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alk144

alk144
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Member since: 11.08.2009

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    • Aldi / Highstreet Shopping / 14 Readings / 9 Ratings
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      09.06.2011 20:36

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      If you live near one or have a car, drop by for certain things

      Aldi is a German supermarket known in the UK for its cheapness. People can therefore often be quite snobbish about shopping there, but I really don't see the need for this. Aldi rarely stock brand name items, which at times can be a bit rubbishy, so some people prefer to only buy some of their weekly shop from Aldi. While this is a a legitimate accusation, Aldi does does some items extremely well- better than other supermarkets such as Tesco or Asda- such as fresh fruit and vegetables. The vine tomatoes, for example, have such a nicer, more intense flavour than tomatoes from other supermarkets. Aldi also often have a "Super Six" offer where 6 different fruits/vegetables (such as a bag of carrots, box of grapes, 6 vine tomatoes etc) are priced at only 39p. This changes regularly, so you can't expect to always get your eg. carrots for 39p, but if your not too fussy you can pick up a real bargain.

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      29.11.2009 21:16
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      Highly recommended

      Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off is a facinating play. Despite being set in the 16th century, no non-verbal indicators exist to show that this is the case. Lochhead frequently uses anachronisms as if to confuse and alienate the reader, to remind them that although the play is based on historical events, it not meant to be realistic. The play represents life, it does not imitate it, the events are not specific to that era, parallels are drawn to modern day.

      La Corbie, an ambiguous talking crow, acts as the play's narrator, leading the reader through the play. Her comments are often contradictory, suggesting she is an unreliable narrator, leaving the reader to form their own opinion.

      The play is short and clever, though personally I needed the explanation of my English teacher to get the full effect, but maybe that's just because I'm a bit thick (haha). But once you understand it, I can guarantee you'll love it.

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      29.11.2009 19:54
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      Facinating read

      Having read (and loved) the Kite Runner a couple of years ago, I started A Thousand Spendid Suns with a combination of excitement and worry- I desperately hoped this new book would live up to The Kite Runner's high standards. The result pleased me.

      Although set in Afganistan too, A Thousand Spendid Suns differs from The Kite Runner in mnay ways. You could tell it's the same author, though the perspective it is written from is hugely different. The story follows the lives of two Afghani women- Mariam and Laila.

      Mariam- the older of the women is the illegitimate child of a rich man and his servant. Her mother treated her with a great deal of contempt though taught Mariam her key strength- endurance.

      Laila is very different to Mariam. About 15 years younger, and brought up in a modern family in Kabul ( a big city), she is probably the character most people will be able to relate to more as her mindet is nearer to that of today's Westerners.

      I found Mariam and Laila to be equally heroic and the story itself fascinating- a beautiful insight into the "hopes, longings and disappointments" of the women in Afghanistan that are all too often forgotten.

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      28.10.2009 23:48
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      Definately worth a few listens to see if you "get" it

      Wow. Really, that's all I have to say, but seen as you're probably looking for a little more, I will humour you.

      As a mere teenager (you know, those brainless yobs whose main hobbies include vandalising, doing drugs and wallowing in our ignorance) Siouxsie and the Banshees are a relatively recent find to me. I believe it's been over thirty years since Scream (their debut album) was released and yet it feels fresh and timeless.

      Admittedly, this album is not everyone's cup of tea, if you'll pardon the cliche. It's a bit far out and can take a few listenings to really appreciate it. But if you do, I can almost guarantee you'll love it. This album is so addictive, if that's possible.

      The track listings are as followed:
      1. Pure
      2. Jigsaw Feeling
      3. Overground
      4. Carcass
      5. Helter Skelter
      6. Mirage
      7. Metal Postcard (Mittageisen)
      8. Nicotine Stain
      9. Suburban Relapse
      10. Switch

      If you are new to Siouxsie and the Banshees, I wouldn't recommend listening to "Pure" first. Don't get me wrong, I like it, it's just I think it's hard to appreciate until you know what they're 'about'. Its a short song, and starts with a long instrumental. About halfway through, Siouxsie starts screaming (though tunefully). I'm fully aware the song could be used to torture some people, but it has a certain mysterious beauty I've yet to understand.

      "Jigsaw Feeling" is more convential, but not too much. The tune is great, the song is blurted out, with crashing music. Spectacular.

      Another notable song is "Helter Skelter", which is a cover of the Beatles. Usually, I can't stand covers (write your own bl***y songs!) but there's something about this one. It's not just copied exactly, and it's not insanely different. A different sound, but strangley similar. It's almost as if it's what the Beatles meant (seriously, that was like blasphemy to me). And who can forget that "na na na na na na na na"?

      The whole album is filled with "pure" genius, with every song bringing something different. I could ramble on and on about each song but I won't. Buy the album and do your own work!

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        22.10.2009 22:56
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        Don't bother

        Admittedly, the box does look very presentable. And the heatproof roll bag will come in handy. As will the sectioning clips. But really...

        GHD's straighten your hair. Seems obvious, but you really need to think about whether you actually want hair like that. Really flat, limp, poker straight. I went through the straight-hair phase, but never had GHD's, though I did want them. But they were too expensive. Looking back, I'm glad. This review is based on the GHD Purple IV Limited Edition Styler Hair Straightener Gift Set that my sister got for her birthday.

        The amount of heat the starighteners subject your hair to is terrible. And it shows. They really damage your hair and actually make it smell like, well, burnt hair I suppose! That's even with piles of heat-protective product.

        I know the hairdryer is only meant to be a travel one, but it's really not great either.

        Personally, I'm not up for paying a lot of money to damage my hair and make it look terrible. I don't know about you...

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          22.10.2009 17:56
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          Give it a try and see what you think!

          When I was about 5 years old, my Mum always put a sprinkling of bran at the bottom of her cereal. Naturally, I wanted to do the same, though I was never allowed because my Mum thought it would mean I ate too much fibre which isn't healthy for young children. My Nan liked to eat All Bran for breakfast, and on the rare occasion I spent the night at hers, she used to let me eat a bowl too. At the time, the thought of being able to do something I'm not usually allowed to do was far more important than the taste.

          Fast forward a few years, my Mum still didn't want be eating a whole bowl every morning, but she did let me put a small handful in the bottom of my cornflakes. The habit kind of stuck- I still do it today!

          Most people are horrified that I eat All Bran. I think it seems to them to be their worst nightmare. I'm never quite sure why- people hae never actually eaten it before. It's almost as if we, as a nation, have a cultural hatred of All Bran. It's weird.

          Basically, All Bran is long, thin, brown "lines" which are quite dry, though do soak up milk very well, becoming soggy and strangely yummy. If I'm looking for something to mindlessly nibble on, I sometimes grab the All Bran, but I can understand why most people wouldn't want to eat it without milk.

          I really like All Bran. It's healthy and filling. Nuff said.

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          22.10.2009 00:29
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          Me likes :P

          "We uninstall Vista" a sign showed in a shop window. Ever since it was released, Windows Vista has got negative reviews, with people, disliking it so much they want to revert back to XP. I can't claim to know a great deal about computers and operating systems, but I can compare Windows XP to Windows Vista from a novice's point of view. And I can't seem to agree with the general hatred of Microsoft's newest operating system.

          When I got my laptop last Christmas, Vista was already installled in it, so I can't comment on how easy installation is. Lucky me.

          Admitedly, I did initially despise Vista too. The layout of the screens are hugely different to XP, quite similar to MacKintosh computers in fact. I remember it took me about 3 or 4 minutes to find the "save" button in Word! (It's directly right of the circle in the far left top corner in case you were wondering)!

          Though after a while, as I realised how the system worked I began to like it. Gone are the drop-down menus, for these are now replaced with a bar running across the top of the page. You just click on what type of thing you want to do (eg. "Review", "Page Layout"). Different certainly, but it seems a lot more logical once you understand it. Which doesn't take all that long.

          One warning though- when giving people a copy of a file you wrote on Word, make sure they run on Vista, else they won't be able to open it. That is unless you put it into compatibility mode (Circle in the corner, hover over "save as", click on "Word 97-2003"). Once you've done that you're fine.

          Vista does seem to take up a lot of space/memory/??? to run. I'm not sure how fast my laptop would run if on XP, but I feel it's as fast as it needs to be with Vista. It's certainly a lot faster than my family's PC.

          Another "big" plus for me is the search tool has been greatly improved. In XP, it was hardly worth using and took ages. In Vista however, the search field in at the bottom of the Start menu, and results come almost instantly from programs, files, internet favourites and even history. It's just great.

          I just find Vista a lot easier to use. If you don't pick up computer-y things quickly then I'd recommend hanging on to XP for as long as you can, because Vista can be a bit of a shock. But I just like the fluid logic of Vista.

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          • Interlink Express / Transport / 21 Readings / 21 Ratings
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            19.10.2009 19:14
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            Don't waste your time and money

            With the the strike starting a couple of days, I was weary to send the parcel of letters that were amounting in my grandad's flat over to Holland (where he lives sometimes) with the Royal Mail. I didn't want them to be delayed by a few weeks or worse-lost.

            I remembered that there was an Interlink Express depot near where I live, so I drove there. It didn't look very welcoming, but I thought I'd give it a go anyway. I had to ring a bell to get in, then walk round the large building to get to a "reception" area, which in reality a bare table in a huge empty warehouse.

            I asked the man if I could send the parcel I had in my hands to the Netherlands. He looked confused and asked me which company I was sending it through. "Er, you I hope" I said, though I realised that was not what he meant. He told me that they couldn't do that here, as you need an account, and I was to go somewhere else to do that, but I would have to make an account.

            Off I plodded. When I got to the other place, which was smaller and more like an office, I asked again if I could send the parcel to the Netherlands. The man told me that I had to register online, buy the postage and print out the reference code/adress thing at home. My printer doesn't work. I told them this and they said just to bring it back to them to print when I dropped the parcel off. They even told that I could get £5 off and to email them to get the voucher code.

            I went home and emailed the adress. After an hour, I received no code and had to do it without the money off, I needed it sent quickly. It was then I realised that parcels under 5kg (mine weighed only 1.1kg) cost £18 to send!! The Royal Mail costs about £8. I was annoyed but had no other option. On top that that, I was charged VAT, bringing the total to over £20.

            I found the website very hard to use, especially when it turned out I couldn't take it back to the depot to send off, they must come and collect it. I'm no newbie at online forms, but it took me at least 45 minutes. I felt as though I was the one programming it, the fault finding was so tedious and difficult.

            The parcel hasn't been delivered yet- I only arranged it today, but I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't work great either. I feel ripped off. I urge you to not use Interlink Express.

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              19.10.2009 11:52
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              Best of a bad bunch :P

              I must admit, I've never really been into potato-products much. I was never the child who craved chips. Instead, I thought up reasons why I couldn't possibly eat a baked potato. Unsurprisingly, I also preferred to feed the crisps at playtime to the seagulls - "But they're HUNGRY!" than eating them.

              I really, really hate cheese and onion crisps. The flavour turned my stomach and the texture didn't cut ti for me either.

              But if I did have to eat one kind of crisps, it would definately be "Walkers Salt & Vinegar Flavour Crisps". I kind of like the salt flavour on my tongue. It makes you think there must be at least seven times the daily recommended limit of 6g, but in reality there is only half a gram in each packet.

              While virtually sugar-free, a packet of Walkers Salt & Vinegar Flavour Crisps does contain 8.3 grams of fat (GDA- 70g) though only 0.7g of this is saturated (GDA- 20g).

              Another bonus is, like most of Walkers crisps, they are suitable for vegetarians. Unfortunately for vegans though, Walkers have started using milk in the product.

              That said, the crisps contain no MSG, preservatives or artificial colours and are suitable for coeliacs. Not bad.

              All in all, Walkers crisps are always of the highest quality and taste fresh. If you like crisps, you'll love these.

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            • Staedtler Noris Pencils / Homeware / 26 Readings / 23 Ratings
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              18.10.2009 23:22
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              I love these pencils!!

              I think pencils are underrated. The use of a pencil is linked by many to children. But we write things down all the time, and most of us aren't blessed with the ability to always get things right first time. A couple of seconds armed with a good rubber and you're all set to start again.

              I really like the feel of a pencil in my hand. More specicifically, I really like the feel of a Staedtler Noris Pencil in my hand. Its edges just seem to fit in my fingers and the mark it makes on the page just seems to be thick and warm- or if you sharpen it, sharp and crisp.

              You probably think I'm off my rocker, and I'm quite sure you're right. But if you haven't used these pencils in a while, buy them again and you might get what I mean. These pencils are you're ordinary "yellow pencil" or whatever. They won't keep breaking. They won't run down quickly. They won't leave a mark when rubbed out. But they will remove one nuisance from your life.

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              26.09.2009 19:51
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              A good first job

              I've been working for McDonald's part-time for about a month now. I'm still at school, and have been desperate for a job since June to help me save up so I can move out of home when I go to university (I hope!!).

              I tried hard, to no avail, over the summer and McDonalds seemed like my only hope. After my several applications to various restaurants online, I finally got a phonecall inviting me to an interview. Amanda asked what time would suit me.

              As soon I as turned up, I was thrust into a 15 minute OJE (On-Job Evaluation) which was terrible. I was put on the drive through and without any training whatsoever was expected to give people sauce, read the screen above and get drinks, check to see if all the order was in a bag and say something"Here's your meal, thankyou, see you again soon!" loudly whilst handing it over. All the employees I've spoken to about it agree its awful and pointless. But don't let it put you off.

              Next, came an 15-minute interview, which was fine. I actually don't think it matters what you say, as long as you say something and smile a lot. I got the job.

              I work on the till usually, along with the rest of the girls. Most of the guys work in the kitchen- I've never seen a girl work there. It seems very sexist and I'm trying to work out a way to ask about it!! But I'm glad of where I work.

              At first, it's very difficult, very stressful and very easy to get orders wrong. Not so easy to change the order once you've made a mistake. But seriously, it's only a ferw shifts before you get the hang of it. It's still full-on at some times, but knowing what you're doing really calms you down (obviously..)

              I get paid £4.35 an hour, which I think is great, at least compared to minimum wage which is £3.53 for under 18's. And I'm told there's load of opportunity to get a rise. Whether it's aa great as they make out I'm yet to discover.

              The people I work with are great and I get along with them fine. There's a general belief that people who work in McDonald's all have an IQ of less than 80. This is simply untrue. Most of the people in my restaurant are in the last year of school. Even the people who have left school are mostly still fairly intelligent individuals.

              The hours are fantastically flexible. If I want to work 6 hours on Sunday, 4 on Wednesday and 8 on Sunday- that's ok. And if I'm busy one week, I can just get time off. It's that easy.

              However, I can't imagine working in McDonald's full-time. I feel it would get tedious and stressful at the same time. For this reason, I think I'll have left by this time next year. Don't get me wrong- I enjoy my job to a point, but I want to work in a shop, ideally a book or clothes store, without having to empty bins and mop floors. Also, I actually feel terrible for serving meat.

              A lot of people have nightmares about the uniform. They give you a polo shirt,black trousers, an the dreaded cap. You also have to wear black shoes that cover your whole feet. Good luck finding those!! But it's not that bad, really.

              If you're looking for your first job without any luck, try McDonald's. It gets your foot in the door, giving you experience and something to bulk up your CV. The work isn't nearly as bad as people make out, neither is the pay. If you really need/want the money enough then you know what to do.

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                26.08.2009 19:38
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                Give it a try and see what you think!

                I've tried a few mousses in the past few months. And this one is the best by far. It doesn't make your hair sticky or hang in clumps. But it does hold my hair in nice waves throughout the day. Given, its not perfect. But I've yet to find a more effective mousse.

                Each night, I wash my hair and (when its still wet) plait it. I find its the quickest way to make my hair change (natural it's almost straight but not quite- it has is a kind-of big wave of itself if I make sense). Because I cannot be bothered with having to get up pointlessly early to muck about with my hair. However, before I started using mousse, my waves fell flat during the course of the day, returning to their natural inwards kink.

                So using mousse is like a godsend. It takes 30 seconds to rub the mousse throughout my hair, and a further 60 seconds to plait my hair. Then in the morning, I just undo my plaits and spray a bit of hairspray (see my review on garnier fructus hairspray) on it and there I am.

                The mousse costs about £2.70, which is fair price. The bottle last about a month, so at 30p a day its not bad.

                A negative is that my hair did frizz a bit using it.

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                • Evian / Soft Drink / 19 Readings / 16 Ratings
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                  22.08.2009 12:01
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                  Don't go there

                  Evian water is the worst bottled water I've ever drunk. Given, my standards are high because I live in Edinburgh and the tap water is great, but Evian just tasted like it was stale.

                  I'm not a big bottled-water drinker (for reasons already highlighted), but sometimes when I'm out I need a drink and don't want to down half a days worth of calories in one drink. I've tried a few varieties, some good, some bad and one awful- Evian.

                  Spelt backwards, Evain reads 'naive'. Meaning people who drink Evain are so naive they think water has to taste like it's sat in your bedroom in a cup for a few months while decorators have got a few specks of plaster into it. Eurgh.

                  It's also quite expensive so a complete waste of money.

                  In saying that, I am aware some people like Evain water but I have absolutely no idea why. I'd stay away if I were you.

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                  • Kellogg's Corn Flakes / Breakfast / 10 Readings / 7 Ratings
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                    22.08.2009 11:48
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                    Yum

                    Kellogs Cornflakes are just great. They taste much better than any of the numerous attempts to copy them. Crunchy and fresh yet surprisingly light, Cornflakes are- quite simply- the best cereal ever.

                    And it doesn't stop there. Since cornflakes have only about 100 calories, just 2.9g of sugar and practically no fat per serving, Cornflakes are a great snack too. If I snack on Cornflakes though, I'm always careful to lay off the milk (which is high in fat and sugar).

                    Don't get me wrong- milk is great with cornflakes in the morning, it really gives you a great kick-start to the day. Just only fill the milk up to about half way the cornflakes, and make sure to not take excess milk each spoonful, and you'll have enough. The cold milk over the freshness of the cornflakes is just splendid. I love it.

                    The only problem I can see is the cost. I buy the 750g box and it costs £2.26 in Asda. Which is about double the cost of own-brand varieties. I believe it's worth the money, even if you do have to eat lentils for tea to compensate!

                    Some people say Cornflakes don't have a strong enough taste, but I diagree. In the morning, it tastes just right. Though I always put a small handful of All Bran in the bottom, try it- it's great.

                    And they stopped putting a free plastic dog in with each box years ago- gutted!

                    But seriously, Kellogs Cornflakes are just great.

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                      19.08.2009 23:27
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                      Tasty and filling but sugary and dear.

                      I've enjoyed Nutri-Grain Oat Baked Bars for years, I was rather tempted to try their new products- the Nutri-Grain Elevenses range. I was suitably impressed.

                      The taste was mouthwateringly great. In fact, as soon as had opened the foil packaging, its gingery smell wafted out to me. The cake looked moist and scrumptious. I wanted to bite a huge chunk very quickly, but I knew this was something I had to make last.

                      Nibbling at the cake, I was however, sadly aware of what was in the cake. Unfortunately, it's not the healthiest of snacks, but it tastes it. In each bar there is 134 calories, which isn't bad and only 4g of fat and 0.5g of saturated fat. The problem lies with the sugar. There's 15g of the stuff- and I suppose it only counts for 17% of the average adult's GDA (Guideline Daily Amount) but it's all too easy for these sugars to add up. That said, it can be incorporated into a healthy diet if you eat well at mealtimes. It's suitable for vegetarians [like me] too.

                      The cost isn't fantastic either, though it's only to be expected. Each box of 6 bars costs around £2.30, working out at roughly 40p a bar. Not great for those on a budget, but swapping one of these for that chocolate bar you buy when you're out is an idea. And you'll save almost 10p each time [wow!]. Also, look out for offers. This type of thing is often on half price or buy-one-get-one-free deals.

                      Overall, a moderately healthy, moderately cheap snack which is extra tasty. And I also found it to be quite filling. Once you get over the urge to eat the whole box [I told you they tasted good!] you'll find you aren't thinking about more snacking.

                      Yum.

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