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brittle1906

brittle1906
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Member since: 25.05.2008

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    • More +
      02.12.2014 19:12
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      Advantages

      • "Well made and good value for money"

      Disadvantages

      • "Sleeve length could be a little longer"

      Basic But Brilliant Value

      F&F Basics Scoop Neck T shirt

      I purchased a couple of these very cheap and cheerful t shirts at the beginning of the summer. At just £4 each I felt they would make good work tops, as I dress casually for my job.

      I chose a white and a black T shirt. Other colours available when I purchased mine were pale blue, pale pink and grey. The sizes on offer are from 6-20. The T shirts are a very simple style, with a short sleeve and a scoop neck. I am tall and quite long in the body. This T shirt sits just above my hip which I feel is a just about acceptable length. I would have liked the sleeves to be just a little longer as on my long arms they are really somewhere between a cap sleeve and a short sleeve!
      The T shirts are made from 100% cotton and are really easy care. I was mine at 30 degree and line dry. I have never had to iron my T shirts and in spite of numerous washes, they have kept their shape well. The black T shirt is beginning to look very slightly faded and will be relegated to wear as a base layer in the winter. I would recommend these T shirts to others, they are cheap and very good quality for the price....

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        02.12.2014 18:33
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        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Very effective"

        Disadvantages

        • "Drying to the skin and expensive"

        For Dirty Gardener's Hands Only!

        Evelyn and Crabtree Gardeners Hand Soap

        My partner was given this hand soap as part of a Christmas gift last year; it has languished at the back of the bathroom cupboard until recently.
        This liquid hand soap is presented in an attractive cream coloured pump dispenser bottle containing 300ml of hand wash. All company details and ingredients are listed on the bottle.
        The soap is produced using naturally deodorising ingredients such as sage, alfalfa and cucumber. The soap is designed to thoroughly cleanse the hands and leave them soft and clean after gardening.
        The soap is very effective; it cleanses even the grubbiest of hands and has a super natural, herbal scent. I do find it somewhat drying to the skin however my other half has had no such issues.
        I would not recommend this for daily use as it is a little too harsh in my opinion, but for cleaning really dirty hands, it is excellent.

        As this was a gift for I had no idea of the cost until I checked on line. I was surprised to find how expensive it is. It is currently selling for around £13 on eBay. In my opinion it is not worth this price!

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      • Asda Ball Point Pens / Homeware / 2 Readings / 2 Ratings
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        02.12.2014 17:52
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        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Very good value"

        Disadvantages

        • "None in my opinion"

        It Asda Be Asda For Value!

        Asda Ball Point Pens

        I bought a pack of these Smart Price pens from Asda recently for the princely sum of 32p. I am always losing pens, I tend to leave them at clients houses, never to be seen again so I reason that cheap pens will be fine! To be honest, I did not hold any great expectations for these pens, as in my experience cheap pens are rather hit and miss, however the Asda version have been excellent.
        My money got me a pack of 10 very basic ‘biro’ type pens in 3 colours. The pack comprised of 5 black, 3 blue and 2 red pens. There is absolutely nothing fancy about these pens, they really are a basic item and are simply packaged too in a plastic pouch. The main part of the pen is constructed of a clear plastic and each pen has the appropriate coloured lid and stopper.
        The pens write very well, the ink flows nicely and I have had no issue with blobs or blotches. I would say the nib is a medium thickness and I have had no problems with them tearing the paper as has happened in the past with other ‘cheap and cheerful’ pens. All in all these pens are well worth the money, they are not pretty and you certainly are not going to impress anyone with these, but they are very good value for money.

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      • More +
        01.12.2014 22:15
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        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Eco friendly"

        Disadvantages

        • "Did not clean adequately"

        Green Washing? Not For Me!

        Ecover Automatic Clothes Washing Liquid
        Ecover is popular ‘eco-friendly’ range of products made from a combination of plant extracts. This was on offer in my local Sainsbury’s supermarket and as I am not loyal to any particular brand, the magic word ‘reduced’ is enough to get me to try a product!

        This laundry liquid is biodegradable and not tested on animals. It comes in a white-ish cloudy plastic bottle with a blue coloured top. I paid in the region of £2.50 for a 1.5L bottle. The washing liquid does not carry any particular scent; it smells mildly soapy as opposed to being unscented.

        I usually wash our laundry at 30 degrees, 40 for heavier soiling. Being a couple with no children, our laundry is not particularly grubby or food stained, so I rarely need to pre-wash, soak or otherwise treat the laundry.

        I was not very impressed with Ecover Automatic liquid. My tea towels were decidedly not up to standard after being washed in this product as the slight stains remained and the white terry cotton fabric did not look entirely clean. It was fine for lightweight laundry such as underwear and lightly soiled clothing, although I felt the washing was not as fresh as I would have liked.
        This is not a product I will be buying again.

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        01.12.2014 21:51
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        Advantages

        • "Lovely scent"

        Disadvantages

        • "No hanging hook"

        I'm a Soft Touch Now!

        Imperial Leather is a well-known name in the UK, I have always found their products to be effective and good value for money This Soft Touch shower gel is no exception.

        I bought this shower gel in my local chemist where it cost me just 99p for a bottle containing 300ml. I particularly like the contoured shaped of the bottle as this makes it easy to grasp in the shower. The bottle has flip up lid and the hole to access the gel is large enough to dispense a reasonable amount of gel. The gel is white in colour and it is fairly thick in texture.

        The shower gel performs very well, producing a rich creamy lather even in my hard water region. It is well fragranced, floral and feminine; the scent of this product lasts on my skin for several hours after my shower which I think is a huge plus in a shower gel. This is a moisturising shower gel and this is where Imperial Leather Soft Touch comes into its own. The product leaves my skin feeling fresh, clean and very well hydrated, far better in fact than other shower products costing very much more.

        All in all this is well worth buying; it does all you expect from a shower gel and more. My only negative is that I prefer shower gels to come with a hanging hook, but that is a minor issue.

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        • Make Up Academy Lip Liner / Make Up / 5 Readings / 5 Ratings
          More +
          08.11.2014 18:24
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          (Rating)
          2 Comments

          Advantages

          • "Good value for money"

          Disadvantages

          • "Limited colour choice"

          Line your lips with MUA

          Review of MUA Lip Liner

          MUA or to use the full title Make Up Academy products are sold as part of the Superdrug own brand range. This is a value for money range offering a wide choice of cosmetics at purse pleasing prices.

          **The Product**

          This is a lip liner, designed for outlining the lips before using a lipstick. I used these a great deal in the 1970’s when the lined lip look was very fashionable. These days, thanks to Father Time, sun bathing and (dare I admit it) smoking, I now have fine lines around the lip area. I wondered if using a lip liner would stop lipstick ‘bleeding’ into these lines. As this was an experiment I did not wish to pay too much for a lip liner and MUA sprang to mind as I’ve had several of their products before and been quite pleased with them.
          I generally wear a pinky/brown toned lipstick so wanted a lip liner to match this as closely as possible. Unfortunately MUA only have 4 or 5 shades, these being beige, a couple of pinky tones, a red and a deep plum colour. I selected the darkest of the pinks, paid my £1 and was on my way.

          When I came to try this pencil, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the lid doubles as a pencil sharpener, a nifty idea and so useful. A couple of twists of the lid and your lip liner is nicely sharpened and ready for use. The thing I remember most of my use of lip liners in the past was the nasty dragging sensation as you applied the product, I am happy to report that MUA lip liner literally glides on.

          **My Thoughts and Conclusion**

          The colour I chose was not really a very good match for my lipstick; however that aside, the lip liner is very good for the price. I found it easy to outline my lips and had no dragging sensation or harsh pencil point to deal with. The lip liner lasted quite well although I felt it wore off rather unevenly, that could of course be down to me eating, drinking, talking and so on. This is something I doubt I would buy again, not because there is anything wrong with the product, simply the colour choices were not really to my taste.
          I would say this is fine if the limited colour range suits your needs, although at just £1 you cannot really grumble!

          Thank you for reading.
          ©brittle1906 November 2014

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          • Make Up Academy Eyeshadow / Make Up / 4 Readings / 4 Ratings
            More +
            08.11.2014 17:10
            Very helpful
            (Rating)
            1 Comment

            Advantages

            • "Cheap and cheerful"

            Disadvantages

            • "Not for the label concious shopper!"

            A good eye shadow with a budget price tag

            Review of MUA Eye shadow

            MUA or Make Up Academy products are sold as part of the Superdrug own brand range. This is a value for money range offering a wide choice of cosmetics at purse pleasing prices.

            **The Product**

            This is a single pressed powder type eye shadow presented in a round hinged compact. There are around 20 different shades to select from and they are priced at a miniscule £1. I own a couple of these eye shadows and my particular favourite is shade no 1, a pale bronzy/ beige colour. I find this particular shade useful as a highlighter on my brow bone as well as a normal shadow for the eye lid.

            The eye shadow is quite densely packed and I have had no issues with the eye shadow cracking or disintegrating into a powdery mess that said a swirl of my eye shadow brush across the surface picks up a fair amount of shadow each time with no need to scrub at the surface. Colour density is not the best, but it can be built up for those who want a more dramatic look.

            **My Thoughts and Conclusion**

            The price of all MUA products is excellent. I have found the range a little hit and miss, this eye shadow definitely falling into the ‘hit’ category! I do not use make up daily and to be honest, I do not want to spend a fortune on products not in regular use, for this reason I find MUA a great buy. In my opinion, this eye shadow is well worth trying, after all at just £1, if you don’t like it you will not have wasted too much of your hard earned cash.

            Thank you for reading.
            ©brittle1906 November 2014

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              08.11.2014 16:54
              Very helpful
              (Rating)
              1 Comment

              Advantages

              • " value for money"
              • "Absorbs easily"

              Disadvantages

              • "None in my opinion"

              A value for money everyday hand cream from Nivea

              Review of Nivea Hand Age Defying Q10 Plus Hand cream


              I first came across this product some years ago when I was sent a trial tube by a survey company. Now I love a freebie and have had quite a few useful products sent to me thanks to the internet. This is one of those rare products that I like so much that I chose to buy it once my free tube had been used up.

              ==The Product==


              Produced by the German company Beiersdorf, Nivea brand is a well-known brand. The hand cream is presented in a tube with a flip top lid. The tube is made of a durable plastic material and can be recycled where local facilities exist. My tube contains 30ml of hand cream.
              The actual cream is a thick texture, white in colour and it has a pleasant fresh scent and is very easily absorbed in to the skin.
              I was particularly impressed with the lack of stickiness that some hand creams leave on the skin.
              Price wise, this hand creams very reasonable, it currently sells for around £1 to £1.30 in supermarkets and High Street stores such as Superdrug.

              ==My Thoughts and Conclusion==


              This is sold as an anti-aging product. I have fairly dry skin on my hands and this tends to worsen in colder weather. I cannot truly say that since using Nivea Hand Age Defying Q10 Plus I cannot honestly say my hands look any younger, but the skin is smoother and softer for sure. The scent is unobtrusive and does not interfere with other scents you may choose to wear. As mentioned, the absorption of the hand cream is excellent, no greasiness, no sticky residue and no tacky fingers after use! It rubs in well and quickly sinks into the skin to moisturise and soften.
              The price is purse pleasing and I use this daily. In my opinion, this is one of the best hand creams on the market.

              I like this hand cream very much and am happy to recommend it to others. I am awarding a 5* rating.

              Thank you for reading.
              ©brittle1906 November 2014

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              • Yardley English Rose Soap / Soaps / 6 Readings / 6 Ratings
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                06.11.2014 12:45
                Very helpful
                (Rating)
                2 Comments

                Advantages

                • "Lovely soap with a gorgeous scent"

                Disadvantages

                • "Expensive and may not appeal to males"

                Smell Like an English Rose!

                Review of Yardley English Rose Bar Soap

                This product was received as part of a gift set last Christmas; the set contained Eau de Toilette, talcum powder, soap and body lotion.
                The Product
                The soap was presented wrapped in a rather classy looking paper wrapper. This was prettily decorated with the Yardley logo and an image of a long stemmed, pink rose. The wrapper is mainly white and pink. My bar of soap weighed in at 100g, so it was a reasonable size.

                The actual soap is a chunky oblong shaped cake of soap. The colour is a very feminine pale pink and the soap has the Yardley name engraved deeply into one side of the bar.
                The soap is deliciously scented, sweet and floral as you would expect from a rose scented product. The fragrance of roses is released even more strongly when you begin to use the soap. I was very impressed with the lathering qualities of this soap; it produced a rich, creamy lather with no effort at all, even here in Kent where we have extremely hard water. The soap leaves skin feeling fresh and clean, not at all dry or taut as some bar soaps can. The real beauty of this soap is the fragrance, it really does linger and I love it! The scent clings to your skin and as I have several items within the range, I am enjoying layering the products for a longer lasting fragrance experience.

                As I have mentioned in other reviews about the contents of this gift set, at first I was a little apprehensive about the products being rose scented as I have always associated rose and similar floral scents with old ladies, my slight fears were groundless and I feel this would be suitable for all age groups. That said I doubt many men would want to use this, as it is unashamedly feminine!
                A quick web search shows this soap sells for around £4 on Amazon for the 100g size, at that price it is not something I would buy for myself, but Christmas is coming and this would make a lovely gift for a lady who likes floral scents.

                My Thoughts and Conclusion
                I am very impressed by this soap, it does all I’d expect a bar of soap to do, the fragrance is lovely, freshly floral with a hint of sandalwood and amber, a classic combination. The Yardley Company has been around for many years and on the whole I have usually found their products them to be very good.
                I would definitely recommend this English Rose bar soap to others, it is a luxury soap that delivers excellent cleansing properties enhanced with a lovely floral scent.
                I am awarding this product a 5* rating.
                Thank you for reading
                ©brittle1906 November 2014

                My reviews may be found on other sites under the same user name

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                • Cien Cream Hand Soap / Soaps / 8 Readings / 7 Ratings
                  More +
                  25.10.2014 08:38
                  Very helpful
                  (Rating)

                  Advantages

                  • "Effective and low price"

                  Disadvantages

                  • "None for me"

                  A budget hand wash that performs likes a top end product

                  Review of Cien Milk and Honey Hand wash

                  Cien is the name of Lidl’s supermarket own range of toiletries and similar products.
                  I purchased this recently when in the supermarket on impulse. I like to keep a hand wash beside both the bathroom and kitchen sinks and I generally choose an anti-bacterial product for the kitchen, so this one was destined for the bathroom.

                  ==The Hand Wash==

                  This is presented in a squat plastic bottle with a pump action dispenser. The product packaging is very basic as you would expect from a supermarket own range. It is not in any way unattractive, but just plain. The hand wash is a rich creamy colour.
                  The pump works well, although it does seem to occasionally get an airlock, a quick rinse of the tube under the hot tap soon sorts that out. The actual hand wash is fairly thick and the amount produced with one or two presses of the pump is adequate for a good hand wash. I was pleasantly surprised at how this product lathers; living in a very hard water area many products, even top end ones, struggle to produce lather here, but this hand wash was very impressive. I know people say the lathering qualities make no difference to the effectiveness of the product but I like lather!

                  Scent wise, this is quite acceptable, not too sickly sweet as you might expect with honey being the main scent. It is not too heavily scented making it ideal for all he family to use. I am very pleased with the way my skin feel after use, some ‘cheap’ hand washes can be rather drying, but this is superb for the price and my skin feels cleansed and soft after use, which is exactly what I want from a hand wash.

                  The price is very low, just 59p for a 500ml of hand wash. I know cheap isn’t always cheerful, but at this low price you haven’t wasted too much of your hard earned cash should you not like the product. Refills are also available but I have not needed to replenish my hand wash to date so haven’t taken much notice of the cost of these.

                  ==My Thoughts and Conclusion==

                  This hand wash was an eye opener for me. As the container holds double the amount of the brand I generally buy and at less than half the price, it represents real value for money. It is pleasant and effective in use and in my opinion, a very good buy. I know many people rave about Lidl’s Cien own brand goods, but I had not tried them myself, I can now see why people have recommended them.

                  I would say that this hand wash is comparable to many of the big name hand washes such as Carex, Palmolive and Imperial Leather. This particular version is not anti-bacterial although Lidl do stock other types so I will be looking at that next time I need to replace my kitchen hand wash.

                  I would heartily recommend this to others; it represents real value for money and is definitely worth every penny of its tiny price tag.

                  A 5* rating from me.

                  Thank you for reading.
                  ©brittle1906 October 2014

                  Please note my reviews may be found on other sites under the same user name

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                • More +
                  23.09.2014 09:44
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                  (Rating)
                  1 Comment

                  Advantages

                  • "Glides on easily"

                  Disadvantages

                  • "Staying power is appalling"

                  A Lipstick That Lasts for Minutes!

                  Review of Avon Ultra Colour Rich Rubies Lipstick

                  Avon is well known in the United Kingdom and the company has been popular for many years. Avon was one of the first direct sell companies to become a household name. Older readers will no doubt recall the 1960's advertising campaign which involved the ringing doorbell and the cheery 'Avon Calling' sales rep. Products can be ordered via an Avon representative who will provide a brochure for you to choose form or from the company website.

                  ==**The Lipstick**==

                  This lipstick is a traditional stick type lipstick and it is enriched with moisturiser to hydrate lips. The lipstick is available in many different shades ranging from barely there nudes through to deeper plummy red tones. The lipstick has a glossy finish. The colour I have in front of me is called ‘Fuchsia Fame', and as the name implies it is deep pink shade.
                  The packaging is simple, a plastic tube with the twist up mechanism encased inside a silver coloured metal. It is an understated, classic lipstick case design. It looks quite classy in spite of having the Avon logo printed on it.
                  I have been a customer of Avon on and off for many years and used to be an Avon rep myself, but have to admit that Avon is not my favourite brand of cosmetics. I purchased from my niece’s Avon brochure in order to help her out, she sometimes struggles to make her targets and of course if she doesn’t reach a certain figure of sales, receives no commission making her efforts go unpaid. When this happens I and other family members take a look at the book and try to place an order. This lipstick was one of my selections and based on previous experience of Avon lipsticks, I did not hold out any great expectations for it as I have not always been 100% satisfied with Avon cosmetics in the past.
                  This particular lipstick was purchased at the same time as another lipstick, a Matte finish which I was quite pleased with. Price wise, this retails for around £8, although mine was purchased with other items as part of a promotion.
                  The lipstick colour looks good in the tube; it is a warm pink with a hint of shine. It glides on very easily, leaving lips feeling moisturised. This is where the positives end I’m afraid!
                  I found the depth of colour very disappointing, I felt it was more like a tinted lip balm than a lipstick and in order to build up the colour I needed several coats of lipstick. The texture is just too soft, in fact to the point of being rather greasy feeling. The lipstick glides on easily and glides off just as quickly. For staying power, this has to be the worst lipstick I have ever encountered. I lost count of how many touch-ups were needed!

                  ==**My Thoughts and Conclusion**==
                  Of course much depends on skin type when it comes to cosmetics and what suits one person may not necessarily suit another but this lipstick is truly awful and in my opinion would be expensive at £1, let alone £8. I have relegated this lipstick to the bottom of my makeup drawer and I feel its next outing will be to the dustbin. A complete waste of money and I’m just pleased I did not pay full price for it.
                  This is one I would have no hesitation in recommending others to avoid!

                  Thank you for reading

                  ©brittle1906 September 2014

                  N.B. My reviews may be found on other sites under the same user name.

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                  • More +
                    18.08.2014 12:12
                    Very helpful
                    (Rating)
                    2 Comments

                    Advantages

                    • "Nice bottle"
                    • Inexpensive
                    • "Light and floral"

                    Disadvantages

                    • "Only from Avon"
                    • "Poor staying power"

                    Avon Percieve is a light fragrance with a musky note

                    Review of Avon Perceive Fragrance

                    The fragrance is part of the Avon range and complimentary products such as shower gel, body lotion and body sprays are also available. Perceive is described by Avon as an Oriental fragrance for women. Perceive was first launched in 2000 and was designed for Avon by Christopher Sheldrake.

                    I acquired this fragrance some time ago as a gift; I stored it away in the black hole otherwise known as the bathroom cupboard! This cupboard is huge and when I had a mammoth de-cluttering session a few months ago I unearthed lots of fragrances and toiletries that had been stored away and forgotten. Perceive was one of the fragrances I had overlooked.


                    The Fragrance

                    Perceive is presented in an unusual bottle, it is sort of angular on one side, but straight on the other. The clear glass container fits neatly in your hand despite the angles and the spray mechanism is covered by a crystal effect pull off lid. The spray mechanism the push button type. The spray is released in a short sharp burst. I have found my bottle dribbles a little and this could be a problem if the damp bottle were to be placed on a polished surface.

                    The fragrance is light floral in type. The top notes are distinctly floral, freesia mixed with a peppery edge. The middle notes are a pleasing fruity, floral mixture of carnation, damask plum, pear and ylang-ylang; while the deeper base notes are more woody, sandalwood and cedar blended with a vanilla and musky fragrance.
                    Price wise this fragrance usually costs £11.00 for 100ml, however it is currently available on the Avon website (avonshop.co.uk) for £5.50, so perhaps now is a good time to try it!

                    My Thoughts and Conclusion

                    This may be classed as an Oriental fragrance but to my nose it is more of a fruity/floral. The scent is light, quite refreshing and very, very feminine. It would suit most age group in my opinion and is suitable for almost any occasion.
                    Unfortunately this fragrance does not last at all well on my skin. I can barely detect it within an hour or so of using it. I have had this problem with Avon fragrances in the past. Many years ago when my daughter was small I was an Avon representative, I made very little money, but I did enjoy trying out the products. I learned fairly soon that Avon fragrances were not really for me, they did not have the staying power of other fragrances, therefore I was unsurprised by my recent experiences with using Perceive by Avon.

                    Of course, fragrances react differently on everyone, so please do not let my experience deter you from trying the scent if it appeals.
                    I am awarding this fragrance a 3* rating due to the poor staying power I experienced.
                    Thank you for reading

                    ©brittle1906 August 2014

                    N.B. My reviews may be found elsewhere under the same user name

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                    • More +
                      27.04.2014 01:56
                      Very helpful
                      (Rating)
                      2 Comments

                      Advantages

                      • "Pleasing floral scent"

                      Disadvantages

                      • "Body lotion thin and watery"

                      A pleasant gift set, but not something I'd buy for myself.


                      Review of Yardley Lily of the Valley Gift Set for Women

                      I love the flower, Lily of the Valley; they are pretty and have a delicate scent that conjures up thoughts of spring to me. I came across this gift set recently, I must be honest and say that I cannot remember when it was given to me and it has been sat, unopened, at the back of our rather large bathroom cupboard. For some reason, although I love my scented toiletries, I always hesitate to open gift sets it does seem a shame to spoil beautifully presented boxes by dismantling them!
                      My set comprises of a shower cream, a body spray and a body lotion. All are beautifully presented in a classy white, black and gold packaging. The actual box that they came in was quite plain, but eye catching in its simplicity.
                      The shower cream was the first item I tried once the gift set was opened. This is a creamy white, fairly thick textured shower product. It lathered well and smelled gorgeous. The bathroom was scented for quite some time after I'd had my shower. The shower cream lathered well and it left my skin clean and well fragranced. I found that the floral scent did not linger beyond an hour or so however. A nice shower cream, but not one I'd buy for myself.

                      The body spray is excellent, the scent is strong, the floral notes deepened with wear, just as I would expect with an Eau de toilette or similar fragrance. The Lily of the Valley scent is obviously a floral, but it has deeper almost musky tones and I thought I could detect a hint of amber and sandalwood within the base notes. As this is not an anti perspirant spray, it is definitely not one for preventing damp underarms, but it is a very nice quality body spray and something I'd like to use again.

                      The body lotion was a little disappointing. Again a creamy white colour and well scented, but it was quite thin and watery. It absorbed well into my skin but did not really do anything other than leave a slightly sickly scent. It was not particularly moisturising and although as part of a gift set it was pleasant enough, it is not something I'd buy for myself.

                      All in all, I consider the Yardley Lily of the Valley Gift set to be very nice to receive as a gift, the scent of the products is on the whole, pleasing although perhaps a little dated for some tastes. I found the scent of the body lotion a bit sickly, but the shower cream and body spray were much stronger and in my view more pleasant.

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                        10.02.2014 13:53
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                        Disadvantages

                        A gripping crime thriller with plenty of twists and turns

                        Review of Nothing But Trouble, a novel by Roberta Kray

                        ==The Book==

                        I am reviewing the paperback edition of this novel, published by Sphere, ISBN 978-0751544794, 544 pages, cover price £6.99. Genre- Crime Fiction.

                        My copy was sourced from my local book exchange group. This book can be found on amazon at £3.50 for a new paperback or from 0.01p used.
                        It is also available in Kindle format at £3.32 or as a new hardback from £11.64.

                        ==The Plot==

                        The story starts in August 1998. A group of school girls are idling away their school holidays in Kellston, a run-down area in London's East End. The gang consists of five 10 year old girls and is headed by their self-styled leader, Paige, a street wise bully who encourages her girl gang to do her bidding, shoplifting and generally running wild. A sixth girl Minnie Bright tries to hang about with the girls, but she is unwelcome as she is a slow-witted, grubby child whom Paige considers beneath contempt. One fateful day, Minnie is bullied by the gang into breaking into the house of local 'flasher' Donald Peck. Minnie climbs in through a window and that is the last time the child is seen alive, her broken body is discovered some two days later under a bed in Peck's home. He is subsequently arrested, charged and convicted to life imprisonment for the murder of Minnie Bright.

                        14 years forward finds the girl gang grown up and living their own lives, Donald Peck is dead having killed himself whilst in prison.

                        One of the policemen who discovered the body of Minnie Bright is Harry Lind. Harry has now left the police force and with his partner, another ex-policeman called Mac, Harry runs a private investigation agency in Kellston. Harry is a remote type of man; he is single and is in the process of moving into the flat above his business premises. Harry has an on/off relationship with Detective Inspector Valerie Middleton.
                        Harry is approached by a businessman to follow and watch his wife who is suspected of cheating. Harry feels a little discouraged by the job but accepts it all the same.

                        Shortly after this an old friend, investigative journalist Jessica Vaughan, calls at Harry's office. She has been researching the Minnie Bright case for an article she is writing about the after effects of serious crime. Her research has led her to interview the five girls involved, however one is dead, having committed suicide a year earlier. Of the other four, one named Sam agrees to be interviewed, two more agree but then change their minds and the final girl, Kristen, now a model and an actress in a TV soap opera, refuses point blank to speak of the case.

                        Jessica is suspicious and her worries are proven correct when she is approached by Sam who is receiving anonymous death threats and has suffered vandalism to the taxi she drives. Jessica asks Harry Lind to help Sam and herself.
                        Harry is sceptical but agrees to assist and very soon finds that he and Jessica are becoming embroiled in a case where they are stirring up all kinds of trouble by simply asking questions, questions that someone will kill to leave unanswered.

                        ==My Thoughts And Conclusion==

                        I must admit to a little hesitation regarding this novel prior to reading it. I had heard of the author as many will have done, she is after all the widow of the infamous Reggie Kray, one of the Kray twins, gangsters who were imprisoned in 1969 for their various murders and crimes. Southport born Roberta met Reggie Kray, the man whose words and deeds once terrorised the London underworld, in 1996 and married him the following year.

                        The book blurb states that no one knows crime like a Kray and it was this that put me off the book initially as I feared it would be a book simply cashing in on the Kray family name. I have read several books about the Kray brothers and would have been disappointed had this novel just been a spin off these.

                        I need not have worried!

                        Nothing But Trouble is a fast paced, intriguing novel. It is well written and gripping, although there are several story lines running concurrently, this does not detract from the strong plot and it is a well-crafted novel.

                        I had also thought the novel would be similar in style to the work of Martina Cole, again the book blurb alluded to this, but I found it to be a far better novel altogether. The situations and plot were slightly similar to Ms Cole's books but there is none of the gruesome violence, bad language and shock value that she uses. I have to say I feel Roberta Kray is the better writer as she keeps the plot spinning along with no additional padding. Dialogue is crisp, sharp and well delivered and she has drawn the characters remarkably well, they are believable and in some cases quite unlikeable!

                        My main criticism would be that there are so many characters involved in the two cases Harry Lind was investigating, that I began to lose track of some of them. I did wonder perhaps if the two main story lines of the murdered child and the cheating wife could have actually made two novels; there was certainly enough action in the cases to warrant a complete novel for each!

                        I found this book absorbing, the plot and sub plots twisted and turned and I was fooled by red herrings just as the main protagonist Harry Lind was in the story. The final outcome of both the cases were surprising and made for a satisfying end to a brilliantly crafted novel.

                        A 5* rating is well deserved for this author and I recommend 'Nothing But Trouble' to others. I intend to look out for more from this author and I hope they will live up to this novel.

                        Thank you for reading.

                        ©brittle1906 February 2014

                        N.B. My review may be found on other sites under the same user name.

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                          06.02.2014 23:14
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                          A luxurious liquid soap

                          Review of L'Occitane Shea Butter Verbena Liquid Soap

                          I received a home-made gift basket of scented treats from a friend at Christmas; this liquid soap was one of the products she had included in the basket.

                          ==The Liquid Soap==

                          Presented in a chunky square-ish shaped see through plastic bottle, this liquid soap looks classy on the bathroom window sill. The bottle I own contains a generous 500 ml of soap.
                          The soap is a beautiful amber colour and the labelling is very distinctive, being basically black and gold. The label advises that the product is a detergent-free cleanser that is gentle enough for dry, sensitive or damaged skin.
                          The soap is dispensed by means of a pump action nozzle; this is sturdy and practical in use, dispensing just the right amount of liquid with one press. The nozzle is made from black plastic and is the usual twist on off and push to dispense design.
                          The scent is glorious, floral and rich with a hint of fruit, I find the scent lasts very well on my hands and I can still detect it an hour or so after use, which for a soap product, I think is amazing!
                          The soap lathers well even in my hard water region and it cleanses efficiently with the minimum of fuss. The texture is quite creamy for gel soap.
                          One thing I really like about this is that my hands do not feel dry or taut after using this liquid soap, a problem that I have encountered with other scented hand washes. I would guess that the addition of Shea Butter is responsible for the moisturising effect.

                          ==Price and Availability==

                          This product is currently available from various online retailers. A quick Google search conducted today brought up the following prices.
                          EBay from £5
                          Debenhams £8
                          Amazon from £13
                          L'Occitane £19
                          Refills are also available from L'Occitane.


                          ==My Thoughts and Conclusion==

                          This is a luxurious product, it is beautifully scented and the fragrance seems to last a long time. The soap is efficient and although having been taken aback when I researched the price for the purposes of my review, I feel that if sourced at a good price, it does offer value for money. You really do not need to use a large amount for a simple hand washing. I started using mine a day or so after Christmas and at the point of writing my review (February 2014), I still have about half the bottle left even though this has been used several times a day by both myself, my other half and visitors to our home!
                          I am particularly impressed with the moisturising effect I gain from using this liquid soap, all too often this type of product can be a little harsh in my opinion, but as L'Occitane Liquid is proving very skin friendly. I love the colour of the liquid soap; it is an attractive warm amber shade which blends beautifully with the colour scheme of my bathroom.

                          Although I probably wouldn't buy this liquid soap for myself as it is on the pricey side I am enjoying using it and I feel it was a lovely present to receive.
                          I am awarding this product a 5* rating and would recommend it to others.

                          Thank you for reading.
                          ©brittle1906 February 2014

                          N.B. My reviews may be found on other sites under the same user name.

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