Archive for May, 2010

In my two years of living in Bournemouth I have discovered that going for a burger is the best hangover cure. In this time I have had some of the best burgers, and now I have decided to compare my favourites in terms of taste and value for money. These include JD Weatherspoons, Inferno, o’neills, and Harvester

Gourmet Burger at Weatherspoons

I started with the JD Weatherspoons in Winton, named The Parkstone and Heatherlands. Usually I don’t rave about their burgers, however this time I tried the gourmet burger, pictured left, priced at £5.49, including a drink and was very impressed. There was so much taste in the burger, filled with onion rings, bacon, and mountains of cheese. The relish was also very tasty. I award this burger a 9/10 for its value for money and a 8/10 for its taste, as the chips could do with some improvement. 


Harvester Burger

  At Harverster I had a beef burger, pictured right, priced at £4.99. Unlike Weatherspoons it didn’t have all the flavours the Gourmet had, however the chips were far better. Harvester is a bargain as you get a free starter which is the salad cart, although you do not get your drink included like at Weatherspoons. I award this burger a 8/10 for its value and a 6 /10 for its taste. The burger could be improved as it was burnt round the edges. 

                       At o’neill’s a cheese and bacon burger is priced at £3.49. Although it doesn’t have the onion rings like the others it is very good value. The burger relish is superb, and the portion size is better than the two above. However that could just be because the chips come in a fancy bowl. I award this burger a 9/10 for its value for money and a 8/10 for its taste. 

The Inferno


Scream burger at Inferno

Next visit was to the Inferno pub where the biggest selection of burgers awaited. However, to keep it fair to its competitors I chose the classic scream burger, with all the trimmings of bacon, cheese, and onion rings. As I went after 3pm my burger and drink combo came to £5.75, just slightly more than JD Weatherspoons. I would definitely say that this burger beats its competitors in terms of taste, scoring a whopping 9.5/10. However it does not beat Weatherspoons in comparison to price. Although for me, even being a student, I would stretch my pennies to have an inferno burger over anything else. 


Read Full Post »


I took a picture story of all the different animals I saw in Woburn Safari Park. 

Squirrel monkey in 'Monkey Business'


Wallabies in 'Australian Walkabout'


 The park has a foot safari, where you can see the smaller animals such as the monkeys and wallabies. It is so much better than a zoo as the animals are allocated to much bigger and better habitats. It is also a much better experience for the visitors as you can actually go into their surroundings and view the animals more naturally, rather than behind bars. 

However I was quite thankful that there was a barrier protecting me from the bigger animals….

Asian Elephant


 The penguins were my favourite. 

They waddled about the water’s edge….. 

Humboldt Penguins


And Posed for the camera…


Next was a visit to see the goats. An old billy-goat gruff was really not interested in me (pictured below). 

Me and a billy-goat


 In order to do the next part which was the road safari, I needed my car…. 

Dora my dear old car


Next stop was the Kingdom of the Carnivores where we met lions and tigers, who were just a bit too close for comfort. 


I remember being very scared when this picture (below) was taken.
After seeing the big cats it calmed down a bit….only just a bit… As we drove through the African Savannah section where we saw the rhinos (pictured below).

And then we drove through the desert to see the Bactrian Camels (pictured below). 


The last leg of the Safari was driving through the African Forest, where the monkeys kept us amused with their cheeky antics (pictured below).

Read Full Post »

  When Penguin Group rang me and offered me a two-week placement over Easter I was over the moon. I had completely forgotten I had applied, thinking that nothing would ever come of it. But the well-known book publishers seemed very happy to take me on, which I was eternally grateful for.

 On my first day I typically got lost. Clutching my trusty Google map print off, I wandered the streets of London. After a few wrong turns and repeated steps I asked a friendly doorman to direct me. After he had pointed me in the right direction I found the building in a beautiful location overlooking Westminster gardens.

 I sat waiting for my supervisor in the reception awed by the display of the recent books they had published. I then met my supervisor who was really friendly and nice. She gave me a tour of the building, in which we were on the top floor. Thank God there was a lift. Actually there was about six lifts, talk about spoilt for choice!

 I was working with the publicity team who were all really nice and were constantly busy. The work that I was involved in was really exciting as I got to do press releases, and make posters and flyers, for new books and the launches. I also attended meetings which made me feel really involved. I was allocated to my own desk and computer in perfect view of the London eye which was pretty spectacular seeing how high we were.

 I would definitely jump at the chance to go back to Penguin as it was such a rewarding experience. Even the commute was okay, except on the last day when the tube decided to turn its lights off so everyone had to get off on to the platform and then pile into the next one. But all in good time I was home wishing I was back in the exciting hub of London.

Read Full Post »

This is my short story about a woman who finds the love of her life. Woman’s weekly magazine is a suitable publication for this story.

“Hey Joe, the usual I presume?” A young barmaid yelled as an attractive man in his early forties walked into the ‘Red Lion’ pub. He approached the bar. His electric blue eyes steady on hers.

“And what would that be, my dear?”The barmaid rolled her eyes jokingly, as she reached down for a glass from beneath the bar.

 “Joe, you’re a funny man”, she grins at a not so amused Joe, who is still keeping a fixed eye on her. “Anything up?” she said curiously.

 “Yes, as a matter a fact there is”. “oooh what is it Joe”, she looked excited at the thought of gossip.“Well you’ll have to come closer”. The barmaid raised her eyebrows slightly. “So I can tell you”, he finished. She slowly leaned over the bar, subtly pushing her chest out. “Closer”, Joe said in a deep whisper. As she obeyed, he leaned in, taking in her flawless skin and emerald eyes. With his index finger and thumb he placed them on her soft chin, she didn’t hesitate. He slowly turned her face to the side. He leaned his face into hers. The stubble of his beard grazed her cheek, sending chills down her spine. His lips parted and his spoke deeply into her ear, “Don’t forget the ice”. He said coolly as he stood back up, leaving the barmaid looking lost in thought, bent over the bar. “Right, yeah… ice”, she blushed immediately as she stood up. Joe watched her with a slight smile as she prepared his scotch on the rocks with a twist. “Can you put it on a tab, Hun,” he said coolly walking to a table by the window.

“Sure”, she responded weakly. The barmaid stared at Joe briefly; she had never seen him so intense before. Sure, he was only asking for ice, she thought, but what man can do that and raise the tiny blonde hairs on the back of her neck. After that encounter she looked at Joe differently. He suddenly caught her gaze, and she smiled sweetly, like a teenager with her first crush. Oh God it’s happening she thought, gripping the bar to support her weakened knees.

Stacey, the barmaid, had worked at the ‘Red Lion’ for longer than she had imagined. Starting out as a waitress while she was at school, she only planned to work there until she got A Levels and then off to university, far away from the tiny village of Wimbish as possible. However when she failed her exams, there was no university waiting for her, and she remained in Wimbish and the ‘Red Lion’. Now a barmaid and a waitress, mid 20’s, with insanely beautiful eyes, Stacey lived for the chat up lines from the older punters. She believed that Joe had shown his true colours just at the right time, and she was sure with her expertise in this area that she would not be saying goodnight to Joe but good morning.

“There’s a story behind their dear”, a woman, now sitting at the bar, interrupted Stacey’s daydream.

“Excuse me?” Stacey blurted, a little louder than she intended. The woman nodded in the direction of Joe, who was now studying the front of The Times. “What do you mean?” She asked curiously.

“Well I would advise not to get involved with the likes of Joe”, the woman said as she casually took a sip from her tonic water.

“Okay”, Stacey spoke slowly, clearly this woman is jealous or something, she thought to herself.  The woman had curly auburn hair, and a face that you could tell used to be full of youth and happiness. However, now exhaustion could be seen written by the track of lines indented in her forehead. Each wrinkle resembled a piece of jigsaw, in which the final piece, the last battle will be shown on her face tonight….

Read Full Post »

“I’m serious”, the woman said changing her disposition and suddenly looking vigilant. Stacey tried to busy herself in an attempt to avoid this woman who was obviously obsessed with Joe. She started polishing glasses with a rag, her back to the auburn haired woman.  “Listen, he won’t even remember your name”. Forgetting that she was ignoring this woman, she snapped, “How dare you”, she turned to face her, “how frigging dare you”, she repeated, now pointing the rag in her face. The woman looked taken aback, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you”. Stacey opened her mouth to retaliate, when a cough was heard from the end of the bar, both women looked over to see a handsome Joe announcing his presence.

“Sorry ladies, was just seeing if I could get a refill, he said, fingering his empty glass. The women’s eyes darted from each other to Joe and back to each other. The woman’s glare was left to linger as Stacey rushed to serve her new sweetheart. The woman observed the scene silently. “There he is”, she whispered. Her vision started to blur as she remembered the past, blinking back tears, she kept her eyes on him. She was so sure that he would remember, for years she had tried to forget Joe but how could she. His touch gave her shivers. His scent made her go lightheaded. His voice, oh his voice, that deep whisper, she could still hear those terrible words he spoke, “leave me, Lily”. She remembered that sickening feeling in her stomach, the last time he spoke her name, the last time he looked knowingly into her eyes. Looking back, she wished she hadn’t left him there and then in that hospital bed, she felt so guilty to leave her childhood sweetheart in such a vulnerable position. But how could she be with him when only she had the treasure of memory. How could she belong by his side when she was a stranger to him? So why was she here she thought, why did she come back to see a man who didn’t even know she existed. He was clearly doing fine, looking over at him flirting with that pretty eyed bar maid. She had to leave she suddenly thought, it was too hard. But the ten years of ache burdened her to her seat.

There she sat, pushing ice cubes around her tonic water with a straw. He had clocked her from the moment she walked in that evening, just moments after him. Her auburn hair had flared his attention and he noted a familiarity in her youthful face. He had smiled secretly to himself when he overheard her warning Stacey, and he had a burning desire to look at her, which was hard as he felt her eyes were constantly on him. What was her interest in him he thought and why did he feel a connection with this stranger? Maybe he knew her before his accident, but he knew that wasn’t possible as the doctors had assured him he would not have any access to these memories.

“Are you ready to go soon, Joe”? …Joe? Stacey repeated.

“Oh, sorry”, Joe replied disinterested all of a sudden. He looked at Stacey, and then averted his eyes just behind the bar. A vase suddenly caught his gaze, and he focused long and hard on the flowers, he stared at them until it gave him a headache. “Lilies”, he whispered finally.

“Sorry”? Stacey enquired.

“Lilies”, he repeated. “You”, he said to an empty chair, where the auburn haired lady had been sat. “You’re Lily”, he whispered as a fusion of sadness and realisation that he had just lost her again.

Read Full Post »

This is an analysis of Times Online and the effects of the following, searchabilty, usability, navigation, design, the content including video, interactivity, and user generated content, and how they comply with Nielsen’s heuristic evaluation (1994, cited Cato 2001) and Schneidermann’s five attributes (1992, cited Cato 2001).


The seachabilty of Times Online is beneficial to the user, as the search engine Google came up with promising results. It was first on the list and the majority of results that appeared on the first page were links to different features of the Times Online website. On the first result, there is a search box provided. The search does not open up the times online, but instead ‘Google’ searches what has been typed in the box. It is misleading for the user as its objective is not clearly signposted, and then becomes a longer process for the user.


Nielsen states that “Usability is a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use”. This can be applied to the Times Online, as the user is able to upload links and videos efficiently. The website has been designed with the user in mind. This is recognised in the language used, it is aimed at the “real world” user, such as the words “where am I”, next to what section they are on. Schneidermann (1992, cited Cato 2001) states the five attributes needed to make good usability of a website are learnability, efficiency, memorability, error rate and satisfaction.


The navigation of the Times Online has easy to learn functions, such as the “breadcrumb trail” (Brinck et al 2002). The trail is hyperlinked, making it convenient for the user. It also prevents the user from getting lost as they can visibly see and select ‘home’. This supports Nielsen’s heuristic evaluation for its “recognition”. The homepage of ‘Times online’ generates an effortless search for the user by applying hyperlinks to the following, “popular searches” and “shortcuts to help the user find different sections and articles”.  It speaks the “real world” language (Nielsen 1994, cited Cato 2001) and it’s convenient to the user. There is also “most read”, “most curious”, and “most commented”, which welcomes interactivity from the user. Times Online is fairly easy to navigate around due to the recognition.


The website has simple features, and does not contain hard-to-read typography. The headlines “support scannabilty” (Nielsen 2007), the clear visibility of the boldness of the blue makes it stand out from the regular text on the page. This increases the usability, as it is makes it easier for the user to identify the headline of the article they are interested in. The title Times Online is eye-catching with its typography of capital letters. The website seemed to feature a lot of advertisements, which made the page look busy. However, some of the advertisements are animated, which could be distracting or frustrating for the user, or could result in “animation avoidance” (Nielsen 2007).


The website features a wide selection of content. The different categories are clearly sign posted at the top of the page such as news, business, sport, and travel, etc. these hyperlinked categories contain articles and videos of relevance. Subcategories also become available, situated underneath the top level categories. The website didn’t have much video content on the homepage, making it a longer process for the user to find the content. However the videos did load quickly and efficiently and were good quality. The user was able to view the video without being redirected.


 The interactivity of Times online is very influential to the website. It allows users to become members, and have their own “profile”, for no cost, allowing them to take part in competitions, promotions, and free email bulletins. It promotes brand loyalty, and more interactivity leads to more users. Comments can be found on nearly every article, which can be arranged in order of ‘most recommended’, or ascending. This gives the user easier access if they are searching for a comment in particular. There are some features available to the user without registering, such as taking part in polls.

Read Full Post »

Here are a few websites that I tend to visit often:

facebook.com – great place to chat to friends and family, and browse and put up pictures.

jackwills.com – great clothes but very expensive, great for sale items though! Also good as you don’t have to leave your house to buy a good pair of jeans.

bbc.co.uk – A good website for students like myself – ideal to get news whenever you can fit into your busy lifestyle!

cosmopolitan.co.uk – I love the magazine, so I love the website. Great for fashion and feature articles.

google.co.uk  – Excellent search engine, I would never use anything else to search the web! I am also a great fan of google maps as it gives really clear directions.

Read Full Post »