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I bought this Cyclax apricot facial scrub a while ago.
~ Price and availability ~
This scrub is available from Boots and Superdrug or online from cyclax.com where it costs just GBP2.25 for a 300ml tub.
It comes in a large clear plastic tub.
There is a label wrapped around it with pictures of apricots on the front and ‘Cyclax Nature Pure Apricot Facial Scrub’ in small lettering. The tub has a peach coloured, plastic, screw off lid.
You can see the scrub through the tub. It is a beige colour with lots of dark brown grains in it.
The back of the tub recommends using this scrub 1-2 times per week by wetting your face, lathering a little of the scrub with warm water between your fingertips and massaging into the face gently, avoiding the delicate eye are and then rinsing thoroughly with warm water.
I only use this scrub now and again.
Straight away when I twist off the lid and pull off the white plastic tab that prevents the product from going into the lid, I can smell the apricot scented scrub. It has quite a strong scent and it is quite sharp. I don’t like the scent or taste of apricots and I don’t like the scent of this, but it is one I can put up with.
The scrub is very thick and the grains feel quite large.
I only need to apply a small amount to my face. The scrub is very creamy and the grains don’t feel as harsh on my face as I first expected.
I apply it to my face and then massage it in circular motions. I tend to apply quite a bit of pressure while I am doing this as I like facial scrubs to feel harsh on my skin because for me that is when they feel like they are really working. With less pressure this scrub is not too harsh and is quite gentle on your skin.
Once the scrub has worked its magic I then rinse it off. It is easy to rinse. There are occasionally a few grains left behind on your face after the first rinse, but these are easily removed with more warm water.
The scrub leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth. It removes any impurities and dead skin cells. There is a definite improved feel to my skin and my skin even looks different. It appears matte, but does not look or feel dry and my pores appear reduced.
I do not like the scent of this product, but I would recommend it and I have repurchased this product even though I do not like the scent.
I would prefer it to be available in other scents, but after I have rinsed this off my skin I can no longer smell it so it doesn’t bother me too much.
As you don’t have to use much of this product the pot lasts for ages and it is already very cheap to buy so it is great value for money.
I was given this Avon Solutions Vibes Wake Up Eye Roller as a gift from my mother, who is an Avon representative.
As it was a gift I am not sure how much it cost, but I imagine it would have been around the GBP8.00 mark.
It comes in a long tube with ‘solutions’ in metallic silver lettering and ‘vibes’ in bold greeny yellow coloured lettering along the side.
The screw off lid is also the same greeny yellow colour as is the very bottom of the tube.
The lid twists off to reveal the silver, metal rollerball.
To use this eye roller you simply twist the bottom of the tube clockwise and the whole tube including the rollerball starts to vibrate gently. You then hold the tube pointing downwards to encourage the product to flow and then roll the rollerball under your eye to the outer corner for 10 seconds. The vibrations can then be turned off by twisting the bottom of the tube anti-clockwise.
The directions then recommend that you use your finger to smooth in any excess product under the eye until absorbed. The directions also say to use this morning and night.
The product claims to use the power of gentle vibrations to make your eyes look and feel like you’ve had a full 8-hours of sleep and it helps to brighten the eye area while diminishing the look of puffiness and dark circles.
According to Avon, “The serum is formulated with Revitawake Complex”, which is something that it sounds like they have made up, but they don’t expand upon, which is really annoying.
You could also use the product without turning the vibrations on, which I have also tried and I didn’t find too much product came out.
I have had this for a while and the vibration feature still works and has shown no sign of giving up any time soon.
The rollerball works well without ever sticking. It feels very cool on my skin and the serum feels wet. It is clear so it just looks wet on my skin. After applying the product I then use my finger to gently rub it in. It feels slightly greasy, but it rubs in quickly and easily and once it has been rubbed in there is no residue left on my skin and my skin feels normal.
I do like to use this product. I often leave the product on my skin for a while before rubbing it in. I have never had any irritation from using this rollerball.
After using this product my under eye area looks moisturised and perhaps a bit brighter. I wouldn’t say it makes a big difference to my skin and a lot of face creams and moisturisers would be able to offer the same results.
I enjoy using this product. It feels as though it is doing my skin some good, but to be honest my skin doesn’t look much different after using this rollerball. The greasiness when I rub it in to my skin is its main disadvantage.
I don’t find that it reduces the appearance of dark circles as it claims.
I would consider buying this product again. It is a nice product to use. The serum feels very cooling on my skin and it makes my skin look and feel hydrated. If that’s all you’re after then this product does the job. It is also a handy size for carrying around with you.
- About James Blake -
James Blake is a 24 year old musician from London.
His career began with the release of a 12” single, Air and Lack Thereof back in 2009 (at the age of just 21), which was a hit with BBC Radio 1.
He went on to release 3 EPs in 2010 before his eponymous debut album was released in early 2011 charting at number 9.
Overgrown is the second album from James Blake. It was released on 8th April 2013 and after enjoying his debut I downloaded this album, curious to see if it would be as good as the first.
Overgrown reached number 8 in the albums chart.
James Blake is a very unique musician and he has a very different style to every other artist I have listened to.
I always find it difficult to categorise music, but I think most people would struggle to compare James Blake to another artist.
His songs tend to be slow with quite a sad sound to them.
A lot of his songs are played on the piano, which is a sound that I love, but he often combines this with a soft and gentle electronic sound, which is refreshing and different.
His music is usually slow paced and has a chilled out feel to it.
His vocals are fantastic. His voice is beautiful. He is a very talented artist and he has been nominated for numerous awards.
- Tracklisting and My Thoughts -
Overgrown is a soft gentle piano track. It has a sad feel to it. Blake's vocals are quite high pitched contrasting with the low notes played on the piano. I really like this song.
2) I Am Sold
This track is slow paced like the others on the album, but with a touch of urgency to it. The piano is gentle and hides behind Blake's vocals. This track also has an electronic sound to it, but it is slow and subtle, not what you'd expect from a typical electronic track.
3) Life Round Here
This is fast paced with a nice electronic feel to it. The vocals are echoing and layered. Although this is a quicker paced track it still has a chilled out feel.
4) Take A Fall For Me
This is one of my favourite tracks on the album. The soft electronic sound is accompanied by Blake's high pitched vocals and there is also an American voice on the track. I think this track really stands out.
Retrograde has a sad feel to it. It showcases Blake's vocals. It is a slow track, but it has a gentle electronic sound. I really like this track. It is another of my favourites and I really like the music video for this song as well.
DLM is more of a typical piano and vocals combination. This track really showcases Blake's vocals.
7) Digital Lion
This is another of my favourites. Lots of soft electronic sounds combined with Blake's high pitched vocals. This is a track that has a really chilled out feel to it.
This is a slow track with quiet vocals and soft slow music. The vocals have quite a muffled sound, but in a good way.
9) To The Last
To The Last is a slow piano and synthesized track with high pitched vocals from Blake. This is another track with a really chilled out, relaxed feel.
10) Our Love Comes Back
Our Love Comes Back is a lovely slow piano track, again offering high pitched vocals with subtle electronic sounds.
- Conclusion -
I only had to listen to this album once to realise it was going to be as good as his debut.
Each track has been perfected combining the music, the electronic sound and the expressive vocals.
The lyrics are meaningful, sometimes a bit cryptic, but they can be quite repetitive and some songs only have a few lines that are different from each other as the same lines are repeated so often.
I am pleased that I downloaded this album. It is quite different to other musicians I like to listen to, but only because there are no other artists releasing music like this.
I am finding myself choosing to listen to this album quite a lot at the minute as it is a nice change to listen to something so chilled out and relaxing. It is music to fall asleep to!
I would definitely recommend this album or at least give one of Blake’s songs a listen. I think it would appeal to most people, if given the chance.
You can currently view the Retrograde music video in full at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p6PcFFUm5I
I recently bought Alberto Balsam''s coconut and lychee conditioner. I have worked my way through all of their shampoos, but haven''t tried all of the conditioners yet as I tend to get through shampoo quicker than I get through conditioner so don''t have to buy it as often. Price and availability The conditioner usually costs GBP1.00 for a 400ml bottle and can be purchased at most supermarkets, Boots, Superdrug and even pound shops and Home Bargains. I got mine from Morrisons as part of a 4 for GBP3.00 deal along with a few of their shampoos. Bottle The bottle is made from frosted plastic. It is tall and cylindrical with a label on the front with a picture of a coconut. ?Alberto Balsam'', is written at the top of the label in plain looking white lettering against the black label. The bottle has a flip cap lid which is made from black plastic. In use The flip cap is easier than most to open. The conditioner is white in colour and it is quite thick. I normally take a handful and smooth it through my hair. The conditioner is distributed evenly through my hair without me having to use a comb. It feels of good quality. I find coconut scented products can be a bit hit or miss, but this conditioner is really nice. It has a lovely, sweet coconut scent. I don''t find it too strong or overpowering and although the sweetness does lean towards being sickly it also has quite a clean scent in it, which balances it out a bit. The conditioner claims to: - detangle and smooth hair - leave hair manageable - strengthen with pro-vitamin B5 The conditioner definitely helps to make my hair more manageable and tangle free after washing it, but I find most conditioners do this effectively. It''s impossible to say whether I think this conditioner strengthens my hair, but I doubt it. I haven''t noticed an increase or decrease in breakage since using this conditioner. It leaves my hair feeling soft and smooth. It is neither drying or greasy. I''d say this conditioner works well. It does the job. I wouldn''t say it is much better or much worse than any other that I have used. It is very good value. The conditioner has been a nice one to use. The coconut scent lingers on my hair after using it. I can often even still smell it the next day. I would buy this conditioner again and I would recommend it, but saying that it is probably one of my least favourite scents from Alberto Balsam. I love their blueberry scented shampoo and conditioner and I prefer more juicy, fruity scents to this one. One thing I wasn''t too impressed with when using this conditioner was how difficult it is to get the last of it out of the bottle. There is a little bit left in my bottle which I really can''t get out. The black lid does not screw off and I only seem to get a little bit out at a time with a lot of effort when I reach the bottom of the bottle. There is about 1cm of product left in the bottom of the bottle which will go to waste, which is a shame.
My PC came with Minesweeper already on it. It is a quick and simple game, but it requires some thought. You can play the game with a small, medium or large board. I usually play the small board, which is 9 squares by 9 squares (I know my maths. Haha). All of the squares are covered and your aim is to uncover all of the squares on the board apart from the 10 mines. You do this by first selecting a random square to uncover. If there is one or more mine in a square next to it in any direction including diagonally then a number will show in the uncovered square. If the number is one it means that one square next to it has a mine in it, if the number is two it means that two squares next to that square have mines in them and so on. If the square revealed is blank then it means the square next to it does not have a mine in it, but hitting a blank square will also show you any connected blank squares and usually a few numbers as well and you can often work out which squares do not have mines in them by using the numbers and eliminating squares. If there is a whole corner of the game untouched you may have to make some guesses. If you hit a mine then the game is over and all of the mines are shown so that you know where they were. There is a smiley face encouraging you through the game at the top of the screen and if you hit a mine it turns to a sad face or if you manage to complete the game, uncovering all of the squares that do not have mines in them then the smiley face appears with some sunglasses on and all of the uncovered squares where mines were turn to little red flags. I have won the smaller version of the game many times and I enjoy the challenge of it. I don''t think I have ever won the medium sized board and I definitely haven''t won the large sized board before. I think that would take a bit more dedication. Sometimes it won''t be possible to work out which square the mine is in with the information you have and it''s nerve-wracking making guesses the closer you get to uncovering all of the non-mine squares. The game does always take me a while to complete as there is some thought involved. The eliminating of squares which do not have a mine in reminds me of playing Sudoku. I''ve often started playing the medium sized board and had too little patience and instead of working out where the mines are I have just taken a guess so that I didn''t have to spend as much time working it out, but this isn''t always successful and I have always hit a mine in the end. I liked to play this when I was younger as well. I think the medium and larger boards are better for people who have a bit more patience. The large board is 30 squares across by 16 squares down and there are more mines in it so I think that board is only for people who are amazing or people who are willing to spend a lot of time trying to convince other people that they''re amazing! It is a really fun game and I think it gets quite addictive.
I got The Body Shop''s Chocomania shower cream for Christmas as part of a gift set. Price and availability The shower cream is available in 60ml and 250ml bottles and being a product from The Body Shop you can only buy it from The Body Shop stores, online at thebodyshop.co.uk or you can order it through a local representative if you have one. The 60ml bottle costs GBP2.00. The 250ml bottle costs GBP4.00. Bottle Mine is just a small 60ml bottle and it comes with The Body Shop logo on the front and a picture of some chocolate. The bottle is made from clear plastic and you can see the brown coloured shower cream inside. It has a flip cap lid, which is easy to use; it isn''t one of those with hardly any lip that you''ll break a fingernail on. In use I have used chocolate shower products in the past and at first I was really put off by the colour. It just felt a bit wrong applying mud-coloured products to clean yourself, but after receiving this set and also using the body scrub I''m starting to get used to using chocolate flavoured products. The shower cream itself is quite thick and it feels of good quality. It lathers well, producing a creamy, rather than a soapy lather. I find that it feels moisturising on my skin and it never leaves my skin feeling dried out like soap sometimes can. It has a nice chocolate scent, but it still smells clean. It also has quite an aquatic undertone, which I think gives it a more clean scent. The chocolate scent dominates and is very pleasant and not too sweet or too bitter. I like the scent of this product and I can honestly say using this product never makes me want to eat chocolate even though I love the stuff, which is good because I''m trying to eat healthily at the minute. It''s not something that really crosses my mind when I''m using it, possibly because I''m in the shower ? somewhere I''ve never eaten chocolate before! The shower cream leaves my skin feeling clean and soft and I find the scent lingers on my skin for a while after using this product. Something else I like about this product is that the flip cap lid screws off so that you can get the last of the product out of the bottle fairly easily and none of it goes to waste. I think the small 60ml bottles are poor value when you can get more than four times the amount for double the price with the 250ml bottles. Although I have enjoyed using this shower cream and I would recommend it I don''t think I would buy it for myself. If I wanted a nice shower gel I''d be tempted by all of The Body Shop''s fruity scented shower gels before this one would tempt me. It isn''t a natural choice for me and I enjoy fruity scented shower gels more.
I like to treat my skin to a face mask about once a week and this Boots Botanics Vitamin Recovery Mask is one I''ve been meaning to try for ages. Price and availability I got an 8ml sachet, but it is also available to buy in tubes. A larger tube is available from Boots for GBP 3.49. In Use The foil sachet is easy to rip open to reveal the cream coloured face mask inside. It is quite thick in consistency and it didn''t look like there was much of it, but a little goes a long way with this mask and I spread it across my face without running out. I felt like I did have to spread the mask out anyway as it is so thick I thought it would never set otherwise. The back of the sachet advises to leave this on for just 3 minutes or for a more intensive boost 10 minutes. I was surprised to read that it was only recommended to be left on for 3 minutes. I often leave face masks on for 15-20 minutes and they still aren''t totally dry by the time I come to rinse them off. I decided to leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing it. I got a bit on my lips and it stung them a bit, but it was fine on the rest of my face. I found that it does begin to feel a little bit tighter as it starts to dry. The product claims to replenish lost moisture to promote healthy looking skin. ?With ginkgo extract and vitamins A, E and Pro B5 to recharge, tired, dull skin.'' The mask has a pleasant scent. It is feminine and floral. I found the mask quite easy to remove, rinsing it off. The back of my sachet recommends to wipe the excess off with a cotton wool pad, but I didn''t fancy this as it sounded even more messy. After using the mask my face feels soft and refreshed. My pores appear reduced and my skin looks matte. It doesn''t look dry, it just looks matte. The mask definitely improves the appearance of my skin, but it doesn''t reduce redness or improve dark circles under my eyes. I''m not sure that the vitamins were responsible for recharging my skin. I think this is probably just something they say to persuade people to buy it. I enjoyed using this face mask and was very happy with how it left my skin looking and feeling. I would definitely consider buying it again, but I do prefer Montagne Jeunesse face masks.
I bought these Lipsy shoes last year when I found them on Shoeaholics.com for the great price of just £9.00 reduced from £75.00.
~ Appearance ~
The shoes are gold platform heels with a peep toe and a sandal-type strap around the ankle. They are covered with gold glitter, but I don't think they look tacky or too young.
The buckle on the ankle strap is also gold and has 'Lipsy London' imprinted onto it. This is very small and I don't think anyone would notice it unless they looked closely. There is also a tiny little gold coloured metal heart shaped charm, which hangs from the side of the buckle with Lipsy's letter 'L' and a heart imprinted onto it, which is Lipsy's logo. This is also very small and I don't think anyone would notice that it was Lipsy without closer inspection.
I'm not a big fan of clothing, shoes or even glasses with brand names written all over them.
The heel is 5 inches in height. The shoes have a lower platform level, which is covered in glitter and where the peep toe is at the front there is a plain gold extra platform level. The platform is about 1 and a quarter inches.
~ In use ~
These shoes are quite dressy and I have only worn them a few times.
I have only worn these shoes with dresses or skirts, but I think they would look fine with a nice pair of jeans as well.
I am not fat-footed, but I sometimes find with sandals the ankle strap is not as long as I would like and this is no different with these shoes. I can only fasten them up on the last hole on the strap. The strap has 5 holes. They aren't too difficult to put on.
The shoes feel comfortable to wear and they are no problem to walk in. The soles of the shoes is slightly padded from the ball of your foot to your heel, but I do still find if I have been standing or walking for a while in these shoes the balls of my feet start to ache. I find this with most high heels though.
The shoes feel as though they fit well. They are true to size and they are not slack around my ankles and once the strap is buckled up it doesn't feel too tight.
The shoes feel of good quality. The strap has no signs of wear on it and although you can feel the glitter on the shoes and some of it can come off there are no 'bald' parts on the shoes anywhere. The soles of the shoes and the tips of the heels have very little wear on them.
I think the shoes look great on and I always get compliments when I wear them.
I wouldn't have paid much more for them than £9.00 as they aren't the sort of shoes that I will get a lot of wear out of, but I think they are definitely worth more than £9.00. They are obviously good quality shoes.
I would recommend these shoes and I am glad that I bought them.
They are difficult to find in the gold glitter colour that I bought them in. They are showing kurtgeiger.com where they were also reduced to £9.00, but they are out of stock. They are available on Amazon in silver and blue (not glittery), which gives the shoes a very different look. They are priced at £21.99 reduced from £75.00.
For Christmas my sister gave me a Cath Kidston mug, which she'd wrapped in cellophane and put little chocolates in. It wasn't until I dug my way through the chocolates that I found there was other treats in the cup such as lip balm, nail polish and this Satsuma soap from The Body Shop.
My sister knows that I love The Body Shop's Satsuma range and it feels as though I haven't had one of their soaps for ages.
~ Appearance ~
The soap is a bright orange colour and it has rounded edges. It has The Body Shop's logo imprinted on the top and the bottom of the soap is arched so that it is easy to hold.
It comes in an orange, transparent, plastic packet.
~ Price ~
The soap is only available from The Body Shop or online at thebodyshop.co.uk. It costs £2.00 for a 100g bar, which I think is reasonable.
~ In use ~
The soap has a lovely scent of Satsuma. It is quite intense. It is really fruity and pleasant.
The soap lathers up well and creates a rich, creamy lather rather than a soapy one. It feels luxurious. I don't find that the soap is drying on my skin at all. It actually feels quite moisturising on my skin, being quite creamy, in the same way that some shower creams can feel moisturising.
It leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean and its lovely scent lingers on my skin for a while after using this soap.
I usually find that The Body Shop's soap lasts quite a while and I have been using this bar for about 2-3 weeks already and there's still plenty of the bar left. I'd say it will probably last me another 2-3 weeks.
I really love using this soap as it feels good quality and it smells gorgeous. I love how intense the scent is. It is also very creamy and moisturising, which makes it lovely to use.
I would recommend this soap and I will definitely use it again in the future.
It is obviously a bit more expensive than your average bar of soap that you'd buy from a drug store or supermarket, but it is cheap enough to pick up now and then as a treat.
I bought this Superdrug Tea Tree spot treatment stick a while ago.
I used to use these tea tree sticks a lot when I was younger.
I still get spots occasionally, which is annoying, but when I do I have this spot stick at the ready to try to get rid of them as quickly as they appeared.
~ Price and availability ~
This spot stick is only available from Superdrug, being their own brand.
It comes in an 8ml tube and it costs £2.99, but there is currently a 2 for £4.00 deal, which is mix and match with other products from Superdrug's Tea Tree range.
~ Packaging ~
The tea tree stick comes in a small clear tube/stick with a twist off lid, which twists off to reveal the sponge tipped applicator.
The packaging is a lot like that of a lip gloss.
The product itself is clear, but it is tinged green.
There is a sticker on the front of the stick, which is bright green with the Superdrug logo on and the name of the product.
~ In use ~
The back of the packaging tells us that this product contains 1% tea tree oil and 1% peppermint oil. It advises that this product should be applied directly to the affected and it is to be used regularly morning and evening.
I tend to use this on and off. When I notice a spot I will apply this product to it.
It is easy to use. The sponge tipped applicator makes it easy to apply precisely to the affected area.
It has a strong scent of tea tree and peppermint, which I like.
I tend to drown my spots in this spot treatment, but I don't have to use much product to fully cover your spots. It feels wet on your skin, but it doesn't sting.
It is a little bit greasy on your skin, but as I only apply it to a very small area I don't mind this as it feels as though it is doing some good and helping to attack the spot and recover my skin. The product does dry on my skin after a while so I always leave it to dry.
As the product is clear you cannot see the product on your skin and you don't need to wash it off. I just wait for it to dry and then leave it. It never causes irritation to my skin and it doesn't dry my skin out at all.
It does leave its scent on your skin, but it is only on a small area so I don't think it would be something anyone would notice and I find it very pleasant.
When I was younger I did find the scent a bit strong so it won't be to everyone's taste.
My spots are not cured instantly by using this spot treatment stick, but I do feel it helps to attack them.
I can't honestly say that I think this product makes my spots disappear a few days earlier than they would have if I had not used it, but it is a product I like to use and it does feel like it is helping to attack the spot in some way.
I would recommend this tea tree stick and I would buy it again.
I first tried this pasta 'n' sauce about two years ago. It was not something I would usually go for, but my partner occasionally bought one of these in our weekly shop and we shared a packet one night as a snack and I really liked it.
We recently started buying them in more regularly and I have one every now and then for lunch.
~ Price and availability ~
They cost £0.95 for a packet in Morrisons, but are currently on offer 3 for £2.50. I didn't go for that on this week's shop because there was a similar product, the same flavour by Golden Wonder for just £0.50, but I found this one in the cupboard today so I decided to use it up first.
It comes in a blue packet with the Batchelors logo at the top and 'Super Pasta 'n' Sauce' in bold white lettering.
The bottom of the packet has a picture of the pasta and some mushrooms and onions. 'Chicken & Mushroom Flavour' is written across the middle of the picture.
~ Cooking ~
The pasta inside the packet is dry and the flavouring is a beige coloured powder. There is also tiny bits of parsley.
To cook in the microwave you pour this into a bowl or saucepan and add 300ml of boiling water and 125ml of milk.
The back of the packet says you can also add 15g of butter or margarine, but this is stated to be optional and I never add any.
You then microwave for 8-10 minutes, depending on your microwave, stirring twice in between cooking.
The packet advises to leave to stand for 5 minutes for the sauce to thicken.
~ Hob ~
To cook on the hob you put the milk and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil before adding the contents of the packet. You then boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Again the packet advises that the sauce will thicken when the pasta 'n' sauce is left to stand.
~ My opinion ~
We used to cook this on the hob, but we found that a lot of the flavouring would stick to the bottom of the pan even when it was stirred regularly.
We now cook it in the microwave. I follow the steps exactly, but I find that even after around 3 minutes of cooking the mixture is boiling and some of the water, milk and flavouring have managed to spill onto the microwave plate, even though I have covered the top of the bowl to avoid this happening.
I stir a few times during cooking and by the time the 8 minutes is up the pasta is piping hot and there is still sauce on the pasta, but there is a lot of white coloured liquid on the microwave turn plate.
I also usually find that the bottom of the bowl has some flavouring stuck to it, which is difficult to get off even though I stir the whole bowl during cooking and get my fork right to the bottom of the bowl.
My microwave turn plate just needs to be removed and tipped into the sink and rinsed off then it is easy to clean. The bowl takes a lot more effort, but it is worth rinsing out to get the worst of the sauce off before washing it properly.
The packet states that this serves 2-3 as part of a main meal or 1 as a tasty snack. I have only ever shared one of these once and that was because it was late at night and we wanted a small snack.
I would never serve this as part of a main dish. I can't really think of what I would put it with.
I only tend to have this as a quick meal, usually at the weekend.
Despite the fact that most of the 'sauce' ended up on the microwave turn plate there is still a good coating of it on every pasta tube and there is plenty of parsley bits on each tube as well, which I can't taste at all to be honest.
The sauce has a definite chicken and mushroom flavouring, which is very tasty. There are no chicken or mushroom pieces in the sauce.
The pasta comes as small tubes. I prefer tube shaped pasta as I like the texture and the pasta tastes as good as any other. It is nice and soft. I never find, after following the instructions on the packet, that the pasta is underdone or overdone. It is perfect.
Once served the pasta doesn't look very substantial, but I find that after eating a bowl of this pasta I do feel full and satisfied.
When prepared the packet provides 506 calories, which I found quite surprisingly high. It has 4.4g of fat, 1.6 of which saturates, which isn't so bad.
The best before date is almost 2 years so it is not something you need to use up very quickly.
I would recommend this pasta 'n' sauce. It has a lovely flavour and although it is messy to cook, the mess is fairly quick and easy to clear up and after eating I feel full.
I bought this Hama mini tripod not long before my holidays nearly two years ago.
I wanted something sturdy that I would be able to set up to take group shots on a timer with as there was a big group of us staying in a lovely villa for the week so I thought it'd be nice to get some shots of everyone together rather than one person taking a photo of the others and the photos always showing a person down.
~ Price and availability ~
I bought this online. I think I got it new from ebay for about £7.00, which was the cheapest I could find it for at the time.
You can now buy it on Amazon new from a private seller for just £3.74 and free postage and packing.
~ Setting up ~
When it arrived in the post I was pleased with the compact size of the tripod, but at first I thought it was broken as I could not move the two legs at the front. I then realised you have to pull back the leg at the back before you move the legs at the front.
The legs are easy to move and aren't too stiff.
~ Design ~
All of the legs a 'V' shaped and made from silver coloured plastic. One of the front legs has 'hama' on the front in black lettering. There are black rubber grips on the bottom of each leg.
The design is excellent. It is lightweight. It is made so that it can be as compact as possible so it is ideal for carrying around with you, yet all of the features work well and are well thought through.
~ Size ~
When it is folded up it is only about the length of a mobile phone, but not as wide or thick so it should fit in your pocket easily. I keep it in the front of my camera case and I can just forget that it's there until I need it.
The tripod is designed to give you something sturdy to hold your camera on. It is not designed to give your camera much height and the maximum height that this tripod goes up to is about 5 inches and the minimum is about 3 inches so it does not have a lot of range, but it is only for compact cameras and the three legs offer stability. It is more secure than hoping your camera will stay standing upright on a wall or on a table.
~ Stability ~
My compact camera screws onto the top plate on the tripod easily and it can be screwed on quite tight so that you know it isn't going to fall off. The plate is hinged so you can point it up a bit, down a bit or straight ahead. To stop the plate from leaning backwards or forwards from the weight of your camera there is a plastic lever that you swivel to lock the hinge in place so that it cannot move.
I have tried my large DSLR camera on this tripod and it does hold it without tipping, but you have to balance it carefully. My DSLR is quite light for an SLR camera apparently (I have a Canon 1100D) and this tripod is not really designed for larger cameras.
With compact cameras this tripod has no problems with stability as long as you lock the hinges on the plate in place.
~ Overall ~
This tripod has come in handy for me on many occasions. It is great for taking group shots as it takes no time at all to set up and you can rely on it not to tip over and damage your camera. It is sturdy and well made.
It is great if you don't have a steady hand and are trying to capture something in particular, but as it doesn't have a lot of height it is not always ideal for these situations.
For what I wanted it for it has served me well. I would recommend it, but this tripod will not be for everyone. It would work for group shots or maybe capturing images of wildlife in your garden from your window, but if you're out and about and you're wanting to take wildlife photos so need a steady hand this isn't ideal because of the height restriction; you would still need a relatively flat platform to stand the tripod on and the ground will often be too low.
When I bought my Canon 1100D DSLR camera it came as part of a package with a camera case and two lenses.
One of the lenses was this Canon 75mm-300mm zoom lens.
~ Price ~
This lens costs £108.01 from Amazon.co.uk or £76.89 reduced from £110.95 from Play.com. It is also available from Curry's, Argos and specialist camera shops.
~ Appearance ~
The lens is quite bulky and quite heavy as well, particularly for an amateur like me. For a professional photographer this is considered lightweight. It is just under 6 inches in length and it extends to 8.5 inches.
It is black in colour with grips around the outside to help you to grip and twist the lens so that you can zoom in or out.
The lens comes with two lens caps; one on the back of the lens and one on the front. These are very important for protecting the lens. I always try to avoid touching the glass on either end of the lens to avoid getting finger marks or scratches on the glass.
~ In use ~
The lens is very easy to attach to the camera. The back lens cap twists off and then there is a red dot on the end of the lens, which you line up with a red dot on the camera and then twist it onto the camera until it clicks into place.
The lens is quite heavy and makes my camera feel very 'front heavy'. My camera has quite a lightweight body compared to other Canon cameras so some people with heavier camera bodies may find that their camera feels well balanced. If you use this with a tripod it is important to be sure that the tripod is sturdy and balanced so that it doesn't topple the tripod and cause damage to your camera and/or lens.
The lens is 75mm-300mm, which means it is best for taking pictures of subjects, which are quite far away. The subject should be a minimum of 1.5 metres away or else the lens will struggle to focus.
The lens has automatic and manual focus functions, which you select using a small switch on the end of the lens.
The automatic function will focus the camera for you when you press the shutter button, but using the manual function will allow you to twist the grips at the very end of the camera to adjust the focus yourself.
If you use the automatic focus and the camera fails to focus (usually due to being too close to something) it will not allow you to take a photograph. It will continue to attempt to focus every time you press the shutter button. When it does manage to focus it will then take a photo.
The main grips on the lens allow you to twist it to zoom in. There are measurements on the lens to show what distance you are shooting at. Photographs taken at 300mm will be zoomed in more than photographs taken at 75mm and the lens is full stretched out at 300mm.
The grips on the lens are comfortable and easy to adjust.
The aperture range, which is the amount of light that the lens allows in, is between F/4.0-5.6. This seems to be a fair range for a zoom lens.
I have taken this lens out with me quite a few times, but it tends to be when I am deliberately going out to practice photography as in every day situations I tend to leave this behind and pick up my smaller, lighter 18mm-55mm lens, which is a bit more versatile.
On the occasions I have used this lens I have been happy with the majority of my results. My photographs are mostly sharp and on the occasions I have produced poor results it was a result of me experimenting with the manual camera settings and not quite getting it right.
The lens is great for wildlife photography or even taking portraits while you are out and about.
You can't go too far wrong using the automatic settings and focus.
I think everyone will be able to produce good results that they are happy with with this lens. It is not just for experienced photographers to use.
It is one of the cheaper zoom lenses that you can buy so it is ideal for beginners who are keen to experiment.
I bought this fragrance last summer.
DKNY released 3 of these Art edition fragrances early last year:
Be Delicious Fresh Blossom Art (the pink one)
Be Delicious Art (the green one)
Golden Delicious Art (the golden one - the one I am reviewing now)
I already had the Be Delicious Fresh Blossom Art and Be Delicious Art editions when I bought this.
~ Price and availability ~
I bought this fragrance when it was on offer for £28.80 for the 50ml eau de toilette, reduced from £36.00 in Boots.
DKNY Golden Delicious Art is also available at Superdrug, The Perfume Shop, Debenhams and most other department stores at around £36.00.
It comes as a 50ml eau de toilette and is not available as an eau de parfum or in larger or smaller bottles.
~ Bottle ~
The bottle is much like all of the other bottles in the DKNY Delicious range. It is rounded, but not spherical. The bottle sits quite low.
The bottom of the bottle is made from clear glass, but the top of the bottle is made from silver reflective plastic.
It has a triangular spray release button, which is on the top of the bottle and also made from silver reflective plastic. The spray comes from a hole in the front of the silver plastic top.
A gold and white oval shaped apple sticker is stuck to the side of the plastic with, 'DKNY Golden Delicious 100% Pure New York' written on it.
The fragrance itself is a golden colour.
~ So what is so special about the bottle and what makes it part of the Delicious Art range? ~
The only difference in the bottle design is the top half of the bottle. The silver reflective plastic is covered in bold designs.
The designs look like figures of people jumping around. The designs are in thick bold print and just show the outlines of these figures and there are little lines next to the figures to indicate movement.
The 'art' is inspired by Keith Haring, who was an artist and social activist in New York City, first recognised for his public art in subways.
Haring died at the age of 31 in 1990 due to AIDS-related complications.
Donna Karan admired his work stating, "His works are not just visually attractive, but communicate by messages which I can relate to, I think".
The box for the fragrance also shows Keith Haring inspired designs and the lid of the box has the words, 'Delicious Art' and underneath is Keith Haring's signature.
I like the bottle design and the bold designs are busy and make the bottle stand out.
Although the 3 bottles in the range all have the same figure designs on the top, the boxes for the fragrances have different Keith Haring inspired designs on, which makes me think that the reason all of the bottle lids are designed the same may have a lot to do with cutting costs, but I do like the design.
~ Scent ~
The fragrance is very fresh with a floral edge.
The top notes are raspberry, bergamot and mango.
The heart notes are gardenia, lily of the valley and orange blossom.
The base notes are apple blossom, sandalwood and crystal amber.
The scent reminds me of apple. I think I can also detect the mango in this fragrance giving it a light fruity feel when it is first sprayed, but it is also quite floral. The lily of the valley is light and not too harsh.
I can tell there are more floral notes although I cannot pick them out individually. I am unable to detect the bergamot in this scent and I don't think it is very citrusy at all.
It is a light and fresh scent. It is very inoffensive.
I'd definitely place this fragrance firmly in the 'day time' category and I cannot imagine wearing it for nights out or special occasions.
The scent makes me think of spring time, but I would be happy to wear this fragrance all year round.
Being an eau de toilette, I was unsure of how this fragrance would last. I have a lot of fragrances from DKNY's Delicious range and I have found the longevity of their fragrances to vary quite a bit and it doesn't always correspond to whether the fragrance is an eau de toilette or an eau de parfum, which you'd expect to have better staying power.
I have found that this fragrance lasts on my skin around 5 hours, which isn't too bad.
I think this fragrance would suit women of all ages. It doesn't strike me as being particularly young or particularly mature. It is just a clean, light, fresh fragrance. I think the bottle design suggests that it is aimed towards younger women.
I really like the scent. It is very feminine and I think once it has settled on your skin it smells quite expensive as well.
I would recommend this as one of the better fragrances from the DKNY range.
I bought Lolita Lempicka's Eau de Desir last year.
Lolita Lempicka is a French fashion designer who has released dozens of fragrances.
~ Price and availability ~
This fragrance comes as a 100ml eau de toilette.
You can currently buy this online at Amazon.co.uk (direct from Amazon) for £28.50.
It is also available from fragrancedirect.com for £28.50.
The recommended retail price is £50.00.
~ Bottle ~
Eau du Desir comes in a large cylindrical bottle, which tapers a bit towards the bottom.
It is made from clear glass and it has floral and ivy designs imprinted onto the bottle and they are outlined in gold.
There is gold lettering across the front of the bottle, 'Lolita Lempicka Eau du Desir' and then on top of the bottle is a gold coloured, wood textured cylinder shape with a heart shape with an arrow through it imprinted on it, as if it has been carved in the wood.
Then on top of that sits a little purple stalk. This is made from frosted purple coloured plastic and when the stalk is pushed downwards into the bottle the perfume is sprayed. The spray comes from a tiny hole in the front of the stalk. The stalk is also on the apple shaped bottles, where it makes a bit more sense, but I don't think this bottle is shaped like any particular fruit!
The fragrance itself has a purple tinge to it.
It is quite a busy bottle and it is quite a nice design, but it does appear a little bit bulky.
~ Scent ~
The scent is very pleasant.
The top notes offer pure aromas of citruses and lemon verbena.
The heart notes are velvety violet accords and Sambac jasmine flowers.
The base note is opulent, sensual musk.
The fragrance is definitely reminiscent of other Lolita Lempicka fragrances, which come in the apple shaped bottle. I think this is down to the violet notes.
I can definitely detect something a bit more citrusy and clean when the fragrance is first sprayed, but then the violet becomes evident very quickly.
The violet works surprisingly well with the lemon, but as the citrusy notes die down, but they don't totally disappear, there is a lovely, soft violet scent, which I can't get enough of.
The violet is quite sweet, but more of a creamy sweetness and not a cheap sweetness at all.
This is a lovely fragrance. It is quite subtle on my skin and I would prefer it to be stronger.
I am more impressed with Lolita Lempicka's midnight fragrances, which seem to be stronger versions of this with the lovely violet scent, which dominates this.
This fragrance is still good, although it is only available as an eau de toilette.
I do notice it on myself when I am wearing it and it lasts on my skin for about 5 hours before wearing away.
I think it is definitely a day time scent rather than one for night time wear and it is very light and soft.
It is perfect for warm, sunny days.
I don't think anyone would find this scent offensive. There are no sharp notes in it. I think it would suit women of all ages. It doesn't strike me as being particularly young or old, just very light and fresh.
I would recommend Lolita Lempicka's Midnight Fragrances over this one as they are much stronger and smell very similar, but they are quite difficult to get hold of so if you can't find them or you'd prefer something a bit lighter then this isn't a bad choice either.