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I am a huge fan of Barry M and especially their nail varnishes. I like the fact that they are reasonably priced and just a little bit funkier than the normal ones available in places such as Boot's. My all time favourite make-up product is lip gloss and it is something which I couldn't live without and wear every day. I have so many different lip glosses but they really do vary on quality. The Barry M lip gloss wand is a good lip gloss but I personally don't think it is quite as good as their nail varnishes and it wouldn't be one that I would choose to wear all the time though I do buy it occasionally when Barry M is on offer. The wands are available in quite a few different colours but they are all quite subtle and just give a little bit of colour to my lips which is actually what I want in a lip gloss as when I want a bright colour I usually wear a lip stick with a gloss over it. I do particularly like the pink ones though as these seem to really suit my lips and just bring out the natural colour that I already have. The strawberry milkshake one is probably my favourite as it not only looks nice but also smells amazing too. The glosses come with a wand applicator which is easy to use and it does mean that I can get the gloss on accurately but I do slightly prefer just having a tube to squeeze out instead. The gloss is supposed to be non sticky but this isn't that true as although it isn't as sticky as some it is still a little bit sticky and feels a little glue like on my lips. It isn't unpleasant to wear but I definitely notice it on my lips. The glossiness of the wands are really good and they make my lips look glossy and shiny but again they aren't quite as glossy and shiny as some others are. I would wear this out during the day but I probably wouldn't wear it for a special occasion. They are pretty reasonably priced especially when you compare them to my favourite glosses which are by Lancolme. These cost around about £4.50 which I think is fairly reasonable for these particular glosses.
I always use hair treatments on my hair to keep it looking good and healthy as it tends to become frizzy and course without them but I only use them once or twice a week and am still in need of a good daily conditioner that will moisturise my hair without weighing it down or making it greasy. Alberto Balsam do some wonderful conditioners and as they are also extremely good value they are also friendly on my bank balance. The coconut and Lychee isn't my personal favourite in the range but it is still a great conditioner. The only reason that I don't buy this more often is because I prefer some of the other fragrances that Alberto Balsam do instead but I have bought this and happily used it when those other fragrances weren't available when I went in to the shop to buy it. The conditioner only costs around about 90p so is fantastic value for money as normally you would pay a lot more for something of this quality. It is a great conditioner for daily use and can be used by the whole family. It feels nice on my hair and stops me getting tangles and after using it I can easily run a comb through my wet hair. It also moisturises it nicely without being heavy and without weighing it down. It doesn't make hair look even slightly greasy and it also gives it a lovely shine. This isn't the conditioner that I would use if my hair was really dry or in bad condition but that's what I buy treatments for but for everyday use this is hard to beat as it conditions hair and doesn't cost the earth to buy. The only thing which I don't love about this conditioner is the fragrance. It isn't horrible but I prefer some of the others. This smells more tropical and it has an ever so slight artificial smell to it which the others don't have. It still keeps my hair fresh smelling but I also think the scent isn't as long lasting as some of the others. If you like more tropical smells then definitely give this a try as you won't be disappointed how it works as a conditioner for everyday use. If you have really badly damaged hair then perhaps try something a little bit more conditioning but for all other hair types this works well.
Shopaholic is one of those books that is so easy to read that I devoured it in an afternoon when the kids were at their dads. The book tells the story of Becky Bloomwood who is a journalist at a financial magazine which is a job she hates as she bluffs her way through most of it by going to launches and just copying the information from the press releases. She would much rather be working on a beauty or fashion magazine. Although she works on a financial magazine and so should know better Becky also has a problem when it comes to shopping. Namely she can't get enough of clothes and items that she is convinced will make her life better. Once she decides she wants something she obsesses over it until she gets her hands on it much to the chagrin of her bank manager and credit card company. During the course of her work Becky meets Luke who is a successful business man and although sparks fly between them the course of true love never runs smoothly and can Becky curtail her shopping habits and get her life under control. I adored this book and thought it was hilarious. It is the beginning of a series featuring Becky and she makes a great heroine and one who is immediately relatable to most of us. She is a good person who just wants nice things in her life and who is willing to go in to debt to get them which is something that I and I am sure a lot of other women can relate to. She is also really likeable straight away even when she is doing all these mad cap things. The book is littered with laugh out loud parts and I found myself sniggering when reading it. I am only glad I wasn't on the train or else I am sure I would have gotten a lot of strange looks from people. There are some really funny parts which made me cringe as well as laugh. The romance part of the book works really well and I found myself rooting for Luke and Becky to get together. The romance was a bit predictable in parts but no less enjoyable for it. Luke was written so well that I found myself having a crush on him by the end of the book and unfortunately am still on the lookout for my own Luke. The rest of the supporting characters are also really well fleshed out especially Becky's best friend and her parents. Becky's mother gets more to do in further books as she is a standout amongst the supporting cast. This is the first in the Shopaholic series of books and although you could get away with reading them in any order as there isn't a lot of plot to speak of you really should start with this one as this and the second are my favourites in the series and while the rest of the books are good fun they haven't managed to reach the heights of the first.
Alberto Balsam do some of the best shampoos and conditioners for daily use that can be used by the whole family. They are also some of the best value with the shampoos being able to be picked up for about 70p. In my family we all have our favourites which we like best but to be honest there isn't one in the range that I have tried that I don't think is good and it is just down to individual tastes on the fragrances that they come in. The coconut and Lychee shampoo wouldn't be my first choice but I still think it is a great shampoo and would happily buy and use it if the shop wasn't stocking our favourite ones. This smells much more exotic than the other fragrances such as the apples and the strawberry shampoos. It is a lovely summery and fresh smell but I think it just seems to smell a little bit more artificial than the other shampoos in the range. It also seems to lack a bit of the intensity of the other ones and although my hair smells clean and fresh and is lightly scented it isn't quite as good at keeping the bad outdoor smells at bay. The shampoo is gentle though and can easily be used by the whole family. It cleans well without stripping my hair of moisture and afterwards my hair isn't left tangled and fluffy looking. What it does really well is make my hair shiny and I think it actually does this more than the other shampoos in the range. When my daughter uses this she doesn't always use a conditioner as well and her hair is always left looking shiny and healthy. This might not be my favourite shampoo in the Alberto Balsam range but that is purely a personal preference and I still think it is a great shampoo which offers great value for money. If you like more exotic smelling shampoos then you will probably love this and you can't fail to be impressed with how well it works considering its cheap price tag.
I adore the Body Shop body butter as I think they are the height of pampering and are great at keeping my skin soft and supple. I have tried a few others but I have yet to find one that I think is anywhere near as good. I really like Palmers cocoa butter so was curious to see what their coconut milk body butter would be like. Coconut isn't my favourite scent in a body cream but I do enjoy having it occasionally when I am a bit sick of the fruity smells that I normally go for. The smell was absolutely gorgeous and much nicer than I expected it to be. It is coconutty but also fruity and reminded so much of holidays and being in the sun which was nice as when I bought it the weather was terrible outside so it was nice to have something which reminded me that winter wouldn't last forever. The butter isn't quite as solid as the Body Shop butters but it is really thick and does look and feel quite rich and creamy. It is quite a difficult cream to apply being so thick but it does go on nice and smooth once it has been warmed up a little. I found that this absorbed quite well and although really rich and creamy it didn't leave my skin feeling too greasy afterwards. There was a slight sheen on my skin but after a couple of minutes my skin wasn't wet with cream or tacky to the touch. I actually thought this felt a little nicer on my skin than butters made with cocoa butter as it wasn't quite as heavy. I thought this was lovely to use and really hydrated my skin well and left it feeling soft and smooth to the touch. It was great on dry and flaky patches and I had no tightness with my skin when using this. I actually used this on my hands and feet as well and again they were left softened and it made a big difference on the dry skin on my heels. I definitely enjoyed using this and although it will still never take the place of the Body Shop ones I would buy it again and I would definitely think about taking this on holiday with me as I think it would be lovely to use after being out in the sun all day. It is also quite good value as it cost less than £5 for a tub so although you only needed a little I wouldn't be so bothered about being a bit more liberal when applying it.
I tend to have quite frizzy and dry hair so I use a treatment on it at least once a week but usually twice a week and more if my hair has been in the sun for prolonged periods as this always makes it drier and frizzier. I really like hair masks and although they can be a bit fiddly and messy to use I incorporate them in to my bath time pamper routine so it usually isn't that much of a hassle. I bought the Montagne Jeunesse Moisture Miracle Conditioning Hair Mask & Ultra Shine Serum because I have used their face masks a few times with varying degrees of success but they are usually good for my skin as long as I get one that is suitable for my skin type. The mask wasn't very expensive and around about the same price as the masks. I picked mine up in my local chemist for only 99p but they are usually around about £1.20 each. The mask comes in two parts so I was hoping for extra condition from it. There is the mask part which you use first and then a serum which you use afterwards for extra gloss and shine. You use the mask just as you would any conditioner by first washing and then towel drying your hair and adding the mask to it and leaving it for at least 10 minutes. I left mine on for about 20 as I was busy doing other things. The mask feels ice to apply but it wasn't nearly as thick as I thought it was going to be when applying it. It does have a nice sweet smell to it which is pleasant and adds to the experience of pampering. After you have washed out the mask you add the serum to your hair and leave it for a while again for it to get to work. The serum is very greasy feeling but don't worry as it doesn't actually make your hair greasy and is easy enough to wash out. After doing both these steps I dried my hair as normal with the hair drier. When drying my hair I did notice that it felt soft and the comb was easy to go through my hair as there were no tangles. When it was dry my hair was nice and soft and looked 'fresh'. This is the only way to describe it. It wasn't fabulous but it was definitely better than before. I was hoping that my hair would be bouncy and full of shine but I have to say I was a little bit disappointed with how it looked afterwards. It looked okay but since the time and effort was more involved with this than with most hair treatments I did expect it to look shinier and have more vitality than it did. To me my hair just looked the same as it would have had I used a good quality normal conditioner and it didn't look as though I had used a treatment on it. I really don't think this is a bad product but because it involves using both a mask and a serum I did expect it to give better results than it did. Perhaps my hair was in worse condition than I thought because it just didn't live up to what I was hoping from it. My hair was fine and did feel soft but there was nothing out of the ordinary about it either which is disappointing from a specialist hair treatment.
I love cocoa butter and I love the feeling of a moisturising gel on my skin after a shower in the summer as I still need to moisturise my skin but I think a lot of lotions and creams can feel too heavy on my skin when it is hot outside. I bought this with really high hopes especially as I was shopping with a friend and she used it too and really liked it. This costs around about £2.40 but I paid £1.50 for it as it was on offer at the time. The gel looked really appealing and was nice and thick and I was sure it was going to feel lovely on my skin. One of the best things about gels is that they absorb so quickly and leave next to no stickiness on my skin but I was surprised to find that this was not the gel like consistency that I was expecting. It looked so much thicker when it is in the bottle and when I was pouring some out it came out much runnier than expected. When I applied this to my skin it didn't soak in like a gel would and was much more like an oil than I had imagined. This just sort of sat on my skin and made my skin look and feel incredibly greasy. I don't mind using an oil now and again but this just didn't feel nice on my skin at all and I found that it stayed greasy for ages afterwards to the point where I had to get a towel to dab the excess off my skin. I wouldn't buy this again as I would rather use something like Johnson's baby oil if I wanted an oil to lock moisture in my skin and definitely don't buy this if like me you are expecting a gel as you will be disappointed as although it looks gel like in the bottle it certainly doesn't feel like that when it is out of it and on your skin. The one thing that I can praise about this was the scent which was a really nice mix between vanilla and cocoa butter and really quite lovely. Unfortunately it wasn't lovely enough to encourage me to want to buy this ever again.
When my children were younger money was a bit tight so I often looked for ways of saving a few pennies. I bought the Tesco value baby shampoo a few times and although it isn't quite as good as the Johnson's baby shampoo for the money it is really good value and something which I would happily buy again if money was an issue. Of course it is no longer called Tesco value as it has been rebranded Everyday Value but it is the same product only in different packaging. It is still really good value though and only costs 46p for a huge 500ml bottle. This doesn't have the same gorgeous smell of the Johnson's shampoo but it does have a subtle freshness to it which is actually quite nice in its own right. I found that after washing with it hair was fresh smelling but it was very subtle but at least it smelt clean. This does have a bit of a cheap consistency and is very runny so you need to make sure and be careful when you pour it as otherwise it will all go through your fingers and you will end up wasting a lot of it. The lathering of the shampoo is fine but again it just doesn't have quite the same bubbly and luxurious feel as more expensive baby shampoo. It does clean hair well enough however and it does make hair clean and manageable and easy to comb through afterwards. I actually bought this about a year or so ago as I had wanted something for my dog Molly and I had read baby shampoo was a good substitute for dog shampoo as she needed something gentle as her skin was a bit flaky. This worked well on her and was gentle enough that it didn't irritate her skin and it felt her coat feeling and smelling clean and fresh. Had this been expensive then I would have probably given it two stars but it works ok so it is probably more like a 3 star shampoo but because you can buy this for under 50p for a large bottle then I think it deserves an extra star due to what good value it is.
Johnson's baby shampoo was something that I always bought for my children when they were younger and it is something that I still buy albeit very occasionally now that they are older as it is just so gentle and I love the smell as it reminds me of when they were babies. The consistency of the shampoo is a little runnier than in most shampoos but it lathers up really nicely and a little goes a long way as I only need a little amount to lather my whole head. For babies it is even less so a bottle will last for ages. The fragrance of the shampoo is gorgeous. It is hard to describe what it is but as soon as you smell it you know it is baby shampoo as it is very distinct. The smell really makes hair smell really fresh and takes away any smells. Johnson's is famous for their no more tears claim and it is true that this shampoo is ultra-gentle and if you get a little in your eyes it doesn't sting and isn't painful. I wouldn't recommend that you do it deliberately but it is nice to know that if some does go in your or your babies eye then it isn't going to cause any distress. This shampoo cleans hair really well for something that is so gentle. I am not sure what they put in it but it also doesn't dry hair out and cause it to be straw like and actually feels as though it moisturises it slightly too. I used to use this on my daughters hair long after she was a baby as it was one of the best shampoos for making sure her hair didn't go all tuggy and tangled when I was combing it afterwards. While writing this review I am wondering why I do not buy this more often as it is a really good shampoo and isn't just for babies as it is effective and gentle enough for the whole family to use. It certainly isn't the price as for a popular branded baby shampoo it is actually quite reasonably priced and you can get a bottle of the shampoo for around about £2.00 for a large 500ml bottle which I think is really good value for money.
I am a big fan of the essentials range at Boots. They do loads of different beauty products which cost a fraction of the big brands and normally are just as good. Unfortunately I wasn't a fan of the curling crème as I just didn't think it was as good a quality as the rest of the essentials range. It has the same low price as the other products in the essentials range and costs £1.49 for a tub. The crème is designed to smooth hair and help rid it of frizz while helping to hold curls in place. I think this is more suitable for people with natural curls. I have wavy hair and I like to curl it myself with either my tongs or my straighteners and I had hoped that this would help to give my curls some definition and help stop them from falling out. Failing that I hoped it might just make my natural waves more defined if I used this on my hair while wet and blow dried it more wild than I would normally have it. Unfortunately when I tried doing it this way I was left with hair which resembled a shaggy dog as my hair just looked wild with no definition to the waves and no smoothness to it. I had to then use my hair straighteners to make it look presentable before I could even leave the house. When I used it for trying to do curls with my tongs it felt like it was too heavy for my hair and weighed it down too much as the curls fell out much quicker than they normally would have even with the use of some hair spray. I know that I am probably not the intended buyer of this crème but even when used on my wavy hair if was useless so I can't imagine using this if I had a mane of natural curls as it wasn't smoothing enough of the frizz and didn't make my hair glossy and bouncy.
I go through loads of hair sprays as I usually like to give myself a spritz before leaving the house so that my hair doesn't get blown about in the wind. I also use it a lot when I am curling my hair to give the curls a little bit more support. I like my hair sprays to be natural feeling on my hair and not to make my hair look stiff or wet as I really don't think this is a good look. I have used the Boot's essentials maximum hold a few times and think it is a fairly decent hair spray. It isn't as good as my favourite which is the L'oreal Elnette spray but it is a lot cheaper and for the money it is worth it. It costs £1.69 but for this you get a big 450ml can which lasts for ages. I am sometimes wary of own brand hair sprays that claim to be maximum hold as sometimes that means they actually make my hair look like it has gel on instead of being invisible. This one isn't like that though and works to keep my hair in place without making it look wet or stiff. It is strong enough that I can use it to keep my hair in place if I am giving myself an up do and it is also good for helping keep curls in place and from stopping them from falling out when I spray some on my hair when using my curling tongs or straighteners. It also just stops my hair from becoming wind swept when I leave the house. It brushes out easily and without giving me white flakes which is something that I really hate and it also gives my hair a nice sheen to it when I use it. For the money this hair spray is really good value. It is just as good as a lot of more expensive hair sprays and it lasts a lot longer too. If there is one thing that I don't like about this compared to some more expensive ones it's the smell of it as it is quite strong but this is something that I can put up with when only paying that much money for it.
I love the Alberto Balsam range of shampoos and conditioners and we usually use them in our house as our daily ones as they offer such good value for money compared to a lot of leading brands. The kids and I all have our favourites with mine being the strawberry and my daughter loving the juicy green apples. My sons favourite is the tea tree tingle and as both my daughter and I like it too we buy it so he doesn't feel left out on the decisions in the house. The tea tree conditioner is a lovely light mint colour and I can definitely see why my son prefers this one as it is much less girly smelling than the strawberry one. Tea tree isn't my favourite smell but this is fresh and subtle enough that I actually quite like it. It keeps my hair smelling fresh for the whole day with its fragrance. As a conditioner it is really good for the money. It isn't something that I would buy as an intensive treatment but for a daily conditioner it works well. I buy conditioning treatments to ensure my hair stays in good condition and this helps keep it looking good and feeling soft in between treatments. It isn't as thick as some conditioners but it is easy to spread through my hair and once I wash it off after it having been on for a couple of minutes my hair is left feeling nice and soft and I find it easy to comb it through with no tangles or tugs. When I blow my hair dry it is left soft and manageable and has a nice shine to it. The tea tree one may not be my favourite smell but it is certainly one of the better daily conditioners when it comes to how my scalp feels as this really soothes it and if my scalp is feeling a little itchy then this really helps to calm it down and take away the itch. I can pick this up for around about 80p and I think that for that money it really is excellent and one that I would recommend to others. It leaves hair soft and manageable and is ideal for everyday use for the whole family and it certainly doesn't look or feel like something that is so cheap.
Alberto Balsalm is one of my favourite brands of shampoos and conditioners for daily use by the whole family. They are wonderful value and they clean and condition well. I buy myself treatments for my hair to keep it looking its best but these work well for washing and conditioning in between treatments. The Tea Tree Tingle shampoo and conditioner isn't my favourite but it is still a brilliant range for the money it is just that I personally prefer the fruity fragrances more although this does make a nice change when I am in the mood for something different and it does feel lovely on my scalp. The shampoo is great value as it can be picked up for around about 70p which I think is great for a branded shampoo. It isn't quite as thick or as luxurious as some more expensive shampoos but it certainly feels more expensive than 70p. The good thing about the shampoo is that it is mild enough to be used on both myself and the kids and my son really likes this one. It smells of tea tree obviously but it doesn't smell too overpowering like some tea tree products can and it is actually nice and refreshing. I can see why it is called tea tree tingle because it does give a slight single feel to my scalp after using it. As with the other shampoos this one lathers really well and I actually think this one cleans hair slightly better than the other Alberto Balsalm shampoos. It does this without stripping my hair of moisture and making it feel dry and it also doesn't make my hair tangled and I can get a comb through it easily afterwards. For 70p this is a bargain shampoo and one that comes highly recommended by both myself and my children as we all really like it. I might personally prefer the fruity shampoos but this is just as good when it comes to cleaning and leaving hair manageable and would be good for households with men who want something less feminine than the fruity smelling shampoos.
My current favourite beauty obsession is the Sweet Lemon range from the Body Shop. I even bypassed Lush so that I could buy the whole range when I got paid which is unusual for me as I normally buy myself something in Lush every time I get paid. The body scrub is a great product and one which goes really well with either the body butter or the whip lotion. This is a really scrubby scrub that I have found to be great in buffing up my dull winter skin in preparation for the nicer weather. It does feel a little harsh on my skin when I am scrubbing with it but because of the ingredients in it I end up with super soft and smooth skin. The scrub is quite oily so that when I rinse it off after scrubbing with it my skin feels really soft and you could probably get away with using this on its own without the need for a moisturiser afterwards. I have been using mine with either the butter or the whip lotion and I have noticed that my skin is looking a lot better. I have been using it twice a week without fail and even after the first use I found that my skin was buffed nicely and that flaky dry patches were clearing up. It also makes a really nice scrub for feet and is just as strong as dedicated feet scrubs are and my heels are softer and less rough looking after using this. This scrub smells amazing and I love the zingy sharp smell of the lemon with the sweetness it has. It is the best of both worlds and really is a gorgeous smelling scrub and one that I think is really suited to nice weather so I shall be suing this for summer. I used this scrub and the body butter before self tanning myself and I can honestly say that my self tan looked so good and there wasn't even the slightest hint of a streak to be found on my whole body. This costs £12.50 for a tub which is really expensive but I have found that I don't need that much to be able to do my whole body so although it is expensive it is long lasting and also when you are using it you can tell that it is made with really good quality ingredients so it feels more luxurious than a cheaper scrub would feel.
I really like when I am going for a night out to have big bouncy hair. I have tried loads of products to help me achieve this look but a lot of them that are said to be to make hair fuller and bouncier are a total rip off as they just don't do anything. This mousse by Charles Worthington is one of those products that just doesn't do what it promises to. It has a load of rubbish about how this has been scientifically designed to make hair bigger and fuller and how it has something called recall style memory which is supposed to make your hair return to the shape you have created time and again. It all sounds good but it definitely didn't live up the promises. You use this mousse by taking sections of hair and spraying the mousse in to the roots and then styling as normal. The mousse itself isn't very nice to use as it is thin and runny and it leaves a horrible sticky residue on hands just like cheap mousses. I expected a little higher quality in the feel of the mousse since it was from Charles Worthington. As a volumising mouse I really didn't think this was any better than any other kind of mousse. I didn't like the way it felt in my hair either as it didn't just disappear and feel lightweight and I felt that I could feel it the whole time it was in my hair. My hair did get a little bigger when using this but to be honest I really think this had more to do with the way I blowdried it than with the mousse as I can achieve this level of bounciness with any other kind of mousse. It did leave my hair looking shiny and nice and as a mousse it was ok but as a volumising mousse there are so many better products available which will give more body and bounce to hair. Had this been a cheap mousse then I might not have expected so much from it but I remember thinking at the time this was expensive so it had better work and I think it was around about £5. I only bought it the once and that was enough for me to know not to bother with it again.