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Member since: 10.07.2012

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      12.07.2012 11:47



      A good comparison website

      The Website
      I was looking for a new 0% card to switch my balance transfer to so I had a look at Google search (which I use to find everything). Compareandsave.com was the No.1 result for "balance transfers". It was a lot less cluttered than many of the the other price comparison websites I've used before. The palette is subdued in greys and green which makes scanning the particular of each product a little easier on the eye. At the top of the webpage is a navigation bar with links to the other sections of the website like loans, current accounts and savings.

      Beyond the standard comparison tables style data they also have a "Tools" section with widgets for financial planning (including a salary calculator, a savings calculator, a quit smoking savings calculator and others). They also include a News Section with stories about financial news & a fairly active Blog with different writers and interviews with people like Tracey Bleakley (CEO of the Pfeg - Personal Finance Education), Nick Cann, Chief Executive of the IFP (Institute of Financial Planning) and others.

      The Product Range
      The main reason we use price comparison websites like this one is that they are far better at researching and rooting out niche financial products than we would be by ourselves and to that end they do not disappoint. They have everything you might want/expect to see when researching balance transfer alternatives (Barclycard, MBNA, Capital One) together with products you (I) wouldn't have ever know about without visiting the site (eg Tesco now do a transfers card and a number of the big banks have great products that you'll only find out about if you bank with them). They also have exclusive products that you can only get on their website (the one that stands out was Orange card).

      Scope for Improvement
      Although I liked the website and would use it again there's certainly room for some improvement in my opinion. The calculators I discovered when diving into the site for this review would be difficult to find if you didn't know where they are and they should probably be located in relevant areas of the site (eg. The balance transfer savings calculator should be with the balance transfer cards section etc). They could also think about diversifying the site more as it's quite niche (products you might only actually want once a year).

      Overall impression
      Overall I would say that Compareandsave.com is a good comparison website with a clean feel that is easy to use. The editorial and tools are good, but could be bought further to the fore for a more integrated user experience.


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      11.07.2012 10:15



      A model business...

      I feel like I'm in an AA meeting right now! "Yes, I like McDonald's - There; I said it!". I know it's socially unacceptable and I probably wouldn't tell anyone at a dinner party (not that we have many of them), but I think it's a really well run business. My job keeps me out on the road a lot, so I have vast experience of the Golden Arches and am well placed to make a call on this.

      Why do I love them? Well, there are a number of reasons, but here are the top few...

      1. Coffee. Yeap, as simple as that. McDonald's coffee is as good (in my humble - non connoisseur) opinion as Costa, Starbucks or anywhere else - and it's probably about half the price!

      2. Chicken. McDonalds is about the only mainstream restaurant chain in the UK that sells only responsibly reared Chicken - and again it is far and away cheaper than anywhere else that sells ethical Chicken. If you, like I, still have Chicken based nightmares after Jamie Oliver shocked the nation, this will be very welcome news!

      3. McFlurry's. I know I'm out on a limb here. They can be hit and miss, but when they get it right ohhh...do they get it right. At the moment they have hit the Jackpot with a Twix McFlurry which is better than both Twix and McFlurry in there own right.

      I could go on...

      the restaurants are spotless
      the loo's are well maintained (including eco flush)
      the staff are polite

      It does have it's down sides, don't get me wrong. I know I, and most other people I know, can cook a better burger than McDonald's - which for a burger chain ought to worry them, but it isn't about that. You know what you're getting in Maccy's and for what they are I honesty think they are great!


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        10.07.2012 13:01
        Very helpful



        Great Zoo, but where are the animals?

        OK, so first of all I ought to put this review in context.

        My wife and I are Platinum card holders at Colchester Zoo which I think is probably the best zoo in UK.

        Why, may you think did you even bother with Edinburgh then? Well, Pandas for one and because as a platinum card holder of Colchester we get to go to Edinburgh Free once a year. We were up in Scotland so we thought we'd give it a go.

        As we arrived the Scottish summer was doing it's usual worse. Rain was falling in biblical style. Not the Zoo'z fault and entrance is clearly designed with this in mind (you can get undercover very quickly). We got in quickly and were booked into see the Panda's quickly too (10 minute slot's), but first the toilet was need. Very impressive loo's by the entrance. Nautical theme like something out of a posh hotel.

        My little girl was now bursting at excitement to see the King penguins (a model of which is outside the zoo - and they are incorporated into the logo) and the Panda's (thanks Kung Fu Panda!) so we legged it up the super steep hill that the Zoo has been built on.

        We got to Panda's and were ushered straight in. Great except it was just "Panda" (one was having medical checks - did the guys on reception not know this?) and all we got to see for 10 minutes was the Panda's dirty bottom. The viewing is from one side only, so we couldn't move around for a better view.

        Disappointed, we moved on to find the Penguins, but...No Penguins! What! One panda and no Penguins and NO WARNING!!! Grrr! We went to get a coffee to get out of the rain in (as if to taunt us) the Penguin cafe. 2 girls with little idea what they were doing served us at a snails pace (whilst chatting amongst themselves). A queue of other frustrated customers formed behind.

        Having seen very little we moved again to look at something. Wild Boar wahoo! We've seen something! Then up past the education centre which is surrounded by vending machines with all the evils of the world for kids to buy, to look for more.

        I think the main problem for us is that we are spoilt at Colchester. They have Lions, Giraffe, Rhino, Penguins, Tiger, Wolves, Elephant etc etc etc. At Edingburgh they have Panda's and a whole gift shop seemingly devoted to them - A one trick Panda!

        If animals are not your thing (and I'm being serious there) then Edinburgh Zoo is very well kept. Beautiful lawns, house etc, but if you're looking for animals you might be better off at Loch Ness!


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          10.07.2012 12:33



          The best deodorant for men by a long way!

          After trying various deodorant throughout my my teens and being disappointed with all of them, I eventually got the Gillette clear gel from an aunt in a Christmas gift pack and I have never used anything else since.

          Why it's my favourite...
          It's the best deodorant out there for men by a long way. I've used it for around 15-20 years now and although it costs a little more than some others (currently about £3.00), it is certainly worth it. I tend to shower every day, but when the odd occasion occurs where I don't have time I know that I'll still get through the rest of the next day smelling fine because Gillette Gel is up to the test!

          How it works...
          Gillette Gel is different to most deodorants in that (as it says on the packet) it is a Gel. It comes in clear twister dispenser (as per the image except the lid is now white - that image is out of date!) so you can see what you are putting on and how much you have left. For best effect; put the gel on straight after you've had a shower and leave it for a few minutes to dry - It doesn't leave white marks on clothes like other products do, but it can rub off when wet which will prevent it working so effectively.

          Scope for improvement...
          Unfortunately, Gillette haven't got everything right. The twister dispenser doesn't push the gel out to the end of the plastic unit. It effectively means you lose about 1 stick for every 6 or so you use which is frustating given the cost (and the fact that you can see it there). A few taps whilst holding it upside-down will help you get the dregs, but there'll always be some that goes to waste.

          I wouldn't use anything else and successful girlfriends and my wife is always impressed (which is probably the best measure). I always keep a stock of them in my bathroom for fear that Gillette will stop producing it some day.


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