Share this page on

red Status red (Level 5/10)



No member profile available. The person you are looking for is no longer a Ciao member.

Reviews written

since 04/03/2003


Majestic Wine (Shop) 18/11/2006

Majestic by name and by nature

Majestic Wine (Shop) I first turned to Majestic wine after realising that even if Tesco wine was fairly cheap, you paid an extra £5 for delivery on top of the price, and to be honest, their wine wasn't as good! Majestic started in 1980 in London, and we have passed their original warehouse many times when walking along the Thames on the Southwark side. There are 132 stores scattered across England, Scotland ND Wales (and another 3 in France) You can visit the wine shops in person or you can go online at I have visited Manchester and Leeds stores....both excellent. Great staff, too. On the internet site.....which is how I PREFER to shop... The first thing you notice when you look at the web page is the clear information appearing on it. There are usually discounts on offer for certain types of wine- currently there is 20% off Chilean, new Zealand and Californian wine if you buy 2 bottles of the same wine. I wanted some mixed cases for a party and I thought I'd try one of their own. This is currently selling at £40.52 for 12 bottles. This includes 4 French dryish whites and 2 Australian Chardonnay , 4 French red ( 2 fruity and 2 spicier) and 2 Australian red. I also made up a case of my own- I really like their Argentinian Esperanza wine and they do a very drinkable Sauvignon Blanc (white) and Merlot (red) in this range, both selling at £3.59 at the moment. They do 12 bottle gift cartons if you want to buy this wine as a present. They have a gift service ...

Member Advice on Rescue Dogs 15/11/2006

A little brown dog story-not shaggy at all!

Member Advice on Rescue Dogs When we say "rescue dog" people immediately think of St Bernards with a barrel of brandy reound their necks. I am talking about dogs who have either been abandoned or given up by their owners for various reasons and they have ended up in the RSPCA shelters (ususally) - I do know that there are specialist dog breed rescue homes so if you are looking to rescue a labrador, for example, the best thing to do is to look on the internet at "labrador rescue" in a search engine- you'll soon find out whether there are any centres near to you. We do know that there is a lurcher and greyhound rescue centre close by - and these are such gentle creatures that I'd encourage you to think about them- they do not need masses of exercise! They are often dumped by their owners after racing hard for them- as soon as they stop winning races. Shame on you! At first, we were talking about a beagle to rescue- we've always liked the look of them and they seemed to be the right size. But I couldn't find a beagle rescue centre (could have stormed a research lab, I suppose!!) and we decided to go to the RSPCA in Halifax and keep visiting until a dog that we liked was there. The RSPCA do have a fast turnover as people do tend to go there to look for dogs and cats. If you do decide to go for one you have to be very sure that you know what you are getting into. Unlike puppies that have lived with you since they were small, rescue dogs can be of many ages and from many backgrounds. And the RSPCA ...

How do you shop for food? 15/11/2006

Local food for local people!

How do you shop for food? Q1: If your yearly food budget was £100, how much would you say you currently spend in big retailers - eg supermarkets? Explain why you spend so much or so little there? Gosh, that's only a little bit of money to spend...but if that was all I had then I can foresee a different approach. I do grow some vegetables in my greenhouse but if I only had this small budget I would have to increase the volume and variety. I grew a lot of tomatoes this year but grew two varieties-one of which were not nice, so next year I'd stick with the heavy cropper with small tomatoes. Peppers, potatoes, herbs, apples (we bought two dwarf trees with good crops) loads of onions, Currently I try to spend as little as I can in the big supermarkets because I think that they are too powerful and from what i hear they twist the arms of the little producers to provide produce for very little money. So I go to Lidl for a lot of my things- they have half priced fruit and vegetables which are just as good as those sold by the big supermarkets, but the only thing is they have a shorter life- probably not been frozen! However, there is gradually getting to be a wider range of produce, and it is sometimes more exotic than the bog ones! And the prices are a fraction of those that Sainsbury and Tesco charge. The only reason a lot of people won't go to Lidl is the snobbery factor...some people do go and use big supermarket shopping bags....I think we should all boycot them! I also visit farm shops ...

Toronto (Canada) 14/11/2006

Toronto is brilliant

Toronto (Canada) My partner and I went to Toronto in July 2006. It was to be the first part of our holiday and then we were flying to visit my partner's brother in Albany, New York State. We booked our tickets through and got a really good deal- it was a three legged journey; Manchester to Toronto, Toronto to Albany and then Albany to Toronto ,and Toronto back to Manchester. For 2 tickets we paid £1600. I did a lot of research on the internet before booking and this was what we needed. A lot of airlines did not meet our requirements. We got to the airport and as we were going through to passport control I had a telephone call from Australia (my son was on a rugby tour with school) to say that he had had a little accident and had broken his nose- so he wouldn't be playing until he got to New Zealand in 10 days time. However, I was relieved that he wasn't more badly injured and was able to set off on my own holiday without feeling guilty. I knew he was going to be fine. Air Canada flights are very good, in my opinion. We had plenty of room in our seats- admittedly we are both small, but even tall people didn't seem to have much trouble. The air hostesses were friendly and kept asking us if we were sisters- they wouldn't belive we weren't! The food and drink (wine or whatever you wanted) were excellent and plentiful. (for plane food) The flight was about 7 hours long but it didn't seem that long- there were 2 up to date films being shown and once the first drink had ...

Wy Playhouse, Leeds 18/06/2006

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

Wy Playhouse, Leeds We went to West Yorkshire Playhouse yesterday afternoon to see a matinee performance of Bad Girls, the Musical. We had a fantastic time. The play was absolutely first class- so if you get chance to go and you know anything at all about bad girls, you will be in heaven! I had ordered my tickets via an online ticket provider and they came within a couple of days-just what I had ordered and no fuss at all. We got two of the best seats in the house for 15 pounds each. The good thing about the WY playhouse is that the prices are very good for excellent productions, compared to London theatres, anyway! Location It's a bit tricky to get to, so you need your wits about you- see the directions to follow... If you are coming by car from the north (Harrogate, Wetherby, Middlesbrough -follow the signs for the A58) You need to follow the signs to the city centre and you will arrive on Regent Street. Landmarks to look out for include a Renault Garage, a Pratt's furniture store and Floors-to-Go. You will also see signs for West Yorkshire Playhouse and Quarry Hill and a red and blue bridge directly ahead of you. As you approach the bridge, bear left off the carriageway, into the Quarry Hill site. Go straight ahead and then turn left into the car park or go straight on for the drop off point and disabled parking. If you are coming by car from the south (London, Wakefield, Sheffield you come up the M1) Coming off the M1 and then the M621, come off at Junction 3 and when the ...

Brick Lane Gallery, Bethnal Green, London 11/06/2006

The real thing is better than you might think

Brick Lane Gallery, Bethnal Green, London I enjoy visiting different parts of London and on our last trip, we had pencilled in a visit to Brick Lane Market. Normally I really do not enjoy shopping but I had heard a lot about the place so thought I had better see it myself. The name "Brick Lane" sounds to me to be a very workmanlike place to be-down to earth and gritty. Well, it is-and road signs are in English and in other different languages- erected when different waves of immigrants came to live and work in this part of London. Brief history of the area: Londoners generally welcome and absorb incoming cultures and wave after wave of immigrants have settled in the area and each added their unique ingredients to the strong cultural mix of the East End. Even before immigration began in earnest, the area had a reputation for religious and cultural diversity - and it was always a haven for refugees and free-thinkers. In 1675, when there were 1,300 new buildings crammed onto the old market gardens, it was seen as a centre of non-conformity, as citizens resisted the authority of the established Church of England. In fact the first Baptist church in England had been built there in 1612. Unfortunately some people do not welcome difference and sadly there has always been some sort of organised opposition to incomers . Back in the early 1700s, there had been protests in the streets of Spitalfields as the newly built-up area was settled by Huguenots, refugees from religious persecution in the Low Countries. ...

Quality Hotel at Excel, London 03/06/2006

a tale of two hotels

Quality Hotel at Excel, London The hotel is located in docklands, right next to the Docklands Light Railway Custom House station and about five minutes walk to the ExCel exhibition centre-ideal for people who like to go to shows or conferences. On the weekend we stayed there was a sci-fi convention ..there were people staying in our hotel who were dressed up in Star Trek uniforms and Star Wars outfits, complete with light sabers! Anyway, the hotel is very conveniently situated so that you can travel into London with about a half an hour trip into Tower Gateway (across the road from Tower Hill tube station and this is next door to Fenchurch Street railway station) so it is a good place to get a transfer from. I booked the hotel knowing it to be good value for money with facilities I wanted and being accessible and quiet at the same time. I do not always want to stay in the centre of London and it is quiet at this part of the docklands , in spite of being near to Excel. What are the facilities? In this part of the hotel (there are two linked hotels and this is the "superior" part, you can book a single, double, or twin room, smoking or non-smoking. We had a double room. You get into the room with a swipe card, and you will need to put this into the little slot inside the door if you want electricity. The card activates lights and electricity for the room. We felt a bit foolish after we filled the kettle for a cup of tea and waited .and waited, looking inside to see if the element was heating ...

Same Sky - Horse 09/05/2006

Horse, The same Sky,

Same Sky - Horse I am surprised to see this album on here for review. Horse albums rarely get advertised or reviewed anywhere and when I saw it I felt I had to comment! This was the first Horse album I heard, nearly five years ago and from then on I was captivated with this artist. Horse (the singer) has a unique voice- with a fantastic range and she has the ability to put so much feeling and emotion into her voice that you get drawn into the songs, almost as if you are living in the words there with her. Difficult to explain really but listening to her sing is an experience I would recommend. Her style is, I would say somewhere between blues, jazz and soul.. the lyrics are excellent and you should listen very carefully to them. On some of her albums sometines she talks between tracks and explains the inspiration for the track. She has a lively Scots accent! Not only are the lyrics good but the tunes themselves are excellt and memorable and you will find yourself humming them for days. They are not forgettable ditties. If she was mainstream, in my opinion, she would certainly give some of the current chart singers a run for their money- she's streets ahead. The albums she has made are all special, and listening to her live is a wonderful experience as well. Her voice is as true live as it is in the recording- not something you could possibly say about some performers today. This album has only got ten songs, yet all of them are special. I have difficulty choosing a ...

Between Two Women (DVD) 09/05/2006

Hard love

Between Two Women (DVD) Not only was this film set in the 1950's , when it must have been almost impossible to be openly gay but it was set in the North of England as well- a double whammy. Where men were men and women were grateful. Everyone seemed to smoke as well. Hmm! (very authentic, I am told) The lead character for the film, Ellen, is unhappily married to a mill worker (Geoff) who seems at first glance to be a tough, no-nonsense chauvinist. He always seems to be going to the outside toilet as well..just something I noticed! He does seem to want to make something of their little terraced house, though. Their son Victor is a talented artist and his female school teacher Kathy (the other main character) tries to help him and encourages his work, letting him stay after school and getting to know his mother. They chat and as time goes by become friends. Ellen's involvement with Kathy does not go unniticed by Geoff and he becomes resentful. Not only is his wife hobnobbing with a teacher (who is above her) but she is neglecting to make sure his dinner is on the table when he comes back from t'mill. So their relationship begins to break up. He also does not like his son Victor doing his "scribbling" and tries to put his foot down. It's not manly or a working class thing to do...and another thing is that when he sold a painting it earned more than he could. He felt humiliated. I won't go on any more about the plot because I think it's a film you should see for yourself. It is a ...

Member Advice for Parents of Teenagers 07/05/2006

Tell them that you love them

Member Advice for Parents of Teenagers I have two teenagers. Two boys. They were lovely babies, lovely little boys and they are actually lovely teenagers. But just don't tell them that I said so. People were only too keen to wish troublesome teenagerdom upon me as they had been so lovely.."it can't last, they'll go off the rails etc etc" Well, actually, they haven't. And I feel like saying...- "So NER! " My ex husband and I did our best to talk to them and explain whatever they asked about. We didn't let them watch too much television and they didn't have their own TVs until the elder one reached his teens and the younger one was 11 and we went to lots of places as a family, we youth hostelled and so on. They really enjoyed it. Then their dad had an affair and our family broke up. But we explained that it was not their fault-which helped. We have talked to them all the time we were splitting up and they can see that we are still friends even after we divorced. I now have a new partner and so does he. Oh, things are not always perfect..we have had an epispde of the younger one going out deliberately to get drunk to prove he could drink more than the older one, and having to go and pick him up. Luckily it was locally but it could have been nasty. They get on each others nerves sometimes and the younger one is much more competitive. There are sometimes harsh words swapped... I think the thing is not to let what they say get to you -don't take it personally. They are going though some pretty ...

Costa Azul, Palma de Majorca 30/04/2006

Costa Azul. Waterfont hotel that won't costa lot

Costa Azul, Palma de Majorca I booked this hotel through Octopustravel and with the intention that it would be easy to get to and from the airport and it would be easy to get to the town from the hotel without much hassle. Both turned out to be very true. We got off the aeroplane at Palma and hopped on the number 1 bus outside the airport -right to the "port" of Palma- the marina. The bus announcement system announces the bus stops as it goes and the fare is minimal- less than 4 euros for two people to where we hopped off. Be sure to smile at the driver and say gracias! As I said, I booked through Octopustravel- a double room for my partner and myself. We presented the voucher at reception and they had a bit of a crisis-asking if we were absolutely sure we wanted a double room. We did. That was what I had booked. So, we got a room that was at the back of the hotel , on the third floor but at ground level at the back of the hotel, and near the bottle recycling bins ( we heard them emptying them every morning) to the lifts on the third floor...where people come to go to the pool and the terrace. In high season this would be very noisy, as there was obviously "entertainment" in the form of an organ and probably singers, but in April this was not the case and it was very quiet. The entrance doors are automatic, and there are lifts from ground level and reception and the lifts are accessible for wheelchair users. You can also leave your luggage by arrangelet behind reception if you need to ...

How Do You Want Me? - Ruby Wax 07/03/2005

Ruby- what a gem!

How Do You Want Me? - Ruby Wax I really like Ruby Wax on the TV so I thought I would treat myself to Ruby's book "How do you want me?" . I thought it would be a romp through her life -in the same energetic and humerous (some might say manic) way she has when on the small screen. From the first page I was entralled with her "unusual " upbringing and I found myself really feeling for her in her early years as she found herself to be "different " from the classmates she had. I empathised with her lack of being one of the "good looking" girls -so much that she became an honorary boy....and laughed at some of the antics she got up to when delaing with her better looking girl classmates! Her rebellion against her father I can understand - but more of that later. Her home life was .....odd- and I don't use the word readily - but her description of her family's oddities is forthright and honest and made me feel sympathy for her plight. I also laughed at the antics of her dog, her mother (manic cleaner) and her sympathestic grandmother (wandering around with her underwear dragging on the floor!) and I hope I wasn't being too dreadful by doing so. her description of her dog Lumpy and what he got up to must resonate with some people who have had sexually overactive dogs! I just thank goodness that my own little dog hasn't been so afflicted!!!! Ruby writes and you will want to read - it's as simple as that. Her story divides into 10 chapters- ... 24/02/2005

OUT OF THIS WORLD- EMPIREDIRECT I first actually used this store when I was looking for a laptop computer. I had known about it (through YOUATWORK, a discount shopping club) but had never actually bothered with it becasue I do generally like to see products before I buy them. However, in this instance I knew what I was looking for because I had trawled round the PC stores looking and had not been impressed by the customer service I was getting. I knew what spec I wanted so I thought it wouldn't hurt to go online and see what EMPIREDIRECT offered. Their website is The opening page is bright and breezy, and you can log in (after registering with them) so that you can get special offers and they know more about you -and you can track your orders etc. The registration process is quick and easy and doesn't involve too much detail. There is a list of electrical goodies that you might want to buy down the left hand side. These are: televisions, DVD, VCRs, Home theatres, TV combis camcorders, cameras and photo printers HI fi systems,separates, portable audio and MP3 players PCs and laptops, organisers/ PDAs, gaming, photo printers washers and dryers, dishwashers,freezers, fridges, vacuum cleaners, microwaves,cookers, other applicances mobile phones, telephones, fax machines, ringtones gifts and gadgets health pnd personal care accessories and CLEARANCE items..some good bargains in this part of the site- even cheaper than their normal very low prices! ...

Wagamama, Dublin 05/07/2004

Oodles of noodles

Wagamama, Dublin Yes, this is a Japanese restaurant, and in spite of what some people might think, they don't only do raw fish..yippee! They do do a delicious salmon ramen soup if you like fish. First went to one in London, near the Trocadero, a few years ago, and my friend said to try the ramen soup. So, okay, I'd not been before and I said I would- we had my two sons with us and they said they would, too. Thank goodness they are not just fast-food burger kids! They really enjoyed eating there and having a go with the chopsticks. Picked it up in no time. But if you don't want to use chopsticks you don't have to- ask the staff for a fork and they'll bring one immediately without fussing. One thing I have to say is that this is a really good place to eat if you are on your own. Nobody looks at you as if you have 2 heads or are a sad case- and they sit you down and serve you in a way that makes you realise that they really don't feel sorry for you! WHAT'S IT LIKE? You get the impression of efficiency, space and cleanliness. It's set out a bit like a school dining hall rather than a resturant- long beech tables run widthways across the restaurant, and these have beech benches on either side, and a handy ledge under the long table for putting your bag on. These benches are comfortable and are ok for tall and short people to be able to reach the table properly. However, they are quite hard on your bottom! They are set with a paper place mat immediately after being vacated so that the ...

The Magdalene Sisters (DVD) 14/06/2004

One shameful chapter of Ireland's History

The Magdalene Sisters (DVD) My ancestry is mixed and I know that on my mother's side, we have Irish Catholics and Protestants who fell in love with each other and who were kicked out of their parents' homes. Also my Irish grandmother was disowned by her mother for getting when I heard about this film I wanted to see what it was all about. I had thought that this might be a story with some camaraderie and kindness..... I had heard of the Magdelene laundries, but I was not prepared for what I saw in the film. The nuns are in the main horrible-and the nun in charge is truly a monster. She was played very well by Geraldine McEwan...we really hated her in this film! The beginning of the film starts off innocently enough, outlining the lives of three girls from different backgrounds. Margaret, Rose and Bernadette are all the victims of the male dominated society that was Ireland. They all arrive together at the laundries (which is an institution for "fallen" women) because they have become pregnant/ "given into their lusts" for men. People "shopped" girls for being too forward and chatty to men- they abandoned their daughters to the laundries because their menfolk had seduced them or even worse, raped them- and then blamed them for leading them on. This film is frighteningly strong and honest enough to portray these incidents- made me very angry on behalf of these girls. How could we do this to our girls? The institution is more than a prison because the girls are stripped of not only ...
See more reviews Back to top