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I have nightmare skin. At the moment, it's bordering on the normal side (cue Hallelujah chorus) but most of the time it's just evil. I have spots, oily patches, dry patches and normal patches. I've used so many different products and I'm constantly on the search for something that'll have some kind of impact on at least one of the problem areas I suffer from. I also have fairly bad scarring from repeated bursts of acne. I started using Liz Earle products around a year ago. I started with the Hot Cloth Cleanser, which I wasn't massively impressed with. I then started using it again recently and have completely changed my mind. The big difference between what I was doing then and what I'm doing now is that I was using cold water to rinse off the cleanser as apposed to hot. I know, the clue is in the name, but sadly I wasn't too quick on the uptake. This time around I am really impressed with the results. I use the cleanser nightly (never been one to do a full cleanse in the morning - tone and go is my motto) and I follow it with the Tonic and the moisturiser. I then use the spot on treatment on any blemishes I have. I really am seeing the results like you wouldn't believe. In fact, for the first time in at least 10 years, I've started only using foundation on my scars as apposed to all over my face. The skin on my face that isn't scarred (everywhere apart from my chin) is glowing and bright which is just so wonderful as my skin has always been the thing I've felt most insecure about. The brand has a range for the body as well as the face, although, having read other reviews I'm not going to go into detail as I feel it's all been sufficiently covered elsewhere. I am slowly adding to my collection with the opinion that my skin appears to react well to natural products. I'm not writing off chemicals completely (I'm too much of a fan of Glycolic Acid - I know it's technically natural but you know what I mean!) but I'm certainly taking a new approach to skincare thanks to this brand. If you're unfamiliar with this range then there are many 'try me' kits available, both on the Liz Earle site and QVC. There are also, as always, many bargains to be had on eBay :) Price wise I'd say they're mid range; there's very little available for less than a tenner. So in conclusion, if you have troubled skin then definitely give this range a go.
As some of my other reviews mention, I'm a big fan of mascara. If I only have time to apply one thing then it'll always be mascara; I can have a full face of make up but still feel bare without it. So, because of this, I'm always trying new ones on the never ending search for the perfect wand. I've been trying a few up market brands recently, when I read about this one online. I had a browse on Ebay and managed to find a sample of it, which I promptly purchased. I had read that the brilliance of this was partly due to it's special wand, so I was a bit concerned that the sample wouldn't have the right wand - being a sample (I had this with a No7 mascara sample) but thankfully the sample comes with the correct wand. The case is the usual Lancome black mascara case. The brush is a kind of 'S' shape, which isn't as gimmicky as it may sound. Application is a breeze. The wand is just thick enough to give excellent coverage without being so thick that you end up smudging it all over the eye area. The 'S' shaped brush is fantastic as it means that as you apply mascara in the normal fashion, the tip reaches the really short lashes on the inner eye, whilst the outer part of the brush applies a lot more to the outer lashes. I only needed one coat as the impact was impressive straight away. The effect is just beautiful. It covers every lash, resulting in thick, incredibly long, glossy lashes. This is not the sort of mascara that appears natural as you really do end up with amazingly long lashes, however, the comments I've received have been about how long my lashes are as apposed to how great my mascara is, so maybe it's just the fact that it's just a dramatic improvement that makes me feel it's not natural. I wear this on a daily basis with no other eye make up because it really does make me look made up without needing anything else. You can wear it with black eyeliner for a really dramatic effect, but I'm happy with just this. On buying this, I had no idea just how brilliant it would be. I've used Lancome mascaras in the past and always had positive experiences with them, however they've really outdone themselves this time as it truly is amazing. I used to get semi-permanent lashes applied but there's no way I need them now. I paid £3 for the sample (best bargain ever!) but the full sized version is around £19.50. So in summary, I couldn't recommend this mascara highly enough; I believe there are still some samples on Ebay at a very reasonable price, so if you can buy yourself one then I suggest you do pronto!
I've visited Majorca on a number of occasions and have stayed at various hotels. I have a couple of favourites that I usually stick to, but my second to last holiday was more spontaneous than usual, so my regular hotels were all booked up. I like to stay in 4 star hotels when in Majorca. This is mainly because the way they class their hotels is slightly different to the way we do, so a 3 star hotel can be quite similar to a 2 star hotel in the UK. Whereas a 4 star hotel in Majorca is usually closer to a UK 3 star, although this is just speculative based on my experience. I've stayed in 3 4 star hotels in Majorca and I would say this is the worst out of the three, although this is only because the other two are really impressive. **PACKAGE** The appeal of the Voranova (other than it's great price) was the fact that it does an all inclusive package, which you would assume means that everything is included. However, they operate a slightly odd AI policy which means that it's all inclusive at certain times. This means that in between those times you have to pay for your drinks. I feel like this defeats the object of advertising an AI package, but that's how it works! It isn't terrible as you can plan around the time slots, but it's a little awkward. I believe they run a slot in the morning, afternoon and evening, with roughly 2 hours in between those slots. So if you plan your day around that then you can generally get away without having to fork out for drinks. Unfortunately their drink selection is quite limited, so for alcoholic drinks you have a small choice. This wasn't great for me as I'm a cider drinker, so I had to pay for my drinks in the evening. At the time, the euro wasn't even close to equal to the pound, so it didn't work out too expensive. Cost wise, we got a very good deal and I understand that it wasn't luck as the hotel is generally rather cheap. Certainly much cheaper than the Son Caliu which is a nearby 4 star hotel that costs almost double for the same stay, yet is only half board. However, there are most definitely reasons for this. **ROOMS** My friend and I decided to upgrade our room to the best room they have available. They have two types of rooms: standard and luxury. The difference between the two is the amount of space and the positioning. We were right at the back of the hotel which was great as it was very peaceful. We had a large room, with two single beds, a double wardrobe, a large sofa and a vanity desk with a large wall fitted mirror. On the balcony - which was an excellent size - we had a table and 2 chairs. There was ample room on the balcony to dry clothes and towels etc. The bathroom was your standard toilet, shower/bath and sink. There was no bidet. Cleaning was offered on a daily basis, as with most hotels. Whilst I wouldn't say the room was unclean, it definitely wasn't spotless. It had a sort of grubby feel to it; I suppose 'lived in' is the best way to describe it. However, it wasn't dirty and the beds were in excellent condition. There was also a really good air conditioning system, certainly better than other hotels I've stayed at in the area. **LOCATION** The location for this hotel isn't brilliant, although I suppose it depends what you're looking for. Ideally I'd like a hotel that is in a quiet location but within easy reach of shops and bars. I also like to be as near as possible to the beach. If this is your thing to then I'd suggest trying to Sol Cala Blanca also in Palma Nova. Voranova isn't front line, so it's a good five minute walk to the beach. I know it sounds picky, but I like to be very close to the beach, or at least be able to see it from my hotel room. This wasn't the case for us, however maybe you can see the sea from other rooms in the hotel. It's about a five minute walk from shops and bars and the main part of Palma Nova. I think it's tricky for me to be objective about this aspect of the review, as I'm so used to staying at a hotel with everything pretty much on my doorstep, and five minutes may not seem to bad, but in the blistering heat it felt like forever! It's difficult to describe, but I just feel like the surroundings seemed a tad industrial and lacking in the joy that is the Majorcan way of life. **POOL AREA** The pool is rather lovely, quite large and an interesting shape. There's a shallow end as well as a cut off part for toddlers and young children. The railing that cuts off the children's area has a wall that you can sit on if you want a break from swimming; it's a small thing to mention but I feel a really nice touch. The pool is kept very clean and there's a huge area for sun loungers, all of which were taken up by holiday makers, so take that into account when you arrive. You will definitely need to establish your territory as early as possible in the morning, if you desire to sunbathe by the pool. There's also a large seating area, some of which is covered by umbrellas if you would like to cool off. Next to the pool is a bar which serves bar snacks (however I'd suggest avoiding them as they're of very poor quality and massively overpriced; there's a cafe 2 mins outside the hotel if you're peckish) and a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. I would say the best thing about this hotel is the pool as it's really charming and a lovely place to hang out by, whether you're relaxing with a book, sunbathing of swimming. The size of the pool means that it rarely feels overcrowded, even when there are quite a few swimmers in it. **FOOD** The food is served as a buffet with some rather interesting choices. They have a salad cart and a hot mains cart as well as a dessert cart. I've read a few scathing reviews about the food served here, but I have to say that I found it OK. Realistically, I was never expecting gourmet cooking as part of my AI deal, so I think it's safe to say you get what you pay for. However, I found the meals adequate and occasionally enjoyable. I don't think they serve a great menu for vegetarians, unless you're a vegetarian who only eats salad..... **STAFF** The staff were generally very friendly, apart from the occasional moody receptionist. They were happy to help and I feel they follow the philosophy of 'if you're nice to me, I'll be nice to you' which is fair enough. The diner staff were especially friendly and became familiar with us really quickly, which I always enjoy. **ENTERTAINMENT** The entertainment here is pretty generic. The usual guy on a keyboard with a pre-programmed drum rhythm and a female singer with a great voice being held back by the terrible backing. It seems to be a slight variant of that every night. OK as background music, but nothing compelling. **OTHER INFORMATION** The hotel is very large and quite grand on entrance. There are two diners for your daily meals and a large reception room. There are two lifts, both of which can be accessed by stairs. The hotel has a reputation for being very good for disabled holidaymakers. This definitely seems true as everywhere in the hotel has easy access and there are plenty of ground floor rooms. There are also wide lifts and ramps next to any stairs (proper fitted ramps, not make shift ramps). There is also a lift to aid disabled visitors into the swimming pool. They have a connection with a scooter loans company, so if any visitors have trouble walking and want to get out and about, a scooter can be loaned for around 14 euros a day, but special deals can be made if you take a scooter for an entire week or two. **SUMMARY** Even by Majorcan standards, I would not call this a 4 star hotel. Whilst my visit was very pleasant and I had little to complain about (apart from the slightly odd approach to their all inclusive deal) I very much doubt I'll be visiting again because I feel, for a little more money you can stay somewhere less crowded and more convenient with a better class of food. I would recommend this hotel if you are looking for somewhere cheap and easy. This is definitely a hotel for a younger crowd as I don't think older people would feel comfortable here. Mainly because the hotel is so large and reaches full capacity frequently, so there's always a lot of people around at all times, most of which are rowdy young people heading to/back from Magaluf.
If you have read my review on the Overnight Clearing Gel, then you will know that I rave about this range as an effective treatment for spot prone skin. I would recommend the Clearing Gel for stopping the appearance of new spots and I would recommend this product for dealing with current spots. The product comes in a plastic squeezable container with a nozzle applicator. You can either use the applicator directly on the spot, or, like me, you can dispense a blob of it onto a cotton bud and apply using that instead. I recommend this way of applying to limit wastage. The container is quite firm, so you only need to squeeze it lightly to dispense the right amount of product. The gel itself is a thick white product. You can apply it every six to eight hours, so at night I tend to apply quite a thick layer to the head of the spot, whereas during the day I apply it much more lightly. To use, you apply to clean skin as the last stage of your cleansing routine. If you are using the Overnight Gel then you would wait until that has dried before applying this. I note that some other reviews have deemed this as very drying. It is, if you get it anywhere other than on the head of the spot. It is absolutely essential that you're careful with the application and don't dab it carelessly, as on normal skin this will definitely dry. This is also why I suggest using a cotton bud for precise application. This is a brilliant product for treating spots. I often suffer from those big, ugly, painful spots that come up under the skin and this is great at drying them down to a nice normal size that's easy to cover, which can be achieved overnight. Whilst it won't dry up your spots completely overnight, it'll certainly make a significant impact and ensure that they're much smaller by the time you wake. As with the Overnight Gel, this can be mixed with a mask to ensure the mask packs a real punch when drying the spots. In your cleaning routine, if you are using the Overnight Gel, you would need to apply that, let it dry, moisturise (if you use one) then apply this as the final step. When I first got the product I was surprised by how small it was, considering it's size. It's around £25 (although there are some great online deals on at the moment) and the container itself is rather small. However, you use such a tiny amount that I think it works out as a good investment. I'm certainly no more than a quarter through and I've been using it daily for a couple of months. I would definitely recommend this for anyone with spot prone skin. If you can afford it, use it in conjunction with the Overnight Gel. I know this works out at a spend of around £50, but how much are a couple of facials?
I have combination skin that is prone to regular, fairly severe breakouts. I get them mostly around the lower part of my face, usually on my chin and cheeks, although the occasional evil can quite literally rear it's ugly head on my nose and forehead too. I have tried so many different things available for the treatment of acne, ranging from glycolic peels, to laser therapy, to prescription treatments (both topical and oral) to the majority of the over the counter remedies. I recently got to know the Dermalogica range and have been very impressed by the results I've achieved. This product comes in a squeezy plastic bottle with a nozzle that dispenses the product. The design isn't great, as after my second use I was already having to squeeze air out of the bottle to build up pressure to release the product: you know how when you're running out of something from a squeezable tube and you have to turn it upside down and squeeze repeatedly? It's a lot like that. Not helpful if this is one of the last steps of your night routine and all you want to do is apply and go to bed! The product itself is a clear gel that is to be applied to areas prone to spots. I haven't found it at all drying, just effective at reducing future breakouts. The one thing I would say is that this is not a spot treatment as such, as it doesn't speed up the healing of my current spots. BUT it most definitely has calmed my spotty areas and slowed down the appearance of new ones. I don't think my skin has ever looked better since I've started using this product (in conjunction with the booster, review to follow) which is quite a claim to make if you consider how many thousands I've spent on finding an effective treatment. This product retails for around £25 which isn't cheap, but I would say it's a worthy investment as I've had it a good few months and it's still half full. If you decide to try this, I would suggest applying this all over the face, then letting it dry, then applying it to the spot prone areas. This is a good way to start de-clogging your skin and getting it used to the product. Obviously patch test it first if you have sensitive skin or fear a reaction. Another thing you can do is add some of this to a mask when doing a facial. If like me you need a moisturiser too, then apply this first and allow it to dry. I haven't found this product to be at all drying, unlike some other paint stripper type products available for acne prone skin. As I'm now 25 I am starting to prioritise anti-ageing as well as clearing my skin, so I am trying to get away from products that strip everything from the skin in an attempt to heal spots. This product is perfect for that. I couldn't recommend this enough; if you suffer from stubborn spots and are sick and tired of spending money on trying to find a solution, give this and the booster a shot before giving up! If you suffer from breakouts then I whole heartedly recommend this product.
I really love Dermalogica as a brand. Having only recently introduced myself to them, I've so far been very impressed with their products. I was fortunate to win this in a competition, along with the Precleanse which I also like, but that's for another review. This offering from Dermalogica is a mechanical exfoliator (as in, you have to do the scrubbing to exfoliate as apposed to a chemical exfoliator which does the work for you) that is very gentle and rather different to a typical mechanical product. It comes in a plastic airtight tube with a shaker at the end that dispenses the product. It's designed with the usual basic Dermalogica branding. In the container is a thin white powder that looks rather scarily like cocaine - hence my fear of taking it on holiday with me, although it all worked out in the end. To use, you dispatch some of the product into your hand - roughly around half a teaspoon - and mix with water. You then buff away at the skin as you would do with any other exfoliator. It is suggested that you do this for around a minute. The thing that's interesting about this product is the fact that it isn't at all grainy, so you don't feel as if you're actually exfoliating as such. Once mixed with water it becomes pretty much liquid and spreads over the face effectively, but whilst using it I found myself wondering whether it would actually do any good. Before using this I used a Clinique exfoliator which is massively grainy and leaves you with completely smoothed skin, but you are very aware of the hardcore scuffing you're doing during usage. This is not the case with the Microfoliant as it just feels like you're washing your face with a cleanser. Until you wash it off! Then you realise that in fact it has done an excellent job at buffing the skin, but has done it in a very gentle fashion. Because it's so gentle, you can use it daily (hence the name) which is handy if you love that just buffed feeling. This is a very good product. Not one of Dermalogica's best, but definitely innovative and a worthy member of my collection. I wouldn't say it smooths your skin as well as some others I've used do, but this is because the exfoliators I use are rather aggressive, so in comparison this well and truly holds it's own. I would say that this keeps my skin pretty buffed and I notice a great difference after use. I use a lot of other Dermalogica products, all of which I started using at roughly the same time, so I can't say whether it's made a drastic difference to my overall skin or not, but I have dry patches on my cheeks and these are always smoother after use. I would say this product is best suited to those with oilier skins due to the fact that after use my skin can feel very tight (all over, including my oily parts) and in desperate need of moisture, so if you have very dry skin then I would imagine that this wouldn't help too much. Word or warning, if you plan to use this in the shower as I do, then be extra careful when you open the bottle to dispense the product as if you get any water in the container then the whole thing is wasted. However, once the lid is closed you can drop it in the bath to your hearts content, as it's completely airtight. I believe this retails at around £22, depending on where you get it from. Which, in my opinion, isn't too expensive considering what it achieves and the brand's reputation. You get a lot of product for your money, it's a good part of a daily skin regime and on that basis I would buy again.
Givenchy have been given quite a lot of credit for designing the brush that's the main attraction of this mascara. I'd agree with the hype and say that the brush is definitely brilliant and effective - when showing it to a male friend recently (who knows nothing about make-up) he said 'why aren't all mascaras that shape?' which is a good point! I think in time this style of brush will take over; L'oreal have jumped on the bandwagon already. I read about this mascara a while ago and wanted to try it, but being someone who buys a new mascara pretty much every week, I waited a while until I'd made a bit of progress with my ever-growing batch. I finally got around to trying it and was massively impressed with the results of the brush, however, not so much the mascara itself. The brush is a round globe like shape with spikes coming out of it. All the spikes get coated in mascara and so you can easily apply it to every lash. You can do this by using it at any angle which makes application to tiny lashes much easier. With bigger brushes, to get to the small lashes you need to go at them with the brush facing your eye, rather than horizontally along your eye, which puts you at risk of touching the eyelid itself with the brush. This is especially unhelpful as the tip of the brush is where a lot of mascara tends to collect, so the risk is really smudgy, badly applied mascara. This mascara has almost eradicated that risk (unless you're very heavy handed) which means you can truly get stuck in to every tiny little lash available. The result is a lovely, fanned out look and a few people have asked me what fake lashes I use when wearing this which gives you an idea of how handy the wand is. However.......the mascara itself is very poor. For such an expensive mascara (around £18) you'd expect a high grade mascara that wouldn't cause many problems. But this mascara smudges at the most astonishing rate. Within an hour of application I have black smudges all the way around my eye are, including just below my eyebrow from where the lashes hit the skin. This is the sort of thing I would expect from a really cheap mascara, which is why I tend to avoid them. I get the feeling that the makers didn't feel the need to put much effort into the mascara itself, having had such a breakthrough with the brush. This made the whole experience of using it very disappointing. I absolutely love this brush, so much so I've even been toying with the idea of drying it off and using it in other mascaras to try and get the best of both worlds. However I definitely won't be buying this mascara again purely and simply because it's such poor quality. I figured it would only be a matter of time before other brands brought out something similar, and as I mentioned earlier, L'Oreal have, so I bought one of theirs today and will be trying it out tomorrow. The packaging is pretty, as you'd expect from Givenchy. It comes in a small black cylinder with a chrome lid that has the Givenchy logo carved into it. It's a very attractive addition to anyone's make up bag. Removal is easy (assuming there's any left to remove and you haven't smudged it all away.....) and it comes off nice and quickly with any standard eye make up remover. So in summary, the brush is amazing and the mascara itself is terrible. I was truly shocked at how much it smudged as I've used so many far cheaper mascaras which have been much better at staying put. I don't wear contacts, my eyes don't water and I don't have particularly oily eyes so it can only be an issue with the mascara formula. Only buy if you can really afford it; if you can't then try the alternatives first.
Over the past few years there's been a massive boom in popularity of mineral powder make up. You can get pretty much anything 'mineralised' now, including mineral blush, bronzer, eye shadow and even kohl in a mineral powder formula. You can also get solidified mineral products which follow the same theory, that being that minerals come from the earth and are therefore better for your skin than chemically enhanced and processed make up. Mineral make up is a great idea and generally lives up to the hype. I don't know anyone who has anything negative to say about the standards of mineral make up and how it usually achieves exactly what it says it will. However, here's my review of the Bare Escentuals foundation powder...... Being a cosmetics obsessive, as soon as the hype took off surrounding mineral make up, I did my research, found out who did the best product and bought the foundation. I still agree that Bare Escentuals do the best mineral foundation, however I'm just not a fan of mineral make up in generally and probably never will be. The Bare Escentuals powder comes in a plastic pot with a sieve type lid inside and a black lid on the outside. The sieve lid is so you can sprinkle out the powder into the black lid in preparation for application. You then take a firm powder brush (if you're considering purchasing this product then I'd suggest buying the brush too as you really do need a specific type of brush for it) and swirl it in the powder that you've tipped into the lid. You then take the brush against the lid to remove any residual powder, so that you're not putting too much product on your skin too quickly. Then you have to buff the powder into your skin. You do this using a firm circular motion all over your face. It's best to start off lightly and build up more for extra coverage. The product is available in various shades and you can mix shades together to find your perfect match. Whilst this is a good idea, it will work out rather expensive. However, a regular pot of this make up will last you a very long time, so I suppose it balances out financially eventually. It's widely available both online and offline and there are many retailers on eBay. There are also quite a few Bare Escentuals shops dotted around the UK, as well as their online shop. Price wise, regular pots start from about £17 upwards. You can also purchase starter kits from most shops that sell the brand. Now to my review! I find using mineral products a pain. I am one of those unfortunate types who has an awkward skin tone, so I have to mix up the right shade whenever I want to use it. I am also a believer in quick fixes, especially as I'll always choose an extra ten minutes in bed over spending who knows how long prepping my make up for application. I like to apply it and go, so I resent all the fiddling that's involved in prepping my colour and that's before we start the whole swirling and buffing process of application. I find it all so tedious, but then if it was amazing stuff I would probably still force myself to put up with it. However, I do believe that there are far more effective types of foundation available on the market today (Mac's new one, for example, review to follow shortly). In a sense, this foundation is quite impressive as it does give reasonable coverage and if you're lucky enough to have the skin colour of one of the ready made shades and the time to muck about with the application then this is a worthy purchase, but I'm writing this review from my perspective and I find that all the work that's involved isn't worth it. I don't feel that it makes a big difference to my skin and I do feel a little clogged up when I'm wearing it. By that I mean that I'm aware of it's presence on my face, which generally I don't enjoy in foundation. I also find that the powder sticks to my dry patches making them even more obvious which is not helpful, even if I've moisturised the areas well and primed them with a suitable primer. On the plus side, it does conceal my spots quite well and this saves having to use much concealer. But if you do want to use concealer then it is suggested that you use it under the powder foundation. This is another thing I don't like as you have to be firm with your application of the powder which I feel risks rubbing off the concealer. So in conclusion, this is not a terrible product for me, but not a brilliant product either. Maybe I was expecting too much, but then again I was excited about my newest foundation and after several weeks of wearing it I still am, so I guess this means that I fall into the minority of those who just don't like mineral powder.
Just like all the other make-up categories, I have a large quantity of various lipsticks. I am always on the hunt for the perfect pink with the perfect texture and whilst I wouldn't say I've found it in this particular lipstick, it's certainly come close. The shade I bought was the Bubblegum Pink which is a pretty, fairly bright pink. This lipstick appealed to me as I have very dry lips and I'm always applying lip balm. As anyone who wears pink lipstick will know, you can't pull it off on chapped lips no matter how determined you are! But this lipstick is great as it covers two problems: the first being that it's very moisturising and the second that it's a good solid colour which makes it considerably different to tinted lipbalms. It retails at around a fiver and is available at Boots and various other chemists. I feel the name Water Shine is a tad deceiving as it implies that it'll give a really glossy finish which it doesn't. It gives more of a rich lipstick finish which I personally rather like, although those who are looking for lip gloss in a stick will be disappointed. Another benefit of this lipstick is that it can be either worn as a very sheer wash of colour, or built up to stronger coverage. Obviously as with most moisturising lipsticks this will need to be reapplied regularly, however if you start off with a good base of lip liner (Rimmel do great lip crayons with a wonderful colour selection) then this can be forced to last longer. Package wise it's your fairly run of the mill lipstick. It has a pretty pink and silver cover and the lipstick twists up. I would definitely recommend this product to those who have dry lips as for a budget buy this has proven excellent.
The things we put ourselves through for vanity. Waxing has to be at the top of my list as one of the most ridiculous thing to do to yourself, however, I appreciate that it has it's benefits and is an effective hair removal system. Waxing is a process that is achieved by applying wax to an area of hair, then applying a strip of cloth to stick to the wax, then pulling the whole thing off. This results in the hair being ripped out of the skin from the root. Most beauty salons offer this treatment, however it has can also be done at home by purchasing wax strips. This is very similar to the above procedure, the only difference being that the wax strips are strips of cloth with wax on them, so it cuts out the part where you need to apply the wax yourself. Although you can also buy wax ands strips individually. This will mean that you'll need to heat up the wax and melt it to right temperature so that it will spread evenly across your hairy bits, but won't burn you. It all sounds so utterly charming doesn't it? Most parts of the body can be waxed, however as a fair female, I only have experience of waxing my legs, underarms and bikini line. I've had this done in a salon and done it myself at home. If you can afford it, I would suggest having it done by a professional as it's very fiddly and if you don't get it right you can bruise yourself quite easily. If you're planning to do it yourself, read the instructions carefully. Also, try to pull the skin as taught as possible, as this minimises the pain (supposedly.....) and puts you at a lower risk of bruising. There are quite a few benefits to waxing. Firstly, it's more long-term than shaving or depilation as it pulls the hair right from the root. This means on average it'll take around a month to grow back. Also, continuous waxing takes it toll on the individual hair roots therefore weakening them so eventually you'll have less regrowth. Lastly the finish can be very smooth, so it's a great treatment if you're going on holiday and don't want to worry about hair removal for the duration of your break. Regrowth is also more pleasant as you haven't blunt cut the hair with a razer, so it grows back softer and you're less prone to that stubbley feeling. In my experience, the downside of waxing is that I don't find it totally effective at removing all my leg hair. I have very fine hair that is barely visible and very soft, but I still want it gone and for some reason wax doesn't always grab it sufficiently. Plus, if you have any dry bits then the wax will stick to the skin like glue and you'll really struggle to remove any hair, which is a real pain for my horrid, dry knees. I find, after I've been waxed, I end up maintaining my legs with a razor as even though you can't see the hair, you can feel it. Of course, the main negative for waxing is the pain; especially on your bikini area! My Beauty Therapist tends to book my appointment when she's confident that there won't be many other's in the salon, as the obscenities that I yell are rather awful! I'm usually so mild mannered.....maybe I'm just a wimp :) I find taking a paracetamol beforehand can help. Waxing is a great way of removing hair if you can't be bothered with shaving. It's suitable for both sexes (although I believe it is unsuitable for men's facial hair) and can be used pretty much all over. However, if you can be bothered with shaving then I'd suggest sticking with it. There are many other hair removal techniques available, all with different pros and cons, so I'd definitely suggest doing your research before committing to waxing.
Gumtree is a site that I used to be a little obsessed with, mainly because it's aimed at your local area (the default is London but they cover many other areas too) so I thoroughly enjoy nosing through the Missed Connections and Desperately Seeking posts, mainly to establish if I have been missed or desperately sought, however, sadly, I have not. Obviously Gumtree has many uses including looking for jobs, somewhere to live, furniture, tickets and various other things you might like to buy. I find it particularly handy when I want to buy something but I'm not sure whether it's a good idea e.g. an exercise bike. I wanted to quit the gym (I wanna quit the gym!) but didn't want to give up on the idea of exercising completely, so I thought I should buy something for cardio to keep at home. Exercise bikes are pretty expensive, so I thought I'd be better off buying a second hand one and if I was still using it say, 6 months later, I'd invest in a more expensive one. Thankfully I know myself very well and the bike can now only realistically be described as heavy, in-the-way, modern art. Most of my friends use Gumtree for various things, but I find myself looking on there at least once a week, either for tickets for gigs that have sold out, or browsing the missed connections to establish that I'm still not missed. At all. Ever....... As with any other site, it's worth being aware of the fact that posting is pretty easy on there so scams are around in a lot of the forums, as well as people who are just out to be mean. So take that into account before posting on there. There are also forums for things like language swap, people who want to make a band, people who write and want feedback and workshops, so all in all I'd say Gumtree is a very handy site, that's completely free and thoroughly enjoyable to browse.
Online dating has come a long way in recent years. When I first became familiar with it, it had a taboo attached that gave the impression that it was for people who were incapable of dating in the 'real world'. Thankfully that has now changed considerably, and it seems you are as likely to meet someone suitable online as you are offline. I absolutely love internet dating. Within this review I will be discussing mainly dating sites, although obviously there are many other online ways to meet people like in forums and social networking sites. I have met one long-term partner through a social networking site, but that was mainly because he was a friend of a friend and I very much doubt we would've met were it not for that connection. So! What's so good about internet dating? From my experience, the brilliance of internet dating is that you are forced to get to know each other as people with personalities without being under the influence of other factors such as looks, figure and, erm, alcohol. Yes most profiles will have a picture attached, but more often than not, if you're on a dating site you'll be seeking more than just the physical aspect in a partner. Obviously there are many on them who are just looking for someone who is physically perfect, but I feel that these types of people won't have much success. This is because you are given a whole page to write about yourself, what you like to do and what you look for in a partner. This is one of the most important differences between online and offline dating, as unless you're a tad odd/impatient, you're not going to launch into these types of vivid descriptions with someone you've just met are you? So in a sense you are already narrowing down the search and eradicating anyone unsuitable. The theory being that you won't be approached by those you have nothing in common with. Originally I suppose the taboo was correct in the sense that the internet was full of geeks and internet dating was for geeks who wanted to date. This is fine (please don't get me wrong, I'm a geek and a geek lover!) but more recently people who are too good looking or make incorrect first impressions are utilising online dating to it's full worth. This has created the changeover and made online dating far more common which can only be a good thing. The downside to internet dating is that profiles are created by the person and therefore could be made up or give the illusion of something that isn't fact. However I feel that's just as likely in real life; you could meet someone and everything they say could be a lie, how would you know? I've had quite a few dates from internet sites. Firstly I am very selective about who I meet. I know there are many who hate the whole e-mailing process and insist on meeting up as soon as possible, but that sort of approach isn't for me. I like to really get to know someone first via e-mails and MSN before planning to meet. I have done this on several occasions and most of these have turned into relationships. In fact, my last three relationships were from internet dating sites and I am very excited about my next date who I have been communicating with for 7 months! Obviously 7 months is a tad extreme - he's in the army - but generally I'll communicate for a few months before meeting up. I really think it's worth having a period of getting to know each other beforehand as I enjoy the whole experience and it makes me much more excited about the actual meet. It helps me eradicate the unsuitables :) So in conclusion, I have found love online. I have only been in love once and it was with a man who I met on a dating site. Sadly it didn't work out between us, but I can safely say that had I met him offline our relationship would've happened in the exact same way. The only difference being that I very much doubt our paths would've crossed if it weren't for the internet. Some sites that I've had success with are: www.datingdirect.com I wrote a review on this site. If you're really committed to finding someone online then this is a good place to start as it's very popular www.plentyoffish.com I have several friends who have made wonderful connections on here and two of which are in long-term relationships with members of this site. www.girlsdateforfree.com A site that is free for women. The problem is that you do - for whatever reason - get a lot of strange individuals on here! That was a polite way of putting it wasn't it? This is the site where I met the man I fell in love with though, so it can't be all bad......
I've never really been one for collection points. I've certainly got all the cards (Clubcard, Nectar etc) but I never manage to remember to get the cards out and produce them at the correct time. However, I am very different with my Boots card, mainly because you reap rewards so quickly for doing something that you would be doing anyway. You get 4 points for every £1 you spend in store. This works out at 4p for every £1. This probably doesn't sound like a lot, but in comparison to many other similar schemes this is actually very generous. I do a lot of shopping at Boots, just check out my other reviews to see how much I spend on cosmetics, so this scheme is of huge benefit to me. The thing I love about Boots is that, even though it's mainly a cosmetics store and pharmacy, they do stock quite a bit else, like food and phone credit. I do my best to buy all my phone credit here as I get points for it. You can use your card to buy anything in store (assuming you have enough on your card to cover it) and building up points is very quick and easy for someone like me who shops regularly for vanity items. Being a cardholder also entitles you to a free copy of their magazine which I really enjoy reading. Yes it's a tad pushy with the sales tactics (look what you can buy with your Boots points once you've collected enough!!) but it's also a good read full of useful hints, tips and ideas. There aren't really any negatives to having a card like this as it doesn't cost you anything and involves minimal effort (you swipe it at the till when you pay for your items) but I would say that it probably influences me a little in regards to where I shop i.e. if I'm about to buy something, I'll check if Boots have it first because I want the points. The other minor downside is that you can't pay with points in part. Meaning that you can only pay for something with your points card if you have enough to cover the whole price. You can't pay part cash, part points. In larger Boots stores there are also kiosks where you can find money off vouchers and information on relevant in-store promotions. You do this by inserting your card, much like an ATM, and you can update details and check what's on offer. So in summary I'd say that this is a really good card with an encouraging scheme that's definitely worth having in your wallet.
Oh Sky+, where have you been all my life? I absolutely love this system and would not do without it. When I was younger and living with my mum in our somewhat technologically backward household, I was unfamiliar with anything other than the standard 4 (as it was back then....back in the day.....) channels. Then one day I spent a weekend staying at my fathers who had recently installed Sky. I was mesmerised with the choices available and ever since then I've been pretty much obsessed. Within a week of receiving my first wage, I had the installation booked and I was ready to give up on going out to indulge my channel hopping fantasies. Then they released Sky+. After the initial confusion regarding the understanding of the service (what do you MEAN you pause live TV????) I was saving for the appropriate system and once it was installed I started going out and seeing friends again. How sad it is to say that it changed my life, but it did! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the service, it's a box that records television shows for you so you can watch them at a later date. Yes it is, in a sense, a glorified video recorder, but there's so much more to it! Firstly, and most importantly, the TV works around you. No more waiting for the break to go to the toilet, as you pause it and go. You can be sitting around watching live television and pause it for as long as you like, or at least as long as your system memory will allow. Like a computer, you can buy systems with larger memories which means that you can record more. Another benefit of this system is that you can record two shows at once. So if you're watching something that clashes with something else you wanted to watch, you can record it. Also, you can record two shows at once whilst watching another show you've already recorded. Whenever I watch live TV, I always pause it for around 10 minutes or so so I can then fast forward to ad breaks when they arrive. Sky Anytime is another great thing that comes with Sky+. It's built into your system and records shows and upcoming movies (if you have the movies package) so that you can watch them straight away rather than have to wait until they're on and recorded. I realise I've spent the majority of this review gushing like a lovesick teenager, but I really do love this service and I feel it makes such a difference to my viewing pleasure. If I miss something said on the TV I can rewind it and hear it again. If I see something I like I can rewind it as many times as I like and watch it over and over. I never have to worry about missing my favourite shows, all I do is find the first episode, select series link and then every episode in that series will be automatically recorded for me as soon as it airs. What an amazing invention it is. Here's an annoying way to end my review: I paused the show I was watching to write this :)
Ladies and gentlemen, here we have my current favourite mascara. I'm a bit of a make-up fiend and consequently I get considerable pleasure out of the make-up shopping experience, especially when a new product comes out that excites me. To me, Maybelline are the best low cost range available. In fact, at one stage all but one of my daily make-up products were made by Maybelline. This is quite a statement considering I use YSL, Lancome, Chanel and Mac regularly, so to have a low cost range outdo those brands is pretty impressive. A recurring theme in my hunt for better make-up is finding the ultimate mascara. Recently I realised that in 3 months I've managed to collect every mascara in the Lancome range. Which is rather riduculous really isn't it. In my defense though, 2 of them were sample sizes. I love Lancome mascaras but the one I was using most recently has been replaced by this product. I bought this mascara from Boots for around £7. I believe they have a special on for Maybelline make-up (they often do) so if you're considering buying this you should definitely check out Boots beforehand. Normally as soon as I hear of a new product from a favourite range I will go out and by it. But I took my time with this one for one reason; the horrid colour of the packaging! Yellow and purple, why?!? I know this makes me sound incredibly fickle, but it's the most ghastly looking packaging I have ever seen. I'm surprised at Maybelline as they're usually quite good with their packaging, just look at Great Lash. There's an example of clashing colours that work on make-up packaging. This yellow and purple debacle is just awful though, I still squirm daily when I go to apply my mascara......yes I'm a little strange. When you open the product you are greeted with a decent length wand and a very fat brush. The emphasis of this mascara is on volume, an effect which is usually achieved with a fat brush with lots of bristles. That's exactly what you get with this wand. The whole mascara is chunky which means it's easy to grip when you are applying. One thing I love about Maybelline mascaras is that they seem to have the whole anti-clumping technique spot on. You can really build up your lashes with this one without forming giant clumps. I would whole-heartedly recommend this to a friend and have done so already. I always find that I can spend 20 minutes applying make-up, but until my mascara is applied I feel bare faced. This mascara really completes my look. I wouldn't say it's a particularly natural look as it really is boosting what nature gave you rather than gently complimenting it, but if you like dramatic lashes then this is definitely worth a try.