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I was prompted to order 250 business cards from Easyprint.co.uk as they had a free offer on. Not only were the cards free, but the delivery also. I usually order cards from another online print company but I couldn't turn down the opportunity to try easyprint for free!
The online process of designing the cards was simple and straight forward. I uploaded my own photograph to act as the background for the card and then modified the example text to my own details. There were a comparable amount of variables and customisable options to the print company that I am accustomed to using so I had no problems with this part of the process at all. The background photo uploaded quickly (there was also the option to upload photos from facebook, but sadly, not from Etsy as far as I could tell) and I was able to adjust the size to fit the outline on the card without any issues.
I can't comment to any extent on the payment process as these were free. It would seem that all major cards plus Paypal are accepted by the company however. It's always handy to have Papal as an option I think.
The cards arrived much quicker than I expected. I ordered the cards over the weekend and they were with me by the middle of the week. As I mentioned before, delivery was free too so I hadn't paid for express shipping or anthing. I was very impressed with this!
The packaging was simple but functional. The cards were held together with tape so they didn't slide about inside the box they were packaged in. They arrived in good condition but I was just a little disappointed at the plain-ness of it all. Having said that, the difference in cost compared to my normal printer may well be explained by the other printer's fancy packaging! If you want fancy packaging, easyprint is not the printer for you!
The card used was of reasonable quality. Not thick and luxurious but not too flimsy either. Print quality was good and I was particularly impressed that the edges of my photo appeared to have been faded out somewhat to create a professional finish. I've had cards before now with a very stark, clear cut off line to my photos (when the photograph background hasn't been 100% pure white) and they looked awful so I am genuinely pleased that easyprint managed to avoid this! The finish on the cards was pretty matte, so not very flashy, but this might appeal to some (and indeed costs extra at some places!).
Overall a fantastic freebie! Would I purchase in the future? Quite possibly. Maybe not for business cards to hand out to potential customers but definitely worth the money for cards to pop in with my sold items to remind people where they purchased from. I'd definitely recommend the company to anyone on a budget!
I purchased a Terramundi pot for the first time about 8 years ago now and I've had one 'on the go' ever since!
*What is it?*
A terramundi pot is, basically, a clay pot with a slot allowing you to put coins and folded notes in. There's no opening allowing you to remove the money and the general idea is that you fill the pot to capacity before smashing it to gain access to all the glorious cash you've saved. Genius!
The pot itself is quite heavy and very well made. The basic shape of the pot is always the same but each pot is handpainted, in London I believe, and I must have seen hundreds of colours and designs over the years. My personal favourites include a pink pot painted with purple, green and pink stripes which are allowed to 'run' into one another, creating a lovely pattern of mottled colours.
The terramundi pot tradition is based on feeding the pot with coins (rather than notes!) and the slot on the front of the pot is large enough to easily insert all UK coins. Notes can also be inserted though, simply by folding them up before posting them in. Inserting notes becomes more difficult once the pot is nearly full as the coins get in the way however. The advice slip that comes with the pot informs you that, full with silver, the pot holds around £200. I've saved much more than this through inserting pound coins and the occasional £5 note alongside silver and coppers - £500 one time! The pot comes pre-fed with a coin and you also receive a slip to post into the pot with the first coin on which you can write a wish which is supposed to come true once the full pot is smashed.
*Why do I want one?*
I love the basic idea of this. Ordinary money banks are fine but I always find myself dipping into them when I get a little short of cash. With the terramundi pot there's no chance (well not much) of this happening. I have, on occassion, found myself holding one upside down trying to retrieve a fiver with a pair of tweezers! For those interested I've been successful a few times!!! It's quite exciting when you manage to hook one out! The pots are not only functional though, they're really pretty too and make great ornaments in their own right. Posting a wish in with the first coin is novel and I've often forgotten what I'd written when it comes to smashing time. It's always interesting to find out what it was! I've given these pots as presents in the past and posted notes into the pot beforehand - you can't hear or see the note in there so it's a lovely suprise for someone when they smash the pot and find a note along with all their cash.
*Are there any downsides?*
I think the only downside for me comes in smashing the pot. Not only is it a bit sad to smash the lovely pot you've been looking at for the past 12 months but the process itself poses a few issues. Firstly it's a heavy pot once full so just smashing it on the floor is likely to crack floor tiles and you're also going to end up with shards of clay pot all over your floor. Whilst not overly sharp (nothing like smashed ceramic or glass) I think those with children should take care in clearing up these shards anyway. Smashing the pot in this manner also leaves you with coins everywhere, and you'll be retrieving them from under fridges and kitchen cabinets for months! For me, I've found the best way to smash the pot is to first wrap it in a tea towel before hitting it with a hammer on a non-tiled floor. This way no tiles get cracked and the bits of pot and coins don't fly everywhere. Please note this method offers substantially less stress relief however!
*How much is it?*
At around £15 a pot I initially thought this was a little pricey but having saved so much through the use of them I would now sdvise that it's £15 very well spent! I now tend to use £15 of the saved money from a smashed pot to buy a new one and continue the process. Unfortunately availability seems to be getting more limited where I'm living (Nottingham) where it was once excellent. I sometimes see them for sale in the most bizarre shops though, pounstretcher (still £15 though!) and card shops being some of the places I've stumbled across them. For those living in Nottinghamshire The Token House has a great selection permanently available.
I would not normally buy something like this for myself. Having a scientific background and not having researched the science behind this I'm sceptical, especially when there are so many products on the market making false promises. I recently started sneezing though and was practically pinned down by family members so they could squirt this up my nose. I thought I'd continue their efforts and report my findings!
What is it?
Vicks First Defence is a liquid in a nasal spray dispenser that claims to trap and help remove the cold virus from the nasal cavity before it has a chance to cause a full blown cold. The product should be used when you're at high risk of a cold or alternatively, when you feel the first symptoms of a cold. The First Defence can be used up to 4 times a day and should be continued after symptoms have subsided for a few days. The packaging says 'Drug Free' and Vicks claim the product 'traps' the virus particles (in a micro gel) rather than destroying them, allowing them to be swallowed and digested!
The application process is simple enough. Insert the applicatorup your nose and 'pump' to apply one spray. The packaging advises 2-3 sprays per nostril. I found that one spray was ok, but two sprays caused the product to run out of my nose - I haven't attempted 3 as a result! Using the dispenser is easy but the spray does burn a bit which I didn't like. You're advised not to inhale deeply which I found easy enough, the liquid running out of my nose just made me want to grab a tissue and give it a good old blow! I tried to resist this temptation but beware using the product in a public place - it's not a pretty sight I'm sure! I have issues with the method of application for, ironically, health reasons too. It strikes me as counter-intuitive to try and avoid catching a cold by stuffing something repeatedly up your nose which must become covered in.....cold virus? At £7 a pop it's more than likely that you won't be buying a seperate product for each person in the family. In which case, if two people need it simultaneously, you're also transferring (possibly different) cold viruses from one person to the next. This doesn't make any sense to me. Even if you're cleaning the applicator between uses surely there's still a huge chance there's still tiny virus particles on or around the applicator?
Does it work?
Well I'm not 100% sure. I initially developed sneezing and started using the Vicks. This then progressed onto a slightly sore throat and general feelings of malaise but I never actually developed a full blown cold. I can't really say whether this was the First defense or whether I was just destined to never develop a cold in the first place. I would certainly use it again in an effort to find out whether it does work and lots of other people, my family included, seem to swear by it. I'm not convinced that it's the actual product fending off the cold as opposed to people's own immune systems - coming into contact with a cold, using this product and not developing a cold yourself doesn't mean the product works! There's a large chance that it's your immune system doing all the hard work!
Despite my reservations and patchy experience with this product I'd say it's probably worth trying if you're especially prone to colds and viruses at this time of the year. £7 isn't a major expenditure and if it does help prevent feeling terrible for a few days then it'll be money well spent. I'm keeping mine to hand for future trials!
In a bid to lose some weight and shape up I decided to purchase some gym equipment to use at home. I'm a little short of money to be splashing out on a gym membership when I'm not sure I'll keep it up. Much better to try some bits out at home I thought!
The gym ball came 'flat packed' and I was very suprised at the tiny size of the deflated ball. It folds up easily so would be ideal if you wanted to travel with it. The largest item in the box was the pump to inflate the ball - it also comes with two handles on stretchy cord.
The ball smelt quite strongly of plastic/rubber when I first unpacked it. Personally I love that solvent-y smell but I can imagine that a lot of people don't. The smell did wear off with use and now, several months (and not much use!) down the line, the smell is undetectable. The material that the ball is made from feels suitably thick and I have never had any qualms about it popping or tearing. The pump is easy to use but the ball, being rather large, did take a bit of time to inflate. I keep mine inflated so this was a one-off event, I just top it up occasionally when it appears to have lost some of its air. I wouldn't recommend deflating and reinflating every session as this would take a lot of time and effort. You could make it part of your work-out though! Once inflated the handles on elastic are easily attached to either side of the ball and then you're ready to go.
The ball is a nice size for me to use (I'm 5'8"), not too small. Like most balls I've seen it features ridges around the circumference, presumably to stop you from slipping and sliding all over the place. To date I haven't slipped off so they seem to do the trick! I'm able to use the ball for core work, situps and balancing etc which was the main reason I purchased it. I'm also impressed by the handles which allow you to incorporate a little upper-body workout too. The elastic cord that attaches these handles is short enough that I can do bicep curls whilst sitting on the ball with a good amount of tension.
The only problem I have with this ball is that it requires a good dose of enthusiasm and motivation in order to complete, or even start, a workout on your own. When I first started using it, having never used one before, I felt like a kid at playtime. What's more fun than a huge ball right? Just sitting on it and rolling around onyour tummy is loads of fun. Then you realise that when you lose your balance you inevitably put your foot throught the flatscreen, crack your head open on the hearth or something equally as unappealing. Doing sit-ups on it just isn't that much fun though. Now it sits in the corner making me feel guilty - it's just not exciting enough for me to gather the enthusiasm to actually get it out and use it for a proper, sensible workout. It seems easier to get down on the floor and crack out 100 sit-ups the old fashioned way.
I think some people would find this a genuinely useful product. It's well made and provides a range of work-out opportunities. It's just not for me.
The No7 Radiance Revealed Exfoliator claims to, erm, reveal radiance. I hadn't tried it until recently when I had to spend X pounds on No7 in order to receive their promotional gift. Wanting for nothing else, I thought I'd give this a whirl.
The exfoliator comes in a squeezy tube, much like other exfoliators I've used. The tube is clear allowing you to see the product inside and I was satisfied that there seemed to be a fair number of scrubby-bits visible within the product - very important! The usual No7 logo and standard, black lettering are visible on the front of the product, as well as the blurb on the back informing you how to use the product and what it's supposed to acheive. The squeezy top stands upside down with the dispenser lowermost. I like this as it means that, at the end of the tube, the last dregs of product will usually make their way to the dispenser via gravity. This makes redundant the whole process of rolling the tube up, vigorously shaking it, cutting the tube open etc to gain access to the last handful of scrub. Very handy.
The scrub dispenses easily with a little squeeze of the tube. It is white in colour and contains, perhaps somewhat scarily, blue scrubby-bits. Now I'm always a little wary of blue things, it's not a natural colour is it? Anyhow I wasn't that put off, just a little suprised as it's fashionable for skin products to be somewhat natural these days. In texture the scrub was very creamy, not too thick though and just the right consistency to hold it's shape well in my palm. The sniff-test revealed no scent whatsoever, something I'm not for or against but helpful for those with particularly sensitive skin.
*Application and Use*
I applied the scrub to my skin with some warm water and the almond sized amount I used spread easily to cover my whole face. The creamy texture felt luxurious on my skin and gave me the impression that it may have moisturising effects. As I massaged the product in I could feel the scrubby-bits were of adequate size to feel like they were having an effect. There were, however, not enough for my liking. I particularly like the St Ives apricot scrub which has millions of scrubby-bits - this is no comparison and could definitely be classed as a gentle exfoliator because of this. Again, very well suited to sensitive skin types. The scrubby bits weren't the gentlest I've ever used (which I like) but nor were they scratchy which I find important - I want a good exfoliation session but I don't want to damage my skin.
The scrub washed off easily and left no residue that I could detect. My skin feels lovely immediately after use but 5-10 minutes later I can feel that tell-tale 'tight' sensation and my skin is crying out for a little moisturiser.
Definitely an exfoliator I'd recommend for more sensitive skins. I use this on a daily basis for my blemish-prone skin and it hasn't made my skin break out which I'm impressed with. I do feel the need to use a more intense exfoliator once or twice a week and turn to my trusted St Ives for this purpose. The creamy texture of the No7 product feels luxurious on the skin and is easy to use and wash off. Just remember to moisturise afterwards. The product costs £8 for 75ml (which lasted me around 4 weeks when used daily).
As a child I visited a friend who happened to own Swingball. I'd never seen it before and was completely hooked. For many years I didn't play and nor did I see it available in the shops. In the past ten years however, it seems to have had a relaunch and is now available in many stores, including the major supermarkets, every summer for around the £15-20 mark.
Swingball is a game for two players based on tennis. A tennis ball attached to a length of string is hit back and forth between the players with the aim of getting the ball past your opponent without them hitting it. The string in looped around a spiral section at the top of the pole and the winner is the person who gets the string to the top or bottom of the spiral (depending on which direction you're hitting the ball in). Solid plastic 'bats' are supplied with the game; these are lightweight and easy to hold and use.
Personally I feel whoever invented swingball was a genius! It requires a lot less space than tennis so anyone can play in their back garden. As an adult playing against my adult brothers and sisters, the game holds our attention for just as long as it did when we were children, if not more! Weather permitting we are prone to the odd swingball winner-stays-on tournament which guarentees us hours of fun, laughter and, more often than not, a little pain (someone inevitably stands too close and gets hit in the head by a hard serve!). The game adapts well to our hard-hitting style and this is often the technique we employ to win the game. As children the game was slower and more about developing hand-eye coordination which the game also does excellently.
The one issue I have with swingball is the method by which the pole is held vertical. The game is available in two styles; one comes with a spike (much like a washing line) which sticks into the ground and houses the pole, the other has a hollow base unit which you can fill with sand or water to add weight before inserting the pole. I've purchased both types and neither is perfect. The spike-style can only be used on grass/soil and the constant motion of the ball causes the spike's hole to widen considerably after a short amount of play. You must then relocate the spike and I usually end up with a garden reminiscent of a rabbit-laden field! The type with the hollow base can be used on the patio but I assume the game was designed with children (or less competitive adults) in mind as it doesn't hold enough water or sand to stop it rocking around when we're really going for the win! The spike-style is the type I'd recommend for adults - just beware your precious lawn!
The game is well built and of good quality. I've never broken a bat or had the ball fly off the string despite our viscious game playing style! I do find that the pole can rust somewhat if left in wet ground or out in the rain. This causes the spike & pole to not fit together easily and usually results in me repurchasing (which at £15 for hours and hours of fun is no bother).
Overall I can't recommend this to you highly enough. I can't play normal tennis myself as my weak wrists (lol) give me hassle with the heavy rackets and I just don't really see the attraction of the game. Swingball on the other hand is immense and I'll play summer after summer for a long time to come. Just be careful getting out of bed the next morning - your arms will feel like they belong to someone else. Either that or you'll wish they did!
Nottingham has maintained a reputation for good shopping in recent years. I live just outside of the city centre and have plenty of experience of shopping both in Nottingham and in general!.
The city centre is quite spread out but generally easily navigated. The shopping is centered around two large shopping 'malls' the Victoria Centre on one side of the city centre, and Broadmarsh which is situated on the opposite side. The Victoria centre is then busier of the two, offering both more big-brand stores (Topshop, Tesco, Boots, Faith, Accessorize, multiple mobile phone stores, Dorothy Perkins etc) and more modern surroundings. Broadmarsh is a 5-10 minute walk away and has a bit of a dilapidated feel about it. While offering plenty of shops they are often cheaper, less well known or independant stores. The centre used to offer a large TKMaxx store but this has recently relocated to opposite the Victoria Centre and the huge space that it once occupied now stands empty. The centre houses the city's largest bus station and is 2 minutes walk from the train centre making it the access point to the city. For this reason there are often quite a lot of people here, although not necessarily in the shops themselves. One big plus point at this time of the year is that Broadmarsh offers a free (!) santa's grotto, where little ones can visit santa and receive a gift completely free of charge!
Navigating between the two centres is straight forward and the majority of the city's other shops are located on the route between the two. Bridlesmith Gate leads to the back entrance of Broadmarsh and offers big brand outlets such as Ted Baker, Kurt Geiger, Diesel, Coast, Planet, Whistles etc while taking the route to the front entrance will see you passing through the market square. The market square offers a large Debenhams department store on 4 levels as well as clothing and footwear stores (schuh, dorothy perkins etc) and this is where a lot of the cities restaurants can be found (if not on market square then on the little roads leading from it). The ciy offers a range of restaurants to suit most budgets, ideal for that mid-shopping meal! From Pizza Hut and Subway to Zizzi's, Frankie & Benny's, Ask and many, many more expensive options!
A shopping area which is often bypassed by those that don't know the city is Hockley. A short walk (admittedly up a hill) from the main shopping area, Hockley is a real gem of a find and is home to all the city's independant boutiques as well as little quirky shops and fancy bars. Well worth a look if you're after something individual. I personally love just window shopping in this area!
Nottingham offers a good variety of shops that are all within easy walking distance of one another. With two large shopping centres you are able to continue shopping in comfort even if the weather is awful. Currently, however, the Broadmarsh centre is in definite need of refurbishment. Despite it being a Westfield Centre it is nowhere near the standard I've come to expect from visiting other Westfield Centres - the centre in Derby really does put Broadmarsh to shame! There have been rumours of a complete rebuild for many years now but we have yet to see any of these plans being put into action. The city offers shopping opportunities for everybody, regardless of budget, which I love.
The Dora the Explorer fish tank, I imagine, will appeal to every little girl out there who loves Dora and pink. It's an acrylic tank with a pink plastic lid and comes complete with gravel, filter-pump, plastic plant, Dora ornament and Dora background.
Being acrylic the tank is lightweight and probably a safer choice for kids than a standard glass tank. The lid is easily removed and has an access flap for feeding and holes for the cable to pass through from the filter. The gravel, background, plant and dora ornament are all very exciting for Dora fans but are otherwise no different from those in other tanks. The plant and ornament are helpful in giving the fish some shelter however.
The filter is tiny and contains a small sponge. Whilst being better than no filter at all I find myself cleaning this out constantly due to the large amount of waste produced by goldfish. Without regular cleaning it clogs up and stops working, often within days. The filter is easy to take apart though and simple to clean using old tank water.
The size of the tank is around the 10 litre mark which is sufficient for one 1.5" goldfish but won't suffice once that same fish grows a little (or a lot as they're prone to doing!). The small water volume also means that it's difficult to maintain stable water conditions which is likely to result in the all too often 'floating goldfish' problem.
Overall I'm disappointed that the company responsible for this tank are promoting keeping fish in such a small tank with a really tiny filter. It's possible to keep a fish alive in here should you be vigilent but it would need a new home far too quickly for my liking. Should the manufacturers have provided a larger tank and filter along a similar theme then they could have promoted good fish husbandry, allowing many children to be much more successful at looking after their wet pets. Buy with caution!
As far as aquarium filters go then the external filter is probably the most effective you're likely to encounter without getting into the specialist market. The 305 is one in a range of filters offered by Rolf Hagen; others available in the same range are the 105,205 and 405. The 305 is the most recent '30...' filter available, it's predecessors being the 303 and 304.
The fluval 305 comprises of a filtration unit with a built in motor (or water pump) to feed the filter unit and provide circulation in the aquarium itself. Itis aimed at tanks around the 300 litre mark. The 305 sits external to the tank itself, ideally beneath the level of the water if possible. For the most part I've found it fits well in most aquarium cabinets. The filter contains multiple media types which help to mechanically filter the water as well as provide a home for the beneficial nitrifying bacteria which will biologically filter the water.
The 305 is a solid filter which feels and looks well made. It comes with a range of fixtures and fittings allowing it to be adapted to most tanks. Ribbed anti-kink hosing transfers the water from tank to filter and vica versa. The ribbing allows the pipe to be manipulated easily and the anti-kink feature is a brilliant idea. Kinked hosing means the motor has to work extra hard to pump water past the kinked section, putting strain on it and also putting it at risk of over-heating or burning out. Kinked hosing is an especially disasterous occurence should you be on holiday when it happens, not only may the motor burn out but the fish will be without filtration - anti-kink hosing prevents any of these problems. Hagen provide a reasonable length of hosing which I've had no issues with for tanks up to 4ft. Tanks over 4ft may require you to purchase additional hosing which is widely available.
The filter incorporates a priming system which allows you to prime the unit, ridding it of airlocks etc, before switching it on. External filters are often difficult to start as they rely on being fed water from the tank via gravity before physically pumping the water back up to the tank. Without this initial 'syphoning' of water from the tank the filter will not start. The priming system is simple and requires the used to pump a handle up and down to start the water syphoning. The priming handle doesn't feel as well made or as substantial as it could do. Actually lifting and depressing this handle is easy, requiring little effort, but is often a lengthy process in my experience. I tend to find it requires a fair bit of work before you actually get a syphon going. With the handle feeling a little flimsy and the extended use, I often feel like I'm going to break this part of the filter. Thankfully it hasn't happened yet so perhaps my worry is unfounded! Should it happen to you, you can rest assured that the handle is available as a spare part - often not stocked in shops but easily ordered by your local store from the manufacturer.
The motor (top) section of the filter lifts up after you unlock two large, well-made clips on each side. The clips also function as something to lift this section by which I like as it allows me to carry the unit quickly and easily to the sink. This part of the filter incorporates all the electrics so I find you have to be careful not to dip the plug in the exposed water or the sink! A minor detail but something to be wary of! The impellor is housed in this section and is easy to access and clean. Very important stuff as many aquarists are aware.
The bottom filter section comprises of four large sponges on a special 'lift-out' frame and a stack of small compartments within which is housed loose media such as carbon or bionoodles (ceramic rings). The sponge's frame is an excellent idea and allows the removal of all the sponges for cleaning in one easy action. The sponges are very easy to remove and return into the frame. The small individual compartments are also easy to remove, although sometimes get stuck together if you've not cleaned the unit for a while. Not something that causes any major hassle and a sharp tug sorts everything out! Each compartment holds a fair amount of media and allows you to really customise the filter to you (and your fish's) specific requirements. For example, with discus fish you could fill one compartment with peat in order to lower the pH. This is one of the reasons I really like the fluval external filters, they allow a lot of room for adaptation which is an aspect I find essential in fishkeeping.
The 305 provides a decent amount of water flow and circulation is good throughout a 4ft tank provided the inlet and outlet pipes are postioned one either end. I've had my unit over five years now and have had no complaints at all. I had to replace the impellor a year back but that was purely because I left it on the floor during cleaning and stood on it! The filter requires minimal cleaning and I'm both impressed and ashamed to say that I can go six months without cleaning mine and experience very little drop in water flow. Power consumption is comparatively low for a filter of this size, and with no need to regularly replace any of the filter media (possibly with the exceotion of carbon if you choose to use this) this unit is very economical to run. Initial purchase price can vary by as much as £50 so it is well worth shopping around; the £90 mark seems a common retail price 'on the highstreet.'
Overall an excellent, reliable filter that requires little maintenance and is economical to run. I've given it four stars due to the flimsy priming handle and effort that it occasionally takes to get started. Otherwise I have absolutely no complaints!
I have to admit that I spend a considerable amount of the money I earn in River Island. Needless to say a lot of their clothes seemed to have been designed with me in mind, they match my personality and look effortlessly. Well, for the most part!
The clothes available change each season with the current trends and appear to be aimed at women in their 20's and 30's (I read once that River Island say they cater for women over the age of 26 - quite a random figure!) although my Mum is partial to a little River Island and she's in her 40's. For the most part I'll find at least a wardrobe's worth of items on each visit that I want to put on the credito card. There is the odd occassion though when I walk in and out without a single piece of clothing catching my eye - they seem to have the odd 'chav' week where everything looks like it's been designed for pregnant 15 year olds (excuse the stereotyping if you will). This often happens during the huge sales River Island are partial to.
Even on occasions where the clothes aren't up to par then the bags and shoes nearly always come through for me. The bags have to be seen to be believed (can you imagine I didn't have a bag problem until I found River Island?!) and the shoes are always bang on trend and make my Christmas wish list every year despite them being a little on the dear side.
Quality of clothes, shoes and bags is always good and in all the years I've frequented the store I have only ever had to return one pair of trousers due to quality issues. Pricing varies wildly I've found. I purchased the most detailed top in my wardrobe recently for £17 but a pair of jeans is likely to set you back £50-£55 - extortionate for a high-street brand I feel. Having said that they are ridiculously nice! Sizing of clothes and shoes is generally good and everything feels true to size. Some trousers and jeans are available in short, regular and long lengths but disappointingly the most on-trend jeans only ever seem to be available in reguilar length. This is upsetting as I take a 34" leg and so require their 'long' length.
Stores are, in general, spacious with well thought out displays and clothes mostly suitably grouped. By this I mean the caual gear is together, the work clothes are together etc etc. I find jeans are sometimes grouped together but on other occasions are spread out all over the shop - this is a royal pain when you'te trying to locate a pair you fell in love with on the intenet! Customer assistants are easily located for assistance and there's always someone on changing-room-duty which is refreshing and negates a wait for someone to appear or a trek to find someone. The changing rooms themselves are bright with solid, locking doors and multi-way mirrors (I'm always pleasantly suprised by how nice my legs look in these mirrors - maybe they're magic?!). By far the best changing rooms on the high street.
I can't recommend River Island highly enough. I could easily gush for a few hundred more words about the gorgeous items I've purchased here but I'll let you discover these gems for yourself.
I have ridiculously pale skin, those who've read my reviews will be sick of hearing this, it's true though! I love the idea of a bronzer but in reality I find it very difficult to find a product that doesn't look unnatural on me.
I was sceptical about the 17 bronzing pearls as the packaging is a scary dark brown colour. I imagined that the product inside might leave me this colour after use!! On closer inspection though the bronzing powder(s) have actually been pressed into tiny balls and there are at least three distinctly different coloured 'pearls,' two of which looked refreshingly pale! To use the product you simply swirl a large blusher brush or similar (I find a kabuki brush the best) into the pot, picking up a unique mix of the colours present, and apply to your cheeks, brow bone, nose, decollatage, or wherever else you think the sun might catch you.
The colour looks beautiful on me - result! It's not a dark bronzer by any stretch of the imagination and has a slight irridescence to it which I love. The colour is just right to give me that 'spent the day in the sun but didn't burn' look, sun-kissed but not orange/red/dark brown. The powders used seem to be high quality and blend very easily making the finish very natural. I tend to use this product in the evening and find that once applied it lasts all evening for me which is a big plus point.
The downside is that the little pearls sometimes get stuck in my brush and end up falling out onto the floor when I remove the brush from the pot. Not a major issue, you just pick the ball up and replace/throw away as you see fit. Beware standing on the pretty little balls though - as could be expected they crush very easily and you end up with make-up everywhere if you don't notice. Doh!
This is my holy grail bronzer and I will buy time and time again (on my 3rd pot right now!). As it's so well suited to my pale skin, I'm not convinced it would be that effective on darker skin tones. Obviously I have no experience in this department though! Great buy.
When these little pots of eyeshadow first came out they were a novel product with no real equivalents available. The amount of similar products available today, a few years later, is perhaps testament to the success of this original product.
The packaging is what makes this for me. Little, clear pots, standing perhaps 2-2.5" tall. The top half unscrews to give access to a completely seperate little brush which fits perfectly into a hole in the bottom half. With the brush inserted (and held) the potcan be inverted in order to coat the brush with just the right amount of product. Really original and effective packaging which has now been copied by many of the larger manufacturers.
The eyeshadow is available in a range of irridescent colours so everyone should find at least one to suit their skin tone and eye colour. I have purchased three in the range, a shimmery pink with gold flecks (Regard Rose Or), a gorgeous petrol blue (Regard Bleu Swimming Pool) and a lilac with greeny irridescence (Regard Etincelant). All apply like a dream and the shadow is so well pigmented that only a little is required, as dispensed on one brushful. All are also very shimmery and definitely colours I would reseve for evening use or special occasions. Perhaps a little to sparkly and full-on for the office (for me anyway!). The shadow doesn't crease and stays where you put it for the most part; whilst also being easily removable at the end of the night.
A little on the pricey side considering you only get one colour rather than a palette. Having said that I'll definitely repurchase again and again!
I'm familiar with the concept that green cancels out the red in your complexion but I've never tried this out until recently. I saw the No17 Even Tone Colour Correcting Cream and at £4ish, thought it might be worth experimenting with.
The cream comes in a tube that stands on it's lid. The packaging is plain but to the point, no frills but all the information you're likely to need. Instructions advise that the product corrects unbalanced skin tone and rosy complexion.
On dispensing the product I found it was much more of a liquid than I was expecting. Very runny for something advertised as a cream. It is a pastel green in colour although it's not heavily pigmented. On applying it to my face I found a little cream spread far and so only a little was needed for my whole face to be covered. It was very wet and took a while to sink in. I found myself 'rubbing' it in as I might a body moisturiser. The green colour disappeared upon application and I didn't see any immediate difference tp my skin tone. On applying foundation over this cream I was again disappointed to see no real improvement in my rosy complexion.
On experimenting with this product since I've found that applying multiple layers of the colour correcting cream does build the green pigment and reduces the red colouration in my skin. This takes some time however and is not something I am able to do everyday due to the time involved.
I wasn't overly impressed with this cream and found that it fell below the usually high standards of the No17 range. More of a liquid than a cream, it takes time and patience to acheive the improvement it advertises.
I bought this on promotion in my local Boots, any 3 products from selected lines for £5. I took this as an opportunity to try out a few Natural Collection products; a range I haven't used since my teens.
The packaging is simple with no frills. A white base with clear lid allowing you to see the colour of the product you are purchasing. The Natural Collection logo is printed across the front and only very basic information on the back. I bought a shade called 'Pink Cloud' which appeared in the pan to be a medium pink suitable for lighter skin tones. What information there was on the back claimed that the colour was long-lasting.
The blusher is pressed and on swirling a brush in the pan the colour transferred onto the brush easily. The powder also appeared to be finely milled and even in tone which I was impressed with. It applied easily and smoothly to my skin. I was very disappointed with the pigmentation of the powder once applied however. Despite looking colour-rich in the packaging, once applied the colour was almost translucent and I had to apply two layers to acheive a colour that I was nearly happy with. This caused my skin to look powdery and over-done, despite only a hint of colour. The lack of pigmentation made it easy to blend though! No obvious blusher lines with this product!
The 'long-lasting' claim was true however, the little colour that the blusher provided did last for the most part of the day.
This blusher doesn't compare to other ranges at Boots, such as No17, but the price is substantially lower so this should perhaps be expected. In hindsight, you get what you pay for....not a huge amount of anything. I'd recommend this blusher for young girls who haven't used make-up before.
I have fond memories of sitting with my Mum at the end of the day as she took off her make-up. She always used Anne French and just a little sniff of this cleansing milk takes me back to being six or seven again. As an adult (well my Dad would argue that point) I saw this in Boots, tucked away in a non-descript section, and had to buy some to take home with me!
Anne French Deep Cleansing Milk is a liquid cleanser manufactured by Church & Dwight UK. The blurb on the back says it 'is specially formulated to leave your skin deep down clean by gently lifting away make-up, dirt, excess oil and other impurities.' The idea is to apply the milk to cotton wool pads and gently wipe over the face until a pad comes away clean.
The bottle is novel and distinctive, a roughly tear-drop shape with a blue top. The top snaps off to reveal a dispenser similar to a lot of cleansers, a small hole that releases a small amount of product. Ideal to prevent over-use and spillage if the bottle falls over whilst open. The bottle can be squeezed gently to release product faster.
The cleanser itself is a white liquid, presumably where the 'milk' in the titla came from. It smells quite strongly but it's a pleasant smell. It almost reminds me of Johnson's baby products. The milk sinks into a cotton wool pad easily and certainly seems to remove a great deal of dirt when I wipe the first pad across my face. Make-up also comes off remarkably well. It removes my waterproof eye make-up with no problems whatsoever and possibly better than the specific eye make-up remover I use. The only problem I have is that it stings when you get it in your eyes. This can be avoided by not over-applying the product onto the cotton pad (I tend to give the bottle a good old squeeze when I'm in a rush and use too much). Three cotton pads later and there appears to be no more dirt to remove, my make-up has gone and my skin is left beautifully soft. The bottle states 'non-greasy' and while I wouldn't say that it was greasy, it does leave a very slight oily residue on my skin. To me it feels quite moisturising but it might annoy or irritate some people.
Despite this product working well it causes my skin to break out if I use it continuously which is a shame as otherwise I love it. Inexpensive, not tested on animals and full of childhood memories, I'm disappointed I can't make it one of my daily-use products.