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lotharia

lotharia
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Member since: 13.07.2012

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      20.10.2013 12:46
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      A good budget buy, but its age shows sometimes

      I was recently given the Satellite pro-l300 as a loan laptop and, looking past the plain exterior, I have been pleasantly surprised by its performance. PRICE This laptop is only available second-hand now, and the price is very reasonable. Ebay boasts dozens of auctions for this make, and I recently found a bid war for the pro-l300 which ended at £70 (including postage). SIZE Make no mistakes, this is a chunky laptop. As with other Toshiba laptops from the era of its creation, the size of the screen is a benefit which does not outweigh the effort it takes to carry around. However, the notable size complements the excellent keyboard, which is a perfect placement and decent key spacing, making it easy to type effortlessly. The only cumbersome element is the small spacebar, but this is barely noticeable. PERFORMANCE This laptop is obviously very dated, and the Operating System is the greatly detested Windows Vista. Yet, this is no Acer, and lag is actually limited. Multitasking is fine, and 160gb hard drive makes downloads and programme installation stressless. The battery runs out after about four hours when power saver is enabled, which is a fairly decent time for a laptop of this age. BITS AND BOBS There are three USB ports and an express card slot, but there is no SD slot which is very unfortunate for camera-lovers. There is a little volume wheel which is a nice feature, and the wireless on/off switch is a simple quirk which makes this older laptop slightly endearing. There is a built-in webcam which is of poor quality, but that is expected for the age and its current going-rate. This laptop has been thrown on the scrapheap by most, but behind the slightly elderly operation system and chunky build, this is a surprisingly well-performing machine. If you are strapped for cash and really need a quick buy, you could do worse than getting the Toshiba Pro-L300. You won't want it to make an appearance on your business trip, but it's not a bad thing to come home too.

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      20.10.2013 12:11
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      Lovely lipstick which doesn't feel damaging to your lips, but not very long-lasting

      I have never been a lipstick fan. I've always found that application is too heavy and 'permanent'-feeling, making it hard to take off if you change your mind last-minute before leaving the house. This has applied to some of the more expensive brands I've tried, as well as the cheaper brands. With Body Shop lipstick, I no longer have this problem! This lipstick feels almost moisturising, and is easy to wipe away. During application, this lipstick almost feels like it has the benefits of lipgloss without the over-the-top shine or stickiness. If you have visage commitment issues, this is the lipstick for you. However, although it is not particularly prone to smudging, it does fade naturally after a couple of hours. I carry mine with me if I'm planning a day trip, but if you will not have a mirror accessible for three hours or longer, you may want to go with another brand. The colours available are not shocking, instead offering a subtle twist to more extreme shades used by popular upmarket brands. There are a couple of strong red shades, but even the dark brown shades look slightly muted when applied. I have been searching for a red lipstick wearable during the daytime, and found that Body Shop offered the only shade suitable for me. For statement lips, however, Body Shop may not be the place to go. It's also worth considering whether other companies work as ethically as the Body Shop, as the answer will probably be "no". Body Shop works with a lot of charities and uses ingredients from fairtrade sources, which usually sways my decision a little. Although legislation in the EU now prevents animal-tested lipsticks to be sold in the UK, it doesn't mean your money won't go towards animal testing the company does in different countries. Really, this lipstick is my personal favourite because it feels natural like other Body Shop makeup, but if you are looking for lipstick to last for 10 hours (as so many other companies promise) you may want to shop elsewhere.

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      16.07.2013 10:23
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      Probably best to look elsewhere

      It's a boring title but there is not much more to say. The smell is very synthetic and, initially, strong in a way that gets to the back of your throat. The smell does not really resemble what you would imagine from looking at the imagery on the packaging - it is not very pleasant but not offensive either. It does not resemble flowers or fruit or anything, it's just very synthetic. In terms of stopping body odour, it works well as a standard deodorant but it could not compete with roll ons by Dove or competing brands. The price does not really justify what it has to offer, with the cheapest offer I found coming in at £1.16 at Tescos. Unlike a lot of quality deodorants, poundland and the 99p store do not stock it, and I imagine this is to uphold an upmarket brand identity, however, this is misplaced as many people, like myself, decide not to use it again after the first time and a small price tag is the only thing that could change that.

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        17.08.2012 01:09
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        If you have money, go for it. If not, find somewhere else and don't beat yourself up about it!

        Liberty Quays is the official accommodation for students at the University of Kent in Medway. The University of Kent endorses this complex for the use of all first year students and has done for five years (to my knowledge). It has recently been expanded but applications to the uni have dropped so the Liberty Quays manager is asking second years to come back and stay at the accommodation. It is a ten/fifteen minute walk from the Universities at Medway, so it's easy to visit the library for emergency essay deadlines etc. It is in a pretty bad area but the complex itself is nice, with a Domino's pizza and Subway nearby. At £135 a week, however, you may not have the money to visit the aforementioned places very often. INTERNET Your provider is Ask4, and it has it's good and bad sides. It's a reasonably fast service and one of few providers to enable peer to peer downloads. From next year it will be providing Wifi, which is handy, but the payment plan is pretty unfair. Part of the rent covers your internet for a year, but you're turfed out in June. This means you pay for three months of internet when you aren't even living on the premises. As far as customer service is concerned, the provider is pretty sufficient. If you use a good security question when you sign up, you simply log onto the "chat" with a member of staff who can fix your problem. Unfortunately, there are quite a few instances where the internet is down for maintenance although there is sometimes prior warning of this sent in an email. Conversely, there are some instances where it shuts down without any foreshadowing and this can be inconvenient. FACILITIES There is a common room with about six or seven sofas and a reasonably sized TV. The room is neutral and not decorated too badly at all, with the odd picture mounted here and there. However, it's not really a place where people go to "socialise" or meet new people. It's very much where existing friends come to watch specific programmes, and there is much silent vying over TV shows. There are unwritten rules about the Common Room, and there often is not strength in numbers. If two people on the sofa are watching the X Factor when eight lads come in to watch a football match, the chances are that X Factor stays on. There is very little confrontation because people don't really talk to each other unless they know each other, although that might have changed a year on. When I was there, there were also a few dramas about large groups of people talking through programmes etc. and, on reflection, there are probably too many sofas in there for a room of that size. It fills up quickly and watching programme can be difficult. PRICE Rent costs £135 per week. This is pretty shocking as Gillingham has some of the lowest rates of rents in the UK. The council often reiterate how low rent is in Gillingham and the area boasts the lowest council tax in the whole country. Yet, Liberty Quays still manages to charge £135 a week when the average price of rent on that road alone is £75. To my knowledge, many student loans did not cover the cost of rent while I was there. Now, with the rent increase, students will have to take out second loans, and/or receive substantial help from their family financially. I would always recommend moving into halls if possible, as socially it is a great experience and has a real communal atmosphere. But, similarly, this year many students will not be there because of the price, so don't feel like you'll be ostracized just for living away from Liberty. Many more will be in the same boat as most can't afford accommodation with a price tag of £135 a week attached. If you look around you can find accommodation for as cheap as £70 a week, including bills. LAUNDRY The price of laundry is also not included, so you have to pay to use both the washer and dryer. It's £2 per wash and £1 to dry. You are also only allowed to use gel tablets, which can cost up to £7 for a tub of just 8. Washing can prove very expensive because of these reasons. The washing machine is fine and I've had no problems with mold, the dryer function is relatively clean too and maintained by staff well. Although, you must put a little less clothes in the dryer than you would expect otherwise you will almost always have slightly damp clothes still. I'm pretty sure the machine still eats your change, as it did when I was there, so make sure you have the right amount when you go down to the lobby. STAFF The staff are generally courteous bad management is capable of exploiting the "naivity" of students with various money-making tactics. Overnight staff are helpful when you've lost your keys at Casinos and need to get into your room. The two cleaning ladies are so lovely and they often do stealthy kitchen inspections during the week, mostly when people are at lectures. The inspections aren't strict during the year though, and flats only get warnings if hygiene is really, really bad. We only got a notice once and that was when the bins got so bad everybody in my flat refused to touch them in case they contracted something incurable. The management was unhelpful at the beginning of the year when I was there, however, it has changed again and the new manager seems to be courteous to most people. There has under her management, however, been a bit of a scandal with some students not getting our deposits back, so we'll cover that in a bit. CONTROVERSY Earlier this year, a student started a petition because Liberty Quays had tried to scam 16 + flats into paying out more than £50 each for fire extinguisher damages that didn't exist. The manager magically disappeared, as did the person who wrote the fake invoices, but she wasn't sacked, she was promoted and moved somewhere else. I think the girl who started the petition was doing law because she knew they were not legally allowed to make the charge and told them so after everybody signed the petition. After the Liberty Quays staff in Medway got bad publicity, they ended up dropping the charges, but we never got an apology. DEPOSITS Student accommodation always has a bad reputation for giving deposits back, but this year another petition similar to the fire extinguisher campaign, launched in order to address this. Examples included one girl who left a pen on her desk and was charged £20. It is vital that when you go to Liberty Quays, you fill out the forms well and name EVERY stain, mark, and scratch in your room. Literally, everything, because there is every chance you will be charged for the tiniest spill and it may not be caused by you. Somebody tried to charge me for a mark on my desk, without checking my form first. Luckily I remembered it was there before, otherwise I would have paid £50+ for something that wasn't mine. WATER The water is notoriously gross and a few of the people who lived there last year actually did a water test to see if it had any traces of bacteria in it because it tastes so foul. They posted it on facebook and I wasn't really surprised at the result. There was nothing dangerous in there, but it was the hardest water you can get without breaching EU standards. It had the same PH level as soap. This water hardness results in limescale which can sometimes clog up your shower if you don't run it every day. It also resulted in a scummy film when I was washing up and showering, to the point where I had to use a friend's shower, as her water hardness was a little more forgiving than in our flat. This still wasn't the worst though. My friend's flat water was so bad it stank of Chlorine in his bathroom and washing up was near-impossible. He spent a fortune on bottled water because of it, and I would probably do the same. FIRE ALARMS In Liberty Quays, the fire alarm is notorious. It's most common at 3am after people come home drunk from Tap n Tin. It's very easy to do, and it only takes a little smoke from the grill to set it off. Fire alarms often occur and, when they do, this is in part due to the stupidity of students and in part due to the incompetence of staff. We were once all evacuated and not allowed to return until the alarm was over. Normally, this would be fine, but it continued for more than half an hour because staff could not shut it off properly. They had to go to every flat to see where the alarm was broken. They are in desperate need of reviewing the fire alarm system because it inconveniences students majorly and creates so much complacency that, if there was a fire, nobody would bother leaving. By the end of the year it took up to half an hour of constant alarm bells for most people to leave their rooms. VERMIN Apparently, this issue has been fixed now, but it's still concerning that a girl lived in the flat below me and mice ran rampant in her kitchen. More disturbing is that they did not get pest control in to sort out the problem, they left the inhumane rat traps you buy in the 99p store all around the kitchen so that every morning flat members would wake up and have to check for dead vermin. Many mornings they would see them. The girl talked to the manager and apparently he cheerfully said "Oh yes, while you were on holiday we caught a new mouse every day!" The problem persisted for over 6 months on and off. I wouldn't want to be on the ground floor knowing what I do now, but there is different management so things could be different as far as first floor pest control is concerned. All in all, I would say avoid Liberty Quays. If I had not been panic sold the accommodation when I was a fresher, I probably would have lived elsewhere simply because the rent was so high at £123 a week. It put me out of pocket, but I have kept in touch with people well because of it so I don't have too many regrets. For £135 a week, however, this definitely changes things, as that is too high a price to cover socialising alone. This is especially true now as the student loan does not cover this expense. Many more first years will probably be living elsewhere because of the price, so no reason to feel ostracised if you do not. There are few pulls to justify that kind of money, especially when you get things into perspective. There are University of Kent accommodations in Canterbury which offer rent as low as £90 a week when it is in a prime area. Some of these accommodations also include breakfast/lunch. Liberty Quays in Gillingham is, in contrast, places in an unpleasant area and does not offer any of these perks. It seems obscene to pay more than those in Canterbury when complaints are routinely ignored, and scams are commonplace. It may be a price worth paying to those who want to be at the hub of what goes on, but very soon that hub will not be Liberty Quays, because nobody will be able to afford it. If you want to pay more to be near students, that's understandable, but expect to work part time in order to subsidise that socialising!

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        • Frijj Milkshake / Soft Drink / 12 Readings / 12 Ratings
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          15.08.2012 14:09
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          Worth shopping around to see which is best for you, as some differ in flavour wildly

          Frijj is the biggest milkshake company in the UK, and is available in almost all major supermarkets. Frijj bottles contain 500ml of milkshake and come in four permanent flavours: Chocolate, Banana, Strawberry, and Chocolate Fudge Brownie. Special edition flavours are commonplace, and there are usually at least two new flavours introduced annually. PRICE Of late, there have been store-wide offers, including shakes from as low as 50p per bottle in Nisa at the beginning of the year and 80p per shake in Tescos for a little less than a month. The move saw a boost in sales, and it was not unusual to look at the drinks section of Sainsbury's and see a bunch of Yop/Yazoo bottles huddled next to an empty space where 20-odd Frijj milkshakes used to be. However, now that demand has increased due to these offers, the price has moved up to over £1 per bottle in most stores. However, Nisa's price is still relatively low compared to price increases at other stores, as the budget supermarket only charges 70p per bottle. VARIETIES Some of the most popular discontinued flavours include Raspberry, Cookie Dough, and Cookies and Cream. However, all three flavours were incredibly sweet, and Cookie Dough especially (released in 2010) bordered on sickly. Cookies and Cream was quite generic but had a pleasant taste, although, it was not punchy enough to justify a purchase and in my opinion the taste did not match up well to the expectations attached to the "Cookies and Cream" title. However, Raspberry had a taste subtle enough to be bearable to those intolerant to too much sugar and seems to be universally acknowledged a a sorely missed flavour by those with sweet teeth and those without. Frijj has seemingly picked up on this sentiment, not by reintroducing the flavour, but by incorporating some of that trademark Raspbery flavour of 2007 with the subtle sugariness of doughnut via the new "Jam Doughnut" flavour. My boyfriend used to love Raspberry Frijj milkshakes, and holds that this is a good substitute until they bring back the berry for good. Currently, the following flavours are available: Chocolate Fudge Brownie - The best of the best. The most perfect use of milk in a chocolate drink I have ever tried. There is none of the slight powderiness of other brands as the flavours are truly blended to the milk perfectly. It is the most flawless tasting drink in the Frijj collection and for those looking for a chocolate drink, milkshake or not, you will be hard-pressed to find better than this. It quickly overtook Mars drink as my favourite sweet milk drink and I very rarely have a desire to turn back. Normally there is a slight residue at the end of chocolate drinks which becomes unpleasant but, with Chocolate Fudge Brownie, that desire to leave the last bit just doesn't exist. In 2011, Fridge advertised their products as a "warm drink" too, with new microwavable packaging. Although not a fan of hot drinks, I would argue that this is one of the only milkshakes which stand the test of heat and come out the other side a little more delicious. To my knowledge, this is currently the most popular brand of Frijj milkshake. Vanilla (limited edition) - This flavour is, in my opinion, a little over-rated but suitable for those who specifically prefer vanilla when picking their milkshakes at fastfood restaurants etc. I would argue that it does not compete with fresh milkshakes of the same flavour as Chocolate Fudge Brownie does, but it definitely blows Yazoo and other refrigerated drinks out of the water. With this drink, however, the taste's emphasis seems to be on the milkiness rather than vanilla, as it tastes like a very creamy sugar drink. Although I do not do the taste justice with this description, it is better than it sounds, I definitely would think twice before recommending this to someone without an especially sweet tooth. It borders on sickly and is not suitable as a drink whilst out on the go, as it's unlikely that many can drink it all in one go without feeling sick. It's a perfectly acceptable bottle to have in the fridge to dip in and out of, but only in small quantities at a time. Vanilla was available from 2008 - 9 but was then discontinued before being introduced again in 2011. Chocolate (permanent) - Chocolate flavour does not has the same unique flavour which sets other Frijj milkshakes apart, and the powdery, artificial taste of the drink does not set it apart from other brands particularly. The milkshake is by no means bad, but it is not specifically in line with the quality of many other Frijj products, and lacks the individuality in texture and taste which makes people crave Frijj over any other milkshake. The Chocolate flavour is a little smoother than Yazoo and the slightly thicker consistency is what saves it from being savaged by other chocolate drinks on the market, however, this flavour is by no means special and acts as a poor substitute for those craving a chocolate fudge brownie fix. Drinking this milkshake is a little sickening for even the hardest of sugar addicts, simply because although the flavouring is generic but good, when added to the trademark thickness of Frijj it becomes hard a little hard to stomach. Although it acts as a better chocolate milkshake than anything else available at the supermarket, it does not really compete with chocolate drink in general, such as Mars and Galaxy drinks which are now retailed at a similar price. Strawberry (permanent) - I am not normally a fan of strawberry milkshake, but I find this much more bearable than most. The flavour is not pure strawberry, it's a blend of quite distinct Frijj sweetness using strawberry as a supplement for that. It's more refreshing than other Frijj milkshakes and probably a better choice for those ambivalent about buying a milk-based product in case it's too heavy. The flavours are quite typical of milkshakes, ie. obviously not made of mostly fresh fruit, so those after a genuine strawberry fix would probably fair better with an innocent smoothie as they are expensive but roughly the same price as Frijj milkshakes currently (when not on sale). Strawberry milkshakes where first introduced 1993 alongside the other original flavours and has stood the test of time for 19 years now. Honeycomb Choc Swirl (Limited Edition) - This is probably the second most universally appealing milkshake available after Chocolate Fudge Brownie, and does not taste as sickly as it's title would suggest. It is slightly less sickly than Chocolate but is a little thinner in consistency than chocolate fudge brownie and the flavours are not as obviously artificial as some other types. The Honeycomb is not easy to detect but there are hints of honey which are subtly noticeable. This, to me, tastes like a better blended version of the Chocolate flavour with an extra ooph which is needed to add to Frijj's reputation. Honeycomb Choc Swirl is marketed as an "eccentric" flavour alongside Jam Doughnut and Sticky Toffee Pudding, however, in taste it probably deserves centre stage much more than Frijj's permanent Chocolate flavour. VERDICT Frijj's brand differs from other milkshake companies, but usually not because of flavouring as can be tasted in Banana, Chocolate, and Strawberry, which are similar to Yazoo and other brands. What sets Frijj apart consistently is the thickness of the milkshake, making it much more indulgent than others. Chocolate Fudge Brownie acts as a staple, unique, tasting kind of Frijj output, and limited edition brands often act as vehicles for the company to show a more creative side; often with positive consequences. Although some temporary flavours have been hit and miss, many are worth trying. As long as you bear in mind Frijj's propensity to be a little sickly at worst and delicious at best, I would urge you to try limited editions when they are released. If you're after something chocolatey, you will not be dissapointed by chocolate fudge brownie, but do not pick chocolate as a substitute. You will regret choosing it over a Mars or Galaxy drink. Frijj has a little work to do if it wants all of it's titles to compete with fresh milkshake flavours like those in fastfood restaurants, but some of it's types such as Chocolate Fudge Brownie are already on the way. Frijj milkshakes seem to be on offer more than most, so it is definitely worth utilising these bargains in order to try which kind of taste is best for you. I can guarantee that, even if a past experience with a bad Frijj milkshake has left you scarred, there is one out there which will be perfect for you.

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          • Ugg Boots: Classic Short / Shoes / 7 Readings / 7 Ratings
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            15.08.2012 12:29
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            Long-lasting & comfortable but over-rated for the price. Imitations more suitable for some people

            When I was about 17 years old, Uggs really took off. I never understood the pull. They were a unique style that compliments very specific outfits, but they're odd looking. Plus, the price! £100+ for glorified slippers? I was definitely a naysayer. Now a good few years have passed, and I'm still apprehensive, but I've definitely warmed to the woollen footwear a little more. Style-wise, they are still odd. However, because they've become so normalised to most people, including myself, most people have gotten past the initial shock of the OutdoorSlipper(TM). They look good with certain shorts and with all jeans, but there are many outfit combinations that simply don't go with uggs. Very few people can pull them off with a skirt combo, simply because an outfit has to have that "winter feel" to compliment the Uggs otherwise it draws attention to their unusual shape. This is where the price becomes problematic. Because of the very specific style Uggs need to be matched up with, people who swap their "looks" a lot can't really have these as their primary pair of shoes. This is a little troublesome because for the price, they really should be your staple. If you have a consistent style and are prone to that SkiSlopeChic 7 days a week then this is for you, but if this will be a supplementary purchase for your wardrobe I would suggest looking for cheaper Ugg imitations, as you may be surprised by how little your clothes go with them. This may not be a common problem, but to me it is. I have one pair of black biker boots which go with anything and Uggs have struggled to compete in terms of style. If this is a concern of yours, I urge you to buy black Uggs and not the beige, as the latter is even harder to match up. Comfort-wise, they are flawless though. It's like there's a party in these boots and my toes have been invited. However, this also applies to a lot of imitation Uggs. Some rip-offs more so than others though, so make sure you try on Uggs imitations in-store and don't just buy online and hope for the best. I have tried some fake uggs that feel as good as the real thing and some lesser makes that have very obviously artificial wool which are more uncomfortable than anything else. Some of the fakes also have issues with narrowness, with too much wool making foot placement uncomfortable, so make sure you try them properly before buying. As far as wear and tear is concerned, these boots are pretty reflective of the price. My friend has a pair of Uggs she has worn consistently for three years and, bar a little expected dirt, they have remained pretty well intact. I'd probably guess they were bought less than a year ago, which is very impressive considering she wears these shoes months and months at a time. Although I don't wear mine as much, my pair have faired very well considering my knack for wearing out footwear before I've even left the shopping centre. All in all, these shoes are suitable style-wise for certain looks but may not be worth the price for others. You needn't worry about wear and tear but, for £50+ second-hand, it's what you should expect.

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            24.07.2012 16:28
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            Good value for all, but make sure you have the right straighteners to go with it!

            When it comes to hair products, I find it hard to trust brands easily. I don't experiment with new conditioners, or heat protect sprays, in the evening as I have no idea what awaits me in the morning. Tresemme products have been very hit and miss for me and I've rejected them in the past, as I never know if I'll wake up in the morning with ridiculous hair and have to turn up at uni looking like the rejected backing dancer from a Cyndi Lauper music video. Maintaining straight hair, when there's a lot of frizz waiting to be unleashed, is an expensive affair. I can't afford the price tag that comes with RedKen quality maintenance, and I don't think a lot of people can. For this reason, Tresemme Salon Silk has definitely surprised me by becoming one of my most used brands of shampoo and conditioner. I find that after the first day of washing, there is still some unbridled frizz (although I find this with most products to an extent). However, I've learnt that leaving the conditioner in for about ten minutes adds untold sleekness to my hairstyle. If you have more frizz than money, I'd definitely recommend this as an every day solution, so long as you leave the conditioner in for much longer than it instructs on the label. When I haven't got great shampoo to hand I sometimes leave the conditioner in for up to fifteen minutes at a time. The Salon Silk shampoo is also quite good, and in the past I've used the cheap Tresemme shampoo in conjunction with better quality conditioner for next-day smoothness. If you have great straighteners (such as GHDs) I give this shampoo a massive seal of approval to those of a budget, but those with cheaper straighteners... beware. A once off splash out on GHDs could save you a lot of money because it means your hair doesn't rely on expensive haircare products to keep it under control. I would not, however, recommend Tresemme's Heat Protection Spray of the same series, which has not helped smooth my hair on any of the occasions I've used it. You may be tempted at the till to buy this in order to compliment your other products, but I would advise against this unless you know your hair to respond particularly well to heat protect treatments. Mine frizzes up a lot after using the heat protect spray with this conditioner, although those willing to experiment may find their hair varies. In short, Tresemme Salon Silk conditioner is cheap, it isn't exactly "salon quality" but it is effective in the right hands and in conjunction with the right straighteners.

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          • Argos 2kW Convection Heater / Heater / 6 Readings / 4 Ratings
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            24.07.2012 15:50
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            Very good for the price and surprisingly efficient

            When I go home during the holidays, my bedroom is incredibly cold. Our house is generally a good temperature but since the room has a very high ceiling, most heaters take an hour or so to warm it up. As you can imagine, having to decide whenever I want to visit my room, an hour in advance, can be a little inconvenient. My mother is of the mentality that it is better to spend ages saving up for something more expensive, as it will be better quality. Her attitude was no different to heaters, and she insisted get an obscenely priced halogen heater similar to hers, which comes with a lot of settings. While we were saving up, we got this as a temporary solution, but it turned out the Argos heater produced blasts of heat much more powerful than anything else we'd tried. It doesn't come with the sophisticated settings of some other heaters, like automated time settings to warm up a room at specified times, but it's incredibly powerful and definitely good value for money. For some, it may be better to invest a little more money and shop around for something with settings suited to your needs. But, personally, I find this is absolutely perfect for somebody with average needs. It's obviously not the ideal choice for every single person, like bedbound people whose health relies on heat at certain times (eg. those with arthritis) but if you don't have the will to read through a manual or operate too much technical common sense, something simple like this is probably best. I would definitely recommend this wholeheartedly to most people. It's the perfect heater to blast on full and rub your hands over after a frosty walk home.

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          • HTC Wildfire / Smartphone / 9 Readings / 6 Ratings
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            14.07.2012 11:01
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            Okay as a cheap handset, not the best for long-term contract

            A year ago I bought a HTC Wildfire, like new, from Ebay for £80 but have seen slightly older ones sold for less than £60 on websites selling used phones. I bought it wanting some of the perks of an iphone with the price of a lower budget smartphone. So far, I have relatively few regrets. There are some niggles which would bug less patient people, but they haven't impacted my usage particularly strongly. The first niggle is the keyboard. The operating system is quite common and I've seen a lot of people use the same touchpad keyboard with no problems, however, I find it too small sometimes and I have not been able to type with the ease of other mobile phones. I find this is not conducive to a student lifestyle, as it only takes one mug of Frosty Jack's cider to render the keyboard unusable. The camera is okay but probably not as good as smart phone competitors in a slightly higher price range like Samsung Galaxy S and it's predecessors. There is sometimes a blur when taking photographs in lights which other camera phones would make short work of. It's 5 megapixels, though, so not bad for the price at all. I actually have digital cameras knocking about the house with the same definition. If you are buying this as a smartphone to stay up to date with photo apps like those for iphones, however, you may be disappointed. Instgram-style photographs are nowhere near the quality of iphones when it comes to clarity and definition. However, if you purchase this with average expectations you will find the camera passable for an above-average quality phone. Little things like a camera for front-view pictures would be nice, but I'm not majorly hung up about it at all as the price is a bit of a steal anyway. One other niggle is a problem which seems to have sorted itself out but lasted for about two months. I kept clicking on a text to reply, started typing a response, then realised the phone had randomly selected a different text to reply to. I had some heart-stopping moments where I caught myself accidentally typing less than studious messages to lecturers. I think a lot of touchpad phones have gripes like this, but the phone hasn't weathered the use that many other phones do before these idiosyncrasies occur. I only started using this phone relentlessly about five months ago and would expect a little better from a smartphone. The OS is android so it comes with a lot of apps, although you do miss out on some of the larger memory applications that iphone users and some up-market smartphones can enjoy. This is because of lack of space; the internal memory is very poor quality. The app "Just Dance", a video editing programme, didn't work because of memory issues even when I installed, uninstalled, and reinstalled again. As I'm sure you can imagine, there are few things more disappointing than getting ready to record a techno mashup of your mum snoring with her mouth wide open, only to realise there isn't enough room on your phone to complete your magnum opus. The shape of the phone is reasonably good, not too small but with a big enough screen to play games like angry birds, or scroll through emails without squinting. Most of the phone's front comprises of the screen so it's quite neutral lookswise. It's not a hugely attractive phone, but it's definitely not a brick either. I wouldn't be embarrassed, as a student or professional, to be seen using it. For those inbetween phones, it's probably a good bet. If you're looking to save money, as I have done, by buying a cheap handset and going with Giffgaff or the like for pay as you go, then I would recommend this phone. However, for those looking at a contract, especially long term ones like 24 months, this is not the phone for you. This especially applies to young adults and students on a budget who desire smartphone/iphone quality applications. In a few months of your contract you will have some major gripes and will probably regret the decision. This is a good phone in many ways, but it is let down by the technical difficulties and memory issues which put it in a lesser league to other smartphones. I would repurchase again if forced to make a decision, but in a few months I plan on starting a contract to use a phone with better capabilities

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          • Avon / Highstreet Shopping / 6 Readings / 5 Ratings
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            14.07.2012 08:31
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            steer clear of foundations, mascara and concealers but nail varnish and soaps are okay

            I decided to spend a little extra on make-up so that it would last longer and generally be of better quality. Hearing only good things about Avon, I decided to buy two different kinds of foundation (Personal Match Liquid Foundation and something else) but it was a massive mistake. The colour was right but the consistency was too thin and made my skin go flakey. I have generally good skin and have never had a problem in this way before. About one year later, after being cajoled by my mother into trying their foundation once more, the same thing happened! This time with the Calming Effects Skin Revival foundation. I also tried my mum's mascara, with permission of course, and found it made for the lumpiest lashes I've ever seen. It looked ridiculous and was unpleasant to apply. It is such a shame because our local representative is lovely, but I have rarely had a good experience with Avon products. Their nailpolish is of a decent standard but I don't find it to be different to many other polishes you can get slightly cheaper. All in all I would say to steer clear of Avon foundations, mascara and concealers but give the go ahead for nail cosmetics and soaps etc. I know a lot of people who actually have had great experiences with these products though, so it may be a case of trying out products thoroughly to see how your skin reacts to them before purchasing.

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            • More +
              14.07.2012 08:11

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              Pretty good toothpaste for people on a budget

              This is probably my favourite toothpaste, simply because it's affordable and pleasant to use. I picked mine up at Poundland and have no regrets. I'm quite fussy about toothpaste taste because I sometimes find the whitening ones to have an odious taste, but this seems to leave my teeth a lot cleaner and without a horrid after-taste. I probably wouldn't recommend this toothpaste for those who prioritise whitening properties over freshness but, for me and others with the same delicacies, it's probably a good bet. You can find this and other Colgate brands for a pound n various pound/99p stores and I'd probably recommenced this one more highly than the rest for general use. I also find it to be almost soothing on the gums and doesn't cause any tooth upsets, even temporarily, as I have had with other toothpastes. It is probably the most suitable choice for those on a budget with sensitive teeth.

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            • Toshiba Satellite R830-1GZ / Laptop / 6 Readings / 5 Ratings
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              14.07.2012 04:22
              2 Comments

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              • Reliability

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              You will struggle to find a laptop boasting these features for such a fair price

              Lookswise the magnesium built design is pretty pleasing on the eye. A slick black aesthetic with sharp, sophisticated edges. A suitable design for everyone really, from business types to style-conscious students. It doesn't say "Wow, look at me" but it's a style that almost asks to be taken seriously. It has an LED backlit 13.3" screen which suits the thin design and is great for watching movies etc. from a close to medium distance but it's definitely better for individual use. Some may find it a minor annoyance but I definitely think it's one of the better screens out there as far as light-weight laptops go. The keyboard is pretty functional, with liberal spacing for typing with ease. I play a lot of Tetris and it was with these perfectly spaced arrow keys that I reached the hallowed score of 200,000. I know this is a specialist perk but a perk nonetheless. The weight, or lack thereof, is probably the most persuasive feature, especially for those who have medical problems which prevent them from carrying normal sized laptops. I have this laptop because my scoliosis prevents me from carrying heavy bags to and from school, and would definitely reccomend this laptop others in a similar boat. I also recommended it to a friend with arthritis who struggles with weight on her lap for long periods of time who now uses this laptop regularly. The battery capacity is amazing for the price. I would expect to pay well over a grand for something so well built and compact which can work for eight hours before needing to be plugged in. It's a novel thrill to see the battery icon at "twenty minutes remaining" and know that there is no duplicity involved: you actually have a whole twenty minutes to find the lead. This is a novelty which wears off with every laptop but, this one has definitely fared better than most; after four months of rigorous use there has been absolutely no depletion in battery capacity. For those shooting videos etc. there is HDMI, and 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks audio. I haven't tested a variety of memory functions yet but, according to trusted reviews, the memory card reader accepts high-capacity SDXC cards, and the Ethernet port is of Gigabit variety. It has a standard Intell Core processor as you would expect of a modern laptop of this price, but it has the best Wi-Fi capacity and Bluetooth 3.0. There are USB ports of 3.0 and 2.5 in this laptop, although I think it could do with an extra port in leui of vents which could be placed in a more accommodating way. It's core is backed by 6GB of RAM and a 640GB hard drive which is very impressive for both the price and size. I have yet to encounter a laptop with that kind of memory, held so eloquently, at such a modest price. All in all, this is a good laptop for those who benefit from a light product but don't want quality of build or memory capacity etc. to be compromised.

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              • GHD IV Styler / Hair Straightener / 3 Readings / 2 Ratings
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                14.07.2012 03:50
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                Definitely a must-have for those with out of control hair who want a long-term solution

                Firstly, you have to understand that I have an afro. And it isn't a cool one like Erykah Badu's; it makes me look like the villain in a low-budget horror movie. Thanks to these straighteners, this fact is only known to my nearest and dearest. Without them, nothing could tame my hair. When you start straightening with GHDs, it could take those with a 'fro about half an hour, separating the hair and ironing grouped hair etc. but after a while you can tame an out-of-control mop in a ridiculously short amount of time. Most of the people I have encountered with frizzy hair, myself included, agree that you can wash your hair with good conditioner, straighten it with GHDs and the slickness often lasts for at least a couple of days before having to re-touch. It's definitely a must have for those short on time in the morning and in need of presentable hair. The surface area of the ironing plates on either side is pretty big, meaning you get good hair coverage and it takes less time than other straighteners to finish the job (in my experience anyway). The shape is generally small enough to pack away in medium - big handbags and be stored easily, but just big enough to offer coverage for those with abundant hair styles. I know a lot of people who use them for curling from the offset and, from experience, it works. However, I would suggest that those with particularly frizzy hair straighten it all over first and then curl from there. The curls definitely hold for a good 12 hours with liberal use of hairspray. The straighteners include a neat little function, too, which has probably saved me from a lot of burnt pillows, bed sheets, and books in the past. After half an hour of inactivity it turns off the heat, which spares whatever item has been picked to host the GHDs from burning. For some, spending £20 on straighteners will suffice. However, for those who struggle to tame their hair, GHDs are definitely worth the money. For those with wayward frizz, I can guarantee you will never look back after buying these.

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