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When it comes to MP3 players, Apple are leading the way with their Ipods, and along with them the iconic white earphones. I thought that I should do a review of them due to their popularity and maybe put some people's minds at rest who may want to buy a pair but are not sure if Apple live up to the hype.
The earphones like all the other Apple products, have a monochrome, minimalist look to them. A hard, white and grey plastic case and a thin wiry mesh make the majority of the earphones, and rubber leads and jacks enable maximum flexibility. The wires which connect to the each individual earphones are joined together by a rubber connector which slides up and down in order to keep the wires straying. The earphones fit very snugly in your ears and hardly ever come out unless you accidentally catch the wires on something. The earphones are incredibly light, but on the other hand because the wires are so thin you have to be careful when winding up and storing the earphones. I usually just wind the headphones round my Ipod or Iphone, but after a while you can see the rubber jack being torn. This is usually the first signs that the earphone connection is going to go soon - there's nothing more annoying than having music going in just one ear!!
The sound quality though is fantastic - the music you'll hear will be crisp, clear and doesn't have the tinny or muffled effect that you often hear with very cheap earphones. Of all the earphones I have been through over the years, Apple do give the best sound quality. Like I mentioned earlier though, once the jack starts to fall apart the earphones haven't got that long left. I've been through 3 sets of Apple earphones, a pair for each time I've bought an Ipod or Iphone, and they usually last about 6-8 months which is a long time considering I use them on a daily basis and carry them everywhere with me. One problem which I always have with these kind of earphones is that if you wind them up and put them in your pocket, it takes ages to unravel them again! I think a retractable design (a bit like a tape measure) which winds the wires up for you would be amazing, I've seen the design on a couple of other earphones and have always wondered why Apple hasn't cottoned on to the idea. Another problem is the fact that people around you can easily hear your music, even when it is not that loud - trust me I've had complaints from parents in the car! In conclusion then, the earphones give out great sound quality, but you have to take good care of them as they are rather delicate, get tangled easily and the music will be heard by not just you but everyone else!
Apple headphones are advertised at 26.00 on the official Apple website but can be found for FAR FAR cheaper online at Amazon and Ebay. If I do want to buy an Apple product I never go to an Apple store as they will always give you the RRP price, whereas you can go somewhere else and grab the same thing for a fraction of the cost. Please bear this in mind!
I've suffered from having eczema on my legs ever since I was a child, so I've always been careful when choosing skin products. Cheap razors were definitely a no-no for me, and I wanted a shaving product that would reassure me that my skin would not be ruined after shaving.
-The Soap Bar -
The main attraction to buying this product was the unique soap bar that attached around the blade. It saves on you having to buy shaving foam or other moisturizing products, and makes moisturizing a lot quicker too. The soap bars lather really easily with a bit of water, but if you're in the shower the bars can shrink and bits can break off pretty easily. I always find that the bars do not last as long as the blades so eventually you end up with little/no moisture on your skin, occasionally leaving me with razor burns.
-The Blades -
Each razor has 4 blades with a small blue strip underneath (I think this is for extra moisture but I don't see it having any amazing effects on my skin!) Like the soap bar, the blades are very sharp and work very well at first, they give a very close shave so you only have to drag the blades lightly across your skin. The blades are also on a flexible pivot which is useful for dragging it along curvy and awkward bits of the body. However you have to apply a bit more pressure and it gets a bit uncomfortable once the blades become a bit blunt. My legs can be smooth for a couple of days afterwards, but as with shaving, the hairs can come back very quickly so don't be fooled into thinking that this razor will leave you with smooth legs for weeks on end!
- Handle -
The handle for the blades is an attractive blue colour (to blend in with traditional bathroom decor, i presume) and has a plastic and rubber coating. The handle is ergonomically curved so you can hold it easily, and a hard plastic cover is included which clips over the blades to keep them clean (and out of the way of those with small and inquisitive hands!) One bad thing about the handle though is that it will only allow the matching Wilkinson Sword Intuition blades and as a result you can't use any other alternatives...
- Price -
The blades I find are very expensive everywhere I look and are rarely on offer in Boots/Superdrug. The razor handle and 'starter' blade are currently 5.85, and the replacement pack, which has 3 blades, costs 6.79 in Boots at the moment (28/4/12). Each blade may last about 2/3 weeks (I try to use them about once a week so I don't damage my skin too much) before I have to change it for a new one. As you guess, shaving does get rather expensive after a while, so I've recently tried waxing and I'll do this until I can save up for an IPL hair removal kit which will permanently get rid of the hairs.
In summary then, a good razor at first but the quality of the shave and moisturizing decreases very rapidly. Still it makes shaving quick and easy if you don't have time in the shower!
A wise woman once said to me "A woman's eyebrows can make or break a face"...and having given Rimmel's brown Eyebrow Pencil a try, I now know what she was going on about! When it comes to makeup, I guess a lot of women just concentrate on the basics - foundation, lipstick, eyeshadow...but eyebrows can be sometimes neglected. In my opinion this gives the finishing touch!
I was originally recommended this colour by an assistant in Superdrug - having never bought an eyebrow pencil before I asked her what she recommended this product in brown for 2.99, a very cheap price. I have dark brown/black eyebrows which are quite sparse, so when I used this I made sure to blend the strokes into my skin with my finger and the brush which is very handily fitted onto the cap. The brush works quite well doing this and it gives a soft, natural look to my eyebrows.
The only disadvantage that I've had with this is that the cap can come off quite easily (perhaps it should have a cap that clicks on rather than slides on?) This has happened a couple of times, as a result the nib of the pencil broke. When I tried to resharpen the pencil, it kept on breaking due to the softness of the lead, so I had to go out and buy another one. For 2.99 I didn't mind getting a new one as it lasts for quite a long time, but this is one disadvantage you might want to bear in mind if you're thinking of getting one. Apart from that though, it does work very well and makes my eyebrows stand out (in a natural way of course!)
I hate them.
I have tons of them all over my nose so it looks like a strawberry - not the greatest of looks. Scrubs scrub my skin but don't clear out the pores, so a couple of years ago I had to try a more drastic approach to combating my blackheads, and I started with Superdrug's Tea Tree Nose Strips, which are basically stickers which you apply to your nose when wet, to attract all the bacteria and dirt out of your pores (the bacteria is what makes the pores go black in the first place).
You get 6 nose strips, individually sealed within a small green box (a bit larger than a cigarette packet). I like the fact they are individually sealed so they won't get dirty easily, and if you're away from home on a holiday you can just take a couple with you rather than the whole box. On the back of the box and the packaging for each individual strip there are clear instructions and a diagram showing you how to use the strips. This is very important because if you don't follow them the strips will not stick to your skin as efficiently, nor pull as much gunk out of your pores.
- The Strips -
Unlike Boot's own tea tree strips, the Superdrug ones are shaped ergonomically with small slits to fit along the contours of your nose. This is very handy as it enables the strip to attach to the pores in the corners of the nose. The instructions state that you have to make sure your face is wet before applying the strip, as it reacts with water and makes it stick to your skin. It does this very easily, once its on it wont budge and you can leave it for about 10-15 minutes before taking it off again. The strip hardens and becomes stiff - when it does this is the ideal time to take it off. This is the moment of truth - it's quite painful at first (the skin under my eyes is quite thin so I needed to be extra careful here!) Pulling the strips off is similar to waxing - it's painful at first but you get used to it after a while! The strips take off about 60% of the bacteria/dirt from my pores but if I make sure the strip is attached flat to my skin then this will increase. It's quite nice knowing that your face has had a detox, and the proof is in the pudding when you look at the strips afterwards. As addictive as it can be though, Superdrug recommend that you should only use this once every 3 days - this is because the strips can also take out your natural moisture as well as the dirt, and using it every day can actually do more harm than good. The tea tree oil in the strips does help keep your nose moisturized but not oily looking, and my skin feels a lot smoother afterwards. To shrink the pores however and decrease the size of the blackhead I would recommend using a toner.
As far as I am aware, all the nose strips on the high street can be pretty expensive (Boire being top-price I think). Superdrug's strips are 3.99 for 6 but they often do special offers where you can buy one get one free, or mix and match with some of the other tea tree products. This is when I usually stock up on the strips and a box of 6 can last me for at least a month.
I've literally just come back home from a night out with full war paint on my face and am too tired to get the proper make up remover products out, so I've used the Soap and Glory - Off Your Face face wipes as an alternative tonight...I usually use wipes on my face, often from the Simple range as I have fairly sensitive skin and mild acne on my face, but I was given these wipes as part of a Soap and Glory Christmas gift set so I may as well put it to good use.
The packaging is in a similar style to other competitive brands like Simple and even Boots/Superdug's own wipes. As in the picture, you get 25 wipes in a pink sealed plastic wrapping about 3 by 4 inches square, which has a small plastic resealable label on the front to keep the remaining wipes nice and fresh. This label does work quite successfully, I'm about halfway through the packet and the moisture inside is still retained. As with all other S&G products it has that girly, glamorous look to it which I love.
The wipes are quite big for their size but as a result are very thin, they also have a bobbled raised surface to them which as far as I am aware makes these wipes unique compared to all the other brand wipes I've tried in the past. Not really convinced that this makes a vast improvement on how successful the wipes are though! They have a fresh smell to them which is not at all overpowering, similar to a light girly perfume. I can get a bit paranoid by the smell of wipes, if the smell is too strong I won't trust it on my skin, but this has a nice balance for me. The wipes work quite well on my face, it removed all my foundation, lipstick and eyeshadow easily with a couple of sweeps, but due to the thinness of the wipes it is hard to see what exactly has come off your face. It left my skin feeling refreshed but not that moisturized, I have fairly dry skin so a moisturiser is needed immediately after using the wipes or I can feel my face tightening - almost like I've had Botox! It claims on the packaging that it makes your pores shrink but I haven't seen any changes whatsoever which is a real disappointment :(
As I said I got this as part of a S&G gift set, they do several of these throughout the year and are very popular with Boots customers. You can buy these separately at 4.50 for 25 which is very expensive when in my opinion you can get better ones at a much cheaper price. S&G are part of Boots indulgent, high end brands and I am a big fan of their products, however this one isn't worth it at that price. Once my packet is finished I'll be switching back to Simple wipes as these are kinder to my skin and are cheaper...but if I was given these wipes for free again I'll still use them up as an alternative or if I run out of Simple wipes.
I thought that I should do a review about this game as everyone seems to have an opinion on it, from those who play it on a regular basis, who spend every waking minute intent on 'prestiging' or 'levelling up' weapons to those who watch from the sidelines with disdain...
For those who many not know what Call of Duty is about (or COD as known by regular players), but it is a first-person shoot-em-up game, with lots of violence, blood and guts and is set in a wartime setting. I think the sub title "Modern Warfare" is a massive give away, hence the 18 rating! This one in the COD franchise is set in a fictional war involving France, Germany, USA and the UK, and in both single player story mode and online multiplayer you can visit all these countries.
- Single player Story Mode -
So much emphasis is placed on COD's online multiplayer mode that many people forget or do not even realise this is supposed to have a background story. Much of this involves you being a soldier following your team leader as you and several other comrades sneak/battle through various war-torn settings. In between various checkpoints, cut scenes will appear explaining the story and they make it pretty clear what to do and what direction you need to go in order to reach your checkpoints. This goes on for roughly 5 hours (the time my boyfriend and I completed it on Normal mode) and can get a bit tedious after a while. But if you like a good story and like doing espionage-like activities (imagine Metal Gear Solid in first person) then you might like this...I'm not going to mention any storyline details though, I don't want to spoil it for those who want to buy it!
- Online Multiplayer Mode -
Here's where the fun REALLY begins. This is the main reason most people play Call of Duty games on a regular basis. Multiplayer mode allows you to act as an anonymous soldier, and you are assigned to a team of roughly 4-6 people who are also 'soldiers' online. Your group are then allocated an opposing team of a similar number (all soldiers played by online people too!) and the aim is to battle it out, killing your enemy's soldiers as many times as possible but without getting killed yourself. Dying in this game happens to everyone who plays this, but after a while you get used to the controls, running whilst simultaneously looking around etc and it does become great fun, believe it or not! Your team can go round a series of maps around the world, which correlate with the single player story mode (you can vote as a team which map or setting you want to play beforehand, a nice option which didn't feature on previous COD games). Also this simple head to head team battle is tweaked and made more interesting by the addition of several game modes (such as Capture the Flag, self-explanatory really but still involves shooting your enemy). The most popular though is the basic Team Deathmatch mode which I also play frequently, where the first team to 7500 points wins (each death is 100 points).
One of the annoying things about multiplayer mode though is that some people can communicate through your tv set with their bluetooth headpiece, you'll hear them talking a lot, and also going "Oh @*?!" when they die. Yes, some people online can be very rude so watch out for some bad language! I don't have a bluetooth headset so I can swear profusely in the comfort of my own home. The multiplayer mode can become tedious if you a) keep getting killed b) learnt the maps by heart c) find the gameplay/players too easy d) are constantly grouped with online players who cheat. The latter can be quite annoying but all you have to do is quit the round and go into another lobby and start a new game with new fresh players. What I do like about this mode is the large range of weapons (submachine guns, handguns, pistols, hand grenades, grenade launchers etc) and the graphics have improved dramatically as well. The attention to detail is amazing - there's one map called "Underground" based on London's underground stations, and in there you can find a parody of the London tube map! However since I come from London I can tell straightaway that they have 'Americanized' the maps a lot, ie. the zebra crossings, signs in the tube stations so not all the details are accurate.
- Special Ops -
The final mode you can play in this game is Special Ops, where you are given espionage missions to complete, much similar to the ones in the story mode, but this time you are against the clock. There are 3 medals to collect (gold silver and bronze) depending on how fast you complete said mission, and this will accumulate and add to your PSN trophy achievements (you get a gold trophy if you complete all of them). i would recommend playing this mode if you've only got about 20/30 minutes to kill as you can complete this quite quickly. Practice does make perfect of course, so you'll be tempted to replay some missions in order to beat your previous time.
- Price -
I bought this at exactly midnight on the very first day it came out - I queued up along with about 200 other gaming nerds (I was the only girl there, I believe) and not one person there was bothered about paying 40 quid for this game, everyone was far too excited to play it. Of course it has been out since November 2011 and has gone done quite a bit, last time I checked in GAME they were selling it for about 24 pounds but you can definitely get this cheaper online at Amazon and Ebay. People on Gumtree often sell this copy too as they know it is still in high demand despite being out for a while now.
- Summary -
Overall, MW3 is a vast improvement on its predecessor Black Ops (this was deemed a flop in comparison as it was made by an entirely different company with a different engine/graphics). The graphics, attention to detail, the storyline and maps are great advantages to this game (maybe I'm slightly biased as it includes my native London!) but Infinity Ward do not really offer anything new to the table since their 2 year gap inbetween MW2 and this. Don't get me wrong, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, but after a while the game does get rather repetitive in all three modes and soon you may be looking for another game to tickle your fancy. But in the meantime, unleash some stress and annoy some people halfway round the world by killing them on MW3 and you'll be a very happy gamer.
Charlie Brooker is a well known TV personality and critic, best known for his Screen/Games/Newswipe franchise and more recently ranting on 10 o'clock Live on Channel 4. Before he burst onto our screens, ranting about the problems of modern life, he was writing about them for his Screenburn column in the Guardian paper. This book is a collection of his articles regarding the week's TV schedule (dated from about 2000-2004).
Although the content and television programmes may seem dated now, Brooker's articles are still hilariously funny and dare I say true. If you murmur with disdain at reality TV and how it has corrupted the TV listings, then Brooker is your man. Be prepared for lots of colourful toilet humour, the odd swear word or two mixed in with some very clever similies and metaphors, and you get a wonderful writer who says it like it is.
I find Charlie is one of the few people who manage to clearly articulate what many of think, but find hard to put across. I definitely empathise with a lot of his comments in here about TV, but it's not all doom and gloom. He has articles dedicated to his love of 24, The Wire and The Sopranos. It's also quite nice to read about them in hindsight to see how television has evolved over the last few years (whether it's improved or not is certainly debatable).
This is the first compilation of Brooker's articles (the others being Dumb of the Dead and The Hell of It All), you can get this for about 4/5 pounds on Amazon and sometimes even cheaper in some HMV stores.
A great read and if you feel like ranting against the world, then this book will prove you are not alone.
I have always been a tomboy at heart, but after a photoshoot I did with a friend 2 years ago, I became more and more interested in makeup and the kinds of products that are on offer. The makeup lady at the photoshoot used only MAC make up on me and I was very impressed by the results, especially with this foundation.
Since then I have bought this for 20 pounds from Selfridges in London (you can buy this cheaper online though) and the foundation compact comes with a small mirror and sponge hidden underneath. The sponge I found was great for applying the powder at first but did not last that long - before I knew it I had to resort to using my other brushes to apply the foundation. The sponge works really well for getting into small crevices and corners of the face (eg. sides of nose, around chin area) which my brushes do not do as successfully.
The foundation I found lasted for a long time and covered my face quite evenly, I have combination skin where my forehead and cheeks can be dry whilst my nose and chin area are quite oily. It was great for covering the many blackheads I have on my nose, something that I feel a bit insecure about. It also sorts out blemishes, dark circles and redness on the skin, but if I apply to much I can see that the foundation starts to look flaky and dry.
After about 2/3 hours I find the majority of the foundation stays on, my nose gets a bit shiny which can be a bit annoying though, especially if I'm in a hot environment. It also comes off very easily at the end of the night with some wet wipes too.
One unit has lasted me for over a year (I wear the foundation on average once or twice a week), so for 20 pounds its well worth the investment. They have a great range of shades to choose from (I'm very pale so I go for N4)...there's a shade for every skin type so MAC will have one for you!
Last year when I was at university and sharing a flat with three other people, there was one beverage that we all could consume in seconds once it appeared in the fridge...
Tesco's Tropical Juice is a very sweet and refreshing drink - we decided to buy it as it is relatively cheap in comparison to other well-known brands like Tropicana and the Innocent smoothies range. At the time Tesco's would sell 1 litre for a pound, so very good value for money.
Apart from it being sweet, the drink itself is quite watered down, and not as thick or pulpy as some tropical juices can taste like. The colour is not too bright either, I am put off by the likes of Fanta and Orangina but this is has a vibrant, healthy colour and doesn't look like its omitting radiation. Some people maybe put off by such sweet drinks, often being reminded of the infamous Sunny Delight range which is well-known for its E-numbers and sweeteners. This drink is the same, but it still tastes and feels like a much healthier drink than other juices on offer.
Despite the sugary sweet ingredients, I would still recommend this as a suitable juice, its a very cheap alternative to brands like Tropicana/Innocent and yet tastes great. I just wish they made the drink in bigger cartons so it would last longer in my fridge!
This phone holds a special place in my heart, as I'm sure it does with many other people - it was my first mobile phone and despite having been through more technologically-advanced ones since, the Nokia 3310 just did the job.
Nokia made these back in the day before in built camera technology, apps and internet browsing - forget mp3s or even polyphonic ringtones - this had the infamous monophonic, preset tunes like 'Kick' - it even has a composer mode where you can make your own tunes. It seemed a bit complicated at first but when you got the hang of it you can be as creative as you liked with the music. I remember making the theme tune to 'Blackadder'!
The graphics of course are very basic in comparison to the high definition quality - a monochrome screen where you don't need a magnifying glass to see the pixels - but I feel this was one of the 3310's charming features - the flourescent green backlight that glowed in the dark gave a somewhat futuristic feel to this phone too.
The battery life is probably one of the best I've ever seen - I used this on a regular basis for over 5 years and the battery worked perfectly fine - a single charge which would take roughly an hour would last for days at a time.
However, what I feel most nostalgic about where the games - as an 11 year old I would play the classics like Snake and Space Impact - games which despite the basic graphics would keep you entertained for literally hours on end.
When it comes to texting and answering calls, this phone was one of the easiest to use. The volume on this was brilliant, unlike some phones this one could be loud! It also had a vibration setting which would make a very loud noise if you placed it on a table, this is due to the handset's large weight. Texting was made very easy and of all the phones I've had, I've been able to text the fastest on this phone. It has proper buttons that are efficiently spaced out enough, unlike the Iphone touch screen keyboard (I always make loads of mistakes with that due to my massive fingers!)
The only main disadvantage I have with this is the weight - the phone and charger are bulky and heavy in comparison to the slimline models we now see advertised everywhere.
If you want a phone that does the basic requirements of sending/receiving texts and calls, as well as the odd entertaining game or two, then this is a brilliant phone for you. It may seem to some like a dated brick of yesteryear that should now be put in a museum and forgotten, but it does the job and will stand the test of time. They are really cheap to pick up now from Amazon and Ebay, have a look on Gumtree too as some people maybe giving them away for free now...since this was one of Nokia's most popular models the accessories (such as the 1-ton charger) are very easy to get hold of too.
If you do get this phone, I hope you have as much fun as I did with my 3310!