Cannibilism on the increase causing zombie panic!

Have you read the news lately? There has been a noticible rise on canibilism, there have been reports of people resorting to this strange and unnatural habit from all over the world. In the last week alone the following have been reported:

A married man bit off and ate his wife’s lips in Switzerland because he was convinced she was cheating on him.

A young asexual man from Japan had his testicles medically removed, he kept them and then sold tickets for a dinner party where he then cooked them up and served them to paying guests. A total of 6 people shared this unusual dish, they included a young couple, a young woman and an old man.

A naked man in America was found running after a homeless man naked then jumped on him and ate his face off, the homeless man is in critical condition after losing 70% of his face. It is said that the accused was high in drugs, he had to be shot so he could stop eating the other man.

As a result of all these bizarre happenings a statement from the US has been issued after a spate of panic from the public. Forums have been buzzing that ‘zombies’ have arrived and are infecting people! This thought never crossed my mind, I did find it unusual but now I am a little concerned. I think I watch too many movies! I must have seen all that involve the ‘undead’ and let me tell you there is never a happy ending. So if there is going to be a zombie apocalypse then I would like a little notice to prepare myself and stock up and maybe re-watch all those movies to see if there is anything I can do to ensure my survival but saying that what would happen to the world should the ‘uninfected’ survive? I mean would you really want to go through the stress of rebuilding the world?

Well I think for now at least we are safe so I won’t worry myself too much.

The truth about hair straightening and dangers

It’s been debateable for years whether or not hair straighteners cause any damage to hair follicles but with an ever growing trend of celebrities sporting poker straight hairstyles the majority of women do not think twice about any damage that may be caused. I remember the days when hair straighteners were expensive so teenagers found an alternative and ironed hair straight instead. Many would come into school with burnt ends as they couldn’t really see what they were doing with their head on the ironing board!

Apparently a third of women have hair straighteners and one in five men also admit to this trend too, most people who use them will not leave the house as they prefer straight hair compared to curly, wavy or frizzy. In reality relying heavily on hair straighteners will only cause hair to become more frizzy and curly. They also make hair dull and thin over time but many women argue that after having hair straightened its shinier and silky, but this is short lived.

A lot of women and young girls who are addicted to straightening hair usually start to panic when they find that their hair is falling out, it isn’t really as the hair becomes so weak from heat damage that it starts to break off eventually. Hair straightening also leads to split ends as the ends get burnt and bear the brunt of the heat.

20 years ago hair straighteners took 20 minutes to reach the optimum temperature for creating poker straight hair using steel plates. Now with better material to create the plates it takes less than a minute to heat up to 200c. Apparently the new hair straighteners are worse than before as they are higher in temperature, using plates that are 180c or less will not damage hair as much as 200c. A lot of women argue that they use heat protecting products to ‘protect’ the hair but in reality it does little to prevent any damage made.

There are a few things you can try to help restore frazzled hair to its former glory, things like deep conditioning, hair masks and even sleeping on a silk pillowcase can prevent split ends and keep hair looking silky smooth, it also helps hair lock in natural oils.

Older styled hair straighteners that use steam to create straight hair are safer but much more expensive; they do not cause so much damage as you would using a conventional straightener. This year looks like its set to concentrate on bouncy and wavy hair and curls rather than the poker straight look that has been dominating the catwalk the last few months. So say goodbye to straighteners and embrace bouncy and curly volumised hair.

 

Reducing your pay as you drive insurance premiums

It is clear that no one wants to pay a lot for car insurance per month and this is the reason as to why more and more people are now going for pay as you drive insurance. It is a fairer means of coverage as you pay for the distance that you are covering each month rather than pay a whole constant sum per month. The rate of the pay as you go car insurance is based on your risk profile though you also have to pay for a fixed amount each month to cover you up against theft, damage or fire damage. It is this risk profile that you have to lower so as not to pay a lot of premium per month.

The risk profile is based on some factors, the most important ones being your age, gender, address, your vehicle and the security features associated with the car. Obviously your gender cannot be changed and so if you are a male then you will definitely pay more than a female as males are seen to be less careful drivers as compared to females. There are certain ways that you can reduce your insurance premium be you a male or a female. Also, you cannot change your age but you can come up with a clean driving record to lower your premiums. If you are a young driver, try to find out if taking advance driving lessons can be a means to lower your premiums.

Where you live is also an important aspect of the risk profile and because you do not want to fake these details, the installation of a security device can lower your premiums. The first thing to do is to make sure that your vehicle remains locked at night and to install a security device if possible such as an immobilizer, alarm or gear lock. When you sign up for pay as you drive insurance, the insurance company adds a tracking device to your car to monitor the distance that you cover per month and to bill you as such; the device also helps in tracking the car should it be stolen which thus reduces your monthly premium as stolen vehicles can be tracked down by the insurance company.

You can very easily get pay as you drive insurance right online but shop around first, checking out some agencies before you decide on the best deal. You will get a good insurance deal with pay as you drive as you will be paying only for the distance that you are covering. You will also be offered some distance to drive for free each month and you start to pay when you go beyond this distance.

Basic home tools for toolbox

You never know when the occasion might arise when you will need some basic tools for problems around the home. Most people do not have what many will say are ‘common sense’ items such as a hammer or screwdriver. There are a few things you should keep together in the toolbox so that if there is a problem you can sort it without the need of a plumber or electrician. Not talking about anything major but things like a leaking radiator, a door that keeps sticking, loose screws, nails sticking out and many other minor things.

 

What basic tools should I keep in my toolbox?

  • A set of good quality screwdrivers of all shapes and sizes
  • A hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil and small notepad or sticky note cube
  • Pliers
  • Torch with spare batteries
  • Spare drill bits for drill
  • Saw

You may need to have two toolkits one that houses everything and another one that’s smaller and can be stored within easy reach with common items such as a screwdriver and torch. Many people tend to keep tools for electrical work, plumbing and decorating together. I wouldn’t really advise this because if they are all in the same tool box you may never find what you’re looking for.

Storing tools

If you have hundreds of different tools for different jobs, it may be an option to separate them all into categories. Buy clear boxes that are stackable and label them: electrical, plumbing, and decorating and so on. So when you come to decorate, you will have everything in the same box and the same for plumbing tools and electric.

If you have larger tools such as a circular saw, drill and sander, try and keep them in their original cases or boxes so the instructions can be referred to if necessary. This can be very useful if you haven’t used a tool in a while and may have forgotten its other uses. Try and have a shed where all of these tools can be stored out of the way until needed.

Haart estate agent Welwyn Garden City review

We decided to sell our house and because Haart were very successful on out street we decided to call them for a valuation. One house on our road sold in just one day! I called explained I was moving away and needed a buyer fast. The agent came round and had a look, sat down and talked to us about how she could help etc. She told us realistically how much we could get and what to market the price at for it to sell now, we were happy with the value.

Fees
The fee would be around £4,000 but an EPC would be £175 as it included loads of other things as well as a premium listing upgrade. We have an existing one so that wasn’t needed and there are not many houses on their books so we didn’t need a premium listing either. Solicitor’s fees were around £1,000 and there is nothing to pay if you pull out of the contract as long as you don’t sell the property after leaving them and within the contracted period. The estate agent wasn’t pushy, listened to us at all times and told us everything we needed to know in terms of selling quickly. She was very laid back but knew what she was talking about and never once fobbed us off. It’s worth doing a little research so you understand ahead when an estate agent comes round so you don’t get tricked into purchasing things you don’t need etc.

Well when we decided to go ahead we go our very first viewing the next evening which was a Friday, then over the weekend we had 7 or so one after another. At first it was great but as you show people round and find out more about them I came to find that none were suitable for our house. Haart does not screen people that want to view a house they just give them the address and send them over. I was a little disappointed because I did say that I needed to sell quickly with no messing about.

We have no bath as we decided it was not needed, instead we have a shower cubicle, they sent round heavily pregnant people, those who were thinking of starting a family and fat people that would not even fit. They also sent round people who were new to the market and had no clue what they were looking for. In all we were very tired and disappointed.

Just when we decided to pull out of the contract with Haart we received an offer, this was just two weeks after we put the house on the market. Of course we negotiated on the price and finally agreed and that was that.

Haart are good but just don’t take their word for anything, you can never trust an estate agent. Also do not buy their EPC package as it’s a waste of money, if a house was sold before 2003 then an EPC already exists and can be retrieved at a nominal fee (less than £10 is reasonable) otherwise you will pay £60 for a new one when it is not needed. Also do not go with their solicitors, they are not reliable at all.

Haart conveyancing

When you buy or sell a house you will want to save as much money as you can in every way, one of the places where you can either save or lose is finding the right solicitor or conveyance for your property. We recently sold our house through Haart and were ‘sold’ on their conveyance package but before we did decide we got around 5 quotes to see what other firms were offering.

It’s always important to shop around as you may save hundreds just by taking the time to do so, to sell my 3 bedroom house the quotes ranged from £700 to £1,200 including VAT. Obviously it is tempting to go with the cheapest but that isn’t necessarily the wisest choice. As we were leaving to live abroad we needed a reliable conveyance and also one that wasn’t too expensive. Also if the sale was to not go through you still need to pay.

Haart solicitors operate a ‘no sale, no fee’ guarantee and as we already lost some money on the sale of the house we decided to go ahead just in case we lose more money. You have to pay a £60 admin fee and if the sale doesn’t go through that is all you will lose, you won’t have to pay a penny more. Unfortunately it is very misleading and this is how it really works.

Haart solicitors / conveyances
When you ‘go’ with Haarts’ solicitors you are actually paying Haart a £60 admin fee to find a solicitor / conveyance for you and none of that £60 goes to the conveyance. Also as our quotes was £750 only £300 of that actually goes to the conveyancing team, the remainder £450 goes to Haart. So on top of paying Haart £4000 when the house sells they actually get more money if you go with ‘their’ conveyancing team.

It is also misleading as there are other charges to pay, it is supposed to be all inclusive for money transferring, title deeds name transfer, land registry checks etc but it not and these charges will be added on to the supposedly ‘all inclusive’ fee.

They are very slow to start the process too as we had to fax the starter pack twice and then post it, in all we have lost around a month because of lack of organisation and poor estate agents who haven’t a clue what they are doing.

So if you do decide to go with them be aware that there are ‘hidden’ charges and also you may find that the whole process is up to 2 months longer than most other places.

Avon poor delivery service

For years I have been a loyal customer to Avon, some products that they offer are cheaper and better than other brands. They also continuously come up with new ideas and products that appeal to everyone. Whether you are a teenager, middle aged or older you will surely find products to suit both your skin type and budget.

The one thing I don’t like about Avon is no matter how much you spend you still need to pay delivery, most places nowadays offer free delivery if you spend over a certain amount but Avon doesn’t no matter how much you spend. Free delivery is always an incentive for buying but with Avon their standard delivery charge is £3.50 no matter how much you spend. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot but if you only need a few items and it comes up to a mere £20 then adding £3.50 to that doesn’t really seem worth it.

Avon free delivery
Of course you can always contact your local representative and have them deliver it for you free of charge but I find that they are not always reliable and delivery can take weeks in some cases. Also I have had problems with free gifts that are also supposed to come with certain products, they are not always guaranteed through your local Avon representative. Ordering online is easier and also stock is guaranteed.

Avon poor delivery service

On the last few occasions that I have ordered Avon products I have found that the box that it all arrives in is damaged completely, not a squashed box but ripped open. When I called them and complained they said that there was nothing they can do! The call centre is in India so beware, then customer service said to check the box and if anything was missing they would replace it free of charge. I had ordered £200 worth of Avon products, I was very tempted to call and say half of the items were missing but then I was afraid that Karma would come and bite me in the bum so I didn’t. Looking back if I had the time I would have tried my luck but I am very disappointed in Avon for not taking action.

Also Avon does not let you order more than £200 worth of goods at a time if you go over you need to call customer service. I know it seems like a lot of money but I order for my mum and other family members so we don’t all have to pay the delivery charge, plus I am A-List member and get many products cheaper than those who are not. One of the Avon moisturisers that my mum uses is £25 so buying a day cream plus a night cream already costs £50 it’s very easy to spend £100 without realising especially when you are tempted with so many offers.

Connells estate agents Welwyn Garden City review

Nearly three years ago I bought my house through Connells estate agents in Welwyn Garden City, the house was not really what we were looking to buy but it had so much potential that we went ahead. We gutted it completely and did the whole house, it took six months before we could live in it but it was so worth it in the end. Well now three years later we need to sell and fast! After a business opportunity arose we decided to sell and start again in Australia. Well we called Connells because when we bought the house it took only six weeks until the sale was completed but that was mostly down to the house being vacant and I being a first time buyer so there was no chain in either side.

Well an agent came round yesterday and even after explaining when I called for them to come round that we needed the house to sell fast he still asked ‘so we need to establish why I’m here’ I was like duh to sell the house! I told him I had already explained this and he jotted it all down, then he took more details before walking round the house to ‘value’ value the property. Like I said we need to sell fast and now not next week or next month. Before he told us the value he talked us through the process blah blah blah and said ‘well I can sell by Christmas’ I was like CHRISTMAS!!! That’s 10 weeks away, on top of that he’s going on holiday for a few weeks and we all know what that means. I am not being unreasonable when I say this house needs to sell now, if the price is right it will sell fast. He then said he can ‘guarantee’ the house to be sold in 4 weeks, well that is by far too long.

Well anyway he valued the house far too high and we know that it would never sell so we were like hmmm then he said we ‘we’ll push for 15k lower than that’ which still was too high. Looking at the properties selling right now there are bigger and better houses for the price he ‘valued’ the house at. Well on top of that he was just really pushy and not taking into account anything we said.

Fees
On top of all that the estate agent fees were 2% that he then lowered to 1.75% that was £5,000 for sole agency fees and a whopping £10,000 for the multiple agency fees. Also he offered the EPC for around £50 and solicitor fees for £1,000. Then he was like ok you want to sign the contract then, we were like whoa we need to read the contract so he was a little taken back. I did find this strange who signs something without reading the contract first? Well on top of this he wanted us to sign the opt out option that applies to the ‘7 day cooling off period’ that we are entitled to. He was very strange, he was so sure that we would use him as the house was through Connells the first time. We said we’d read it and get back to him. He then got up and started measuring up the rooms thinking he was so in there, what a plonker. There is also a £125 fee you need to pay them if you do decide to break the contract; this is a marketing fee that they pay to advertise the property so if you pull out at any time you need to pay this.

When we asked if there were any penalties to pulling out of the contract if we change our minds he said no, we asked this as we may need to leave suddenly without selling but he then said ‘well leave the keys and we’ll do the rest’ then when the paperwork was done we just need to fly back and sign. We were shocked and said no when leave we won’t be coming back soon!

He called us the next day and we told him that we were waiting on a few other agents to value the property; he was very surprised to say the least. Well we decided to go with Haart instead as we found that they weren’t pushy and listed to us and what we were looking for in term of an agent to sell the house quickly.

So if you do decide to go with Connells then beware and get another quote, their fees are far too high to Haart’s were approximately £1,000 cheaper and every penny counts!

Summer Infant Baby Touch Video Monitor review

I knew that at some point I would need a baby monitor, if I’m downstairs and my baby is upstairs it’s really hard to hear if she is awake or crying. Having a baby monitor also provides us with reassurance that our baby is fine. They range in greatly in price; they can be bought for as little as £20 and as much as £300+, they also have different features such as movement monitoring, night light, lullaby’s etc. When my baby started sleeping through the night at 9 weeks we used to keep her in her travel cot downstairs with us but as time went on we found that we couldn’t talk, laugh or make any noise as it would wake her up. Eventually we decided to get a monitor, I was originally going to get a sound monitor that had a sensor mat so I would be sure that she was ok but my husband insisted what we had a video one instead. The sound monitor would’ve cost around £60-£80 and a video monitor anywhere between £90-£350!

After much research we decided to purchase Summer Infant Baby Touch touch-screen Digital Video Monitor, it didn’t come cheap we paid around £170 for it but there were other places charging as much as £250 for the same thing. Some of the features it has are: zoom and pan, temperature indicator, a large LCD colour screen, two way talk back, wireless and the ability to add additional cameras.

We have found the picture quality to be amazing! My daughter usually has a dummy when she goes to bed and when it falls out she can get upset sometimes with the monitor you can clearly see when it has fallen out, the sound control is good too, can be turned up or down to suit or you can see the lights indicator on the unit when movement is detected.

Now that we have a video monitor I don’t think we could ever settle on a sound one instead, of course features vary depending on the make and model so it’s good to know what you want beforehand as some also have the ability to take pictures but I don’t the quality would be any good. Summer Infant also have fantastic customer service as I had a problem with another product of theirs and they sent me a replacement free of charge!

In my opinion this monitor is fantastic if you can afford it otherwise you can get it second and cheaper on eBay, it is definitely a must for all parents.

Willows farm Review

We all know how hard the school holidays are, kids need entertaining and in most cases that costs money. Whether it’s some more toys, new games for the Wii or a day out, whatever you decide to do it will cost you. Many families nowadays have to work most of the time including during school holidays so when they manage to get time off for the holidays most will take the time to go out for the day usually to a farm or park. Unfortunately most places charge for entry these days but on top of that you may need to fork out extra for other games and activities whilst inside. Food is also a big expense as most places charge silly money for a small plate of chips.

Willows farm
We recently went to Willows farm before the weather decided to act up, it was a lovely sunny day when my partner and I decided we should go for it. We took along our four month old daughter as we thought it would be a nice family day out. First of all entry for adults cost £12.50 and children over two cost £13.50, a day trip for a family of four costs a whopping £77! Then when you get to the entrance there are signs for ‘animal feed’, although it costs a mere 50p for a small cup you may be tempted to buy more than one cup each as there are many animals that need feeding.

As you enter there is a small indoor farmyard favourites area with small animals such as piglets, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens etc, it’s fairly small and can get crowded at times. Be careful as most children have used up all their animal feed by this time. As you continue there are stables that consist of just two horses! It can get so busy that people are lining up just for a glimpse of them, there are various other animals that can be fed around the ‘farm’ such as cows, donkeys, goats sheep, reindeers and wallabies. What was disappointing is that young children couldn’t reach to feed most animals so it wasn’t much of a farm!

There is an abundance of children’s play areas such as swings, slides, ball games, trampolines and more but this was mostly for older children aged 5+, older children seemed to enjoy the so called farm but for younger children there wasn’t much to entertain them with. It is very commercialised and not at all like an actual farm.

I will not go back there and advise all families to steer clear there are far cheaper and real working farms out there that accept visitors for a small and reasonable fee. £77 for a family of four to visit what I can only describe as a park is just a rip off!