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Volunteer Thailand Project with Friends for Asia 09/04/2013

Friends for Asia

Volunteer Thailand Project with Friends for Asia Friends for Asia I decided that for some of the summer I wanted to go abroad somewhere and do some volunteering. After some deliberation I decided upon going to Thailand (I’m still not entirely sure why, I just felt like going there). After I had decided upon my destination I then began trawling through various websites in an effort to find a volunteer organisation that was at a reasonable price (couldn’t believe it when I first saw that you actually have to pay to volunteer) but also seemed like a decent company to go with, especially as I was going alone. Friends for Asia looked good and although I could find very few reviews on it, they were generally very good reviews. What is Friends for Asia? Friends for Asia is a relatively small volunteer organisation that operates projects in two key locations in Thailand – Surat Thani and Chiang Mai. Projects are also offered in other countries – Bali, Nepal and Vietnam. I am not sure of exactly when this organisation was set up but it seems to be relatively new – possibly from around 2008. The director is an American who has lived in Chiang Mai for many years and was a peace corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan. He works as a full time teacher but is still often found in the office most days if needed. All projects have a co-ordinator and almost all staff are bi-lingual (all staff are Thai locals). The projects and prices Friends for Asia run various projects in Thailand in both Surat Thani and Chiang Mai. I have briefly listed ...

Clarins One Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser 28/08/2012

Clarins One Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser

Clarins One Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser I once received a little sample of this exfoliator ( I do like to try before I buy at these kind of prices) and decided that I liked it enough to purchase. When I went to my local Clarins counter they had an offer on whereby if you purchase two products (one to be skincare) that you would receive some free travel size products. Within the choice for travel size products was this exfoliator so I decided against buying it, and instead purchased two other products and got some of this for free! The packaging It is of course what is in the packaging that is beneficial as opposed to the packaging itself, but I do believe it can make a huge difference in ease of use. This exfoliator comes in a squeezy tube (full size is 125ml, however mine is 75 ml) with a flip top lid. My travel size is in basically the same packaging, it just looks a little fatter than the full size. The tube is transparent which is fantastic to see how much product is remaining and the exfoliator is a lovely enticing orange colour (makes sense considering that it contains orange extract). The packaging is fairly simplistic and classy – basic info given on the front and the characteristic gold rim on the white lid. The tube is made of a very flexible plastic which makes it incredibly easy to dispense the exfoliator and leads me to believe that it will be very easy to get the last bits out when I get down that far. I have no complaints whatsoever about the packaging and think it looks lovely on my bathroom ...

Lancome Tonique Douceur Softening Toner 21/08/2012

High price for low performance

Lancome Tonique Douceur Softening Toner I have never really been one for using toners and instead prefer to use the Clinique clarifying lotion (which contrary to popular belief is not a toner, but is actually an exfoliator). I would not go out of my way to buy a toner however I received a trial size of this lancome tonique douceur when I purchased 2 products some time ago within a gift with purchase, and considering it was free it would be rude to not use it! Price and Availability This toner does not come cheap in my opinion at £21 for 200ml or £34 for 400ml. I do however think it is fab that it is available in more than just one size as seems to common among many other brands. This is available from usual lancome stockists – Debenhams, house of fraser and larger boots stores. It is also easily available on the internet, often at lower prices than in high street stores. After a quick search I have found it for as little as £12 for 200ml on ebay so if this is a product that you do like, there is no need to pay the huge RRP. They also seem to have a much more varied range of sizes on ebay although this is probably due to gift with purchase etc. The packaging My mini looks very similar to the full size but not exactly the same so I won’t focus on this too much. It basically comes in an attractive blue bottle with the usual lancome rose on the front so that it is not easily confused with another brand. I have minimal info on my bottle – basically just instructions for use and that this product needs to be used ...

I Love... Raspberry & Blackberry Glossy Lip Balm 06/08/2012


I Love... Raspberry & Blackberry Glossy Lip Balm My purse has definitely been feeling the pinch lately so I thought rather than splurge on my usual more expensive goodies I would try some cheaper alternatives. My lips have been feeling really sore lately and having run out of lip balm I went to browse the options at my local super drug. I have seen the ‘I love…’ range before and used a couple of products which impressed me so thought I’d take a chance on this bargain buy. Price and availability This little tub contains 15g of balm which is just 99p in super drug. I have only ever seen the ‘I love…’ range in super drug although I am sure it must be available elsewhere and is easy to find online. A full list of stockists is available through the official website - The package As mentioned previously this comes in a tub. The plastic is transparent enabling you to see exactly how much is left, and this really cannot be missed as the balm is a fairly vibrant pink/purple colour. The lid is screw off and application is simply with a finger. Personally I am not really a fan of this as I don’t find it very hygienic (even though my fingers are clean!) and find it a little bit messy. I think however that you do get a huge amount of product for your money. the product The official website simply states the following about this lip balm – ‘Come on don’t be shy, sink in your fingertips and smooth me onto your lips, leaving them feeling soft, moisturised and ultimately kissable.’ I am not ...

Chiang Mai (Thailand) 15/07/2012

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai (Thailand) Earlier this year I decided that I wanted to spend some time abroad in the summer to do some voluntary work and after looking around at different countries and places I settled upon Chiang Mai. I spent the whole of the month of June living and volunteering in Chiang Mai so think I have a reasonable amount to say about this lovely city. I have written about the various aspects that I feel are useful to know about when considering going somewhere but have not written about them in too much detail as this is a general review. Some basic info Chiang Mai is the second largest largest city in Thailand (Bangkok being the largest) and is situated around 700km north of Bangkok. I didn’t want to go to Bangkok and thought that Chiang Mai would be easier going, and while I have never been to Bangkok and therefore can’t comment, Chiang Mai is certainly a very laid back city. The city is not particularly built up and I saw very few skyscrapers. Personally I liked this as I am not a fan of huge built up large busy cities. Chiang Mai consists of two parts – the old part surrounded by the moat, and the newer part which is where the majority of restaurants are. Chiang Mai was founded in 1926, and as with the rest of Thailand the majority religion is Buddhism which explains the huge array of temples (otherwise known as wats) around the city. These temples are just amazing. The detail on some of them is so intricate it is breath taking. As soon as you arrive into Chiang Mai you will see ...

Wilkinsons Everyday Value Furniture Polish 15/04/2012

why spend more?

Wilkinsons Everyday Value Furniture Polish I can think of a lot of things I am willing to spend a fair amount on but furniture polish is not one of those things. When I was in wilkinsons I was browsing the polishes to find the cheapest possible, as in my opinion polish is polish and I doubt there is all that much difference between this and the more expensive ones. This was the cheapest at around 30-35p I believe for 300 ml – bargain! Being a basic brand this is not the most attractive thing out there but it is certainly a very eye catching bright yellow. I’m not really too bothered about the packaging as it’s not exactly a product I have on display and the can is very practical. On the front it simple states ‘Wilko every day value furniture polish’ with a simple picture of some furniture. The back gives directions for use – although I am sure we are all aware of how to use polish. It also states to not use this product on floors, inner surfaces of baths and showers, and unsealed or waxed wooden surfaces. When sprayed a good amount of product is dispensed, not too much nor too little. This looks like any typical furniture polish – white and a little bit foamy. The smell is very strong which personally I love, but others may not. I only tend to use this on my desk and bedside table but it seems to do the job. I use a typical duster alongside this polish and it leaves surfaces ever so slightly shiny for a while, not greasy in the slightest, and looking and smelling clean and fresh. I vary between spraying directly ...

Tiger Bills 08/04/2012

Tiger Bills

Tiger Bills My friend had decided that for her birthday she wanted us all to go for a meal at Tiger Bills which is still a relatively new restaurant situated on Torquay harbour side, although there is also one in Exeter. Supposedly due to the number of us – 12 – they needed our food to be pre-ordered. Tiger Bills in Torquay is not a particularly huge restaurant and I couldn’t understand the need for pre-ordering unless they are perhaps a little incompetent so my first impressions weren’t brilliant. Of course I may just have been a little harsh but to me any good restaurant should be able to cope with a table of that size without prior notice. First Impressions After some difficulty with parking (there isn’t anywhere all that close which doesn’t cost quite a lot) I arrived at Tiger Bills at the time our table was booked for – 7.30pm. The entrance to the restaurant looks reasonable enough with a large picture of a tiger head above the door. After asking about our reservation the member of staff behind the bar simply pointed to where our table was. This was in a corner somewhat secluded from the restaurant which was nice for privacy but the way they laid out the tables left me confused. They were set out in almost an L type shape which left people unable to face each other which isn’t really what you want when you want to enjoy each other’s company. We promptly switched the tables into a rectangular shape which was much more suitable and I really can’t understand why it was not like ...

Soap & Glory Face Soap and Clarity Foaming Face Wash 24/03/2012

Squeaky clean!

Soap & Glory Face Soap and Clarity Foaming Face Wash I think it is fair to say that soap and glory are a fairly well-known brand that started out mainly making body products before moving onto skincare and most recently make up. Having once had bad experiences with their skincare I have never bought any ever since, but a lovely friend bought me this facial wash for my birthday and it would be rude to not give it a go! Price, packaging and availability As this is soap and glory it is pretty much exclusive to boots, although I’m sure it wouldn’t be too difficult to find some online. This tube of face wash comes in a measure of 150ml retailing for £7 which I think is around average considering the usual price of soap and glory products, and considering how often boots have 3 for 2 offers you could get it a little cheaper. I would say that this kind of price is above the usual basic brands but much lower than premium products like dior, lancome etc. The face wash comes in a very soft and squeezy plastic tube with a flip lid on the base. The plastic is incredibly flexible so it is very easy to get the product out, but not too easy that you end up using too much and waste some. The actual tube seems to be basically transparent with the wash being a green/blue colour with little pink scrub particles in. I really like the fact that it is transparent so that I can easily see how much product I have remaining. The packaging is very typical of soap and glory – quirky with lots of words. The main focus of the front of the tube ...

Nandos 18/03/2012

Not just your average chicken

Nandos Nandos seem to be springing up everywhere now but it wasn’t until last year that I got my first taste of the stuff and now I’m hooked! I think I would describe Nando’s as basically a Portuguese themed restaurant (although I think it is more of a fancy slightly more upmarket version of a fast food place) which has a huge focus on chicken and its famous peri-peri sauce. Waiter service or pay at the till? Little confused When you arrive into a Nandos you are politely asked to wait to be seated by someone who then promptly asks you if you have eaten in a Nandos before. Having been seated I would have then expected them to take my order and to later pay my bill with them, however this is not the case. After deciding on what you would like you need to go to the till to make your order, which is later brought to you by a waiter again. This confuses me greatly and I personally would prefer waiter/waitress service throughout, especially as the queues can be quite hefty at times at the tills. Do the Nando When I first went to Nandos I felt a little confused as to how the whole system works but now it reminds me somewhat of subway. When you have your menu you simply decide on what you would like (more than likely some form of chicken), you then look to the peri-ometer to decide on the spiciness of the dish (ranges from plain to extra hot). You then decide if you would like to add any extras such as chips or rice and any drinks you would like. Personally I always have ...

Umberto Giannini Blow Dry Crème 10/03/2012

Sleek and Chic

Umberto Giannini Blow Dry Crème For Christmas I received a set of mini’s within the ‘sleek and chic’ range of Umberto Giannini and was highly unimpressed with the shampoo and conditioner. As such I didn’t have very high expectations for this blow dry cream. I can’t say I’ve ever used a blow dry cream before and although I had low expectations I was still looking forward to using it to see if it made any difference. Price and Availability My set was from boots and looking on their website I can’t find my mini size (50ml) on there but the full sized product is 200ml and is currently £4.99 in boots. Boots currently have 2 for £7.50 on selected Umberto Giannini hair care products so it’s worth stocking up. I have only ever seen this in boots but I would expect it wouldn’t be too hard to find online. Packaging The whole sleek and chic range seems to be characterised by simple blue packaging and this is no exception. This is in a tube with a flip top at the bottom which I find handy as the product is already towards the bottom of the tube and I don’t have to spend ages trying to squeeze it out. The front contains the usual branding with the back giving instructions for use. This should be used within 24 months from first opening which I think is a good shelf life. The cream Personally I think that this cream has quite a strong scent and weirdly enough I think it smells just like Calvin Klein’s Euphoria! Which personally I love so that’s a good start straight away. This really is quite strong so I ...

Bassett's Soft & Chewy Everyday Health Multivitamins Berry Flavour 10/03/2012

Tasty multivitamins

Bassett's Soft & Chewy Everyday Health Multivitamins Berry Flavour Lately I seem to be lacking in energy and just generally feeling a bit rubbish so thought it might be a good idea to get some multivitamins. My diet is absolutely appalling and I was hoping that some multivitamins would make up for this a little bit. I originally bought some wilkinsons own multivitamins which were just vile, but when I saw these bassetts everyday ones in boots I thought they may be worth a try. Price and availability This pack contains 30 pastilles which cost me £3.85 (but there is currently a 3 for 2 offer which includes these among many other products). They are also readily available in other chemists and supermarkets. The packaging The box, in my opinion, is very eye catching. It is a very bright pink/purple so quite hard to miss. The box contains all of the necessary info – branding, ingredients, best before, and a warning of who should not take these. There is quite a lot of information about the vitamins – what they are used to promote and even what percentage of your recommended daily allowance these will give you. The only people who should not take these are children under the age of 6, and those that are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant. The taste Bassetts are a brand that make sweets (e.g. liquorice allsorts) so I was expecting quite a lot from the taste of these and I was very satisfied. These genuinely just taste just like jelly sweets and I could happily eat the whole packet in one sitting just for the taste (but I won’t ...

Should students be charged interest on their loans whilst they are still at university? 06/03/2012


Should students be charged interest on their loans whilst they are still at university? Should students be charged interest on their loans whilst they are still at university? Are you having a laugh?? I am currently a third year student with one year left to go and the thought of paying interest for my loans (the debt of which is scary enough as it is) while I am still at uni just seems ridiculous. I am one of the lucky ones who pays around £3500 for tuition fees (which I still think is a rip off) as opposed to £9000 starting from this year, and I also borrow around £3500 per year to cover living expenses. I by no means like borrowing so much money but unfortunately there is no way of me being able to afford this otherwise. For my chosen profession (teaching) I have no choice but to go to University and over the course of my 4 years I am expecting to rack up a debt of around £28,000 which horrifies me a little bit. I have no problem with repaying my loan along with interest…when I am actually qualified, in a job and earning a wage. As there is now a new government the rules seem to have changed regarding when you start paying back the loan (plus interest). If you start a course after September of this year you will start repaying a percentage of your wages when you earn over £21,000. Personally I think this is wrong and think that regardless of how much you earn you should still be paying back your loan, however small the amounts may be. If you borrow money then you need to pay it back. Of the money that I borrow to cover my living expenses I would like to ...

Kopparberg Cider 03/03/2012

one of my five a day?

Kopparberg Cider When I went away to Finland I gave up on drinking my usual spirits in favour of slightly cheaper cider, which admittedly was still rather expensive at €5 (which at the time was the same as a fiver) a go. Since being home I have kept my love of ciders (but only the nice sweet ones, not the proper stuff) and Kopparberg has proven to be one of my favourites. While the title of the product refers to the cans I am mainly talking about it being in a bottle - although of course the product is exactly the same. The bottle is typical of a cider – made of glass and green in colour. The label on the front gives all the basic info with branding as a key focus. This is a ‘genuine swedish pear cider’ although I find it interesting that there is no recycling refund amount on the back as I have found most things to be in Scandinavia (there are bottle machines outside of supermarkets in which you can redeem usually 10cents or so per bottle against your shopping)especially when I’m fairly sure Rekorderlig another Swedish brand do have this on the back. This beauty of a cider has 4.5% alcohol content which I think is a great percentage – not something you’re going to get particularly drunk off but very nice for a couple of relaxing drinks. Kopparberg comes in a variety of flavours – pear, mixed fruit (personally not a fan – I think it tastes like blackcurrant squash and very sickly at that), strawberry and lime, and elderflower with lime are the ones that I have personally come across. I ...

Dartmoor Zoological Park, Devon 25/02/2012

Dartmoor zoo

Dartmoor Zoological Park, Devon Although I do not live far from Dartmoor zoo I have never been and it was only when my boyfriend suggested he needed to go due to it being related to some uni work that we went. Usually when I think of Zoo’s, this one doesn’t tend to pop into my head as it is not that well publicised, although I think this is about to change with the release of ‘we bought a zoo’. What it is? Dartmoor zoo was originally called Dartmoor Wildlife park and if any of you have heard of the film ‘we bought a zoo’ you may know of the story behind the zoo. Basically the Mee family bought the zoo back in 2006 which I find unusual as I have never come across a zoo that has been owned by a family before. The zoo closed for a while before reopening in 2007 after some major refurbishment work. The zoo is also the winner of the Eden Channel's Top Wildlife Attraction of the Year 2011. The zoo is set in 33 acres of woodland with surrounding views of Dartmoor countryside and has the widest range of big cats in the south west. Location and how to get there To find out how to get to the zoo I had a look on their website which I have to say I found incredibly helpful, not just for directions and such but for all sorts of other information too. There are two main ways to get to the zoo being bus or car. The zoo is located in Sparkwell which is just 5 miles from Plymouth city centre which is very close to me. By car To get here by car you need to take the Plympton turn off from the A38 and follow the brown ...

Trust Slimline Design Speaker Set 16/02/2012

Superb Speakers

Trust Slimline Design Speaker Set Recently for no apparent reason the sound on my laptop went a bit dodgy. I couldn’t have my music at higher than around 50 % without the sound having a horrible raspy tinge as if I was wearing out the speakers too much. I decided rather than take my laptop somewhere to see if this could be fixed I would buy some speakers instead as this would probably work out cheaper. After some searching I had decided on a set in Argos but when I got there they had sold out. I wanted some speakers that day because I was getting so unbelievably frustrated with the poor sound on my laptop, and when I listen to music I like to listen to it loud. On my way back home I went into a Maplin store which I had never been in before but saw this speaker set on the shelf and decided that they were worth a try. Price and availability As I said I bought these from Maplin (or is that Maplins? I’m not sure) for the price of £14.99 which I found reasonable and no more expensive than other similar ones I had seen. I have also seen them for around the same price on Amazon. Some brief specifications I am unsure if my speakers are a slightly newer version of the ones in this category although the product has the exact name so my specs may vary slightly from those given. When I was looking for speakers I was looking for some with a decent wattage as I believe this relates to the sound quality. There is very little information given on the box but here is what there is: • 18 watt peak • 9 watt ...
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