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punkrockpenguin

punkrockpenguin
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Member since: 23.07.2011

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      08.11.2014 16:50
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      • "My hamster loves it"
      • "Quieter than most wheels"

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      • Expensive
      • "Slightly squeeky"

      Not quite silent, but quiet enough to be worth the money.

      My hamster has been through a few different wheels since I've had him and they've all been dreadfully noisy and he lives in my bedroom so this has caused me sleep problems. After lots of research, I was torn between the silent spinner and the flying saucer due to them both having sparkling reviews for being quiet.

      I went for the silent spinner mainly for space reasons. My hamster has a bin cage - a spacious storage bin converted into a cage. These are popular because the hamster cages you see in pet shops are not big enough for syrian hamsters, for a hamster to live comfortably, their cage needs to be at least 20 x 30 inches. The cage needs to be tall enough for a 12" wheel to go in (so around 14" tall would do). If you have a syrian hamster, you will need the 12" wheel, they need the space to avoid their backs arching when they run on it. I've never owned a dwarf hamster so I can't offer any advice on this or what size wheel to get.

      In the end, I ordered my 12" Silent spinner from Amazon for around £20, which is more than I wanted to spend but I do feel like I have got my moneys worth. The wheel is sturdy whilst on its frame (my cage has no bars to fix it to) and my hamster loves it to pieces, it is his favourite toy and he is on it for most of his waking hours.

      So, is it actually silent? My answer is no, it isn't as silent as it claims to be but it is miles quieter.

      There are things you can do to make this wheel even quieter. I have taped mine to the cage floor to stop it moving around and I have taped the join between the different coloured plastic. Also, using cooking oil on the mechanism quietens it down tenfold.

      Despite this, I feel that this wheel is worth the money as I've not been awoken by it at all and my hamster runs on it so much more than he used to on his previous wheels. Its healthier for his back and he loves using it. I can't complain at all!

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      • Mahalo Ukulele / String Instrument / 33 Readings / 31 Ratings
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        14.06.2013 13:37
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        Bargain instrument, perfect for beginners looking for a fun, easy instrument to play.

        My boyfriend and I are both music students at university level and for his 18th birthday, I struggled with buying him a gift. I wanted to buy him something good that he could keep and would use but as a student, I was short on money. I don't know how I came up with the decision to buy him a ukulele but I did! I went straight to amazon and found this Mahalo uke in blue (his favourite colour) and knew that it was perfect.

        I'll talk a bit about ukuleles themselves as this model is aimed at beginners. Ukuleles are the perfect instrument for anyone who loves music but couldn't handle learning more complicated instruments such as piano or guitar. However, if you mastered the ukulele, the step up between the ukulele and guitar is not incredibly difficult. Perhaps, this would be the perfect introduction to playing music for a child? On the other side of abilities; for already musicians who want to pick up another instrument easily; ukuleles are perfect for you too! In other words, Ukuleles are insanely easy to play. Anyone could pick it up and within a week or two be playing with ease!

        The mahalo ukuleles come in a huge variety of colours: Black, White, Blue, Light blue, Pink, Purple, Yellow, red, green and even a union jack design. Mahalo Ukuleles are aimed at beginner ukulele players. Their dimensions are 8 x 23 x 20 cm and wiegh in at 558 g. Despite their teeny tiny size and light weight, they are suitable for anyone of any age.

        I bought my Boyfriend's Ukulele from Amazon at the very reasonable price of £15 with free delivery! However, you can currently (as of 14/06/2013) pick one of these up from Amazon between the prices of £13.99 and £17.56. I still believe that the price is incredible for a musical instrument.

        The instrument arrives in a cardboard box with a little bit of padding and a soft case. The soft case is awful, it will not protect your ukulele from bangs and nocks, nor will it protect it from the elements. I recommend paying a bit extra for a better case if the owner needs to travel with the ukulele. It also comes with a little card explaining tuning and shows some chord diagrams - a nice touch really as I'd have no clue where to begin! The ukulele itself feels a bit too light and fragile for my liking. However, as a guitarist who does plenty of research on the mechanics of building a guitar, on closer inspection, the ukulele looks like it is well built. The tone of the uke is a nice bright, slightly twangy sound. It produces the typical yet distinctive ukulele sound perfectly however, I don't feel that the tone and sound is anything special.

        There came a time when we needed to record some ukulele for uni work so I can comment on the recording ability of this instrument. There is no internal pickup on this model which means that it is required to choose a microphone for recorded. We used a regular shure SM57 on it and went for a bridge position. It works damn well and we were very pleased that the sound we captured was perfect and consistent with the decent tone that you would expect from a higher priced uke. That probably made no sense to a lot of people so I will say that this uke is surprisingly good when recorded with a decent microphone.

        So overall: This is a brilliant little instrument for the price! It makes a lovely gift (my boyfriend absolutely loved it!). Its perfect for almost anyone who wants to pick up a musical instrument without the hassle of needing years of lessons to get good at it. Mahalo ukuleles are highly recommended by me!

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          14.06.2013 12:25
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          A great buy, just don't expect them to last very long.

          My boyfriend took me to ikea for my very first visit two weeks ago. We're moving house and I love furniture shopping a bit too much. I was told by his Mum about the awesome range of candles that Ikea do and was keen to go and check them out. Of course, me being me; I came out with a basket full. Among my purchases was this pack of candles.

          Heres the details: In the plastic film wrapped pack, you get 36 candles for a cool price of £1.50. They are of regular tea light size and shape. They come in a great range of scents; berry, fruit, apple, vanilla and a peachy sort-of-scent. The pack includes three different colours and it might be my nose making things up but each colour in a pack has a slightly different scent. The downside is that each candle only burns for 3 and a half hours. You can't buy these on the online ikea shop unfortunately so anyone who wants some would have to make the journey to their nearest Ikea.

          I chose the red berry candles as I loved the colour and the scent and much preferred them to the other packs on offer. I have them in a black bowl on my living room coffee table and they look really great! I'm sure that the colour and scent would really suit bedrooms too.

          Talking of the scent itself; These little tea lights are quite powerful! I currently live in a house share with three guys so I use them to make the living room smell less of boy! They do that job really well! Not only that, the scent is warm and luxurious, I think they would be lovely to be used around Christmas time.

          My beef with these candles is that they really don't last long at all. I like to have candles lit in the afternoon and evening when people are around to enjoy them. I will light them, pick up a book or start some work and by the time I'm finished, the candles have been used up and I find myself getting up to replace them. However, I realise that there is fair warning about this on the packaging and it is my own fault that I didn't pick up any longer lasting ones.

          Overall, I love these candles. They smell and look absolutely amazing and I would continue to buy them if:
          a) Ikea was closer, or allowed me to purchase them online.
          b) They lasted longer!

          I highly recommend these candles to anyone who doesn't mind these factors.

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          • Ikea Lack Coffee Table / Furniture / 26 Readings / 24 Ratings
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            13.06.2013 22:59
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            Lovely modern coffee table at a brilliant price. I would recommend!

            My Boyfriend and I are moving house to a lovely semi-furnished terrace house at the end of the month. There are bits and pieces of furniture we need to pick up and a coffee table was on our list. With us being Students, we don't have a lot of money but I had an Ikea voucher from my birthday so we thought we'd see what Ikea had to offer.

            We knew this coffee table was perfect the moment we saw it and the price (£16). I thought the price was beyond reasonable and the generous size (size Length: 90 cm Width: 55 cm Height: 45 cm) and style of the table just right for our new living room. There is a square version for £6 that we were considering but we thought we'd pay the extra £10 for the bigger version. Having expected to pay upwards of £40, we were very happy with it.

            The coffee table comes is a variety of colours including Birch, Oak, White and Black. The Oak and birch are lovely shades We went for the oak version of the table as it would go better with the colours of the room.

            We have gone and put it together which we found really easy. The instructions were clear and it barely took 15 mins to put together and we only needed the use of a hammer and a pair of pliers.

            Now the table is currently residing in our bedroom until we move out. It looks really nice with the thick wood and has the look and feel of real quality. No, its not solid wood but for this price, beggars can't be choosers. I love this table, it does the job I want it to do and it does it well.

            To finish; I love this table, it looks nice and simple, its a nice colour, its good quality and big for such a bargain price. I recommend this table to anyone who is furnishing a house on a budget. I love it and I'll definitely be returning to Ikea to see what else I can pick up!

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              15.05.2013 20:26
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              Incredible

              The Gaslight Anthem are a little known band from New Jersey, US. They have a bigger following among fans of punk rock and indie music than anything else and its really commonly heard that they sound "a bit like the killers". Personally, I believe that The Gaslight anthem are the better band. Fronted by a soulful Brian Fallon who plays the part of the tortured musician well always claims that he used to be the kid who made music that people didn't think would be successful. He proves that with hard work and dedication, it is possible to better yourself to rise to success. The other band members are Alex Rosamilia on lead guitar, Alex Levine on Bass and Benny Horrowitz on drums.

              The 59 Sound was produced by Ted Hutt and released in August 2008 on One Side Dummy Records. It is the band's second album after Sink or Swim. it is roughly 41 minutes, containing 12 tracks and is available on vinyl, CD and digital. I'm cheeky and I have it on all 3 formats! Let me take you through the album!

              Great Expectations kicks in with vinyl crackle and a catchy little guitar riff, leading into the firt verse. The vocals are caked in reverb which gives them a warm yet far-away feel. This is the factor that makes them sound a bit like the killers. This is one of the tracks on the album that really makes you want to dance and sing along because its so bouncy and catchy! Fantastic tune! The outro is simply amazing with its slower tempo and church bells which rolls straight into The 59' Sound.

              This is the title track and is again full of catchy guitar and vocal riffs. One thing to listen for in this song is the communication between the two guitars. Alex Rosamilia makes this song perfect. The lyrics are expecially poetic on this track. It appears to be about having your favourite song being played to you as you pass away. This song is full of emotion and passion, its fantastic from start to finish. I love the line "We ain't supposed to die on a Saturday night". This is one of those songs that will stick with you for a long time.

              Old White Lincoln carries on the feel of the last two tracks, the intro containing sound samples of cars and people shouting which really works with the bass in the background. Brian Fallon's vocals are again totally perfect; allowing us to not just picture what he is describing, but feel it. I should imagine that that pesky reverb on his voice has something to do with that. The melodies sung by Brian and played so soulfully by Alex Rosamilia comunicate so, so well!

              The tone is changed a little bit with High Lonesome, although the pace is kept quite consistant. The guitars are again very well put together along with Benny's energetic drums and Alex's consistant bass lines. The verses don't quite do it for me on this track but the chorus is unbelievably spot, as always; sung with so much conviction!

              Film Noir is where the album takes on a completelly different feel. There's a bluesy western feel here and the focus is attatched to the vocals and that cheeky sounding lead guitar part which works so well. This track is definitly the foot tapper and a head nodder! Again, it has a rediculously catchy chorus.

              Miles Davis and the Cool starts out very drum orientated which fits with Brian's melody throughout the verse and rightly so because Benny is a fantastic drummer. The chorus agrees with the verse and the guitar stays in the background. I'm not a huge fan of this track, it seems a bit flat compared to the rest of the album.

              The Patient Ferris Wheel is probably one of the more underrated songs of the album. This is probably because some of the other choruses have better lyrics and melodies and they overpower this track. Its a shame really because this is a really good track.

              Cassanova Baby has a bluesy country feel to it which really makes you want to tap your feet and boogie as you sing along to that awesome chorus! I love the way the lead guitar repeats the chorus melody.

              Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and Meet Me by the Rivers Edge continue that mix of absolutely incredible lead guitar and vocals/lyrics that will absolutely blow you away every listen.

              Here's Looking at You Kid and The Backseat are the slower, more emotional tracks of the album. It feels like a wind down to the end of the album but it doesn't feel like a let down. They feel so poetic and beautiful that you feel like you can relate to the lyrics, even if you can't. I believe that is the best thing about Gaslight, they put you in the song and make you feel so much just through their music.

              To Conclude, this album is a must have, it really is. Almost every song seems like it'd make a great festival anthem. However, its also really great for general listening and fits right in on a chill out playlist. Also, this band could appeal to anyone. There nothing that anyone could find offensive, the lyrics are great not to mention all of the elements of genres mashed together here. If you don't already own this album, you definitly should! If you've never heard of The Gaslight Anthem before, buy this album and you'll be hooked from the get-go.

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              15.05.2013 19:55
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              A great excuse for some pampering for your feet!

              I absolutelly LOVE Lush. Every time I'm in Cardiff, I'm there! Sometimes, however, I'll go in there and let the absolutelly lovely staff reconmend and show me some of their products. This time, I went in determined to find something for my cracked heels and dead skin on always tired feet and I wlked out with lots of things (as per usual!). One of the products I liked so much I bought was Volcano. This could be considered quite pricey at £5.75. For most, this would be an occational treat as you don't get a lot for your money here. This is like a face mask but for feet. It claims to be cool and refreshing. It smells earthy too! Its a scent that I'm not sure whether I love or hate yet. I think its the tones of cinnamon that make or break it.

              Here's the ingredients:
              Kaolin, Pumice, Limeflower and Cleaver Decoction, Fresh Tomatoes, Fresh Papaya, Potatoes, Glycerine, Bentonite Gel, Menthol Crystals, Lemon Oil, Cinnamon Leaf Oil, *Eugenol, *Benzyl Benzoate, *Limonene, *Linalool, Perfume, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

              *occurs naturally in essential oils

              The best way to use this lovely mask is to place it onto wet or dry feet in neither big nor small dollops and spread it out evenly. This part can get a bit messy! Then wrap you feet in cling film, then take 10 minutes to sit back and chill! After unwrapping your feet, massage the mask in before giving your feet a good soak on warm water. Great follow-ups for this is to then use Lush's Stepping Stone then their foot lotion. You'll have lovely feet in no time, plus its time to pamper yourself and relax. It'd be rude not to!

              I tried This out on both myself and my Boyfriend who gets sores between his toes when he has been out walking and it worked amazingly well on both of us. James' sores cleared up within days and his feet smell so much better! My feet feel so soft and my heels are lovely. The Pumice in Volcano has definitly sorted out my cracked heels and got rid of all the dead skin. This works great on hands too!

              A suggestion of mine would be to use this after a long day at work when your tired feet really need some love! I highly recommend it to anyone with sad looking/feeling feet who is looking for a bit of a treat.

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              • iPhone 3GS 8GB / Smartphone / 25 Readings / 24 Ratings
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                15.05.2013 13:42
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                Brilliant Phone! I'd never go back to using any other type of phone!

                After years of watching my Brother go through the Iphones as a teenager, I've always been jealous. The problem has always been that my Brother has a good job and I'm still a student and the high price of Iphones has meant that I've had to put up with really outdated, awful phones. I made the jump to an Iphone in the Summer of 2012 due to being able to afford a better contract. This was the cheapest Iphone I could afford so I jumped at the low rates! My contract is currently £16 per month with unlimited texts, 50 mins and 500mb of Internet on O2.

                I should probably state now that I'm extremelly clumsy so buying such and expensive phone meant that despite my best efforts, I've dropped the the phone so many times, its unreal. Yet the only damage is a crack in the back where the USB cable goes in! This is fantastic considering friends of mine who have the 4s have dropped theirs once and completelly written off their phones. 100 points for durability!

                Features! The hardware consists of a USB input/output (which ever way you look at it), a headphone output, a lock button, mute switch and volume up and down buttons. Not forgetting the home button on the front. The phone contains a tiny set of speakers and a microphone. The back does not open up and instead, your simm card goes in a little slot at the top of the phone. A key to open up this slot comes with the phone but look after it because it is very small!

                In terms of software feature; the phone comes with a select few apps such as weather, stocks, calendar, clock, caulculator and so forth as well as the usual mail apps and internet browser. The built in apps cannot be deleted which irritates me with the limited space there is on this phone. Other than that, the 'apps' you have on your phone are really up to the user. These can be downloaded online, most are free but a lot are paid and can cost anything upwards of 59p.

                The camera is quite impressive for a phone. I have got quite a few really decent pictures from it. I occationally record live bands with mine and if I'm at a decent distance away, the sound quality is surprisingly alright. The only problem I have with the camera is the lack of a flash.

                The earphones that come with the IPhone are really good and I prefer them to the usual in-ear earphones that you can pick up at HMV. The quality of sound is lovely and the build in mic allows you to answer the phone handsfree.

                All in all I think this phone is brilliant. The novelty hasn't worn off and I haven't had a single problem with it. I love the vast selection of apps which make my phone into anything I need it to be. As a music student, I have used it to trigger samples through the internet to a computer during a performance which just shows that the possibilities are endless with these phones. Its always a good thing to point out that all Iphone apps are compatible with the Iphone 3GS which means that you are not missing out from buying an older phone.

                Thanks for reading this review, I hope it is helpful!

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              • Sennheiser HD 205 / Headphones / 24 Readings / 21 Ratings
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                13.05.2013 15:24
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                If you can get them for a good price, they're awesome!

                Sennheiser are known for their high quality headphones that are popular amoung profesionals and consumers alike. These headphones in particular are DJ and reference headphones which means that they are good for DJ use and for reference whilst mixing recorded tracks. However, I find that these headphones are brilliant for general listen of music at home or out and about.

                I was bought a set of these for my last birthday (doesn't mean I dont know much about them though!) by my Boyfriend who like me; is a music student and knew that these were the set to get for his price range. They were to repace an old set of sennheisers which were broken. I'm not very good at looking after things so the cable was broken in multiple places. James got these on offer at HMV at £30 when they were closing down during March 2013.

                The really great things about sennheiser headphones is that they come with a really long cable and a screw-on full sized jack connector (very useful for use in the studio). Although I find that the long cable means that it is awkward to use them out and about with the masses of cable repeatedly falling out of my pocket.

                I use these headphones at least 4 times a week due to my workload at uni and so far, they're as good as new. However, its really too early to tell how realiable these are but judging by my last set, they're probably going to last around 2 or 3 years. Not bad really! The sound quality is as good as the box states and I find that they're not too bassy either which is good when using as reference headphones. They are extremelly comfortable and I have only found a bit of discomfort after taking them off after a stint of 3 hours of work!

                I would really reconmend these cans to anyone looking for a good set of high quality headphones but buy online as they can get quite pricey in the shops. I'm pretty sure RRP is £60 on them so shop around!

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                13.05.2013 14:31
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                Great university! If I could stay longer, I would!

                I'm currently a second year at Newport studying Creative Sound and Music. From the very start of my course, I've felt like the course has adopted us all and we're all family. Everyone looks after each other (mostly). I'll talk about the uni itself first. It doesn't seem to have any money. In my first year, they cut a whole series of workshops because of the lack of money. The Student Union never has the money to put decent events on. However, the fairly new campus means that the educational facilities are absolutelly fantastic! Although when it first opened, there were no bins on site and there still isn't a cash machine in sight.

                The staff are fantastic! Yes, they're often late or absent and make a few mistakes but they're human, right? The point is that they really stick their necks out for their students and they teach us so much that we often feel like our heads might explode! The technicians get as excited and enthusiastic about our work as we are and they'll do everything within their power to help us.

                One of the only issues I've had in my time at this uni is that there is around a 40% of the students who are just unbelievably either stupid or so egotistical and oportunity grabbing (they leave nothing for the other students!) that it makes the other 60% of the class suffer in their work because we either have to repeat things because people wern't listening or asleep or playing video games instead of taking notes.

                The other issues have been other students who I've had to live with, in my first year, I had three flatmates who would party 24/7, leave the flat in an apauling state and steal my food. I didn't get my deposit back from accomadation despite making every effort to be a good tennant. The first half of this year, the housemate responseable for paying bills took money off us all and didnt pay a single bill before moving out and disapearing from uni, changing his number and deleting all of his social media accounts which has left us with debts.

                Despite of this, I really have felt like the university has been a home and a second family throughout my time here and it upsets me that the time is going so quickly. To anyone thinking of attending this university; please take in the bad points and the good points equally. The uni does a fantastic job, it is some of the students that let the place down.

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              • MineCraft (PC) / PC Game / 14 Readings / 12 Ratings
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                13.05.2013 14:03

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                So, so, so much fun!

                The first I'd heard of Minecraft was a few years ago, one of my Friends in college was playing it and it looked like good fun but at that point I was busy with coursework and I'd forgotten all about it when all my work for that year was done. It wasnt until a few years later tat my uni housemates started playing it that I threw caution to the wind and bought it! It costs just 17 Euros for the download of the game and then its yours!

                Minecraft is a sandbox game, meaning that it is open for the player to play as they wish to. You're spawned in a world where everything is made out of square blocks. You are given a chest full of bits and pieces like a pickaxe and some wood and then what happens is all up to you. You can go mining, build a house, build a farm. I like to play with my housemates on a server which could be a bit tricky to set up if you'e not very good with computers but there are instructions online which are very clear and easy to follow.

                It's really hard to describe just how great Minecraft is so if you need any encouragement, head over to youtube and search for 'Roosterteeth lets play minecraft'.

                It's a very addictive game but you can get bored of it. I do and then a few weeks/days later, I'll be back on it!

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              • Pioneer X HM20 K / Hifi System / 7 Readings / 7 Ratings
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                13.05.2013 13:31
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                The best HiFi for its price!

                My boyfriend and I went halves on one of these pioneer hifis around two months ago. We bought it as we both tend to listen to music from our macbooks and the sound quality on them is really bad and I was gaining quite a collection of vinyl so we needed something to hook a vinyl player up to. We had a very thourough search both online and out in the shops. We came across this system in tesco and for the price (cant quite remember how much but under £100), it was so much better than anything else we had seen/tried out. We had another snoop around online and found that the cheapest place to buy one of these is tesco so we went for it!

                As music students, we were keen to try out lots of different types of music out on it. I put some punk on, my Boyfriend put some power metal on, my housemates decided to try some trance, industrial, house, tech metal. Everything sounded brilliant! Its a good allrounder! There is slight EQ options in that you can alter the bass and treble (not the mid for some strange reason). The volume control is also great in that we have had it on very quietly to very loud for parties and the same great quality has come through!

                This awesome little system features an FM radio (a bit outdated but we dont need a radio so we've not touched it), a phono/RCA line in (perfect if you want to hook up a vinyl player), USB line in for an IPod and of course; a CD player. The speakers are 15 Watt each and sound lovely. There is also a remote control for the system (although, we've gone and lost ours becuase its quite small).

                To conclude; this Hi-Fi is top notch and you'll struggle to find something better for under an houndred pounds. Pioneer are known for their car audio systems but this compact little system proves that they produce high quality systems all round.

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                • More +
                  16.07.2012 12:40
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                  Surprisingly good coming from Stagg.

                  My history with Stagg products isn't a good one. I have found that usually, their products are poorly built and are so easily breakable so I usually avoid Stagg stuff like the plague. One thing I should really mention is that I did not go out and buy this case. A friend was getting rid of it because it didn't quite fit his guitar and was getting given a better fitting one. Hes a generous guy so he offered to give it to me for free but I offered him a little bit of money and forced him to take it. I'm reviewing this case as a second hand item that has already seen a bit of a battering and using the info I have from the friend who previously owned it.

                  This case is for Les Paul style guitars, I have an Epiphone Les Paul Junior and it fits with room to spare (because juniors are smaller than les paul studios e.t.c.). It is a solid case with vinyl covering made to look like leather. There are 4 buckles one is lockable to stop people getting into your case! Inside is a fur lining which is really nice and soft. It covers both the shell and the lid. There is a compartment that isn't quite big enough for cables but you can fit things like spare strings, plectrums, a tuner e.t.c. The handle is plastic and is fairly comfortable. There are metal studs to protect the case from the ground. The case is really light on its own but is really heavy with a guitar in.

                  My guitar does a lot of travelling as I'm a music student at a University which is a 2 hours and 15 minutes train journey away from my home town and half an hours walk from my University house. My guitar has suffered an injury whilst being in the case. It fell over during a train journey and a piece of hardware broke. To this day I have no idea how it managed to brake so easily in a hard case but luckily it was an easy fix. The Stagg hardcase is also where my guitar lives when I have no guitar stand or no appropriate place to put it.

                  To buy a hardcase new you're looking at paying a good £70 or more for it. I got mine for a bargain and I'm glad I have it. I've had just the one incident with it but other than that, it has done its job where a soft case would have been useless. I've had the case for around 2 or 3 years now and although it is starting to show some signs of wear, it is still in very good condition.

                  I do recommend this case, it has been really good to me. However, if you have the money to buy a more expensive one that was built for your exact model of guitar, I do think that would be the best option. When you're buying guitar cases, it is always wise to take the guitar in question to the shop with you to check it fits properly before you buy.

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                  23.04.2012 23:00
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                  Incredibly poor customer service.

                  Very recently, I and some of my good friends (who are now my housemtes) recently went through Darlows in order to rent a house. We are all students, and this was our first time dealing with a letting agent. At first, during the viewing period, everything was going fine, the letting agent was very thorough with his 'tour' of the house, he was very good at selling it. However, once we decided to take the house off the market, the problems began. There were a ridiculous amount of fees that needed to be paid, from administration fees and guarantor fees, to the usual deposits and first month of rent. We were not informed that some of these payments were required until sometimes a few days before the payment was needed. Fees were often changed without us being informed until the last minute, which for students, was a major problem.

                  There was also the issue of the agent in question not giving us the relevant forms in time. Had he given us the forms when he was meant to, we could have saved a month in time and had the payments made earlier and in better time. We had to actually call Darlows ourselves and ask what we needed to do next, at which point they said "Have you filled out the forms we gave you?". Upon informing them that we were not given the forms, they tried to blame it on us, yet another, more helpful member of staff said that we should have been given the forms upon paying the administration fee and taking the house off the market.

                  While I am on the topic of forms, the vast majority of the forms asked for very personal details, including bank details, and a check box that stated the information would be passed onto a 3rd party. These were the tennatn applicant forms and the guarantor forms. The forms also did not state who and what the guarantors were actually covering, therefore as far as tehy were aware, they could have been signing to cover any and all failed payments.

                  There were also many occasions in which we would ask the agent to contact the landlord on our behalf to answer important questions about bill payments, house contents, furnishing etc., and the agent proved very unreliable in these circumstances.

                  During making the final payments for the house, the agent was pressuring us to make payments earlier and changing the final payment date, bringing it forward, without informing us, yet claiming he had. There was a lot of misinformation bassed back and forth without us realizing, and a lot of information withheld from us.

                  Finally, on the very last day that everything needed, the agent finally dropped on us the fact that we needed to show evidence of him insurance, which we did not know about. Thankfully by this point we were able to deal with the landlord directly and bypass Darlows completely. Our experiences with Darlows were all incredibnly frustrating, and at times we risked annoying the alndlord through no fault of our own, simply because the agents involved were poorly trained and unable to help us.

                  To the credit of the branch we used, there was one woman who worked there who, at the last minute, was able to help us, but before then there was far too much confusion passing through the office and none of the collegues stopped to correct each other when obvious mistakes were being made.

                  All in all, we recommend not using Darlows, or at least using extreme caution, and seeking advice from people who do know how letting agents should be run.

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                • Lego 7634 City: Tractor / Lego / 17 Readings / 16 Ratings
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                  11.01.2012 16:38
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                  I go' a brand new tra'or an' I'll give yer' the key!

                  As I mentioned in my previous lego review, I'm a long term lego addict (I think its safe to say). I'm 19 years of age, a university student, and I still buy and play with lego. I say play, these days, I simply buy the models and leave them built, sat on my shelves. I like them as ornaments and so do my visitors as I often find them bringing them down to turn back into their 6 year old selves to play with them. Its nice. I don't think theres anything wrong with having a little bit of childish fun. Wheres the harm?

                  So, onto the product! This is a Lego model from the city collection. One the cheaper models priced from anywhere between £5 - £8. In the box are all the pieces for the tractor (plus, there are always a few stray spares) and stickers, the minifigure farmer and his shovel and of course, the booklet of instructions for the build! The build took longer than I was expecting, I found the instructions moderately easy to follow and the model was bigger than I was expecting from the size of the box and amount of pieces. it barely fits in the palm of my hand.

                  What I do like about this model is the amount of detail lego have included including the steps up to the cab, the headlamps, the exhaust and the bucket on the rear. its these small touches that really make it that extra special.

                  So to conclude, I enjoyed this piece a fair amount, Lego have really gone the extra mile to put the detail in and for lego, its fairly priced. You really can't go wrong. With the nature of it, I'm sure younger kids would adore it!

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                • More +
                  11.01.2012 16:12
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                  a fun little toy.

                  As a kid, I often spent hours on end playing with lego with my older brother. Building pretty much anything and everything. The thing I've always loved about lego is the limitless of it. You can make up anything you can dream up! Then have fun playing with your inventions, making them stronger and/or just playing life with them. This love has (in my Mum's opinion; sadly) been carried through my teen years and now I'm at University, still taking delight in mucking around with lego.

                  What appealed to me with the Police Dog unit set was the idea itself. As an animal lover thats never had a dog in any of my lego sets before, it jumped out at me. Also was the price, it was bordering the £10 mark. Lego is so, so expensive so I can never really afford much.

                  What came in the box was the pieces to the police van, the dog as one unit a police man minifigure and police stickers. Not forgetting the all important instructions! Following the instructions, I found it straightforward, a quick build with easy instructions. The pieces are fairly versatile, by this, I mean, you could easily assemble different things with all the pieces, there aren't any pieces that you couldn't use for anything else.

                  The model is very small for the price you pay but its to be expected with a lego set that has a set model on the box. I quite enjoyed building the model and it now sits on my bookcase and it always surprises me how many people enjoy taking it down and playing with it. I think lego is for all ages and we shouldn't be afraid to be a bit of a big kid, sometimes. I recommend this model because its a wonderful part of the City collection, a lovely idea and you could always use the bricks somewhere else. I enjoy it, I hope you will too.

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