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chrisandmark

chrisandmark
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Member since: 18.08.2003

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    • More +
      15.04.2015 14:52
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Makes my hair soft after use"

      Disadvantages

      • "Doesn't really do anything..."
      • "Give my hair a lank and greasy feeling"

      Not Entirely Sure What It's For...

      I received a tube of this in a beauty advent calendar, I'm absolutely not interested in my hair as long as it's clean and brushed so I've only just used it (and only then as I'm desperately trying to get the level of toiletries scattered around the house down).

      I've used the full tube now and am not really sure what I'm supposed to think. It's time consuming as you have to apply it before shampooing and leave it in your hair for 25 minutes, as a mum who struggles to time the school run properly even after fifteen years of doing that's far too much time - I just don't have a spare 25 minutes in my morning before I have to set off to school and as that's when I shower and wash my hair this is a bit of an awkward product really.

      I've managed to get the applications in over the Easter holiday and really the best thing about using it is that I've managed to get rid of a tube out of the bathroom. It doesn't do very much at all for my hair other than make it feel softer after washing, I still have to use conditioner every time as my hair is as knotty as ever while being dried but the Elasticizer definitely has a slight conditioning effect.

      It also has a lankening effect, although this is only mild, but my hair is definitely weighed down by it despite the fact I used it only on the length of my hair and nowhere near my scalp (as recommended by Philip Kingsley for finer than average hair).

      After using the Elasticizer my hair felt greasy, it didn't look it and actually had a rather nice shine but I didn't like the slightly dirty feeling left on my hair afterwards.

      £27 a pot is a ridiculous price for something that doesn't really do anything other than add extra time to my already rushed morning routine. Available in Selfridges and places like that, where the ladies of leisure shop...

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      15.04.2015 13:52
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Seems to be lasting forever"
      • "Soft and smooth against my phone"
      • "Comfortable to handle"
      • "Looks really good"

      Disadvantages

      • "My phone never felt really secure"

      Put a sock in it!

      I bought this phone sock not long after replacing my iPhone 4 (with another iPhone 4), I'd actually lost my phone so obviously the case I was using was also lost and I didn't really want to put my new replacement phone into one of the old battered cases we have knocking around the house. It was an Amazon purchase as I had a voucher qualifying me for free next day delivery so by the time my phone was charged and up and running the sock was there ready.

      The one I chose was similar in design to the sock pictured, the stripes were thicker and alternated in an overall darker colourway - it was still mainly purple but had black and navy blue stripes amongst the shades of purple, the effect was more block colour but not at all gothy!

      My iPhone 4 fit in the sock with a bit of room to spare, it wasn't ideal as I was always concerned the phone was going to work its way out - as far as I remember this didn't happen but the sock just didn't feel as secure as I thought a knitted sleeve would. It also made my hair go static sometimes if I pulled the phone out of the sock quickly, I have enough hair issues without another phone related one and the amusement of that very quickly wore off.

      The sock lasted well and we still have it now, although it's use isn't for a phone these days but for Hollie's various 'cards' that she picks up (you know, facts about Frozen on a playing card and the like). One of the bottom corners looks like it's about to fray or do something bad soon but really for the length of time I've had it and the reasonably low price tag of £10 I can't complain - and I'm sure Hollie with neither notice nor care...

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    • More +
      15.04.2015 13:27
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Fits older models of the Kindle"
      • "Nice and brightly coloured"
      • "An excellent sleeve"

      Disadvantages

      • "Too basic maybe"

      The Simple Solution

      While I was scrolling through Dooyoo's catalogue I knew I recognised this sleeve and when I went back through my past Amazon purchases I saw I'd identified it correctly - the Cellapod Neoprene Sleeve was the first case I had for my Kindle, purchased on Christmas Day 2011 after my mum gave me the unexpected pressie. In those glory days of Dooyoo I had Amazon vouchers to play with so paid a whopping £14 for this pocket of fabric - it's now £3.95...

      Simplicity is the word of the day when it comes to the sleeve; you slide your Kindle inside and close the flap. Done. No elastics, ties, magnetic corners or anything - it's a sleeve.

      It's pretty thin so wouldn't offer much protection to the Kindle if dropped from a height, Kindles however are much hardier than an iPhone (especially my old dinosaur Kindle!) so a sleeve is enough for someone like me who uses it mainly at home but doesn't take it out often. If I was carrying my Kindle around regularly in a suitcase or handbag I'd want something a little sturdier than this, but for my needs the sleeve format is perfect.

      I only replaced it when I wanted something a bit flashier, obviously the hot pink colour scheme of the sleeve is vibrant but I found a cheapie range of printed folio style cases on Ebay so started buying those - I've had a collection of cases and covers for my Kindle over the years but always remember this one as being a really good little sleeve. I do prefer the look of the printed 'smarter' ones on the shelf next to my bed though so as nice as it was to use the materialistic side of me won on that one!

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      15.04.2015 12:30
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • Protective
      • "Easy to fit if you have the knack"

      Disadvantages

      • "A dunce like me can't fit these protectors!"

      Protecting the screen of an iPhone 4

      The little phone kiosk in our local shopping centre sells the Zagg range of iPhone accessories and it was from there I bought a screen protector when old iPhone 4 was donated to my four year old to play with. I hadn't bothered replacing my screen protector during the last few months of using the phone but thought it would be a good idea to get one for when I gave it to David.

      I paid for a small check over of the phone to make sure it was working properly and asked the guy on the kiosk to fit the screen protector for me, which he did in about five seconds flat whereas it would have taken me half an hour to create a slightly bubbly effect!

      The screen protector fits perfectly, it comes with a small cloth and straight edge piece of plastic to help you smooth the protector over the phone screen. It's one of those, if you've got the knack (kiosk guy) it's a piece of cake but if you haven't (me) it's not easy at all! It helps that the backing sheet on the protector is super quality and peels smoothly without lifting the thin protecting film, once the backing sheet has been taken off the protector lies flat and smooth against the screen. Although you can see it's there if you look hard enough it's invisible enough for me and the average observer won't know there's a protector on the phone.

      I'm not sure how much I paid for the protector as it was included in the price of the phone MOT, I'd guesstimate this product from this brand would be around £5 which is excellent value as it certainly protects the phone screen from scratches and light bumps (as evidenced when I gave the phone to David and he kept it in as good condition as when I had it!).

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    • More +
      13.04.2015 17:47
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Cleanses well"
      • "Feels pampering and relaxing"
      • "Smells gorgeous"

      Disadvantages

      • "Dries my skin out"

      Beautiful Body Wash

      I adore a good quality body wash so was thrilled to find a small bottle of Dr Hauschka Lavender Sandalwood body wash in a goody bag received after attending a Harvey Nichols beauty night. A 200ml bottle costs around £14, mine was 100ml and you only need to use a small amount each time you shower so it's been well used and I'd definitely love to buy another bottle.

      The body wash smells gorgeous, I'm not a huge fan of lavender but adore the fragrance of this. The lavender is fairly light but still pungent as only this flower can be, it's mixed with the sandalwood to give a slightly spicier fragrance than unadulterated lavender - the undertone is similar to an aftershave note, which is really lovely combined with the lavender.

      The body wash isn't a massive latherer but feels wonderfully soft and cleansing as I wash with it, I use a shower puff which spreads the body wash around nicely and helps the bottle last as long as possible while still giving me enough product to clean thoroughly with.

      It's far more cleansing than the fragrance would make you think, I never think of lavender as being particularly cleansing but this one is fantastic - an added bonus being that a shower with this can help chill me out if I'm feeling a little stressed, the body wash isn't calming enough to send me to sleep but it definitely relaxes me.

      It has never caused any irritation but I do find the body wash a little drying at times, I always have to apply body lotion after showing with this (Dr Hauschka is a drying brand for my skin) which is a nuisance but is worth it for the thrill of using such a lovely and unique body wash.

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      13.04.2015 17:14
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Highly cleansing and refreshing"
      • "Smells nice"
      • "Feels lovely to use"

      Disadvantages

      • "None really but it's pricey"

      A Gorgeously Light Gel Cleanser

      I received a sample size tube of Darphin Cleansing Gel when I was given a goody bag at the end of a beauty night last year, I only came across it again last week while having a sort out so decided to get it used up. The full size 125ml tube costs in the region of £20 and as mine wasn't much smaller at 80ml I'd say that was a pretty good freebie!

      I've never heard of Darphin before but am ultra impressed with this cleanser. It's a gel with a deliciously light and feminine fragrance, it's not perfumed but has a delicate floral aroma which I absolutely love - my daughter had a tube in her goody bag too and likes the fragrance but said it's a little too much like baby powder for her (which I agree with but to me it's gorgeous.

      The cleanser comes out of the tube as a gel and turns to foam as you massage it into damp skin, in much the way shaving foam transforms when it hits the skin. This feel luxurious and just plain 'nice' on the skin on my face and neck, it's much more moisturising than my usual cream cleanser (and not all that much expensive really) although I'm still having to apply my usual winter face cream afterwards.

      My skin feel spotless after using this cleanser, which is fantastic considering it feels so lightweight and gentle on my skin - it's easy to rinse off and slightly cooling after cleansing, which is great as I've applied so many lotions and potions to various parts of my skin before I'm even properly away sometimes that it's a relief to use something that actually feels refreshing.

      The price of the Darphin Cleansing Gel is justified in my opinion as it's such a good product, it's not bad value for money by weight either as a little definitely goes a long way so a tube should last you a while.

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    • More +
      12.04.2015 00:04
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Comfortable to hold"
      • Reliable
      • "So useful!"

      Disadvantages

      • "None for me"

      A Smooth Short Screw...

      I bought this for my partner as part of his Christmas pressie, I don't know much (if anything) about power tools and the only reason I bought it was because it came up as a Black Friday deal on Amazon and I know he likes the Bosch brand.

      We've recently had a rather grand large shed put up in the back garden and I decided to get some exercise equipment - the majority of Mark's tools are now stored at his business premises and for the home, garden and vehicle DIY he really didn't need all that much room. When the cross trainer was delivered he kept me waiting for so long that I put the bloody thing together myself with two of the kids helping.

      Nightmare task made slightly easier with this cordless screwdriver.

      Comfortable to hold, something my partner and I both agree on despite having different size hands. I used it in pretty short sharp bursts but always felt it was 'easy' to pick back up again if that makes sense - Mark's used it for longer periods and says he likes the small stocky handle, the compact design makes it easier to get into small spaces as was obvious when I watched him screwing in the shelf supports on a small kitchen unit which looked like a more awkward job than his temper could usually handle!

      It's easy to control with a comfortable trigger action, all the screws I used to put together the cross trainer were reasonably short (the longer ones were annoyingly Allen key put-togethers) and they flew into place - Mark's been using it to get screws into wood and that looks to be a straightforward and speed task. Again he's been using short screws, it's a kind of subconscious thing as when you've handled the Bosch cordless screwdriver you get a sense of the kind of screws it'll handle - obviously you can change the screwdriver end but I feel that it's most comfortable and reliable when used with shorter screws.

      The screwdriver came in a fabulous silver tin which I'm going to steal for my make up brushes soon as it's obvious Mark isn't using it properly (he's keeping the screwdriver on the work bench and has a few tiny bits rattling round inside it!

      I paid £32 for it and I'd say it's already a useful tool, I'd pay full price (which was around £49 at the time)

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    • More +
      03.04.2015 00:17
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • Cheap!

      Disadvantages

      • "Washed out colours"
      • "Takes a terribly unclear photo"

      Not bad as a kids camera

      We've had a fair few Vivitar digital cameras which have always been a bit rubbish, the Vivicam 5015 is a 5 megapixel camera which comes in a range of colours including the pink one that I bought for my (now) seven year old a couple of years ago when she asked for her own digital camera.

      My daughter, at five, was as pleased as punch with it and still uses it occasionally (although not so much now as she has an iPad Mini which takes a much nicer photo at close range so she tends to use that instead now).

      The camera is simple to use, once the automatic flash has been set it's a simple point and shoot device which focuses easily and doesn't require you to faff around with different settings in the menu (unless you want to).

      You'll never take a photo that's worth printing out using this camera as they're just not clear or sharp enough, looking through the photos we've uploaded to the computer makes this really obvious as those taken with this Vivitar camera are fuzzy and the colours appear more washed out than any of the others which were taken with any of our other cameras.

      The zoom function works reasonably well although with every increment that you zoom in you lose more and more quality, this is a particular problem with close up shots (close up facial shots being the worst). My daughter tried to take some photos on a recent day trip to a butterfly farm but most of them were unsuccessful and she ended up having to use some taken by me and her dad as this camera simply couldn't cope with the colours and movement of the butterflies.

      I'm pretty sure we only paid £12 for this camera which I suppose isn't bad value, as a kiddie camera it's fine (Hollie doesn't really see its limitations) but personally I'd hate to have to use it as photos just don't come out well and you can get a better camera these days for not much more money.

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      02.04.2015 23:26
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Responsive and comfortable "
      • Durable

      Disadvantages

      • "None "

      It 'Asda' be a good mouse!

      My partner bought this mouse from Asda roughly two years ago, I remember he bought it as I was about to order one from Amazon when he texted to say he'd picked one up - our previous mouse had broken which was why we ended up with a supermarket own brand one, but considering this was a really cheap mouse (£7.99) I reckon two years of heavy use is pretty good.

      The mouse is wireless and optical, as are the vast majority of mice (mouses?) these days. It has a little device that needs to be plugged into the laptop and that connects wirelessly the mouse and computer - the bit that goes into the laptop doesn't stick out much so won't get in your way, but do be careful until you're accustomed to it being there as depending on where your USB port it you could knock it to begin with.

      This is an extremely responsive mouse and until recently it has done exactly as I've asked it to, just lately the arrow on screen has been a bit erratic even with new batteries so I think the mouse is on its way out but after a whole two years of use I really couldn't care less! Talking of batteries, the mouse is power efficient in my opinion with batteries lasting for months at a time - I use my laptop and mouse on and off all day and the kids use it too so I'd say that's pretty good.

      It's a comfortable mouse to use, the shape is perfect for my hand which makes using it a pleasure and controlling it far easier than I expected considering the very cheap price.

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      02.04.2015 22:46
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Effective to a point"
      • "Simple to use"

      Disadvantages

      • "Potentially a placebo effect at times"

      Helps Stop Sickiness

      I used Gaviscon Infant when my son was a baby as he had gastric reflux which meant he was sick after every bottled (and sometimes solid feeds). The doctor prescribed it for me but as we couldn't have a repeat prescription I often bought it myself as it was too inconvenient to book an appointment just for the prescription.

      Gaviscon Infant is sold in sachets which you mix in with the baby's liquid feed, whether that is milk or juice. It was only the milk which made David sick so I didn't use the sachets with his other bottles or cups of different drinks, the powder mixes easily in warm milk but I found it left a chalky residue on the side of the bottle if I tried to shake it into cooler milk.

      I have no idea if it changes the taste of the milk as I'm not in the habit of swigging SMA (eugh!) but David didn't complain or make a fuss when offered Gaviscon Infant imbibed baby milk so it must have tasted alright to him.

      The powder worked to thicken the milk which helped keep it in David's tummy rather than him projectile vomiting him within minutes of swallowing it. It worked reasonably well, sometimes he was still sick but as he got older he outgrew the reflux anyway so it's hard to tell how long the Gaviscon was effective for. The powders did start to feel a little like a placebo in the end as I slowly started to feel like they were not doing very much, the sickness slowly wore off for him and while I do credit Gaviscon Infant with helping to a point I wouldn't say they're a miracle cure (even if they feel like it sometimes).

      Each box of Gaviscon Infant has 30 sachets inside and that costs £4 - when your little one is young a single sachet will be enough for each bottle but as their bottles get bigger you'll need two sachets which can make this an expensive form of medication unless you can guarantee you get it on prescription each time.

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    • Reebok Royal Effect Alt / Shoes / 6 Readings / 6 Ratings
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      02.04.2015 00:28
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Comfortable "
      • "Fit well"
      • "Look fabulous "

      Disadvantages

      • "None "

      David's Royal Trainers

      My four year old son is a 'runner' and never stops dashing around, it's far better for him to be in grippy trainers than anything else for the simple reason that he doesn't tend to trip so much in them. I like to buy him decent trainers but don't like to spend too much on them as he kicks the toes in and is pretty heavy on his footwear.




      I bought him these Reebok Royals a year ago but he's only just started wearing them a couple of months ago as I'd found them at a good price and bought them despite the size being totally too big.




      The trainers are leather look with mesh trim around the tongue, this makes them pretty much waterproof so perfect for the weather we're having at the moment!


      They're a lovely shade of blue and look good with all kinds of clothes, obviously track suits and jeans look best with them but David has also worn them with smarter trousers and they look perfectly fine. The trainers fasten with Velcro so he can put them on and take them off himself, as a lazy male (ha!) he's not the most forward child when it comes to dressing himself so this method of fastening encourages independence.




      He runs like Forrest Gump in them; from dining room to kitchen to bedroom to bathroom - the kid can't just WALK. These seem to be comfortable, or at least he's never suggested otherwise, and they fit perfectly in width and length - obviously his feet are growing all the time so they're not going to last forever but I'm confident they'll be outgrown rather than thrown away for any other reason.




      I think I paid around £25 for them which is definitely a bargain for such a nice looking pair of trainers which are high quality too.

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    • Garmin nuvi 250 / GPS Sat Nav / 4 Readings / 4 Ratings
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      01.04.2015 23:49
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Gets me where I need to be"
      • "Has lasted for years"

      Disadvantages

      • "Doesn't update anymore "

      Getting from A to B

      I've had my Garmin Nuvi 250 sat nav for a good few years now, while my partner prefers his Tom Tom I find that too complex for my needs so have never really been tempted to upgrade.

      Using the Nuvi 250 is a piece of cake - there are several options for inputting your destination, I prefer to use the postcode and door number but have occasionally typed in the entire address if I'm unsure of the postcode or just don't have it. I don't tend to change the settings much, although do opt to 'avoid motorways' sometimes as this particular model of Garmin likes to get you on the motorway at every opportunity which is a bit silly sometimes (especially when getting me onto the motorway adds extra minutes to the journey!).

      The screen is half decent but I've learned not to take too much notice of that and go by the voice directions instead, particularly when going around large multi-lane roundabouts as then you can't always tell where you should be going!

      Like all other sat navs I've used this charges through the cigarette lighter, now it's getting so old the battery doesn't last long but in all honesty I use it for such short journeys that that doesn't make any difference to me - it gets on my partners nerves though as he makes cross country journeys regularly so needs a sat nav with a half decent battery.

      Updates are available through the Garmin website, my sat nav stopped accepting the updates some time ago so now I'm stuck when new estates and roads spring up - where I live doesn't really change too much so that isn't an issue, but it has gotten me into a bit of a pickle sometimes with all the building work that is going on further afield!

      It's fine for me and is all I need to get me from A to B as quickly and easily as possible.

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      01.04.2015 19:36
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Suitable from birth"

      Disadvantages

      • "Awkward pipette"
      • "Doesn't unblock my sons nose"

      Not effective in the slightest

      My four year old has a nasty bug at the moment, it keeps coming and going but the main irritation for him is the blocked up nose he's had for the past few weeks. I'm allergic to Vicks so can't apply it to his chest, we're using Olbas Oil but it's not really doing much other than make him cough more - the pharmacist in our local chemist recommended these saline drops made by Calpol.

      They're suitable from birth to five years, I remember using unbranded drops when the kids were babies but haven't bought them since - and to be honest I won't buy them again as they're pretty useless!

      The drops are sold as being a safe and natural product, I'm not disputing that but they're not effective in the slightest for older kiddies like David - I know from experience they can soothe the blocked nose of a newborn but he needs more as the discomfort of having drops shoved up your nose isn't worth the 'benefit' of slightly less snot for five minutes.

      The drops come in a small glass bottle with pipette top, annoyingly even this is irritating as the bulb doesn't draw more than a few drops of saline into the pipette and even that feels like hard work - I think David's dose needs to be more than that so the pipette creates the added problem of having to guess on a second dose. Bit of a nightmare really.

      The cost of this ineffective and awkward saline solution is £4, which is ridiculous considering you can buy generic unbranded saline nasal drops for a quarter of the price!

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    • More +
      31.03.2015 14:29
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "None whatsoever"

      Disadvantages

      • "Horrible feeling vinyl"
      • "The phone falls out"

      Rubbish case for a rubbish phone

      This is a blast from the past review, written as this morning I came across the Vinyl case I used with my fairly short-lived Blackberry a few years ago. As far as I can remember it was supplied in a bundle of accessories that came with the (pretty rubbish) phone and I used it for a while as from day one I knew I wouldn't be keeping the Blackberry for long and didn't want to spend extra cash on a purchase that hadn't been well thought out in the first place.

      As the name would suggest, this is a pouch style case to fit any of the smaller Blackberry designs (I have no idea what mine was, although the word RIM does ring a bell).

      The pouch is vinyl so feels absolutely revolting to handle, it has a slightly webbed interior so the phone slides in nicely - the top of the pouch doesn't fasten closed however so this slidiness doesn't really help if like me you keep your phone in your bag as when it rings you're likely to pull the pouch out but the phone has slid out and is tossed amongst the contents of your bag. Scratch.

      I'd say if you were going to use this pouch it would be best kept in your pocket where the phone can't fall out if it tips upside down, ideally the pouch would have had a small strip running along the top for a little security but sadly the designer didn't think of this so while it keeps your phone reasonably safe at times at other times the phone falls out so no security is offered.

      I wouldn't buy a phone case of this style again as it was almost as much of a nightmare as the Blackberry itself, if you really want this type of pouch then I'd recommend a knitted sock instead as at least you can close the majority of those from the top.

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    • Wella Live Colour / Hair Care / 3 Readings / 3 Ratings
      More +
      30.03.2015 14:36
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Nice consistency"
      • "Easy to apply"

      Disadvantages

      • "Hard to miss patches due to the lightweight cream"
      • "The colour isn't the same as on the box"
      • "Stain towels for over a week after use"

      Nice colour, shame about the towels...

      I dye my hair at home and am totally not brand loyal, I buy whatever colour I fancy and do let special offers sway me so when I saw Wella Live hair dyes reduced in Tesco recently I bought a few boxes for myself and my daughter (the usual price is around £6 but our local Tesco have some odd but super reduction sprees sometimes, and these had been reduced to £2). I can't remember the shade I used, I'm sure it had Cherry in the title but it was a dark reddy brown on the box - my daughter used the same one a couple of weeks later with the same results so this is a kinda joint review.

      The colour is easy to apply, my hair is below shoulder length and there was more than enough in the box. It has a creamy but fairly light consistency so you do need to go through your hair to ensure you've applied it all the way over, through the gloves it was hard to tell at times whether you'd covered sections of hair enough so I felt I had to be really vigilant while applying the dye.

      I kept the dye on for 45 minutes and went to the shower to rinse it off, when the water was still running red ten minutes later I decided to just get in the shower as my neck was aching bending over the shower tray!

      The colour was acceptable, far redder than expected and a little brassy. This is designed to last for 28 washes so isn't a permanent colour and the brassiness started to disappear on around day three (I wash my hair daily). From then on the colour faded at an even rate over my head and I'm pretty sure I continued to have useful colour well past the 28 day stage.

      The issue I had was the amount of towels the dye ruined. Even a week after using the dye there were still patches of red on the towels, my daughter even ruined a coat when she was caught in rain TWO WEEKS after colouring her hair - she sat in her coat with wet hair for the rest of the day at college and when she got home there was a huge patch of dye on the neck that I can't get out, as a student she's not bothered in the slightest but I must admit I'd have been raging!

      The other boxes might be used by her but I'm not going to bother again, I was pleased with the colour but these bargain hair dyes will cost a fortune in replacement towels when we decorate!

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