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I joined emysteryshopper.com about 2 months ago and I have so far been really inpressed with their service. The site basically offers an internet version of mystery shopping. High Street chains often pay companies to enlist shoppers to visit their store and then give detailed feedback about the service they received, any problems they experienced and how they think the shopping experience could bne improved. Well, when you join this company you are basically doing the same thing, except you can do it all from the comfort of your own home. When you first apply to become an e-mystery shopper you have to fill in quite a detailed questionnaire stating your hobbies, interests and favourite sites. You then have to wait for a confidentiality agreement to be sent to you through the post and sign it and return it. After this you are asked to fill in a sample questionnaire to check that your answers and feedback are of the standard required. This questionnaire involves reviewing a site of your choice (as long as it offers online shopping). If you are accepted you will then start to be assigned to sites. So far I have been assigned to six surveys (all for the same site) and the rate of pay is £2.50 per survey. Each survey has ten sections and involves reviewing customer service, speed of delivery, general layout, speed of loading etc. Each survey takes about 20 minutes to complete but you can keep coming back to the survey and editing it before you commit it. For most surveys you are required to make a purchase or make a purchase and then refund it. You are paid an allowance for these purchases but you will not get the money until the following month. The company issue you with a draft invoice and every month you claim for the surveys you have completed and any allowances you are entitled to. Payment by cheque is made on the 18th of each month for surveys completed in the previous month. You are given strict deadlines for
the completion of each set of surveys and you must make sure that you will be able to see the project through before you accept the assignment. The only problem I have found with this site is that it can be a bit tedious reviewing the same site and filling in the same survey a number of times. Also, I wouldn't recommend this site to anyone who isn't willing to initially pay out for purchases, as you won't recive payment until the following month. All in all a great way of making money by surfing and shopping.
I have been trying to find a decent mascara to wear for nights out for ages now and I have tried loads of so called "superlash" mascaras that didn't work. When I saw the Rimmel Exaggerate mascara I thought I might as well add it to my growing collection. I was really impressed. It claims to triple the length of lashes and it really works. My lashes looked longer and thicker than they ever have before and I was actually asked if I was wearing false lashes the other night. The product went on without clumping, separating your lashes and making your eyes look fantastic. I wouldn't recommend this product for daytime use though, the effect is a bit too overstated. Reading other users opinion it seems that this product doesn't live up to its waterproof claim but as I only wear the product in the evening this hasn't really affected me. The only problem I have found with this mascara is that its a nightmare to get off. I have to use tons of eye make up remover to avoid looking like the Bride of Dracula the next day! And if you do end up staying at a friends or going to bed without taking your make up before you go to bed be warned that this mascara flakes badly and you will look like a panda in the morning!
I have used KLM a few times to travel from Stansted to Amsterdam and I have been nothing but impressed with their service so far. bear in mind that this is only a 40 minute flight though, I have no experience of flying long haul with them. Check in was smooth and trouble free, the assistants were chatty and friendly, even letting us know that one of our party was sitting next to two celebrities which made the journey even more enjoyable. The plane was clean and there was plenty of leg room. It is the only airline that I have managed to go to sleep on, although that might have had something to do with the mad weekend in Amsterdam! We were a little bit late getting to Schipol airport for the return flight, arriving only 20 minutes before take off but the staff were just as polite and friendly at that end and we had no problem checking in and boarding the flight. The other aspect I was impressed with was the food. On a 40 minute flight I didn't really expect any food but on the afternoon flight out there I was given a lovely tuna mayonnaise roll, which was of a better quality than those I've purchased from Marks and Spencers and Boots. Unforunately I missed out on breakfast on the early morning flight home because I was sound asleep, but by all accounts it was just as nice, a selection of fresh croissants, muffins and pastries. The price was pretty reasonable too, £80 for weekend flights, and they run special offers now and again with fares starting from £59. On the whole I would definitely recommend them for short haul destinations.
I first started shopping in Superdrug when I was a poor teenager with only 50 pence to spend on a lipstick or nail varnish. But I still shop there today, even though I now have a little bit more to spend these days. I find that Superdrug is the cheapest toiletry store on the High Street, with the possible exception of Wilkinsons, but the product range Wilkinsons offers is not comparable with Superdrug. Superdrug stores are always large, brightly lit and not too cluttered. They sell nearly evertything your bathroom shelf needs, shampoo, bath stuff, make up, vitamins and tablets, perfume, sun tan lotion etc etc. As well as having a vast own label range they also stock most of the big brand names as well, including L'Oreal, Nivea, John Freida and my personal favourite at the moment Collection 2000 cosmetics. I was also very impressed with the new accessories range, offering little purse bags and chain belts which are great for clubbing. My local branch in Chelmsford has recently added a 1 hour photo lab and a very reasonably priced perfume counter. I find Superdrug's prices much cheaper than Boots but I will admit that they don't have such an extensive product range. For things like Paracetemol and the basic products though their prices are hard to beat. Their "Just" products, a no frills, no posh packaging range, are great value too. My main complaint about Superdrug is that they don't have a store near to me in London and I find that if I shop in there on a Saturday the place is full of teenagers and I can't have a proper browse round. But then thats Superdrug's appeal - it attracts all ages and is affordable for everyone. I suppose I'll have to try getting up earlier on a Saturday!
After seeing the adverts with Davina McCall advertising this brilliant new hair dye that you could whip off with a remover if it doesn't quite take your fancy, I was persuaded by my friends to go red. Off I went to Superdrug the next day to buy my packet of hair dye, popping the remover in my basket aswell (just in case!). At £4.49 for the actual dye and £4.99 for the remover it wasn't exactly a cheap trip but I thought it was worth it just for the security. I went for the colour Davina advertised, Merlot Plum a dark red colour. The actual application of this product was quite easy, you just take the seal of the bottom of the bottle, twist and shake and you're ready to go. It can be applied to dry hair as well which made it easier. Unlike some hair dyes this one didn't smell too bad but my messy application of it did mean that the bathroom tiles ended up with more dye on them than my hair. My fault entirely though! The instructions recommended that the colour was left on for 20 minutes but I left it on for a little longer as my hair is quite long and thick. After the application you have to put on a conditioner that I thought was really good. About half an hour later my hair was shiny, conditioned and a nice plummy looking colour. Walking into the pub the next night the shade got a thumbs up. The instructions say that the colour washes out after about 20 washes but I have found that the colour holds really well, so if you're not looking for a permanent colour I wouldn't recommend this shade. I'm afraid I can't comment on the remover though - as yet I haven't had the need to try it!
I am a big buyer of cds and for the past two years I have been doing most of my music shopping online, mainly due to the price. And I have to say that this is one of the best online music stores I have come across. Mainly dealing with chart cds, the site is well presented, with the top 75 cds and their album covers shown clearly on the home page. It is easy to place the items in your cart and make a purchase, making it a good site to use for "technophobes". But the best thing about this site is its prices. The top 75 cds are priced at £8.99 including delivery. You can also pre-order upcoming titles for the same price. This is the cheapest I have managed to find on the internet. The site has recently added a Bargain Basement where all cds are £6.99. These are mainly ex-chart cds and you can pick up some real bargains here. There are usually about 30 cds in this department and new titles are added nearly every week. As the cds are delivered from Hong Kong delivery can take a bit longer than other online music shops, with delivery usually taking about a week, but for the price its worth the wait. The Customer Service is really good though, an e-mail is always sent confirming your order and another one sent when your order is dispatched, letting you know when you should expect your cd. The only complaints I would have about this site are that it doesn't have a very impressive back catalogue and that it doesn't offer many compilations, the only one I have managed to find recently is Now 48 which was priced at a very reasonable £10.99. As a lover of dance compilations I would like to see some of these on the site. A great site for chart music lovers but be warned, once you've started shopping its very hard to stop at these prices!
I recently went to see Gabrielle at the Hammersmith Apollo and I was pleasantly surprised. It is a bit of a long journey on the tube from Liverpool Street but once you get to Hammersmith the Apollo is clearly signposted and only 5 minutes from the tube station. There was no queuing to get inside and once you get inside there are two bars on the ground floor and a large bar upstairs in the "circle". Drinks were reasonably priced (£2.70 for an alcopop or bottle of beer)although it took a while to get served. There isn't much on offer in the way of food, hotdogs and packets of sweets but we found a nice chip shop just around the corner and there was also a cafe and a pizza restaurant if you've got a bit more time to spare. The venue is quite small, its capacity is only 3,500 and when you get inside you feel like you've just walked into your local cinema. The advantages of this are you are close to the stage, the music sounds great and it feels like a proper "gig". The disadvantages are that there is no leg room and not much room to dance if you stay in your seats. We overcame this by dancing in the aisles! Gabrielle actually said at the end of the concert that she had a choice of the Apollo or the Royal Albert Hall but chose the Apollo because she felt she could connect with the audience. I would definitely agree with this, I felt like I had actually been to a concert rather than feeling like I'd just watched it on the telly as I felt when I went to the Docklands arena. The toilets were clean and actually inside the concert hall so you didn't have to miss a thing if you felt the need to visit the loo half way during the concert which, if you'd spent a while in the bar like us, you definitely will! Another advantage of it being such a small venue was that when we came out there wasn't too much of a crowd at the tube station and we managed to get on the firs
t train that came through. So next time your favourite band/artist plays at the Apollo book those tickets!
Chelmsford town centre has grown dramatically in the last ten years. The town centre is pedestrianised and the main shopping area comprises of the High Street and two shopping precincts, High Chelmer and the newer Meadows centre. Moulsham Street offers a selection of small, independent shops like pet shops and a fancy dress store. The town has three main department stores, Debenhams, Marks and Spencers and BhS. Debenhams is quite a large store and it has recently opened a Stage One departmnent which includes the concessions Oasis and Jane Norman. This department is hidden away on the second floor and hasn't been well advertised so if you don't live in the town its easy to miss. Marks & Spencers is an average size store with a foodhall. BhS is also an average sized store which has a restaurant on its first floor. If you're shopping for women's clothes the town has lots to offer; Warehouse, Dorothy Perkins, Principles, Top Shop, Miss Selfridge, Time, Jeffery Rogers, Bay Trading, River Island and New Look. Women are really well catered for in Chelmsford and a Hennes will be opening in autumn 2001. One problem with the town is that there aren't a lot of men's shops. There are concessions in Debenhams and River Island has a men's department but apart from that there aren't many other men's clothes shops. The designer label devotee also will be disappointed with shopping in Chelmsford. The town only really has two designer label shops, Zagger, which offers Armani, Stone Island, Katherine Hamnett and other labels and Boss. Both these shops are situated in Baddow Road, at the end of the High Street. There was a time when Chelmsford shoppers had to make do with Our Price, WhSmith and Woolworths if they wanted to buy a cd but thankfully those days are gone. We now have a V-store, a large HMV, Music Box and an Andy's Records to choose from. Music Box is your best bet if you are lo
oking for value. Chelmsford also has a number of out of town shopping sites with shops such as B&Q, Mothercare World, Matalan and Shoe City. And if you fancy a drink or a bite to eat when you have finished your shopping in the Argos Superstore, try Yates, Edward's or Tumbleweeds (Mexican) which all offer a good value lunchtime menu. All in all a great place to shop (unless your a man!).
I thought this was a great British film. It is about a group of four policeman who go undercover in a effort to curb the increasing violence at football matches. They work from a warehouse instead of being based at a police station and slowly infiltrate the hooligan's gangs. However, one of the policemen John (played by Reece Dinsdale) begins to enjoy the hooligans' life a bit too much and begins to question his loyalty to the police force. He feels like he "belongs" when he is with the hooligans whilst he doesn't feel accepted or the same as his fellow colleagues in the police. When the others nearly get rumbled it is John's violence and attitude that manages to convince the hooligans that they are not coppers. Reece Dinsdale plays the character perfectly, and everything about the film is realistic and believable. I would highly recommend this film, but not if you don't like violent films as this film is extremely violent in some parts.
Now I'm not a great fan of Marks and Spencers generally. Ithink their clothes are badly designed, don't really suit any age group and are overpriced. Their food however is a different matter...... Walk into any Marks and Spencers' Food Hall and you will be greeted with loads of tasty, original ande easy to cook meals. They offer loads of choice, Mexican, Chinese, Indian or just plain old-fashioned English food. Most of their ready meals can be microwaved in under 10 minutes so they are perfect for those evenings when you get home from work and don't want to spend ages in the kitchen cooking. The lunchtime range is great too with a choice of sandwiches, rolls, sushi, bagels, crepes and salads. It all looks so nice that sometimes the hardest part is actually deciding what to have. My favourite range at the moment has to be the Count on Us range which are low calorie and under 3% fat. The difference between these meals and other calorie controlled meals are: a) You actually get a decent sized portion b) They don't taste like cardboard c) They offer meals that you actually want to eat, i.e. Chicken Tikka Massala I've tried nearly every meal available in this range and my favourite is still the Chicken lasagne triangles. They are lovely, lots of chicken wrapped in egg pasta with loads of cheese sauce. Yummy. The lunchtime Count on Us range is just as good and the range seems to be getting larger every month. The only complaint I would have about Marks & Spencers' food is that its a bit on the pricey side. I also find that their curries can be a bit on the spicy side.
Yourmobile.com used to be a great site for finding all the new ringtones but I have noticed that in the past three months the site has gone rapidly downhill. Firstly, half the tones disappeared from the site. I don't know whether they had a problem with copyright or something but nearly all the decent tunes disappeared. You used to be able to find all the latest chart hits and football songs but alas, no more! Now there are a few token "chart hits" , none of which sound much like the original. They must have cut their original database by at least half. I know this is one of the few remaining sites that will send you a ringtone for free, boltblue.com, my other favourite, has just started charging, but the choice on yourmobile.com reflects this. You can't really complain for free though! If anyone has got any tips for other free ringtone sites I would be grateful. Another point, the free logos have been "coming soon" since January. Where are they?
Reading the back of the video in Blockbusters this film seemed to have great potential. A journey into the mind of a serial killer. Looked interesting I thought. Wrong! I would have been better off saving the rental money and watching boring Sunday night television instead. After a number of women have been kidnapped and killed the police find their culprit but just as they're about to arrest him he has some kind of seizure and falls into a coma. The only problem is he has kidnapped another girl and nobody but him knows where she is. Cue Jennifer Lopez who plays a character who can enter another person's mind and interact with them in a kind of dream world. She is called to try and find out where the kidnapped girl has been hidden. Lopez discovers that the killer was abused by his father as a child and starts to sympathise with him, in the end she kills the father in the dream world. Predictably the girl is found right at the last minute and is saved from drowning. The dream worlds are just too unrealistic and silly, you really can't believe in it or give the idea any credibility. There are no strong characters in the film, the storyline is rubbish and the acting pretty dire. After the first five minutes you just want to switch off. My advice is rent another video.
This is the best smelling moisturiser I have ever used. The Olive variety honestly tastes good enough to eat. As well as that it is a great moisturiser too. It doesn't take ages to absorb into your skin like a lot of moisturisers and it leaves your skin so smooth and shiny. If you put it on just before you go out it gives your arms and legs a nice healthy glow all night. The moisturiser also comes in Brazil, Hemp and Mango varieties and I have used all of them at some point but I have found that the Olive variety is most suited to my skin type (normal/greasy). I have found that other moisturisers I use sometimes encourage spots but I have had no problems at all with this one. The moisturisers come in round flat packaging is much easier than using a bottled moisturiser as you can use exactly the amount you want. A great moisturiser, great smell, great price, great results and not tested on animals. What more could a girl ask for?
As I live in Chelmsford it would be rude not to go to this festival! The line up for 2000 didn't have any major headliners as in previous years did but there was still enough variety to make sure everyone was entertained. On the Saturday we managed to see the All Saints (surprisingly good), Macy Gray and Travis. For me Travis were the highlight of the day, the atmosphere when they played "Why does it always Rain on me" was electric, especially when heavy rain had been forecast for the day but it had stayed bright and clear. Their rendition of Britney Spear's "Baby One More Time" was fantastic as well, although no-one seemed to recognise the song until half way through! It was an unusual choice but it worked well and beat Britney's version hands down. Most of Sunday was spent in the Bacardi Breezer tent where Latino music is played throughout the day. There was a great, relaxed atmosphere in this tent and we found it the best place to spot the "characters". The highlight of Sunday was undoubtedly Moby on the MTV stage. He interacted brilliantly with the crowd and his set was fantastic, especially when he played that old dance classic "Go". The only problems I found were the state of the toilets (don't even go there), overpriced food (to be expected though I suppose) and the fact that sets were played half an hour earlier than published. Overall a great weekend, well worth the money and the line up for V2001 looks even better than 2000. Roll on August......
I wasn't a great fan of Geri Halliwell before reading this book, to be honest I only bought the book because it was on special offer. However, after reading the book I have changed my opinion about her. The book is not written in a formal manner, it reads more like a friend telling you about her life. Surprisingly the book doesn't focus too heavily on the Spice Girls, although the second half of the book does focus on her friendship with Mel B and her time with the band. We learn about Geri's experiences as a child, teenager and adult. There are some very disturbing moments in the book when Geri reveals her low self esteem and her eating problems. We also learn of her humiliation at topless modelling auditions and what she went through to get where she is today. Reading the book you realise that Geri has only ever wanted one thing - to be famous. But once she had this fame she found it hard to deal with. Basically she is just your normal girl next door and you really feel like you know her personally when you read this book. It does what a good autobiography should do -draws you into the stars life and makes you sympathise and emphaise with them. I would certainly recommend this book to a friend - it was much better than I expected it to be and I have to admit, I am now a bit of a fan!