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Doug Paisley - Starter Home Music Album Review

Gracefully navigating the intersection of folk-rock and country, the gentle-voiced songwriter turns detailed images of domestic tranquility and promise into reflections on disappointment.
For a decade, Canadian singer/songwriter Doug Paisley has turned quiet, specific moments into inquiries on life’s larger struggles. On his 2010 breakthrough, Constant Companion, Paisley used the inevitability of endings to explore understanding oneself, the only possible “constant companion.” For 2014’s Strong Feelings, he mulled death and its uneasy relationship with life, or how their juxtaposition ripples into every wave of existence. And now, on his fourth album, Starter Home, Paisley details the chasm that separates what poet Seamus Heaney described as “getting started” and “getting started again.” These songs examine how the person you are never truly aligns with the person you want to be, especially when you stumble upon a sticking point that’s hard to move past.



GHD Platinum+ Professional Styler Review

For healthy hair that demands the sleekest, shiniest of styles in the shortest amount of time, GHD's gorgeous new Platinum+ smart styler is a no-brainer.

  • $249
Launched in 2001, GHD has been one of the best-known brands in and salon- and home hair styling ever since. I've been using its stylers to straighten my hair for as long as I can remember, but for the past week I've put down my trusted GHD Gold and classic stylers to try out the new Platinum+, here in white. It wasn't a hardship, let me tell you.

The unique draw to these stylers is the smart tech inside, with a matrix of sensors hidden below the plates to constantly measure temperature - 250 times a second. This 'ultra-zone' predictive tech intelligently adapts to your styling technique, adjusting the power to ensure an optimum temperature at all times for healthier hair and faster, better results. This is single-stroke styling at its best, suitable for all hair types.

According to GHD this ultra-zone tech promotes 70 percent less breakage and double the colour protection, so no longer does applying intense heat in the pursuit of style have to mean sacrificing your hair's health. (It's still a good idea to pair with a protective styling spray, of course.)

The Platinum+ in white is brand-new, so right now it's easiest - and cheapest - to get it direct from GHD. Here it's available for £175, whereas the current asking price at Amazon is £229.99. It's also available in black, at the same price, but we love the white model.

For anyone who has never used GHDs that price sounds outrageous, especially when you can pick up cheap stylers on the High Street for £20. But while it might not be affordable for all users, it is worth every penny: the results are in a completely different league.

Whereas other GHD stylers are supplied with a two-year warranty, the Platinum+ comes with the additional peace of mind of a three-year warranty.

For the money you're paying here you really want something that looks special, and that's exactly what you get. In white the GHD Platinum+ simply oozes class.

The styler is weighty without being too heavy to hold above your head for a reasonable amount of time, and with a grippy matt finish that looks and feels good. 

While it's white on the outside, inside the GHD Platinum+ is black which produces a nice contrasting effect. There's a small speaker so you can be audibly alerted when the stylers are switched on, reach temperature, or enter standby. There's also a small circular power button with LED ring that glows white in use.

The ceramic plates are reasonably wide at 1in, precision-milled and ultra-smooth, with a glossy coating that sparkles in the light. There are no sharp edges, nooks or crannies in which rogue strands of hair can become snagged in use, and the rounded barrel edges make for a smooth styling action at whichever angle you hold the Platinum+, even right up close to the root.

The wishbone hinge, finished in a shiny mirror-effect chrome, holds the plates perfectly parallel to each other, with just a small space for your hair to pass through - close enough to style effectively, but not to close to trap and potentially damage hair.

At one end of this a usefully long (2.7m) thick power cable is attached via a rotating barrel that allows it to be kept out of way whether you're styling your hair or laying down the styler between use.

For frequent travellers universal voltage is a real boon. There's nothing worse than being away from home, wanting to look your best, and then discovering your hairdryer is about as useful as someone blow drying your hair through a straw, or that your straighteners just can't get up to the temperature you need to achieve the look you want. Performance from the Platinum+ is going to be the same wherever in the world you are.

Extreme heat and healthy hair don't usually belong in the same sentence, so if you must rely on heat for styling it's best to get the job done as quickly as possible. Plus it's always a bonus if we can get ready to go out quicker.

The Platinum+ gets you to your desired look in an incredibly short space of time, and depending on your hair type you may find a single stroke is all that's required for smoother, softer, shinier and, in my case, straighter results.

The plates heat up in just 20 seconds, and to put that into real terms the Platinum+ was beeping to say it was ready before I'd managed to also plug in the hairdryer. This isn't the usual GHD beep by the way; it's a suitably heavenly "ah-aah-aaah". 

The ultra-zone predictive tech isn't something you can see working behind the scenes, but the difference is immediately noticeable in the mirror with even smoothing from root to tip and no frazzled ends.

I have very fine hair that breaks easily, and over-styling my hair can produce flyaway wisps and visibly parched splits. But with the Platinum+ a single stroke left me with a noticeably smoother and shinier style - and these results lasted for a much longer length of time.

In use I really liked the chunkier design and wishbone hinge of the Platinum+ over the GHD Gold. It feels firmer in the hand, and the closely aligned plates made me less inclined to want to squeeze them together too tightly. The result was a smoother styling action with zero snagging.

Although I tend to go for straightening rather than curling, the rounded barrel should make the latter simple. It is thicker than the classic styler, though, so might not be your preferred option if you want really tight curls.

In common with all GHDs there's an auto sleep mode that kicks in after 30 minutes, which you'll appreciate if you've ever rushed out the door to work and spent the whole day worrying you'll return to the burned out shell of your former home. The Platinum+ is also supplied with a soft rubber plate guard that slips over the end of the barrel for safer storage when hot.


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