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I first discovered cherry brandy in my first year of university. I originally tried it purely because a cherry brandy and coke was a reasonably priced drink in my student union! But I fell in love with it after my first sip and savoured the lovely cherry flavour. Since leaving uni I regularly buy cherry brandy for parties and gatherings and have since introduced it to friends who have also fallen for its charms. Even my best friend who doesn't normally like cherry flavoured things likes it!
De Kuyper Cherry Flavour brandy is available in larger supermarkets but not so easy to find in smaller shops or off licenses. I get mine in Tesco where it costs £9.99 for a 50cl bottle which I think is a reasonable price. It is also available online - for example thedrinkshop.com offer a 70cl bottle for £13.89. The bottle itself is quite luxurious and expensive looking. It comes in a dark green glass bottle with dark red labels featuring the usual De Kuyper logo. The bottle also informs you that it is made in Holland and that it is 24% alcohol.
Upon opening the bottle you are greeted by a rich, decadent smell bursting with a cherry aroma. When you pour it out it is thick and deep red. It looks fantastic quality and not remotely weak or watery. Taste wise it is heavenly. I don't normally like brandy, it really isn't something I enjoy. But this does not taste like normal brandy. It tastes like fresh, ripe cherries bursting with flavour. This is complimented beautifully by a sweet almond taste, achieved by crushed cherry kernels. The cherry and almond mix is enhanced by subtle spices including cloves and cinnamon which gives it a luxurious after taste. This brandy is smooth, thick and is wonderfully warming as it goes down. It is a delight to drink. The actual brandy can be detected slightly but it is blended well with the complex flavours of the cherries, almonds and spices so just provides an alcoholic kick rather than a flavour.
Cherry brandy can be consumed in a variety of ways. It is lovely on its own because it is smooth and full of flavour. Another common way to drink it is with coke (preferably diet) and this was how I first tried it. The cherry blends beautifully with the coke and provides you with a sweet, fruity refreshing tipple. Or the cherry brandy is a perfect ingredient for a variety of cocktails, its beautiful flavour allowing you to create an array of unique cocktails. I've included a list of some lovely cherry brandy based cocktails at the end of the review.
As far as the effects of cherry brandy are concerned I always find that it gets me pleasantly drunk. It is not too strong but is strong enough to have an effect after a few, particularly if you have it in cocktails with other alcohol. I find that because it is better quality alcohol the actual 'drunkness' is happy and relaxed and there hangover the next day is not too painful!
I think this drink is nice at any time of year. It is great for Christmas because of its colour and the lovely warm feeling it gives you. But I also do like to have it in the summer with some coke and ice or use it to create some really exotic, fruity tasting cocktails which are brilliant for summer parties.
Overall this is a quality beverage that is wonderfully diverse and can be enjoyed at any time throughout the year.
1 shot Disaronno Amaretto
1 shot Cherry Brandy
2 shots white wine
2 shots pineapple juice
2 shots of lime juice
Top up lemonade
Shake with cubed ice then strain into a highball glass and top up with lemonade.
1 shot whiskey
1.5 shot cherry brandy
1 shot lime juice
Top up with cranberry juice
Half fill a highball with ice, pour in all ingredients and stir.
1 shot white rum
1 shot cherry brandy
4.5 shots pineapple juice
3 shots orange juice
0.75 shot Blue Curacao
Shake all ingredients together except blue curacao and strain into highball half filled with ice. Top with the blue curacao but do not stir.
1.5 shots cherry brandy
2 shots orange juice
1 shot lime juice
Top up lemonade
Shake first three ingredients with ice then strain into a glass half filled with ice. Top up with lemonade and gently stir.
I was browsing the sausages in Tesco the other day when I spotted these Tesco Value 8 sausages. I hadn't considered them before, I don't think I had even noticed them. Upon noticing they were just 48p I grabbed a pack figuring that at that bargain price they would be worth a try.
These sausages are a considerable amount cheaper than any other sausages available. At £1.99, my usual Tesco Butchers Choice ones are around £1.50 more. The Richmond ones cost £1.97 and the Walls ones cost £2.13. So these are by far the cheapest sausages you can buy.
The packaging is nothing to write home about. They come in the usual 'Tesco Value' style, which is quite plain and unappealing. The packaging has changed slightly from the picture shown - the front now shows the name of the sausages on a dull yellow background, livened up only slightly by a small picture of some tasty looking sausages at the top. Also on the front of the pack is some basic nutritional info, the weight (454g) and the use by date. The sides of the pack tell you all you need to know concerning the full nutritional info, how to cook the sausages, ingredients, allergy advice and storage instructions.
The packaging is made of thin, cheap feeling cellophane. When I picked the sausages up off the shelf the pack seemed to be quite sticky and leaking a watery, pink juice. I thought it was just one packet at first but it turned out all the packets were leaky and covered in this sticky substance. This was quite an off-putting start and after I picked the sausages up I had to go off and wash my hands otherwise I would have had to walk around Tesco with damp and sticky hands. But nonetheless I persevered and bought the sausages anyway hoping this was just a minor hiccup.
The sausages can be grilled, fried or cooked in the oven. Oven cooking takes around 15 - 20 minutes on gas mark 5/190c. Grilling takes 10 minutes on a medium heat and frying takes 8 - 10 minutes over a medium heat. I fried them but found they needed a bit longer than 10 minutes and kept them in for about 5 minutes longer.
When they are done they do look and smell appetising enough. They are a nice strong brown colour and the skins don't split open when they are being cooked which always puts me off slightly. However, when I cut one open I noticed that the meat inside had a pinkish tinge to it. They were cooked properly but the 'meat' is such poor quality that it retains a pinky colour to it.
It only got worse when it came to eating the sausages. They did not taste good at all. They didn't really have any flavour and the flavour they did have certainly didn't taste like sausages. They tasted a bit like what I would imagine dog food to taste like - an artificial hybrid of the cheapest meats available. They have tried to liven up the flavour a bit by mashing in some herbs but these didn't improve the sausages and didn't blend in well with the meat so they tasted out of place. The texture was also disgusting. They are sort of mushy and squishy inside which make these very unpleasant to bite into or chew. The sausages made me feel sick and I just about managed half before giving the rest to my doggies (who will literally eat anything).
These sausages are just terrible quality. The ingredients explain why - they contain only 40% meat with some of the other ingredients being water, Rusk, wheat starch and pork fat. So basically these are lucky to be classed as sausages at all!
The nutritional info is not particularly good news either. 2 of these sausages contain 245 calories, 3.2g sugar, 15g fat, 5.8g saturates and 1.5g salt.
Overall I do not recommend these sausages. I really hoped they would be nice because of the great price but if anything 48p is far too expensive for them because they are so horrible. Avoid!!
I fell in love with Jason Mraz after being introduced one of his earlier albums 'Mr A - Z' a few years ago by a university friend. I loved his quirky style, original lyrics and soulful voice. So I was eagerly anticipating the release of his third album 'We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things'. Luckily I was holidaying in the USA last year and picked up a copy of it there before it was released in the UK. I certainly wasn't disappointed and found it an even more satisfying listening experience than his previous album.
'We sing We Dance We Steal Things' was released in 2008. It comes in a cardboard case which is very 'Jason Mraz' and inside it features a series of crazy hand drawn pictures of various animals, furniture, items of clothing as well as some self-portraits. It looks unusual and it feels less overproduced than a lot of album covers.
The album has 12 tracks altogether. It opens on a strong note with three fantastic songs 'Make it Mine', 'I'm Yours' and 'Lucky'. 'Make it Mine' was the second single on the album to be released and is a fast, uplifting song that can't fail to put you in a good mood. It uses trumpets/saxophones to create a funky, jazzy background. It is a colourful, fun song and a great opener. 'I'm Yours' is my favourite song on the album and the first single to be released. It has an amazing chilled out vibe to it and some really touching lyrics. Mraz's voice sounds strong and pure and the song overall is just so catchy and beautiful. It combines a reggae vibe, simple guitar backing and some soulful, melodic harmonies to create a really stand out track. Me and my boyfriend love the simple but moving message in the song and plan to have it played at our wedding next year as it celebrates love without sounding clichéd. The third track 'Lucky' features female singer Colbie Caillat and is a sweet, folksy song with great lyrics that, despite being borderline cheesy at times, are just so lovely they will put a smile on your face. Colbie Colliat has a gorgeous voice that gels perfectly with Mraz's and the beautiful harmonies really carry this song through.
The next three tracks 'Butterfly', 'Live High' and 'Love For a Child' maintain the great standard that the first three songs set. 'Butterfly' is a sexy and sassy song that is actually about a stripper! The lyrics in this song are a bit more sexual and it is a very catchy song with a slick, jazzy sound to it. If you are anything like me it will makes you want to dance every time you hear it! In contrast to this, the next track 'Live High' is a chilled and slowish song. Although it is probably the weakest song so far it is still a nice track with simple guitar backing and pleasant vocals. It has a relaxed and chilled vibe to it that makes you want to sit out in the garden, Pina Colada in hand! The sixth track 'Love For a Child' is also quite a slow song but it has a slightly sad vibe to it and tells the story of a child's parents that get divorced and the child then goes slightly off the rails as a result. The lyrics in this song are strong and the tune is catchy making it a favourite of mine.
The next track 'Details in the Fabric' is my other favourite song on this album. It is another slow, quite sad song with a beautiful tune and its powerful, moving lyrics are some of the best on the album. The lyrics 'If it's a broken part replace it, if it's a broken arm then brace it, if it's a broken heart then face it' in particular stand out to me and I love the message in these lyrics. This song features James Morrison whose voice has a nice husky quality to it. He sounds fabulous on this track, complimenting Mraz's voice perfectly. Interestingly this song is about Mraz's best male friend and opens and closes with voicemail recordings that he left Mraz. The next two tracks 'Coyotes' and 'Only Human' are slightly weaker but not quite into 'skipping' territory! 'Coyotes' is a bit of a mixed bag with hip-hop, electronic sounding verses and a melodic chorus with an operatic stint. He tried to do a bit too much with this track but it is still a good song with a catchy beat. 'Only Human' is more of a simple song, relying on Mraz's soulful voice and a smooth jazz background but it's not the most exciting song in the world.
The album ends well with the three tracks 'The Dynamo of Volition', 'If It Kills Me' and 'A Beautiful Mess'. I'm not a massive fan of 'The Dynamo of Volition' which features fast, rap style vocals and an electronic beat creating a Jamiriquai style track. But the penultimate song 'If It Kills Me' pulls it back with its catchy beat and lovely lyrics about fighting to be with someone. The album is superbly rounded off with 'A Beautiful Mess', an emotional ballad with moving and poignant lyrics. His voice sounds wonderfully soulful throughout and this track makes a lasting impression.
Overall, this is a fantastic album from Mr Mraz. It combines an eclectic mix of styles, delving into reggae, folk, pop, jazz and funk but still staying true to his trademark acoustic, indie sound. The result is a fun, quirky and varied album with lots of personality and its fair share of depth. His voice is dreamy and faultless throughout and his lyrics are interesting and original. This album will not be to everyone's taste, particularly if you are into your heavier music but I think it does appeal to a fairly wide range of people with its mix of styles and easy going charm.
The album is available for the bargain price of £4.98 from Amazon. Give it a go!
My other half and I love our curries and one of our particular favourites is Thai Green. I do enjoy cooking but I find that with curries the ones you can buy in a jar often taste almost as good as a home made one. Plus they tend to work out cheaper from a jar as well as being far less time consuming which is important if you've had a hectic day. For the past couple of years I've been buying a Tesco own version of Thai green curry but this Sharwood's one caught my eye recently and I decided to give it a go.
This jar of curry cost me £1.34 from Tesco. This seems like a reasonable price and it is cheaper than the Loyd Grossman one (£1.99) and the Tesco Finest one (£1.64). The ordinary Tesco one I used to get costs 96p but you do get more sauce in the Sharwood's one (it weighs 415g whereas the Tesco one weighs in at 320g).
The sauce comes in a glass jar with a funky green and black label featuring the usual Sharwood's logo and a thai style pattern round the edge. Underneath is some small writing describing the product as: 'an aromatic, delicately spiced sauce made with coconut milk, Thai herbs and green chilli'. One side of the label displays the necessary nutritional info, ingredients and allergy advice. The other side of the label gives you the ingredients and instructions you need to make a Thai Green Curry with this sauce. It also instructs you to store the sauce in the fridge and use within 3 days once you have opened the jar.
When you open the jar you can smell a mouth watering curry aroma immediately. It smells fragrant, herby and slightly sweet with an underlying chilli smell. The sauce looks a good colour - not too pale but not too dark green. It has some herby bits sprinkled throughout and it looks a good thickness. This becomes more apparent as you pour it out into the pan. It comes out a good consistency and isn't runny but isn't too thick or lumpy.
This sauce is quick and easy to cook. I usually make a Thai green chicken curry but prawns also go beautifully with this sauce. I also sometimes use Quorn chicken which I find very tender and filling. To cook, fry the chicken (or prawns) for a few minutes then pour the sauce into the pan and stir it in with the chicken. The jar recommends you then add a handful of green beans at this point but I'm not a veg fan so I leave this out! You then bring to the boil and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Then it is ready to serve up with some rice. The jar recommends jasmine rice but I also like it with pilau rice.
Taste wise this sauce is probably the best I've ever tried. It is full of flavour and bursting with different Thai herbs and flavourings. You can detect a hint of garlic and the coriander which mixes wonderfully with the lemongrass and lime leaves. It tastes quite expensive and even like something you might get in a Thai restaurant. It has a nice amount of sweetness but this doesn't overpower the other flavours. This is a mild curry with a creamy, coconut-y and almost refreshing taste to it but you can taste a very subtle spiciness in it. I do like hot curries but sometimes it is nice to have a sauce that concentrates less on the spice and a bit more of the delicious and diverse flavours.
Nutrition wise, a third of this jar provides: 126 calories, 7.6g fat, 6.3g saturates , 8.7g sugar and 0.88g sodium. So it is pretty good for a curry sauce.
Overall a gorgeous sauce that creates a delicious and authentic tasting Thai meal. Perfect with rice and a naan!
Whenever I need to get crisps for a party or if my boyfriend and I fancy a crispy treat I will buy Kettle Chips. I really don't think you can beat the quality of these crisps. I like all the flavours in the Kettle Chips range but my absolute favourites have to be these Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar bad boys.
The thing with Kettle Chips is that they are seen as luxury crisps. This does mean that they don't come particularly cheap. I usually get mine in Tesco where they are priced at £1.54 for a 150g of crisps. Tesco do offer their own version of these Kettle Chips - Tesco Finest Sea Salt and Vinegar crisps - but they don't even begin to match the taste of Kettle Chips and, at £1.15, are not really that much cheaper anyway. Most supermarkets also offer Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar Kettle Chips in bigger sized bags of 300g for £2.69 or in small 40g bags for 53p.
Ok, so they are on the pricey side. But like I said, these are quality crisps. Even the packaging is irresistible. Kettle Chips come in a expensive looking bag that is thick, smooth and durable. The packet for the Sea Salt and Balsamic flavour Kettle Chips comes in a clean and crisp deep blue colour featuring the usual Kettle Chips logo on the front as well as the flavour of the crisps, both written in creamy coloured writing. On the back is everything you need to know regarding storage, ingredients, allergy advice and nutritional info. The Kettle Chips packaging is unfussy and looks classy.
When you open up the bag you are immediately hit by a mouth watering smell and are confronted by chunky, golden brown Kettle Chips which look delicious. They are darker than a lot of crisps and have a hand-made look to them rather than looking pale, bland and overproduced.
Taste wise these Kettle Chips are faultless. The salt is subtle but seasons the crisps perfectly and compliments the vinegar beautifully. The balsamic vinegar provides a luxurious taste that is different to the taste in your average salt and vinegar flavour. The balsamic vinegar is tangy and strong but is not overpowering and still allows the salt and potato taste to come through. It is richer and slightly sweeter than normal vinegar giving an overall deliciously satisfying taste. Each crisp is well coated with flavour meaning you never get a flavourless crisp.
Texture wise these Kettle Chips are thick and properly crunchy. They are much more substantial than your average crisps and the crunch is seriously satisfying! The combination of the great taste and texture means that these crisps are devilishly moreish and it is very easy to eat most of the 150g bag yourself! The only problem with over indulging in these crisps is that they can lie heavy in your stomach leaving you feeling slightly sick and bloated.
The ingredients are simple and Kettle Chips pride themselves on containing 'absolutely nothing artificial'. A bag of Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar Kettle Chips contains the following ingredients: Select Potatoes, Sunflower Oil, Sea Salt, Dried Balsamic Vinegar, Potato Maltodextrin, White Sugar, Dried Barley Malt Vinegar, Citric Acid from Sugar Beet Molasses. So the great thing about Kettle Chips is that they are a case of what you see is what you get. They inform us that they don't add MSG, artificial colours and flavours or hydrogenated fat. They also reassure us all that they know the origin of all their ingredients and they only use sunflower oil. So you aren't just paying a bit extra for great tasting crisps, you are paying for something has just a few natural ingredients and therefore generally better for you.
The nutritional info in a 40g serving is as follows: 190 calories, 1.2g sugar, 10g fat, 1.0g saturates and 0.8g salt. So not too bad as long as you can resist eating the whole bag at once (which isn't easy!).
Kettle Chips come in a variety of other flavours including: sea salt and black peppercorn, lightly salted, sweet chilli, honey barbeque, red Thai curry and mature cheddar and red onion. Needless to say, all of these are gorgeous. Kettle Chips seems to do a more exciting and unusual range of flavours than other brands to create really stand out crisps different to anything else available.
Overall I highly recommend these crisps. They are more expensive than other crisps but they taste luxurious and you cannot beat the flavour.
Eye liner is one of my make-up bag essentials. It is something that I wear pretty much every day so it is imperative I always have some. Unfortunately I have a little bulldog who seems to think my make-up is full of fun toys to chew up and she recently chomped up my eyeliner. It was a decent eyeliner but one I had received in a gift set for Christmas so I couldn't replace it directly. So whilst in Tesco the other day I grabbed this Rimmel one assuming it would be just as good as any. Plus I had used other Rimmel eyeliners before and they have been fine.
Rimmel Special Eyes Precision Eye Liner Pencil is available in most chemists and supermarkets. It is reasonably priced and usually costs around £2.65 - £3 depending on where you get it. As I said I picked mine up in Tesco where it cost around the £2.99 mark.
The packaging of the eye liner is simple and is done in an effective black and silver theme. The lid is plain black and the main body of the eye liner has a black background with all the necessary information written in silver over the top. It shows the name of the eye liner, where it was made, the weight (1.2g) and tells you that you should use the eye liner within 30 months. It also has the Rimmel London logo on and next to this is a small silver strip featuring pictures of the Rimmel crown which looks pretty and makes the eye liner look quite luxuriant and expensive.
I favour black eyeliner and the particular shade of my Rimmel Special Eyes eye liner is called Black Magic (161). However it is available in 7 other shades: Panama (111), Rich Brown (114), Azure Shimmer (121), Hurricane Grey (164), Burgundy (140), Ivy (130) and Navy Blue (135). So there is lots of choice if you don't wear black or want a softer coloured eye liner.
When you take the lid off you will notice that the lead is good quality and looks soft. When applied it glides on beautifully. It creates a lovely, precise and well placed line and frames my eyes beautifully. The lead feels as soft as it looks and never feels scratchy or uncomfortable when applied. The Black Magic shade is a nice, strong shade of black and accentuates my eyes well. It can be kept sharp with a standard eye liner sharpener and is easy to sharpen.
However, this eyeliner does have a drawback and that is that it doesn't actually last very long. The Rimmel website claims that this eye liner is 'fade resistant' but this is not really the case unfortunately. After around 3 - 4 hours of wearing this eye liner I find that it has worn off and smudged slightly below my eyes. The eye liner needs to be touched up several times during the day or a night out. I am disappointed in the staying power of this eyeliner and it doesn't last as long as other eye liners I have used in the past.
Overall I wouldn't really recommend this eye liner. It is a good price, a nice colour and looks great when you put it on but it just fades and smudges too quickly. You can purchase eye liners that have a better staying power for a similar price or even less.
I just adore toasted Muffins. I really don't think there is anything that makes a better breakfast than a toasted muffin smothered in butter. Actually they are divine at any time of day. I could get easily get through a pack of them a day if I lost my willpower and find them deliciously moreish. These Tesco 6 White Muffins are the ones that I buy.
These muffins are priced at 72p per pack and you get 6 in a pack which is pretty good value for money. Kingsmill do a pack of 4 white muffins for 86p so the Tesco ones are a good bargain comparatively. Tesco also do a pack of 6 wholemeal muffins which are a bit more expensive and cost 99p.
These Tesco White Muffins are packaged quite simply. They come in a clear cellophane wrapper and are held in place with a bit of card underneath them. On the front of the wrapper is '6 Tesco White English Muffins' in brown and white writing and the basic nutritional info. On the back you will find all you need to know regarding storage, ingredients, allergy advice and the full nutritional information. I think they have made the packaging simple to let the muffins speak for themselves. Through the pack they look irresistible - golden circles of bready delight, full, soft and round and lightly dusted with flour. Even if I'm not planning on buying any I can't resist them when I see them!
Upon opening the packet you are greeted by a faint doughy aroma. When you take a muffin out it feels quite thick and squidgy. They are nice and easy to slice open. The knife runs through them easily and they don't make a mess shedding crumbs everywhere. You then pop the two halves into the toaster (or under the grill) for a couple of minutes and they are done. I think these are nicest when they are not too well done and lose the taste if they are over-done so I would recommend keeping the toaster on a fairly low heat or to not leave them under the grill for too long. Once they are toasted they go a nice deeper golden brown on the top and smell mouth-watering.
When you butter them the butter sinks into the muffin leaving delicious looking yellow puddles on the top. And then finally comes the eating part! These muffins taste gorgeous. They are thick but not stodgy and they taste fresh, doughy and soft. The tops go slightly crispy where they have been toasted and this compliments the softness and lightness of the middle of the muffins beautifully. In my opinion they taste nicer than toasted bread and toasted crumpets because they are fresher and more flavoursome. The consistency is wonderful - not dry or chewy and they are not heavy in your stomach. These muffins stay fresh for around 4 days if you keep them in an airtight container.
You don't have to have them with just butter of course. They would be nice with jam, marmite or marmalade. Or you could fry up a couple of bits of bacon and have them between one of these muffins. Or you could do a McDonalds and have an egg McMuffin with egg and bacon. Or even have the full works and stick a sausage in between one as well. They are very versatile and there are lots of choices for different and interesting breakfasts or snacks to create with these muffins.
The nutritional information of the muffins is as follows: 175 calories, 3g sugar, 2.3g fat, 0.5g saturates and 0.6g salt. So unfortunately they don't make a particularly low calorie or diet friendly snack, particularly if, like me, you find it hard to just eat one at a time! I also smear mine with quite a lot of butter - so much so that it runs off the muffin, so I dread to think how many calories I munch through without even thinking about it! As I said though, Tesco do offer a wholemeal version of these muffins which are slightly lower in fat and calories so they are an option if you do want to make your breakfast slightly healthier.
Overall, I highly recommend these muffins. They are delicious for breakfast or for a snack at any time of day. They are cheap but quality tasting. The only problem with this is that it's tempting to eat twice as many!
I first tried Kenzo Flower last year when it was bought for me as a present from my Aunty. She normally buys me lovely smelling perfumes so I was very excited to try Flower. However, I ended up bit disappointed in it and it certainly isn't the best one she's ever bought me. It has become one of those perfumes I really don't use very much and is a bit of a take it or leave it one for me unfortunately. In fact I have had the same bottle for ages now and I normally get through bottles fairly quickly so it just goes to show it's not one I like to use very much.
Kenzo Flower is available on cheapsmells.com where you can buy a 50ml for £22 or a 100ml bottle for £38.04. It is also available in Boots but is quite a lot more expensive there - you can buy a 50ml bottle for £46.50 or a 100ml bottle for £63.50. So if you do want to get it, get it on cheapsmells!
The bottle of this perfume is simple and unfussy but also classy and graceful. It is a translucent glass bottle that is elegently curved like the stem of a flower. The front of the bottle is decorated with a single red and orange poppy with its stem travelling up the bottle and the head of it fanned out over the lid. Kenzo always seem to do gorgeous and original bottles and this is no different. It looks lovely to see a pretty flower nestled among the other bottles on my dressing table!
The smell however lets it down a bit for me. Don't get me wrong, it isn't awful or anything. In fact it is quite nice but it is just nothing special. As you may expect the scent of this perfume is very floral. The dominant ingredients are vanilla, violet and rose. The result is a sweet, light and flowery smelling perfume. It smells fresh, clean and feminine. However I find that it doesn't have any real substance or presence to it and I would describe it as a bit weak or even 'wishy washy.' It is pleasant but when it is first sprayed on there is something about it that reminds me slightly of potpourri or old ladies soap. I do like my sweet perfumes but I like them with a bit more attitude. Flower is a bit powdery and doesn't have much personality.
When you have been wearing it for about an hour the stronger floral notes give way slightly to more of a musky and vanilla smell providing you with more of pure and delicate scent. It is pleasant but for me it doesn't have that 'wow' factor. It is quite innocent and I wouldn't recommend it for night wear. Instead it is nice for a chilled out summer's day as it smells soft, relaxed and gentle.
It does have good staying power and when I have worn it it's lasted quite a long time. A few sprays of this perfume will last you several hours and you will still be able to catch a whiff of it on yourself after a long day.
Overall I wouldn't really recommend this perfume. It has a nice enough smell to it and it is quite fresh and light but I think there are a lot of nicer ones out there. I won't be buying myself another bottle of it when I run out and would rather spend the money on a something with a bit more pizzazz.
I've always struggled to find a mascara that really works for me. My eyelashes seem to be quite 'heavy' and no matter what mascara I use, by the end of the day or a night out they seem to have dropped down so they are not framing my eyes so well. I saw this Max Factor False Lash Effect mascara on an advert quite a while ago but couldn't decide whether it would be worth getting and if it would live up to its claims. But a couple of weeks ago I came to the end of my previous mascara (a Rimmel one which did a good job but was a bit too clumpy) so I started looking into this Max Factor one again. Of course the first place I came was Dooyoo to read what you good people had to say on the matter and I was surprised to see that the reviews were a bit of a mixed bag. I read a couple of reviews slating it and vowed not to get it but then after reading a couple a couple of ones that sung its praises I changed my mind and decided it would be worth a go. Plus I had some Boots points to spend so that was even better!
This mascara cost me (well, cost my points!) £10.69 from Boots, although on the website it is listed as costing £10.99. I guess it might differ slightly depending on which store you go in. This seems to be a pretty standard price for this mascara except on Amazon where it costs a reasonable £6.79. But in stores such as Lloyds Pharmacy, Boots and Superdrug it is priced at around the £10 - £11 mark.
When I first picked up this mascara I was surprised by the chunkiness of the tube compared to other mascaras I've used. It comes in a smooth black bottle which is quite wide in the middle then slightly thinner at the ends. It has the name of the mascara and the Max factor logo written in simple but classy looking silver writing. The bottle looks appealing and makes the mascara look expensive and professional looking. The bottle also informs you that it holds 13.1ml of mascara and that it should be used within 6 months.
I was actually quite excited when it came to putting it on for the first time! When I unscrewed the lid I thought that the wand looked quite chunky and was bigger than I was used to. This doesn't make it harder to put on the mascara but if you are not careful you will blob it above your eye. This can be annoying especially if you've done your eye shadow beautifully and you have to start rubbing at it to get the mascara off.
But does this mascara work? Yes, I love it. As I apply this mascara I can see that it coats each lash and separates them out. It doesn't clump together at all which is great. Once it is on I love the effect it gives my eyes - full, thick and dramatic looking lashes! To create a really long lashed look I put on a couple of layers, let it dry and then do another layer. I've worn it everyday since I bought it and I haven't had the problem of 'drooping' lashes since I started wearing it. I am delighted about this, particularly as I no longer have to keep putting extra coats of mascara on throughout the day or run off to the bathroom to give my eye lashes a curl every 5 minutes. It keeps my lashes looking thick and full all day.
Does it give a false lash effect? Well, I wouldn't say my lashes looked quite the same as false eyelashes but they looked lovely and dramatic nonetheless. I think it would be difficult to make natural eyelashes look fake with just mascara but this mascara does manage to fan out the lashes so they frame my eyes better than normal mascara. And it does give the lashes a great thickness and length. So although not quite the same as false lashes it does a similar sort of job. I also feel confident when wearing this mascara and think my eyes look prettier giving an overall more sexy and seductive look.
Overall I highly recommend this mascara. It adds length and I love the dramatic look it gives my lashes. Ok, so it's a bit on the pricey side but this mascara does make me feel more confident in the way I look so I really don't mind paying that little bit extra for it.
I used to ADORE Feast ice creams as a child. We used to spend everyday of the summer holidays on the beach when I was younger and during that time I must have had a countless amount of Feasts. But during the last couple of years I have somehow not managed not to consume any at all so after spotting them in Tescos a couple of weeks ago I chucked them into the trolley without thinking twice!
Feasts are made up of 3 layers. There is a chocolate and biscuity outer coating, an ice cream second layer and then a thick chunk of chocolate at the very centre. The ones you can buy in the supermarket are the packs of 8. In that you get four that have chocolate ice cream in the middle and four that have mint ice cream in the middle. The size of the Feasts in the packs of 8 are smaller than the ones you buy as singles in shops or ice cream places. These are more of a 'mini' size and are slightly shorter and thinner than the original ones.
Price wise they are not too bad. Each pack of 8 costs £1.85 but you can get them on offer in Tesco at the moment for 2 for £3. I think other supermarkets often have offers like that on Feasts. 16 ice creams for £3 is not bad value for money at all.
The Feasts come in an eye catching box with 'Feast' written in chunky yellow lettering surrounded by pictures of chunks of chocolate and 2 delicious looking Feast ice creams. On the back of the box is all the information you need regarding storage, ingredients and nutritional info. There is also a paragraph of writing from Walls telling you a bit more about the Feast.
I like to eat my Feast layer by layer, biting off the chocolate outer layer first, then licking off all the ice cream then saving my chunk of chocolate for last. According to the box this makes me a 'core Feaster' (if you bite into it all at once you are an 'impatient Feaster' apparently!) The taste of each layer is fantastic. The outer layer is wonderfully crisp with a good quality chocolate flavour. The biscuit bits provide a nice crunch and compliment the chocolate beautifully. The ice cream underneath is nice and creamy. The mint flavoured one is very refreshing and has a nice strong but not overpowering taste of mint to it. The chocolate ice cream one is also very flavoursome and both have a lovely smooth consistency. The chunky chocolate bit at the core is normally my favourite bit of a Feast but in the mini-Feasts it is quite disappointing. It tastes beautiful but isn't very substantial and usually cracks and bits of it fall all over me. I think it could do with being a bit thicker and stronger but as I said it does taste great.
My only other complaint is that Feasts do tend to melt quite quickly meaning that you can get a bit messy when you eat one of these things. Especially as I take so long with mine, carefully biting off all the outer layer then painstakingly licking every bit off ice cream away. So I guess it's partially my fault if I end up covered in chocolate! I remember once as a kid having one in the cinema and when I came out my white t-shirt was literally half brown and covered in blobs of the stuff. Everybody was staring at me and it has haunted me to this day!! Despite that though it never put me off these babies =)
Nutrition wise each mini-Feast contains 160 calories and 12g fat. So, as you'd expect, they are not the best things for you but fine in moderation and perfect for an after dinner treat.
The mini-Feasts contain the following ingredients: Reconstituted Skimmed Milk, Vegetable Fat, Sugar, Water, Glucose Fructose Syrup, Whey Solids, Cocoa Mass, Wheat Flour, fat reduced cocoa powder, Emulsifier (Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids), Stabiliser (Guar Gum, Locust Bean Gum, Carageenen), Colour (Annatto), Colour (Annatto, curcumin), Salt, flavourings, traces: Egg, Nuts, spinach extract.
Overall I highly recommend a Feast if you love chocolate and ice cream and are looking for a great tasting and satisfying treat.
I have recently been trying to save a few pennies on the supermarket shopping bill and this has involved buying various supermarket own brands. Me and the boyfriend both love our chocolate but as the big name choccie bars can be a bit on the pricey side we were happy to give these a go.
These Tesco Nutty Nougat Caramel bars are part of a range that imitates well known chocolate bars but for a credit crunch friendly price. These particular ones are the Tesco version of Snickers but they also do their own versions of Mars Bars, Kit Kats, Twix, Bounty's and Milky Ways. I chose these Nutty Nougat ones because I love Snickers and welcomed the idea of a cheaper version.
You can buy these Nutty Nougat bars in packs of 8 snack sized bars or a bag full of fun sized ones. I tend to buy the snack sized packs as I think they make a more satisfying snack. Cost wise both options are priced at £1.06 plus Tesco seem to constantly have them offer for 3 for £3. This is a great bargain - comparatively a 10 pack of Snickers snack sized bars will cost you £2.14.
These chocolate bars come in a brown and caramel coloured outer wrapper which looks attractive as it resembles a giant chocolate bar! On the front of the pack is a picture of some tasty looking chocolate bars with the name 'Nutty Nougat Caramel' in chunky colourful writing. The back is jam-packed with info regarding ingredients, allergy advice, storage instructions and nutritional information.
Each 40g bar is individually wrapped in a brown and caramel wrapper similar to the outer wrapper. When you open one you can smell an appetising sweet chocolatey smell. On biting down you can taste that it does indeed taste and look similar to a Snickers bar. As the pack describes the bars are made up of 'soft nougat topped with smooth caramel and crunchy peanuts and covered in a thick milk chocolate'. The outer chocolate is tasty, maybe not as good quality as the chocolate on a Snickers bar but it is still creamy, thick and tasty. The caramel is rich and flavoursome and gives the bars a lovely original taste that differs slightly to the Snickers taste. The nougat is soft and is complimented by a generous amount of crunchy peanuts. The bar is satisfyingly chewy and all the flavours and textures work really well together.
It is similar to a Snickers but, as I said, the caramel and chocolate do give the Nutty Nougat bars a slightly different taste to the Snickers but it is a delicious chocolate bar it it's own right. If I had to choose out of the two I would choose the Nutty Nougat bars because they are gorgeous tasting and a brilliant price. You do not lose any of the great taste by buying these over Snickers bars but you are saving quite a bit of money.
Obviously these bars are not particularly healthy. One snack sized 40g bar contains: 201 calories, 17.5g sugar, 11.6g fat, 4.8g saturates and 0.4g fat. It does seem quite high in calories and fat for the size of the bar so obviously not the best things in the world to eat but ok in moderation. If you buy the fun sized ones they contain 105 calories and 2.6g fat so not as bad for you but I would find to just have one fun sized one and probably scoff 2 or 3 in one go!
Overall I highly recommend these Nutty Nougat bars if you want a great tasting chocolate bar. If you are a fan of Snickers you will enjoy the taste and enjoy the price. Give them a go!
I love the whole concept of Radio 1's Live Lounge. I really enjoy finding covers of songs I like and hearing them done in a fresh and different way. I also like hearing people do their own tunes acoustically, bringing a whole new dimension to the song. I got this particular Live Lounge for Christmas and think it's fantastic with a collection of truly brilliant covers and acoustic versions of songs.
The CD comes in a chunky red case which contains two discs both jam-packed with a fab 20 songs each. It's a pretty eclectic mix featuring songs, bands and singers that you are unlikely to ever see in the same place again! There is also a bonus DVD featuring half an hour of Live Lounge performances from the likes of The Script, Rihanna and Elbow.
The first disc is probably the slightly stronger out of the two. It's pretty hard choosing only a few highlights from that disc but I have a couple of favourites. Newton Faulkner covering Foundations (originally by Kate Nash) is one. This a great cover and Newton Faulkner really makes it his own. He has fun with the song and his great voice really shines through. Another favourite is Elliot Minor covering Take Thats's Rule the World. They perform it brilliantly with plenty of feeling and emotion.
Other stand out tracks include Dizzee Rascal's rather funky and memorable cover of That's Not My Name, Ida Maria's sweet and soulful cover of Sweet About Me and The Feeling's cover of Work by Kelly Rowland which is really different for them and great fun to listen to. I also love Panic at the Disco performing their song Nine in the Afternoon. I love this song and I think Brendon Urie's voice has a lovely quality to it which you don't often get to hear in other Panic songs.
There are a couple of tracks on Disc 1 that do miss the mark a bit for me. One of them is Girls Aloud's version of With Every Heartbeat originally by Robyn. I feel a bit bad saying that as I like the song, I like Girls Aloud and in some parts the song sounds quite good, particularly the chorus which is sung with real emotion. But unfortunately a couple of the girl's vocal abilities cannot keep up with the song and in some parts they struggle to the point where it sounds a bit painful. I still listen to the song though and just have to close my ears for part of it! One song I cannot listen to however is Daddy's Gone by Glasvegas. I find it utterly depressing and I don't really enjoy the lead singers voice live.
Although Disc 1 is slightly stronger, the second disc still contains some real blinders including my favourite on the whole album - Guillemots cover of Sam Sparro's Black and Gold. I adore the original Black and Gold and never tire of listening to it. I think this cover is almost, if not just as good as the original with Guillemots really putting their own spin on the song. The result is a slightly rockier, raw version full of emotion but still just as catchy and brilliant as the original.
Another favourite track on Disc 2 includes The Script covering Lose Yourself (originally by Eminem). It is a really unusual cover with The Script singing this rap song. This is a fresh and interesting cover and I'm impressed how The Scripts Danny O'Donoghue can sing the song so fast without compromising his great vocal abilities. My other favourite is Lupe Fiasco performing Superstar. It is his own song and I love how he performs it on this album. It has a great chilled out vibe to it and his voice sounds strong and pure.
Other great songs on Disc 2 include Bat For Lashes cover of Sweet Dreams, Rihanna performing Hate That I Love You and Scouting For Girls performance of their hit Elvis Aint Dead. I also love Goldfrapp's version of It's Not Over Yet originally by Grace which is haunting and emotional.
There are a couple of songs in particular that I avoid on Disc 2. The first is Ironik Stay with Me which I just find irritating. The second is Santogold's cover of Adele's Hometown Glory. I love the original but find the cover horrendous. Santogolds voice sounds strained and awful and she has tried to make the song heavy and almost gothic. It actually scares me in parts.
Overall this album is a must have for any music lover. There is something for everyone on the album and I love the diverse collection of songs and artists on the album. There are a couple of songs that may not float your boat but you get that with any compilation album. If you do want to get it is available for £6.98 on Amazon.
I bought this mini-trampoline just over a year ago when I was trying to lose some weight. The reason I bought it was because I loved the thought of being able to work out in the comfort of my own home whilst doing something that is a bit different from just the normal running or exercise videos. However after the summer I got a bit lazy with regards to exercise and my trampoline got relegated to the shed. But recently I've been trying to shed some of the extra pounds I gained over winter and am also training to compete in next years London Marathon so the trampoline is out again.
I bought this from Argos for £19.99. As I said, I bought mine back in May 2008 but the price is still the same. It is the cheapest available. There are two others in Argos - a Reebok one that costs £29.99 and an Everlast one which costs £49.99. However, I went with this one partly because of the brilliant price but also good from the description. The specification of the trampoline is as follows:
* Heavy duty frame with triple stitched nylon mat and heavy-duty springs.
* Fabric backed, padded pvc covered frame edge protection.
* Excellent indoor cardiovascular and general toning exerciser.
* Suitable for all ages.
* Max user body weight 100kg/15.7st.
* Diameter 92cm.
You can order this trampoline online and get it delivered to your door but I was eager to get going on it so we reserved online and picked it up. It comes in a large cardboard box and is slightly awkward to carry but not particularly heavy. It fitted fine in our car (a Peugeot 206) so don't worry if you want to pick it up yourself - you don't need a huge car. It comes with instructions but putting it together was fairly simple anyway. The base is ready prepared and all you need to do is screw the legs in and the trampoline is ready to go.
The trampoline is quite sleek looking with the canvas bouncy bit in black and the springs covered up in a silvery grey squidgy edging. It is small in height but quite wide so storing it is not particularly easy. You can put it under the bed or place it on its side and put it behind the door. Its size means that if I don't use it, it does usually have to go in the shed or garage. One day I will have a home with a gym!
The trampoline is easy to use. Well, obviously it's a trampoline so therefore doesn't involve anything too complicated! It does feel slightly different to a normal trampoline though. I was used to ones that were quite soft and bounced you about 10ft into the air. The base of this trampoline is slightly firmer and does not bounce you very high but this is what makes your muscles work harder.
The trampoline does give you a very thorough workout. When I first got it I couldn't actually bounce on it for very long as my leg muscles were not used to it so I had to gradually increase the time spent on it over a few days. When you bounce on it you can feel your heart rate rising and the muscles in your legs working quite quickly. You work up a sweat pretty fast so you know the trampoline is doing its job.
I usually use this trampoline for about half an hour 5 or 6 times a week. I use it alongside jogs and aerobic work outs. And does it work? Yes, definitely. When I used it to lose weight last year I was shedding the pounds really fast and my legs were toned and defined. It succeeds in giving you a great cardiovascular work out and it targets fatty areas, particularly in your bum, tummy and hips. It also tones and strengthens the muscles in your legs at the same time. So this really helps you lose weight and get fit. It is also apparently beneficial to your lymphatic system as well as helping to lower blood pressure, improve digestion, lower cholesterol and stimulate metabolism.
Another reason why I love this trampoline is because it doesn't get boring, even if you use it everyday. Sometimes I can get neglectful of my runs, particularly if it's pouring with rain or I'm feeling a bit self-conscious about people seeing me pounding around the streets. But you never have to worry about any of that with this trampoline. You can do it in your own home, any time of day you want and for as long as you want. You don't have to worry about people seeing you getting red and sweaty and you don't have to travel anywhere or pay a fortune to use it like you do with the gym. You can use it whilst watching the TV or a film so you don't have to worry about missing your favourite TV programmes.
Plus, let's face it, bouncing is FUN. It's like being a kid again but with the benefit of losing weight and improving your fitness. There is something quite liberating about springing up and down for half an hour everyday and the novelty never actually wears off. You can also vary what type of routine you do and integrate weights for a more strenuous work out or you can do bouncing, jogging, star jumps, knee raises or anything you want to keep it interesting! BUT make sure you warm up and stretch your muscles before using it or you will feel it the next day!
My only complaint about the trampoline is that the springs are fairly noisy. I like to watch TV when I do a work out but I have to have the volume quite high to hear it. But this is not a major problem. It just might mean you have to be conscious of what time of day you do it so it doesn't disturb other people in your house. But the springs don't seem to get any noisier the more times you use it. In fact this trampoline has lasted me a long time and I haven't yet had a single problem with it.
I really do think this trampoline is a must have. It's a fun way of working out and actually does the job. It's a brilliant price and the fact that you can use it at home while watching TV is a real bonus. I highly recommend it.
I have been using exclamation perfume for a while now. I first got it over 6 years ago and it's been a regular perfume for me ever since. I have got through countless bottles of the stuff over the years.
Exclamation is a 'cheap' perfume in the sense that it is not made by a big designer name. This makes it very affordable meaning you can spray it on as liberally as you like and use it on a day to day basis. You can buy a 15ml bottle of it from forget-flowers.co.uk for £5.95 or it is available in Boots for a similar price.
The bottle is very funky and original. It comes in a white round bottle with a large black dot in the middle which forms the bottom of an exclamation mark and the lid is black and slightly triangular and it is shaped like the top of an exclamation mark. So when the lid is on it looks like a proper exclamation mark. This looks unusual and it really stands out amongst my other bottles on my dressing table. The bottle is fairly small but this is handy for carrying around with you.
I adore the smell of this perfume and it smells just as good as any expensive, designer perfume. It is musky, fresh and slightly fruity. The ingredients are a blend of peach, apricot, amber and sandalwood. The combination of these ingredients gives you a hint of freshness and fruitiness mixed in with a slightly musky, spicy and oriental scent for a bit more substance. It has a subtle sweetness but it never smells sickly and it has hints of a floral smell which blend well with the fruitiness and keep it from being too heavy. It is a very feminine smell and is suitable for both day and night wear. I think the name Exclamation suits this perfume because it has a bit more of a 'presence' than other perfumes. It has a certain confidence and attitude to it if you see what I mean.
This perfumes staying power is actually pretty good and better than some of the expensive perfumes I own. A few sprays over you will last several hours and I can still smell it on me by the end of the day. I have had lots of comments on it and my boyfriend says it is one of the perfumes he likes best on me. Not bad considering the price!
You can also buy a body spray of it which is nice for light wear in the house or on the beach. This is also quite cheap and usually retails at under £2. There are also other perfumes available in the Exclamation line including Exclamation Play, Exclamation Wild Musk and Exclamation Star. I have only tried the latter but it is absolutely beautiful so will definitely be getting some of the other Exclamation perfumes.
Overall this is a gorgeous smelling perfume for a brilliant price. I always like to have a bottle of this and my perfume collection feels incomplete without it. I highly recommend it.
Until recently, I hadn't had popcorn while watching films for a couple of years. I went through a stage of having ice cream then a stage of having Haribo and the last year or so I've been having pick n mix for the cinema or movie nights at home. But recently I've been craving popcorn again. I went out shopping with a friend a couple of weeks ago and after she dropped me off her and her boyfriend were going to the cinema and she picked up a bag of this stuff to take with them. I hadn't seen it before and was intrigued as it claimed to taste like authentic cinema popcorn. I've always found that my favourite type of popcorn is from the cinema and noting else has ever really compared so I wanted to give it a whirl. In Morrison's however I saw they did their own version of it for 59p or something so I picked up a bag. It was bloody gorgeous but I was still determined to try the Butterkist stuff so picked some up last week and I must say it was even better.
You can buy Butterkist Cinema Sweet Popcorn in most shops and supermarkets. I got some from Tesco for 96p (a 120g bag). Tesco do have an offer at the moment where you can buy 2 bags for £1.50 giving you a saving of 46p. The price is a real bargain and obviously works out a hell of a lot cheaper than actual cinema popcorn.
The popcorn comes in a shiny foil bag with a film reel in the background and on the bottom is a picture of some scrummy looking popcorn. It also shows the eye catching 'Butterkist' logo on the front plus writing at the top stating it uses an 'authentic cinema sweet recipe'. On the back of the packet is the nutritional info, storage instructions, contact details, best before date and ingredients. I think the packaging succeeds in making you want to buy this popcorn - the shiny foil bag looks attractive and as if you are getting a treat. I think the only thing that could be improved upon with regards to the packaging is, as another reviewer said, making it reseal-able so the popcorn stays fresh if you don't get through it all at once (fat chance if I'm around but then other people might not be so piggy!) Upon opening the packaging, the popcorn smells fresh and sweet and exactly the same as that popcorn smell you get in the cinema. It looks yummy with good sized pieces and they are a nice white colour with a hint of golden. You get a nice amount of popcorn in the bag and they are not stingy with the amount they put in.
The popcorn tastes delicious. Each piece is light, sweet and fresh. Nearly all of the pieces are generously coated in sugar meaning you don't get plain, tasteless bits. The sweetness of it is perfect. It is not sickly but just sweet enough to be satisfying. It has a lovely soft quality to it and is just the right amount of chewiness without being dry and cardboardy. And does it taste like authentic cinema popcorn? In my opinion yes, it definitely tastes just as good as the cinema popcorn and has a very similar taste. It actually tastes very expensive and I can't believe it is less than a pound.
This popcorn is very moreish. I am like a thing possessed when I get hold of it and can't stop stuffing it in my mouth. It is very easy to get through a whole bag in a short amount of time. I try and be restrained when I get it and not eat it too quickly but the taste and texture of this stuff is so good it's hard not to!
Another great thing about this popcorn is you don't get hard pieces of unpopped corn among the popcorn. I found the Morrison's own version of cinema popcorn had a lot of those in and it does annoy me as you expect popcorn to be soft and chomping down on one of these rock hard things comes as a bit of a shock!
Nutrition wise this popcorn probably isn't the best thing to overindulge in although it is very easy to! 100g of this popcorn contains: 505 calories, 5.7g protein, 59.2g carbs, 28.2g sugar, 27.4g fat.
Ingredients wise it contains the following: Maize, Sugar, Soya Oil, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin). The allergy advice is as follows: Contains Soya\Soybeans, May Contain Milk, May Contain Nuts, May Contain Peanuts.
Overall this popcorn is delicious tasting, inexpensive and high quality. It certainly matches up to the standard of cinema popcorn but without the cinema price tag. It is perfect for films, taking to the cinema, parties, and picnics and so on. I highly recommend it.