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Hair removal is never fun. It's often laborious or painful, and unless you want to pay the professionals, its awkward to do yourself, and the results are never perfect.
I've been looking for a way to get good results on the bikini line, and haven't tried waxing before. After nightmare experiences with hair removal creams and shaving, I finally plucked up the courage and bought Veet's Gel Wax kit. It seemed appealing, and comes in a very compact little tub complete with everything you need; material wax strips, a spatula, and of course, WAX.
You have to heat the wax up for around 45 seconds depending on the strength of your microwave - not to worry, the spatula also tests the heat and a red cross appears if it is too hot, so you won't end up burning yourself! I followed the instructions and heated the wax to the correct temperature, no problems. The instruction are fairly easy to follow, I might add, which helps for first time waxers!
Next you apply a thin layer of wax, the thinner the better, and this is the difficult part which requires quite a bit of practice. The gel wax is very gooey, very sticky, and not the easiest thing to apply to your own skin - especially bikini area! Although I have not tried other wax, so this wasn't a major concern for me. Then you simply apply the material, pull the skin taut, and yank it off! The instructions give a few handy tips for a less painful experience (such as keeping the material as close to the skin as possible as you pull it off), but I find that practice makes the whole thing a lot easier.
I was quite impressed with the results too. I have quite fine, blonde hair - most of which had dis-appeared with the wax. There were a few rogue hairs left but I was generally pleased with the hair-free aftermath. Like I said, practice makes perfect so I'll keep using this product until I have the knack for how to do it quickly and effectively! The results do last a while (perhaps not quite the four weeks the tub suggests) but certainly over two weeks.
Plus, the wax washes off very easily so if there are mis-haps, or if there is excess wax on the skin it come right off with soapy water. The material strips are re-usable too, so there's no extra expense in that department; simply wash them and let them dry and they're as good as new!
As I said, I've never waxed before and never been to a spa to have it done, so I have nothing to compare this product to. However, I was pleased with the result and would recommend this to any other first time waxers!
I'm not much of a gamer usually, but this console changed my opinion of games consoles altogether! I'm 21, and was 18 when I was given my Nintendo DS for Christmas - I was immediately hooked on a game called Professor Layton (a detective, puzzle type game), and further impressed by the vast amount of games and brain trainers available to play.
For a start the console is small and compact, therefore great for taking around with you. I found it great to play on trains when I was travelling to and from university - its a little different from reading (if you're the travel sick type), and the sound can be turned off, or earphones inserted so as not to annoy the rest of the train!
Further, there are loads of accessories you can buy for the DS; cases to keep it safe and undamaged (with compartments for different games); various different stylus's (I have a Dr Who sonic screwdriver one...) and loads more. AND the DS's come in a range of colours for the fashion conscious!
But the best thing about these consoles has to be the sheer amount of games that you can play - there really is something for everyone! I have ones for cooking, brain trainers, and even an Avatar game. I have family who have their own DS's and are often seen on murder mysteries, or Bargain Hunt (yes- Bargain Hunt!), so there is a great deal of options for the older generations - not just kids.
It is very refreshing to see such a range of games, and not just violent, rifle-wielding nonsense that you often see on the shelves for other consoles.
The only downside is the price of games, at around thirty pounds each. But there are ways around this; once the game is finished you can sell it on, or buy used games. They are as good as new - the old owner deletes their games and you have a pretty much perfect games at a fraction of the price!
Printing is often one of those banal, day-to-day activities which brings little satisfaction and is at its best when it is a hassle-free experience. It barely even warrants thinking about, except when things go wrong. Which is why I love the HP Photosmart, because it actually makes printing interesting.
I've had a lot of printer problems in the past; my last printer copped it on the hand in day of all my university coursework - not helpful. It served me well for a while but being a cheaper make, it was often clunky and in the end refused to print in black despite having a full ink cartridge. This is where the HP Photosmart showed up and saved the day.
They are not the cheapest printers around, neither are they the most expensive, but this printer has a lot going for it. The print quality is excellent (much better than the cheaper printers I have had in the past, which left ink smudges all over the paper), photo quality is good, and even the print speed is reasonably quick. There's nothing more boring than sitting around waiting for fifty pages to print, so I find this a big bonus.
Scanning and copying is all very simple, even for the more techno-phobic out there. I'm a bit blonde, and I can work the thing so I'm happy. Plus, it's touch screen, and this is where I get excited. It's very accurate, quick to respond, and the instructions are easy to follow. I was particularly pleased when I could use the screen to discover the ink levels, without even having to turn the computer on - yay!
Ink is relatively cheap too, if you know where to get it from. I use Amazon and buy a combo pack (colour and black) for just over twenty pounds - most places charge over thirty. As long as you use a trusted seller (such as Amazon itself rather than private sellers), the ink is fine, and you haven't been ripped off. Bonus!
An all round good printer, trusted, and even a little exciting!
Before I passed my driving test four years ago, I was determined to buy myself a little Ka. I wanted metallic blue with matching bumpers thank you very much, and was hardly concerned about the car itself other than that it was a pretty colour and looked like a little bubble.
It was my Dad who demanded that I buy a car with fairly low mileage (for its age), air conditioning, and full service history. Looking back, I'm glad I listened to him. My Ka has not only looked pretty, but been reliable, comfortable, and a very easy drive for a first car.
Being a W reg, my car is nothing like a new car. There are barely any fancy gadgets - electric windows and air con are about as good as it gets, but what else could you expect from a cheaper, older car? It doesn't go very quickly (probably a good idea for a new driver), but it does drive well and is very reliable. I've broken down a couple of times and my MOT fails pretty much every year, but again this comes with older cars of this calibre. One of the best things about my Ka is how it copes with long journeys. I drove up and down the motorway most weekends to get to and from University - that's over two hours each way - and my car never once failed me. In fact, although she isn't the quickest car on the road, I felt very safe in my Ka.
One common problem with Ka's of this age is that they do rust, and end up needing welding at almost every MOT, which isn't the cheapest bill at the end of the day! Mine has also developed a series of rattles: one when I drive around right hand corners - this one is quite scary and very loud; and another that is pretty much constant. I have taken it to various garages, had my rear axle bushes replaced (twice - got ripped off once) and the rattle continues. But since no mechanic seems to be too worried, I carry on as usual!
Petrol consumption is not bad, and in this economic climate I am glad I do not have a larger tank to fill with the price of petrol what it is! I could go from Derby to London and back without using a full tank. The brakes on these cars are also not the strongest - which teaches you to brake very early.
Having said all of this I stand by my Ka as a brilliant first car; easy to drive, small and compact, and surprisingly spacious inside!
I'll get straight to it: The Hunger Games is addictive, powerful and completely absorbing. A young adult's read, I have yet to meet someone (of any age) who does not like this book - it is compelling and original, and a somewhat scary vision of what could become of our future.
I happened to watch the film version before I read the book, having heard that 'The Hunger Games' had been deemed 'the next big thing' in young adult fiction. The concept: in a dystopian future, children aged 12-18 are chosen, and forces to compete in a fight to the death as punishment for an old uprising against the all powerful Capitol. Their action in the 'arena' is broadcast for entertainment - a chilling idea that sends shivers down the spine.
I won't talk too much about the film, although it certainly inspired me to read the novels. I simply HAD to know what happened next! It didn't matter that I already knew the ending of the first book; I simply could not put it down. The characters were fully rounded and believeable, and the intricacies of the plot designed to keep the reader engaged on an emotional and energetic level. My adrenaline seemed to pump almost as much as protagonist Katniss' as I stayed up late at night, every night, until I had finished the book. And then finished the series.
There's certain books which have the ability to keep you hooked even after you have finished the last page, and this is certainly one of them. Even now, I still dream that I am competing in The Hunger Games myself. I also bought abow and arrow to begin my new hooby; archery.
A very imaginative story, this is a must read for fans of fantasy or sci-fi fiction. In fact, I think it would please anyone with an appreciation of an eventful plot and gripping concept. Completely un-put-downable!
There's only one criticism I have about the book, and to be honest it isn't really the fault of the book itself! Perhaps because it is such a successful adaptation of the novel, (or maybe because I saw the film first), I do think the film is a tad better. It is visually stunning, the actors extremely talented, and it makes a change to see a novel adapted into such a good film. Although, if I'd read the book before seeing the film, my opinion may be different, as is the cae with many adaptations.
All round a brilliant read nevertheless!
I've often looked at the Kindle, and other e-readers, and sighed a sad sigh. There's nothing like books; that 'new' smell of paper as you flick the pages under you nose; the feel of the smooth cover and the colourful artwork that brightens your shelves; the satisfaction of all those words - SO many words, covering whole pages for whole chapters, in whole novels. I am, and always will be, a book lover.
And then I got a Kindle.
Why? I have just graduated with a degree in Drama and Creative Writing, and am always searching for ways to publish as a new writer - e-books are a huge opening in the world of self-publishing, a new way to get writing out there. They are, essentially, the future of books. So it would have been very closed minded, very stubborn of me, to ignore this development in the world of books.
So I opened up my new Kindle and was hit with a new appreciation of all the possibilities surrounding this tiny, super-light little gadget. So thin! So light! Small enough to fit in my handbook without scuffing the edges of my precious books... And soon I discovered a world of great things about the Kindle. Of course, the capacity to store hundreds of books is handy when your on the go, on holiday, or travelling. The screen is incredible, not like a laptop or phone screen which somehow turns invisible as soon as subjected to direct sunlight. It really is just like a reading a book.
And cheaper than reading a book! The Kindle 4 itself is a reasonable price, and downloading e-books is often much cheaper than buying the actual book. A lot of the classics are free - wahoo! I have the entire works of Shakespeare and I only paid about a quid for the whole lot. And most books are available on Kindle now too. I have to admit - I do find myself buying a Kindle copy and a hard copy of the same book. Sadly, the Kindle will never curb my addition to actual books.
But it does make reading a lot easier. You only need one hand to turn pages (or click the next page button), it's light, you never lose your page. Downloading e-books is simple too. Kindle connects to Wifi and you can download books straight to it; and if you buy online from another source (laptop etc), as soon as the Kindle connects to Wifi, it is automatically transferred to the Kindle! No need to connect to the laptop or your amazon account.
It does have a few problems though. I used my Kindle during a drama class once (the e-version of the play was cheeeeap!), but found it nearly impossible to skip to certain scenes and back again! There is the ability to 'bookmark' certain pages and you can search the e-book (go to beginning, end etc), but it doesn't have the same format as a hard copy so you cannot search for a certain page. It works by the percentage of the book you have read; rather than the amount of pages. I gave up and bought the hard copies of the plays!
So the Kindle is great if you want to red a book from start to finish - which is what most people do. A durable, lightweight, convenient alternative to a real book!
Aptly named 'ChaCha', this phone will have you dancing with glee as you tap away on the touch screen/qwerty keyboard combo. But will it leave your limbs limp after the fun is over?
I've owned the ChaCha for almost a year now after splashing out when the phone was first released. I was excited by the prospect of the qwerty keyboard AND touch screen, having upgraded from a Blackberry with similar keys (easier than touchscreen for long nails!). And the ChaCha did not fail to impress.
Apart from a couple of weird touches, such as the bend in the middle of the phone (supposedly for comfort when sitting in the palm of your hand), the phone worked perfectly for a good few months. Sure, the battery life is questionable, but with so much to do and so many apps to explore, short battery life can be forgiven.
Whilst family members had chosen a different model of HTC and struggled with signal and problems with the phone freezing, I had no such issues with the ChaCha. The camera is impressive (better outdoors than in), texting and calling is as easy as it should be, and there's even a handy Facebook button for speedy social updates.
So what's the problem? Well, the memory. Although supplied with an SD card, my phone quickly ran out of space, and I hadn't downloaded many apps at all. The problem (I think - I still haven't made enough space to be sure) is photos - and yes I am a snap-o-holic. When storage space is low, one can't even view their own photos, sure you can keep snapping away, but you can't see the outcome until you make more space. Browsing the internet is a no-no, and even receiving messages becomes a problem. There are ways of keeping space free; setting the phone to delete old messages and emails, uploading pictures to your computer and keeping on top of your data history is a good solution.
But it's not just the storage problem. The phones are constantly wanting to update! This isn't a massive problem with the ChaCha (well, mine won't update because there isn't enough 'space'), but I've heard of problems with the HTC's after an update has taken place. The layout of the phone changes, and everything seems to slow down.
And now the unlock button for my phone is often unresponsive. Very annoying. There's a few other niggling nuisances about the phone; typing on a flat surface is tricky, since the bend in the phone won't allow it to lie flat; plus there's other touchscreen issues, like accidentally putting callers on 'hold' with your ear. But for all its downfalls, I still rate this as a good smart phone. Gone are the days when calling and texting alone would suffice, and this is a good upgrade. Not perfect, but good.