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KMS California is a fairly well known American brand which is available in salons and also online through a range of suppliers. KMS is not the cheapest shampoo and this clarifying range is no different. It usually retails at around £12.30 but can be found for around £9.40 using online shops. Personally I only ever by my KMS products from my hairdresser as I know they are the genuine product. The bottles are currently white with a blue coloured top but I believe KMS are about to launch a new designed bottle. The lid has a push button top which does not leak even when travelling which is great for holidays. Although this is not the cheapest shampoo it is certainly value for money as you only need a very small amount for each wash and the 300ml bottle lasts a very long time. I moved away from using KMS products for a few years and instead opted for cheaper better known brands. Over 5 years the condition of my hair deteriorated dramatically. I have very fine shoulder length hair which is prone to breaking and by the time I returned to KMS I had "see through" hair for about half the length of my hair. I've now been using this clarifying shampoo since February and the change in my hair has been extensive. I wash it nearly every day but it has so much more thickness, it is softer but not "fly away" and the ends can go for longer without splitting and needing a trim. The shampoo is a blue/green translucent colour with the consistency of a loose gel. It smells very natural and fresh like sage. Personal I like it a lot as it is not synthetic smelling like a lot of products. It lathers up easily in your hands before applying it to your hair, not huge amount of lather but enough for me. This shampoo is designed to deal with oils and any product build up even on thin hair and I can say it does both of these things without drying out your hair or irritating your scalp. I would highly recommend this for people with fine hair or sensitive scalps as it's very gentle. Overall - a great investment to make your hair happy!
What my car has to do Every week I drive my Auris Hybrid out of central London for over three hours for work purposes. I then do the return 3 hour journey later in the week. For me this car has to do everything from congestion zones in central London to motorways and country roads. Price As with all hybrids this Auris Hybrid T-Spirit from £21,675 is far more expensive than Toyota's standard Auris which can be from as little as £12,995. However with no road tax to pay and an efficient use of Petrol the idea is you make your money back over time. In London it currently qualifies for free congestion charge and in my London borough my parking permit is £30 rather than the standard £120! Plus you get to do your bit for the environment. For me it was an economically driven decision with an environmental plus. I also made a point of getting a deal, pushing the salesman and travelling a bit further for a more competitive deal on an ex-demonstration model. This is really worth it and although you may not chose the exact interior you want etc for 25% off the list price it's worth it! As this is a new car it is difficult to establish the depreciation on it. So far I believe the Prius has managed to hold its value fairly well in the second hand market. Hybrid Engine When purchasing I was told by the dealer that it would do up to 1mile at 30mph on the electric engine. I can safely say I have managed to get to 45mph purely on the electric motor and I have certainly gone more than a mile at 30mph on the electric as well. Toyota also offer a 7 year warranty on the electric battery to give you confidence it will last. As I had never had a hybrid car before this was a big reassurance to me. I am yet to drive the car in the winter but have been reassured that it will cope with starting in the cold/snow...we will see. I was concerned that driving in urban areas, pedestrians and cyclists would not hear it and merrily cross/cruise in front of or into the side of me. Having driven it for sometime now I have never had this happen to me. Another thing that has been said by friends driving the car is that it calms down your driving style because it makes you focus on fuel efficiency etc. Having said this the fuel "efficiency" vs power pay off in other cars can be excellent eg BMW Acceleration Another concern before purchasing was that the car would not have any acceleration. Not for ridiculously fast driving but to enable you to overtake and pull out of slip roads etc. I can confidently say the acceleration is fine, you never get the same from an automatic as a geared car but I have had no problems despite regularly stopping at petrol stations with short run offs on A roads. One off putting thing is the whining sound the engine makes when you put your foot down rather the growl you get in geared cars for this petty reason it loses a star. Miles per gallon Toyota advertise this as up to 70mpg. I have only managed to get to this when driving in urban areas i.e 30mph speed limits and I rarely use the air conditioning. Realistically it is possible to get 70mpg but as a careful and non-aggressive driver I rarely get to it. Car spec etc My Auris is an Auris T-Spirit Hybrid which is the most expensive model available. There are two other models in this range both called T4's. One of the T4's has less power and therefore is slightly cheaper. My car is an ex-demonstration model bought from a Toyota dealer when it was 3 months old and is now 6 months old. The car is an automatic like all of Toyota's hybrids. Features I really like are the reversing camera which comes up in the rear view mirror when you put the car into reverse. This camera is not visible at all when not in use i.e there is no annoying line/blemish on the mirror when not in use. Living in central London I appreciate the parking sensors on the back of the car as well though I would say they are a bit too sensitive. There are other little "extras" you get on this model and a full spec list is available on the Toyota website. I would also say that initially I found the steering very light and the brakes very sharp, I have now got used to both and neither were exactly a "problem" with a new car. Appearance I cannot honestly say I would pay the extra for the pearlescent paint that my car has. It does look really good when the sun's shining particularly with the tinted windows in the back but for hundreds of pounds more it cannot be worth it. The tinted windows are good as it is very difficult to see what you have in the boot/back seat but again I doubt I would have paid for this. With the deal I got I managed to neutralise the "cost" of these extras. A big plus point is that this car does not look like a hybrid. In my opinion it looks far better than the Prius which is larger and more of a boxy style. Size So far I've got a men's 22" mountain bike in it no problems as the back seats go perfectly flat. I also regularly get two full grown Labradors in the boot for short journeys or put one in the passenger foot well and the other in the boot to give them space for longer journeys. It is a comfortable 4 door car ideal for 4 people on long journeys, the only problem maybe where to put the luggage. The boot does have a removable bottom which reveals and extra area to store things. The spare wheel is then below this additional space which also has a bit of room around it. Whilst in the front you get some good storage space thanks to a double glove compartment, a lot of people do not even spot the larger lower one. Plenty of side pockets etc for car sweet stashes. Technical Stuff Inside the top glove compartment is a USB connector where you can plug in your generic mp3 device which will then play through the car's stereo system. The steering wheel also has a really useful volume/track/radio and hands free controls which your phone can link into via Bluetooth etc. It also sports a cruise control system which is very easy to use and get used to. I have used cruise control in other cars before which operated slightly differently but all in all a good addition if you're doing long distances on motorways. By far the best features are the automatic wipers and automatic lights. I have found both to be a huge benefit on my longer journeys and would certainly pay the extra for these features. Overall - love this car but only makes financial sense if you do a lot of urban driving to make the most of the hybrid engine and also the tax/other cost breaks. If you're considering a hybrid go and have a test drive then get number crunching. (For me, running this car works out cheaper than getting trains everywhere.) I hope this review is helpful and if you have any questions/comments please message me.
As part of my money saving efforts I have started using Avon products and as usual I got sucked into the lovely glossy catalogue and ordered the double ended big colour eye pencil duo. Because of the offer that was on I paid only £4.00 instead of the usual £7.00. I have the Dream Green and Hint of Mint combination. The product is also available in other colour combinations of purples and blue azure/white. Avon describes this eye pencil as creamy and I would certainly agree with that. It is very smooth and soft in application; it doesn't drag or pull at your eyelids at all. This means it is very easy to blend the two different colours but when you do this you either need to use an additional brush/blender or one end of the colour pencil which then becomes a bit discoloured from the mixing - I personally do not have a problem with this. One thing you should be aware of is that it is easy to end up looking a bit over done and clown like with this product. Having used this product quite a few times now, I find if I use a bit of the darker shade as the main colour and just highlight near the lash line/inner corner of my eye with the lighter shade it can be very effective. This is a very high impact makeup option and I would never use this product during the day. A problem I currently have is that I need to find a sharpener large enough to sharpen the pencil as it's very thick and will not fit my standard eyeliner sharpener. I have not yet had a problem with the pencil splitting in the middle between the two colours and it appears very sturdy so far despite being thrown around my various makeup boxes. Overall I would consider buying this product in another colour if it was on offer again and really like having this as a high impact makeup option.
Before you read this review please be warned I do discuss the content of the book which could be considered "spoilers"! I have always had an interest in Sir Fiennes expeditions and travelling exploits and this autobiography was an ideal way to catch up with all the bits I had missed and to gain an insight into the personality behind the newspaper articles and photo shoots. The level of self belief and perseverance in this man is astonishing. This fabulous book takes the reader on a rollercoaster of expeditions from seven marathons in seven days to his widely reported Pole exploits. It also gives us a vivid account of his life as a young boy, the impact of his family and school lives right through to his army days, finding lost cities in the desert and the personal tragedy of loosing his first wife. Trying to overcome your fear of heights by climbing the North face of the Eiger, sawing off his own mummified frostbitten fingers and overcoming a heart attack to run yet another marathon gives you some idea of what a man this is. His writing gives an honest insight into his motivations and Fiennes talks frankly about his ability to leave those he loves behind; an act which he himself sees as selfish. Fiennes is not just an explorer, he's also a man who has raised millions for charities and pushed the boundaries of human endurance. He is also the man who very nearly replaced Sean Connery as James Bond - apparently Cubby Broccoli wanted a real solider for the role to give it more authenticity. The title of the book comes from the comment his first father in law made about him when Fiennes was courting his first wife, Ginny. Ginny is a constant point in Fiennes world; from nearly loosing her to marrying her and her devastating early death. His account of Ginny is more than that of a loving wife but also as a solid companion and co-conspirator with whom to plan and execute his expeditions. For me the most interesting aspects of the book were realising how many of his expeditions were never undertaken due to factors out of his control such as sponsorship. Given his self depreciating nature it appears natural for the writer to gloss over events which he probably thinks would not be very interesting for a reader; this in itself gives a good insight into Fiennes. Personally, I wish there had been more detail about the practical implications of undertaking his trips. However to do that the book would have to be three times as long and clearly a certain amount of editing is needed when dealing with such an interesting life. I will probably read his other books for more detail about his various explorations. I read this book whilst roasting nicely in 40 degrees of heat on holiday and the tales of Artic and Antarctic ice was a welcome release for my overheating brain. This is an easy and compelling read which you will get swept up in to. It will also make you wonder what things you could achieve if only you put your mind to it. It is a must read not only for an insight into what motivates an explorer but as an important lesson in what can be overcome by sheer grit and determination. Since this book was published Fiennes has in fact conquered Everest and no doubt there is more to come from this man....I cannot wait for the next instalment!
With sensitive facial skin I always have a bit of trouble tracking down a suitable moisturiser which doesn't leave me with a red blotchy face. I bought the Carrot Moisture Cream as I had a 50% off voucher code to use on the Body Shop website. So, instead of paying the usual £4.00 for the 50ml pot I got it for just £2! I usually use a Lush brand product for my face but this cream looked like an absolute bargain. If it worked well it could have been a new favourite for my temperamental skin. Unfortunately, the bargain has not worked out. The 50ml pot is small with a pale peach coloured exterior with the usual black/dark green Body shop lid and labelling. If I had found this a suitable cream I would certainly get through this pot very quickly and according to the website it is not available in a larger size at the moment. The scent of the cream is subtle which is perfect for use on your face and it does not overpower your sinuses! The cream is described as a lightweight moisturiser but is certainly a cream consistency; do not buy this thinking it will be more like a lotion. Despite having dry thirsty skin I found this cream needed a moment to sink in properly. It could easily be a bit greasy so I would advise you only use this on the dry areas of your face and avoid any greasy areas. The main reason I cannot give this a good review is that it made my face very red. It also made my skin feel really tight across my cheeks which was very uncomfortable. I had high hopes for this cream given the use of natural ingredients like community trade beeswax and it has good ethics behind it which is always a great plus. Because it hasn't got on well with my face, I'm now using it as a hand cream and leave it in my handbag. Given the small pot size, it's a convenient alternative use for it but I won't be buying it again. Overall I'm just so, so disappointed as I do love some Body Shop products but given the reaction I must have some sort of allergy to an ingredient...the scent and consistency means it just about retains a two star score. Sorry Body Shop!
Prior to Avon I always used to buy Lancome mascara but in an attempt to save money I've switched to Avon. I bought this mascara as it was on offer with my Avon rep and I thought it was worth a try. I usually buy the SuperCurlacious mascara from Avon which is for fuller more curled lashes, rather than a super lengthening mascara. Typically the packaging is the Avon slick black style that is easy to get into and to hold when you are applying the mascara. As for the product, I have now been using this a couple of weeks and it seems to really lengthen my lashes to the point where I have to be careful when I first apply it so as not to end up with mascara marks on my eyelid! This mascara gives really good definition to the lashes and I have not had any problems with clumping. The best thing is the brush which is nice and fine to get the little lashes. I bought this in black and it's currently priced at £8.50 for the 7ml tube. It is also available in a brown/black which I have yet to try out. Although I like the product I will probably continue to work my way through the Avon mascara range as I'm as fairly new customer and also to take advantage of any mascaras on offer. The mascara is meant to be waterproof and so far I haven't been swimming in it but I haven't had any watery lines despite sometimes needing to fiddle around with my contact lenses once the mascara is on. Overall this mascara does exactly what it promises to do in the lengthening department and is a good contender to be my regular mascara.
I have used Body Shop Body Butters for a few years now. The packaging is sturdy and I have never had any spillage problems which is defiantly a big bonus for me. The outer packaging is a dark brown with a picture of a coconut on the front. Whilst the "butter" inside is a light cream colour with a thick consistency. As soon as you dive into the tub you get a lovely coconut smell which is not too overpowering. Yet I have had compliments from people I live with that I smell nice when all I've done is slick some of this on after a shower and get dressed, so it is noticeable. Nevertheless, I wear perfume a lot and do not find the scent of this butter interferes with the perfume at all. I personally like the tropical smell to take you away from the miserable winter weather. The Coconut body butter is aimed at people with "Dry to Very Dry Skin" so for me it's perfect for elbows, arms, knees and feet. Just beware of putting it on your feet then deciding to walk around on a wooden floor! Because of the consistency it isn't instantly absorbed but you just need to rub it in a bit. If you're anything like me you need a minute to decide what to put on anyway. Once it's rubbed in though it leaves your skin lovely and soft and makes a noticeable difference particularly to elbows. I would certainly not recommend this for your face as it is far to greasy for that. I tend to buy the larger 200ml tubs of this but the smaller 50ml ones are useful for travelling and holidays. Despite loving this product and using it all the time I never buy it at full price as you can regularly get it for much less! I usually purchase this through the Body Shop website rather than going in store because the website always seems to have offers and promotions going on. Alternatively you can usually find a discount code on the internet. Finally I would also like to highlight that a lot of men really like Body Butter and both my brother and other half like the nut flavours including this Coconut one (they never buy their own though!) Overall a good product which I will continue to buy and only looses a star for the price. Thanks for reading I hope this review was helpful.
I have very sensitive skin on my face and over the years have tried numerous "for sensitive skin" products and brands. Frequently I've ended up with a red blotchy skin and that horrible "tight" feeling across my face. I first got this pot of magic cream as part of a Birthday present from Lush. Given previous experiences with other brands I was happily surprised to find a light cream which sunk easily into my skin without leaving either a greasy residue or the red face debacle. Lush promote this as more of a body lotion/cream rather than a face moisturiser but I find it works perfectly on my face. I use it every morning letting it sink in before putting my make up on. Funnily enough my other half also really likes this product. I think the black and white packaging makes is easier for the men to dive in! Only problem is he uses it so much I have to buy double the quantity I used to. At £10.75 for a 240g pot I think it is well worth the money though. My only problem is that because Lush shops can be few and far between (even though I live in Central London) that it's often a special trip to go and buy it. As I work away a lot I'm often not at home and considering the delivery charges on the Lush website I refuse to buy it off there. The other problem is that the pot can be prone to leaking when in transit! I travel every week with work and on a number of occasions despite making sure the lid was on super tight the cream leaked everywhere. I've learnt my lesson and now always pack it separately or decant it into another tub but I wish Lush would solve this as I'm never confident I won't have a moisturiser mess when I arrive somewhere! Despite all this I still love it as a product. PS - this is also great if you've got a bit pink in the sun!
The glimmerstick has a twist end so that the kohl stick gradually comes out the other end (like a lipstick but much thinner); which means no annoying sharpening or the resulting mess that you usually get with traditional eyeliner pencils. Personally I have never completely mastered liquid eyeliner and so the glimmerstick is a perfect in-between option. The application is soft and doesn't scrape or pull at your eyelid at all. It is also very easy to smudge and create a smoky eye effect in conjunction with your chosen eyeshadow. The actual product has not irritated my eyes at all and I wear contact lenses every day. The product is available in a range of colours including Blackest Black which is my favourite and gives a strong black definition. Avon have also launched the new "diamond effects glimmerstick" range which I'm yet to try out. The price of these glimmersticks is very competitive with the rest of the market particularly because Avon regularly have discounts and offers on. The only disadvantage for me is that the lid can sometimes be difficult to remove. This is mainly due to me having moisturiser on my hands at the time but I feel a little grip on the lid would be helpful. Nevertheless all the other factors more than make up for it and I cannot see myself buying eyeliner from anywhere else.
I first tried this fragrance during a wander around duty free just before I got on a long haul flight from Australia to the UK. By the time I got to the UK I could still smell the perfume and I still loved it. After 24 hours of being dehydrated and tired the fragrance had not even given me a headache. (I've found that to be a problem with other fragrances.) I felt that my journey had given this fragrance a proper test and so I bought it as soon as I could. It's now on my Christmas/Birthday list every year as it is a more expensive fragrance than some but it is completely worth it for a classy sophisticated scent with staying power. I have noticed with cheaper fragrances they fade very quickly. The fragrance is ideal for evenings as it's on the stronger side of the fragrance scale but I admit I regularly spritz it on during the day for work to brighten up my Mondays. I would say if you like a very light floral number this is not for you as this is more of a slightly spicy oriental scent. Would definatly recommend you go and try it out.