featured in the magazine…I once won a jar of L’Oreal Plenitude face cream,which arrived quickly (and in one piece!) There are frequently ...
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