Review of China Red Buffet Restaurant Grindlay St Edinburgh

Written by Karen Bryan

The China Red Chinese buffet restaurant in Grindlay Street (just off Lothian and opposite the Usher Hall) in Edinburgh opened in April 2016. Previously, the building was home to a Jimmy Chung’s Chinese buffet restaurant.

China Red Buffet Restaurant Grindlay St Edinburgh exterior

The restaurant has had a makeover. The biggest improvement being to the toilets.

I was impressed with the selection and quality of food.

China Red Buffet Restaurant Grindlay St Edinburgh selection of main courses

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Review of Halifax Online Share Dealing Service

Written by Karen Bryan

share-price-graphI finally decided to sell some Japanese shares that I’ve owned for years.

I used the Halifax online share dealing service, which charges a £12.50 fee per trade. As I was selling a share I was able to see the price that I’d get at the point of sale.

Annoyingly although the proceeds from the sale of the shares were available to deal immediately. I had to wait two working days until the settlement day before I could request a withdrawal to my current account. Why is this when I could use the cash to buy other shares straight away?

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Secure Trust Bank Two Year Bond Pays 2.2%

Written by Karen Bryan

secure trust bankUpdate 12 July 2016 – Wow that was quick. The Secure Trust Bank Fixed Rate Bond Two Year Term (Series 13) is no longer available “due to unprecedented demand”. This illustrates how quickly you need to act if you see a savings product which offers a competitive rate of interest.

The Secure Trust Bank Fixed Rate Bond Two Year Term (Series 13) pays a fixed rate of interest of 2.2%.

This is a competitive rate, as the next best two-year fixed rate bond, from Charter Savings Bank, pays 1.91%. There’s also a lot of talk about the Bank of England reducing the Base Rate by 0.25% on Thursday this week, which could drive the interest rate paid on savings accounts lower.

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A Great Family Day Out at the National Media Museum Bradford

Written by Karen Bryan

The National Media Museum in Bradford offers a great family day out. It’s free to enter, and is open seven days a week from 10am to 6pm.

national media museum bradford exterior

Some of the exhibits brought back memories for me.

There was a full size Dalek from the 1960s Dr Who TV series. I could almost hear the Dalek saying “exterminate”.

national media museum bradford dalek

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Always Ask For a Discount If a Supplier Increases the Price

Written by Karen Bryan

gas central heating contolWe have HomeCare 200 Cover with British Gas for our gas central heating system. It’s annual cover which is paid for my monthly direct debit. It includes an annual boiler service, free call outs and repair (including labour and parts) of the whole heating system, unless it is beyond economic repair.

When I received the renewal quote, the price had increased by around 10%, up to ££22.36 per month. I felt that such a large price hike was unacceptable, given that inflation stands at 0.3% (as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

At the same time we are very happy with the service provided by British Gas. The engineers are all very thorough and professional. When we have had a breakdown, it has been repaired within 24 hours.

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Secured Loans Have Disappeared: Or Have They?

Written by Karen Bryan

£20 and £10 notes1What’s happened to the loans market?

Secured loans seemingly disappeared in March 2016 causing confusion among Britain’s borrowers. But closer inspection reveals there is nothing to worry about. Inspector Good-Deal is determined to get to the bottom of the financial conundrum and solve the mystery of secured loans.

The evidence he has uncovered proves there is no need for alarm – consider it a simple rebrand – secured loans are masquerading under a new name. Following a European directive which came into effect on 21 March 2016, ‘secured loans’ changed to ‘second charge mortgages’.

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Fastest Ever Cash ISA Transfer

Written by Karen Bryan

one pound signOver the years, I’ve requested lots of Cash ISA transfers, usually from fixed rate Cash ISAs. It generally takes a good few days from the date of maturity of the old account for the money to appear in the new Cash ISA account,

I was pleasantly surprised when my most recent Cash ISA transfer from Santander to Nationwide took place on the day of maturity.

My Santander 123 Fixed Rate Cash ISA was due to mature at the beginning of July 2016.

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A Day Out at Salts Mill in West Yorkshire

Written by Karen Bryan

If you’re in the Bradford area of West Yorkshire, I recommend that you visit Salts Mill in Saltaire village. The former mill building is now home to art galleries (which are free to enter), shops, a restaurant and a cafe.

painting of Salts Mill

Salts Mill is open every day, but opening times vary, so you should check before you visit. Saltaire railway station is opposite Mill, and there’s free parking if you come by car.

The 1853 Gallery (named after the year in which the Mill first opened) is home to lots of art by David Hockney, who was born in Bradford. It’s a very relaxed, informal gallery, with plenty of seats and retail displays of books and art supplies.

salts mills 1853 gallery1
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A Breakdown of Car Insurance Prices

Written by Karen Bryan

car-insurance-where-does-money-goResearch done by Co-op Insurance revealed that, almost half (48%) of motorists surveyed, found motor insurance confusing.

A similar number (51%) didn’t understand how the price paid for car insurance is calculated. As an example, 41% of drivers didn’t appreciate that the insurance premium that they paid, covered them for personal injury claims brought against them by another driver and/or passenger(s), as a result of an accident caused by them.

The fact that motorists aren’t aware of the various constituents of the cost of car insurance, probably contributes to the finding that 43% of drivers view insurance as a grudge purchase. 15% of drivers said that they would not buy car insurance if it was not a legal requirement. I assume that some of the people are unhappy paying hundreds of pounds for insurance when there car is worth around the same amount.

The results of this survey spurned Co-op Insurance to make car insurance pricing clearer to drivers.

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Beware When Using Comparison Sites

Written by Karen Bryan

£1 coin stack2For years I’ve used comparison sites to help reach buying decisions for all sorts of services and products, e.g. finding the cheapest electrical appliances, energy and insurance supplier, hotel rooms and the highest rate of interest on savings accounts.

It’s a lot quicker to use a comparison site than to look on each individual suppliers website.

But I am aware that some comparison sites don’t always display the best deal for consumers in their results.

This can be because of the comparison site’s desire to earn referral fees from the service or  product provider.

Now you could argue that the comparison site is a business. Therefore, decisions will be driven by making as much profit as possible.

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