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I joined ciao at 14 years old, and i'm now 22. That's scary. Very Scary.

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since 22/01/2008


EAT restaurant, Glasgow 11/01/2014


EAT restaurant, Glasgow One of my favourite foods, without a doubt is a simple sandwich. I'm not fussy about fillings too much, so long as there are two slices of bread or some form of carb and a filling in-between, i'll be more than happy. It is odd then, that the first time I visited primary sandwich focused chain EAT a few months back, it was the very first time I'd done so! WHO ARE EAT? EAT pride themselves as being a 'REAL FOOD COMPANY' and after being founded in 1996, now have over 110 stores over the UK. The initial aim of EAT was to provide tasty sandwiches, soups and lunches for those around London and the majority of restaurants still remain in London. However, the EAT I visited was situated in Glasgow in Gordon Street. I was on a trip to visit a friend at university and this is where we ended up at lunch time! If you're looking for something similar to Starbucks, but maybe a little pretentious and cliche, then EAT is definitely a great substitute option. EAT could always be easily compared with other coffee/sandwich/lunch pit stops such as Costa and Pret a Manger! THE RESTAURANT ITSELF! I ended up at the EAT restaurant in Glagow back in 2013 when I was visiting a friend at university. We visited the restaurant on Gordon Street; i'm not sure on directions as I was simply following my friend completely oblivious of where we were actually heading, however the website gives clear directions to each EAT eateries they own. This is great if you are planning ahead and are on a time scale. We ...

Wagamama 30/12/2013


Wagamama When it comes to eating out, I don't tend to branch out and in fact over the past year i've struggled to do so to a greater extent. Recently however, I had the opportunity to visit Wagamama, and despite some anxiety and reservations, I plucked up the courage to branch out of my comfort zone and try something new. I'd heard the name thrown about a lot, but until I visited, I wasn't sure as to what nationality of food the restaurant even served! I was in for a treat. Who are Wagamama? Wagamama are ultimately a chain restaurant who specialise in Japanese food! Japanese isn't a nationality I was over familiar with so I went in trying to be very open minded. The Wagamama story began back in 1992 when the first restaurant opened, located in Bloomsbury London. Since then, the restaurant has grown effortlessly in success and has expanded from the United Kingdom, now residing in over 17 countries. You may be interested to know, that the name of the restaurant actually means "Naughty Child". I found this quite funny as it wasn't something I was really expecting. The idea behind this title is that the chain like to think they are a little bit naughty, and a little bit mischievous; bringing something a little bit different to your taste pallet! After having dined here, I realise this is actually a really suitable name for the restaurants - very different to anything i've ever had. The particular Wagamama I visited was situated in Covent Garden London. We arrived for dinner at around ...

Gravity, 2013 (DVD) 20/11/2013


Gravity, 2013 (DVD) I am by no means a film buff, and in fact it takes a lot for me to be drawn into a film and thoroughly enjoy it. I rarely watch a film and feel the need to write home about it - or in this case, write to ciao! However, last week, I saw a film that completely and utterly hooked me and had such a huge impact on me that I felt I had to write something. The film in question; Gravity. I saw the 3D version, however there are also screenings in 2D. Gravity was released on the 7th of November 2013 in UK cinemas and is showing in all major cinemas. At the moment (15th of November), it is one of the top listed films so there are plenty of showings all day and night. When I first saw the trailer for this film, around two months ago, I added it to my mental "must see, want to see, but probably never will see" list. It was gauged somewhat as a sci fi thriller which isn't something i'd normally be interested in. None the less, i'm very glad I gave it a chance. *CAST* Sandra Bullock - Ryan Stone George Clooney - Mike Kowalski Ed Harris - the voice of mission control Houston Orto Ignatiussen - Aningaaq Phaldut Sharma - Sharriff Amy Warren - Explorer Captain (voice) *PLOT* In short, Cuaron's visually stunning film follows the experiences of two astronauts as they float and fall through space and deal with the disasters that they are faced with. Dr Ryan Stone (Bullock) is embarking on her very first space shuttle mission, accompanied by astronaut Mike Kowalski (Clooney) who is ...

Primrose Bakery, Covent Garden 09/11/2013

*'WHEN IN....ROSE!'*

Primrose Bakery, Covent Garden On a recent trip to London, I visited a store that I think may have came to me in my dreams. The Primrose Bakery, Covent Garden. Primrose Bakery was born in 2004, initially creating cupcakes for children's birthday parties. However the success of these cupcakes resulted in a business being created, and ultimately, two shops in prime London spots. Not only have these stores soared in success but the third Primrose Bakery Cook Book is now on it's way, and it's something I really do want to purchase! I've been to London countless times, and i've been to Covent Garden on every trip however I must have been walking around in a dream (or my own daydreams) because I had never seen this little shop before. Located brightly on the corner of Tavistock Street, around the corner from the Duchess Theatre, and a short walking distance from Drury Lane and Covent Garden itself, it really is in a wonderful location. From the outside, the bakery is absolutely adorable. On the corner of the street, it sits magnificantly and really does catch your eye. Although having said that, I have managed to walk past it around 100 times without even noticing it - but when you do, it's mega cute! A lemon exterior, it really screams "Bakery" at you. It looks tranquil and really laid back from the outside. Often, bakerys and little cupcake shops like this are baby pink or a pale girly colour, so this was a really nice change and I think it'd entice males as well as females! The tent top to the shop, ...

mySupermarket 01/11/2013


mySupermarket A LONG LOST FRIEND I don't remember when I became an adult, but it's sure as hell happened quicker than I imagined! I now hold down a full time job and rarely have any time for myself. I never thought i'd see the day that I found it difficult to even fit in a quick half hour shop into my routine, but it's happened. Unfortunately, working from 7.30am until 7.30pm five days a week, means it is incredibly difficult to get the bits and pieces I need. Luckily, I'm not a huge shopper at the moment and my intake is minimal, as well as the fact my mother still does the bulk of the shopping, however sometimes there are certain items I want in the shopping and just do not have time to get. This is where the wonderful "mysupermarket" comes in to play for me. Of course, it is possible to order off the particular supermarket's website itself, for example Tesco or Asda and this method is probably a lot faster than using Mysupermarket - especially for someone who gets as distracted as myself. What is "MYSUPERMARKET"? I was first made aware of the mysupermarket back in 2007/2008 when I was keen on researching nutritional information on food products. I heard about this website from a friend and was completely hooked on it. Fast forward 4 years and I actually began using the website for the purpose it was intended for. If you detest the weekly shop, or simply hate shopping full stop and have access to the internet, mysupermarket is a great option for you! This is a website that allows you ...

BBC Good Food Magazine 18/10/2013


BBC Good Food Magazine I am not one for spending my extra pennies on clothes or anything typical of a 20 year old female. I much prefer spending my money on things like candles, books and one of my addictions; cookbooks and cook magazines! I went a good year to a year and a half without purchasing ANY cooking magazines, which for me was quite a challenge. Last week however, the urge overcame me again and I succumbed by purchasing the BBC Good Food magazine! I remember way back, probably 5 or 6 years ago (maybe more!) I used to steal my Grandma's copies of this! At 13/14 years old I was still a bit young to have the funds to buy my own treats like this, and I remember staying at my grandmas and reading these religiously in my bed at night! I remember that around this time, the magazine cost around £2.99 to £3, however now the price has shot up to £3.80! The price is something that's always put me off buying such things in the past year. Paying £4 for a magazine, you expect it to be something special! The magazine is also available as part of a subscription offer which would be perfect for a gift, or even for yourself if you're a loyal reader and wish to save a bit of money. A yearly subscription costs on average £35, however this varies slightly depending on where you purchase from. Subscription packages are available from various sources online as well as high street shops such as WH Smith. It is something I am definitely going to look into in the future as it makes a great saving. The ...

Amerikandy, Edinburgh 04/10/2013


Amerikandy, Edinburgh I enjoy a shopping trip just like the rest of us, but i'm not a huge shopoholic. I much prefer visiting little shops with quirky names and even quirkier finds inside. One of my favourite stores to browse in, is situated in Edinburgh and is called quite appropriately "Amerikandy". "Amerikandy" is an American Confectionery Shop which sells a huge range of American (and some British and Retro) foods and drinks. The shop is situated in the St James Centre which is a five minute walk from Edinburgh Waverley Train Station and a mere two minute walk from the Bus Station. The centre is situated as the end of the popular Princes Street and leads on to a huge John Lewis department store. Amerikandy is nestled right in the corner of the centre, in fact it is the very last shop you will come to on your left hand side if you enter via the train station side of the building. If you enter through the back door at the bus station, it will be the very first store you see on your right handside. I think its possible that many people don't even notice this store as it is rather small from the outside. The shop is opposite JD sports and next to Superdrug! From the outside, I think the store is really quite enticing! A bright pink colour i'm really drawn in, only made more appealing by the characteristics "Amerikandy" written on the sign. The name was very catchy when I first heard of it, and it doesn't leave any secrets as to what the shop sells. Unfortunately, the window of the store is ...

Jessie J - Alive 27/09/2013


Jessie J - Alive On the 23rd September 2013, my emotions took more of a beating than they ever have in their life. More so than album 1, more so than the countless times I've seen Jessie live. When this album, Alive, was released, I truly believe I was changed as a person, and that's something music can rarely do to me. Superwoman!? I've been a huge fan of Jessie J since before she broke through in 2011. I remember listening to her in 2010, when her fan base was in the low thousands compared to the 15 million (Facebook likes) she has now. In long, Jessie J, or Jessica Ellen Cornish is a 25 year old British artist who is slowly (not so..) but surely conquering the world. In short, she is the love of my life. Jessie has always been interested in music, but growing up in London, she was more taken to musical theatre, as a child anyway. She attended the Brit school and performed in West End shows, including Whistle Down the Wind where she played the role of Brat. It was during this show that Jessie became the first ever person to fall in the orchestra pit during a show, thus gaining the witty title of Bratt Pit! As she grew, she detached herself from the world of musical theatre and began to write, creating hit sensations for pop stars all over the world. She wrote the song "Party In the USA" which Miley Cyrus grew successful with as well as countless others. It was only in 2011, after years of struggling as a new artist in the USA, that Jessie released her début album "Who You Are" in the ...

Quick Cook - Cakes and Bakes - Hamlyn 21/09/2013


Quick Cook - Cakes and Bakes - Hamlyn My name is Laura and I am addicted to cook books. There, I said it. I've had a fascination with cook and bake books for the past 7 or so years and in the heights of my eating disorder, the obsession has taken over! Recently, I've started "collecting" again. In TK Max last week, I came across a sale section of baking books and as you can imagine, I jumped at the chance to take a browse through. There were plenty to choose from, ranging from around £3 up to £10! I wasn't willing to pay £10 for another book, but I saw this one wedged in amongst some of the dearer options. The Hamlyn Quick Cook, Cakes and Bakes was only going to cost me £2.99. I thought this was amazing as the RRP for the book is £7.99. A saving of £5 - what could be better? Looking online I see that currently the book is on sale for £5.99 and in WHSMith the book will cost you the full RRP price. It's definitely worth searching about for the best deal and I think I definitely got it! The book can be ordered both online or in store however there it's much more likely to be readily available on the Internet. The book was released in 2012 so it is not overly new, but still new enough to be on shelves. I think there's something nice about flicking through the pages in store and finding the perfect book for you. Quick Cook The Cakes and Bakes version of this cookery book isn't exclusive to the Quick Cook range and in fact the range is quite large. Amongst the other options are "Family Meals", "Desserts", ...

Nandos 09/09/2013


Nandos Nandos! Nandos! Nandos! Where do I even begin with Nandos? I am almost ashamed to admit that I only tried my first Nandos 2 years ago. In fact up until May 2011 I'd never even considered trying one. Who are Nandos? I'll bet my bottom dollar that you've heard of Nandos, and if you haven't well, I haven't really got a dollar to spare so you can just ignore that bet. Nandos has taken over in recent years and it's popularity has grown and grown, so much so that I hear the word "Nandos" more than I do "McDonald's" in day to day life. That's really quite something. Contrary to many people's understanding, Nandos has been around for over 20 years. In fact the first restaurant was opened in 1992 in Ealing. This first restaurant was opened as a take away service, and it was soon discovered that this concept wouldn't work individually. In 1995 the next Nandos in Camden was opened as this was much more successful. Until the year 2000, Nandos was exclusive to London, however it soon ventured out in to other United Kingdom zones including Manchester and Birmingham. These restaurants were all highly successful and the popularity of Nandos began to grow massively. The first Scottish restaurant was opened in 2006 taking it's home in Glasgow! Much better for me! Over the past 7 years, Nandos has expanded so much so that there are now Nandos in shopping centres and there's even a restaurant in Wembley Tescos! That, I've got to see! Until I visited Nandos for the first time, I was under ...

Whole Foods, Kensington, London 03/09/2013


Whole Foods, Kensington, London On a recent trip to London, one of my "must visit" places may seem a bit boring to you all. In a city full of culture and attraction, it may seem odd that very near the top of my "to do" list, was visit Whole Foods. I've always heard people talk about the store, but as I'm from a small town in Scotland, I've never been able to visit before. Therefore, it was important to me that I got to experience Wholefoods on my trip. And I did! Three times! The particular store I will be reviewing is Whole Foods, High Street Kensington, The Barkers Building, London. WHO(LE) FOODS?! In short, Whole Foods is an American store which is claimed to be "America's Healthiest Grocery Store". Whole Foods to me is quite a new idea, however the company has been around since 1980. In fact, the founders John Mackey and Rene Lawson Hardey came together two years previous when they opened a supermarket then known as "Saferway" in Austin, Texas. The duo then merged with Craig Weller and Mark Silkes combining "Saferway" and their own Natural Grocery Store, and so in 1980, Whole Foods Market was born, originally remaining in Texas. On a much smaller scale to now of course, with only 19 staff, the store was still relatively large in comparison to other supermarkets during that period. Over the past 20 years, the company has expanded quite dramatically, spreading first to surrounding and ultimately opening in the United Kingdom in 2004. MY EXPERIENCE/ORDEAL The particular store I visited was in ... 26/08/2013

TO GRAZE OR TO SCOFF?! It's been years since I first heard about the whole "Graze" concept, but it was only around three months ago that I was fully tempted and decided to try company out. The whole idea of Graze is really quite simple. Graze is an online company which was created by seven friends who 5 years ago decided to take their passion for healthy, delicious food and snacking and start their own website! you order your box online and it arrives in the post when you decide you want it. It may seem simple; but it's much more exciting than that! This review will be of the website itself, and the boxes and food sold. The website itself is extremely easy to follow. It's very clean and neat, and bright without looking tacky. When you first visit, you're immediately drawn to the feature that allows you to create an account, and this is boasted by the "FIRST BOX HALF PRICE" sticker. The tabs along the top of the website also allow you to view all the food products before creating an account, as well as finding out all practical information about the boxes. This was great for me and I had fun looking through all the products before creating an account. Creating the account is very simple and you are taken through a typical step by step sign up process. One thing which did "scare" me a bit was the fact that you immediately have to enter your bank card details which means that as soon as you sign up, a box will be sent for you. This has turned out to be a good thing though because it ...

Yankee Scented candles 07/08/2013


Yankee Scented candles As I get older and am working full time, I am becoming a lot more responsible with my money, and the task of managing my disposable income is becoming more and more important. This task, is made difficult by the simple existence of the product(s) I am reviewing today; the Yankee Candle. Some may say I am late on the Yankee bandwagon, having only discovered them around two years ago. The Yankee Candle story, however, began long before this in what could be described as the perfect example of the American Dream. A somewhat perfect success story; In 1969, Mike Kittredge, at the age of 17 typically couldn't afford to buy his mother a present, so used his ample and creative mind to make his mother a candle; out of melted crayons. With one candle, became two which was then sold allowing the Yankee Candle to be born. Although originating in the US, the Yankee Candle brand are now leading scented candle retailers all over the world, and in my opinion, for very good reason. * America's best loved candles are described as simply being "authentic" and true to life". I absolutely agree with this statement, as the real selling point for me, is the gorgeous, real life scents. Yankee Candles not only come in different fragrances, but also different forms, different priced pots and styles. Coming in literally hundreds of different fragrances, there sure is likely to be something for everyone. Personally, I have always bought in store, as I prefer to do a "smell test" before ...

T In The Park (Scotland) 11/07/2012


T In The Park (Scotland) For the past few years, T in the Park has definitely been the highlight of my year. What is T in the Park? I remember, when I was little and my mum and uncle used to attend T in the Park (TITP), I always thought they were going for a picnic in our local park and was oh so confused as to why I wasn't allowed to go with them (pretty sure I sobbed hysterically some years begging them to take me). It was only as I grew up that I realised that this festival was something so much greater than a picnic. T in the Park is an annual Scottish Festival which takes place from Thursday - Monday at the start of July every year. It usually falls around the 5th - 11th of July, and a few years has been over my birthday on the 7th, which is just amazing. The festival was first held in 1994 in Glasgow however over the years it has expanded greatly and is now a extremely popular and well known festival. In 1997 the festival moved from Glasgow to Balado, Kinrossshire, where it remains to this very day. T in the Park was originally a two day music festival (Saturday and Sunday) however over the years has developed in to a three day festival with music on the Friday also. Tickets Tickets for T in the Park can be very confusing and it took me til my second year to properly understand which ones I wanted. There are two types of ticket available; camping and non camping. It is plainly obvious that a non camping ticket means you travel to and from the venue every day, whereas camping tickets mean ...

Born This Way - Lady Gaga 06/06/2011


Born This Way - Lady Gaga [the title is a quote by my Autistic little brother, who tends to take everything literally] I defy anybody to tell me they have not heard of Lady Gaga. It's quite strange really, how famous she has become. In 2007, she supported the Pussycat Dolls, and I remember thinking 'who the hell is this woman?'. Nobody was overly aware as to who she was and she was simply a back up act. I do remember her being sensational though. Fast forward 4 years, to 2011 and Lady Gaga is perhaps the biggest artist in the world at the moment. I've always adored Gaga, and all she stands for. Her wacky style is just awe inspiring and she always pulls something new out of the bag. I've loved her music, however they've never been my favourite songs. 2 weeks ago however, I fell in love with Gaga for real, when I purchased her new album 'Born This Way'. I had eagerly been anticipating the release of the album as its been in the pipeline for a long time. So when, on the 23rd of May (2011) it was released, I was absolutely overjoyed. I preordered my album, so it arrived promptly at 8am on the much awaited Monday morning. The album cost me £8.99 which I thought was brilliant. 'Born This Way' can be found in literally every music store from the big retailers such as HMV to the tiny little CD stands in a local shopping centre. Prices for the album vary. HMV was selling it for the knock out price of £7.99 last week, however I think since then it has increased in price. Nowhere sells it for too much ...
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