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since 28/03/2014

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CEX (Shop) 26/06/2017

Cheap items that don't work and you can't take them back.

CEX (Shop) CEX (also known as Entertainment Exchange) is a second hand type shop, specialising in selling technology (mobile telephone and associated equipment; digital equipment, and suchlike equipment) and computing and video games (for the Xbox and Wii for example) - many stores have also started selling music and DVDs (and in recent times other modes of visual entertainment), and it also has the facility for customers to sell items back to them regardless of whether the individual has bought the item from them in the first place. With its first store having been opened in London in 1992, there are now over 350 such stores in the UK with various others in other countries including Australia and Mexico. As already pointed out, they buy and sell second hand goods - however it would appear that the goods they sell are those that they have bought from customers at a lower price, thus being able to make some form of profit. But I have many reservations about this particular shop despite paying it a number of visits, hence my low scoring for it as we shall soon see during the course of this review. My first foray in to the world of CEX was to buy a handful of games for my old PC, as I am sure many of us used to buy to spend endless hours playing over when we should have been doing more normal or sensible things such as doing our homework - as if! And what made my mind up along with their appearing to have what many teenage men would want in terms of computer games to help in satisfying ...

Hand Spinner: what do you think of this new phenomenon? 25/06/2017

Mind your head!

Hand Spinner: what do you think of this new phenomenon? Hand spinners (also otherwise known as fidget spinners) are a toy that has in recent months become one of the popular toys of its time, although the term 'toy' is quite often misused - this is because when a lot of people hear the word 'toy' they associate the item with child's play, but this particular item is one that is used by adults and children alike. Originally first on the market way back in 1993 as more of a 'spinning toy' set up, it has in the last few months made such a huge comeback that it has caused as much controversy as it has praise. Made with three arm like structures that come off a central spinning mechanism, the average hand spinner is about three inches across at its widest point (give or take half a centimetre or so). The central point has the bearings found it, which make the arm like parts spin around it - this can be on any surface, very much like the older style spinning tops that you can still find at Christmastime whenever you pull a cracker. These hand spinners can be made out of a wide variety of materials from brass to plastic, and are intended on the whole to help people to relieve stress (although some people may just use them as another fun toy). Being sold as something that is meant to help in particular those people with certain conditions such as autism or ADHD, I decided what with my more recent diagnosis of autism to give it a go - and was so sorry that I ever spent money on it, although thankfully I only spent a couple of pound on ...

Greggs the Bakers (Shop) 23/06/2017

The name is Greggs - Greggs the bakers.

Greggs the Bakers (Shop) Started some 75 years ago by a man named John Gregg in the northern eastern part of the UK initially selling eggs and follow; then going on to making and selling bread, and through many other things down the years to what it is today - and now sells a wide range of goods from breakfast items (such as egg or sausage sandwiches/ porridge/ croissants); through sandwiches and pasta or other such salad items, to hot and cold drinks and those items for people who have more of a sweet tooth such as muffins and doughnuts. There are currently 1,700 or more shops across the UK, the majority of them being on the high street (or other such similar shopping centre such as an outer suburban shopping arcade) - there are also others situated in places such as petrol stations or motorway service stations too, but these do however tend to be more franchise style as opposed to the aforementioned shops which are more company led. My first experience of being in a Greggs shop was when I was visiting my brother in Cardiff (then Penarth when he moved there and is now back in Cardiff again), and they are also just about to open up in Plymouth - something which I am very excited about! However all of the shops that I have been in so far have had generally the same layout pretty much, with only really minor differences if the shop unit is of a different size. About the same size as an average sized Costa or Starbucks, this particular shop brand is one that is a bit of a mixture of other shops ...

Mountain Warehouse Picnic Mat 21/06/2017

We had a picnic, but forgot the mat!

Mountain Warehouse Picnic Mat Having just been to Looe down in south east Cornwall for an hour or three in the last couple of days, we intended on spending the majority of the time on the beach. However on arrival in the town, we realised that although we had beach towels to sit on we had forgotten anything else to sit on. And this was because we didn't really want to use our towels to dry ourselves off on, and then sit on them on the sand and get wet again or have sand stuck to us meaning that we would of course have to return to the sea to get rid of the sand - and the whole process would of course start all over again! But in the middle of Looe is a smaller branch of Mountain Warehouse, and outside they had these particular picnic mats for sale on special offer - there were two sizes for sale here, this particular one being the larger of the two and measures roughly two metres by two metres (the smaller one I believe was about half a metre smaller all round than this particular one). Made in the same material as pretty much any other similar picnic rug, I was a little cautious at first knowing that the initial price was a little high - it was originally selling for £26.99, but on offer for £12.99 (with the smaller one £16.99 marked down to £7.99). For your information, the price that was being charged in the shop (both before and after the price reduction was applied) is the same as it is online as I have also just checked this. Of course this was a little higher than I would have wanted to have ...

The China House, Plymouth 18/06/2017

The only Chinaman to serve top steaks...

The China House, Plymouth Found on the outskirts of the main city centre of Plymouth on the banks of what is known locally as Sutton Harbour, The China House is one of those pub style restaurants that you see a lot more of these days - similar to places such as Wetherspoon pubs or those attached to Premier Inn hotels and the like. It is run by Vintage Inns, itself a subsidiary of Mitchells and Butlers who also oversee other quite well branded name pubs and restaurants such as Harvester; Toby Carvery and the Innkeeper's Lodge chain of hotels - and so therefore, you know that you are going to be getting overall a fairly decent deal. And as already pointed out, this particular pub restaurant is situated in the area known as Sutton Harbour. This is an area that is just beside the Barbican area of Plymouth and has in recent years been rebuilt to include a whole host of other buildings - including University marine buildings; high rise apartments; many other restaurants, and the National Marine Aquarium to name but a few. The pub overlooks the inner Sutton Harbour marina, access to which for boats is right down almost on the seafront part of the River Plym and by the National Marine Aquarium - there is a circular pathway that goes right round this areas linking the Barbican; the city centre and other areas, which does actually in fact cross the car park that is solely dedicated to this particular establishment. Well hidden away from the main road, unless you knew it was there without doing a Google ...

Saltram House, Devon 17/06/2017

Saltram House.

Saltram House, Devon There is a disclaimer that I have to give out at the start of this review, so that those people who are reading it will get some sort of an idea as to why I have described my trip to the particular subject matter at hand in the way that I have done. I was diagnosed with moderate autism back in the November of 2016 and have for the most part of this so far been involved with a local autism group, one which has as a group quite an active social calendar – and one of their more recent trips was an afternoon at our local National Trust property, that being Saltram House of course. And so therefore, any descriptions of what we saw or what we did are based on this – just in case things do not seem quite as they should be! Saltram House is a property that is situated on the outskirts of Plymouth, in some 4,000 acres of land sandwiched between the River Plym; the A38 and a mixture of outer suburban housing and south Devon countryside – and the land is made up of woodland including walks; farmland that is often rented out to local farmers or other such similar people; picnic areas and child play areas and parking areas, and more importantly the actual main house in itself. Having been in the hands of the wonderful organisation that is the National Trust since the mid to late 1950’s or thereabouts, it was in the hands of the Parker family from about the 1700’s onwards – quite a prominent family not only in Plymouth and the surrounding areas, but also in London too. One of the ...

The Nun's Story (DVD) 10/06/2017

A force of habit?

The Nun's Story (DVD) PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS IS A FILM ONLY REVIEW AND MAY POTENTIALLY CONTAIN VARIOUS SPOILERS. Being a 1959 film coming out on the Warner Bros label, it follows a young girl in 1920s Belgium whose father is a famous Belgian surgeon. She enters a convent to take Holy Orders as a nun within a group of nursing sisters, with the view of in the future becoming a missionary nursing sister in the Belgian Congo - something which after much time spent in spiritual struggles and other issues, becomes a reality. Perhaps against what could be seen as well intentioned advice from her superiors in the convent, the nun defies all the odds and gains much respect from colleagues and other fellow nursing nuns alike - so much so that she is tasked with returning home to escort a local important person who has what only be termed as some form of mental breakdown. However before this happens she thinks that she is going to be treating the locals, but ends up in the segregated whites only/ European hospital - thus fuelling her almost lack of obedience to those in charge, and not being able to do her own thing. Following her return home and making some attempts to reintegrate in to her new life (all the while believing that she could be sent back to the Belgian Congo again) war breaks out there in Africa, meaning that it is a forced choice for her to remain in Belgium but still maintaining her nursing career. War continues to rage across the world and once it becomes obvious that the Nazis ...

The Millbridge Inn, Plymouth 09/06/2017

A bridge in the past...

The Millbridge Inn, Plymouth Having worked close to this pub in the past and making use of it mainly for staff parties and so on as well as for more personal uses on the odd occasion or so, it would be foolish of me to pass up on the opportunity of writing a review on it. This pub is situated on the outskirts of an inner city suburb of Plymouth called Stonehouse, one which is perhaps more well known for its nightclub culture and how much it was frequented in the past by service personnel (mainly sailors or other marine type people). And so therefore for those of you who know of the area will know that I am going to be approaching this review with a little sense of caution, as owing to the somewhat chav type culture of the area - it is better to attend this particular pub in at least a small to medium sized group, or at least tell someone you know that you are going there and arrange a code word should you need to make contact again with the outside world! Open roughly from 11 o'clock Monday to Saturday and from 12'clock midday on a Sunday until late, its actual address is 23 Molesworth Road Plymouth PL1 5LZ. It is situated in a mainly residential area with a number of small businesses and pubs in close proximity to it, as well as the locally infamous Victoria Park - within about a five minute walk or so are the two cathedrals in Plymouth too (both the Anglican and Catholic cathedrals). You cannot really miss the pub when you have stopped at the traffic lights on the crossroads on which the pub is ...

BBC1 - Ever Decreasing Circles 05/06/2017

Ever Decreasing Circles.

BBC1 - Ever Decreasing Circles Not really having gotten in to this particular programme for some years, I have in more recent times been seeing a lot of repeats of it on Gold. Originally having been made for and shown on BBC1, it ran for four series from 1984 until 1989 - thus for me personally being far too young at the time to understand it, having only been born two or three years before it started! But my earliest and perhaps only memory of it at the time was the opening sequence, with those almost rain drop like ripples that you see on the top of water - but of course going inwards as opposed to outwards, to tie in with the title. Being set in a suburban style fairly modern (for those days) cul de sac somewhere in East Surrey, it follows the lives and times of what could be seen as a complete mismatch of people - but in reality once you get to know them all, what would appear to be those people that many of us could in effect relate to in so many ways! The main cast is as follows: Martin Bryce, who is your stereotypical middle aged man who likes to be at the centre of everything and is perhaps loved on face value by his closest family and friends but behind his back can often find him very problematic - Richard Briers (The Good Life). Ann Bryce, who is the rather somewhat long suffering wife of the above who does her best to back him up when he is not there but gets fed up with him when he is - Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey). Paul Ryman, who is the well loved; good of character and ex-Army ...

Museum Of Welsh Life, Cardiff 04/06/2017

A little bit of Welsh history.

Museum Of Welsh Life, Cardiff Being a fan of how things were in the past, I was very interested about twenty five years ago when my brother first lived in Cardiff to find a place such as this - and having gone back again a few times in the last two or three years to visit him again on his return, we decided to pay the centre a visit again. And as the name would suggest, it is a museum that takes a look at Welsh life down the years - and ranges from housing; through leisure activities, to work related activities and so on. It is found on the A4232 some four miles west of Cardiff city centre in an area known as St Fagans, and the aforementioned road leads from Junction 33 of the M4 towards Cardiff and the towns of Barry and Penarth - there is direct access to the site from the A4232, but blink and you miss it. Although it is signposted well enough in advance, the main entrance is surrounded by a lot of trees and green stuff and so keep an eagle eye out. There are buses that go either in to the site itself, or stop in the nearest village of St Fagans with a short walk all of which come from Cardiff city centre. And also in St Fagans is a railway station, along with a local cycle track running pretty much through the site too. Entrance in to the whole site is free in respect of the normal entrance fees that one would expect to pay for an attraction such as this (or indeed any attraction), but it has to be said that if you are brining a car then it will cost you £5 to park it - regardless of how many ...

Oxford Landing Merlot Australia 03/06/2017

Since when has Oxford been in Australia?

Oxford Landing Merlot Australia Having had issues with alcohol in the past to the point where I was drinking more than was unhealthy almost at one point by even an alcoholic's standing, I am pleased to say that now I am well within control of my drinking - and can have only a pint or two (or a glass of wine) without carrying on, and even only for one day and then nothing for weeks to come. However only just in the last couple of days, I found what turned out to be rather an enjoyable bottle of wine that has now been polished off. It was being sold in my local Co-op shop (which is in factin two days time all set to become a McColl's), and was on sale for £7.79 - perhaps a little bit more than I would have normally paid for a bottle of wine, but both a friend of mine and a member of staff had recommended it to me. And so two people couldn't have been wrong surely, and I am pleased to say that they both weren't. It being a 2016 wine from South Australia. if eating with a meal states that it is perhaps best served with a lamb dish that has been served up with rosemary and garlic. Suitable for both vegetarians and vegans too, it does have quite a rich taste to it - and not a slightly bitter taste, as some wines leave me with for a while afterwards. And for those of you who also do tend to pay a lot of attention to the strength of a bottle of wine, this particular one is 13.5%. Coming in the usual sized bottle that holds 750 mls, the wine is produced actually by Oxford Landings and has been since 1958 or ...

Victoria Wood - Neil Brandwood 01/06/2017

The Queen of stand up.

Victoria Wood - Neil Brandwood God Bless You Ma'am as the saying goes, but one would more than likely use that phrase in conjunction with Her Majesty. But in terms of another queen, this time we are looking at the Queen of Comedy - that being Victoria Wood, and in this case the biography that has been written about her by Neil Brandwood. Published in 2002/ 2003 by Virgin Books, it follows her life from early childhood in Lancashire; through comedy and sketch shows in the 1980s and 1990s, to comedy series such as Dinnerladies and beyond - to more serious works such as Housewife 49 or the story of Morecambe and Wise. I ordered my own personal copy through Amazon, which cost me £7.48 for the paperback version (which is still being sold at this price at the time of writing this review). However of course as with anything these days prices will vary according to wherever you buy it, and so therefore it may well be worth your while looking about for a slightly better deal if you wanted to. And even though the book was been written by someone else, you can still feel as though it is actually her talking herself as it were. The book also takes in accounts from those people who knew her or worked with her in various ways and means, and so therefore you do get an overall picture - rather than just one person giving you everything they know about their subject matter. Coming in with 280 pages, it also has various different photographs from her at different points of her life - much of which comes through in ...

Woodlands Leisure Park, Totnes 29/05/2017

Woodlands Leisure Park.

Woodlands Leisure Park, Totnes Situated on the road between Totnes and Dartmouth in south Devon, Woodlands claims to be a family park with something for everyone - and I have to start this review off by saying that it lives up to its claim totally, as we shall see in the next five minutes or so. To get to the park my advice is to travel towards either Dartmouth or Totnes depending on the direction in which you are travelling from, and the park will be signposted with enough advance warning the closer that you get to it. There is also a fairly regular bus service from Totnes with a bus stop right outside the main entrance; the nearest train station is also to be found in Totnes (which is in fact on the mainline between Plymouth and Exeter but not all trains are due to stop here), and there are also many taxis from either Totnes or Dartmouth too. Upon arrival at the park (if you are coming by car), there is plenty of parking available right outside the main entrance or within a short walk if there are already lots of people there - but one word of warning, be careful that you don't stray off course and end up in the caravan and camping site part of the park! The opening hours for this year taken directly from their current website are as follows, along with the prices too (with apologies for any confusion made!): Park Fully Open 9.30am – 5.00pm 25th & 26th March 2017 1st April – 21st July 2017 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th & 30th September 2017 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st – 29th October ...

The Real Mrs Brown - Brian Beacom 28/05/2017

That's Nice!

The Real Mrs Brown - Brian Beacom Having over the last few months or so really gotten in to Mrs Brown's Boys, I was very pleased and surprised to come across this particular book - one that follows the life and times of the real man behind her, that of course being Brendan O'Carroll. It was first published back in about 2013, and was written by Brian Beacom who is a journalist and writes for the Herald and Times group of newspapers that is currently based in Glasgow. The youngest of 11 children whose mother was a former nun, she became the inspiration to what would go on to become his most famous creation. Growing up in near poverty and having to leave school at the age of twelve to go out to work; he married and had a family at a young age, and struggled for years with life and work in general over the years - and laughed at the idea of becoming famous when a fortune teller foretold the story that would later happen in his life, that of course being Mrs Brown. In a nutshell, this is his story - and I don't really want to give away too much more of the ins and outs of the story for you! But what I will say is that it tells the tale of someone who overcame all of the obstacles that came their way; saw where their talent lay, and used it to the best of their advantage - and the rest is history as they say, and even if it took him a number of years to realise it! Being sold through the Waterstones website for £8.99; Amazon the same for new items but cheaper for used items, and for various different prices ...

Farmfoods (Shop) 26/05/2017

I get better food straight from the farm!

Farmfoods (Shop) With there only being one Farmfoods shop in Plymouth and with it being situated some two or three miles away from where I live in an outer suburban shopping centre, I only really tend to go in here if I am in the area and am desperate for something - mainly when I can't get to another supermarket because I am in such a rush, and the Co-op that is a few doors away don't have what it is that I am looking for. Being similar in style to Iceland in that it is perhaps most well known for selling frozen goods at lower prices than its leading competitors, it was initially founded in Aberdeen in 1955 and expanded in to the rest of the UK in 1990. Originally being found more in town centres or on the more traditional high street, it is as is found in Plymouth now to be found more in out of town areas - places with free parking and some form of bus service or other such public transport, thus allowing as many people as possible to get there. It has however in more recent years expanded to sell other such goods that are found in other supermarkets, such as fruit and veg; tinned items; household products, and drinks. They also appear to sell own branded items, along with other perhaps better well known brands - with some brands that may not be as well known as other makes but can sometimes be seen in other supermarkets, as an alternative to other items. Price wise, I would put some things on a par with other similar shops as Lidl and Aldi (that is, cheap but good value for what you ...
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