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I had always wanted to blog, and came across 'Blogger' website reviews on Dooyoo, and decided I wanted to sign up to this free blog website.
I then discovered Adsense, an advertising programme run by Google, and not having much experience with this side of the internet, I decided it sounded great, and immediately applied for it!
It's free to sign up for and once I was approved, I thought "wow, this is going to be great for money making!" You pick the shape of the ads you want on your website, and you are allowed 3 adverts. I was excited about what was to come (especially when Google only run relevants ads to your site content!)
I received a few click in the next few days and made just shy of £10. I then had got the blogging bug, and decided to take the plunge and buy my own domain. I then applied for Adsense once again on my new site, was approved and my three adverts appeared. I then never really used my original blogging website, and so because my new spiffy website was unknown to the world, I didn't receive any clicks.
One day I thought I better sought out the payment side of Google Adsense, so that when I reached the payout level of £50, everything would be sorted and I would just receive my cheque in due course.
Verifying your payment details is quite a lengthy process, and you have to apply for a PIN which Google will send you in the post. TWELVE hours after I applied for the PIN number, I received an email from Google saying my Adsense account had been disabled because of 'invalid clicks'.
They then said that my money would be returned to the Advertisers, but if I wanted to appeal against their decision, I was to fill in the online form.
So off I went, spending aaaagggeeesss filling in this form, and providing every tiny detail, explaining why I thought I had invalid clicks. I then received a reply 24hours later (which I believe is quite speedy for Google) saying that my appeal had been declined, and that I could no longer use Adsense!
I then decided to Google (look how nice I am still using Google!) people having their accounts disabled for invalid clicks, and it turns out a LOT of people have problems. I could not find anyone who had actually had their appeal approved and their account restored!
So then I went into a state of panic, thinking I've just paid for a new website, and no way of making any revenue! However, I soon discovered that Google Adsense is not the only advertising company out there! It might be the most well known, but it doesn't necessarily mean its better! Other sites include Adbrite, Infolinks, Widget Bucks, Kontera, Bidvertiser... so many other sites! I now use Adbrite and Infolinks, and so far have had no problems!
Blue Riband's seem to have been around forever, and this is quite possibly because they are so yummy!
Blue Riband is a chocolate bar produced by Nestle and are great for a low calorie snack. Blue Ribands come in mutipacks of 9 or 18, individually wrapped so that each chocolate bar can remain fresh. Normally there are great deals on this tasty treat. For example, in Asda at the moment, it is 3 multipacks for £3 (11/10/10).
You can eat a Blue Riband for a mid morning or afternoon snack. It is so light that it won't ruin your next meal, but will satisfy any hunger or chocolate craving. If you're on a diet, it won't ruin it, as it only has 99 calories and 4g of fat!
It is free from hydrogenated fat, artificial sweeteners and artifical preservatives and is suitable for vegetarians.
Nutritional Information per bar
Energy: 455kj/ 109 kcal
I would highly recommend this chocolate bar. They are a family favourite, tasty, great for a chocolate treat if you're dieting, and are suitable for children!
I have a very strong sweet tooth, and anything that is not sweet, I have to make it sweet e.g. Weetabix!
So when i saw the advert for this chocolate flavoured Weetabix, I thought that my prayers had been answered (a fibre filled breakfast with a sweet taste).
What happened next?
The chocolate Weetabix comes packaged just like normal Weetabix, so once you've battled your way through the packaging, you find your 24 Weetabix. I didn't really have any expectations as to what the Weetabix would look like... I just thought it would look like a chocolate cereal! I did not expect to find 24 Weetabix shaped pieces of cardboard (well that's what it looks like anyway!).
I was really looking forward this chocolatey delight. So I was VERY disappointed when the cereal tasted just like regular weetabix! Don't let the brown colour fool you! The only thing that makes this in anyway chocolate flavoured is the occassional small chocolate chip.
So I still had 22 Weetabix to work my way through, so I resorted to my old friend - sweetener!
I bought this cereal from ASDA for £2 (it was on offer). It is normally £2.58.
You might as well just buy your regular Weetabix. At ASDA you can get 72 Weetabix for £.244. So you can 3x as much for 12p less than a 24 pack of chocolate Weetabix!
Nutrition (per 45g):
Cals - 156
Protein - 4.8g
Carbohydrate - 30.0g
Fat - 1.8g
Fibre - 4.7g
I first had these quite a while ago (50g) and only bought them because I was intrigued! I'm so glad I did! These and the BBQ flavour are my favourite Mini Chedders.
I had only seen these in the larger packets (seen in the picture) but today I discovered them in a multi pack in Morrisons (along with BBQ and Cheese).
To buy them by themselves is quite a challenge as they are rather like finding gold dust! I have only found them at motorway services so far (until today anyway).
Nutritional Information (per 100g)
kcal - 517
protein - 9.2g
carbohydrates - 53g
of which sugars - 4.7g
of which saturates - 11.1g
fibre - 2.7g
sodium - 0.8g
They contain milk, egg, wheat, barley and gluten.
If I were to taste these without knowing what they were, I wouldn't necessarily consider them to be Branston Pickle flavoured. I can't really fully explain the taste, but what I do know however, is that they are extremely yummy and made me want another packet! I can't guarantee that you will like them, but if I were you, I would certainly give them a try!
For the bigger bag, the price is about 60p (ish).
Although I use a laptop I had to resort buying a keyboard as my 'B' key fell off and my spacebar stopped working! As I am a student, I thought that it was very important that I had a decent keyboard (because of the large amounts of words I churn out!)
As I am currently using my laptop as basically a monitor, I needed a keyboard that was quite compact and I hoped that it would have some kind of mouse that I could use with limited space.
So when I saw this Toshiba Wireless Multimedia Keyboard, I thought it would be ideal and so I bought it.
The design of this keyboard is very neat and sleek. It has a black base with black keys. At the top are several silver buttons including 'mute' and a shortcut to the internet (with back and forward and refresh features) and email.
On the left is an awesome feature that has a great novelty factor. It is a touch sensitive volume control panel, with little blue lights that light up when you want to turn the volume up or down.
What it does
Installation - put the USB in your computer, put the batteries in the keyboard, switch it on and you're good to go!
Obviously a keyboard has keys that you can type with... But you can also use the function key to access Windows Multimedia, with shortcut keys for 'my videos', 'my pictures' and 'my music' as well as shortcuts to 'my TV'. You can also fastforward, rewind, stop, pause and play as well as turn up and down the volume.
On the right hand side is the 'mouse' which is very similar to the control pad that can be found on a laptop. I have to say that the sensitivity of the control is perfect (my laptop was often a bit too sensitive, and I would find myself pressing forward on the internet a lot!)
This keyboard is wireless with a 10metre range, so I can sit elsewhere and type if I want to. Although the keys are already on a slight slant, if I want the keyboard to have even more incline, there are little 'legs' on the back to do this.
It has the full keyboard range, except the additional numbers on the right hand side that can be found on most keyboards. Basically it is very similar to that of a laptop.
Another feature that I like about this keyboard, is that the keys are raised. On most laptops these days, the keys are very flat, whereas on this keyboard, they are a tad more 'old school'.
Of course I have been using this keyboard with a laptop rather than a PC, but it is designed to go with a PC. It has very few requirements - just you need a computer with Windows 2000, XP and Vista (you would need to ask about Windows 7).
What comes in the box?
2.4GHz Wireless Keyboard, USB 2.4GHz receiver, 2xAA alkaline batteries, cleaning cloth and User's manual.
Although I haven't really had this keyboard long, I am really liking what I see so far. This review has in fact been typed from the keyboard. I bought this keyboard for £39.99 from PC World, and I am so glad I purchased it. Now I just need the motivation to use the keyboard to write the essays.... if only that came in the box as well!
These Fondant Fancies are Asda's version of Mr Kipling's famous cakes 'French fancies' and I have to say they are as equally tasty!
The small, light sponged cakes with a vanilla topping covered with fondant icing are certainly a treat! There are 8 cakes in a box and are currently priced at £1.38.
There are 3 different types of cake - Yellow, Pink and Chocolate Fondant Icing (seen on the front of the box) and they are a nice little size for a cake! They are free from artificial colours and artificial flavours.
Nutritional Information (per cake)
Energy - 105kcal
Protein - 0.7g
Carbohydrate - 19.5g
of which sugars - 16.6g
Fat - 2.7g
of which saturates - 1.1g
Fibre - 0.2g
Sodium - 0.07g
equivalent as salt - 0.2g
Its quite a lot of calories for such a small cake but then again, you are eating mostly sugar! Definitely the right size for a treat, and if you were to buy these instead of Mr Kiplings, I am confident that there is no difference in taste or texture.
With Mr Kipling's cakes currently selling at £1.68, you might as well save yourself 30p and go with Asda's version!
I decided to try something different from a normal bread roll/bap, and discovered these cheese topped rolls at Asda. They are the same as bread rolls, except there is melted cheese on top (you would never have guessed!).
The cheese topped rolls come in 2 different quantities - 4 larger ones, or 6 smaller ones for about the same price (currently £0.64). I have to say that I prefer the bigger rolls.
Because there is normally an offer on (e.g 3 for £1.50), I often buy 3 packs and freeze two. I find that once I have defrosted the rolls, they are instantly quite stale. Now I could blame myself for putting them in the freezer in the first place, but unfortunately for Asda, Tesco's rolls don't cause me the same problems after being defrosted!
They are naturally quite dry rolls anyway, but make quite a nice change. There is a nice cheesy flavour to them. I don't even really like cheese, but I like these rolls!
As they are baked in store, the rolls come with an Asda label and a 'best before' date, but there is no nutritional information on the packet.
As I had quite an obsession with cheese topped rolls, I also bought Tesco cheese topped rolls, and I have to say I did prefer Tesco's version! The bread was considerably fresher and the cheese was even more tastier! There was also nutritional information and they came in a better sealed bag.
Despite the big names (Sandra Bullock and Bradley Cooper), I had actually never heard of the film until recently, when I decided to add to my Blockbuster list (they're now doing a LoveFilm type thing online). Anyway, so All About Steve arrived in the post and I had no idea what to expect.
The film was written by Kim Barker and directed by Phil Traill and when released in 2009, received very negative reviews, and reportedly Rotten Tomatoes put it as 96th in their top hundred worst film in the 2000s!
The film is about Mary (Sandra Bullock), who makes crosswords for her local paper, knows everything about anythign and frankly is a little crazy. She currently lives at home with her parents, and due to her lack of social life, her mum sets her up with her friends son 'Steve' (played by Bradley Cooper).
As her social skills are somewhat lacking, Steve and Mary don't even manage to go on a date, as she pounces on him straight away. Freaked out by her excessive firing of random facts during.... he tells he has to work and makes a quick getaway!
She becomes obsessed with Steve, and after losing her job, believes that it is a sign that they are destined to be together. During the film we see Mary work her away across America to be with him.
I love Sandra Bullock and think that the majority of her films are very comedic and entertaining. Although she plays her role very well and portrays Mary excellently. Bradley Cooper plays his role of Steve very well and Ken Jeong also delivers. The actors worked with what they were offered, and I cannot blame them in anyway for how this film turned out.
I thought the film was ok, and it certainly wasn't the worst film I've ever seen, but I certainly won't be purchasing it. The storyline is very weak and just lacks the X factor for a good old fashioned American comedy!
For those who want to indulge in a Hot Chocolate drinking without worrying about excessive calories and fat, then Options is definitely the right choice.
Options Hot Chocolate belongs to Twinings Foodservice (known for their tea) and I have to say, are a great invention.
When Options originally went on sale, the Belgian Chocolate flavour was one of the first flavours to be released. Since then, Twinings have almost got carried and now sell:
Ooh La La Vanilla
Options also have a new 'Indulgence' range that includes:
(they have also had a Turkish Delight flavour)
Another great thing about Options Hot Chocolate is its availability. The sachets of these hot drinks can be found at ASDA, Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Waitrose, Somerfield, Lidl and Co-Op.
The sachets of Options are VERY cheap with the average price being 30p. Supermarkets often have offers on the drinks e.g. 4 for £1 or 5 for £1 (Tesco and ASDA).
The taste of each of these drinks are lovely, and taste exactly right e.g. Mint Madness tastes of Mint and Chocolate. My only slight problem with these drinks, is that I am not a hot drink person, and when I want a hot chocolate, I like it very 'chocolatey'. I find that these drinks are very watery and adding milk a) defeats the object of the low calorie drink and b) doesn't make that much different to the thickness of the drink.
However, if you don't have issues like I do, then you will not be let down by the Options range. For approximately 40 calories for a drink with less than 1g of fat, you can't ask for a better Hot Chocolate indulgence!
I have been banking with Barclays for 12 years now and have changed my account to both a Student account and a Graduate account.
Everything was going fine (as fine as banks are anyway!) until they introduced the wonderful PINSentry device. Then I got annoyed. It is quite possibly the most inconvenient thing ever.
Before PINSentry was introduced, to log onto your account online, you had a 5 (?) digit number and a password to remember. Life was good. Then I received this little calculator looking device. Gone was the number code and the password!
Originally, to log onto your account in anyway online, you needed the PINSentry machine and your debit card. Didn't have one or the other? You're not getting online access to your account! Now they have changed it slightly so you can get onto your account without having to use the machine, but what you can do online is limited.
Personally I can't see how this prevents fraud... Before, you need to know someones Membership number, their unique code and their password. Now, as long as you can get hold of someones card and a machine, you only need to know their Membership number and PIN number...
I would say the ease of the website is quite good and everything is clearly laid out. You can pay someone, transfer money, set up e-saving accounts, and your statement is clear.
Moving on from the website onto the branches...
I tried to avoid going into the bank as much as possible. However, when I have gone in to pay in money, the service has been pleasant and easy to do. However, when I changed from a normal account to a student account, they made the process quite difficult for me. Speaking of student accounts, most banks have exciting offers and benefits for new customers. Not Barclays... I got the most useless incentives ever. It's only because a family member used to work for Barclays, that I have an account with them in the first place, and I couldn't be bothered to move banks.
Another negative event that occurred with Barclays was with my fathers card. We had gone to America on holiday, and obviously there was activity on the card that was not normal. So they blocked his card... No warning or anything, and evidently being in America, it was impossible to sort it out. Fortunately my mum had taken her bank card with her, because otherwise we would have had no access to cash.
When my dad got in touch with Barclays when we returned, he was told that he should have informed Barclays that he was going away, and they would then be more vigilant to unexpected activity on his card. I would also like to add that my dad used to be a Bank Manager at Barclays, so I dread to think what Barclays would have said to your Average Joe.
My main gripe with Barclays (and possibly banks in general), is they seem to think my money is theirs, and allowing me to have access to it is verging on prohibited.
I've not had any MAJOR problems with Barclays, and they do run in the background. However, it would be nice to have a little more respect from, not only Barclays, but all banks, because without us (their customers) they could not exist!
Until I discovered Galaxy Counters, Maltesers were my favourite chocolate product by far!
Maltesers are a product of Mars, Incorporated and are hugerly popular in the UK. With constant adverts telling us that Maltesers are 'the lighter way to enjoy chocolate', it is clear to see why people keep going back for more.
Maltesers are malted chocolate balls - a crisp, crunchy malt centre covered in chocolate. Maltesers are most recognisable for their rounded shape.
Maltesers come in various packaging - tubs, bags, boxes, tubes, buckets and of course, the Maltesers Bunny. Bags range from fun size to large share bags and are available from supermarkets, high street shops such as Superdrug, cinemas, garages... most places really!
In recent years, Mars got themselves into trouble as they made Maltesers sound like it's good for dieting. To be fair, they are probably one of the less calorie filled chocolate product.
Maltesers have gone up in price over the years and now you can buy 135g pouch for about £1.70 in most supermarkets. Garages do sell them at a higher price though. Despite the higher prices, you do get a lot of Maltesers in a bag and they will keep you entertained for quite a while!
Per 100g you can find:
Calories - 505
Carbohydrate - 62.8g
Protein - 7.9g
Fat - 24.6g
Fibre - 0.9g
As I said before, until Galaxy Counters, Maltesers were my favourite chocolate indulgence. Of course I will still eat them, but they have been knocked down to the no. 2 spot.
Everyone has their own way to eat Maltesers, and I have to say, if you have never had a Malteser, you are certainly missing out!
Around the Christmas period, chocolate manufacturers go crazy in a bid to put as much chocolate on the shelves as possible (as you are probably aware!) As much as I love chocolate, I often find some of the chocolate selection boxes/tins a bit disappointing - for me it's impossible to love everything in a selection box. However, there are two selection boxes that don't let me down... Terry's Orange Segments and Cadbury's Heroes.
Cadbury's Heroes can be found in supermarkets and some other shops (I've seen them in Superdrug as well). The Heroes come in a variety of sizes, ranging from a 220g to 950g (there is an even smaller box, but don't know its weight - it's like a taster box).
For the 220g box of Heroes, the average price at supermarkets is £3.92 and for the tin it is £8. However, around the Christmas period, there are very good offers on all selection boxes including Heroes (normally 2 for £10).
What's Inside a Heroes box?
Cadbury's Heroes are made up of miniature versions of Cadbury's chocolate bars. You can find Twirls, Eclairs, Fudge, Bournville, Dairy Milk, Caramel Dairy Milk, Dairy Milk Wholenut.
Of course it's chocolate so it's never going to be the most nutritious of food items, I thought I'd list the information anyway...
This is based on per 100g
kcal - 515
Protein - 5.8g
Carbohydrate - 60g
(of which sugar) - 57.1g
Total fat - 28.2g
(of which saturated fat) - 17g
Fibre - 0.5g
Sodium - 0.1g
Equivalent as salt - 0.25g
As I said earlier, Cadbury's Heroes are one of my favourite selection boxes, and I will certainly keep on eating them! They tast exactly the same as the bigger chocolates, and once you start eating them, you can't stop (even when you feel sick!)
HMV primarily sells DVDs, Blu-Ray, CDs, Game consoles and Games and even before the likes of Zavvi closed down, I think it is one of the best entertainment retailers out there.
In 2008, there were 692 stores which could be found across 7 countries and it is a hugely successful company.
HMV sell a LOT of DVDs - even in their smaller stores! They sell everything from Disney to Horror to Rom Coms to Thriller. They sell practically every boxset going - Friends, One Tree Hill, Sex and the City, Lost, Desperate Housewives, True Blood, 24... the list is endless.
Apart from Disney, they also stock well for children's DVDs and you will probably find what you're looking for!
HMV have their chart sections for DVDs where obviously you can find all the chart released. Aside from this, they also have a massive back catalogue of DVDs which are normally in alphabetical order (even more helpful).
Yup, HMV sell CDs. They used to sell both albums and singles, but due to digital downloads, they have reduced, if not removed the 'singles'. I have seen a tiny section for singles in some stores (that's not to say the singles aren't in every store!)
They also have a back catalogue of CDs also sorted in alphabetical order, and I have managed to find every I have been looking for there. They literally have every genre of music... pop, heavy metal, r'n'b, classical, country, dance, compilations and soundtracks.
HMV are constantly expanding their Blu-Ray section, and they possibly have the biggest range of Blu-Ray on the highstreet, and compared to the supermarkets.
Games consoles and games
HMV sell PlayStation 3's, Xbox, Nintendo Wii and DS and whatever is out there (I won't pretend i'm a console enthusiast). They have a massive range of Games but I would say that they have serious competition from stores like Game.
They sell all you iPod goodies including the iPods themselves (and the many versions of them as well). Other goodies include headphones, plugs, istations, car chargers. You get the picture....
They have a little section for merchandise kind of things like a band's merchandise (badges, t shirts, posters).
OK, HMV can be expensive. If you don't catch them on a good day (i.e. a sale), then you can find yourself getting ripped off. Fortunately, they always have offers or sales on, so you rarely pay full price unless you're extremely unfortunate.
If I was rich I would go to Waitrose. If I wanted to go to a nice clean store I would go to Sainsburys. If I wanted fantastic offers and friendly service I would go to Asda. If I was desperate... I would go to Morrisons.
I find shopping at Morrisons VERY stressful. The store that I shop at is clean and fully stocked. But I especially don't like how they have arranged the store (its quite a big store, but the layout of products makes no sense whatsoever!)
Obviously, some of the stress comes from the surrounding customers who a) don't know how to use a car park and b) don't know about common decency.
But Morrisons must be doing something wrong, because I don't get stressed out at other equally large and equally busy supermarkets...
Yes Morrisons have some good deals and you can save a lot of money. Morrisons biggest advantage is that they stock a lot of brands (as well as their own) and they have a good balance between food and household products. I can't fault their fresh foods but the chemistry between Morrisons and I just isn't there.
I would say I'm basing my opinion on my local store (which I mostly am), but other Morrisons I've been to have made my local store look like the best supermarket ever.
Nearly all supermarkets now sell DVDs, CDs and books, and having worked in the entertainment department at a supermarket, this section of a supermarket can bring in some serious money. However, I find Morrisons quite expensive. For example, I was in Morrisons yesterday and saw a dvd priced for £14.99. Other retailers are selling the same dvd for around £11.50... That's quite a difference in price!
I know a lot of people love Morrisons, but I just don't have the patience with this supermarket.
New Look is a fashion retailer that can be found on almost any high street across the UK. They sell clothes designed for men, women, teens and children and in my opinion, the company has really come into its own.
Although New Look is normally associated with providing clothing for women and teenage girls, they now provide clothing for children and men. The stores are normally split into 3 sections, with the womens section taking up about 1/2 of each store (as a woman, I am certainly not complaining!)
The Womens Clothing
In the womens section of the store a customer can find t-shirts, skirts, dresses, jeans, trousers, shoes, nightwear, underwear and accessories (to name but a few!).
Maternity clothing and clothing for Tall people can also be found in their stores. What I like most about New Look is they are a very fashion conscious company, and do their best to provide fashionable clothing for the lowest possible prices.
In most stores a man's section can now be found. Here men can find t-shirts, suits, trousers, jeans, jackets and underwear (once again to name but a few!) Although I am not a man, I personally think that New Look provide some of the best high street menswear.
Teens and Kids
New Looks teen range has been running for a looooong time, and provide relevant fashionable clothing for teens for suitable prices for the age range. One thing I have just realised though (and correct me if I'm wrong) but there is no clothing range for teenage boys...
The 'Kids' range caters for boys and girls aged between 2-10 and they sell some lovely clothing for children.
Although New Look is not Primark cheap, it is one of the cheapest high street stores and the quality of their clothing is mostly flawless. I have bought a lot of clothing from New Look over the years (my university town had converted a Littlewoods into a MASSIVE New Look...) and nothing has frayed or fallen apart. Their shoes do wear out but through my own personal experience, I have put them through their paces (pun not intended). To be honest though, its not like you're forking out £50 for a pair of shoes - more like £20!
I have struggled to shop there recently, but that's more because I'm not into maxi dresses etc. However, I will certainly be taking a look at the winter collection AND I don't even have to leave my house - I can just go on their website!