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When I moved into my first flat I was on a tight budget, so when I saw this in Asda for £25 I thought I'd spotted a bargain. Most hoovers seem much more pricey, so I bought one.
At first this hoover was fine, it picked up most dirt and dust although some spots did need going over a few times, but I figured - you get what you pay for. It's lightweight and reasonably compact, and it's bagless, with a rather clever little conmpartment which just clicks off to empty. Very simple to use indeed. I was really pleased with my purchase, and even reccommended it to a few friends.
However after a couple of weeks' use (using it around twice a week), I noticed it wasn't picking up dirt as well. Worse still, it appeared to be leaking dirt onto my carpets! Not good. Also, even though this is a very noisy hoover to begin with, the noise was getting horrendous. I thought I was imagining things at first, but alarm bells started to ring when I noticed a strong burning smell coming out of it... in fact, the smell was so strong, my dad noticed it a few hours later when he visited and asked "what's that burning smell?" He's very good with appliances and told me the motor had gone.
I've noticed a few good reviews on here, so maybe I got one of a faulty batch. However there is another bad review from someone who had a similar experience to me on here, so this suggests it's not uncommon for these hoovers to go faulty. Needless to say, I shall be returning mine to Asda and demanding a refund.
I'm currently studying GCSE Maths at evening classes, and I have to say I'm shocked at how much they've changed the format since I left school.
The whole class is taught the various modules (Fractions and Decimals, Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry etc.) in turn, and each module is followed by an exam. However, these days there is NO coursework (or homework), so your overall mark is 100% dependent on your exam scores. I find this a little worrying, as some people can loose their nerve during exams, and knowing that the exam is the only thing you're being assessed on makes them even more pressured. Surely the old way of giving out coursework to be marked makes more sense? Because that way, not only is some of the exam pressure off, but also you get to see how you are progressing via the teachers' comments and scores.
What really disturbs me about this new format, though, is this: once you've had the first two exams, they then average out your grades from these and give you an 'overall average' grade. Then the class is split into two groups. Those who average at a B or above go into 'Higher Level', while those who average C and below go into 'Foundation Level'. I have been put into Foundation. There are then two more exams, but despite my grades in these two, I can never get above a 'C' grade overall in my GCSE. Even if I get two 'A's in these next two exams, I simply cannot hope to acheive anything but a 'C'. Likewise, all the Higher students are guaranteed a B or above, no matter how they do in the final two exams. I find this terribly unfair, as it takes away all hope and confidence in the Foundation level students like myself.
I think the days when we were judged by how well we did on all exams, plus coursework, were much fairer. Of course, I would not be so annoyed if I'd gotten into the Higher level, but that's not really the point.
I used to love these as a kid, so when I spotted them in my local supermarket at 99p for 4, I thought I'd give them a go for old time's sake. I must say I wasn't dissappointed. In fact, they are even nicer than I remember.
First thing I noticed is that they are a decent size, they don't appear to have shrunk like certain childhood favourites. Also worth noting is the fact that, despite the bright colours, they contain no artificial colouring. They are also suitable for vegetarians, unlike some similar ice creams.
Anyway, down to the taste. The chocolate is rather nice and creamy, not that horrible synthetic stuff you often find on 'kids' sweets. The strawberry ice cream within is delicious, and somehow manages to be both super sweet and natural tasting. Inside this is what I can only describe as a chocolate ice lolly, which makes a nice icy contrast to the soft strawberry. All this is topped off with a generous coating of rainbow sprinkles, which give the lolly a satisfying crunch. Yum!
A word of warnng though, they do melt very quickly. So you have to scoff it down fast so you don't end up with coloured sprinkles all over your clothes!
Home Bargains has been my saviour since I moved into my first flat 6 months ago. I'd never really visited one before, but there is a store just down the street, so I thought I'd check it out.
This place really does sell everything, from general home decor stuff like picture frames, rugs, candles, paintings and pot pourri; to mops and buckets etc. It's all a fraction of the price you'd pay in the big homeware stores. They also stock a good range of garden equipment and plants, including some grow-your-own vegetables, which are an absolute bargain! I was also impressed by the selection of toys and games, which seemed very well priced.
They also sell some food, which although a bit lacking in range, is perfect for stocking up on essentials like dried pasta, sauces, pickles, tinned food etc. They often sell Baxters soups for just 39p a can, which is roughly half price.
Best of all though, in my opinion, is the booze section. Here we can find all sorts of delights including 4 bottles of Coors Beer for £2.25, and bottles of Lindenmans wine for under a fiver (in other stores it's usually nearer £8).
So, you can buy presents, home essentials, food and booze in one store, all at terriffic prices. Perfect!
I bought my Suzuki Vitara JX 4u2 in the year 2004, and it's an X reg (2000). It was a big step up (literally!) from my previous car, an old Austin Mini, and it took quite some getting used to. The first thing you notice when driving a Vitara is how high up you are... the driving position is excellent, you can see above and beyond the cars in front, and you feel very safe up there. I must point out that this makes it very easy to find in a car park too, as the tall roof sticks out like a sore thumb!
I find this car great fun to drive. For nipping around town shopping it's perfect (although a little heavy on fuel but I'll come to that later). I've taken it on many long journeys too, and find it handles motorway speeds very well, although it does get rather noisy at top speeds. I do think it could do with a 6th gear, as 5th doesn't seem high enough. One thing definitely worth noting is, due to it's height, it doesn't fare too well in high winds. Or even moderate winds, to be fair. Many times I've found myself crawling along the M62 in the slow lane, praying I don't get blown into the hard shoulder, or worse! I really have no idea why this occurs, and it can be disheartening/embarrasing seeing both smaller cars and massive trucks overtaking me with no problem.
The 1.6 engine handles all terrains well, I've travelled all over the Welsh mountains with no problem. However the second you add any significant weight it can struggle up some hills, as I discovered when towing a trailer full of camping gear and 3 male passengers last month. My Vitara really struggled. I had to drop to 2nd gear for much of the journey, and it seemed to take forever to get up those hills. The noise coming out of my poor engine was horrendous! Add to that some tight bends, and the high winds pushing us towards the edge of some huge drops, and it was a stressful journey.
I must confess to never having used the 4-wheel-drive option, as it seems so impractical to have to jump out and turn the dials on the front wheels to do so. Perhaps if I had, my journey into the mountains might've been less of an ordeal....
In a world where many 4x4s are sadly becoming more rounded and car-like, this is square and angular enough to still look like a 'jeep'. Mine is blue and silver, identical to the image on this page. When polished up it looks very smart! The alloy wheels which come fitted as standard look great, and to be honest I really can't fault the look of this car.
The colour sceme throughout is a boring, dull grey. The seats are very comfortable, with plenty of room both in front and back (yes, I've been a passenger in my own car several times, my dad likes to drive it now & then). My best friend is 6 foot 6", and even he can fit his long legs in without a problem. The dashboard is simple and the dials well laid out, and I find the gear stick is in a perfect position. Overall this is a very comfy car to be in, even on long journeys. There is no 'boot' as such, just a tiny 6-inch space behing the rear seats. I guess this is why it's called an "estate". This means anything more than 3 shopping bags will have to go on the back seat. The rear seats do fold down though, giving a large space if needed, with plenty of height. I managed to squeeze an exercise bike in there quite easily.
There is no air conditioning, but the blower is powerful enough to keep you comfortable. Likewise the heater. It also demists very qucikly (something of a luxury to me, having previously owned a Mini which would steam up in all temperatures). Another plus is the sound system, which is very impressive.
Now this is the one major gripe I have with the Vitara. It seems to swallow petrol far too quicly for my liking. I'm not good at working out miles to the gallon etc., but to give you some idea, my car gives me approx. 60 miles to a £10. Compare this to my dad's big Citroen C4 people carrier, which gives him 120 miles to £10, and it's quite a difference! I seem to be forever filling it up.
In the 5 years I've had it, I've had only one problem. Two years ago there was a loud bang from the engine, and it came to a halt. Turns out something had fallen off, but I got it fixed and it's been fine since. I cannot elaborate on this, as I know nothing about car engines! My dad just took it to a garage and got it fixed. Apart from this mishap, the car has been no trouble at all. I haven't had to buy any parts, and it's passed all MOTs without a hitch.
A very enjoyable, loveable car to own, and to drive. Comfortable, practical, and good looking. Just don't push it to any extremes and it'll be fine!
I cannot verify whether or not these actually taste like chicken burgers, as I haven't eaten chicken since I was old enough to spit it out (I must've been around 5 years old!), but they are a firm favourite of mine, I always have a box in the freezer and eat them at least once a week.
These soya protein burgers are coated in tasty, mildly spicy breadcrumbs; which is, I gather, where the "southern style" comes from. They aren't too spicy however (I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to spices) but they definitely have a bit of a kick.
I personally don't like them served as a burger, i.e. in a bun with salad & relish, as I don't think they work very well in that way. The texture is a bit too heavy for this. I do however love them with chips, beans and brown sauce, mmmm lovely comfort food! My meat-loving boyfriend loves them too.
Like most soya protein products, these are very filling and make you feel like you've had a really good , healthy, satisfying meal. Something us veggies often crave.
Another classic freezer staple food. What would us vegetarians do without Quorn?
Bite sized chunks of soya protein which, although they have no real flavour of their own, soak up marinades and sauces very well indeed. The texture is chewy and surprisingly filling, or 'protein-y' as I like to call it. After eating these, you really feel like you've had a good, hearty meal. They don't taste like meat though, which for me as a meat-hating vege is a definite plus. I know some vegetarians actually like the taste/texture of meat, but choose not to eat it for other reasons, but if like me you simply hate the taste and texture of meat, don't worry, you should still like these.
Like Quorn's mince, this product has tons of different uses. It's great in stir-fries, as suggested on the box, but my personal favourite is fajitas. Just buy one of those boxed mexican fajita kits, and replace the chicken with Quorn. Delicious!
I notice this brand has very mixed reviews, and it seems it either works on your hair or it doesn't. I've tried several shades of this brand, but unfortunately I am firmly in the 'it doesn't work on my hair' camp.
I know it doesn't claim to drastically change your hair, it's more a 'colour boost' for your natural shade, but I've found it makes little or no noticeable difference to my hair at all. My natural shade is a medium red, which is fine but I wanted to give it a bit of ooomph! However after following the instructions to the letter, and even trying my usual trick of leaving it on for much longer than recommended, I was left distinctly oomph-free. How disappointing.
If you want a slight colour enhancement, I suggest trying one of the many different semi-permanent colours on the market. They tend to wash out fairly quickly anyway.
I've found there's always been a trade-off with hairdyes. Use semi-permanent colour to get bright, punky colours, but you'll have to bleach it first, and it'll wash out in a few washes. Or use permanent colours but they never turn out bright enough, and if you don't like it you're stuck with it for a long time!
Live XXL colours have changed my opinion of permanent dyes completely. I have always been afraid of permanent colours, as I change my mind so often and don't want to be stuck with one shade forever (or until it grows out). However my friends assured me that Live colours do wash out quicker than expected, so a few months back I tried the Red Night shade.
The colour came out a gorgeous, bright, deep red, just like the photo on the box. I'm a natural redhead, which can sometimes prove difficult with some dyes (a lot of dyes claim to be unsuitable for us), but it worked brilliantly. The colour faded out very gradually, over about 2-3 months, and still looked good. I now have my own natural colour back, so can assure you that it does wash out!
Having seen many of the other shades on people I know, I can vouch that the other shades are equally stunning, and generally they always turn out like the photo on the box. So there's no dissappointment when, like with so many other brands, your hair doesn't look as bright as promised.
Overall a very good choice, and if you want bright, intense colour that lasts longer than few washes, possibly the only choice!
This is by far and away my favourite mascara, I absolutely swear by it. I am unlucky on the lash front, as mine are straight - they grow straight down instead of out, so I'm constantly having to use eyelash curlers. The problem here is that most mascaras (in fact every mascara I've tried apart from this one!) tend to undo all the hard work I've put in curling them, as they tend to weigh down my lashes and remove the curl. Volume Express however doesn't do this, instead it exaggerates the curl, and makes my lashes look great. Not bad for a mascara that doesn't claim to curl!
As well as lifting and holding the lashes, this also thickens and defines them well. And unlike many 'volumising' mascaras, there are never any clumps. The brush is just the right size, and the colour (black of course)
is very rich and deep. Also, it lasts all day and all night, and sometimes until the next day if I don't take it off properly.
I love it, it's my desert island essential.
I've always found Stargazer's colours rather dissapointing, as they never turn out as bright as the colour on the packaging would suggest. I've tried a few different shades but they all tend to be quite weak on my hair, even though it's bleached. As for non-bleached hair, forget it!
Stargazer does however manage to dye almost everything else - hands, ears, towels etc., so be extra careful. I've also found that, while the choice of colours is very good, and the colours in the tubes are often misleading. I once bought what looked like a nice bright red (Golden Flame), only to find it turned out a rusty orange. Other shades I've tried (Violet, Plume and Magenta) simply tinted my hair but didn't give good coverage. Whether this is due to a lack of pigment compared to other brands, or simply down to the application nozzle being a bit fiddly, I'm not sure.
If you want really bright, long lasting shades I'd reccommend La Riche Directions, or Manic Panic.
If you want bright, vibrant colours you really can't beat Directions in my opinion. I've tried many different brands over the years, and have always found myself dissappointed with the results... a lot of them tend to dye my hair a weaker shade than the box suggests. This is generally not the case with Directions: to coin a phrase, what you see is what you get! And all this for less than £5 a tub.
The small tubs come in many vivid colours, and the tubs themselves are clear, so the colour you can see is the actual product, not a misleading image of someone's hair that's supposedly been dyed by said product. The shops that sell Directions always have a samples sheet nearby, so you can see what shade the colour will be on your hair (bearing in mind that these shades are what you will get if placed onto bleached hair).
Of the 34 shades currently available, I've tried:
Tulip - a nice medium and relatively natural red.
Dark Tulip - a nice dark auburn colour.
Rose Red - misleading by name, as it isn't red at all... turns out a vibrant dark pink, with a hint of purple. One of the longest lasting shades, and also one of the few that will work on unbleached hair.
Pillarbox Red - bright, vibrant red. Long lasting.
Mandarin - very bright orangey-red shade, stunning.
Flamingo Pink - the brightest pink, doesn't last too well but worth the effort of re-applying as it's so pretty.
Alpine Green - an amazing rich dark colour, lasts reasonably well for a green.
Rubine - one of my faves... a rich, dark, bright red that lasts very well.
Plum - this one wasn't so good on my hair, a bit dull and dissappointing, it gave me a slight purple tint in certain lights, that's all.
Atlantic Blue - another firm favourite, this is neon bright and will make you stand out in a crowd! Be careful though, it washes out into a yukky murky green if you don't reapply often...
Fire - my favourite colour, a gorgeous, neon-bright, almost glistening red that lasts and lasts, and shows up well on non-bleached hair.
Midnight Blue - a lovely dark gothic blue, so dark it looks black in some lights.
Flame - a nice bright red, not as bright as Fire, slightly darker.
It's worth noting that some colours last longer than others. I've found that reds last longest, with Fire being my particular favourite. This colour has such strong pigments that it will take even on non-bleached hair. As will Rose Red. Pinks generally last quite well too, but I've found that blues and purples tend to wash out very quickly. Of the blues, I've found Atlantic Blue is the most vibrant and again almost neon.
Now to the good part... Directions are mixable, so you can make up your own shades! Try it, it really does work! I can personally recommend adding Fire to any pink, red or orange shades; or Altantic Blue to any purples, greens and blues, to really brighten them up :-)
I have had many happy hair experiments with Directions, and look forward to many more.
After many many phones I've finally settled on this one: it's the best phone I've had by far. For a start, it's very simple to use and takes no time at all to get used to. The menus are very user friendly, and are set out in a logical way that makes navigation a doddle. I can always find what I want very quickly.
It's very well made and sturdy - as a few others have commented, it can handle a few knocks and drops without a problem. I've even dropped into a pint of Guinness and it still works. This phone really is as strong as a brick.
The camera is possibly the best feature, giving fantastic quality shots both when viewed on screen, on your PC or even when printed. In fact the quality is so good, I rarely take my digital camera anywhere these days, preferring my K800i's camera.
The battery lasts very well, I only need to charge it every 3-4 days. This makes it handy for festivals, where I know it'll last me the whole weekend.
There are many more advanced phones out there now, but this one doesn't look old or out of place next to them. A very good all-round phone, and one that's built to last.