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I've been with Barclays for just over a year, I originally joined them to open a student account (as I started university last September) The original application was done in-branch, and the advisor who helped was polite and went through all of the services I would have as part of my student account.
Whenever I go into the bank, I am met by happy people who smile and say hello/good morning/good afternoon and are always willing to help if there's something I'm not sure on (like using the quick deposit machine and applying to have my overdraft increased) I also like the counter service; yes there is usually a queue, but the staff will try and deal with it as quickly as possible (offering a different deposit option for those with cash etc) The counter staff are well-trained and do their job properly, ensuring that the account is yours and whether you want to pay a bill/deposit cheques or cash/withdraw money, that it happens as swiftly as possible with little bother.
I also like the way they treat you as a person, and not just a number on their lists, and take the time to find out if you need any help or anything else, and suggesting other products that you are under no obligation to buy.
Yes, like most staff, they have off-days, as does everyone, but this is a small price to pay for good customer service.
I have one of these. I'm actually using it whilst sat on the train to write this review :)
When I got the modem, I paid (I think) around £40 for the modem and for 3GB worth of use (which would last as long as necessary - for me, about 2 months) I was going to use it to see how much I would need would I need to get one on contract.
Dongles are really useful if you commute or travel a lot, as you can use them pretty much anywhere you get a phone signal (which is nice :) ) However, in comparison to norma broadband, it has to be expected that tese will take longer to load the page, as they either work on 3G or HSDPA - and these are well below wired systems' capabilities.
They are pretty easy to use on both Windows and Macs, having used this dongle firstly on a PC and then on a Mac (Windows XP and Vista, Mac OS X) It's harder to install on the Mac, as you need to download the software, but it is easily found on the internet. Another niggle is that the top-up only lasts for a month, and then you need to top up again. Good for a casual user, but for a business I would suggest going contract if it was needed everyday.
The main nuisances are the slow speed and the ease of losing signal. The price is pretty good (either £10 for 1GB or £15 for 3GB) and you can get started kits that would give you an indication of how much you need to spend.
I got the Collector's Edition of this for my birthday, and it was a well-wanted present.
AC/DC are one of the world's best known rock bands. They've been going for what feels like forever, so it only seems right that they do the soundtrack for one of the year's most anticipated film sequels.
The main niggle I had is that there are no new tracks on there, only tracks that have been done before. It would have been nice to see an Iron Man 2 exclusive track that wouldn't be released anywhere else, and it would have made this just that little bit sweeter.
The Collector's Edition comes in an A4 hardback book format, similar to an annual. The first disc contains 15 songs, some featured in the album, some not, but it's a good mix of AC/DC songs. The second DVD features some live and some video versions of 9 songs on the album, and also contains a 'Making of' of Shoot To Thrill. This second disc is a good addition and makes it a little more desirable.
In the attached book (not really a booklet) there are liner notes for each song, and a reprint of the comic "The Invincible Iron Man" (Issue 1 from 1968) but it has a speciall commissioned and created AC/DC related cover done by Adi Granov. There's also a back-cover cartoon by Angus Young, and a sheet of stickers, as well as an AC/DC/Iron Man related poster.
This is a good buy for the die-hard Iron Man fan, or even an AC/DC fan. The book looks hardwearing, but at the moment it's been put away so it can't get damaged. It's not cheap at £34.99, but is worth it for the DVD of live videos and the AC/DC related copy of Iron Man issue 1.
I've been using Ryanair on and off for a few years now (usually to fly to a mate of mine in Finland, as the airport is nearer him) and I've not really had too many problems.
I mean, yeah, they're cheap and they charge an extortionate amount for using debit cards and booking in hold luggage, but in some cases it can be reasonable when taking into account the flight prices (for example, flying to see my friend and booking it early, £60. Adding in the debit card "tax" they love, £65. And then adding hold luggage on the way back, £85) I mean, £85 for a two and a half hour flight return isn't too bad in my books, dependant on what the other airlines chrge (usually around £300) but I do hate the way the staff treat you, like you're there to be a cash cow instead of a customer.
I object ot being treated like a criminal with my hand luggage, and that it has to be a certain size/weight or it goes hold luggage. Well, sorry Ryanair, that's not good enough. Not all your agents check do they?
Sorry for my rant, but onto the website.
Now, the website is pretty basic. You can pick your airports and your flight times, and then it shows the prices. All pretty easy and pretty reasonable if you ask me. You can also see if going slightly before or slightly after makes a difference to the price (which it usually will, as like any company they charge extra during holidays and peak periods)
What I don't like is the instant assumption you want all the extras, and that you have to opt-out of them otherwise they will charge you for everything they can! And this is: priority boarding, overpriced insurance, hold baggage per person per flight, debit/credit card charge. This REALLY annoys me, I see no reason for all the charges since most times of year they make tons out of people. But I digress (again)
The website is pretty easy to use, once you've unticked all the stuff you don't want, it's through to the payment screens, which, again, are easy to use and show in either Euros, pounds or dollars (if I remember correctly, I may be wrong) You then have to pay, and wait for the itinary email, which is usually quick in coming. It has your transaction/reference number, and also contains your flight details, so you can make sure you know when you're going.
Checking in is pretty simple too. You have to fill in the boxes for the one of 3 options (all different things in case you forget something) and you can adjust or add things on that page before checking in. I also check the flight times are still the same, as they say, everything is "subject to change" (shudders)
Printing out the boarding passes is pretty painless ,and is a lot better in my opinion (But I don't see WHY a £10 per flight levy is needed for a piece of paper to be printed out by the customer and kept by them til their flight. Another annoying thing)
Well, the main thing is: If you don't mind paying for all the things that should be included, on a flight longer than it takes so they can say their flights arrive on time, I'd reccommend them to anyone.
This is the prequel to Lord of the Rings, and explains how Bilbo and Gandalf met, and how Bilbo got the ring. Bilbo goes on a treasure hunt after Gandalf says to 13 dwarves he is a master thief, and they set off to see Smaug the dragon to steal his treasure. Bilbo and the dwarves have different mishaps (including being captured by trolls) on the way to Smaug.
This book has always stuck in my head as its the first Tolkien book I read (my dad had then from when I was small) and I've always enjoyed reading it. I used to fall asleep reading this and was the reason my dad's copy got wrecked. This book has always been enjoyable as Tolkien weaves the words of the world around you and you feel like you're really there, enjoying the adventures with Bilbo and the dwarves. There is also the first meeting with Smeagol, who is a pitiful creature who is cunning and dangerous, but it is the first time he is mentioned ,and opens the world of Middle Earth to everyone.
I love Body Shop. But I love their body butters, so when I found out they did lip butters too, I had to go and investigate.
Basically, the lip butter moisturises and softens your lips, and also smells nice. It comes in a variety of flavours (I picked Wild Cherry as I already have the body scrub and body butter in this range and they smell to-die for! You could nearly eat them!) There was a variety of testers so it was easy to pick a smell you like and take it away.
The only thing I found annoying is that they are quite expensive (£5) a time, but they are quite big pots (10ml) and only a little bit is needed each time, so this should last me well into the summer and possibly the autumn.
All the butters are sealed with plastic wrap to ensure they haven't been tampered with (although it's not the best thing for the environment)
When I put it on, it was quite thick but reacted well to body heat, melting enough to get a decent amount on your finger. The only complaint I'd have is that it is a little sticky, but have a tissue or a small brush at the ready. However, once it is on, it lasts quite well and the fragrance lasts well too. If you lick your lips a lot, this is perfect as it stick your lips and leaves them slightly wet-feeling (can't think of a better way to describe it) but it does protect your lips from wind and harsh weather (and probably not drinking enough in the summer)
I can't rate this much more highly, as I feel it is good, if a little expensive, so best for a treat.
Ok, I don't like Tom Cruise as an actor very much, but this is one of my favourite films and his performance is astounding.
Cruise plays a Captain in the Americn army (Nathan Algren), who, during the Civil War, was forced by his commanding officer to kill innocent Native Americans. He has always regretted this, and falls deeper into the bottle to find a way free. He is then offered a position training the Japanese army to fight against the Samurai. He is lured in by the prospect of a high wage, and during the first battle is made captive by the Samurai, led by a man known as Katsumoto. He is a brave and honourable man, and tells Algren he cannot leave until the spring. Algren is also injured, but begins to learn the ways of the Samurai and respects them. On returning to a town, there is an attempt on his and Katsumoto's lives, and Algren then fights with the Samurai against the Japanese Imperial Army.
The reason I like this film so much is that it combines cultures and culture clashes well. It looks at the rise of modernity in Japan, and looks at a historical moment where what occurs has or could have happened. I love thid film due to the intricate details given to each person or clothing and to be able to see the Samurai way of life, and that they are not constricted by race or gender, but by who they feel worthy enough to be a samurai.
Cruise also plays the part of an embittered, guilt ridden alcoholic ex-Captain well, showing subtle changes at first when in the Samurai compound, before taking their way of life as his own. Being able to watch the change not only physically but mentally also depict how the way of life he had before must have been killing him inside.
For a historical drama, this film is well-paced and well-written, giving an insight into a culture and a country as never able to be seen by a modern day person.
I first watched this film when I was about 8. My older sister found it in the video cupboard (how old do I feel mentioning videos!) and we popped it in, wondering what it was.
And this film started my long love affair of sci fi films.
This is the Terminator, a robot sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor and stop the launch of Skynet, a global system that means the machines go nuts and start attacking people. Another man was sent back, he is John Connor's father...but he isn't born yet. John sent him back in time to find his mother and get her pregnant with him, as John is the leader of the Resistance, and is a needed person.
Ok, first things first...Naked Arnie....not a lot wrong with that. The film is so much more than a seemingly difficult to follow story, it also follows the change in the life of Sarah, a klutzy waitress who goes from clumsy to commando in the space of two hours. Sounds pretty unbelievable if you ask me. But somehow it happens, and somehow it works. Knowing she is the future of the rest of the human race seems to spur her on into protecting an as-yet-unconceived child who saves the human race.
It's pretty unbelievable, which must by why what happens in T2 happens. But that would be ruining it.
This is a good film if you have a couple of hours to kill, it's well written and put together with some very unexpected humour throughout. And it works, somehow the mismatch works. And that's why I like it
Again with the vampires!
This book by Anne Rice covers the story of the vampire Armand, from his first discovery of Marius, his Master, covering the story of them in Renaissance and later Venice, and the turning of Armand to a vampire.
This book is more in-depth that 'Queen of the Damned', in tht it follows the story of one vampire instead of many. In the story, Armand gets into trouble with a British man who says he has left him on his own, and with his Master when they go to visit others. Armand learns of his love of tasting the Master's blood, and begs with him to change him......
The book also follows the story more deeply, including the times of Armand's illness and his 'visions' of what he was and where he lived before meeting the Master and the other young boys/men who live with him. The tapestry of the story weaves around like a cloak, connecting the lives and immortality of Marius and Armand inextricably, and also giving reason as to why he was turned.
This is harder to get into that the other books, it being so centrally about one or two people, and could be considered a harder read, but is also good when considering the tapestry, not just of Armand's life, but of those surrounding him in Venice at the time, particularly those who know the Master, even though they may not know at his heart what he is.
This is a perfect book for those already familiar with Anne Rice, and is useful for fleshing out more deeply the characters featured in other books.
When you think of the vampire in modern fiction the first word that aprings to mind is 'Twilight'. The story of a vampire infatuated by a human whose blood sings to him, wanting to be devoured by him in sexual overtones that cannot be reconciled due to the author's religion. Vampires who sparkle. Vampires who can go out during the day. Vampires who save people.
This makes me laugh.
A proper vampire stays out of the sun, and lusts after the blood of humans, desperately seeking and searching those who match or better their abilities. This is the real vampire, this is the vampire of Anne Rice.
The Queen of the Damned looks at the beginning of the vampires, the Queen Akasha, an Egyptian pharoah who was consumed by a devilish spirit and changed into a blooddrinker. The book follows Lestat, Louis and Jesse in the main, following their stories and their connections to Akasha.
The book is richly written, describing in detail the time of Akasha and before her change, and also the legend of the red-haired twins - who are the only ones capable of stopping this vile beast. The book also focuses on David, the writer of 'Interwith With a Vampire', and his connections to the vampire world.
The book describes them as deeply sexual yet sensual beings, all with the ability to change life around them into that of the Undead.
I am trying not ot give too muh away, as the book's depth can really only be seen when red. This book has gripped me from start to finish, intertwining the stories of the vampires and the mortals around them.
I actually got this yesterday, as I am a fan and already had the series 2 boxset.
This is the series where The Master is re-introduced as the main enemy of the Doctor, and with Martha as the Doctor's assistant.
The box is again, well made, without the plastic seeve which I thought was a nice addition to the first one, so you have to be more careful with the box.
There are six discs to this boxset, including The Runaway Bride (Christmas special) and Music and Monsters - which goes behind the scene at music being produced in conjunction with Children in Need. The last disc contains the cut-down Confidentials for this series, and there is also a small booklet with details of the episodes and some notes from cast and crew.
My favourite episodes of this are on Disc 5 (Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last Of the Time Lords) I like how the discs are set out, there is either 3 or 4 episodes on each so they can be watched in short bursts or in the whole boxset, dependant on time and how much you want to watch.
This disc also has audio navigation on it, as did the others, which is a useful addition.
I am a big Dr Who geek. Not just the new seires, but the old ones as well (which my dad got me to watch)
I received this boxset as a birthday present, and I was impressed with the quality of the case to start with. There's a plastic sleeve with the Doctor and Rose on one side, and the contents of the discs on the other side. This is quite cool as you can change the side it goes on :)
OK, onto the discs.....There are 6 discs in the boxset, containing the 13 episodes of the series, the Christmas special from the regeneration which introduces David Tennant as the Doctor, and the Doctor Who confidentials that have been cut down and put onto another disc. There is also a small booklet inside, stating what is on each disc and little notes from some of the cast and crew.
One thing I did notice which may be useful for people is that when the disc starts, a voice states what it is and what disc it is. There is also an option for audio navigation, which is a good little feature for anyone who is blind or has very little sight.
There's not really much else I can say about this, except it is brilliant for a Whovian.
This is the first Blackberry I have ever owned.
Just thought I'd say that now.
For a long time I've been a Nokia convert, but with the last two I've had deciding that playing up on me was the most fun thing to do, I've turned to the Curve side.
I picked this up yesterday, and have to say, I am VERY impressed with the ease of use on this. I had to add the Blackberry booster to my contract ,but that's only £5 a month, which I think is a usual across all networks, so not too expensive to run. This covers email, internet and any other use on the Blackberry, and from what I know, it's under a Fair Use Policy (please check your own network provider for details and if this applies to you)
Now, onto the phone. It's quite light for such a substantial phone, you can hold it in your hand and use the same hand for texting with (the buttons aren't very good if you've got big fingers, but luckily I have little hands) It's pretty easy to use, the big Blackberry logo button takes you into the menu, and the optical trackpad makes it easier to move around (although it can be a little too sensitive or not enough, but this can be changed in the option menu) When you turn the phone on for the first time, it takes you through a setup procedure, which is usual for a phone, and also allows you to set-up email accounts and a wi-fi connection if you have one (If not, there's a good wizard on the phone so you can set one up if you come into range)
The phone is simple and light, with the home page menu allowing you to see any emails or SMS's that have come in. The speaker is good, with little outside noise or interference.
The phone is good for a light business user or a normal user, allowing you to update and download apps which you may or may not have to pay for. I'm planning on using this for at least the next year, and possibly keeping it dependant on phones available on upgrade.
Having read Let The Right One In and having watched the film, I picked this book up at the library hoping for a story as rich and descriptive as the first.
I was not disappointed.
The main premise of the story (set in Sweden as the first one is) is the re-animation of dead people. The story begins with extreme weather and pressure conditions (described in the book as like a thunderstorm waiting to break but not occuring) and the strange phenomenon of all electrical appliances not being able to be switched off. When it is attempted or when plug are removed there is a sparking from the plug to the wall socket, as if to keep the connection between the power and the appliance.
It is after this break that the dead start living again, or to use the term in the book, "reliving". There are 3 different sets of people involved in this; one, a granddaughter and her grandmother who both have a sixth Sense, a man whose wife dies when she hits an elk on the road, and a man whose grandson died over a month previously.
The book is spooky, in that the 'reliving' not only affect themselves but also the living, bringing about a telepathic link between them and the living.
Ajvide Lindqvist also includes fake reports from Swedish papers, and scripts from TV programmes, all attempting to explain the phenomenon. To find out anymore, you will have to read the book....
The book is well written and rich in detail and description, not only of the living but the 'reliving', including their attempts to escape the near concentration camps they are kept in, including fights breaking out. The book has an ethereal feel, lent to it by the fear of the living and the unknown that has consumed the 'reliving'.
This is a book that has gripped me from the first page to the last, and it does not disappoint throughout
I usually really enjoy role player games, and I've played one very similar to this before. Think it was on the PC, o I was pleased when they brought this out for the Xbox.
The game focuses around the main player, and his attempts to stop a cult intent on opening the gates to Oblivion, a hellish realm outside of that of the game world.
The main reason I enjoyed playing this was it allowed you to travel anywhere in the game world and you could do anything you wanted in the way of missions, and you didn't have to do the main storyline if you didn't want to! Brilliant when compared to some of the more linear-based games which get boring and reptitive quickly. The main thing is with this, the game NEVER ends. You can carry on playing in the world for as long as you want, which is brilliant for those of us who get ot the end of the game and then think "Now what?"
The only thing that annoyed me initially was the camera set up. You had a first-person view which was tedious in that you had to move the camera up and down to allow your character to see, and meant in some places or with faster monsters you died quicker, ruining the game slightly.