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cyberem78

cyberem78
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Member since: 15.09.2008

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    • Courgette Seeds / Plant / 1 Reading / 1 Rating
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      25.12.2014 18:25
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      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Always produce lots of fruit"
      • "Plants look attractive"
      • "Fun to grow"

      Disadvantages

      • "Need a large pot or space to grow in."

      I Love Growing Courgettes!

      I started to grow my own vegetables about five years ago. I thought that it would be quite fun to do so, that it might save money and that it would help me connect with the environment. After several years of planting I can wholeheartedly say my favourite thing to grow in my garden at home is the courgette. This is because I find them so easy to grow, they are always abundant with fruits and they also look very attractive while growing.

      You can buy courgette seeds from garden centres but on the highstreet your best bet is to go to Wilkinson. The Dooyoo picture here shows Mr Fothergill's Courgette Seeds which you can buy there. You are able to get courgette seeds in different varieties of fruit. I am basing my review on the Zucchini F1 variety.

      The seeds come in a thin paper packet and inside are an unspecified number of seeds. Courgette seeds are quite large, flat and a bit like melon seeds to look at. They need to be planted in individual pots. I use small to medium sized pots, often using old plastic popcorn tubs and yogurt pots. I plant slightly earlier than suggested in March. A growing guide on the seed packet advises to sow in April. However, I like to start mine off early. There is a risk in this if the weather in late April and May is not very good, however, but I have not had too many problems concerning this.

      I would advise growing a few more plants than you think you need to compensate for any problems when growing. I have had a seedling die and I have had one seedling grow into a dwarf plant which was not viable. The seedlings shoot up very quickly and grow into small, sturdy plants which like a lot of water. I keep these on a warm windowsill until it's warm enough for them to go outdoors. During the transition period I would advise putting them out in the day and bringing them in at night for at least one week. Make sure there are no more frosts before finally planting out.

      Courgettes need a football sized hole so you can plant them in large tubs or directly into the ground. Mine prefer full sun conditions. They still like to drink a lot and especially do when the fruits grow. The large yellow flowers are stunning but not every flower produces a fruit although the flowers themselves are edible! Harvest the fruits when they are 5-6 inches long to keep the plant producing.

      Watch out for issues such as diseased plants. If leaves on plants look white and patchy remove them immediately and dispose of them away from the area.

      I would definitely recommend growing courgettes from seed, especially to those who wish to interest children in gardening. They are one of the easiest things to grow and the courgettes are so delicious and versatile.

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    • Swiss Cheese Plant / Plant / 3 Readings / 3 Ratings
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      24.12.2014 10:19
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      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Large and Majestic"
      • "Look Amazing"

      Disadvantages

      • "Difficult to support branches"

      A Beautiful Large Houseplant

      Many years ago I 'rescued' an almost dead Swiss Cheese Plant from a family member. It only had four leaves left on it which were wilting and brown. She had kept the plant in her cool, windy hallway and neglected to feed it much. I took the plant, re-potted it, fed it and put it in the warmest room of my home where it still stands now, and has done for more than ten years at least, abundant with leaves (it has around 35 leaves now). The plant genuinely feels like a companion to me as it has been around for so long and has imposed it's grandeur and majesty on the household.

      Often shortened to just 'Cheese Plant' these plants make for excellent, large houseplants. Mine just about matches me in height (it is around 5ft tall) and it is potted in a large, deep pot (around 11 inches in diameter) which is actually an outdoor ceramic style pot. The pot has a drainage hole at the bottom so it also has a ceramic plate underneath. These plants can actually grow up to 65ft but are unlikely to grow much higher than mine in indoor, potted condition.

      The plant has rather loose, spindled branches which support very large, glossy heart-shaped leaves. Most of the leaves are lobed with the younger parts of the plant developing leaves without the distinctive lobe pattern which looks almost like striping. Some of the leaves on my plant are enormous and rather heavy. In wild conditions these plants will grow up against trees but in a pot they need to be carefully propped up and tethered to support poles. This can be rather difficult since the plant literally has no rigidity in its main 'stem'. I actually have several bamboo poles in one pot which support the plant at various heights. The stem literally has to be tied to the support poles to give the plant shape and structure.

      As soon as I got my Cheese Plant I understood that it enjoyed warm conditions. My plant still grows towards the window and the light though, meaning all of it's leaves face the same way. It also prefers to be fed water that is not ice cold but lukewarm. I water the plant around every four/five days in all seasons but only provide an abundance of water in the summer. Otherwise I only provide enough around a half pint of water per feed. I keep the leaves clean from dust by wiping with a damp cloth every few weeks. The plants may need re-potting and I have re-potted mine twice. I recommend getting someone to help you with the plants re-positioning since they are so large it can be very tricky!

      I would definitely recommend these plants to anyone looking for a large plant to fit a space in their home. They are a plant worth caring for and nurturing since they are so very attractive and they make any room look stunning.

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    • Buddleja / Plant / 3 Readings / 4 Ratings
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      23.12.2014 17:56
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      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "highly attractive to butterflies and pollinating insects"
      • "Beautiful to look at"

      Disadvantages

      • "Can require some harsh pruning"

      An Abundance Of Butterflies

      I have a Buddleja in my garden that was planted over ten years ago and I consider it to be one of the best features of my garden. I first acquired it from a family member who said they were a fantastic plant for attracting butterflies, something I dearly wanted to do.

      The most recognisable Buddleja plants are the purple varieties often seen up and down the country along railway lines. I have a white flowering variety called the Buddleja davidii or 'White Bouquet'.

      It is a tall shrub with thick woody branches at the base from which thinner branches will grow. Each branch, which has large deep green leaves along their length, then produces one large head of many tiny flowers at the end of the branch. Often branches will have several other flower heads behind this but they tend to be smaller in size. My own Buddleja tends to grow about 7ft tall every year from a core height of older wood which is about 5ft. It grows profusely every year and is always quite thick (3-4ft width) so I cut it back every Autumn to about three or four inches to the base of each individual flowering branch, leaving a few buds at the base of the older wood for next years growth.

      The flowers on Buddleja shrubs are very beautiful, grand and imposing. Each head, when looked at closely, actually has tiny compact flowers that are bunched together. The flower heads are like very large cones which taper away to a thin point.

      The Buddleja is extremely valuable to wildlife gardeners. I always see dozens of butterflies on the flowers and they remain their for hours drinking up the precious nectar. Peacocks and Red Admirals tend to be the main visitors but I also see commas, large whites, skippers and others. The flowers are also very valuable to bees, wasps and flies. At the height of flowering the Buddleja is literally covered in dozens of butterflies, hence why the plant is commonly known as 'the butterfly bush'. My Buddleja tends to flower in mid to late summer, but I live in the north of England and have noticed that Buddleja bushes further south tend to flower sooner.

      In order to prolong the flowering on the Buddleja I deadhead any dead flowers from the shrub as soon as they die off, allowing the nutrients to go into other parts of the bush. The flowers are always an excellent source of nectar for insects later on in the summertime.

      I would definitely recommend the Buddleja to anyone with a medium to large sized garden who wish to plant something that is beneficial to insects. I am hoping to plant a second Buddleja in my patch soon as I think they are one of the finest shrubs you can have in your garden!

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    • Peace Lily / Plant / 4 Readings / 4 Ratings
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      23.12.2014 14:21
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      Advantages

      • "Easy to care for."
      • Beautiful

      Disadvantages

      • None.

      A Beautiful Houseplant

      The Peace Lily are household plants in the UK. I have several Peace Lily plants all over my house and will probably end up with more after propagating the ones I have at the moment. They are beautiful medium sized plants which require little care or space so they are perfect for any room.

      The plants have long slender lush green leaves that grow in single stems and which form a cluster. New leaves grow from the root base. When the plant flowers there will usually be one or two main flower heads per small plant. The flower stems are twice as long as the leaves and have a woody stem. Each flower is a one petal creamy white cocoon with a nobbled pollen covered core. They are rather striking to look at. Mine tend to bloom at different times of the year. The flowers last a couple of weeks before turning brown and then they should be trimmed back.

      The plants are really easy to care for and can withstand cool to warm conditions. I have plants on warm (but not in full sun) windowsills as well as in shady spots and both do well. I tend to give my plants mildly warm water rather than ice cold as this doesn't chill the roots. They also like to be misted with water sprays in the summer and you should keep their leaves dust free. Often one of two leaves will die off and should be trimmed away at the base.

      The plants grow quite rapidly hence the reason why I have so many. When the plants become too big for their pots they can be separated. I tend to simply half the plants and am careful not to damage the roots of either plant when re-potting. The pots I use are around 10 inches in diameter.

      I recently read that Peace Lily plants have incredible air purification properties and as such are heralded as the perfect plant for the home and especially for place like the office. They certainly make my home look brighter and healthier and they are my number one choice of a houseplant. I would recommend them to anyone who is looking for an ideal houseplant and also to those who don't want to spend too long on the upkeep of their household plants!

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    • Verbena / Plant / 7 Readings / 7 Ratings
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      22.12.2014 18:21
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      (Rating)
      2 Comments

      Advantages

      • "Easy to grow/maintain"
      • "Very attractive to butterflies/bees"
      • "They look fanastic."

      Disadvantages

      • None

      Beautiful Purple Flowers Adored By Butterflies!

      A couple of years ago I saw a deal for a bundle pack of flower seeds for a very cheap purchase price. My garden was looking quite bare and I wanted some colourful flowers that would grow at all heights to create some interesting visuals. I also wanted flowers that would attract insects and in the catalogue where I bought these seeds it said that Verbena was particularly attractive to butterflies.

      When I got the seeds I planted them in a small tub especially meant for seedlings with some fresh compost. I placed this in a warm windowsill and eventually I grew about five separate seedlings. I did expect more but I was happy enough with what I managed to grow.

      I planted the seedlings outside when it became warm enough in the beginning of May and used a home-made cloche to protect the seedlings until they had adjusted to the climate and had grown substantially to be more sturdy. I planted them in a full sun spot in the garden and they were alongside a fence which they now lean against slightly since they have grown tall.

      The variety I have (Verbena bonariensis) is extremely tall (around 6-7 ft) with thin spindly leaves that grow in a V-shape. They flower from June to September in a strong purple with tiny bunches of petals on little heads which you wouldn't think would be so attractive to insects. However, I can testify that both butterflies and bees absolutely love this plant! I especially see a lot of peacock butterflies on the plant. However I have also seen Red Admirals, commas, skippers and several white varieties on them. I also had a nest of tree bees frequently visiting the flowers this last year. The flowers have a rather mild fragrance to me but they must be very attractive to the insects! The head of the flowers are at eye level so you can get excellent views of the landing insects! The flowers really are a beautiful addition to any garden and look fantastic in a flower bed with other lower level flowers nearby.

      The plants I cultivated have flowered for two years now. They are best trimmed back in the spring and there is some dead woody branches which usually need to be removed. However, they are very low maintenance in general. I would definitely recommend these to any wildlife gardener who might want to increase insect visitation to the garden.

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      • Tesco Clubcard / Credit Card / 5 Readings / 5 Ratings
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        22.12.2014 17:53
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • Generous
        • "Points build up rapidly"

        Disadvantages

        • None

        A Wonderful Rewards Scheme!

        Tesco ClubCard is a loyalty/rewards card for the supermarket retailer Tesco. It allows you to earn points every time you shop at the store. The store then converts the points to pounds every few months and sends you a voucher for the amount of points you've earned to spend in store.

        I have a lot of store loyalty cards in my purse but my favourite card is the Clubcard. Why? I find it's so easy to earn points and it's also a very generous point conversion with options often available to double your points to spend on certain departments in Tesco.

        As a member of the Clubcard scheme the store also send you out money off vouchers for certain grocery products. These are often tailored to your interests and are based on products you have bought in the past when you have swiped your Clubcard. You can use these alongside your accumulated points voucher too, so it can end up as quite a substantial saving amount.

        Points are awarded per pound per shop and 1 point equals 1 penny. You can also gain points from doing things such as taking your own shopping bag into store (1 point per bag). There are also occasional point making opportunities that crop up online such as consumer surveys or product testing panels.

        Your vouchers can be used online with a code printed on each voucher or taken into store and swiped alongside your Clubcard. The store often runs promotions where you can double your points if you have at least £5 in points saved. I have only partaken in this once and managed to double the voucher and get £10 of products in the pet department! It's a very appealing deal!

        As a Clubcard customer you have to register with your full details and then you have an online account where you can print off unused vouchers, check your points balance and where you have used the card lately, see where you can spend points and more. You can use your vouchers in any store you like. There has been some controversy recently about customers having their points vouchers stolen. Incredibly anyone can take another customer's voucher and scan it with their own Clubcard. I think this is about the only flaw in the scheme!

        As far as supermarket incentives go I think the Tesco Clubcard scheme is number one and it certainly makes me return to shop at the store even when I live closer to a rival supermarket! I would definitely recommend this card to anyone who ever shops at Tesco. It can save you a lot of money!

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      • More +
        20.12.2014 21:44
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        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Lots of fast paced dance tracks."

        Disadvantages

        • "Some cheesy ballads"

        .A Super 1980's Dance Album

        This album was released at the tail end of the 1980's and it's a dance music classic, more so for those who experienced the hype around the group during this period. The London Boys were a high energy dancing duo with fantastic looks and passionate vocals singing tracks written and produced by German Ralf Rene Maue, whose association with Pete Waterman's Hit Factory helped propel the pair into the charts.

        The album contains 12 tracks with a mix of thumping club dance songs and cheesy pop ballads. The stand outs on the album include their hits 'London Nights' and 'Requiem'. The latter track is my particular favourite as it has a slightly dark feeling to it that distinguishes it from any similar dance tracks at the time. It is actually mixed with Gregorian chants which gives the track a very strange and spiritual feeling despite it having a typical 1980's synth beat. It also uses a spoken rap style chorus. It's a powerful, haunting and unforgettable song.

        There are a lot of fun tracks on the album such as 'The Midi Dance', an anthem to having a good time as well as 'Kimbalay Ma Ma Mama Say' which has a jaunty rhythm which hits every inch of your body.

        The softer tracks on the album aren't as powerful and are a little bit corny and overly sentimental. It's the kind of stuff that would only very young kids today would appreciate. A particularly nauseating ballad dedicated to 'Sandra' is perhaps the lowest point of the album.

        A lot of the tracks carry some very powerful messages and one that has always stuck with me since my youth is 'Harlem Desire' in which the duo sing about a desire for inner city peace and for re-education of youngsters indoctrinated into gun violence. The song is a real belter and it makes you want to sing, move and change the world!

        Sadly, The London Boys did not have a long career and their lives were cut short not long after having top ten success with several of the singles from this album. It's an album I love to play and I would hope that young people are still discovering it today.

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      • Aldi / Highstreet Shopping / 9 Readings / 9 Ratings
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        18.12.2014 12:45
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        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Branded items also cheaper than other stores."
        • "Great own range."
        • "Cheap but great quality!"

        Disadvantages

        • None

        A Great Supermarket That Saves Me So Much Money!

        I early ever used to shop at Aldi. My main stores were Asda and Tesco. However, over the last few years I heard so much positive feedback from friends and in the media about Aldi that I started to shop there more regularly. Now I can wholeheartedly say that Aldi is my favourite supermarket store!

        Aldi has a reputation for selling cheap food and at first I thought this might mean that the quality of the food would not be as good. However, after trying many of the products at Aldi I can testify that they have an outstanding range of shop's own items. Not only that but they also sell a few brand name items at a much lower price than rival supermarkets.

        What I particularly like about the store is that there are so many different and unusual products compared to other supermarkets. They have some really creative food choices available. They have excellent shop's own products in every food category you can think of. I particularly like their tinned vegetables, cereals, chilled dips, snack foods, confectionery, dried sauces and packeted food and personal products. If I had to choose some favorites I'd say their breakfast biscuits, the tea tree hair conditioner and their soya milk.

        There is often a section in store where 'special' items have been brought in and are available for a short period of time. I love this section as you can often get exclusive items for a fraction of the price you'd pay anywhere else! The store also sells non grocery items which they situate in large stalls down a few aisles. You can get everything from candles to walking boots. Again, these items are brought in and sold until they are gone, so you often have to be quick. I've gotten hold of such items as a cycle pump, cushions, drawing pads and jumpers at really low costs!

        The in-store environment is really nice although I do note an increased security presence in the store compared to other supermarkets. The till service is a little strange too. You feel a bit rushed and are not allowed to pack your items into bags at the end of the till. You have to go off to the side and pack them once you have paid. I find this a little inconvenient, especially when the store is busy.

        The store have a great selection of fresh fruit and vegetables and also fresh meat and fish. They do what they call a 'super 6' promotion where they have six items of fresh fruit or vegetable produce and six meat cuts at a reduced price or on special offer. These promotions are easy to spot in the store.

        I have huge praise for Aldi. My shopping bill is literally around £20 cheaper than in any other supermarket. If I was to spend as much here as in Asda/Tesco I'd find it difficult to fill my shopping trolley! Go and take a look!

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      • Nectar Card / Credit Card / 5 Readings / 5 Ratings
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        18.12.2014 10:02
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        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Can get money off shopping with points."

        Disadvantages

        • "Points are worth less than other loyalty cards."

        The Nectar Flows Slow But Steady

        I've had a Nectar Card for many years now. I first acquired it to gain reward points on my shopping in Sainsburys but the card has since partnered with other brands and firms and there are a number of ways you can gain points. You can then use your points for a number of different things such as money of your shopping, to gain a reduction in price or generate a special offer for a number of brands, days out, entertainment treats and so on. I primarily use my points to get money off my shopping at Sainsburys.

        You can earn points in a number of ways. If you swipe your card on every shopping trip to Sainsburys you earn points according to how much you have spent. You can also earn points from signing up to certain firms. For instance, I get my energy services through British Gas and earn points just by being a customer. You can also earn points if you shop at certain stores online. You have to go through the Nectar website to establish a connection to your card prior to shopping though. Ebay have recently started awarding customers with points if they link their card to their account. A whole list of shops where you can earn points is available at the Nectar website. Until recently there was a scheme called Nectar Adpoints where you could earn points by watching adverts online but the scheme has recently disbanded this. However, you can still earn points if you install the Nectar search toolbar on your computer. You earn one point for every two searches with a maximum allowance of 100 points a month.

        I have always thought that the Nectar card was the least generous loyalty card around. It's certainly more difficult for me to accumulate points on this card than any other loyalty card I possess. The points' worth approximates to £2.50 for every 500 points so it's half the amount in pounds to whatever amount of points you have. There are many spending options that don't appeal to me personally although there is a lot of choice on how to redeem the points.

        I think this is still a card worth having if you even just use one of the services where you can accumulate points as it all adds up eventually! It's quite handy to be able to take the card to Sainsburys and just tell them to take off £5 off my shopping bill!

        I would recommend this card to anyone who is a regular shopper or anyone who uses any service such as Ebay where you can gain Nectar points. It may take longer to accumulate enough points to spend but you'll get there in the end!

        http://www.nectar.com/

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      • Barclaycard / Credit Card / 5 Readings / 5 Ratings
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        17.12.2014 17:22
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Good detailed statements"
        • Convenient

        Disadvantages

        • "Call line staff could be improved"

        Spending Made Easy?

        I first took out a Barclaycard Credit Card about thirteen years ago and it's the only credit card I use now. Over the years I have gone from having a regular card to a Gold card, a Graduate card and I now have a Platinum card.

        I have had some issues with the card over the years. The first year I had the card I did not receive a statement and was charged £25 late fees for not paying on time. I believe this charge is now around £12. I have also had the card blocked after my spending was flagged as being unusual.

        I have also recently been a victim of online card fraud. I do feel the way the issue was dealt with could have been much better. Firstly I didn't receive notification that my card had been stopped. Then when I rang the company the member of staff spoke in very poor English. He went over my transactions with me but actually rounded up some of the transaction amounts to the next pound which was extremely confusing! He eventually confirmed all of my authorised spending but somehow failed to tell me about the fraudulent transactions and then reactivated my card, allowing the fraudulent transactions to go through! I eventually got this sorted out and the company sent me a 'claim form' which I had to fill in and return. They agreed the card details had been stolen and deleted the transactions from my account within a month of the event. This limited my stress about the matter a lot!

        I have had no other problems with the card. I get a monthly statement by email. This is encrypted so you need a password to access a PDF file. Then you can pay in a bank or online. The statements are always very well written with full information about when and where each transaction took place.

        These credit cards are of course widely accepted and are convenient to use. You can withdraw cash from an ATP with these cards but I believe there is a small charge to do so. I personally do not use my credit card in this way.

        I would definitely recommend this card to anyone. I have found that the bank are very helpful in giving you a card that suits your needs. The company are generally very easy to deal with although some call centre staff need some extra training, in my opinion!

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      • Barclays Bank / Bank / 2 Readings / 2 Ratings
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        17.12.2014 16:59
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Comprehensive Information provided about your accounts"

        Disadvantages

        • None.

        I'm Happy To Stay With Barclays!

        I have been a customer of Barclays bank for about 25 years. I hold a current account with them and I also have a Barclaycard credit card. I'm obviously very happy with the current account services as I have stayed with the bank so long!

        I used to have a local branch near me but they closed a few years ago however there are still several branches within a few miles of me. I have always found staff in the banks to be very helpful and efficient.

        I started using the online banking services about ten years ago and the online layout is very well designed and easy to navigate. Online services allow you to transfer money, pay bills, view account details, set up regular payments to a company and more. The company recently started using chip and pin system for their online banking. They sent me a card reader soon after the scheme began. However, it is an optional security level during login.

        I receive a quarterly paper statement for my current account. It's extremely well presented with each transaction having full details printed for your records of exactly where the money has been spent or withdrawn and/or who has paid money into your account. I also receive a yearly statement with full details of money in and money out of my account and more details. I generally find them to offer very comprehensive details about my transactions.

        I have a debit card linked to my current account. Contactless payment cards are available. I have had my card stopped a couple of times due to worries about security. It turned out to be nothing (just me overspending!) but it's handy to know that the bank are so quick to spot unusual patterns in spending and to take precautions to keep your money secure.

        I would definitely recommend this bank to anyone looking to open a current or savings account as I feel it provides a great service to customers.

        http://www.barclays.co.uk/

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      • Asda Smart Price Kettle / Kettle / 8 Readings / 8 Ratings
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        16.12.2014 19:57
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • Cheap

        Disadvantages

        • "Water spills out of lid if upturned too much"

        A Very Cheap Kettle!

        I bought this because I wanted to take a kettle away with me on holiday. I actually ended up not using it and put it away in a cupboard. When my regular kettle stopped working recently I remembered I had this Smartprice Asda model stored away and decided to put it to good use!

        The kettle comes boxed with a very limited information leaflet included as the instructions. There is, to be fair, little construction needed but I spent a long time trying to find out how to assemble the filter in the pouring lip! My tip is to align the peg-like clip on the filter with the central line of three raised ridges inside the kettle body. Make sure this clips in as my net-like filter came loose not long after I first set it up.

        The kettle sits on an electrical base. It has a measuring line up the edge of the body which is tall and slim and it has a transparent strip so you can see how much water is inside. The lid of the kettle has a handy plastic lever which you can open the lid with. There is a little light up switch on the back of the kettle which lets you know when it's boiling and which flicks off automatically when it has boiled.

        The kettle is not perfect though. After a few days use I made the mistake of tipping it over at a heavy angle when pouring coffee. The water does not stay inside the lid and in fact 'bleeds' out of the edges of the lid. So you have to be very careful when pouring the water out. The less water the easier it is to pour gently.

        The kettle was only £5 and for this price I'm more than happy with the performance of the kettle. I didn't expect it to be perfect at £5 but I'm able to live with the fact that you have to watch how you pour out the water in case it spills out the edges of the lid. I would, of course, not recommend this kettle to anyone with kids or teens who may have started to boil up their own brew at breakfast time. I would also give a word of caution to the elderly who may not have a perfect grip on the kettle.

        This is available at Asda stores and online.

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      • Avon Supershock Mascara / Make Up / 4 Readings / 3 Ratings
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        11.12.2014 13:13
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Creates a dramatic look"
        • "Is not clumpy/flaky"

        Disadvantages

        • "Too heavy and thick"

        Eye Make-up For Girls Who Like To Party!

        I recently bought this from my Avon representative as I was looking for a new mascara and this one was on a special offer. It is normally £8.50 from either the catalogue or the online shop.

        The mascara comes in a very large tube which holds 10ml of product. It's wrapped in a plastic label which needs to be removed. Ingredients and product information can be found on this outer label rather than printed on the bottle.

        The mascara brush is long and thick. The brush design comprises of small, soft plastic 'whiskers' (on a straight, stiff brush) which are very close together. As you apply your lashes are squeezed through these bristles and coated with the mascara.

        The brand state this mascara can award "extreme results". The mascara is very thick and has a sticky consistency. I have the shade 'black' and it looks charcoal grey until you apply it after which it looks very dark. The mascara goes on very thickly and feels heavy on the lashes. It makes my lashes stick together because the brush bristles are too close together. It gives volume without the definition. It pushes the root of my lashes together and makes them look like doll's lashes! The brand actually advise putting two coats on put there is no way I could! I would feel like I had cement on my lashes if I did this! One application of the mascara feels heavy enough and I can feel it on my lashes whenever I blink. It also feels grainy and uneven even though there is no signs of it looking clumpy.

        The mascara has excellent staying power and doesn't flake off. It is also fine for contact lens wearers. It can be easily removed at the end of the day/night.

        I would say that the overall effect of the mascara is to give a 'party girl' or fake lash look as it is quite dramatic and heavy. It's not a look I personally want to achieve very often and I hoped that this mascara could also be used for a more casual make-up face. However, it's tricky to apply this as a light coat. I also generally don't like the way it feels on my lashes as it's just so heavy and I am always aware of it being there. I would not purchase this again but I would recommend to girls and ladies who are looking for a product that can create a very dramatic eye-make up effect.

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      • More +
        09.12.2014 16:45
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • Cheap
        • Protecting

        Disadvantages

        • None

        A Lovely Lip Balm!

        I have recently started buying products from Avon because a representative started delivering the catalogue to my home. One of my latest purchases was this Avon Care Protecting Lip Balm which was on special offer for only 99p. I thought it was a bargain and because I use lip balms frequently I bought the item.

        The balm is a stick balm and comes in a small plastic tube. There is a red label which is designed like a festive parcel with a gold ribbon across the middle. Full ingredients and other information is printed on the label which can also be peeled back to reveal more details. The tube has a securely fitted top which clicks on and off easily. The base of the lip balm has a ridged segment which you must twist to push up the lip balm from the inner tube.

        The brand state this product will leave lips "softened and protected". The formula contains a blend of skin softening shea butter and luxurious almond oil in order to provide the best care for lips exposed to dry or cold conditions.

        The balm is white in colour so it does not change the colour of the lips at all. It has a pleasant fragrance which reminds me of vanilla or shortbread. It's basically a mildly sweet scent which is very pleasant. I'd say the fragrance would be more suitable for a woman than a man.

        The balm can be applied to the lips very easily and slides onto the lip surface with one swipe of the tube. It's adherent and gives wonderful coverage immediately. It doesn't feel too thick or sticky. In fact it almost feels invisible as it's so comfortable to wear the balm! It stops my lips from drying out or cracking which is something that often happens to me during winter. This balm is very protective and it's good staying power means that despite what I'm doing or where I am the balm stays put. There is only a small amount of transfer from my lips onto things like drinking glasses. The balm doesn't rub or wear off when I rub my lips together so it gives me hours of protection. My lips feel moist, healthy and comfortable.

        The balm is versatile too as it can be used as a base for lipstick or gloss. Since it's transparent on the lips and not thick in substance it provides a smooth layer of waxy butter on which I can paint my lip colour.

        I'm really pleased with my purchase and think this is an inexpensive little lip balm that I'm going to get a lot of pleasure from using this winter and the rest of the year. I would certainly buy it again and would recommend to ladies who use lip balms often. It is available through Avon reps or online.

        http://avonshop.co.uk/

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      • More +
        08.12.2014 15:40
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • Cheap
        • Soothing

        Disadvantages

        • None

        Got A Bad Cold?

        I've got a terrible cold right now and a few days ago stocked up on a lot of cough sweets, painkillers and medicine to get me through the next week or so. I have used these Halls Extra Strong cough sweets previously. I mainly purchase them because they are one of the cheapest cough sweets available. I bought my latest pack in a 2-pack from a discount store for around 75p. The pack size is 33.5g with around 10 sweets per pack.

        These are menthol flavoured boiled sweets which aim to help people with colds breathe more easily. I have always thought of these as being primarily aimed at clearing nasal passages rather than soothing a sore throat but the swallowing action combined with the warm menthol DOES help me personally to deal with a sore throat.

        Since I last purchased these sweets they have changed shape. They used to be square with a deep crater indent in the middle with quite sharp edges. Now they are like a pillow shape stamped with the letter 'H' and are completely smooth and sleek. This is an excellent change as the sweet feels so much better in the mouth. When you suck a lot of these you need a soft edged sweet so that your tongue doesn't end up red raw!

        The sweets have a sharp, menthol flavour which radiates from the sweet as soon as it starts to melt in the mouth. These are boiled sugar based sweets so they melt away slowly and have a sweet aftertaste. They start to work immediately on insertion into the mouth with a vapour action enabling you to breathe more clearly and calmly. I wouldn't say that the vapour action prevents a blocked up nose or a cough but it certainly allows me to get a deep, less painful breath. It soothes my throat because I am constantly swallowing and the menthol feels both warm and cool at the same time along the lining of the throat. It is very satisfying!

        Full ingredients are listed on the side of the pack and they are marked as being suitable for vegetarians. The pack has a numerical code on the side which lists the numbers 1-5 with the 5 being circled to show that these sweets are high strength menthol. They are suitable for age 6 and over.

        I personally feel these Halls Extra Strong sweets offer as much cough and cold relief as any other lozenges and yet they are probably the cheapest on the market. I will therefore buy them again in the future and would recommend them to anyone else who is unlucky enough to have caught a cold!

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