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since 06/01/2005


Paris in general 05/10/2006

Paris in 2 days

Paris in general We recently enjoyed a 2 night break to Paris. I've written a separate review about the hotel, this one is about Paris in general. Introduction I'm one of those people who never finds a bargain flight. I have friends who say they have been to Rome for 5p. But back in March I spotted an offer to fly to Paris for 9p - return. Wow what a bargain. But it soon added up. Airport tax, airport car parking, (what a rip off) hotel, insurance, cattery, spends. But we needed a break. I am now 6 month pregnant, so this was our last chance to get away before we become parents. Before we travelled we bought The AA Essential Guide to Paris. Just to give us an idea of what we wanted to see, since we were only there for two days. It's a handy little book and lists the must see attractions, many of which I'll discuss below. Travel We flew from Doncaster Robin Hood airport with Thompson The flight was about 1 hr 20 minutes, but because of increased airport security we had to check in very early. The flight was good. They bought around a hospitality trolley, which we refused, but it seemed to sell everything and the kitchen sink! We flew to Orly Airport. The next bit was the hard bit. Once through the airport we needed to get the metro to the hotel. We decided to buy a 2 day metro pass, but what we didn't realise (naïve) was that we were in Zone 4 and wouldn't need to enter this Zone again until departure, so if we had bought a ticket just to get us to zone 3, then bought ...

Hotel Residence Monge, Paris 05/10/2006

Hotel Residence Monge - A great budget hotel

Hotel Residence Monge, Paris This week we had a 2 night break to Paris; we stayed in the Hotel Residence Monge. I found the hotel on the internet through I then used various review sites to find out what others thought. Area The hotel is situated in the 5th arrondissement, walking distance to Notre Dame. It was a nice area to walk around in; plenty of lovely restaurants, bars and shops only 5 minutes walk away. 2 metro stops are nearby, Luxembourg and Place Monge. We ate out both evenings. Both meals were lovely and reasonably priced, but I can't remember names of restaurants. Hotel The hotel is fairly basic. It's a 2*. We choose it as a base for somewhere to sleep. You walk into reception, which has a couple of settee's in front. It is quite a dark reception. Next to reception is a small breakfast room. More on breakfast later. There are 3 floors and a lift is available, but it is very small. There are 36 rooms; we had room 12 on the 1st floor. We had a road facing room, with a king sized bed and a single bed, a bath, with a shower over, TV, telephone and mini bar. And the great bonus - air con! We didn't use the mini bar, but it was good to have somewhere to keep our drinks bought when out, cool. The bed was comfortable, but the pillows were a little hard. I'm 6 months pregnant and like to have pillows under my bump and behind me. They were happy to supply plenty. Price We paid 96 Euros per room, per night. Which I think was very reasonable. Breakfast WE ... 27/06/2006

Read, Read, Read and then You Can Read Some More I have been selling my books on Greenmetropolis for over a year now, and OK I haven't made enough money to live off, but I have made some extra spending money and got rid of some books. All about Greenmetropolis Greenmetropolis is a website set up for members to sell their unwanted books and to buy books relatively cheaply. It is a charity, so 5p of every book sold goes to the Woodland Trust. On the homepage you can see the recent bestsellers, choose which category you want to browse, create a wish list, read the latest newsletter and access your own account. Selling Books To sell a book you access your own account, put in your password and then you get a menu allowing you to choose what to do in your account. Click on sell a book. In this menu you type in the ISBN number from the back of the book and the quality of the book. There are 4 choices for the quality of the book. 1)As New - Book looks brand new. Great for a gift! 2) Excellent - Book looks new. May have been read, but no easily visible signs. Cover and pages undamaged, binding as new. No staining or creasing of pages. 3) Good - A used but well cared for book. Undamaged cover, no missing pages, minimum creases to pages, minimal scuff marks and staining. Doesn't automatically open at a particular page. 4) Acceptable - Minimum damage to cover. All pages intact, but possible minor damage. Some creasing or staining to pages. Very minor writing on inside cover. A well read book, but still has some ...

Member Advice on Adopting a Cat from the RSPCA 06/04/2006

My Purrfect Best Friends

Member Advice on Adopting a Cat from the RSPCA I am a mum to two cats and I adore them. Let me tell you a story. The Beginning When I was a kid we always had a pet dog. I loved my dog. It was my job to walk him before and after school. At 18 I went away to university and missed him terribly. Unfortunately during my 2nd year of uni, I became ill, so returned to the family home to recover. One afternoon, nobody else was at home and I was having an afternoon nap. I got woken by a commotion in the garden. My dog and next doors dog were barking at a horrible looking, dirty cat. I went out to move it on, but it just wouldn't go; the cat stood his ground. We ended up taking it to the vet. He examined it and said it was a stray, so my family decided to keep it. It lived in the shed for its first few days, a) because it was scared of us and b) because it was covered in fleas. After a few days it moved into the house and the dog started to like it. They spent a happy week playing together. Unfortunately, a happy family life was too much for this stray and it died after us only having it for two weeks. I wasn't that bothered. But the rest of the family were gutted! And the dog was inconsolable! So, mum and dad went to a cat rescue place and came back with a 5 year old female cat called Sylvia. She only had one eye. In the early days - she hated me and I wasn't to keen on her. But, everyone else in the house would go out to work and leave me at home all day, so I was responsible for feeding, loving and brushing her. ...

Silver Beach Hotel (Mauritius) 31/01/2006

Silver Beach Hotel - Heaven

Silver Beach Hotel (Mauritius) I have just returned from a wonderful 2 week holiday at the Silver Beach Hotel, on the East Coast of Mauritius. It's a 3 * hotel, with 5 * service. ACCOMMODATION We arrived at Silver Beach early afternoon, tired from a 12 hour flight. We were given a warm welcome by the staff and had a lovely refreshing cocktail, whilst we filled in our registration card. Our first impression was that the hotel was a little plain and could do with a coat of paint - but that was just the corridors and the exterior of the building. The bedrooms were bright and very clean. The bed sheets and towels were changed every day and the man who cleaned our room made us smile with his swans and lilies that he made out of our towels. Our room was clean and spacious. We had a huge bed which we were grateful for - its nice to have space in bed when its so hot, no matter how much you love you partner! The bathroom was clean and big. We had air conditioning - wonderful. A balcony with table and chairs and a sea view. Every room has a mini bar which is stocked daily and is included in the All Inclusive. FACILITIES There is a large restaurant, a bar, swimming pool, sunbathing area and sea, games room and reception. The boys in the beach hut keep the pool and the beach area clean and ensure everyone has a parasol and sunbed. They provide beach towels. They organise trips at a fraction of the cost of the tour reps and are very helpful. The beach is fantastic. The water is clear and calm, due to the ...

10 Things I Love About Christmas 22/12/2005

My Christmas Top 10

10 Things I Love About Christmas MY REVIEW OF CHRISTMAS I work in a busy hotel, so Christmas Day is just another day at the office for me. By no means am I a Christmas Hum Bug and I know a lot of people work Christmas; but this is a review of my Christmas top 10 10) TURKEY I started serving Christmas lunches / Christmas Parties and Turkey - Tinsel Tours in October. So I am now fed up of the sight of turkey and eating turkey. At our hotel the staff get fed lunch and dinner and it's usually the left over roast or something easy to prepare - pasta. Since October 30th I've had several traditional Christmas Turkey lunches, loads of turkey sandwiches, a few pasta bakes with turkey and turkey curry. I like turkey, but by now I am fed up with it. 9) MINCE PIES When you clear up from a Christmas Party there are plates of Mince Pies left. I've one to many, but I love them! 8) CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS We put the decs up in the hotel at the end of October. The Christmas music has been on repeat since then. I hate putting the decorations up at work. It takes a week, you can never find sections of the tree and whoever put them away didn't label them. At home I love putting the decorations up. We tend to put them up in the last week of November. We make some mulled wine, put a nice CD on and have a fun afternoon/evening decorating the house. We have a 6ft tree in the lounge and garlands around the house. We don't see much of each other in December, so decorating the house is an important ritual to us. 7) ...

Barcelo Naiboa Caribe Beach Resort, Domican Republic 22/12/2005

Barcelo Naiboa Caribe Beach Resort, Dom Rep

Barcelo Naiboa Caribe Beach Resort, Domican Republic In September 2004, my husband and I went on holiday to Barcelo Naiboa Caribe Beach Resort on the south coast of Dominican Republic. The complex wasn't cracking, but it's the company that can make a holiday fun! THE RESORT We arrived at the hotel in the dark, after a 5 hour bus journey. The travel company told us it would be 2 ½ hrs. So, by the time we arrived we were pretty fed up. My first impressions of the organisation of the hotel "was chaos". 8 couples got of the rickety bus, to check in and it took the receptionist a further hour to get us all checked in. they'd lost registration details, couldn't find some keys (great security) and someone's luggage had gone missing between the airport and the hotel! Great start. Next morning we got to look around. It's quite a basic hotel; but that didn't bother us. We both work in hotels, so didn't want smothering by the staff. The reception is open air with just a roof over. There were some settees in the area and a couple of little shops - which seemed to charge different prices daily! The main restaurant was also open air. Sort of like a marquee with its sides up. The A La Carte restaurant was a proper building. There was a lovely pool, plenty of sunbathing areas. The bar was open air aswell. We had a private beach and there was a disco building. The bedrooms were nice - very bright. We had a huge bed, a lovely balcony, air conditioning, and TV. The bathroom was a bit dull. It had no natural light and could have done with a ... 10/10/2005

Shop and Scan. Get Paid to Shop I get paid for doing my own shopping Shopandscan is a new market research survey measuring the purchasing of households around Great Britain. Members are invited to join this consumer panel and record their purchasing by means of an in-home barcode scanner (The Clicker).It is about doing your normal shopping - supermarket, clothes, gifts, DIY, anything etc; then getting the goods home, scanning the barcode, down loading the barcodes and GET PAID FOR IT. That's it basically. Now I'll tell you in more detail. How I became Involved Well to be totally honest, I don't really know! Shopandscan is part of TNS and I do surveys for them, so I think I must have done a survey at some stage and they thought I'd be suitable, so invited me to join. What happened Next In the post I received a large envelop with my clicker, a clicker serial lead and a personal user guide. The user guide, together with the web site told me everything I needed to know. I'll tell you about the web site later, but let me tell you about the clicker. The clicker is a small device that fits into the palm of the hand. You simply point it at the barcode and press the large button. A line of red light appears. You have to make sure the line spans the width of the barcode. The clicker then lets out a brief ripple of sound to confirm you have successfully scanned. Operations Firstly you do your shopping. When you get it home, you get your user guide out. First you scan the barcode on the blue ...

La Gomera 10/10/2005

La Gomera - love it, hate it. Judge for yourself

La Gomera I would like to tell you about my holiday experiences on the island of La Gomera. La Gomera is one of the lesser known Canary Islands. It's got lots of dramatic scenery, lots of fabulous walks and great all year round weather. It is nothing like any of the other Canary Islands. It doesn't have great beaches, but it does have a rain forest. The main way tourists reach it is by flying to Tenerife and getting a boat across. That's my first negative about the island. Tenerife is approximately 4 hours by plane from the UK, so if you get an early flight, you can be on the beach by mid afternoon, but not if you are going to La Gomera. You have to travel from the airport, we hired a car at the airport, to take over to La Gomera with us; travel to the harbour in Los Cristinos and wait for the ferry. We pre booked on the catamaran, which takes approx 40 minutes to cross. On the boat was a bar and plenty of places to sit inside and out on deck. It was quite a nice crossing and if you are lucky, which we were, you'll see Dolphins. We then arrived in La Gomera. If you think of the island as being like a clock and the port - San Sebastian de la Gomera is at 4 o'clock, where we were going - Playa de Santiago is at 6 o'clock, but to get there we had to go right to the middle of the island - through a rain forest, up a mountain and back down to the 6 o'clock position. Basically there is no coast road. So it took 1 1/2 hours to reach our resort. This is my next negative about the ...

Mercury Direct 07/08/2005

Mercury Direct

Mercury Direct I have recently booked a holiday with Mercury Direct to Mauritius and would like to share my experiences with you. Mercury Direct advertise their holidays on the internet and in the newspapers. As far as I am aware they have no travel agent in the high street. I found them purely by accident whilst trying to find somewhere hot for a holiday next January. The web site is really colourful, very easy to use and has loads of pages to view. It sells holidays for Malta, Cyprus, Madeira, Barbados, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, South Africa, Fuji and Australia. It explains quite clearly about each holiday destination and then tells you in detail about individual hotels. It also has a section called Newspaper offers. Here it displays the holidays that you find in the back pages of the newspapers and it gives you more details. For all the holidays you can find out about the price, the availability and check about flights. It is easy to understand what you are expected to pay, but I found the flight section complicated. You can also type in travel dates and it will tell you what your options are. So, next I decided to call Mercury Direct to check a few things. The phone was answered very promptly. The lady explained that all the reservationists were busy and took my name and number and said they'll call back. Having a telephonist do this is a good idea; I'm not left hanging on, paying the bill. Someone called me back 10 minutes later. She was very efficient. She checked ...

SEAT Altea 1.4 26/07/2005

Seat Altea 2.0 TDI Sport 5dr

SEAT Altea 1.4 Wow, what can I tell you about the Seat Altea. Well, it's the first car I have loved! I'll start at the beginning. We were selling our previous car, so my husband began his usual method of buying a car -- he reads every bit of literature possible, talks to every dealership, and tests drives a variety of cars. Eventually we had a short list of 3 cars, Seat Altea, Mazda 3, and C Max. I then get taken to view and possibly test drive each car. First car of the day was the Seat Altea. Now I rate a car on first impressions and its looks lovely. Very stylish and I immediately loved the Seat boot handle. I got in. Very comfortable. I was impressed. The sales man was great. He didn't pressure us. I then bravely asked if I could test drive one. Now if you knew me you'll realise how traumatic driving someone else's car is for me. I just don't do it. But I liked this car, so would be brave. We were quite confident we would be buying a petrol car, so took that out. Had a quite nice drive for 20 minutes, then back to garage. The sales man then said, try the diesel, so we took that out. It was fantastic. Very keen, very smooth gear changes, nippy. Loved it. It was just as powerful as the 2.0Lt petrol. Went back to the garage, Husband quite impressed with me for liking his 1st choice and the fact I drove it! Went to another couple of dealerships to look at the other cars in the shortlist. But I won't bore you, I simply wasn't impressed. So, back to Seat garage we went and bought a brand ...
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