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since 06/11/2002


Arriva 13/07/2004

Don't wait for the bus it's quicker to walk

Arriva I will just start out by ridiculing this companies name. Arriva is Italian for "it arrives". This name is so in adequate for this company. I think you will all agree that a more adequate name would be "arriva molto tardi o niente affatto" I agree it is a bit longer but much more adequate and in Italian seeing as they like Italian so much. "Arriva molto tardi o niente affatto" is Italian for "it arrives very late or not at all". This would apply for both the buses and the trains that this company runs. I live in West Yorkshire and here the buses were took over from the previous company about five years ago. Since then many of the buses have been replaced with new ones with better coloured designs and better layout. I know that Arriva now also control most of the other buses in the country. Anyway the main service that I use is the 127/126 and it is supposed to run every 10 minutes from morning until 6pm. Then when it gets busy when the schools close (these buses service three secondary schools) suddenly minibuses start arriving. You will have seen nothing like it. About 50 people squashed onto a bus meant to have 40 people on it. It resembles the London tube at peak times. Now to the bad employees. There have been many complaints lodged about the drivers not letting on young passengers with either not enough fare (where in the rules it says they should and take the name and address of the passenger - obviously too much work for these drivers) or young passengers with ...

Extra Virgin - Annie Hawes 13/07/2004

Liguirian delights (not just all the food)

Extra Virgin - Annie Hawes This book is absolutley fantastic. From the word go you are immediately wanting to know more about how Annie and her sister go from grafting roses for seasonal work to owning their very own house in the Liguirian countryside with plenty of olive trees. Then you just need more and more. Even people who don't read much will love Annies writing style. This book takes you through the ups and downs of their lives for the first few years of making a new go of it. Having being turned down for finance in England to buy a house Annie goes with her sister for a seasonal job grafting roses on the Italian Riviera, Here they discover a house they love and to their shock that they can afford costing only £2000 which between them they had earned doing the seasonal job. You then follow them learning the ups and downs of Oliviculture and just exactly how low the land is. Look out for the great fun they have whenever a brother visits and all questions for the girls have to go through the brother even is the sister is right there. You may think some of the things seem a bit out of date but it is from 18 years ago and this all adds to the fun. You will read this in a couple of days and then have to buy the follow up which is called Ripe For The Picking. Extra Virgin by Annie Hawes is published by Penguin books. It contains 339 pages and costs £6.99 (RRP). Ripe For The Picking by Annie Hawes is published by Penguin books. It contains 374 pages and costs £6.99 (RRP). Do yourself a ...

Duinrell Amusement Park 13/07/2004

Duinrell Amusement Park - A Great Easter Treat

Duinrell Amusement Park Duinrell is not just an amusement park but a campsite as well. My experience of this place is from working on the campsite for a camping holiday company. It is ideally situated about 30 minutes drive north of The Hague in the Netherlands almost equally distant from the ferry port at Rotterdam to the airport at Amsterdam. This place is fantastic. The campsite is huge with not just camp areas but quite a few different companies on there (the three major ones). There is a large shop/bar/restaurant complex called the Kikkertuin (frog garden). The onsite shop has a wide range of goods from fresh bread to tent pegs all at reasonable prices. The bar which is an Irish bar in the cellar is not too badly priced and quite a large size but I did not visit either of the 2 restaurants. The great part of the campsite is that you get free access into the theme park all day every day. I am a grown 2 meter tall man and I had great fun but there is more than enough for toddlers upwards including a chance to meet the mascot - Rick the frog who does daily meet and greets. My favourite ride in the park was the Water spinner which sends you upside down and spinning a lot. If you get hungry in the park I suggest you try the raw herring in bread with raw onions which is a Dutch speciality. It is not that slimy but incredibly fishy and tasty. There are also hot dog stalls, pancake stalls and others all through the park so you will never starve. Another great feature of this site is ...

Venice (Italy) 13/07/2004

Very nice Venice

Venice (Italy) This is a beautiful city. Even if you can only manage to spend one day there (you really need one for the main Island and one to visit Murano, Burano and Torcello) that day will be well worth it. Ignore all those things that may be putting you off. Before I visited Venice I was told it was expensive, the canals stunk, and it was falling apart. I have to admit that the canals did stink in places but only where they had drained them to repair the sides. And the place is expensive but you can eat cheaply and buy souvenirs just as cheap as anywhere else along the adriatic coast, you just have to look. I spent a day there while I was based further along the coast in a town called Caorle. I took €50 and the cost of the boat there was €27. I managed to come back with at least €5. One hint I give you is to take a large 1.5L or 2L bottle of water with you because that saves on the cost (bottle of water anywhere else 17C for 1.5L in Venice 0.5L is at least €2). Also unless you are on a high budget do not even think of sitting at any of the cafes on St. Marks Square where you can expect to pay at least €7 for a coffee. The gondolas are not that expensive if there are a few of you but many of the gondoliers expect you to haggle. The solution to the costs of eating is either to find the McDonlads or the Burger King which are in the region of the Rialto bridge or visit one of the takeout sandwich shops which usually sell pizza slices and other refreshments as well. The must ...

St.Pancras YHA, London 14/12/2002

Just like a hotel

St.Pancras YHA, London Firstly I want to put an end to a common misconception - you do not need to be a youth to stay in a youth hostel. However though, you do need to be a member. There are three types of membership - single, family or group. A single membership costs £13 per year for over eighteens, £6.50 per year for under eighteens or there is a life time membership for £190. A family membership costs either £13 per year for one parent and any children under 18 or £26 for two parents and any children under 18. A group membership costs £13 and is for schools, businesses and any other bona fide organisations with a minimum of 5 members for the UK and 9 members for foreign youth hostels. I have never been to a youth hostel before in my life but I can say this one was great. It far surpassed my expectations and was even better than some hotels that I have previously stayed in. Firstly this hostel is very conveniently located within 5 minutes walking distance of three London train stations (Kings Cross, Euston and St. Pancras). Kings Cross and Euston are also on the Victoria Tube Line and one or two stops from the Circular line. Anyway I travelled there with a group of four female college friends. We had two rooms of four with me being in a room all alone and the four females sharing. Sadly my room was not en suite but the other room was. However my bathroom was right outside my room and was shared with only one other room sharing so it wasn't too bad. Both rooms had two sets of bunk beds ...

Mars Ice-Cream 03/12/2002


Mars Ice-Cream Oh my God, if there was anything that most suited the phrase "sweet temptations" this is it. It suits that phrase all the way. It is sweet and it is very, very, very tempting. I have tried it in the 500ml size and believe me that was more than enough. I feel I should tell you at this point that I am a chocoholic. The packaging is in the standard black labelling that is on all Mars bar products. For my 500ml tub I paid £1.49 at my local Jack Fultons (a frozen food shop - not sure if national or not). This ice cream is best eaten when it is just starting to melt when it is in that "gloopy" stage. Then you fully appreciate the devine chocolate flavoured ice cream with the thick swirls caramel running through it. WARNING:- DO NOT EAT MORE THAN A VERY SMALL DISH FULL AT A TIME. IGNORING THIS WILL MAKE YOU FAT AND MOST LIKELY FEEL QUITE ILL. This product is very calorific but I cannot give you the figures, but damn it is worth it. There is also quite a lot of fat which is expected in ice cream, never mind ice cream with caramel swirls. If you decide to give it a try I have also seen it available in the ice cream section of Morrison's and Co-op. It only gets a good rating because I know there are some damn good ice creams out there (i.e. Hagen Daz, Ben and Jerrys - nice but expensive) ...

Avon Target Blemish Remover 02/12/2002

Great complexion in a few weeks

Avon Target Blemish Remover I know it is still quite rare to find blokes who use skin care products but I myself am proud to stand up and say that I use Avons Targeted Blemish Remover along with other Clearskin products from Avon. The one that I use though has packaging that is nothing like the one shown above. Mine is in a small tube with a pointed nozzle opening. I started using this when I was going through puberty and had many spots like all other teenagers. I decided that I had to do something about it. As my mum is an Avon representative I got something from the brochure but I would have probably been embarrassed to go into a shop and buy it. Anyway I apply this product by squeezing it onto my finger tip and then applying it to the spots rather than directly applying it which makes it too thick. You are supposed to apply it at night and then leave it on until the following morning. You then peel it off (if it is still on - I have woke up many times to find none left on). You can use this product as much as needed. You just apply it to the spots and do as I said above. I have found that it usually gets rid of all spots it is applied to if not after the first time definately after the second. It does not smell bad - in fact it smells quite nice. You have to wait five minutes to dry a bit before you get in bed other wise it will be stuck all over the pillow. I costs normally £3.50 for a 15ml tube but in nearly every brochure there is some sort of offer like 3 products for £5 or ...

Taylors of Harrogate Lazy Sunday Coffee 02/12/2002

For exactly what it says on the packet

Taylors of Harrogate Lazy Sunday Coffee I am quite an inexperienced coffee drinker but at the begining of the year I started drinking instant. Then in July I got a new job and decided to splash out on a posh new coffee maker with capuccino, espresso and filter coffee facilities. I started off on some cheap brand but didn't like it as it was too strong. Then I saw the packet for Lazy Sundays and read that it was a mild coffee. I gave it a try and it has a beautiful taste - not too strong but not too weak. I do not like strong coffee but if you do I advise you away from this coffee but try some other in the Taylor's range. I tried making an espresso with it (I only drink espresso when I am staying up late). This was OK but it isn't the best coffee to make espresso with. On the other hand the capuccino made from this is just devine - probably due to the mildness of it. To make the perfect coffee I suggest using 1 tablespoon per cup and set the machine to mild if it has the strength facility. Then add enough semi skimmed milk to turn it from brown coloured to more of a creamy appearence. With this coffee you really do not need sugar but a lot of people add sugar to whatever coffee they are drinking so it is up to you. The price was about £3 but I cannot remember the packet size. I found it on sale in my local Co-op and Somerfields but I am sure it is available at many other places - if it isn't, it should be. This is my favourite coffee in the mild variety, if you haven't tried it and you like coffee ...

General: Malta 02/12/2002

Malta - The jewel of the Mediterranean.

General: Malta Malta is a most fascinating place to visit. I, personally, have been there twice with my Father and his partner. Both times we stayed in hotels (once self-catering and once half board) and both times I absolutely loved it. The first time we went we stayed in the Europa Hotel on a half board basis in Sliema. The hotel itself was very nice but the food left something to be desired. There was a self service continental breakfast and an evening meal. We quite enjoyed the breakfast but the evening meal was very basic. But even then the feel of the hotel was ruined when at the begining of the second week we were joined by a school full of rowdy Sicilians. Sadly at this hotel there was no pool. The second time we went we stayed in the St. Georges complex in Paceville. This was self catering which suited us to the ground. The apartments were OK furnished with a small kitchenette. The hotel also had a restaurant which we never dined in and a games room which I spent ages in. Also there was a nice big supervised pool making this apartment complex great for families. My favourite place on the whole island had to be Marsaxlokk which is a small fishing town with a seafront market. It was just this feel that made you feel part of the Maltese experience. The market had traditional hand made leather purses, wallets, cigarette holders etc. There were also stalls selling freshly caught fish and freshly baked goods such as some sort of date pasty I seem to remember. When we were there, ...

Vodafone 01/12/2002

A somewhat biased opinion on Vodafone

Vodafone I love Vodafone but I am going to keep you guessing till the end of the opinion for the main reason why! My very first mobile phone was on the Vodafone network. It was a prepay phone that didn't seem to have any branding on it. It just said Vodafone and GSM. Anyway that was the only time I have experience of prepay Vodafone. I must say that I really had no problems with Vodafone but for the fact that the text messages were 2p dearer than some other networks (they were costing 12p compared to 10p). It was a while back when I had prepay so I cannot say much on prepay. However earlier this year I wanted a contract phone and I went shopping at each networks outlet near me. The main reason I decided to go with Vodafone was because they had a great deal. I was wanting a Samsung T100 and a line rental with lots of minutes to any network at any time. Vodafone offered me the T100 at half price when I signed up for the 200 minutes with 50 texts per month. On top of that they gave me the basic line rental at half price for 6 months. However there were a couple of extra costs on top of that. The basic line rental was £27.65 then on top of that I pay £1.28 for itemised billing and another £5.95 for insurance. The two extras were optional but I thought it was wise to pay for them both in case my phone got stolen or misused. With that I got exactly what I wanted and cheaper at £13.28 plus the £7.23 for the extras. I cannot tell you much about the actual call costs because I rarely use ...

Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Eau De Toilette Spray, Le Male Eau de Toilette 01/12/2002

Sexy scent for the sexy and unsexy alike.

Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Eau De Toilette Spray, Le Male Eau de Toilette I first tried this scent last year when I went to Portugal and had some left over currency. I went to a perfumery (or after shavery in my case) and tried nearly all the after shave or male eau de toilette and I fell in love with this one. The smell is very distinct in a good way. I was once working in a busy smokey Subway Sandwich shop and a girl in the cue started kicking up a fuss trying to find out who was wearing Le Male. I was impressed with her obviously experienced nose and also by the way the scent stands out above all the smoke and food. My female workmate also grabs me everytime I wear this scent so she can get a good smell of it. I am no expert so I cannot describe the scent like Jilly Goolding could with wine. I will just say it is very nice and very sexy. If you are sexy the scent will make you even sexier. If you are not sexy - wear this scent and it gives you big pulling power. Now if you decide to go out and buy this, it come in what looks like a tin what you beans come in. But put that tin opener away. To open it you take off the plastic seals over the tin. Then hold onto the base with one hand and the tin with the other and gently twist. As the bottom comes off the bottle is in a holder on the bottom so watch out as it may fall out. The bottle itself is also very sexy in design. Obviously designed by a gay French man (I am not being rude he really is homosexual) it is what appears to be a very toned and muscular mans body who is well endowed we ...

McDonalds, Wakefield 30/11/2002

Good Food But Moderation Needed

McDonalds, Wakefield McDonalds is one of the worlds most famous fast food outlets. Should you ever go on holiday within Europe and probably the rest of the world you would find a McDonalds not too far away. This is one of the advantages of McDonalds - the fact that you can get your favourite food (or at least food you know) practically anywhere in the world. Each McDonald is different from town to town never mind from country to country. Something I have noticed that have started appearing are instead of regular McDonalds you get a McDonalds with the regular counter but also there is a cafe area where you can go and get a coffee, muffin or ice-cream without having to queue with everyone wanting their Big-Mac meals. There is quite a variety of food available at McDonalds depending where in the world you are. At some there are salads and a wider variety of desserts available. However I will be focusing on the three McDonalds around Wakefield which I visit the most. The three McDonalds in Wakefield are situated on the main precinct, Dewsbury Road and the Cathedral Retail Park. My main problems with these McDonalds is the how clean they are and the state of the staff. I do appreciate that the staff are mainly students but there should be some level because many look scruffy and unsanitary. I have even seen staff serving or preparing food with their long hair down over their shoulders which is a serious health and safety no-no. The front area can be clean but I have seen them in a very bad ...

Freeserve Hometime 30/11/2002

Don't waste your money.

Freeserve Hometime UPDATE INCLUDED AT BOTTOM I went with Freeserve hometime when it first came out because it suited my needs more than my previous ISP as I am online the most at evenings and weekends. Sadly now I am regretting this but I cannot afford anything else. Fair enough I now have two dial up numbers but I am sure you will agree that having to dial up every 20 minutes is unacceptable even for the cheapest ISPs. Having contacted Freeserve they sent me an automated response that did not really answer my questions or help. Also it is a slower connection than my previous ISP as it only connects at 33,600 Bps. I was used to the quite high speed of 110,000 Bps that BT Internet gave me. Fair enough I was paying more but I sure do wish that I had stayed with them. There is some webspace provided with Freeserve but I feel it is not exactly a massive amount compared to others. On the up side there are unlimited email addresses (even if they are a bit long). I do have to admit this is quite a short opinion but when you hate something as much as I hate Freeserve you would understand me not wanting to spend ages slagging it off. Take my advice - save the money you would spend on this and get broadband with some other company. I apologise to all those of you out there who love Freeserve - I personally as you have guessed do not. UPDATE I feel that I should say a bit more seeing as all the Fairly Helpfuls are denting my Community Points. I suppose, first off I shall ...

Crazy Taxi (PS2) 30/11/2002

A crazy crazy driving game for crazy crazy people

Crazy Taxi (PS2) I must admit the only reason I bought this game in the first place is because it was on special offer at my local HMV store (2 PS2 games for £30). I would, however, have bought this game for the full £19.99 as it came highly recommended to me by friends. Another reason I bought it was because I had thoroughly enjoyed the taxi missions in GTA. Firstly you have the choice four drivers (a young white woman, a young white man, a middle aged white man and a young black man). Each have their own style and their own design of taxi. You also have the choice of three different game modes - Arcade, Original and Crazy Box. In arcade you play using the same course as the one featured in the arcade version of Crazy Taxi. This is great for all those who played it in the arcades and loved it. In original you play using a specially designed original course which offers a change from the one in arcade mode. Finally you have crazy box mode. This mode is where you fine tune all your taxi driving skills, techniques and tricks through a series of mini games. Now the game itself (in either arcade or original) you have to choose how long you would like to play for with the choice of 3, 5 or 10 minutes. The basic rule of the game is to pickup a customer and take him or her to wherever they want to go in the quickest time performing as many tricks as possible. The faster you get there the more money you get, the more tricks you do the more money you get etc. Each customer has a ...

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2) 29/11/2002

Amazing just amazing

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2) This game is just incredible. When I was looking to buy this game I visited all the main stores in my city, all were SOLD OUT. In fact one retailer had over 1200 pre-orders. Doesn't this fact show you how much hype is behind this game. And believe me, the game follows up the hype. The playable area of this game is absolutely massive. If you have played Grand Theft Auto 3 on Vice City the playable area is over three times the size. There is also a range of areas to discover including golf courses, airports, army bases, beaches and more. The types of vehicles have changed also. There are now cars, motorbikes, boats and helicopters. Not just the different types though, there are many different types of each vehicle. Now then the fun part - WEAPONS!!! There are an incedible amount of weapons in this game - over 40 so far as I know. Sadly you can only hold about eight at any one time and then it is only one of each type i.e. one handgun, one sniper rifle, one explosive etc. The handling of the cars has changed also - when it rains it is slippy, when on the sand it is hard to drive. I did not notice this in GTA3 but it is certainly a welcome addition to GTA Vice City. When trying to jack cars you can now shoot the driver through the windscreen and he actually dies rather than just jumping out like in the prequels. The cops are still there in massive force but beware, if you have a wanted rating watch out for cops at the side of the road because in Vice City they ...
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