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We rarely spend Christmas at home and prefer to get away from the miserable English weather to somewhere hot, but our choices are normally limited.So we chose to spend Christmas a few years ago at the Reef Oasis Blue Bay resort. We loved the place so much that visited again last year. The bulk of this review was originally written after our first stay but I have checked and all the information is now up to date.
The hotel is situated just outside Ne'ama Bay at Sharm El Sheikh, just a 15 minute drive from Sharm airport. Situated in the Sinai Peninsular and overlooking the Beautiful Red Sea.
I should mention this is classed as a 5* hotel and is all inclusive. (643 rooms on two floors)
On arrival we found ourselves travelling along a very grand, tree lined driveway. At the end of the drive was the main gate, guarded by several security guards. One of these guards then joined us in the cab and we carried on along another driveway. We alighted at the impressive main Reception area, where our bags were immediately taken from us, we were advised they would be brought to our rooms shortly. (and they were, arrived 10 minutes in our room after we did)
On entering through the enormous revolving doors, the lobby was beautiful, a lovely fountain was the main focal point surrounded by beautiful plants and marble decorations. Comfy seating all around, with a Bar to one side and another formal lounge area, and an information centre off to the side.
Checking in was a breeze and took about 5 minutes, they took our passports from us and handed over our room key cards (which were of the power saver kind) . They then directed us to a waiting porter in a golf buggy who then took us to our room.
This place is huge and I could see the need for the buggy, we would have been wandering around all night trying to find our rooms otherwise. On the short trip to the room we took in all the beautiful lighting and water features on route, it was really quite breathtaking.
Our room was gorgeous, very spacious and neutrally and yet cosily decorated. We had a family room, there was a small 5ft bed for my son and a huge double bed in the centre of the room with bedside cabinets and table lamps either side, at the foot of the main bed was a large dressing area, with drawers and a beautiful oak mirror, upon which were all the leaflets detailing telephone extension number, a map of the hotel and explanation of all the facilities There was a terrace with room for four chairs and table overlooking a pool (again all beautifully lit). A hallway separating the main room from the bathroom with a massive full length, oak mirror and two built in double wardrobes which also held the easy to operate safe deposit. There was also a small sofa area here.
There was a small alcove with Tea and Coffee facilities, another mirror and a large fridge underneath stocked with plenty of soft drinks and water. Again the fridge was restocked daily, as were the tea and coffee...and more fresh flowers.
The bathroom took my breath away, it was large (as was everything so far) and with a lovely stone walk in shower complete with power shower. the basin was surrounded by mirrors, with a nice touch of fresh flowers in a glass vase (these were replaced on a daily basis). Equipped with Bidet, Hair Dryer, shaving point and, bizarrely, a telephone (there was already one in the bedroom). There were plenty of white, fluffy Egyptian cotton towels which were, again, replaced on a daily basis. I had no complaints here whatsoever.
There was a very easy to use airconditioning system, although we found this could be a little noisy at night, however the evenings were a bit chilly so there was no need to use it. We had a large TV with several English channels among others, about five separate lamps, and a rather comfy armchair. We found the beds very comfortable and slept soundly on them, we found the rooms to be pretty much sound proofed so were not disturbed by anyone outside at all, in fact we had no complaints about our room whatsoever.
The main buffet restauarant was LE PETIT, serving Breakfast and Dinner buffets along with a national variety of alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks from 7am until 10.30am and again 7pm until 10pm. There was always plenty of choice to be had here with added theme nights such as Egyptian, Italian etc. We never really had any complaints about the food being cold and the service from the waiters was exceptional, in fact if we were to complain at all it would be that we had a hard time leaving an empty glass on our table........as soon as our glass was empty there was a waiter there refilling it !! The waiting staff were lovely and friendly and as they got to know us they even had our drinks ready as we were seating some evenings.
The MULATE, is a fish restuarant just opposite Le Petit, serving a selection of fresh fish along with the drinks as above, you could order specialities such as Lobster but there was an extra charge for this. The choice here wasn't as varied but the food was superb as, again, was the service. Resrvation was required for here, although we did manage to eat without reserving. Open from 7pm to 11pm
LE ROMANTIQUE FRENCH restuarant is not part of the all inclusive so you are charged for everything here. Full A La Carte French menu, with drinks as above. You will personally meet with the Chef and apparently the service is, again, exceptional. Unfortunately I can't confirm this as we didn't actually eat here, but it all looked wonderful. Open from 7pm to 11pm
AL DENTE ITALIAN restuarant, again part of the all inclusive and reservations required. There is an extra charge for some speciality items, drinks as above again. Once again, superb food and service. Open from 7pm to 11pm
THE BISTRO serving a traditional Bistro menu, drinks as above and where you could also watch some sporting events if you wished. And, guess what...yet again the service and food was exceptional ! Open from 10am to 2am this was somewhere to go if you fancied a little snack and the other restaurants were closed.
OCEANO BEACH restaurant overlooking the private beach. Serving a lunch buffet with the aforementioned drinks included. Open from 12.30pm to 3.30pm, we visited here often for a quick snack as it was just a stone's throw from the beach and the food was always hot, service, goes without saying now really, was exceptional.
There was also a fantastic BBQ next to Le Petit if you fancied a change, this was lovely and overlooked one of the pools. Open from 7pm to 11pm
Sensible Dress code was required in all restuarants, with the exception of the Oceano, where wet clothes were still not permitted.
LEISURE POOL BAR, this was the one we visited most often as it was near our room. They served hot snacks as well as the usual drinks from 10am to sunset, They also provided waiter service around the pool here so you didn't need to even leave your sun lounger. Needless to say I took full advantage of this and was rather hooked on their Pina Coladas, Samed, our favourite waiter (hope I got his name right) was lovely and made sure I was topped up regularly !
BEACH BAR, situated directly on the beach serving snacks and drinks from 10am to sunset, the friendly staff often had our drinks ready for us when they saw us coming, and always had a smile and a joke with us.
ARENA BAR, this was situated near to the lobby and the restuarants, they had four TV screens showing sporting events in here, waiter service at the tables, it had a typical 'pub' atmosphere here, again very friendly and welcoming. Open from 7pm to midnight.
CARRIBEAN FUN PUB, this was opposite the previous bar and very garishly decorated in bright colours and palm trees etc. Serving snacks and specialising in cocktails. Open from 4pm to 2am, they also had entertainment after 11pm and served hot snack through til 2am. We visited here often but of all the places we found the service here to be a little slow and the staff not nearly as friendly for some reason.
Those were the main bars but there were several others, CAFE BAZAAR was in the shopping area and served up coffee and soft drinks where you could also try out one the traditionsl 'Shish' or 'water' pipes. There were also the SUNSET BAR, and RELAX POOL BAR around the pools open til sunset again with waiter service around the pools. And the CITRUS VITAMIN BAR in the health club, which, I was told, was superb but we didn't visit.
The LEISURE POOL was situated right outside our room. The water here was freezing but that didn't stop us, considering the average temperature whilst we were there was 25 degrees. There are 3 water flumes here and my son loved it. Sun loungers aplenty and a towel bay where you could exchange you towels on a daily basis. There was a Jacuzzi in this pool but it was cold, you soon got used to it though.
RELAX POOL, this was strictly adults only, so if you don't have kids and /or don't like them particularly, this is the place for you to lounge all day in peace and quiet
DIVING POOL, specially for the divers to practice in. As far as we could see this was the only purpose for this pool but it was beautiful to look at, not a lot more really.
MAIN POOL, this was just outside the main restuarant and was heated, very popular and had beautiful, sofa type things (sorry can't really find a way to describe them) but they were big round cushions almost the size of a double bed with a wicker surround, unfortunately there were only a couple of these but plenty of sun loungers to go round. This pool actually overlooked the sea and the private beach below.
PRIVATE BEACH, this was about a minute's walk down a slight hill, I believe the beautiful white, powdery sand was actually imported. Fully enclosed with little bays to wade out to,The water was between 20 and 25 degrees, so like a glorious warm bath. Tropical fish came and swam with you in the shallows and really were a sight for sore eyes, if you stood still they would swim around you. Sun beds aplenty here, and a towel bay for your clean towels.
From the beach you could book for any of the water sports on offer and I seriously cannot remember them all, there was so much to choose from but among them (most at extra cost but not expensive) were:
Diving (you got a free introductory dive)
Snorkelling (free but you had to hire snorkel if you did not have your own) Well worth doing as there is a host of beautiful fish and coral here.
Glass Bottom Boat
Speed Boat trip (you actually got to drive yourself)
Double or Triple Tubes...(basically being dragged behind a speed boat on an inflatible tube at speed..great fun)
And plenty more, also there were activities on the beach itself, including football and beach volley ball.
Several vendors here, tatooing, hair braiding...all the usual touristy things but none of them very expensive to be honest.
There was a variety of daytime and evening entertainment to be had such as basketball, archery, boccia, football, tennis, darts, dancing lessons during the day and of course the obligatory evening entertainment. To be honest the evening entertainment was pretty much standard stuff from the animation team but they really did put in a lot of effort and made the shows as varied as possible. The only problem we had with this was that the stage area was outside and whilst the daytime temperatures were hot the evenings were really, really cold at this time of year and we were sometimes shivering even though we were well wrapped up ! (something to bear in mind if , like us, you are planning on visiting in the winter months) But that was a minor bugbear and really should not detract from the overall enjoyable experience.
After the main entertainment had finished at 11pm you could then proceed to the Carribean fun Pub to continue an evening of Disco, live music or Karaoke, but more often we were too tired by then and retired to bed !!
The THALASSO SPA is well worth a visit, situated through the reception area and includes Hydromassage pool, fully equipped gym (part of the all inclusive), steam bath, facial treatments and much, much more.
Although the majority of facilities at the Spa are at an extra cost, they are resonably priced and you can purchase various packages comprising many special treatments at a special price.
Varied treatments included were
Steam Room Peels
The list really is endless and for more info you should visit the website which I will give later.
There is an onsite shopping 'Bazaar', with Pharmacy, Bank (very handy for changing your money and indeed getting small change which is hard to come by), Tobacconist, Tattoos, Hand paintings and all the usual tourist paraphernalia.
Our one dislike here was that you had to haggle for everything except in the pharmacy, I am not good at haggling so sought advice from a hotel rep as to the prices I should be expected to pay, there are no fixed prices and I like to see what I am paying, but I didn't buy much anyway as the prices here are rather expensive.......except cigarettes, you can pick up a carton of 200 from as little as £7 here. Try to make sure you have the correct money as the vendors all tell you that they don't have any change (even though I am damn sure they do) and expect to end up with a mixture of currency as they take Egyptian Pounds, Sterling, US Dollars and Euros and a few other currencies to boot. In fact we really didn't need to bother changing our money as everything we bought could have been bought in Sterling anyway.
There is a very well run Mini Club here for kids up to 12yrs. They even have their own mini pool and playground, from what we heard the children were very well looked after and seemed to be very happy.
The toilet facilities throughout the hotel complex were immaculate and seemed to be cleaned on an hourly basis. There are plenty around all the pools and Beach area and close to all the bars and Entertainment areas.
Disabled access throughout the hotel.
Also we found on our second visit last year that they have built a lift that takes you from the main hotel straight down to the private beach if you are feeling lazy.
The bus.....this came in very handy, there is a little bus that continuously runs the whole circuit of the hotel , simply stick out your hand when you see it coming and jump on and off wherever you like. We found this invaluable and it runs late into the night as well.
Extras include, Laundry service, Room service, Telephone, Fax, Internet, Imported Alcoholic Drinks (be warned a bottle of Smirnoff costs 450 Euros......yep you heard that right 450 Euros !!!), car rental, Tennis, Play Station, Hair Dresser.
There is a free shuttle bus from reception that you book in advance and takes you into Ne'ama Bay for shopping if it takes your fancy.
If you want to take your laptop there is a free wireless internet located in the hotel lobby.
I cannot begin to put into words just how fantastic our stay here was on both occasions and we will likely visit again in the near future. The service was exceptional, all staff were extremely helpful and friendly and the hotel was spotless. All the rooms are thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis as were all the facilities as far as I could see. It was the most relaxing holiday we have ever had.
It was the little touches that made it so much more, such as the little vases of fresh flowers placed in our rooms everyday. On Christmas Eve when we returned to our room the staff had placed a little stocking in our room with cookies, peanuts and a satsuma in with a little card. Indeed they made the whole Christmas experience quite magical. The gardens were beautiful and exquisitely decorated with red bows and fairy lights, none of it was tacky but extremely well done and they must have put a tremendous amount of time and effort into it all.
There were numerous beautiful water features throughout the resort that had to be seen lit up in all their glory in the evenings to be appreciated fully.
Before I go I must tell you about the New year's Eve Party during our first stay here.
They erected a huge marquee just outside of the main gates, 14000 people attended and it was the most spectacular party myself and my family have ever been to. There was a black and white 40s theme, and eight piece band and some of the most amazing food I have ever tasted at the buffet, complete with carveries. The food hall was a sight to be beheld, the sweet trolleys had chocolate elephants, chocolate boat and guitars, all expertly crafted and it seemed a shame to help yourself to any of it and spoil it all.
They had placed little foil wrapped balls on all our tables and we didn't have a clue at first what they were...we soon found out, they were for throwing at each other, can you imagine thousands of these little tiny balls flying through the air all night, silly but really, really good fun and even the hard working waiters joined in (our waiter for our table kept going around collecting them in a hat for us, so we had a never ending supply of ammo)
All told the most fantastic Holiday, the most amazing Christmas and the most fabulous New Year we could ask for.
(NB. Security here is very tight, there were security discreetly placed everywhere and I found this very reassuring)
A note about the water, do not drink the tap water, the hotel provides plenty of bottled water for you in the room anyway.
The staff do not hang around expecting tips and you can wait and tip at the end of the stay at reception if you like, we did try to tip our pool waiter on the last day but were unable to find him !
We booked through Thomson, but to be honest you would be far better off booking direct, our experiences with Thomson have been very, very disappointing and we will never book with them again.
For more information on this resort including availability and pricing you can access their website at www.reefoasisresorts.com
Why I Bought it
We recently had a spell of very fine weather (yes I know, its hard to believe with all this rain) and I like to have my shop door open all the time as it presents a welcoming front to potential customers, and it works! One of the downsides to this are flying pests, last summer we had an epidemic of flying ants in the town, all traders here had to keep the doors shut but still some of the little blighters found their way in. This year I have been plagued by wasps, at the moment they are very dopey, mainly due to the change in weather, but I am terrified of them. I have never been stung and really don't want to experience it either.
So I decided I had to get some wasp/fly killer and solve the problem. In my local Wilkinson's I was presented with 2 options, either Raid at a princely sum of £2.99 or this one, Sanmex, on offer for 98p both were 300ml cans. The descriptive blurb told me it was 'fast acting, for a quick knockdown", I was sold.
This is a fairly innocuous looking can, with a bright red lid and a 'bolt of lightning' across the front with an appropriate dead fly underneath, giving the impression that it will kill with lightning speed. Hmm we shall see.
It states that it can be used as a household insecticide it's fast killing action works on flies, mosquitos, wasps, midges and other flying pests. Simply shake well before use and, for a quick knock down, spray directly at the offending insect from an approximate distance of 3 to 5 feet. It can also be used to generally clear a room of any unwanted pests simply by closing all doors and windows, spraying in short bursts around the room and then leaving the room for 15 minutes. I am sure I will never have need for the latter, luckily we are never bothered by flies or anything at home and really the main problem is the odd wasp in the shop.
Putting it to the Test
When I first got this back to the shop I didn't have any wasps to test it on, I did however, and unusually, find a small fly in the workroom and, armed with my new weapon, went in for the kill. Holding the can at arms length I 'fired' and scored a direct hit on the offending insect. The first thing I noticed was the smell, I was expecting a harsh chemical smell but, instead it was more perfumed, yes the chemicals were obvious but the smell was more pleasant than any other fly spray I have used in the past, on checking the can it does actually contain a certain amount of perfume . After spraying, the fine mist dissipated almost immediately, but there was one small problem.
The fly wasn't dead! Instead, where before it had actually been quite docile, this little beggar was now on a violent mission, it just constantly dive bombed me at great speed in a demented, haphazard way. I sprayed it again, but this just served to make it even more angry, finally I had to resort to a good old rolled up newspaper...so not off to a good start here then.
A few days later I had the opportunity to use it on my more feared adversary, the dreaded wasp. A rather dopey, tired looking, sting laden, pest wafted in through the doorway and, quick as a flash I was on him with my newly acquired weapon. In the split second that I pressed the trigger it did occur to me that, after the experience with the fly, this may turn out to be a very, very bad idea, so I instinctively 'ducked' as soon as I had sprayed, fully expecting to be dive bombed in fury again. Nothing happened, upon further investigation I found the wasp curled up, stone cold dead on the floor. Phew.
It would appear that flies, or at least some, are seemingly immune to this stuff so if you want fly killer look elsewhere, however, it worked perfectly on the wasp and I shall be using this all throughout the summer. A bonus is the lack of a harsh chemically smell, indeed I can live with the smell this spray gives off and there is no residue left on any surfaces from what I have seen so far. I am very happy with this product and would recommend it.
It goes without saying that it is highly flammable and there are a whole ream of chemicals listed on the can, remember this is an insecticide, it is poisonous and not to be used around food stuffs or preparation areas. It is also poisonous to fish and tanks should always be covered before you use it.
You should shop around for the best price, mine was on offer but I have seen them in supermarkets as high as £2.50, so I clearly bagged a bargain.
P.S. My advice to Sanmex, change the picture of a dead fly on the can to a dead wasp!
Why I Bought it.
I run a small retail business, small being the operative word, my shop is in the heart of a bustling town and in finer weather a trick to draw the customers is to have the door open, welcoming people in. A busy road outside and a curry house and fish and chips shops nearby mean exhaust fumes and cooking smells can sometimes linger, not to mention the odd, rather smelly customer and sometimes those that linger outside finishing their cigarettes before coming in, allowing the cigarette fumes to blow in the doorway. I always have air freshener at the ready, but these simply mask the smell and tend to wear off rather quickly, so I was looking for a more efficient solution.
Browsing in our local 99p shop, I noticed the Oust aerosols, having heard good things about them I decided to purchase one. They are available in several different scents, I bought the 'Outdoor scent', at just 99p for the 300ml can it was definitely worth a shot!
Does it Work?
In short Yes! Unlike normal air fresheners which simply mask smells, this one claims to eliminate odours on contact and it really does. You simply shake and aim the canister towards the centre of the well ventilated room, press the simple trigger mechanism in the cap and 'hey presto', a fine mist permeates the odours and eliminates them in seconds. The mist quickly disperses leaving behind a light, woody, fresh and clean scent, however, this scent fades within about 15 minutes, so do not expect a lingering fragrance afterwards.
The initial scent, described as outdoors, does smell slightly synthetic, chemically, but obviously this isn't an issue as it does not last, instead it leaves behind a clean odour free room. I can only compare this to Neutradol, and think this does have the slight edge as it does the same thing but Neutradol leaves a rather nasty lingering chemical scent for far too long.
This is a simple canister, no frills, but brightly coloured lids to stand out on the shelf, this one was green, but I don't really care what it looks like so long as it works and I can find it quickly on the shelf. A simple trigger mechanism inbuilt into the lid means it is always ready to use, no fiddly removing lids etc.
As with most aerosols this is highly flammable, so normal sensible precautions apply there. It is dangerous to Birds and can aggravate allergies, you should always use it in a well ventilated area and it is not advisable to spray onto fabrics.
Personally I will only be using this at the shop as being a non smoking family and, despite having two cats, our home never really seems to suffer any unwelcome odours at all and we do have tropical fish, a lot of aerosols are dangerous to fish, although Oust does not indicate this I would not take the chance. I tend to use candles and diffusers to simply fragrance the house as and when I desire.
This is made by Johnson so is a quality product in my eyes and was actually voted product of the year in 2006. Available from most Supermarkets, Wilkinsons, Poundland and 99p shops. Prices do range from 99p to £2.00 so worth looking around for the bargains.
Scents available in the range:
I have always been a fan of alcopops because they go down so easily, especially on a hot summer's day, however I have now discovered another fresh and fruity tipple, one that I always associated with elderly Ladies and Gents and bowling greens and Polo and the like. Pimms No.1 with lemonade! Pimms is a Gin based drink and was originally mixed as a medicinal tonic to aid digestion by a chappie by the name of James Pimm in 1840. The original ingredients of Pimms were mainly aromatic herbs and quinine, however the ingredients have been refined somewhat. Traditionally Pimms is mixed with lemonade......1 part Pimms 3 parts lemonade and garnished with mint sprigs and cucumber.
Well ordinarily this would not have sounded all that inviting to me , however it was at a school fete of all places that I discovered the joys of this concoction, my son went wandering off around the numerous stalls with his mates whilst I waited , bored by the sidelines....Suddenly I heard someone say "The alcohol is over here", mysteriously I found myself gravitating towards the Pimms tent, I peered curiously at the glasses of deep red liquid adorned with cucumber and apple and decided to take the plunge...what the heck , it was alcohol, well worth a try.....As a result I have not looked back and Pimms and Lemonade is my tipple of the moment.
Handily for me my local Tescos sell premixed Pimms no.1 and Lemonade (ready to drink) in both the 75cl bottles (£12) and some rather natty little 250ml cans. The cans are my favourite as they are so handy, they sell them in a pack of 4 for around £6 or singly for £1.75. Always look around as they are often on offer, Asda were selling them a little cheaper. They are easily recognisable in their deep burgundy red colour, the bottles are the same and stand out somewhat from all the others so you won't miss them ! Alcohol content is around 5.4% vol. It is recommended that you serve chilled straight from the fridge and garnished as before, although it is equally as good with orange, strawberries, lemon etc, in fact almost anything you have to hand,although I would draw a line at tomatoes!
On opening a can and taking a sip it is truly delicious, you barely detect that it is alcoholic..so be careful! It is very sweet although not too sickly, this could be due the the sugar content but given that they are very secretive about the ingredients one can only be left to assume the sugar content is high. The perfect balance of Lemonade vs Pimms makes it lightly sparkling yet still retaining a smoothness, in order that it may glide down your throat in a truly delectable way! It has a unique flavour of aromatic spice with a hint of orange and other citrus fruits, it has a delightful 'Tang' to it and leaves a refreshing and subtle spicy aftertaste with no bitterness. It has a slightly citrussy aroma to it although this too is very subtle, albeit inviting! I warn you that one of these little cans is not going to be enough so make sure you have a few more to hand.
Overall this is the perfect drink for those balmy summer evening barbecues (which I like to hope is just around the corner), Picnics, friendly get togethers or even..if like me, you need to unwind during the summer holidays. Essentially a summer tipple this can be enjoyed all year round. And what's more,you don't have to be posh to drink it, simply pack little Johnny off for a day down the park, plonk your bum on the sun lounger , bowl of strawberries and cream to hand and crack open a can of Pimms and lemonade - You'll be glad you did !
Everyone who knows me will agree that I am a terrible cook. Luckily my other half is a fantastic cook, he enjoys cooking and prepares most meals in the household, however, on Wednesdays, my day off, I normally have a go at something culinary, more often than not it ends in disaster. This week my son has put in a special request for jam tarts knowing full well that, surely, even I can't go wrong with such a simple recipe! I won't bore you with the details but, basically, it went wrong, my pastry was inedible so went in the bin and out came the ready rolled shop bought pastry and, the essential, Hartleys Best Strawberry Jam, then in the oven they went!
HARTLEY'S AND US
Hartley's were a grocers founded in 1871 by Sir William Pickles Hartley, one day a consignment of jam they were waiting for failed to turn up, with orders to fill they had no choice but to make their own, thus Hartley's Jam was born. With such a long pedigree it is hardly a surprise to find that it is a top quality product, in fact their Jam is so successful that each year they sell enough jam to spread over 300 million pieces of toast
We always have some of this in the house, it is a favourite and I love its versatility. It is nostalgic for me, I remember my Mother using Hartley's and it tastes as good now as it did then. There are many varieties but this Strawberry one is our favourite.I like it best spread on hot crusty toast but my son is rather partial to crumpets with his, Mmm, delicious!
SO IS IT REALLY THAT GOOD?
Everything about this jam, to me, screams quality. The award winning, recyclable jar itself is simple, understated but solid, and the Hartley's logo stands out on the shelf, it has an easy to open twist off lid with the usual nutritional information on the back and a simple heart/strawberry shaped label on the front, the minimalistic labelling means you can see exactly what you are getting and how much you have left during use.
On opening the delicious, strawberry aroma hits your nostrils immediately, it is not too sweet or cloying and I think it has a far more 'natural' strawberry smell than some of the cheaper alternatives.Prepared with 45g of fruit per 100g This deep red coloured jam is very thick in consistency with plenty of whole strawberries, there are seeds in this and, whilst they are barely noticeable to myself, if you have dentures then you may experience some problems with this.
Due to its consistency, in my opinion, you really don't need to spread it too thickly at all, it spreads evenly and easily on your hot buttered toast and perfect for sponge cake fillings and tastes - divine! It tastes substantial, sweet but not overly so, the natural taste of strawberries comes though without any sourness that you sometimes get in jams and there is no aftertaste. All told, a fresh, natural strawberry flavour and utterly delicious.
Like most things delicious it is also sinful, there is a high calorie content, typically 244kcal per 100g, and a high sugar content of 61g per 100g - but it is fat free (small consolation). Suitable for vegans and vegetarians but not (obviously) diabetics, however if you have other allergies it would be best to consult the website below for further details.
I won't bore you with all the ingredients but among them you will find: Whole Strawberries, glucose, pectin, sodium citrates, citric acid.
Once open this will keep for up to 6 months in the fridge.
I bought my 340g jar from Tesco express for £1.55, I think that is quite good value, it is slighly less at Sainsbury's at the moment but Tesco was closer and it was raining!
You can use this in so many different ways:
The filling in Cherry Bakewells
Victoria Sponge filling
As an addition to rice puddings, ice creams etc.
Crusty bread topped with banana
And of course Jam tarts, so how did mine turn out? Well apart from the fact that I hadn't realised I was using puff pastry, the first batch were delicious, the second batch are now in the bin, but I blame Ciao as I was writing this and forgot they were in the oven!
For more information and recipes visit the website: www.hartleysfruit.co.uk
In the words of the late, great Bob Marley " I hope you like Jammin' too!"
I always remember my Mother buying Jacobs cream crackers and also their Tuc biscuits when I was a small child and they have remained favourites of mine. Jacobs started making their savoury biscuits when they opened their first bakery in 1881 in Ireland and, despite one or two upheavals within the company, have gone from strength to strength, their biscuits are as popular as ever.
Of the Jacob's range Tuc are my favourites, there are variations on these such as the Tuc sandwich, black pepper Tuc and a few others, but plain Tuc are the best in my opinion and a staple in our food cupboards.
Available from most supermarkets, corner shops etc these delicious delicacies come with a premium price tag. I bought my latest pack in our local Tesco for a princely £1.10, but do often find them on offer, most often in Wilkinsons. When you compare this to other savoury biscuits they do come in at a high price.
But are they worth it?
You can see from the stock picture here that the packaging is quite striking, the bright yellow does stand out on the shelf and you will normally find them alonsgside another famous Jacobs product.....the cream cracker. The packaging is, I am glad to say, very easy to open, simply pull the seam apart (you can do this from either end). For some bizarre reason they do label it 'pull here'.
There are about 30 octagonal biscuits inside the pack (rectangular but with the corners cut off and rounded), a golden yellow biscuit with pin holes on each one depicting the word 'Tuc'. The holes are designed to stop the biscuit form getting air bubbles in the baking process but add an interesting decorative effect.
Taste wise these are delicious (to me anyway, but may be an acquired taste). They are quite salty with a buttery aftertaste, comparable to Ritz crakers, but without the cheddar taste. They have a delightful crunchy texture and melt in the mouth as soon as you put your tongue to them although they are a little greasy to the touch, more salty than other crackers but much tastier, in spite of the saltiness they do not leave your mouth dry nor make you crave liquid refreshment. Watch out for the crumbs as, unlike cream crackers, these do sort of disintegrate when you break them in half or take a bite! There really isn't any sort of aroma to them to describe.
I like mine with a thin sliver of mature cheddar but they are equally as tasty plain and it is easy to eat half a packet in one fell swoop.There is no need to spread with butter or margarine, indeed I think this would detract from the flavour experience.
Of course, like all things delicious they do have a downside......fat!
Yes, sadly these are high in saturated fats. Typically a solitary 2.5" x 1.5" biscuit contains 1.3g of fat of which 1.0g is saturates! Each one has just 24 calories but 0.1g of salt. Not the healthiest of options but not many tempting foods are unfortunately.
Amongst other ingredients (I am not listing the full amount but they are all on the pack) they contain egg, gluten, sulphites, sesame seeds and milk, meaning if you have any allergies these are things to look out for.
As you may have gathered I love these. If you are on a diet they are probably not going to help much as they have an addictive quality, but if you have the willpower then it is worth tucking into a couple for a light snack. I do think they are on the expensive side so it is certainly worth shopping around for a decent deal.
So on my recommendation, if you haven't tried these already, buy a pack today....and 'Tuc' in!
See next review
Why I bought this.
I love marmite, on toast, mixed with baked beans, in cheese sandwiches even mixed in with mashed potato. My other half thinks I am weird, and he does have a valid point there, but I am always on the look out for unusual flavour mixes so, when I saw this whilst browsing a 'novelty' gifts site (one I saw reviewed on Ciao as it happens) I had to try it. I have tried many different flavoured chocolate bars from Spicy Chilli to seriously salty Bacon - yes really! Deciding I had to buy this was the easy part, finding it at a sensible price was a tad more challenging.
Price and availability
On investigation I saw that this is supposed to be stocked in Robert Dyas and Debenhams, well our local Robert Dyas had just closed and there isn't a Debenhams within a sensible distance and, finding no other supermarkets that stocked this I had to resort to an online hunt. Firebox.com stock it at £6.99 for 2 bars but that is expensive if you find you don't like it. Further hunting found it on various gift sites from £3.00 a bar but then you had to pay postage on top so as a last resort I tried Amazon and Ebay. Amazon had varying prices, but again totalled over £4.00 for a single bar so Ebay was my last resort. I found it on Auction starting at 99p with £1.20 postage and placed a maximum bid for £1.70, I simply was not prepared to pay over £3 to try this. To my surprise I won it for £1.50 in the end, I say I was surprised as there were several bars listed and not one had gone for under £3.50. All this effort for one bar of chocolate, so was it worth it?
Packaging and first impressions
2 Days later it arrived. The packaging is premium looking, fairly plain, black, sturdy cardboard with the Marmite logo very prominent and 'Very Peculiar Milk Chocolate' emblazoned across the front above a brief description of the expected taste and a tantalising picture of milk chocolate curls. I did think this package was quite thin for a 100g bar of chocolate and of course, on opening, it was even thinner (approximately 5mm, half a centimetre, the whole bar is indented with 2cm squares). The yellow foil inner wrapping had very peculiar written all over it, so confident were they that this was going to be a strange taste experience, and on opening this you are met with a distinct whiff of Marmite, so was their confidence justified?
The taste test.
My first impression of the taste of this chocolate is that it is remarkably similar to Galaxy, it does have that gorgeous, creamy, melty, indulgence to it. But what of the Marmite I hear you cry? Well it is there, just, I think - but you don't actually taste it until after you have eaten it. I let the square of chocolate melt on my tongue and noticed a very, very slight grainy texture and crushed these fine grains around my mouth with my tongue. That is what released the Marmite flavour, but, don't expect a lot. If you didn't know this was Marmite flavoured chocolate then you really wouldn't recognise the taste, it is very, very subtle. I tried this both at room temperature and then later after it had been refrigerated and found that you could pick up the Marmite taste more after refrigeration. Overall, taste wise, really creamy, really tasty but not enough Marmite for my taste buds, so not anything to write home about in all honesty.
This is made by Kim and Miller Uk, who seem to specialise in unique food products, according to their web site. I looked at the calorie count in this bar and it is not for the faint hearted - 540kcal per 100g bar, the worrying thing is that it is tasty enough for me to devour in one sitting, but I have been very good and nibble at a square when the fancy takes me. The ingredients in this are what amused me the most, amongst your normal cocoa butter, whole milk, soya etc. they have listed Onion powder, Garlic powder and Celery flavouring. If I am honest, had I looked at the ingredients before buying then I probably wouldn't have bothered - but who does that anyway?
For those with allergies etc. there is the standard warning about containing nuts, milk, soya and Celery, so common sense should prevail.
So there you have it, Marmite flavoured chocolate, deliciously creamy, but not enouugh Marmite and certainly not worth the premium price tag. So not very Peculiar at all then!
WHO WAS MONTEZUMA ?
Montezuma was a famous Aztec Ruler (1466-1520) whose empire was eventually invaded by the Spanish conquistador, Hernán Cortés. During his reign cocoa beans were used as a form of currency and also consumed, this was by way of a cocoa based drink they called chocolatl. Montezuma himself was said to have drunk no less than 50 cups of this per day.
When Cortes invaded, Montezuma took it into his head that he was a God of some sort and presented Cortes with his 'chocolatl'. Subsequently this was taken back to Spain and the consumption of chocolate in Europe began.
Sadly for Montezuma, his people soon came to realise that Cortes was certainly not the God that had been presented to them, and they stoned poor Monty to death...nice!
SO WHO ARE MONTEZUMAS ?
Husband and wife, Helen and Simon are ex lawyers who founded Montezumas in 2000 in Brighton. Bored with London and their careers they took off, on a whim, to South America and, after touring several countries, became fascinated with the whole 'chocolate' idea.Having investigated all the complex procedures involved with the cultivation of cocoa, whilst overseas, the couple headed back to the UK full of inspiration and wonderful ideas. They experimented with different types of chocolate, incurring a few failures en route and have been very successful. Montezumas now have several shops across the country and several major retailers stock their products.
They have specialised in some very unusual flavours including Chilli and Lime, Orang and Hazelnut, Orange and Geranium and, the subject of this review, Dark Chocolate Chill.
The packaging of Montezumas Organic Dark Chilli Chocolate looks high end and classy, indeed it was, I feel, strategically placed next to the Green and Blacks premium chocolate in my local Waitrose. A predominantly black cardboard outer with a bright Pink star in the centre with pink and white writing, clearly telling you who's chocolate it was and proudly declaring it was organic. On the back with a bright red background is a brief history of the company.
On opening and unwrapping the plastic inner wrapping I immediately caught the smell of dark chocolate, it was a little strong and slightly insipid.The bar chocolate is, of course, divided into small squares. I broke one of these off, the colour was very dark but you could see a sort of, reddish tinge to it, on further inspection, it looked very grainy.
THE TASTE TEST
I am not a huge fan of dark chocolate but am interested in new flavours, I love all things 'chilli' and was in high hopes that this would be the one dark chocolate that I would like.......I took that first bite.
VILE ! Disgusting and vile doesn't even begin to describe the initial bitter and somewhat chemically (and I have no idea why) taste, and if that wasn't bad enough, before your brain has time to adjust to this it is then hit by something even worse, the chilli. I have heard people say that chilli chocolate is too subtle, I certainly was not expecting this, it blew me away, but not in a good way. It was so hot I immediately rushed to get a glass of water.
Phew, the water did some good but it simply did not get rid of that taste. I had to go and clean my teeth to try to alleviate it, also there was a graininess to the chocolate and I could feel the bits between my teeth. Yes, the aftertaste is almost as bad as the chocolate, and it lingers - rather like a bad smell. I could taste it for about an hour after that initial bite, despite my teeth having been cleaned.
ALLERGY INFO AND INGREDIENTS
Well clearly not for you if you are allergic to chilli but they also have allergy info on the back of the pack stating that it is made in an environment where nuts and dairy are regularly used. It is free from gluten, soya, GM, colouring and preservatives and is organically grown. A plus for them is that it contains 73% cocoa solids so I am really not sure why it tasted so artificial., it also contains organic sugar, organic chilli and organic vanilla.
VALUE FOR MONEY
I bought mine in Waitrose for a princely sum of £2.20, for that price I would expect a lovely premium chocolate. This certainly was not that, in spite of the packaging so I feel that it is extremely overpriced.
I feel a little bad about not liking this chocolate as I really like the idea of the company and have been checking their web site, there are some delicious sounding chocolates on there.
AND MONTEZUMA'S REVENGE ?
Montezuma's revenge is a colloquial term for diahorrea suffered by travellers as a consequence of visiting Mexico. I do believe it is a term that could also be attributed to a similar suffering if you were to eat a whole bar of this.
Doesn't bear thinking about does it!
As a woman of a 'certain age' I find that my weight is getting more difficult to control and, whilst I am not horrendously overweight, I do feel the pounds creeping up on me, even more so now I have given up the dreaded weed. I think we all long for that wonderful day when those super intelligent professors and scientists invent the calorie free bar of chocolate - I am not holding my breath though.
I recently decided to take up exercise (well, if you can call hula hooping on the Wii fit exercise) but I have found this makes me rather hungry and I start craving sweet things. I had a whizz around on the internet in the vain hope that those scientists might actually have come up with the unthinkable, that was when I chanced upon 'Le Whif'.
SO WHAT IS LE WHIF?
Le Whif (manufactured in France, hence the name) is a, supposedly, genius invention by David Edwards, a Harvard Professor. He claims that "It only takes a touch of chocolate to satisfy our tastebuds." Le Whif comes in the form of a lipstick shaped tube that is filled with tiny dark chocolate particles, you simply pull the tube out until it clicks and take a sharp breath, the chocolate particles are released into your mouth dissolving immediately and coating the tastebuds then, 'hey presto' your cravings are satisfied - or are they?
I bought a pack of 3 of these from Prezzybox at a costly £4.95 and had to pay another £3.95 postage (I did have a £5 voucher to use against these though). My pack contained 3 tubes of different flavours: Chocolate, chocolate and raspberry and chocolate mint. From hereon I am reviewing the chocolate mint flavour.
I have to say the packaging was rather novel, in the form of a cigarette packet with a flip top, flip it open and there are your 3 tubes. The chocolate one being brown, chocolate and raspberry being brown and pink and the chocolate mint one being a rather lovely mint green and brown. On opening the box there is a faint chocolate aroma, but this is disappointingly bland. I took out the mint one and checked the instructions carefully:
1. Hold Le Whif horizontal, pull both ends until they click into place, simple enough.
2. Place the longer end in mouth and breathe gently.
3. You can reuse these and simply click back into place to close.
OK, this is where the fun part is, you have to work out how hard to suck. Too gently and you won't get anything, too hard and you will likely choke, as I did! I did, however get the hang of it and with a gentle but sharp 'suck' my mouth filled with the tiny chocolate particles - and I gagged. I could feel the chocolate particles sticking to the back of my throat and, on looking in the mirror, I could see it on my teeth, not a good look.
The taste is not very pleasant, very chemically. Yes, it does taste like chocolate, but somewhat artificial. The mint is nothing short of disgusting, it is bitter and tastes more like you are inhaling a cheap air freshener, seriously! You get the hit of mint after the chocolate hits you, so the taste of the mint is actually dumbed down a bit by the chocolate - just as well! They claim that 'With Le Whif, we inhale food into our mouths and taste it without chewing, to get an experience of the flavour without eating a single calorie.' These little tubes only contain one calorie each, but the taste experience is not one I am likely to be repeating and when you consider that each tube only has about 8 whiffs, then it is not an expense I would like to incur again either.
BUT DOES IT WORK?
In short, no! I had great expectations but was very disappointed to find that after my first puff I found I had a renewed craving for the real thing, they simply left me wanting chocolate even more.
ANY SAFETY CONCERNS?
The makers claim that the particles, although tiny, are too big to get into your lungs making them completely harmless.
The ingredients are pretty tame as well consisting mainly of cocoa powder, cocoa solids, sugar and natural mint flavouring and all ingredients are derived from organic farming.
My one concern was the choking aspect. I did choke when I had my first puff and it brough tears to my eyes, but that was my own fault for sucking too hard (a habit I have) Once you get the hang of it I am sure it will be just like riding a bike!
An expensive waste of the poor Harvard Professors time and money as far as I am concerned. The taste is disgusting and it simply does not do what it says on the tin.
Just another useless gimmick, but a nice idea.
And if you don't believe me - Suck it and See !
How many of you recall your years of teenage angst, years when you felt the whole world was against you, days that were fraught with problems, when the sheer process of growing up felt like a huge burden ? How many of you had personal problems that you were too embarrassed to discuss with your parents or close friends, problems of a delicate nature......you know the kind of thing , worries about kissing for the first time, worries about the shape and size of our growing bodies, worries about school, bullying, Exams etc etc, the list is endless and sometimes you just felt you had noone to turn to !!! I remember flicking through the problem pages of magazines aimed at teenagers, I got answers , though not answers to all my problems. I also wrote to one of these magazines when I first had a boyfriend...they were very helpful and what was more important...Anonymous !! With the advent of the internet, there is a whole new world of answers for our growing teens and furthermore there are many many on-line problem page sites, whereupon you can get almost instant answers and anonymity.
So...Is this a good thing ??? Well that all depends on how reputable that particular site and it's administrators are.....and herein lies a major and rather worrying problem. How do you know that the people to whom you are directing your question are responsible and qualified to help you ? The plain and simple fact is YOU DON't. Now, I have a 10 year old son, soon to be going through the traumas of everyday teenage life, so when I was told about a new problem pages site I was intrigued.
'Problempages.net' is a general problem site for anyone. There is nothing to indicate it may be an adult only site and nothing to indicate the qualifications of it's administrators. The layout of the site is crude in it's simplicity although extremely easy to navigate. The choice of Blue and white, although I am sure not intentional, is a calming choice and appropriate for this type of site. There are six main headings i.e PROBLEM PAGES (General questions), RELATIONSHIPS, FAMILY, MYSELF, SEX TALK and WHAT'S GOING ON , the latter being information about statistics and who is currently active on the site, each of these is divided into a number of subheadings. Across the top are the usual FAQ, REGISTER, MEMBER'S LIST, CALENDER, TODAY'S POST and SEARCH engine. There is also the ability to sent private messages to other members. Replying to or creating new posts is very simple and straightforward.
The registration process is a simple affair and only requires a username, password and your E-mail address. Then you are required to tick the box stating that you have read the rules. Hmmmmm...this is the interesting bit...I quote :
... "Although the administrators and moderators of Problem Pages will attempt to keep all objectionable messages off this forum, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the author, and neither the owners of Problem Pages, nor Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd. (developers of vBulletin) will be held responsible for the content of any message.
By agreeing to these rules, you warrant that you will not post any messages that are obscene, vulgar, sexually-oriented, hateful, threatening, or otherwise violative of any laws...."
This would indicate that the site was being policed and that it is probably a safe site for your average teenager....well it would ...wouldn't it ????
I have studied this particular site thoroughly and have grave concerns. The originator and main administrator of the site, sometimes referring to himself as "Dr Art", reviews the questions and problems posed by innocents on a daily basis.....the answers he has given are highly inappropriate and more often than not of a sexual nature, in fact bearing in mind the rules of his own site, I find most of his answers vulgar and obscene !! One particular poster asked a question about the size of a particular part of her body on her face and how she was concerned about it being an embarrassing feature...the answer that "Dr Art " gives is shocking....I am not going to detail it but basically he goes into great detail about how he likes that part of the body rubbing him during sex !!! I hope if you are reading this you are shocked, because I was. There does appear to be two administrators on site, one of which 'David' seems to give out genuine, positive advice. 'Dr Art' on the other hand comes across as nothing short of a perverted middle aged man, enticing young girls to entertain his various sexual fantasies !
No doubt some of the posters on this site are just doing it for a joke, however there are going to be a great many young and vulnerable teenagers, especially females, desperate for some sort of answers to their problems, embarrassed to go to their parents for advice. It is these, whom I am concerned about. This site does nothing more than exploit that fragile vulnerability. "Dr Art" does not appear qualified in any way and I have trawled the site for a sensible and helpful answer to a problem from him....I have found none.
Overall My opinion is that this site should be consigned to the gutter along with it's main administrator. It is a dangerous site for the young and vulnerable, many of whom will no doubt develop a rappor with the Admin and be suckered by his charm offensive. I was disgusted that a site like this is so easy to set up, but then that's the internet for you, extremely difficult to police. It is all very well having parental controls, but we are talking about teenagers here, parental controls are not going to stop them accessing sites like this one.
I know one thing, I am going to be very open with my son and encourage him to come to me with any problems he may have even if they are sexual in nature. I would far rather he asked me than some stranger on the Net........Well, wouldn't you ?????
If you do feel compelled to participate in this site (and I would strongly advise against it) you can access it from the following:
http://www.problempages.net/ or, even more worrying...you can just type problem pages into google and it brings the site up at the top !!!!
I love summer, long lazy walks in the countryside, bike rides etc. etc. What I do not love is the excessive sweat I seem to produce if I try to undertake anything more energetic than a leisurely stroll around my front garden !! I suffer from 'Hyper Hydrosis', basically this is excessive sweating and I used to suffer the most during the Summer months. It was so debilitating that I couldn't even walk to my local corner shop without sweating profusely and soaking my underarms...I had to resort to wearing white tops in the summer because they didn't show up so much.It is for this reason that I discovered Mitchum antiperspirant.
I have read many bad things about aluminium based antiperspirants, but the situation was so bad that I had to try something. These type of antiperspirants are chemical agents that reduce perspiration by blocking the sweat ducts,whereas deodorants merely mask the smell. Many antiperspirants contain deodorant as well.There are a vast array of antiperspirants in the shops and do tend to be more expensive than ordinary deodorants. Mitchum is one of the most expensive. I purchased mine from Boots at a cost of £2.99 for the 100ml version.
Mitchum roll ons are recognisable by their pearlescent green bullet shaped containers. Emblazoned across the lid is the claim 'Proven 48 hour Protection',endorsing their claim that it is 'so effective you could even skip a day !'.It claims to be quick drying, non stinging, anti-bacterial and to leave no white marks. As with all products of this type it warns you not to apply to broken or inflamed skin and to discontinue if a rash develops...all common sense really. But does Mitchum live up to it's claims ?
I use the non perfumed roll on.I apply it to my underarms and then normally have to wait 5-10 minutes for it to completely dry before I can get dressed, I wouldn't say this was particularly quick but adequate. I can say that it has never left any white marks on any of my clothing, not even on my black tops, although I will advise you to make sure it is completely dry before you get dressed or else you will find that it has a tendency to 'harden' on the inside of your T-shirt ! As for the Non-stinging.....as yet I have never noticed any whenever I have applied it after shaving, so full marks there. The one claim that I have not yet been able to prove is the '48 hour' one. Sorry , but even for the sake of research I am not prepared to go unwashed for a full 48 hours. What I can tell you is that I only have to apply this once in the morning and it really does last all day long. I cannot sing it's praises highly enough here, I used to have to change umpteen times a day, but I do not suffer any dampness whatsoever from using this...full marks again ! The anti-bacterial properties do their job well as there is no smell at all ! One thing I would like to see added to this is a moisturiser as your armpits can sometimes feel a bit too dry at the end of the day, however this is a small price to pay as far as I am concerned. All in all the product does what it says it does and I have not looked back since the day I bought it !
In my opinion this is one of the best antiperspirants on the market and I shall continue using it for a long time to come. It comes in unperfumed, Powderfresh and showerfresh fragrances. I am not keen on the Powderfresh and favour the unperfumed one,although I sometimes use the Showerfresh which is clean smelling, rather like fresh linen, the fragrance also seems to last most of the day. Mitchum is also available in a smaller 50ml handbag size roll on as well as a Dry stick, gel and a 150ml Spray.
Prices for the different products vary from £2.50 to £3.50 and are available in all good pharmacies and supermarkets.
One word of warning, those suffering from Excema and sensitive skin are more prone to suffering allergic reactions from aluminium based products, therefore it is wise to either do a skin test first or refer to a GP.
Right I am off to enjoy a sweat-free summer, and shall be confident enough to wave my arms high in the air whenever I so desire !!!
I always swore I was going to grow old gracefully, not for me 'Botox' injections, never would I put my 'Boobs' under a surgeon's knife, not in a million years would I resort to a 'Bum' lift and I was going to go grey in a distinguished way!!!!! Sadly the reality is that the wrinkles are rapidly appearing, my boobs are shrinking, my bum is heading south and those niggly little grey strands are poking through and NOT looking very distinguished at all!
Thankfully we don't HAVE to resort to drastic measures to correct these imperfections. After all we can use a good foundation to cover those wrinkles, a decent bra filled with those fun squidgy chicken fillet things can sort out your boobs and they now make special tights and knickers that are supposed to lift and shape your buttocks...mmmmmm lovely..so long as you don't have to undress in front of your loved ones with the light on! As for those grey bits...well...provided it's the grey hairs on your head your worried about, it can be easily remedied.
I am not a fan of permanent hair dyes, and knowing me something is bound to go wrong, like turning my hair green or something. So I decide to try a wash in wash out one and found a bargain in Superdrug the other day. For just 99p I purchased a bottle of their 'Rich Red' colour effects wash in wash out colour and trotted off home, eager to get going. I chose the rich red because I have a warm red tint to my hair and wanted to stay as natural as possible.There are several shades to choose from for both blondes and brunettes. So let's see what it can do.
The first thing I noticed about this bottle was that it was almost impossible to read the tiny instructions on the back unless you have 20/20 vision, which I don't. Even with my glasses on I was squinting, So I didn't bother reading the whole of the blurb on the bottle, just the application instructions. A plastic, 'Throwaway'.and dare I say Rather large...pair of gloves is provided for the application, and, unless you want to end up with rusty stains on your hands that refuse to budge for weeks, I would recommend you use them....Right , next step..Wet your hair and then work in as much colour effects as you need, depending on how long your hair is this can be anything from a ten pence piece round blob to a ping pong ball sized amount! In my case, having had my hair all chopped off recently, I only needed a small amount. Next step is to leave it for 5 minutes! Blow that....5 minutes doesn't sound nearly long enough...I decided on 20 minutes..should do the trick. At this point I should advise you that you put an old towel around your shoulders to prevent any staining, also it is a good idea to smear some Vaseline around your hairline, again this will stop the dye running and staining bits that you don't want dyed..like your eyebrows , or moustache hair, for example ! Last step is to rinse until the water runs clear...this turned out to be no mean feat as the water seemed to stay a rusty sort of colour, no matter how much I tried I couldn't seem to rise it all out...Oh well it was almost clear and I decide that it would only really be a potential problem if it rained on me...thank goodness for umbrellas!
Ok, now to see if it actually worked. It was impossible to see whilst wet so under the dryer I went. I have to say the scent it leaves on your hair is lovely, and as I dried it I could see it really starting to shine ..so far so good. Once totally dried I was impressed...initially!! My hair shone like it hadn't shone for a long time, it really seemed to have boosted its condition, it smelt absolutely gorgeous and, considering how long I had actually left the colour in for, the colour was natural looking and subtle........BUT.....I hadn't read all the instructions properly had I??? Remember....well....the grey strands were still there, only they were a sort of gold colour now..Oooops. I then picked up the bottle, squinted hard and..yep right down there at the bottom was the warning...'Do Not Use on Grey hair'. I think I was actually quite lucky...at least it hadn't turned it green, and I only really have a few barely noticeable strands anyway. Needless to say , I shall read the instructions properly next time.
As far as value for money goes, this is quite exceptional, I have enough left for another 3 applications, although I shan't use it myself , I shall probably give it away. It is very good if you don't have any grey hair, although I recommend leaving for slightly more than the recommended 5 minutes. Obviously as with all dye products you should be careful not to get any in your eyes and wash immediately should you do so. Also you should not use if your scalp has any cuts or abrasions, nor should you use on bleached hair.
Ok, so how long does it actually last. Well normally wash in wash out shampoos last anything from 10 to 20 washes. So far I have washed my hair 10 times and the colour is almost all gone. I would recommend a top up at this stage. Personally I am going to have to make sure it is all washed out before I go hunting for one that actually does cover grey..I am also going to have to remember to take my glasses with me !!
Right, now I've got the bra, bought the tights, got my concealer, have the hair dye...I only have one small problem left.... It's actually another grey area, one in which I don't think they advise using hair dye.... Phew thank god for shavers!!!
Having never been blessed in the boob department, it was a pleasant surprise to grow a couple of cup sizes whilst I was pregnant. Wow, I loved it ! Unfortunately I gave birth to a very hungry little boy and by the time he'd finished with me...I ended up with less than I started with !
That was 10 years ago and since then I have had to resort to the infamous Wonderbra, however, to be honest, I have always felt that these are a little uncomfortable, also they are not much cop when you are sprawled on a beach in a bikini, or want to look sexy in a little black strapless thingy !! Therefore, having seen JML Invisible bra's advertised for some time now, I decided to take the plunge..so to speak !
I have to say when this arrived in the post I was both excited and a little apprehensive, I couldn't wait to try it on. The invisible Bra comes in it's own plastic preservation tray, this is to ensure no dust comes into contact with the adhesive, making it last longer. It consists of 2 silicone breast pads hooked together in the middle with a plastic fastener..and YES they do look and feel exactly like chicken fillets, all squidgy, designed to imitate your own squidgy bits perfectly ! The idea behind this Bra is that it will enhance your own natural cleavage and cup size, having no straps or back it can also be worn underneath backless and strapless dresses, you can also wear it with a bra as an enhancer, and...this is the best bit for me...you can wear it underneath a bikini on the beach....yep this summer I am going to be a 'Baywatch Babe' !!!!
The bra comes with fitting instructions, just as well really because I never read instructions on anything and immediately pulled it out of it's packing and slapped it on.....Oh dear it looked awful...in fact it didn't enhance anything, just sort of dragged it down !!! Ahhhh...I picked up the instruction leaflet and within minutes I had perfectly pert boobs and a cheaky little cleavage !!The secret you see is fitting it properly...first you have to clean the area with soap and water and dry with a towel, then, standing in front of a mirror, hold one bra cup around the edge an pop it onto the centre of your breast (not the bottom like I did), repeat this with the other one making sure that it is at the same height (for obvious reasons), then press them both gently in the middle to ensure the adhesive has stuck (for added fun factor get your partner to help you with this).You can experiment with varying cleavage effects by placing the cups further or closer apart.
You can now experiment , as I did, with varying outfits. I can assure you this bra is perfectly invisible under strapless outfits and everything else as far as I can see, it also has an uplifting effect too. I know exactly what you are now thinking at this point...how does it hold up under duress, or physical exercise ? The answer to this is surprisingly well ! I do not go dancing, however I stuck the Clash on full pelt in my living room and proceeded to dance like a complete maniac, head banging and all, determined to shake my booty and boobs real hard and prove to JML that their invisible miracle Bra did not work....I have to say it really does work..no amount of shaking would dislodge the adhesive...not too sure what my Postman thought, however, when he saw this wild thing in jeans and skimpy bikini top prancing around in full view...I am hoping he was thinking "Wow, what a fit bod and a fine pair of...." You get the picture !
It is equally important to know how to remove this little marvel , as if you remove it incorrectly you will damage the adhesive backing. To be honest I was terrified of removing it..the problem was it had stuck so well and my memories of painful breast feeding were all coming back to me...I needn't have worried, I carefully and slowly peeled each cup off, by holding the top and peeling downward , as instructed. You will need to wipe your skin over with a tissue afterwards as some of the adhesive does stay on you.
Cleaning your bra couldn't be simpler, just wash gently with a small amount of mild soap and water using the palm of your hand, but be careful to remove any jewellery or you may damage it. Then leave it to dry naturally and replace in the plastic preservers. You should not use any Bleach products or any other substances other than a very mild soap and should remember that over time the adhesive properties will be reduced. I have had this bra a few months now and the adhesive is still going strong. However I will update accordingly once it starts to reduce in effectiveness.
There are some safety and care issues to be taken into account, for instance, You should never use on broken or inflamed skin, do not use on skin that is allergic to silicone (pretty obvious really) and you should not use any moisturisers or creams, deodorants etc of any kind before putting these on, this is because the adhesive would not be so effective. There are a few other safety warnings listed on the instructionswhich you really should read before using this product.
Available in 3 sizes (A-B cup, B-C cup, and C-D cup), the Invisible Bra is widely available from many high street stores such as Woolworths and Boots and normally retails at approx £19.99. I purchased my direct from JML and it cost me £13.99 inc post and packing
There you have it, the JML Invisible Bra, in my opinion, a must have for anyone who need that little bit extra something, men included (if you are that way inclined )I really wouldn't recommend it for the fuller figure i.e anything bigger than a D cup, as I think it would just pull you down. it is durable and extremely effective and does everything it says it does. As for me and my bikini, well it's not really bikini weather just yet but I have tried it and it looks just fab with mine, can't wait for the summer....Me..A BayWatch Babe...Yeah !!!!!!!
I came back from a holiday in Lanzarote last year a Bronzed Goddess! Actually I was just bronzed, as, at just 5ft nothing, I certainly could never be described as a 'Goddess'! Of course, as we all know, those beautiful sun kissed (or for those more sensible ones......sun damaged) looks do tend to fade rather quickly once we get back to the good old British weather that we all love...Hee Hee. This time, however I was determined to make it last !! Hence I decided to try Ambre Solaire after Sun Tan Maintainer.(Now known as Garnier Ambre Solaire)
I purchased my 150ml tube from Sainsbury's, it was on a special offer at just 5.99 GBP. (normally retails at between 6.99 and 7.50).
On the back of the tube it does ask if this product is right for you ? It advises that it is ideal if your skin needs rehydrating and if you want to prolong and 'intensify' your suntan. It has been especially devised to rebalance and rehydrate overheated skin....Yep this is definitely for me !
The way it works is that it contains a very low level of self tan, it will subtly enhance and even deepen your existing tan. It contains Glycerol and vitamin E thus hydrating your skin and helping to prevent peeling, leaving your skin soft and smooth.It is dermatologically tested and suitable for both the face and the body.
Right, I've showered and am ready to 'Enhance', For once in my life I have decided to read the instructions, something I never normally do and has resulted in a great many disasters ! Simply apply on to clean skin avoiding the eyebrows and the roots of your hair and wash your hands after application.
Well time is now moving on and I am due to go to work soon so best get going then !! I smoothed the pleasant smelling, non greasy, milk all over my body, I have used it quite sparingly and it spreads quite nicely so I think a little will go a long way.
By the time I have done this I have little time to spare so hurriedly dress and rush out the door to work, I am assuming it will take a while to 'develop' as there are no immediate results.
Isn't it flattering when you see people for the first time after a holiday and they all comment "you've gone a lovely colour", well that's exactly what people said to me when I got to work and, of course I was chuffed. It did help that I had worn the obligatory white T-shirt, I'm sure we all do that, white shows your tan off .
Okay, so far so good, however after about an hour at work, my friend suddenly asked me what I had got all over my T-shirt, puzzled I looked down...........and was mortified.........I had rusty fingerprints all over my previously pristine white shirt......yep, you got it, I had been in such a hurry to get to work I had forgotten the 'golden rule' always wash your hands after application. Of course by then my tan had started to develop, I have to say it was subtle and a lovely colour (it did help that I was already a lovely bronze shade) and had worked well, however I did have to admit to my work colleagues that I had....err.....helped it along a little, and they all had a good giggle at my expense !! My hands, by the way, looked a bit of a mess as they had gone a little brown and rusty around the nails and the lotion had collected in the lines of my palms so much so that a palmist could have read my palms from a distance !!
Overall this is a very good product, it does what it says on the packet and enhances a natural tan perfectly. It is recommended that you use it on a daily basis for the first week and twice a week thereafter.My skin is left feeling very soft and it does have a lovely soothing effect after the heat leaving a very subtle yet fragrant smell, it takes about 15 minutes to dry, sinking into your skin quite quickly,it takes about an hour to develop and you are left with a lovely glow. I did not get any streaking, other than on my hands, but I think you would get streaks if you did not rub it in well.The bright blue packaging is also recyclable so environmentally friendly too.
So there you have it , but, please always make sure you wash your hands after using it !!!!!!!
More information about garnier and associated products can be obtained from their helpline:
Tel: 0845 399 0404 (UK)
Tel: 1850 604 404 (EIRE)
Or by writing to Garnier theirselves :
London w6 8AZ
I am lazy..yep bone idle that's me ! Therefore if I can find a way of making a fast buck then all well and good, even better, if I can find a way of making money sitting on my rather ample derriere doing virtually nothing then all the better (manual labour never was my forte), which is why I signed up to loads of paid to surf cashback sites many months ago. So far these sites haven't helped me to make a fortune, but they have provided me with some extra pin money. Being a member of so many sites it is quite difficult to decide which is the best site to use, however since stumbling on 'GreasyPalm' a few months ago I have earnt over £90 from this site alone, making this the most profitable I have come across...interested ? Then read on..........
'GreasyPalm' is not unlike all the other paid to surf sites, but in my opinion has more to it, including cash discounts in over 1,000 online stores, up to 25% online shopping, money saving coupons plus it is free to join and you automatically recieve a free £2.50 sign up bonus, plus for every £1 you earn you also get 1 free entry into their £5000 prize draw.
Signing up is easy, just click on the 'join' button on the home screen and it takes less than a minute to complete the E-mail address, home address and username and password. As soon as this is done you will receive a confirmation E-mail and you will be credited with your sign up bonus. Then it's all systems go...let's get earning !!
There are many sections and I will not detail each and every one, however a few of the more interesting ones are :
Earn cashback for every credit card application you make. These can be quite substantial i.e. £25 for a successful application. Some will give you cashback regardless of whether your application is successful or not.
Online Casinos and bingo sites. This is where I have made quite a bit of money. Often you will be asked to make a deposit, however normally the deposit required is £10 for which GreasyPalm will award you £20 cashback..so automatically you have made £10, plus have the opportunity of winning in the online games you have subscribed to. I have so far won £120 on Bingo for an initial deposit of £10..for that I kept my winnings plus got the £20 cashback from GreasyPalm !!
There are many sites in this category all worth a look.
This page lists the easiest ways of earning cashback. i.e AA membership will earn you £10 cashback, Barclay Home Insurance will earn you £27.50 cashback, plus many others.
Here you will earn cashback just for requesting free brochures and free samples. Don't expect the pay outs to be very substantial here, typically 15p to 50p, however these small sums can add up to quite a bit.
There are 24 retail categories all offering cashback for purchases online. Purfect if you do a lot of online shopping. always be sure to check out the New Retailer Offers, new ones are added every week.
Apart from earning cashback on this site you can also compare prices for DVDs, Books and Music, GreasyPalm will endeavour to find the cheapest online prices for you.
Now, in order for you to benefit from the cashback on offer you will need to ensure your cookies are enabled on your computer. Also ensure you click through GreasyPalm to the various retailers or else your transactions will not be tracked......unless of course you have installed Rebate Catcher.
This is a small software program , download this and you will not neccessarily have to log into GreasyPalm before you go shopping.
Everytime you visit a site with a GreasyPalm cashback offer a reminder window will pop up , telling you what the particular offer for this retailer is, then it will automatically track your purchases.
**One thing you will need to bear in mind here is that some retailers finance themselves by displaying commission only advertising for these retailers through affiliate links......therefore on these particular sites Rebate Catcher WILL NOT work**
A few other ways of making money are briefly listed below :
REFER A FRIEND
For every friend who joins through your unique link, and who earns £15 , you will recieve £7.
There is a Buddy list section, where you can keep track of everyone who has joined through you and you will see when cashback has been credited to you.
A free scratchcard earning you free points which can be exchanged for competition entries
35p cashback if you download GreasyPalm's toolbar
35p cashback for making GreasyPalm your homepage.
Cashback is normally credited to your account within 30 days of the transaction being made, some are credited immediately, however sometimes transactions still do not appear after 30 days. This is where GreasyPalm's reminder service comes into it's own, simply fill in the details of each transaction on the reminder form and you can keep track of all your transactions, if a transaction is not credited you simply complete a ticket and submit it to accounts and they will investigate for you and, if it was a valid transaction, will ensure you get your money.
GreasyPalm automatically sends you a cheque once your account reaches £25. these payments are made once a month 30 days in arrears and are usually very swift in reaching you.
Once you have made your first £25 you will be granted VIP status and automatically credited with another £2.50 reload bonus (this bonus is added each time a cheque is sent). Vip status entitles you to priority online support, VIP membership of the GreasyPalm forum and access to the VIP page where you will find more exclusive offers.
There is online support available from the helpdesk and also from other members in the forum, where you will be able to pick up many more tips and details of further offers.
All in all this is the best cashback site I have found, I have earnt more from this site than others and find the site easy and fast to navigate, the other members of the forum are very friendly and full of advice. The only problem I have had is with Junk mail from the many sites I have signed up to, however I have a separate spam E-mail account that I use for my Cashback sites and many of these E-mails are automatically filtered to my junk box now so is no longer a real problem.
One final tip should you decide to join this or any other site is to download an automatic form filler, such as Roboform, this will help make things that much quicker...you simply fill in all your details with one click...thus less time more money !!!
So there you have it , an easy to use, fast connection, no catches, no obligation way to make a little bit of extra money..always comes in handy for that extra few bottles of Chardonnay, or whatever takes your fancy.
Thoroughly recommended !!