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GuitarHeroine
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Member since: 19.01.2010

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    • Vax U91-LF-B Life / Vacuum Cleaner / 111 Readings / 103 Ratings
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      13.08.2010 11:55
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      Sucks (literally and a bit figuratively too).

      I was instantly drawn to the slimline, modern design of this vacuum cleaner and also by the pre-existing, complementary reviews it had accrued. I found it very quick and easy to assemble, even as someone with no prior experience of assembling appliances. It's just a case of slotting a few sections together and it only has one screw.

      The fact it's cordless means, of course, you don't have to worry about its range. It has different settings for hard and carpeted floors and its powerful but relatively quiet suction lifts everything with ease, from bits of rice on the wooden kitchen floor to confetti on a carpeted floor in another room. As as asthma sufferer, I also found this model to be kinder to my lungs than many other vacuum cleaners have tended to be in the past.

      Comes highly recommended.

      I originally posted this review on Amazon under the same username but since writing it rather hastily after receiving the vacuum cleaner, I have some updates to add which will also explain why I am giving it a different star rating to the one I originally assigned back in January.

      The single screw which I had to use, despite having put it in as tightly as I possibly could, keeps coming out and is a real nuisance as when I flatten the cleaner to hoover under the bed and desk, it falls apart.

      I also have had no end of trouble trying to empty the dust compartment, to the point where I've had to literally tap and shake it for over an hour at a time over the bin to release the dust, as well as inserting implements such as pencils to further assist easing out the trapped clumps inside. With this in mind, I am now not as thrilled with the device as I was and wouldn't particularly recommend it based on my experience of having used it for 7 months now. You can get better models cheaper.

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      • greenmetropolis.com / Online Shop / 96 Readings / 95 Ratings
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        08.08.2010 08:58
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        Go green.

        I came across this site when I was looking for somewhere to sell my books. I didn't like the fact that with eBay, you have to pay listing fees regardless of whether or not your book sells, and I found that Amazon left me competing with hundreds of other sellers all clamouring to offload the same title as me, only they could afford to list it for 1p, even if it meant posting it at a loss.

        I also liked the friendly community feel of the site, its simple, honest approach and the fact that 5p from every book sale is donated to the Woodland trust. Additionally, the buyers and sellers there are more likely to actually love and appreciate books and I liked the idea that my books would be going to homes where they were actually wanted and would be taken care of.

        I ended up listing over 100 titles and have sold and added more since I joined. The process of selling runs that you're sent an email with the details of the recipients and you then find the book, package it and post it yourself. There is also a sheet to print off to spread the Greenmetropolis message; many of the customers we get on the site are actually referred from Amazon so have no idea about the site and its ethos.

        The site encourages you to post using 2nd class and indeed, I choose this method as it would result in me making a loss on each book sale otherwise. I also use recycled packaging as much as possible, to keep costs down and also again to be in keeping with the ethos of the site.

        There are many categories in which you can sell, and if your book isn't for some reason already in existence on the site, you can submit it to the site and be the first to sell that particular title.

        You can even sell audiobooks; as an example of how eclectic my inventory is, I have foreign language learning audiobooks, a book of Latin poetry, the latest chick lit, psychology and politics textbooks, cookery books, some comic compilations and a couple of books on money management.

        Newcomers are, from my experience, welcomed with open arms and all questions answered helpfully via the forums on the site. After a book is sold, you receive the money into your Greenmetropolis account 7 days after you confirmed you'd sent it. Once a month, on a day of your choosing, you can manually request these earnings to be paid into your bank account (which happens within 10 days) or to be donated to the Woodland Trust.

        You can also use the money in your account to pay for books you purchase from other sellers; thus not needing to touch your bank card or spend "real" money.

        Books are all listed to buy for £3.75 each. This breaks down into: £3 to the seller, 70p to Greenmetropolis for admin costs of running the site, and 5p to the Woodland Trust. You can reduce the £3 to as little as £1 if you so wish, but the 75p will always be added. Given that it costs from 81p to £1.95 to post a standard book at the moment, large reductions aren't practical, but some sellers (myself included) choose to offer a 3 for 2 bulk buying deal, which is useful for when you just want/need to clear some shelf space and speed up/encourage sales.

        Despite the money Greenmetropolis charges for admin, it works out cheaper to sell than Amazon, besides which often Greenmetropolis will also list your books on Amazon anyway so you'd still be open to that market and more likely to sell your book.

        Also, all dealings I've had with their customer service department have been prompt, efficient, helpful and friendly. It's the most positive online selling experience I've ever had.

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          05.08.2010 17:48
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          Youth hostel in Glasgow city centre

          I booked this hostel for a few nights' stay as a single traveller. Unless you book a private room, you're put into a dorm with members of the same sex only. I went for the cheapest option of paying £14.95 a night and getting a bed in a 14-bed room (in other words sharing with 13 female strangers). There are more expensive options available if you want a smaller amount of people occupying your room.

          I booked online via the Euro Hostel website and was required to pay a 10% deposit there and then; the rest was to be paid upon arrival. I received my confirmation email promptly and took a copy with me in case I needed it when I checked in.

          Getting to the hostel isn't that easy if you don't know the area, but once you know where you are, it's very easy. Essentially, from either the Buchanan Street coach station or from Queen Street train station (the main overground, national rail link), you walk down Buchanan Street, towards St Enoch's Square. You walk through St Enoch's Square and you pass a pub on your left called the Hootenanny. Turn right once through the Square and follow the street along (there are some buses running on it) to a street where there is a branch of Matalan. Turn left and walk towards the river Clyde and the hostel is situated on the corner.

          When I checked in, the process was prompt. You can buy padlocks for the lockers provided in the room (one per bed), rent towels, and buy various other items such as maps and chocolate. You can also book local excursions, an opportunity you also get (for additional costs) at the time of booking. There are plenty of leaflets to look at too for more ideas of places to see, located in this reception as well as additional lockers you can pay to use.

          You need to keep the key card on you at all times as you cannot use the elevators or access the stairs without it. There are several floors. I was on the 9th floor. The room itself was basic. 7 bunk beds (2 beds on each) and 2 toilet cubicles and 2 shower cubicles (these were located on each side immediately as you entered the room.

          There's also a table and three chairs although it's not much if you're in a big group. Also included is a bin and the aforementioned lockers. There are some sinks and mirrors inside the room but tucked away around a corner.

          Overall, the beds are comfy enough. You're given suitable sheets, etc to make the bed up yourself. I managed to get some sleep at least, on all the three nights I stayed there.

          The showers were a nightmare to use; the force of the jet of water was so extreme I literally struggled to breathe at times and ended up in a corner of the cubicle so I could get some air. The flimsy curtain combined with this maniacal jet means water gets everywhere so all your stuff on the cubicle floor is liable to get soaked.

          Breakfast is free, and served from 7:30-9:30 in the lounge on the first floor. You get juice, cereal, toast and jam. For an additional cost you can order a cooked breakfast or a bacon, egg or sausage roll although I regretted my decision to get a sausage sandwich as they microwaved the sausage and the result wasn't too pleasant!! There's a few massage chairs where you [pay £1 for 3 minutes of electric massage, and also some standard seats in the lounge in one corner, by a large TV you can watch.

          There's also a room on the mezzanine level where I was able to charge my phone (I did not leave it unattended), and swap books on a book swap table. There's a pool table and some vending machines and another gaming table also there but I didn't use any of them myself.

          Overall, it is what it is and for the money, you can't really complain. I have stayed there twice now and would stay again if travelling alone on a budget.

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            04.08.2010 20:28
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            Alternative hotel in Glasgow city centre

            I recently booked a room at this hotel via Lastminute.com as I was looking for a decent but affordable hotel in the city centre. Although this hotel is indeed located a walkable distance from the Buchanan Street coach/bus station and from Queen Street train station (the mainline station for national rail travel), it isn't quite in the city centre; I'd say it's a good 15-20 minute walk.

            Nonetheless, I was sold on the fact it's a one-off, boutique hotel, and fancied a change from the tried and tested Park Inns, Malmaisons and Hiltons of this world. Well, that and the £55 a night price tag for a double room. This price does not include breakfast, though.

            The area itself isn't especially remarkable. It's just a Georgian looking residential area but a fairly busy road (Sauchiehall Street continues up into town via a lot of shops). The hotel stands out against this background with its upmarket, modern yet classy exterior. Apparently, it's on the site of the old Lorne hotel, which was in existence in the 1990s. Some of its old brickwork remains.

            Once inside, there's a lovely bar and well-recommended (by others, not me as I didn't get the chance to eat there) Indian restaurant (posh, modern fusion type food which looks delicious from the menu) and a minimalistic, modern reception area.

            Check-in was efficient and once handed the room key, I took the lift to the floor on which my room was located. The roof of the interior of the lift has a gorgeous pattern on it, by the way.

            The floors on my level were carpeted and upon reaching my room, I used the spare key card in the electricity slot to activate it. The room was small. It was fine for just one night but for a longer stay, I would have wanted something bigger. The ensuite bathroom was bigger and immaculately clean although there was a strong smell of damp which was really unpleasant.

            There were nice toiletries included and a nice selection of fluffy towels, as well as a selection of teas and coffees. The 32" television was easy to get working and provided great audio and picture quality. The only other downside to this room was the fact that the air conditioning couldn't be turned off, so went from being too hot to too cold with no happy medium!! I mentioned all of this on the feedback form provided in the room but am yet to hear anything back from the hotel so am not sure if these comments have been taken on board.

            Depsite these slight issues, I would stay again, and would recommend the hotel. I'd also try the food in the restaurant next time as the smells were delicious!!

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            • North Western Hall / Accommodation / 42 Readings / 41 Ratings
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              03.08.2010 15:18
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              Student living in the city centre of Liverpool.

              This impressive, beautiful old building is arguably THE best located student accommodation in Liverpool. It faces onto Lime Street and overlooks St George's Hall (those occupants paying that bit extra for a City View room will be able to gaze out onto this view from their bedroom window). It is also directly above Lime Street station, to the point where I looked out of a window onto its roof and was able to hear the announcements in the station and the trains too from time to time. I began to find these sounds comforting and reassuring. However, I didn't feel quite the same way about the many seagulls living on the roof!!

              There are 240 rooms, I believe, and I know these are laid out over 6 floors. Flat numbers are 3 digits long and the first digit signifies your floor number, eg flat 101 is on level 1. There are 3-6 bedrooms per flat, none of which are ensuite.

              I asked for a room in a quiet flat and found myself on the 6th floor of the building, where there are only 2 flats; one at each end of a fairly long corridor with sturdy doors along the way. Essentially, I got what I asked for!!

              The flats are managed by Cosmopolitan Student Homes, who are responsible for other student properties in various cities. There is a security guard on duty 24/7 as well as there being management from Cosmopolitan and maintenance men onsite daily. Mail goes to the reception area daily and is saved there for you so no worries about it being stolen or you having to go to a sorting office (even though it's only 3 mins walk away anyhow!)

              There are no washing machines in the flats; the laundry room is located on the ground floor and costs £2.50 per load to wash, and £1 an hour to use the dryer. There's a small sofa in the laundry room to sit and wait for a machine to become available; even when I thought I was being smart and avoiding the rush on a saturday night, it was still busy!!

              There are no landlines for phones but you can subscribe to the internet (cable, which is already fitted in each room) via Keysurf from £18 a month, which you do by signing up and paying Cosmopolitan when you're there.

              Rooms are basic but sufficient; the building was at one stage a hotel in its history, and has been rented out to Beatle Week attendees. There's a bed, a sink, a desk, a hard chair, a soft chair, a modest sized wardrobe, a bedside table and a small chest of drawers provided. There is a carpet and there are radiators although mine needed bleeding on a regular basis and I bought an additional radiator to combat the winter cold.

              I also had to buy additional aerials for my TV (which reminds me, you're responsible for sorting out your own TV License).

              Each bedroom door is lockable. There is an electronic key fob for the external door, and then a standard key for the front door of the flat and for your bedroom door.

              There are no big communal rooms; we have a shared toilet and a shared shower in the flat, as well as a small shared kitchen which has a table and 4 chairs but we never sit in there to eat.

              The building is safe and fantastic value for money, starting from just £64 a week (which is what I paid) with all bills included. It's seconds from the train station (it's above it!) and 5 minutes walk to the coach station as well as near to all other bus links. In fact, the location meant I didn't need to pay for a bus as I could walk to lectures within 10 minutes.

              Overall, I totally recommend this as a student accommodation option in Liverpool.

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              • Hollister T-Shirts / Clothing / 64 Readings / 63 Ratings
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                01.08.2010 12:57
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                Cotton at its comfiest.

                My review is for the ladieswear only as I have no experience of the mens.

                Hollister is a slightly pricier and much nicer version of the clothes made by the company SoCal, which is sold at Republic. It is also a sister line of Abercrombie & Fitch, and in my opinion, much nicer as well as being kinder to the wallet!!

                It's an American brand, from South California (SoCal), and bases itself on beach/surfer fashion. Its few UK stores are made to look like beach huts; think dark wood inside and out, and plants.

                The cotton used in the T shirts and shirts I've bought and looked at in Hollister is super soft and of a fantastic quality. It feels both brand new and like a comfy old favourite, immediately. I feel that they only want slimmer people to wear their clothing, as they cut everything small and don't go to bigger than about the equivalent of a UK size 14.

                They also have sales assistants, whose actual job title is "model" in store looking beautiful in their Hollister clothing. For me, they are a perfect fit and it's very hard to get shirts to fit me as I have no shoulders and a skinny waist but I do have hips. So normally, they strain over my belly and look silly but these hang perfectly.

                I would, and eventually will, buy even more shirts from Hollister, but at £34 each, they're not cheap. In America, they price in dollars, at the same rate as pounds; so it would be $34 for a shirt, which is about £20. This annoys me!!

                I would still say the price is worth it as they keep their shape, colour and quality after washing, even in an industrial strength machine (student accommodation, laundrette style).

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                  30.07.2010 15:29
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                  Good vibrations

                  Having previously enjoyed the Intimate Massagers Duo set from Philips, I was curious to see how well this single unit matched up, touted as an improved version of a single unit predecessor also by Philips. The last set took 24 hours to charge. The blurb tells you it takes 4 hours for this new model to charge, although I can tell you it took about 2 hours; there is a light which is on while it is charging, and this turns itself off once the massager is fully charged. I was also pleased that the adaptor plug was a UK standard one this time, so no need for any extra socket adaptors as was provided last time.

                  The noise emissions level is also a lot lower than before, so great news for those of us in shared accommodation or with nosey children/in-laws in the same house. It's very quiet although provides very powerful vibrations.

                  There are two buttons, one with a plus and one with a negative to increase or decrease the intensity of the vibrations, and also a button to change the type of vibration; eg the pattern. There is something to suit everyone, from a gentle soothing massage which could be used as relief for aches and pains, to full throttle turbo vibrations which brings a whole other form of relief.

                  Also worth noting is that these can be used with oils and lubricants although we found them to be smooth enough to glide over the skin without the need for any help.

                  Originally posted on Amazon under the same username.

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                    26.07.2010 10:51
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                    The best HDs come in small packages.

                    With no prior experience of HDs, I was reading through various reviews on this site before making my choice and choosing this model. The 1TB Seagate drive I'd originally had my eye on has enough disconcerting feedback for me to have decided against purchasing it.

                    As for this Toshiba HD, it was a lot smaller than I had expected in terms of size, and a case is included for it which is great for me as I am going to be buying a few more of these HDs and labelling them and storing them; this will definitely facilitate the process. I found the processes of installing the drive, and of transferring data onto it, every easy.

                    Because it's steel, it gets super hot if you're transferring large volumes of stuff to it. It's a very classy, discreet black, although it does pick up fingerprints, so be aware of this. Overall, thoroughly recommended and I'll be coming back for more.

                    One annoying thing is that sometimes, it won't work unless you use BOTH of its USB ports in the computer, and this lead to me needing to buy a 7-way USB hub because the netbook I was using it with only had 2 ports, not located near enough eachother to be able to be used together. This is why I've removed a star from the original review, which I posted on Amazon under the same name but without this additional paragraph.

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                      26.07.2010 10:27
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                      Healthy eating guide which delves a little deeper but fails to grab the culinary imagination

                      I went for this book, not as someone wanting to lose weight but as someone wanting a healthier diet and with an interest in alternative remedies in general, having used such practises as acupuncture and homeopathy. I also know how delicious and healthy the Indian diet can be (it's a million miles from the grease laden takeaways we're used to passing for Indian food over here!)

                      I did see some truth and sense in the initial assessment of your individual type, which is surmised after you answer a series of questions, and as stated in the book, I was very much more one type than the other 2 of the 3 available.

                      Some of the recipes were lovely, such as the fennel consomme with tarragon, and the fish curry, but others were really rather unimaginative. It IS a good guide to healthy eating, and certainly has some easy to follow recipes which won't cost loads of money in ingredients, but other than the introductory chapters which establish your type, and then near the back of the book, the information on precisely what they suggest you eat/avoid eating, there isn't much "new".

                      Previously posted on Amazon under the same username.

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                      26.07.2010 10:14
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                      A great multi=purpose unit

                      This rather minimalistic, space-age looking device is an alarm clock, FM radio and bedside lamp all rolled into one. It has been very well thought out. There are scroll buttons on the side for setting the timings and the intensities of both sound and light, and of course for choosing an FM radio station to listen to.

                      The alarm sounds are varied and there is something for everyone, from your favourite radio station, through to a stimulating start courtesy of an African drum, wind chimes, beeps, and birdsong. At your pre-set time in the morning...or evening if you're that way inclined, your chosen sound begins to emit softly, growing louder gradually until you press snooze or deactivate the alarm. The light also comes on, having gradually also been building up a manner similar to sunlight.

                      As a sufferer of seasonal affective disorder, winter is a time where due to lack of sunlight early in the morning, I'm often sluggish and lethargic and struggle to get out of bed; I really think that this will make a big difference to me when that dreaded time of year creeps in.

                      You can use this device as a radio, playing constantly, and also as a bedside lamp; it goes up to a light intensity of 20, although I was happy with the level of light given at the 12 level. You can even choose three different brightness settings for the small LED time display on the front of the unit.

                      Overall, a very useful and now essential piece of kit, although it is rather too plain looking for my liking. In fact, if I was to suggest any recommendation, other than wishing AM radio was available also, I'd love to be able to choose the colour, although then again, this would probably defeat the object of the light emissions, given that they're meant to resemble natural daylight.

                      Posted originally on Amazon (same username).

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                        16.07.2010 18:37
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                        A must-see for anyone wanting to really learn about Scottish people.

                        I first heard of Clydebank on a television programme about the history of shipbuilding; it used to be one of the world's bigges shipbuilding areas, and as such was heavily bombed and a prime target during the second world war. Its most famous exports are the world-reknowned Queen Mary and QE2 cruise liners. Today, all that remains of this heritage is a single blue coloured crane, which stands proudly on the banks of the river Clyde.

                        As an area, it's always been working class and less affluent, and indeed a little rough around the edges. The new shopping centre and Clydebank college have renovated the area somewhat, but also sort of stand out as shiny and new against the slightly dull, older background of the place itself.

                        It may not be much to look at for your average visitor to the area, but anyone with a real interest in history, people and Scotland would benefit from seeing it and would, I believe, I enjoy the experience. I know I did.

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                          15.02.2010 20:59
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                          A great deal if you book in advance for a cheap rate.

                          I booked this hotel through Lastminute.com secret sales, and for the small sum of £89, I had a nice room and breakfast included. Luckily, reception wasn't too busy when I arrived. I was shown in by a friendly doorman, and seen to immediately. I declined the offer of paying a deposit to have the minibar available; the prices are prohibitive to say the least. I know some rooms have a view into the impressive atrium of the building, and some look out onto St Paul's Cathedral. Mine just looked over a side street, but that was ok. I loved the thick, luxurious drapes which kept the room gorgeously dark, cosy and certainly helped to soundproof it.

                          The room is modern, simple and luxurious, although I would say that the hotel is more a 4* than 5*. I loved the generous Molton Brown goodies which were topped up every time we seemed to leave the room; we'd come back and found brand new toiletries and the mess cleared up, eg the towels we threw around like the hobos we are!!

                          We didn't eat dinner, use the bar or order room service that evening but the menu looked impressive. It was rather expensive but not overly so when compared with, say, the Malmaison. We did love the buffet breakfast, with croissants, Tiptree jams and thick smoked salmon, for example.

                          There is a gym and swimming pool being built but it is not open yet; staff give you a token to get free access to these facilities at another nearby hotel owned by the same parent company (The Grange group).

                          Nearby there is a Cafe Rouge for food, as well as Yo Sushi, Itsu and various other places, so you're never short of anything to eat. I didn't find it so easy to find the hotel from the tube station and locals didn't seem to know where Godliman Street is but once you find it, it's easy enough to rememeber and it's also near a number of bus routes.

                          I had no problems at all while there and no rowdy, antisocial guests, or at least no disturbances so I would 100% recommend this hotel. You also don't need to take a hairdryer as they have one in the room for you to use. There's also free tea, coffee and biscuits; a wide range of teas.

                          I'd certainly book again.

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