Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted on February 14th, 2013 in Random Thoughts by Stephanie

Aunty Acid Valentines Day

Just thought I’d share Aunty Acid’s thoughts on Valentines LOL!
Happy Valentine’s Day! Also thanks to Twinings for the lovely Valentine’s present which I received! Check out their website for their limited edition Valentine’s gifts here.

Twinings Tea

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How To Check Your Car Battery Is In Good Condition

Posted on September 11th, 2012 in Random Thoughts by Stephanie

This weekend I’m finally getting to take a much needed break and will drive up to Newcastle to pay a visit to my old university and the city where I spent 4 fantastic years. It’s been nearly 10 years since I was last there so I’m excited to see how much it’s changed but not so excited about the 5 hour drive ahead! :S

So I’ve got my music and snacks sorted for the journey, nearly finished packing, checked my car tyres and last but not least I’ve inspected my car battery to check that it is in good condition for the road. Most people probably don’t pay too much attention to their car battery as long as everything seems to be working fine but it’s really important to check car batteries before going on a long journey because you don’t want to find yourself stranded along the way!

For those of you who are not familiar with how to check your car battery, what you need to do is first check the battery for any corrosion or stains as this may mean that you have a leak and should probably replace your battery. You should also have a look at the battery case and the terminals to see if there are any cracks or damage to the terminals in which case you should also replace the battery. Corrosion on your car battery terminals can prevent your car from starting so if you see any corrosion stains, they can be cleaned by using a brush dipped in baking soda mixed with water. The battery cables and clamps need to be examined as well, to see whether they are frayed or corroded. If so, the cables and clamps need to be replaced.

To check the battery performance you will need a voltmeter to measure the voltage. First turn the engine off, attach the voltmeter to the battery terminals and the reading on the voltmeter should be around 12 volts. Next get someone to start the car whilst you measure the voltage of the battery. If the reading drops below 10 volts then the battery doesn’t really have sufficient current to start the car and will probably not last much longer.

The charging voltage of the battery should also be measured to test to see if the charging system is working correctly. To do this, run the car for around 20 minutes so that the battery is suffiently charged and then use the voltmeter to measure the voltage at the battery terminals. This should be around 14 volts. If it is less than 14 volts this may show that your charging system is not working properly and there may be a problem with the alternator which is what keeps the battery continually charged. Anything over 14 volts means you should get someone to check that the voltage regulator in your alternator is working as this is what shuts off the flow of juice to your battery if the voltage goes above a certain level and therefore keeps your battery from getting overcharged and damaged.

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Tesco Gold Exchange Review

Posted on July 5th, 2012 in Making Money,Random Thoughts by Stephanie

A while ago I wrote a post on Tesco Gold Exchange and how you can make some extra cash by selling your unwanted gold to them. It may seem like a good deal at first considering that Tesco pay substantially more than if you sold your gold at a local jewellery shop but unfortunately I had a bad experience recently with 2 necklaces that I tried to send to them.

Tesco Gold Exchange works by sending your jewellery in a prepaid special delivery envelope to them after which you will receive a quote on the value of your gold and then you can choose whether or not to accept it. My necklaces however never even arrived and you could say that this is the fault of Royal Mail but according to the Tesco website on their Terms & Conditions page, under “Posting and insurance”, any gold that is sent to them using Royal Mail Special Delivery is insured by Royal Mail for up to £500 and in order to make a claim under the insurance you need to contact Royal Mail directly and you will need your receipt (i.e. postal receipt) but they failed to mention that you would also need a receipt to prove the value of the items that you send.

Tesco Gold Exchange Review

This is a deception on their behalf because they ensure that posting the gold to them is completely safe and insured so that customers will feel at ease sending their gold to them in the post but they witheld vital information that should anything go wrong in the delivery process, original proof of the value would be needed. Had I known this beforehand (and I probably should have looked this up on the Royal Mail website), I would have not sent my gold to them as I don’t have any proof of it’s value since they were gifts as is most gold that people have I suspect. I did take a photo of the jewellery before I sent it and I know that it was 18 carat gold and weighed 30g (including the weight of the special delivery envelope) so according to the Tesco website this would be valued at around £475 (assuming the gold weighs around 25g) at the time of writing. Unfortunately this is not enough to make a claim from Royal Mail. I think it is the duty of Tesco to have stated that proof of the value of the gold would be needed in order to make a claim and it should not be up to the customer to have to go and find out this information.

After waiting and tracking the package online on the Royal Mail website for 10 days (Royal Mail requires a 10 day wait before items can be declared lost when sent by Special Delivery) I contacted Tesco to ask for their opinion, based on their experience, what is the best way to go about trying to make a claim from Royal Mail since I don’t have proof of the value of the gold. The following is the email that I sent and the reply that I received from Tesco:

Dear Sir/Madam,
I have just checked with Royal Mail and it seems that the package is lost as it’s been nearly 2 weeks since I sent it to you. I have to contact Royal Mail to try to claim back compensation but I was wondering if there is any advice you can give me about claiming back the value of my jewellery? Unfortunately I don’t have a receipt to show the cost of the jewellery as they were presents but I did take a photo of them before I sent it off and I know that they are 18 carat gold and the weight of the envelope with the jewellery enclosed that I sent to you was 30g. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Kind Regards,

Dear Stephanie,
Thanks for your reply, unfortunately everything has to be done through the Royal Mail. They will send us a letter to ask if we have received it once you have started the claim. You can find all the information you need on how to claim on their website http://www.royalmail.com/customer-service/mail-late-lost
Kind Regards
Tesco Gold Exchange Team

I found Tesco’s reply to be extremely unhelpful and they have no interest in helping or even giving a little advice. Tesco is a brand that I used to trust but I’m starting to change my mind now based on this bad experience. I hope you found this Tesco Gold Exchange review helpful and if you do choose to use Tesco Gold Exchange, make sure you have original proof of the value of the gold you are sending in the form of a receipt, bank statement, etc.

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Sponsored Video: Samsung Launches Samsung Memory Campaign

Posted on June 20th, 2012 in Random Thoughts by Stephanie

Ever had your computer crash right before you hit save? Or perhaps your phone battery has died in the middle of an important phone call. Even worse, your laptop has frozen during an important presentation that you were giving to your new clients. Everyone has experienced frustration with an electronic device at some time or another, be it with your computer, phone or camera but according to Samsung, choosing a product that that uses Samsung Memory will ensure optimum performance at all times especially during those crucial moments!

Samsung has just launched a new campaign including a series of entertaining videos to promote Samsung Memory and the benefits of using it. The campaign features 3 evil characters: Battery Brutus, Fiona Freeze and Loading Ball Larry. Battery Brutus is the villain who will mercilessly suck out all the life of your battery when you’re on the phone, watching movies on your laptop and using your camera on holiday. Check out the video featuring Battery Brutus below:

Fiona Freeze is someone you won’t want to encounter with her freeze gun unrelentingly freezing your devices when you’re depending on them the most. See her in action in the following video:

And last but not least Loading Ball Larry slows down your devices so that tasks that should take minutes end up taking hours!

But not to worry you can defeat Battery Brutus and his evil friends by choosing a device that uses Samsung Memory. With Samsung Memory you will experience a lower rate of power consumption and therefore a longer battery life. It also enables you to multitask and use several applications on your device without having to worry about it freezing or taking a long time to load.

For more information about Samsung Memory and the campaign you can visit their website here.

This post has been sponsored by Samsung.

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Making Japanese Bento Box Lunches

Posted on June 17th, 2012 in Random Thoughts,Recipes by Stephanie

I love to spend my free time in the evenings making cute Japanese bento box lunches which I keep in the fridge for lunch the next day. Bento lunches are hugely popular in Japan. They are home packed lunches that consist typically of rice, meat or fish and vegetables but it’s really up to you what you want to put in it. There are so many different varieties and possible food combinations that you can use.

Making bento lunches has become somewhat of an art with the food being used to create many different designs including cartoon characters such as Southpark and The Simpsons :)

Southpark And The Simpsons Bento Box Food Art

People have even made bento lunches in honour of their idols. Check out the Bill Gates and Tiger Woods bento lunch designs below!

Bill Gates And Tiger Woods Bento Box Food Art

Bento boxes come in a huge array of colours, patterns and sizes and although typically rectangular shaped, they can also be found in the shape of animals, food, popular Japanese characters, etc. They are usually both microwave and dishwasher safe so it is easy to heat up your lunch and clean in the dishwasher afterwards. That’s assuming that you aren’t having dishwasher problems like the ones that I’m experiencing! I recently got a new dishwasher installed in my kitchen after months of deciding on what dishwasher to get but every time I’ve attempted to use it, my dishes aren’t clean! :( So if anyone has any good dishwasher troubleshooting pointers that they would like to share, please let me know! :)

There are many different bento accessories available such as picks, cups (to separate food), sauce bottles, rice moulds, vegetable cutters, seaweed punches, egg moulds, etc so that you can make cute and beautifully presented lunches. I just bought a simple white bento box from the Japanese homeware shop Muji on Oxford Street so I decided to use it to make a pig themed bento lunch. I used some cute pig shaped bento cups and pig bento picks and sauce bottle to decorate the bento. The bento contains kanpyo (sweet gourd) rolls, edamame, tomato slices, a hard boiled egg (shaped into a heart using a Japanese egg mould), curry potato croquette, chicken siu mai and a mochi filled with matcha green tea chocolate.

Pig Themed Bento Lunch

I also made another bento lunch consisting of mostly Japanese food. It contains boiled vegetables with spicy miso sauce, salmon furikake rice ball, fish cake balls with edamame, gyoza dumplings, kimchee fried rice, seaweed with sesame, cream corn croquette with Kewpie mayonaise and rambutan with pineapple for dessert. I used some cute flower bento picks that I got in Japan to accessorise the lunch.

Japanese Bento Lunch

Bento lunches are fairly simple to make although more time consuming than making sandwiches but hopefully this post has inspired you to try and make cute and tasty bento lunches for your loved ones! 

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