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QueenSmythe

QueenSmythe
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Member since: 04.11.2009

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      13.01.2012 21:37
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      A brilliant product, especially for holidays as one tube provides all you need in the morning!

      I bought this for a holiday, as an ideal combination of moisturiser and colour/foundation - something light and natural providing coverage with less effort than the usual daily routine. I wasn't disappointed.

      THE PRODUCT

      This is a really handy product, a moistursing foundation that comes in a 50ml tube with a snap hinged lid. The tube is skin coloured which emphasies the foundation/skin correction element over the mousturiser/cream element and I would agree with that. When it comes to application I use the amount that I would a foundation rather than a moisturiser, as a little goes a long way colour-wise and you still feel moisturised.

      The texture of the cream is light and fresh, and at first I was a bit torn as I couldn't apply as much as I would a moisturiser making me feel like it wouldn't do its job properly, whilst at the same time feeling like it was a little too much on the colour front. However, after only applying a small amount as I would a foundation I find it works very well. The colour matches very well to my skin, but it doesn't mask it - rather it emphasises and brightens your skin without providing dense coverage.

      The BB perplexed me for a while but I understand it stands for Belmish Balm. I'm not sure whether this product would provide enough coverage if you had very bad skin, but as a complexion brightener and leveller it works fantastically. The moisturising side of it is refreshing and does cool any blemishes you may have, but I think it needs to be used in tandem with concealer for any obvious spots. On the prevention side I don't have particularly bad skin to notice any strong effects, but my skin does seem to be a bit better recently since using this product.

      As a day cream combined with colour correction/foundation this is a great product. For dry skin it might not be quite enough hydration, but as a light day cream used in combination with a stronger cream for dry skin at night it's been working very well for me.

      The product also has a really lovely fragrance, it's a natural leafy green scent which makes it a pleasure to apply in the morning. The scent's not mentioned on the tube and I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but it's a nice little perk that's not advertised as part of the package.

      THE PROMISE

      The promise here is a big one! 'Miracle skin perfector' is a lot to live up to. Whilst I think that the phrasing, as it so often is, is certainly exaggerated, the product is a very strong one. The colour of the cream is great and really does seem to match to your skin despite there being no choice of tone. The 'miraclel perfector' certainly comes into it there - unless I've just been lucky it really does match your personal skin tone. It's not obvious that you are wearing make-up as it provides a great natural look.

      When viewed as a lighter combination product that's more about improving and moisturising the skin as well as being make-up I think it works fantastically. It gives you a bright, luminous complexion and part of this must come from it moisturising at the same time. It also dampens down any shinyness which is another step on the path to perfection! If compared with a heavy coverage foundation however I certainly don't think it provides flawless protection in the way of really looking like you have make-up on!

      There is also the mysterious BB promise. As a blemish balm I also think this works. As the claim is balm rather than prevention and it does provide cooling, moisturising properties that help you to feel fresh, it certainly can feel like a balm to the skin. The coverage of blemishes is good but needs assistance from further spot concealer. It does even out skin tone well, neutralising any blemishes in that sense. All in all a great products that rises to the challenge of some big claims!

      THE PRICE
      At £9.99 it's not that cheap for a brand of that level as a foundation or a cream, but as both combined it's a great deal. As usual Superdrug comes in cheaper at £7.49 on their website.

      The miracle skin perfector comes in light and medium and I have the medium. I'm not sure whether the light version would provide quite enough ooomph! A brilliant product.

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      13.01.2012 20:08
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      A deliciously fragranced product that does exactly what you need it to do.

      I've found the Body Shop hemp hand cream really effective in the past so when I had a voucher to spend in there and was going through a dry patch face-wise I plumped for the face protector, and wasn't disappointed!

      THE PRODUCT
      Another offering in the hemp range from the Body Shop, this is a face protector for extremely dry skin. It features the khaki green branding with the 5 pronged leaf of the other products in the range - it's a bit more creative and less clinical looking that a lot of the branding out there. The pot is plastic not glass, with an easy screw top lid (some face cream jars have lids tricky to line up with the groove) and a peelable label on the top of the lid that reveals the ingredients and other info.

      The colour of the cream is a lovely pale green and the scent is realy delicious. It's a very light and natural smell, you can really tell it's a plant-based scent, it's not at all flowery or girly but very fresh and juicy. The consistency of the cream is great - for a face protector you would expect it to be heavy but it's light and after application still feels fresh and light rather than heavy and oily. It's for extremely dry skin and feels very refreshing and cooling on application, so brings a lot of relief. The scent and consistency together make it a really great product.

      I haven't been using this daily, as despite feeling light on application I didn't want my skin to get too oily once it had stopped being dry. I find it really effective as a product to use once or twice a week and give my skin an extra boost rather than a twice daily slathering. This combined with the fact that the strength of the product means that I use slightly less than I would a standard face cream and it's been great in terms of being long lasting too.

      THE PROMISE

      Other than all of the environmental and animal freindly promises that come with all Body Shop products, the only promise here is that the cream provides 'powerful moisturisation, protection and repair' for extremely dry skin. I suffer from dry tight-feeling skin quite frequently and this product is very effective in providing immeidate relief. It feels like it's moisturising deeply but isn't too heavy. It's very refreshing and cooling on dry skin too, leaving it feeling suppler and calmed. At the same time it hasn't gone the other way and made my complexion more oily after having used it for a while. I think it's fair to say that this product lives up to it's promise.

      THE PRICE

      The Body Shop price for this 50ml pot is £8. The majority of face creams from Body Shop follow the same pricing so it's the same as the others there. But against other face creams it seems a little steep, especially as Botanics and brands of that calibre tend to offer face creams for a few £ less. However as this is more of a special face cream to be used less frequently, and only at times when skin is particularly dry, I think it's worth splashing out on and getting protected!

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      13.01.2012 19:23
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      A really visually appealing little set, but not so great when it comes to the product inside

      I received this pack of 3 Cath Kidston hand creams for my Secret Santa and was thrilled. It's a lovely gift, and the 3 fragrances of the creams are some of my favourites.

      The look of the packaging is classic Cath Kidston, with a spotty design on the tubes and a lovely retro design on the piece of card that holds the plastic wrap together. It doesn't come in a box as this sort of gift set often does, but the whole look of the product works. There are 3x 30ml hand creams in the set - Rose, Bluebell and Honeysuckle. The colour of each tube is tied in with the flower - Rose is pink, bluebell a pastel blue and honeysuckle a pale green (it could make more sense as yellow but with a lot of foliage the green for honeysuckle works!). The range of 3 pastel colours really fits in with the rest of the Cath Kidston range and it's an ideal gift for the stocking filler price range. I've been enjoying keeping one in the bottom of my handbag.

      The best bit about this set however really is the look and packaging and gift element. The fragrances are great, and certainly smell like their namesakes. However they are a little too sickly sweeet and heavy. The fragrance is very strong on application, and remains for a long time. The scents are lovely, but just a bit too strong and could really do with being a little more subtle. The rose is particularly sickly, and the honeysuckle the most delicate, with the bluebell somewhere in between. The 3 scents become much more appealing after a while, when they remain but become a little weaker. To reiterate - the smells are a bit too overpowering, but they are lovely scents. I just think at that strength they might work a bit better in something like a candle than a hand cream.

      The other thing that lets this set down is pretty crucial - the cream itself. The product does give relief to dry hands, and I am enjoying using it sporadically but it's a bit too heavy to use continuously as you would a more everyday, delicate hand cream. It is effective but it leaves a lot of residue on your hands, rather than rubbing in properly and then leaving them feeling freshened. Similar to the fact that the scent lingers for a long time.

      This pack of cream is £6, which I find fairly reasonable in the general scheme of Cath Kidston pricing. Condsidering that you're paying for the brand, design and the gift value of this set it's also a good price in comparison to other solely beauty brands. Eg. Johnson's hand cream from Boots is £2.09. Whilst this is 50ml and the Cath Kidston hand creams are only 30ml - it shows that the price isn't that much more than the average for this gift set. In terms of style and the pleasing design this is a great little gift set - it just lets itself down a little on the product itself.

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      • More +
        13.01.2012 18:52
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        A simple, effective wipe - gets the job done every day

        With all of the different make-up removal wipes available, with varying ones on price offers each time you need to stock up again I don't tend to remain loyal to a particular brand. However, I would certainly buy these again.

        THE PRODUCT
        Johnson's wipes come in the usual resealable packs of 25 wipes. The re-sealable function is good - some packaging often stops resealing after the first few times, and these need to be resealed over 20 times so the adhesive needs to be good to prevent them drying out and becoming unusable. Mine lasted to the end of the pack - much better than most which can often fail before halfway!
        The wipes have a great thickness - the pack looks a lot chunkier than the others on the shelf and this is reflected in the fact that the individual wipes have a close weave and feel very strong. The wipes feel very fresh and there is no oilyness or scent. The main function of this product in my daily routine is to remove make-up, rather than simple cleansing, and these certainly do the job there. They don't require much pressure to remove eyeliner and mascara and there is no oily residue left on your face after usage. A great product.

        THE PROMISE
        The 'daily essentials' line on the packaging is certainly accurate, as these are a daily product for me. The blurb on this pack also makes a few other promises...
        100% perfume free - this is very true of these wipes. They feel very natural and clean which is exactly what you want from a product like this.
        The quality guarantee is warranted as, as mentioned above, these wipes have a great thickness and it only takes one to remove a whole face of make-up, without having to resort to trying to find a clean patch on the wipe.
        Finally, the 'removes even waterproof mascara' line - this is another fair claim. I always use waterproof mascara and these wipes did the job well every day. It's not an effort to remove all of your make-up with one of these wipes, even the stubbornest black waterproof mascara - again, doing the job you need it to.

        THE PRICE
        Johnson's wipes are available in several other types (oil balancing, nourishing etc) but I prefer make-up removal products to be as plain and simple as possible so as to feel like they're really working. All of the variations tend to be the same price - around £3.15 in Boots. They're pretty much in the average price range for all brands - only the supermarket own brands tend to give much more competitive prices. However, right now these wipes are £1.51 on the Superdrug website, definitely worth snapping up!

        There are so many different wipes available, but Johnson's certainly hold their own amongst the range - a product that does exactly what you need it to do. I would definitely use these again.

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        18.10.2011 21:32
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        Deliciously scented body scrub, great credentials, but not quite as satisfying as a polish should be

        I received this as a gift back in the summer as part of a Botanics, Kew Garden approved set, as the plant extracts in this body polish and the rest of the gift set components are authenticated by Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. This gives it a nice little point of different, and immediately makes it feel like a lovely natural product!

        PACKAGING / PRODUCT
        The package has the usual, natural colours of the botanics range. The label is green and white, the product a pale minty/pea green. As is most usual with body scrubs/shower and bath products, this comes in a large plastic squeezy tube, wide at the top and narrow at the bottom where the product is dispensed. It's really in keeping with the nature-lover/gardener/Kew Gardens theme which makes it a great gift for those that way inclined too!

        The product is a good consistency, not runny or too thick. The exfoliating grains are quite substantial, rather than the fine beads that you get in some body polishes. The scent is where it really excels - the label lists crushed apricot seeds and Centella as the extracts but the scent to me was more leaves, grass and fresh green things. Absolutely delicious but not too sweet.

        APPLICATION / PRODUCT USE

        The product is applied as usual - for use in the shower or bath in place or alongside a shower gel. Whilst the scent of the scrub is wonderful, the use wasn't quite as satisfying. I realise that body scrubs aren't designed or able to work up a lather like your average shower gel, but this one did feel a bit lacklustre.
        I tended to apply with hands or with shower golves or a sponge, but whenever I used with gloves or a sponge the product tended to get lost - it doesn't work up a later and isn't quite substantial or astringent enough for you to feel the affects without one.


        THE PROMISE VS RESULTS
        Provenance/contents-wise the promise of active plant extracts is vouched for and verified by Kew - a tough one to argue with.

        The label also promises soft and radiant skin. However the product did not feel quite effective enough on application for that to ring true to me. The gritty element of the scrub provided by the apricot seed was not quite harsh enough for me to feel truly exfoliated/polished after use. As a shower gel with added friction I loved it, but it didn't feel quite up to the job as a polish.

        I suppose the main promise is in the name - but I wouldn't go so far as to say the experience is enlivening - though the smell certainly is.


        VALUE
        My body polish came in a 75ml tube as part of a gift set, but this product is available singly, full size. Priced at £3.83 for 200ml on the Boots website this is good value, but perhaps a false economy as I found myself applying quite a large amount on each use to get a satisfying result.

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        13.10.2011 21:23
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        Invigorating, fresh, with a delicious scent that's good enough to eat for breakfast.

        Due to a lack of loyalty to any particular brand or line I tend to purchase a different face wash/ scrub every time my previous one runs out, to try something new. I hadn't seen this one before, and there is still a 'new' flash on the packaging. I certainly wasn't disappointed, and might even re-purchase this one!

        PACKAGING/ PRODUCT
        This face scrub is in the usual, tapered plastic squeezy package with lid/dispenser at the narrow end on the bottom. There's nothing different/ innovative about its mechanics, but there doesn't need to be as this is a format that works. In terms of look I was drawn to the fresh pink of the packaging, and its clean lines. As a morning face scrub you want something that shouts out clean, fresh and tidy and this one really hits the mark. As mentioned, there is also a 'new' flash - though I am not sure how long that stays on for once a product is out. I certainly hadn't seen it before.

        The pink colour on the packaging is replicated by the scrub itself. It's a fresh, pink colour - very much along the lines of its namesake fruit. But where it really gets its name is from the amazing smell. The main reason I plumped for this scrub was to give me a refreshing, invigorating wake-up in the morning and when you open the tube and smell the product you're halfway there already! The grapefruit smell is spot-on, it's delicious (much more so than pink grapefruit itself!) you really could eat it, and it makes me super hungry when using before breakfast.

        APPLICATION/ PRODUCT
        This is a straight-up face scrub, there are no dual face mask features or anything like that, so the consistency is clear and fresh rather than creamy and thick. The product also contains micobeads, giving it a gritty consistency. However the 'scrub' element is not harsh and abrasive, it gives you a feeling of gentle exfoliation.

        Application is straightforward. You only need a pea sized amount as despite its non-creamy consistency the scrub foams up when you lather it onto your face. You can feel the micro beads working on application, and the effect is a feeling if immediate rejuvenation. It's a great morning wake-up.

        The product is not sticky, and doesn't take too much face-splashing to clean from your face. It doesn't leave residue once rinsed, nor does it dry out the skin.

        The directions say that this is a morning and evening scrub. However I don't think that the smell, so associated with morning, works as an evening scrub, so do not use at night.

        THE PROMISE vs RESULTS
        The front of the packaging shouts out "helps eliminate spots and blemishes with a fresh clean feel". I do not suffer from consistently bad skin, but have not had any breakouts since using this product. However, the promise that I bought this product for was the fresh clean feel and it certainly delivers on that front. As I could smell the product before purchasing I half knew this was the case already, but it also proves true to the promise in terms of leaving you fresh and invigorated due to the slight exfoliating properties and the consistency of the product.

        On the back there are various other promises. These include the product not overdrying the skin, which is true from my point of view. It also promises that " a wave of pink grapefruit uplifts the senses with a burst of invigorating freshness" which is also definitely true.

        VALUE
        I paid £4.99 for this product at Boots. This seems slightly higher than average, as a lot of comparable brands have £3.99 offerings. However I was drawn in by the look and scent of the prodcut, and after using I think it was worth that extra £1.

        Also, as an aside for right now, facial skincare is currently on 3 for 2 at Boots - a great time to stock up on products!

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      • notonthehighstreet.com / Online Shop / 23 Readings / 22 Ratings
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        11.05.2011 00:06
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        Great site, full of original, quality items from businesses that care about their customers.

        If you are ever stuck for gifting ideas then I have 5 works for you - Not. On. The. High. Street! I've been using this wonderful website for over a year now and have never been disappointed, it's fast become my first stop for birthdays, Christmas and lovely things for the home.

        I found Not on the High Street when googling products made by another (gorgeous) website - www.buythesea.co.uk - who also sell through NOTHS. I was immediately hooked and have since purchased from this website at least 6 or 7 times.

        THE CONCEPT
        -------------------
        NOTHS has been going since 2006, the concept being that the main site is an umbrella under which lots of other companies sell their products. These products are, for the most part, quite high end and original; essentially, things that cannot be found on the high street!

        All of the companies that sell through the site are independent, small businesses, who bring trade to the site, and then attain a great selling platform that they may otherwise not reach. This means that NOTHS is not run out of an enormous warehouse, it is a hub site for 100s of different companies, who then receive the orders to their own stores/warehouses and subsequently supply the customer. All companies have to apply and be accepted to sell on the site, so you know that everyone has gone through a process to be there, rather than just having joined up without being vetted.


        THE WEBSITE
        ------------------
        The web address for NOTHS is - http://www.notonthehighstreet.com

        Pop this into the address bar of your browser and you will find a lovely, bright user friendly website. With your shopping experience broken down into useful categories, as well as a search bar for specific products/key words.There are 7 tabs across the top of the webpage:

        home & garden/ women/ men/ baby & child/ gifts/ weddings/ the perfect gift guide

        The first 5 offer exactly what you would expect, and the far right tab ('perfect gift guide') offers up all sorts of great gift ideas and tips that bring that special personal touch. Hover your mouse over any of these tabs and you will then be met with further categories, with each main theme broken down into useful sub departments. As well as things such as clothing or jewellery in the subdepartments, each menu contains 3 other categories that come in very handy when browsing:

        1. Highlights - favourites picked by the NOTHS team - many a gift inspiration can be found here!
        2. By Theme - this is rather abstract way to search for products under themes such as 'outdoor ambience' or 'sunny delights' in the garden department, which brings together a range of products like a personal shopper, and makes browsing more fun
        3. On Trend - popular items reflecting current styles and fashions

        By clicking on one product by a certain small business you can also then see their entire range, which is a tool that I find very useful when I see a product I like, but often makes me spend more!

        Overall the website is set out very well for both those who know what sort of thing they are looking for, and those who want to spend some quality browsing time.

        THE PRODUCT RANGE
        ---------------------------
        The tagline on the NOTHSwebsite is 'one basket, hundreds of unique shops', and this is certainly the case here. The range of products and businesses on this site is huge. You can buy anything from babygros to garden furniture and everything in between.

        The other thing I love about this website is all of the personalised products that the various companies have to offer. There are all sorts of chocolate products where you can spell out people's names (which I did for all the family at Christmas with great results) - Choklet is the best company for this, they have beautiful patterened chocolate letters, laid out in boxes to spell names, messages or just initials with lovely decorative bows added to the packaging.
        There are also ideas like putting children's drawings onto brooches, pendants or hessian shopping bags (A M Jewellery / Big Stitch) or framing single or multiple location map in a heart (Bombus). I could go on for hours!

        Everything I have bought from this site so far (robot night light/ chocolate names/ personalised Mother's Day candle/ various personalised and graphic t-shirts) has been good quality product, all fairly expensive but worth the money for such original and lovely gifts - not the same old stuff from the high street!

        THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE & CUSTOMER SERVICE
        -----------------------------------------------------------------

        All of my shopping experiences have met with great customer service. The payment is easy and secure, verified by all of the usual methods. There is a feature where you can contact the sellers about your order, which I have used to very swift response when I ordered a t-shirt fromGillian Kyle (who wouldn't love a website where you can buy a tshirt with a Tunnocks tea-cake on it?!), making the experience feel less impersonal. The range of recommended products that feature on the site is also another great way of seeing that the site knows its customer, and what they want.

        Lots of the companies also offer gift wrapping, or the addition of gift bows, usually at between 50p-a couple of £ with a choice of colour or pattern.

        Once you are on their mailing list, NOTHS also regularly send great catalogues, with an overview of some of their hot products of the moment. There was a special Valentines Day catalogue, and just this week I have received a great catalogue of varied gift ideas, which sent me straight back to the site for my Mum's birthday (and prompted this review!)

        The only very slight downside to the whole shopping experience is price, in 2 ways:

        1. The product on this site is, in general, expensive, but I do feel that the quality of every product I have bought and the ease of putting so many disparate and wonderful things into your basket, that you would not find side by side anywhere else, makes it worth the price.

        2. Shipping - although the site is a one-stop shop, the postage is not a one-charge amount. Each business that you buy from will, understandably, charge you for their postage, although some companies do offer free postage after you spend a certain amount. This can REALLY add up, and you feel it especially strongly because you haven't been shopping at 5 different websites, despite having bought from 5 different companies!

        Overall I cannot recommend this site enough. You will have so much fun browsing all of the original product ideas, and never be stuck for a gift again, whilst prettying up your own home, and possibly making your bank account look a little ugly, in the process!

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      • More +
        05.05.2011 23:48
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        Great value product, does exactly as promised - but I can't give 5 stars because of the smell!

        I normally purchase Simple wipes, but only out of habit so found it very hard to resist the bargain of 70p per pack for these wipes on the Tesco online site (though if you are even more serious about your bargains then the Tesco value versions are 28p!) However the results are as you'd expect from much more expensive products.

        THE PACKAGING/ PRODUCT LOOK
        As with any other facial cleansing/make-up removal wipes pack, this Tesco version comes with a re-sealable label on the top of the pack to retain moisture once the pack is opened. The packaging itself is plain and simple on the whole, with a nice floral border. But as I'm sure nobody buys facial wipes for the look of the packaging, suffice to say that the crucial function performs well - the resealable label does seal in moisture and despite having been originally opened only 23 days ago my wipes have stil retained their moisture.

        The actual product looks like most other wipes - white and rectangular, folded along a crease and doubled over to fit in the packaging.

        APPLICATION/ PRODUCT
        To use, take one wipe and rub your skin in a circular motion paying particular attention to areas where you have applied make-up, until you are satisfied with the results. I use foundation and eyeliner and mascara every day and have never needed to use more than one wipe to remove all make-up.

        I only use cleansing wipes in the evening, as I mainly use them as a make-up removal product rather than a general cleansing product, and also wash my face after using. The application of all wipes is obviously easy, but I particularly like these ones as they are very gentle on the skin, the weave is very soft and not at all abrasive. Eye make-up needs particular attention but once you have pinched and pulled the wipe down your eyelashes, and rubbed well under the lower eyelid then in my experience there has been no make-up left.

        These wipes also do give a good sense that your skin has actually been cleansed, as opposed to their being full of chemicals for make-up removal that end up leaving your skin very greasy and oily after use, as I have often experienced when using other wipes.

        The only complaint I have about these wipes is that after having been open a couple of days the smell of them seemed to change. According to the packaging they are fragrance free but mine smell very strange - it's almost like a dirty cloth smell, very chemical and off-putting. I am really impressed with the overall performance and value of these wipes, but the smell they have now is rather unpleasant.

        THE PROMISE vs RESULTS
        Essentially there are 4 promises on the packaging of this product:

        1.) SENSITIVE - These wipes are very soft on the face, and not at all oily or greasy so are certainly good for sensitive skin. They also feel fresh and gentle and don't leave any sort of stinging feeling after use.

        2.) CLEANSING - The cleansing this product performs is very good. There are no traces of make-up remaining after use, and my skin also feels fresh and unclogged when done - although I do always wash my face after using these wipes

        3.) IMPROVED EYE MAKE-UP REMOVAL - I cannot pass a verdict on whether the eye make-up removal capabilites of these wipes are 'improved' as I haven't used them previously, but I can certainly attest to the fact that they remove eye make up very well. Most of the wipes I have used in the past have left traces of make up - either obviously sraight after use, or the next morning when you thought you had removed all the make-up the night before but then it becomes apparent that you hadn't! All in all these wipes are great at removing make-up.

        4.) FRAGRANCE FREE - Whilst I suppose 'fragrance free' is technically accurate as there is no artifical scent that has been purposely added to these wipes such as cucumber, they really do have an odd smell. So although not perfumed, if you want totally scent/smell free wipes then these may not be the ones for you.

        VALUE
        You cannot fault these wipes on value - 25 wipes currently cost 75p online (although I have heard about them being about 20p at times so keep an eye out for deals!). If you are after a cheap product that does the job better than a lot of more expensive products then I can recommend these wipes (but you may need to hold your nose!)

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        • More +
          01.05.2011 23:51
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          A very pretty soap to look at, but might get you in a lather with its messiness

          This is a metaphor for everything I like and dislike about Lush in one little soap: it's an original product, looks bright and contains lots of lovely things but it's also messy to use and a bit too overpowering.

          PACKAGING/PRODUCT LOOK:
          This orange slice of soap was one of the contents in the Winter Garden Christmas Gift Box and so didn't come with any packaging of its own. If bought it store it's sliced from a huge, solid bar of the product and wrapped. Those huge bars of jewel coloured soaps do look absolutely wonderful is store, and this one looks good enough to eat.

          The colour of the soap really is mandarin, it's a lovely fresh translucent orange with piece of more muted orange amongst the brightness - as if two different types of soap have been welded together. Unfortunately this brightness also extends to the soap dish, which needs cleaning every day due to the orange stains all over it, and the sink. My soap dish also has drainage holes in the bottom, which leads to the water that runs off the soap draining through the holes and down the inside of the sink in an orange trail. This product is not great if your sink is white and you want it to stay that way!

          APPLICATION/PRODUCT:
          I have been using this soap at the bathroom sink for washing my hands and ocassionally my face too. The smell is gorgeous - not so much mandarin as fresh, sweet orange blossom and honey. However it can get a little too heady and overpoweringly sweet as the smell does linger on your skin long after you have used the product, and becomes a little sickly. The colour of the product is bright and fresh but the scent is heady and slightly cloying.This soap does stay true to the product promise of being an orange blossom scented soap to brighten up gloomy mornings, but the smell might be a bit much to use in the shower and therefore have all over you! It's certainly not subtle.

          Turning over the soap in your hands a couple of times whips up a good, rich lather, and it is a good product for quickly washing your hands. However another reason I have not been using this product in the shower as a soap for the whole body (as well as the strong smell and mess) is because it breaks down too easily. As the product is made up of two separate types of soap, the translucent orange and the pearly orange, and therefore not quite as tightly packed together as other soaps, it doesn't stand up to good lathering with a sponge before it falls away in pieces. This leaves bits of soap in the sink and plughole as well as orange stains on the sink and although they are easy to clean off, you don't expect or need that sort of mess with a soap.

          RESULTS:
          The product does leave your skin feeling quite fresh, but not necessarily as moisturised as you would expect from s soap so rich and fruity. As I have been using this as hand soap only I was not expecting outstanding results to be visible, but it does leave your skin feeling very clean. You can certainly tell you have been using a product - it's not shy with leaving its scent behind.

          VALUE: Lush soaps are not amazingly cheap nor outrageously dear, on average they are £3-£4 for 100g. This particular soap doesn't turn up any results on the Lush webpage at present so may be a seasonal product but should be within those guidelines. Even at £3 I think this product may be a little too expensive. The results are not good enough to justify that price, especially with the fast disintegration of the product and the love/hate relationship with the smell! Although lovely and bright, the colour combined with the strong smell do make you think that this is a cheap and cheerful product and should be priced as such.

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          01.05.2011 23:03
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          A great shower gel for every day use. Fresh, effective and reasonably priced

          This little treat came in my Lush Winter Garden Christmas gift box, but it's lovely and fresh and has been just perfect for sunny spring.

          PACKAGE/PRODUCT LOOK:
          As usual with Lush shower gels, this comes in a clear plastic bottle with a black lid and a black label. The promise on the label is that this is " a reassuring shower gel to hold you in its arms and keep you safe" which I thought was a lovely product statement! But in terms of packaging the bottles are always generic and never stand out.

          Extracts are listed as vine leaves, fresh mandarin juice, Sicilian olives and bergamot - sounding like a tasty recipe and certainly making for a natural looking product. When the gel is resting is splits into its 2 compontents, with the oils on the top, translucent and browny-green-ish, and the juices lingering at the bottom more of a yellowy-green. This does make it look slightly less appealing, like a J20 that's been sitting in a bar fridge too long, but once shaken before use all is well and its nice olive-y colour is reinstated.

          PRODUCT/APPLICATION:
          This is definitely a unisex product, in packaging and in smell. It's got a delicious, almost earthy smell, quite masculine in its freshness but suitable for ladies and gentlemen. It's very natural, and very Mediterranean. The promise of reassurance given on the label comes good as this is a strong, comforting smell.

          As advised on the label it's best to shake the bottle before use, so that the oils and juices can mix, as this will achieve the best results, and make the product easier to lather up. I'd recommend squeezing the bottle onto sponge/hand/body buffer gently as the consistency of the product is quite thin and watery and therefore comes out of the bottle swiftly. However this does not mean it's ineffective - a small 50p sized amount can get up a good lather. It's not a thick, foamy lather but is certainly bubbly and fresh. This is a great product for daily use, not too rich or oily, and with a lovely refreshing smell to wake up to.

          RESULTS:
          This is dubbed as a moisturising shower gel and certainly stays true to the promise. I always used this gel on a polishing sponge, and combined with the slight exfoliating properties of the sponge it left a nice sheen on my skin and felt nice and zingy and soft. It moisturises well and doesn't wear off quickly. It's also a great product for helping that early morning shower wake you up, as the lovely smell of nature and the open air is invigorating and refreshing.

          VALUE:
          Olive Branch shower gel comes in 3 sizes with 3 prices:
          £4.10 for 100g / £8.20 for 250g / £14.75 for 500g
          As you can get up a good lather with a reasonably small amount of this shower gel it lasts well. My bottle, as part of a gift set, was only the 100g version, but a 500g bottle would be a good investment, and last a good couple of months.

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          01.05.2011 22:09
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          A great, fresh product that really gives the sense that you are feeding and nourishing your skin.

          I was very sorry to scrape the last of my Body Shop Olive Body Butter from the tub this morning, as I have really enjoyed using this product. As with nearly all Body Shop products that I've come across, this one smells good enough to eat, and delivers too.

          THE PACKAGE/ PRODUCT LOOK:
          As these products nearly always do, this body butter comes in a round plastic tub, with a screw cap. The package is classic Body Shop, with photographic olives on the label on the lid, and the tub of the plastic a lovely olive green. The product inside which is a very light green - all very in keeping with its olive-ness! This is
          a fresh looking product, just want you want for post-shower pampering! The packaging is also recyclable.

          PRODUCT/APPLICATION:
          As you would expect from a body butter, the consistency is thick and not at all liquid or runny. The smell is lovely and fresh, yet also quite floral. I'm not sure that I would immediately associate the scent with olives if I had to identify it blindfolded, there is no sharpness there and it's almost a sweet smell, (nothing like olives from the deli section of the supermarket!) but it really is delicious, and I certainly didn't mind catching a breath of it throughout the day after using.

          The product is very easy to rub in and not at all greasy or heavy as some moisturisers can be. It also doesn't sting at all if applied after shaving. It feels fresh and light when rubbed in, leaving no oily, greasy residue.

          RESULTS:
          I used this product after showering in the mornings, as an all over moisturiser, and it instantly made my skin feel suppler and softer and got rid of any post-shower tightness. I found it effective in getting rid of any dryness post-shaving too. I think you do need to use a good amount of the product to acheive this result but I felt that it really was having a good affect on the softness of my skin. This product really does feel like food for the skin! After exfoliating it felt especially effective on the backs of my arms, helping make the small bumps there feel softer and less raised.

          As I only had a small 50ml tub of this product it's too early to say whether the long-term effects would be even better, but as a post-showe moisture fix I thought that this product was excellent.

          VALUE:
          I received this small, 50ml tub as a gift, but the large 200ml pots that seemed to be stocked as standard in Body Shop stores are £12.50. This is the higher end of high street pricing for this sort of product, with something like Boots' Soap & Glory Righteous Body Butter coming in at £10.21 for 250ml online.

          As body butters are such pampering products I tended to use a good scoop for each arm, leg etc so this product has not lasted me very long. I have the small 50ml version and it only lasted for about 5 applications, so it's possibly not the sort of product that you want to use every day as I have done. One or twice a week would be better for getting your money's worth!

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          20.04.2011 00:13
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          Treat your face to this delicious scrub for a refreshing, scrumptious-smelling start to the day

          I received Benefit's 'HONEY...snap out of it!" exfoliating facial cleanser as a Christmas gift, and having cracked it open a couple of months ago I am very happy with the results. The packaging is classic, lovely, Benefit retro style, and the contents are fairly substantial at 150ml/ 5.0 US fl oz. The top is a twist cap which is convenient as water does not get trapped in it as with a flip cap, dumping cold water on you the next time you flip it open.

          This honey scrub is described on the packaging as an "a.m. cleansing scrub" so I have been using it on mornings only, 2-3 times a week (sometimes more although the packaging instructs 2-3) and it has worked a treat.

          The scrub is thick and not at all watery, and the grains contained in it are plentiful and rough but do not feel abrasive on the skin. Despite not being a foaming scrub you can work up enough of a lather to get good coverage from a £1 coin sized amount. After rinsing (it can take a while to rinse away all of the grains) there is no residue or greasy traces left on the face, just a lovely fresh feeling, and no deep-heat feeling, as found with some strong exfoliating scrubs. I have noticed the improvement from using soft foaming facial cleansers every day, to interspersing them with this scrub every other day. My skin feels more invigorated in the morning, and softer in general after about 9 weeks. My tube is over 2/3 full still too, so it may be pricey at £19.50, but it lasts!

          There are no huge promises made on the packaging, only that the exfoliation is gentle, which is certainly true, and that the scrub is great for all skin types which I have to agree with as my skin could be described as combination but this product has not made it drier or oilier in the respective areas.

          You can also use this scrub as a face mask, by massaging slightly more product that you would use if just washing your face, and then leaving fore 3 minutes before rinsing. This really gives a sense of having given your skin a deep clean, leaving you feeling fresh faced and ready to face the day! It's also nice to feel that there is a dual appeal to this product, as it is not the cheapest facial scrub.

          My favourite thing about this scrub is the honey, almond scent. Honey and almonds are distinguishable in there, but to me it smells of cola cube sweets, making it a lovely wake-up treat!

          Currently this product isn't turning up any search results from the usual Benefit stocking store sites (Boots, House of Fraser etc.) but if you come across this product online, don't snap out of it...snap it up!

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          19.04.2011 00:58
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          Nice package but doesn't deliver on promise of long lasting shine control

          After being a powder minerals convert for a little over a year I made the move back to liquid/cream to give myself a break from cleaning an orange bathroom sink every morning. This is not the best product to pick if you want to be convinced of the superiorty of the liquid/cream foundation.

          There were 2 things that made me pick this product out from a multitude of beige:

          1. Packaging - this product comes in an appealing, natural look package. It comes in a wide, flat squeezt tube which fits nicely into even a compact make-up bag. This makes it much more convenient than many of the bulky pumps that you get today. Squeezy tubes are also preferable to me because you don't have the frustration of being able to see product still in a bottle but not being able to pump it out!

          2. The price - at £5.99 this was multiple pounds cheaper than nearly everything else on the shelves in my local Boots.

          As per the above I was very pleased with this product - until I used it! Stay Matte comes in 5 different shades and I chose soft beige. The colour is a good match, but perhaps too good, as once I have applied and smoothed in a good amount of product it seems as though there is nothing there. The feel of the product going on is good - it's fresh and light, rather than heavy and clogging. It also smells rather nice and fresh. But again this may be a minus in thsi case as it serves to further highlight its ineffectual-ness. The product goes on lightly but doesn't feel insubstantial, it's only once it's been applied that it suddenly seems all to thin. The colour blend is good, and on the areas of my face where I need little coverage it is somewhat effective. However, any areas where I have blemishes or redness still show through. I am having to use concealer nearly everywhere on top of foundation, which I have never had to do with other products.

          Finally, the part of the product description which I have the biggest problem with is in the name - MATTE. Although not heavy or clogging I find this foundation a little greasy if anything. I had hoped for smooth coverage negating all oily patches, but my nose is still shiny!

          I have continued to use this product as combined with lots of concealer it does do a job of sorts, but I will not be repurchasing. Unfortunately one thing that this product does have going for it is longevity - despite using 1 or 2 good pea-sized amounts each morning, and retouches, this is still going strong over a month after I bought it!

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          19.04.2011 00:21
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          This remover does a good job eventually, but takes too much time, and product, to get there.

          And so it came to pass that the M&S nail polish remover was the only bottle left in the cabinet...

          I had been avoiding using this product after using once upon purchasing, as although it is commendably acetone-free this seems to be the required element for removing nail polish effectively. The strong nail polish smell is still there but this is a nail polish remover that lacks good strong effectiveness. With just a gentle squeeze the nozzle releases a good amount of liquid, and yet is has taken me at least one blot per nail - I would view a good remover as needing one blot per 2 or 3 nails. The M&S stuff does do the job eventually but it takes a frustratingly long time to get there.

          One aspect that I would give praise for is the fact that this remover does get rid of all traces of colour left on your nails once the job is done. Some stronger removers don't quite erase the entire tint of the colour despite getting the overall job done faster but the M&S product leaves no faint stains.

          The M&S nail polish remover is very reasonaly priced at £2, but and savings made are quickly decimated by the cost in using so many cotton pads/tissues for complete removal!

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          17.01.2010 15:41
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          If you want sex and scandal, and not a great deal else, then this is a fun, involving read.

          'Wicked Pleasures' is an 804 page romp through Vincenzi land. Teeming with the affluence and decadence that all her novels possess, 'Wicked Pleasures' is exactly that. These novels will never be high brow literary works, they are more along the lines of guilty pleasure. But guilty pleasures are always lots of fun.

          The basic plot is tantalizing: Lady Virginia Caterham has three children, all with different fathers, & none of whom are her husband. As usual with Vincenzi, there is a bit of a spoiler in the prologue, as this premise is revealed. As is the fact that her husband, Alexander, is fully aware that he is not really the father of Charlotte, Georgina, or Max. The book then jumps backwards to before Virginia even met her husband, or indeed the fathers of her children. Back to when she is a teenager living in the shadow of her adored brother, Baby Praeger.

          We see Virginia's life, and the lives of those around her, played out from 1956 onwards. The majority of the plot, however, occurs in the 1980s as the three children discover the true identities of their fathers. Events unfold in both London and New York, as the Praegers are based in New York, but Lord Caterham, Virginia's husband is very much British.

          The other players in this story are not human ones. Regardless of the transAtlantic divide, this novel is set in two very different, but equally splendid worlds. The first being the financial world of Wall Street and the City, in the lead up to the Big Bang of the 1980's. Praegers is a New York bank, and the foundtations of Virginia's ancestry. The bank is a hugely important character in the plot, as the ownership and control of the bank, once hereditary, comes under question.

          The second world is the archaic one of the landed British gentry. Virginia often feels that her husband, Lord Caterham, loves his house and estate, Hartest, much more than he loves her. Her children also love the house, and hope to inherit one day, despite their dubious parentage.

          The book is divided into 67 chapters, each one marked with the year in which it takes place (there is some back and forth through time) and the character on which it largely focuses.

          As well as Virginia and her children there are main characters in the form of Angie, who begins life as Virginia's assistant and comes very far, and also numerous bankers, in London and New York. The characters are interesting, including a lot of, admittedly stereotypical, financial types. We don't really get a great insight into any of them, but really they are just pawns in the game of scandal!

          The book, as will all Penny Vincenzis, is written for the decadence and compelling qualities of the plot, rather than writing style. The way she writes is very sensational, but can be rather repetitive. If Penny Vincenzi wants to make a point she will really hammer it home. For instance, the family Nanny often comes out with strange nonsequiturs, and we are reminded of this nearly every time she is featured. Vincenzi will also often write things like "she would come to regret those words in the next 24 hours" making it too obvious that something is about to happen, and ruining the element of surprise.

          That said, books, or indeed films, of this genre are often predictable but that is half the fun! 'Wicked Pleasures' is a compelling, fun, sensational journey through the lives of one very rich family. The book is indeed a doorstop, but lots happens in it. Vincenzi doesn't just give you one scandal, she gives you scores. I've read quite a few of her books and I think this one probably has the most sex in it too! So If this sounds like your sort of thing you won't be disappointed, and your appetite for the salacious will certainly be satisfied.

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