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Advance techniques latest addition is a Moroccan argan oil leave in treatment for your hair, sold by Avon either via a local sales representative or you can order directly from the Avon.uk.com website. It's currently on offer at the price of £2.50 and when sold at normal price it will be £5.50. I'm sure you're all aware by now, with the amount of Avon review appearing, that Avon regularly puts on offers where by you can pretty much always get it cheaper than full price.
What is it? - Argan oil has been used for a long time and is becoming more popular due to its versatility; it can be used in many ways however to save going off topic, I'm going to stick with the nourishing cosmetic side. It can be described as a moisturising aid and Avon themselves describe it as 'An exotic blend containing rare Moroccan argan oil that absorbs instantly, infusing hair with moisture and shine'. The Argan tree can be found endemic to Morocco (meaning this is the only place you will find the tree) the oil is harvested from the fruit and nuts that grow on them, hence the 'Rare' claim from Avon. I found this to be a little over exaggerated as a bit of research showed that Morocco has been expecting the demand for sometime and have been preparing with strict harvesting rules. My hair is actually in fairly good condition, but I've always had a problem with drying ends, so safe in the knowledge that I'm not killing the environment, I thought I'd give it ago.
What does it look and feel like? - It comes in a small rectangular shaped turquoise box with all the relevant information; in around 10 different languages may I add? The bottle itself is a transparent glass bottle with a turquoise pump action top with a clear lid to cover that. The oil itself is exactly how you'd imagine it to be, that yellowy slippery liquid that slightly thicker than water. I don't know why or what I was thinking, when I know the oil is derived from the seed of a fruit, but I expected an unpleasant smell but I did! So I was shocked (in a good way) when it definitely has a slight fruity aroma to it.
How do you use it? instruction are fairly vague as to how much you use but having a few go's myself now I can tell you I need no more than five squirts from the pump action top, similar to the soap dispensers you'd find in public toilets, and I have long hair and lots of it. The first time I used it I feel I used to much as my hair seemed to get really dark and bordering on greasy so I would advise to use it sparingly. Massage the oil into your hair and style as usual, really simple to use.
Does it work? - Most definitely, yes! I read in the brochure it can be used on wet or dry hair so immediately after I opened it I had a little squirt and rubbed it onto the ends. It did work a little but nothing too impressive, or so I thought. I then read the box properly, they're must have been a print problem in the brochure as it can actually to be used on damp or towel dried hair, so bare in mind I'd completely misused it yet could still see an improvement, I was happy again.
I quickly decided to try it out correctly; I have tried similar products from the same range which use to make my hair look much healthier so I was hoping for the same effect from this. I was pleasantly surprised that it actually works much better. After using it twice a week for just two weeks, my hair doesn't just look healthier, it feels it too. It shines, the dry ends have disappeared and as stupid as this sounds while I'm typing it, my hair is nowhere near as heavy as it use to be and moves much more naturally - it just feels amazing.
Would I recommend it? - Yes, yes, yes! The effect it has had on my hair was instant and seems to be lasting; people are starting to compliment me on it now. Even at the full price, my two weeks use has hardly made a dent in the 30ml bottle and it has a life span of 12 months so I think its excellent value for money. The only problem (which isn't really that much of a problem at all) I have is that it can leave my hands feeling a little to soft and slippery for a short while after use, but a simple pair of plastic gloves could solve this. The one think I will note is that I can't see adding oil to greasy hair doing any good what so ever. I'm not an expert though and could be completely off the mark as the box does clearly say 'For all hair types'
Five Stars all round from me!
I suffer terrible hard skin on my feet and have tried pretty much everything to try keep them in good condition so when I found these socks I had to give them a go.
Not quite sure what I expected from an Avon package but it's got to be something better than what I got as I remember thinking "Really! That's it!". A flimsy little cellophane see through package. I shouldn't complain as I got me hands on them dirt cheap, but if I'd paid the RRP of £5.00 I would not have been happy at all. The socks themselves now that's a different matter - they were brilliant white ankle socks with the least possible seams and what can only be described as a Grandad collar around the ankle which makes them look rather trendy. They feel super soft in my hand, think that;s due to them being 92% cotton and only 8% elastane, but to touch them it feels like something much more expensive.
The socks are to be worn overnight and come in one size that fit all - so it says! My feet are a size five and these socks fit me perfectly, loose enough not to cause me any circulation problems but not so loose that they fall off my feet. Therefore, in my opinion if your feet are around 2 sizes either way of mine I think you'll have problems, being too small and you will have to be constantly readjusting the socks (bare in mind these are bed socks and you should be sleeping) or due to lack of elastane if your feet are too big I would imagine they'd just rip.
To use them correctly you should coat your feet in a thin layer of moisturising cream then wear the socks overnight to help soften and sooth the feet. They work well with any moisturising cream (I've tried a few) but this does take it's toll on the socks with regards to washing. Mine, which were original bright white, are a mere three months old and looking greyish in colour with a few stains on the soles. This being said they are used 2-3 times per week and washed after every use, they do dry really quickly though and could be used more often if you wish. When I first got them, they were on my feet every night for around ten days.
The shape of the socks were holding up extremely well (again bare in mind these are bed socks) until I decided to wear them during the day once. They are obviously not made to cope with all the movement of walking and/or being inside of shoes as they have gone from feeling like I have nothing on my feet but a silk sheet - to now needing to be put on with every toe in the right place or they're very uncomfortable.
One draw back I did notice is they're not as "watertight" as I expected considering they are made to use with creams/lotions. It seeps through the material a little, so becareful if walking on floors such as lino or laminte, it wasn't much of a difference but it was noticeable when I walked over my kitchen flooring. This was a recent incident though and could possibly be because they are well used.
I bought a planet spa set on offer so I paid £7.00 but this included a pedicure set and a foot and elbow cream, always look out for the offers as the socks themselves are priced at £5.00 - still reasonable but l prefer to get as much value for money as legally possible and I will be investing in another pair soon.
I would and do gladly recommend these to all my female friends (with size 5/6 feet) as personally I think they're fabulous when I use them for what they are made for, unfortunately for you men with the average shoe size being 8 or 9, I think you'll need to find an alternative which is the reason why my super sock had to lose a star and drop to 4 out of 5.
Preston Hall is situated along side of the River Tees, located between Yarm and Stockton on Tees just off the A66 and on the A135. Coming in from the North following the directions I found on the internet was very easy, I use to know this place like the back of my hand but there are too many new roads, roundabouts and traffic signals for me to navigate now. It's clearly signposted from the A66 north and south - I know this for a fact as I thought I was clever, seen a sign for the A135 and turned too early (even thought the huge brown tourist sign's said straight ahead) and ended up coming in from the wrong side, so even if you get lost, you'll still get there. When coming down the A135 don't look for the Hall, unless you know what you're looking for you will miss your turning, instead look for the traffic signals at a T junction - The turn is the Gates into the grounds.
A Little History:
The name can be quite confusing as it gets called Preston Park Museum, it's sign posted from the road as Preston Hall, yet it is actually called Preston Hall Museum and Park, but if you do have to stop and ask for directions, simply ask for Preston Park - that is what the local's know it as. This is because it was originally built next too the River Tees by David Burton Fowler in 1825 to be his Georgian gentleman's home, Preston Hall. It was not until 1882, when the estate and lands were sold to Robert Ropner, a wealthy shipping magnate (great man) for the sum of £27,500. The Hall and grounds passed through the hands of a number of companies, before being purchased by Stockton Borough Council in 1947 and the hall and grounds are now a grade II listed building which officially opened to the public as Preston Hall Museum and Park in 1953.
After much deliberating I decided the review should be about the museum as the title clearly states, however I couldn't leave out the grounds altogether as they compliment the museum greatly, so I stole the following paragraph from their website to give you an insight.
"The all new adventure play area is the perfect place for children to let off steam, while parents may prefer a coffee in the cosy surroundings of our very own Cafe Tees. Explore a haven for wildlife enthusiasts in Quarry Wood Nature Reserve, or kick back and relax by the banks of the River Tees. Both young and old can be introduced to a magical display of colour in Butterfly World, while summer Sundays see journeys on a miniature steam railway."
There is actually two play area's a crazy golf and a picnic area that I seen to add to the list as well as lots of theatre show available now. This is where you can spend quite a sum of money so if it's a cheap day out your after, take a couple of blind folds for the kids.
When we arrived at 11am the main car park to the front was already full, be sure to check opening and closing times before going as there was a temporary board up leading me to believe this changes often. - we travelled round the ditch ridden road to the over flow car park situated to the left of the park, which is basically a huge field inside the grounds. One big tip for your day out, it's very regularly water logged so remember your wellies if your going on a particularly wet day, and do not let the kids run across the field on the way in, my nephew had soaking wet feet and mud splashed up his back before we even got to the museum, and it was a lovely sunny dry day! It didn't seem to spoil his day though and to be honest the gravel muddy path isn't that much better anyway.
After 30 minutes of negotiating, aka bribing, the kids, we managed to navigate past the two adventure parks, picnic area, crazy golf, bouncy castle, butterfly world, and the Ice cream selling cafe up to the museum. Standing out front it's clearly of the Victorian era, ornate and conservative is the words that sprung to mind. Acre's upon acre's of green parkland out front and a winter garden the size of my whole ground floor, it's most definitely excessive in terms of once being a home, however just the right size for the now Hall Museum. Once inside it's no different, eloquent if not oversized spiral stair cases and ornate rooms - the original foyer is now host to the reception desk and the gift shop so this should give you a good insight into the scale of things. The Victorian excessiveness and recent renovations to include lifts did work in our favour though - I never struggled anywhere once with my double pushchair, not in the street nor the 2 story house.
It cost me £4.00 for a family ticket that included two adults and four children which I thought was excellent value straight away, when I noticed annual pass on the receipt I didn't quite believe it and questioned it with the staff, they obviously get this question a lot as I got one of them 'can you not read looks' - sure enough I have a 365 day pass into the museum. The annual pass comes in a handy wallet along with information of whats on over the coming months so it can assist you planning your next visit. The museum opened at 11am and last entry was at 3.30pm before closing at 4pm - I think they are a bit relaxed about times as people were still gaining entry at 3.45pm just as we were leaving. The gift shops was just as reasonably priced - we came away with a selection of items ranging from pens costing £1 to postcard colouring packs costing £2. You can easily pick up a treat for the little one as well as there was a large selection of history books although I suspect they will be more expensive.
Immediately to the right of the reception desk is the start of the museum and although I'm not going to go into detail about every display individually, not only would it spoil your day out but it would take me weeks to write up. I can however tell you that the main themes of the museums collections seem to concentrate on domestic and working life over the last couple of hundred years, although you can also view one of the only three left in Britain - George de la Tours painting's, The Dice Player, here. In the displays, you can view pretty much everything we have today along side either a 200 year old version or they're equivalent back then. I found it amusing and a little surreal to check out a Dyson Bag less standing adjacent to what can only be described as a silver bullet shaped nuclear device thingy, no way would I be hoovering my stairs with one of them!
The layout has been well thought out too, for example after browsing the shipping trade and working displays, the kids (adults too if you wish) can Clock out, as if leaving work, using a restored machine before moving onto the next displays of entertainment. Really quite clever and all adds to the charm of the place. The most impressive has to be the backward turning clock, after wandering round the rooms of the now modern Hall you come to a foyer in which there is the clock sunken into the ground, you step over the clock and as if transported back in time you arrive at the other end in a 1895 Victorian street., this has always been my favourite part of the museum.
Here, where the streets are cobbled and the ally's narrow and roof's are low, there are many Victorian shops and behind every door lie's a new story and bit of history to be heard. The shops have been restored and some have changed since my frequent visits as a child. I was extremely pleased to find that the sweet shop was still there but then equally as gutted to find it was closed awaiting stock, as a child I came away with some gorgeous boiled sweets and was hoping to find out what they were this time round.
The Victorian tea room is a new great addition to the street, I'd say excellent but the digital tills with credit and debit card facility took away from the completely traditional 1895 look and feel of the place. The staff are even in line with Victorian times, no fast food here, just a 15 minute wait for your coffee and biscuits when there was only one person ahead of us in the queue and worse still a 25 minute wait for a cold drink later in the day. Waiting time wasn't a problem with the kids, they had all the Victorian outfits hanging outside to try on and games to play just outside the doors. Here is the only place I found that served refreshment so I was not very happy when it cost me £7.55 for 2 small coffee's, 4 ginger biscuits and One Bottle of 275ml pop! If I'm honest the coffee tasted like smart price and I could have made the ginger biscuits and I can't cook to save a life, the pop however I was impressed with when I read the bottle. Anyone who's on a gut healing diet would know that the fermented fruit drink is actually so much better for you and also not as easily mass produced like common pop today so you don't mind paying a little extra for the authentic produce.
The Victorian street is also host to many activities depending on which day you visit - ours was build a boat day. Only a short 20 minute session but my 3 boys loved it and they're boats actually floated so thumbs up all round from them. The session leaders were excellent and taught the children about the local shipping history all while they had some fun. The session was free although they do ask for a donation of 50p per child to cover material cost.
Always got to mention these places and inline with the rest of the grounds they were impeccably clean. I noticed when walking past the disabled toilet that there was enough room for two wheel chairs in there and numerous hand rails around the walls - I can't imagine anyone of any ability having a problem in there. I also made a point of taking a look around the ladies toilets, although small there were 4 toilets and 4 wash basins and was ample room (without going into too much detail) to do what needed to be done, again these were immaculate. Only one hand dryer and no paper towel's but I also never noticed a queue large enough to cause problems.
The odd digital Till and lack of refreshments available are the only let downs, so whether you're after a quick trip out or planning a full day trip, and taking refreshments and a couple of blinds folds for the kids I would most definitely recommend Preston Hall museum to anyone, I hope I've done it justice in this review.
The value for money is excellent and it's a great resource for education as well as fun for all ages - I'll be making full use of my annual pass! Planning my next visit already, only this time I'll be ringing ahead to find out which day's activities best suit me.
* Preston Hall Museum and Grounds
* Yarm Road,
* TS18 3RH
* Telephone - (01642) 527375
Mr. Robert Peter Williams - The only introduction this man needs, although Rupert Everett does do a pretty good job in the opening scenes of Robbie Williams - Live At The Albert.
I watched this when it was originally aired on TV back in mid/late 2001. What a show? And the uncut DVD is even better.
As I'm a total Robbie Freak!! I ran straight out in December 2001 and bought this so it cost me £11.99, However I dare bet you could pick it up for a couple of quid from the Internet now. The packaging is a very elegant looking card case with a little booklet fixed to the inside and Robbie looking as gorgeous as ever on the front cover.
Robbie, who's accompanied by a 58 piece orchestra and some cameo appearances from, Guy Chambers, John Lovitz, Jane Horrocks, Johnathon Wilkes and Frank Sinatra, perform the following songs with the passion and enthusiasm they deserve.
He sing as entertainly yet brilliantly as only he knows how, enjoying every minute, making the viewer sing and smile along with him. In my opinion this is still one of Robbies best performances and he does the Rat Pack proud.
1 Have You Met Miss Jones?
2 Mack The Knife
3 Straighten Up And Fly Right
4 Let's Face The Music And Dance
5 Well, Did You Evah?
6 The Lady Is A Tramp
8 One For My Baby
9 Mr Bojangles (This One Has To Be My Favourite)
10 I Will Talk And Hollywood Will Listen
11 Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
12 Beyond The Sea
13 Me And My Shadow
14 Ain't That A Kick In The Head
15 It Was A Very Good Year
16 My Way
Music DVD's don't normally have too much along the lines of extras, but on here they are great. It includes a mini documentary on the recording of the album Swing When Your Winning, and it incorporates a great photo gallery and much more.
The DVD runs for 100 minutes and is exempt from classification although there is some strong language, Because of this I would advise parents to decide whether or not it's suitable for your children.
Finally I'd just like to say that the Live At The Albert DVD is an absolutely brilliant and charismatic performance from a born entertainer and a must see for everybody.
As an avid Green Day fan owning pretty much every album of their's, when I heard the rumours surrounding a secret group reported to be them, I had to check it out for myself. I found out that, Yes it's true, Green Day have done it again and released a different style of music under a different name, only this time it's not the network but The Foxboro Hot Tubs.
So off I went to play.com to purchase it. Priced at £7.99, I thought this was a bit steep for something I had never heard before so off I went again on my search to find out exactly what the album Stop Drop and Roll was all about. I found this handy website http://www.foxborohottubsdownload.com/ where you can preview each of the songs before you buy. I instantly fell in love with the sixties vibe and back to play.com it was to eventually buy it.
Two days later I came home to a tiny skinny little envelope with the trademark Play.com stamps and thought 'what is that? It Can't be!'. Sure enough, yes it was! A cardboard slipcase as apposed to the normal jewel case you would expect. Even as it fell from the envelope into my hand I believed Play had mucked up my order, but a second look confirmed it. There it was in the top left corner 'The Foxboro Hot Tubs'. I wasn't disappointed though as the vibrant colours of the five pictured girls dancing on the cover and the miniature LP look of the whole thing just adds to the retro feel of the album. Even the track listing appears on the reverse of the cover as:
Stop Drop and Roll
She's A saint not a Celebrity
27th Avenue Shuffle
Dark Side Of The Night
Piece Of Truth.
I have to agree with MTV, it was the worst kept secret in music ever. The unique vocals and excellence in the Bass and Drums scream's Green Day. However Billie Joe Armstrong has been reported by MTV to have said ' We think that the only similarity [between the Hot Tubs and Green Day] is that we are the same band. That is basically the only similarity' and I have to agree. Add the brilliant Keyboards, Organs and Saxophone, That I can only assume are provided by Jason Freese, Ronnie Blake and Jason White, and The Foxboro Hot tubs are a band in their own right. If I didn't know any better I would of thought they were a British mid 60's Rock/Pop Band.
With a running time of just over 30 minutes, the longest track being Broadway at 3.30 minutes and the shortest being Ruby Room at 2.01 minutes, the album can only be described as short and sweet. I think it's great, easy to listen too and fun to sing along with. The tracks run perfectly into each other with the backing vocals including alot of ooooh's and aaaaah's adding to the whole retro feel. The opening dirnt dirnt dirnt sound of the guiters from Stop drop and Roll and the songs Pedestrian and Mother Mary,with it's backing vocals filled with ba ba baa ba ba ba da da ba's really standing out for me personally.
It does the housework too!!! Okay thats not technically true but it makes it fun, only this morning did I find myself running the hoover round doing the twist and shouting Woo hoo to Ruby Room and better still found myself laughing whilst cleaning the oven to Red Tide. Although one of the slower songs on the album it's still enjoyable and really amuses me. Just a few of the lyrics are 'Mary's in her hour of darkness.
Everything she feels is hopeless' and 'Is this passion or...
Or your red tide?'.
I get a whole Kinks vibe when listening to album, especially the song Alligator which is basically The Kinks song, You Really Got Me with different lyrics. This is probably the guys tongue in cheek sense of humour and they pull it off well, it's still a great song that I find myself singing along too.
To conclude, if your looking for a follow up to American Idiot, Then go buy 21st Century Breakdown. If your looking for something different, fresh, retro and full of Sharpe bursts of energy and excitement then Stop Drop and Roll is for you. In my opinion it has well earned a rating of 5 out of 5.
I bought the CD on play.com for £7.99 a few months ago however it now goes for around £4 which makes it an exceptionally good bargain. Also the Web address I provided earlier in the review allows you to download each track at $0.99 each.