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since 07/10/2002


Four Seasons Hotel, London 03/01/2005

I Could Get Used to This!!!

This Year In View - 2004 03/01/2005

2004: Not Bad At All

Cantref Riding Centre 02/01/2005

Brecon by horseback

Cantref Riding Centre “Nah, we’re used to it, we do it all the time,” was the nonchalant response to my friend’s slightly apprehensive questioning on the wisdom of allowing a group of 20 riders, (mostly beginners) loose into the open Welsh countryside with only 2 guides to keep control! I’m an experience rider ,so not nervous, but was still sceptical about the likelihood of this 5 hour ride being chaos-free! However, we had chosen this place because we wanted to see the Brecon Beacons and it was cheap. £25 for five hours. You’d pay more than that for an hour's ride in many places in South East England. However, some people are never satisfied. “It’s too cheap”, moaned my boyfriend, "that means it's bound to be dodgy"" To be fair he did fall off last time we went to the Brecons. He’s a beginner but his unsympathetic horse decided about half a mile from the yard that galloping would be a much quicker way of getting home. I assured him that the centre was approved by leading equine safety organizations and so off we went on the Saturday of the last Bank Holiday weekend. Three friends of ours had joined us on a well needed long weekend escapade from stressful London. We were a group of five; 3 experienced riders, 2 novices, but we were joined by a large group of touring South Africans, all trying riding for the first or second time. Maryanne and Sian were our ‘tour leaders and sorted out riding hats for those without, then a brief instruction was given to the beginners on the very basics of ...

My Resolutions 29/12/2004

2005: My Expectations

My Resolutions Well I’ve been having a bit of a writing spree lately. I don’t expect it to last once I’m back into the daily trudge of working life, but it has been fun while it lasted. I don’t usually stick to resolutions much past January, but this year I am extra determined since 2005 coincides with my 30th birthday. I am on the whole pretty happy with my life and the people in it but there are one or two changes I could make to improve it even further. In fact really I should extend this resolution to cover going out less in general, eating out included since I spend a fortune on this activity and should spend my money on other things. The will power feels pretty strong at the moment; I’ll let you know how long it continues! 1. Don’t get rip roaring drunk except on very special occasions! There are some things you can get away with in your twenties, but less so in your thirties when people expect you to be a bit more grown up (and I’m working on it!) I am changing jobs now but in my last company we tended to have at least one boozy night out a week and I’d often end up just a bit over the merry limit. My alcohol tolerance has lessened with each passing year and a good night’s drinking session frequently results in a horrific hangover when most of the day is written off. I do here solemnly vow not to do this nearly so often in 2005 and thereafter! 2. Stop ‘social smoking’ This one goes with the above recently, since the only time I crave cigarettes is when I’ve had a ...

My 10 Musical Memories 28/12/2004

Hey, I'm No Music Snob!

My 10 Musical Memories This challenge was invented by Matt C. I don’t profess to be a music expert, nor do I have time for music snobs who look down on others for their own individual tastes. Therefore I thought I’d share my honest music preferences with you, good and bad! HOW MANY CDs DO YOU OWN? I’m afraid I don’t know, but at a rough guess 300. That is including my boyfriend’s CDs because our collection has merged together ever since we’ve been living together. He no longer buys CDs so most of the recent ones and compilations (which he hates for being ‘cheesy’) are all mine. CDs IN YOUR COLLECTION: MOST EMBARRASSING I have a few slushy romance compilations which I kind of hide at the back of the shelf so visitors don’t take the p! They were usually bought on the strength of a couple of tracks on there, when I wasn’t sure if I wanted to buy the artist’s actual album. Usually I end up getting it anyway though! MOST RECENT I had two new ones for Christmas – ‘Scissor Sisters’ by you guessed it the Scissor Sisters and ‘Songs about Jane’ by Maroon 5. I’ve listed to them both several times. Scissor Sisters is my favourite by a push. FIRST Single on 7": I didn’t really ever buy many singles, went straight onto albums to start with. I may have bought the odd charity or novelty single but can’t remember if I did and I certainly don’t still have them. I do have Common People by Pulp on single, but someone gave it to me cos they broke the case so wanted a new one! Then I bought ... 26/12/2004

An Online Equine Treasure Trove

Everything that starts with E ... 26/12/2004

Looking Back at Emptiness: New York September 2002

10 Things I Love About Christmas 24/12/2004

My Favourite Day of the Year!

10 Things I Love About Christmas Christmas has always been a huge thing in my family. Even now we still do stockings and I’m 29, my brother is 26! It just wouldn’t be the same without them. I have been with my partner for over 7 years, but apart from one year when I was working in Canada, I have always come back to Wales for Christmas and he has always gone back to his parents in Somerset. If we have children I’m sure that will have to change but for now I’m happy spending time with my parents, brother and Gran who spends it with us. I also wouldn’t want to miss the traditional Christmas eve drinks, meeting up with old school friends, some of whom I’m still in regular touch with, others I only see on this one evening a year, less and less of them now as people are getting married and having children. I was feeling slightly humbugish this year, as I’m full of cold, so thought this challenge would be the perfect way to get me more in the mood before I set off down the pub tonight! 10. Christmas lights Many people complain they go up to early these days. Why?? In my opinion they can’t go up early enough. The dark, damp and depressing winter streets are given a new lease of life and suddenly look bright and cheerful. I think we should keep them up all winter, the streets look so bare and dull when they’re taken down. 9. Dressing the Christmas tree I left my London flat 10 days before Christmas this year as I took quite a bit of time of work, so didn’t get round to doing a tree there. Not to ...

How do you shop for food? 22/12/2004

Christmas apart, how do you eat?

How do you shop for food? Here is a set of answers to a list of questions created by the nutrition conscious French CanCan and Jill Murphy ... Q1: If your yearly food budget was £100, how much would you say you currently spend in big retailers – e.g. supermarkets? Explain why you spend so much or so little there? I suppose we do one big shop a fortnight, accounting for about 80% of our grocery budget. It depends on how busy we are on the weekends or if we go away or not. Can never be bothered to go food shopping after work that’s for sure, so the other 20% is divided between market stall produce, if I come across it, rather than deliberately going out for it and top up shopping at local shops such as Budgens on my way back from work in the evenings. Q2: Are you aware of any food produce(s) made in your area specifically? Hmm, there is a farmers’ market in West London but it’s early on a Saturday morning and I’m ashamed to say I’ve not made it there yet! London isn’t exactly famed for it’s home grown produce, not too many farms in the area. My home county in Wales though is home to Glamorgan sausages, Welsh lamb, a pretty salty but tasty Welsh butter, as well as very tasty locally produced honey. Q3: Within the shop or shopping place where you spend the greater part of your food budget, can you find those area specific produces which are not mass produced? Do you buy any? Why? Hmm, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to take more care over what I eat. I used to be a lot better, but ...

Holmes Place, Ealing, London 18/10/2004

Pack 'em in 'luxury' gym

Holmes Place, Ealing, London I don’t actually belong to Ealing Holmes place, I’m a member of a central London branch near my place of work, but had a few guest passes spare and this is the nearest one to where I live so went along this afternoon. I realised on arrival that I had forgotten my padlock and asked at the reception if I could borrow one. This request was granted, without be told I had to buy a new one, which I have experienced before. However, being blonde I couldn’t work out how to do the combination straight away and didn’t quite hear the numbers the receptionist gave me as the code. She at this point was complaining to her colleague about shift changes, so I waited patiently for five minutes or so. Eventually I was forced to ask again and was met with an irritated tut and sigh, before I got the reluctant explanation. Hey I can’t help being stupid don’t make me feel worse? I don’t pay £65 a month to feel stupid, I get that for free! In retaliation I filled in a customer feedback form of complaint about rude staff and pointedly posted it into the box. I saw her glare at me so I’m sure she rushed to get it out after I left, but my point would have been made. One thing I can’t stand is rude and/ or inefficient customer service as anyone who has read my ops regularly will know. Anyway, I’m going off on a bit of a tangent but it is not without relevance, since you must appreciate this was my first impression of Ealing Holmes Place, the only private gym in the area I believe, unless you ...

Everything that starts with V ... 17/10/2004

Vegetables, soaps, rugby and more

Moshi Moshi, London 24/09/2004

Why nosh at Moshi Moshi?

Moshi Moshi, London IF YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY... This isn’t a negative but it is how I ended up at Moshi Moshi in Liverpool st station, which isn’t my usual London hangout place! You may have read my review on I’d been to this restaurant a few years ago and forgotten about it until I won a meal for two at this restaurant (including alcohol, woo hoo!), as part of a competition I won with the Evening Standard. You don’t have to win a competition though, if you work in Liverpool st, you may well end there on a nice paid for company lunch or paying on expenses as it seems to be a popular place for client lunches and dinners. If you aren’t on a tight budget it’s still worth splashing your own cash on though. NICE PEOPLE, GREAT SERVICE I was meeting my boyfriend here and got there on time, but he was running late but unable to call me due to the fact I don’t currently have a mobile phone (not trying to do another cheap plug but regular readers of my reviews will know about my battles with the Evil Orange Empire). After I had been there over 45 minutes on my own, I think they were a bit concerned that I had been stood up! I knew better, knowing my boyfriend, an accountant, is not one to turn down a free meal, but I could see that it looked a bit odd. The nice waitress had already brought me over some wine and free nibbles (tasty bits of chicken teriyaki in a bowl). I explained my predicament with the phone and they let me use their restaurant landline to call him, bless! He ...

Vancouver (Canada) 21/09/2004

Vancouver: Spectacular by Nature

Vancouver (Canada) Surrounded by sandy beaches and snow-capped mountains, it’s very hard to beat Vancouver for sheer breathtaking beauty. Top that with numerous parks – including the huge forest-filled Stanley Park, superb shopping, varied nightlife, cultural and sporting offerings, as well as bright modern architecture and it's pretty hard to avoid the cliche ‘there’s no place quite like this’. GENERAL FACTS Canada is vast, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It is further from Vancouver in the West to Toronto in the East than it is from Toronto to London, a 7 ½ hour flight away. Canada’s landscapes actually exceed all expectations – the Rocky mountains, rainforests, desert land, lakes, open grassland stretching as far as the eye can see, tundra, lush orchards, fjords and prairie wheat fields, Canada has them all and is completely unspoilt – over 90% of the country’s 30 million population lives within 100 miles of the US border. - Exchange rate: in February 2004 was 2.17 Canadian $s to the British £. - Vancouver’s official language is English, Chinese is second. - Traveller’s cheques – in Canadian $s are accepted in most major restaurants, shops and fast food outlets. GETTING THERE Air Canada and British Airways fly directly to Vancouver from London Heathrow. Having flown with both I would recommend British Airways, it’s a long flight – around 10 hours and I didn’t have a good experience with Air Canada either way but may be that can go in a separate review! A ...

Crete (Greece) 20/09/2004

Parallel Crete

Everything that starts with Q ... 18/09/2004

quick, quirky questions

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