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"I took all the things I wanted to change about myself and all the things I wanted to share and I put it into this record. I'm very proud of it but more than the music, I'm proud of myself as a woman for taking the risks" - Beyonce BEYONCE is the fifth studio album by Beyonce. She is also the album's executive producer, co-writer of every track, and was the co-director of the album's music videos. Significant contributions in song writing and production include the likes of Boots, Sia, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Tedder, Jay Z, The-Dream, Timbaland, Frank Ocean, and Pharrell Williams. Music video directors include Hype Williams and Terry Richardson. In December 2013 the album was unexpectedly released to the iTunes Store with no promotion having taken place beforehand, with a CD/DVD set being released to selected stockists a week later. Despite the lack of promotion, and late release date, the album has been named as one of 2013's biggest selling albums, and it hit the #1 spot in 90 countries upon it's release. BEYONCE is officially described as being an electronic R&B album, combining minimalist production, loose song structure and emotive vocals. Beyonce revisits her common theme of self-empowerment, although the album is distinguished from previous releases for its frank discourse on female sexuality. I honesty like every single track on BEYONCE. There are a few familiar styles to different eras on Beyonce's past albums and Destiny's Child days [such as Pretty Hurts, XO, Superpower and Heaven], however the vast majority of the album's tracks are a new style for Beyonce. It's both old school electronic R&B, and a modern energy. I'm not the best at describing different musical styles, but this a welcome change for Beyonce and is a real bar-raiser of an album. Pretty Hurts The producers describe this track as "neo soul"; a mixture of soul, R&B, and a light sprinkling of pop. The lyrics remind me a bit of the Destiny's Child song 'The Story Of Beauty, in the way the song is quite speechy and telling a serious story. The song is from the point of view from a beauty pageant contestant who has been raised by her stage mother to believe that her biggest success in life should be achieving perfect looks and winning recognition for them. The song goes on with the woman realizing how empty and meaningless this life is, and she decries society's obsession with unattainable and harmful standards of beauty. Haunted Following an infuriating meeting with a record label one of the albums main producer's [Boots] wrote wrote the bulk of the rap that makes up the first part of the song [this is called 'Ghost' on the visual album]. Beyonce said identified with its content as she had similar experiences from signing a contract at a young age. It's not stated if she herself added any lyrics to this part of the song, or if she just contributed to the second part of the song. I guess that the two parts of the song are joined because they both started life as separate tracks by Boots - Haunted was originally called 'I'm Onto You' and he didn't like the song much , but Beyonce did so she reworked it a bit. Whilst I think of the first part of the song as interesting as it's a new style for Beyonce, I love the main part of the song as the simpler keyboards and bassline fits perfectly with the sultry lyrics about Beyonce remembering a past lover. Drunk in Love Beyonce and Jay-Z free-styled their verses for this song, which is basically about drunken sex. Nothing else for me to add here, but that doesn't mean that I don't like the song as I do, but it's a bit of a grower. It wasn't officially released as a single in the UK, but it still entered the top ten. I'd have just said the style of music is R&B, with a bit of hip hop. But it has been classed as trap, which the internet tells me is "from Southern hip hop. It is typified by its lyrical content and trademark sound, which incorporates 808 sub-bass kick drums, double-time, triple-time and other faster time division hi-hats, layered synthesizers, and cinematic strings". So yeah, R&B with a spattering of hip hop. My favourite video is the one for Drunk In Love. The video is reminiscent of Chis Issak's Wicked Game. I'm not sure why, but the combination of Beyonce swearing and Jay Z doing the whole embracing on a beach thing [with the usual thick gold Mr T chains and a glass of cognac in one hand] amuses the heck out of me. Blow Three guesses as to what this Prince flavoured song is about - although I'll add that most of the song is about him doing it for her. The heavy innuendos make this song seem fun, not sleazy. The music really elevates this song and turns up the fun factor; it's disco-tinged retro R&B, with heavy bass and sparse piano chords. The lyrics and music just work so well together. Blow is one of my favourite tracks on the album. No Angel This is another track that works well as it is kept quite simple both lyrically and musically; Beyonce is telling her partner that she is no means perfect but he shouldn't forget that he isn't either, over a electronic bass-heavy beat. Partition Another two-parter. The first part begins as what the producers called a "lady-thug anthem", which is Beyonce introducing us to her new alter ego Yonce. It's a simple catchy song about how Yonce can't simply go to a club without getting attention, but she uses this situation to catch a man's eye. The music [a combination of hip hop, dancehall and electro] makes this yet another favourite of mine. The music blends into a sultry Eastern rhythm as the track blends into part two. I assume the two songs are joined because Beyonce opens the main section with "driver roll up the partition please, you don't need to see Yonce on her knees", and is making it clear that Yonce is her herself. Those two lines tell you all you need to know about 'Partition; it is about Beyonce having fun time in the back of a limousine, on her way to a club. This is another favourite album song of mine, as the mix of the music in the two song sections is enjoyable, and the lyrical content is new for Beyonce. She is always so sweet and polite, so hearing her purr "oh he Monica Lewinsky'd all on my gown" is a real departure for her. The spoken french verse in the song was recorded by one of the dancers accompanying Beyonce on her Mrs Carter Show tour, and says: Do you like sex? Sex I mean physical activity, coitus You like it? Are you not interested in sex? Men think that feminists hate sex but it's an exciting and natural activity that women love Jealous The style of this song is reminiscent of 'No Angel', as it is again kept quite simple and clear lyrically and musically with a electronic bass-heavy beat. This time Beyonce confesses to becoming jealous whenever a partner is out without her, so she in turn goes out and flirts with other men to make him jealous in return. Rocket Another stripped back track which is basically a six and a half minute song about a sexual encounter. The soulful feel of the music and vocals doesn't really go together with the sexual lyrics, which is filled with innuendo. The innuendos in 'Blow' seem cheeky and fun, but I find the ones in this song a bit clunky. Rocket is not something that I'd label as a bad song or a 'skipper', but it is my least favourite on the album as I stop paying attention to it when it plays. Nice, but nothing special. Mine Beyonce opens up about her postpartum depression, and past moments of rockiness in her marriage. Drake's lyrical and vocal contribution to the song is meant "to turn the darkness into hope", as he sings about still wanting her and promising to always treat her right. Apparently most critics dislike Drake's portion of the song, but I love the way that whilst the song is emotive and personal his parts stop 'Mine' from becoming too dark and depressing. This goes for the music too; Beyonce's verses are jazzy and understated with subtle African drum beats, but then these beats speed up and the music become a bit more hip hopish for Drake's verses. XO This is a love-letter-turned-song from Beyonce to her husband. The happy lyrics and pleasant mid tempo blend of soul, pop, and R&B music is the closest thing to pure pop as the album gets. I think that this song would also fit nicely on any of Beyonce's past albums, especially 4. Flawless Is like two songs [the first part is also known as Bow Down] connected with an excerpt from a lecture given by feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie [We Should All Be Feminists]. I think the vocals are very Rita Ora sounding and the music is again classed as being the trap style; it starts angry and fast during the Bow Down verse, before becoming slower and calmer, with much more subtle beats as the song reaches the author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speech and final verses. The first portion of the song is from the point of view from "the Beyoncé that was angry. It was the Beyoncé that felt the need to defend herself. ... People like it? Great, they don't? they don't. But I feel strong, and anyone who says it's disrespectful -- just imagine the person that hates you, just imagine the person that doesn't believe in you, and look in the mirror and say, "Bow down, bitch!" And I guarantee you'll feel gangsta." Beyonce was criticized for the perceived anti-feminist use of the word "bitches" on the initial release of "Bow Down/I Been On". The negative attention over the original version led Beyonce to include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's definition of who a feminist is in the song. In the final portion of the song Beyonce is saying that as long as she has her family she considers her life to be flawless and that she has been taught to "love her haters", so criticism towards her doesn't hurt her [I know - way include the speech then?]. Superpower A more laid back song about being in love, and the way that love and support makes you feel. Neither Beyonce or Frank Ocean name names or give any hints on who they're singing about, so the listener can fill in the blanks and make the personal to them by imaging partners, children, family, or friends. The music and vocals for this track are classed as being 'alternate R&B' rather then straight up soul, but it's a lovely song either way. I think this track could fit nicely on any of Beyonce's solo albums, or on a Destiny Child's album - I'm thinking the Destiny Fulfilled era. I thought that I might have been missing some deeper meaning in the song, so here's Mused Magazine's take: "The lyrics remind us that love can transcend the trivial and oppressive laws that imprison us from the moment we are born and forced into sex and gender categories that are no more true than the fairytales we grow to learn and hold dear. These "laws of the world" are not just written on paper, but are insidiously inscribed in our hearts and minds, policing what kinds of love are appropriate and what types of affect are acceptable." Heaven Beyonce wrote this after witnessing the pain and loss her mother experienced, after losing her best friend. The song has mournful piano lead music, with gospel overtones in the style of vocals. Simple but emotionally powerful. Blue Another simple-yet-powerful number to close the album; this time exploring the relationship between mother and child, and the unique love and bond they share. Yep - that is Beyonce's daughter saying "Hold on to me" at the end of the song. The music is again piano heavy, but is more cheerful and upbeat - slightly poppy. 1. Pretty Hurts 2. Haunted 3. Drunk in Love (featuring Jay Z) 4. Blow 5. No Angel 6. Partition 7. Jealous 8. Rocket 9. Mine (featuring Drake) 10. XO 11. Flawless (featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) 12. Superpower (featuring Frank Ocean) 13. Heaven 14. Blue (featuring Blue Ivy) But just viewed purely as a "visual album" I have to admit that BEYONCE suddenly becomes less enjoyable and diverse, so I look at the videos as simply being an added extra. First of all the idea isn't actually a new one for Beyonce as the special edition of her second album - B'Day - also used the same concept, so I'm not sure where all of the hype of her 'fresh', 'unique', and new 'vision' has come from. However my main complaint with the videos is that the songs Rocket and Mine are shortened, so now they feel like they're slowly building up to something, but they never really deliver. It especially ruins Mine. Plus Songs like XO and Superpower [Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams and Pharrell Williams appear in the video] have nice videos, but I feel as though the actual song lyrics doesn't match up with them, so that lessens the impact of the songs for me. And call me a prude, but it's kind of funny to start the visual album with a 7 minute video of a beauty pageant contestant realizing how empty and meaningless her life has become by being focused on her looks and body [Pretty Hurts], only to follow this video with tons of footage of a barely dressed Beyonce shaking her arse and thrusting her hips at me. I know female sexuality is a major theme on the album, but it is too repetitive visually and comes off as "same old, same old". I'm sure most men [and a significant number of women] will love this aspect, but for me personally these repeats of the same old Beyonce music video tactics is getting pretty dull now and makes me stop paying attention = in visual format the songs begin to meld together, so only a few songs stand out for me. The only way thing I feel that the visual album improved on the traditional audio version is that it removes the lengthy intros from the tracks Haunted and Partition and gives them separate videos - Ghost and Yonce [Beyonce's new alter ego]. The intros are interesting and the tracks they were added onto are two of my favorites on the album, but all four tracks sound better to me standing on their own. Another plus point is that the song from Beyonce's Pepi 2013 advert 'Grown Woman' is featured. The video is nothing new [Beyonce in different guises dancing around], but the music is the more traditional dancey R&B Beyonce, so it's a nice closer. The lyrical content can be viewed as Beyonce telling her audience why she's changed musical direction - she's now a adult, so she doesn't need to ask permission to play up her sexuality. 1. Pretty Hurts 2. Ghost 3. Haunted 4. Drunk in Love (featuring Jay Z) 5. Blow 6. No Angel 7. Yoncé 8. Partition 9. Jealous 10. Rocket 11. Mine (featuring Drake) 12. XO 13. Flawless (featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) 14. Superpower (featuring Frank Ocean) 15. Heaven 16. Blue (featuring Blue Ivy) 17. Grown Woman 18. Credits
"With Fantasy Twist I wanted to combine two of my favorite fragrances into a sophisticated bottle, giving my fans the power to choose the scent they desire at any given moment" - Britney Spears FANTASY TWIST is perfume number 11 in the Britney Spears range of fragrances. Technically FANTASY TWIST isn't actually a new fragrance; it is actually a clever bottle design that houses two of the bestselling Britney Spears perfumes - Fantasy and Midnight Fantasy. The two-in-one bottle is a clever concept, and the Britney Spears perfumes have all been well made. I've found a few to be "meh", but even though they haven't been to my taste, the overall quality of them was impressive. Fantasy [The pink half] FANTASY opens with fruity scents of lychee, quince and kiwi. Sweet, but not sickly sweet. Sweet, but not to the point of being sticky and sickly sweet. The currants are stronger on me, but the tangerine note is still well developed. The bergamot must be closely intertwined with the tangerine, because I don't pick up on it. The initial fruity blast burns down with ten minutes, but a undertone of the currants [and possibly raspberry too] lingers throughout the heart and base of the fragrance. The floral notes are powdery and light and the juicy sweetness of the berries make everything seem breezy, laid back and casual. The jasmine is the strongest floral on my skin, followed by the orange blossom. I still can't detect a hint of the bergamot, but the note of tiare flower is sweet and creamy and adds to the vanilla which seeps up from the base. The long note of vanilla and the berries linger from the softly floral heart and carry through to the base, giving the perfume a lovely warmth that whispers "come closer" - I think this gentle warmth and sense of comfort makes this perfume perfect for people who work in public based settings as you'll seem even more approachable. Scent notes: lychee, quince, kiwi, vanilla cupcake, jasmine, white chocolate, creamy musk, orris root, and woods. This is really long lasting - I wear mine to bed and can still smell it in the morning, for a low-cost, mass market release this is fantastic. Just be careful applying it - it carries pretty far, so be considerable of others. The fruitiness makes this a good choice for daytime and the light florals mean you can safely wear it to work; the sweeter notes mean it is not the most sophisticated choice for work, but I've received loads of compliments on it and it doesn't seem to irritate anyone. I personally think it's too quiet and not unique enough for evening wear, but it is suitable or the evenings too overall, as it does have good sillage. For such a sweet fragrance it isn't sickly or cloying, even in hot weather and have never suffered ill effects and the scent doesn't change in different weather. But having said that, although I do wear it all year round, I do find that I tend to reach for FANTASY in colder weather. Midnight Fantasy [The blue half] MIDNIGHT FANTASY is strong on the fruit notes. The notes of plum and cherry notes develop quickly, and - on me at least - these fruit notes overpower whatever else may have been used in the perfume. The fruity notes stay with me all the way through the floral heart notes, with the result being that I can't separate most of the floral notes. There is a breeze of freesia and occasional hint of jasmine underneath it, but none of the floral notes are truly strong enough to stand out from the fruits for long. This is definitely a fruity perfume. There is no strong indication between the heart notes and the base, thanks to the constant trickle of the fruits. I'm sure there is some sandalwood here too. I was surprised that both the musk and the vanilla in the base are very subtle on me; I'd have thought the base would be sweet to keep in line with the original Fantasy, but it's not. Scent notes: Black cherries, framboise, plum, orchid, freesia, iris, musk, amber and vanilla. This seems a bit quieter and weaker on me compared to the original Fantasy, but it is still good longevity-wise; it has about an seven hour average on me. MIDNIGHT FANTASY is all about the fruity notes, which would suggest that it is intended for wearing over the summer months. However despite the notes of the plums and cherries being the most dominent, I do think that this fragrance can be a bit sickly in warm weather. I therefore tend stick to autumn/winter for wearing this, though I do occasionally wear it in the early days of spring. I think MIDNIGHT FANTASY is intended for evening wear, but I think of fruity perfumes as being made for daywear. I suppose it depends on what the wearer feels comfortable with - it can easily be worn at any time. 30ml rrp: £20 50ml rrp: £30 100ml rrp: £35
'With Love & Light, I wanted to create a fragrance that was less about the world around you and more about your inner light and your spirit. It's about how you feel inside, it's not about your outside world.' - Jennifer Lopez I saw this at TK Maxx and, since I never found it at any UK stores back when it was launched in 2011, I bought it blind and found that it isn't bad. I wouldn't say that this is a fantastic perfume, but this is nice and different from most of the other J.Lo releases - much less fruit. The staying power is also better than most of the other J.Lo releases; Love & Light is right up there with Glow. I do think that this perfume should have been released as Love & Glamour as the name does not match the scent or strength, and the much lighter and weaker L&G should have been released as Love & Light, so Coty shot themselves in the foot with the releases. I was surprised from the very beginning with Love & Light as all of the previous J.Lo perfumes [except the original Glow] pack a fruity punch on first application, whilst this just has a light spattering of mandarin and apricot before the floral notes and patchouli develops. The fruit notes are so gentle that they don't stick around more than a few minutes, and even for those few minutes I have to paying specific attention to them to really notice them. The patchouli mixes fully with the soapy yet powdery florals, so I don't feel confident guessing what different notes may have been used apart from the listed rose, and some neroli. The powdery florals give Love & Light a old-school, vintage feel which is stronger on me then the soapy ones are, so the clean feel to this fragrance is much more subtle than the usual J.Lo fare. Overall I found the mixture of the clean and soapy florals combined with the delicate powdery florals has almost the same feel to it as J.Lo's limited edition release Live Platinum, so if you enjoyed that release and wanted to try something similar then Love & Light is a inexpensive option - just be aware that I'm not saying that florals in Love & Light smell the same as those in Live Platinum, it's just that the contrasts within the florals are reminiscent. The musk begins to develop fully somewhere between one and two hours on me, and the creamy praline note comes through soon after. The mix of the fresher musk and creamy/sweet praline leaves me with the impression of a coconut scented suntan lotion, which lasts for hours as the perfume slowly dries down. Official scent notes; mandarin, pomegranate, red currant, rose crystal absolute, velvety apricot, jasmine petals, patchouli, sensual musk and praline. For me the best thing about Love & Light is definitely the lasting power. It burns down within six hours [on average] on my skin. It does go fairly close to the skin after three hours, but other people still notice it. Not fantastic generally speaking, but for the price you can't complain. I was surprised by how versatile I've found this to be, since it was made as something light and airy to wear in warmer weather; now that it's winter I still find myself wearing it. As the fruits are subtle and well-blended with the florals and gourmand aspects of the fragrance it doesn't seem out of place for autumn/winter, and is nice and clean, but not cold. As well as being wearable all year round I also happily wear this perfume for casual days, work and some evenings out. The fragrance is long lasting, but is non-cloying and won't irritate other people, so makes a good choice for just about anywhere, anytime. 30ml - £7.95 [£23 RRP] 75ml - £11.99 [£36 RRP] I've used the Amazon prices as they are the lowest ones currently available.
LIVE PLATINUM, arrives inspired by snow. It is fragile and unique as a snowflake, and will melt on your neck and wrists. LIVE PLATINUM will win you over with its aromas - Coty I think LIVE PLATINUM has the edge over the original Live as - though it is quite similar to it - this is less harsh and is easier to wear. I still really like the spiciness of the original, but the contrasts in this appeals to me more. It's a shame this is a limited edition, I wish I'd bought more bottles for backups when I saw it in the US a few years ago. I'll have to haunt Ebay for it in the not-too-distant future... LIVE PLATINUM is similar to the original Live at first spray, but the energetic citrus notes have been played down a bit and mixed with sweeter & darker plum notes. I love how the sweet and the sharper notes have been blended together to create a startling contrast, making sure that the fragrance doesn't learn either way too far between fresh and gourmand. In another similarity to the original Live, LIVE PLATINUM also contains a floral heart. Some of the key scent notes are the same as those used in Glow, so there is a sharp clean vibe in the floral notes to give the fragrance a fresh, icy jolt of energy. But this time there is also a hint of powderiness, and the marzipan also develops with the softer floral notes adding sweetness and a almond-like undertone to create a 'come closer' appeal to things. I think regular rose has been used in this perfume as Helleborus (Christmas rose) is actually from the buttercup family, whereas I can definitely smell something soft and traditionally rose-like here. The gentle base is also almost the same as the original Live - but the musk, vanilla and amber combination is more distinctive here as the sugariness in the marzipan combines with the notes and gives them a bit more strength. The base gives the last few hours of LIVE PLATINUM a warm feel, which is perfect for this time of year. Scent notes: Marzipan, plum, ruby grapefruit, Christmas rose, heliotrope, orange blossom, vanilla, musk, white cedar wood and amber. Coty is behind the Jennifer Lopez perfume releases, so I'm going to repeat the same old line; this perfume has a six hour average on me, but goes close to the skin after a couple of hours. It's still not an amazingly great overall for a edp - but it is very good for the price point of this. I prefer wearing this in colder weather, as the clashing scent notes are more apparent at this time of year. But considering that LIVE PLATINUM has some strong keynotes and a sweet drydown, it hasn't become very sickly or cloying in warmer weather. I do prefer to save my bottle for winter though, for the best impact. I can comfortably wear this perfume whenever I want [during the day, casually, for work, and in the evenings] - over these colder months anyway, as although it is a noticeable fragrance I don't find it cloying or irritating to wear, and other people like it too, so I don't feel that it is invasive to others. In spring/summer when I do wear it I tend to stick to wearing it on special occasions, as I find it to be a bit of a statement fragrance and the sweeter notes in it are a bit too much for day to day wear. LIVE PLATINUM is only available in a 50ml bottle. It was launched in 2008 but I've never seen it in any UK stores, but various Amazon sellers stock it and it regularly pops up on Ebay. The price constantly changes from a bargain at £16, to a still reasonable-for-the-quality £30.
"Killer Queen has been in my vocabulary since I was 15, because of the song 'Killer Queen' by Queen. Freddie Mercury painted the lyrics of this woman who I wanted to be. She seemed very powerful, and she captivated a room when she walked in. I named my company Killer Queen after those lyrics. I feel like, after all this time, it was appropriate to use that name in association with something I did. I feel like I'm falling, finally, into that woman Freddie painted" - Katy perry *** When you bought a 50ml bottle of Killer Queen at it's launch in Superdrug, you got a free red handbag [I believe that if you buy the perfume from the Boots website you'll get the same bag]. My sister bought the perfume just because she wanted the bag, and has since passed on her bottle to me... Killer Queen opens with a rich plum note. I can also make out what I think is raspberry. The plum note is long and distinctive, so carries down to the heart of the perfume, along with the patchouli. This mixture of plum and patchouli is very similar to Midnight Heat by Beyonce - another Coty release. Midnight Heat itself reminded me of Britney Spears Midnight Fantasy [Elizabeth Arden], so it you enjoyed either of them then you'll probably enjoy this as well. I'm not familiar with celosia, but I don't think it's meant to smell appealing - a keen gardener compared Celosia fragrance to that of a skunk online. I guess that Coty just wanted to use the exotic name in the description, but used something else in the perfume instead, but I can't guess what. In fact - aside from the frangipani - I am not able to separate any floral notes from the sweetly powdered floral jumble heart of the fragrance, as the praline develops and mixes with the patchouli, lasting for the duration of the perfume. I think that the powdered floral mix is extremely similar to Taylor by Taylor Swift [Elizabeth Arden] overall, so maybe there is magnolia and/or peony in Killer Queen too? There is no strong indication between the heart notes and the base, thanks to the constant presence of the powdery floral mix and patchouli. The soft, creamy praline adds a slight nuttiness so it is a warm, comforting mix, which does lend a teensy bit of a different air to Killer Queen as it dries down. The final drydown reminds me of Lancome's La Vie Est Belle, so there's nothing new here either. 　 Official scent notes; wild berries, dark plum, bergamot, velvety red flower (Celosia), Sambac jasmine, rainbow plumeria (frangipani), cashmere, patchouli and liquid praline. Killer Queen has good longevity for a Coty release; a five to six hour average on me. It's still not amazingly great generally speaking - but it is very good for the price. Killer Queen is a new release but, based on my experiences with numerous scent-a-likes, I wouldn't recommend it as a spring/summer fragrance; the plum and patchouli notes are both strong and long lasting, and these scent notes tend towards becoming cloying in hotter temperatures. I think that Killer Queen is intended as a evening fragrance, but I think that you can comfortably wear it whenever you want [during the day, casually and for work]. As although it is a noticeable fragrance I don't find it cloying or irritating to wear, and other people like it too, so I don't feel that it is invasive to others. Killer Queen is pleasant and easy to wear, but it's just not anything to get excited about. I love perfumes with praline and/or vanilla in, but this is "meh" for me - it reminds me of other perfumes all the way through. I will happily use my bottle as it was given to me, but Killer Queen isn't something that I'd choose to buy for myself. With a new company now in charge of the Katy Perry fragrances [Coty], Katy promising a new mature image, the meaning behind the perfume's name, and the marketing campaign for this product, I was expecting Killer Queen to be adult, a bit more unique and confidently commanding. However the result is still 'young' and unoriginal. Killer Queen doesn't have a unique stamp of it's own to make it stand out from the crowd, and it is not something that I'd imagine Katy herself actually wearing. 　 As it's not long until Christmas, I'll add that if you mix Purr and Meow together, it smells fairly similar to Killer Queen. So if you have a fan of Katy Perry, or her previous perfume releases, in your life Killer Queen would make a good gift choice for them. Coty release some great value perfume giftsets every year, and Boots knock more money off selected ones for a limited time in the Festive run-up, so keep your eyes peeled... *** 30ml: £22 50ml: £28
Bait follows former lifeguard Josh as he arrives to his present-day job at a supermarket, where he soon comes face to face with his ex Tina and her new boyfriend. Also having a less than great day is Josh's co-worker Ryan, who is fired after his girlfriend Jaime is caught shoplifting - oh, and the police officer called to the scene happens to be Jamie's father. An awkward day gets more dramatic when criminal Doyle and his accomplice hold up the supermarket, wrongly believing that the manager keeps the previous day takings in the office safe. The two gun-wielding robbers are soon locked in a standoff with the pissed-off officer and there is no resolution in sight... At which point the coastal community is hit by a tsunami, which completely floods the supermarket. The handful of survivors - including Josh, Doyle, Jamie and her father - gather on top of the shelves to take stock [eyeroll] of the situation, and soon notice that the water level is still slowly rising and inching closer to the now exposed electrical cables. So should everyone simply swim to safety? That option quickly loses it's appeal when he unlucky group realise that they are sharing the flooded and crumbling building with a 12 foot great white shark. So the question becomes whether to stay out of the water and be electrocuted or crushed before eventual help comes, or go into the water and risk getting munched on? Meanwhile... The supermarket has an attached underground carpark, which is where Ryan was when the tsunami hit. Climbing onto a pile of overturned cars to look for a possible exit, he comes across a young couple who also escaped injury or death and spies a unflooded stairwell. However there is no easy ride for these survivors either, as there turns out to be another shark present - right between the second unlucky group and said stairwell, so they are also left with the same choice as the group in the supermarket. *** I didn't pick a movie about a shark in a supermarket expecting Oscar-worthy high drama, and the fact that whenever a shark movie comes out, there are always people crying "it's not as good as Jaws" and "look how fake the shark looks" which, by this point, is just annoying. Do people think that every single shark movie has to be a reimaging of Jaws, and do they seriously expect an indie movie to look the same as a big budget classic? Sorry, but I read the Amazon reviews and everyone really over-thought things and kept repeating the same tired comparisons. If you compare every single aspect of one thing against another, then you're sitting yourself up for disappointment, and not giving things a fair chance. Bait is a film you watch for entertainment and fun, so as long as you aren't expecting Schindilers List or a Jaws remake you'll be fine. Julian McMahon [Profiler, Charmed, Nip/Tuck] was the only cast member who I was familiar with, but almost everyone else holds their own too [even the Twilight guy]. I only found the guy playing Kirby to be a bit dodgy - he tended towards Nic-Cage-overselling-it territory. Then again his character is a bit borderline, so maybe that is how he meant to play it? Anyway his character tends to keep quiet most of the time, so I didn't find him distracting and/or annoying. I don't know much about cinematography and stuff like that, so I can only say that I liked everything, and didn't notice any continuity errors. The sets were very realistic, the camera angle and underwater shots were great, the score was effective in it's minimalism, and the shots of the tsunami flooding the supermarket and carpark were brilliant - a big budget movie couldn't make the effects any better. I didn't think the sharks looked any less real than they do in any other movie of this type - and yes, I'm including good old Bruce in that observation. I'll also point out that BAIT was filmed to be viewed in 3D for it's Australia and Asia theatre run, so maybe that makes a difference to how the CGI looks on the 2D version? The only real problem that I had was how the film would suddenly go from serious drama when we focused on the group in the store, then swing to more comedic territory when we checked in on the threesome in the underground carpark. Sometimes this dual effect thing works, but in other parts of the film I found the effect pretty jarring. Maybe the script writers should have allowed a bit more humour to carry through to the store survivors too, as I kinda felt as though I was watching two films at times. Also, can't we give the poor great whites a break from being the terrorizers in movies? Bull sharks regularly enter shallow water and are highly territorial and aggressive, so I'd have found it the sharks behaviour more believable if the filmmakers had used them instead. *** DVD: £5.00 Bluerray [this edition of the movie is in both 2D and 3D]: £10.50 Extras Trailer 45 minute making of documentry. This followed the cast and crew over the course of the filming schedule, and includes inpromto interviews as well as briefly looking at the designing stages for the anametronic shark, and a explanation over how 3D filming works & what the process involves. Don't watch either of these until after you've watched the actual film - even the trailor shows the deaths of two characters. *** Cast Richard Brancatisano: Rory Xavier Samuel: Josh Sharni Vinson: Tina Julian McMahon: Doyle Dan Wyllie: Kirby Alice Parkinson: Naomi Phoebe Tonkin: Jaimie Damien Garvey: Colins Lincoln Lewis: Kyle Cariba Heine: Heather Alex Russell: Ryan Adrian Pang: Jessup Yuwu Qi: Steven Martin Sacks: Todd Directer: Kimble Rendall Written by: John Kim and Russell Mulcahy *** Bait 2 is in preproduction. It'll be centred around a bunch of private school students, trapped in their school with a 15 foot great white after a tsunami in LA.
I would smell the same mystery fragrance whenever I'd go past the makeup counters in my local Boots, and fell in love with it. After a month or so I'd pinpointed the aroma to Lancome's latest perfume release; La Vie Est Belle. To cut a boring, rambling story short I bought a bottle for myself, then I wrote a review for it on Boots and, for unknown reasons, they then sent me another bottle for their product review panel. So now I have plenty of the stuff, and have worn it reguly - warm weather, hot weather, cool weather, cold weather, day and night. The concept for La Vie Est Belle is centered on the idea of natural and simple beauty, freedom from conventions and the choice of one's own vision of happiness. The fragrance is a kind of outlook on life, inspired by joy and pleasure in small things. Lancome apparently made 5000 versions of the perfume, before selecting the final version that is on store shelves. *** The pear is the strongest fruit note on me - well, I say strongest, but it is still pretty soft and doesn't leave me with a lasting impression. There is soft vanilla present through all of the fragrance too, with adds a creamy sweetness and warmth to the fragrance and quickly overpowers the quiet fruit notes. The patchouli is also quick to develop, so whilst everything is sweet, it's not cloyingly so. The floral notes used are powdery and just provide a background for the iris - I think there is some rose and peony present too, but everything is too soft to separate. It's quite startling how, after around two hours, the fragrance suddenly changes from a soft gourmand to present the wearer with a rich iris note. I don't have much experience with iris in perfumes and relied on Prada Infusion d'Iris to help me identify the scent note here, so LA VIE EST BELLE is unique to me in the note's inclusion. After another few hours the fragrance turns slightly nutty and even creamier as the rest of the praline in the base develops and uses with the vanilla note. Whilst the iris note dies down after a few hours, the combined powderiness of the rest of the floral notes remain and softly fade away with the base notes after around nine hours on my skin. Official scent notes: Orange blossoms, jasmine, black currant, pear, iris, tonka bean, praline, patchouli and vanilla. *** You'll definitely get your monies worth with LA VIE EST BELLE - it wears very well, and is a strong perfume so only needs a light application. I apply it in the morning and can still smell it at the end of the day. I sprayed some on a tank top a few weeks ago, and I'm get a nice draft of fragrance whenever I open the drawer it's in. I prefer wearing this in colder weather, as the vanilla and praline notes don't seem as strong on me during this time of year. As LA VIE EST BELLE has some strong keynotes and a sweet drydown I wouldn't wear it on warmer days, as it can become cloying. I can comfortably wear LA VIE EST BELLE whenever I want [during the day, casually and for work] - over these colder months anyway. And other people like it too, so I don't feel that it is invasive to others. In spring/summer I have occasionally worn it on special occasions in the evenings, but I find it to be a bit too much for day to day wear. *** 30ml: £42 50ml: £58 75ml: £70
For reference: I have very pale skin, so none of the Boots 17 foundations are actually light enough for me; even the Porcelain and Ivory shades. *** My skin is dry and sensitive and keeps having rebellious phases and randomly rejects products I've used for years without complaint, so I found myself in need of some miraculous product that could correct visible pores and any unevenness and discolouration, yet won't feel heavy and show up the dry patches and make my skin flake, like foundations can*. I find the base in tinted moisturizers too yellow and, anyway, they just don't wear long enough for me to bother with. After hearing/seeing the hype about BB Creams I set out to find one light enough for me and after months of looking for a fair, non-yellow shade I've finally found a winner... 17 BB BLEMISH BALM feels a bit watery, so I thought application would be awkward, and I wasn't expecting much in the way of coverage. But the formula actually works in it's favour; it feels very light and silky on my skin and blending the product for a skin-true colour match is super easy - it's like I've applied a primer first, when I haven't (I very rarely use primers now). Once blended, the results are a smooth satin finish, with surprisingly good coverage. OK, it won't cover my hormonal breakouts, but my main problem is discolouration, which this product solves. It even reduces the appearance of my pores AND undereye circles too. I've found it to be transfer resistant, long lasting and it doesn't settle in my fine lines. Flaky skin? a thing of the past. 17 BB BLEMISH BALM says that it contains ingredients that help prevent breakouts and controls the oil levels in the skin and I have found both things to be true. Admittedly I don't regularly suffer from breakouts, but nevertheless the hormonal ones I do get don't seem as frequent, and when I do get the odd spot it will clear up quickly. I've not changed any of my usual skin care products recently. I've also noticed that the old 'high shine' forehead problem isn't really a major issue for me any more either - I don't even bother to put my powder compact in whichever handbag I decide to carry round, for touch ups any more. There will be some shine on my face at the end of the day in hotter weather, but not too much and it doesn't look 'oily' - more glowy - so I'm happy to put my powder away and just leave it. 17 BB BLEMISH BALM has a SPF of 25, so it is great for holidays. I went to Florida late last year and this wore perfectly for 10+ hours each day, under hot and humid conditions. I'd baste myself with a high factor suncream everywhere else every hour or so and would still burn, but my face never turned that oh-so-attractive shade of lobster with just the one application. So not only do the cosmetic features of this BB cream pass the test, but the protective abilities do too. I think the packaging is very user-friendly; It's in a squeezable, slim tube, so you can squeeze all of the product out. Plus; it's a ideal size for small bags and the lid is very secure. *** £6.99 [30ml] Light, Medium, Medium/Dark. (17 cosmetics are exclusive to Boots stores) * The only foundation I own that doesn't cause any flaking right now is Revlon Nearly Naked foundation. If you have dry skin, and want a bit more coverage then you'd find in a BB Cream, I highly recommend it; it gives skin the same healthy glow as NARS Sheer Glow, but it is lighter and a third of the price.
"[MUSIC BOX is] captivating and sensual, evoking the emotions caused by a music box" - Kylie Minogue *** On first application the fragrance is sugary sweet thanks to the plasticly berry notes. I can't detect any bergamot, so I find the first five to ten minutes of MUSIC BOX to be far too cloying and boring. It reminds me of a Natural Collection strawberry body spray Boots sold when I was a kid. A touch of the fruit carries down into the heart so there always remains a sweet undertone to everything, which reacts strangely with the bitter florals - it leaves a sharp, chemical tang underneath everything. I can't explain the scent in any detail, it's just sour and artificial. I'm not overjoyed by the floral notes; they are clean and airy, but they never seem to develop fully - probably because everything goes close to the skin very quickly. In fact the only floral note I can place with any certainty is the watery rose, which gets lost in the jumble fairly quickly. The plasticy berries, watery floral mix and the strange chemical undertone leaves me with an impression, that is reminiscent to laundry detergent. There's not much to say for the base; it is the Coty/Kylie standard of musk/sandalwood/amber base. And given the poor lasting power of MUSIC BOX, the base is very close to the skin, so makes everything feel a bit flat and linear. Official scent notes: Strawberry, raspberry, bergamot, roses, freesia, orange blossom, sandalwood, amber and white musk. *** We all know what's coming next; this is a Coty/Kylie collaboration, so it's no surprise that the staying power is poor - blah, blah, blah. Honestly the fragrance burns down within an hour, as though it were the Natural Collection body spray. I can't believe that this is the 11th Coty/Kylie fragrance and not only have they not taken customer criticisms onboard, but the quality is noticeably declining further with each new release. I think that this is best suited to use for day wear, as it's so mild. I don't think its suitable for me to wear to work, and think it's too 'young' for nights out or special occasions. I wore my bottle over the weekends, as it seems very casual and dressed down to me. The mildness of the florals and strong fruit notes do strongly suggest that MUSIC BOX is best suited to spring/summer. It doesn't appeal to me in colder weather, but I suspect that is just my general dislike of MUSIC BOX talking. The clean undertone does give the fragrance a bit of an icy jolt, so it may be wearable to some people. It's a short, lacklusture review as there's not much to say for MUSIC BOX - it's all over so quickly and I feel as though I'm just repeating myself when it comes to the Coty/Kylie Minogue range. I honestly can't see her wearing any of her named perfumes, in fact I recall a old magazine interview where she said that she doesn't wear perfume, so seeing the blatant money grabbing behind the range probably helps colour my view for reviewing. I used to love Kylie, so I used to approach each new perfume that she released with a bit of hope and excitement, but unfortunately I was disappointed every time, so I stopped paying attention to her releases. My sister found a 30ml bottle of MUSIC BOX in Asda [£6], and bought it just so I could tear it apart, so here we are. I think that MUSIC BOX would be best given as a gift for a younger fan's first perfume; the packaging and bottle are very 'princessy', and the actual perfume is mild and is too watery to irritate the wearer. I don't normally like labelling perfumes as either young or old, but I honestly can't see an adult wearing MUSIC BOX. *** 30ml: £21 50ml: £28 Gift set [30ml bottle and 200ml tube of body lotion]: £19.95 Asda seem to be my only local stores that still sells Kylie Minogue perfumes, although larger branches of Boots, The Perfume Shop and The Fragrance Shop may still stock her later releases. If you buy the perfume from Amazon or Cheapsmells there is a huge price decrease - you can buy 30ml bottles of most of Kylie's perfume releases for under £10.
"A scent needs to reflect all the different facets of my personality. It had to be elegant, glamorous, sophisticated, sexy, dark, and mysterious" - Dita Von Teese On first application I can detect the bergamot, and I think there is also something similar to a tea accord; I can't pinpoint everything down, but it reminds me of some kind of herbal blend of tea that a co-worker regularly brought into work. I can also pick up something that is similar to raspberry, but I recall a interview in which Dita said that the company that she worked with for the perfume nearly dropped her because she point blank refused to have any fruit or vanilla in her fragrance. Some variety of orchid perhaps? I normally dislike perfumes with jasmine as I find it heavy and migraine inducing, so it nice to ind a fragrance including it that I can wear. It is actually the rose note that is the strongest, and it is more rosehip, then the traditionally powdery, sweet rose. I get a brief whiff of sweet gardenia [tiare flower], but the sharp, spicy pepper note soon develops and overpowers all of the florals, other then the rose. in all honesty I think that Dita should have selected a few more powdery florals, to give the perfume a more vintage feel. Dita Von Teese soon shifts from a floral perfume to a warm oriental, as the patchouli and the lightly smoked notes develop, mixing nicely with the spicy pepper. The combination warms up the reminder of the fragrance. I wish that the base notes lasted longer and were a bit more bold, as the perfume as a tad linear up until this point. Unfortunately the perfume goes close to the skin just as the base begins to develop. Official scent notes: bergamot, peony, Bourbon pepper, Bulgarian rose, Tahitian tiare flower, jasmine, incense, patchouli, musk, guaiac wood and sandalwood. The four hour average staying power of Dita Von Teese is a big let down. It also goes close to the skin quickly, so it is a quiet perfume too, despite the initial strength of some of the key scent notes. I tend to spray it directly onto my bra or tank top, to make it last longer - otherwise my 20ml bottle wouldn't have lasted very long, as you practically have to bathe in it for a lasting fragrance. As Dita Von Teese is close to the wearer's skin it is not a fragrance that will irritate colleagues, so you can confidently wear it without offence to work. I mainly tend to wear it on weekends, as it is a soft perfume and helps me to feel 'put together', without feeling overdone. Dita Von Teese is not something that I've worn on nights out, as I do like my perfumes to be a bit more unique and longer lasting on special occasions. Whilst it doesn't overpower me or give me headaches, I prefer wearing Dita Von Teese on cooler and rainy days. I'm going to save the rest of my bottle for Autumn/winter, as spicier perfumes are more appealing to me then. But overall it is something I think of as being suitable all year round, as it is nice and mild - not too sweet or too spicy. Dita Von Teese is pleasant and easy to wear, but it isn't overly original and the mildness of the different scent notes make it seem quite flat and one dimensional for a bit too long. I do really like the actual fragrance, but the so-so wear and lack of originality add up to another average, been-there-sniffed-that release, so I don't think it is very likely that I'll replace my bottle of Dita Von Teese when it's gone. Though it is affordable enough that I'd never say never... I received my bottle as a gift, and it is something that I think would make a good present for someone, as it is easy to wear and suitable for most ages. Plus it's not expensive, so if they don't like it you won't have wasted a lot of money. I wasn't sure whether to rate this a 3 or 4, as I like it and it is affordable enough to almost forgive the poor longevity. I decided on a three because as far that I'm aware, you can't buy the perfume in any shops in the UK, so you can't try before you buy. 20ml bottle: £10.80 40ml bottle: £23.69 200ml scented body lotion: £9.99 200ml scented shower gel: £8.99 Gift set [20ml bottle & 75ml shower gel]: £16.79 [prices from Amazon UK]
Half fae, half witch Callie McKay is a Doorkeeper, which means that she has the power to open and close the last portal to the world of Faerie - theoretically, at least. Callie was raised by her grandmother, Fiona, after her fae father and witch mother died when she was ten. Being raised by a fae hating witch, who raised her as a human since she never displayed any magical abilities for witchcraft, means that she has no idea how her powers work. Callie better how to use and control her powers quickly; Fiona is the leader of The Grove, a conservative club for witches, and they want to close the last door to Faerie, which would mean that any fae being in the human world would have to return to Faerie forever, or remain trapped in the human world, where they would fade away and die. Plus there's the fact that most species of fae are having trouble reproducing, so rely on coming into the human would to mate with humans, so it'll really be both realities that would suffer. The Institute of Magical Professionals [IMP] is the overall governing body of preternatural beings and they are already considering closing the last door to Faerie, due to the threat to life and risk of exposure some of the otherworldly creatures threaten to the human world, if/when they escape. So with The Grove leaning on them and gaining support from other preternatural fractions, IMP are being pushed to make the decision of closing the faerie doorway and closing it quickly... Can Callie learn how to control and use her unique combination of fey and witch powers in time to be able to stand up to IMP, The Grove and any other opposing preternatural actions, and be able to keep the doorway open against their wishes? Or do her friends have to decide which world to live in and say goodbye forever? *** I got the first book in The Fairwick Chronicles series for free from Amazon Vine and loved it, so I made sure to buy WATER WITCH; the second book in the series. Like the previous book [succubus], all of the different elements that go into WATER WITCH are written in different styles. One minute we're reading Disneyish tales of true love, then bam! Hot succubus sex, gothic romance leads to classic urban fantasy overtones taking over etc. Not only does the author's writing style change, but she also mixes mythical beings together with creatures of her own making. For example; we start with udines, but then are introduced to zombie beavers [my new favourite thing ever]. The way that the author keeps mixing different elements together keeps everything exciting and fresh; you never see what is coming next... Cassie is a refreshing change from all of the gun-toting, roundhouse kicking, constantly one-liner cracking, 'sassy' heroines that are constantly thrust upon us in this types of book. Sure; she's in the middle of a otherworldly drama, but she uses her intelligence to research answers instead. She makes mistakes, doesn't conveniently develop any mystical powers or knowledge, and she can't do any physical ass kicking, which helps the tension build as there's never easy way out of the situations she finds herself in. I'd become bored with reading stories with the same prototype of heroine under a different name, so these books have been a real breath of fresh air. WATER WTCH is told from Callie's POV, but we still feel involved with the secondary characters, in fact Callie's co-workers are more involved this time around, plus we get to see more of their own personal relationships too, instead of focusing solely on Callie. I did thoroughly enjoy WATER WITCH, but, to be honest, I did prefer the pacing in the first book in the series [Incubus] as everything ran together more smoothly and didn't seem quite so paint-by-numbers in structure. In WATER WITCH the outcome of a possible love triangle between some characters, and the secret identity of a few people did all seem obvious to me, so I found that the pace was slowed down partway as I waited for the characters to catch up to where I already was. Maybe I've just read too many fantasy books, so recognize the approaching cliches before they are fully formed? After initially being lead to believe that this would be an ongoing series, it has now started being listed as a trilogy. This is a shame, as despite a few pacing issues, the author's storytelling abilities and characters are wonderfully unique, and the directions events could lead seem endless right now. In the US and Canada the author has published the Fairwick Chronicles under the Pseudonym Juliet Dark, and Incubus has been released with the title Demon Lover. To make things a bit more confusing for people browsing online the final part of the trilogy is also listed under different titles; in the UK it'll be titled Dark Possession. *** Paperback: £5.99 Kindle edition: £4.74
28 year old Maddie Springer has a problem - she lives in a tiny apartment, has a poor paying job... and she thinks that she might be pregnant. She has only been dating her boyfriend Richard for a few months, so has no idea what to do and is terrified to tell him. However she finds that she has some extra time to build up to discussing the dilemma with him - Richard is a lawyer and one of his client's, and his $20 million fortune, have vanished and Richard has vanished right along with them. It doesn't look good for Richard and the police are soon on the hunt. Then the dead bodies start turning up... Maddie clings to her belief that Richard is innocent of all charges and is simply in hiding as he witnessed something he shouldn't have, and is now afraid for his life. As she could be about to start a family with him, she decides to track him down before taking a pregnancy test and deciding what to do if there is indeed a baby on the way. Maddie is scared and confused enough already, so an instant attraction to Detective Jack Ramirez is bound to add a few more fireworks into the situation. *** I knew straightaway that I wasn't going to enjoy SPYING IN HIGH HEELS; the fact that the entire story is centered around Maddie's need to find Richard, because she needs him by her side to take a pregnancy test is just a non-starter. Does she need his guidance to pee on a stick or something? There aren't many reasonable ways to have someone bury their head firmly in the sand over time sensitive issues whilst repeating the same thing over and over, without me wanting to smack them over the head. I don't feel that the author even attempted to make Maddie's delaying tactics sound semi reasonable, choosing to make Maddie cute and funny [read as childish airhead] instead; such as her throwing a home pregnancy kit on the floor and jumping on it, then seeming surprised that it has been crushed and is now unusable. You laughing yet? The other problem I had with the book is that Maddie doesn't investigate anything of importance and get answers to the mystery herself. Instead she literally stalks Jack as he launches his investigation [in her bright red jeep], then later drags her best friend into the mess, and line of fire, to do most of the work for her. When she does think of something independently she thinks of it way too late, then is overly impressed every time she discovers that Jack [the lead investigator] had already done whatever gem of investigative wisdom she had belatedly thought of. This is meant as a ongoing gag, but it winds me up, instead of bringing on the lols. When Jack tells Maddie to stop her meddling because she could ruin the police investigation and/or alert the perpetrators, she pouts, whines and uses the excuse that Jack is ruining her life, by trying to put away the father of her 'maybe baby', to do whatever she wants. It is so irritating. She even gets mad with Jack for not telling her information he has gained during the police investigation - as if he's supposed to share what he finds with her. One more whine? When I read books which have a strong romantic element in them, then I want to see some damn chemistry. Richard is a dead horse who barely features here, and with Jack the only physical contact I can realistically see between him and Maddie involves him dragging her of into a jail cell. Jack isn't too bad as a character, but the way he discusses a open homicide investigation with Maddie is so unrealistic - why couldn't the author take a bit more time to think of other way to put the needed information across to the lead in a more engaging way? We don't spend enough time with the other secondary characters, for me to be able to say if I like them or not. None of them stood out to me though, in either a good or bad way. Finally: I wouldn't say that the author is completely untalented, but she is rather sloppy here. The length of time Callie has been dating Richard changes, the day of her mother's upcoming bachelorette party and wedding changes, private businesses are unrealistically open and staffed over weekends and there are numerous other errors scattered throughout the book. This was a painfully slow read (though this may be because I felt the need to write each complaint on GoodReads as soon as I found something I didn't like) - the actual mystery is lacking, in addition to the romance and humour. SPYING IN HIGH HEELS just reads as a series of unlikely coincidences, with someone who stumbles across clues and situations by accident as she clearly doesn't have a brain to try and investigate with. Also; the killer was obvious from the first scene they were in, because the author's attempts to toss in a red herring, by trying to draw attention to a suspicious character, just throws a spotlight over the guilty party. I've since read the second book in the series [Killer In High Heels], to see if the series showed any signs of improvement, and that was nearly as painful as this book. I bought the 5 volume book set on a whim when I bought my kindle and have also collected the author's Hollywood Headlines series when they were free, but I've yet to bother read them, and am tempted to just delete everything now and save myself from any further unpleasantness. If you want a light read, which focuses on romance, then you may like SPYING IN HIGH HEELS more then I did. If you have a Kindle, then it won't cost a lot to try - and you can always get a refund if you decide it's not for you [I always forget this, until I've had the books for over one week]. The book, and series as a whole, has won many awards, and most of the customer reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are 4 and 5 stars, so there is an audience out there. *** £0.77 - kindle edition [keep it on your wishlist to keep an eye on the price, as it regularly promoted as a free book] £6.72 [paperback]
Valentina Acqua Floreale is great to apply on those days when I'm running late, but can't seem to wake up fully; as well as the starring bergamot and orange blossom, there is also a long zesty lemon note, making the fragrance fresh and sharp for the first ten minutes. It is a quick wake-up call and energy boost. I normally dislike perfumes with tuberose as I find it heavy and migraine inducing, so it is nice to find a fragrance including it that I can wear. In fact Valentina Acqua Floreale is the first perfume in which I do get what tuberose lovers describe; the note is soft and lightly creamy. However, it is actually the watery orange blossom note that is the strongest floral note on my skin, followed quickly by the neroli, which combines with the remaining citrus notes perfectly for a soapy undertone. After a few hours wear Valentina Acqua Floreale quietly morphs from a citrussy floral to a warm oriental, as the sweet amber and earthy patchouli mixes nicely with the spicy neroli and warms up the reminder of the fragrance, for a gentle contrast to the freshness of the beginning and the cleanliness of the heart. Official scent notes: bergamot, orange blossom, neroli, mimosa, tuberose, jasmine, amber and patchouli. *** My main complaint with Valentina Acqua Floreale is the poor lasting power. Within four hours I can't detect it on myself, and I've asked friends for their opinion and they'll only comment on a lemony scent. I know that this is a EDT, but I've come across many other fragrances with the same concentration that hold up for longer. The light, airy fragrance is ideal for now and will continue to appeal during the warmer weather, as the fruit is refreshing, the florals clean, and the concentration isn't cloying. Valentina Acqua Floreale is a fairly new release, but I can already tell that it won't appeal to me in colder weather; the aspects that appeal now are the hings that make perfumes seem icy to me in autumn/winter, and the contrast in the base isn't strong enough to make Valentina Acqua Floreale appealing to me in the darker months, when I generally prefer spicier, smokier fragrances. I can comfortably wear it for both work and during the weekend, so that does make the price seem more reasonable. I wouldn't wear Valentina Acqua Floreale on occasions when I want to feel a bit more glamorous, but overall it is very easy to wear, so that's another plus point in it's favour. Hmm, glamorous, that seems familiar... Aha! I'd bet that Valentina Acqua Floreale, or the original Valentina, was what Kim Kardashian was aiming for when she unleashed Glam on us last year. She missed. By miles. I was umming and ahhing over whether I would give Valentina Acqua Floreale three or four stars. One half of me loves the actual fragrance, but the other half was far from impressed by the overall quality. I've decided to go for three stars, as the unoriginality, coupled with it's longevity and sillage is a big disappointment. Valentina Acqua Floreale is 'nice' and I will happily continue to use my bottle, but I'm not sure that it is a fragrance I'd choose to buy for myself; it's ageless, easy to wear and is unoffensive to other people. On the downside; it is a bit too safe and generic, and it doesn't wear for long, which is disappointing for the price. I would consider buying it in the future, but I'll definitely be checking out similar perfumes, to find something which packs a bit more punch. *** 50ml: £47 100ml: £63
17's BLOW OUT mascara does it all; great separation, added length, it lifts & holds the shape my lashes are pushed to, and I think that this mascara gives me the most noticeable volume increase that I've ever had. People have commented on my false lashes when I have worn this mascara, it really is that good. I never really understood why this is labelled as a 'teasing' mascara, until I'd played around with it for a few weeks; it simply refers to how the mascara sets and holds the curl of the lashes all day. Not only does it holds the curl you may give your lashes using a curler, but the formula also holds any lift you add to your lashes by pressing the wand against lashes during mascara application. It is so easy to build up the finished look of your lashes with BLOW OUT, and the formula never cakes or flakes. Plus it holds my curl all day and is easy to remove. The volumizing abilities of this are unbeatable at this price point, plus the increase of length is good too - my lashes end up hitting the tops of my sockets. On an average working day I work at a computer and sometimes wear glasses, meaning that I'm prone to rubbing at my eyes and I have my makeup on for up to 14 hours, so I've really had the opportunity with road-testing how well BLOW OUT holds up against my other mascaras. The first time I used this mascara I was disappointed by the fact that the brush is big, which I'm not fond of as I can end up getting mascara on my eye sockets. However the size of the brush is a plus point with BLOW OUT, as the size and shape of the brush separates, fans and curls lashes, right from the roots to the tips, so my eyes really pop. I apply a first coat to concentrate on the shape by going straight from the base to tip of my lashes, pressing the brush firmly against the lashes, to push them into the shape I want. Then I usually apply a second coat of mascara to add as much volume as possible to my lashes [me and subtlety don't really go together], by using the 'zigzag' method of wiggling the brush whilst coating lashes. BLOW OUT comes in three shades; brown/black and black, which both come in a black tube, and blackest black, which is in a yellow tube. I used to have the regular black and whilst the shade is indeed black, I now have the blackest black, which I prefer as the shade seems to be richer and slightly glossy in colour. I know that the blackest black formula contains argan oil, so I guess that explains the difference. A friend uses the black/brown shade of BLOW OUT, but to be honest I don't think the shading difference is very noticeable from black, so it is a bit of a pointless having separate shades. What else can I say? BLOW OUT is an amazing mascara in the drugstore ranges and the price is really good for a drugstore mascara nowadays. I'll have to try more of Boots 17 [sorry, the brand wants to now be known as Seventeen] mascaras - the couple I've used are both really good. It's weird that the No 7 mascaras have never wowed me, as I assumed that they used the same supplier. - - - - - - £6.29 [17 is a brand exclusive to Boots stores]
I'll start the review by being honest; epilators aren't meant to be pain free. It's basically mechanic tweezers, so you have to expect some discomfort. The first few times of using any epilator will be a bit "ouch", but this is one of those thing where repeated use lessons the feeling, as you quickly become used to it. Now for the good news; Philips SATINPERFECT WET & DRY is less painful then any of the other half dozen epilators I've tried over the years. This is because the epilator has an extra-wide head; this makes it sound like that would mean it'd hurt more, but as the wide head covers a larger area, I don't have to keep running the epilator over and over the same area, which makes it faster then most other epilators to use. However; the main selling point of this particular model is that you can use it in the bath or shower. Being in warm water means that you'll be less tense during use, which equals less discomfort. You'll only feel a slight sensation; it's like pinging an elastic band against your skin. Why is an epilator suitable for bath time use such a recent thing? This also hurts less when used on dry skin. This is because the epilator has massaging rollers that can be attached to the epilating head, to further relax your skin. In fact, it's so much gentler then other epilators that it's also suitable for underarms, the bikini line and the face [although if you're nervous about using it on more sensitive areas, like these, you can remove the epilating head and attach the included shaver head]. Another simple yet effective feature is the built in light near the head of the epilator, that's help you see any hair you've missed. As well as the epilators, caps, and razor head you also get a fantastic pair of tweezers. The tweezers have a light in between the prongs to help you see the finer hairs. You can use the tweezers anywhere and they come in a protective metal tube. Perfect for traveling. *** Some editions of the SATINPERFECT WET & DRY model come with a slimmer epilator. The design of the size and shape of this smaller epilator makes it ideal for using on 'sensitive' areas; face, underarms and bikini area. I find the design of it very handy for the bends of my knees - as the full size epilator has the wide head, it can be difficult to remove the hair from such a awkward to see/reach area. The mini epilator doesn't have different caps, and it is battery powdered [they are included]. *** The hairs begin to grow back after nearly a fortnight with me, but I do have very fast growing hair, so the results can last up to six weeks on other people. They are so fine when they do grow back; if you're in a rush for work etc you could just wear skin tone tights. No-one will be able to tell you're having an `off' day! When the hairs regrow it'll be at different speeds, so it's really just a case of touching up now and then. As its just a few hairs at a time, it doesn't hurt at all. I find epilating a lot preferable to waxing; you don't need to wait a few weeks for the hair to grow long enough for the wax to be able to pick it up and, besides, I think that this hurts less. Plus; You won't cut yourself, like with razors. Isn't that annoying? Having to shave every other day, the nicking your leg so you have to cover up anyway? Also; consider how much you spend on waxing, razors and shaving foam over time - this epilator pays for itself hundreds of times, over the years. Finally; While the SATINPERFECT WET & DRY isn't the cheapest epilator available, the included features are very useful and the gimmicks really do make the hair removal process less painful. This model is quick to charge [about 30 minutes for 40 minutes worth of battery power]. I'd recommend the packs that include the mini-epilator if you can afford the extra price, as I use it as many times as I have used the full sized one. *** Single epilator: £60 - £75 With mini epilator: £80 - £150 I recommend searching Amazon for the SATINPERFECT WET & DRY - that is where I found the lowest priced options.