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cirsty

cirsty
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Member since: 29.10.2012

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    • More +
      22.02.2015 22:04
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "long lasting"
      • " quirky bottle"
      • fun
      • "suitable for the younger market"
      • "smells gorgeous"

      Disadvantages

      • "scent can get quite sickly after a while"

      beautiful perfume

      I bought this lovely perfume from Boots around a year ago as a Christmas present to myself, it was on offer at the time at £25.00 which I purchased with my boots advantage points, however I've seen previous reviews stating that it is on offer elsewhere for cheaper so if you're looking to buy this perfume make sure you shop around! I'm by no means a perfume expert, I'll be discussing my experience of the perfume and what makes me love it so much :)

      I wasn't really sure what I was expecting, I've tested other Vera Wang's perfumes and found them too floral for my liking. I usually go for fruity/musky scents and avoid floral perfumes, but there was something about this scent that totally drew me in. It's a lively, energetic scent that kicks in right away with floral, fruity notes of grapefruit, raspberry and honey suckle which really compliment eachother beautifully. I've got perfumes that are specific for nights out, dinner dates, meeting friends and just a casual perfume, and this particular scent fits in with casual occasions as it's more of a fun, playful scent that is just strong enough to give you a boost throughout the day however not over powering. I love the way this perfume makes me feel, I always get a small surge of energy when I can smell it in my hair and it instantly gives my mood a little lift.

      The bottle is great, glittery with a cute crown shaped cap. Easy to apply and a few sprays gives a generous sample of the product. I loved the bottle when I first saw it, but it doesn't stand up on it's own which doesn't look as great next to my other perfumes. I wouldn't say that the bottle is aimed at anyone over the age of 25, perhaps even younger as it is very girly and something that I would've definitely adored when I was 14! However if you're fun, quirky and in love with girly flamboyant products then this is definitely for you!

      Disappointingly the bottle was used up pretty quickly, I loved wearing this perfume out and about and even to work for a lift. It's fun, playful and long lasting. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good perfume for someone who is girly and fun.

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    • secretsales.com / Online Shop / 5 Readings / 5 Ratings
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      28.01.2015 04:57
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Wide variety of products"
      • "Available to anyone and everyone"
      • "Well known brands"
      • "Bargains galore if you're willing to search"
      • "Great prices"

      Disadvantages

      • "Frequent emails"
      • "Delivery takes an age"

      Fantastic site with great bargains!

      I came across secretsales.com on my break on nightshift. It was just before Christmas and I was looking for some gift ideas for my family, I enjoy a good bargain and usually just stick to what I know when online shopping but after reading some glowing reviews of secretsales.com I decided to sign up and give it a go!

      Signing up was easy enough, just make sure you've got a valid email address and off you go! Every morning I received emails to say which sales were opening at 7am that morning, some were of my interest and some weren't but that's just the nature of a good sale! I couldn't believe my eyes when I was sifting through the site, and I was also surprised at the range of products too. Before Christmas I purchased Swarovski necklaces (£15 each marked down from £130) designer fragrances for a fraction of the RRP and a beautiful designer watch valued at around £350 for £89 to name a few. My understanding of the site is that Secretsales.com buys the shares of certain stock, and in order to get the customer the best price they advertise it before it goes on sale therefore taking quite a while to come through in postage.

      The site offers discounted rates on so many products, I recently bought 2 luxury pillows for £10 and they display everything from childrens clothing, make up, perfume, designer gear to home furnishing! Some of the discounts are absolutely fabulous, but you've got to do some digging and at times, get up early because some of the stock goes quickly, particularly the make up and clothing. If you're a regular bargain hunter, or just like to online window shop this site is for you. It also offers a reward scheme which I have had the privilege of using, due to all my Christmas shopping I'd saved up £25 worth of points which I treated myself to a bottle of Moschino perfume!

      There are 2 short downfalls of this site, and the first one may be the emails. It feels like I get loads of emails from them on a daily basis which can sometimes be up to 3 or 4 times a day alerting me of any upcoming deals. I haven't turned it off because sometimes they do catch my attention, but I do often end up deleting them because they're so frequent. Another is the shipping time, it can take up to 6 weeks for your purchase to reach you but if you're desperate for that designer clobber at a super attractive cut price it's worth the wait! I saved myself a fortune on designer and fancy gifts for my family this year and I definitely intend on shopping on this site for further bargains!

      I've recommended secretsales.com to everyone I know that loves to online shop. It's a great site for browsing and adding all those lovely treats into your virtual basket, even if you're just on to window shop. All their products are well displayed, so you know what you're getting. All of my purchases have come well packaged and in great condition, I haven't had any problems with them at all!

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    • More +
      28.01.2015 04:32
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Easy to apply"
      • "Separates lashes "

      Disadvantages

      • "Massive brush "
      • "Bulky packaging"
      • "Absolute nightmare to remove"
      • "Doesn't lengthen as promised"

      Not great! Okay results however like WW3 trying to remove.

      I've subscribed to an absolutely fabulous monthly box called Pink Parcel that offers some top quality treats alongside your monthly provisions to make your monthly period more bearable. This month I received Max Factor False Lash Effect, a product that I've never tried out. I don't tend to venture outside of the Rimmell make up range, I find this my 'comfort zone' because the products are cheap, good quality and suit my sensitive skin but since Max Factor is 'the make up of make up artists' I was quite excited to give it a try.

      First things first, the packaging is bulky and a bit boring. The brush is massive and the bristles are tiny, I don't really know what this is supposed to achieve but when using it I found it hard to navigate around all of my lashes, missing out the tiny wee ones at the edges of my eyes. Having said that I found the brush was good at separating the long ones and providing a nice frame for my eyes. The applicator took a while to get used to, and I had to position my hand in a weird angle to get used to using it!

      The results were good, I didn't have to use my eye lash curler to give my lashes an extra boost as they stayed curled for most of the day with this mascara. I tried it out before a shift and I didn't get much of that annoying (seemingly inevitable) smudging under my eyes that I've gotten with even my trusty Rimmel mascaras, but the true battle is yet to come! I stumbled into my room armed with my face wipes ready to take my make up off and climb into bed, but this mascara just would not budge. I rubbed and rubbed until my eyes were swollen but nothing would wipe it off! I soaked my eyes in hot water and eventually after several tries I got most of it off, however some was still on my lashes and I woke up with enormous panda eyes from rubbing my poor peepers in my sleep.

      Unfortunately this experience made me avoid using it again, but I feel that I should invest in a good eye make up remover to win the war against this apparently solid product. I ended up giving this to my sister who is a make up fanatic, and she wasn't as impressed either. So It's a 1 star from me, I won't be in a rush to buy this and I probably wouldn't recommend it either! The results were alright, not great and removing it was a total nightmare!

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    • Lush Helping Hands / Hand & Nail Care / 4 Readings / 2 Ratings
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      28.01.2015 04:06
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "long lasting results"
      • "works great as an overnight treatment"
      • "softens the roughest hands"

      Disadvantages

      • "basic packaging"
      • "takes a while to rub in"
      • "average scent"

      Love the product, though the price and the smell might be a bit too much!

      As a massive fan of Lush, I tend to turn to this company first when I'm looking for an intensive treatment. I love their lip balms and their hair care when I'm really in need and I've heard great things about their hand treatment 'Helping Hands'. I'm a staff nurse and working in a clinical environment has left my hands very dry with all the hand washing, alcohol gel and just the general tasks of being a nurse! I do use a hand cream through the day (Soap and Glory hand food, to be exact) however at times this isn't enough to nourish my poor wee hands especially during the colder months.

      So I purchased Helping Hands online for £7.75 after seeing a review written by someone stating that they were a nurse too, so I figured I should trust a fellow SN! A few days later and the postman brought me my goodies, and Helping Hands came to me in a 100g little pot in the typical Lush packaging. I'm not a massive fan of the Lush packaging, I like to keep all my pots on my nightstand and it doesn't look as cute next to my vitamin E range from The Body Shop which is baby pink. However the pot is easily stored and doesn't come in the usual bulky tubes, which is 'handy' (ha see what I did there) because it's not a total nightmare to get your moneys worth ie cutting off the top and squeezing the living day lights out of the tube to make sure all the product is out. You can just unscrew the top and dunk in, taking as little or as much as you feel necessary! The only thing I dislike about this is the hygiene factor, so I always make sure my hands are clean before dunking in to avoid any transference of bacteria.

      The consistency is very creamy and reminds me of a thick yoghurt, which is reassuring as I don't think there's anything better than rubbing in a good thick cream into your hands. I use moisture gloves from The Body Shop every night to make sure my hands get the full benefit from a moisture kick at night and this cream feels perfect for this. It takes quite a while to rub in, so I wouldn't think that this cream would be ideal to carry around during the day. It works great for a night treatment however I'm continuing to use a lighter cream so that I can still carry out tasks that this cream would probably make impossible such as holding a pen or opening doors! The scent is what lets the product down, it's quite a weird smell, with almond, cocoa butter and chamomile I'm not sure what I was expecting but this smell wasn't it! It's a weird, distinctive synthetic smell in my opinion and it's just not that nice!

      The benefits of this cream totally overrule the unfavourable aspects (price & smell) because my hands are back to their usual state and feel silky soft to boot. As I previously said my hands are prone to quite a lot of damage and using Helping Hands every other night with my moisture gloves has quite dramatically improved the condition of my hands and they now no longer resemble the claws of a 102 year old's! I would recommend this to anyone who deals with day to day tasks that are hard on the hands, however I think that the price and the smell might put people off. It's quite pricey for only 100g, however this hasn't been much of an issue for me as I only use it every other night. The consistency is too thick for regular use for me but as a night treatment it's fabulous.

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    • More +
      26.08.2014 22:25
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "makes you feel clean and removes dirt"
      • effective
      • "easy to use"
      • "can be picked up for a £1 or £2."

      Disadvantages

      • "moisturiser is an absolute must after using this"
      • " lips)"
      • "can also be harsh on sensitive areas (eyes"
      • "can be harsh on sensitive skin"
      • "smells strong"

      Brilliant cleanser, but be weary of your skin condition!

      My blackheads drive me insane, literally. My nose is covered in open pores which can sometimes become clogged with blackheads, which leaves my skin feeling rough and scratchy. For a while I would engage in a routine that involved using a facial scrub then a nose strip, which did actually work but I've read that nose strips can actually do more harm than good so I thought "that's it!" and started scouring the market for something worthwhile.

      Clean & Clear is a very well known product, a must have in every teenager's bathroom. It was something that was always floating about in my teen years and I hadn't even seen the stuff in such a long time. I picked this up for £1 at my local Asda on promotion and I thought I'd give it a try, after all I'd really only be losing out on a pound if it didn't work out! Every night when I got in from work I'd gently rinse my face with warm water, take off my mascara with a sensitive facial wipe and let the product do it's magic. Using it is rather easy and straight forward, apply some of the liquid onto a cotton ball/pad then gently wipe it across your face. You would be amazed at how much dirt attaches onto your face and every night I was rest assured that my foundation was definitely off!

      The product itself smells very strong and clinical, and at first I was reluctant to apply it as my face as I was slightly afraid my skin would rub off with it! (Just to clarify, my skin is neither sensitive or dry, it's combinational however my face can feel tight and irritated after using certain products!)I applied a small amount of the product onto a cotton pad and wiped it across my face. I felt squeaky clean afterwards and I quickly applied my night cream (The Body Shop Vitamin E Nightcream.)

      After a few weeks I really noticed a difference, my nose stopped feeling rough and bumpy and the amount of spots on my face dramatically decreased. For me I'm absolutely delighted with this product however I have noticed that my skin is a little drier and I've had to start using a day cream for a little boost to my skin. I would recommend this product who has mild problem skin, I tend to get spots due to hormones and this product has really made a difference. My sister however has acne and has said that this product actually aggravated her skin, making it dry and very red so I would only recommend this to people who have oily/combinational skin and to always seek medical advice if you're seeking treatment for skin conditions such as acne!

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    • More +
      26.08.2014 22:02
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "attractive packaging"
      • " non-greasy consistency"
      • good
      • "smells nice"

      Disadvantages

      • "expensive price"
      • "doesn't make much of a difference to the hair"
      • "not much protection for hair"

      'extraordinary oil' may be too confident!

      I've got long red hair which sometimes can be an absolute nightmare to style, it's incredibly think and can become frizzy at times which means straighteners are an absolute must! In time my hair has become brittle, dry and just doesn't feel as nice when I run my fingers through it. I've searched for ages for 'that' styling product and when everyone was raving about L'oreal Extraordinary Oil I figured I just had to give it a go.

      Apparently, you can use it at any time. Before shampooing, before blow-drying, after styling for a finishing touch.. sounds pretty amazing! It promises to make your hair smooth, make it look perfect and just generally make it flow with beautiful swooshy loveliness.

      So at my local Boots I could pick this product up for £9.99, which is rather expensive however I've been using this product for a few months now and it's about half way finished so it's lasted pretty well! The packaging is really nice with a sleek glass bottle and a quick action pump just to ensure that you're not using too much in one application. The consistency is perfect, it's not too thick or gluey like other hair oils/serums and is easily applied to run through your hair and dries easily enough. The smell is an absolute dream and isn't overpowering, however it doesn't last long on the hair as about 20 minutes after applying I couldn't smell it in my hair which I was rather disappointed about! I literally use this oil in any way possible, if my hair is feeling a bit on the dry side I've put a heavy application through my hair before washing it and I often use it as a finishing touch, however when I used it when my hair was wet and blow dried it I found that it left my hair feeling a little greasy and heavy with product which is the polar opposite of how my hair feels when I use it on dry hair.

      So after about a month or so I actually noticed that the condition of my hair had barely improved. My hair still feels dry, has flyaways and continues to frizz at the very sniff of humidity despite using this product religiously. I've found that it works great as a finishing touch, particularly when I've curled my hair and I run it through my hair with a wide-tooth comb. It doesn't weigh the hair down and it creates a lovely shine however the benefits appear to go down the drain when I wash my hair.

      I'm not entirely sure I'd recommend this product. My hair is in desperate need for nourishment and this product didn't fit the bill, unfortunately. It's fantastic for a finishing touch however as a specific treatment it hasn't worked so well, it's like make up for your hair but rather expensive.

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    • Lush Hair Doctor / Hair Care / 20 Readings / 19 Ratings
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      11.03.2014 23:49
      Very helpful
      (Rating)
      1 Comment

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      Disadvantages

      good product but the smell is far too much.

      I've always loved Lush products, the smell of the shop always entices me to try out every product they have however the price tag has always put me off! I've had their bathbombs as Christmas gifts and purchased a few of their products however I've never tried any of their hair products. My hair is very long and thick, and at times can be very difficult to manage without the use of high quality straighteners and a truck load of serum! I read about Hair Doctor on their website when I was browsing and it has apparently worked miracles for other customers, so I thought I'd take a chance and see what the hype was about!

      Lush promises:
      "Fuller's earth, a type of clay, is terrific on hair as it absorbs oil and grease. Irish moss powder gives the Hair Doctor its thick consistency and works with the coconut and almond oils to soften the hair, while jojoba oil sinks into the scalp to nourish it. After a short while, you'll feel your head start to tingle; this is the menthol in the mask getting to work stimulating the scalp's blood vessels and allowing this doctor to truly treat your hair."

      So for £6.95 you can purchase a 95g tub which, in my opinion, is rather expensive considering there are hair masks available for much of the same price for much more product. I get the feeling that I am paying for the idea of 'organic' as the world is going crazy to be free of preservatives! The packaging is like all other Lush products, basic black tub with white writing and a quirky description of the product at the side. The product itself is an unattractive browny/green colour which actually reminded me alot like dung, obviously very appealling! The smell is the worst part about it for me, it absolutely stinks. The menthol is overwhelming and when I was applying it to my hair it was making my eyes sting and reminded me far too much of being unwell and having to smother myself in Vicks vapour rub!

      The consistency is thick however was easy to rub between my hands to apply to my hair. As suggested I applied this to my hair when it was dry. Much to my surprise it was very easy to smooth through my hair, my hair is very long and can take an age to apply products however I was able to apply this to my hair root to tip in about 2 minutes. It was also easy to wash off my hands and didn't leave any unsightly stains/marks on my clothes. After I applied the product I popped a shower cap on for a few hours and let it do it's work. The recommended time is 20 minutes but I like to get my moneys worth!

      Washing the product out was an easy task which also surprised me as the consistency reminded me a lot of clay which I thought would take an age to wash out. Afterwards I applied my usual shampoo and conditioner then I was ready to style my hair. Again, the smell was overwhelming and I felt like I'd been slapped in the face with a cold flannel smothered in Vicks. I hate the smell of menthol because as I said it reminds me of being unwell, and lets just say my nose is definitely unblocked and probably will be for the next 6 months!

      As I blowdried and straightened my hair, much to my horror the smell of menthol throughout my hair was really strong despite using my usual shampoo and conditioner. This was really disappointing because my hair felt beautifully soft and blow dried in a jiffy, and my straighteners glided through my hair. After applying my usual serum and preparing my hair, it looked and felt amazing. I'd gotten so many compliments about the condition of my hair which I was pleased about considering I'd only used it once! For the first time in about a year my hair actually felt healthy from root to tip, like a full service for my hair!

      I would recommend this product but only under a few conditions.. if you're happy to spend a fortune on hair products by all means, and if you like, no, LOVE the smell of menthol and don't mind it stinking out your bathroom then this is the product for you. I've used this twice and unfortunately it was finished, though I wouldn't note this as a negative as my hair is very long and thick and tends to require more product in it anyway. It has improved the condition of my hair but due to the smell I think I'll have another look around for the perfect product for me!

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      • More +
        16.02.2014 19:15
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

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        Disadvantages

        quick fix, brilliant product

        Being on night shift has taken the life out of me, I've turned night into day and all my routines have gone with it. I eat breakfast for dinner and put my night cream on in the morning and my body has really felt the jolt of the routine change! My skin has gone all dry and in desperate need for some TLC, and since night shift has left me so tired and drained 9 times out of 10 I can't be bothered with face masks and all that. I was in my local Body Shop (I usually go online but this time I decided to check some of the new products out) and had a browse at the much sought after vitamin C range which I've heard lot's of people rave about! There isn't much to the range, only a few products but due to my desperate need to bring my skin out of a coma I decided to purchase The Body Shop Vitamin C Reviver.

        The Body Shop promises:
        This instant radiance-booster refreshes and smoothes skin and enhances its natural glow.
        Enhances natural radiance
        Contains light-reflective particles
        Gives skin a silky-smooth finish
        Can be worn alone or under make-up

        Now, as I've stated in previous reviews about products from The Body Shop, it can be an expensive shopping trip. For 30mls you fork out £14.00 which to me makes a rather small dent in my finances. Despite this price I was lucky enough to go into the shop when they were offering promotional deals with other fantastic products, so I walked out grinning like a Cheshire cat with a bunch of new products for a good price :) The packaging is bright and eye catching, really radiating the idea of revitalisation! The little bottle is sleek and fits in nicely with my other products whilst really standing out, it is complete with a swift pump that allows you to easily control how much product you want to use and the product pretty much glides out nicely. The scent is out of this world, deliciously orangey and not so strong that it makes me feel sick however I can sometimes still smell it a few hours later!

        The consistency of the product feels like a thick serum, orange in colour and smooths on beautifully. It actually reminds me of a make up primer with a ridiculously delicious scent! A small amount covers my face and it creates a flattering matt effect, perfect for wearing on its own or under make up. On night shift I don't like wearing make up because the central heating dries out my skin making it either rough or really oily, and when I try to cure it with extra moisturiser I get spots or it makes it look even oiler than ever! With this product my skin is nourished throughout the shift and stays looking matte and bright. I've found that this product is hard working yet light enough to be smoothed onto the sensitive skin under my eyes.

        Generally, I really like this product. After using it for 2 weeks I've found that it's a fantastic product to use as a pick me up and to keep my make up in place. My skin appears brighter and well nourished when wearing this product however I haven't noticed a dramatic difference in the condition of my skin, I still have to comply with my regular routine of exfoliating and moisturising, particularly wearing a light moisturiser under the serum (The Body Shop's Aloe Vera Cream is a favourite!) I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a gentle yet hard working serum or primer to give your skin that little extra boost!

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        24.01.2014 08:50
        Very helpful
        (Rating)
        1 Comment

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        Disadvantages

        Luxurious however works better as a cleanser rather than a scrub.

        I love soap and glory and I've kinda made it my life mission to try out all of their products! Although expensive some of their products are as luxurious as a 5 star spa treatment and can make me feel like an Egyptian queen after a simple bath or shower. This Christmas I was lucky enough to get a lavish big gift set and Scrub of your life was part of it! I'm a big fan of scrubs, as my skin can become dry and dull so for a good pampering treat I like to use a scrub 3 or 4 times a week in the shower.

        Soap and Glory promise:
        "It's thick, it's foamy, it's fantastically fresh, it's satisfyingly stuffed with just the right ratio of scrubbing beads. Scented with our Original PinkTM fragrance."

        Okay so for a 200ml Scrub it'll set you back £7 which for me is quite expensive, my wage as a nurse doesn't stretch too far after all the bills have been paid and is more expensive than other scrubs available. However boots often offer deals on soap and glory products (such as 3 for 2) so if you're desperate have a look out for these. The packaging is very classic, basic delicious pink colour with bold scripture ensuring that the user knows exactly what they're getting. The tube consists of a flip top cap to ensure that minimum mess is made however as the product is so thick you've got to put some elbow grease into getting the desired amount out. As you can imagine as the product becomes less the harder it is to get it out, after a while I just cut open the top to scoop the product out myself as it was very stubborn on budging out the lid!

        The consistency of the product as I said is very thick and feels a bit gooey. It looks cool with the light coloured gel with little pink balls through it (which I assume do the exfoliating!) Its not the type of product that's easy to rub between your hands and apply so my method is squeezing out a 50p sized blob and rubbing it against my arm/leg/stomach and working around the area. The product foams almost instantaneously and actually feels like a luxurious cleanser rather than a hard working scrub. It can be easily worked on my skin after it foams however loses the 'scrubby feeling' quite quickly!

        After using the product my skin does feel soft but I must admit, I don't feel thoroughly exfoliated. The product diminishes quite quickly and unlike other scrubs I've used before, it doesn't last longer than about 3/4 weeks. This product works well with other Soap and Glory products such as The Righteous Butter but I can't help but feel that the body butter works harder than the scrub. I don't think I would really recommend this product, it is a nice treat but not if you're looking for something to work hard on your skin to buff and get rid of those pesky skin cells to reveal bright skin. Unfortunately for me, it's a bit of a slacker!

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        • More +
          21.01.2014 19:53
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          beautiful book

          I picked up 'Before I die' in chance at a book shop in the Highlands of Scotland years ago. I can't stand anything sci-fi or fantasy and all that vampire crap makes me so bored, I love a good rom-com or anything realistic enough that I can imagine the characters being my friends, enemies, family, neighbours or even, myself. I've read a good few books that have shaken me to the core and changed my whole outlook on life, and I definitely feel that 'Before I die' is one of them, and I'll tell you why!

          Synopsis:
          "Tessa has just a few months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It's her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is sex. Released from the constraints of 'normal' life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa's feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, her new boyfriend, all are painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa's time finally runs out. "Before I Die" is a brilliantly-crafted novel, heartbreaking yet astonishingly life-affirming. It will take you to the very edge."

          Characters:
          The main characters are Tessa, the feisty and dark teenager who is fighting a losing battle against cancer, Tessa's Dad, the worrier, Tessa's brother, the carefree image of Tessa when she was younger, Zoey, the self absorbed best friend, Tessa's Mum, the former run away and now fighting to become no1 Mum and of course, Adam, the troubled loner who happens to be Tessa's neighbour and they fall inlove throughout the story. I feel that Downham should be warmly credited for her characterisation as the reader can find faults in all of the characters but can't help but feel affection and warmth towards them. Tessa is vengeful and you can really feel her rage and pessimism right from the start and although her circumstances are devastating she fights to have life as normally as she possibly can by doing outrageous things that teenagers today take for granted as everyday life. Despite her hard exterior, Tessa is very sensitive and notices things around her that most people don't, such as discussing her awareness of human reactions especially towards her illness. As a reader I felt like I was experiencing everything with Tessa and really bonded with her. Tessa and her family have a push/pull relationship, her brother maintains the normality that Tessa often craves and she enjoys spending time with him as she acknowledged more than once throughout the book that he is prone to be kept on the back burner due to her illness. Tessa's Dad frets after her health and ensures that she is kept on a highly nutritious diet and on the look out for new therapies to prolong her life and keep her safe and sound from harm, which at times irritates Tessa (and the reader.) As a reader I didn't feel like I got to know Tessa's Mum as she left for years when Tessa was little and appeared back on the scene when Tessa became ill. She is presented as a caring, happy-go-lucky character which at times clashes with Tessa's dark and snippy character. Zoey and Adam compliment eachother well as Tessa's close friends as Zoey is a self absorbed typical teenager who cares about boys, parties, drugs and going to college which is everything Tessa wishes she had. Adam reflects Tessa more than she realises, as he spends his days gardening and looking after his Mum who appears to have her own troubles too. Adam at first appears strange and it takes a while for the reader to grow to him, however he is presented as a caring, thoughtful young man who comforts Tessa in the hardest days.

          Themes:
          The more obvious theme of 'Before I die' is how teenagers are affected by cancer, especially in a society where the stigma of 'the cancer patient' is patronising and almost sacred. Tessa is the opposite of what you would picture as a typical 'cancer patient' as she's ballsy, feisty, humorous and so full of life despite her physical limitations which is very enlightening and really opens your eyes to what it's ACTUALLY like to be 16 years old with cancer. Downham has evidently researched the subject well and although there is a lot of medical jargon thrown in, it makes the story more believable and also provides the reader with a more adequate insight into life with cancer. The story does include scenes of when Tessa's actions and experiences affect her physical health (when she jumps into a freezing cold river because her friend told her to) and as a reader you really experience these with her and feel the pain in your own bones with clever use of imagery.
          Another powerful theme used by Downham is also live life as full as you can. When Tessa felt well enough, she created a list of relatively big things (sex, drugs, see the world..) that she hoped to achieve before she died, but as she got closer to her last days the little things were more important (love, kisses, spring.) As the reader, I created my own list with Tessa too. At the beginning of the book I made my very own bucket list of big, extravagant things I'd like to do before I die but as I read on, I realised that it's the little things that get me through my day.

          Final thoughts:
          This book was so incredibly powerful. Tessa really touched my life and this book gave me invaluable insight into what it's like to live with cancer as a teenager and the bravery of families all over the country who are dealing with the very situation of watching a dear, loved one fading away infront of you. Jenny Downham created a masterpiece with this book and created the scenario beautifully, and I'm sure teenagers with terminal illnesses all over will be able to relate to Tessa in some way. I felt the frustration from Tessa, the pain from Tessa's Dad and the love from Adam. This story was absolutely beautiful and despite reading it about 100 times already, I still cry as much as I did when I first read it.

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          10.01.2014 06:13
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          Not for me, didn't appear suitable for regular use

          For some weird reason, lip balms are my vice. If I had the money to buy every lip balm ever made I probably would. I've got dozens of them in all of my drawers, handbags and pockets and I keep buying more and more! I've tested so many different lip balms and some work and some don't, but when I saw that Maybelline introduced a lip balm range Baby Lips I was excited to try it out!

          In my local boots I was able to purchase the Hydrate Baby Lips for £2.99. For a lip balm from a very popular brand I was surprised at the price as I expected it to be more expensive, but from what I've found from previous purchases of lip balms this seems to be around average. The packaging is very attractive and the range is dressed up in fun, bright colours which made me want to buy them all! The Hydrate balm consists of a bright baby blue applicator with a clear lid and bright pink writing and white product, the presentation is fun and girly which would definitely appeal to the younger generation too.

          Using the product is easy, the lid is firm and easy to take off and the twisting action is effective. The product itself glides onto the lips easily and has a gentle, subtle scent that is very pleasant yet not overpowering. I've had products before that smell so strong that it makes me feel sick when I use it for a while, but I don't think this is a problem with this lip balm!

          After using this for a while I noticed that it was stripping my lips of all it's natural oils and I found myself reaching for lip balm more often than usual. This was really frustrating because at work I don't have time to constantly moisten my lips with lip balm and licking my lips made them sore and chapped. The more I seemed to be using the worse my lips were, and after a week my lips were chapped, flakey and very sore.

          This product provided a nice shine to my lips and was comfortable to wear however just didn't make the cut for everyday use for me. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who likes to use lip balm regularly, as I work in conditions where the central heating is high and the temperature outside is low which plays havoc with my skin! I think it would be a nice balm to wear occasionally and as part of a make up routine (I've got a feeling it would be lovely under lipstick) but for me, this will be going in 'that' drawer never to be used again for a while!

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          10.01.2014 05:35
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          Good product if you know how to use it!

          So my next few reviews are probably going to focus on products that I've purchased to specifically assist me through night shift. I've got big eyes but naturally they look quite sleepy (even after a full sleep) so when I'm feeling sleepy it looks worse! I'm a bit of a first timer to lush products, I've had their bath sets as Christmas gifts throughout the years but I'm trying a few of their products here and there and after having a browse in their website I settled on Lush a Feeling Younger Skin Tint to give my skin a little boost.

          So by using this product, Lush promise me that:
          "Feeling Younger contains 'magic orange' pigment which works as a reflector on the skin, making it look bright and youthful. You can use it in lots of ways - as a highlighter on the brow bone and eyelid to really open up the eye; on the cheekbone for a youthful glow; under the eye to minimise the appearance of dark circles; or on the décolletage for a sexy shimmer. The words came from Lady Helen's original list - but we thought everyone likes to feel younger every day - so it didn't need to go in the wheel."

          What's quite impressive about Lush is that their products are handmade with fresh, natural ingredients that they claim will work better on your skin and are also kinder to the environment. What's not so impressive is that anything I buy from Lush seems to leave quite the dent in my purse! Their products are very expensive, particularly to a bargain hunter like me. For £12 I picked up an itsy bitsy 20g pot which I must admit made me sweat a little, but to my slight delight the pot was filled right to the brim! The packaging is boring and consists of a clear pot with a black lid stating what's inside. Nothing too creative however offers a distinctive image of the typical lush product!

          The consistency of the product is creamy and glides onto the skin very easily which was surprising as I've used highlighters before that need to take a bit of work! I'm absolutely crap at make up tips and tricks, I buy the stuff and hope it looks nice when I apply it with minimal effort, but this product is easy to see where blending is needed. I've been using this on my eye lids to give my eyes a little boost, however I think it looks absolutely ridiculous under my eyes (maybe I'm not applying properly) so I've been sticking to areas easy for a make up novice to work on like my eye lids and cheek bones, and what a difference! My eyes look bright, awake and (appear) eager to get on with the shift.

          So after using the product for a while I've found that applying with a make up brush provides more believable results and the product remains intact with a little translucent powder. Over all, I'm really impressed. Initially I was apprehensive due to the price of the product and if I feel like I've paid too much for something I worry that I'll be disappointed and feel that I've wasted my money but I dodged the bullet with this one! I've used only tiny amounts at a time and I'm delightfully surprised at how long this product lasts, however I've heard that Lush products go out of date quickly due to all their natural products so I've been letting my sister use it too so that it doesn't go to waste! I would recommend this to anyone who knows how to use a highlighter, I think it's a product that has a fine line of looking fabulous or ridiculous so make sure you know what you're actually doing before you use it haha.

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          10.01.2014 05:04
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          A lovely treat for my skin that's gentle and kind to the skin,

          Working nightshift really takes it toll not only on my mind, social life and sleep pattern but on my skin too. At my work place, the heating is cranked up and with lack of sleep, heat and sweating my skin suffers badly! I've tried many make up tips to try and mask the tiredness but the best thing for a person to do is to take care of the skin under the make up. I'm a big fan of the body shop and haven't yet found any skin care products that work for my skin than from this store, such as vitamin e and the aloe Vera range. I've been using the aloe vera day and night creams (well, the night cream in the morning when I go to bed and the day cream before I apply my make up before my shift at 8pm..) and I've found it to work really well with my aching skin! I picked up the Aloe Vera Protective Restoring Mask with the intention of soothing my beat up skin!

          The Body Shop can be particularly expensive at times however as I've discussed in previous reviews, www.thebodyshop.co.uk often has fantastic deals that your purse will love! During the festive period before I started on nights I snapped up £50 worth of products for £25, I was very pleased with this!

          This mask is £12 for 100ml and the packaging is very typical of the body shop. It's simplicity really gives a professional impression however the colours very cleverly impersonate the intention of the product's results ie soft greens and whites to insinuate calm and soothing. It's a small, easy to open pot that is white enough for you to be able to scoop enough of the product out. One of my pet hates is dip pots where you have to use your fingers to get the product out, so I recommend using clean fingers when applying the product to avoid transference of infection!

          Since I've been using this mask (around 3-4 times a week) I use it when I get in from night shift around 9am to prepare for sleep. The product smooths on very easily and feels incredibly soothing and glides onto my skin without much effort which, believe me, is very comforting after a 12 hour night shift! The texture is very creamy and because of this I had the impression that I would have to put on a lot but with each application I only need about two 50p blobs to cover my face generously. The mask feels very pleasant to wear and isn't the kind of mask that dries, it provides the moisture and cooling effect like a soft, wet flannel :) after about 15/20 minutes I use cotton pads to remove the excess product and splash my face with some tepid water to maintain that fresh feeling.

          After using this product for about 4 weeks I feel that it is very beneficial for my tired skin and I look forward to an extra treat after work. Although I absolutely adore this range, I have problems with dry, rough skin around my nose and forehead so inbetween masks I use a sea salt exfoliator to take care of this. On a positive note the aloe vera range works well with this and has given my skin a nice glow! My skin feels soft, cared for and this really makes the night shifts a little more bearable!

          I would recommend this product to anyone that has sensitive skin, it's very gentle and doesn't have that drying effect on the skin that most masks have. My skin feels nourished and it appears to have taken care of little niggling products such as excess oil and itchiness caused by the irritation of central heating and the cold weather. Although the product is rather expensive I would urge anyone thinking of buying this range to keep a look out for deals on thebodyshop.co.uk and save a fortune! If you have sensitive skin that's easily irritated and needs gentle nourishing, I would steer towards this product :)

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          04.01.2014 02:26
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          great, cheap product!

          I've got long hair. I've been growing it for years now and find it a total nightmare to control at times! You see, I've got red hair which is thick, unruly and can't decide whether it's curly or frizzy so it just mixes it up and decides to be both. I've been straightening my hair since kitty was a cat too so it also plays havoc with my hair, ironically making it frizzier than usual. I've splashed out on the most expensive products for my hair in form of serums, leave in conditioners, hair masks and blah blah blah, none of them actually making that much of a difference. Actually, some do more harm than good! I recently went through a stint of constantly using Tresemme which left my hair flakey and dry, so had to move onto head and shoulders.. expensive! I was staying at my sisters for a week and was horrified that she was using Alberto Balsam shampoo. She has the same hair type as me, and insisted that it was great..

          At £1 a bottle in most shops, it's hard to pass up. It's often tucked away in the middle of the expensive stuff do easily missed! They're attractive bottles with pleasant colours and scents to choose from. Easy to use flip caps for easy pouring in the shower or bath and easy grip bottles for convenience. Putting my initial snobbery aside, the bottles actually look quite nice and their scents remind me of the shampoo I used to use years ago when I was a kid (juicy apple anyone?)

          The consistency of the shampoo feels thick and lathers up easily, the scent really bursts out and I enjoyed this aspect the most! There were alot of bubbles through my hair as I was washing and felt really clean when I washed it out. As opposed to other products I've used, my hair felt clean and I was assured that the shampoo had properly washed out, as I've had to stand for a few extra minutes in the shower to be totally assured that my hair isn't going to be greasy when I dry it! Along with the conditioner my bathroom smelled amazing and my hair felt clean and thoroughly cared for when I stepped out of the shower. After towel drying my hair surprisingly only took a few minutes to dry with the hairdryer and felt bouncy and soft.

          As irritating as this made me feel, this shampoo and conditioner was more effective and provided me with better results than any more expensive product I've tried previously. My hair feels soft, clean and smooth after using this for over a month and my scalp feels well looked after. As far as salon quality goes, I still have frizzy hair at times and my split ends need looking after but for an overall product I would rate it 5 stars. I would recommend this product as it's inexpensive, does the job and smells fantastic. There are alot of products out there with price tags that would make your eyes water, but I would stick to this brand. I would also recommend using aragan oil in your hair, much more effective and cheaper :)

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          04.01.2014 02:04
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          fantastic product that does it's job effectively however is pricey!

          I need a good exfoliator. I've got loads for my body that work a treat but my face really needs it. I have dry cheeks, a flaky/greasy nose, spotty chin and a shiny forehead. Yes, very attractive. I've tried loads of different face washes but they were either too harsh or not 'scrubby' enough and I was starting to get very frustrated until I read in a magazine that a woman was having the same problem as me and was recommended in the beauty section to try out Ocean Salt from Lush.

          When having a look on the website I realised that EVERY SINGLE ingredient is natural, and they actually tell you in the description exactly how they made it so you know what you're getting. I always struggled with looking at the ingredients of products and worried that they would be as effective as rubbing acid on my face but I was pleasantly surprised to find that this product consists of very simple ingredients such as avocado butter and lime oil. At £13.25 per 250g, the stuff ain't cheap but I'm quite familiar with Lush products and have faith in them!

          The tub is very classic of Lush, no muss no fuss. There isn't much to it apart from a black tub with white writing. Very bohemian I feel! It looks fantastic on my shelf with my other beauty products and it really stands out considering the basic packaging. Again, with the dip pot. I always make sure I have clean hands before using this to avoid transferring bacteria onto my face from my hands. The product itself looks really lovely, a nice attractive bluey colour and actually looks like the sea. The scent isn't over powering either it's got a nice hint of lime through it which is nice and refreshing.

          A little goes a long way, and when I say little.. I really mean a tiny scoop covers my full face. When I first peered into the pot I felt rather scared of rubbing those great big salt crystals into my face but it feels lovely. My skin seems to react better to salt than the manufactured scrubs with the likes of sand and the salt felt beautifully soothing against my face. With a small scoop I was able to massage this into face evenly until the majority of the salt had melted and washed off easily. One word of advice; MAKE SURE YOUR MOUTH IS CLOSED TIGHT BEFORE WASHING THIS OFF. The taste is absolutely horrid!

          When drying my face I waited on that all too familiar tightening feeling across my face that I often experience when using any sort of product on my face. To my absolute surprise it never came! My skin felt so soft after use and my moisturiser glided on afterwards!

          I've been using this scrub for about 4 weeks, 3/4 times a week and I've never looked back. I would definitely recommend this product to absolutely anyone, my skin feels absolutely wonderful and it's definitely given it a new lease of life. I was starting to feel really down at the state of my skin and felt that it was ageing way beyond it's years but this product has turned all the lights on and has almost eliminated all my usual skin problems. I can imagine that the price would turn others off, Lush do tend to be rather expensive compared to other products and I'm sure this is down to the quality of their ingredients. This product is very high quality and I don't think I'll ever look back!

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