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I first tried this night repair serum when Estee Lauder were offering free samples and I was so impressed that I just had to buy some. Unfortunately it doesn't come cheap, at £44 for 30 ml direct from the Estee Lauder website, but for me it has been worth every penny. I have mature skin and this is a rich anti aging product so I'm not sure it would be right for everyone but Estee Lauder are quite generous with their samples so if you have a chance to try it then I would recommend you do. The product comes in a smart bottle with a dropper so you can measure out just a few drops. This actually helps make the product last a long time as you don't use too much. They recommend you use it every night on clean skin and they suggest a rather complicated method of application - apply five drops one on each fingertip, touch fingertips of both hands together and massage over face and neck starting at the centre outward. Personally I find that a bit fiddly so I put a few drops into the palm of one hand and when it has warmed to body temperature simply smooth it on my face and neck with the fingertips of my other hand. It does say to follow it with your usual night moisturiser but I don't find that necessary. For me the serum is rich enough alone, although if I want to give my skin a special treat I will add Estee Lauder's Time Zone night cream - from another sample pot! The serum is fragrance free with just a slight natural smell and the texture is silky smooth so that it sinks into the skin really quickly. For me it has the advantage of not feeling greasy like using a cream or oil at night. It's hard to say if it has visibly reduced the signs of ageing - there are so many of them - but my skin definitely looks better when I use it. The serum contains hyaluronic acid, which is said to be one of the most powerful and hydrating ingredients on the market. I can't claim to know much about the science behind it but I do know that in the morning the lines on my face are less obvious and my skin looks well rested. With continued usage it seems to have evened out my skin tone and dark marks have faded. It also makes my skin feel soft and plumped up and looking as good first thing in the morning as its going to. All this makes me feel good and so it's definitely one of my favourite products.
Having taken up baking in a big way I was looking to upgrade from my simple hand held mixer to one that would save my aching arms and allow me to multi task. I'd also found that my mixer's motor didn't have the power for large batches and even with my biggest bowl too much mix ended up on my kitchen tiles. So I was looking for a reliable stand mixer with a powerful motor and good capacity at a reasonable price. I also wanted to be able to keep it on my kitchen worktop without it taking over the space. The Kenwood Prospero Compact Stand Mixer has fitted the bill nicely.
Firstly, as its name suggests, it is a compact 31.5cm x 24cm x 28.5cm so it doesn't take up too much room. Not having to take it in and out of a cupboard was really important to me, although as it only weighs 5kg it would easily be possible. The matt silver finish is a good match with other kitchen appliances, although as it comes with its own liquidiser, food processor and citrus press I've been able to get of rid of some of them.
It has a decent 650 watt motor and a large 4.3 litre bowl which easily copes with a large cake mix
and it also has a splash guard so I don't have to clean my tiles every time I make a cake. My only problem now is I find it doesn't mix small amounts as efficiently so I'm beginning to think I shouldn't have given away the hand mixer!
The Prospero comes with a K beater, whisk and dough hook which just about covers anything you might want to make and there are 6 speeds so its easy enough to keep control of your mixing. Its a little bit noisy but I was expecting that and it all seems pretty easy to keep clean. My only complaint is that there is not an automatic release button for the beaters so you have to pull them out manually which can be a bit mucky when they're covered in cake mix! And I do find that the design of the K beater means its difficult to remove all the mix from it. One revelation has been the spatula that came with it. I hadn't used one before and I was amazed at how clean it leaves the bowl. Only thing is there's nothing left to lick!
I've used the processor with the simple blades to cut butter into flour for pastry but I haven't yet tried out the various slicing attachments which would make quick work of a coleslaw. And the liquidiser is a full 1.5 litre size so its good for smoothies and will prove useful for soup in the winter. I don't think I will bother with the citrus press though, it seems a bit of an overkill just to squeeze a lemon! There are other attachments you can buy for it though and I would consider buying the mincer.
As I bought this mixer for under £150 it was excellent value for money and Kenwood's track record speaks for itself so I'm expecting it to last me well into retirement.
I'm always on the lookout for products which will give my skin that perfect finish and so when I heard about BB creams I thought they might be just what I was looking for. I don't like a heavy 'made up' look but I do want to cover up a variety of imperfections from age marks to tiny veins and BB creams claim to hydrate, cover and illuminate all in one step. Having read about them in women's magazines, the Garnier BB cream was the first one I actually saw in the shops. It contains mineral pigments which it claims give an instantly perfect skin and as I have used mineral make up before and been pleased with it I thought I would give it a try. I bought it from Boots for £9.99 which I thought was a reasonable price. Unfortunately though I wasn't impressed. To begin with, I couldn't quite believe that a single cream could provide my mature skin with all the hydration it needs, so the first time I used it I applied a moisturiser first. Initially it seemed ok. The cream has a light pleasant texture and it smoothed on easily giving a gentle matt finish. It didn't however give as much cover as I needed over imperfections so I still had to use a concealer on some areas. Then, about half an hour later, my skin looked shiny and greasy. Initially I thought this was because I had used a moisturiser but when I tried it again directly onto clean skin I found that my T zone still looked greasy and the rest of my face felt dry and tight. It certainly didn't do anything to blur imperfections or soften lines as it claims. In fact it was too sheer to cover imperfections and without additional moisturiser lines seemed to be more obvious. It does say that it can be used as a primer for make up but as it doesn't provide the hydration I need I don't think it would work for me and having to apply foundation over it also seems to defeat the object of a BB cream. I have since used other BB creams that retail for a similar price and they have been much better so I wouldn't recommend this one.
Although I use a range of products in my cleanse, tone and moisturise routine at home, when I go on holiday I look for something simpler. Olay's 2 in 1 day cream and serum therefore caught my eye when I was shopping recently for a short break in Amsterdam. Having a mature dry combination skin I have to say I'm a serum lover! My routine just doesn't seem complete without one. So I was pleased to see that this cream combines a firm and lift day cream with a serum and it's also an anti-wrinkle product. Added to that, it was on offer when I bought it at £5 so it was a bargain and it comes in a 50ml size so it was small enough to pack in my hand luggage. Too good to be true? I don't think so. The cream is smooth and silky to apply, has a light pleasant fragrance and provides a good base for make up with my skin being well moisturised without being greasy. You don't need much of it, so there was easily enough for my week away and for my next trip or two. In fact I liked the product so much that I'm now using it at home for days when I don't have time for the full routine.