Go for the NIKON P80, its a good camera with enough zoom and wide and lots of gifts to enable you to shoot the very 1st minute that you get the camera. PM me if you are interested as I have 1 to let go that suits your budget.
For gals and the budget your specified, the Canon range would be the best. IXUS70IS in particular (or whatever it has been upgraded into now). Another good option is the Fuji F100fd.
Why these 2? They are both rather chic/smart looking cameras. Also both cameras, if I'm not mistaken, have an optical image stabiliser built in, in a lot of indoor situations, casual photographers like to shoot 'natural light w/o flash' ... without the benefit of IS, you'll get a higher proportion of blurred shots. (It may look ok in the small preview screen but when u get back and view on your comp... quite often you'll see a couple of blurred shots) Lastly I like Canon and Fuji compacts (only those fuji with Super CCD) because I like how they handle overall exposure and noise reduction automatically.