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I am back as Mrs Duskmaiden

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since 28/03/2003


Holiday Inn Express City Centre Theatreland, Glasgow 09/10/2012

An express Stay at the Holiday Inn Express Glasgow Theatreland

Holiday Inn Express City Centre Theatreland, Glasgow It’s strange I have only ever been invited to two wedding receptions in Glasgow and they have been at the same place the Scottish Piping Centre. The first time we were lucky enough to book a room at the adjoining Piper’s tryst but this time there was no room at the inn so instead we went to the nearby Holiday Inn Express. It’s not normally a place we would stay at as we tend to prefer family run B and Bs rather than faceless chains but the location and price was right. Booking online via the hotel’s website was very easy. We managed to get the advanced rate so paid £60 for a double room with continental breakfast on a Saturday night. I felt that this was very good value for money and the inclusion of breakfast however basic swung it for us along with the location of the hotel. Locatted very centrally on the corner of West Nile Street and Cowcaddens Road. It’s just across the road from Buchanan Street bus Station and less than ten minutes walk from Queen Street Railway Station. And perhaps a 20 minute walk from Glasgow Central Station. It’s conveniently located for shopping trips to Glasgow and a selection of venues such as the Theatre Royal, Royal Concert Hall and the Pavilion Theatre. Beware, as confusingly the holiday inn Express is right next door to the more upmarket Holiday Inn. We thought our hotel seemed a bit too posh for a budget hotel until we tried to check in and realised that we were at the wrong hotel, oops. The Holiday Inn Express is a modern innocuous, ...

Sainsbury's Vegetable Sausage 28/11/2011

Sainsbury's Basic Bit Bland Vegetable Sausages

Sainsbury's Vegetable Sausage Value range products have changed a lot in the past decade or so. I have always bought things like value tomtoes and beans , as I don't see much difference between them and a premium brand especially when you are cooking with them. To this list I have added creamed rice pudding, custard and garlic bread, as they have come on leaps and bounds. Gone are the days of watery rice pudding. However I still will not buy value white bread nor eggs (as they are likely to come from caged hens). I was really swithering to buy Sainsbury's Basic Vegetable Sausages, when I spied them in the freezer section, as they are the main part of a meal but decided to try them anyway. You only live once and if they were that terrible I had only lost 99p. Plus thy really could not be as bad as some vegetable kievs I once had that were dry and just plain foul. Veggie sausages come in two types. There's the fake meat ones resembling and tasting like a meat sausage as much as possible ala Linda McCartney and Quorn. Then there's the ones that are made of potatoes vegetables, cheese and other goodies and more resemble sausage shaped stuffing. I really like Tesco's cheese and leek sausages and adore the Wethersopoons ones you get with their veggie breakfast. . The Sainsbury's Basic sausages that come in boxes of 6 sausages are of the latter kind made up of various vegetables and held together by potato and a type of crispy coating. The great thing about these sausages is that they are approved by the ...

Malibu Caribbean Rum with Coconut & Cranberry 21/11/2011

A drink from Hell's Drinks Cabinet

Malibu Caribbean Rum with Coconut & Cranberry Malibu: Now there's a throwback to the 1980s. I was intrigued when browsing in my local Sainsbury's to see a premixed can of Malibu and Cranberry. Malibu trying to be modern wow!! I used to drink it with cola, lemonade or pineapple if I was feeling flash and wanted something ultra tropical. Cranberry was a new one on me and was not sure whether the combination would work or not so decided to get a can. Its only a 250 ml can and it was on special offer. It's normally £1.99 but i got mine for £1.59. so if I did not like it I had not lost too much. So was it a tropical paradise or drinks cabinet hell? The drink comes in one of those long thin 250 ml cans you normally only see for Redbull or premixed drinks. It looks fairly modern even though the Malibu logo is prominent. Opening the can I get a whiff of a fairly sweet strange smell, as both the cranberry and coconut are apparent. The liquid inside is a lovely pinky red berry colour and is still so there's no gassy bubbles. I take a sip and I really am not that impressed. The cranberry seems to be a bit weak and on first taste lacks that sharp tang. Mixed in is the coconut form the Malibu and the combination just does not work. There's a slight kick to the drink from the rum in the Malibu . It's 5% alcohol which is not too strong but just enough so you don't fell like you are drinking coconutty fruit juice. At the end the cranberry taste develops a bit more especially in the after taste. If you see this avoid it like the ...

Bush NE-3232 17/11/2011

Wake Up Bush

Bush NE-3232 I had my trusty old CD clock radio for about seven years when I decided to upgrade it a few months ago. I decided to upgrade because the CD player had stopped working and I fancied a DAB radio instead of the basic FM/AM. radio my radio alarm had. The Bush NE-3232 DAB Clock CD radio seemed to meet all my requirements and was stocked in Argos at the bargain price of £34.99. Bush whilst not being Sony or Tachnics seemed a reputable enough brand I had heard of so this model seemed ideal for me. WAKE UP BOO The unit is made of silver plastic and is a slightly misshapen cylinder about 20 centimetres high. Its a nice size to sit on any bedside table or cabinet without taking up too much space. It maximizes the use of space very well with most of the buttons and the LCD clock/display panel on the front of the unit and the CD player on the top.. It has one of those flexible wire aerials that does a good enough job with reception. Unfortunately its mains only so is not that portable. It has all the standard features you would expect from a radio alarm clock such as snooze and sleep mode and not one but two alarms. This could be an extremely handy feature if you sleep through one of them or need to take tablets at a certain time. The radio has 20 presets so you can access all your favourite stations quick and easily. The radio alarm clock comes with a little credit card sized remote control . This runs on the little flat circular batteries like a big watch battery. There's one ...

A Home of Their Own - Garry Jenkins 14/11/2011

The Dog's (and Cat's) Tale

A Home of Their Own - Garry Jenkins Us Brits are known internationally for being crazy about our kitties and even dottier about our doggies. We have a reputation for being a nation of pet lovers but is this really the case? Reading A Home of their Own” a history of the world famous Battersea Dog and Cat Home and its ups and downs throughout its 150 years of existence made me seriously ponder this question. PUPPYHOOD The home was founded in 1860 by Mary Tealby, a very unconventional lady for her time (she was separated from he husband at a time when that was a real scandal) not in Battersea but across the river Thames in a stable in a mews in Holloway north London. It as originally known by the very morally victorian sounding “ Home for Abandoned And Starving Dogs”. Tracing its history from these humble beginnings Jenkins takes us on a journey through the Home's interesting and varied history from legal and financial crises, a move to the Home's present site and various stages of expansion through two World Wars, depression and recession to a modern home in 21 chapters and 350 pages. This is a real gem of a book that would appeal to animals lovers, those interested in London's history and those generally interested in social history. I initially was attracted to the book due to its very cute cover. Who could reissue the drawing of a fluffy black and white bear cub of a pup poking out of the military like hate of one of the hone's keepers? I certainly could not. The cuteness continues inside especially on the ...

Garfunkel´s 07/11/2011

The Sound of Disapointment

Garfunkel´s Garfunkels is a very strange beast of a restaurant. The restaurant masquerades as some sort of American Diner. Its speciality is that its does not specialise at all and is has something for everyone on their menu. The only problem is this produces very mediocre and at times over priced food. Its a chain that seems to congregate wherever there are tourists hence numerous branches in London's West End. There are at least three within a stones throw of Oxford Circus tube station.. They are nearly as prevalent as the ubiquitous Aberdeen Steak House, which seems to be on every corner around the Leicester Square and Piccadilly. There's also a few outlying ones on Gloucester Road, the O2, Bath and Edinburgh. Its the type of restaurant I have gone to in a group, as there's something or everyone and to be fair its good for kids. Before last week I would have given it three stars, that was until my last visit when I walked out in disgust and it was all over a humble bowl of nachos. My last visit was to the branch of Garfunkels just off Oxford Circus after a hard evening of shopping with a friend. It was a Tuesday, early evening about 730 pm and the restaurant seemed pretty busy. There were two other groups of two or three people waiting but we got seated fairly quickly within a few minutes. Then we were asked to leave our table by a waitress, as it was in the middle of the restaurant and they were expecting delivery. We thought this was strange as surely deliveries did not come at ...

Brothers Toffee Apple Cider 04/11/2011

The Taste of Autumn in a Bottle

Brothers Toffee Apple Cider Autumn, “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” as the poet Keats once put it is one of my favourite seasons. Its a reel sensory season from the colours of the falling leaves to the feel of crunching them under foot and the smell of a bonfire to the bangs of the rockets Most of all I love the rich, dark flavours of autumn from treacle toffee to toffee apples and tablet (traditional sottish fudge like sweet). During autumn my tipple of choice is a thick dark porter or stout but sometimes i want something lighter and sweeter. On those occasions I go for “Brother's Toffee Apple Cider, which is particularity relevant as tomorrow is Bonfire Night. Brother's cider comes in a range of flavours from plain apple an pear to the summery strawberry and pear and tutti fruity but its the mellow autumn flavour of the toffee apple cider that I like best. It comes in 500 ml green glass bottles with a lovely coloured label that evokes all those wonderful autumnal colours and flavours I like the size of bottle as it is ideal for a long drink. At just under £2.0 its one of the cheaper new wave of ciders without being White Lightening cheap. I first came across it in my local corner shop last year but this year I have also found it in my local Tescos so it is fairly widely stocked. Cracking off the metal cap I am greeted with the hissing sound o the carbonated gas being expelled. I shove my nose into the top of the bottle to be rewarded with a wonderful top note of sweet burnt toffee aroma ...

Neal's Yard Remedies Geranium & Orange Body Scrub 31/10/2011

I'm a Scrubber with Neal's Yard Remedies Geranium and orange Body

Neal's Yard Remedies Geranium & Orange Body Scrub I like a little luxury in my life so was very pleased to receive a tub of Neal's Yard Remedies Orange and Geranium Body Scrub last Christmas. Neal's Yard Remedies are based in London's Covent Garden and are an extremely good option for those who care about what goes into their cosmetics. In a way they are a more traditional, middle class version of Lush, as they both produce natural, ethical products. Neal's Yard believe in using entirely (natural and organic where possible) ingredients that have not been tested on animals. The label on my pot of body scrub has a list of what is not in the product from silicone to synthetic fragrances and colours a mile long. Natural beauty does come at a price, as according to the Neal's Yard website this 200 gram tub of body scrub is £16.35 so for me a real luxury product. The body scrub is meant to refresh and smooth dull and dry skin. It is made from Dead Sea Salt and ground rice for exfolliating purposes, shea butter for moisturising purposes and of course geranium and orange oils. The geranium oil seems to be key here, as it has antiseptic healing properties to help prevent blemishes on the skin whilst the orange oil has an uplifting effect. The product is presented fairly simply and traditionally in a dark blue plastic pot with a screw top which is very easy to remove even in a shower. Inside the pot is a dark cream, light peach coloured light paste with darker brown flecks, which I assume are the ground rice. The smell is slightly ...

Marks & Spencer Vegeterian Percy Pigs 26/10/2011

This LittleVeggie Percy Pig Went to Market

Marks & Spencer Vegeterian Percy Pigs Marks and Spencer's have mad myself and other non-carnivores up and down the land very happy by introducing a new addition to their highly successful Percy Pig range. The Veggie Percy might be in the shape of a cute piggy face but unlike the standard Percy no oinkers are hurt in making them. . Pea protein may sound a weird and unappetisisng ingredient in a sweet but its used as an alternative to pork gelatin, as a gelling agent to give the sweet's texture. Opening the pea green packet I am greeted by a lovely, sweet strawberry smell. It reminds me a little of strawberry milkshake. There's about 20 Percys in the 170 gram packet. I think at £1.39 they may not be the cheapest sweets but they are no more expensive than other versions of Percy and I know they are good quality. Poor Percy has got a green ear. Don't worry he's not got swine flu, nor has it gone septic. The green right ear is the way to identify a Veggie Percy , a normal one with two bubblegum pink ears. He's a cute fellow but I've got to eat him. The foam pale pink face is perhaps a little firmer than normal but the strawberry, fruity flavor is delicious. I violently rip one of Percy's ears off. The more translucent green and pink jelly that form his ears is more jelly like an and have a slightly different flavour. Its fruity but I'm not quite sure what it is. Perhaps there is a hint of grape in there. Apparently Percy contains apple, orange and elderberry juice from concentrates. There's also strawberry, ...

Boots Ingredients Mango and Orange Blossom 24/10/2011

Magnificent Mango and orange Blossom Foam bath

Boots Ingredients Mango and Orange Blossom I love a long soak in the bath. The only problem is I do not have one at home so always take advantage of my parent's when I am visiting them. The last time I was home I could not find any nice bubble bath to raid so nipped into town to get some. I wanted something that smelled nice, produced loads of bubbles but did not cost the earth so ended up with Boots Ingredients Mango and Orange Blossom Foam Bath. Boots Ingredients is a range I often use as it is reasonably priced, great for every day use without being cheap and nasty. At £1.35 for a 500 ml bottle I thought this foam bath was very reasonably priced. Looks wise its presented simply with its plain clear bottle but the picture of the slice of mango on the label looks very inviting. The liquid inside is a light tangerine orange. The label did not mention anything about animal testing , as far as i could see but on doing my research it seems Boots do not test use animals to test their products but chemical ingredients may have been tested on animals by the suppliers. So ita a very grey area how ethical this product is. On removing the lid I am greeted with a very pleasant, sweet but tangy mango scent with undertones of orange. It smells very natural and almost good enough to drink. The foam bath has a very nice consistency like a thin gel. It pours easily but is not too runny so I don not lose any when pouring and don't need to use too much at all. A small blob was all that was needed to create a lovely bath full of ...

Dim t, London 22/10/2011

Don't be Dim, Dine at Dim T

Dim t, London There seems to be a plethora of pan Asian restaurants and noodle bars that mix and match oriental cuisines from Japanese and Chinese to Thai with a bit of Malaysian or Vietnamese thrown in for good measure. Wagamama seems to be the granddaddy of them all but there are a number of mini chains in London that have sprang up in the past decade or so. The Hare and Tortoise is a particular favourite but after reading a good review I decided to go somewhere different and try Dim T when my friend and I were having a girls night out catching up over a meal. =HOISIN IN HAMPSTEAD There are five Dim T restaurants in total, four of them in London with a Winchester outpost. I went to the Hampstead branch, the others being in equally leafy Highgate, the West End just off Oxford Street and one by London Bridge. They serve a good cross section of oriental style food with a slight emphasis on Chinese dim sum and teas. It was fairly easy to find the Hampstead branch. It's on the right hand side of Heath Street if you are heading away from the heath. Its only a couple of minutes walk from the tube station on the Edgware branch of the Northern Line. My first impressions of the restaurant were very good. It seemed quite a small narrow restaurant with dark wooden furniture and chocolate brown comfortable leather sofas. On further inspection when heading downstairs to use the toilets I found there was a lot more seating on the level below. We arrived at around 6. 30 on a Tuesday evening and the ...

Babyliss Pro Babyliss Black Headband 20/10/2011

The hair bear bunch

Babyliss Pro Babyliss Black Headband I have a very sleek chin length bob which suits my fine hair. The problem is its always falling in my face. My solution to this is an Alice Band to keep my hair neat.. I bought this pack of three Babyliss black headbands in Boots for £3, which I thought this was good value for money especially since Babyliss is a brand name. I bought these because they would be suitable for work and black goes with everything. The adult sized bands are horseshoe shaped and are made of durable black plastic. All the bands have little nobbles on the underside to give extra grip so they do not slip. Each of the bands are of different widths. There's a very thin one perhaps half an inch thick decorated with little rhinestones. I like this one for when I'm going out, as it brings a little bling to any outfit. There's a slightly thicker wiggly shaped band which gives a groovy effect to my hair The third one is my favourite and the one I wear most often. Its about two inches in width and has a beveled diamond pattern. I tend to wear this one the most often, as it is very simple and the most comfortable one in the pack. I find the thin rhinestone one digs in and hurts behind my ears if I wear it too long. I find with the thickest one I can wear it all day without this happening. All in all a nice little selection of bands that keep my hair nice and neat whilst looking stylish. ...

Radox Shower Smoothies Soul Soother 07/10/2011

Smooth your Soul with Raspberry Youghurt Scents!

Radox Shower Smoothies Soul Soother J' Accuse Lush. Once upon a time ago a shower gel was a shower gel and simply washed whilst perhaps smelling nice. Nowadays its an invigorating, moisturising, exfoliating intoxicating experience all wrapped up so it look good enough to eat. Even good old Radox whose herbal gels have been around for donkey's years have jumped on the bandwagon with their smoothie range of shower gels. There's four heavenly sounding varieties to choose from in the range. Tropical Tranquility with coconut, almond and myrrh and Island Indulgence a very fruity papaya and passion fruit both sound delectable but I tend to opt for the one called Soul Soother to calm my my nerves after a manic day at work. SMOOTH YOUR TROUBLES AWAY Soul Soother is a lovely rich creamy shower gel containing chamomile, black currants and cranberry seeds. It comers in a 200 ml wedge shaped tube with a flip top lid at the bottom. One moan I have about this product is I wish it came in a larger size. I always seem to go through this like nobodies business. I don't think a bottle of this lasts longer than two weeks. Whilst not being ridiculously expensive I only tend to buy Radox Soul Soother when it is on special offer, as its normal price of around about £2.50 is just that little bit expensive for an every day shower gel especially when it goes so quickly. I think I paid about £1.30 for this bottle in Tescos a couple of weeks ago. VERY BERRY I never think of this gel as a smoothie but more of a berry flavourd yoghurt. ...

Royal Windsor Wheel, Windsor 30/08/2011

TheWwheel of Windsor goes Round and Round All Day long

Royal Windsor Wheel, Windsor It seems you can't be a proper tourist destination these days without at least two of the following, an open top double decker bus, a river boat cruise or a Ferris wheel similar to the London Eye. Royal Windsor being an uber tourist destination has all three.. Is the latter the Royal Windsor Wheel I would like to review after stumbling across it on a day trip to this most royal of boroughs. WHEELY WINDSOR The London Eye's blue blooded smaller cousin may not look quite as impressive but looms high above Windsor's skyline not quite competing with the castle. It is located in Alexandria Gardens just a short walk from the River Thames, both Windsor railway stations and a stones throw from Windsor Castle itself. We rode the wheel on August Bank Holiday Sunday and thus were very lucky, as it is not a permanent fixture only gracing genteel Windsor in the summer months between May 13h and September 4th. One more week and we would have missed it. WHEELY REASONABLE The good thing about the Windsor Wheel is that it is pretty reasonable for a basic ticket. We paid £6 each for an adult ticket. It is only £5 for students an seniors and £4 for children. There's also group discounts and a family ticket for £18. For those who are organised there is a 10% discount on on line booking but even on the gate I thought it was a decent price. You would pay between £2 and £4 for an ordinary fairground ride and the mini golf next to the wheel was not a lot cheaper. Compare this with £18 for a ...

Holly House , Bourton-on-the-Water 20/08/2011

A Jolly holiday at Holly House

Holly House , Bourton-on-the-Water The epitome of rural English cosiness must surely be the Cotswolds. When I think of i, chocolate box villages and stunning scenery spring to mind alongside very cosy comfortable hotels and bed and breakfasts. My fiance, his family and I recently attended a wedding in the Cotswolds and luckily for us the B and b we stayed at for to nights lived up to our expectations. This was Hooly House in the very picturesque ton of Bourton on the Water. We really had a lovely stay at this comfortable guest house. Holly House is quite a small intimate B and B with six comfortable bedrooms housed in a lovely Cotswolds stone detached house. Its owned and run by David Clark and Jane Conroy who take great pride in the running of this delightful four star establishment. And it was a pleasure to stay there as it felt like a home from home. I did not actually book the B and B so can not comment on the ease of booking but I have looked at the website and it looks easy to book on line. Rooms vary between £70 and £85 per night which whilst not cheap sounds about right for such a popular and touristy area. At the moment they do special rates for last minute rooms in August during the week. OUR WARM WELCOME If you are looking for a B and B right in the centre of Bourton Holly House may not be the one for you. It's located on a main road, Station Road on the outskirts of Bourton but do not worry its only a five minute walk to the centre of the village. Its fairly easy to find once you get onto the ...
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