Welcome! Log in or Register

devongirlie

devongirlie
  • 1
  • 124
  • 10
  • 55
  • 2688
  • 3384
  • Crowns
  • Premium reviews
  • Express reviews
  • Comments
  • Reviews rated
  • Ratings received

Member since: 09.01.2010

People I trust

Users that trust you
  • Sort by:
    • More +
      29.07.2011 16:16
      Very helpful
      (Rating)
      1 Comment

      Advantages

      Disadvantages

      A great product.

      Boots No.7 Quick Cover Blemish stick is a godsend. It is ideal for those moments when you wake up with an important meeting or social event to attend, look in the mirror and realise that your worst fears have come true - there, in the middle of your face, is the spot to end all spots, a rival to Mount Everest, or something pink enough to make Barbara Cartland envious. So what do you do? Scream as if you are in the next Alfred Hitchcock movie - no, you reach for the cover stick.

      The No.7 Blemish stick comes in a gold tube a bit like a lipstick tube, and holds what is, in essense, foundation in stick form. It is accessed by pulling off the lid and twisting the same as you would for a lipstick. There are four different shades to chose from: Dark, Medium, Fair and Extra Fair. To use it you can apply directly to the area you wish to cover up and then blend in with your finger, or put some onto your finger and then apply to the skin. I prefer the latter as it is easier to get the correct amount where you want it to go. Putting directly onto the skin from the stick I find tends to look artifical if you are not careful.

      The stick is very good at covering pink spots and skin blemishes or uneven skin tones. I do find that trying to cover up a spot which sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb is a bit more tricky. After all, if it sticks out it sticks out, there's no miracle cure for that. But, it does help make it slightly less obvious. And it makes me slightly less self-concious about it, which is always a good thing. It also has the effect of drying up the spot and making it quicker to clear away.

      One of these sticks last me a long time, but my teenage daugher gets through them rather quicker. I think, at £8, this is a reasonable price. It's not greasy or sticky, but smooth to the touch and comfortable on the skin. I would recommend this product.

      Comments

      Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        27.07.2011 17:36
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Worth every penny.

        For years I have avoided contact lens, reasoning that my eye sight really isn't that bad and for a lot of the time I don't wear my glasses, only really using them for driving, watching TV and see the back of the classroom. However, the advent of 3D cinema has forced me into a corner because the 3D glasses and my glasses are just not compatable. Still for a long time I resisted. Then along came 'Harry Potter' and the discovery that the last film would only be shown in 3D at my local cinema. We all absolutely had to see it on the first day of release and in the same cinema we'd seem all the others in (my children are creatures of habit). So, 'Harry Potter' - the boy with the round glasses - forced me into contact lenses.

        I arrived at my opticians with some trepidation. I hate eyes. After completing the usual tests we got round to fitting contact lenses. I tried several different pairs. The first lot felt like I had razor blades in my eyes. The second lot were no better and after a few minutes felt like rocks had been sandblasted into my face. 'We'll have to try the expensive ones,' he said and I groaned.

        Out he came with the Proclear One Day Disposable lenses. I duly inserted them and after a few blinks couldn't feel a thing, but I could see. This is what it is like for people with perfect vision, I thought. Amazing. I have now worn them ten times and every time has been better than the last. The first pair I could keep in for only a few hours, but as my eyes have adjusted I have been able to wear them for longer and longer.

        The come in strips of 5 with 30 to a box. Each invididual container is easily ripped away from the strip. Pulling back the foil covering from the clear plastic container can be a bit tricky and the saline liquid inside often squirts out a bit, but if you are expecting it you can turn it away from anything important, like your clothes.

        Getting the contact lens out of the container is easy. It slides onto your finger and is usually already the correct way around. They are very soft and easily squished but hold their shape well whilst balance on the end of my finger. Inserting them is still a bit tricky for me but that's my fault not the lenses. Once in it is almost impossible to tell they are there. Ocassionally I have to blink a few times because my eyes sort of film over, but again, I suspect that is just me. They stay in comfortably all day and when it comes to getting them out again I just grab hold of them and slid them out no problem at all. Even at the end of the day they are still soft and moist. This, apparently, is what they are designed for: to stop from drying out as you wear them, for people who's eyes have a tendency to dry out contact lenses.

        They are a tad expensive. The optician sold them to me for £30 for 30 pairs. Online they are slightly cheaper, or more cheaper if you buy in bulk. But I think, having tried the other pairs, they are worth the expense. It was certainly worth it to see 'Harry Potter' properly.

        Here are some technical details:
        They are made of PC Hyrodgel material.
        The base curve is 8.7mm
        The diameter is 14.2mm

        I still won't be wearing them all day every day, but for the cinema, the pub, or special occassions they will be what I grab first.

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        26.07.2011 12:32
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        One sniff - no sneezes

        Over the years, I have tried many different solutions to the problem that is hayfever but when I found this one I stopped searching and settled. This is the only thing I have found that truely works for me. No tablets seem to work. One sniff of this a day and I have no trace of a sneeze or a runny nose.

        Hayfever Relief Nasal Spray is made by Boots and sold only in Boots, but being packaged by them means it is cheaper than any similar nasal spray made by the big pharmaceutical companies. It costs £6.32. Its active ingredient is Beclometasone Dipropionate.

        The nasal spray comes in a brown glass bottle with a blue instruction label around it and can be bought from the pharmacy counter without a prescription. The white plastic nozel which goes into your nose has a lid to keep it clean whilst not in use. Inserting it into your nose is easy and comfortable. To spray you simply hold one nostril closed, push down on the finger holds at the bottom of the nozel and breathe in deeply at the same time. The liquid squirts up into your nostril. It does have a peculiar scent to it, which you can smell for about a minute after use. Strangely, for a product designed to prevent hayfever, to me it smell like flowers. And I have to warn you that if you sniff too hard, the spray can go back down your throat, and doesn't taste all that nice. Find the balance between not sniffing enough and sniffing too hard. You should use two sprays in each nostril.

        The bottle advises use twice a day, morning and evening. I use only in the morning and find this enough, but for people who suffer more than me, they should perhaps follow the instructions more accurately. The label also warns, don't use more than eight sprays per 24 hours, but doesn't say if this is 8 sprays in total or 8 sprays per nostril. This bottle holds 200 sprays and will keep for 3 months before needing to be thrown away, which I think is quite good as other hayfever products usually only last for 1 month.

        This spray does not make me drowsy and one the initial smell has worn off I feel no different than when I do in the winter when I don't need to use it. It does need to be used continuously though, as if I forget for a few days I do start to notice the sneezes and sniffles coming back. It is only to be used if you are over 18.

        For me this product is a life saver. I can sit out in my garden all summer and not suffer at all. I cannot recommend this highly enough.

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        19.07.2011 18:34
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Will keep children turning the pages.

        This intriguingly titled book by Elen Caldecott is aimed at the 10-12 year old age bracket and centres around the character of Ali Ferguson. Ali is a boy (it took me a while to get my head around that) whose absent father is Scottish and whose grandfather on his mothers side is Indian. But Caldecott is quick to assert in the early chapters that Ali is English. She does this through the questioning of the other main character in the book, a girl called Caitlin, whom Ali meets when he moves to his new home, a flat in a tower block.

        Ali makes friends with Caitlin, who lives with her dad in one of the flats. Caitlin's Dad is a character deliberately designed to flout stereotypes, he looks like a typical hard man, with his shaved head, tattooed neck and gold tooth, and all the characters assume he's some sort of criminal, but Caitlin insists he is not.

        The night that Ali moves in Caitlin's dad is found beaten up, and doesn't want the police involved. Gez, Caitlin's best friend has overheard a disagreement between Caitlin's dad and some unsavoury sort of blokes and the children begin to think that this is a mutiny amongst criminals. Caldecott then throws into the mix the fact that Caitlin's dad is looking after Miss Osbourne's dog (a neighbour), Miss Osbourne is missing, and the aforementions blokes are seen trying to kidnap Miss Osbourne's dog, and from then on you have a typical 'Who dunnit' mystery story to solve.

        What makes this story stand out from the crowd is the conflict between the central characters. Thoughout Ali is convinced that Caitlin's dad is involved and Caitlin, of course, insists on her dad's innocence. The reader is never sure one way or the other until the end. The clues to the mystery are drip fed in nicely with the odd red herring and neat little twist too. There is a nice element of danger to keep children hooked. And Ali is also dealing with the fact that his father has left him and his mum to go travelling the world. It crams a lot into it's 207 pages.

        The story is written in the third person but is almost consistenly told from Ali's point of view. Ocassionally we see things from Gez or Caitlin's point of view, but never any other character. This allows us to discover things as the children discover them, and is entirely appropriate for a story aimed at children.

        The children I shared this book with loved it. There were one or two things that were challenging for them to understand, but most of them voted this the best book we'd read all year. Their main cause of concern, and mine too, was that you didn't get to find out who Houdini was until the end. A bit weird to have a character in a title who doesn't appear until the final chapters, but there you go.

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        17.07.2011 14:25
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        I am in favour of being a scrubber.

        The Body Shop do a range of different body scrubs but the coconut one is my favourite. It comes in a clear plastic tub with a brown lid enticingly decorated with pictures of opened coconuts. The pot holds a generours 200ml of body scrub.

        When you remove the screw off lid your nose is immediately assailed with the smell of coconut. Much more impressive than an actual coconut, and ever so slightly artificial, but I didn't let that put me off. The contents inside are an off-white colour with lots of tiny little brown bits which form the scrub. Its quite solid in consistency, a bit like a face cream, so it doesn't slop straight out of the tub if you happen to knock it over.

        To use, I scoop a large dollop out onto my hands and then just massage onto wet skin, usually in the shower, but a bath would work just as well. Pay particular attention to the knees and elbows. Use before going out in the sun (the last thing you want is to aquire a tan and then rub it all off again). The scrub is designed to remove bits of dead skin and leave you feeling much softer - on the outside! This scrub does what its intended to do. Used once a week, it does leave my skin feeling softer and smelling nice too. People have been known to comment on that nice coconut smell when I enter a room. It is easy to wash off whilst rubbing your skin, but won't just come off if you stand in the shower and expect it to come off unaided.

        A tub lasts me a good three or four months, and costs £12.50. It also comes in a handy travel size container of 50ml which costs £5.

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        07.07.2011 18:40
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        I like it more and more.

        This is a new product from the Body Shop and its a great one. Honey Bronze is a 'shimmering dry oil' according to the bottle and is designed to enhance your tan. It comes in an expensive looking glass bottle rather than their usual plasic one, and the bottle is a cuboid not a cylinder, so it doesn't look Body Shop-ish at all. There is a brown lid which screws off leaving the neck of the bottle with a hole about 4mm in diameter.

        To get the liquid out you have to shake it. This is a bit annoying as if you're not careful it can go in places you didn't intend it to, like your bedroom carpet or your left ear. But at least it doesn't just run out all over the place. You need to give the bottle a good shake before you use it too (obviously with the lid on) as the liquid tends to seperate and then you get oil with no bronzing bit. When you've got all that sussed the bronzing oil that comes out is quite dark, and you might think - OMG what have I done?; but after smearing all over the surface of whatever bit of body you have decided to bronze, it's not nearly so scary.

        The oil is dry, which seems strange to me as it's clearly a liquid, which is supposed to be wet, and an oil, which is supposed to be greasy. No, it's neither of those things. It smooths into your skin almost instantaneously, making it nicely moisturised and stopping you looking like you have the lurgie. And makes you that little bit browner with just the right amount of shimmer. Use this and you won't look like a Twilight cast member, but you may just sparkle a little in the sunlight. You can safely sit on your furniture without leaving a greasy mark when you get up, although you are warned to avoid contact with eyes.

        One of the startling features of this bronzing oil is the smell. It really does smell strongly of honey. At first the strong smell put me off but it grew on me and now I quite like it. I just have to remember not to wear perfume or anything else with a smell while I'm wearing this, in case my fumes knock people out when I enter a room. So far I have managed not to do this, I have also not been followed by swarms of bees as I make my way to the shops - always a bonus!

        On the back of the bottle is the number 01 with 'honey kissed' next to it, which makes me think that this comes in different shades of brown, but there was only this in the shop when I bought it, and on the website there is no choice of colour. So this might be something you want to test before buying, it might not suit all skin colours. Especially as the product it quite expensive, in my opinion, at £16 a bottle. I only bought it cos they were having one of their 30% sales at the time. You do get 100ml for your money though, and I should imagine this will last a long time, particularly in view of the crap Britsh summer we are having. I have barely used a tenth of the bottle in the six weeks or so I've had it because I only put it on when my legs and arms are going to be exposed and there's not been much chance of that in all this rain!

        All in all, this is one of the best skin oils I have had occassion to use, and it's a bonus that it bronzes as well. Much better, I think, than fake tan, as if you get it all wrong at least you can wash it all straight back off again.

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        27.06.2011 17:59
        Very helpful
        (Rating)
        1 Comment

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Try it - you know you want to!

        The Boots No.7 range produce a range of different types of blushers but this one is my favourite. I use it frequently and when it runs out I rush out to buy another one just the same.

        It comes in a small black plastic container with the No7 logo embossed on it in gold. Inside the flip up lid it is all powder, no surprise wastes of space, no useless applicator taking up room, all powder - 5g of powder. Doesn't sound like a lot? Well it takes me a while to get through one pot, so definately worth the £9 price tag. In fact I think that's quite cheap.

        There are four different colours of powder: soft damson, honey, candy pink and coral flush. I use the soft damson which is one of the paler shades. This is a compact powder, not a loose one, so it doesn't spill everywhere when you try to use it. I apply with a blusher brush. When you swizzle the brush around the powder you get a plentiful supply on the end of the brush, and there is not a lot of loose powder left lying in the pot to make a mess. It glides onto the skin very easily and is smooth to the touch. The colour on my skin is matt and natural looking, not obvious and flashy. I like it a lot.

        It is hypo-allergenic and has Vitamin E and Pro-vitamin B5 in it, which, according to the label 'care and condition'. Who knew?

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
        • Prestige 51047 Dakota / Kettle / 38 Readings / 37 Ratings
          More +
          25.06.2011 18:04
          Very helpful
          (Rating)
          2 Comments

          Advantages

          • "Ease of use"

          Disadvantages

          Great kettle, glad I bought it.

          Last time I bought a kettle it was cheap and functional but didn't last very long. So this time around I decided to fork out for something a bit more expensive. I looked long and hard (along the shelves at my local Sainsburys - cos lets face it, its not quite as life and death as buying a new car) and plumped for the Prestige Dakota Jug Kettle. It appears to come in two colours and I opted for the cream, rather than the red shown above. It cost me the grand amount of £28.99, although it is cheaper on Amazon, about the middle of the range of prices.

          I am happy with my purchase. It fits very nicely in the space my previous kettle occupied but looks much more stylish. It holds a generous 1.7 litres, and the measuring guage is situated at the back, by the handle, so you can read it easily when filling it up. The handle is comfortable to hold and the jug itself is easy to manipulate around while you hold it so it makes filling it up a doddle. I was initially concerned when looking at the kettle in the shop, that the small apperture at the top would make filling it difficult, but it wasn't at all. And it has a cool flip up lid which opens with the push of a button at the top of the handle. So you don't even have to work out what to do with the lid while you are filling it up. I also like the fact that the lip on the lid comes down into the lip of the jug and sits just over the top of the filter whilst it is shut. This lets in less dust and also lets out less steam after boiling.

          The jug sits on a circular base with the electrical connection in the centre and this allows you to place the jug so that it swivels a full 360 meaning you can have the handle exactly where you want it so it doesn't matter if you are left or right handed. The element is concealed, so it even looks attractive on the inside and makes cleaning it really easy. The element is also 3000W and it boils really quickly.

          This is a good thing, but also a shame, because when you switch the kettle on from it's little flip switch under the handle, the water guage glows blue. And it looks so cool in the dark!!! I sometimes wish I could just leave it to boil, just so I can watch the blue glow, but of course it turns itself off automatically. Ah well!

          Comments

          Login or register to add comments
          • More +
            24.06.2011 22:30
            Very helpful
            (Rating)

            Advantages

            Disadvantages

            Not all that bad

            I have tried many different day creams from the No.7 range, mainly because I'm not that fussy about which one I use, also because several times I've gone in and the one I wanted was not there, or there was an offer on. Lift and Luminate is the one I currently have. It's not one of my favourites but it's not that shabby either.

            Lift and Luminate Day Cream comes in a nice glass pot, reassuringly expensive feeling. The glass has a matt finish and is almost see-through. A white screw-off lid gives you access to the cream. The opening in the top of the glass is quite wide enough to get all five of your fingers in should you want to, but I should imagine most peope would refrain from this given that one finger will do.

            The cream is white and has a pleasent smell which is not over-powering. It has shimmery shiny particles in it which you can clearly see when you hold the cream up to the light. These are the bits that do the luminate bit of the title. It does work. When you put it on you can see your skin start to radiate and reflect light from the particles. So I don't recommend putting it on and then nothing else. But underneath foundation or just powder it does make you look good. It gives you a sort of healthy glow.

            It smooths in very easily, but doesn't absorb perfectly. You can still feel it there for a while, which makes it a heavy cream, not light like the sorbert cream I prefer. However, it is quite moisturising on my skin. It doesn't ever feel dry, even at the end of a long day. And my skin feels soft and supple after use. I guess this is the lift bit of the title. The blurb on the back of the pot says, 'visibly firms, lifts and brightens skin in 4 weeks.' I don't know if I'd go that far, that may be a case of overselling, but I would go for sort of lifts and definately brightens.

            Lift and Luminate Day Cream costs £21 for 50ml. This is quite expensive in my opinion. But it does last a long long time. I estimate a pot will last me about 6 months, although I do confess I don't use it much at weekends.
            When it runs out will I buy another one? Not if there is something cheaper or better on offer, but I won't be disappointed if there isn't. It's not that bad.

            Comments

            Login or register to add comments
          • More +
            22.06.2011 21:16
            Very helpful
            (Rating)

            Advantages

            Disadvantages

            Go on - treat yourself

            Nutriganics seems to be some sort of new brand thing from The Body Shop. The white containers with green leafy strip are springing up all over the shop. And what's more it's reasonably cheap. So I thought I'd give it a try. Especially because it also has a bit on the label that says Eco-Cert, organic cosmetic(Although only 12% of the ingredients are from Organic Farming). I like things which are eco-friendly.

            So this Foaming Facial Wash does what it says on the tin. It has a push down dispenser from which foam issues forth. One squeeze is enought to wash your face. Now as usual with The Body Shop, there is next to no instructions for use. In fact there are none in this case. So I tried to use it two ways. First I tried it on dry skin, then I tried it on wet skin (yes I probably am that stupid). So let me tell what you have probably already worked out - it doesn't work on dry skin! You have to get your face wet, then plaster it with the foam. After that wash off for a nice bright shiny new face.

            The foam is white in colour and has a mild floral, vaguely lemon like scent. It rubs into wet skin very nicely and the bubbles last long enough for a good scrub, long enough to feel you've had a good wash. Getting rid of them is also easy. One quick swish around with a flannel, or a few splashed with water in cupped hands and they are all gone. When you dry your face there is no nasty soapy residue left either. In fact my face feels much better than when I use ordinary soap.

            In capital letters and surrounded by a look at me circle on the bottle are the words 'First Signs of Ageing'. I have no idea what this means. Does this mean you should use it if you want to start to display the first signs of ageing, or when these signs appear, or in order to prevent them. It's all very confusing and is something The Body Shop really need to think about. I'm hoping it is the latter and that if I keep using it I won't age at all!

            There are 50ml of liquid in this and I antipate it lasting about a month. I don't seem to have gone through more than half a bottle and have been using it for about two weeks now. My skin still feels nice and soft after washing in it and I will probably keep using it. I don't actually remember how much I paid for this bottle, but I can tell you it was less than £5. On the website they only seem to sell this in bottles of 150ml and these are priced at £8. The 50ml version, I can only assume, is a travel friendly version that they only sell in the shops.

            Comments

            Login or register to add comments
          • Dog Lost - Ingrid Lee / Junior Book / 34 Readings / 33 Ratings
            More +
            20.06.2011 20:42
            Very helpful
            (Rating)
            2 Comments

            Advantages

            Disadvantages

            I competely enjoyed it.

            'Dog Lost' by Ingrid Lee is a tale (yes, I do know how to spell it) of a dog called Cash and her owner, 12 year old Mackenzie. It is aimed at children in the 10-12 year old age group and is perfectly pitched to grip and retain their interest. It is also quite a short read, so not too daunting for those first venturing into reading alone.

            Mackenzie lives with his drunken, abusive and neglectful dad. This is a subject matter which could be somewhat controversial in a children's book but is a brave one and one that deserves a mention. Children should not always be hidden from the harsh realities of life and Ingrid Lee does not shy away from it. One day Mackenzie's dad comes home with a puppy which he dumps on the end of Mackenzie's bed. Mackenzie names her Cash. Cash is a pit bull and this story is set in a time when pit bulls are being banned by the local council. But Cash is good natured and placid. When Mackenzie's dad is drunk and kicks the dog, she doesn't fight back, but cowered in a corner.

            One day, however, Mackenzie steps between his dad and the dog by accident and Mackenzie takes the kick. Then Cash turns. She steps in between Mackenzie and his dad, ready to defend her owner. She growls. This is too much for Mackenzie's dad who throws Cash into the boot of his car, drives far away and abandons the dog.

            Herein ensues the main thrust of the story. Will Mackenzie and Cash ever find each other again? There are dangers to both boy and dog through out the course of the story so we are constantly kept guessing as to what might happen.

            The story is told in third person and mainly from the point of view of Mackenzie and Cash, we see both sides of what happens when they are seperated. But there are also other people in this story. PC Dean is the local bobby and parts of the story are told from his point of view. Then there is Mrs Brody, an old lady living alone on the same street as Mackenzie, and Abi, a young woman who takes the evening train past Mackenzie's street three times a week on her way back from dialysis. All these have a part to play in the story, and although all seem completely seperate for a long time, all their stories knit together before the end.

            The language in this story is very accesible for this pre-teen market, and the subject matter (troubled boy and lost dog) is a winning one. The pit bull side to the story adds an extra element and one that is informative and certainly provoked a lot of discussion with the children I shared this book with. They thought this was one of the best books we have read this year.

            The book costs £4.99 and is published by Chicken House.

            Comments

            Login or register to add comments
            • More +
              19.06.2011 20:22
              Very helpful
              (Rating)

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              I recommend it.

              'The White Giraffe' by Lauren St. John is an interest read and one which perfectly grabs the interest of 11 year old girls. It's about animals, and feeling lost and alone, and danger and adventure all wrapped up in one.

              'The White Giraffe' tells the story of eleven year old Martine who is living at home in England with her parents when the story begins. Martine wakes up from having a beautiful dream to discover that her house is on fire. She manages to get out but her mum and dad die. The last things she remembers her Dad saying to her is that she has to trust that everything happens for a reason. This is not an easy way to start a story but Lauren St John manages to deal with the aftermath of the fire in a sensitive way and Martine soon finds herself in South Africa and living with her grandmother on a game reservation. Martine has never been allowed pets before so for her this is very much from one extreme to another.

              Martine's grandmother is not very nice. She is strict with Martine and largely ignores her. Martine finds herself making friends with Tendai, a tracker at the game reserve. He tells her of the legend of the White Giraffe. When she sees a white giraffe, out in the moonlight one evening, Martine decides to make friends with it.

              What follows is a tale of one girl risking everything to protect and save the white giraffe as dangers and threats spring from all places. Mixed in with this are the usual themes of fitting in to place you are entirely unprepared for and making new friends. There is also a mystery prophesy thrown in for good measure.

              Lauren St John does all of this in a credible way that keeps the reader turning the pages. The children I shared the book with didn't want to put it down. It particularly appealed to the girls, who of course, all wanted their own pet white giraffe.

              The story is told in the third person and the chapters were nice and short, another appealing thing for children. It costs £6.99 and is published by Orion. I enjoyed the story. It is told with good insight into the main characters thoughts, feeling and motivations, so that you can really identify and sympathise with her. The only slightly disappointing thing was that you never got to find out why her Dad said those things to her before the fire. But this is only the first in the stories about Martine, so maybe it's addressed in other books.

              Comments

              Login or register to add comments
            • More +
              18.06.2011 15:41
              Very helpful
              (Rating)

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Good for older children.

              'Paradise Barn' by Victor Watson, is a story aimed at the 10-14 year group. First published in 2009, it was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award, and is a gripping tale of children during the second world war. This is the authors first book although he has since written another book in the same series. 'Paradise Barn' stands alone though. It is mystery story with the subheading 'Death in the sky, Murder on the ground.'

              The story starts with best friends Molly and Abigail taking the long way home from school just so they can walk down a path nicknamed Dead Man's Way because it was the site of recent murder - a man found with a bullet in his head. This is something which naturally intrigues the girls but which almost becomes secondary to a further mystery they discover slightly later in the story. Molly lives with her Mum who runs the local B&B and into thier lives come several new characters. First there is Adam, an evacuee with an exceptional artistic ability, who becomes firm friends with the girls and helps to investigate the mysteries. Then there is Cuffy, a man doing surveying work for the War Department, and Hilda Pritt, a rather glamourous young woman working as a pilot for the Air Transport Auxilary. Hilda is a bit of an upper class airhead, and the girls don't like her, although Adam falls for her charms. Both Cuffy and Hilda are staying at the B&B and Abigail is there more times than she is at her own her because her mother is rather in stern and harsh.

              Molly and Abigail are determined to solve the murder and enlist Adam's help. They also discover a stolen painting and hide it in the Paradise Barn of the title, a barn on a neighbouring farm which children are allowed to play in and which houses all sorts of junk.

              The story takes many twists and turns and includes the usual sort of wartime experiences that children today enjoy reading about - air raids, bombs, a journey into London during the Blitz. It will keep children guessing right to the very end, although as an adult I did have an incling about what was going to happen.

              There were also a few dodgy moments where I winced and wondered exactly what it was I had asked the children to read. The worst of which was the recurring discussion of 'balls'. Abigail is punished by her mother for singing the song 'Hitler has only got one ball', Molly wants to know why. ThenMolly's mother explains to Molly using her baby brother William to demonstrate. Later Abigail wonders if Father Christmas has balls and Molly says, 'I've told you he wasn't real.' The placing of doubt about the reality of Father Christmas is even more irresponsible than the discussion of balls in a piece of children's literature. I very nearly put the book straight down and refused to read any more. Fortunately the children I gave the book to were mature enough to cope with it all, but there should be some sort of parental warning on books that do this.

              The story is very well written and evokes the war time era very well. Hilda Pritt is a great character, and so, for that matter, is Cuffy. Both of these play a much more important role in the solving of the murder that the children had at first realised, and this is why they have been well drawn by Watson. The girls mothers, who don't feature so much, are not nearly so rounded as characters. The ending is satisfying and will not disappoint.

              'Paradise Barn' is published by Catnip and costs £6.99

              Comments

              Login or register to add comments
            • More +
              13.06.2011 21:29
              Very helpful
              (Rating)

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Gets rid of all eye make-up

              This is one of No7's best products. The Cleanse and Care Eye Make-up Remover is fantastic. I have been using it for years and wouldn't be without it now.

              It come in a clear 100ml bottle with a pull off lid and the liquid inside is blue. A pump action nozzle gets the liquid from the bottle onto a cotton wool bud. Before you use it it has to be shaken as when not in use the liquid seperates into a dark blue section at the bottom and lighter blue one on top. Shaking mixes it all up and prepares it for use. One squeeze of the nozzle is enough liquid to do one eye, it could probably do two but I don't like to push it.

              There is a slight anti-septic sort of smell to this liquid, even though it says fragrance free on the bottle, but don't let this put you off, it is very slight. I also find the eye make-up remover to be slight greasy, but I use it just before I go to bed and all residual grease has long soaked in by the time I wake up, moisturising the skin around my eyes in the process. Bargain!

              So, how well does it work? Very very well is the answer. I use cleaner and toner and think I've got all my eye make up off. No! Applying this Eye make-up remover is quite literally an eye opener. The amount of black mascara that comes off with just one sweep over your eyes is unbelievable. You can even go a day with no make-up on, use this again, and more will be removed. It is particularly good at removing mascara and eyeliner from under your eyes as well. If you happen to get a bit in your eye (not recommended) it doesn't sting. It doesn't just remove mascara and eyeliner, but also any trace of eye shadow your cleanser hasn't already got off.

              The info on the back of the bottle says it is ophthalmologist tested (believe me, it says that, cos I couldn't have spelt it without looking!) and is suitable for sensitive eyes.

              A 100ml bottle goes a long way and although I use this regularly, can easily make it last six months. So at only £7.75 a bottle it would be cheap at twice the price.

              Comments

              Login or register to add comments
            • More +
              12.06.2011 11:56
              Very helpful
              (Rating)

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Kids will love it.

              'Girl Missing' by Sophie McKenzie was first published in 2006 and won the Red House Book Award for Older Readers. It is an enthralling mystery, and although I found it a little unrealistic in places, it had my school book club gripped from start to finish.

              It tells the tale of Lauren, a fourteen year old girl who is set a homework task to write an essay about who she is. She knows she was adopted when she was three and she starts to think about who her real parents were. An internet search (such a useful and slightly over-used device for authors to move their stories on) leads her to discover that a girl called Martha Lauren Purditt, with a birthday almost idential to hers, went missing in America less than 2 months before she was adopted. Could she be her?

              All this happens in the first seven pages of the book. It certain is fast moving, which is part of its appeal to the teenage audience. Lauren's mother, of course, doesn't want to talk about her adoption, so Lauren's best friend Jed conspires to get her out of the way while Lauren pokes around the house looking for clues. She finds out that she was adopted from an institution called Marchfield, which turns out to be in America. Lauren very cleverly works on her mum until she agress to a family holiday in New Hampshire, and when Dad pulls out of the holiday Jem takes his place.

              From there on in Lauren is all set to investigate the Marchfields adoption agency and if it is in anyway linked to the disappearance of Martha Lauren Purditt. Lauren runs away. Her journey takes many twists and turns and she faces more and more danger from the shady people who worked at Marchfields, but the story runs along nicely and keeps the reader turning the page.

              What I found slightly unrealistic was the way a fourteen year old girl negotiated her way across America and into situations where she could discover the truth. Nevertheless, this was the best bit of the story. When she discovers the truth about half way through the book, the story takes another turn and almost becomes a different story, which I found a bit disconcerting. But you'll have to discover that for yourself.

              It is written in the first person so throughout we get very good insights into what Lauren is thinking and feeling. This is very well done and grips and retains the readers interest. The writing is realistic and the voice of the fourteen year old comes across very well. She is a typical teenager.

              It it aimed at the Older Reader market, but I have used this book with able ten and eleven year olds and they loved it. It is published by Simon and Schuster and costs £6.99 in paperback.

              Comments

              Login or register to add comments
            1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 9