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avongrace
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Member since: 28.06.2013

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      05.08.2013 15:01
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      Not what I normally go for; but a refreshing change nonetheless.

      I received this moisturiser as part of a gift set for Christmas. I normally stick with my favourite Dermalogica moisturiser but am always willing to try others. (And if I don't like them then they get relegated to neck, hands or body creams!)

      I should mention that my preference in a face cream is something creamy rather than light, but obviously something which doesn't leave residue; which is not always easy to find. Ideally I only buy a day cream with a minimum SPF of 15 (which this product has.)

      *Packaging*
      Inside the mostly white box, the product is contained within a stubby, round tub which holds 50ml. The design (as with the rest of the brand) is a pink / green floral design. There is reference made to the development of the product with Kew Royal Botanic Gardens.

      *Product Claims*
      Claims to have natural hibiscus flower AHA's which act as a skin brightener, whilst hydrating for 24hrs.

      *Appearance and Fragrance*
      Due to the hibiscus extract I did expect a pink cream (like oil of ulay) but in fact it is white. The smell is pleasant but quite non-descript: I would describe it as creamy but not soapy and perhaps slightly floral (but only just.)

      *What's it like to use?*
      The cream is ever so slightly too thin for my preference. However, this does make it very light and as a result it absorbs quickly. It is very refreshing to use and felt like I was giving my skin a 'drink' compared to my normal moisturiser.

      I wondered if there would be any 'sparkly' bits in it, like some illuminating moisturisers, since it is marketed as 'brightening' but there isn't. I was glad about this as I'm not keen on the shimmery face effect. I definitely do feel like my skin had a healthy sheen to it though compared to my normal moisturiser which tends to leave my skin quite matt.

      *Summary*
      This product is currently half price at Boots for £3.49. I went through the 50ml tub quite quickly as I used it on my neck also, but I still think its value for money if you are looking for a refreshing and light day cream. If I had forgotten my moisturiser on a business trip I'd probably buy this as it was a pleasant change for me.

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        01.08.2013 15:05
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        Th best investment I've made in a long time

        "A sports blender?" Some of you may be asking. Let me explain. My other half is a gym fanatic who rises at 0530 hours to frequent the gym. (Could possibly be to his army background methinks!?) He's a bit of an Arnie - all about the weights. Plus his Judo twice a week and you guessed it; he's a pretty big guy. And it's all muscle.

        Pushing the body so much means he's always taken on extra protein into his diet in the form of various protein powders. These come in a myriad of flavours from plain (that you can add to soups, stews, cereals etc), vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and even once cookie cream!

        Granted, these sound lovely but in fact after a while one gets sick of drinking them. There is a huge flaw with lots of these powders that (even in a shaker bottle), they don't always mix well. If you add ice then worse, the powder sticks to it, causing lumps later. So. A lumpy, luke warm sweet drink at 6am? Didn't think so either. Taking the time to blend his shake before the gym makes it light, frothy, keeps it cold and generally more palatable.

        We chose this blender to replace our kenwood one when it which decided to whizz up part of the jug with his morning shake! Not very tasty or nutritious.

        * Price and Availability *

        We bought this from Tesco Direct for £32.50. We'd been after it for a while but there are currently limited stockists of this model.

        * Packaging *

        Standard packaging as you would expect. Strong cardboard box with product images and information. Everything inside is partitioned up well to stop moving around, in separate plastic bags and there is a twist tie on the plug wire.

        * What Breville Say *

        - Personal Sports Bottle Blender
        - 2 x 600ml portable sports bottles
        - Quick & easy
        - Fits car cup holders
        (www.breville.co.uk)

        * First Impressions *

        The first thing I noticed is how little room this takes up compared to our old one, its dinky! This is important to us as its always on the worktop. The second thing was that the green is really funky! And matches our green kettle & toaster. ... But I imagine most people don't have bright green appliances :)

        The two bottles are a much better size than the last which were actually pretty clunky now I have this to compare to. The icing on the cake is that OH can pop them in the cup holder in the car, which he couldn't do before. This resulted in passenger seat / gym bag accidents... eugh! I'm pretty confident this wont happen again.

        The lids are extremely secure and the flip top has a large mouthpiece which is fantastic for thick shakes. OH is able to get every last drop out of the bottle which is another plus point as the last one always left ~1cm of shake in the bottom which was inevitably rank to clean after a whole day at work... Nice.

        The lids also flip all the way open and stay put whilst drinking i.e don't fall back and hit you in the nose!

        * How does it work? *

        This blender operates slightly differently to most other blenders as the jug used to blend is the one used to transport the drink. That is, it does not need to get poured into another container, which saves on washing.

        The contents (whether fruit, ice, powder, milk) are placed in the jug. The blades for blending are not on the main unit, rather they are screwed onto the jug. The jug is then turned upside down and twisted onto the main unit for blending. Once blended, the jug is removed and the bladed section is replaced with a separate lid for drinking / transporting. Make sense?

        * What's it like to use?*

        Breville have come up tops with this in our eyes. its just fantastic for what we use it for. The bottles have a handy measuring guide on the side so no faffing with a separate jug.

        I was slightly concerned because there was only one speed setting but I needn't have been as the blades chop through ice easily and actually pretty quietly compared to others! I've made a couple of smoothies for myself and there haven't been any annoying lumps. I haven't tried adding peanut butter or nuts yet but I would assume they'd be no problem as it whizzes through seeds just fine.

        Cleaning wise, it's fantastic. The main unit never needs cleaned as there has been no leaks. I rinse off the blades after each use (ok, actually my OH does; I'm useless that time of the morning) and use a dish brush to clean the inside of the bottles. We don't have a dishwasher but they are safe in there.

        The flip top lid design is absolutely perfect. For those of you used to sports bottles, shakers etc, you will know how important this is after a session when you need something in you, fast. It also gives a bit of extra space at the top of the bottle to shake the drink up a bit if it settles.

        * Anything else worthy of note? *

        The bottles are shatterproof, bpa free and they also claim to be stain resistant. Only time will tell this. The "blend active" logo is on the sides of the bottles, this is the only slight negative I can come up with! That and it only comes in green.

        * My favourite high protein smoothie recipe (without the ghastly powdered stuff) *

        1 Banana
        125ml / 1/4 large tub of Natural yogurt (the runny kind, not Greek)
        2 tsps unsoaked flaxseeds (high in omegas)
        Handful of icecubes
        Couple drops of vanilla essence or a tsp honey for sweetness
        Blend and drink... Yum!

        * Summary *

        Breville have outdone themselves with this fit for purpose and well positioned product. Can I award 6 stars please?

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          30.07.2013 14:52
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          choose one of the other flavours to avoid being put off for life!

          I've already reviewed Fybogel Orange and next up is this lemon version. It is my least favourite of all three types (Orange, Lemon and Natural.)

          *Price*
          I get these in packs of 30 on prescription but I have seen smaller packs of 10 which are priced between £2 - £3 depending on the chemist which works out at 20-30p per serving.

          *Packaging *
          The box is identical to the Fybogel Orange box except the colour scheme has been changed to yellow. There is a wavy blue banner across the middle section which displays 'Fybogel' in white writing. The 'F' is designed to represent the husk (which is the prime ingredient of the product). The bottom left has a small picture of a glass with yellow liquid and lemons surrounding it; whilst the bottom right states that the product is a "Natural Fibre Drink (which) gently relieves constipation and maintains regularity."
          Inside, the box is divided in two with each side containing 15 sachets. The sachets measure 7x9cm which is a good size for popping in your purse as I often do. On the reverse each sachet contains full preparation and dosage instructions printed in blue ink as well as manufacturer details and expiry date.

          *Nutrition*
          The product is gluten free and sugar free but contains aspartame so should be avoided by PKU sufferers.

          * Product Claims *
          - easy and convenient way to increase fibre
          - helps the digestive system work more efficiently
          - gently relieves constipation the natural way, without straining, discomfort or unnatural urgency
          - helps to maintain and restore regularity

          *Dosage*
          - Adults and children 12+ can take up to two sachets per day, one in the morning and evening.
          - Children ages 6-12 can use ½ to one tsp twice per day
          - Children under 6 can use ½ to one tsp twice per day; but only on medical advice.
          I tend to stick to one sachet with breakfast for a couple of weeks at a time when my digestion is proving sluggish.

          *Preparation*
          The sachet is torn open and the contents added to a cold glass of water. The sachet tears easily being paper based plus it doesn't have that plastic film on the inside like some sachets do. Once added to water, it must be stirred briskly and drank quickly as otherwise all the husk particles fall to the bottom. The guidance given is to add it to 150ml liquid, but as constipation is quite often caused by simple dehydration I tend to dissolve it in a 250ml glass (still quite small) then follow this up with a second glass of water to up my fluid intake.

          *Appearance and Taste*
          If this is made up with 150ml water (as they suggest) this stuff is vile. It's very gloopy with grainy particles of husk. The taste of this is also unbelievably sour and I immediately considered revenge on the pharmacist who put this in instead of my regular orange one. It took me a few days of face pulling to resort to adding a splash of fruit squash to make it more palatable! I couldn't wait till it ran out and wouldn't wish this flavour on anyone!

          *Does it work?*
          Vile taste aside, yes it does work. The results aren't immediate but it does free things up. I take this as part of bowel maintenance if I know I'm going to be working long hours or have a stressful time coming up (as this is when my IBS flares up)

          The grains you can see are the main ingredient - Ispgaghula Husk - which is like a sponge; absorbing liquid along the bowel, which results in softer and bulkier motions (sorry!)

          If I can impart you with one top tip, it would be to rinse your glass out immediately after use, otherwise the grains end up solidified and are a nightmare to get out. Plus, if left, they happen to disperse themselves onto other items of crockery when doing the washing up which is really annoying (this probably wouldn't happen in a dishwasher though.)

          *Summary*
          Considering most of us don't get enough fibre, this is a great way to add extra fibre and fluid to the diet which can help minimise bowel problems. BUT you will need to be a fan of sour drinks or add some sugar or squash to it to get it down you. Honey wouldn't be an option as it needs to be mixed with cold water and I have a feeling it would solidify (the thought of that has actually made me feel quite queasy!)

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            25.07.2013 14:16
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            This is definitely not getting relegated to shaving my legs with!

            Those of you who have read my review on the shampoo of the same brand will know that I've felt my hair become drier with the recent weather. Added to that, I've been seeing adverts for Argan oil everywhere! So when I saw this in my Avon book I wanted to give it a go. I purchased both the Shampoo and Conditioner for £2.00 each (The RRP is £2.80 and in hindsight I perhaps should have waited for a better promotion but never mind!)

            *Packaging*

            The slim bottle is an ever so slightly darker shade of silver than the shampoo bottle and also has a turquoise lid which clips shut. The turquoise colour matches others in the "360 Argan Oil" range. I mentioned in my shampoo review that sometimes Avon shampoo and conditioner sets are difficult to tell apart as the bottles are so similar. So as a tip for mornings without contact lenses - the lid of the shampoo is at the top whilst the conditioner at the bottom.

            The lids are study enough to stand the product upside down to dispense the last of the product.
            The reverse of the label lists the ingredients and country of manufacture (Poland.) This label peels up to reveal product claims (below) and directions for use: "After shampooing, distribute evenly through hair. Leave in for one minute, then rinse."

            *Product Claims*

            "This hydrating conditioner helps to transform dry hair, locking in moisture from root to tip. Contains Argan Oil, ProVitamin B5 and Vitamin E. Deeply conditions and leaves hair noticeably more beautiful and manageable." (Reverse of bottle)

            "Helps lock in moisture from root to tip leaving hair looking smooth and sleek. Eliminates flyaway hair to help create soft, frizz free hair. With Argan Oil and vitamin E." (Avon.com)

            *Appearance and Fragrance *

            Although the product is fairly thick it dispenses well from the hole in the flip lid (which is around 5mm diameter). Interestingly, I wouldn't say it has the same fragrance as the shampoo. It is similar, but not as strong and perhaps (if I'm being really critical) a little bit chemically. But maybe it's just my sensitive nose! In any case it's certainly not off putting.

            *What's it like to use?*

            The consistency is really rich - think Aussie minute miracle - making it feel very luxurious. As directed I've left the conditioner for at least a minute before rinsing. I have to say that it rinses out really quickly, plus I can definitely feel my hair being detangled at the same time. At the weekend I left it on my hair for twenty minutes whilst in the bath and the results were amazing.

            I've been using this alongside the shampoo for just over two weeks and I can definitely say my hair looks healthier, softer and silkier. I was worried that due to the Argan oil present, my hair might become greasy (especially as it is quite long at the moment) but this hasn't been the case. In fairness, my hair is quite flat and so I never put conditioner at my roots so perhaps it would in this instance (though I'm not prepared to try it :D)

            On a regular day I use a large 50p's worth of this product, but on my special bath night I probably used double that! However, due to the thick consistency it's lasted me really well so far. From looking at the bottle I'd say at least a month of every day use. (I will update the review once finished.)

            *Summary*

            Although I find it slightly strange that the fragrance doesn't match the shampoo, there is no doubting the effect on my hair as it is much softer with less tangles. When I see this on offer again I'm going to stock up. Add to that, I'm supporting a young local girl (my Avon rep) and I see no reason not to continue to buy this. This is my new favourite conditioner in this price range and I can confidently say it's just as good as other products which are more expensive.

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              24.07.2013 17:27
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              A relaxed way to get things moving

              First of all, I don't want talk too much about poo, jobbies, turds, faeces or movements. (Phew, that's that out of the way!) I'm sure we all get constipated from time to time. In particular I've suffered for IBS since my teens. Prior to diagnosis I would take laxatives which I later found are a big no-no as they, in fact, over time prevent the natural peristalsis (the muscle movements which push everything along) of the colon. I've been prescribed lactulose once or twice which works by an osmotic pull but lets just say that it's pretty potent and one must be rather near to a lavatory at all times to be on the safe side! Nowadays I stick to Fybogel, as I have done for the past ten years. I will review all three flavours but first up is the most common: orange.

              * Price *
              I get these in packs of 30 on prescription but I have seen smaller packs of 10 which sell for between £2 - £3 depending on the chemist. This works out at 20-30p per sachet.

              *Packaging *
              The box is mostly orange with a wavy blue banner across the middle section which displays 'Fybogel' in white writing. The 'F' is designed to represent the husk (which is the prime ingredient of the product). The bottom left has a small picture of a glass with orange liquid and oranges surrounding it; whilst the bottom right states that the product is a "Natural Fibre Drink (which) gently relieves constipation and maintains regularity."
              Inside, the box is divided in two with each side containing 15 sachets. The sachets measure 7x9cm which is a good size for popping in your purse. On the reverse each sachet contains full preparation and dosage instructions printed in orange ink as well as manufacturer details and expiry date.

              *Nutrition*
              The product is gluten free and sugar free but contains aspartame so should be avoided by PKU sufferers.

              * Product Claims *
              - easy and convenient way to increase fibre
              - helps the digestive system work more efficiently
              - gently relieves constipation the natural way, without straining, discomfort or unnatural urgency
              - helps to maintain and restore regularity

              *Dosage*
              - Adults and children 12+ can take up to two sachets per day, one in the morning and evening.
              - Children ages 6-12 can use ½ to one tsp twice per day
              - Children under 6 can use ½ to one tsp twice per day; but only on medical advice.
              I tend to stick to one sachet with breakfast for a couple of weeks at a time when my digestion is sluggish.

              *Preparation*
              The sachet is torn open and the contents added to a cold glass of water. The sachet tears easily being paper based plus it doesn't have that plastic film on the inside like some sachets do. Once added to water, it must be stirred briskly and drank quickly as otherwise all the husk particles fall to the bottom. The guidance given is to add it to 150ml liquid, but since constipation is quite often caused by simple dehydration I tend to dissolve it in a 250ml glass (still quite small) then follow this up with a second glass of water to up my fluid intake.

              *Appearance and Taste*
              Ok. I'll be honest with you. It really doesn't look that great. In a 150ml glass (as they suggest) the liquid is very viscous (i.e. gloopy). Add to that the little grainy particles and this isn't something you'll be having cravings for! The taste is fine though, just like a regular orange squash. Most times it's a case of just getting it down you.

              *Does it work?*
              In a word, yes. You won't see immediate results but over the case of a few days things will have freed up, so to speak. I'd prefer to take this as part of bowel maintenance rather than resort to short term laxatives which can mess things up (I was really trying to avoid puns here!) with your digestion

              Basically the main ingredient (Ispgaghula Husk) is like a sponge; absorbing liquid for softer motions (sorry!)

              However, these grains are also a pain in the neck! If I can impart you with one top tip, it would be to rinse your glass out immediately after use, otherwise the grains end up solidified and are a nightmare to get out. Plus, if left, they happen to disperse themselves onto other items of crockery when doing the washing up which is really annoying (this probably wouldn't happen in a dishwasher though.)

              *Summary*
              Considering most of us don't get enough fibre, this is a great way to add extra fibre and fluid to the diet which can help minimise bowel problems. The orange taste is not hugely off putting as it tastes just like orange squash. The small husk particles do take a bit of getting used to though, which is why it loses a star.

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                23.07.2013 13:09
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                More cheerful than plain old bran flakes!

                You may have read from my intro that I am a registered Nutritionist. Breakfast, as we know is vitally important and I never skip it. Wholegrain cereal tends to be my first choice as it provides a huge helping of dietary fibre (which most of us don't get enough of) plus a good serving of protein in the milk. One of the basic principles with eating well (regardless of whether weight loss is required) is that a combination of wholegrain carbohydrate and protein at each meal is fantastic for satiety (feeling full); therefore resisting the urge to snack later.

                However, the real selling points of a breakfast cereal for me are:
                1. It is so much easier than preparing e.g. a poached egg on toast (another protein / wholegrain combo.)
                2. The milk provides fluid first thing in the morning. We all know we should drink 2 litres per day, but most of us struggle to manage that.
                3. The majority of cereals are now fortified which means the day starts with a good chunk of our RDI's (Recommended Daily Intakes). The majority of women, in particular, are deficient in iron. Add to this a reluctance to eat a lot of red meat (if dieting) then iron sources can be very hard to find (unless you like eating spinach until it comes out of your ears :D)

                I normally opt for shop brand bran flakes and add my own fruit as I find the 'fruit & fibre' ranges to be quite pricey on our budget. However, this one at Aldi screamed value at £1.19 for a generously filled box (750g) so I had to give it a try.

                *PACKAGING*
                The cereal comes in a lilac box which contains nutritional information, ingredients, recycling information and details of the Aldi guarantee. The picture on the front is a bowl of the cereal with smaller pictures of the fruit and nuts included around it. The inner bag is filled more than other brands whilst the box itself is smaller than other 750g cereals.

                *PRICE & AVAILABILITY*
                I paid £1.19 for this 750g box at my last Aldi shop. This cereal can only be purchased in Aldi.

                *PRODUCT DESCRIPTION*
                On the rear of the box:
                "A combination of crunchy whole wheat flakes, dried fruit and nuts. Crammed into this box are raisins, banana, coconut, apple, almonds and hazelnuts so not surprisingly it's bursting with taste."

                *PRODUCT CLAIMS*
                On the front of the box:
                "No artificial colours or flavourings"
                "Source of Vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12 and Folic Acid"
                "Source of Iron"
                "High in Fibre"
                "Vegetarian"

                *NUTRITION*
                The nutritional information isn't that great as it is stated per portion size of 30g (a tiny serving) plus it doesn't account for the addition of milk. It's no surprise the macronutrient values are therefore low:
                ENERGY- 112kcal
                PROTEIN - 2.6g
                CARBS - 20.4g
                FAT - 1.5g
                FIBRE - 3.0g
                It would appear that they have chosen to omit milk and use a small portion size to keep the calorie information as low as possible per serving (as is industry standard).

                However, it is then of note that the Vitamin & Iron RDI per normal size serving will be considerably higher than the amounts stated; which range between 8% (Vitamin B12) to 29% (Vitamin B6).

                In particular, even a 30g serving provides 2.9mg of iron which equates to 33% of RDI for men and 20% for woman (NB. this is my working out; it doesn't state this on the box). So as you can see it's a good chunk for such a small bowl!

                *MY EXPERIENCE*
                I have found in the past that Fruit & Fibre tends to be mostly the wheat flakes and not much fruit. However, I've bought this cereal three times now and I am genuinely surprised each time I pour a bowl just how much variety there is. I don't know how they've done it, but the fruit bits don't sink to the bottom of the bag either! Maybe they ship them lying down? :) Seriously though, I have a feeling that it might be due to how full the bag is, meaning there's less room for the cereal to move about.

                Every bowl I've had has been full of raisins, apples and nuts. And I love it when a piece of coconut sneaks in! My partner tends to pick out and eat the banana pieces straight for the bag whilst waiting for the kettle to boil but I've still ended up with some in my bowl of a morning (which is unheard of... he loves banana chips!) When I compare this to a value F&F brand I've tried from Sainsbury's, there is genuinely no comparison. In fact, I think it's better than Kellogg's. It's crunchy, its fruity and every mouthful is different.

                The only negative I can think to mention is that the raisins and banana chips can be quite hard if you use ice cold milk. But I like this extra texture! You could always leave the milk a little longer to soften them before eating.

                NB. I have a feeling that this product may have been reformulated as the previous two reviews don't seem anything like the product I've been eating for the last month!

                *SUMMARY*
                This is going in my trolley every week.

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                  19.07.2013 20:02
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                  Well worth a try

                  I've read a lot recently about Argan oil and when I saw the hair products in my latest Avon book I figured it'd be an inexpensive way to give it a try. Apparently in Morocco they use argan oil to nourish hair, skin and nails so I was secretly hoping for soft, shiny and smooth locks by using both the shampoo and conditioner. Particularly as I've felt my hair has been quite dry recently with the heat.

                  *Packaging*
                  The slim bottle is silver with a turquoise clip shut lid. One thing I've noticed with other Avon hair shampoo and conditioner sets is that it is difficult to tell them apart. The only real difference is that when the shampoo label is the correct way up, the lid is at the top whilst the conditioner lid ends up being at the bottom. On the reverse of the bottle is one of those peely-up labels which reveals the ingredients and how to use. Interestingly this range is made in Poland. The size of this bottle at 250ml is good for travelling and not too cumbersome within the bathroom although I guess a larger bottle might be better economy.

                  *Product Claims*
                  "Effectively cleanses hair leaving it feeling smoother, stronger and more manageable. Instantly detangles hair." (Avon.com)

                  *Appearance and Fragrance *
                  The fragrance is gorgeous; lovely and fresh. Others have described it as fruity but I wouldn't say it was. It has a thick, luxurious consistency.

                  *What's it like to use?*
                  The product dispenses well from the packaging with minimal fuss and no clogged up holes. It lathers up thickly and richly and feels very luxurious. When rinsing out I can definitely feel a difference in tangles. It rinses out surprisingly easily given how thick the lather is and leaves hair squeaky clean. I've been using this in conjunction with the conditioner for just over two weeks and I can definitely say my hair looks healthier, softer and silkier. The smell lasts until I wash it again, which I personally love.

                  *Summary*
                  I bought this product via my Avon rep for £2 (RRP £2.80) but I'm sure it will come up within other offers. It's a great price for a product that really does seem to nourish the hair. In my opinion it is one of those hidden gems from Avon which are worth the money. If this was marketed in much more expensive packaging by another brand no one would bat an eyelid! It simply feels luxurious.

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                    17.07.2013 22:29
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                    On my shopping list... when it eventually runs out, that is!

                    ** Please note that Boots have rebranded this product as "All Bright Cleansing Toner" and the packaging is now different (as with most of the Botanics range) **

                    I was always taught to 'cleanse, tone and moisturise.' The toning part is my favourite as I love the feeling of freshness after a creamy cleanser and the knowledge that everything is well and truly lifted away so my pores don't get gunked up before bed!

                    *Packaging*
                    The product in contained within an attractive slim white bottle holding 250ml. The design (as with the rest of the brand) is a pink / green floral design. There is reference made to the development of the product in conjunction with Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. The lid is a screw top (thankfully!) with a reasonable size hole of around 5mm for dispensing the liquid.

                    *Product Claims*
                    Natural hibiscus flower AHA's act as a skin brightener, whilst impurities are cleansed and skin is freshened.

                    *Appearance and Fragrance*
                    The bottle is opaque so the colour can't be seen but upon dispensing to cotton wool the liquid is clear. The smell so difficult to describe but isn't unpleasant. Just a mild, slightly herby, clean smell.

                    *What's it like to use?*
                    The product dispenses well from the container. After a run of badly designed toners which seems to leak everywhere, I had consigned myself to using spray toners only! But the bottle is quite firm (making it unlikely you'll squeeze it hard by accident) plus the lid being a screw on means it isn't breakable. It's been brilliant packaging for travelling.
                    I love the astringent feeling this toner has. As I've already mentioned, I'm a big toner fan and I love that tingly 'closing pore' feeling it gives. And, call me weird, but I also like the tightening sensation. The tightening sensation reminds me of the clean and clear products I used in my teens (but without the burns and irritation!)
                    Most importantly for me, it clears out the dreaded blackheads in my t-zone without over drying my cheeks.

                    *Summary*
                    This product is currently half price at Boots for £2.69 which is amazingly good value for money. I've used this daily since January and have only gone through half the bottle. I'm really happy to have been given this to try. Although I generally try to tend to stick to the same brand of cleaner, toner and moisturiser.... I think I might buck the trend with this and keep buying it.

                    I've been using this along side the toner from the same range and am really chuffed with the results. I definitely have noticed a reduction in dry skin from my cheeks and oil and blackheads from my nose. Quite often when I come home from work I wipe this over my face (especially in this recent hot weather) as it is incredibly refreshing whilst also removing some grime from the day.

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                      10.07.2013 12:46
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                      Will buy again, a fab find which will save me a fortune on cleanser!

                      ** Please note that Boots have rebranded this product as "All Bright Gentle Cleansing Cream" and the packaging is now different (as with most of the Botanics range) **

                      I was lucky enough to receive a set of the newly rebranded Botanics range from my SIL for Christmas containing Cleanser, Toner, Day Cream and Night Cream; all of which I shall be reviewing in due course.
                      No. 1 in any good skincare routine is cleanser. I use cleanser every evening and will do so even if I've worn make up that day as I find that wipes dry my skin.

                      *Packaging*
                      The bottle is a slim white design with a pink / green floral design, holds 250ml and has a flip top lid with a reasonable sized hole for dispensing. There is also a reference made that the product has been developed with Kew Royal Botanic Gardens.

                      *Product Claims*
                      Claims to have natural hibiscus flower AHA's which act as a gentle exfoliator to leave skin brighter and smoother.

                      *Appearance and Fragrance*
                      The cream is white, not pink as suggested by the bottle due to the hibiscus extract. The smell is - as to be expected - mildly floral, but this is neither strong nor off putting.

                      *What's it like to use?*
                      In my opinion the cream is just the right consistency for application. That is, it dispenses out of the bottle well but is neither too runny to control nor too thick to spread. I tend to apply this with my hands and it warms really quickly. On days where I have worn make-up, I tend to go over my face twice and on the first application it is clear to see the make up being lifted. The second application is more out of habit but there doesn't tend to be anything left on my face. On make-up free days I am quite often surprised by just quite how much this product lifts.

                      *Summary*
                      I can honestly say that this product competes with some of the big boys out there. I definitely feel that using this alongside the toner made a marked improvement to the brightness of my skin. In particular, my T zone was much less oily and my cheeks much less flaky; meaning that makeup was much more easily applied. Value for money wise; I've used this every night since January and I still have ~1/4 bottle left. For £3.99 alone, or cheaper with Boots frequent 3 for 2 offers, this is, quite simply bargainous!

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                        09.07.2013 20:48
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                        Will buy again as they are a staple

                        As a nutritionist, Vitamin D is one of those essentials, in my opinion. Although there are no RDI's (Recommended Daily Intakes) for the population at whole, the fact that we live in the northern hemisphere means that we have poor access to sunlight (the main source of Vit D). Dietary sources are few and far between (herring, mackerel, egg yolk) and I like to take 10ug each day (which is that recommended for pregnant and lactating women), but especially in the winter. The packaging refers to the EU RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of which this 10ug tablets meet 200%.

                        H&B's Vitamin D3 tablets come in a translucent yellow bottle with a bright yellow lid. The first thing I noticed before even taking it to the till was how much packaging wastage there was. The tablets are tiny and don't even fill a quarter of the bottle - even 100 of them!

                        Each tablet is ~5mm diameter, which is pretty small! The lid has a flip top unlike other H&B supplements so my theory is that this is to help with dispensing. It's really easy to open and close although I'm not sure how it would fare in a handbag / travelling as mine sit on the kitchen worktop. Even with the flip lid, however, I find that the only reliable way to get the daily dose out is by unscrewing the lovingly designed flip top and sticking my finger in. Using the flip top method usually ends up with a good few in my hand / on the aforementioned worktop which then have to be picked back up (tricky when they are tiny!) and stuck back in the bottle.

                        I bought these when H&B were doing their penny sale, which makes them very good value. However, they do need to address the size of the packaging, which is quite wasteful. In addition, the size of the tablet needs addressed as this is something which would prove to be a real pain in the neck for someone with poor mobility of the hands.

                        I will buy again when H&B has an offer on.

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                          04.07.2013 12:59
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                          Need a replacement for this!

                          I purchased this compact trio when a much loved set ran out of mid colour and I decided to find a smaller set as the one I had previously had multiple colours and was pretty big. I looked at a few but this one stood out because of it's different design and the fact that I loved the middle colour for my blue eyes.

                          *Packaging*
                          The trio is cased in black plastic measuring approximately 3 x 1.5 inches, with a clear hinged lid which opens to the left. The design is similar to a set of traffic lights. Initially there is a little plastic sheath covering the shadows which I wish I'd kept because not only are the colours now running over the palette but the lid broke in my handbag about a fortnight after I got it. This is annoying because it now has to sit in my drawer at home which means I couldn't reapply through the day / night. On the reverse is a dinky picture of how to apply the set if I wasn't sure and the description of the product: "Ultra pearlised trio eye shadow."

                          *Price*
                          I purchased mine for £6.49 from Boots, but I have also seen it on Very for £8.

                          *Colours*
                          My colour set (001 Over the Limit) is targeted at blue eyes. The highlighter is a pretty standard creamy off white but does glisten beautifully. The mid colour is almost as exact replacement for my old one (hence the purchase!) and is a deep gold, almost bronze, again with a shimmer effect. The dark colour could be described as a shimmery milk chocolate.

                          *Application*
                          Although the set comes with a sponge applicator, I use a brush for my eyeshadow. The difficulty with this set is that the colours are domed, not flat and I found it difficult to build enough colour up on my brush. Rather, I had to apply 2 or 3 thin layers to build it up. Whilst this isn't particularly bad, in swirling my brush repeatedly over the domes the packaging has got quite a mess. And because the packaging broke, I have to clean it after use so that it doesn't then leak into my makeup bag!

                          *Results*
                          It takes a while to build up the product on the eye and whilst doing so I have to be careful not to allow specks to fall on my cheek (stick some loose powder there!) As a result I haven't used much of the dark colour as I tend to be in a rush of a morning.

                          *Summary*
                          I didn't mind paying £6.49 for the set as each colour would only cost ~£2.15. However, on reflection, this does seem a lot for such a small set which is quite difficult to apply. Given the fact that I haven't been able to use the dark colour due that rises to £3.25 an eyeshadow. And considering that the packaging broke soon after purchase, it's turned into an expensive replacement for me. I looked to see if I could prise the shadows out and stick them in another compact but they are pretty well stuck in there (which is a good thing for most people I guess!)

                          Overall disappointing. I'm giving it 2 stars as the colour cant be faulted, nor the staying power.

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                            03.07.2013 21:11
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                            An essential in my book and one I will probably use until I'm 100!

                            I am a very active person and in the course of the day will almost always have ran, cycled or walked somewhere. I also train 3-4 times a week. Sadly I am one of those people who starts to sweat as soon as I start any activity, even walking. I guess it's down to years of training meaning my body has adapted. Or maybe I'm just unlucky.

                            It's uncomfortable and embarrassing having sweaty pits, let's face it. I've tried a fair few deodorants over the years - sprays, roll ons, creams, mineral sticks, prescription deodorants (eugh!) you name it - and the only one which I've found to work without stinging is Mitchum.

                            I try to always stock up when it's on offer as it can be expensive (my last batch was 2 x 100ml bottles for £4 from Sainsburys); but if I've ran out completely I will pay full price. I've been burnt in the past just 'making do' with something else for the sake of a pound or so and it really isn't worth it. It really annoys me when companies state '24hr, or worse 48hr protection!' It's so unrealistic. In my opinion, Mitchum is the only one which comes close.

                            The great thing these days is the new fragrances. When I started using it there was no choice but original, but now there are:
                            *Shower fresh - has a clean, soapy smell, similar to pantene shampoo
                            *Powder fresh - smells like a floral fragranced talc. I've read a few other reviews where people haven't been keen on this but I rather like it.

                            Some other older reviews have referred to white or yellow stains and I do agree that this was something which I did notice before (I have been using this product a LONG time). However, Mitchum appear to have reformulated / rebranded as 'Mitchum Advanced Protection' which states on the bottle "Minimises White Marks."

                            In addition, there are two sizes of bottles: 50ml which are great for travelling and 100ml which last a while.

                            If you sweat a lot, like I do, using Mitchum regularly definitely reduces sweating. I'm not sure of the science behind it but it does. I've read a few reviews where people have said it makes their underarms dry, but on the flip side it does sound like they don't experience excessive sweating and so perhaps the formulation is too strong for them? As I have used the product for many years and have never experienced this.

                            Thanks for reading!

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                            • Paul Mitchell Thicken Up / Hair Care / 48 Readings / 47 Ratings
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                              01.07.2013 16:31
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                              Will probably replace with a cheaper alternative

                              First of all, I've owned this 200ml product for around 3 years (*scampers off to check if there is an expiry date*) and it's true to say a little goes a long way, as it's still going strong.

                              I hate flat hair. My hair is mid-long length and because it's quite straight tends to get pulled down. I purchased this 'Styling Liquid' at my last salon to help with lift at the roots and to achieve a bouncier feel.

                              What they say: "Live large with serious volume, flexible body, softness and big shine. Helps protect against sun damage. Apply 2-4 pumps evenly through damp hair. Style as required. On dry hair, use a small amount to separate and define'

                              The first important thing to say is not to pop this in if you are letting your hair dry naturally as it gives the complete opposite effect, believe me! The liquid is a clear, gel like substance with a watery consistency for application. Personally, I've only ever used 2 pumps max. And I only ever use it when I'm blow drying. I tend to spread the product from the roots down. If I end up with a little too much at the roots, it brushes through without looking greasy.

                              When blow dried, I love the effect it gives. It has a lovely 'clean' fragrance which I tend to notice even a day later, whilst leaving my hair soft and fluffy. Volume wise, it looks like the lift that Batiste would give, but without the 'clogged' up feel; rather, it has that lightweight, bouncy feel such as when you leave a salon.

                              Although I don't use it this way, I imagine that it would be a great frizz / flyaway tamer smoothed over dry hair if you wanted a sleek look, as it has the correct consistency.

                              The only downside (as with a lot of hair products) is the residue. I wash my hands after application but somehow I always seem to get my brush handle sticky. In addition, the lid on mine broke soon after I got it, but as it has the twist / lock pump it hasn't bothered me. The bottle itself is slim so it doesn't take up much space on the dressing table, plus the pump disperses well.

                              I will probably try a different product when this one runs out as it is quite pricy, plus I've had it for so long it would be nice to have a change (although I do love the smell.)

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                              01.07.2013 14:43
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                              An essential piece of hairdressing kit for all important volume!

                              The first time my hairdresser used this oversized brush to blowdry my hair I was so impressed with the results I bought one there and then. I paid £12 for it at the time but have seen it on amazon and ebay since for slightly less.

                              The first thing to say is that even though the barrel looks massive, it is very lightweight which helps prevent the dreaded blow-dry-arm-ache! (Don't we all hate doing the crown section.... my arms feel like they are going to fall off by then!)

                              The barrel is made of ceramic, which as we know holds heat in to assist drying plus it also combats stray flyaway hairs, meaning the hair sits flat and looks shiny.

                              The contoured handle has been designed well. Lets face it, it's never easy replicating a blow dry at home but it allows for 'rolling' of the brush really well. I hate those brushes with a rubber grip on them, they always pull my hair out!

                              The bristles are all different lengths and made of nylon. Mine all poke out at different angles (although I'm not sure if this is because of usage.) There is a hole at the top of the handle for hanging in a salon, or if you have some kind of rack at home.

                              This brush achieves a look full of volume even for those who aren't great at home- blowdries (ahem: me!) For a special blowdry I'll use this brush from start to finish, but If I just want a little lift at the crown and front then I'll blow dry as usual with my smaller barrel brush then use this badboy with a little hairspray for some extra oomph.... easy!

                              In particular, when my hair was in a bob I found this size of brush invaluable to keep the style looking sharp. Now I have longer hair it is fantastic for some extra lift to stop it looking flat.

                              Thanks for reading and hope this was helpful.

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                              30.06.2013 21:33
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                              A nice idea, but sadly lacking

                              I ended up with this product by chance when I was one item short to collect an avon promotion. I often use dry shampoo so thought I'd give it a try, seeing as it would be a freebie, more or less.

                              The bottle is slim and transparent, with the pale pink liquid spray visible through. It looks quite nice on the dressing table. My pet hate with sprays is when they spray too little, or run down the side but this wasn't the case here as it dispensed nicely.

                              Personally I find the fragrance a little too sweet for my liking, it's almost more like a fabric refresher or a room spray (although I'm reluctant to use it as this in case it leaves a residue)

                              With regards to its purpose, I was intrigued to see what effect it would have on my hair. That is, would it be useful for between washes or for a freshen up as a dry shampoo would? Or would it leave my hair greasy and weigh it down?

                              I'm afraid to say that it did leave my hair somewhat greasy, even when following instructions and trying different ways to apply. I sometimes use dry shampoo if I'm putting my hair up, but it definitely isn't a replacement for that.

                              The only use I could suggest is for someone who either smokes or works in a restaurant; as I guess these situations can leave your hair smelling stale.

                              But as a freshen up, I'll be sticking to my dry shampoo or washing and passing this on to a friend. Disappointing but at least it was a freebie!

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