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I have always used MAC's StudioFix Fluid, and would never have even been tempted to use any other foundation - it is the best I have ever found. However on Christmas Eve when I had completely ran out of it, so had the only 2 stockists in my area - House of Fraser and Fenwick.
I was in a total panic as I don't do the bare faced look very well, especially in the main party season, so I asked the assistant if they had anything similar. She recommended the StudioSculpt (which thankfully was in stock), saying it gave exactly the same coverage (described by MAC as medium but I would say more heavy but giving a very un-caked look) but rather than being matt like StudioFix it would have a more shiny satin finish.
It cost £22.50 for a 30ml tube, so it is a bit more expensive than StudioFix. I like the packaging as you can squeeze every last drop out, whereas StudioFix comes in a glass bottle and a bit ALWAYS gets wasted at the bottom. A small amount gives brilliant coverage, and despite my fears it does not make your face look shiny at all, it just gives a hint of a glow which is brilliant.
It comes in a huge range of shades (20) so there will be one to suit every skin tone. It gives fantastic coverage, and even when I have breakouts it makes my skin look creamy and totally smooth. It blends in very well, although it does feel quite thick when you apply it. It stays in place all day as well. I will be buying this in future as opposed to StudioFix as I love the fact it makes my face feel more hydrated and softer.
I never thought I would be writing a review of Quavers, having stopped eating them aged about 5, but ever since my mum gave our son his frist taste, they have been a part of our weekly shop (much to my horror). The taste first - well as most people will know they are cheese flavoured. As someone who absolutely hates cheese and onion flavoured crisps, I wouldn't expect to like them (especially since I also hate cheese), but they are absolutely delicious and ridiculously moreish (I have just devoured 2 packets!!). My son absolutely loves them - they are his absolute favourite treat, above chocolate even!
They are made by Walkers and are sold all over - we buy multipacks from
the supermarket but they also come in individual packs and can often also be found in vending machines. The bright yellow packets are very distinctive.
They are light curly crisps that melt in your mouth rather than the traditional crunchy flat crisps.
A standard pack contains 87 calories, 0.8g sugar, 4.9g fat and 0.4g salt.
They are crisps so they are not (nor do they pretend to be) a healthy or nutritious snack, but they are a delicious and moreish treat to be enjoyed every once in a while.
The only negative thing I can say is that they have a VERY strong cheese flavour - you need to wash your hands after eating them or you transfer the smell to anything you wear or touch, and it is not an attractive fragrance. It is a nightmare if you give them to a child in a buggy as they and their clothes end up stinking of cheese!
I normally have my nails manicured or sculpted with gels, so nail varnish is not something I keep at home. However, when my favourite beauty therapist was off sick and I was facing a night out with plain jane nails, I decided to bite the bullet and paint them myself. It was a few months back, when short black nails were the trend so I popped to Tesco in search of some black polish. I didn't have time to go to Boots so my choice of brands was very limited, plus I figured that since I'd only use it once a cheapy product would do.
The 60 second drying time greatly appealed to me since I was in a big hurry, and the price tag of £3.19 was an added bonus. I didn't expect miracles but I was sure it would do just fine.
How very wrong I was!
Firstly, the polish takes 'matt' to a whole new level. It is the flattest, dullest nail varnish I have ever seen in my life. Seriously, you get better shine from one of the kids' paint pallettes. It actually looked as though I had coloured my nails in with marker pen. This is certainly one to avoid if you want a glamorous look, that's for sure.
Secondly, the 60 second drying time - well yes it was touch dry pretty quickly but I sat for a good 30 minutes between coats to avoid tackiness and smudging and STILL ended up with a few smudges later that afternoon! So this was another bad point about it.
It also went very thick and clumpy very quickly, so it certainly wouldn't last for many uses.
After giving it a couple of chances I binned the bottle and would never ever use this product again!
MAC is (as anyone who reads a few of my reviews will know) my absolute favourite brand of makeup. In fact, it is now the only brand I use apart from for mascara, primer and highlighter. So it was almost inevitable that at some point I would try one of their lipglosses - or lipglasses as they are called. I have to admit, albeit grudgingly given my inherent MAC bias, that it really isn't all that great. I couldn't say anything that is hugely awful about this lipgloss, it is basically a middle-of-the-road makeup product...which is unusual for a company whose products, in my experience, are usually head and shoulders above the other makeup brands.
One of the best things about it is that it is not tacky or sticky when you apply it, and it glides on well for a smooth finish.
One of its worst faults is the fact that it just falls on two close to 'glittery' on the shimmer-ometer. It is a bit too sparkly for my liking, but unfortunately this does not become apparent until you actually apply it - it doesn't look shimmery at all in the tube. It is described by MAC as pigmented and 'very shiny', but I found it to be less glossy and glass-like (the way it claims to be) and actually just too shimmery and glittery. It seemed more suited to a teenage girl in all honesty, rather than giving a chic glossy finish as I would expect from a premium brand lipgloss.
It costs £11.50 for a 4.8g tube, which is not hugely expensive when you consider that brands such as YSL are around the £20 mark. Mine did last a long time as well, as its staying power is pretty decent.
It comes in a massive array of colours, so you are bound to find the shade you are looking for.
It comes with a sponge-tip applicator, which gives easy application, although personally I would have preferred a brush tip. It contains Jojoba Oil to help soften and condition the lips, and I found that it did leave my lips feeling smooth and silky after application, which is a bonus.
MAC bronzer is by far the best bronzer I have EVER used. I think the main reason for this is that it comes in 5 different shades, so you can get one that matches your skin tone. As I have a deep tan, I have found that other bronzers are just not dark enough, yet at the same time I know many of my friends complain that their bronzers are too dark and therefore give them a hideous orange hue. Having a choice of shade in a bronzing powder is pretty rare in my experience and it is the main benefit of the MAC one.
It costs £14.50 (less the VAT reduction) and you can purchase MAC products from House of Fraser and Fenwick as well as the MAC website.
It comes in a powder compact with a mirror on the inside of the lid. It does not come with an applicator, but let's be honest - who would spend £15 on a bronzer then apply it with a cheap thin applicator pad anyway? It is best applied with a fat bronzer or kabuki brush.
It has a slight shimmer to it, but it does appear matt enough for daywear. It gives a lovely glow and never looks streaky. All of the shades are golden rather than orange, and I have found it gives a lovely natural bronzed look.
Mine always lasts for months, and I find it far better than the bronzing balls as it is just easier to apply.
Before I discovered this product I absolutely swore by Estee Lauder Disappear, which was my concealor of choice for many years. I raved about it and recommended it to anyone who would listen. However, I used MAC for every other product and one day was talked into trying the concealor alongside my Studio Fix Fluid Foundation by one of the MAC girls. I have never looked back since. Forget the previous Estee Lauder recommendations, it does not even come in the same league as this stuff. Studio finish is absolutely magic - it covers even the most unsightly blemishes with no effort at all, and still never looks caked on! It covers subtley - it is the only product I have EVER tried which covers huge spots yet still makes you look as though you have no makeup on.
Its description as 'a lightweight, opaque concrealer' is completely perfect in my experience, as it does exactly what it claims to.
It comes in a huge range of shades to match the MAC foundation shades. It can be applied under or over foundation. I tend to use it under my eyes before I put my foundation on, then correct any blemishes with it over the foundation. If my skin is ever suffering from a real breakout though, I apply the concealer first and put the foundation over it, as this gives a thicker coverage. On holiday I use the concealer by itself without foundation.
It is best to apply with a MAC concealer brush as it blends in completely seamlessly. Using your finger is not as effective as it does not blend in as well.
I have never gone out looking as though I have anything but clear skin when I have used this product, and I think that says it all really.
I first tried MAC Pigment when I got married three years ago, and I have never looked back since! It costs just under £15 from MAC counters (in House of Fraser and Fenwick) or on the MAC website. This may sound a lot for a pot of eyeshadow, but my pots have all lasted me a year each (and that is for the base colour I use daily on my socket and brow, the bolder 'going out' colours that I use only every now and again will last for years).
The pots come in a huge range of vibrant colours - in my makeup bag I currently have hot pink, purple and a lovely creamy champagne coloured one (which is the one I use all of the time).
The pigment is designed to stay on for hours, which is why it was recommended for my wedding makeup, and I have found that it really does last well. Other eyeshadows seem to fade quickly but this stuff retains its vibrant colour or subtle shimmer (depending on the shade you choose) all day.
I use my finger or a standard eyeshadow brush to apply this. I use my finger for an all-over base shade or a brush if I am using an accent collour.
The only problem you may find is that it is a loose powder so you do have to take care not to spill it. The easiest way to use it is, rather than dipping into the pot itself, to dab some product off the underside of the lid. This means much less waste or mess.
Another useful tip is be careful not to overload your applicator brush or your finger as bits will end up all over your face if you do, and it sticks so well to foundation that it is really hard to get off with your base makeup intact.
This product is at its boldest and most long-lasting when applied over either a MAC cream eye colour base or a MAC eyeshadow base. Both come in colours to complement the range of pigments. However this is obviously pretty expensive as the other products sell at around £10 each, which does all add up especially if you want a wide range of colours. I use a matching base under the more striking colours such as my purple pigment but I find that the more subtle all-over base shades will last all day without one.
I use MAC cosmetic brushes to apply my Fluidline eyeliner and also my concealor so I decided to also purchase the Brush Cleanser. Lots of people say that good old soap and water is perfectly sufficient, but the brushes are so pricey and the cleanser is relatively so cheap (and you get a huge bottle) that I decided not to risk ruining them and just bit the bullet and bought the cleanser. It cost £7.83 from the MAC counter in Fenwick, and that was for a 233ml bottle which will last ages as you use a tiny amount each time.
You use it by soaking a cotton wool pad with it and wiping the brush bristles, which you should do every couple of days, or soaking in water with a small amount of cleanser in the sink, which you should do once a week. The results are fantastic. I think expecially if you are using MAC products, which have amazing staying power, this is an essential product as the amount of effort it would take to clean the brush with plain soap and water would be obscene - plus it can damage the brush it you have to scrub it clean. Using this is quick and effortless and because it also conditions the brush fibres it will make them last longer. It contains a disinfectant too, which is an added bonus.
Literally a quick wipe and the brush looks as good as new - amazing! This is also necessary because if you don't clean the brush you will get makeup all over wherever you put it down (I know this from experience with the Fluidline!).
I think this product is well worth buying just for speed and ease of use. Totally essential if you use high-quality expensive makeup brushes - totally unnecessary if you use cheap brushes as you may as well use soap and water and replace them when necessary in my opinion. I am sure you can get cheaper brush cleaning fluids but when you have an expensive makeup kit it is worth investing in products to keep it in good condition.
As with all MAC products, this is the absolute market leader as far as I am concerned. I have tried A LOT of blushers, but as soon as I tried this a couple of weeks ago I knew this is the one I will use for a very, very long time. It is quite frankly amazing.
It goes on smoothly, and does not streak. It gives a very clear colour and it lasts all day without even fading. It is absolutely fantastic. I bought this to replace the Benefit Coralista I used for a few days and hated because it faded so quickly, and my goodness the difference is stark. It never needs to be topped up throughout the day, I apply it in the morning and it looks as vibrant in the evening as it did first thing. It is marketed as being highly pigmented and long-lasting and I can certainly vouch for that being the absolute truth.
The only possible criticism I could even remotely think of is that, unlike most power blushers, it does not come with a brush. However I don't think this is a bad thing, as I know nobody who actually uses the thin little blusher brushes that come with most blushers anyway so for me it is completely irrelevant.
It is a matt colour so it has no shimmer at all. If I am going out on a night time I use some Coralista underneath to give a shimmer but if I am honest I only do this to find a use for the product I wasted £22.50 on!
This product comes in a wide range of colours so you are guaranteed to find the shade you're looking for too.
It costs just under £15 and is available online (on the MAC website) and at MAC counters - the one I go to is in Fenwick.
I am a huge Benefit fan, so when I ran out of my usual blusher I decided it was time to convert to Benefit. Coralista was the colour that was recommended for my skin tone, so I purchased it from Fenwick at an eye-watering £22.50. Now I do like my premium cosmetics but for goodness' sake this is even more pricey than MAC - which incidentally I ended up buying to top up the Coralista - more of that later in the review.
Firstly, it comes in a very distinctive, funky square box (as pictured) which instantly appealed to me. It is brightly coloured and vibrant and the packaging is fabulous in my opinion - 10/10 for originality. It comes with a flat brush, again as pictured, although I did not use this as I prefer a big, far kabuki brush as I think they give a far better finish.
It is a quite deep shade of coral pink and when you apply it it is instantly noticeable even on my tanned skin. It has a 'subtle' shimmer but in my opinion it's not subtle at all, it is VERY shimmery. You can't use it with Moonbeam or High Beam (although the sales assistant said you could) as it gives you a 13-year-old-girl-let-loose-with-body-shimmer look. Nevertheless it does brighten skin and make you look nice and radiant as long as you go easy on the application.
So why have I rated it 2* then? That doesn't sound bad at all does it? Well, the main problem - and it's a big one given the cost of this product - is that it goes nowhere near lasting all day or all night. It fades SO quickly - much more so than any blusher I have ever used from cheap to expensive. A couple of my friends have said the exact same thing. I actually had to purchase a MAC blusher to put over the top for a big night out this weekend to avoid having to make regular trips to the loo to top up my blusher.
I was really, really disappointed by this product because it fades so quickly and I would definately not buy it again.
This product is the sister of the celebrity-endorsed High Beam. I use this in spring and summer as I have a dark tan, and this product is meant for darker skin. In winter I use High Beam as my complexion is much paler.
It comes in a bottle that looks like a chunky nail polish bottle, and its applicator is a brush exactly like nail polish. It is quite a thick liquid, probably about the same consistency as nail polish actually. It is a pale gold colour. It says you can use it on lips or eyes for a subtle glow but the only place I use it is on my cheeks as a highlighter.
I use it after bronzer but before blusher, as I found that when you use it after blusher, because you have to blend it in with your fingers it made the blusher all claggy and clown-like. I use it by putting 3 or 4 small dots on my cheekbones and blending it along the contours. It instantly does define my cheekbones as well as making my complexion look more radiant. I can definately tell when I have forgotten to use it, so in this sense it is a good product.
I bought it for £13 from Boots, and of course you can get it from any of the many Benefit counters (in John Lewis, Boots and Debenhams to name but a few).
This also a brilliant product to use on the beach as it gives a subtle, polished look even when you have no other makeup at all on. It is more noticeable the less base makeup you use. It gives a fabulous holiday glow and is one of my staple holiday makeup items.
You use such a tiny amount that a bottle will last for months and I think this product is worth purchasing because it is very good.
This is probably the best known pregnancy test, due to the regular TV advertising the manufacturers have done. However, it is also the most expensive by a very, very long way! A single test costs just under £9, or you can get a double pack for £11.99 from Boots. This is hideously expensive when you consider that for less than £5 you can get 2 Asda tests and they do exactly the same job!
You can buy these tests from loads of places - I have seen them in Boots, Asda, Tesco, Superdrug and Sainsburys to name just a few. The price tends to be similar wherever you look.
They may be a trusted brand, but when you scour the internet it is littered with complaints and reviews of them commenting on the relatively high number of false positive results that women have had from the Clearblue tests. While I have no personal experience of this, I am considerably put off by this plus the extortionate price tag. Having tried almost every pregnancy test on the market (from the £1 shop ones upwards), this was the most expensive and the one I liked the least. I would definately not purchase it again in the future.
It comes in a distinctive blue box with instructions on a leaflet inside and a foil-wrapped text. You remove the cap off the dipstick end and hold it in your urine stream for 10 seconds. After 5 seconds the end turns pink to show it is working, and you are supposed to keep in in the stream for a further 5 seconds then replace the cap and wait for your results. The idea of the end turning pink sounds good, but in reality it is a gimmick. None of the other tests I have used have done this, and it is not something I have found to be a problem. I found the pink colour change odd if anything, and certainly not reassuring. I think it is actually just unncessary.
As for the results windows - one is round (result) and the other is a smaller diamond shape (control line). The test is read by a positive + in the test window or a negative - if you are not pregnant. The control line (to show the test has worked) is a vertical line. The lines are blue, which is unusual as other tests all seem to have purple/pink lines. I found the colour to be less clear than other brands which is another thing I did not like about it.
Also, despite claims to give one minute response I found this to be the slowest test I have ever tried in terms of the length of time before the control line appeared. I am sure it was under the claaimed one minute slot but the other cheaper tests which do not make this claim still give more rapid results.
In short, this test is full of gimmicks, but it actually not that good.
Tumbletots is a national franchise for children from 6 months upwards. I am writing about the classes for babies from 6 months until walking which are called Gymbabes. We started going to these when my son was exactly 6 months old, and I was really excited as the website looks fantastic. They claim to aid crawling and walking.
The cost was £5.50 a class, plus a £20 yearly membership fee which was not optional - to attend the classes you had to join. For joining, you got a t-shirt with gymbabes on (white with green lettering), a drawstring bag and a small inflatable bag. I did not like the fact that you were forced to join because if you did not enjoy the classes (as we did not), you end up paying £5.50 x 8 for the classes, plus the £20 which actually worked out at £8 a class. They invoice 8 weekly, and there is no option to pay as you go. You also cannot be refunded or receive credits against future classes if you miss one due to illness or holiday.
They offer a trial class for £5 but I found that they put huge pressure on you to sign up there and then which I was not comfortable with, although I did sign up.
For a relatively expensive class I was bitterly disappointed. The session starts and ends with 5 minutes of singing sitting on the floor with the babies. The lady who was leading the singing was elderly and did not interact at all with the babies. She was also not lively and did not make the sessions fun. There was no effort made to learn the babies' names, she just referred to each baby as 'Gymbabe'.
The sessions were held in the bar area of a cricket club, which I do not feel is the best environment. The soft play equipment was old and worn and it all had a smell of sweaty feet which really hit you every time you went into the room. There were also no baby changing facilities which I found very odd.
There was ample free parking on the road outside which was great though.
The equipment is set up to apparently aid crawling. There are tunnels, bars to hold onto and cruise, a rocker and some gymballs. There was nothing different to what you'd find in any soft play area to be honest, and it would be far cheaper. There is no structure to the main session - there is a total of 10 minutes (at the most) of songs and the other 30 minutes of the session is just parents taking babies round the soft play. With a baby who is not crawling this is extremely boring and tedious, as they cannot do anything! The sessions are promoted as being for babies before they crawl but they are not aimed at this at all in reality.
For me, the main problems were the lack of interaction from the people running the classes, the old smelly equipment and the unsuitable venue. I suppose that others may have had far more positive experiences as it will depend massively on the personality of the person leading the classes.
I would definately not recommend these classes to anyone. We actually only went to 3 classes as they were so boring I decided I would rather kiss goodbye to the money rather than forcing myself to go every week.
I discovered this foundation about 3 weeks ago on the advice of my Clarins therapist when I said I was looking for something to give me good coverage without looking caked. I have tried them all, from cheap Rimmel to Dior Airflash (at £30 a bottle which lasts 2 weeks!) and had never found a foundation that I would truly say is brilliant - I have had to bolster them all with the magical Estee Lauder Disappear concealor to get anything even approaching a radiant finish.
I bought it from the MAC counter in Fenwick and it cost £19.50, plus an additional £2-something for the pump dispenser which is sold separately. I would say this is definately essential to give effective use. I was advised by the assistant that you should use 2 pumps to give full-face coverage, and I found this to be very accurate, although you could get away with 1 and a bit if you wanted to. My bottle is lasting extremely well despite being used daily, which is fantastic. I consider this product to represent excellent value for money because of the results it gives.
It is available in an unrivalled range of colours and one of the MAC consultants will match it to your skin tone. I was sceptical of this as every time I allow an assistant to find my 'perfect shade' it always seems to give me an orange hue when I attempt to cover my whole face with it at home. This was not the case here though, it was well matched and I am extremely pleased. It does not even need to be blended into my neck, it really is perfectly suited to my skin tone.
The best thing about this is even when I have a breakout of spots I never need to use concealor in addition to it - my skin looks absolutely flawless effortlessly. It is unbelieveable the difference it has made to my appearance - while it gives fabulous coverage it does so without looking thick or caked, it still manages to look like it is a light coverage foundation on clear skin. It truly has given me results I thought no product ever would. I recommended this to my friend who bought it and raves about it as much as I do.
It also lasts all day and even after going swimming I come out with it looking perfect and any spots still completely masked. I could write all day about how good this product it, it is just fantastic! It is also easy to remove though, I just use my Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser and it removes every trace.
It also does not transfer to clothes or rub off and leaves my skin looking matte and fabulous.
I would recommend this product to absolutely anyone. It is the best makeup investment I have ever made.
I generally shop in more expensive stores but I have to say I think Poundland is super - as are all the other £1 shops, they all seem the same to me to be honest.
The reason I go in Poundland is to buy baby toiletries. They sell Johnsons Baby Bath (300ml), Johnsons Baby Shampoo (300ml), Pampers Sensitive Travel Packs (15 wipes per pack, 2 packs for £1), Johnsons Baby Talc and I'm sure they also sell other products I can't remember. Obviously, they do not have the wide range of somewhere like Boots and I never manage to get everything I need there (they never do Johnsons Bath Wash for example) but it is definately worth popping in to see what little gems you can pick up. Sometimes the Johnsons products they sell are in Spanish but as the packaging is identical and it is obvious what you are buying this makes no difference to me whatsoever.
You can also pick up lots of dog and cat toys and treats which is ideal if you're on a budget. Similarly, they sell lots of cheap pens and colouring books for entertaining the kids on a rainy day.
Most of what they sell is cheap and nasty to be honest - such as toys and teddies - but there are a few gems to be found so for me it is definately worth visiting every so often. At Christmas they sell big gift bags really cheaply (around 3 for £1!) and they have a huge range of Halloween decorations which is fantastic if you are having a party.
They also sell DVDs and books but I have never found anything worth buying...I suppose for £1 it is worth having a look at the titles though and seeing if anything appeals to you.
Another thing I think they are great for is weaning pots and baby bowls and spoons. I got a 5 pack of brightly coloured pots with lids which I prefer to my more expensive Tommee Tippee ones.
A word of caution though - their stock changes regularly so you cannot guarantee you will be able to get the same thing the next time you visit. For this reason I always stock up on items that are a real bargain.
The shops always seem to be very crowded on a Saturday and getting round with a pram is normally fun - not - as the aisles are narrow. Similiarly, the queues always seem to be pretty long but in our local shop there are 5 tills so everyone gets served quickly.
They accept cards if you are spending more than £5 which is useful, especially as until recently they did not accept them at all.
Just keep some common sense about you when you go in theshop - everything is NOT a bargain just because it is all £1 (or occasionally 2 for £1). They also sell some toiletries, sweets and food items that do not retail for anywhere near £1 in supermarkets and so these are not a good buy at all. As long as you don't become blinkered and presume everything is great value in Poundland, you can't go far wrong!