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~A chunky sponge form the Hlafords car care range~
I have bought and used one of these large sized car care sponges from Halfords and found it to be of a reasonable quality for the price I paid. My sponge came simply packed in clear plastic material enabling me to see the size and shape of the sponge prior to purchase. Once out of the pack this sponge has a chunky feel to it in my opinion. The spongy material is thick enough to give the sponge body enough shape and depth so as to ensure that it is never squeezed flat once it is in use.
The texture of the sponge is light and airy in a way that makes the sponge feel rather light when dry. The size and shape of the sponge can make it a little hard for me to grip onto when using the sponge once wet, which in my experience is a slight downside. The lightness of the material used means that the sponge is not heavy when dry but once wet the weight does increase considerably making the sponge feel heavier in the hand.
In use this sponge can easily be dunked into a bucket of fresh water with some added car shampoo in order to make a nice foamy lather which can be used to wash your car with. I am not a true car sponge fan in many ways as I do worry about these types of sponges picking up grit and dirt from the car body and then transferring it onto another area, which can result in unsightly swirls on metallic or glossy car paint surfaces.
The only way to reduce the chances of this happening is to be extra careful when rinsing the sponge after it has been in contact with the cars painted surfaces each time. I always ensure that I brush across the surfaces of the sponge with my hand after rinsing just to make sure that there aren't any small stones or bits of grit embedded in it. This does take a little more time to do, but it helps to keep my cars paint swirl free, if and when I use the sponge in this way, so I feel it is worth the effort.
I find that the sponge is large enough to cover a wide area at a time with a little elbow grease. I tend to prefer using the sponge on areas of the car such as the bumpers and plastic moldings rather than on the painted surfaces of the car, as I feel that some of the soft style wash mitts you can buy are better on painted surfaces. I am rather fussy about my car care regime though, so I am not going to say that you cannot use this sponge on painted areas, just that I most often prefer to keep such usage to a minimum.
When the sponge is wet it is more flexible and easier to use on curved or shaped surfaces. When dry the sponge feels less flexible. I find that it can take some time for the sponge to dry out after use on cooler days, especially if I have not wrung out as much of the water as I can. I find that ringing out the water won't cause the sponge to dry in an odd shape as long as you place it flat once you have finished getting as much water as possible out of it, so as to allow it to dry more quickly.
~Product rating/ price~
My product rating for this sponge is 3 stars based on my experience of having used it. I feel it does work reasonably well if used with care and attention, but isn't 100% ideal for use on car paintwork as it can leave swirl marks if used over vigorously. The cost of the sponge is very reasonable at just 99p. Halfords generally have a small selection of own brand car care sponges such as this one, so if this isn't suited to your needs there should be something else to choose from for under £1.
~Does Sex in The City really smell as bad as this?~
I bought myself a large sized bottle of one of the Sex in The City Eau de Parfums a short while ago after having seen it on sale in a well known discount store for the princely sum of just £2.99. At the time of purchase I wasn't able to sample the actual fragrance as there wasn't an open sample bottle for me to try out, so I essentially bought the fragrance blind. It is actually fairly rare for me to purchase a fragrance without trying it on my skin first, but in this case I felt that the small outlay of £2.99 seemed worth the risk. Sadly once I opened the fragrance bottle and experienced the scent within I knew that I had wasted my money as this fragrance really wasn't and isn't for me!
~Product presentation/ ease of use~
When I bought my bottle of EDP it was sealed nicely in cellophane and came safely protected in a large sized fragrance box that looked reasonably attractive at first glance. The pink and white theme used for this EDP is very girly and sugary sweet in appearance, although this is not overly in keeping with the city skyline artwork that runs around the fragrance box in my opinion. My 100ml sized fragrance bottle was quite heavy and well proportioned in terms of its shape and size, as it did stand well on a flat surface and wasn't easily knocked over.
The fragrance bottle was easy to handle and had a reasonably decent spray applicator fitted to it that worked to a fair standard, although it didn't deliver a particularly fine mist of fragrance. I would say that over all the fragrance bottle, box and applicator spray did function just about well enough in my opinion, although they weren't anything special in terms of quality or design. The range comes in several fragrance combos although in this case I tried the Sex in The City Love fragrance which came in a pink themed bottle and box.
~My experience of using the fragrance~
Upon sampling the EDP for the first time I recall that the first whiff of Sex in The City was to be honest not really very sexy at all! The first thing to hit my senses was alcohol and lots of it! I felt that the overly strong and over powering alcohol tone imparted, that should have fixed the fragrance to my skin, was really very nose irritatingly nasty for quite some time. The feeling I had was that the alcohol aspect had taken away almost all of the initial opening fragrance notes that ought to have greeted my nostrils when spraying on a little of the fragrance, which was a great shame.
The blurb about the fragrance told me that I ought to have experienced a sensual, summery, floral scent with a wonderful feminine side, yet in reality what I experienced was far removed from that as it was very poorly composed in my opinion. Where were all the lovely florals I was promised? What happened to that care free summer in the city feel I was expecting? Sadly all these aspects were completely absent from the fragrance. In my experience this fragrance smells more like stench in the city than anything else, as it really does smell cheap and badly composed from the very outset. Having way to much alcohol in the first few minutes that seems to drown anything else that arrives afterwards.
I would say that once the over powering alcohol aspect died away what I was left with was a very light and almost barely there lightly floral feeling fragrance with just a light fruity twist to it that in no way felt sensuous or sexy in my opinion. The dry down of this fragrance feels so very light and non-descript that it is barely there on the skin in a matter of 10 minutes after a fresh application of fragrance. It became hard to detect the fragrance with any real strength on my skin after that time. If this scent is a true EDP then I feel it is badly blended and poorly made as it lacks any real style or staying power and cannot fix to the skin for any length of time.
In many ways this lack of staying power isn't a bad thing to be honest, as I didn't find the fragrance appealing or attractive to wear at all when I wore it. I really didn't get along with this fragrance at all and wouldn't want to buy it again even if it was even cheaper than the £2.99 I paid for my bottle of fragrance as there was really nothing about the fragrance that suited me. The florals were weak and lack lustre and there was nothing about the fragrance that stood out as being exceptional for me. I feel that this themed fragrance was merely created in order to jump onto the Sex in The City bandwagon and make a few extra pennies, as it really isn't anything to write home about and is a complete let down in my experience.
~Value for money?~
Even though I didn't spend very much to buy the fragrance I feel that it was a poor buy. Whilst I bought a very generous 100ml sized bottle of fragrance for a super low price, I feel that it was a waste of money as it didn't benefit me in terms of its fragrance and longevity on the skin. The fragrance really didn't suit me at all, therefore I feel that value for money for me personally was rather poor in this instance. You can still buy the fragrance for anything from £5.99 to £2.99 by shopping around, although it isn't something I will be purchasing again in the near future. I wouldn't like to recommend the fragrance as it lacks any real form and has limited staying power once on the skin in my experience.
As I didn't enjoy this fragrance at all I feel I am unable to offer a particularly high rating for it as I feel it has very little going for it from the outset. The opening blast is very unrefined in my opinion and the strength of the fragrance and longevity on the skin is so bad that after no more than 15 minutes I felt I wasn't wearing any perfume at all when I used the EDP. My rating for this fragrance is just 1 star which I feel shows how appallingly bad the EDP performed when I used it.
As someone who has a large fragrance collection that varies in style greatly, I feel that for me to give any fragrance a lowly 1 star product rating means that it really doesn't cut the mustard. There are many body sprays and mists around that smell far nicer than this Sex in The City fragrance does, which also manage to stay on the skin for far longer than this so called EDP ever could. I would opt for those types of cheap as chips fragranced body care products any day over this particular fragrance.
~Want to feel delicious? Or simply Be Delicious?~
DKNY Be Delicious is a fragrance that I have often bought and is one of the fragrances that I currently have in my collection. My Be Delicious fragrance came as part of a nice gift set that included a large sized tube of the co-ordinating Be Delicious body lotion from the same fragrance range. Whilst the body lotion does share some of the traits of the actual fragrance, in my opinion it isn't a precise match in terms of its fragrance. Sometimes this cross matching of a fragrance and body lotion works well together and sometimes it fails miserably in my opinion. Thankfully in this instance the cross matched pairing of the two products works rather well in my opinion as the slightly muskier body lotion helps to enhance the fragrance rather well in my experience, giving a delicious mix of fragrance that works rather well on my skin.
~Why buy this body lotion?~
I bought my Be Delicious body lotion as part of an attractive looking presentation gift pack, that seemed to be almost everywhere a few years ago and once the sales began the price of this set plummeted towards the 50% mark, which is when I snapped up a set or two. I tried a tester spray and a smidgeon of the body lotion when in store and really liked the fresh green scent that came out of the fragrance bottle and body lotion tube. I have not been disappointed with this fragranced body lotion since then as I have found it easy to apply and pleasing to wear, with it having a nice fresh green fragrance that I find appealing.
~Product presentation/ ease of use~
My Be Delicious body lotion came in a tube shaped gift set, complete with sturdy cardboard sides, coated in a vivid green colour with hints of silver here and there, subtle it was not! The top of the large storage tube had a sliver metal lid which was very interesting to look at and easy to open once the seals were broken. The whole thing made a very attractive gift set that I would have happily given as a gift as it looked and felt very substantial. Inside my gift set there was a cardboard frame that safely held the body lotion and a box which contained a full sized Be Delicious EDP.
Once out of the box the simply presented body lotion tube looks rather short and squat in my opinion. Its short stature enables the squeezy tube to stand upside down on its product lid when not in use, with very little fear of it being knocked over. The material used to make up the storage tube is thicker than average, yet is still easy to handle when using the body lotion. I find it easy to lightly squeeze the product tube in order to access the body lotion, although I find that I do need to do so carefully as the body lotion itself is slightly runny and can drip out of the product tube at times.
The product lid is of a flip top design which is easy enough to flip open and closed as and when required, although it does need an extra push in order to click it back down into place at times in my experience. This may be an issue for anyone with mobility problems to their hands and wrists, as I find that you do need to exert a little more pressure to open and close the product lid of this body lotion, compared to other similar products/ product containers that I have used. Once the lid is open I find that care needs to be taken with the body lotion as the texture of it is rather thin and slightly too runny for its own good in my opinion, which is a slight downside to storing this body lotion in my opinion.
~How I wear the body lotion~
In my opinion the simple white product tube and light green flip top lid give a good hint about what will be inside the Be Delicous product container. It promises a juicy fresh and green scented body lotion and I have to say that I feel it does not disappoint in this aspect at all. I have used this body lotion on its own for day wear at times and found that it it gives my skin a nice fresh feeling outdoorsy scent that is just enough to last for a few hours on its own. When I layer the body lotion with the co-ordinating fragrance I find that the scented effect is enhanced as the actual fragrance offers up a slightly sharper version of the Be Delicious scent that is very pleasing to my nose.
For evenings I have often worn this body lotion and the matching fragrance and it has suited my mood equally well, especially on warmer evenings when it offers a fresh feeling boost to the skin that is refreshing and uplifting. I feel this fragranced body lotion exudes a good degree of freshness that has a hint of fresh cut grass, green fields and woody arbours, mixed with a fresh green apple kick that I feel would be very easy for a person of any age to wear and enjoy. There is a slight unisex appeal about this fragranced body lotion to my mind that makes it interesting to wear, as it never feels overly sugared or sweet even though it does have a rose tinted floral basis hidden away in its depths.
~Be coming Delicious~
When I wear this body lotion I find that it has a very light and easy to apply texture which ensures that a little goes a very long way. If I apply a small 10p sized blob (or in this case drip) of body lotion I find that I can easily make that cover a really good area of skin that includes both my arms and neck area. The lotion is rather thin in consistency in my opinion, which means that it lacks that creamy luxury feel that some body lotions have. In this instance I am prepared to slightly over look that aspect, as I feel that the body lotion makes up for its lack of luxury texture due to its skin softening abilities and appealing fragrance.
When I apply the body lotion I find that the fresh green apple based scent it has is attractive and easy to wear. The addition of cucumber and grapefruit in the fragrance blend give off a fresh light summery feel that I find very uplifting. Tuberose and gardenia are also part of the floral mix used in this body lotion and whilst I do detect a hint of rose from time to time I wouldn't say that this body lotion feels overly floral or girly as over time it softens and gives off a rather androgynous green feeling slightly musky and woody scent in my experience.
The body lotion sinks into my skin over the course of a few minutes once I have applied it to my skin and it seems to take a little while longer than other products to completely dry down. I put this down to the fact that it has a runnier texture, (which means that it drips out of the product container) when I apply it to the skin. On the plus side I find that rather than having to rub the product in vigorously, I am able to simply apply it lightly than allow it to sink in once it has fully dried down. The resulting effect is very pleasing as it leaves my skin feeling nice and soft, with no greasy or oily residue at all.
I never find this body lotion heavy or overly oily when I use it, yet I do find my skin feels very soft and nicely hydrated after having applied the body lotion. I haven't had any reactions to the skin when using this body lotion other than when I accidently used it on my facial skin after having exfoliated, which did lead to a slight ouch! moment as the lotion did sting a little which wasn't very nice. Other than that I have found that the body lotion is not irritating to the skin in any way. I also find that I am able to apply the lotion and dress within a few minutes of having done so as there is never any risk that oily residue may end up on clothing as the lotion isn't oily at all.
~Product rating/ price~
I rather like this fragranced body lotion as it leaves my skin soft and nicely scented each time I use it. I feel it has an appealing fragrance blend that works well either on its own or when layered with the Be Delicious fragrance. I received a 100ml sized tube of body lotion in my gift set which has lasted really well, as I only need to use a small amount of the product each time. Prices for a similar 100ml tube can be around £11 to £9 which isn't overly expensive, although I feel best value comes from buying a fragrance gift set that includes the body lotion and a matching fragrance. Value for money is even better when buying during the sales when prices can be cut by as much as 50%. My rating for this body lotion is 4 stars as I feel it has a nice light (if slightly too runny) feel to it, balanced with an appealing fragrance that makes it very easy to wear time after time.
~A lightly scented room spray from Air Wick~
Air Wick Aqua Mist Freesia and Jasmine Spray is a household product that I have bought and used as both an air and fabric freshener. I have bought a number of the fragrance varieties available in this range in the past and found them to be easy to use.
This particular fragrance uses a mix of freesia and jasmine to give a light fresh and green floral fragrance that has a softly scented feel after it settles down. I wouldn't say that the freesia and jasmine combination are my favorite combination of scents, although I do feel they give a pleasant fresh scent to the home when this product is used sparingly.
~My experience of using the product~
In use I have found that the spray applicator that is built in to the product lid is easy to use as you simply press on the handle part of the applicator to release some of the fragranced room spray as and when required. I find that the resulting spray you get from the applicator is not really all that fine, when I compare it to similar aerosol style products from Air Wick that I have bought and used. The fragranced mist does seem to stay on the air for a short while after it has been sprayed before falling slowly in large scented droplets that can be felt on the skin if you accidently walk through an area that has been treated with this product.
The actual fragrance given off by this blend is rather synthetic in its nature but does have a fresh feel to it that offers up plenty of fragrance when newly sprayed into the air. Once the droplets of room spray settle the scent given off is far less detectable in my experience, which is a slight downside in my opinion, as the whole idea of using a product such as this is that it leaves a nice scented effect around the home. I have at times used this product as a fabric refresher spray, but have found that it leaves fabric just a little too damp afterwards which is not really ideal.
Other uses I have found for this product are as something to spray onto hoover bags prior to use as this can leave a soft scented effect that fragrances the home lightly once the bags are in use. This can leave a short lived light and pleasant jasmine and freesia based scent when hoovering. I have also used the spray when mopping laminate and tiled flooring to give a light hint of fragrance which leaves everything smelling clean and refreshed without feeling overly scented. Using the spray in this way diluted with a little extra water leaves no marks or damage to the surface on hard flooring in my experience.
~Product rating/ price~
I would say that a single bottle of this product can last for a number of weeks if used sparingly as you don't need to go wild with it in order to benefit from the fragranced effect. This product has a softer more watery feel to its fragrance that is lighter than the scents given off by aerosol products in my experience, so would suit those who prefer a lighter fragranced effect around the home. Each bottle contains 345mls of room fragrance at a cost of around £3.49 which I feel is an average price for a product such as this. My rating for this Air Wick Aqua Mist fragranced spray is 3 stars.
~An overly sweet smelling body lotion from the 'Darling' range~
Kylie Minogue Sweet Darling body lotion is a product that I have used in the past when I bought a fragrance gift set that contained the fragrance and matching body products. The body lotion is of an even consistency, being neither too thick or too thin to squeeze out of the product tube in my opinion and having a silky/ velvety texture once applied to the skin that dries down quickly after its initial application. The body lotion lasts well in the product container remaining fresh and ready for use for some time after being first used as the simple black plastic product lid provides a good seal in my experience. The product tube is easy to handle and can be stood upside down on the product lid when not in use if wanted.
The body lotion tube that I had in my gift set contained a generous 150mls of body lotion that lasted for longer than the actual fragrance did, as I had to top up the actual fragrance very often due to poor longevity on the skin. The body lotion has a very sweet and rather musky, lightly oriental fragrance to it that matches the fragrance itself quite well in my experience, although I did find it very sweet for my tastes. I have been able to wear the body lotion on its own at times, without the need for the matching fragrance, as the body lotion carries just enough fragrance to lightly perfume the skin for a number of hours after application.
In use the body lotion is easy to apply, although I found that I needed to work a little harder to get a nice even coverage to my skin when using the product, due to its silky texture that seems to cling to the skin rather too well. I feel that this issue is mostly due to the texture of the lotion which does have a velvety and silky feel to it that makes smoothing it over a large area of skin more of a challenge. Once the body lotion has dried down it leaves a sweet and musky scent on the skin that smells feminine and perhaps just a little too sweet for my tastes. I feel that the fragrance the body lotion gives off has a young feel to it that lacks any real finesse, although it isn't unpleasant to wear, it simply feels a little too sugary sweet for me.
Within the body lotion there is a sweet cotton candy scent that blends with vanilla, sandalwood and patchouli to give a sweet musky oriental feel that is lightened by the addition of passion fruit and freesia. In my opinion the fragrance given off by the body lotion does have hints of the original Darling fragrance it is based around, but in an even sweeter and muskier version that I find less appealing than the original body lotion and matching fragrance. When I have used this body lotion I have found that it doesn't leave any oily or greasy residue on the skin, yet also doesn't soften or hydrate the skin very much which is rather a shame.
I bought my tube of body lotion as part of a fragrance gift set that was reduced to £9.99 which I feel was very good value for money, although the body lotion on its own can often be bought for around £6.99. I would recommend buying a fragrance gift set in the sales rather than buying the body lotion on its own, as value for money is far better in that case.
I would say that this is an average body lotion product rather than being anything special, as it doesn't really offer anything exciting in terms of its fragrance and has rather lack lustre moisturising and skin softening abilities in my experience. The body lotion is pleasant to use but wouldn't be something I would go out of my way to buy again as I feel it falls slightly short in terms of its hydrating and moisturising qualities. My product rating for this body lotion is 3 stars as I feel it is of an average quality in terms of its fragrance and performance.
~A stinging shower with Dove Pro-Age!~
Amongst the shower/ bath gels and creams I have used is Dove's Pro-Age Nourishing Body Wash which sadly for me really doesn't suit my skin very much at all. I have bought and used a good number of Dove body care products over the years which have mostly been rather good, however in this case I haven't ever really enjoyed using this particular body wash for a number of reasons. I bought 2 bottles of this body wash when they were reduced to just 99p a bottle and thought that they were more than worth a try at such a low price, as they usually sell for more than this. Unfortunately even at such a low purchase price they didn't prove to be worth the money I spent on them, as I couldn't get along with using the product at all.
As with many of the Dove body wash products that can be bought, the fragrance of this particular one is quite strong, with it having that signature Dove feel to it which is what makes this brand so very popular. I really like the original Dove body wash fragrance, so I was hoping for a nice soapy and fresh feeling fragrance from this Pro-Age Nourishing Body Wash. I must say that I found the fragrance of the Pro-Age wash to be reasonably pleasing to the nose, albeit rather stronger than usual, when compared to other Dove body washes I have bought and used. I would say that the scent given off by this body wash is not too feminine in my experience, which would make the product suitable for use by either a man or a woman.
~Using the product~
In use I found that this body wash was very easy to dispense from the product container, with a light squeeze to the plastic material used to make it. I feel that the product bottle is rather tall and slim and can be easily knocked over in the shower in my experience, which is not ideal. When I used the body wash I found that very little of the actual product was required in order to end up with an array of light and frothy bubbles, if using the body wash along with a body or shower puff. However the fragrance of the body wash, combined with lots of bubbles and the overly strong and awful stinging sensation that I had when using this body wash on my skin, were not very pleasing when combined together to give a very unappealing shower time experience.
I have no idea why this body wash didn't suit my skin, other than to think that the blend of ingredients in it were simply too strong and rich for my skin type. I can honestly say that when I applied this body wash to my skin the stinging sensation I got from it was very uncomfortable indeed and my immediate reaction was to wash it off as swiftly and efficiently as I possibly could. I used the body wash several times and each time my reaction to the product was the same. I found that even when the product had been removed from my skin there was often a slight burning feel to my skin that wasn't very nice at all. I found that just a tiny amount of this rich and thickly textured body wash was more than enough to make my skin react in the same way, which led me to discontinue my usage of it.
~Product rating/ price~
I have never had any other form of reaction to a Dove body wash product prior to having used this Pro-Age body wash, although I do feel that Dove body washes on the whole can be rather rich and strongly scented in many cases. I have however used some of the hair care products from the Pro-Age range and yet again found them to be overly rich and too strong for my liking, with them giving lack lustre results. I don't feel that I am able to recommend this product at all, at any price as it just didn't suit me when I used it. A 250ml bottle of body wash can be bought for around £2.40, although I won't be buying it again in the future. My product rating in this case is just 1 star.
~A Bold washing gel with a pleasing fragrance~
Amongst the laundry care products I have bought and used is this Bold 2 in1 washing gel in the crystal rain & white lily fragrance. This laundry gel is nicely fragranced and works reasonably well when used in a washing machine or when hand washing a good range and type of laundry items in my experience. I have found that a single bottle of the gel can last for a good number of washes if used carefully, however due to the shape and size of the product bottle, I can often find that I have accidently squeezed out a little too much of the gel into the measuring device provided.
I find that the washing gel has a very thick texture to it which means that it clings well to the plastic dosing cup once poured inside. The gel is rather gloopy in texture in my opinion, although in this case the thick and gloopy texture doesn't mean that the gel doesn't pour from the bottle with ease, as I feel that it does pour reasonably well (although the product bottle does impact on the ease of pouring in my opinion). The bright and bold blue coloured washing gel, doesn't stain or permanently mark clothing or laundry items and is easily washed out during a wash cycle.
The fragrance of the gel is pleasing as I feel it has a nice fresh feel that smells appealing in gel form and also when the fragrance is left on freshly washed clothing and laundry. I find that the washing gel leaves laundry items clean and fresh after they have been washed using this product. I like the idea that I don't need to add any further fabric conditioner to a wash load when using this 2 in 1 product, although I must admit that from time to time I do sometimes add a separate conditioner for a little extra boost.
~Product design/ ease of use~
I feel that whilst the actual washing gel works well enough and leaves my laundry clean and nicely fragranced, the size and shape of the product bottle makes it awkward for me to handle it as it is just too short, stumpy and wide in my opinion. I much prefer slightly taller/ slimmer bottles than this one as I find them easier to handle and pour from, so I feel that the short and wide shape of the Bold bottle is a slight downside. The bottle sits on its lid when not in use, which makes a reasonable base in my experience, although I don't really like the idea of having the flip top lid and applicator end at the base of the bottle.
The dosing cup that comes with the washing gel is held in place towards the top of the bottle set towards one corner and again I find that this is rather awkward to handle. I find the dosing cup hard to put back in place on top of the product bottle after use and tend to store it separately. The light plastic dosing cup has slightly sharp edges in my experience and is not something that I would want to put in with a load of delicate washing items as the sharper edges of the dosing cup may cause some damage. I much prefer dosing cups that have slightly thicker top edges to them as I know that they won't catch on clothing and cause issues when the wash load is spinning around in the washing machine at high speed.
~Product rating/ price~
Over all I feel that this laundry gel is well fragranced and cleans to a reasonable standard. The product bottle is a downside for me as I find it awkward to use. The gel bottles come in 2 sizes with the smaller bottles holding 592mls and the larger bottles holding 888mls of gel. I find that the larger bottles do last a long time as they contain plenty of the gel which should be enough for up to 25 washes. Prices can be high when buying these types of laundry gels, although I have paid around £6 for the larger bottle and £4 for the smaller bottle of gel in the past, which I feel is reasonable. My rating for this product based on the performance of the gel and the ease of use of the product, including the poor design of the product bottle is 4 stars.
~Carex helps sanitize my hands~
Carex Original Hand Gel is a product that I have bought a number of times, for use when I have been out and about and haven't always had the space to carry a pack of hand wipes, or had access to clean water to wash my hands with. I would say that Carex Original Hand Gel is a useful standby product to have around for such times as it can help to sanitize the hands and reportedly kills 99.9% of bacteria in just a few seconds, according to the advertising blurb and product information given.
I find that the smaller 50ml sized bottles of Carex Original Hand Gel are most often easily sourced as they sell in most chemists and supermarkets in my experience. I tend to take these smaller bottles of the product out with me in my bag as I find that I never know when I may need to sanitize my hands when away from home. The compact sized clear plastic product bottles that the gel comes in are generally easy to store away ready for use, with them holding just enough of the hand gel to last around 10 to 12 uses if dispensed and used with care.
In use the flip top bottle lids fitted to the hand gel bottles is fairly easy to use in my experience, although over time the lids can sometimes become detached from the neck of the lid, that sits on the product bottle. There isn't really very much that can be done if this happens, although it does mean that the hand gel can no longer be safely stored away in a bag or jacket pocket ready for use, due to potential spills. When I use the hand gel I find that it has a strong alcohol aroma to it that is more intense when the gel is freshly applied to my skin. Over time this scent does fade away until soon enough I am unable to detect it to any real degree.
In my experience the hand gel seems to do what it was made for as I always feel that my hands have been safely sanitized when I use this product. The ethanol in the hand wash does sting the hands a little if they are overly dry or don't agree with these types of hand gels, although in my own case I have had no issues of any note when using this hand gel. I always find the small sized 50ml product bottles are easy to store away after use and are light to carry. I haven't had any reactions to this hand gel when I have used it, however other family members have made comments about the harsh feel of this gel on their hands.
I wouldn't say that these hand gels are as good as fresh water and hand wash are for getting rid of germs or cleaning my hands, however I do feel that they are better than not being able to wash and/ or sanitize my hands when I am away from the home. I would rate these small bottles of hand gel as being very useful for the occasional use and I would recommend this product as it is easy to use and store and inexpensive to buy with a little careful shopping. A single 50ml bottle can cost around £1 on its own, or a little less if there are multi buy offers or deals around. MY rating for these hand gels is 4 stars.
~Fresh feeling shiny hair when using Herbal Essence~
I have bought and used this easy to use conditioner from the Herbal Essence range on many occasions as I find it works rather well on my hair. I like the soft and fresh fruity fragrance that the product has which leaves my hair nicely fragranced after having use the conditioner. The texture of the conditioner is good in my opinion, being neither too thick or thin. In my opinion this conditioner it is just thick enough to be handled without it slipping out of wet hands whilst in the process of washing and conditioning my hair.
I find that I need a 50 pence sized blob of this product in order to to be able to cover all areas of my hair reasonably well. Using more than this is wasteful in my experience as the results I get from the product are perfectly good when using this small amount of product, so I don't need to use more than that. I find that the texture of the conditioner makes it easy for me to massage it into my hair, with it giving a nice light coverage that smoothes and softens as it glides over the hair. The light green coloured conditioner doesn't permanently stain towels or clothing if accidently spilled in my experience and can be easily washed and removed from such items.
I tend to leave the conditioner in for a minute or so for general usage and for deeper conditioning I allow it to sit on my hair for an extra minute or so, which gives a boosted conditioned effect to dry or lack lustre hair in my experience. Once the conditioner has worked its magic I find it quick and easy to rinse away with some fresh clean water, which leaves my wet hair feeling soft and nicely scented. The makers of the conditioner say that the product has a serum infused formulation that is meant to moisturise and soften the hair and in my experience I feel that this combination of ingredients works for me.
As this conditioner is sold as being a Dazzling Shine product I would expect it to provide a certain degree of shine to my hair for it to be worthy of its product name and I am pleased to say that it does seem to leave my hair feeling soft and shiny most if not all the time. The degree of shine achieved when using this conditioner is quite light and subtle in my opinion, although I rather like that as I never feel that my hair is overly oily or has been thickly coated in the product in any way after having used it.
I would say that when my hair has been dried and styled it generally feels smooth and soft with a nice natural looking shine to it that I like. The soft scent that the conditioner has is never too strong or overpowering in my experience as it feels lightly floral and fruity, without being over bearing. Shimmer pearl and rose extract have been added to the product which may account for its nice fragrance and add to the conditioning properties. The product is made for normal hair and I would agree that it suits that hair type well enough.
~Product rating/ price~
I tend to buy the larger 400ml sized bottles of this conditioner as I feel they last well and provide the best value for money. A 400ml bottle of Dazzling Shine conditioner can often be bought for just under £2 when it is reduced to half its usual sales price, which I feel is reasonable for a reliable hair care product such as this one. I find that the results I get from this conditioner are generally very good as my hair feels clean, smooth, fresh and easy to style. The product bottles are a little tall in my opinion and can be easily knocked over when in use, however I have found them to durable. My rating for this conditioner is 4 stars.
~Bathing with FCUK Polished~
FCUK Polished bath syrup is a product that I have bought and used and found to be rather nice, as it is easy to use and leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean. I like using this bath syrup as it makes a nice amount of frothy bubbles when added to a bath under running taps. It can also be used as a body wash if wanted in my experience, as it is gentle enough on my skin when I use it that way. In my experience the bath syrup has a nice fragrance that smells lovely when using the it in a relaxing bath. I find that the fragrance is appealing, with it also adding the same appealing scent to the bath room or shower room when I use it.
The texture of the bath syrup is about right in my opinion as it is not too gloopy and thick, nor is it too runny and thin. I find it easy to pour out as much or as little of the bath syrup into my bath water when I use it, without wasting any of the product. The more bath syrup I add to the bath water (when the taps are running) the more frothy bubbles I am able to have laying invitingly on top of my bath water in my experience. Sometimes I prefer a few less bubbles and in that case I simply add the product after I have filled the bath with water or add a little less of the syrup which also minimizes bubbles.
The polished range all have nice scents to them in my opinion and this product is no exception as far as I am concerned as it does have a pleasing fragrance to it. There are extracts of soothing aloe vera, grape seed oil and vitamin E in the bath syrup which are all there to sooth the skin and help with adding moisture at the same time. I find that after I have use the product my skin feels nice and clean, being softly scented, with no irritation what so ever. The product bottle is sturdy, well shaped and easy to handle in my opinion, with it having a simple plastic lid that opens and closes with ease to keep the product fresh and ready for its next use.
~Product rating and price~
A bottle of FCUK Polished bath syrup lasts quite well in my experience. I received my last bottle of this bath product as a gift, which came with other products from same the range, allowing me to fully experience the lovely fragrance. I would recommend this product as it has a nice light scent and leaves my skin feeling clean and refreshed. A large 500ml bottle of this used to cost around £5 to buy when I last bought some, which I feel offers fair value as a single bottle of this bath syrup does last a good length of time. My rating for this product is 4 stars as I feel it is a nice bath product that I have enjoyed using.
~Sparkly nails in a flash, with this Barry M nail polish~
I have bought a good number of these glitter nail polish colours from Barry M over the last few months as I have found them to offer good value for money when I compare them to other similar products I have used on my nails. Barry M have always offered a nice range of nail polish colours at reasonable prices in my opinion, as there is always something for every mood within their range including these super retro disco glitterball style colours. I have been through a serious phase of buying glitter nail polishes recently and would say that this brand and type compares rather well with many of the other brands, colours and types that I have in my collection. There are a few downsides to these nail polish colours, although I feel that they are pretty much in line with other similar budget priced nail polish products I have experience of using.
When I first bought a bottle of this nail polish I opted for a silver glitter mix that had lots of lovely glitter particles suspended within a nice clear coloured nail polish. I had been looking at buying a No7 nail polish that had larger glitter particles in it, but opted for this nail polish instead when I was unable to find the other product. I would say that the Barry M nail polish looked to be very similar to the one I wanted, as although it didn't have the slightly larger glittery pieces within it, it did have a nice mix of well sized glittery particles inside the bottle I picked. Feeling happy enough with my purchase, I paid my £2.99 and went home to try the product out on my nails. I am pleased to say that after using this nail polish the very first time I was happy with the results and already thinking about buying a few more colours to add to my collection, as this Barry M nail polish gave me lovely glittery looking nails in a flash.
~Using the product~
I make sure to shake the glass product bottle before using the polish so as to distribute the glitter within the polish as evenly as I am able to. I now do this every time I apply one of these glitter nail polish colours, as I find that if I don't do this prior to applying the polish that the amount of glitter particles per loaded brush is greatly reduced and gives an uneven looking result once on the nails. I find that when I paint the polish onto my nails it generally has plenty of glitter pieces within each brush stroke that coats my nails lightly with an array of pretty silver glitter pieces. I do find that I need to apply the polish and direct it with more care than I might if using a one colour polish, or a polish without the glitter pieces in. This is due to the fact that sometimes depending on exactly which colour mix I am using, there are larger or differently shaped glitter pieces in the polish that like to cling together too much.
When applying the polish to my nails I find that when a bottle of the polish has been newly bought and hasn't been used all that much the texture of the clear nail polish is very light and workable, with it gliding onto my nails very easily. At these times the clear polish feels quite thin, but not overly so and whilst it does hold a good number of glitter pieces it doesn't seem to pick up as many as it does later on when the texture of the nail polish has thickened slightly. Even so I find that the clear polish is quick and easy to paint onto my nails, with it drying down to an almost matt finish once fully set. The drying time of the nail polish when it is newly opened is fairly quick in my experience, as by the time I have painted each of my nails the first one tends to be dry to the touch.
I find that it takes more than one layer of this nail polish to get the best results no matter whether the polish is newly bought with thinner textured nail polish or once it has thickened up over time. I would say that there are a number of reasons that more than one coat of polish is required, with the main one being the thin matt finish of the polish if just one layer of glitter polish has been painted onto my nails. The first coat of this polish is always only very slightly glossy and looks mostly matt, however once a second coat has been painted on I find that a nice soft glossy effect begins to build up on my nails. I feel that the clear gloss effect looks much nicer and gives a thicker, more durable and even coating of clear varnish to my nails after 2 to 3 coats of this nail polish.
Another reason for applying more than one coat of nail polish is that the glitter pieces in the polish are very badly behaved at times and just don't want to sit evenly around the nail surface. I find that depending on the size and shape of the glitter within the colour mix, I do need to persuade the glittery bits to move towards areas of my nails that need a little more sparkle. Directing the nail polish in this way does give the best results in my experience as I am able to get much better coverage of both clear polish and glitter particles this way. Some of the nail polish colour mixes within this range have longer shaped glitter pieces that tend to stick together more and I find it takes a little while longer to position these on the nails in a way that looks even. I find that the more circular glittery particles of various sizes, tend to be easier to move around on the nails when the nail polish is still wet.
~My Barry M nail polish test results~
For the purposes of this review I painted a single coat of polish onto my nails and so far I feel that my comments here about having to apply more than one coat of nail polish are fully justified. The coverage is somewhat uneven, having poorly spaced glitter pieces, with the clear polish looking rather dull and not at all glossy at the moment. The polish I am using has a slightly more gloopy texture to it than it did when the bottle was newly opened, although I haven't used all that much nail polish, as the bottle is still more than 3/4 full. To me this is a slight downside as I would have expected this amount of nail polish to have a more workable texture for longer than it actually has.
For the second coat of polish I have had to wait longer for the polish to dry fully, although I am still able to type this review at the same time, so there is no dripping or transference of the polish at all which is pleasing to see. My second coat of nail polish has taken a while to harden up completely, so I have had to be careful not to knock my nails and ruin the results. Now that the second coat of clear polish is in place it appears more glossy with a light shine and it covers the glitter pieces far better, although there is still some roughness to the finish that is caused by glitter pieces sticking out above the clear polish slightly.
I must say that in this instance the results I have had so far have not been as good as when using some of the other glitter nail polish colour mixes that Barry M produce, which I feel is down to the particular nail polish I am using here. The polish I have used is my least favorite so far in terms of how it looks on the nails, as it contains longer thinner glitter pieces as well as smaller circular glitter in its mix ( shade 352 Pink Sapphire Glitter). I find that these longer glitter pieces tend to stick up all over the place and cling together too much giving a much messier finish once on the nails than any of the other colour mixes I have tried, which is a shame. In fairness to this particular polish I would say that the colour mix looks nice in the product bottle with it having a mix of bold pink and silver glitter suspended within a clear varnish. The trouble with this one is that it looks much nicer in the bottle than on my nails.
The other glitter colours I have bought and used do look much better once on my nails and give a neater looking finish to them in my opinion. I can recommend the gold glitter mix/ shade 352 Yellow Topaz Gold, as it contains lots of circular glitter particles of various sizes, which glisten and glow once on the nails to really good effect. The gold tone is rather bold and brash and could have been a little paler for day wear, however for evening wear I feel the colour is attractive and appealing. A good alternative for day wear is shade 349/ Rose Quartz Glitter, which I find has a lovely salmon pink metallic glitter effect that looks nice for day wear, especially if you have a light tan to your skin, as the colour of the glitter looks very flattering in that case. As mentioned the silver glitter mix is also very nice once applied to the nails as it has a nice light sliver metallic tone. I feel that his one works well for either day or evening wear as it gives my nails a lovely light silvery shimmer that looks attractive.
~Product presentation and ease of use~
In use I find that the applicator brush that has been built into the black plastic bottle lid works well in most cases. The brush length is generous with it having a thicker than average clump of bristles that hold plenty of polish. The applicator arm is around 2/3 the length of the brush which makes for a good ratio in my opinion, as I find this brush easy to work with when applying the nail polish. The bottle lid has a smooth texture that makes it easy to handle when I apply some of the polish to my nails. I find that is is quick and easy to open and close the product bottle by simply twisting off the lid, although I do tend to have to wipe around the top of the glass bottle so as to ensure it is nail polish free and makes a good seal each time I close the lid after use. The glass nail polish bottle is chunky and rectangular in shape with it feeling heavier than some similarly sized nail polish bottles I have experience of. This chunky and more weighty feel ensures that the bottle sits well on a flat surface and won't break or smash even when accidently dropped. I have often dropped these bottles and found that they tend to survive well in such situations.
I have had mixed results with these polish colours in terms of staying power once on the nails and have found that there is a fine balance between applying too much and too little polish. I find that I need to apply more than one coat of polish to get a glossy even looking result but need to use care in building up the layers of polish on my nails. A single coat of this polish looks uneven and chips easily in my experience. An extra coat of polish will extend wear time and as long as the second coat is not overly thick and gloopy a third coat can be applied for extra measure in my experience. Three very thin layers of polish give the best results in terms of wear time with most of these nail polish colour mixes and offers the best chip resistance in my experience. This means that the polish can last for a good number of days once on the nails, before it needs re application. The older and more gloopy in the bottle the nail polish becomes, the less it performs well once on the nails in my experience.
~Summary, cost and product rating~
Taking everything into account I would like to give this nail polish range a 4 star product rating as I feel it offers good value for money. The small range of glitter colours you can buy is quite good in my opinion. The colour range does change a little over time and I have spotted a really nice black and red mix that I am hoping to try within the most recent offerings. This nail polish looks attractive and effective when on the nails and is easy to wear with a variety of outfits and looks. I find that the polish generally wears well if applied with care and attention, with chips and knocks to the polish being kept to a minimum for the first few days of wear.
The strong scent of the nail polish reminds me of pear drops sweets and is similar to that of most other nail polish products I have bought and used. This scent does dry down and fade once the polish has set well on the nails in my experience. The small cost per bottle (£2.99) is reasonable in my opinion, as you get 10mls of nail polish in each bottle, which generally lasts for a good amount of uses. I would recommend this range of nail colours, with the exception of those colour mixes which contain longer shaped glitter pieces as I find the results given look less attractive to the eye. The polish is easy to remove in my experience and doesn't stain the nails at all which I am pleased about.
~Freeze time with Ice Crystals~
I have been trying out a number of products from the Freeze 24/7 skin care range recently including their Ice Crystals Anti Aging Prep & Polish Exfoliant. I was unfamiliar with the Freeze 24/7 range until I was introduced to it by an in store skin care consultant, who gave me a generous supply of products to try out. I have used Ice Crystals a good number of times since having been given a 2 week supply of it and have been impressed with how little of the product is required in order to achieve pleasing results. I have found that I only need a very small amount of this skin care product each time I use it, which means that I still have enough Ice Crystals exfoliant face wash left to last me for another 5 to 6 uses.
The idea of this exfoliating face wash is that it will help with the texture and tone of the skin in a number of ways that will all eventually ensure a smoother, more youthful and even looking complexion. The product is promoted as being able to 're-texture, illuminate and rejuvenate' the skin from the very first time that you use the product. The makers of the product say that Ice Crystals can help to 'restore a healthy glow' to the skin by' improving circulation and the production of elastin and collagen'. I must admit that I was intrigued by these statements and eager to try out Ice Crystals, as I am a regular user of exfoliating face wash products and have found there to be some benefits to my skin when using these types of facial washes.
~How to use the product~
I received my supply of Ice Crystals as well as a 'how to use' leaflet which gave very basic instructions for application. The instructions were to apply the product to warm damp skin, massage gently and then rinse well. These very concise instructions did nothing to prepare me for the sensation of having the Ice Crystals wash on my skin and I feel that I would have liked to have had an idea about how the product would make my skin feel prior to having used it. I often use self heating exfoliating face washes and have always found that there are indications given on product boxes and containers as to what the face wash will do once on the skin (IE: to heat the skin gently), however in this case I was not told that Ice Crystals would have a freezing and cooling effect when in use (although of course there is a hint of this in the product name to some extent it wasn't made 100% clear in the instructions).
~My experience of using Ice Crystals~
The first time I used Ice Crystals I was totally unprepared for the effect it had once on my skin, as I had no idea that it would be so very cooling, with a strong tingling sensation left on my skin that continued for some time after I had washed the product away. Whilst this tingly and cooling sensation wasn't overly unpleasant it was rather a surprise and as I had applied some of the exfoliating wash to my skin when in the shower, it ended up in my eyes to a certain extent which caused them to sting a little. The stinging feeling didn't go away until I had washed any trace of Ice Crystals away from the effected areas around my eyes. When I next used Ice Crystals I made sure to take more care when applying the product to my facial skin, taking extra care around my eyes, so as to avoid the chance of the same thing happening. I am pleased to say that even though I once again used Ice Crystals when in the shower I didn't end up with anything in my eyes.
Each time I have used the wash since then I have taken a little extra care when massaging the product around the eye area and have had no further issues. I have found that I only need a very small amount of this exfoliating face wash each time in I use it order to get good results from it, which means that even though the product is expensive to buy it should last well and won't need to be repurchased all that often. I was given a 2 week supply of Ice Crystals, however I have only used half the amount I was given per wash which has meant that I have been able to use the product every other day for almost 2 weeks now and still have enough left for another 5 to 6 applications. I have found that there are more than enough ultra fine exfoliating particles to exfoliate my facial skin within a tiny amount of the Ice Crystals wash.
I find that it is easy to place a very small amount of Ice Crystals exfoliant onto my fingers and then gently apply that to my facial skin. When I say a very small amount I mean a tiny amount, compared to other exfoliant face wash products I have used, as a little Ice Crystals wash goes a long way in my experience. I would say that I have used no more than a pea sized amount of Ice crystals each time I have used it and that has been more than enough to exfoliate my skin with. The clean white coloured base of the face wash has small spearmint green particles in it that I thought were the exfoliating granules before I used the product. I was wrong they aren't and I am not 100% sure what they do or what they are, other than to take a guess at them being something to do with the cooling and tingling part of the face wash. I could be wrong about that though.
When I apply Ice Crystals to my facial skin I make sure that I apply it to damp/ wet skin rather than onto dry skin as it is easier to rub gently with the palms of the hands once the skin is damp. I wouldn't recommend using Ice Crystals on dry skin at all as I feel that it would be much harder to rub in gently and might cause the skin to become sore afterwards. Even on damp skin Ice Crystals can leave my face looking a little pink or red around the cheeks and chin and even around the edges of the nose, so I tend to take more care when using the product in these areas. Massaging the product with the palms of the hands is the best way to ensure that the exfoliating particles are worked around all the areas of the face that require attention in my experience.
~Super fine exfoliating granules give me the ouch factor!~
I would say that the texture of the exfoliating particles in this face wash is very fine, almost to the point of them feeling like very fine silica sand. I have been hard pressed to detect the super fine particles in the wash by simply looking at it and I was very surprised by how well they work to exfoliate the skin considering their super small size. In use the exfoliating beads are very sharp and have the effect of being able to work away on the skin like a very fine grade sand paper! Ouch! I was not expecting the exfoliating beads to be so sharp once on the skin as they are so very very fine to the touch, however when massaged in using the palms of the hands they really give my skin a work out.
The effect of the exfoliating beads can feel a little uncomfortable at times in my experience as they seem to polish away at the skin really efficiently when massaged in. The effect of the fine polishing beads along with the cooling and lightly freezing sensation of the product does take a while to get used to in my opinion. The closest thing in terms of having a similar effect on the skin that I have used, would be a product from the Soap & Glory range that has a minty smelling, cooling effect on the skin to a slightly less intense degree. My feeling is that if you like the Soap & Glory product then the Ice Crystals wash may be a product to look out for as it offers a slightly more intense polishing and cooling effect to the skin in my experience. For anyone who prefers a less intense skin polishing experience the Soap & Glory product would be a safer bet in my opinion as the exfoliating granules are not quite as fine in texture and they feel a little less sharp and sand paper like on the skin.
~My results after having used Ice Crystals~
After having applied Ice Crystals and then washed them off with fresh water I notice an immediate difference to my skin in terms of its texture and over all feel which is pleasing. The cooling and lightly freezing sensation that Ice Crystals gives off remains in place for a short while even once the product has been rinsed away and this effect seems to wake the skin up a little in my experience. What I tend to get left with after using this product is very smooth feeling skin that appears to have a lightly coated and moisturized effect. The coated and moisturized feeling does mostly wash away after another light rinse with fresh water and my skin is left feeling ultra smooth and hydrated.
Once my facial skin is dry the texture feels even softer and smoother than when I have just rinsed off the product. There is never any dryness that I notice nor is there any oily or greasy residue that I can detect. The soft texture of my facial skin is very pleasing as I know it will make a great smooth looking base for foundation and make up a little while later on. The slight downside to using Ice Crystals is that each time i have used it my skin has looked a little pink or red in places which have been worked on by the super tiny exfoliating beads. This does subside over time and will fade completely in most cases after around 15/ 20 minutes or so in my experience. There have been a couple of times when this skin redness has taken a little longer to settle down, so I have tried to use Ice Crystals a little less vigorously since then.
I find that using Ice Crystals in the evening rather than in the day time when I want to apply make up quite soon afterwards, ensures that I get the best results from the product, as this gives my skin time to settle down completely over night. I find that I don't need to apply any moisturiser immediately after using Ice Crystals if I use it in the evening and can wait until the morning to continue with my usual regime. Since I have been using Ice Crystals in this way, I have been pleased with the over all texture and tone of my facial skin. As Ice Crystals really does exfoliate the skin quite intensely I wouldn't want to apply anything else to it straight afterwards as I feel my skin may sting a little, which I want to avoid. My skin never feels dry after using Ice Crystals so adding another product over the top is not something I feel I need.
~Product rating/ price~
Freeze 24/7 say Ice Crystals can help to 'smooth and even finish by reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, surface roughness, excess oil, hyper pigmentation and enlarged pores', which is true to a certain extent in my opinion. I have found that my skin looks softer, smoother, more even and a little brighter the morning after I have used Ice Crystals. It does take a while for any redness to settle down after using the product which is a light downside in my opinion. Another slight minus point is that the product will sting the eyes if it gets into them by accident so extra care is required around the eye area in my experience.
The cost of this product is a concern and is part of the reason that I haven't given Ice Crystals a full 5 star product rating as it is expensive to buy in my opinion. For around £35 you can buy a 70g tube of Ice Crystals which I feel is prohibitive as there are other similar products that can be bought for under £10, such as the Soap & Glory product I have mentioned. I would have liked to have seen this product having a price closer to £15/ £20, which would make it far more affordable to buy. My over all opinion of Ice Crystals is that it is a helpful skin care product that can be effective in some of the ways mentioned in the advertising blurb, although it cannot work miracles it does soften and smooth skin even from the very first use. My skin has felt lovely and smooth since I began using this facial wash, so it is rather a shame that the price of a tube of Ice Crystals is so very high. I would like to award Ice Crystals a 4 star product rating based on the results I have had which have been quite good in my opinion.
~Updating a kitchen with the help of Homebase~
When deciding to alter the layout of an existing kitchen, which had been installed previously, I visited Homebase in order to see how I could make best use of parts of the existing cupboards and trims etc, whilst updating and altering the bits of the kitchen that I felt didn't work well. Whilst I didn't require a whole new kitchen I did seek the help of a Homebase trained kitchen designer who helped me pick out various items that completed the updated design. I would say that I found the person who dealt with my order in store to be knowledgeable about the Homebase product range as well as being able to offer general help and advice relating to my purchases.
Amongst the items I bought from Homebase were a corner base cupboard, a single wine rack, an eye level corner cupboard, a standard eye level cupboard, a new open effect tea/ coffee/ cup/ mug storage unit, a new drawer liner complete with runners, various matching unit/ trim panels and boards, new door handles, a new kitchen sink and wastes, a new door hinge set, unit leg supports and other sundry items and trims. I was pleased to have been able to find most, if not all of the items on my wanted list in store, which I was pleased about. I was informed that a number of the items on my list would have to be ordered in and couldn't be taken away that same day. These items were eventually delivered after a short waiting period of around 2 weeks.
As the solid maple doors that were fitted to the existing kitchen were quite new and came from a quality kitchen company, I decided that whilst they may not have been my own first choice, they were smart, well made and of a very good quality that meant it would be very wasteful to get rid of them. With the additional items I purchased from Homebase Kitchens and some new floor and splash back tiles I was able to update and improve the existing kitchen to the point of it being transformed into a much more user friendly and attractive design. I would recommend this way of updating an unloved or badly designed existing kitchen, as it means that costs are kept far lower than when installing everything from scratch.
~Ordering from Homebase~
After I placed my order in store I had to wait for some of the items to arrive as they weren't all stock items. I made sure to place my order 2 weeks before I was ready to receive everything so that the person installing the items would have everything to hand. A number of the things I wanted such as base and eye level unit trim panels and end panels were on sale in store and were ready to be taken away at the time of purchase. I found this to be very convenient as I was able to have the panels cut to size and adjusted ready for when the rest of the items were fitted. I was also able to see the exact colour and appearance of the panels and trims prior to purchase which allowed me to be 100% certain that they would be a good colour match for the solid maple cupboard doors. The ordering process was dealt with efficiently by the in store consultant who filled out any paperwork and calculated any discounts and costs involved. I felt happy with the level of service I received during the order process.
~Unit trims and panels~
I feel that the quality of the end panels and trim pieces I bought were of a fair standard, as they looked well finished and were thicker than some similar looking trims and panels I had seen in other stores. The light maple coloured panels and trims that I picked turned out to be a good colour match for the almost new solid maple doors that I was re-using and I was pleased that simply buying the new panels and trims would enable me to change things to my requirements. Some of the end trim panels were actually used to sit as colour co-ordinated base panels between white goods in the kitchen, such as a washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher (although not all placed next to each other). This turned out to be a really good idea as the panels gave additional support to the new kitchen work tops and added a much more professional and attractive finish to the look of the kitchen, which I felt was previously rather lacking. The cost of each panel was reasonable in my opinion and I feel that they were worth the small amount of money paid. Since the new panels and trims have been fitted they have proven to be strong and durable, with the maple veneers on them being easy to keep clean, whilst remaining attractive and smart looking in my opinion.
~Homebase kitchen units~
The corner base unit and eye level units I bought from Homebase came into stock on time as promised and were of a good quality considering their reasonable cost. I ordered units that were slightly thicker than standard units, as having had thicker, stronger base/ eye level units in a previous kitchen made me appreciate how much more durable and longer lasting such units can be. The corner base unit was of a good size, with a solid base and sides once it had been put together. The rear panel was made of a lighter material than the main body of the base unit and the shelf that was included with the unit was a good fit once set in place. The corner unit had to be seated on support legs that were not included with the unit and had to be purchased separately, which did incur an additional cost ( this was a slight downside in my opinion).
The eye level units I bought were sturdy and well sized once put together and came with all the fittings needed in order to build them. At the time of purchase I had the option of picking slightly taller than normal units which matched up with those already installed in the kitchen. These units came complete with wall fixing plates which fitted the units well and allowed for safe and secure placement of the them. Each wall unit came with 2 shelves which could be adjusted for height as required, using the fixings provided, which I thought was useful. I was able to hang my existing sold maple kitchen doors onto these units and only required one new set of door hinges/ fixings in order to have them match up with the existing finish which I was pleased about. My over all opinion of the kitchen units I bought is that they are of a fair quality, as they have proven to be functional and durable over time.
~Homebase door handles~
In order to update the look of the expensive solid wooden doors I picked out new door handles from the range on sale in Homebase. I wouldn't say that the range on offer was all that vast, although but I did find a design that I felt would work with the updated look I wanted to create. With each new door/ cupboard handle having a cost of around £5/ £6 replacing these did end up being a little more costly than I hoped for, as I had to buy a large number of them in order to complete the look. The replacement handles I bought were of a good quality in my opinion and they have proven to be durable and well finished, as they still look and perform exactly as they did when they were newly installed. The handles were easy to fit in place and have remained in good working order, with almost no maintenance required other than a light clean with a soft cloth.
~Everything but the Kitchen sink!~
My lovely new kitchen sink was a really good buy, as I had seen the same design on sale elsewhere for more money, so I did save a little when buying it from Homebase. I wanted a Franke sink to match up with my new Franke Moselle taps and was more than happy when I saw that there was a lovely brushed steel effect double sink unit amongst the product range that Homebase had on sale. I had a similar Franke sink installed in a previous kitchen and found it to be of a good quality, so really wanted to install a similar one this time around. The sink fits on top of the kitchen work tops really nicely as it is almost flush with the work top height giving a lovely neat and smart appearance. The sink came with all the right bits to install it including the wastes, which meant that there were no unexpected or extra costs. In use the sink has been every bit as good as I hoped it would be, which is no less than I expected from a Franke product, as in my experience this brand provide good customer care and manufacture items of a reliable quality.
~Something to whine about!~
The single wine rack I bought from Homebase was the only item that I had serious issues with, which was rather a shame as it was something that wasn't kept in stock and had to be ordered well in advance. When the wine rack was unpacked it turned out to be faulty as parts of the maple veneer had come away and in some areas where there were screw fixings, the holes drilled were too big or in the wrong place. This did cause some problems as the kitchen fitter had to work around the fact that the wine rack was not ready to be fitted in place when it should have been. The only way around this in the end was to buy some maple veneer panels and have them cut to size in store, so that the kitchen fitter could make a new wine rack that matched the design of the faulty one. This did take a little thought and some extra fitting time, but was effective in the end. Homebase kindly cut the panels I bought to the sizes required for free with their in store wood cutting machine and then offered a further discount on all the items that were needed in order to make up the wine rack, which I thought showed good customer service. The cost of the original wine rack was refunded and I ended up paying slightly less for the replacement that was eventually made to sit in its place.
~Updating a faulty drawer unit~
The new drawer and liner I bought, came complete with new runners had a nice smooth soft close effect which was much easier to work with than the existing drawer it replaced. The new drawer liner did have silver toned plastic sides which were lighter than the old drawer sides and whilst I was unsure as to whether they would prove to be as strong, in use they have stood the test of time well and have proven to be quite durable. The new drawer has been fitted with an existing solid maple drawer front to match the rest of the doors and trims and then placed into the existing unit, with it functioning just as well as I hoped it would. The look of the new drawer appears exactly the same as the rest of the existing units as the drawer front was a perfect fit and there has been no compromise in terms of either looks or functionality in my opinion. The cost here was once again quite reasonable in my opinion, as I didn't have to buy an entire new unit and could simply replace the single drawer that had stopped working correctly.
~Nice worktops as long as they aren't over 4 metres long!~
The only thing that Homebase were not able to help with at all were the new kitchen work tops I wanted, as at the time of purchase they didn't offer any work top in their product range in a length longer than 4 metres. There was a choice of either 3m or 4m work tops in any of the finishes available, which wasn't suitable at all as I needed to buy 5m long work top lengths. I was surprised by the fact that a longer 5 m work top wasn't an option, as I am certain that there must be many kitchens which have long runs of kitchen work surfaces as part of their layouts. As one of the new work tops had to have a complete 5m run, which would then be joined at the corner to another length of work top, a shorter 4m work top was not an option. This did cause some issues which Homebase were unable to resolve, as I was told that the store didn't stock these longer work tops because they were too expensive to buy in (almost double the cost of shorter work tops) and were not a common order request. In the end I was lucky enough to be able to source my 5m work tops from a local manufacturer, who was able to deliver them within good time and once installed they looked very nice indeed.
With regards to the items I purchased from Homebase in order to update the kitchen design I feel that they made a real difference to the kitchen, as the previous layout and design didn't really work for me at all. Once my new updated Homebase enhanced kitchen was complete it looked so much better and functioned in a more useable way which I was pleased about. I liked the fact that I was ale to pick and choose from the range of products on sale in store and didn't have to place a minimum order with Homebase. I feel that the quality of the items I bought was generally good, as everything is still working well and has proven to be durable even with regular usage. My rating for the service I received from Homebase is 4 stars. I feel that a similar 4 star rating would be fair for the items I purchased based upon the price, functionality and durability of those items. I found that the Homebase staff I came into contact with in store were helpful and didn't try to persuade me into buying anything that wasn't on my wanted list. I was informed of any offers and discounts available to me and feel that the prices I paid were reasonable enough.
~A handy little picnic rug~
I bought one of these little roll up picnic rugs made by Draper for use when attending a festival a while ago and have had my trusty picnic rug rolled up and ready for use to take out and about on sunny days since then. I liked the idea of having the rug as it seemed like a great little item that would mean I wouldn't have to sit on muddy or wet grass whilst listening to the bands who were performing at the festival. I must say that I found the picnic rug to be really light and easy to carry about when it was rolled away ready for use, as I simply stashed it away in the picnic carry bag that I had with me at the time.
When using the picnic rug I have found that it is really easy to set up as I simply open the velcro fastener that keeps the rug safely rolled up when not in use and then allow the rug to roll out. The material used to make up the top part of the rug ( the bit you sit on) is made of lightly textured material that I found was a little rough when the rug was newly bought. Over time the slightly stiff/ rough texture of the material disappeared and the top part of the rug became much softer and nicer to sit on.
I have found that the checked material that makes up the top part of the picnic rug still looks neat and tidy even though the rug has been used a good number of times. There have been a few pulls to the material where it has accidently caught on something when in use, but other than that the material still looks presentable in my opinion. I don't think that the material used to make the rug looks very fashionable due to the choice of colours used but it does the job just the same.
The back of the rug has a really thin plastic liner that is stitched to the checked part by way of the border material that runs around the two parts that make up the rug. The stitching here has proven to be durable and both the liner and material parts of the rug have remained firmly stitched together which I have been pleased about. The slight downside to the backing liner is that it does feel really very thin and could be easily ripped or torn in my opinion if it was placed anywhere stoney/ pebbly.
So far the back of the liner on the rug I have hasn't worn too badly at all and it still looks in reasonable shape in my opinion, even though it has been used a good number of times. The rug can be washed if wanted and it is quick and simple to hang it out on a washing line in order to allow the material part of the rug to dry off before rolling everything back up and packing it away. The rug rolls away very easily and I found it simple enough to roll back into shape after I first used the rug. The built in carry handle is rather useful although I tend to pack the rug into a bag rather than carry it on its own.
I wouldn't say that this is the biggest picnic rug in the world, but at around 1300cms x 1170cms it does rolls out to a fair size that will allow at least 2 adults to sit comfortably on it. Larger picnics will require more than one of these rugs which can be placed next to each other to provide a larger seating area. I haven't placed deck chairs or fold up chairs of any sort on top of the rug as I feel it has a very thin liner which would get torn too easily. The rug is comfortable to sit on in my experience and the built in plastic/ pvc liner ensures that the rug stays dry even when placed on lightly damp grass or sand.
~Product rating/ price~
I paid £6 for my picnic rug which I feel is fair value given the amount of use it has had. I wouldn't say that the rug is anything special in terms of looks, but it does function well enough as a highly portable no frills roll out picnic rug. I have found that the rug is fairly durable although it is quite thin. I have used it with care and haven't placed it on sharp or stoney surfaces which might pierce the pvc liner. My rating for this product is 4 stars as I feel it does what it has been made for, is light and easy to carry and provides a useful seating/ picnic area with the minimum of fuss. The slight downside to the product is that it feels quite thin and lacks any form of padding.
~A tinted moisturiser from Vichy~
I have used Lumineuse Tinted Moisturiser by skin care experts Vichy a number of times and found that it gives mixed results on my skin due to colour matching issues. I was introduced to it after having tried a number of hydrating and cleansing skin care products from the range and found them to be suited to my skin. The Vichy Lumineuse range of tinted mosturisers can be bought for use with normal to combination skin or for dry skin, as I bought the normal to combination version of the product, that is what I am reviewing. I liked the idea of using this tinted moisturiser for summer wear when I bought it, as I hoped it would look much lighter and more natural looking than more traditional foundation products do on tanned skin.
During warmer summer weather I tend to find that I only need a nice light and natural looking foundation once I have built up a light summer tan so this type of tinted skin care product is most often suitable for me in other product ranges. This particular tinted moisturiser comes in 3 shades from the lightest Nude shade (Clair 01), through to Peach (Peche 02) a slightly warmer shade, as well as a darker Golden shade (Dore 03). I had slight issues with colour matching as I found that the neither of the 2 lighter colours was a complete match under in store lighting conditions. I was advised to opt for the 02 shade as it was the best compromise, although I must admit that I was a little unsure about it at the time.
~Using the product~
Once I was ready to apply my tinted moisturiser I made sure that my skin had been lightly exfoliated and cleansed. I applied some of the product with a make up sponge applicator taking care to do so as lightly and evenly as I could. I found that whilst the colour I bought was a little too peachy and dark for my liking when used straight out of the tube, it was much better once mixed with some Vichy Life Activ cream which I already had in use (luckily). Once I achieved the right blend of Lumineuse and Life Activ, the colour matching issue was much less of a problem as the original make up colour was diluted by the addition of the skin cream.
I found that the tinted moisturiser/ Life Activ mix was easy to smooth onto my skin as it had a very nice texture that I found easy to work with. I preferred it to that of the tinted moisturiser on its own as it gave more even looking, less patchy results once mixed in this way. I did find that the the tinted moisturiser gave my skin a bit of a sheen which I suppose is where the Lumineuse name comes from. I wouldn't want to have this type of effect on the skin in too heavy a dose as I feel it would make the skin appear greasy and oily, however I found that when applied with care the effect was a little glowy as I expected it would be, but not overly so.
Plus points about the product are that it has been tested on sensitive skin under dermatological controls so as make sure it is suitable for use in such cases. The product is hypoallergenic, non comedogenic, contains no soap or fragrance and is alcohol free which means it should be kind to the skin. The moisturiser is also paraben free and has been mixed using Vichy thermal spa water. Vitamins A + provitamin B5 have been included in the mix so as to enhance skin radiance and moisturise the skin according to information given about the product. All this sounds great in theory but would be useless if the product caused any skin irritation when I used it. Luckily I am happy to say that I have had no issues of any note when using this product on my facial skin.
The coverage offered by my blended mix of the product was very light, which was to be expected in my opinion as I had diluted it by adding some skin cream to it to alter the colour a little. I found that the light looking finish the product gave was attractive over a light tan but wouldn't really be effective enough on untanned skin in my opinion. The product doesn't really seem to coat my skin too thickly which I am pleased about and I am able to see through the tinted moisturiser enough to be able to say that the results look fairly natural. Wear time is a little shorter than I hoped for although the product does remain in place for a good few hours in most cases.
~Price/ product rating~
Vichy products can be slightly expensive to buy, however with a little shopping around you can buy a 30ml tube of tinted mosituriser for between £11/ £12.20, which I feel is fair value. I have found that the downside to the small range of 3 colour options is that I can't really find a perfect match for my skin tone and have had to make do with a custom mix using the Lumineuse mosituriser and some Vichy Life Activ cream. Whilst this isn't too much of an issue (once I mastered the right amounts of both products to blend together) I feel that I ought to have been able to buy a ready blended product that would be a better colour match from the very outset. My rating for this product is 3 stars.