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MyMemory 25/04/2009

Memory gain, not memory loss!

MyMemory After my mum requested a specific Nintendo DS game for her birthday I immediately tried Amazon and Play but both seemed rather expensive. So I googled the game and it threw up which had the game for at least £5 less (which of course is a good bargain. ## About the site ## Mymemory sells the following categories; Audio / Video, Batteries, Blu-ray, Camcorder, Camera, Cases, Computer Memory, Eco Store, Gadgets, Gaming, GPS & Sat Nav, Ink Cartridges, iPod & iPhone, Memory Cards, Mobile Phone, PC / Mac and Travel. Not only does the site allow for the user to browse through the above categories, it allows users to see the top 10 selling products and to browse through accessories by device. ## Ordering from the site ## Orering from the site is very easy, after adding the items you want to buy into your basket, you can proceed to checkout. You do have to register an account with the site but this is a relatively quick and painless process. During the ordering and checkout process you have the option to enter your mobile number son that you will receive a text when the order has been dispatched. I thought that this was a nice option. It's usual for sites to email when the products have been dispatched but I'm always impatient and keen to get whatever I've ordered so it's nice to be able to know exactly when it has been despatched. ## Payment ## The site accepts Visa, Solo, Maestro, Mastercard, and Paypal - so most methods of payment really. ## Delivery ...

Waterstones Card 20/04/2009

Store up points with store card!

Waterstones Card I'm a big fan of store cards that reward customers for loyalty. Initially when the Waterstones card was launched, I assumed that it was linked to a credit card (as the M&S card is for example) and I try to avoid racking up credit. So one day when I was stocking up on my next little pile of books in my local shop, the assistant explained to me that it was just a loyalty card. Of course I immediately signed up. - Accumulation - The card allows you to accumulate 3 points per £1 that is spent on normal products which is a much better rate than some other cards such as the Boots Advantage card. However there are also opportunities to maximise your point accumulation through special offers. - Special offers - There are exclusive cardholder offers on certain books which means that you can receive double points. There are also offers that are available only when you order via the internet, e.g. they will offer double or even triple points when you order anything during certain limited time periods. - Exclusive cardholder benefits - As a cardholder you are entitled to free copies of Waterstone's Books Quarterly which must usually be purchased. I've previously read this magazine and it's very good on reviewing new fiction and non-fiction. Being a cardholder also entitles you to enter competitions on the website. The only annoying thing about that even when logged into the website and with your card registered to your account, you still have to enter your card number manually ...

Power Plate Pro 5 Air 26/03/2009

Shake your body!

Power Plate Pro 5 Air The first thing to mention is that I don't actually own this piece of equipment, however I do use it in my gym. I first heard about power plates long before I used one because I'd read that all the celebrities were crazy about them and had lost loads of weight by using them, so when two arrived in my gym I was a little excited. WHAT IT IS Basically, the machine plate vibrates and aims to tone your muscles by giving them a high speed workout by causing them to contract and relax. You stand in different positions (like a lunge or squat) and hold the position while the vibration works the muscles more than you could on your own without spending hours on squats or lunges. HOW IT WORKS There are different settings for the machine ranging from low vibration frequency to high and a range of times so that you can pick what suits you and the exercise that you're doing - for exampe I find it relatively easy to hold a squat for a length of time at a high frequency but much harder when doing a stomach crunch so I tend to do that for less time or at a lower frequency. You can operate the machine using both the top control panel and one close to the plate itself, which is unbelievably helpful when not standing on the plate, if you're doing crunches or working other areas which require you to be more on the plate. DOES IT WORK? Personally I like the PowerPlate but that's possibly because I'm a rather lazy gym-goer, it feels like a cheat because supposedly 10 minutes is the ...

BB's, Sheffield 19/03/2009

Never a bad evening out at BB's

BB's, Sheffield BB's is a standard small Italian restaurant in on Devonshire Street Sheffield which serves a standard Italian restaurant type meal. To be honest it's one of those places you wouldn't really notice if you just walked down the street but I love it there. The reason why I love BB's so much is that it caters so well to groups. I've often felt in restaurants that if you go with a group and make some noise that other diners will get annoyed. BB's caters really well for groups, there is both a downstairs and upstairs which are small so chances are you'll be on different tables if you go with a group but nobody minds people moving around or making noise which is really nice. I've only ever been there with student societies as the big draw is that you can bring your own wine, but I've never had a bad meal there or a bad time. All the waitors are lovely and it's a good value night out - especially useful in a credit crunch! Definitely worth a visit, especially if it's a work/society/club night out!

Clairol Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Shampoo 19/03/2009

What have they done to Herbal Essences?!

Clairol Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Shampoo Herbal Essences are rebranding. When I first saw the advert I was unimpressed, I've always liked Herbal Essences because although it tends to be pricey it always cleans my hair well, smells good and looks pretty in my bathroom. So I was disappointed by the adverts but got over it. However, this wasn't the end of the story. I was stocking up on shampoo as part of a special offer and some of the old Herbal Essence bottles had trial-sized bottles of the rebranded shampoo. So I took them home pleased at the bargain I'd got. I finally got through the old style shampoo the other week and so started on the trial size bottles. I squeezed some out onto my hand and was immediately shocked. I'd expected the same old Herbal Essences just in a different bottle, what I got was an almost luminous shimmery shampoo which looked nothing like the clear soft-coloured shampoo I was used to. Nevertheless I proceeded to lather it up and wash my hair with it. It was when I got to drying my hair that I really noticed a difference. Normally my hair after being washed is light and bouncy and clean. This time I noticed that there was still greasy residue at my roots despite having properly rinsed my hair through and the rest of my hair felt heavy and limp. By the end of the day I felt dirty and greasy like I hadn't washed my hair for two days. My hair is rather fine and so too much product and it can look heavy more quickly than that of other people but to say I've used Herbal Essences for years with ...

Gilmore Girls - Series 2 (Box Set) (DVD) 16/03/2009

I am still in love with this series!

Gilmore Girls - Series 2 (Box Set) (DVD) If you're looking at the series 2 boxset of Gilmore Girls then chances are you already know and love the series and of course all of the quirky characters. If you haven't already fallen in love then get online or to your nearest DVD shop and buy the boxset of the first series! The second series has all of the episodes which you would expect but also a few nice extras which should keep Gilmore Girls fans happy. There are unaired scenes as in the first boxset but there is also 'A film by Kirk' which links to one of the episodes in series 2. The main attraction is of course 'International success: how other countries welcome the girls' which is about how the show has found its feet internationally. The documentary talks to various translators who worked on the show and details the problems they had in bringing the show to Italian, French and German audiences. For example, Michel in France isn't French! There is also 'Who wants to argue? The season's best shouting matches'. This series is a must for any Gilmore Girls fan!

Creative ZEN Mozaic Arm pack MP3 Player (70AB240100002) 16/03/2009

Gymtastic armband

Creative ZEN Mozaic Arm pack MP3 Player (70AB240100002) My boyfriend bought me this as one of my Christmas presents so I could listen to my music in the gym without having to tuck my player into the band of my trousers! I was pleasantly surprised by the armband. I was initially a little worried that it would either slip down or cut off the circulation to my arm. The band adjusts by a velcro system and is elasticated so that using weights and flexing won't be hampered by the armband. The flexible skin is removable from the band. The player slips into the skin and the whole thing clips onto the band. So if you find that you want to remove the player but keep the band on then you can, which is a handy function if for example the headphone wire is getting in the way of what you're doing. I was very impressed so if you have the Mosaic and are a gym-goer or runner then this is for you!

Creative ZEN V 4 GB 16/03/2009

V = Very good

Creative ZEN V 4 GB I am an avid Creative Zen fan and have never touched an iPod as a result. I bought this model after deciding that my Zen Micro was a little out of date as it was heavy and lacked a colour screen so I started looking for something new and found it in this mp3 player. Look: I was very impressed by how sleek and shiny the player was, I liked the black glossy casing and the blue accents (although the colour of the accent depends on the capacity of the player). The player comes with various ways to customise what is shown on the screen in terms of background and everything so I was very impressed by it aesthetically. Operation: The main difference between this and the previous models is that this model utilised proper buttons rather than just touch buttons. To use this model it is necessary to press buttons and use the little knob in the middle of the blue circle. I found this much better than the touch buttons personally as it means you can operate the player with gloves on - you don't need bare skin. Although I can imagine that the little button may be a little hard to operate with nails (I'm lucky but men might struggle). The layout of the player and how to get at your music is the same as most Creative players and so it won't be a shock to anyone who has previously had a Creative. It does store photos and videos which was new for me coming from owning the Micro. Player: I was very surprised just how small and light the player was - it's also very very ...

Jewel Quest Expeditions (Nintendo DS) 16/03/2009

Fiendishly addictive

Jewel Quest Expeditions (Nintendo DS) My mum was playing this on the DS and raving about how good it was for a relatively simple concept. I was sceptical about my mum's taste and her passion for games that involve matching things and popping things. So I tried it to see what she was so addicted to. Unfortunately I have to confess that it is rather addictive. Essentially it involves switching shapes around to create lines of three of more at which point they will then disappear and the square that they were on will turn gold and the shapes above will drop down to fill the space. The aim is to turn every space gold. Each level will add new challenges, for example covered over squares which will slightly uncover whenever you line up the right colours next to it. There are also special coins which when matched will give you a chance to turn any square gold which is helpful for finishing a level. Sometimes it's fiendishly difficult. Throughout the game and between levels there appears to be some kind of story that links the games together and attempts to give you a purpose for getting each level sorted but we just skip those (there is an option to do this) and it doesn't seem to matter at all. Wonderfully addictive if you like that sort of game!

My Neighbour Totoro (DVD) 16/03/2009

I want a Catbus and/or a Totoro!

My Neighbour Totoro (DVD) For many people who have been introduced to Hayao Miyazaki, their introduction will have been through the Oscar winning Spirited Away. If you have seen Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle as his modern work, then this is entirely different, not only from those films but also from all of his other works. This is a wonderfully sweet tale about two little girls and their father who move into a new home when their mother is in hospital. Essentially the story is simple as it centres on the two girls, mainly the youngest - Mei - who is charming and a little mischievous. However, it's clear that Miyazaki's quirky imagination is at work and while there is none of the darkness of Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle, there is Totoro and my personal favourite - the Catbus - which is essentially a kind of furry bus-like cat complete with seats and an awful lot of legs. The popularity of the Catbus is evident by the fact that in Japan in the Miyazaki museum there is a Catbus for kids to play on and after John Lasseter (of Pixar fame) worked on Spirited Away, the head of an old Catbus was presented to him as a gift for his work on the English dub of Spirited Away. This is a beautiful film which doesn't rely on too much dialogue but instead relies on Miyazaki's ability to capture the spirit of people and children. Definitely a good way to introduce yourself or children to the genius of Miyazaki's work, but don't expect his other films to be in any way too similar!

Longleat Safari Park, Warminster 15/03/2009

Fantastic day at the 'Animal Park'

Longleat Safari Park, Warminster If you've seen Animal Park on TV and are interested in seeing more of the park and house where it's filmed, then trust me, a visit to Longleat will not disappoint! As I didn't manage to be able to go on our family holiday this year due to work commitments, my mum decided we'd go on a mini-break. I've always wanted to go to one of the drive-through safari places and Longleat seemed like the obvious choice given that it's probably one of the best well-known thanks to Animal Park. What I didn't realise about Longleat was that there would be quite so much to do there. I was aware that there was the house and the safari but both myself and my mum were very impressed by just how much else there was. The best thing in my opinion was the fact that the ticket we bought allowed you to do each thing once but not necessarily on the same day. They punch the card at each attraction and you can spread the activities out over as many days as you want. We spent two days there: DAY 1 Mini railway: We arrived and had a look around to assess the place. We noticed that there was no queue for the mini-railway so we decided to go on that. Basically it goes in a loop through the trees and back along the side of the lake. It's a pleasant ride and you might spot some wildlife on the way round. Probably very good for children who will enjoy being on the train. Going past the lake will hopefully give you a glimpse of the sealions if they're basking on the side of the lake and maybe Nico (the ...

Gilmore Girls - Series 1 (Box Set) (DVD) 15/03/2009

Intelligent, fast-paced, hilarious

Gilmore Girls - Series 1 (Box Set) (DVD) I first discovered Gilmore Girls a few years ago when it was playing on the Hallmark channel. At the time very few people had ever heard of the show, now it's showing on E4 in the afternoon and I've discovered so many people who love the show. The characters really make the show, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore are the mother daughter team who are the main focus of the show but that doesn't meant that their relationship is the only one that matters. Both Rory and Lorelai's relationships with friends, family and men are explored throughout both series 1 and subsequent seasons. The show is unbelievably fast-paced in terms of dialogue and gags, it never pauses to allow the audience to supply a gag reel which is the charm of the show. It's intelligent and references to popular culture come thick and fast. Although some of the references are the kind which only Americans will understand, the show doesn't lose anything for this and everything from literature to music is referenced. The DVD boxset is a must for anyone who enjoys the show. It contains 6 DVDs each containing about 4 episodes. In terms of extras, there is a making of documentary 'Welcome to the Gilmore Girls' and the ability to see on-screen factoids which relate to what is being said in the episode which is an interesting function. There are also additional scenes which were cut from the episodes. There is also the ability to listen to the show and see subtitles in a large variety of European languages which is a nice ...

Gossip Girl - Series 1 - Complete (DVD) 14/03/2009


Gossip Girl - Series 1 - Complete (DVD) The show centres around the scandalous lives of Manhatten's elite , a group of teens - Serena Van Der Woodsen, Blair Waldorf, Chuck Bass and Nate Archibold. Like the OC, this would all just be excessive and unbelievable if it weren't for two 'normal' kids trying to exist in their world - Dan and Jenny Humphrey. Like the OC the show has as its focus a relationship between the rich girl (Serena) and the regular Dan Humphrey although anyone who has watched the show will have realised that the real stars of the show are Blair and Chuck who have a love-hate relationship going on which runs through the series. If you're reading this review then chances are that you've already seen the show and are interested more in the DVD boxset itself. After eagerly waiting for its release, I must say that I wasn't disappointed. Firstly, it's beautifully presented and thin enough to not take up too much room on your shelf. and for fans of the series the best bit must be discovering the titles of each episode which are genius plays on popular culture. Obviously the DVD contains all of the episodes from the first series but it also contains a gag reel and documentaries about the series. It's nice to see behind the scenes as (like Sex and the City) the series is filmed on location in New York and so it's interesting to see all of the issues the cast have to deal with like sirens and crazy passers-by who are keen to be on film! I believe there is also an audio book of the book on which the ...

Best Western Hotel St. Raphael, Hamburg 14/03/2009

Brilliant for a weekend getaway to Hamburg

Best Western Hotel St. Raphael, Hamburg I lived in Hamburg for a few months in 2006 and so I was keen to take my family there for a weekend when the Christmas market was there. After looking at various hotels we decided to stay in the Best Western St Raphael. Location: The hotel is only a few minutes away from the main train station (and U-bahn stops - Hauptbahnhof Nord and Hauptbahnhof Sued) and also the bus station so if you fly into Luebeck then you're only a few minutes from your bus to or from the airport which is especially handy as the flights often arrive or depart early or late at night. The Alster and town centre are only a walk away too! Rooms: The rooms vary in terms of style and size. We booked two rooms and one seemed to have been decorated by a local artist. We were very impressed by the rooms, even down to the radio in the bathroom! Facilities: We used the buffet breakfast which was about 12euros each I think which seems pricey but there was a good variety of cereals, cold meats, rolls, hot food, beverages etc. Staff were all very attentive and helpful and the atmosphere was very nice and a restful start to the day. Staff: Everyone we came into contact with was incredibly helpful and a lot spoke English which in Hamburg seems to be relatively unusual. Although people say that everyone will be able to speak English, that doesn't seem to apply in Hamburg and a basic understanding of German can be unbelievably helpful, but there weren't any problems in the Best Western St Raphael.

Fujifilm FinePix Z20fd 14/03/2009

Fuji is just fine for me!

Fujifilm FinePix Z20fd I'm not a professional photographer so when I look for a digital camera I look for something that is easy to use and operate and that produces decent pictures under all conditions. I bought this camera because I wanted something smaller than my previous camera which had become a bit like a breezeblock in comparison to all of the cameras on the market now. I went for this camera after reading several reviews which praised its large screen and some of the more technical functions. The price was also a consideration and this camera seemed like a good balance of everything that I wanted. Overall, I've been incredibly impressed with the camera in all aspects of its performance, not just in terms of the photos it takes but also in terms of the durability of the camera itself. I've dropped it from a height (accidently of course) and although I was a bit worried about the finish of the camera it barely dented let alone affected the colour finish of the camera. After carrying it about and dropping it in the process, the screen is still perfect which is nice as my last camera got scratched relatively easily. Sometimes it seems to me like the functions on the buttons aren't set out in the most logical or sensible way but I think maybe that's just a personal thing having moved from one camera to this one. I have found a lot of functions a bit superfluous for my needs for example the blogging function, but I can see how some would be useful like the ebay several views picture ...
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