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I usually buy Cat's Best Öko Plus cat litter from zooplus.co.uk, but if I haven't had an order in and I've ran out, then I usually buy Tesco Low Dust cat litter until my next order arrives. Each time I do this, I despair at how bad this is compared to the good quality litter I usually use.
At £3.19 for a 10 litre bag, this cat litter certainly is cheap. It works out at 0.23p a litre, where my normal litter is around 0.62p a litre. However, this Tesco litter is just false economy, it might be around half the price but I would use ALOT more of it if I only ever used this litter!
It's brown in colour and claims to be low dust and lightweight. It certainly is less dusty then some of the other litter's Tesco do which is why I buy this one as my back up instead of others. I hate the thought of the cloudy dusty ones getting into my kitty's lungs. It is lightweight compared to others, the grains are quite small.
Unfortunately this cat litter lasts only a couple of days before it really starts to stink. I scoop often, but this doesn't prevent the smell from coming. It's very disappointing as with the cat litter I usually buy I always get at LEAST a week from it. I dread to think how smelly this one would be after a week.
It's OK as my back up litter as it's cheap and not dusty, but I wouldn't use it as my regular litter as I'd get through bags of the stuff.
First of all I want to be clear this is a review of the Barcelona Bus Turistic ran by Barcelona Turisme. There is another bus service ran by Gray Line and I've noticed a few reviewers getting these two separate services mixed up.
I don't usually use 'hop-on hop-off' bus tours when I travel, but as we only had 2 full days in Barcelona and after reading many positive reviews of these buses being efficiently run, I decided to give it a go. I also thought it would be nice to see more of the city that you don't see when using the metro. As it was December, this meant it wasn't very busy. I've read that in the summer that whilst the service runs more frequently, there are often huge queues and fights for the top deck on the bus.
Firstly, if your planning on using the Bus Turistic then book online before you go. You get 10% off, and you just print off the confirmation then hand it to the rep when you get on the bus to get your tickets, earphones and discount book. Easy!
The map you receive details the three different lines that you can go on. There is a line which only runs in the summer as it covers the beaches in Barcelona, and understandably this area isn't as popular in winter. The first day we did the blue line. The bus was brilliant, and we got on/off at 3 different stops. Each time we never waited long at all for another bus. A few of the headphone sockets didn't work, but when you finally got one to work there was some information provided. It didn't provide indepth information, but it quite often didn't have the time as you whizzed by various places. I had a guide book anyway, so I'd read up on most places of interest. When stuck in traffic though you were made to listen to awful 'lift music.' I can't see why they can't play some local style music?
There is always a rep on the bus and the driver. Both of whom were always very friendly and welcoming you on the bus each time. The rep is quite happy to chat to passengers sat nearby about the city and give recommendations on places to see.
The second day we used the red line and got on/off a few times, though this time we seemed to wait quite a while for the next bus to come along. We decided to go on the blue line again that evening, see the city in the evening and all the christmas lights. We waited in Placa Catalunya for a bus for 25 mins, I appreciate it's not high season but it states buses run every 10-20 mins so this was slightly frustrating.
I would recommend the Turistic Bus, especially if your only in Barcelona for a short stay. To check out which major sights the lines cover, visit the official website: http://www.barcelonabusturistic.cat
Having been to New York a couple of times before, I wanted to try something a bit different for latest visit. We are usually out and about during the day, so by evening after having a meal, we usually end up crashing out in our hotel room. As we've seen all the big sights now, we were more focused on things to do in the evening. After some researching it quickly became apparent that this is the best place to see comedy in New York. I was slightly worried as being British I just love British humour, and American humour I just often don't find funny. However, I was reassured after reading positive reviews of this place from other Brits so decided to give it a go.
They usually have a couple of shows an evening, some nights there are three. It's best to reserve your place via the website, otherwise if you turn up you are put in a 'stand by' line and if there's space from no-shows then you get to go in. You also can't book in for groups larger than 8 people, they say it's because very large groups are often too noisy and disturb the show. They also mention several times not to try and get round this by making separate bookings as they do keep an eye out and if they find you've done this then they will refuse entry.
We visited on a Tuesday night for the earlier show. We had reserved before hand and it was just as well, even on a cold, damp Tuesday night in February the stand by line was quite big! The doorman was quite abrupt, even more so than the usual New Yorker behaviour, making comments to my partner to take his foot off the step. Don't forget to take some ID as it will be asked for. I took our passports as I'm never sure if they'll take a UK driving licence over there. After carefully checking our ID and paperwork he ushered us through.
I was disappointed when we were shown to our seats, we didn't want front row seats but we were sat to the side of the stage sharing a table with another couple. I'm used to being squeezed in New York, space is at a premium after all, though this was extremely cosy and my 6ft 4 fiance really struggled! Everytime one of us got up to use the toilet (sorry, 'bathroom'!) it meant after to move tables around and bending in strange positions just to get out and back in.
There was a $12 cover charge and you have to order a minimum 2 items per person, but this can be anything off the menu including food. We'd already eaten at the Minetta Tavern so can't comment on the food, though others around us ordered food and it did look good. I had a couple of cocktails which were nice. There is also another rule that you can only order 3 alcoholic drinks per person. Probably to stop anyone becoming too rowdy.
Once the show started though I didn't really stop laughing! Unfortunately I can't remember the comedian names (too many cocktails?) and I'd never heard of any of them. There was only one guy who came on during the middle that no one was really laughing at, and he did make a quick exit when he realised this. Of course there were a few jokes that we just didn't get as they were based on American culture or celebrities, but for the rest of the show it was just hilarious and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
Service was good during the show. The toilets are small and only 2 cubicles so I highly recommend going to the toilet before the end, I went during the intervals, as when the show is over its a bit manic. The waitress brings over the bills, you pay and have your receipt stamped, which you must show to be carefully inspected on the way out (to that abrupt man again!).
I will be coming back again next time I'm in New York, it was such a great night.
I came here using a Groupon voucher which turned out to be excellent value for money. This is easily one of the best B&B's I've ever stayed in.
We stayed in room 1 which had a great view of the castle. The room was lovely, I loved all the little extra's too such as a little bowl of apple's (each one a different colour!), a little dish of chocolate hearts on the bedside table, lovely cookies on the tea tray... it's all the little details that I loved. There were a couple of things I personally didn't like. We took DVD's to watch after seeing there was a DVD player but it was a small flat screen that was high up on the wall. I hate it when small TV's are put right up near the ceiling. I also loved the bathroom decor, but noticed hairs and dust on the baseboard running along the wall. There were toiletries by The White Company but they weren't replenished when empty. I wouldn't usually use them but I forgot my hair conditioner, so I used the tiny bottle on the first morning but it wasn't replaced.
We had strawberries and champagne on our first night which were great! We didn't order any in room picnics but they do sound very nice. Be warned you have to order them at least 24 hours in advance so I recommend doing this before you arrive. Claire emailed us the menus after we had booked so we had time to look through them. The tea & coffee in the room is great, I've never been anywhere that actually leaves you ground coffee and a cafetiere (though unfortunately it only filled 1 mug at a time).
I also loved the 2 guest lounges, though we never saw another guest. The cake left in the first lounge was a nice treat to come back to after a day out in Northumberland, and the whiskey room was relaxing. There's an honesty bar in one room with reasonably priced snacks and drinks (alcoholic and non). The whiskey room has a nice sleection of whiskeys and again operates as an honesty bar. However, there is CCTV in all the public rooms ('for the safety of our guests'). The owners have dogs who we could hear on check in but they didn't come into the public area. We did however find a cat one night crying to be let back into the owner's area, I even had a game of hide and seek with him, he didn't seem to like me much though!
The breakfast's were really tasty and served in the lovely conservatory. It was quite nice actually as it was raining heavily at one point so it felt quite cosy. I recommend the Roxbro Rosti for breakfast, it was delicious. My partner tends to eat big portions for all the exercise he does, found the cooked breakfast portions to be too small for him (1 sausage, 1 egg etc.) but there was cereals, yogurts and fruit to fill himself up on. You can also request a smoothie to be made for you.
The house is always nice and warm, which was great considering what a cold March it was. You can also control the setting on the radiator in the room which was nice as I prefer a cooler room to sleep in. Unfortunately during our stay we didn't sleep well at all, but this is no fault of Roxbro's. As it's an old house the soundproof isn't amazing, though I can't imagine it's normally a problem. However, during our stay, our direct neighbour had a snoring problem that kept us awake. It was practially like someone shouting out every 5 seconds, I've never heard someone snore so loud! It did put a slight downer on our stay.
I liked how there was a little bell downstairs on the table which you just rang if you needed anything. They only provide fresh milk for your tea and coffee so on an evening I would ring the bell and receive a little jug of milk. In the morning there's a little glass jar left outside the rooms on the floor (sort of like a milk bottle style in a little stand!) with fresh milk in for your morning cuppa.
I also want to say that our Groupon mentioned a Hot Tub but this wasn't in the guest folder or mentioned to us, but we didn't query it either. If there is a hot tub I would like to suggest that you could 'book' to use it somehow, maybe for an hour or 2, so you're not sharing it with random people...
The local village has some really nice pubs, though as it's off season it's very quiet. The pubs are also very dog friendly. The B&B itself is in a great area to use as a base for exploring the rest of Northumberland like we did, visiting nearby Dunstanburgh Castle and Holy Island with Lindisfarne Castle.
I would love to go back to stay in one of the larger suites here.
I hate the thought of gyms. Working out in front of other people and using machines others have sweated all over is not my thing. I used to go swimming once a week but that was about it. However in January, I took up the couch to 5k program, just to see if I could do it. Well 5 months later and I was participating in my first 10k race, wearing the Nike Vomero+ 6 running shoes.
I knew for a while I needed some new running shoes. My old ones used to be worn as general workout shoes, and before I really started to enjoy running I was quite happy plodding along in my old Adidas runners. However, once I started to hit the 5k point, I noticed slight shin pain and an aching right knee. I did some research online, and luckily my partner's father is a chiropodist and gave me some advice on what running shoes would be good for my feet. For other people, I suggest going to a specialist running shop and getting a gait analysis to ensure you are wearing the right type of shoe. After looking in a running shop, and feeling faint at the £100+ price tags, I settled on my Nike Vomero shoes from Sports Direct (also known as Mike Ashley's discount sportswear warehouse....).
Now I'll admit I was first drawn to these because of the colour. I have the women's black and purple colour and because I love all things purple, they did catch my eye! I actually have some black and purple Nike running Capris and a purple Nike running top so it must have been fate. They were priced at £65 instead of £94.99 however I wasn't paying, they were going to be a birthday present from my partner.
The Nike Vomero+ 6 is specifically designed for the female foot and are for underpronators to neutral-gait runners. They have elastic mesh panels creating a flexible fit adapting to your foot, and lots of cushioning with a crash pad below the heel. There's a great padded ankle collar and they provide good arch support. You can also use Nike+ with these.
So in a fit of madness I signed up for a local 10k race, despite never having run that far, and I had 5 days to get prepared. I know wearing brand new shoes on the day of a race are a no go, and despite it not being my birthday for another month I managed to persuade him to let me try out my new shoes. I went out for a 5k run and what a difference they made! The cushioning in these shoes is brilliant; they provide lots of support needed for road running. It felt like I was running on clouds. Even better at the end of my run my shins felt fine with just normal muscle ache, and I felt as if I could keep on running that bit further. As I had no problems with them I used them on the day of my 10k race. They performed well and kept my feet as comfortable as possible throughout the race. Of course as I hadn't properly trained for 10k the last 2 miles my legs were screaming at me, but I made it to the end. My legs recovered within the day and again I had no shin pain or severe knee pain, just the usual aches and tiredness.
I'm now training for a half-marathon in September and these shoes will certainly keep me going. I'm very impressed by Nike, and have made running much more comfortable compared to my old Adidas running shoes.
Update (12/05/13): I ran the half-marathon in these very successfully, and throughout my training and the race itself I never had any problems with my feet (apart form an occasional blister!). I have since retired these running shoes due to the mileage I have ran in them, but I have stayed with Vomero and have bought the Vomero 7's and they are equally as great.
I'm a BzzAgent and this means I get to try out products. The latest offering was the Activia Pouring Yogurt. I was keen to try this out as I'd seen the adverts for it and wondered how tasty it would be on my cereal!
At first I was a bit dubious about pouring yogurt over my cereal, it just didn't seem natural. I mean, I've used milk on my cereal since forever, and I never ever add anything. Especially not chopped banana.
But once I told myself that it would be no different from those yogurts I love eating with the chocolate cornflake corner, I was finding myself more at ease.
I got my free pouring yogurt from our tiny Tesco Metro. I was disappointed to see I didn't have a choice, they only stocked Vanilla flavour. I'd actually ran out of cereal so I'd bought some healthy fruit n' fibre to go with it.
The first time I tried the pouring yogurt I'd decided to try it for lunch. Mainly because I tend not to eat breakfast on a weekday morning, preferring instead to stay in bed as long as feasibly possible!
It was strange at first, eating crispy cereal without a hint of milky soggyness. The vanilla flavour was also something new on my cereal, and after a while it did become too much and I couldn't finish the bowl. However, I did enjoy it! It made the cereal seem more exciting (and certainly more crunchy!) and I did end up using the rest of my pouring yogurt.
Would I buy it? Maybe. If it's on special offer and I can have a go of the strawberry or natural flavours then certainly. It's a nice change now and then.
When it comes to airport hotels, I'm not fussy at all. It's somewhere I'm spending the night, before I go off on holiday and the excitement of said holiday generally unconcern's me regarding our choice of hotel! I was looking for something cheap, but still relatively nice, on the Holiday Extra's website. I noticed they had a range of 'mystery hotels' and after a slight bit of investigation work, I realised one of these hotels was the Sheraton Skyline (after all, there aren't too many Heathrow Hotels with a pool) and so I booked it for a considerably cheap price compared to the price offered further up the page, where the name of the hotel was certain.
I booked a standard double non-smoking room; I didn't need parking though if you do, I highly recommend booking a hotel + parking package as paying for the parking at this hotel will be expensive. We took the Hoppa Bus from Terminal 5 to this hotel, which I can safely say was the last time I'll ever use this service after fearing for my life with a crazed driver (who swore loudly when he missed someone's hotel out completely, and upon arrival at our hotel slammed on the brakes on the main road as he over shot the entrance, nearly sending us out through the wind screen!) and so I was extremely happy to arrive in the safety of the lobby, which was warm and cosy and decorated for Christmas. The check in process didn't go too smoothly as they had a trouble registering our key card, a member of staff offered to take us to our room and they would bring us the keycard once the machine was working. Just as we started moving though, the machine jumped into life and we were left to our own devices to find our room. We were also offered access to the club room for a price, however I declined as we would have left before breakfast was served anyway. You need to use the key card in the lift, and the lack of instructions left us standing on the ground floor for some time trying to get moving, before we opened the door and beckoned a member of staff to help us on our way.
Our room was a good size and very pleasant with all the usual amenities expected in such a hotel room. The bathroom was actually rather spacious and had a bath tub. There were plenty of complimentary toiletries and it was very clean and modern. There are tea/coffee facilities and of course the overpriced mini bar, one of those automatic ones so don't lift anything out. Our room faced the inner courtyard, which is where the indoor pool is, done out with trees and foliage and in the evening when it's lit up it's actually rather nice. There were a couple of people using the pool, but as some of the bars/restaurant face out onto it then shy people will be deterred. One of the best features of this hotel for us was the Starbucks in the lobby, so we were straight back down to the lobby for a Starbucks coffee. There were some comfortable chairs in the lobby and a large TV playing the news so it's a nice area to relax in.
We generally tend to avoid expensive hotel restaurants, and I knew of a good pub nearby from reading previous reviews, however there is also a McDonalds a couple of minutes walk down the road and so we opted for the cheap and quick option!
Back in the room, the large flat screen TV had a good choice of TV channels to keep us entertained, and when it was time to sleep I found the bed was extremely comfortable. Despite being opposite one of the Heathrow runways, the sound from the planes was distant and unnoticeable. When you are just outside the hotel's main entrance the roar of the planes is deafening!
Due to the previous day's terrible experience of the hoppa bus, we asked for concierge to arrange a taxi for us, which arrived promptly and was a flat rate of £15 to terminal 5, it costs more than the hoppa but I was pleased to arrive at the airport in a comfortable car and not fearing for my life.
I wouldn't hesitate to stay at the Sheraton Skyline again. The members of staff we encountered were very pleasant, the rooms are comfortable, modern and clean and the Starbucks is an added bonus. If you're staying for more than one night, or are about to jet off somewhere nice and hot, then the indoor pool looks very nice. Big tip: book through a site such as holiday extras and search through their 'mystery hotels' - it's not hard to work out which one the Skyline is, especially as the pool will be listed as a facility.
The Redeemer is the 4th book starring Harry Hole, the alcoholic/recovering alcholic (depending on his mood) Inspector. As usual Jo Nesbo has an imaginative plot that is well thought out, and full of twists and turns.
We start at Salvation Army Summer Camp where a 14 year old girl is raped. We don't find out by whom, but the repercussions of this event take us into the present day. The story then skips to a young Croatian boy caught up in war, and known as the Redeemer. The start of the book took me a while to get used to, the story intentionally flips from one character to another without a clear break in between but once you realise what is happening, this style helps build up suspense.
In the present it's a freezing cold December in Oslo in the run up to Christmas. A Salvation Army Officer at a concert is shot in the middle of a square in front of many people. The police have few clues to follow, and are completely unsure as to whether this is a lone gunman or an organised gang. The story follows the contract killer, who is quite confident his work is done and is on his way to the airport to leave the country. However the snow causes a flight delay, leaving the killer stranded. He checks into a hotel and catches the news, but it's not the news he wants to see...
Harry Hole is lead on a mission facing a contract killer, a rapist, a psychotic and mistaken identities. During this he is fighting his alcoholism, coming to grips with a new boss, and thinking of his recent ex-girlfriend and her son. The story was exciting and full of action; it kept me hooked from one page to the next. The story contains almost everything a crime fiction book could contain a bit of gruesomeness here and a murder there, a crazed gunman on the lose to a victim in hiding, Jo Nesbo is one of the best of this genre. I also feel a learn more and more when I read each of the books in this series, each is carefully researched and contains plenty of detail without boring the reader. The twist at the end was brilliant, and I found myself thinking back to earlier events in the book and it all suddenly fell into place.
I look forward to reading the next in series, The Snowman. I wouldn't say you need to start from the beginning with this series, but to get the full benefit of Harry Hole's back story then I highly recommend it.
I remember in my teens always longing for a Body Shop Lip Butter - the many smells and colours of them being rather attractive and the Body Shop are always bringing out new flavours. When there was an offer on the Body Shop website not so long ago, I was buying a gift for someone when I decided to pop the Sweet Lemon Lip Butter into my basket. The Sweet Lemon range was new and I found the idea quite appealing, and having used the lip butters in the past I knew what I was getting for my money.
The Body Shop lip butters go hand in hand with their Body Butter range and are basically mini versions of the large body butter tubs. They have the same screw lid and the same design according to the flavour you have chosen. There are a few different flavours within the lip butter range such as mango and pink grapefruit, and they all come in little bright coloured pots with a picture of the fruit on the lid. The Sweet Lemon body butter boasts to be a buttery balm that will melt on the lips giving instant hydration. The lip butter contains real lemon seed oil along with using Community Fair Trade Shea Butter and Beeswax to help make lips lovely and soft.
The smell of the lip butter is gorgeous, and it really is a sweet lemon smell rather than a sharp citrus kick. It reminds me of lemon meringue and cakes so it's definitely on the sweeter side. To use the lip butter you have to unscrew the lid, and so it's not easy to apply on the move! The lip butter inside is a pale yellow colour, and you can immediately smell the sweet lemon scent. I don't really like the design of the tub; it's quite narrow and deep in design so if the finger you are using in the tub has the hint of a fingernail then you are guaranteed to get the lip butter under your nail. The lip butter itself is really soft and balmy so it's easy to get the amount you need on your fingertip.
It does make my lips feel instantly soft, it's a lovely balmy buttery feeling and you can really feel the Shea butter ingredient here. Unfortunately the feeling doesn't last long, I'd say within 15 minutes my lips are starting to feel dry again, but this might be my fault. You see the lip butter smells so nice that when rubbing my lips together I get a bit of that sweet lemon taste, and I find myself doing this without even realising! I generally only apply it a few times a day and overall it does keep my lips feeling soft, but the original feeling of that buttery balmy feeling does fade fast. Due to its clumsiness I generally keep it on my desk at work to apply randomly throughout the day, it's not something I would carry around in my handbag because it's just too fiddly for me to use whilst moving around.
Overall I don't find this lip butter all that bad, but I don't find it all that good. Sure it's got the gorgeous scent (and taste!) and does give a lovely buttery feeling, but unfortunately it doesn't last very long once applied to the lips and applying it can be quite messy with a lot of the lip butter ending up in my finger nail.
The Body Shop Lip Butters costs £4 for a 10ml tub, expensive for a small lip balm but there are often offers on the Body Shop website or in stores. I would only buy another one of these lip butter's if it was on offer again because I don't find it amazing enough to pay the full price.
I do manage quite well at work to avoid giving into temptation and tucking into the latest cakes or biscuit treats that someone has brought in. I'm always on the lookout for healthy but tasty snacks to take into work with me to help ward off this temptation, and the Go Ahead! Yogurt Breaks in raspberry flavour were my latest find when they were on a buy one get one free offer at the supermarket.
This tasty treat is a light, crispy biscuit which is covered in a yogurt flavoured topping, and inside is sultana and raspberry flavoured filling. It sounds really delicious, and calorie wise it's not bad at all! Inside a box you get 6 packs of these biscuits, and in each pack are 2 separate biscuits. Per slice there is only 72 calories and 0.8g of saturated fats so it's perfect for me for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. For allergy sufferers these biscuits contain Milk, Soya and Gluten and may contain nuts, sesame seeds and egg.
The biscuits come sealed in a foil wrapper, and I'm always pleased to find they are rarely broken or in pieces. There's nothing worse than me making a mess on my desk at work, or getting little crumbs in the keyboard! I love the taste of the yogurt topping on the biscuit, it reminds me of my favourite yogurt coated peanuts and raisins. The raspberry filling is tasty, but I probably prefer a bit more of the raspberry taste to it as it's quite faint and the yogurt flavour is more overpowering. The biscuit overall is quite sweet and not so savoury in taste. Despite this, it's a very tasty snack and it doesn't take me long to eat them! They always keep away any chocolate temptations (which trust me, is really very difficult) and because they are sweet they cure those sugary cravings.
There are other flavours available in the range which I wouldn't mind trying out consisting of Strawberry, Blueberry and Forest Fruits so there is a nice variety amongst them. The price of these biscuits varies at each supermarket, so have a look at mysupermarket.co.uk if you're interested, but I paid around £2.69 on a BOGOF offer for mine, so for 12 packs this wasn't a bad price and I wouldn't hesitate to buy these again if I spot them on a similar offer. For a single pack of 6 though and at that price, I would stick to cheaper cereal bars as snacks.
I've never been a great fan of Tresemme, I have used their products in the past and have not been particularly impressed, and I find their claims of 'salon performance' at cheap prices to be quite laughable as I don't find them as good as more premium brands. They are however, cheap and I don't want to splash out on fancy conditioners all the time, and so when I needed to buy a new conditioner I found myself with the Tresemme Salon Silk conditioner in my basket. I do like to try out new products and if my favourites aren't on offer or I simply fancy a change, I generally check out any special offers on other brands.
This time the offer was on the Tresemme range, although they are quite often on some form of special offer everywhere. You can find these products in places such as Boots, but most supermarkets stock them too. I had already browsed for a decent shampoo in the range so next on my list was a conditioner. I have fine, thin hair that is prone to fizz and also has oily roots which require washing every day, however the roots can end up quite dry not helped by the fact I straighten my hair somewhat most days as it's naturally a wavy, frizzy mess. As my hair is thin and fine, conditioners will often weigh it down and make it quite limp, and I do sometimes avoid using a conditioner at all when washing my hair. I tend to only use condition on the very ends of my hair and it's generally a wash in and wash out trick as if I leave it in too long my hair will end up weighed down. The Salon Silk conditioner really stood out for me as it promises to reduce frizz and smooth hair without weighing it down. The bottle states how it's light enough for daily use and the silk proteins will tame unruly hair and leave it smooth and 'salon-soft.'
I hate the design of Tresemme bottles. They are quite tough plastic with a flip lid which makes it a nightmare when you are near the end as it often involves shaking the bottle quite hard as the tough plastic makes it impossible to squeeze the remains of the product out. I also think Tresemme are trying to fit in with the salon image of making those giant 900ml bottles of their products, but I always stick to the 500ml bottles, which I did in this instance. The 500ml Salon Silk conditioner is currently only £2 in Asda, and the 900ml is £4.30 so it's not rocket science to work out which is better value for money although I should mention the larger bottles are on offer 3 for £10. If you're trying out a product for the first time however, then those large bottles will be a waste if the product turns out to be useless for your hair.
The conditioner doesn't smell particularly brilliant; I find it to be quite a standard conditioner type of smell. It's not too thick in consistency, I would say more on the runny side, but it's easy to apply to the hair. After smoothing it through the ends of my hair I wash it out straight away but the instructions suggest leaving it in for 2-3 minutes - this isn't ideal for my hair type. My hair instantly feels softer and smoother, always a good sign. I have used terrible conditioners in the past, some which instantly make hair feel more tatty and dry than it originally started out as! The conditioner rinses out well and after drying there's no residue left over or that awful heavy, greasy feeling you can get when a conditioner is too thick. When my hair is dry the ends are soft and smooth, and the quality is probably what I expect from a cheaper brand. I would say that it's probably not as smooth and frizz free as I would like, but my hair is certainly not weighed down. I would have preferred more shine to my hair, but for the price I can't complain too much. I have used better conditioners for around the same price, one of my favourites being the Pantene Aqua Light conditioner, but it's not bad and does leave my hair feeling soft. After using the product nearly every day I didn't notice any change in condition to my hair, it delivered the same quality each time so I knew what to expect. The 500ml bottle did last me quite a while, but I do advise to be careful when dispensing the product as it's quite runny and you might end up with too much coming out of the bottle.
I wouldn't mind using this conditioner again, for the price it does a good enough job, but I wouldn't class it as one of my favourites. The Tresemme range is always on special offer so keep an eye out for any offers currently available, and when trying the product for the first time I wouldn't recommend going for a large 900ml bottle!
I'm a huge fan of Clinique products, ever since I discovered their 'Anti-Blemish range which works wonders on my skin, and I have branched out into their make-up and other skin products ever since. Quite some time ago now I loved using a product by Clinique called Clarifying Powder. I used it on top of liquid foundation, or on its own if I was in a rush, and it was great for top-ups during the day. Clinique discontinued this item, and I tried the Stay-Matte powder but I wasn't happy with the coverage. I stumbled across the 'Almost Powder Makeup' which I've been using for over a year now, so I feel it's time to write a review!
Clinique is a cosmetics company, and you will often see their cosmetics counters in many department stores. Their skin care range is well known for being simple, but especially catered for all skin types. I have heard some people mentioning bad things about Clinique, and I've heard those rumours that the products contain nasty chemicals which are bad for your skin. The thing is, I've tried many different skin care products for my skin type over the years, I have oily, blemish prone skin with large pores and many products I have used have completely dried my face out, or just simply not had any affect at all. The Clinique anti-blemish skin care range is the only range I have used which actually makes a positive difference to my skin by reducing blemish breakouts, helping to keep my skin clear and my pores minimized.
Clinique do quite a range of powder foundation, and for someone who is new to Clinique it could be a difficult choice to make. I would strongly suggest discussing your skin type before purchasing one of the foundations to ensure you are getting the best one for your skin type, after all, Clinique is not a cheap cosmetics range and it would be a shame to waste money on something not suitable for you.
The Almost Powder Makeup is a mineral powder with a long-wear formula. It's light weight and manages to perfect the skin tone and texture for a fresh and natural look. The ultra-smooth formula helps maintain the skin's moisture balance, and the anti-oxidants and SPF 15 help protect the skin. It comes in a typical powder compact with a mirror and a sponge supplied, however how you apply this product is completely up to you, you can use the sponge or a brush. For speed I will often use the sponge, yet I'm well aware that (especially on my skin type!) that using a sponge over and over will trap bacteria and not help with my blemishes!
There's a good range of shades for this powder make-up, and it can depend on if you want more colour and coverage, or a more natural finish. I have extremely pale skin and always reach for the 'Fair' shade, and I must warn that you must have really pale skin to use this shade! I use a nice bronzer after applying to give my face some colour, but it matches my skin colour perfectly and helps gives a more natural finish. The other shades are Neutral, Neutral Fair, Light, Medium and Deep. I am considering purchasing one in the Light shade ready for my first beach holiday this year, as I do feel that the Fair colour may end up being too light if I catch the sun!
I strongly suggest using a moisturiser before applying the Almost Powder Makeup. I do this anyway as part of my routine, but it can pick up any dry bits, however it do has a lovely smooth feeling to this powder and it will give a nice soft and natural finish to your skin. Due to my skin type, I do have some blemish marks and scars and it's rare I would go out without using a liquid foundation first for maximum coverage. I actually use Clinique's Anti-Blemish foundation, but sometimes on a morning and particularly in the summer, I don't want the more heavy feeling of a liquid foundation and this is where the Almost Powder Makeup has always stepped in for me. It's easy and quick to apply; as the shade matches my skin tone nicely I don't need to worry about it not blending in or having an awful foundation mark around the edges. The powder feels lovely and soft as it's applied, and it really gives a nice natural coverage to my face. It's one of the only powder foundations I've ever used that gives a good coverage to my face on its own meaning that I'm not afraid to leave the house wearing just this foundation! It removes any excess shine, and most importantly for me it doesn't clog up my pores or feel cakey, in fact I can't even feel the foundation once it's on as it's light weight formula really works.
As the day goes on I do tend to get oil building up around my T-Zone, however the foundation holds well and doesn't give me a 'cakey' feeling. If I'm going to re-apply this foundation during the day I remove any excess oils using blotting sheets before doing so, and I'm back to a light-weight and fresh feeling again. I'm also pleased to say after using this powder for such a long time now, that it doesn't have any negative effects on my skin, my pores don't get clogged up and it probably skin my skin more good than wearing a heavy liquid foundation!
Unfortunately something this good does come with a large price tag, this makeup costs £20, however I am pleased to say that unlike other pressed powders I have used in the past, it does actually last a long time! This is mainly because you don't actually need to apply much of the foundation for the desired effect, and I don't mind paying for my next compact because I don't need to buy it that often. It also helps when you buy Clinique products when they have a free gift offer on, or like me I stocked up in Bloomingdales in New York making good use of the exchange rate and a fantastic free gift they were giving away with purchases at the time! This is a powder I will be suing for a long time yet, and it's perfect for the summer for those that want a light-weight and natural finish, but still want coverage and some SPF.
Sanctuary Spa are a well known and popular brand in skincare, their products come highly rated by many and are an indulgent and luxurious brand. People try to re enact the spa experience in their own homes with their many products which not only consist of bathing, but also skin care and fragrances. This Body Butter is an award winning product, it was Readers Choice Best Rich Moisturiser 2009 at the Women & Home Best Beauty Buys Award 2009, and I've never read a bad review of the product yet!
I love using body butters above normal moisturisers from a tube. I love the fact when you unscrew the lid you can see the creamy body butter in the tub and can literally scoop it out to smother on your skin. A body butter is also thicker than a lotion, and in my opinion really feels like a good, deep moisturiser that's really sinking into the skin making it feel soft and smooth. I have used various body butters from different brands in the past, the Body Shop range is popular and amongst my favourite choice, mainly because there are a huge range of fragrances to choose from! This Body Butter by Sanctuary is in the Spa Essentials range and if I admit it, I don't find this very posh and oozing of luxury at all, I mean 'essentials' to me doesn't cry out quality, but rather something quite basic. I suppose adding the word Spa to this does try to make it more upmarket but I'd rather it just didn't bother at all. But enough with the name, after all it's the product inside that counts.
The tub isn't the most fantastic and brilliantly designed, it matches the rest of the Sanctuary range with it's orange theme however it's just a sticker stuck on the lid (and one on the base) that makes this a Sanctuary product, otherwise you're just looking with a plain tub with a bright orange lid. The sticker on the bottom tells us that this rich, intensive body butter is crammed with cocoa butter and shea butter, laced with almond oil, macadamia oil and Vitamin E. It certainly sounds promising, all the good body butters include those sorts of oils and cocoa butters, and I love the smell of cocoa butter so this was a plus point with me.
The butter is simple enough to use, after unscrewing the lid I'm hit instantly with the smell of cocoa butter and oils and it smells wonderful, I always associate the smell with relaxing and soft, smooth skin. The butter itself is white, thick and creamy. After my shower or bath, I scoop out a good amount and slowly work it into the skin, paying special attention to any particularly dry areas such as the elbows. When applying this body butter it makes me feel as if I have terribly dry and horrible skin, because as soon as I start to rub this onto my skin it makes it feel a million times softer and smoother straight away, and the rest of my skin seems so terrible in comparison. The body butter isn't so thick that it doesn't absorb into the skin properly, and it doesn't leave skin feeling sticky or greasy. Afterwards I'm left with wonderfully soft skin that smells divine. The smell will linger on the skin for several hours, and I'm left with fantastic smooth skin until my next shower.
It's hard to find any negatives with this product, it really does try to bring the Spa into your own home. The only downsides is the packaging could be better, for the price they charge for this product I would have expected something a little more fancy, but thankfully the product inside is worth the money. The tub costs £9.18 currently from Boots, however there is a frequent 3 for 2 offer on this range so that's an added bonus. I got my tub from a gift set, and I personally wouldn't pay for this separately as I know I'm bound to find another gift set, especially at Christmas, for cheap making this better value for money.
Overall this is a gorgeous body butter, making your skin feel wonderfully soft and smooth with that lovely cocoa butter scent being a nice addition.
Boots recently had an offer on the Champney's Spa range where if you spent a certain amount on the range, you received a free gift set with mini products in. I've never used this range before, but I had heard good things, and I decided this offer was the perfect time for me to try this range and use my advantage card points as a treat to myself! After much consideration I settled on the 'Oriental Opulence' range as I often like oriental themed products. I couldn't choice one particular product so I actually got the gift set containing mini products from the Oriental Opulence range and in this set was the Bubble Heaven bubble bath.
Bubble Heaven promises an indulgent bath full of Eastern luxury. It contains silk proteins, warming ginseng, ylang ylang, sandalwood and patchouli to help soften the skin and give you the lovely tranquil feeling you need in a relaxing bath. Champney's know how to make their products look luxurious, packaged in a dark red and gold themed bottle with 'Spa Indulgence' in bold it certainly gives off that excellent quality feeling and making you feel as if you really are buying into a premium product.
The instructions are as you expect, pour under warm water and swirl gently, however this is where I first had troubles. The mini version of bubble heaven comes in a small hard plastic bottle and I could not empty it out of the bottle as the liquid itself is rather thick, and so does not simply pour out of the bottle with ease. I can't fault this too much as I do assume the full sized product does not have this problem, but I do find it irritating that they didn't think about this when doing the gift set with the mini products. So after much shaking and banging and attempting to squeeze the hard plastic, I did manage to get sold of the gold coloured liquid out of the bottle and into the bath water. You do have to swirl this quite a bit as I found otherwise the gold liquid sinks straight to to the bottom and just stays there.
This product does smell great, and I was pleased to see the smell was still noticeable once the bubble's were forming and the scent lingered in the bathroom and on my sink for a while after my bath. Unfortunately I was disappointed with the bubble's themselves, especially more so as the product is named 'Bubble Heaven' so I was expecting an abundance of bubbles in my bath! Sadly I was given some mediocre bubbles which started to disappear quickly within in a few minutes. This was a big downside to the product for me, it does smell nice and it makes the skin feel lovely and soft, but I use bubble bath to fill my bath with nice soft bubbles to relax in, otherwise I would simply use a bath oil!
Ultimately it's not as good as I had hoped, especially from a brand I hear so many good things about. It did give me lovely soft skin after my bath, and this often meant I would not use a moisturiser, and it does leave a nice scent on the skin. I did try to use more of the product in the hope of giving more bubbles to last longer, but I was just disappointed as the bubbles don't linger around for long. I probably wouldn't go out and buy this again, especially considering the full size product of this costs £12 in Boots and this is more then I would like to spend on a bubble bath which doesn't get 5 stars from me!
Boots are well known for the promotion that runs quite regularly offering customer's a £5 voucher to use against the No7 range, and it was during this offer I decided to purchase my new exfoliator from the No7 range as it made the price rather cheap. I'd never tried the Radiance Revealed Exfoliator before, but it sounded quite promising when I read the packaging in the shop, and so armed with my voucher I decided to give it a go. I have oily, blemish prone skin and I find exfoliating regularly really helps as my pores often get clogged up, and the horrible tacky feeling I can often experience from my oily skin is really helped when using a decent exfoliator. I love an exfoliator which is quite grainy, and gives my skin a good scrub. I'm not fussed about fancy fragrances when it comes to my skincare, I'm more focused on the product itself and whether it works or not. Peering through the packaging of this exfoliator I was pleased to see quite a few grains, compared to a Clinique face scrub I had used in the past which didn't have many and was quite disappointing.
No7 claim this exfoliator will make skin appear more radiant and that it contains natural fruit acids to make the skin bright and beautiful. It promises to sweep away skin impurities (as any exfoliator should!) which will leave behind brighter skin, and give a deep cleanse which will refine pores leaving skin soft, smooth and energised. It advises to use this once or twice a week by massaging a small amount into damp skin. I quite often use this exfoliator in the shower, as at the end of a long work day it helps me feel more refreshing as it clears away any clogged up feeling my skin may have. I was quite surprised at the amount of grains in the exfoliator as I was expecting more, and it certainly appears to have more than how it feels when I am using it. This meant that it was as 'grainy' as I would like, and whilst it is a decent scrub it's not as harsh as I would prefer. Despite this however I do feel that it cleanses away any impurities and dirt from my skin, and afterwards my skin feels clean, smooth and more fresh than before. Pores do feel cleaner, however certain parts of my skin feel quite dry such as my cheeks and this is not a feeling I get with other exfoliators. No7 promise this exfoliator will make my pores appear more refined over time however this has not been the case and I haven't noticed any difference in this area. Over time I haven't noticed any big improvements to my skin, it's mostly the feeling of cleanliness immediately after using the product which is positive, but it doesn't help with my skin in the long term.
I have found the Radiance Revealed Exfoliator to be quite average over all and to be honest I did expect more from this product than I achieved. I haven't found it particularly special, it doesn't help in the long term, and there isn't any added bonus purchasing this exfoliator over a cheaper version from another brand. I'm pleased I had a voucher when I purchased this as it would usually cost £8 for a small 75ml tube, but I did get this for £3 with the voucher which I do feel is a reasonable price to pay, rather than the full price.