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alicet8

alicet8
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Member since: 22.03.2012

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      16.04.2012 20:50
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      Great licorice that provides a healthier snack option to satisfy sweet tooths!

      There is no doubt about it, I love to snack! I am constantly picking up new things when I go shopping to give them a try. However, it is important to me that at least some of the things that I buy are slightly more towards the healthy end of the scale and so when I saw this Panda Licorice Bar and all its claims of being all natural and low fat I thought that I would give it a try.

      I picked this up in Sainsbury's and it cost me 45 pence for a single 32g bar. The licorice bar is long and thin and comes in a plastic wrapping. I have to admit that the packaging of the bar really appealed to me. It was mainly black with yellow accents and also featured a picture of a charming little cartoon panda.

      Upon opening the packaging I was instantly hit with the distinctive smell of licorice and this gave me quite high hopes for the licorice. Immediately upon biting into the bar I noticed a difference in the texture that I had been used to when eating licorice previously. I had been used to licorice being incredibly tough and actually quite difficult to eat but this definitely wasn't the case with this Panda bar. It was very soft and very easy to bite through, not anything like the struggle I have had in the past! I really enjoyed this difference in texture. It is something I had never come across in all my licorice eating years and it definitely made a pleasant change!

      Licorice is definitely one of those tastes that you will either love or hate and I really love it! Therefore I was a little disappointed with the flavour of the Panda bar. It was a lot more subtle than I had tasted in the past. It just didn't have the bite I was looking for. It definitely wasn't unpleasant but it just wasn't very strong tasting. However, I know a lot of people are put off by the strong taste of other licorice and so I would definitely recommend that they give this a try. I would also say that other licorice does tend to leave a slightly unpleasant aftertaste but the complete opposite is true of the Panda bar. It left a really lovely, almost creamy, aftertaste in my mouth that I really enjoyed.

      So what about Panda's claims that its licorice is all natural? Well after looking up the list of ingredients I was very shocked to see that there were only four; molasses syrup, wheat flour, licorice extract, and natural flavouring (aniseed oil)! So that's no artificial colours or flavours and no preservatives! It is also a very low fat treat containing just 0.1g and 99 calories per bar. For the purposes of comparison a standard Mars bar contains 260 calories! For me this is definitely a good alternative to slightly less healthy snacks that satisfies my sweet tooth.

      After having enjoyed this bar I did a little more research on the Panda licorice and found that they do several other flavours, including raspberry and blueberry, that I would be very eager to try. These don't seem to be as widely available to buy but the best places to go seem to be health food shops such as Holland and Barratt.

      On the whole, I was really impressed by the Panda Licorice bars. They provide a fairly healthy, all natural snack for when I want something a little sweeter. Yes, they lack a little of the strong flavour that I am used to but the soft and easy to eat texture more than makes up for this. I will definitely be buying these again and I will hopefully be able to track down some of the other flavours as well!

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        15.04.2012 22:26
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        Good alternative to more expensive low fat brands

        My flatmates are always making fun of me because I am forever getting weird food cravings that simply refuse to disappear until I give in and allow myself to indulge. The other week I was very suddenly struck with an intense desire to eat some rice pudding. I dutifully took myself off to Tesco knowing that it would be easier to just get it out of the way instead of dragging it out for the next week and a half.

        In the past I have always been loyal to the brand Ambrosia but when I got to Tesco I was outraged to discover that they only seemed to stock the low fat version! Now I don't know about you but when I am treating myself I like to go all out. I like to know that I am being a little naughty and low fat will simply not do! The only rice pudding on the shelf that didn't seemed to be aimed at dieters was this Tesco Value version and so in my basket it went.

        Now, I have to admit I wasn't expecting a lot. I paid under 20 pence and got 400g can of rice pudding, which is slightly smaller than the other cans on the shelf. It featured the typical branding of the Tesco Value range, which makes heavy use of the colours red, white and blue. Usually this doesn't really bother me but for some reason I just found the packaging to be very depressing on this particular product. It just did not inspire me and in no way made me excited to try the can's contents. In fact, I was so uninspired by the packaging that it actually made my cravings disappear (just to make it clear, this has never happened before) and so the can sat in my cupboard for a few weeks before I bothered to try it.

        Once I finally got over my package snobbery and got the lid off the can (you will need a can opener, no fancy ring pulls here) I was pleasantly surprised. The contents looked and smelt very similar to what I was used to from Ambrosia, lots of puffs of rice in a nice creamy sauce. I do prefer rice pudding to be warm and so I decided to heat up half the can.

        I followed the instructions on the back of the can for microwave heating and when I took the bowl out the microwave I noticed quite a difference in the consistency of the rice pudding. The creamy sauce had thinned out dramatically and the ratio of rice to sauce was just ridiculous. Each spoonful only had a few grains of rice accompanied by a lot of liquid, which I found to be very runny and actually quite difficult to eat. In the end I just gave up and threw away the remainder of the rice pudding!

        Later I decided to try the remaining half of the can without heating it up first and I was slightly more impressed. This time the consistency of the rice pudding was a lot more like what I was used to and you got a decent amount of puffs of rice per spoonful. The rice itself was nice and fluffy, which I was quite pleased to find, and had a generally good texture. I quite liked the taste of the rice pudding and didn't find it to be too sweet and so I was able to swirl in some jam without causing sugar overload!

        My only complaint taste wise would be that it wasn't incredibly creamy tasting. I do like rich and creamy rice pudding and this isn't something that really delivered in those aspects. After a little more investigation I discovered that this rice pudding is actually made with skimmed milk so this probably explains a lot!

        Overall I couldn't help but be a little disappointed by this product. I had wanted a creamy, indulgent treat and that isn't really what it delivers. Also, the whole thing seems to go to pot when heated up. However, I don't think that this product should be discounted entirely. It is generally quite pleasant tasting and definitely great value for money. It seems to be more similar to the low fat rice puddings I had been trying to avoid and so would be great value for someone who does buy those products. Unfortunately, what I want from a can of rice pudding is definitely not low fat and so I won't be buying this again.

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          05.04.2012 17:14
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          Lovely lip balm that works!

          This winter I had a real problem with my lips. They were cracked, they were sore and they were causing me a lot of pain. I had always used Vaseline in the past but for some reason it just didn't seem to be cutting it and so I decided to try Carmex because it has been so widely raved about.

          Now I have to admit that even with all the positive things I had heard about this product I had always thought it was quite pricy for a lip balm and so when I saw it in one of those discount beauty stores for a little over a pound I picked one up straight away feeling quite pleased with myself. Both Boots and Superdrug sell this tube for £2.69 normally, so at less than half price I got a bargain!

          The lip balm comes in a small squeezable tube and you get 10g of product. The packaging is quite simple featuring a bright yellow tube and a red screw cap. The tube is a nice size to just throw in your handbag and the bright colours make it really easy to locate when you want to use it. I hate having to rummage around for ages to find what I am looking for!

          Now, to use this product you just squeeze a little out of the tube onto your finger and then rub it in to your lips. I was quite surprised when I first used this product because it turned out to be quite a thick, clear gel consistency whereas I had been expecting something slightly runnier. The packaging states that my tube is cherry flavour and there is a smell of cherries that is quite nice, although nothing particular special. However, once applied to the lips this is completely overwhelmed by a smell and taste of mint, one of the ingredients is menthol, which was a bit of a weird combination.

          Carmex is jam packed full of ingredients that all seem to have some sort of healing properties such as moisturising, killing germs, exfoliating and anaesthetising and it does feel like it is actually doing something when it is applied. When I have rubbed the product into my lips I instantly feel a cooling sensation and my lips feel a little tingly, as if the Carmex is working its magic! The products sinks into my lips incredibly fast meaning no sticky lips. I am immediately left with softer and more moisturised lips that no longer cause me any pain. This product also includes an SPF 15. Although this isn't something that I was necessarily looking for it was an added bonus.

          On the whole this is a lovely product that did provide me and my lips with a lot of relief. I did stop using it in the end because I grew to dislike the weird cherry and mint combination but it is something that does work and I could always just try the original flavour!

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          • Galaxy Instant / Soft Drink / 49 Readings / 49 Ratings
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            01.04.2012 13:11
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            Lovely hot chocolate made using water.

            Who doesn't like to snuggle up on a cold winter evening with a nice mug of hot chocolate? I know I certainly do. Although I do like to try out a lot of different brands, Galaxy Instant is one that I always come back to sooner or later.

            It comes in a 370g jar that will cost about £2.20 and is available to buy in most grocery stores. It is instantly recognisable as being a Galaxy product because the packaging features the same branding as the chocolate bars, a swirly background featuring varying shades of brown and the Galaxy brand name. The jar has a screw lid that I found very easy to use and doesn't stick at all. When the product is first opened there is a protective layer of foil that has to be peeled off before you can get to the powder inside, which is obviously there for hygiene reasons. I guess it is always a comfort to know that the things you buy have not been tampered with in any way. The packaging does state that it is recyclable as well.

            In general I really like the way this product is packaged. The opening at the top of the product is nice and wide so it is easy to fit a spoon in to scoop out the powder. However, I am now going to contradict myself slightly. When the jar is very nearly empty it can be a little difficult to get the last remaining bit of powder out because of the way that the jar is curved and so I often find myself tipping it out, which can be a little messy!

            To make up the hot chocolate you have to put 4 teaspoons of the powder into a mug and then top up with hot water. I think it advises to use about 200ml of water but I never measure this. I have seen a lot of people stressing that the water should be hot but not boiling but I always forget and I don't think it really makes any difference!

            My flatmates were all horrified when they first saw me make up some of this hot chocolate without using milk but I let them all try some and they all seemed to be pleasantly surprised. Despite using water and not milk the hot chocolate is actually very creamy and chocolatey, not at all watery. I really like the taste of it and I think it is very similar to how Galaxy chocolate bars taste. I prefer it to the Cadbury version, which is a little bitter for me. It feels like such a treat at the end of a long day! Each mug of this hot chocolate contains 97 calories.

            My only criticism would be that because you have to use such a large amount for each mug you get through the jar very, very quickly. I remember being shocked when I realised I was over half way through the jar after only a few uses. It is possible to use slightly less powder per mug but this obviously results in a more watery taste. Due to this I wouldn't recommend this product if you like to have hot chocolate every day as you will be forever buying the stuff and it will quickly become quite expensive. It is something that I like to reserve for a special treat.

            This really is a very good instant hot chocolate. I love the taste a lot. I think that it gives the creaminess and flavour of a hot chocolate that has been made with milk but without all the added faff that involves. Delicious hot chocolate is now only a boil of the kettle away!

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            31.03.2012 17:48
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            A hand lotion that really helps hands get back to normal during the winter.

            I think a lot of women can identify with the problems I have with my hands during the winter months. I would describe myself as having fairly sensitive skin and so I often find that when temperatures drop my hands dry out and can become very painful. Therefore a good hand cream is an absolute essential for me and I think I have found something that really works in the form of this Vaseline lotion.

            I initially came across the product after receiving it in a gift set but since then I have bought it myself for £2.59 from Boots. For this you get a 75ml tube of product, making it a good size to just throw in your bag. I like the packaging; it is clean and simple and mainly features the colours blue and pink. The main tube is quite a pale pink, which gives the product quite a feminine feel. It has a separate dark blue plastic base that has a flip lid and on which the product can stand up. I like that the product opens at bottom so the product is at its easiest to get out. On the whole the packaging feels like it is very good quality. The lid closes with a satisfying click and feels very secure when closed. I don't that there is any chance of a leakage occurring, which is particularly reassuring because I do carry this around with me.

            The lotion contains vitamin E, which I was pleased to see. Vitamin E is quite well known as being good for the skin and so I now specifically look for it in the skincare products that I use. It also has keratin in it, which is a protein found in skin, hair and nails and something that is particularly effective when used on those areas.

            The lotion itself is white and is lightly fragranced. I quite like how the product smells; to me it is very fresh smelling. This smell does linger on the skin but not in a very noticeable way and so I don't find it to be off-putting at all. A small blob is enough to cover both hands and once it has been rubbed in I can feel an immediate difference in the state of my hands. This lotion is incredibly moisturising and really acts to soothe my skin where there are areas of soreness. I think it also makes my hands appear visibly less damaged. The formula is in no way greasy and sinks into the hands incredibly quickly leaving them a lot softer. I started off applying this every few hours but the longer I used it for I found that I needed to reapply less and less often. This product was a lifesaver for me this winter. Never before had I found a product that had such fast and impressive results.

            Now, as for the claims the product makes about strengthening nails by 50% I would have to say that I really haven't noticed any difference. I didn't even realise that this product was designed as being a hand AND nail lotion until I looked at the tube in greater detail for the purposes of this review! Keeping this in mind, I therefore didn't really spend any time working the product into my nails and so it is possible that if I were to do this I would notice more of an improvement in the state of my nails. I don't see myself doing this though.

            Even though I do love this hand lotion I did find some things about it that were slightly annoying. Firstly, you have to be careful to make sure to always wipe around the hole where the product comes out after each use else you will get a build up of dried lotion that doesn't look nice and also prevents any more product being squeezed out. Secondly, the lotion itself is quite thin. Although this meant that a little went a long way on my hands it also meant that it came out of the tube very fast and I often squeezed out far too much by accident. Due to this I found that there was a lot of product going to waste and that I go through the tube a lot faster than I would have liked. It could be possible to solve this problem by making the hole the product comes out of slightly smaller.

            Overall though, I truly love this product. The little niggles that I have with it are truly outweighed by just how well it works to soothe and repair the damage the cold weather inflicts on my hands. I would recommend this to anyone who wants something that really works to help their hands through the winter months.

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            30.03.2012 18:50
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            Good idea that doesn't quite meet expectations. Other products in the range are a lot better.

            In my house I prefer to make everything from scratch that can be. The one noticeable exception to this is pastry. Making pastry is such a pain and it can so easily be over-worked or just generally give less than perfect results. I find that a really reliable alternative to homemade pastry is the pre-packaged stuff and I even once heard Delia recommend it, which instantly calmed all the guilty feelings I had about cutting corners.

            I have always used Jus-Rol pastry in the past. It is a good trusted brand and has delivered on quality time and time again. I had never used the ready rolled stuff before but it was all that was left in the shop on one particular visit and so I thought it would do. Unfortunately I was left a little disappointed.

            The pastry comes packaged in a long, thin cardboard box. The branding is the same as on all the other Jus-Rol products which are colour coded according to what type of pastry it is. So the packet I bought had a light blue background to show that it is shortcrust pastry whereas the puff pastry features a green background and I believe that the filo pastry comes in a packet that has a purple background. I find this to be a useful design feature, as I know how easy it is to just take a quick glance at something without properly checking the specifics and then end up coming away with the wrong thing.

            Inside this cardboard box you find a single sheet of pastry that has been rolled up with a plastic sheet that stops the pastry from sticking to itself. Although I can't find anywhere how big this sheet of pastry is meant to be I did find that it was a little smaller than I had expected, probably no bigger than 35cm x 25cm, although that is a very crude estimate.

            As soon as I took the pastry out of the packet I immediately noticed a difference to what I was used to. The pastry had an almost grey tinge to it and seemed to be very wet and sticky. I had to use a lot of flour to stop the pastry sticking to the surface of the table where I was working with it.

            I also thought that the pastry was very thick. So thick in fact that i actually had to roll it out some more. Considering this is a product which has the selling point of being ready rolled this felt a little ridiculous. The whole point of people buying this product was to avoid the faff of having to roll the pastry out for themselves and so to end up having to do it anyway was a little disappointing and made the whole product seem a little pointless. It may seem like I am being a little dramatic but it just felt like one big inconvenience. The one upside to this was that it made the sheet of pastry a little bigger and so it stretched a bit further than I had previously thought it would.

            Once cooked the pastry looked and tasted very similar to how Jus-Rol products had in the past, which was cause for great relief because I had been expecting disastrous results after everything I have written above. I know the finished product should be all that matters but all the extra hassle did make me feel slightly less excited about my baked goods than usual.

            Finally, I think it is worth mentioning that this product has to be taken out of the fridge for at least half an hour before you use it. Although it does state this on the back of the packaging it wasn't something that I noticed until I came to use the pastry so it was a little annoying to have to find something else to do for a while and I think goes a long way to explain why I was so easily irritated by it later on. In all honesty, I am not entirely sure how essential it is to follow this instruction but seeing as this was my first time using the product I wanted to follow the directions exactly. I have heard of a few people being caught out by this so maybe this information needs to be made more prominent on the packaging.
            Overall, I wasn't entirely impressed with this product. It is obviously designed to be a convenience product what with it being ready rolled and because of this you get a lot less actual pastry for your money. I don't mind paying a premium for convenience if the product is up to scratch but in this case it just isn't. To me it is madness to market a product as being ready rolled when in fact it is far too thick to be of any use and you still have to roll it out a bit yourself. I certainly won't be bothering to buy it again. Instead I will stick to the other products in the Jus-Rol range.

            Still want to give it a try? This product is available in supermarkets but really varies in price depending on where you shop. You can pay from £1 up to about £2.40 for 320g. This product can be frozen as long as it is used within a month.

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              29.03.2012 21:15
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              Good quality toothbrush without all the unnecessary extras

              What is going on with the price of toothbrushes lately?! A quick trip into Superdrug the other day resulted in me nearly having a mini heart attack. All the brands seemed to be peddling their wares for around £5 or in some cases even more. And this was for one individual toothbrush! Insane. The whole thing left me with the feeling that i was missing something. For me a toothbrush is just a plastic stick with some bristles stuck on the end so why do they cost so much? Have they started sprinkling them with gold dust?

              After i had gotten over my initial shock and was breathing normally again i began hunting the shelves for something a bit more reasonably priced. I came across the Wisdom Xtra Clean toothbrushes in a four pack that had been labelled as being great value. It actually was as well! I paid about £1.85 and i skipped out of Superdrug with my faith in the world restored. I had managed to buy 4 toothbrushes for about a third of what other brands expected me to pay for just one!

              So what did i actually get for my money? Four toothbrushes that in all honesty were pretty basic. Each of the four came in a different colour, i got a blue, green, purple and pink, making them great for families or just to provide some variety for those of us who get bored easily. Each toothbrush had medium bristles and a simple plastic handle that got thicker towards the end meaning that you could get a good, firm grip of the product. The toothbrushes also featured some rubber grips in a slightly darker colour on the handle that also help to improve grip. The thickened handle does mean that this toothbrush won't fit in my toothbrush holder but i have found this to be quite common with most new toothbrushes. I definitely appreciate the improved grip that the thicker handle provides and so i really think it is more a case of manufacturers needing to make something that accommodates larger toothbrushes.

              Now although this wasn't the fanciest toothbrush i have ever used i found that it did its job really effectively. The neck had a surprising amount of flexibility and the head is sort of tapered at the top so that all areas of the mouth can be reached with ease. The bristles are also slightly angled so as to improve cleaning between the teeth. I did find the bristles to be fairly firm but they didn't at all irritate my gums in any way, which i was particularly impressed with as i do have a bad habit of brushing too hard. The head was a good size; not at all bulky, which is a pet hate of mine. My mouth has never felt anything less than perfectly clean and refreshed after using the product!

              I have been very impressed with the quality of these toothbrushes. Although i bought them for a bargain price the product doesn't at all look or feel cheap. It feels very sturdy in my hand and i really like the simple two-tone design. None of the bristles have fallen out whilst using the toothbrush, something that i have had happen to me even when using expensive toothbrushes and they keep their shape for a good amount of time. I get so sick of using a toothbrush only a handful of times before the bristles get so misshapen that it needs to be replaced. Thankfully i seem to have finally found one that is up to the job!

              As i have said before this is a basic toothbrush but it really does do the job it is supposed to. I feel that a lot of other toothbrushes include features that really aren't necessary and act more as gimmicks than really improving the product in any real way. For example, i really hate the tongue and cheek cleaners that have become so common these days. They don't work and just act to make the toothbrush head bulky in the mouth and uncomfortable to use. I really like that there are still products available that don't include these extraneous features.

              I have been really impressed with this pack of toothbrushes. For the price i really wasn't expecting a lot but instead i have found a great quality product that really provides a good clean for my teeth and something i will be sure to buy again. It is great to find a brand that seems to understand that not everyone wants to pay an extortionate price for gaudy designs and unnecessary features. All i ever want from a toothbrush is something that does the job and this is what this product really does deliver. I couldn't be happier!

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              28.03.2012 20:20
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              Great company with values you can respect that sells an amazing product.

              I first tried Ben and Jerry's ice cream as a child at the cinema and I haven't really looked back since. They completely opened my eyes to just how amazing ice cream could be! Before that magical moment I hadn't really been too fussed about ice cream. You had vanilla and you had strawberry and you had chocolate flavour. It was all a bit boring. If you were lucky you got a wafer or a few sprinkles. Not anything to get particularly excited about.

              Now no one could ever accuse Ben and Jerry's ice cream of being boring. Think deliciously creamy ice cream with some of the most original and exciting flavours I have ever come across. Cookie dough, chocolate brownie chunks, nuts, marshmallows, caramel, fudge and chocolate are just some of the many ingredients used in hundreds of different combinations to create some truly inventive flavours. I am not even going to try to list all of the Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavours here because there are just too many of them. In fact, it is a little difficult to find a definitive answer as to just how many there are exactly but the general consensus seems to be that there are over 100 including a few special editions. Yes, you read that right. Over 100 flavours! I don't think there are many other, if any at all, ice cream manufacturers that can boast that many! This means that there really is something for everyone, especially considering that they also make a few sorbets and frozen yoghurts! Everyone does have a favourite though. Mine is Half Baked although other popular choices include Cookie Dough, Phish Food, Baked Alaska and Chunky Monkey.

              Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream is available to buy in the majority of grocery shops in 500ml and 150ml sizes. In Tesco, where I usually shop, the small size costs £1.69 and the larger ones cost £4.45. This is fairly expensive but I have noticed that they are reduced to half price fairly regularly. This is an INCREDIBLY popular offer though so you have to move fast to avoid disappointment.

              They also have many scoop shops located all around the country, the majority of which seem to be mainly, but not exclusively, located in cinemas.

              My only complaint would be that not all flavours are stocked in all locations. This does make sense considering that there are so many; there just wouldn't be room! It can be a bit disappointing though when your favourite flavour isn't stocked in your local shop and it can take a bit of shopping around to track down the flavour you were after. However, I think it is a testament to just how good their ice cream is that their customers are willing to do this as I wouldn't really bother with any other brand. There are also quite a lot that don't appear to be available in the UK at all, which is a little disappointing.

              Not only am I a massive fan of the ice cream but I also really admire the company in general. Built up from scratch by lifelong friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, hence the name, from one ice cream parlour in Vermont it really is a massive success story. I have become quite familiar with the company over the years and I really respect the values it has.

              They don't seem to be one of those companies that are solely motivated by profits but seem to be genuinely trying to make the world a better place. Environmental issues are important to them and they are constantly working to try and lower their impact on the world in a variety of ways such as developing ways to make their packaging more eco-friendly or rethinking the ways in which they power their factories.

              Not only that but Ben and Jerry's are big advocates for the Fairtrade movement, which makes sure that the farmers that grow the crops that provide their ingredients are always given a fair price. They are currently in the process of making the entire company Fairtrade! Also, all of the brownies that feature in several of their most popular flavours are all supplied by the Greyston Bakery, well known for providing jobs for individuals from low-income backgrounds amongst other good work. Finally, all of the eggs they use in their ice creams come from free range sources and all of their ice creams are vegetarians.

              Finally, Ben and Jerry's have quite a reputation for promoting issues that they believe in. Most recently this is same sex marriage in the UK and to show their support for this cause they have named their apple pie flavour ice cream Apple-y Ever After and have created a tub featuring a same sex couple. This is not the first time that they have pulled such a stunt and things like this really do help to raise awareness for important issues.

              As you may be able to tell, I am a massive fan of Ben and Jerry's! It is a company with an amazing product and values that I have great respect for. They have perfectly branded themselves with most of their advertising featuring childlike cartoons that really reflect the fun and creativeness of the company. I think the only slight drawback is that their ice creams are not exactly healthy; in fact they can be quite calorific. Not surprising considering some of the ingredients I have listed above. However, they make for the perfect indulgent and decadent treat every so often that always manages to cheer me up. I do have to limit how often I allow myself to give in to my cravings because I can quite easily munch my way through an entire tub in one sitting. This ice cream really is THAT good.

              There is a longstanding joke that says women only need two men in their lives, one named Ben and one named Jerry, and i can totally see where that comes from. When you have ice cream this yummy not a lot else matters!

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                27.03.2012 22:58
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                Great biscuits although may not be suitable for guests.

                I felt a little guilty picking these up in Tesco the other day because i know just how easy it is to make shortbread from scratch. I fairly often whip up a batch much to the delight of my flatmates. However, sometimes you just want something in ready-made for when unexpected sweet cravings strike, fairly regularly if you are anything like me, and these seemed perfect to accompany a cuppa or as an after dinner treat.

                There is just something about shortbread that always seems a bit fancy and this is a feeling that can't even be squashed by plain and basic Tesco Value packaging. Featuring a picture of the fingers on a plain white background and lots of blue and red it doesn't exactly evoke fond memories of Scotland but i was still excited to get home and try them out.

                About 30 seconds after getting in the door the packet was open in front of me. Pale beige biscuits, lightly sprinkled with sugar and poked with a fork were what i was greeted with. Very similar to any other shortbread finger i have ever seen. Definitely off to a good start. My only gripe was that they seemed to be a little smaller than other brands.

                After the all important taste test i still wasn't disappointed. Sweet and buttery, exactly how i like them! They had a pleasing texture when bitten into and didn't crumble into a big mess. I was happy.
                Now, if you want to get picky then i have to admit that these weren't the most buttery i have ever tried. I did feel that the flavour they did provide was perfectly adequate for what i was looking for though. Sometimes i find that other brands can be a bit rich and so these are perfect for when i just fancy a sweet treat midweek. Now, if i had visitors i don't think that i would provide them with these biscuits, i would give them something a bit more luxurious, but these are fine for when it is just me.

                These biscuits are available from Tesco stores and cost me just 29 pence for 10. I am very impressed with these biscuits and they are something that i would definitely recommend, particularly if you find other brands overly rich like me. Amazing value for money and just generally another great product from the Tesco Value range.

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              • More +
                27.03.2012 20:00
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                Great addition to any make-up bag.

                Even though I am now in my twenties I am still very much of the opinion that a little glitter is always an appropriate addition to any look and so I am constantly on the lookout for new glitter products to add to my collection. My absolute favourite find has to be this Collection 2000 glittery eye liner.

                They are widely available from a variety of shops, I bought mine from Superdrug, at the amazing price of £2.99. You can sometimes pick them up for a little cheaper though as they are often included in offers. For that you get 6ml of product in a clear, plastic tube. Although it is fairly simple, I really like the packaging of this product. It feels very sturdy and not likely to break. The tube is a good size and so they are easy to store and because the tube is clear it is really easy to tell what the colour inside is without having to look at the lid.

                The eye liner comes in a huge range of colours, 14 in total, all of which are very wearable. I personally have 4 different colours; a silver, a purple, a gold and a blue.

                The main reason I love this product so much is because they are just so versatile and you can create any number of looks using just this one item. I am constantly finding new ways in which to use them. They are very simple to use; simply unscrew the lid and you will find a brush attached and away you go. The lid is fairly long and so you can get a good grip on it so you have a lot of control. The most popular way to wear this product is to draw a smooth line across the tops of your eye lids, as close as possible to the lash line. This may take some practice if you are new to liquid eye liner but does get easier with time. This can be quite subtle or more dramatic depending on how thick you decide to draw the line. You can also add cat flicks for a slightly more dramatic look. There is also the option to line the lower lash line with the eyeliner as well. Occasionally, I will wear this over my entire lid for total glitter overload! Obviously, the more you wear, the more dramatic your look will be so it is up to you to decide how glittery you want to be. Being a glitter product it is most suited to night wear but I have been known to use it during the day as well. I will use a little of the silver blended in with black eyeliner on my lower lash line and it really makes my eyes sparkle and always gets me compliments without being ridiculously OTT.

                I also quite like the look of glittery eyelashes and you can achieve that look with this product as well. Apply your mascara and wait for it to dry. Once it is dry, you can brush a light layer of this product onto your lashes and they will be nice and sparkly! Obviously, as this is an eyeliner product you have to be a little careful not to apply too much when using in this way as it could make your eyelashes clump a little but I do really enjoy the effect it gives.

                Finally, I love to use this product to paint glittery designs all over my body. Quite often I have used this product on the rest of my face or other areas of my body such as my arms. It can be quite handy for things such as fancy dress events to draw all kinds of shapes. For example, I once used the gold colour to paint lots of stars all over my face for an event I was attending. It worked really effectively and I received many compliments on my look. Although this isn't what the product is designed for, it doesn't irritate skin and so it is perfectly suited to this! Just imagine the fun you could have.

                The formula of the product is really nice to work with. It glides on smoothly and doesn't clump, which is ideal. It also has a good glitter payoff. I have tried so many products that just don't deliver on the glitter but this definitely isn't one of those. I would just give a warning that you should be careful not to interrupt the product before it has chance to fully dry as it will be likely to smudge. However, once you have left it for a few minutes it won't smudge and has amazing staying power.

                Removal is easy. When I get in from a night out I am far too lazy to cleanse properly but I have found that this easily comes off with make-up wipes.

                My only slight criticism of this product would be of the brush. Although it does do the job I have found that it often separates making it difficult to achieve total accuracy and precision. This is only a slight niggle though and the majority of the time doesn't make any real difference. It is only when I attempt to do something a bit more fiddly that this matters but even then it is nothing that a bit of perseverance can't overcome.

                On the whole this is a product that I really love. It allows me to be really creative with my make-up and provides the all important sparkle that I am after. Whenever I use this product I always get compliments and people asking me what I have used. It is so versatile and one of my favourite things in my make-up bag. It is such a good price and you get so much product, great value for money! I already have 4 of the colours but I am definitely going to buy some more.

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              • Tesco Value Custard Creams / Snacks / 33 Readings / 32 Ratings
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                25.03.2012 21:24
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                Taste as good as any other custard cream biscuit but at great value for money.

                I have to admit that custard creams have never been a favourite of mine but the other week when I was having some quite intense biscuit cravings I popped off to the shops and this is what I came back with care of the Tesco Value range. I think the Tesco Value range of biscuits is fantastic! They really do have such a variety and all at such amazing prices. I had tried several of the other types in the past, admittedly with varying degrees of success, and so knew that their custard creams would at least be worth a try.

                Firstly, the packaging. It is exactly what we have come to expect from Tesco Value. The customary colours of red, white and blue are heavily used and there is a picture of the product. All pretty standard. All the usual information, nutritional values, ingredients, storage etc, is there as would be expected. It isn't pretty but it does the job. I did have a few small issues with the packaging though that extended past aesthetics. As the biscuits are only wrapped in plastic there is absolutely no protection for the precious contents and so there were a few that came broken. Not a massive issue and is something that is quite common with biscuits in general but something that I felt was worth noting. Also, as the plastic wrapping was obviously quite cheap it seemed a lot thinner than on other brands and I felt that it ripped quite easily. Before I knew it, there was a massive rip that extended down the majority of the packet and that exposed most of the biscuits to the air. Not the best for keeping them at their best and something that could lead to sogginess! It was easy enough to transfer the biscuits to another airtight container but it was all a bit of a faff that I could have done without.

                Now on to the biscuits themselves and the all important taste test. As far as the appearance of the biscuits goes they looked exactly like every other custard cream I had ever seen. Two layers of pale beige biscuit with swirly designs on top sandwiched together by a creamy filling. I felt that the taste was quite standard as well. The cream filling had a lovely consistency to it and was really quite smooth. The biscuits were quite plain but had a nice texture and weren't soggy! I did find them to be a little sweet but I think this is more to do with my personal feelings towards custard creams and something I find with all brands. This meant that I only ate a few at a time, which I think is something my hips will thank me for! I feel safe having these in the house knowing that I can't polish off the entire packet in one sitting!

                My only slight niggle would be that the biscuits didn't seem to be very well sandwiched together. I would often take a bite of a biscuit and the bottom layer would come flying off. This made them a little messy to eat. Definitely not something to be munching in bed as there will be crumbs everywhere!

                You can find these biscuits in Tesco stores and they sell for about 30 pence for a 400g packet. This means you really get an awful lot of biscuits for the price you pay. I think they are tremendous value for money and are great for when you fancy a bit of a sweet treat. There really is very little difference between these Tesco Value biscuits and any of the more expensive varieties I have tried, particularly with the taste of the biscuits. As this is all that really matters to me these are something I will be buying again.

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                • Pocahontas (DVD) / DVD / 30 Readings / 29 Ratings
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                  25.03.2012 11:23
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                  A great family friendly animated film

                  My childhood was spent growing up through a period that has been called the Disney Renaissance, a time from the early to mid 90s when Disney got good again, to put it bluntly. The studio released many Disney classics during this time and one of these was Pocahontas, which was brought out in 1995.

                  Pocahontas tells the age old story of boy meets girl. However, as is often the case with these things, there are complications that keep the course of true love from running smoothly. In this case it is the fact that the star crossed lovers come from 2 warring parties. It's all a bit Romeo and Juliet.

                  John Smith is part of a group of settlers who sail from England in 1607 to the "New World" in order to find gold. They all seem to expect trouble from "savages" upon their arrival and the other men aboard the boat appear to view Smith as their secret weapon for any conflict as he has had experience with similar peoples in the past.

                  Then we have Pocahontas. She is the daughter of Chief Powhatan, the leader of the Native American tribe who are living in the area that the settlers arrive in and want to mine.

                  When the two meet it isn't instant fireworks like many other Disney films. Instead Smith makes a few badly judged comments throwing around words like "uncivilised" and "savage" directed toward Pocahontas and her people, which has the unsurprising effect of making her quite angry. She teaches him the error of his ways through the medium of song, well it is a Disney film after all, and the pair quickly falls in love.

                  Unfortunately, while Smith and Pocahontas are off falling in love with nature and each other the rest of their people meet in less than friendly circumstances. Shots are fired from both sides and they become sworn enemies. As the tension continues to rise, Pocahontas and John Smith only become closer as they struggle to bring peace between their people.

                  For me, Pocahontas has always had a fabulous mixture of characters. For starters, you have Pocahontas herself. Although obviously beautiful she is not the typical Disney princess. She is free spirited and independent often shown jumping from the tops of waterfalls and enjoying spontaneous white water rafting experiences in her canoe. She isn't just waiting around for her prince and is even seen rejecting the typical handsome prince figure, Kocoum, due to his lack of smile and personality. She was the princess I wanted to be! I had several Pocahontas dolls, a Pocahontas playhouse and Pocahontas fancy dress kit!

                  Others that particularly stand out to me are the three main animal characters that are featured. There is Meeko, the mischievous raccoon, and Flit, the fiery little hummingbird, and then Percy, the spoilt Pug. Although none of these characters can actually speak within the film, I found that they were some of the most memorable and hilarious characters in the film. The interactions between them have been put together very cleverly and at times are very funny and can still make me laugh out loud even after all this time.

                  This being a Disney film there is obviously a villain, a role filled by Governor Ratcliffe. Having proved to be quite unpopular at court, Ratcliffe is desperate to make an impression on King James by returning from the New World with piles of gold. This desperation makes him force his men to work in terrible conditions. He also shows a complete lack of compassion towards the Native American people already living in the area and is shown actively encouraging violence towards them. Although not a completely evil villain, he is a character that you will definitely love to hate.

                  I think it is also worth noting that Pocahontas is a film that has quite a few famous and well known actors voicing some of the characters. Mel Gibson does the voice of John Smith and there is also Billy Connolly and Christian Bale who do voices for some of the settlers. I found it quite interesting to learn that Mel Gibson did all of the singing for John Smith's songs himself, something that I only found out recently.

                  What with this being a Disney film it is only right that I should mention the songs of which there are several. Pocahontas has always had one of my favourite soundtracks of all the Disney films. Even as a child I found them to be incredibly powerful and emotive. My particular favourite was the opening song, "Steady as the Beating Drum". The songs fit in well with the film and several key points in the plot are set to song, which really helps to emphasise thoughts and feelings of the characters during those moments. I think my point is particularly backed up by the fact the film won two Oscars; one for Best Original Song for "Colors of the Wind" and the other for Best Original Music Score.

                  Overall I would say that this is a brilliant film. It is only 81 minutes long and rated U and so it is suited to even the smallest children. It is beautifully animated with lots of catchy songs and can be enjoyed again and again, even into adulthood! The film has such a good message as well. It really shows the importance of respecting others and not making snap judgements about people just because they are different to you. Yes, this is a love story but ultimately what it comes down to is teaching tolerance and understanding of others. A message that I feel is still incredibly relevant and very important for children to learn and be exposed to.

                  I really do think that this is a wonderful film and I would thoroughly recommend it!

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                • Skittles Sours / Sweets / 37 Readings / 36 Ratings
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                  25.03.2012 01:21
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                  Much better than original Skittles.

                  I absolutely love sour sweets. If I see a new packet of sweets and it has the word "sour" on the packaging then I am almost guaranteed to buy it. Understandably, therefore, I was very excited to see that Skittles had brought out a sour version of their famous sweets.

                  Sour skittles come in the exact same packaging as the standard Skittles with the only difference being the green background on the sour packet as opposed to the usual red. Each packet weighs 55g and usually cost around 50 pence. I do find that there can be a lot of variation in price dependant on individual retailers though.

                  Inside the packet are lots of small, circular sweets with a white S stamped on each one. They come in five different colours and each colour represents a different flavour; apple, cherry, mandarin, pineapple or raspberry. You get a decent amount of sweets in each packet.

                  Each sweet has a hard outer sugar coating and this is where all the sour flavouring is. Once you have bitten into the sweet you will find that there is a softer, chewy centre. I really liked the flavouring of these sweets. Many sour sweets that I have tried in the past have lost the sharp sour taste very quickly but this isn't something that happened with the Sour Skittles. Nor were they too sour, which is another common mistake. I felt that they really got the balance right and they tasted great. They immediately became one of my favourite sweets and something I have repurchased many times. They make standard Skittles seem boring in comparison and a little tasteless. I feel the added sharp sour taste really helps to bring the sweets to life.

                  Obviously these sweets aren't the best for you. Just looking quickly at the list of the ingredients I can see several E numbers listed and I know they do contain a lot of sugar. However, they are definitely intended to be a once in a while treat and so this isn't something I have great issue with. I can overlook a lot when something tastes this good!

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                  • More +
                    24.03.2012 23:51
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                    Great way to fix greasy hair in a rush

                    Dry shampoo is a life saver for those days we all occasionally have when we wake up 5 minutes before needing to rush out the door only to find your hair a big, greasy mess! As the name would suggest it acts as a sort of shampoo without the need for soaking your entire head of hair. Dry shampoo is a powder that will absorb the oil in your roots in order to make your hair look and feel a lot cleaner.

                    I bought the Batiste Blush Dry Shampoo from Superdrug. It cost around £3 for 200ml. It comes in a pink aerosol can with a lid. On the can there are instructions on how to use the product and all the usual warnings about keeping away from fire etc.

                    I find this product very easy to use. You simply give the can a good shake and then keeping the can roughly 30 cm away from your head you just have to spray a light layer of the product into the roots of your hair. You then need to massage it in a bit with your fingertips and then brush out and continue to style your hair as normal.

                    For me, the results are incredible. This is one of those products that really does do what it promises. Once you have used it as per the instructions you can immediately see the difference. My hair always looks nice and clean with plenty of volume after using.

                    There is only one negative for me with this product and that is the smell. As this is the Blush version of the product they have added in a floral smell that i find incredibly overpowering. Although i wouldn't describe it as being necessarily unpleasant, i do find that it is very noticeable and does not seem to fade at all throughout the day. Whenever i have used this product i am always aware of the smell and it makes me feel a little self-conscious. It is also worth noting that the powder comes out of the can white and so you have to be quite careful to make sure you have brushed it all out else you could be left with noticeable white patches, particularly on darker hair.

                    I am aware that the Batiste range of dry shampoo is quite extensive and that they sell cans that come in a variety of sizes, fragrances and even colours. I would definitely buy from them again as i love the product so much. It has saved me from the dreaded bad hair day so many times for which i am very grateful. However, i won't be repurchasing it in the Blush version as the smell really puts me off it.

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                  • Tesco Value bread / Snacks / 36 Readings / 36 Ratings
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                    23.03.2012 00:57
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                    Cheapest loaf of bread available and makes some acceptable toast for a quick snack

                    The Value range at Tesco has a wide variety of products including a loaf of bread that will set you back only 47 pence! I buy bread very frequently and this is the cheapest loaf that I have ever come across. Considering that one of my favourite branded loaves of bread can often cost up to as much £1.50, a whole pound more, I was keen to try the Tesco Value bread, as a switch would save me a decent amount of money in the long run.

                    First impressions were unfortunately not good. The bread is packaged in a very similar way to the rest of the value range featuring the trademark colours with the bread coming in a predominately white bag with red and white accents. Packaging isn't usually something that particularly bothers me but in this instance it all felt a bit depressing. The clinical white bag didn't give any impression of freshness, a key factor I look for when buying bread.

                    When I got home and opened up the bag I noticed that the size of each slice of bread was slightly smaller than I was used to. This meant I felt I needed to eat more at each sitting in order to feel satisfied and so I went through the loaf even faster than usual. Considering I bought this bread in an attempt to save money it seemed a little counterproductive to be in a position of having to buy more bread than usual. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the thickness of each slice. It did state on the side of the bag that this was thick bread and I did find that this was quite accurate.

                    However, I would have to say that the biggest disappointment of all was the taste of the bread. It seemed quite dense and heavy and not at all fresh. I thought it generally had quite an unpleasant taste to it. I would say it tasted very artificial with almost a sweet note to it. This is not bread that I would use for a sandwich or to be eaten alone. Its one saving grace is that this taste is not nearly as noticeable when the bread has been toasted, particularly when jams or spreads had been used.

                    As I am a lot less fussy about bread that I just use for toast I would buy this for that purpose but only when money was particularly tight. I definitely would not use it for anything else.

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