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During the summer I like to use an actual sun cream on my face rather than just my regular moisturiser, which only contains SPF15. The sun cream I've been using for the last couple of months is Soltan Once Face SPF 30, made by Boots.
The Soltan Once range claims to be different to regular sun cream in that you only need one application every 8 hours, which is handy - although if I'm not out in the full sun all day I don't tend to reapply sun cream in any case. I originally bought this because my local Boots had run out of their original Soltan SPF30 for the face, so thought I'd try this one.
Soltan Once Face claims to be a 'moisturising suncare cream' and it certainly is - I don't need to use a moisturiser on top of it, and actually by the end of the day my face is looking oilier than it usually would, so it certainly moisturises. The oiliness isn't really a complaint about this product as this always happens to me with sun cream as my face is a bit oily, so I'm not sure how greasy it would be for someone with normal or dry skin, for example. The product also says it's water-resistant, suitable for all skin types, dermatologist approved, non-pore blocking and suitable for use under makeup. I can vouch for the last two claims, as it's not blocked my pores or caused me any spots (which some sun creams do) and my mineral foundation sits happily on top of it. Moreover, I've not experienced any sunburn while using this product! (Although I should add that I don't actually sunbathe or make a habit of getting burnt!).
The product comes in a 50ml tube, which you squeeze to dispense the cream. I've not had any problems with the packaging. As for how long it lasts, I've been applying it nearly every day for at least 6 weeks now and there's still some remaining in the tube. The instructions say to use about 1 teaspoon's worth of cream for your face and neck, which is probably the amount I use.
This tube is priced at £11.00 at the moment, but Soltan products are often on offer, so I don't think it's hard to avoid paying full-price for this. Obviously it's only sold at Boots, as this is a Boots' own brand product range.
Overall, a very good product at a good price when on offer. I'd like it to be a bit less greasy, but this is probably not realistic for a sun cream so I'm not deducting any stars for this!
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Soap and Glory is a pretty well-known, popular brand but I have to admit that I'd never been that taken with any of their products, finding them a bit ordinary considering the price. Breakfast Scrub is the exception, however, as I adore this body scrub!
The name Breakfast Scrub is a play on words (took me a while to work out how - my brain isn't at its sharpest during those early morning showers), inspired by the fact that its ingredients are breakfast-related, such as oats and maple syrup. In fact, I do have to restrain myself from having a taste of this scrub as it smells so absolutely, wonderfully maple-y!
This product was voted Best Body Scrub by Cosmo Beauty Awards 2011, U Magazine Beauty readers 2011 and Top Santé Beauty Awards 2012 and Company Beauty Awards 2012. So, apparently people think it's a good scrub. And I would definitely agree!
What do you do with it then? The instructions tell you to "scoop out a handful of scrub, rub it between your palms, then scrub in circles onto damp skin." Then wash off, obviously. I don't actually bother rubbing it between my palms, but use it to scrub with directly, and this works fine. As soon as you open the tub, you're hit with the lovely aroma of maple syrup, which does linger slightly in the air. The texture of the scrub is perfect - not too harsh but rough enough to exfoliate and I definitely notice after using this product that my skin feels a lot smoother and softer.
The packaging is a screw-top tub, which is perhaps not the easiest to use in the shower, not least because you have to be careful not to get water inside the container when scooping out the product with wet hands. But it's not terrible packaging, and I think on the whole it's easier than dispensing scrub from a tube or bottle.
I do think Soap and Glory products are quite expensive for what they are, this one included - but it's such a lovely product that I still recommend it highly. Breakfast Scrub is priced at £8.00 in Boots, but they usually have Soap and Glory products on a 3-for-2 offer.
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My hair is very prone to getting tangled while washing, and this has got worse since I've had highlights. If I didn't use a conditioner at all, combing after a hair-wash would be a torture session! So conditioner is something of an essential for me, and I've tried lots of brands of varying price, some more effective than others.
Recently, however, I've been trying to cut my spending a bit and after reading quite a few reviews here about Alberto Balsam products, this one landed in my shopping trolley. Honestly, it was the scents that appealed to me, as I'm a sucker for nicely-scented toiletries - and my idea of nice is generally fruity and coconut so it was quite pleasant having a sniff of all the different varieties as their products all have these kinds of scents.
Because of my tangly hair - and my love of coconut, in no small measure! - I eventually plumped for the Coconut and Lychee detangling conditioner which claims to be for all hair types. It wasn't a major investment in the event that it didn't suit my hair: at £1 for 400ml (Asda, July 2013), I was pretty happy with the price. And, it turned out, so would I be with the product.
First of all, the scent. I absolutely love it, but if you aren't a fan of coconut, you probably won't. I don't know what a lychee smells like when it's at home, but it goes really well with coconuts! The scents complement each other to produce a lovely, exotic scent which I wish would stay on my hair longer!
As for its performance, I find that this conditioner works a lot better even than certain more expensive products at detangling my hair and making it easier to comb after washing due to being smoother. Plus, once my hair is dry it seems pretty soft. The conditioner doesn't cause greasiness at all, when applied to the ends of my hair. As mentioned, the smell doesn't seem to linger, which is a shame, but not a star-deductible fault in my view.
All in all, a very effective conditioner which is pleasant and easy to use and extremely attractively-priced. Recommended by me!
I've seen this product for sale in supermarkets, Boots and Superdrug, where it seems to be priced the same (£1/bottle).
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I'm a bit of a toiletries nut (as you may guess, looking at my list of products reviewed!) and to my delight am often given shower and bath products for birthday and Christmas presents. The Body Shop's Vineyard Peach shower gel was one that had been hiding in my stash since my birthday until I spied it quite recently and pounced!
So, let's get down to the peach-scented brass tacks. This shower gel, the company claims, "... smells like freshly picked peaches and leaves skin feeling peachy-soft". It certainly does smell like peaches (I couldn't say whether freshly picked or not!) - this is a really pleasant scent, which I've found nice to use in the hot weather we've had recently. I should point out that peach isn't my favourite scent, so I won't go into raptures over it but it is certainly a pretty, summery kind of scent which I'm happy to use in the shower.
This is a soap-free shower gel, which I think is why they claim it will leave your skin soft. I didn't find it drying at all, but wouldn't have said it left my skin 'peachy' as it doesn't really have any moisturising properties that I could detect. The Body Shop describes this gel as 'lather-rich', which I found to be fairly accurate, as it foamed nicely when I rubbed some between my hands. As for its washing ability, I felt clean after using it, so on that basis, it was a success! I didn't feel the scent lingered either on my skin or in the bathroom, although that's not a matter of complaint for me as it's not my most favourite scent to smell of.
Regarding the packaging, the gel comes in a plastic bottle, which is squeezable and enables you to dispense the amount of gel you need without too much difficulty. The flip-top is secure but I didn't find it difficult to open and close with wet hands. Once I was getting towards the end of the bottle, I turned it upside-down to let the dregs run to the bottom so they were easier to access. The bottle is transparent, and I like this as it's helpful to be able to see how much product is left.
The product currently retails for £4.00 (250 ml bottle) which is certainly not the biggest shower gel bargain out there. I don't think I would buy it for myself, mainly because of the price. But if you are a big peach fan, there are often offers on The Body Shop's website meaning that it can sometimes be bought for less than £4.00.
All in all, a really nice product for summer showers.
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I'm on a bit of a weight-loss kick (attempt!) at the moment and am trying to cut down on puddings and sweets. My sweet tooth is not making it easy, so I'm trying to stave off cravings with sugar-free jelly. So, recently, I've been scouring the supermarkets for 'no added sugar' jelly and came across this range of Hartley's ready-to-eat jelly pots.
Unfortunately for those looking for sugar-free jelly, this range only comes in two no added sugar flavours: strawberry and orange. These are both nice, I can say with confidence, although they do taste slightly different to the regular jelly. I suppose the difference in taste is due to using sweetener rather than actual sugar.
If you aren't bothered by the sugar aspect (I'm not sure there's really that much to be gained by eating the no added sugar versions, as the pots are so small that they don't contain that many calories anyway - in fact, the perfect size for a little treat or dessert for one person), the regular jelly pots come in more flavours: Orange, Strawberry, Raspberry, Blackcurrant and Lemon & Lime.
Each pot contains 115g of jelly, and is absolutely ready to eat once you remove the foil cover (as long as you have a spoon to hand, that is!). They are being sold in Asda for 45p a pot, or 5 for £2. These little pots are useful if you don't eat jelly that regularly or live alone, like me, and don't want to make up a larger amount using a pack of jelly crystals. It does bother me slightly that the pots aren't recyclable, which is quite wasteful, but that's the only downside I can think of (apart from lack of flavours in the sugar-free version).
So, all in all, a good thing to have on hand for sweet cravings, particularly the sugar-free ones for dieters (under 10 calories a pot!) - or for anyone who likes jelly!
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== What is Deep Heat? ==
Deep Heat Rub is part of the Deep Heat range from a company called Mentholatum, designed to help ease pain and inflammation. The idea behind it is that heat is helpful to some injuries in relaxing the muscles and diminishing pain and inflammation, which is why a hot water bottle is comforting to some types of pain. Deep Heat products were developed on the back of this idea: they contain a mixture of ingredients (methyl salicylate, menthol cream and various other items) which generate heat on application, in other words when you apply the product, it creates a feeling of warmth. This delivers relief from pain both through the product's warmth and by means of its anti-inflammatory properties.
== What can you use it for? ==
According to my tube, muscular pain and stiffness, backaches, sciatica, lumbago, fibrositis, rheumatic pain, bruises and sprains.
== How do you use it? ==
There are several Deep Heat products in the range, including a spray, a patch and a bath tonic. This review is for the Deep Heat Rub, which is an ointment packaged in a metal tube with a plastic screw-cap. On opening the product for the first time, the tube has a safety seal (a film of metal over the head of the tube) which must be broken before use by inverting the lid and poking it against the seal. This seems like a good safety precaution, so that the product can't be tampered with before purchase.
Application is simple: you apply a thin layer of the ointment to the area you wish to treat, and massage it in until you can no longer see it on the skin. The tube notes that this is for adults - indeed there is a leaflet with the product with detailed directions on who should and shouldn't use the product, which should of course be read before use. It goes without saying (although the tube does say so) that this is for external use only. I can't imagine anyone using it for anything other than that, but presumably the manufacturer has to cover all possible bases.
== Deep Heat in action ==
Apparently I was Mr Bump in another life, because I don't see to be able to go more than about a week without injuring myself in some way or another. I like to always have a tube of Deep Heat in the house and have put it to the test on a wide range of complaints (from the list above, I've tried it for a variety of muscular pains and stiffness, backaches and sprains).
A few years ago I injured my hip area on one side and never managed to establish what was wrong with it. Deep Heat provided much-needed relief at night from the pain and discomfort of this injury, in combination with ibuprofen, and indeed helped it feel a bit better during the day even without another application (I only use Deep Heat at night - more on that below). This pain comes back now and again and I still reach for Deep Heat to ease this.
It is particularly good for muscle aches, for example, I sometimes get discomfort just behind one of my shoulders which I put down to having a desk job. It's the kind of ache which feels like it needs rubbing, and actually rubbing it with Deep Heat does ease the discomfort considerably.
It has also been invaluable for other miscellaneous aches and pains of all kinds arising from my clumsy antics! I would say, however, that it's not been particularly helpful for joint sprains and in my case at least, has been much better for muscular-type problems. For this reason, I'm deducting one star. Even so, it's definitely something I wouldn't be without.
== Are there any downsides? ==
Anyone who has used this product before (or has been close to anyone who has) will know that one of its main characteristics is a very strong smell. I think it's a mixture of menthol and something else and isn't actually unpleasant to my nose, just very strong. So strong in fact that I only use it at night! Once I've used it, I can smell the product on my pyjamas and bedclothes until washing them, and it's not really something I want my actual clothes to smell of. Having said that, it certainly washes out easily so for temporary use, the smell isn't really a major issue. Moreover, there is no stain left by the product on fabrics, which is something that would bother me a lot more over time.
Finally, it's very important to wash hands thoroughly after use - this isn't something you want to accidentally rub into your eyes!
== Price and availability ==
A 100ml tube is currently priced at £5.49 from Boots, but Deep Heat can be widely obtained from most pharmacies and supermarkets too. This seems like good value to me: I've had a 35g tube for a good couple of years now, and it does tend to last a while as you only use a thin layer on each application.
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I have quite a sweet tooth, which I try to keep in check most of the time just by 'being good', but sometimes I'm tempted by low-calorie treats such as Cadbury's Highlights hot chocolate. This is a low-calorie powder which you mix with hot water to make a cup of hot chocolate. It is available either in a 200g-tub (currently £3.58 in Asda) or single serving sachets priced at around £0.40.
As a big fan of Cadbury's chocolate, with one of my favourite varieties being the Fudge bar, I was curious to try this Highlights flavour. The tub has a vertical orange section at the front, and is emblazoned with the word 'Fudge' in the same lettering as you'll find on an actual Cadbury's Fudge bar. (The design has changed slightly from the picture above.) So, they do seem to be suggesting that this isn't any old fudgey-flavoured hot chocolate, but the liquid personification of a Fudge bar... I was sold!
It tells you that one serving (made with 11g of powder and 200ml hot water) provides 40 calories, 3.7g sugar and 1.4g of fat, which is quite reasonable for a cup of what is basically cocoa, flavouring and sugar. I prefer to make hot chocolate with milk as I find it gives it a creamier texture, so this will obviously bump up the calorie and fat values a bit.
So, what's it like? I think my expectations were probably too high, as I really enjoy Fudge bars. This is a reasonable-tasting hot chocolate, and in my view it's worth adding a few more calories by using milk instead of water to get a thicker and creamier drink, but it's never going to be a Fudge bar in a cup, sadly. Unfortunately, like most low-calorie products, it makes up for lack of calories by extra sugar and/or sweetener (both in this case), which makes it extremely sweet. Obviously chocolate bars are sweet, but I think it's the artificial sweetener in this powder that tips it over the edge for me and makes this drink just too sweet and cloying for my taste. Whilst it does taste slightly different to 'straight' hot chocolate, I'm not sure I'd be able to identify it as fudge-flavoured in a blind taste-test, and even less to link it to a Cadbury's Fudge bar.
That said, it's not terrible, and if I have a really desperate sweet-craving, I would probably reach for this (it's already in my cupboard after all!), but it's not going on my shopping list.
Finally, Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate has been Fair Trade since 2009, and this product is included under that banner. This always makes me feel slightly better when I buy chocolate!
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When I read the words 'self-sharpening eyeliner' in my last Avon catalogue, I admit I was intrigued. Wondering how this could be possible, I ordered one from my Avon rep, encouraged by the half-price offer (regular price £7; currently on offer for £3.50). The Always On Point eyeliner from Avon is available in four colours (teal, lavender grey, midnight navy and black) and the principle behind it is that you close the screw-cap tightly, and when you open it again, the point of the liner has sharpened itself and is ready to use.
I was pretty curious to test this mechanism and put it to the test as soon as it arrived. You unscrew the cap and the tip of the liner (a soft pencil-type tip) is indeed sharp enough to apply to the lash-line. I found after use on one eye, however, that it wasn't as pointed as I'd like. So, following the instructions, I screwed the cap on tightly and then removed it again. Hey presto, sharpened tip! I admit to being pretty impressed with this, and can't pretend to understand how it works, as there don't seem to be any sharpenings anywhere (where do they go?!). This is great as sharpening eyeliners is a pain: it invariably makes a mess - plus I'm guaranteed to forget to pack a sharpener whenever I go away, so a self-sharpening eyeliner is really a great invention as far as I'm concerned.
As Avon claims, this is indeed a "creamy, smooth liner [that] stays colour-true". I purchased the Lavender Grey shade which I think goes well with my colouring (green eyes, pale skin), and the colour stays true until removal. The liner isn't waterproof but it does stay put all day, unless I rub my eyes, obviously. It comes off easily, using my regular eye make-up remover on cotton wool pads.
The current Avon catalogue compares this liner to the Smashbox Limitless Eyeliner, a premium brand product priced at £14. I've not tried the Smashbox liner, but as the Avon one works for me and is such a good price, I really don't feel tempted!
The only slight gripe I have with this product is that I'd like the pointed part of the liner to be slightly longer. As it is, I have to hold the liner at 90 degrees from my eye to apply it, whereas if it were longer, I could hold it at more of an angle, which would be more comfortable. Still, it's not a major issue as I'm able to apply it properly as it is and may actually buy another colour to try, but it has lost the product one star from me.
Available from www.avonshop.co.uk (although Lavender Grey doesn't seem to be listed at the moment) or from an Avon sales representative.
Overall, an excellent eyeliner: great price (even when not on offer, the price isn't bad), super performance, nice colour.
Smelling like a bakery isn't everyone's cup of tea, but personally I love sweet, dessert-like scents. So, when this chunky bottle of Vanilla Biscuit-scented shower gel caught my eye, I had to try it! And I wasn't disappointed - it is absolutely gorgeous.
Here goes... This product (packaged in a transparent bottle with a flip-top lid) announces itself as 'A Very Happy Bath & Shower Gel' and gives a handful of quirky bullet points:
"1) Why does the scent of vanilla fill me with childhood memores?
2) Be spontaneous... give a friend a piggy-back.
3) Say hurray for no parabens."
And urges us to recycle the bottle - as well as not to eat the contents. (Not as easy to resist as you might think!). It also mentions that the product hasn't been tested on animals and is suitable for vegetarians.
I'm not sure what piggy-backs have got to do with the price of eggs, but I can certainly agree that this is a 'very happy bath & shower gel'. Well, at least it makes me happy - I couldn't comment on the shower gel's own emotional well-being.
On opening the bottle, you are hit with a gorgeous vanilla, cakey scent, which fills the bathroom during and after use and smells good enough to eat. I've found not much is needed for each shower, maybe a fifty-pence piece sized dollop, as it is very creamy and lathers up well to form a good quantity of bubbles.
The gel also seems to make my skin feel softer and I think I can detect a hint of the scent on me after showering too. I'd love it to linger more, but this is probably asking too much of a shower gel. The scent does linger in the bathroom for a good while after I've showered, and it's a delight to go back into a bakery-scented bathroom!
Five stars for me for this gorgeous product - I'm looking forward to trying the other shower gels from this brand (Coconut Crème and Strawberry Sundae).
This product is sold at Boots and Waitrose, currently for £2.99 for 500ml.
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I'm quite a toiletry fiend and can't resist trying out new soaps and shower gels. As I don't usually shop at Waitrose, one day when I happened to be in there I realised there was a whole range of their own-brand toiletries I was yet to try, so after some deliberating over the different 'flavours', I scooped a bottle of this hand wash into my basket and rushed home to wash my hands!
== The range ==
This is part of Waitrose's most basic range of products, known as 'Waitrose Essential'. These are the equivalent to Asda Smart Price or Sainsbury's Basics and are Waitrose's attempt to compete with the other large supermarket chains on price. The products I've tried from the Essential range has been good quality, and the packaging looks classier than the equivalent ranges in other supermarkets: not quite so basic, let's say.
In addition to bars of soap, shower gels and bath foams, the Essential range of toiletries also includes a number of pump-top scented hand washes. The one I'm reviewing here is Green Tea & Apple, but the range also features Chamomile, Sweet Plum and Cinnamon Cakes to name a few.
== The product ==
So, as you'd expect, this is a pale green, creamy liquid which comes in a transparent pump-action bottle. The label on the front is minimalist but not so basic as to look cheap and nasty, and shows a picture of an apple, together with the brand and product name. The back of the bottle shows the ingredients, instructions (vital!), bar code, etc. The bottle contains 300ml of hand wash, and can be purchased in Waitrose stores or from their website. I bought it for £1.11 but the whole range of hand washes are currently on offer for £1 each, which seems an excellent price to me.
== The verdict ==
I'm a real fan of fruity scents, and apple is one of my favourites so was instantly won over when I sniffed this product in the shop. I can't say I notice any trace of green tea, but someone with a more sophisticated nose than mine might well do. To me, it's a crisp scent, much like that of a Granny Smith apple. The hand wash is quite a thick, creamy consistency and forms an adequate lather. It cleans well and isn't drying, although it could be a bit more moisturising in my view. It's not a major complaint though, as it doesn't claim to be a moisturising product.
The packaging is decent: I had no problems activating the pump for the first use, and the pump hasn't blocked or jammed at any point. It does need quite a hard press down on the pump to dispense enough hand wash, but this might be because the liquid is quite thick and needs forcing up through the pump.
Overall, a very nice hand wash: looks nice in my bathroom, smells lovely and the price is good. I'd like it to be more moisturising but the fact that it isn't super-hydrating isn't something which would stop me from trying out more products from this range. Cinnamon Cakes is next on my list!
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The White Company is a chain of shops selling clothes, linen and home accessories. As you may guess, it has a strong preference for all things white and neutral. I find it extremely over-priced and have never bought anything there myself, but was lucky enough to be given a bottle of their White Lavender bath and shower gel as a birthday present a few months ago. Just to give you an idea of their prices, this 250ml bottle of shower gel would set you back £12. So, a much appreciated gift from my generous friend!
As mentioned, this is a white lavender scented gel. It also contains neroli and lemon and can be used both in the shower and the bath. According to The White Company, "Ours is the most beautiful pure white lavender, blended with bright basil and Sicilian lemon, and warmed with vetiver to create the ultimate relaxing scent. This mild and gentle cleanser gives a creamy lather in the shower and a luxurious rich foam in the bath." I've never actually seen white lavender, and am not sure I could tell the scent apart from other types, but the scent of this gel is nice, and the lemon and neroli (although I can't detect the notes individually) take the sharpness off the lavender. For me personally, the scent is relaxing, and I prefer to keep this for evening use, rather than for a morning shower.
It is paraben- and SLS-free, which means of course that it doesn't produce copious amounts of foam (SLS is the foaming agent used in many toiletries, but is thought to cause some people skin allergies and reactions). It does lather up though, and produces an adequate amount of foam both when used as a shower gel and if added to running bath water.
The packaging is a cylindrical bottle made of transparent plastic, with a classy-looking label and a flip top which can also be unscrewed when the last dregs of product need to be rinsed out.
All in all, I have enjoyed using this product but would certainly not buy it myself - it is very expensive for what it is and I personally prefer to save my pennies for other things and buy slightly cheaper toiletries. However, if you are a real White Company aficionado or absolutely adored the scent of this gel, you might disagree!
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Imperial Leather is probably a household name, and has certainly been around a long time. I remember as a child, my grandmother always used to have a bar of the cream-coloured Imperial Leather soap on her bath - the kind with the little label in the middle of the bar. The company's history actually dates back much further than that - to the eighteenth century when the original Imperial Leather scent was first created, so it's definitely a brand with a lot of history behind it. That always gives me confidence in a brand, although this is probably ridiculous! Anyway, apart from the bars of soap, Imperial Leather now makes a range of shower and bath products as well as liquid hand washes. Here I'm looking at one of their limited edition shower products: Bewitching.
According to Imperial Leather, Bewitching (which the company refers to as a shower creme) "evokes all the dark mystery of a fairytale. This amethyst liquid will wrap you in luxurious lathers, decadent shimmers and our fine fragrances". What drew me to this product initially was the lovely deep purple colour of the gel (or creme, if you must!), which has a slight shimmer. I'm a bit of a toiletry fiend and can spent eons browsing the shower and bath products aisles when doing my shopping, and this product really caught my eye, particularly as it claimed to be a limited edition. The scent is apparently Blackberry Blossom and Wild Fig, and when I opened the bottle in the shop to sniff it, I detected a lovely aroma of blackberry. I'm not quite sure what blackberry blossom smells of in real life (in fact, I didn't even know blackberry brambles had flowers, but still - live and learn, thanks Imperial Leather!!). As for the scent of fig, wild or not, I couldn't identify this if my life depended on it. All I can say is that I liked the scent on initial sniff.
A 250 ml bottle seems to be variously priced at between £1 and £2, but it's quite easy to find it on offer for £1, as I did. It seems to be available in Superdrug, Boots, and various supermarkets.
I've quite liked this shower crème, particularly because it's quite an unusual colour and the shimmer makes it a bit different. It brightens up my bathroom window ledge and is pleasant to use. Although I was quite taken with the scent to start with, when using it I've not found it to be so captivating and can no longer detect any identifiable blackberry-ness and certainly haven't been transported to any fairy tales - what a shame! It's more of a generic fruity smell to my nose. The product's consistency is fairly thick, and it creates a decent lather. I feel it's fairly moisturising (this must be because it's a crème rather than gel!). Overall, it's a pleasant shower gel with a fairly nice scent, well-priced, but nothing particularly special.
As for the packaging, the bottle is a kind of 'wavy' shape, which makes it easy to hold on to with wet hands. The bottle is made of transparent plastic, which I like because you can easily see how much you've got left and won't suddenly run out mid-shower.
So, would I buy this again? Probably, if it was on offer and there was nothing that grabbed my attention more - it's a good product but nothing amazing to write home about.
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Yeast extract is a curious thing. I've tried to introduce various non-British friends to it over the years and witnessed their aghast reactions with surprise (e.g. "we have this in my country. It's used to poison rats". Another suggested he could use it as engine lubricant for his car. Oh, the wit!!). For me, it's just a normal item of food - a staple, really, something I've always had around since childhood and can't imagine my store cupboard without. My mum is something of a brand-loyalist and always buys Marmite. So that's what I'd always done too since leaving home, until a few months ago when Asda was out of the size I wanted (i.e they only had the thimble-full miniature one which would last me about 3 pieces of toast - or the bucket-sized one, which I'm sure I'd end up knocking on the floor within half an hour of bringing it home. Imagine the mess...). I did some deep breathing and tried not to go into meltdown. I had just hit the bottom of my current jar that morning, you see, so getting reinforcements was rather pressing. Then I noticed a similar set of jars next to the Marmite zone and realised it was the shop's own brand of yeast extract. Maybe I don't spend enough time thinking about yeast extract, but it had never occurred to me that Marmite wasn't the only manufacturer of the black gold.
So, it was with trepidation that I put a 240g jar of Asda Yeast Extract into my basket and trundled home with it. What would it be like, I wondered? Time to get out the toast and cheese spread (my chosen base for a helping of Marmite) and put it to the test. I can tell you... not only was it not awful compared to the original brand, but I would go as far as saying it's actually slightly better. With some brand/supermarket version foods, many people would tell you they can't tell a difference (let's not open that can of worms here though!), but there certainly is when it comes to yeast extract, they don't taste the same at all. I'm not sure what it is, but there is a difference.
What about price and packaging? The packaging (a glass jar with plastic screw-on lid - a slightly different shape to the photo above) is exactly the same as for Marmite, as far as I can tell, with the minor difference in capacity between the two comparable sizes. The price is different, however: £1.68 for 240g (70p/100g) of Asda Yeast Extract, compared to £2.00 for 250g (80p/100g) of Marmite at Asda. Not a huge difference, but when you're watching the pennies, every bit counts (to paraphrase another retail chain).
In conclusion? Well, my money's on Asda's version - I like the taste and the price is better, so it's a no-brainer really!
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Like many people, I do love a nice warm bubble-bath before bed: there's something very soothing about it. It's a bit of a cliché to say you can feel your troubles being washed away, but if you're a 'bath person' you'll probably agree that a bubble-bath is a great way to unwind and relax.
Part of the bath experience is the product you use - some people like oils, some favour salts, and some go for bubbles. I do like salts and essential oils added to baths, but my favourite product to use is bath foam. I'm not a brand snob when it comes to toiletries, but I have a preference for better-known makes as I have a (probably ill-conceived) idea that they are somehow less likely to cause skin reactions.
Anyway, Radox, which is my preferred make, is arguably the best-known brand of bubble-bath; indeed, they have been creating bubbles for more 100 years, and now do so as part of the Unilever group.
Radox make many varieties of bath foam, as well as a range of shower products, hand wash and bath salts. The bath soak range includes many permutations, such as Relax, Original, Moisture Soak, Muscle Therapy and Stress Relief, but the one I'm looking at here is Sleep Easy - my personal favourite, containing chamomile and jasmine.
Sleep Easy comes in a transparent bottle containing 500ml of the royal blue-coloured liquid. There are no instructions on the label, but most bath aficionados will know to pour a slug of the product under running water, then froth up with your hand. I use quite a generous amount per bath, which results in an abundance of bubbles. This is just the way I like it, although it's rather extravagant - it's doubtless possible to get more baths out of one bottle than I do! The bubble-ability of this bath soak is excellent, but it's the smell which appeals to me most - I don't know whether it's an authentic chamomile and jasmine scent, but it's absolutely lovely and, just as Radox claims, very soothing.
I usually spend at least 20 minutes soaking, and the bubbles are still going strong when I get out. The fragrance still lingers in the bathroom for quite a while after I've let the water out. Fragrance and bubbles therefore get top marks from me. The only reason I'm not giving 5 stars is that it can be a little drying on the skin if used too often.
As far as I'm concerned, it certainly lives up to Radox's claim to relax and soothe, and I can highly recommend this as a lovely product to help you de-stress and prepare for bed.
Radox bath soaks are generally priced between £1 and £2 for a 500ml bottle, but are regularly on offer for £1 in many shops. They are widely sold in supermarkets and pharmacies.
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Looking through my previous reviews, I was surprised none are for lipbalms, being the lip-product addict I am! This was a bit of an impulse buy but I really like cocoa butter and this was the bargain price of £1.50 in a pharmacy, considering Palmer's is a good brand, so thought I'd give it a try.
The format of this product is a plastic tube, with a removable cap. There is a little twistable section at the top of the tube which you turn to push the lipbalm up. I much prefer this format to the type of balm in a pot, as with a tube there is no need to touch the product with your fingers, hence it's more hygienic.
The product itself is a firm stick of cream-coloured balm, which has a lovely smell (it reminds me of white chocolate - delicious!). The texture is ideal - it's not greasy but is soft enough that a good amount is deposited when you apply it to your lips. It also contains sun protection (SPF15), which is handy.
It claims to that it "helps prevent and protect dry, chapped, cracked or wind-burned lips". I'm not sure about the wind-burned part as I don't usually spend a lot of time exposed to high winds, but it has certainly stopped my lips from getting chapped and helped when they were dry.
The only downside I've found is that a couple of times, pieces have kind of crumbled off the end of the balm, leaving it an uneven shape and difficult to apply. To remedy this, I sliced a little bit off the end to even it up and it was fine afterwards. I'm not sure why this happened though, as it's not something I've seen with other brands of lipbalm. For this reason, I've taken off a star.
On the whole, I've found it to be a good, long-lasting and moisturising lipbalm which leaves my lips soft, and would be happy to buy it again for the same price.
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