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since 23/02/2007


TIGI Bed Head Control Freak Serum 08/11/2009

How the Control Freak tames the Frizz Freak!

TIGI Bed Head Control Freak Serum I have naturally very thick and wavy hair that is extremely prone to frizz, so anti-frizz serum is a necessity for me as far as I'm concerned! I had just finished using a bottle of John Frieda's original Frizz Ease serum, which really isn't a bad product at all. I was fairly happy with Frizz Ease, but I just wanted to try something different. I had read a few online reviews about Tigi Bed Head Control Freak serums and overall, it was highly recommended. I was also attracted to the fact that the Control Freak serum is actually better value for money compared with John Frieda's Frizz Ease. A 50ml bottle of Frizz Ease retails at £5.79 on the high street at the moment, whereas a 250ml bottle of Control Freak serums costs around £10.80. I really like the branding and packaging of this product - it's fun, original and out of the ordinary. My bottle of Control Freak serum certainly makes a big statement in my bathroom! I also like the practical aspect of the packaging, because it has a screw-top nozzle, which makes it easier for me to squeeze out just the right amount of serum required without any mess. I found that you only need to use a small amount of Control Freak serum in the first place. A little goes a long way indeed - which again shows just how good value for money this product actually is. I estimate that I apply about a 50 pence coin size onto the palm of my hands before applying the serum evenly all over my washed, wet hair. I apply the serum in sections. As we all ...

VAX U91-MA-B 06/11/2009

The Mach Air is the answer to my vacuum cleaning prayers!

VAX U91-MA-B I was given the Vax Mach Air to try and after using it several times, I can confidently declare that this is the best vacuum cleaner that I have ever used. The reason why I like it so much is because I found that the Mach Air is very lightweight, easy to use and extremely powerful. This product has really put my old upright vacuum to shame in many respects. Firstly, the Mach Air's cyclone technology significantly vacuumed a great deal more dust very quickly and very effectively. In fact, I was actually took a moment to marvel at its suctioning power, because the Mach Air vacuumed up such a large amount of dust and hair over a small area of carpet. I do take pride in my home and so I do vacuum my floors regularly, but I have to say that my carpets actually looked much cleaner and in better condition as a result of using the Mach Air! One of the features that I like about the Mach Air is the brush-bar, which is specifically used for carpet vacuuming. These bristles are very strong and they rotate extremely fast when in use. I found that the brush-bar picks up hair really quickly and easily, which is a really important requirement for me. I recently have been looking after a beautiful mongrel dog for a friend of mine and I found that the brush-bar is excellent in removing all of those annoying dog hairs on my sofa and carpets. I think there will be many pet owners who would really benefit from using this product too. I found that the brush-bar was really easy to access, when I ...

Pinecone Research 11/08/2009

Pinecone, Pinecone, Wherefore art thou?

Pinecone Research Pinecone, Pinecone, Wherefore art thou? That is the question on many people’s lips who want to join this online survey site. What’s so good about it? Well you receive generous rewards in return for completing a Pinecone survey. New and more recent members receive £3 for completing a survey that usually lasts around twenty minutes. Older members continue to receive £4 at the moment. This is pretty good considering that other popular rival survey sites like Valued Opinions would reward you with approximately £1 towards the value of a voucher for completing a survey of the same length. What I love about Pinecone is the fact that you can opt to receive your reward in cash via Paypal. If you want to receive your reward in this way, then it may be advisable to use your Paypal email address when registering with Pinecone. Payment is extremely prompt indeed, because I normally receive this between 1-3 days after I have completed a survey. I used to opt-in to receive Luncheon vouchers, and again Pinecone were very prompt in posting these out to me. It would usually take about a week. You can use Luncheon vouchers in pretty much every supermarket and fast-food outlet. I used to use them at Sainsburys, Tesco and Somerfield for my grocery shopping. I also like the fact that they can be used in Holland and Barratt too! Cashiers normally accept my Luncheon vouchers – I have only been refused once, but that was because I thought I could use it to purchase alcohol in Sainsburys! But how ... 09/06/2009

Qype - get ready to type, type and type (well, sometimes)! Qype is a review-based social-networking site. It is free to join and I found that the registration process was quick and easy. You can create a profile and advertise links to your own blog or website on your profile if you like, and I think is an added bonus of being a member. Once you've joined, you can write reviews about any place or service you have used or visited. You can review cinemas, theatres, museums, shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs for example. I was pleasantly surprised to find that you can also review schools, libraries, local shops and other public services. In fact, I could go on forever about the amount of different categories you could review! Using the Qype website also means that you have access to reviews created by registered Qype users. I find that these reviews can offer useful insights, because they are based on people's individual experiences of a place or service. I find that there is a nice community feel about this website too. You don't get paid for posting individual review and you don't get paid if people read or rate your reviews either. Sometimes however, Qype offer incentives to their members for posting a certain number of reviews in within a particular deadline. During December 2008, Qype offered £50 Amazon vouchers to 1000 subscribed Qype members, as long as each member wrote 50 reviews of places or services that hadn't been reviewed before. Each review had to be original (and not cross-posted from other review sites) and at ...

Test & Vote 29/04/2009

Toluna - who are ya? A so-so survey site.

Test & Vote Toluna, Toluna - many a word has been said about Toluna. Many of these words are not very complimentary particularly if you browse the Toluna thread on the Money Saving Expert Forum for example. I'm not here to bash Toluna to pieces in this review - after all, I am still active Toluna member and have been for three years. What I would say though is that if you are selective about the survey sites you want to join up to, then you could probably give Toluna a miss, because there are quite a few better survey sites out there (many of which I have reviewed already). JOINING I found it easy to join up with Toluna or Test and Vote as it used to be called *back in the day*. It will take a while to complete the profiling questions. I always find that profiling questions are really boring to complete, but they are nevertheless necessary, because the answers that you give them will determine the types of surveys you will be invited by email to complete. If you don't complete your profile, it is highly unlikely that you will receive any survey invites. In any case, Toluna rewards their members with points when they complete each section of their profile. Profiling questions are used to help Toluna identify your consumer behaviour, spending habits and lifestyle. REWARDS Ah... rewards. Each time I successfully complete a survey, Toluna are supposed to reward me with a certain number of points. When you have enough points you can redeem them for various rewards. Many of these rewards ...

Lightspeed Consumer Panel 13/04/2009

Take Heed - I shall speak of Lightspeed!

Lightspeed Consumer Panel Another survey site - but is it good though? Well I like it, but don't expect to earn loads of cash or vouchers from it! I've been actively doing Lightspeed surveys for over three years, so here goes my review. Registering with Lightspeed is really easy and it doesn't take too long to do. If you are a member of any cashback sites, it might be worthwhile signing up to Lightspeed via a cashback site - you never know - you might earn an extra quid just for doing that alone! Upon registering with Lightspeed, you will have to complete several profiling questions about your job, spending habits etc. Although I consider this to be a bit boring, I regard it as a necessary evil. Lightspeed need to ask these questions in order for them to send me appropriate surveys. Lightspeed can then contact me by email to invite me to participate in a relevant survey. I then log onto my Lightspeed account and click on the survey link. Again, I find that this is all very easy to do. In my experience, I have found that I may not receive any email invites for a while, but then I suddenly get several at once. The surveys are usually about consumer goods, brands and services. I find that some can be interesting while others are not! With Lightspeed, you need to complete a survey in one sitting - if your web browser suddenly crashes or you prematurely close down your browser window, it is highly likely that you will have to complete the survey all over again! This has happened to me on a few rare ...

Ipsos Access Panel 27/03/2009

IPSOS Gracious! A Good Survey Site!

Ipsos Access Panel I have written reviews about a few good survey sites lately, and IPSOS is another one of them! I have completed surveys for IPSOS for over three years and overall I am happy with them and will continue to be an active member. IPSOS are a well-established and respected market research company. Since joining, I have always received a healthy number of emails from IPSOS inviting me to participate in surveys. Each time I complete a survey, I receive points. Points earned from these surveys can range between 50 to 250 or even more - it usually is dependent on the survey's duration. If I fail to qualify for a survey, I receive 10 points. Most surveys that I receive and complete take me about 20 minutes on average. As I understand, a 20 minute survey usually earns me 150 points - I think... The trouble is that IPSOS do not tell their members upfront exactly how many points they will earn for completing a survey. They do sometimes, but it is very rare indeed. This is one aspect that I do not like about IPSOS, because it could be a very easy way to exploit their members. Similarly, when I log onto the Members area of my IPSOS account, it will only give me a grand total of the points earned. I do not think this is good enough, because I believe that members should have the right to see the points itemized according to each completed (and uncompleted) survey. I do think that IPSOS owe it to their members to be more transparent about points. The thing is, I have personally found that ... 25/03/2009

This is my Opinion - you better Value it! Valued Opinions is one of my favourite survey sites by far and is definitely one that I would recommend. I have been an active member of this site for over three years and I shall continue to remain an active user, because I am generally satisfied with them so far. They are very easy to register with and they email you links that invite you to complete surveys, which is very convenient for me. The main reason why I like Valued Opinions so much is because they send me surveys more frequently compared to other well-established survey sites like YouGov. Furthermore, I believe that Valued Opinions offer good rewards for completing their surveys. Generally, you are rewarded between 50p and £2 credit per survey depending on the duration of the survey. If you are really lucky, you will sometimes be invited to participate in surveys that will earn you between £3 and £5 credit on completion. These particular surveys usually offer higher rewards, because they take longer to complete and/or they are part of a special study! This leads me onto the second reason why I like Valued Opinions so much. Valued Opinions offer really good opportunities for their members to participate in other research projects. Although these types of project opportunities are not as frequent as their surveys, I have completed various projects for Valued Opinions in the past. I have completed online diaries regarding my consumption of foods and drinks for example. I enjoy completing these types of tasks and ... 06/03/2009

YouGov? You've Gotta Count Me In! YouGov is a popular website that pays you for completing online surveys. YouGov is a very well-established and respected global market research company. It is so well established in fact, that it floated on the stock market and it has a large enough profile to pop up on the Finance pages of the broadsheets every so often. With this in mind, I think it would be nicer if YouGov rewarded their survey participants with more money for the surveys they complete! It took me three years to earn £50 just for competing their surveys! I think this is an incredibly long time compared with other survey sites like OnePoll and Pureprofile, because these sites normally take me one year to earn £50. YouGov is worth sticking with, because I think that it does have other unique advantages, which I will later discuss in my review. YouGov is really easy and simple to join. The web design is simple yet stylish and it is really easy to navigate yourself around the site. I got paid £1 for joining up which was good. YouGov usually pay me 50p per survey. Each survey can last around 20 minutes. If you’re really lucky though, you might even earn 75p or even £1 for a survey! Sadly, these have been rare occasions for me. YouGov emails me a survey invite and all I need to do is click on the link to complete the survey. The surveys are generally about political issues, brands, current affairs, and consumer goods and services. Sometimes they’re interesting surveys, sometimes they’re not – it depends what ... 04/03/2009

Penny for your thoughts? OnePoll is yet another website that pays you for your opinion. With so many survey sites to participate in, I find that OnePoll is worthy of my time. If you join, you need to be prepared to log onto the site everyday if possible, because that is the best way to access any available surveys and earn cash! They do not email OnePoll members any survey invite links, which is different to other survey sites such as GlobalTestMarket. For me, logging onto OnePoll daily has been part of my regular routine when I go online, so this is no problem for me. I found it was really quick and easy to register with OnePoll. They ask for your contact details and some basic personal details like date of birth, so the questions they ask are not as in-depth or extensive in comparison with other survey sites like Pureprofile. I find that the OnePoll website is colourful, bright and simple to use. It is really easy to update your personal details and to access any available surveys to take. If you are ineligible to complete a particular survey, then there is a button you can click on to “Hide” that survey from your view. I have found this to be very helpful, because it prevents me from accidentally opening up an inappropriate survey. It can be very tempting for some people to complete a survey that they are ineligible for just to get the extra money, but this is not something that I have actually done and it is not something I would condone either. OnePoll state that they do make checks on ... 04/03/2009

Pure Profiles = Pure Cash! is a website that pays you for completing online surveys. While there are so many survey sites out there, I think Pureprofile is a good one to stick with. Pureprofile is a bit different compared to other well-respected survey sites like Valued Opinions and GlobalTestMarket, therefore you have to use Pureprofile a bit differently in order to capitalise on it in the best way possible, which I will explain in this review. Don’t get me wrong though – don’t expect to earn megabucks from this site alone. You can redeem a minimum of £25 and a maximum of £50. It takes me approximately 6 months to redeem £25. I have used Pureprofile for 2 years and I have therefore earned about £100. OK, it’s not a vast sum of money, but it is better than nothing for spending a few minutes to complete an easy survey! Of course, some people do earn more than this and others can earn less. It can really depend on your “profile”. When you first register with Pureprofile or indeed many other survey sites, they will ask you a series of questions in order to ascertain your “profile”. While Pureprofile does not pay you for completing these screener questions that can take a long time to complete, they are extremely valuable for you (and them) in the long run. Most of these questions will be about your consumer lifestyle and habits, for example: do you own a car; do you have children, do you own or rent your home etc. The answers that you give them will determine your “profile” as a ...

Remington D 2011 Professional 02/03/2009

Professional by name, Unprofessional by nature

Remington D 2011 Professional Put it this way, if a woman is prepared to pay £20 or more for a hair dryer, then she expects perfection - or near enough! Even if we don't have the skills of a fabulous professional hair stylist to get that perfect blow-dry look, we still want feel as if we have the right tools to give ourselves the best chance to have a go anyway. Unfortunately, the Remington "Professional" Compact Pro 3000 Hair dryer failed to live up to these high expectations for me. This is particularly disappointing, because Remington is often regarded by many to be a well-known, trusted and respected brand for hair care appliances. Remington declare on the product's packaging that this hair dryer produces "fast flawless salon results" and they say it is recommended by Hair magazine. Don't believe the hype though. Remington promise so much but fail to deliver in many respects with regards to this hair dryer and I will explain why. The main problem I experienced is that the hair dryer's low speed setting is simply not low in reality. I have shoulder-length thick wavy hair that is naturally prone to frizz. The low setting of a hair dryer is therefore vital for me in this context, because I need to use a low speed and a high temperature setting with the diffuser attachment in order to create curls and volume with minimum frizz. This is a lot harder to achieve when I use this hair dryer, because even at the "low" setting, my hair flies around all over the place making it harder to style in the way that ...

GarageBand Jam Pack Media 25/02/2009

DIY POP (No Musical Knowledge Required)

GarageBand Jam Pack Media As you may know already from one of my earlier reviews, I do rather like my iMac. One of the reasons why is because I think the iLife software that comes pre-installed on the Mac OS X is fantastic. This software includes GarageBand. I feel that in order for me to review the GarageBand Jam Pack properly, I need to explain a bit about what GarageBand itself actually is. Basically this programme enables anyone to make music regardless of their ability or experience. GarageBand contains hundred of sounds (also known as loops). These loops are categorised according to beats, bass, instrument and musical genre etc. On Garageband I can preview and select a loop that takes my fancy and drag and drop the loop onto the interface. When I do this, the loop becomes a "track". You can then really easily drag and drop subsequent loops to create a musical multi-track sound. In other words, I can use this application to create music by layering different sounds on top of each other. The loops are therefore the crucial component in GarageBand - without loops there would be no GarageBand. Now while this application comes with many pre-installed loops, the advantage of buying the GarageBand Jam Packs is that you can have literally thousands more loops to use. The Jam Packs are simply add-ons for GarageBand. At the moment, there are five different Jam Packs to choose from and they are: Remixes Voices World Music Rhythm Section Symphony Orchestra I have bought and installed all five of these ...

Panasonic DVD-RAM 4.7 GB 3x 22/02/2009

Not just a DVD-RAM, but a DVD-RAM(BO): Rugged and Strong!

Panasonic DVD-RAM 4.7 GB 3x OK first of all, please forgive me for the corny title of this review. My justification is that I have to make a review about DVD-RAM as interesting as it is humanly possible, so that was my attempt. Apologies. You might be asking why am I even bothering to write a review on Ciao about DVD-RAM in the first place, when I could be writing about Emmerdale or something. Well the reason for this is because DVD-RAM has genuinely become a revelation to me, because I have learned that they are far superior to any other recordable DVD format. I needed to buy a few blank recordable DVDs to archive certain films and programmes on my new Panasonic DMR-EX78EB-K Freeview+ 250GB HDD DVD Recorder, so I assumed I would buy DVD±RW, until I unintentionally discovered that Amazon were selling Panasonic DVD-RAM discs. It can be more expensive than other recordable DVD formats, but I bought this product for following reasons: 1. DVD-RAM is more reliable and durable than other DVD formats This aspect is vital for me, because I want to minimise the risk of potentially losing any archived programmes stored on disc. This is why the well-documented statistics surrounding DVD-RAM appealed to me. Firstly, if the disc is not physically damaged, then any data on the disc will be stored for at least 30 years. Secondly, it is estimated that DVD-RAM can be rewritten over 100,000 times, compared to 1,000 for DVD±RW. While I have not personally put any of these impressive statistics to the test to verify ...

Panasonic DMR-EX 85 19/02/2009

TV Heaven, No Telly Hell!

Panasonic DMR-EX 85 Believe it or not, I used to belong to the minority of people who do not own a DVD player. In fact, it was only last summer that I actually acquired a digital set-top box! The set-top box was nothing special though (a cheap Alba one) but at least I finally began to catch up with the rest of civilization to enjoy the wonders of Freeview! Oh yes - I too could access all those many free extra channels available on Digital TV; and oh yes - I too could be part of Katie and Peter's world on ITV2... But seriously - I particularly like watching some of the programmes on BBC Four like Flight of the Conchords, and I like some of the cult classics that ITV4 broadcast, such as The Professionals and The Prisoner. As a result, I became increasingly frustrated with the fact that I couldn't record any of these digital programmes on my trusty old VCR. What really drove me nuts though was my cheapo set-top box eventually became unusable, because it would keep freezing up on me. That was the last straw! So enough was enough ? no more telly hell. I treated myself to this Panasonic DMR-EX78EB-K Freeview+ 250GB HDD DVD Recorder for Christmas. I therefore bought this product ultimately to satisfy my two main requirements: to record programmes on Freeview onto the its hard disc drive or onto DVD, and to use it as a DVD player! I was also impressed with some of its other features, which I will also discuss in my review. What I would like to stress first of all though, is that it is definitely ...
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