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Not a very successful morning with friends a few weeks ago.  Sadly for us, it's dog-walker paradise and when you have 3 children in your party of 7 children who are very scared of dogs, having them running around everywhere off leads and barking is not ideal.  We had to give up after 3 caches as there were just too many of them around and my 9 year old ended up in tears.

It was a shame as the children were terrific at finding the caches.  At least we managed to drop off one of our travel bugs.


Think we'll go back to semi-urban caching. You know, the sort of places you may find a dog or two down a footpath but not 20 around you chasing each other.  
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We've been really shocked lately by the attitude of TUI.  We booked last year to go to a hotel in Cape Verde - the Melia Tortuga Beach Resort and Spa.  According to TUI, this is a "5* Platinum" hotel.  Wow!  That is amazing right? Good price for all inclusive, 2 room apartment and right on the beach.  How could you not be excited by this?

From the TUI website.  Perhaps the logo should be "We're smiling with your money"?
Well, you can be UNTIL you start to read the latest Trip Advisor reviews.  Yes, they are "subjective" as TUI told me when I complained but really, can all those people be wrong?  The hotel has deteriorated significantly since we booked it but TUI are determined to still market it as a 5* hotel, despite the comments of nearly every visitor.  What is going on?

It seems that TUI refuse to accept that a hotel is not up to the standard it should be.  Consequentially, we decided not to waste another penny beyond our deposit on this place and cancelled.  Or course, TUI held on to our £800 as a hotel that has declined so far is no reason to refund passengers is it.  Money-grabbing springs to mind.  

I'm utterly disgusted with TUI.  They need to re-assess this hotel.  I have contacted a number of reviewers before cancelling the holiday. I'm pretty easy going on holiday and fully realise a 5* hotel in Cape Verde is unlikely to be the same as one in Dubai for example. However, I expect a certain level of service and quality of food.  Hearing from these people about luke-warm food (and yes, many were TUI/Thompson visitors!), hardly any glasses/plates/cutlery, etc, etc should ring alarm bells with TUI. But they don't care. Some other mug will buy our place at the hotel and they've made £800 out of us.

I swore before never to use TUI again but it looks like they are taking over almost all package holiday companies now.  My error in giving them the benefit of the doubt for our family summer holiday.  Never again. 

Be interested to hear from other TUI visitors who have experienced an equally sub-standard service from this organisation.
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I'm very excited!  Why?  Dissidia Final Fantasy that's why.  Anyone who knows me, will know that I'm a Final Fantasy addict. I love it!  It's my favourite series ever and when I don't have one to play, I'm a bit lost.

Recently I finished Final Fantasy XV - what a game!  I'm therefore very much looking forward to Dissidia coming out. Yeah, before you say it, I know it's not a typical Final Fantasy game but an arena battle.  What the heck. I'm still excited about it.

Sephiroth (image from Dissidia website)

I love so many of the characters that are going to appear in the game and know so many from previous games I've played.  Favourites are always going to be Sephiroth, Cloud and Kuja. I'm pleased that Noctis is also appearing but a character I think was really under-developed in Final Fantasy XV was Ravus. I'd love to see him appear in Dissidia as well.  Maybe he'll come along later.

I've managed to pre-order my game today and can't wait until 30th January when it will arrive.  Will do a write-up on it once I have it.  Watch this space!
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I've always suffered with my periods but probably the past 20 years have been the worst.  My periods could easily be defined as 'heavy' and I'm sorry to say, many a suit has been thrown in the bin to prove that point.  The NHS define 'heavy' as losing 60ml or more in a cycle. I'm pretty sure I can lose that in a day!  Despite being tested for anaemia (I often feel really light-headed and dizzy during my periods, reaching for something sugary when I'm out), it seems that I am fine.  Not much help when you feel a bit of a wreck during your cycle.

I know a lot of women do suffer this and it seems often there is little that can be done.

Having found that tampons were no longer worth using, I moved to sanitary towels. These are not a girls best friend that's for sure!  They are bulky and stop you doing a number of activities, such as swimming.  Mind you, I've avoided swimming during my periods for years now for obvious reasons.  


However, if you, like me, are struggling during your periods, it seems there is nothing much available to you.  I tried having a coil fitted (see my post on the Merina coil and the issues I had here).  The trouble with it was that it took around a year for my periods to settle down (I never stopped having them, but they did get much lighter and more manageable) but unfortunately, the coil only worked for 3 years before causing me even more problems - migraines included.  I had it removed and couldn't face having another one, so I was back to the initial problem.

Recently I've found that nighttime sanitary towels are just not absorbent enough for me so I've switched to - please don't laugh here - Tena Lady!  I know right?  But listen up.  The 'big' ones of these are, well, pretty big and super absorbent.  Clearly they are meant for people who are suffering quite severe incontinence and they do the job tremendously.  Why can't regular sanitary manufacturers take heed here?  Yeah, so it's a bit embarrassing being in your local Sainsburys or Waitrose with super-sized Tena in your basket, but if it makes me feel better about dealing with my periods, what the heck!  I've not lost a suit or work dress since!


It's a shame that so little can be done.  Unless you have a 'medical condition' that causes heavy periods (which I don't), there really only seems to be a contraceptive option.  Not ideal when you're turned 50 either.  
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Even better than previous years.  We had a lovely walk around.  Definitely worth going if you get the chance.



 




 






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We met up with two lots of friends today to have a wander around Eli's Walk cache series.  We managed to park in the two separate car parks and wait for each other.  Fortunately hubby said "do you think they're here yet" which prompted a phone call to find we were opposite sides of the field *grin*.

Eli's Walk 1 was our first cache.  A good spot for the children.  We spent quite a while here waiting for them to decide what to swap!


Eli's Walk 2 we missed at first and then was spotted by one of the 9 year olds. Why didn't we see that?


Eli's Walk 3 was another quick spot.  This is a lovely walk around the woods.  The colours of the leaves are stunning.


Farewell Ottershaw was my 900th geocache!  Yay!  These caches are all child friendly and they are enjoying them.  Eli's Walk 4 was a fantastic cache. Have seen this type before but this was incredibly well hidden!  We were all searching when I heard something hit the ground. One of the youngest ones had knocked it off.  A bit of a search in the leaves and it was spotted.  Fantastic!  Definitely a favourite point here.


Eli's Walk 5 was a bit difficult. Our GPS's were all pointing in different directions!  How weird. We'd spotted something immediately as we got to this area but dismissed it due to the GPS keeping us walking forward.  We now investigated that again.  Yes, cache was there.  Eli's Walk 6 was a fabulous ammo tin. You don't see too many of those now so a nice find.  It's just starting to rain a bit harder so we're heading back to the car now.


Eli's Walk 8 was our last one of the day.  Awful here as it is dog poo city. 3 poos around the normal rubbish bin alone :(  Why can't people pick it up.  2 of us stepped in it.  Finally found the cache.  Seen lots of these but never one this colour.  How weird.  Great spot by one of the adults though.

It was lovely to get out for a nice walk together.  Fortunately the weather held off until the end.  Definitely a great set for children.
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