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mtpatton

mtpatton
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Member since: 27.01.2009

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      10.02.2010 16:12
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      A good cheap option for ginger beer drinkers

      I love fizzy drinks, but like to vary what I'm drinking and often plump for Northern drinks like Dandelion and Burdock and also Iron Bru. One of my favourite drinks is also ginger beer. I love ginger beer that is flavoursome and often only go for ones which say 'fiery' on the label.

      So I noticed this drink in Tesco recently and got 2 bottles of my Dandelion and Burdock and a bottle of this as it was part of a deal of 3 bottles for £1.20, Which is quite a good price. A single bottle costs 48p. Obviously I was thinking this would only be a one off as it would probably not taste very nice. However I must admit that this actually tastes ok. There is a gingery taste to the drink due to the due to the real ginger root extract in the drink. Other brands of ginger beer can be a bit expensive sometimes.

      The drink is quite refreshing; some of these cheap own brands are cheap for a reason. However this one is different, it is actually something I would buy over and over again. The drink is also quite nice in fact it is overly fizzy. Some drinks when you open them have to be left for a while just to let it calm down a bit, while this one doesn't. It can be drunk straight away.

      Nutrition info per 100ml-

      Energy - 3kj/ trace kcal
      Protein - 0.0g
      Carbohydrates - 0.0g (of which sugars 0.0g)
      Fat - Trace


      One draw back I can see with the drink is if you don't finish it in one go, the drink goes quite flat easily. Therefore to drink a two litre bottle in one go can be a bit tricky.

      Another draw back I see is that the drink is supposed to be fiery - It does have a nice gingery taste, but it is definitely not fiery! If anyone has any doubts about this after trying this brand should try the M+S ginger beer - You can see the ginger at the top of the drink!

      However, overall this is a good cheap drink that does taste like it ginger beer and is something I will continue buying. Obviously if you buy the 3 bottles for £1.20, using a Tesco Club card will currently get you 2 points, and if you take you own bag you will get an extra point, which does make the drink seem a little bit cheaper.

      -------review also appears on ciao.co.uk----------------

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        09.01.2010 18:06
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        see review

        This is a relatively new restaurant in Oxford, which opened in the student area of the city. Its slogan is simple - it doesn't take a rocket scientist to make great burgers. This is something that this place lives up to.

        This a quite a small place, but is fashioned like an American diner, which lots of retro pictures on the walls and items from star wars on the ceiling. It also has a TV screen at the rear of the restaurant which shows old retro American adverts. It only actually seats about 30 people and it is generally filled with students.

        The menu itself is quite simple - as the name suggests its burgers. The basic concept is that each burger is named after a famous American person for example a few of the items are

        The George bush - plain burger
        The Jack Black - Cheese, Chorizo, Fried Egg and Nacho's
        The Christopher Walken - Melted Brie, Bacon, Cranberry jelly

        I could go on and there are sixteen varieties, one of which is a Burger that you simply choose what you what from a list of about 40 ingredients, so basically the possibilities are nearly endless. One of the best things I find is that you get a range of cheeses from American, Swiss or Goats cheese. This is something I really like as the one thing that really annoys me then simply getting that plastic cheese that is often served with Burgers. The only thing that is missing is the option for a low carb burger (the bun is usually replaced by lettuce). You can also wash down your burger with a full range of drinks from Lager, wine to soft drinks

        All of the burger options also come with either in Chicken or Beef option. All of the meals come with a free side order, there are three choices for the side - these are chips (which can be served plain or with chilli and garlic flakes over the top), Onion rings or a salad. My personally favourite is the onion rings. These are deliciously battered and deep fried. You can add all three sides to your burger for a cost of £5.

        The prices start from £6 for a plain burger right through £8.50 for a burger that has four fillings. You can also get take away from the restaurant which offers a 10% discount.

        I have been to this place three times and have been very impressed with it - except the first time I went, when the burger was over done. However this was within the first couple of weeks after it opened and therefore I think the staff were just getting used to been working the kitchen, so I won't criticise as since then the Burgers have been excellently cooked with fresh ingredients for the salad that is given to you in the burger.

        The American theme is enhanced when sitting in the restaurant is by the music that is played. When I have been it has played music from the American artists like Elvis and Buddy Holly.

        The staff always seem really friendly when you go to the restaurant as well. The finishing touch to our burgers was that you are given a flying saucer sweet at the end of the meal which is something I thought again enhanced the basic idea of Atomic burger.

        Although you can get slightly cheaper burgers elsewhere it is worth paying that little bit more for the quality you get from this place and this is a place I will definitely re-visit.

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          15.11.2009 13:29
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          Really cheap place to stay and learn the local culture

          I arrived excitedly in Laos at Vientiane airport from Hanoi to stay in this Eco-lodge resort just outside the capital. We spotted this place on the hostelworld website but choose to book directly with the resort as getting to the resort is a bit tricky. There is a local bus service which runs daily, However we preferred to arrange with the Eco-lodge to get collected from the airport for a small fee of $10. Arrival at the airport was easy and as with many of the south Asian countries you can get the required visa when you turn up to enter the country. The visa does require a picture, but we forgot that we had packed ours in the main language so got fined a whopping $1!

          Anyway after making our way through the easy immigration checks we had a friendly driver waiting for us and he drove us for about half an hour away from the capital to this nature resort. By the time we arrived it was pitch dark, but we had a lovely chat with the owner who showed us to our cabin and advised us to make our way down to the floating restaurant when we were ready
          The cabin

          We made our way through the curvy path ways made for the resort to arrive at the first cabin. This was of a great size and had a lovely king size bed waiting for us. There was also ample room to hang clothes and other stuff. Outside the front door was a small table and chairs and to the side of the cabin was a more secluded private garden with again another table to just get away from everything.

          The best thing about the room was easily the bathroom. The flooring on this was simply just pebbles and this allowed any water to drain away easily. This came equipped with a shower, WC and sink. The only problem with this was the lack of hot water. However cold showers were surprisingly pleasant. I suppose this was helped by the fact that it was approaching 30oC each day outside and on our stayed it was simply sunny every day.

          The room also came with many anti mosquito devices. Obviously this is a problematic area, especially as you are near the river, for these but the room came with many citronella candles for you to light and also had nets to put up at night and despite the obvious problem we never had any problems here.

          The floating restaurant
          ------------------------------
          Yeap that's right a floating restaurant! The eco-lodge is on the banks of a river in Laos and our first experience of this river was sat in the restaurant which was really nice. However due to the dark nature of the evening we couldn't see it in its full grand nature until the morning. When we did we realised that the restaurant gave amazing views over the river and to the small village over the other side. The resultant was quite large for its nature and during our stay there were only ever two other people staying with us.

          Foods from this restaurant were admittedly always a bit hit and miss. However it was always edible so I suppose I cant complain to much. The menu was extensive and I think this was the reason that the food qualify wasn't always perfect. Rather then ensuring that a few dishes were great it tried to cater to everyone's needs as it offered Thai, Chinese, Western and Vietnamese food. The food was reasonably priced. However I soon realised on the first night that I had stumbled upon one of the nicest lagers I have ever drunk called Beer Laos. This is now owned by Carlsberg and was recently voted the second best beer in the world. This can be enjoyed in small or large bottles. We seemed to order a couple of large ones at regular intervals in the day. Getting on and off the restaurant was tricky whilst we were staying. This was mainly because the river had recently flooded and meant that the bankside that you walked down was still a bit moist. This had small walkways to cross over to the wooden structure of the restaurant. This also had a water feature on the side of it. The staff in the restaurant were really friendly and wanted to learn to speak English while they were happy to teach how to speak Laos.

          Breakfast was also served in the restaurant and was always of a better quality then the main menu. I think this was because they were fewer dishes to choose.

          Things to do
          ----------------

          The resort offers many things to do. On our first day we visited the local village on the other side of the river. We were driven over in a small boat by Gamgurn (the manager of the resort) who guided us round the village showing us the temple, the local witch doctor and the local school. This was something I really enjoyed and to see so many people with big smiles on there faces was refreshing. It turns out the eco lodge has close links with the school and provides many books for them. We also strolled around the village and purchased many items of clothing. These were hand made in the village and we bought them cheaper then in the capital but paid the workers a lot better then they would have received from the local trades dealer. We realised we spent ages around the village as we watched Buddhist monks beats there drums in the evening to inform the village the evening was coming so we crossed back over to the resort.

          The second day saw us charter a boat from the resort and we made a couple of hour trip down to another eco resort which had an outdoor steam room. This trip led us to understand the nature of the country more as we passed many fishermen and farming communities using the river as a source of life.

          On our next day we rented a couple of bikes and visited another local community and visited another temple where we were greeted by a mad monk who lived on his own for many years. Hiring the bikes was something that was hard as the bikes were in a bad state of repair and my chain came off several times on the short journey. In the evening we had booked to have some traditional Laos massages and these were enjoyed by both myself and my Girlfriend.

          The final day saw us visit the capital on the way back to the airport and explore a bigger and far more superior temple. On the final night we enjoyed some local Laos dancing - Well I did until I got dragged up to join in as I'm a really bad dancer!

          The cost
          ------------

          The room cost $19 per room per night for a double or $9 when booking into the dorm. This resort is quite so generally if you booked the dorm you would be on your own. You do get breakfast included in the price of the double room.

          Generally food is reasonably priced, however we found that we could make a trip over to the village on the local ferry service and buy drinks cheaper then in the resort. This included the price of the ferry as well!
          Many of the things we did were add ons that cost, the details of these can be found on the website.

          Overall
          ----------

          This was a great place to stay and offered something that I was looking for on my trip. The surroundings were great and after a week staying in the resort I felt a part of a community which I think says it all about this resort. This was echoed when one morning I was awoken early by the local temple by the Buddhist monks banging the drum to symbol the start of the day and I felt it was time to start mine to.

          Further details can be found at http://www.rivertimelaos.com/

          This review also appears on Ciao.

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          • Boots Advantage Card / Credit Card / 138 Readings / 134 Ratings
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            04.11.2009 18:54
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            A handy high street loyalty card to have to hand

            I have had my boot advantage card for many years and have found it quite a useful thing to have in my wallet

            Every £1 you spend gives you 4 Boots Advantage Card points. The scheme is simple 1 point = 1pence. Using your points is also equally simple. If you find something valued at £5.49 in the store, you will need to have 549 points on your Card to be able to pay for the produce on your advantage card. Boots also regularly have weekends where you can get triple points if you spend over £15 for example, which means you can get up to 12 per pound spent. This is probably the time to save up any purchases that you know you need to make to earn extra rewards. Points can also be claimed/redeemed online at boots.com.

            Boots sells a whole wide range of products. Nearly every product (things like prescriptions DON'T) that boots sells claims Boots advantage card points. Boots sells a good range of products including: cosmetics, electricals, baby products, lunch food products, perfumes, medicines, gifts and even the ability to process your photos.

            Recently my boots did a really good deal as well over summer which was the boots meal deal. This normally costs £2.99 - Which means with an advantage card you claim 8points (p). However to advantage card users, if you purchased 5 meals in the calendar month then the sixth meal deal was free! This was, I know, hugely popular with my work colleagues.

            Boots can be known as having slightly higher prices for certain products than its main competitor Superdrug, but this may be the reason for them having the Boots Advantage Card. Generally I weigh up before every purchase the cost against boots and its competitors to see if it is worth buying the produce from boots.

            I recently purchased a bottle of perfume for my girlfriend. The perfume was about £40 - This gave me £1.00 worth of points. However another useful tool in larger boots stores is the extra points kiosk. This is a bit like a cash machine, where you insert your card and redeem any offers that are valid for yourself. On this occasion I got a voucher to give me an extra 250 points for spending over £30, so it total I got 350 points, or £3.50 discount (approximately 8%). You can also update you contact details on this kiosk.

            If you ever visit boots but don't have your card to hand you can ask the cashier to validate you receipt and all you have to do is remember to take you card with you the next time you visit boots and get these added onto your account.

            Generally I use my points to purchase little gifts for Christmas, and as per usual I have got around £20 to spend on some little gifts.

            I personally find this card very rewarding and one of the better cards used by high street stores.

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            • More +
              18.09.2009 18:12
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              amazingly cheap well run place to stay

              Koh Phangan is a small island located off the Eastern coast of Thailand. We arrived, as many people do in Bangkok after spending a few days in the capital we made our way down the coast by coast to Koh Samui which is just a short boat hop away from Koh Phangan. We spent a week on the island relaxing and choose this nice complex to stay in, so here is my review.
              We arrived from Koh Samui via a high speed boat journey, which cost a couple of quid into port on the island. From here we simply boarded a shared mini bus taxi which was going in our general direction on the island. This again cost very little, but you can haggle down the price a little bit if you choose.
              How did we hear of this place?

              We booked most of accommodation for our trip online. For many of the Asian places we visited, we simply booked the first night. We took this approach simply because of our experiences in Hong Kong- where we booked what seemed to be a nice hostel and turned out to be the worst place I will ever stay! However this approach was changed when we spotted this place on Koh Phangan.
              The rainbow bungalow was recommended by the lonely planet guide book and we booked this simply on their recommendations. We booked this on hostel world after reading the endorsement and seeing the ratings and comments left by other travellers.
              So what do you get?

              We booked a two person chalet. This is located on what seems to be a private beach as the resort in sandwiched between the two biggest settlements on the island. On the shoreline is a couple of hammocks and even a volleyball net. On our first afternoon there we simply choose to walk down the beach front and passed an endless amount of fisherman hunting for fish in the sea, while others were checking nets cast out in the morning.
              Koh Phangan is famous around the Thailand for it full moon parties, We arrived a couple of days after one and this may explain as to why our walk down the beach was so peaceful and we didn't see another tourist in sight. This was just before the sun set and it was truly a picturesque setting.

              Although we booked a two person chalet, we could have easily accommodated a third person, as we were given a queen size bed and then a single. These beds were also extremely comfy. You are also given a fan in the our, and I believe that some of the rooms have inbuilt aircon in them, but you do pay a bit extra.
              The bathroom was also in fine condition where we had a bath with an overhead shower. This was also one of the few places that provided towels for your stay.

              Both the room and the bathroom were in prestige state and the small balcony which accommodates a couple of chairs and a table is cleaned daily.
              So what can you do?
              The resort is run an Australian man, who was himself away on holiday when we stayed there. However the Thai family working in his absence were extremely friendly. As I said the island is famous for its island parties, but apart from that there isn't much more to do. You can hire motorbikes from the hotel and drive around the island, but after I cast my eyes on the beach in the morning, that simply did not cross my mind.

              The setting looked amazing as we had to pass between two palms trees to get to the beach. It was amazing how shallow the water was as well, as we seemed to be able to just keep walking and walking out to sea and then simply sit down. This was one of my highlights of this stay was simply looking back at the island in admiration and I can remember thinking 'I could easily do this for life', while little fish kept swimming past me.
              The resort also serves food for breakfast. Breakfast highlights had to be the fresh fruit pancake, which was served with mango and banana. This isn't included in the price, but is an extensive menu. The bar is open all day and you can collect any drinks and pay for them later. The food also served here was some of the best that we ate in Thailand, except for street stalls in Bangkok. We enjoyed numerous Thai curries. This was the first place I tried a yellow Thai curry. All of this was reasonably cheap and big bottles of beer were kept in a big fridge at a refreshing temperature.

              The hotel also provides several games for you to play when the sun disappears and also provides free internet access.
              For many of the hostels around South East Asia, security is a big issue, but this place seemed to buck the trend. It was one of the few places that offered to keep our important documentation secure and the resort also employs a different kind of bouncer - some big dogs. These are harmless but alert everyone if someone arrives at the resort.
              Disadvantages

              There is only one disadvantage I can think of for this place. This is simply the isolation of the resort. For example if you didn't like the food, you have no easy alternative options to choose from. However for me this was not a problem. This for me actually worked out to be an advantage. I loved the remote feeling that this resort offered after coming from the heavily touristy areas of Koh Samui
              Cost
              The cost of the room we booked worked out to be £6.62 per night, which for 2 people a night is truly amazing value. Alternatively you can book a deluxe cabin for double the money, which have air conditioning and bigger beds. However this is quite pricey and if you are on a real budget many cheaper alternatives can be found.

              I can't remember the cost of meals and drinks but I can remember that it was in keeping with what I was paying on another Island.
              Overall
              This was possibly the best place I stayed on my travels and would recommend it for any other travelers. I would even think about this place as a normal holiday as well.

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              • CCleaner / Utility / 93 Readings / 92 Ratings
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                13.09.2009 18:07
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                A Ccleaner computer is a happy computer

                Ccleaner is a very useful freeware piece of software that can be run to clear personal information, which in turn can help improve the performance of the computer you are using.

                So whats good about it?
                -------------------------------

                Well firstly it free. It can be downloaded from http://www.ccleaner.com/, Installation is very easy and is just hitting the next button. The software can also be installed in numerous languages. The website also has a useful forum on it in case you experience any problems.

                It claims and does remove temporary internet files from all recognised verisons of Internet explorer. When you start the application you are presented with a screen which by default is to scan windows for things that it could remove from the machine without affecting anything you do on it. This can also clean up applications as well. scanning is easy, as all you need to do, is click analyse which will show you what it can remove and after reviewing this list you simply click run cleaner. This is the only area for improvement, The analysis will show it clearing some much data, but when running the cleaner it clears alot less then claimed.

                My favourite thing about this application is the registry cleaner which is in built with it. The registry is something which greatly affects the performance of any machine. For example, the way windows operates, whenever you uninstall any application from a machine it doesn't always remove entries to it in the registry. Therefore as your computer is used more, it will mean that the machine has more things that could easily be removed to improve the performance. Whenever you run the registry cleaner you need to instantly run it a second time as curing one issue often leaves a second issue behind.

                Another feature with the application is the ability to remove any program from the machine. Truthfully I havent used this, but from a quick teat appears to function easily as well. Within here there is also the ability to look at things which run when the computer starts up.

                Conclusion
                --------------

                This is a really useful tool, which i use in my day job. I'm a IT Desktop Support person and this makes many of the tasks that we need to do on users machines easy to do. Highly recommended.

                The software unfortunatley cant be run automatically and you have to run it yourself. I suggest running this monthly, perhaps more depending on what you have done on your machine recently.

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                • onepoll.co.uk / Internet Site / 111 Readings / 106 Ratings
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                  22.08.2009 20:24
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                  A site that needs constant monitoring to accure money

                  I read numerous positive reviews about this web site and decided to sign up for this one to. Onepoll is a web site that offers you the chance to earn money by completing surveys.

                  When you sign up to the website you are credited with a £2.50 instant reward. The homepage proudly boosts that surveys range from 10p to £1. However in reality this is inaccurate. Most of the surveys on the site are for 5p, while the most I have been rewarded for replying to a survey was 20p. I have never seen any surveys for more then this!

                  The site
                  ----------

                  The site can be accessed by visiting onepoll.co.uk, obviousally to be able to redeem money you need to sign up to the site. When oyu have done this the navigation of the site is really simple. You are given one page for surveys. This displays a list of surveys that pay and the price that you are credited with for completing the survey.

                  There is also a secondary side to this where there are competition surveys where you can win amazon vouchers for completing the survey. Generally these surveys are really quick to complete.

                  A second tab provides you with you account which shows you what activity you have done, and lists all surveys you have done as well as showing you a progress bar to the magic £40 payout mark.

                  A final tab shows you account details.

                  So whats good?
                  --------------------

                  The length of each survey is one of the advantages of the site. Instead of other survey sites offering a 10p reward for wasting 20minutes of your life, these surveys are generally quick to complete. Each survey has multiple choice questions and typically have between 10-20 questions. Some surveys only have one question!

                  Some of the surveys are quite interesting. The surveys results are generally used in newspapers for stats and ask topical questions as a result.

                  Another good thing about this site is that it doesnt fill up your email account like other companies do. Instead this site works on that you have to visit it to be given the list of new surveys available. Generally these change daily, so a five minute visit everyday is worthwhile, which is how i use this site.

                  Whats bad?
                  ---------------

                  The surveys as I said don't pay much, and the payout threshold for the site is £40 so it will take you quite a long time to reach. I have been a member for around 3 months and regularly visit the site. I have only accrued £9 from completing the surveys, so dont expect to reach the minimum payment anytime soon.

                  Also sometimes, if you dont complete the questions correctly, it will tell you and then loose all of you answers that you have provided to the other answers. This can be really annoying!

                  Also surveys seem to be rarely published at the weekend.

                  Conclusion
                  --------------

                  A fun survey site, which needs a lot of effort if you are to earn money from it. There are worse survey sites, but there are also certainly better ones as well.

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                  • envirophone.com / Internet Site / 106 Readings / 104 Ratings
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                    16.08.2009 22:15
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                    Use this website to get a little bit of cash ofr your old mobile

                    I am a member of several online survey sites, and when I was logged into onepoll.co.uk, I noticed an icon at the top of the screen for sell your mobile phone for cash. Now this is something I have never considered which is strange I have quite a few old mobiles sat around gathering dust and taking up space at home just in case my current phone goes wrong but when clicking this link it went through to a website called phonepiggybank.com, which is part of the envirofone.com group.

                    It is really simply to sell your phone, and the website is really easy to use. When you first visit the site you need to create an account. This is needed to provide address details for payment. After you have signed up and logged into the website, you need to browse for your phone. Firstly you need to select the make of phone and then select the model of the phone. I've used this company to recycle my old Australian mobile, which was a Samsung. When you add the phone to your cart it shows you the price that the company is willing to pay for your phone. Here you can either accept the price or reject it by cancelling the trade. You can trade your phone even if it is broken and Envirofone will pay up to 90% of the value of the phone for broken phones.

                    If you accept the trade, you will simply be presented with another screen confirming your address details.

                    After trading your phone, you are sent a SAE jiffy bag to send your phone to the company. This arrived promptly. After receiving the jiffy bag simply place your phone in the post, the company recommend that you send the phone back via recorded delivery. This is of course you choice and it depends on the value of the phone you are sending. My phone was only worth £7.50 so I didn't bother. You should receive payment within 7-10days. Payment is either done via a specified paypal account or by sending a cheque to your specified address when you signed up, I opted for the cheque option.

                    One good thing I noticed with this company is how it kept you update with the trades you are completing. You receive an email to confirm you have traded the phone. After sending your phone to the company you receive another phone informing you that it has been received. I then received another email within 24-48 hours to tell me that my payment had been sent. This again arrived promptly.

                    The reality is that you're not going to get rich from this exchange and you could probably make more money by using EBay. It does say that your phone may be worth £100, but in reality most are worth between £5-10. I guess that at the moment an I-phone would be worth £100.

                    By recycling your old mobile phone you not only reduce the impact that a mobile phone has on the environment but also get the chance to see if your old mobile phone could earn you money.

                    Overall this is something that I would certainly use again, but you may be able to make money for your old mobile through other means. I have noticed several companies like this one online and this one always seem to have a slightly higher price for the mobile.

                    Thanks for reading

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                    • Samsung NV100HD / Digital Camera / 136 Readings / 130 Ratings
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                      19.07.2009 15:02
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                      A supreb stylish easy to use camera

                      Ever since my first digital camera ended up attempting to learn to swim last year and has no longer been able to charge have I needed a new one. I have been avoiding purchasing a new one, but the final straw came just before I went to a friends wedding and I pulled out the camera to remember that it had completely dead. There and then I decided that I needed to replace it. So after hunting around loads of electronic shops and reading comments left on websites, I choose Samsung NV100 model. My previous camera was also a Samsung and this is a brand that I have grown love for all of electronic products.

                      The Camera's Look
                      -------------------------

                      The Camera comes in two colours; you can choose either a black finish or a silver finish. I chose the silver finish as I personally think silver looks more modern. The camera itself is two tones as the top and one side of the camera are a rich deep read colour.

                      One thing to notice about the camera is that this is really light device and only weighs 140 gram. This was a noticeable difference compared to my old model which was roughly the same dimensions as this model.

                      Along with the camera comes the usual range of devices like a USB cable so that you can transfer your pictures to computer, a handle which can be attached at the side of the device to hold it, camera software to run on your computer and a charger. There is also a full instruction manual in the box for those who would like to know more about any of the camera features.

                      Main Features
                      ------------------

                      The camera has loads of good things going for it, here are my favourites.

                      First and fore most, is the large 3" touch screen operation. This is great for navigating around the menus and for scrolling through your pictures. This handily also gives you access to decide on the function and settings that you wish to set on the camera.

                      Obviously you can get into any of the modes from here and you have 8 automatic modes (one of these modes is a mode called beauty shot!) preset on the camera which help capture the moment in any conditions. If you are brave enough there is also a manual mode where you can set the finer details of the picture quality yourself, but let's face it, I have never used this mode. Also from the modes you can get into movie mode where you can record and excellent quality HD video. In fact when you look at the camera it is pleasing to see a lack of buttons as it makes you think it is simple to operate and I have to say that this was the case. When operating the touch screen, if you make a mistake there is a simple button in the top right hand corner of the display to go back.

                      The picture quality on this camera is also amazing. This is helped by the wide variety of modes available (as mentioned above) but also due to the fact that the camera is 14.7 mega pixels. My old camera was merely 10 (really this was only 3 years old and was top of the range then!). The pictures on this device are noticeably clearer, sharper and it is able to cope with a wobbly hand or the subject moving slightly. This was my biggest criticism of my previous camera as it did not always hold a great picture. The picture quality is helped enormously by the optical zoom that is available which is an impressive 3.6. This also has a lens that advances from the front of the camera to again give sharp images of the subject when they are quite a distance away.

                      Battery life is something that I was keen to ensure was a key feature of whatever camera I bought owing to my last exploits. The great news is that this camera last forever! I took this camera to the wedding I went to and have used it on several other occasions and the device never seems to want charging. This is helped by the simple fact that it is similar to a computer, the camera will turn itself off after a period of inactivity, this is something my old camera did not do. This will obviously save you money in the long run as well by not having to charge each before each and every time you use it. The camera can be charged in a conventional way or if your transferring files to your computer via the USB cable the camera will take a little bit of power to charge itself.


                      So are there any drawbacks?
                      -------------------------------------

                      I have only noticed two very trivial drawbacks.

                      Firstly the file size of any pictures you take is around 3mb. That's ok when placing them on a computer, but sadly if trying to attach pictures to certain websites it will not accept the picture as the file size is too large, ciao for example! The camera comes with an impressive 30mb internal memory; however this is only 13 pictures when you think about the file size. Usually the file size is around the 1mb size and this is quite a difference. Obviously this is caused by the picture quality and sharp images that the camera delivers but it worth bearing in mind before purchasing this. The camera also takes the usual memory cards so this memory can be easily expanded on.

                      Secondly the pop up flash is in a place that I place my hands on the camera which means that it try's to pop my finger out of the way. Obviously this is a good feature when you know about it as its one less thing to worry about when taking pictures, but it can take a bit of getting used to.

                      Price and availability
                      -------------------------

                      We purchased this camera from Argos. The camera's recommended retail price is £199.99. However Argos appears to always have a deal on with this one to lower the price to £159.99, which for the picture quality and a HD Video camera as well is excellent value.

                      Conclusion
                      --------------

                      As I said I needed a new camera and this is a camera that I would happily recommend to anyone. The picture quality is wonderful and the touch screen on the device is simple to use.

                      The camera itself looks stylish and is a nice compact size and weight making it easy to carry around with you.

                      Thanks for reading, this review is also published on Ciao.co.uk, under the same username

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                      • More +
                        09.07.2009 16:06
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                        A nice cheap meal

                        Nandos is a restaurant chain of Portuguese roots but first opened in South Africa in 1987 and enter the UK market five years later and has since grown into over 200 franchised outlets and is famous for it Peri-Peri Chicken.

                        Personally I have been to several of the UK outlets, but this is a review of my recent visit to one of the two oxford branches of Nandos

                        Why I went there
                        ----------------------

                        I found myself enjoying a couple of drinks recently in this part of Oxford after work, and as usual we didn't plan a small thing known as where to get something to eat. Our requirements we simple
                        1) We wanted to sit outside to enjoy the recent enjoyable evenings that we have experienced.
                        2) Not to expensive

                        We racked our brains for ages an aged on somewhere that didn't met our requirements to sit outside as many of the restaurants in this part of oxford do not have the facility to sit outside. We then walked past this building and realised that there were about 10 tables outside, so we decided to go here.

                        The Food
                        --------------

                        The food is quite simple, but sometimes the easiest things are most enjoyable. The restaurant food is based around chicken. First of all you need to decide what you want. Both I and my girlfriend went for a half chicken. Secondly you choose what level of spicy sauce you wish to be on the chicken. This ranges from extra hot right though to mild sauces of lemon and herd or mango and lime. We both opted for the hot marinade for our chicken. I have been Nandos many times and I always go for the hot spicy sauce and am also presently surprised how hot it is.

                        I did get extra hot sauce put on my chicken in Kuala Lumpar and the difference in spice was very noticeable. The extra hot sauce is described on the menu as a real throat scorcher. You can choose to get your chicken on its own or with a couple of side dishes. These include the usual side of chips, Coleslaw, Garlic Bread and corn on the cob. I chose corn on the cob and also chips as well. To make the chips a bit spicier I chose to get Peri-Peri salt on the chips which are a nice flavour for the chips.

                        After you chose what you want and how you want it, you head to the counter to place your order and pay for you meal there and then. Whilst you are at the till you can collect your entire cutlery and also any additional sauces you want so you can test the other flavours on your plate for the next visit. This is the part of the chain that I feel shows that it is a mix of the generic high street fast food and a restaurant. This is part of the reason that the prices are really good value for money here.

                        The chicken itself is cooked freshly for you and the half chicken has enough chicken meat on it to keep me satisfied and this combined with my two side orders means that I left quite full.

                        As I said myself and my girlfriend know what we like here through various visits to the chain, but the menu is reasonably diverse as my friends got a Chicken Burger and a chicken breast wrap which did seem really nice. Another friend who was there for the first time ended up ordering a whole chicken and taking some of it home in a doggy bag.

                        The décor
                        --------------

                        Well we found ourselves sitting outside in the sun at some wooden tables which were shielded from the nearby road by a row of plants which helped to keep much of the noise of the traffic away. However one thing that was disappointing was that one of the plants was growing towards the table and meant that it was right in my face which was very annoying.

                        The inside of the restaurant is very dark in nature which all of the tables been a very dark brown colour. In the middle of the restaurant is the kitchen where you can clearly see your meal been cooked, which is something I always like to see.

                        The toilets were a disappointment here. There were four cubicles. However on one of these the door didn't lock and one had a broken door. This was ok when we were there on a quite Tuesday night, however it would be a problem on a busy Saturday.

                        The price
                        ------------

                        Again this is a very reasonably priced chain of restaurants. My half chicken set me back £8.60. This included the price of two sides, The half chicken on its own cost £5.80.

                        Drinks are also reasonably priced. You can order a bottomless soft drink for £1.95 which gives you a choice of 4 soft drinks which are dispensed by yourself. I choose a bottle of Brahma for £2.95. There is also a wide selection of wines available as well.

                        Burgers are priced at £7.55 for two sides as well. The wrap was a little bit more at £8.55. A whole chicken and 2 sides sets you back £16.55.

                        Loyalty Card
                        -----------------

                        Nandos operate a loyalty card. If you purchase 10 meals you are entitled to a free whole chicken. There are also small things for free along the way as well. The card is free and you simply pick one up at the till and get it stamped with each meal you order.

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                        • cokezone.co.uk / Internet Site / 84 Readings / 79 Ratings
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                          07.07.2009 17:25
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                          I won an ipod so quite happy with this

                          What is it?
                          --------------

                          Since I returned to the UK earlier this year, I noticed that I could collect printed codes from its special bottles of coke and try and claim prizes in compeitions or really save up to ensure that you actually bought a prize outright.

                          How do you access it?
                          ----------------------------

                          Simple. Go to www.cokezone.co.uk and follow the simple sign up process where you have to give your usual personal details to claim anythings that you might get from this site. When you sign up to the site you are given the opportunity to claim 5 free points and you are also given a question every couple of weeks to redeem two free points.

                          So what can you claim
                          -----------------------------

                          rewards vary on this site and the site is usfully split into different categories depending on what you are after, these broad areas include

                          - Sport. cheap rewards here include getting £5 off a stadium tour for 5 points ranging up to an hours indoor skydiving for 400 points.
                          - Music within here you have offers for Itunes and money off online cd retailers to festival tickets
                          - Enterainment - Within here are many offers for theme parks for 2-4-1 entry for around 10 points and includes many DVD's for 150points.
                          - Games - From games for your phone to games for Xbox, all can be found here.
                          - Fashion - ranges from money off vouchers to buying things online at select retailers
                          - Charity - Why not give your points to charity and here you can find different options that the company are supporting.

                          Within each category, there is also the chance to wins products for 2 points. EG in the entrainment category you could win an ipod.

                          There is also a section for free stuff which has a couple of java based coke cola themed

                          So how do you get the points?
                          ---------------------------------------

                          Purchase any coke, Diet coke or coke zero and remove the label and you will find a code. Simply enter this online. A 500ml bottle carries 2 points, while a 2 litre provides 3 points. While, oddly, a share size bottle provides none!

                          The codes are quite hard to read and I have had several bottles which don't seem to be within the range that coke have created so wont enter onto the site

                          So does it work
                          --------------------

                          Happily, I can say it does. I recently entered a competition to win an IPod Nano. I had gathered 19 points so entered the competition 9 times and happily I took delivery of the IPod yesterday! all of my bottles of coke have been purchased in the recent £1 a bottle in the supermarkets.

                          However one worryingly thing was that I didnt get any notification of winning so had no idea what it was when it turned up.

                          I feel it is better to rely on competions as getting 250 points would take a long time - especially if not all of the codes enter are validated. however to get a free Ipod just by entering a code from a bottle of drink that would have bought anyway was pleasing

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                            26.06.2009 18:23
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                            Fantastic place to relax and explore

                            Welcome to the village that I grew up in for 20 years. Located peacefully on the North Eastern coast of England. Staithes (or Steeze to the locals) is the very last place to separate North Yorkshire with Cleveland. The village only has about 800 permanent inhabitants, although this number can nearly double in the summer months. Simply been here makes you feel from a bygone age.

                            This is a perfect example of a village that has expanded overtime; the original 'old' village is located at the bottom of a very steep hill, which is about 300 meters long. The original settlement is of Viking origin and the old village is built of tightly packed houses for the fishermen of the village. Its cobbled roads are intriguing and it has many small alleys for you to look around. One of these alleys is rumored to be the tightest in England (I Don't know if that fact or just a village myth when I was goring up!). The beach of the village is possibly the most disappointing aspect ascetically of the village if you are wanting a sandy beach. It has been improving over recent years, but as the beach is sandwiched between three piers to protect the settlement from the rough northern seas it isn't the biggest.

                            At the top of this hill is the 'new' village are the houses that are mainly occupied now by the local residents. The residents moved to the top of this hill to have easier access to the Cleveland Potash mine, approximately 1.5 miles north of the village and the rail link which arrived the at the end of the 18th century (this closed in the late 1950's) to allow travel to both Whitby and Middlesbourgh. The old station house still exists and is located next to the village car park.

                            So why is Staithes famous?
                            -----------------------------------

                            Surprisingly for such a small village it is steeped in History. It is often known as locally as Cook's village. Captain James Cook lived and worked in one of the shops at the bottom of the village, it was within the village that he first got his passion for the sea and later moved to Whitby before exploring the world. Within the old part of the village the home where Cook lived is marked with a plaque and is still an occupied house these days.

                            Despite it small size it is hard to understand how important fishing once to the village. This was once one of the largest ports in the UK, with over 300 men working out of it. The fishermen used to bring the catch ashore and transport via the rail link to larger urban dwellings. However the fishing fleet is a lot smaller these days.

                            The village also appears in numerous paintings. This was as a direct result of the train line as artists would come to the village just to paint. Such was the impact of these artists that a group was formed called the Staithes group of artists and there work can fetch thousands.

                            Staithes is one of those small picturesque places that dreams are made of for TV shows. Within my lifetime, all 25 years of it, numerous shows have been filmed here. Including

                            - Heartbeat (rather unsurprisingly)
                            - Hetty Wainthrope investigates
                            - The Fast Show
                            - Playbus (the kids show)

                            This is also featured on several Yorkshire Tea adverts

                            So what is there to do?
                            -------------------------------

                            Within the village is a heritage museum, which in all honestly, I have yet to visit. There are 2 art gallery's displaying paintings of Staithes and other beautiful villages of the area, While there are the usual village amenities of a Butcher, post office and village shop. The Bottom of the village has numerous holiday homes for people to stay in and is resident to 2pubs, one of these is the cod and lobster that famously gets flooded each year by the sea as it is on the sea front, the other is the George. There are also a couple of eateries; the best of these is the Endeavour fish restaurant which is opposite the George. It's website can be found at http://www.endeavour-restaurant.co.uk/

                            The village really is a walkers paradise. Many people, after checking the tide, walk around the rocks to the neighbouring village of Port Mulgrave whilst doing an about turn at Port and returning over some farmers fields to see the sea view from the air. Another traditional walk is to go via the village of Dale House and round some different wooded scenery and back onto the cliff tops to the village. Both are around about 5 miles in length. However this is just one of many walks that you can take around the area.

                            My favourite thing of the village is to head on to the largest pier and simply walk along it to the end and look back at the settlement. It always amazes me how tightly compacted the houses are built in the settlement and how the houses are built into the steep bank sides.

                            The village also holds a lifeboat weekend with its neighboring village of Runswick. This is usually held in July and brings together activities from 4-5 lifeboats from the area, cliff top rescues, numerous musical marching bands, many activities on the beach which is all topped off by a firework display on the Saturday evening.


                            How to get there
                            -----------------------

                            This is a really quite remote village, getting there is easy from Whitby take the A174 north for about 10 miles. From Middlesborough you want to head to Redcar and then follow the A174 for about 15miles.

                            A splendid little spot to visit for relaxation. One major drawback is getting around the village is extremely hard as its is built on quite a few big hill sides.
                            Thanks for reading

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                              20.06.2009 13:00
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                              A good read to birng amusing stories to anyones storytelling abilites

                              I'm sure that anybody over the legal drinking age will have experienced at some point in their drinking experiences one of the dubious pubs facts that Robert Anwood wittingly and cleverly writes about in this book.
                              The book is Atwood states not a book of facts, but a book or pub facts. These are two different entities. To understand the concept is simple for any fellow drinker among us. As soon as someone has a couple of pints they become an expert in any given topic matter, Hence while legitimate facts evolve unnecessary into an entirely different story.

                              The book contains 201 pub facts that are divided up into six-block sections of
                              - Nature - The natural world contains a wide variety of weird and wonderful animal which the knowledgeable pub genius is aware of
                              - Showbiz - People love to gossip about other people and therefore numerous stories are developed over time regarding musicians, movies stars and TV stars.
                              - The Law - How precisely were the laws first made and evolved to how we know them today
                              - History - Lets be honest, the winning parties only ever write history over time, and therefore some of it's got to be a bit made up hasn't it?
                              - Sports - People who are in the pub a lot tend to do fewer sports and hence do they try to bad mouth sports?
                              - Geography - Is, as the author puts it from his school, a very broad subject where none of the other subject matter fits into

                              Each of the dubious facts presented in the book have been researched extensively to prove or disprove each of the statements. I knew by the sub sections that I would like Nature, History and Geography. I wasn't sure how I would be able to handle the others.

                              Nature
                              -----------
                              Obviously within this section of the book the title fact resides of bears cant run downhill. I was taught a similar myth when I was growing up that cows cant run downhill. Some excellent examples of the dubious facts uncovered in this section are
                              - Polar bears are left handed
                              - A mouse can fit through a hole the size of a biro
                              - The scientific name for a Gorilla is Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla.

                              Personally I found this section extremely easy to read as each of the statements was extremely well argued in a comical format. It is easy to tell that each of the 'facts' in this section was extensively well researched. This made me tackle the showbiz section hoping that this would beat my expectations.

                              Nature scores 8/10 - I learnt a lot of things in this section of the book. This section is 44 pages long and contains 32 of these facts

                              Showbiz
                              -----------
                              The section of the book I was least looking forward to. I hate gossiping stories about celebrities that certain newspapers and magazine's rely on to actually sell anything, so would I like this section? Within here facts uncovered included

                              - Bob Holness was the first person to play James Bond
                              - Marilyn Monroe had six toes
                              - The Jackson's song blame it on the boogie was written by a different Michael Jackson.
                              This section actually surprised me, as it was a lot less gossipy then I feared, but was again based on solid facts. However it was still my least favourite section of the book

                              Showbiz scores 4/10, this section is 48 facts and is 60 pages long. I personally didn't like this section as some of the stories related to people I am not overly familiar with, it also seemed to take me a lot longer to read this part of the book

                              Science
                              ---------

                              This part of the book to me could have either been a really thrilling part to read or potentially really boring but containing items like
                              - A study showed that a bowl of peanuts on a pub bar contained traces of 100 different types of urine
                              - The Earth has three north poles
                              - Tea does not actually contain caffeine but a similar substance called Teaeine

                              I think shows the quite wide-ranging aspect of the chapter and personally I found it one of the more enjoyable sections of the book.
                              This section is very well written and scores a respectable 7/10. This contains 27 facts and is 36 pages long.

                              The law
                              -------------
                              Again another section that could have gone one of two ways like the science section as I must admit I find aspects of the law quite dull but again this was written in my opinion like the science section with many interesting aspects picked out like

                              - Its illegal to get divorced in Malta
                              - Computer games are illegal in Greece
                              - Brown sauce is legally allowed to contain 20% maggots
                              Like the science section I really quite enjoyed this one, which I didn't think I would.
                              It weights in with twenty pub facts and is 26 pages long.

                              History
                              ---------
                              I like my history and study up to A levels in he subject simply because I like knowing where man came from and has evolved over time. I know that history can be extremely biased to the winning side for things like battles but many of the facts in this section aren't reliant on the winning teams. Pub facts highlighted here include

                              - Russians celebrate the October revolution in November
                              - Americans and Canadians celebrate thanksgiving in different months
                              - The bank of England was set up by a Scotsman
                              A good part of the book but I personally thought it was going to be better then it was. It weights in with 26 pub facts and is 34 pages long. Scores a 6/10

                              Sports
                              -----------
                              Sports, to me, are one of my keen interests in life. I like most sports invented and like to know interesting facts about them

                              - 'Golf' originally stood for 'gentlemen only, ladies forbidden'
                              - The bloke who invented jogging, died jogging.
                              - Arthur Conan Doyle introduced skiing to Switzerland
                              A very good section that I always knew I would look forward to and was personally pleased that it appeared near the back of the book. If it was at the front and I didn't like it I probably would not have read on.

                              8/10 containing 17 pub facts and 24 pages long

                              Geography
                              --------------
                              This broad subject contains pub facts like:
                              - There are no trees in Iceland
                              - The town Levan is the word Navel backwards because its in the center of Utah
                              - There is a park bench in Bristol that has its own postcode

                              Again this is a good section of the book and scores 7/10. It contains 30 pub facts and is one of the bigger parts of the book.
                              Conclusion

                              A book that I was able to read quite quickly due to the witty way that each of the pub facts is presented. I like the way the book is laid out in sections. Within the section each pub fact is in bold text and at the end of the fact is the verdict, with an interesting related fact. The author tries to argue both the pro and anti for the fact, unless it's a really stupid fact. This book reminded me of the QI book, but in my opinion is better then that book as I found it more enjoyable to read.

                              The book costs £9.99 in hard back, and is available in all good book shops.

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                              • More +
                                14.06.2009 23:34
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                                A good book about one of the best natural finishers England has ever seen

                                I am a sports mad person who enjoys reading my sporting idols careers and how things started, Robbie, "The God" Fowler certainly falls into this category and I was thrilled when I was given this book for Christmas.

                                Robbie's Career -

                                Robbie is a Liverpool legend. He made his debut for Liverpool way back in 1993 and has just played his last game for the club after returning to them after a A bad reputation seems to follow him throughout his career, but after reading this book (I knew this anyway) this is totally unfounded. Robbie is actually seems to be more like the person who appealed to the ref not to give a penalty against Arsenal. Robbie played for Liverpool, Leeds and Man City.

                                Robbie was also capped 26 times by his country scoring 7 times.

                                Robbie at Liverpool -

                                This book explores Robbie's relationships with players like Steve MacManaman and shows where the horse racing for the 'Macca and Growler partnership', whilst learning his footballing trade from other greats like Ian Rush. You also find out where the Spice Boy's tag came from and why it stuck. Robbie also had his problems with team mates and you get the low down on the plane incident with Neil Ruddock. Robbie keenly explores his relationships with his managers, or lack of one with Houlier and Phil Thompson.

                                Robbie won major honours at Liverpool. He lifted the treble in 2000-2001 as Liverpool vice captain as Jamie Redknapp was out injured, however he found himself third choice striker behind Owen and Heskey.

                                Whilst in his early career at Liverpool, Fowler won the PFA young player of the year award for two consecutive seasons. This is a feat that has only been matched by Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney.

                                Outside of football -

                                Whilst getting all this on Robbie's star studded life he also gives you a very good insight into life growing up in Toxeth. How the Liverpool riots took place right on his doorstep, his relationship with friends and how he only had one thing on his mind - Football.

                                This book also explores his relationship with the Press and incidents like the coke snorting goal celebration and his relationship with the Blue nose supporters of Everton Football club. He often took a lot of stick from them and was once beaten up in a Liverpool hotel as a result.

                                The only down side of the book was that the first couple of chapters seemed to take along time to get through. It wasn't that the chapters were massive either, It just took me a while to get into the book, but once I got into his playing career his book quickly passed.

                                Conclusion -

                                This is a funny, Witty and a deep insight into the last clinical goalscorer that England produced. I have read alot of footballers books and i have to say that this was the one that I have enjoyed the most thus far and there are so many things that Robbie has done in football. But then again Robbie is a true legend in my generation.

                                Verdict 4/5 - Defiantly worth a read for football fans of my generation. Robbie has done so much to the game and is often mis-interpreted but this book show's that he isn't a terror. Robbie is currently 4th in the premier league goal scoring charts and holds the fastest hat-trick in premiership history scored after netting a hat-trick against Arsenal in 4 and a half minutes. I don't want to go into much depth over many of the things.....let the great man speak for himself

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                                • globaltestmarket.com / Internet Site / 72 Readings / 68 Ratings
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                                  14.06.2009 12:54
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                                  An enjoyable online way to earn money

                                  This was the first of the survey/review sites I signed up to which was about 3 years ago now. I personally find that this is one of the better sites for earning money over the internet.

                                  When you sign up to the site you are asked to complete the usual ten profile topic areas. These profile areas are present to give accurate surveys to you to ensure that you don't get an excessive amount of surveys that you are instantly screened out of.

                                  In my three years I have been surveyed about electrical products, Cinema, Music tastes for a new radio station, Shopping habits and my drinking habits. I personally find that the surveys arent all mind numbing and many of the surveys are actually quite enjoyable.

                                  Since i have been a member of the site I have earned 7400 market points. each survey invite you recieve gives you 5 points when you click through to it even if you are screened out. Most of the surveys earn you around 35-50 market points, but i have had surveys for 100 points before. Generally this is worked out by the time that it will take you to complete.

                                  Redeeming your points is generally quite easy, However I never quite know what I am going to recieve. This is a American site and each point is $0.05cents. you can only redeem your points when you hit the magic 1000 points and this is sent via a cheque in your local currency. This obviously depends on the exchange rate between the dollar and the pound. My last cheque was far greater then previous ones due to this nature.

                                  Payment generally is recieved within 4-6 weeks. I have had to contact customer services once and this was addressed promptly and my money has always arrived on time.

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