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cazkins

cazkins
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Member since: 09.09.2008

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    • More +
      18.04.2015 10:58
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Easy to read"
      • "Quirky and original"

      Disadvantages

      • "I was not so keen on the ending"
      • "A little too odd for some perhaps"

      Original & mystifying, but you need to be willing to suspend some rational thought for

      After Dark is fictional Japanese novel, translated in to English, that I would say loosely falls within the genres of drama and mystery, with a little something extra thrown in to the mix.

      It’s approaching midnight and there’s an almost empty Denny’s diner. A young girl called Mari sits reading. A musician, due to practice all night with his band, interrupts Mari’s solitude to say hello. Mari has missed the last train home and intends on staying out all night, in the city, on her own. But once the sun disappears and night falls the city is different, with mysterious undertones. The musician leaves and Mari soon gets approached from a girl from the Alphaville Hotel, a Chinese love hotel, to help with a situation.

      On the flip side, the same time but a different location, we see Mari’s sister. She is sleeping in a deep sleep and has been for 2 months. Almost like a coma, but not. We see the TV flicker, but it’s not plugged in. Could the midnight hour be causing something to stir this night, or is it just imagination?

      The book basically takes us across these two tangents. The former is told in present tense, giving us a sense of us watching the interactions between characters and events as they unfold. The latter is told in a rather different way, with the author talking to us as if we are watching the sister from a different perspective, like giving a commentary when watching a bird of prey through a camera.

      The layout is very interesting and quite original. The story is told in the present tense and follows a ‘real time’ timeline; chapters are not split by number but by the time, as the minutes and hours tick down from just before midnight to just before 7am, so we get a more concise view of events. I felt mesmerised almost to keep reading, and this was helped by the book being broken down in to chapters of varying length, none of which I felt was too long.

      The novel ‘flows’ well and feels fairly natural, making it easier to read. I would say there was a reasonable depth of characters, but this isn’t to a great extent. I don’t think I found myself particularly identifying, or feeling empathic towards, any of the characters, but I did feel some sense of understanding or familiarity with them by the end of the novel. The lack of depth is something that adds to its mysterious and ‘quirky’ nature, strengthening the growing feeling you get that you never really quite know what’s going on.

      I wasn’t so hot on the ending because it’s very loose and doesn’t tie anything up nor provide an explanation for all of our unanswered questions. However, the author intended it this way and so in its own way it adds to the mystery.

      On the back is further praise, including: ‘The novel delivers gloriously… Inventive and alluring’ – Guardian, ‘Hypnotic, spell-binding’ – The Times.

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      14.04.2015 11:22
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Does not aggravate my skin"
      • "Quick and easy to use"

      Disadvantages

      • "No improvement to complexion"

      A so so kind of product.

      I came across this on a blog a while ago and checked it out on the Boots website. The reviews seemed quite positive so I was keen to give it a go. Whilst it hasn’t been a miracle cure by any means, and I can’t really say I’ve noticed a big difference in my complexion as far as blemishes go, it’s been reasonable enough and leaves my skin feeling fresh.

      SkinClear is a Boots own brand product. I found the range a little tricky to find in store amongst the other skin care brands, and it doesn’t really jump out at your either in terms of the packaging. It’s a rather non-descript and uninspiring clear 200ml plastic bottle; there’s a white flip up top lid, and a sticker on the front and back, with the front sticker being a blue and white design. It’s reasonably easy to read, keeps things simple and to the point, and doesn’t make too many wild promises whilst spouting names of chemicals and products that sound magical.

      The product is designed to ‘penetrate pores to visibly clear and reduce blackheads’. It claims to be gentle enough for regular everyday use and is dermatalogically tested.
      To use, simply apply some cleanser on to a cotton pad and wipe gently over the face and neck area, paying particular attention to the blackhead-prone or greasy areas, such as the T-Zone nose, forehead and chin.

      I use it first thing in the morning and it’s a very quick process, without any mess. You needn’t rinse your face afterwards. I usually apply a small bit of moisturiser after cleansing because most washes can dry my skin out

      This does have a slight chemical smell, but it’s not too overpowering. It leaves my skin feeling clean and fresh; I don’t get any tingling but nor have I had any bad responses to it. I’ve been dealing with mild adult acne / spots for a little while now and this hasn’t improved them or any blackheads, though I’ve never found a cleanser that ever has. I believe some of the issues with my skin are related to a few health and hormone issues I have going on at the moment, so I wasn’t expecting miracles from this anyway.

      All in all, it’s quick and simple to use, and leaves my face refreshed and feeling clean. It doesn’t get rid of spots or blackheads, from my experience, but it probably helps to clean pores and reduce grease and shine that can build up.

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    • More +
      21.03.2015 12:05
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Reasonable price"
      • "Pretty and sweet scent"

      Disadvantages

      • "A bit too sweet for some perhaps if overused"
      • "Lasting power not fantastic"

      Kiss Me Quick

      This comes in a white box, easily recognisable by the trademark pink lipstick kiss design. I bought mine in a 30ml size. On the back of the box is the slogan ‘Fragrance with Attitude’, along with the ingredients lists and a few words of caution.

      The bottle itself, I think, is quite cute. The brand is intended to appeal to a younger market, so it’s doesn’t aim for sophisticated, but it does look neat and reasonably understated in its simplicity. The bottle is angled so that it goes in towards the bottom, and the lid is a rounded plastic affair in pink, in keeping with the pink design. Granted, it’s nothing special but it’s a lower budget purchase and I don’t think it feels too ‘tacky’ or too young. The bottle itself is made of clear glass.

      The lid simply pulls off and pushes back on again, and feels quite secure. It’s easy enough to do and not fiddly, unlike a couple of perfumes out there with their overly complex and fancy designs. The first time I opened this I remembered how pleasantly surprised I was to be able to smell the EDP so well at just removing the lid for the first time.

      This brings me on to the most important part: how does it smell? Despite this seemingly being thought of as just a young / teen brand, I really like it. I’ve always liked the Kiss Me body spray so it didn’t take much to convince me to give this a try when it was on offer. I really seem to struggle with describing scents and perfumes, but the product describes the mixture of scents to include blackcurrant, pineapple and citron, with layers of vanilla, wood and musk. I couldn’t have told you that without looking it up. It does smell sweet, but it’s nicely grounded by the musk. I would say it smells more expensive than it is. It is an almost powdery fruit scent, sweet yet not overpowering or sickly sweet either. I’ve always had compliments when wearing the body spray and equally get positive comments about the EDT; it is definitely noticeable with a quick spritz on the wrists and neck without being overwhelming, which is what I like.

      I am yet to find an EDP or EDT that lasts as long as I’d like it to or expect it to, in the case of pricier products. Given as that this is a cheaper EDP, I’m happy that it lasts just as long as some of the more expensive, more ‘adult’ perfumes I’ve had. I only need use a small amount each time, a small bit on my wrist and my neck, and it’s noticeable without being overpowering. I think if you use more than this it will probably be too sickly sweet. It lingers for a couple of hours. For 30ml, it’s lasting me quite well, helped by the fact I don’t need to use much.

      30ml retails for around six pounds.

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    • More +
      18.03.2015 11:24
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Superb Acting"
      • Engaging
      • "Sincere and emotive"

      Disadvantages

      • "None per se for me"

      They Don't Have Forever, Just Each Other

      The Fault In Our Stars is based on a book by John Greene. Having not read this myself I can’t comment on how well it transfers to the big screen, but I’ve seen a lot of positive reviews in this regard. This review is therefore for the DVD.

      We’re introduced to Hazel, who is forever accompanied by an oxygen tank, and Augustus, who makes light of his prosthetic leg. Meeting at a support group, the two share their journey and a friendship gradually develops between the pair. The film centres on this relationship, one which starts out as two ‘survivors’ swapping stories, to two teenagers who share both a common bond through cancer and a love for one another. It’s a simple, straightforward premise in that sense, and that’s what the film is all about. We’re taken on a discovery of their ups and downs, through health scares and struggles, through jokes and sarcasm; we see how friends and family support and struggle with accepting the reality of cancer, and how such a life-changing illness can impact lives.

      This film manages to balance harsh reality with inspiration, leaving a trail of hope and sadness in its wake. As the story continues, we wonder what will happen with the two characters, knowing that the end result is not going to be a particularly happy one, but hoping none the less that some happiness can be salvaged. Indeed, I was gripped to watch until the end and I felt a good deal of empathy for the central characters. Cancer is something we all know about and it’s not something that can be escaped; this film doesn’t let us escape it, but it shines a new light on it, and through Hazel and Augustus we’re given a glimpse at how differently people handle the cards they’ve been dealt.

      I felt that the premise was moving in its simplicity. It was easy to follow and, despite the subject matter, was easy to watch. It felt genuine, without being sickly sweet or bitterly morbid. The characters injected some humour and light-hearted wit here and there to lighten the load, whilst never taking away from the underlying seriousness or gravity of the situation.

      The cast includes Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, and Willem Dafoe amongst others. It was good to see a few familiar faces, and also the not-so-big faces of the two protagonists. Each actor/actress played their respective role incredibly well & made the film believable and gripping.

      The downsides? There were a few moments/scenes that I felt were a little forced, where perhaps where the script didn't quite sit right. However, these were not monumental scenes, nor did they distract from my overall 'enjoyment'. Some may find the flick a little on the slow side, but I thought the pace was pretty well-balanced and kept me feeling engaged throughout.

      It is sincere in its simplicity, genuine in its portrayal and left its mark in my mind long after watching.

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    • Samsung C3590 / Smartphone / 8 Readings / 8 Ratings
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      13.03.2015 09:09
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • Reliable
      • "Lovely outer colour"
      • "Easy to use"

      Disadvantages

      • "Tacky silver colour as per review"
      • "Basic as expected"

      A very swish looking basic budget mobile worth considering

      I came across this for my father as a gift a few months ago and thus far he has been very happy with it, ticking the boxes of being good to look at, reliable, and easy peasy to use.

      The C3590 is a flip phone with a polished metallic surface; this wine red covers the outside, and also the keypad. When closed, it’s very eye catching and quite stunning for a basic budget phone. But around the outsides of the keypad and screen is a silver element (not actually silver, just shiny silver in colour). Unfortunately, this is the one downside to me. Rather than looking sophisticated, I think it looks plastic-y and thus a bit tacky. It does, however, feel fairly robust.
      It measures approx. 11.1cm length, 1.7cm depth when closed, and 5.1cm width, weighing in at 99.5. It’s not the slimmest flip, but nor is it the chunkiest I’ve ever seen. I quite like that this opens to quite a rectangular-shaped phone, with reasonable sized screen and keypad, and it’s easy to hold/use.
      This comes with a battery, user guide, mains charger, but no USB for connecting the phone to your computer. It takes a standard SIM.

      Thankfully, this phone has proved easy enough for my dad to use. It was all very straightforward to set up out the box and the menu, layout, options etc all seem reasonably ergonomical and common sense to use.

      The screen is reasonably clear for a 2.4” TFT. It’s small but larger than some of the older, basic clamshells I’ve seen in the past, so it’s a touch larger than my dad’s old Samsung. He doesn’t struggle to see the screen or text, and colour appear vivid enough for the tasks and purposes he uses it for.
      I quite like the texturised keypad. The keys themselves are well-spaced and to press them they have a nice feel and seem easy enough to accurately use even for those with larger paws. I found them a little clunky to press down, by my dad doesn’t, so it probably depends a little on what you’re used to.
      As a basic mobile, there are no fancy frills here. There’s 2G (no 3G/WiFi) but it has 1MB internal storage expandable up to 32MB with microSD, a poor 2MP camera that’s still better than nothing, built in MP3/radio, and quadband. Personalisation is limited to the basics.
      Battery standby is 460 hours and talk time 12 hours. The perk of it being basic in nature is a better battery life. We have indeed found this to be the case; with minimal use it requires charging perhaps twice a week.

      My dad has had this phone for a few months now and has no encountered any problems with it
      This is a great little budget phone if you want something for the basics whilst also being reliable, easy to use and looking good. I’m knocking a star off for a couple of aforementioned little things,ie the ‘tacky’ looking silver.

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    • Horns - Joe Hill / Fiction Book / 8 Readings / 8 Ratings
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      28.01.2015 09:33
      Very helpful
      (Rating)
      2 Comments

      Advantages

      • "Entertaining style"
      • "Interesting premise"
      • "Light & engaging to read"

      Disadvantages

      • "Ending a little rushed/unresolved"

      A Devilishly Good Read

      Horns, a novel that has reached fame having been recently been put on the big screen, falls within the drama/thriller genres, being noticeably darker in nature with the cover design and blurb on the back referring to the devil.

      The book introduces us to Ig, a regular chap who just so happens to wake up from a drunken night he can’t recall much of to find horn are growing out of his head. He’s perturbed by this, but carries on his day. He is more alarmed to find that as he meets people, be they family members or store workers, that they’re telling him all kinds of things he just doesn’t want to hear. Personal opinions or private thoughts, things people would ordinarily keep to themselves. Have the horns given him the ability to read minds, are they forcing those around him to speak words they wouldn’t usually give voice to, or is he simply going crazy?

      As the novel continues, the author begins to unravel the history of the protagonist, Ig. This is done primarily to explain the things he is hearing from those around him, including some not very nice, bordering on evil, opinions of him. We learn of his long-term love whom he met in Church many years ago, Merrin Williams, and how she died an explanation for current events, a web of characters, suspicions and theories are created.

      I loved the way the author sculpted the scenes and settings, such as the old foundry where the younger Ig, Terry and Lee used to play. It felt realistic and created a sense of atmosphere. In a similar way, the author was able to breathe life in to the characters. I created an image of them in my head and could empathise, though I thought at points this could have been a bit stronger with more descriptive help.

      Despite the darker subject matter and incidents of death and devils, the book has a light, easy-going feel to it. It is still dark and gritty where required, but it isn’t too ‘heavy’ to read. The style of writing was one which I found easy to read because it was engaging, flowed well and provoked a few chuckles. The elements of sarcasm and more uplifting positivity contrasted yet complemented the sadness or evil, and the author carried me along from page to page without too much of a problem.

      There is a sense of mystery and suspense underlying the whole novel, both a down-to-earth gritty murder mystery style one and a more spiritual/otherworldly one. It blends well, keeping the novel grounded despite the latter being of key significance.

      I’d say, however, that perhaps the ending was one I was a little unsure of. I felt something could have been better answered and tied up, rather than leaving me wondering. The book thus gets 4 rather than 5 stars for the somewhat rushed or 'unfinished' and unresolved feel to the ending.

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      • The Help (DVD) / DVD / 9 Readings / 9 Ratings
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        26.01.2015 09:24
        Very helpful
        (Rating)
        1 Comment

        Advantages

        • "Interesting to watch"
        • "Engaging characters"
        • "Emotionally evocative"

        Disadvantages

        • "Took a little while to engage me"

        Helping An Inspired Revolution

        The Help falls within the drama genre and seems to have caused a bit of a stir amongst critics and audiences who have hyped it up. The Help is based on the Number 1 New York Times bestseller by Kathryn Stockett.

        We are thrown in to 1960’s Mississippi, where we meet Skeeter, a Southern girl fresh out of college and aspiring to become a writer. Against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement, Skeeter sees the inequality and treatment of the black women around her and decides to write a piece on their experiences. She begins by speaking with Aibileen, her best friend’s housekeeper, who starts to open up. The interview sheds light on a some goings-on but the fellow black community are not happy with her involvement initially, worried about word getting out and them getting in to trouble. The relationship between Aibileen and Skeeter deepens as stories are shared, and a few other voices come in to the fold. It looks as if Skeeter may be able to pen a book with the stories that are being told, but where the truth starts to surface, so do the cracks in the community. The imbalance between the housekeepers and the white socialites grows, friendships are stretched and ugly truths start to surface.

        As the film continues, we see more stories uncovered, and the tidal-wave impact Skeeter’s book adventure has on the town.

        The cast includes Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, and Sissy Spacek, amongst others. I quite like the diversity here, keeping it down to earth, gritty and believable without too much Hollywood sparkle. I enjoyed watching them and could empathise with the characters; they helped make it saddening, frustrating and uplifting simultaneously, taking the edge off it being too depressing or politically orientated by adding touches of humour and sarcasm.

        Whilst the stories uncovered are shocking, the treatment of these women appalling, there is also a sense of poignancy, hope and inspiration. The film is a testament to change and how just one person can start the ball rolling, but it takes patience and bravery to do it.
        The film has a good quality feel to it. Without big action or fancy effects, what you do get is a heartfelt portrayal of the 1960’s Southern America during a tumultuous time of change.

        I must admit that initially I had some trouble getting in to the film, finding the dialogue and slower speed not particularly engaging. However, that could have been the frame of mind I was in. Fortunately, it didn’t take too long before I became intrigued, finding certain characters easy to watch and losing myself in the essence of the era. There’s more to the film than just hearing the stories. The whole notion of secretly writing them encapsulates the societal tide, the changing way of thinking at the time, the struggles within the community and the friendships involved. It gave The Help a multi-faceted approach and depth, making it more interesting and emotionally evocative.

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        • More +
          23.01.2015 12:50
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

          Advantages

          • "Interesting premise"
          • "Easy enough to read"

          Disadvantages

          • "Lacked some spark"
          • "Characters could have been more developed"

          A deliberately deadly accident

          The Accident falls within the crime thriller genre and is based in America, having been a more recent release (2011 I believe) from the popular author, Linwood Barclay.
          To open, we’re initially given a glimpse in to a back alley deal of someone selling knock-off designer handbags, leaving 3 dead. This gives us a taste of things to come before we’re quickly thrown in to the main storyline. Enter Glen Garber, a man facing some financial difficulties in his construction business. Since taking over the firm from his father, Garber has maintained a close knit team that are like family to him. But the challenging industry isn’t all Glen has had to face. He finds his wife’s car at the scene of a drink-driving accident; Sheila died on impact, as did those she crashed in to. But she wasn’t a drinker, so both Glen and the 8 year-old daughter are devastated yet angry and confused.
          That’s not the only strange thing to happen. When Kelly sleeps over at the neighbour’s house with their daughter, she overhears a conversation that she obviously shouldn’t have. But what could it mean? As tensions mount between the neighbours and Garber after some altercation over the matter, things go from bad to worse at the construction company and for Glen. Sometimes things just aren’t all they seem…People get in to trouble, people die, and mystery increases. There’s something bigger at play that Glen can’t quite figure out so he takes things in to his own hands to investigate.
          The book then basically takes us across a few tangents whilst the mysteries are investigating, uncovering various characters and relationships. It was made more interesting by firstly giving us a glimpse in to the world of knock off handbags, only to throw us in to something completely different, leaving us wondering where that kind of knowledge could later come in to play.
          I enjoyed the way Barclay mixes up the premise so as not to focus it solely on one thing. It keeps us on our toes and increases the mystery as we pieces bits together bit by bit, ever quite knowing what’s what.
          As for the characters, I thought most were quite well developed. At times I felt they could have felt a bit more ‘real’ or have more depth to them, however for the most part they were easy enough to envision. There was a degree of empathy there but I didn’t find myself warm to the characters as much as I have with some other authors.

          Barclay does do suspense reasonably well. She builds up a sense of mystery because there are a lot of characters and unanswered questions thrown in to the mix. From the outset, you can’t quite figure out what’s going on, however I wasn’t overly shocked at the outcome. Overall, this is a reasonable novel with some good suspense and mystery, but it lacked some ‘spark’ in terms of a gripping premise or warmth of characters.

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        • Tefal Actifry Deep Fryer / Deep Fryer / 7 Readings / 7 Ratings
          More +
          09.01.2015 11:08
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

          Advantages

          • "Looks more attractive than other models"
          • "Versatile uses"
          • " less mess & easy to use"
          • "No smell"

          Disadvantages

          • "Can't add time to timer once running"
          • "Timer not illuminated"
          • "Some chips get mushed"

          Super Frying Or Just Full Of Hot Air?

          This is for newer version 1.2kg Actifry in black, aka ‘Actifry Plus’. I was very sceptical about buying a fryer first and having bought the Breville Halo and promptly returning it, I’m pleased to say I’m quite happy with my Actifry.

          Inside the box you get the fryer itself with all the bits and pieces (such as the pan and paddle), recipe booklet, user manual and plastic spoon to use as a guide for oil, should any be required. The main selling point is that is uses one tea spoon of oil, or in fact no oil at all if using frozen oven chips.

          These fryers all look rather bulky or frankly bizarre. The Actifry is a bit more appealing to the eye than the Halo and the black finish actually makes it look rather slick and modern. This piece of kit feels relatively rugged despite being predominantly plastic. I’ve read a lot of negative reviews that scared me off the Actifry, though many pertained to the earlier model, because of bits and pieces falling apart. So far so good with mine though so I’ve got no major concerns about anything happening for a while.

          It claims to be suitable for 5 portions, but it really does depend what you’re doing and how much you think constitutes a portion! I think it’s actually pretty good in terms of size, a bit like a tardis house.

          It has a digital timer and beep alert for when it has finished cooking, but I find this doesn’t stop the cooking, can continue beeping after it’s turned off, and you can’t add minutes whilst it’s running. It’s also not illuminated, making it difficult to see sometimes.

          The ‘unique patented technology’ means the hot air circulates through the food for even cooking. It is versatile and can cook a range of things from chips to meat, puddings and vegetables. The non-stick pan rotates and there is a paddle that is easy to lift out. The lid, bowl and paddle are removable and dishwasher safe, making it easy to clean too. There’s a steam-free viewing window and I find general use is quite ergonomical. The lid opens and closes securely and you can pretty much just leave your food to cook.

          Frozen oven chips take about the time they do in the oven, perhaps a little less. The end result are more evenly cooked chips that taste delicious, though I do move them every so often during cooking. However, and this is the only thing that annoys me really about this, some chips can get a bit mushed. Luckily, they still cook well and taste great, so damage is only in terms of appearance.

          All in all, it’s easy to use and clean, results in delicious chips, has a decent capacity, and there’s less mess and no smell. It’s pricey for what it is, but gives me less grief than using the oven or a fryer and is ‘healthy’ without the oil from the latter.

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        • More +
          22.11.2014 09:32
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

          Advantages

          • "Leaves skin soft"
          • "Lovely packaging design"
          • "Silky smooth to apply"

          Disadvantages

          • Pricey
          • "Not the rose scent I'd perhaps expected"

          For Skin That Is Pretty In Pink

          The Body Shop is pretty much infamous for body butters. I love the design for their Moroccan Rose. It comes in a round plastic tub with screw on lid. It feels sturdy and chunky, making it easy to grip and twist off the lid. It is light pink in colour to compliment the scent, and on the top is a darker pink floral design, along with details of the product. We’re told this is for : ‘Beautiful skin softening, with precious oil from roses hand-picked at dawn’. Ok, so the last part is a bit much but it sounds elegant and dreamlike. It is designed for ‘normal/dry skin’ and these body butters are excellent for their moisturising properties.

          At around thirteen quid I think these are over-priced. However, you get 200 ml and it lasts quite a while as only small amounts are needed for good coverage.

          The ‘butter’ looks and smells deliciously tempting. I’m not sure if rose is exactly how I’d describe the scent, which is vaguely familiar of vitamin E cream I used to have (until finding it would irritate my skin). It’s a bit floral, feminine and yet light, not too overpowering or sickly sweet. It’s a good idea to smell these in store to see what you like, but I quite enjoy this scent. I think this is what I would consider the only downside, in as much as this doesn't smell as I'd expected or like roses in my opinion. That said, it's pleasant enough.

          To apply, just take a small amount and smooth over your skin. You can always use more but I’d recommend not using too much as a little can go a long way. It’s silky smooth to the touch and glides over skin well, making it easy to use on small and large areas like legs. I find it is a pleasure to use and actually motivates me to moisturise; I find the thought off-putting more often than not as it’s too much effort, the stuff doesn’t smell great, it takes ages to sink in etc. But with this, I suppose because I love the texture and scent, I’m more tempted to do it. It seems to absorb quite well and I don’t need to leave it too long before covering up or doing other things. It doesn’t feel oily after use either, which is always a bonus. It leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated, and the scent, whilst not long-lasting for the whole day, is just enough to be noticeable. I feel like I’m doing something nice for myself with this as it’s not often I’ll ‘splash out’ on something nice, so this is a little touch of luxury for me.

          All in all, whilst pricey for what it is, this body butter is lovely to use and leaves skin soft. The only down side is, in my opinion, that it doesn't much resemble what I had expected of a rose scent.

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        • More +
          17.10.2014 13:01
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

          Advantages

          • "Fab writing style"
          • "Engaging & gripping"
          • "Depth of characters"

          Disadvantages

          • "None per se for me"

          One I was sad to finish so quickly

          This falls within the crime thriller genre and I’m already quite a Slaughter fan. We're introduced to Special Agent Faith Mitchell of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. With one older son and one little baby daughter, she's got a lot on her hands to balance this with her job. So she can attend training, her mother, Evelyn, looks after her daughter. This morning, however, when Faith returns to her mother's house to pick up her daughter, something's not quite right; baby Emma is locked in the shed and there's blood and dead bodies in the house, with Evelyn nowhere to be found.

          Enter Will Trent, the agent partnered with Faith. Whilst Faith is in shock and terrified for her mother, it's up to Will and the Atlanta Police Department to uncover the truth of what happened in that house. Evelyn is the ex Atlanta Police Chief who previously worked narcotics and was involved in a big bust that caused a lot of repercussions through the department. Could she have been involved in something sinister, or is this about something else entirely? As the novel progresses, we see all of the possible theories tried on for size as Slaughter uncovers the next piece of the puzzle bit by bit.

          As the web of characters and list of theories expands, we learn more about each character, some of whom Slaughter fans may be familiar with. Each character is built up of layers and we learn extra bits as we go along, helping us to envisage who they are, their relationships to each other, what they look like, what makes them tick. It also adds another tangent to the novel, keeping it fresh and interesting. It just makes the characters more realistic because they have depth, and at the same time keeps us intrigued rather than bogged down by the investigative aspects of the book.

          The premise was quite interesting and it kept me guessing.. I wouldn't say it was overly predictable, but nor was it too complex or confusing. Slaughter has the ability to build depth and go in to detail without losing us along the way or boring us to sleep.
          I love Slaughter’s writing style. She writes with confidence and authenticity, blending intelligence with creativity as she builds the premise and her characters. She doesn't over-egg the pudding with technical information or complicated words that require a dictionary every five minutes, but she puts just enough in there to feel genuine and like we've stepped in to a live, real-world investigation.

          Characters are painted vividly and in three dimensions, allowing us to picture who they are and get a feel for their emotions and motivations. This level of empathy is good because you get to know the characters and begin to care about what happens to them, especially Trent and Faith. The insight in to Angie is also engrossing, because we see the strange, twisted and obsessively dysfunctional relationship between the two as a side-story.

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          12.10.2014 11:00
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

          Advantages

          • "Easy to use without major clumping"
          • "Reasonable for daily wear"

          Disadvantages

          • "Lasting time average"
          • "Not a dramatic look"
          • "Doesn't do it all"

          You could do worse but don't expect dramatic results

          This is for the Does It All Mascara, which looks just like this one in terms of design.
          The packaging stands out from the crowd for being purple, with shocks of yellow on the design around the top and on the front. It looks 'fat' and quirky, rather than slimline and sophisticated. I'm not a big fan of the design but it's not too important for me. It feels robust; the plastic is thick and the end, with the wand, twists off in a way that feels reliable and solid and is easy to hold.

          The wand is straight rather than curved, and of medium thickness. It looks very basic and 'normal', for lack of a better word. I like the simplicity as again it all seems quite robust. This claims to have an 'enhanced multi-bristle brush' which works in tandem with a 'five way formula'. It is designed to the following 5 wonders all in one mascara: Volumize, curl, lengthen, be long-wearing and condition. Quite a claim!

          It is easy to apply and I quite liked the style of the mascara in terms of being able to hold it steadily and the brush making it simple to swipe over lashes. The 'multi-bristle brush' was neat and fine enough to give a light coat, or layer up with a few coats for a more dramatic effect without being 'gunky' or resulting in clumps. With perhaps two coats, where I brushed it directly over my lashes from bottom to top, and then re-did just the top from side to side, I noticed some improvement. My lashes did look a bit more curled and longer, and the black helped to enhance the look by making my lashes seem healthier and thicker. However, I wouldn't say this was a dramatic effect. You would probably need several more coats to achieve that, and by that point I think lashes would be heavy with mascara and looking a bit clumpy. However, it did seem to do some of what it claimed.

          Long lasting and conditioning? I didn't think the mascara dried out my lashes as much as some mascaras have in the past, but I think it could have done more to get them soft and supple, which would have helped with curling and lenghening too. I can't comment too well on the long-wearing because I wouldn't want a dramatic effect all day; it's about average for a couple of hours, though I noticed some smudging. It didn't, however, really give much of a dramatic look; it you want super thick or super oomph to your lashes, you may want to look elsewhere.

          All in all, I wouldn't say it's anything overly special. However, at around the five pounds mark, it works well enough depending on what you want it for. It goes some distance in curling and lengthening lashes without clumping or drying them out, so whilst it may not live up to the claim of 'doing it all', you could do worse.

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        • More +
          03.10.2014 10:48
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

          Advantages

          • "Good size pots"
          • "Light but tasty"
          • "Great price"

          Disadvantages

          • "Not quite as full flavour or thickness as alternatives"

          A Moussey Bargain


          This review is for the Lighter version of their basics Mousse, which caught my eye recently. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised to find it quite tasty for the price paid.

          The mousse claim to be 'lighter' because it contains 55% less fat than their standard mousse. I often go for these versions, be they healthier or not, simply because it's a habit I got in to years ago and never got out of, and i's not always the case that less fat means less taste.

          To the eye, they don't look at that tempting. These come as 6 plastic pots with the plastic paper lid you rip off, in a blue design. It's quite basic and minimal; there are no quirky design elements nor eye-catching frills here, which doesn't bother me because I prefer the fact I'm paying for the product rather than the brand name or some fancy packaging. The pots themselves are at least sturdy enough.

          They smell chocolately, that's the first thing I noticed. Not overly so, but at least a smell resembling chocolate is a good start! The mousse is soft and light, and probably just the right consistency. I'd say it's a little less thick than alternatives, such as the Aero mousse, but it's marginal. It melts in your mouth and is smooth, with a sweet, fairly rich chocolate taste. It's not overly sweet, however, so it's not sickly; I find these to be just enough for a sweet tooth fix and the size of the tub is just right. I can take my time eating one of these, getting teeny tiny bits on the spoon, and have it last a few minutes. It tastes lovely, and I'm thinking it probably tastes a little better knowing it's a decent size pot and the multi-pack was a good price.

          Each 62.5g pot contains 72 calories and 1.6g of fat. As expected with these things nowadays, there's a fair bit of sugar, with total sugars coming to 9.6g (10.7% RDA). As a treat, it's a good option if you're looking for something with lower fat/calories. It's also a good option if you want something at a better price and aren't too bothered about wanting a fancy name or pretty packaging.

          Prior to this I tried Aero mousse at one pound thirty nine for a pack of six. You get less in per pot, and less pots, but for more money. There's also more fat/cals despite getting less. I couldn't even say that the Aero one was much better so I'd opt for Sainsburys Lighter in future. The only slight difference was probably the consistency, which Aero being a little thicker perhaps. Not a big deal, and not something that bothered me in the slightest.

          All in all, this is definitely one I'd recommend if you want a light chocolately treat. It's sweet, soft and light, and has less calories/fat without skimping on the taste.

          Sold as a 6 pack for a bargain ninety pence.

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        • More +
          18.09.2014 09:28
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

          Advantages

          • "Reasonable price"
          • "Reduces shine"

          Disadvantages

          • "Doesn't last 16 hours"
          • "Can't use much with pale skin"

          Not quite powder perfection.

          Since I first bought this, which was a while ago now, the product packaging has been updated. This is for the 'Ultimate Wear' version of the pressed powder.

          I have very pale skin and often struggle to find foundations and powders in a shade that's light enough. I have this one in 'fair', which is actually okay for me despite initially looking a little too dark, as long as I don't use much.

          This claims to be an “ultimte wear powder”, designed to give “full, flawless coverage for up to 16 hours”. It's a pressed powder, so a sponge style applicator is what I use with this. Because I don't use all that much each time, I just lightly rub across it a couple of times; for greater coverage you may need to apply more pressure to get more on the sponge and go back over it a second time.

          I find the powder to be quite light when dusting on my skin. It has a bit of a sheer effect to it, which is good in one way because I have very pale skin. There is still some colour, however, so I can't use too much otherwise it's very noticeable and looks rather odd. I find it's quite good at giving a bit of a matte effect; I can get shiny bits, such as on my t-zone, after moisturising, so this helps to reduce the shine quite nicely. It gives a bit of coverage of uneven skin tone and blemishes, but not a great deal. I find for my skin, where I have blemishes, concealer is still needed first. This just gets dabbed on quite nicely on the top to give extra coverage, blend the light colours as seamlessly as possible, and give a matte finish.

          As for 16hrs wear, I'm not so sure. I don't think I ever truly expected it to last 16 hours perfectly anyway so I'm not particularly disappointed, but it doesn't seem to stay in place for longer than a couple of hours. It can 'smudge' almost, and I can see that powder gathers if I've used it on my eyes, for instance, because it can gather around creases. It doesn't dry skin out too much though, so when covering blemishes the fact it doesn't last 16hrs doesn't mean it ends up looking awful around these areas, it just doesn't give as much coverage as I'd like. This is also noticeable on shiny areas, so they don't stay matte for more than a couple of hours. A tad disappointing as I don't feel it lives up to the claim, but I didn't really expect it do.

          Overall, it's a decent enough powder for the price paid. I paid about two pounds fifty for mine from a discounter store, but the updated version is a little over four quid. It could give more coverage, but it is works okay on my pale skin and reduces shine for a few hours without looking cakey or flakey.

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        • More +
          11.09.2014 12:26
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

          Advantages

          • "Cute bottle design and good price"
          • "Gorgeous fruity floral fragrance"
          • "Noticeable scent that lasts longer than some "

          Disadvantages

          • "None per se"

          Funky and feminine, a fragrance I'd highly recommend for the price

          Cacharel is quite a well-known brand so I felt relatively confident in it being of good quality. It's described as a 'passionate feminine fragrance' and is designed to portray the 'sensation of love at first sight'. In fact, with Amor being repeated, it's more a declaration of love times two. The name is quite catchy and memorable and the box is quite striking so it's easy enough to spot on the shelf.

          I bought this in a thirty mil bottle (around fifteen pounds). This is an EDT rather than an EDP, hence the price perhaps being a little lower. I'd normally try to opt for the latter, but despite it being a toilette it's actually pretty good.

          The bottle is what really caught my attention. The outer cardboard box is quite nice, eye-catching in a shiny silver design with pinky red rose on the front, the name 'Amor Amor' overlaying this in quite an edgy white font. The bottle itself is quite small (30ml) but very cute. It's made of red glass, with a silver top that screws on. There's no cap so the spray is visible and it's quick and easy to press down to get your fragrance. The silver is designed to look a little bit like a grenade, which again, I thought was quite quirky and cute. It sets it apart from the crowd a bit and yet still maintains its simplicity; it's understated yet quite memorable and noticeable at the same time.

          The fragrance is fruity/floral, with top notes of orange, blackcurrant and grapefruit. The base notes are vanilla, tonka mean (no idea, sorry!) and musk, with heart notes of rose, jasmine and apricot. Together you have a lovely blend of fresh yet floral and fruity scents that actually work really well in combination. The end result is quite feminine and sweet, but not overly so. I don't find it sickly sweet and it's balanced quite nicely by the musky tones underneath. It has a scent you can pick up straight away and it strikes me as pleasant and pretty, being noticeable without knocking you sideways with too much of this 'fruity floral' smell.

          I would definitely say this is quite a signature scent and one that stands out from the crowd. I've had some comments already from only spraying once on the inside of my wrist and rubbing on to my collar bone. You don't seem to need to use that much to have a noticeable scent, so I would say the bottle could last reasonably well. As for the staying power, I always find this to be the biggest downside with most EDTs and EDPs. Granted, it doesn't seem to befriend me for the whole day, but it lasts longer than a couple of hours and a gentle scent remains (unlike my previous CK one).

          If you're looking for something feminine yet fresh, noticeable and unique, then I'd definitely recommend giving this one a try.

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