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My youngest daughter loves ice lollipops all year round so they are a regular item on my shopping list. Recently she has had a yearning for lemon or lemonade lollipops but when I received my latest shopping order from Tesco groceries online we found that they had substituted the cheaper lemonade lollies I'd ordered with Del Monte Mango Smoothie lollies. At time of writing these are available at Tesco on a two for the price of one offer for £2.49 which is quite expensive for 3 lollies I think (good for the 6 you will get until the 2.7.12 though). If you think of it as £2.49 for 3 90ml smoothies, which is what they are to all intents and purposes perhaps not so bad? Although we like mangoes as a family none of us likes smoothies very much, but as this is a nice healthy lolly we kept them to try. I've had to rewrite some of this review as my opinion on them has changed fairly dramatically since first trying one. I was a bit dubious as to whether my daughter would like these as she doesn't like ice cream lollies and the texture of this is more akin to ice cream than a liquid iced lolly. When we opened the box and got one out of the wrapper we liked the shape, rounded a little like a Solero or Magnum without the chocolate on, and it looks nice and solid on the stick. I'm aware these are a very good product, fat free and packed with all the goodness of the fruit packed into a cool relatively healthy snack on a stick with only 98 calories per lolly, and suitable for vegetarians. However they are not pure fruit, they contain 30% fruit puree. I feel the sugar content is quite high (22%) and that is without the glucose syrup which is just another type of sugar, there are also other ingredients which act as stabilisers etc. These are a popular lolly so please forgive me for what I'm about to say. Initially we all hated them; in fact revulsion is quite an accurate word. My daughter took one look at the unwrapped product and refused to touch it as she didn't like the look of the sticky strings which seemed to stretch between lolly and wrapper as it was peeled off. Frustratingly if she doesn't like the look of something nothing on earth will get her to try it. So I began touting them to the rest of the family and tried the opened one myself. Words are not enough to describe how disgusting I thought this lolly was. It was slimy, slippery and sticky in texture; these are qualities of which I'm not overly fond in any aspect of my life but particularly food. The flavour was of course of mangoes and cannot be faulted in that repect. However I felt it was very sugary and acidic at the same time, and although mango is quite a sweet fruit I don't find the raw fruit over sugary or sickly. The husband at first refused to take a bite of the lolly as he didn't like the look of it either. However when I knelt on his chest, pushed the lolly towards his lips and said 'go on bite it I want your opinion' he seemed to relent. He didn't like it and refused another bite 'just to make sure' even with the addition of the other knee. I noticed that my eldest daughter who is a very healthy eater had taken one, but I found the stick surrounded by what looked like pretty much the whole melted smoothy pooled in a sticky mess in her bin, thank goodness for bin liners. Here comes the opinion change. The box contained 3 lollies so there was still one left, I thought I'd give it another shot before writing the review just to refresh my memory and not to waste the entire thing by throwing it out. This time the lolly had spent a little longer in the freezer between shop and mouth (the others were tried not long after delivery). Although the wrapper still stuck a little to the lolly it came away fairly cleanly. The lolly looked much more appetising and firm with no trace of slime. When I bit into it I found the texture smooth and more ice cream like than the initial sampling, and the over sweetness and any acidity were moderated by the correct cold temperature. I found that the lolly softened more quickly than a juice lolly and towards the end the texture I disliked had reasserted itself somewhat (I'm a slow eater). I quite enjoyed this second bash at the product. In the end these got resounding thumbs down from my whole family even though I'm sure most people wouldn't mind the softer texture when not straight from the fridge. However when eaten at the right temperature and not slightly defrosted as they seem to have been when they arrived in my Tesco order they are a delicious fairly healthy (not totally because of the high sugar content) and low calorie snack they just don't seem to suit me and my family. Even though my review is fairly negative this is a nice product and healthier than many as real fruit puree is used, hence the 4 stars despite the fact that I won't buy them, or even accept them as a substitute again.
I don't drink a lot of coffee, when I do have a cup it is sugared and milked up to the extent that it is virtually unrecognisable as coffee. However in this adulterated state I do quiet fancy a cup now and then, my daughter is the only other person in the house that drinks coffee and has to have a cup with her breakfast. When I bought Nescafe fine blend more for myself as it is a 'smooth mild' brew I expected complaints and sneering from my fussy offspring but not a bit of it. I now have to buy this as our regular coffee it seems that she is not as robust in her coffee tastes as she had me believe. Anyway, at the time of writing this can be bought for £1.99 for 100g at Tesco, and is readily available elsewhere too. I assume it can be bought in other sizes however for some reason I have yet to see them online (including Nescafe's own website) or in store so my assumption could well be wrong. Nescafe say of this variety of their coffee "we use a carefully balanced blend of Arabica and Robusta beans and lightly roast it to make a smooth and gentle coffee". I'm not a coffee connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination so I don't know my Arabica from my Civit poo coffee (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak) but as grannies have been saying from time immemorial, 'I know what I like' and I do like this. When you burst through the inner seal unlike with some varieties a strong coffee scent does not immediately assail your nostrils, though it is apparent if you take a sniff. For me this is a good thing as it seems to imply that it really will be gentle with me. The coffee itself is a powder and not granules. This makes it very easy to dissolve and I can imagine that this might make it handy for use in cooking too. I think I must have a peculiar metabolism as caffeine seems to have very little to no effect on me. I could drink a few shots of espresso and fall asleep with no problem whatsoever... unfortunately because there are times when I could do with a shot of something to keep me awake. Therefor I can't really judge whether this is a good wake me up coffee or not but my daughter seems to find it refreshing in this capacity. The flavour is 'clean' somehow, distinct and has no 'muddiness' which I sometimes find with cheap instant coffee. This isn't my favourite coffee but it's pretty close if you really don't like strong coffee then this is almost idiot proof, as it is quite difficult to make a cup that is too bitter or overpowering. Even though there is no bitterness with this coffee there is in my opinion plenty of flavour with enough depth and complexity so that you don't feel short changed in the taste department. I have been buying Tesco's own brand coffee which was bearable but not terribly popular; although the Fine Blend is a little more expensive In the long run it has balanced out financially. As I wouldn't be embarrassed to offer this to visitors so don't feel the need to have several different brands and types of coffee available, and we get to drink a coffee that we actually like too. This coffee is probably not for a coffee connoisseur or someone who likes a deep rich flavour, but for those of us who like the convenience of instant, and enjoy a milder flavour then this does a lovely job. All in all it lives up to its claim of being mild and smooth and at a reasonable price too.
I have become a regular buyer of many of Tesco's own value brand, now slightly rebranded as 'Tesco Everyday...' rather than 'Tesco Value'. Some branded products we won't compromise on such as Heinz beans but for most things we have been pleased with budget options and this trifle is another one added to that list. While the husband has been recovering from corrective knee surgery he developed a craving for sweet stuff, in particular trifle. While I am perfectly capable of knocking up an acceptable trifle at the moment all non-essential cooking has ceased. Caring for Mr Invalid (who is frankly pushing his luck), combined with all the other things that life consists of just doesn't leave me in the mood for cooking. So when I saw this 450g Everyday trifle for a mere 98p (at time of writing) it went straight into the basket. I have since tried the individual portions but the one I'm talking about is the larger variety which at a push will give 4 people a slightly mean portion and two a greedy one. The cardboard sleeve on the trifle is attractive and gives nutritional information etc clearly and in a prominent place so you don't have to flip the trifle over if you want to find out how many calories etc are in it. For example a third of the pack which is a reasonable serving contains 210 calories. The trifle is also suitable for vegetarians but does contain milk, butter and eggs so not suitable for vegans and strict non egg eating veggies (it also contains gluten). This trifle consists of strawberry jelly, with the usual sponge bits in it with a decent smattering of actual strawberries. The custard layer is lovely and smooth and in my opinion neither to firm or too runny, the top layer of whipped cream is delicious though I wouldn't have minded a slightly thicker layer, but the amount given is not mean and perfectly adequate I'm just greedy. When kept in the fridge for a few days the layers don't seem to separate or get watery as some trifles can. I've never really liked trifle in the past and at first it didn't even occur to me taste it. The husband though loved it and wolfed it down in one sitting - in hospital (he insisted I brought it in for him along with the ubiquitous bunch of grapes), the sight of him in his jammies in the middle of a busy ward scoffing a whole large trifle straight from the pack tickled my dad and I no end. A testament to how nice this trifle is that while the husband was wolfing it I thought the smell was very enticing and really made me want to try some. However it was a while before I gave in to the alluring aroma as I thought it would be a waste of money as I've fancied trifles in the past but the relationship always hit the rocks at first bite, the jelly was too thick, or too thin, the custard was too thick or lumpy and gloopy or runny. However when I took a mouthful of this Everyday trifle from the husbands bowl - though he was none too happy about this, I discovered my goldilocks trifle. For me the taste of the component parts and the texture of each layer are just right and combine very nicely together. I wouldn't say it's the best dessert I've ever tasted but for me it's certainly one of the nicest trifles. This product is also sold in 114g individual servings for 40p, and I can vouch for the fact that it tastes just the same as its larger counterpart. The packaging on the smaller pot says 'improved taste' I don't know what it tasted like before but it's very nice now. Unfortunately for my hips this is a product that I will now most certainly be adding to my dessert repertoire, and I don't think the husband will be getting a whole trifle to himself again for the foreseeable future either.
My dogs recently broke my beloved HP mini netbook, by charging to the door barking their heads off, they ran 'through' the power cable and yanked the netbook onto the floor with considerable force. So when I replaced my netbook with a laptop I decided to get a chill mat to go with it having seen my daughters high spec laptop knackered (temporarily luckily it was fixable) by overheating. I bought both my new laptop and the chill mat from the 'Very' catalogue which has allowed me to defer payment on the laptop until next year and will give me a chance to save up, otherwise I could not have afforded to replace it so quickly. The Targus chill mat was the only one they offered so I went with it as at £19 it seemed a reasonable price. The design is simple and light weight comprising of a softly rounded hollow plastic wedge. The area which sits against your lap (or table/desk) is covered in a soft dark grey neoprene fabric and feels very subtly cushioned. The top surface is perforated plastic which has a matt feel to it and has four little rubber 'stops' set about an inch in from each corner which grip the laptop firmly with no slip evident at all (these are movable). There are two fans to provide the cooling effect and these are activated by plugging the attached usb cable into your laptop. The whole thing is very lightweight and doesn't add much weight to the laptop which is great if you have it sitting on your lap for extended periods. I have been quite lucky that my new laptop seems to run quite cool so far anyway but in hot weather even a cool machine can overheat because of the ambient temperature. Also as I'm sure you know if using your laptop on a soft surface including your lap the vents can get blocked and lead not only to the machine overheating but also your lap. I always had to move my old Toshiba laptop around regularly and place it so that something was underneath it to hold it up from my lap and it was a pain having to constantly adjust my typing position etc. If only I'd know about the joy of a chill mat then. I find this product very easy and comfortable to use. My youngest daughter has a chill matt which looks slick and glossy but is quiet noisy, a little heavy and angular which can be uncomfortable if using your laptop in bed and you fall asleep with your face pressed against the chill matt... Not me honest. The Targus matt is very minimalistic there are no flashing lights or adjustable bits or even an on and off switch just the mat usb connector and the well hidden fans. I'm not a gamer so I can't say how the mat would perform for laptops being pushed to their limit. However I do use my laptop quite heavily for entertainment and word processing often having 20 or more tabs open at one time on Google chrome, sometimes having more than one window open at a time too, Dooyooing, watching films, dipping in and out of YouTube and Spotify, i-player etc. For my use the heat insulation is superb and even after using for quite some time I feel no heat coming through the matt to my skin, in fact on a warm day I find it even cools me a little too. The fans are very quiet and the first time I used the mat I could only tell it was working by a very faint vibration if I put my hands up against it, and of course by the cool air coming out of the perforated top. Despite being very quiet and having only one speed the cooling effect is quite dramatic and if I lift my laptop and feel between it and the mat the whole area including the base of my laptop is lovely and cool. The fans are placed towards the back third of the mat and are very well protected by a plastic guard which looks a bit like a small flattened colander covering them. This is good news if you have small children (or husbands) who might be tempted to put their hands through the open sides of the mat, or if you have deranged cats who might want to 'catch' the fans. The angle is very comfortable for writing and general use, and though I've long since adapted to touch typing on a 'flat' keyboard I find when using the mat I'm able to use the hand positions I was taught as a touch typist more easily. I've been surprised to notice that my typing is a little more accurate and faster at this inclined angle. The angle also makes for a comfortable viewing experience lifting the screen a little higher so your neck isn't constantly dipped down too much. My laptop has a 15 inch screen and fits perfectly on the mat, my beloved defunct 10 inch netbook sits beautifully on it too (I'm hoping to be able to get it fixed as it seems to be only the screen that's knackered). The husband's 17inch work laptop also sits nicely on it even though it is about a hundred years old and weighs nearly as much as I do, the lightweight and almost delicate feeling Targus handles it well. The rubber stops can be popped out from the perforated top as they their shape includes rubber 'pegs' on the underside which can be popped out and re popped in, in a different position on the mat. However my little 10 inch(ish) netbook sat on the surface fine with only its own rubber stops to keep it in place as I didn't bother moving the ones on the mat just to try it out for size. So in my opinion this mat would work well with most laptop shapes and sizes. I don't notice a significant drain on the battery charge through using this chill mat and the laptop still runs for about 4 hours between charges - a lot less than I'm used to with my netbook but not so bad for a heavily used laptop. One tiny thing that could have made this product slightly more ergonomic is to have somewhere to clip or stash the attached usb cable when not in use. The fact that it is attached to the mat is a big plus for me because I do have a terrible habit of losing things. However my absent mindedness is rivalled only by my clumsiness and I don't want to wreck my new best friend by ripping out the usb cable by catching it in something when carrying it about. This is hasn't been an issue so far though as the cable is not too long and dangly. I'd say it's about the right length not so long as to get in the way and not too short as to make it difficult to stretch between mat and laptop wherever your usb ports are located (mine are on the left hand side and the cable is attached centrally at the back of the mat). You can of course improvise and shove the attachment inside the curve of the mat, but it will pop out again easily, though I have found a discretely placed blob of Blu-tack helps with that issue. The mat is widely available online from Amazon, ebay, Targus just Google it and it's there. I'm not sure where to get it (if you can get it) on the high street because I do pretty much all my shopping online these days but it is available from PC world for one at about £16 I can't really fault this product at all and I'm hoping that the simplicity of the design will help with longevity, in fact I like is so much that I've ordered another one for my youngest so she doesn't lacerate her face on her old chill mat. The old one will be recycled to her older sister who is very together and never falls asleep face down on her lap top.
I've been lurking in the Dooyoo lounge again and spotted a first experiences category, for some reason I thought I'd already bored you all with this one, but it seems I haven't so gird your loins and prepare to yawn. FIRST LOVE My cat Timmy at the age of four, seriously no man (or woman) has come close since. FIRST JOB Tesco's checkout as a 'Saturday' (and Wednesday evening) girl when I was 16 and still at school, I lasted 2 months and have had an aversion to tills ever since. My first full time job was as a lab assistant in Hendrefoelan (part of Swansea) University and I loved it. FIRST TIME YOU GOT DRUNK Was at the grand old age of 18, my best friend at the time and I went for a stomp in the woods at dawn my favourite time of day. We picked fresh mushrooms (the wood was surrounded by fields festooned with mushrooms) and cooked them with bacon and eggs on a little gas camping stove for lunch. We were out all day worrying the wildlife, taking pictures and generally being prats. Later in the day just after a scary encounter with a stroppy mare Chris produced a bottle of warm Pomagne from his rucksack and we toasted my birthday, classy or what. There was another drink or two with my family when we got back home and I had to be put to bed. Best birthday ever...... cough.... FIRST TIME YOU CRIED AT A FILM Watching The Fox and the Hound (Disney) on video with my girls, I had to leave the room. I avoid animal films because if anything bad happens to them... and it usually does... I go to pieces, and I've never seen the point of watching something that is so upsetting it makes you cry. However when I had children of my own I had to sit through harrowing things like Bambi that I'd managed to avoid in my own childhood. Curse you Disney and your tear jerkers FIRST TIME YOU LOST SOMEONE SPECIAL That would be my cat Timmy (see above) my parents had him put down when my sister developed asthma and the Doc told them it was partially due to an allergy to animal 'dander'. They told me they'd given him away, but my dad confirmed years later what I knew instinctively, that they'd had him whacked, they claimed that he was ill and it wasn't just because of my wheezy sister (I do love her, honest). I'm still not over it.... Can you tell?... The first special person I lost was my best friend, who died in a motor cycle accident with her boyfriend when she was only 18. We'd been friends since before we started school drifting apart for a while but always getting back together; she was chalk to my cheese and full of confidence and daring. She brought me out of myself and I grounded her. I've lost elderly family members since but heart breaking though that is there is something particularly awful about losing someone so young. FIRST TIME YOU HAD YOUR HEART BROKEN See above 'Timmy', touch wood I seem to have escaped having my heart broken by a mere human so far. FIRST CAR I can't drive but the first car I remember as a child was the family Morris 1000, I still remember the smell of the seats, I loved that little car. FIRST FIGHT/HEATED ARGUMENT I haven't had many but the earliest I can remember was when I was about 4 or 5 and playing with friends in their back garden. An elephant moth caterpillar was spotted crawling across the paving. None of us had seen anything like it ever before we didn't even know it was a caterpillar at the time, Julie and Mandy freaked out and insisted we kill it. They threw a board over it and Mandy demanded that we all jump on it. I remember trying to persuade them very heatedly that it wasn't hurting us so we should leave it alone, or if they were scared -and I admit I was a little scared myself - get one of our parents to move it. I'm ashamed to admit that when push came to shove I jumped on the board with them crying the whole time. I always tried never to bow to peer pressure after that, and have tried to make an extra effort to bring my children up to question things and not do something that seems wrong just because others do. FIRST TIME YOU WERE PROMOTED/SACKED I have never been either. I have worked mostly in local government and you don't get promotions as such in that sector. You have to apply for the position so any jump in scale I've had has been through the application process. FIRST TIME YOU REALISED YOUR OWN MORTALITY I was quite young and don't remember the precise reason that I realised that we all die. I do remember the feeling of horror and disbelief that this wonderful life thing that we have comes to an end. It took me ages to get my head around the concept. FIRST TROPHY OR AWARD Blimey so many to choose from... Not FIRST KISS Do hamsters count? If not it was at 16 with my first boyfriend. I was a total idiot as far as relationships went and was so self-conscious, lacking in confidence and awkward that I was convinced that he had asked me out as a joke. The kiss was nice but I wasn't ready to have a boyfriend and stuck to boys as friends for another three years. You'd think that at my age the list of firsts would be becoming a bit thin on the ground, but they are still coming. First computer I personally would rate that almost right up there with first car, first grandchild (none yet and if I listen to my girls there never will be but I live in hope), first set of false teeth, first hip replacement... the list goes on and long may it do so for all of us.
My name is Julie I'm a chocaholic, seriously most of my 'over' weight is composed of the silky sweet treat. I have cut back dramatically on my choccy consumption, partly to save money but mainly to save my backside. However when I spotted a 400g box of Milk Tray in my local Co-op reduced to two pounds I couldn't resist the temptation. The normal price is around six! (£6 in Asda at the time of writing and £7 at Sainsbury's and other main supermarkets). In the 400g box you get two layers with 20 chocolates per layer, with ten flavours, each being repeated within each layer. I've never really been a boxed chocolate girl, preferring mine milk and straight from the bar or bag with few or no adulterations. Every now and then though I get a fancy for a change and while Thorntons or other similar high quality chocolates are my preferred choice a box of Milk Tray has always hit the spot too. I haven't eaten boxed chocolates for about three years and was looking forward to the indulgence. Everything seemed pretty much as I remembered it, though there is no coffee cream (hallelujah in my opinion) and the addition of a 'honey love' which is a strongly honey flavoured caramel, a thumbs down from me, but I can see that it could be a favourite for some. On opening the familiar purple box there is a nice waft of chocolatey goodness, however it's not that mouth-watering enveloping waft that I recall from days gone by and seems a little watered down somehow. There is a reasonable selection of flavours present in the box from orange and strawberry to fudge and caramel. Did I say a reasonable range, I should correct myself as I realised when I wrote the ' from this to that' bit that the only exception was the Turkish delight, and all the other flavours were toffee/truffle based which in my opinion doesn't give a wide enough taste palette. The orange flavour has morphed from a soft centre to an orange truffle centre which to be honest I wouldn't easily pick out as being orange flavoured unless I was told so. The strawberry flavour retains its soft centre but in my opinion is a generic sweet fondant which only vaguely resembles strawberry, however I don't think that is a change, and I seem to remember it always being a sickly generic goop. The Turkish delight square, which has always been my favourite Milk Tray chocolate, seems smaller than I remember and the filling doesn't seem to have that juicy rose flavoured zing that it once did the filling looking a dirty reddish brown rather than a vibrant ruby red. However it is still my favourite chocolate in the box. The other chocolates are pretty much as you would expect pleasant enough and quite satisfying, though for me the box was on the whole a bit of a disappointment. My daughter was kind enough to point out that perhaps the flavours don't seem as luscious as they once were because frankly I'm knocking on a bit now, and she sweetly reminded me that our taste buds don't work as well when were 'old' as when we're younger. However I refute this explanation (Pahhh! Tosh and nonsense youngster) as it's only a few years since I last sampled these chocolates. So I'm not recalling flavours from my youth in my dotage, but flavours from my optimistic middle age, to my less optimistic (cough) middle age. The chocolate while tasting ok and having a nice smooth texture seems to lack the thickness which makes a crisp click when you bite into it, and the rich creamy sensual depth of flavour that a good milk chocolate has. The fillings are pretty much of a muchness and I feel the selection needs something to stand out (in a good way not like the defunct coffee cream, apologies to all the coffee cream lovers out there) to give the box a feeling of a true taste bud tempting treat . The flavours are safe and inoffensive, but that means that there is no surprise or challenge and certainly for me no one chocolate which I would fight the rest of the family to get hold of. Despite my moaning I do enjoy these chocolates and at £2.00 on offer they were a superb buy and proved a nice treat enjoyed by the family. However I would no longer pay full price for my once favourite mid-range box of chocolates or be confident as giving it as a present on a special occasion. I find that I now prefer 'Roses' (chocolates not the flowers)to Milk Tray. Taken from http://www.ichange.com/nutrition/how-many-calories-in/milk-tray-chocolate each chocolate has approximately 43 calories! Ouch.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the last two seasons of the Walking Dead, and started to read the comics while waiting for season 2. I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of comics and graphic novels so when I realised in October last year that a novel 'The Rise of the Governor' had been released, based around one of the main big bad characters from the comics, who we will be meeting in season 3 of the T.V. show I had to read it. The book is written by Robert Kirkman the creator of the Walking Dead with horror writer Jay Bonansinga and like the series and comics the book dumps you straight in to zombie action. The book focuses on the story of brothers Philip and Brian Blake, and Philip's young daughter Penny and their journey towards the genesis of 'The Governor'. The story opens with Brian Blake the sensitive and (seemingly) weaker or more cowardly older sibling huddled in a cupboard with his 7 year old niece while his younger brother and their childhood friends Bobby and Nick go about clearing a comfortable house set on a private estate of it's now zombified inhabitants. With the aim of using it as a safe house on their journey to a (now genre staple) safe zone rumoured to be in Atlanta. The book follows the relationship between the small family and friends on this journey. Facing the ever present issues in current zombie fiction, for example do they fortify the place they find them selves in, which seems fairly secure and improvable or do they move on in search of other survivors and potential rescue at a 'safe zone' - which may or may not exist. I would say that the book is more focussed on the 'Genesis of the Governor' than the 'Rise of the Governor' as we don't follow his rise to power in this book, but more how he came to be. I love the zombie genre as to me amongst the horror and thrills lies a deep desire which I suspect is one I share, and seems to lie at the heart of many modern societies; the desire for a fresh start, even if it is among the rotting animated corpses of the old order. Unfortunately as in most zombie tales this fresh start doesn't usually go quite to plan and survivors find themselves falling into the same age old patterns of behaviour rather than developing a new order and technologies. The travails the little family experience during their journey challenge and change them in ways they could not imagine and as is common in the zombie genre not all encounters with other survivors are entirely successful. Their entry into Atlanta is a particularly dramatic and exciting chapter, and it is here that they first encounter other survivors. This interlude is both enlightening and exciting as we watch the development of the characters with zombie action sprinkled liberally at regular intervals throughout the narrative. The brothers eventually find themselves at a small fortified town, Woodbury and we see how they interact with the social order created here and deal with the autocratic and brutal man in charge. For further plot details you will of course have to read the book. A second book 'The Road to Woodbury' is due out in October this year and apparently a third is planned. In my opinion this book can be read as a stand alone piece, and as I had yet to come across the character of 'the Governor' I initially read it as such, although some frantic Googling of 'The Governor' did occur at certain points in the story. This book does however leave you wanting to know more about these characters and what is next for the Governor and his subjects. I became swept away in the world created by the writers, it was so well written I became unaware that I was actually reading, absorbing page after page as it was simply unfurling itself within my mind. We are given a good balance of character development, motivation behind their actions and excellent but not unnecessarily florid descriptions of the locations and action. The tone of the book is classically apocalyptic and atmospheric and kept me turning (metaphorical) pages as quickly as I could. I finished the book in two sessions and was left wanting more. I do feel that the 'Walking Dead t.v. series in general and also this book has so far emphasised the justification for the curtailment of civil liberties where the political model of a single strong leader for the group to survive is being promulgated, a slow build to this in the series, but more dramatically in the book. This is at odds with the actual political philosophy of cooperation and knowledge sharing which has been the characteristic of human society through the ages, it seems to be saying that this single leadership is a strength which has to be adopted in times of extremis. I would like to see how this philosophy develops and will we see the 'Walking Dead' return to a more collective form of leadership. This is a book like the series which doesn't just deal with the immediate aftermath of a zombie outbreak, there is plenty of heart stopping zombie action which as lovers of the genre know will leave you genuinely fearing for your favourite characters as Kirkman (amongst many other writers in the genre) has shown that pretty much no one is safe from the ravenous clutches of the zombies. However there is a subtlety to the whole 'Walking Dead' universe and this book, exploring themes such as does brutality beget brutality even in a gentle thoughtful soul, can power corrupt the person who sets out to protect, gender roles too are explored with themes of sexual exploitation touched upon. All taking place within this new necessarily semi nomadic society where 'normal' humans are no longer top of the food chain. My purchase was from Kobo and read on my phone, the artwork of the cover was the same as the hardback. It was easy to read and cost at the time of writing about £4.50 with a free sample available to download.
We always have a pack of plasters handy at home, as while I'm usually of the run it under the tap and leave it alone persuasion, now and then those cuts and scrapes can be of the 'dear god does than need stitches?' variety. Which then in my opinion qualifies them for a plaster. Recently I grated a knuckle with the cheddar and was mortified to find that there was only one plaster left, as I judged this culinary and finger related disaster to be of a several plaster healing time it was out to the shops to top up the first aid kit. I opted for the Tesco assorted Fabric Plasters which contains 3 sizes of plaster: 20 of 19x72mm 12 of 19x38mm and 8 of 25x76mm all rectangular. They cost at the time of writing £1 for 40. I always opt for fabric plasters as I find them the best for stickability and flexibility. There is a decent size selection in this box, although there are none at the larger end of the scale so if your cut is bigger than about an inch long you would need to look for something else. They are individually sealed as most plasters are and open fairly easily. The plaster backing peels away easily and cleanly with no problems. These are not the best fabric plasters I have bought, nor are they the worst. The do just fine for a not too disastrous cut or scrape but if you need a reliable plaster that is not going to budge through the day then these probably are not the ones to go for. On my finger just above the knuckle so not on the constantly moving part of my finger one of these plasters often lasted all day to be changed the next morning, but they did sometimes start to peel off within half a day or so which is a nuisance if you are out and about and don't have spare plasters with you. As my cut healed I did give one of the smallest plasters a try to try and eek out the mid sized plasters, but it didn't want to stick at all and peeled off pretty much immediately. Though I think these would work well for use on toes, or small fingers. These plasters seem to work best on curved body parts as the stickiness doesn't seem quite strong enough to do a good job on a 'flatter' body parts such as an arm or top surface of the hand. If they are wrapped around something, a finger for example they are able to overlap and seem to stick much better. They seem to stick better to themselves (and also to cat fur!) than to skin. Used on my heel to help protect a blister they rolled up and off fairly quickly certainly before I could remove my shoes. Also as a blister protector I didn't find them particularly helpful the gauze pad is not huge and it is not very thick, so didn't pad the area against abrasion well. However (while the plasters remained in place) they were much better than bare blister against shoe and they did a comparable job with some more expensive (non blister specific) brands. I have also noticed that these plasters have a tendency to fray (though not as badly as the cut yourself strip of the same brand) which makes them look far more tatty and grubbier than they actually are. This can also be annoying if you are faffing around with things such as feeding the birds, digging around in drawers etc as little bit of 'stuff' can get caught in or stuck to the frayed bits. The lint pad of the plaster claims antiseptic properties and appears very dry, I had no issue with infection during use, and apart from cleaning with salt water before application of the plaster I added no additional antiseptic products. The lint section is not particularly well padded for protection or absorption. In fact although my cut was not a particularly bloody the first plaster did show staining on the outside surface fairly quickly. I would have liked the plaster to offer a slightly better buffer between the injury and the outer world. As the cut was on my dominant hand it was given quite a battering during my everyday activities; and I did find that on occasion when I experienced pressure on the area I did a double take thinking that the plaster had come off. As there seemed to be little softening of the contact pain. On removal the plaster does leave a little of the stickiness behind but this comes off very easily and doesn't leave you scrubbing or picking at a tender area as some plasters can do. Despite some little irritations these plasters don't do a terrible job and I will probably buy them again, though I have to admit that when funds allow I will probably go for a different named brand.
Ginsters cheese and onion slice - look at the Dooyoo picture all nice and plump... well imagine that but after someone has stepped on it and that is closer to what you actually get. We all know that that marketing pictures on the packaging rarely reflect what you get inside but blimey why don't they just put a picture of some cheese or something on the packaging instead of misrepresenting the product. Of course if every image that is portrayed in the media or advertising was accurate we'd all have our rose coloured spectacles thoroughly trashed. The cheesy slice I'm reviewing is called Ginsters Westcountry Cheddar Cheese and Onion Slice, but I presume it's the same as the previous product 'Cheese and Onion Slice' as the latter no longer appears on their website (or Tesco's), however in my opinion as far as I can tell they taste the same. I've never been a fan of Ginsters and am not generally over fond of pastry as a whole. When I have tried this brand in the past I have loathed the way the pastry was cloying and left a greasy cardboardy scum on the roof of your mouth. Frankly the Ginsters brand has been one that I avoid like the plague, being synonymous in my mind with yucky pastry and undercooked fillings. However I was pleased to find that there didn't seem to be a problem with scumminess (or under cooking) with this item, so hopefully Ginsters have tweaked their pastry a little. I was reintroduced to this brand when the husband came home with several of the cheese slices which had been sold at a reduced price (45p I think) he just can't resist a bargain. They normally cost around £1.89! Which I think is a rather cheeky price to say the least. The packaging is fairly easy to open, a bog standard cellophane packet, the slice is presented to you in a neat cardboard sleeve so far so good. The actual slice looks kind of anaemic and moist, not two features I necessarily associate with scrummy pastry. The lattice like top layer holds together reasonable well and doesn't instantly collapse the minute you bite into it. The base is thick enough to also hold together well when eaten straight from the pack in the hand. I don't feel the pastry is too overbearing ie too much of it, as there can be in some of these types of goods. However the filling is a little too sparse for my liking. I wouldn't like something so soft and ermm... gloopy to be present in vast quantities but about a third more would be nice thank you. The flavour of the filling is quite nice and you can actually tell it is cheese and onion unlike some of the generic gloop you get in things now. I quite enjoyed this slice gently warmed - not too hot, and this does seem to make the flavours a little more intense. I think this slice when warm goes really well with beans (and) or chips and makes a nice easy 'sit down' meal, but that does take the total calories up a hefty wodge and isn't the healthiest option. If you have time I think the warming process is better in the oven as the microwave leaves it slightly floppy, as it does with most pastry items.. This is quite high in calories, 490 per slice, you could have a full tasty meal for that however we are not always in the mood to fill up or have the time and surroundings to prepare a meal. What I do like about this product and Ginsters in general is that they source their ingredients as locally as possible and their ingredients don't appear to be peppered with all sorts of low grade fillers, colourings and preservatives The overall taste of this is quite nice, however it's not something I would crave on a regular basis or even go out of my way to buy to be honest but if someone offered it to me or I found it reduced in a shop I wouldn't say no and I can see why some people are fans. A handy but high calorie snack to eat on the go, or even at home if you're really depraved.
Chapstick was the first lip balm I ever bought and as a teenager managed to convince a macho boy friend (as in friend who happened to be a boy) with particularly skanky chapped lips that the chap in chapstick meant that it was for 'chaps', which made him infinitely more snoggable for future girlfriends. Despite enjoying making my own balms these days I still have a few chapsticks knocking around here and there and am happy to use them if they happen to be to hand. Chapstick original is as the Dooyoo picture, and comes in a twist up tube with a pull off push on lid and usually comes shrink wrapped in cellophane or attached to a card. The one I bought most recently cost £1 from Asda which is also the price at the time of writing. Although I often use scented and or flavoured balms and salves I tend to stick to the plain original variety of chapstick as I feel the base 'flavour' doesn't mingle well with the flavourings and scents added to create the 'fancy' varieties and I simply don't like them. The original chapstick has a spf of 15 which offers a reasonable level of protection, but will need regular reapplication to maintain this level of protection if you are in the sun for several hours. Chapstick is a petroleum based (eg vaseline) balm (44% white petrolatum), this ingredient is listed in different forms as the top three ingredients and will mostly work by sitting on the surface of the skin preventing evaporation of moisture from the tissue. This allows the natural 'water table' of your lips to stabilise giving the feeling of plump supple lips. Beeswax (Cera Alba) and Carnuba (palm wax) are also listed in the ingredients and have a similar effect though the beeswax has more 'active' constituents which are good for the skin. Lanolin is also an ingredient and is more emollient and moisturising than the waxy ingredients, but can cause a reaction in a small but significant portion of the population. Camphor is also included in the formula, and is an ingredient I really like as an emollient and gives the lips a very subtle tingle bringing blood and so moisture and nutrients to the surface. I think I can detect a hint of this in the smell and taste of the balm; though the scent is quite generic and not strong, as is the flavour. The feel of chapstick on my lips is a little waxy, but it does melt into the skin once warmed up. A good thing about this balm is that it is not at all sticky and leaves a fairly sheer film on the lips, depending on how much you apply of course. There is no high gloss just a subtle sheen, which I feel makes it useful for men and children too. I am not sure what the rules are in primary schools these days about bringing this kind of thing from home... Probably not allowed... However because of the sunscreen and the fact that the balm is clear on the skin it could provide cheap easy to use added protection on sunny days. If a child is able to apply themselves during a break to tops of ears, nose and lips it could prove a great easy to stash multi-tasker. As a child my eldest came home from school with burnt ears a couple of times as she wore her hair up (as girls were told they had to) and there was no shelter in the yard and play area. Sunscreen applied in the morning would not last all day so I made sure she knew how to apply a solid stick sun screen to her little elf ears, but unfortunately the ones available in the early 90s were mostly fairly pigmented and fairly expensive so she was not entirely happy about this. Because the chapstick is quite firm it doesn't get too melty in the heat either. In my opinion applying lipsticks and glosses over or under the chapstick doesn't work as well as with some balms. They don't seem to 'mix' well somehow and I will only apply a lipstick if using chapstick once it has been on my lips for a little while and melted in and worn off a little. I prefer this to Lypsyl which feels revolting on my lips, but I can't say it's particularly fab or moisturising but there is another version of chapstick which claims to be specifically moisturising, so I may give that a try. It's a decent workhorse product that does a decent job of protecting the lips for a good price and is I'm sure all you need on young skin. Personally I wouldn't use it as my go to lip salve these days but am more than happy to use it now and then. I feel this is more of a maintenance product that an actively moisturising one.
Earlier this month a long awaited family wedding finally came to pass. It was a long day starting at 10.00a.m. to about 2.30a.m. So I wanted to take a few bits and bobs with me to keep me fresh and looking relatively human into the wee small hours. Having read some positive reviews on the Denman compact brush I purchased it to slip into my smaller than usual 'wedding bag', my trusty Denman comb being a little too long to fit. I bought mine in Boots for £2.79 but at the time of writing it's selling there for £2.89 and is part of Boots 3 for 2 offer. I have had a compact style popper brush before, a non specific brand which was absolutely useless. So some concerns I had about the Denman version were: Would the thin rubber disk into which the bristles are set come away from the frame, as it did with the other product? Would the hinge stand up to regular use? And would the bristles stay firmly in the pad? Denman demolished all those worries with knobs on. Denman have come up trumps as usual with a stylish good quality design for a reasonable price. I like the texture of the casing of my little popper brush, it is slightly rubberised and has a soft touch. It springs open almost with a 'tada' on a hinge which seems to be sturdy. You do have to pop the brush up by pushing on the back of the pad and the bristles unfurl like a little hedgehog. The bristles on this brush aren't the usual sturdy thick rounded tip type, they would be just too rigid for this design. They are the more familiar nylon spikes with little 'balls' on the tips to prevent scalp scratchiness. I have found with other brushes of this type that the little balls come off fairly quickly and I'm always surprised just how hurty the bristles are with out their tips. However the Denman so far still remains un neutered and is in full possession of all its balls making it a very comfortable and effective little brush. The rubber disk which the bristles are set into is good quality and the same type of material as used in other Denman brushes, though without the firm backing. The brush holds its shape well during use and doesn't deform (and flip out of your hand or get tangled in your hair) as the bristles encounter a knot which is something I have found happens with more flimsy versions of this type of brush. I never use the mirror portion/lid of the compact as a 'handle' though I'm sure this would work well if your hair is short and or fine. The soft curved edges of the disk feels solid in the hand and the rubberised covering gives it a good grip making it less likely to slip even if brushing through wet hair. I don't often use compact mirrors as my hair is just long and has no specific style to take care with when brushing, so I can just rake the brush through my hair and as long as there are no knots it will look ok. Having a bit of an aversion to being seen preening in public I also tend to sneak off to loos if I want to check my face for melting mascara etc and use the wall mirrors there, so I don't use the mirror in my compact much. However the mirror has not been skimped on and for the price is of a very good quality with no discernible distortion of the image and seems to be fixed very firmly into the lid. I don't have any other make up products that I carry with me currently that have a mirror included. So I must admit that I do find it comforting knowing that should I have an eyelash in the eye emergency or get the feeling that I have newsprint smeared over my face (it has been know to happen, I'm a messy reader) that I have a mirror handy to check. I have long thick hair and for a small brush this copes very well with the challenges that type of hair can offer. However I would not use this as my everyday brush as I do prefer something with a handle with a larger head as this design works better with my hair type. However this little brush is designed to be used for situations where you need something small to cart around with you and in this context it works very well indeed. I believe this could also easily be used by men who have thicker or longer hair too, and carried discretely without embarrassment in a pocket. The version I have is black with some pink detailing, however if you aren't keen on pink, or are a macho man who would die rather than be seen carrying something with a hint of pink you can get this in other colours too. Unfortunately in Boots at the time I purchased mine black and pink was the only colour option (I'm not a pink lover so would have bought something different if it had been offered). Other colours (and prices) can be found online though not always easily, and it's always worth checking out Superdrug. All in all a fabulous little product. A black and red one and a red and black version appears to be available at www.lookfantastic.com/denman-popper-hairbrush-compact/10547118.html at the moment for £2.40. All around a fabulous little brush.
I was absolutely delighted to be given this lipstick by my cousin after her wedding, she had bought two colours in this make for the day and wasn't keen on one of them after trying a few times, (Chant D'Aromes 103 - which I believe is also the name of a Guerlain perfume?) as she prefers a more sheer finish... Or so she says, I suspect I've taken on the role of the poor relative and as we are close and I've done the same for her when our positions were reversed I think she likes to 'spoil' me now and then. God bless family. So this lippy was practically unused. The box had already been disposed of when I received it but is apparently an attractive classy black with gold lettering. This lipstick comes in a good range offering 25 different shades with differing levels of opacity and creamy to shimmer finish. They are split into colour ranges encompassing "Les Roses, Les Rouges, Les Beiges and Les Oranges" and would cost if buying on the high street about £24.50 (at time of writing available in Debenhams for £22.05). The weight of the actual colour is 0.12oz and to me the bullet doesn't look that big, but other lipsticks provide slightly less product so I think that the bullet just looks a little small in comparison to the biggish case. Even though I didn't chose this my self (beggars can't be choosers) I really love the colour, though I suspect that I would use it even if I didn't! perhaps mixing with other colours or glosses to achieve a more desirable finish/colour. I'm not one to waste something of this calibre. The thing I like most of all though is the container it comes in. I'm like a toddler who wants to play with the box not the toy. It has a gadgety feel to it, as it is opened by sliding the bullet up via a 'button' on the side, I've apparently even been heard to make light sabre sounds while 'playing' with this. While the slide up design has been around for some time this version does have a nice twist on it in that the lid does not slide off the tube, but is a little cover a bit like a skylight which slides across and down into the tube as you slide the bullet up. This design has been done before too but in my opinion never so stylishly and reliably. The mechanism operates beautifully, it is tactile and the slider needs a little pressure to move so doesn't accidentally operate when in your make up bag. Also the lid feels quite secure and well made, I had a lip balm that opened like this years ago and the pull back disk lid broke very quickly leaving the balm exposed. I haven't had this lipstick long yet but the tube has had some heavy use just playing with it by both me and my girls and there is no sign of wear thus far, not even to the gold finish on the plastic of the tube. The case itself, for the price feels kind of lightweight, I have had high end lipsticks before (usually bought on discount sites) which are quite heavy and even made of thin metal which enhances the durability and expensive feel of the product. This is clearly made of plastic (albeit well put together and slightly heavier gauge plastic) and is fairly light in the hand. However if you have several things to lug around with you either in bag or pocket this is probably more of a plus than minus. It seems to be durable enough and is very aesthetically pleasing. It is also surviving knocking around in my make up bag every day and being used regularly very well so far. I love not having to worry about losing or cracking the lid too as these are things that happen too many of my lipsticks eventually. The square casing which is 'further out' from the actual bullet of colour than usual does sometimes make for slightly awkward application. Especially if you only want to push the lipstick up a little bit, it gets in the way somewhat. So my beautifully chiselled tip has taken on a slightly less steep angle 'flattening out' somewhat to accommodate the case. I am a bit of a klutz though so you may find no problem with this. I find if I hold the tube up in the air rather than approaching from a lower angle this helps. Unusually on the Guerlain website they offer a description of the lipsticks fragrance which reads like a perfume sales pitch. I must admit I do like the scent of most lipsticks and this has a pleasant smell which is a little different to average high street products and has a hint of luxury about it, although it is obvious I don't mind it I don't find it overpowering nor does it 'taste like it smells' being relatively neutral in that department, if you are interested to see Guerlain's description of the aroma you can find it easily on the Guerlain website http://www.guerlain.com/int/en/base.html#/en/home-makeup/ under the relevant lipstick. The texture is super smooth and feels hydrating but not heavy on the lips. The colour is fairly shimmery though not frosted, and is a mixture of light and deeper beiges which looks quite natural but 'better', on my lips there seems to be a slight pink/heather undertone and to me it seems that there is definitely a little rose hue mixed in there too. Though that could be my deep pink but slightly purple oxygen deprived asthmatic lips showing through a little. In the bullet it looks a little milk chocolatey/light chestnut but on the lips it isn't as 'brown' which is good for me as a true brown lipstick doesn't suit me. I do sometimes add a dab of lightish pink gloss to this to pink it up a little more. The formula is hydrating but not of course as much as a balm would be, but this is one of a few lipsticks that leave my lips either as soft as before it went on or a little softer. This colour doesn't last for ages on me about 3 hours max. However I see this as pretty good as lipsticks don't normally last long on my lips. Especially as it's a moisturising formula not a lasting one, and not a deep more 'staining' colour either. This is one lipstick I would not mind applying in a less than private place and I'm normally quite shy about that kind of thing. It has a hint of glamour about it which is delicious, but not so much as to tip it into tacky territory and I have had people (mostly women) snatch it off me and ask what it is and where I got it. Like me they seem fall in love with the packaging. My cousin kept the colour 'Mitsouko 140' which is from the orange stable, and I have to admit it is gorgeous, very sheer and almost shimmery gloss like in appearance. It doesn't look orange on her at all more of a rosy peach; though she did mention - when I interrogated her - that it needs reapplying quite often as the colour is quite subtle and seems to wear off fairly quickly. I would like this colour myself but short of robbing my cousin there is no chance of getting my hands on this. Although I really love having some fancy lipsticks in my make up bag again I can't really see me paying over £20 for this, as I have access as most people do these days to discount sites where I can get hold of some higher end lippies for the price of a Maybeline product and sometimes even cheaper if I should so wish. Although if you are desperate to get this specific lipstick you may have to pay full price. Also although I do adore this lippie I have had equally lovely colours and lasting finishes in highstreet products such as Maybeline, and Collection 2000. Where these high end lip colours do seem to shine above the cheaper brands is the hydrating and conditioning qualities. I have owned several high end brands from Diore, Ysl, Guerlain and others (years ago when I was working in a proper job) and I did find them better in that respect than many cheaper brands. A gorgeous product to wallow in and enjoy, but bloomin expensive. Thank you Mel. .
One skin care product I am never without is hand cream, and although my favourite is the L'Occitane shea butter range I rarely buy it because of the cost, so I've tried everything from 99p tubes up. I've been reading a lot of good things about Soap and Glory in particular their 'Hand Food' hand cream so was pleased to receive one when I asked the hubby to get me "some hand cream" on his last jaunt into Swansea. He bought me the 125ml one which cost at the time of writing £5.00 and £2.50 for the 50ml size. At the moment they are part of a 3 for two offer so he got a tube for my mother as part of her mothers day present too. The tube is as the Dooyoo picture and comes unboxed. The flip top lid and dispensing 'hole' underneath is no different to any other of this type of lid. The scent of the hand cream is quite subtle which is good if you are wearing other scented products or perfume; it was pleasant but smelt fairly generic to me, which surprised me as I love the smell of other Soap and Glory products I've sampled. I don't usually put long lists of ingredients in my reviews unless to point something out, which is what I want to do here. The list is very long so I won't include it all just the first several ingredients. Which are: Aqua, glycerin, cetyl alcohol, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), grape seed oil, Dimethicone (a silicone oil), Glyceryl sterate, Macadamia seed oil, sweet almond oil.... And so forth for a further 24 or so ingredients. The reason I've included this list is because I had read that this cream contains shea butter and grape seed oil as some of the top (so higher quantity) ingredients. However despite being listed high up in my opinion these excellent moisturising ingredients must be included in very small quantities indeed. Because the texture of the cream despite looking quite thick before rubbing in is actually as light as air and a little 'wet'. This light texture is fabulous if you want a quick hit of moisture and want your hands to show no trace of hand cream quickly, wonderful if you are busy and don't have time for even a few seconds of 'sink in time'. However this does mean that if you have dryish and or 'older' skin re-application is necessary quite often. Personally I don't favour hand products this light. When I first squeezed the white cream onto my hand it looked quite impressive it didn't lose its shape and seemed as mentioned to be quite thick. However when I went to spread the cream I was shocked that in one stroke the cream was gone, sunk straight in to the palm of the hand stroking across the back of the other (which is not where I wanted the cream to go, the tops of my hands are where I normally concentrate my hand creams). This is very impressive if you are looking for immediate absorption and I can see how this would be a very good selling point for many people. However I wanted to be able to spread the cream without having to apply half the tube just to get coverage of the whole of both hands and wrists. I would class this as a glycerin hand cream, which I usually avoid mainly because I do not find them particularly comfortable on my skin or effective for long enough, but also because glycerin does not moisturise in itself but is hydroscopic in nature. Which means it attracts water. There is some controversy as to whether this works well in skin care. It is meant to take moisture from the air/environment into your skin but some think it may take the moisture from your skin into itself, therefore plumping up the outer layers but dehydrating the lower ones where the new skin cells are forming. I wanted to try this cream mainly because of the shea butter as I know that this is an excellent moisturising ingredient which works well for me and is full of natural vitamins and minerals which are generally good for the skin. Having used raw fair trade shea butter mixed with other oils myself to make skin and hair care products I know what the texture of a high shea butter content product looks and feels like even when very whipped, and this cream has none of the characteristics I would expect. Which is what makes me think that this product contains only very small traces of the excellent butters and oils it lists. I know that this cream is very popular but I have to be honest and say that for me it was far from being up there in the top 5, or even 10. I didn't feel it deeply moisturising enough, and the effects did not last for long. There are other creams which are cheaper or around the same price which work far better on my particular skin. This is one which I will not be buying again which is a shame as Soap and Glory do not test their products on animals. In fact I was so disappointed with it that I would have been embarrassed to give it to my mother who is 72 and even when younger had quite dry hands. I gave the other tube to my daughter whose younger skin does not need a rich hand cream and bought something else for my mother. Recommended for younger skin or skins which aren't very dry. Avoid if you need a rich soothing long lasting hand cream.
Kiss kiss baby I've been working my way through a box of unopened or barely used cosmetics and perfumes that my cousin passed on to me after one of my favourite aunties passed away. My aunt and I were closer in colouring than my cousin was to her, so Mel was kind enough to give me items that she thought I would like. As mentioned in previous reviews we don't waste anything in our family and often swap and share cosmetic and skin care items between various female relatives, recycling in this way has always been a way of life. I've been lucky enough to have two Guerlain lipsticks come in to my possession lately one from this box of delights, and the other from my cousin herself (which isn't on the Dooyoo catalogue yet. . . the lipstick not my cousin). This Kiss Kiss baby one from my auntie is in the colour 'Rosy nude'. If I was choosing the colour myself I would probably have gone for a different shade but I was surprised at how flattering this is on my skin tone giving a truly rose petal subtle soft pink sheen. I must admit that the thing I love most about brand name 'high end' cosmetics is mainly the packaging and this one is no exception. This has a nice weight to it and looks almost quilted, the casing is a silver colour and forms 3 'blocks' the third of which is base as you can see from the Dooyoo picture. At first I thought this was a moisturising lipstick, but I now believe it's a moisturising pigmented lip balm. This product also has a SPF of 10 which although is not the highest is much better than nothing. I do find this beautifully moisturising, but must admit not as much as some plain old fashioned lip balms such as Blistex. Though the colour pay off is less than a lipstick it is still noticeable and it is beautiful. It is nice to both a pretty choice of colours and such a moisturising formulation and range gives a far greater choice colour wise than most balms ranges would. There are 6 base colours and Guerlain sometimes release limited edition colours too. Kiss Kiss contains a range of lip products not just the 'baby' lip balm, including glosses, lipsticks and lip primer. On a visit to the Guerlain website I notice that KissKiss Baby is not showing as one of the products in the range so I hope I am not writing a review on a discontinued product! However if I am I know that you can still purchase these online for around the £19-£20 mark (and even less in some places) should you wish. The formula contains Mango butter and Luffa oil which is something I'd never heard of before, but is contained in some of Decleor's anti ageing products (a brand which I trust and is know for its natural approach to skin care) and you can feel slick moisturising quality of this product straight away. In fact I feel a slight tingle almost as if the moisture is puffing my lips up a little as it sets to work. I have to admit that this is better than other tinted lip balms I have tried, even more so than my favourite Gale Hayman. The bullet has a shallow slant to it, and it not tapered on the leading edge so is not quite as precise as a lipstick to apply, and because there is a reasonable level of pigment if you overstep the boundary of your lips it will be visible. Even though the colour is quite subtle on first application it is buildable and if you add a few layers you will get more of a coloured gloss look than sheer lip balm. This colour has a lovely micro shimmer which shows as more of a sheen on the lips, and doesn't appear to be achieved by reflective particles, though it probably is but they must be extremely finely milled if so. If you have lines around your lips it might be advisable to use a lip liner to prevent any 'travelling'. Touch wood I don't have this problem, but my cousin said that this was an item my aunty repurchased regularly and more recently always used a liner with it for this reason. Because the bullet melts into the lips fairly quickly, and it is kind of addictive meaning I reapply more often than I would perhaps with a lipstick this won't last me as long as a lip colour, but it's a decent size bullet so I hope to at least get through part of the summer using it. I thought that I would not get much use out of this item as I like lip balms on bare lips, and find them easy to use with lipsticks if I'm wearing any as they don't alter the colour (as this would if used with another shade). However I've found my self turning to this on a daily basis instead of some of my usual lip colours for a natural comfortable youthful look. However although I've secretly fallen in love with this pongy product.... Oh did I mention it was quite scented, no I didn't.... well it does have a fairly classically Guerlain aroma which is gorgeous but to be honest is a tad overpowering for a lip product. So where was I ... Ah yes although I love this product I would balk at paying the full price for it, it's simply out of my budget range. However if I can get it for under a tenner (which I believe you sometimes can on ebay) I will certainly purchase again as a treat, I won't even be too bothered about which colour as they all seem to be fairly natural, sheer and pretty. I can highly recommend this as a treat for your kissing gear, and one that leaves them baby soft and supple.
Bourjois have a long and illustrious history spanning about 150 years, if you'd like to know more about this then you can find information on the Bourjois website here: http://www.bourjois.co.uk/home/the_story_of_a_brand/brand_history I have had a few Bourjois makeup products knocking around in my make up stash on and off since I was a teenager. Mostly lip glosses, concealer, eye shadows and blushers, but I've dabbled with mascara too. This review is about their gorgeous little round pots of eyeshadow. These eyeshadows are just as the Dooyoo picture and the same as the blusher pots. I like the fact that there is a little button to press to pop them open and like the satisfying click as they shut. Unfortunately on almost every one that I've owned the lid has broken before the eyeshadow is even half used. I am a little rough on my products, often lugging my favourites around with me in my bag but the same has happened to both my daughters. I do think that Bourjois could toughen up the release mechanism and the hinge, it's such lovely packaging that it's a pity to spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar. While the lid is intact though I have no problem with it popping open when it shouldn't. The little mirror in the lid is a good quality and very handy, and I've never had one detach from the casing yet. There is also a little sponge tip applicator included which is slightly curved to fit the highly domed shadow. I don't like the applicator and prefer to either use my own brush or my fingers. When I first bought this product as a teenager I thought there was a huge amount of shadow in the little pot as it appears quite deep plus the shadow as mentioned is domed. The shadow does last an absolute age, I still have one from the 80's which was well used, and is still used sometimes with no ill effects and there is still plenty left. However that said the amount of product isn't as generous as it appears as one of my shadows became detached from the pot and shows that it is barely deeper than the rim of the pot. A domed disc simply glued onto a 'false' base very slightly below the edge of the pot. These shadows are paraben and fragrance free, and are hypoallergenic. The ingredient list is massive and full of 'oxides' of one type or another, with mica listed as the greatest quantity ingredient, this can cause irritation to some skins, they also contain lanolin (alcohol) which can be an irritant too so I was surprised to see that they are hypoallergenic. However I have no issue with that claim as they have always worked perfectly well for me and even though my eyes have become more sensitive over the years I never get any reaction to this eyeshadow. The range has had a slight overhaul of late and is now are sub divided into the 'little round pots' 'little round pot intense' and 'little round pot eyeshadow light'. I love the iridescent and pearly colours best and rarely use a completely matt eyeshadow. According to the Bourjois website there are currently 20 shades available, however Boots show 23 so I guess it varies from season to season. At the moment I have three colours the one which I've had for ages and doesn't seem to be available anymore this one is an almost metallic golden coppery colour with emphasis on the gold, I also have purchased more recently No08 Beige Rose Delicat which is a beautiful natural base colour, pale pink with a hint of peach which also does a good job as a highlighter, and no 12 Bleu Magnetique which is a gorgeous deep iridescent blue and is purplish in some lights. All the colours can be applied wet or dry and any iridescence or shimmer is more apparent when used wet. This is my favourite way to apply the No 12 as I primarily use it as eyeliner and it works very well in this capacity giving a good opaque iridescent line which stays put for many hours. I don't often apply a smoky eye but the No 12 also works well for this look. Using the shadows wet doesn't spoil them and make them difficult to use dry as with some shadows, as they are baked this seems to allow them to be used both ways with no ill effects. Applying the colours wet also seems to improve staying power. When applying the shadows wet I've noticed that pressing the powder onto the skin seems to give a better more even finish that dragging the moist brush along the lid. The textures differ slightly between the colours, some being creamier while others feel quite powdery. Mine all feel fairly creamy but my daughters matt black is quite a powdery finish, which still looks good and we haven't noticed any little sprinkles of powder left on the cheeks after application. Whatever the texture all the ones I've tried are easily blended, I haven't tried the more glittery shadows as I don't like the texture and finish on my skin so can't vouch for this type. Obviously some pots are less pigmented than others the standard pots needing a little more building to create more depth of colour. The intense shades are very pigmented and quite opaque needing carful blending and or light application if you want a more sheer look. The shadows last well during wear whichever 'variety' you are using and I will rarely have to touch up eye make up while using these. They come off well with a creamy cleanser though and it's then that you can see just how pigmented they are! If you have oily eyelids the darker and more intense colours will crease at some point and even the paler ones will 'travel' a little. My niece accidentally achieved quite a hot rock chic look this way, she was aiming for sophisticated smoky eye. Even though some of the colours crease a little more than others in my opinion it is still less than many other similarly priced powder eyeshadow brands. Of course they will last longer and stay where put better if you use a primer and or powder on the lid first I would not consider these a cheap shadow as even though you are getting a good quantity of product you are only getting one shade at a time costing between about £5 and £7 on the high street depending where you buy them, I believe they can be sourced a little more cheaply online. I really like these eyeshadows and will probably always have one or two in my possession as I just love the design and the iridescence they can give - if that is a look you like. I do however prefer some other brands such as Urban Decay, Too Faced and Benefit, but Bourjois are a good mid range price (especially if you can get them for around the £3 mark online) and for me they are a trusted non irritating product which I know will do what I want them to.