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hcafclaura

hcafclaura
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Member since: 22.11.2009

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    • Lipcote Lipstick / Make Up / 50 Readings / 48 Ratings
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      18.06.2011 09:52
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      Great value for money product

      This month I was lucky enough to win a couple of prizes from a competition Glamour magazine ran in May. One of my prizes was this, Lipcote's lipstick sealer. I do wear makeup on a daily basis, but I am not the type of person who constantly reapplies their lipstick. It goes on once in a morning before I leave the house, and usually that is it unless I remember to reapply at some point during the day. I tend to wear the same lipstick everyday because it took me a long time to find a colour I really liked. The lipstick is not an expensive one, and only stays on my lips for about an hour before wearing off. I had heard of Lipcote in the past, and had actually won it previously, but never really tried it properly as I have only regularly started wearing lipstick in the last couple of years. The idea of Lipcote really appeals to me as somebody who cannot be bother to be constantly reapplying lipstick and I could not wait to try it out. The product comes in minimal packaging. It is contained within a small rectangular cardboard box which is pink in colour. On two sides of the box is the Lipcote logo. On the third side is ingredient information and contact details, and on the final side some information about the lipstick sealer. "Give your lipstick staying power! If your lipstick is more like lipslip, you need Lipcote. With it's original, long-last formula, it'll keep your lips looking luscious and kissable all day long. No wonder it's used by millions worldwide- including professional make-up artists and celebrities. The No.1 Lipstick Sealer stops lipstick staining and feather". Strangely, directions for use are written on the inside of the packaging, so for first time users of the product you will need to rip the box open. It is near-on impossible to do this without tearing the box right across were the instructions are making reading them very difficult. Luckily, using Lipcote it is not rocket science. You need to apply your lipstick as you would usually before blotting with a tissue. At this point you can either apply another coat of lipstick for longer lasting results, or if you want just get straight on with the Lipcote. The directions say you should apply the lipstick sealer around the outer lips first before filling in the bits in the middle. The Lipcote itself is packaged in a small transparent container with a screw top red lid. To those unaware of the product it may look like nail polish as the packaging is very similar. The brush is also the same as used with nail polish for easy application. The product itself is colourless. It has quite a strong smell which reminds me of vodka strangely. I found Lipcote was very easy to apply. It does feel strange at first as I am not used to apply a product to my lips with a brush. However it really is very simple to do, and takes just a couple of seconds. Initially my lips felt a little sticky, but this disappeared within seconds. The lipstick I use is not particularly glossy, but having used Lipcote I was left with a slight sheen. Other than this, the lipstick sealer did not affect the lipstick at all. I thought it may alter the colour slightly, perhaps making it appear darker, but this was not the case. For a few seconds after application my lips felt tingly. This was not at all painful or uncomfortable as it sometimes is after using one of the lip pumper products. Lipcote say the tingling sensation means the product is working. I applied my lipstick, along with the Lipcote first thing in the morning, and my lipstick was still visible at lunch time. For a cheap lipstick that usually wears off within an hour I was very impressed. I have used the product on several occasions since, and results have been equally good. I have found the product works perfectly until eating or drinking, when it separates and looks a bit of a mess. It begins to rub off in little bits and looks pretty gross. It also doesn't taste very nice. I never noticed this until I came to eat, and it did make my food taste strange. I would recommend removing lipstick with a makeup wipe before eating, both to prevent the disgusting taste and to stop it turning into a bit of a mess. Lipcote Lipstick Sealer is priced at around £3 for 7ml. I was expecting such an innovative product to have a much larger price tag and was surprised and just how cheap it is. I have used the product a few times now and the bottle still looks completely full, so I have a feeling Lipcote will last me a while. Having said that, when it does eventually run out I will definitely be replacing it, and it is now a must for my handbag!

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      • H&M / Apparel Store / 54 Readings / 52 Ratings
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        17.06.2011 12:30
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        Great store, especially when there are discounts available!

        H&M is an online retailer, selling clothing, footwear and accessories for women, men and children. They have also branched out into items for the home. Shopping H&M is not a store I shop in regularly. My local store is quite badly organised, and I find it quite a difficult store to wander around. It is very hard to find a specific item, and everything is scattered about everywhere. For this reason, I tend to avoid it. Online shopping is a pretty recent development for H&M, and customers have only had the option to do this in the last few months. From looking at the website, I believe this is quite obvious. The H&M online store is quite a difficult site to use, even for somebody like myself who uses the internet regularly. It is quite hard to put my finger on why this is, but there is definitely something that stops me from wanting to browse. The store, like most online fashion retailers, is separated into different categories, such as 'Tops', 'Shorts' and 'Dresses'. Previously, this was as far as you could narrow down results. However recently H&M have added the option is some of the categories to choose a specific colour or size. This is not always possible though, and the size options are strange. For example, if you would like to use the size filter, you can choose between XS, S, M and L, yet when you look at individual items the majority of clothing sizes are list in UK sizes, e.g. size 10. Another really annoying thing is that you cannot choose to view items in price order, which is what I usually like to do. To ensure I do not miss anything I usually leave the filter options and have to just look through all items. Another thing which makes shopping difficult is items which are out of stock still appear on the website. It is not until you click on the item you find out it is out of stock. This is a bit irritating, especially if you are looking through the sale section where this is a common occurrence. However, despite all these negatives, H&M does have a great selection of clothing available. They have a mixture of high fashion and every day wear all available at great prices. Checkout Once you have finally managed to browse the site, and have successfully added items to your basket, your next step is check out. You need to register or sign in at this point. There are four payment options; payment slip in parcel, monthly invoice, monthly instalments and card. I always pay for any items by debit card, however H&M make this difficult, accepting only Visa and MasterCard. This was a problem for my Mum recently when she wanted to place an order but only had a Maestro card. She was unable to order, and they lost her custom. When you have made payment you will receive an email confirmation of your order. You can also view details of your order in the 'My Account' section online, editing and cancelling your order if you wish. Delivery I have found H&M despatch items pretty quickly, if, and it is a bit if, the item is in stock. When you add an item to your basket you will be able to see the availability. If this says 'In stock' it is likely the item will be despatched the next day, in my experience. However, many items are not in stock. In these cases you will be given an estimated delivery date, usually a span of 5 days. You cannot rely on this though, as once the order is placed this date may change, with your order either expected sooner, or more likely, later than you expected. The good thing is, if this does happen you are able to cancel your order online. H&M say delivery usually takes between 4-6 working days. I believe the warehouse is in Sweden, which explains the delay. In my experience H&M use two different delivery methods; Hermes and the Royal Mail. You will know which method has been used by checking the 'My Account' section of the website. If you have a tracking link, Hermes has been used, if no tracking link is available they have used the Royal Mail. Hermes is the quicker of the two, usually taking around 5 working days. Royal Mail is quite slow. I placed an order for a family member which was despatched 8 days ago and has still not arrived. Quality I have placed a couple of orders now with H&M, and have on the whole been extremely impressed with the quality of clothes I have received. Clothes appear much more expensive than they actually are, and wash really well. There has been only one item I have been a bit disappointed with, a straw trilby hat which I ordered for the summer. When it arrived it did look a bit worse for wear. I believe this is due to the way it was packaged though. Had it not been for the great discount I received when placing my order I would have returned this to store, but for the price I paid it was not worth the petrol. Returns So far I have had no need to return any items. However items can be returned to your local store. You will receive a merchandise store card to the value of your order, which can only be spent in store. A little crafty of them I think, as personally I would want my money back. If store returns are not convenient you are able to arrange a free collection from Hermes, or return using the Royal Mail. You will receive a refund within 30 days according to the H&M website. Overall I have used the H&M website on several occasions now, and so far so good. There is a great selection of fashionable clothing, at great prices. I would not buy from them if I was needing a particular item in a hurry as delivery is not the quickest, but when this is not a problem, they are definitely top of my list of online retailers. (I apologise if this is posted under the wrong category. I suggested an Online Store but was told it was already available)

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          16.06.2011 10:50
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          Recommended

          Hermes is the UK's largest courier company. They work with many household names including ASOS and Next Directory. They offer a wide range of products and services and also operate across Europe. My Experience ==Delivery== Many famous names use Hermes to deliver their products, including Next, Dorothy Perkins, Burtons and Clothing at Tesco. I have had many parcels delivered from Hermes, and I am normally quite impressed with their service. Most retail sites offer different delivery options, usually standard or express. Being a cheapskate, I always choose standard delivery. However I have found when parcels are delivered by Hermes they do usually arrive the day after despatch. For example, I placed a Clothing at Tesco order two days ago. It was despatched yesterday, and arrived this morning. Great service. Usually when you receive a despatch email from a retailer it will contain a link to the Hermes website which allows you to track your parcel. This is brilliant, it means you can keep an eye on tracking, and can find out whether the parcel is due for delivery that day, meaning you never have to miss another delivery. One thing I like about my local Hermes couriers is they always deliver reasonably early. Not so early that they are waking you up like the Royal Mail often do, but early enough in the day that you do not end up spending the whole day waiting for a parcel. It is nice to have a rough idea when a parcel will arrive, and I know I can always rely on Hermes. Last Christmas Hull, like most places in the UK, was very badly affected by the weather. As it was Christmas time, I was awaiting many parcels, all been delivered by various companies including DHL, Home Network, the Royal Mail, and Hermes. Hermes was the only company who made it out in the weather, without any excuses. They were apologetic about any late deliveries, but on the whole I was very impressed with their service over this busy time There are only a couple of things I could fault with Hermes delivery service. The first is the couriers are occasionally quite rude. We usually have the same courier delivering to us for a period of several of months, before they change their rounds. The last courier we had was lovely and pleasant. Our latest courier is quite ignorant, often throws the parcel at you whilst still chatting away on her mobile, and is just generally impolite considering this is her job and one she is been paid for. The other issue is one which annoys me greatly, but is not just a problem with Hermes, but many delivery companies. There have been many occasions where I have sat in all day, waiting for a knock at the door, only for me to walk into the garden and find the parcel has been thrown over the fence. Very annoying, but more importantly, this could damage the items inside the parcel. This has never happened to me as the majority of parcels delivered here are clothing, but it is a real possibility when a parcel is thrown over a 6 foot fence. ==Collection== As well as receiving parcels from Hermes, I have also used them myself to send heavy items to family using the MyHermes website. Depending on the weight of a parcel, couriers can be the cheapest option. Hermes prices depend on the weight of the parcel. The price list is as follows: 0-1kg - £3.30 1-2kg - £4.19 2-5kg - £5.99 5-10kg - £7.14 10-15kg - £8.39 If you require a signature on delivery, it is an extra £1.02 per parcel, deliveries to remote areas cost an extra £1.99 and if you require a Saturday collection you will need to pay another £1.02. For valuable parcels you can pay more for compensation cover should your parcel be lost or damaged. You automatically receive £25 worth of compensation cover for all parcels, to raise this to £100 it is £1.20 and if your parcel is worth up to £2.50 you will need to pay £2.40 to ensure you have the correct level of cover. Arranging collection can all be done online, and it is a very simple process. You enter the collection address, delivery address and the weight of your parcel(s). You can then add extras such as signature on delivery. Once you have completed the form you can pay through debit or credit card or paypal. You will receive email confirmation, which includes labels you need to print off and attach to your parcel. It is essential you are able to print these, as without the barcode contained on these labels the courier will be unable to collect your parcel. You can book next day collections up to 10pm, which I think is great. If you normally have the same courier delivering parcels, it will probably be this same person who collects your parcels. I have even had parcels delivered at the same time I have had parcels collected. It is a very straightforward process. The courier simply scans the barcode, gives you a card to say they have been collected and on they go. Hermes promise to deliver parcels within 3-5 working days. In my experience it normally does take the full 5 days. You are able to track parcels whereabouts. You can also pass this tracking link on to the recipient so they are aware of when their parcel is out for delivery. ==Overall== I have had no issues with Hermes, and would recommend them to anyone. They are one of the more reliable couriers.

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            12.06.2011 20:22
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            Cheap stay in Manchester

            The Manchester Ancoats Travelodge is one of two Travelodge hotels within the centre of Manchester. Travelodge aim to provide basic accommodation at a reasonable price, and have hundreds of hotels located across the UK, Eire and Spain. Back in October, after 6 hours of refreshing and redialling I managed to get tickets to see Take That for myself and 7 friends at the City of Manchester stadium. We live around two hours from Manchester, and as we planned on using the train we had no option but find a hotel. It also meant we could make a bit of a girly few days away. Luckily for us, we got tickets for one of the new Take That dates. The date for this concert had not been previously released, and therefore Travelodge had not had time to raise the room prices. Within ten minutes of booking the tickets, I had also booked the Travelodge. I booked three family rooms, which can fit either two adults and two children or three adults, for £29 a room. Within an hour of booking the rooms they had gone up to £99 each, and did not drop at all. We arrived at Manchester Piccadilly. It was pouring down with rain (apparently it always rains in Manchester) and not knowing the city we decided to just grab a taxi from outside the station. It was only a five minute drive and we arrived at the hotel. We did later walk into Manchester Piccadilly and it is only around a five minute walk. Once you know where you are going it is easy. We was told it was probably around a twenty minute walk to the City of Manchester Stadium, but given the weather we decided to get on the bus. Check in was swift. It has been a few months now since I last stayed in a Travelodge, and they have now introduced a touch screen computer which allows you to check yourself in rather than ask at reception. This was very straight forward, and we just needed the booking confirmation and my surname. Luckily I had printed out booking confirmation emails so we did have this information. However, if we did not we would have just had to check in on reception. The computer gives you your room number, and also room card. We were given two rooms on the first floor, and one of the forth. Ideally we would have preferred three rooms together but it was not a major problem at all. We took a room on the first floor. I have stayed in many Travelodge hotels but this was one of the most impressive I have seen. The room was huge, much bigger than the other two rooms we had reserved, which may be because we were at the very end of the building. Been a family room, we had a double bed and a sofa bed. Ideally we would have preferred twin beds but we were told Travelodge do not provide this type of accommodation. The sofa bed was near the door, and quite separate to the rest of the room. I was impressed by this as it did feel like there were two areas to the room. In the sofa room side, there was some storage for clothes, a rail and a few shelves with more than enough coat hangers. At the side of the double bed there were two bedside cabinets, and a desk with a television. As with all Travelodges' there is not hair dryer or iron in the room, but they are available from reception. The bathroom was reasonably sized, with a shower over the bath. The whole room was spotlessly clean. Wherever I stay, whether it be a night in a Travelodge or a fortnights holiday cleanliness is always the most important thing for me. Bedding was white and clean, as were the towels. The only thing letting the room down was the decor. There were a few grubby marks on the walls and they could definitely do to give the whole hotel a lick of paint, but this certainly did not affect our stay. One thing I have found with Travelodge hotels is there is never enough pillows or towels, and this stay was no different. There were only two sets of towels, despite stating during the booking process there would be three of us staying in the room. It was not a problem, and a quick dash to the reception and we were given another set. We did not spend a lot of time in the hotel. On arrival we dropped off our cases, had a drink or two and left. It was the early hours of the morning when we arrived back, and I was surprised at how many guests were still milling around, considering it was midweek. Having said this, as soon as we got back to the room and closed the door there was no noise whatsoever and this is probably the first time I have stayed in a Travelodge without been woken up by other guests in the middle of the night. I am not fussy when it comes to beds, but this one was particularly uncomfortable. It was far too springy, and I bounced every time I turned around. The pillows were also rubbish, and I woke up with a bad neck. I did not try out the sofa bed, but I am reliably told it was very comfortable, probably more so than the bed. It was also very easy to pull out. I had a really bad night's sleep, not helped by my mum, who I shared a bed with, who spent the entire night sleep talking/singing. We found the room really cold, despite ensuring the window was fully closed. There was also a lot of noise coming from outside of the hotel. At around 6am we heard what sounded like a lorry reversing. We were actually at the back of the hotel, so I dread to think what noise levels are like on the front which looks out onto a main road. The next morning I was definitely in need of a wake-me-up shower, and this one was fantastic. Although it was quite hard to get the temperature right, once inside it was really powerful, and exactly what I needed! We did not hang around for long in the morning as we were all in need of a fry up. We decided against the hotels breakfast, which is priced at around £7 for all you can eat. It is a great price if you plan on getting your monies worth but if all you want is a bowl of cereal it is not ideal. It did smell gorgeous though, and plenty of people were eating in the cafe so they must be doing something right. There was also evening meals available, and a menu is available in your room. We did have a nosey and found food prices very reasonable. Check out was again very easy, we just handed over the room card and that was that. Overall, if you are just looking for a place to sleep and shower in the centre of Manchester this is ideal. It is in a great location and room prices are very reasonable. If you are looking for luxury this is not the place for you. Oh and by the way, Take That were bloomin fantastic!

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              06.06.2011 12:28
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              Avoid this one

              I have been trying to lose weight for a few months now. I have tried gyms, and they are not for me. Work out DVD's are not something I have tried before, but back in February I had an Amazon voucher and came across the 10 minute solution series. These DVD's are aimed at those with a busy lifestyle, who may not have time to exercise. The DVDs are made up of five 10 minute workouts, which can either be completed alone or together for a longer workout. Carb & Calorie Burner is one of 5 DVD's I ordered. This DVD is made up of the following 5 workouts: Slow & Steady Burn This section aims to raise the heart rate and keep it there for the duration of the work out. It mainly involves aerobic movements, such as marching, skipping and lunges. Carb Killer This is my favourite of the work outs, and is based on kickboxing movements. The workout combines kicks and punches to burn calories. It definitely raises the heart rate. Power Blast Not one for the beginners, this is a high energy workout, using dynamic movements and jumps to burn carbs and calories. Interval Burn This uses the interval training technique, working as hard as you possibly can for a short period of time, before bringing the heart rate down again. You will need a mat for floor work. Metabolism Booster 10 minute solutions tell us this workout helps increase the metabolism, and it will be raised long after the workout is complete. You will require hand weights and a mat for floor work. My Experience The DVD begins with an introduction from the instructor, who briefly explains what each segment involves. You are then able to either let the DVD run through and complete all workouts, or choose a specific workout. The DVD extra allows you to create your own workout programme by choosing the order you would like to complete the segments. Each workout begins with a warm up, to slowly raise the heart rate and hopefully prevent injury. This normally lasts a couple of minutes before the complexity of the exercise increases. At the end of each segment there is also a cool down, which gently brings down the heart rate. Because each segment lasts only 10 minutes, this DVD is none stop. There is no time to get a drink, or even take a breath. The pause button definitely comes in handy, and it is vital you use it because it is very important to drink plenty of water when exercising. My favourite workout by far is the Carb Killer, which is based on kickboxing. I find this the easiest workout to follow, perhaps because the exercises are straightforward and quite repetitive so there is not a lot to learn. This is mostly made up of different punches and kicks. I can definitely feel this one in my arms the next day. My least favourite work out is the Slow & Steady Burn. This involves a lot of stepping and jumping around, and I find it really difficult to follow what the instructor is doing. In my opinion it is also really boring and too repetitive. I have been using the 10 minute solution workout DVD's for a few months now, and I have to admit I struggle with this one. I find the instructor, Michelle Dozois, really difficult to follow. There are many times she does not explain what she is doing, which makes it hard to follow her and perform the exercises correctly. I feel even after completing this particular DVD on many occasions now I still spend too much time concentrating on the TV screen trying to work out exactly what she is doing. There is also something really irritating about Ms Dozois. I cannot put my finger on it, but she is definitely the most annoying of the 10 minute solution instructors I have come across so far. The DVD does work, it definitely raises the heart rate which leads to calorie burn. It is just not an enjoyable way to exercise for me. I find it quite boring, and repetitive. Many of the same movements are use over and over again in different segments. In fact I find all the workouts quite similar, with just a few changes here and there. Unlike the other DVD's I have bought, Carb & Calorie Burner includes a cheat sheet with nutritional advise from a lady called Cindy Whitmarsh, who is an instructor in one of the other DVD's in the series. This is quite useful, and includes information on what carbs are, as well as four low-carb recipes. My favourite part of this leaflet is the page which shows you what you lose in terms of carbs with each 10 minute workout. Here's a few examples. One 10 min workout burns off: 40 grapes 1 large orange 1 cup brown rice 8oz beer Two 10 min workouts burn off: 1 large banana 8oz red wine 40 jellybeans 1 small cappuccino Three 10 min workouts burn off: 2 cups cornflakes 2 large apples 2 cups spaghetti 12oz white wine This is a really useful guide, and also makes you think before eating because you know how long you are going to have to exercise with this annoying instructor to burn it off. Overall I like the idea of the 10 minute solution DVD's, and they are great for those with a busy lifestyle as everyone has 10 minutes spare at some point in the day. However, I would not recommend this title. The instructor is irritatingly smug, and does not explain the movements fully making it very hard to follow. Carb & Calorie Burner is currently on sale on Amazon for £5.28.

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              • holiday extras.co.uk / Internet Site / 62 Readings / 60 Ratings
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                03.06.2011 09:23
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                Take a look!

                HolidayExtras.co.uk is a website which promises to take the hassle out of holidays. It sells holiday extras, funnily enough, that you may need to make your holiday perfect. They sell airport hotels, airport parking, airport lounge passes, holiday insurance and car hire, travel money and airport rail tickets. The company was founded in 1983, and has grown to become the market leader. My Experience I first used Holiday Extras early this year. My parents were going away for Easter and asked me to book parking for them. AA members get a discount on the Holiday Extras website, and after searching around the usual airport parking websites, we found that after this discount, they could not be beaten on price. The booking process is very straightforward indeed. You just need your holiday dates, as well as flight information, including flight time and flight code. You will also be asked for your car registration and the make, model and colour of your car. If you do not have this information to hand you can edit your booking at a later date and add the details then. Once you have completed all this information it is time to pay. All the usual credit and debit cards are accepted, and they also accept payment via cheque, though if the price changes between you making the booking and the cheque reaching them you will pay the new price. When you have made the payment you will receive a confirmation email. For parking, the only thing I have booked with Holiday Extras, you need to print out this confirmation and take it along with you. There is a barcode on the email, and all your details are contained on here too. There will also be the address and directions for the car park, as well as Holiday Extras contact information should you have any problems. My parents are not the most computer savvy of people, and it became apparent around a week before they were due to leave on their holidays that one of them had deleted the parking confirmation email from Holiday Extras. Mass panic began when they realised they did not even have the booking reference noted down anywhere, and we started to fear they would have to rebook parking. There are three main ways of contacting Holiday Extras; online live chat, email and telephone. The live chat is always useful if you need a response there and then, but they do not answer all queries so you may end up having to call them anyway. They promise a 10 minute reply to emails which I think is fantastic, and the telephone number to call them is free. They also do call backs if for some reason you do not want to call them yourself. I emailed Holiday Extras, who called up back within 5 minutes. They asked a few questions, and were able to locate our booking and resend the email confirmation very quickly. I was expected an administration charge at the very least, but it was done free of charge. We were very impressed with how quickly Holiday Extras dealt with the query, and felt their response was fantastic. So, off my parents went on their holidays, arriving at the car park and leaving their car with no problems whatsoever. Last week it was time for me to book airport parking for my own summer holiday. Having been very impressed with the service received from Holiday Extras earlier in the year, I decided to book with them. Again, the booking process was very easy and confirmation arrived within seconds. Later on that day, I found the exact same parking package for £5 less with another company. Holiday Extras advertise a Best Price Guarantee. They promise if you find a product cheaper than them within 24 hours of booking they will give you a complete refund. Deciding I would try this out I contacted Holiday Extras. I filled out a form with a customer advisor on the live chat system on their website, which just asked where I had found it cheaper and at what price. I was told I would hear the outcome that week. In the meantime, I took a screen picture of the website with the cheaper price, and also kept a copy of the chat log with the advisor to prove the form had been submitted within 24 hours of booking. Call me suspicious, but I am always wary of these types of price guarantees, and I wanted to make sure they could not try and get themselves out of giving me a refund. Four days later I received a telephone call informing me Holiday Extras would refund the cost of my parking when I returned from my holiday, as explained in the terms and conditions. No questions asked. I was expecting some kind of excuse as to why they could not refund, but this was not the case. Better still, they have reduced the price of the parking package on their website, so all customers will now benefit from the cheapest price. Overall Great website for all your holiday needs, fantastic, quick customer service and a brilliant best price guarantee. Highly recommended.

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                • More +
                  01.06.2011 15:06
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                  Another fab Soap & Glory product

                  My new year's resolution in January was to start moisturising daily. Not because my skin was desperately dry or because I was developing scales, but because my collection of body butters, moisturisers and lotions was growing out of control, and I desperately needed to start using it up. One of the products in my collection was Soap and Glory's 'The Righteous Butter'. This came as part of a S&G gift set I received at Christmas. The main thing that attracts me to Soap and Glory is their sense of humour. Product names are usually witty, and packaging comical and retro. They do not take themselves seriously, or try to be something they are not like some of the more upmarket brands. This body butter comes in a pink cylinder container, with the caption "Bored? Lost that rubbing feeling? Why not try... The Righteous Butter". The packaging itself is very eye catching. It is bright and colourful, with big bold writing. Soap and Glory recommend this product for very dry skin. It contains softening shea butter, as well as aloe vera which is known for its healing qualities. The formula is specifically designed to hold hydration for longer, to improve skin moisture levels. The body butter itself is white in colour. I have used a few S&G products now, and they all smell the same to me, including this one. The scent is sweet, though not overly sweet, and quite fresh. It is not overwhelming or strong, but can be smelt on the skin after use. This is okay if used in an evening, but I prefer to use non-scented products during the day time as scented products can mask the smell of my perfume. It is recommended to use the body butter on damp after showering or bathing, to lock in moisture. Being a body butter, this is quite a thick product, probably one of the thickest butters I have used. Having said this, it spreads very easy on the skin, with a little going a long way. In fact, it is a good job the Righteous Butter has a 24 month shelf life because I have been using this for a while now and I am still not even half way through the container. Once applied to the skin, the butter does take a couple of minutes to fully absorb, and even after this time has passed you can still feel a slight greasy residue though does eventually seem to disappear. Results are impressive. My skin was never overly dry to start with, but it has definitely improved. My skin is soft to touch, and there is a visible improvement too, especially on my legs which do dry out in the winter. This has even improved problem areas like my elbows and knees. I am really happy with the effect Righteous Butter has had on my skin, and will continue to use it regularly. It is easy to apply, quick to absorb and actually does was it promises to do. The Righteous Butter is available from Boots and ASOS and is priced at around £10 for 300ml. A travel sized version is also available, containing 50ml of butter, and this is priced at £2.35 and currently on sale in Boots. Perfect for the upcoming summer holidays.

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                  • Funkypigeon.com / Online Shop / 54 Readings / 53 Ratings
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                    31.05.2011 12:09
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                    Never forget to send a card again!

                    Funkypigeon.com is a website which specialises in personalised gifts. Cards However organised I try to be, however many calendars and diaries I have, there is always one birthday I forget about. Usually remembering too late to get to the shops and get it in the post. Funky Pigeon is absolutely perfect for these occasions! I have used a couple of the personalised card websites in the past. Although I have been impressed with the quality of the cards, I always found them quite expensive for something that will more than likely end up in the bin after a week. I know happy soul aren't I? I first heard of Funky Pigeon last year, after an extensive advertising campaign, containing one of the most irritating jingles known to man. Although I did not use them immediately, I did make a mental note to take a look at the website at some point. It wasn't until February this year when I first had the need to use the site. It was lunch time, raining outside, and I realised it was a family members birthday the next day. Realising I had no cards in, I hurried on to my laptop and went on to the Funky Pigeon website. Since then, I have used the site on many occasions. In fact, I ended up making a list of birthdays throughout the year any buying personalised cards for everyone because they are such great value for money. On my first visit, I was surprised, and also very impressed, at the variety of products available on the website. I was under the impression they just sold personalised cards. I could not have been more wrong. They sell everything from posters, to calendars, to personalised mugs. Cards are split into different categories, and they really do have a card for every occasion. You are also able to filter results further. For example if looking at birthday cards you can choose a specific age range, relation or design style. I recommend filtering results as if you don't you may be there forever; there are literally thousands of cards to choose from. Price Cards vary in price. Some of the more standard looking cards have a set price of £2.49. However with many of the cards the price depends on the size you would like, with A6 priced at £1.79, A5 £2.99 and A4 £5.99. I love that you have the option, as you are able to go for the cheaper option for those people you don't really like all that much. Personalising How much you can personalise a card depends on the design you have chosen. Some cards offer you the option of adding a photograph, whilst others just give you the option of adding a name or caption. Personalisation is easy, you just follow the on screen options. Once you have completed the front of your card you go on to the inside where you can add a personal message. You are able to change the font and colour of the writing, and even add an image if you wish. When you have finished you are shown a preview of your card so you know exactly what to expect. Payment Check out is very straight forward. There are three main methods of payment; debit/credit card, PayPal and prepayment. Funky Pigeon currently have an offer where if you use the prepay method, depositing a minimum of £20, they will give you £20 free. It is also worth checking for discount codes. I am yet to pay full price for a card, and there are often discounts available, ranging from 25-50% off! When checking out you are also given the option to add a gift, such as a store voucher, handy if you don't have time to buy a present. Delivery You are given two delivery options, both free. You can either have the card delivered straight to the recipient, or you can have it delivered to your own address, with a blank envelope included. If you order by 2pm your card will be dispatched the same day. I have used the site on many occasions since my first visit, and have used both delivery options. Having it sent direct to the recipient is great if you have forgotten a birthday and need it there the next day. If time allows though, I do prefer to have the cards posted to me so I am able to write my own message inside and deliver it in person. I have been extremely impressed with delivery times. The last time I used the website I placed an order at 9am, and it was despatched 45 minutes later. Every card I have ordered has arrived the day after, which considering this is free delivery is fantastic. Quality I have ordered lots of cards from Funky Pigeon now, and I am yet to have any problems. Funky Pigeon are reliable, and cards always look fantastic. They are made on strong card, with good quality ink. The one thing you do need to be careful of is photograph quality. If you are choosing a card which requires photo upload, it is important to ensure you use a high quality photograph. If you use a picture taken on a mobile phone for example, the picture may appear grainy. This is not the fault of Funky Pigeon, as they do advise you use high quality images. Other Items I recently branched out from cards, and decided to order a couple of the personalised notebooks. These are priced at £5.99 for an A5 book and £7.99 for A4. However the discount codes available for cards can also be used on other items, and I managed to get them for half price. Like cards, these are also delivered for free. They arrived quickly, and are really sweet little notebooks. I ordered a few more, as they are ideal little stocking fillers (yes I have started Christmas shopping already). Overall Fantastic website. Great quality cards, and fast and free delivery. It is really easy to use, even for those who are not fully computer literate. It is a handy website to know about, even if only for emergencies. I will continue to use the website, and already have my eye on a couple of other items available.

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                    • More +
                      29.05.2011 13:24
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                      Are you bikini-ready ladies?

                      When it comes to hair removal I have tried everything. Shaving, waxing, threading (though obviously not in the bikini area, that would be more than a little strange), creams and most recently epilating. I saved up Amazon vouchers for months and months and invested in a very expensive epilator. On the one and only occasion I used it, I had to be pinned down and screamed constantly in my pillow. Needless to say it was never used again and sold swiftly after. Last year I came across Wilkinson Sword's Bikini Trimmer. It was on sale, at around £5 in Superdrug. I decided for that price, even for the razor alone, it was worth a try. Quattro for Women Bikini is unique in that it is both a razor and a trimmer. At one end you have the normal razor blade, enriched with acai berry and jojoba extracts, which Wilkinson Sword say is specially designed for long lasting smoothness. At the other end you have your adjustable bikini trimmer. In the packaging you receive the razor with only one blade, a battery and the razor holder. The trimmer has a cap, which can be adjusted depending on the length you would like to trim to. To achieve very short hair you can remove the safety cap completely. On my first try I was more than a little anxious. You hear horror stories about these kind of contraptions that end in hospital visits. The directions for use are pretty basic, but I thought I better read them to avoid any accidents. To activate the trimmer you need to press the on/off button once. You do not need to hold this down whilst trimming. Removing hair is straight forward; you just need to move the razor over the area you wish to trim. I found the product easy to use. Initially I used the safety cap whilst getting used to the product, but I found it did not trim as short as I would like. I honestly believe it is near-on impossible to injure yourself with the safety cap on. You can barely feel the trimmer cutting the hair, and there is not even the slightest bit of pain. With the safety cap off, although it does not hurt, it is easy to scratch yourself with the trimmer as the edges are quite sharp. It does trim to a much, much shorter length without the safety cap, to the point where hair is barely visible in my experience. The one slightly off putting thing about the Bikini trimmer is how noisy it is. It does make quite a loud noise, meaning everybody who passes you in the bathroom knows exactly what you are doing, so perhaps this is not the best products for those who are a little prudish, unless you use it when home alone. The trimmer is waterproof and safe to be used in the shower. I have also used the product in the bath, although not submerged, though there have been a few occasions where it has dropped into the bath but has continued to work without problems. The great thing about this product is it is a 2-in-1 trimmer and razor, ideal for holidays as you only have to take one product, meaning more room for shoes. The razor is very effective at removing even the shortest hairs. *Touch wood* I am yet to cut myself with the razor, and my legs are always smooth and soft after use. Blades last around 6 weeks, though I am quite lazy (and a cheapskate) when it comes to changing blades and probably do not change them as much as I should. You can definitely tell when the blade needs changing as the razor does not cut through the hair effectively and legs do not feel smooth after use. I used the trimmer regularly for a period of around 6 months. Over winter the razor didn't get as much use (we need a winter coat don't we ladies?) and when I came to use it a few months ago it refused to turn on. I tried changing batteries but it did not make any difference, it was a goner. I have no idea what the problem was as it did not appear damaged in any way. I have read other people having similar issues with the trimmer, and it does seem the product only has a limited lifespan. Despite this, I still love the bikini trimmer, and have recently bought another. For the price, even if it only lasts the summer it is more than worth it. I have finally found a hair removal method that is perfect for me, and I definitely recommend it to others. The Wilkinson Sword Bikini Razor is widely available. Price varies hugely, and it is well worth shopping around. I have seen it selling for as little as £5 and for as much as £11. The blades required for this product are the Wilkinson Sword Quattro for Women and they are priced at around £5 for a pack of 4.

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                      • myfitnesspal.com / Internet Site / 44 Readings / 43 Ratings
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                        27.05.2011 13:31
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                        Spread the word!

                        I have been on a bit of a mission to lose a stone since Christmas time really. I have never been overweight, or even anything approaching overweight, but I am always wanting to lose a stone or two and have tried every diet going. For the first few months of the year I tried calorie counting on my own. I created a spreadsheet on my laptop, and had a good guess how many calories I would need to be consuming a day to lose weight. This was okay for a few weeks but I didn't seem to be losing anything, which isn't really surprising giving most of it was guess work. Around March I discovered MyFitnessPal, and now I swear by it. == What is it? == MyFitnessPal.com is a free calorie counting website and diet plan. It is actually a very simple concept. You register, enter basic information e.g. name, weight, height, and how much weight you would like to use. MyFitnessPal will then tell you how many calories you are allowed a day to achieve this goal. You then fill in a daily food diary, entering every single thing you eat. You also enter any exercise you have done. The more you exercise, the more calories you are given that day. There are progress charts available, where you can check on your weight loss, calories consumed and the exercise you have done. As well as the website, MyFitnessPal.com, there are also apps available for Apple, Android and Blackberry, all free of charge. == Registering == The registration process is straightforward. You first need to create a username and password. The second step of registering is personal information. At this point you will be asked the following: - Current Weight - Goal Weight - Height - Gender - D/O/B - Country/Post code - Activity level (Sedentary, lightly active, active or very active) - How many times a week you excericse - How much you want to lose a week This is it. You are given the option to invite friends but you do not have to do this and can simply press the 'skip' button. Once you have entered all your information you will be given suggested fitness and nutrition goals. Nutrition goals will tell you how many calories and carbs you can consume a day, as well as how much fat and protein you should be aiming to eat. Fitness goals are straightforward. For example they may tell you to try to exercise 3 times a week for thirty minutes burning a total of 400 calories. At the bottom of the page you will be told your projected weight loss per week, and how much you should lose by a certain date, normally 5 weeks away from the date you signed up. == Food Diary == The idea of filling a food diary may fill you with dread, but MyFitnessPal makes it very straight forward. If using the website, you need to select 'Track Food'. Your food diary is split into four sections; breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. To add food, you need to click the 'Add food' link. There are a few different ways of adding food. You can search the food database, which contains thousands and thousands of products. If you want a specific brand you can enter the name of this. You can find specific brands of products for exact calories, or you may choose to just search a general product. For example, if you had a sandwich you may choose to just look for 'bread' or you may want to be more precise and enter "Kingsmill 50/50 thick". If you shop in one of the well known supermarkets, you will find this a straightforward process as the majority of products are already added. If you cannot find the product you want to add, you are able to create your own food listing, under the 'My Foods' link. You simply enter the name and nutritional information and it will be saved to your account to use whenever you want. Another way of adding foods is to create a recipe. If there is a particular recipe you cook a lot at home, it is probably a good idea to save this to your account. It is straight forward, but a little time consuming. You enter the name of the recipe, for example 'Sausage Casserole'. You then enter all the ingredients and amounts. You can then add the whole recipe to your diary, rather than individual ingredients every time you have this meal. As well as adding food, you can also add the amount of water you have drank each day. == Exercise == Adding exercise to your diary is very similar to adding food. Exercise is split into 'Cardiovascular' or 'Strength', though you only gain extra calories for cardiovascular exercise. As with adding food, you are able to search an exercise database. This is very extensive, and I am yet to do an exercise which isn't listed. Once you have found the exercise you want, you just enter how long you did it for, and hey presto you will be told how many calories you burned. This will then be added to your calorie allowance for that day. For example, if your calorie goal is normally 1200 a day, but you do 30 minutes of light cleaning (oh yes, that is listed on there!) your calorie allowance will go up to 1261, as you burned 61 calories cleaning. == Weigh In == MyFitnessPal recommend you weigh yourself at least once a week, and record the information online. They suggest weighing yourself at the same time of day each time, perhaps first thing in a morning. You can also record neck, waist and hip measurements to check on weight loss. == Reports == There are three different report categories, nutrition, fitness and progress. Nutrition This report examines the nutritional aspect of your diary. You are able to choose what part of nutrition you would like to look at more closely, whether this be calories consumed, fat or carbs, the list is huge. You then choose what reporting period you would like to look at, such as the last week. When you have made your choices you will be short a bar chart displaying your progress. Fitness Here you can either look at calories burned, or how many minutes spent exercising. As with nutrition you can choose what time period you want to look at. This is again shown in the form of a bar chart. Progress This shows weight loss and inch loss. You can look at inches lost from the neck, waist or hips, or you can look at how much weight you have loss. You will then be given a line chart showing your loss. == Community == As a MyFitnessPal member you have access to the forums, great for support and just general chit-chat with others also trying to lose weight. == The App == I mainly use MyFitnessPal through the app on my android phone. The app is free to download and easy to use. You do not have access to all the features available on the website, but you are able to do the important things, such as add food and exercise in the same way you would do online. The thing I love about the android app is at the end of the date, when you click on the 'Complete this Entry' link you are told how much you will weigh in 5 weeks time if you eat like this every day. This is either really inspiring if you have had a healthy day, or a kick up the backside if you have had a bit of a pig-out. I find the app really handy, as you can add things as you are eating them, meaning you don't forget anything. There is also a barcode scanner you can use to add products, another handy feature. == My Experience == I have been using MyFitnessPal for around 2 months now, and I am only 3lbs from reaching my goal. I love how easy it makes dieting. It is also great to have those calorie amounts in front of you. If you are running low on calories that day, you know you could go do a little exercise and earn yourself some more. It makes you realise exactly what you are eating, and seeing the amount of calories in some foods is a massive shock. This is a great diet plan that actually works, and best of all, it is free! I have already recommended the website to many people who have also become addicted. Try this for yourselves!

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                        • More +
                          27.05.2011 12:09
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                          Want lovely, soft hands? Try this!

                          The Product Hand Food is the name of Soap and Glory's hand cream. S&G promise this is a non-greasy hydrating hand cream, with shea butter, macadamia oil & marshmallow. It is available from ASOS.com and Boots priced at around £4.85. It is also available in a 50ml travel sized tube in Boots for £2.35, perfect for the upcoming holiday season. My Experience For Christmas I received one of the huge Soap and Glory gift sets Although I had heard a lot about S&G previously I had not had the chance to try many of the products. One of the items in the gift set was this, Soap and Glory's Hand Food. Hand cream is not something I use regularly. My hands are in pretty good condition, or so I thought before using this product. It is a bit of a family joke that I obviously never clean because my hands are so soft (I do clean, obviously). The main thing that attracts me to S&G is the packaging, and in particular the product names. Packaging is always girly, fun and bright. They often use quite retro images which makes the products look like an item from the past. Hand Food comes in a pink tube, containing 125ml of greatness. Product names are always something amusing, and often a play on words, and this is no different. The name Hand Food did make me smile, I am obviously easily pleased. The comedy continues with the item description on the rear of the tube, asking customers if they need to 'mend a hand?'. I love the informal directions of use, and the whole sense of humour from S&G. Been a hand cream, you probably do not need to read the instructions before using the product. You need only a tiny amount in the palm of your hand as it goes a long way. The cream itself is white in colour. In my opinion many of the S&G products sound the same and this is the same. The smell is sweet, but not sickly sweet. It is not overpowering, and you can only smell it when you get close to the skin. When applied, the Hand Food soaks into the skin pretty quickly. One thing that has put me off using hand cream in the past is the greasy residue left behind, and although S&G promise this is a non-greasy hand cream, I was still weary about using this. I have found their claim to be true, there is no greasyness on the skin, except if you apply too much. I have been using the Hand Food regularly since Christmas and my skin has really changed. Although I always considered myself to have pretty healthy looking hands there is a marked improvement. They are much softer and smoother. I also ensure I rub the cream well into the finger nails and I really believe this has made a difference as my nails seem to be in much better condition. My dad works on a building site, and has major problems with his hands. He has been using Hand Food regularly too (though not in public!) and the difference is incredible. He says it is the best hand cream he has used, and believe me he has tried them all. My tube is nearly empty, but I will definitely be investing in another. I also recommend applying this at night time and putting a pair of cotton gloves on for bed for hands that are really damaged. Overall, I would recommend this, even if you think you don't need to use a hand cream. I'm going to try the hand mask next!

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                            25.05.2011 09:28
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                            Salon hair at home

                            **The Product** Babyliss Big Hair Hot Air Styler is basically a big rotated brush that Babyliss promise will help style hair whilst also creating volume. It features a 700w hair dryer, which helps lift the hair whilst also improving shine. It is available in many stores, including Amazon and Argos. It retails for around £45. **My Experience** I have had my eye on the Babyliss Big Hair Hot Air Styler for many months now. Big hair is in fashion. If Cheryl Cole (or is it just 'Cheryl'?) is doing it, I want to do it. My hair is very thin. Because it is so thin, it is really hard to create volume. However much I blow dry it, whatever volumising products I try, nothing works. Within a few hours of washing and styling it, my hair is as flat as a pancake. Due to this, I have to wash it daily, otherwise it just appears limp and lifeless. Before buying this product my hair routine was pretty simple. I was shampoo and condition my hair, and towel dry it. I would apply whatever mousse I had in the house to the roots and dry it with a styling brush before going over it quickly with the straighteners. If I was going out somewhere special I would dry and blow dry it properly, separating the hair into sections and using a decent brush, in an attempt to create some type of volume. This was so time consuming though, and it was impossible to do the back of my hair without developing a third hand. In the end I would end up giving up. I have seen the Babyliss Big Hair Hot Air Styler (now that is a mouthful) advertised on TV. I did believe it looked too good to be true. How did the hair not become a big tangled mess? I remembered using a similar hot hair styling brush of my Mum's when I was younger. I got my hair in that much of a knot it had to be cut out. The advert made it look such an easy product to use, and the results were amazing. I dropped a few hints, and shock horror, my boyfriend actually listened. I received this for my birthday last month. I could not wait to get it open. I quickly read the instructions, to prevent an emergency trip to the hairdressers with a brush stuck to my head, and got started. The styler needs to be used on damp hair. I freshly wash my hair when using this, and try to use a volumising shampoo and conditioner . Obviously, if you have hair that doesn't need to be washed daily you could just dampen the hair and save the hassle of washing it. Once washed, I apply a styling product, usually mousse, to the roots of the hair. This is just so the volumising effect lasts a little longer. Babyliss advise using the styler on hair which is around 80% dry. I tend to bend over and dry my hair with my head upside down just to add a little more volume to the roots. When the hair is nearly dry, but a little damp to touch I begin using the styler. I would recommend splitting the hair into sections, starting from the bottom of the head and pinning up the rest of the hair as you go. The styler is very easy to use. It has three heat settings. If you choose the first setting, you will just feel cool air blowing out. You cannot use the rotating brush on this setting. The other two settings are hot heat settings, one hotter than the other. The rotating brush is operated by two buttons on either side of the handle. The button you use depends on which direction you want the brush to rotate in, clockwise or anti-clockwise. From watching videos on youtube, reading the instruction manual and talking to friends, everyone seems to have a different way of using Big Hair. Personally I prefer to start at the root of the hair, then rotating the brush in the direction away from my head, and moving it up and down the length of hair to create volume. Others prefer to start at the bottom and let the hair twist round the brush until they are at the root. It is all down to personal preference, and the style you wish to achieve. I have been using Big Hair for about 6 weeks now, and it definitely takes some getting used to. You do have to think about which direction you need to rotate in depending on what side of the head you are working on, and it can be a little fiddly to get the hair to feed properly around the brush. Now I have been using the product a while, I love it, and use it on a daily basis. It makes styling the hair so much easier. My hair is shoulder length, and it takes around 15-20 minutes to style with Big Hair. It creates volume and leaves my hair full of body and bouncy. I am able to replicate the style I leave the hairdressers with at home. The biggest advantage for me is the condition it leaves my hair in. If I blow dry my hair with a styling brush it always appears frizzy, so I have to go over it with the straighteners. If I use Big Hair my hair is soft and smooth, there is no need to get the straightening irons out, which is great for my hair, and also saves time. My hair is quite long, but I also use this on my fringe to create a big of shape. I recently styled my Nan's very short hair with this too, so don't be put off if you only hair a short hair style. This is great for hair of all lengths. Others have commented how shiny my hair is. I was at the hairdressers last week and she said what great condition my hair was in compared to the last time she saw me. I told her that I had been using the Big Hair Styler, which started a big discussion amongst the hairdressers. One of the hairdressers had recently started using one at home and was raving about it, and my hairdresser was so impressed she said she was going to buy one herself. For comments like these from professionals this has to be a good product. Oh, and I haven't ended up in a big tangled up mess, not even once. The great thing about the product is it rotates in both directions. If you get your hair stuck in the brush, you just rotate it the other way and it releases the hair. **Conclusion** If you love that just blow-dried look that you thought could only be achieved at the hairdressers buy this. It will be the best thing you ever do.

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                            • More +
                              24.05.2011 12:22
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                              Your lips deserve some therapy too

                              I would describe myself as a pretty low maintenance girl. However, there is one item I will not leave the house without, Vaseline's SPF 15 Lip Therapy. Just in case you are not aware, Vaseline has a range of Lip Therapy lip balms, which come in different coloured 20g tin containers. The range includes the following: Original Lip Therapy - Blue packaging. Aloe Vera Lip Therapy - Green packaging. Rosy Lip Therapy - Pink packaging. Cocoa Butter Therapy - Brown packaging. SPF 15 Lip Therapy - Yellow packaging. Some of the range is now also available as a lip balm stick. I always try and look after my skin and protect it against the harmful effects of the sun, always choosing a moisturiser which contains an SPF. It was for this reason I decided to go for the lip therapy which also contained an SPF, to prevent sun damage to my mouth. SPF 15 Lip Therapy is perfect for all seasons. In the sunnier months it protects against the sun rays and prevents nasty sun damage. In the cold, rainy months because it contains shea butter it stops your lips from drying out. I have also used the product to soothe sore, chapped lips, and it is great for this. This lip balm goes everywhere with me, and is a handbag staple. It is the perfect size just top pop in your bag or handbag. I regularly use this now instead of lip gloss, either on its own or over a lipstick. It is fab because it does not leave that sticky residue some lip glosses do, but still leaves you with gorgeous shiny lips. It is not just for the mouth though. I have used it as a moisturiser on dry elbows, applied around the hairline whilst colouring my hair, the list of uses is endless. I bought my little Vaseline around 2 years ago, and it is still going strong. I use it at least twice a day, often much more, and I have around a quarter of the tip remaining. It really is fantastic value for money. The only downfall of this product is that it is not great in sunny conditions. The tin tends to get very hot, very quick, causing the Vaseline to melt. Not great for a product designed to protect against the sun, but certainly not something which would stop me using it, it just means it is best kept in a fridge during the summer. The whole range of Lip Therapy is widely available, in supermarkets, pharmacies and online. Just to give you a rough guideline of price, Chemist Direct are currently selling this for £1.39, and it is on sale in Boots for around £2 on a 3 for 2 offer. Whether you want to use this as a preventative balm to stop damage caused by weather conditions or as a remedy for sore lips, this is a brilliant product and I would not be without it.

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                              • Hays / Employment Service / 40 Readings / 38 Ratings
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                                23.05.2011 11:36
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                                Don't rely on these!

                                Hays are a recruitment agency operating worldwide in 29 different countries. Companies and organisations use them to fill vacancies without the hassle of advertising and sorting through hundreds of applications themselves. They recruit for all types of work, from admin to social housing, permanent and temporary. Hays say they are experts in recruiting for the following areas: Accountancy & Finance Banking and Financial Services Construction & Property Education Health & Social Care IT & Telecoms Manufacturing & Engineering Pharma Professional Services Resources & Energy Retail Sales & Marketing Support Services I have been seeking work since graduating from university last July. Except for one temporary role cleaning, I have been unable to find anything, despite applying for three or four jobs a day. At the beginning I was reluctant to join any agencies, but as the weeks went on I realised I had little choice. A few months ago I received a phone call from my local Hays office. They had seen my CV on Total Jobs and wanted me to register as they had many roles I would be perfect for. I made an appointment over the phone, and was told I would need to take some I.D documents along, such as my driving licence and passport. When I arrived at Hays I was given a form to fill in. This asked for personal information, such as name, address, the sort of work I was looking for, my education and work history and the contact details of two references. Once the form was completed I was taken to a room to chat about possible vacancies I may want to apply for. There was one role I was very interested in, working for a company I had always wanted to work for, and we discussed this in more detail. I was told I would need a CRB check for this, which Hays would pay for. I completed this form, and the recruiter told me he would be in touch when the CRB arrived back. A couple of weeks later I received my copy of the CRB in the post. I sent an email to the recruiter asking what the next step would be, but received no reply. One week later, I sent another, very polite email, asking what I should do now. The recruiter called me telling me the job had been put back until May, but he would carry on working for me, hunting out vacancies, and he would be in touch. A couple of weeks later, I had still heard nothing. I sent another email. As part of the Job Seekers Agreement I have to stay in weekly contact with agencies. Anyone who has dealt with agencies will tell you this is a good idea, so they know you are still looking for work and your name is fresh in their mind. I have in fact been emailing the recruiter weekly now for around 6 weeks, and have not had any response whatsoever. All my emails are very polite, and I have even said that I understand if the role has already been filled but that I would be grateful if he could let me know so I can give up on it. I have asked about other vacancies, asked for an update, but I hear nothing back. I have discussed Hays with others, and it seems many people have had the same experience as me. They are very quick to get you signed up and full of enthusiasm at the first meeting, telling you they will find you a job very quickly blah blah blah. The truth is, once you're registered, they don't want to know. They have your name on that list, which is all that matters when they are trying to get business from companies. They have this huge list of clients ready for work. Here's a few tips for dealing with agencies in general: - Watch what you say. Do not tell them about any other interviews you have lined up. It's very likely they will contact them and say they have more suitable candidates. They will do anything for business. - Be wary of giving references. They will probably contact them touting for business, and you don't really want to annoy your previous employers. - Stay in contact. Remind them you are alive and looking for work. - Do not believe a word they say. I hate to generalise, but they spout a lot of rubbish. I am sure there must be some good guys out there, but I advise not pinning all your hopes on anything they say. So here I am, still looking for work, having missed out on my dream job through no fault of my own. Anybody need a hardworking, reliable psychology graduate?

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                                  18.05.2011 18:06
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                                  Perfect summer sandal

                                  I love shoes! However, lately money is really tight, so it has been a while since I have been able to purchase anything that isn't a necessity. Last month though, my Mum gave me a £10 Tesco Clothing voucher which she wasn't going to use. Finally, I could update my wardrobe a little. I browsed through the website for days and days, but struggled to find anything £10 or under. Then I came across these, F&F Closed Wedge Espadrille Sandals. Espadrilles seem to be everywhere this summer, and a must have item for both men and women. These particular shoes are priced at £8 and available both online at the Clothing At Tesco website and instore. I purchased the shoes online. They are advertised as traditional espadrilles with a midheight woven wedge heel, a canvas closed round toe and canvas strap. They are available in black and cream. Or, at least the website says they are available in black and cream... I eagerly awaited the arrival of my pretty new shoes, and received them two days after ordering. Immediately after opening my parcel I was disappointed. I bought these shoes as they were advertised as cream, a colour which I thought would be perfect for the summer months and go with everything. In the item description the colour is listed as cream, and there is also a picture of the shoe, which clearly shows a shoe with a brown wedged heel and cream canvas closed toe. The shoes I received are not cream, and are in fact dark brown. The canvas part of the shoe is dark brown, and the wedge is a darker shade of brown, with a brass coloured buckle. They are not awful by any means, but at the end of the day they are not the shoes advertised, and not what I ordered. I have contacted Clothing at Tesco about this problem, and was told the information was wrong on the website, and I had not received the wrong shoe. I was told this would be immediately, but it still has not been done. Other than this issue, I am impressed with the shoes. I have worn them on a couple of occasions now, and love them. They are really fashionable, and I have seen very similar shoes in other stores for around £20-£30. They go with everything, and are perfect for the summer season. I was impressed with the quality of the shoes. For £8 I thought they may look cheap, but this is not the case. They are lightweight and really comfortable to wear. I have worn them on a couple of trips which have involved a lot of walking, and have not experienced any rubbing or blisters which normally always happens with new shoes. The only thing I do not like is how tight the canvas is at the front of the shoe, it does not leave much room for you to wiggle your toes. I have found though the material has become a little slacker after wearing them a couple of times. So far they seem quite durable. I have worn them a few times, and they still look as good as new. Been mostly canvas, I am able to wipe them clean, which keeps them looking in good condition. Overall These espadrilles go with everything, from a pretty summer dress to a simple pair of shorts. For the price, you cannot go wrong. Even if they only last the summer I will have got my money's worth. Positives: Fashionable Comfortable Great value for money Durable Negatives THEY ARE NOT CREAM Canvas a little tight

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