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Having used national tyres and autocare on two seperate occassions I can honestly say that I feel their customer service is appalling.
I firstly used them in the January of this year as my tyres needed replacing and they offered the cheapest quote. The work at the time appeared to be done well and efficiently, however after leaving the garage I found that my car pulled to left, as they had not bothered to check the tracking. I therefore had to return to the garage to have this problem rectified, not especially helpful when you are meant to be travelling the following day. I also felt that their attitude was unhelpful when I returned to the garage and they weren't keen to accept that there was a problem.
Naively I then decided to book in with them for a MOT recently as again they were offering a good deal for booking online and I had moved so would be using a branch in a different part of the country. When booking online the process appeared to be fairly straightfoward and simple, and I received a conformation e-mail shortly afterwards confirming that I was booked in at my chosen garage on the selected date and time. I then arrived at the garage for my MOT to be told by the manager that their MOT tester was on holiday for a fortnight so obviously I couldn't be seen. Their website had asked for payment up front and as I couldn't wait for the tester to return as my certificate ran out before he was back I needed a refund. The member of staff who was serving me told me that I would need to ring the call centre to arrange a refund as it was nothing to do with the actual garage. On calling the call centre I was connected to a lady who didn't seem to concerned about the inconvenience they had caused me, and suggested that it was actually my fault as I had not received an e-mail they had supposedly sent me informing me of the cancellation. Most worryingly however was the fact that she suggested driving my car illegally after the MOT certificate had expired to book in with their tester when he was back, before begrudgingly agreeing to a refund.
Overall I feel that this company tries to pull the customer in with low prices, however they don't feel that the customer needs to be treated with any respect or care.
For Christmas I was lucky enough to receive a selection of Burt's Bees goodies from my lovely boyfriend. Amongst these lurked to fantastic coconut foot creme which is rapidly becoming a favourite of mine.
The Burt's Bees companies credentials of being ethical, natural and environmentally friendly are definitely upheld by this product. The packaging proudly boasts that it's contents are 99.51%, paraben free and not tested on animals. These claims make me feel confident that I am not just using a product that is good for the condition of my feet but also for the wider world.
One of the first things that I noticed when using the creme was the fact that it wasn't really very cream like, more like a thick gel, almost with the consistency of honey. This meant that it wasn't very quickly absorbed into my feet so I had sit with them in the air for about fifteen minutes, looking a bit of a wally! I was however pleased with the results as my feet did feel somewhat softer after all of the creme had sunk in.
The second time I used it I decided to follow the instructions on the back of the tube for a more intensive treatment. This time I applied it just after a bath before bed and put cotton socks on over the top then left it overnight. I must admit I was seriously impressed by the results when I woke up. I have never felt my feet so soft, they really were like babies skin, even the hard patches on my heels and the balls of my feet appeared to be vastly softer. I will definitely use this product as an overnight foot treatment again in the future.
The smell is definitely one of the most striking things about the coconut foot creme. It is strongly scented of coconuts and mint, giving it an energising but relaxing aroma, which made me feel decidedly summery. The scent was very strong and after using it overnight my feet smelt lovely in the morning.
The individual retail price of this product appears to be around the £10 mark. Whilst I did really like the results I got after using it I'm not sure I could justify replacing it when I run out as there are other products out there which give similar results but at a lower price. However don't let this put you off if you want a truly luxurious foot lotion as this one definitely fits the bill.
Trying to find a house to move into is such a time-consuming, frustrating business that it frequently leaves me feeling frequently over-whelmed and down hearted. Rightmove.com however has helped to make the progress somewhat easier and less stressful. The ability to search through different estate agents for properties which match your specification in one go is so much quicker and simpler than trawling through property papers, estate agents windows and individual agents websites.
Working full-time really does make life difficult when trying to move house as my days off always seem to coincide with the days the agencies are shut so trying to contact them to arrange viewings can be tricky. It also means that by the time the weekly property paper has come out and I've been able to arrange a viewing all of the properties I like are inevitably already taken. Using rightmove I can nosy through suitable properties at my leisure after they are newly added and conact agencies much quicker to arrange viewings.
The search facility is very helpful as it allows you to state the area you would like to look in, how far out you are willing to go, how many rooms you require, what your price range is and how recently you want to see properties that were added. I have found that last feature to be particularly handy in the last few days as I step my hunt up a gear as it means I'm not endlessly looking through the same properties and can just check those added in the last 24 hours, 3 days etc.
The ability to save properties you like and set up e-mail alerts are also great time-saving tools, they allow me to easily compare and contrast properties I like and notify me of anything new that has become available on a weekly basis, great if I forget to check the website.
I cannot recommend this website enough, it gives you so much more control over your house hunting and makes the whole process much smoother. I haven't really explored the sales side of the website as I am currently renting, but have found my current home through right move, and hopefully the next one as well!
Whenever I'm looking for a cheap piece of sports equipment or clothing the first shop I visit without fail is sports direct. They offer all the gear that you would find in a normal sports retailer, but at a discounted price. Admittedly for that cheaper price you do lose some of the other aspects of good service that you would find in a more upmarket retailer, for example knowledgeable staff, tidiness and cleanliness.
I can only speak for my two local stores in Cambridge, but I do feel that the company does sacrifice store presentation in favour of a 'stack em high, sell em cheap' approach. The shops are often messy with stock mixed up,although I did notice on my last visit yesterday that they have begun to group products geared at runners, cyclists etc. together, although I did have to explore all four floors of the shop before I found the running 'section' (more a column with bottles, socks, and shoe laces hanging off it). The cleanliness is something else which I find to be severely lacking in the shops, with large dust bunnies lurking beneath stands, grubby floors and often grubby marks on clothes which have fallen onto the floor.
The discount on products varies, generally according to the brand. Big name brands such as Adidas generally only have 20% or so off them, leaving prices still fairly high for the non-serious sportsperson. In contrast you can get other less well known brands as much as 70% off (although sometimes you do wonder who would pay the full retail price). For me it's these less well known names that really draw me in, if I'm going running I'm going to get as much value out of a £2 Diadora t-shirt as a £20 Nike counterpart.
If you're looking to get some advice about what item to purchase to best suit your needs, for example sports equipment, I would leave sports direct well alone. I am yet to be approached by a member of looking to give me friendly and helpful advice whilst browsing. This level of staff training also expects to the check out as well I feel, frequently you are left standing at an empty desk waiting to be served for five minutes of so whilst a member of staff stands five yards away hanging clothes up and pointedly ignoring you.
Overall I would say that if your main concern is the price tag attached to what you are purchasing then this is the place to shop, providing you aren't to bothered about the level of customer service you receive.
Having heard from friends that yougov.com paid you to take part in consumer surveys I thought that it made sense to sign up, afterall I'm more that happy to sit on my laptop for a few hours sharing my opinions if I'm paid for it. So far I have done surveys on a range of different subjects, from magazines to supermarkets to politics.
From past experiences with similar survey website I knew not to expect to earn enough money to retire on so set my level of expectation fairly low. The amount you earn is calculated through a points system so every survey you complete gives you a certain number of points (generally been 50 - 100 I've found so far) and when you reach the magical 5000 points you are sent a cheque for £50. I've found that at the moment I am receiving a survey to compete every couple of weeks and have earned 850 points in about four months. Still someway from that 5000 point mark admittedly but at the moment that doesn't feel wholly unobtainable.
As mentioned earlier the subject of surveys does range, and recently I have noticed quite a few surveys coming through about political issues (not surprising perhaps considering the fast approaching general election). The surveys do generally take quite a repititious format, particularly the ones about consumer issues. Firstly you are asked which of the brands you buy/use/visit and then for each brand you identified as using you are asked a series of about ten questions which you rate on a scale as to how well you agree with the statement. The survey then tends to ask you another set of questions about the same products which you again rate, before sometimes moving onto a different but related question about the product in general and asking for your feedback. I have found this type of survey to be quite time-consuming and ultimately boring, particularly if like me you admit to reading nearly 20 different womens magazines (not be being particularly boring, just working in an environment where they are always lurking about!).
Overall I would recommend this website as a way to earn a few extra pennies, although it can be quite laborious at times. I would also like to see surveys become available for me to complete more often as it does sometimes feel like I am making slow progress towards the £50 cheque.
Admittedly I am somewhat of a mascara junkie and my make-up bag is bulging with various different mascaras promising to make my lashes appear longer and thicker. Whilst a couple of the different products that I have tried have gone some way to delivering on their promises I am still yet to find that perfect mascara. Cue Cargo Lash Activator.
When I first saw this product advertised in various magazines I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Billed as not being a mascara that merely makes your lashes LOOK longer but actually promotes growth I thought that the product was the answer to my makeup related dreams, after all who doesn't want lashes that are 2 1/2 times longer in just six weeks?
Now approximately three months after laying hands on the lash activator I must admit to being slightly underwhelmed. My lashes still look somewhat on the stumpy side, and the only time that I think they have perhaps grown is when using eyelash curlers as a little bit more lash appears to poke out of them. Therefore I would have to say that the big promise of elongating your lash 2 1/2x hasn't really been delivered. In terms of the product as a normal mascara I have to say it isn't bad, not the worst that I've experienced by a long shot. It does separate my lashes nicely and doesn't clump, as well as giving them a nice dark black colour. I have seen a lot of suggestions that it is best used as a base for other mascaras, however I wouldn't recommend this, in my experience this does lead to clumping and that overly heavy, unnatural look.
In terms of price I would suggest that at £19 it is pretty expensive for what at the end of the day just turns out to be another mascara. Luckily I bought it as part of a sample set of other Cargo products, including concealor, bronzer, eyeshadow, eyeliner, lipliner and lipstick, which came in at £35 so allowing me to justify the cost a little more.
Overall I would say that whilst I did like the product it didn't really deliver on it's promises enough that I would rush out to buy it again. Whilst it does leave me lashes feeling in better condition I can't really see that they are that much longer, so for me it's not the dream product I had been hoping for.
Another fantastic offering from Marian Keyes, this book had me gripped from cover to cover and left me wanting more. The plot of the book initially appears to be fairly simple as it follows the lives of the inhabitants of 66 Star Street in Dublin, however things take a more complex twist as their initially separate lives begin to intertwine and the mysterious visitor makes it presence more felt.
As detailed on the blurb on the back of the book the story follows the occurrences at four flats within one house, 66 Star Street. A newly married couple, Matt and Maeve, live on the ground floor. At first they seem very much in love and contented, however later this facade erodes and it becomes very much apparent something is seriously wrong. Above them lives Jemima and her aptly named companion dog Grudge. Jemima is a wise old woman, with perhaps a little psychic ability, something which she much disputes. Their lives change drastically as Jemima's adopted son Fionn moves into the flat (much to Grudge's disgust) as he begins a new life as a celebrity TV gardener and soon sets about causing chaos with the women of 66 Star Street. The next floor up is home to to the embittered Lydia and Andrei and Jan, who have made the journey from Poland to Dublin in search of a better education and career. It soon becomes clear that Lydia has a very negative and harsh attitude, with a list as long of your arm of things she hates and just four things you love. Later in the novel it becomes clear that the decline of her parents health and the responsibility placed on her by her wayward brothers has had a major affect on how she sees life, herself and others. Finally on the top floor resides Katie, who as the head publicist for an entertainment company with a millionaire boyfriend appears to have it all. Things soon change when she decides she has had enough of Connall's (the millionaire boyfriend) unreliability and takes control of her own life and falls for Fionn. The scene is then set for a cataclysmic chain of events which alter the lives of all involved forever.
The novel reaches a dramatic and emotive conclusion as bonds are made and broken whilst dark secrets are exposed. The last quarter of the book really did have me glued as I read it all in one mammouth three and a half hour sitting - time well spent! As with all of Marian Keyes' novels this book is impeccably written, with personable and likeable characters and an engaging storyline. The inclusion of the mysterious presence watching over the characters initially felt a little far-fetched and corny, however once the novel was resolved it all felt as though it fitted and made sense.
I felt that the way in which the characters developed gave them real depth and showed them as multi-faceted with issues that the reader can identify with influencing their actions. Having seven main characters, each with their own story to tell, can make the story feel a little crowded at times and I know on a couple of occasions that i was left feeling exasperated as a particular character's story was cut off at what I felt was a vital point, although i suppose this adds to the tension.
Overall i would thoroughly recommend this novel, as it keeps the reader engaged and has a poignant conclusion. The subject matter dealt with is a little darker than in some of Keyes' earlier novels, particularly in the final quarter, however the uplifting conclusion ensures that the reader is left feeling optomistic and fulfilled.
One of the funniest comedy shows on television without a doubt -Outnumbered is a sitcom about an everyday (but slightly madcap) family dealing with the trials and tribulations of life in south London. So much of what the children on the show say reminds me of my younger sister and I when we were that age as the children are allowed to improvise, having just a rough idea of their lines. Some of the gems they come out with are so true to everyday family life, something that I feel is unparalleled in other shows of this genre.
The casting in the show is superb, Hugh Dennis and Sue Skinner are wholly believable as the beleagured and outwitted parents. The real genius lies in the children, particularly Ramona Marquez and Daniel Roche as Karen and Ben. The wild fantasies and excubberance of Ben could keep me entertained for hours!
This programme really is truly funny, seldom can i recall so many laugh out loud moments in a single show. The situations that the family find themselves in are so real, from a family wedding to the school football match, that viewers are able to easily identify with them making the series all the more likeable.
Without a shadow of a doubt I would pick this wrap everytime when in the sandwich aisle at Tesco. The slightly sharp caesar sauce against the tomato wrap and chicken really is a mouthwatering combination.
A couple of slight negatives is the calorific content (500 calories per serving) and the fact that one quite a few occassions I have found one half to be full of chicken and sauce and the other to contain mostly just lettace.
I would definitely say that when compared to other shops offerings of a chicken caesar wrap this one is far ahead of the competition. The taste is fresh and has a lot of flavour which i have found to be a little lacking in some other wraps i have tried.
The price isn't to steep, currently on special offer, reduced from £2.20 to £2.00, and is definitely enough to fill me up for lunch alongside a packet of crisps.
Having very pale skin I tend to find it difficult to find a foundation which really blends in with my colouring, so this product appealed to me as it allows me to have more control over how dark I make the product. By mixing the colour supplement with your regular moisturiser you have a great amount of control over the colour, and is ideal for the summer months when you don't want to wear a heavy all over foundation. I did notice that it didn't quite cover all of the blemishes on my face, but then as it is essentially a tinted moisturer I guess it probabaly wouldn't.
Whilst in lush purchasing the product the staff were extremely helpful in helping me to find the right shade by applying it to the inside of my wrist and also suggesting using it straight out of the pot to use as a concealor on spots etc (although i did find the colour a little orangey when doing this).
I think the price reflects good value for money, having used it everyday for almost a fortnight the amount of product in the pot doesn't seem to have gone down at all, as only a tiny amount is needed to make up enough moisturiser for use over the entire face.
These are the most comfortable contact lenses I have worn in nearly ten years of use. Previously I have been concious of dry and gritty eyes towards the end of the day but with these lenses I have not experienced this at all. The price of these is slightly more expensive than some of the other contact lenses on the market but I would say the general improvement in comfort justifies this. The option of extended wear with these lenses overnight is another big benefit, if I forget to take my solution or case with me somewhere it is not a massive problem as it may have been otherwise. The '123' indicator on the inside of the lens makes it far easier to see if it is inside out, rather than trying to judge from the shape of the lip of the lens as with other makes. Overall I would definitely recommend them, the only negative I can think of is the slightly higher price.