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euphie

euphie
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Member since: 15.06.2013

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    • More +
      28.09.2014 18:36
      Very helpful
      (Rating)
      1 Comment

      Advantages

      • "Good start"
      • "Great idea for a book"

      Disadvantages

      • "Lacks something"

      Was glad when I had finished this book...

      I had recently read and reviewed a book that had been described as the UK version of Gone Girl. As it was a book that I really enjoyed, I was keen to try out this version of the story.

      The Book

      Nick and Amy Dunne have recently moved back to Nick’s hometown, despite Amy’s protests as Nick wanted to be closer to his dying mother following his redundancy.

      On the day of their 5th wedding anniversary, everything is normal in the Dunne household. After going to work, Nick is advised that Amy has disappeared. Nick then finds himself in his worst nightmare – the police believe that he was somehow involved in Amy’s disappearance and the more he tries to protest his innocence, the more seems to happen that proves his guilt.

      Meanwhile there is no sign of Amy anywhere and all signs point to that Nick is somehow involved. When the police uncover some clues that indicate that Nick is guilty, can Nick prove that he is innocent before it is all too late?

      My thoughts

      While this was a well written book that kept me guessing, there was something that prevented me from getting lost in the story. I wanted to love this book but there was something that stopped me. Maybe it was because the two main characters appeared to be so unlikeable or the annoying quizzes that kept appearing in Amy’s extracts but it didn’t grab me as much as I had hoped it would. I wasn’t overly bothered about the main characters and almost would have preferred had they managed to kill each other , that to have just ended it for both characters would have been a lot less painful.

      I got the impression that the author was trying to write something dark and twisted but somehow this didn't manage to quite come across with the book. It seemed the characters were selfish and spoilt rather than evil. It read more as a dark chick lit style book rather than a psychological thriller style novel.

      I wanted to love this book but there was something lacking for me. I wouldn’t let my review put you off though – if this is a book that you want to read then I would suggest that you give it a try. Considering the rave reviews that this book has on Amazon and from critics, there are lots of people who really liked this book and recommend it.

      I was disappointed with this book and I didn’t think it was a great read but I can understand why other's really rated this book as there is suspense and it keeps you guessing. It’s a great idea for a book but I think it was poorly executed. While I think the author’s idea was to make this a very dark, evil story, there was just something that stopped this from being the deep psychological thriller I assume she had been hoping for.

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      • More +
        28.09.2014 13:39
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Some good shops"

        Disadvantages

        • "Lots of empty shops "

        More of a discount shopping centre these days...

        The Tower Centre seems to have gone from the hive of activity that I remember when I was younger to a ghost town.

        The centre has a great location right in the town centre and there is a large multi story car park to the rear of the centre. Prices are reasonable and around 50p per hour which I think is cheap for parking. It's also very handy when you are at Iceland for some food and you can just wheel the trolley back to your car.

        While there are some shops worth visiting here, such as Primark, B and M and Poundland, there isn’t much else, and a lot of the shopping centre has taken on a slightly worn quality and most of the high street names that used to be in the centre have left to go to the other shopping centre, probably because the discount stores are moving in more. It seems that over the last few years, the owners have spent a lot of money on the centre, which has improved the overall look of the centre, and has left the centre looking bright and airy with lots of natural light which is usually lacking in a shopping centre. The lack of shops is really off-putting though, particularly when every time I am in there are more closed. I did notice that recent work was completed which has turned some of the closed stores into walkways to improve the overall look of the centre, but it doesn’t seem to have helped that much.

        It is a real shame, as it is a great centre, in a handy location, it just can’t compete with the Fairhill Centre. Just as an example, walking from the main entrance to Primark, you pass around 5 empty stores, in fact, there are only about 2 or 3 open stores on this part of the concourse. There is also a small food court in the Tower Centre, which is located on the 1st floor of the centre and is a fairly recent addition. There is a Burger King and a StrEAT located up here, and while Burger King can be busier, it’s never too crowded.

        If you are in Ballymena, I would recommend having a wander around the centre but I wouldn't come here unless you are in the area itself. There are some great shops such as Primark, Poundland and a large Boots as well as some other stores such as Dunnes Stores and Semi Chem which are usually good for a bargain, as well as a few card shops but unless you are looking for these stores in particular, I wouldn't bother coming to the centre.

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      • Lego Movie (Blu-Ray) / Blu-Ray Movie / 16 Readings / 15 Ratings
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        13.09.2014 22:21
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "All star cast"
        • "Great family film"

        Disadvantages

        • "None for me "

        Everything is awesome with this film

        When I heard there was to be a Lego Movie released, I knew it was something I wanted to watch. 

        Brief Synopsis

        The main storyline is revealed within the first few seconds of the film which is handy.  The wizard Vitruvius is attempting to protect a superweapon called the "Kragle" from the evil Lord Business. He fails to do so, but prophesies that "the Special" will find the Piece of Resistance capable of stopping the Kragle.

        Jumping forward eight years, we meet Emmet Brickowski who is a Lego construction worker, who is happy and content in his Lego world, following his instruction manual to every letter.  After leaving work one evening, he is distracted by a figure jumping across the construction site and goes to investigate further.  He then meets Wyldstyle and when lifting his phone to call and report the intruder, slips and falls down a hole.  He accidentally stumbles upon the Piece of Resistence and is compelled to touch it.  He has visions and passes out and when he awakens he finds that the Piece of Resistance has attached itself to his back. 
        He then finds himself in custody of BadCop who shows him what the future holds for the people of Emmet’s Lego world.  Believing Emmet is the special one, Wyldstyle and her friends won’t go down without a fight. 

        My thoughts

        It is weird seeing moving Lego figures on screen and the first new minutes of the film had a trippy quality for me.  As the film went on thought, I adjusted to seeing the moving Lego figures and when the theme song started, I was dancing along! The theme song ‘Everything is awesome’ does reappear a lot in the film either with the lyrics or as an instrumental backing track to some scenes.  It is a catchy song and one that I had stuck in my head for a few days after watching this film.

        There were some very funny scenes and parts where I laughed out loud. I loved the first scenes which showed Emmet at home and using the Lego instructions manual as a guide as to how he should live his life. When he started dancing to the techno influenced version of the theme tune, I found it hilarious. I can definitely see that children would love this film, as it appeals to the simpler forms of getting a laugh.

        This is a real feel good movie with a message about both teamwork and being individual. It manages to be entertaining and also delivers a message that is important to both adults and children.

        Summing up

        This film is jam packed with action and features that even the most mature of adults are sure to enjoy.  A catchy theme song, jam packed with celebrity voices and a very cute storyline means that this film will suit everyone . 

        I'd imagine that most children would love this film but there is also enough in the film that appeals to adults too.

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      • Nestle Munchies Chocolate / Chocolate / 9 Readings / 8 Ratings
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        13.09.2014 20:14
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Ok snack "

        Disadvantages

        • Expensive
        • "Not very sweet"

        Could be nicer

        Munchies are one of those chocolates that I don't eat often, but sometimes I can't resist.

        Munchies

        Each munchie is about 2cm square with 4 squares embossed on the top of each trapezium. They have a chocolate smell, although I know that nestle chocolate isn't as sweet as Cadbury's and some premium brands and you can tell this from the smell alone. You can also detect a slight caramel scent if you try hard enough. Biting in, you get chocolate first, then the gooey caramel, and finally, the slightly crunchy biscuit interior.

        My thoughts

        Normally I love caramel and chocolate with a crunchy biscuit, there is something that makes these not as sweet as they could be and I find this slightly off-putting. Considering I am expecting very sweet caramel this doesn't quite live up to this. Combined with the not so sweet chocolate, while these are nice, I do find them slightly disappointing when I do eat them. It doesn't stop me eating them though, if I'm honest.

        For some reasons, much as though I love the idea of these, and I keep buying them, they aren't as nice as I keep thinking they are. They're not as sweet as I think they will be, and towards the end of the packet, I start to find them slightly sickening.

        I also found the fact that the biscuit isn't that crunchy slightly off-putting as well, as I kept expecting it to be crunchy and to be a contrast to the soft caramel, but it's not that crunchy, and would be nicer if it was something similar to a shortcake filling in these, something that would hold the crunch better.

        I doubt that I will buy another packet of these in the near future, but as I seem to forget that I'm not that keen on these after a while, I'm sure that about six months down the line, I'll see them and fancy a packet, and the circle will start again!

        Price and Availability

        A 126g pack is £1.59 from Tesco. I can't remember how much I paid for my bag, but I know it wasn't more than £1. I do think that the smaller foil packets are better in some ways, as I found that a few in my bag has got slightly damaged, and oozed caramel, which doesn't seem to happen with the foil wrapped packets. The smaller foil wrapped packs costs around 70p – 80p, and contains 11 individual chocolates.

        Nutritional Information (100g)

        Energy (kJ) 2064kJ
        Energy (kcal) 493kcal
        Protein 5.5g
        Carbohydrate 62.9g
        Sugar 59.1g
        Fat 24.0g
        Saturated Fat 13.8g
        Fibre 1.5g

        Each foil wrapped packet contains 255 calories and 12.5g of fat.
        As you can see, these aren't the healthiest of snacks, but I think they are okay as an occasional treat.

        Each munchie contains milk, but is free from artificial colours, additives and flavours.

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      • More +
        02.09.2014 17:32
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Leaves skin feeling cleansed and refreshed"

        Disadvantages

        • Cost

        I say yes to these cucumber wipes

        The Wipes

        These wipes promise to cleanse skin remove makeup and to nourish skin, all with one wipe. Each wipe contains organic cucumber to soothe and soften the skin, aloe vera to refresh and sooth and green tea which is is a natural antioxidant and astringent, and is effective in treating troubled skin and breakouts. According to their website, this product is 98.7% natural, which is an unusual number, but it does show that there aren’t many hidden nasties in this products.

        I do think that these wipes do seem smaller than some other wipes that I have used in the past. The wipes have a faint cucumber scent, which does seem to linger on my skin slightly after use as well. Compared to some wipes I have used in the past, these feel really moist, and even after I have used the wipe, they still feel cool to the touch.

        These wipes are Dermatologically & Opthalmologically Tested, so they shouldn’t cause any issues with skin or eye irritation. I do have the issue that some wipes can irritate my eyes but I have had no issues with these wipes. Thankfully, I don’t suffer from sensitive skin, but as these are natural, they shouldn’t cause issues for most people either.

        My thoughts

        I do find that these wipes leave my skin tingling slightly when I use them, and the tingling effect does last for a couple of minutes after application. I know that tingling can be a sign of discomfort or allergy, but I haven’t found any issues after using these wipes. These wipes leave my skin feeling really clean and fresh, and I do like the feeling that these wipes give me. As I may have mentioned in some other reviews, I do have issues with some products which irritate my eyes, but these wipes have caused no irritation or other issues with my skin or eyes.
        Occasionally after a night out, I can't be bothered faffing around removing all my makeup so I use facial wipes. After a recent night out I decided to try one of these to see how they performed removing makeup. I found that they were very effective, one wipe and my makeup was removed. Some eyeliner remained but I find this happens with most, if not all, wipes and I wouldn't mark them down for that.

        The company do mention that these wipes are biodegradable, but I wouldn’t assume this, and dispose of these in my normal bin just in case. These wipes should be used within 3 months of opening as well.

        Price and Availability

        I have yet to see these in any shops but some websites that sell these include ASOS.com and lovelyorganic.com for around £4 - £5 for a pack of 30. I did like these wipes but I feel that the RRP is a little steep for these and I wouldn’t purchase them again at full price.

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      • More +
        01.09.2014 14:06
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

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        Disadvantages

        Ok shower gel but not worth the high price....

        I got a 50ml sample of this in a recent Glossybox. Having used the lip balm in the range, I was aware of the brand but the high prices has put me off buying any of the products.

        The wash

        According to the website this wash has been designed to “improve skin tone, soften, smooth and encourage good circulation thanks to the unique blend of natural active ingredients found in juniper, bergamot, geranium and lavender.”

        The instructions are to use as frequently as desired as it has a gentle formulation that will cleanse skin without striping it of it’s natural oils. The gel is a pale yellow colour and has a flowery smell. I can really detect the geranium and lavender. Normally I like the scent of lavender, but the combinations in this seemed more of what I would describe as a 'granny scent' rather than a relaxing one.

        My thoughts

        This is a quite thick gel, although it is a slightly off-putting colour of yellow, which reminds me of urine. It is easy to lather and I only need a small amount to produce a rich lather. It also leaves my skin feeling really soft and slightly moisturised after I use it. It doesn't have a really strong scent, and as much as I try, I don't really like the scent. Thankfully, the scent doesn't seem to linger on my skin after use.

        I can't say I've noticed any difference in my skin tone or circulation since I started using this, although it's not the easiest to prove either way in my opinion. On the website, it is 'suggested' that you can use this after dry body brushing for better results, although I would argue that doing that before using any shower gel might increase effects on your skin tone and circulation.

        I had liked the BalanceMe lip gloss that I had previously reviewed, but felt it was too expensive for what it was and I feel the same way about this shower gel. It left my skin really soft and I liked the effects, but I wouldn't pay the retail price for this shower gel as there are amazing products out there which are cheaper. I also found the smell off-putting, and was relieved that it didn't linger on my skin like some other shower gels I have used in the past.

        Due to the scent and the price, I feel I can't recommend this shower gel, as it is very expensive for what you get. It did leave my skin feeling soft, but I have had similar effects with much cheaper gels, and I find the claims of toning skin and improving circulation are hard to prove, so it seems a lot of money to spend on a product that might or might not work.

        Price and Availability

        This wash retails for £10.25 for 260ml. The wash is available to purchase through https://www.balanceme.co.uk/ or you can purchase it at some John Lewis, Debenhams and Waitrose stores.

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      • More +
        31.08.2014 23:28
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Easy to apply"
        • "Nice colour"

        Disadvantages

        • "Takes longer than 60 seconds to dry"
        • "Doesn't last"

        Not the best nail polish on the market

        I had been looking for a particular colour of nail polish for a while, and when I saw this Rimmel colour for £1 in B&M, I thought I would give the polish a go. I had been looking for a particular colour rather than going by the brand but I still have high expectations for the nail polish.

        The Polish

        Each polish in this range comes with an XpressTM brush, a wider brush which is designed for easy application. The aim is that you only need one stroke to cover the whole nail, but I find that some nails I need a few strokes. It is slightly quicker than some traditional polishes, but not that much faster in my opinion.

        This polish dries in less than 60 seconds, and this does seem to be the case with the first coat. However, I needed two coats to get the colour to pop, and I found that the second coat took longer and a few minutes later, were still slightly tacky to the touch.

        I found the polish was quite thin, particularly compared to some others I have in my collection, and the first coat did go on streaky. Thankfully the second coat was more successful colour wise, but even then, there were a few places that I could have done with another coat, particularly on my thumb nails.

        I did wonder if it was maybe my particular polish but it seems that in reading other reviews, this is a common complaint in relation to this polish.

        I found that this isn't a long lasting polish, although I know that there is nothing on the packaging to suggest that it is. I noticed a few small chips the next day after applying the polish, and by day three, there were so many chips that I had to remove the polish.

        While the polish is fairly easy to remove, I found that there were some stubborn spots left, and my nails seemed to have a slight blue tinge, no matter how hard I tried to remove it. I would definitely recommend a base coat if you are planning on wearing this polish often.

        My thoughts

        I wouldn't be in a hurry to buy this polish again, even though there are some nice colours in the range. I found that while the polish was okay, it wasn't quite what it promised on the packaging. It is a disappointing polish, which doesn't quite live up to the claims that are on the packaging, and while it's not unique in this, I think that the RRP of almost £4 is a little expensive for a polish that only seems to last a day and needs at least 2 – 3 coats to get the result I want.

        Price and availability

        Rimmel nail polishes can also be bought from Boots, Superdrug and other chemists, supermarkets, and as I stated above, discount stores such as B&M. Prices range from £1 to £3.69 in Boots.

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      • Cadbury Double Decker / Chocolate / 7 Readings / 7 Ratings
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        31.08.2014 19:52
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Nice bar of chocolate"

        Disadvantages

        • Calories
        • "Very chewy"

        A lovely bar from Cadbury's

        Growing up, this was my favourite bar of chocolate, and I recently bought a pack of 3 for £1, which I thought was great value. I have fond memories of these bars from when I was younger and wanted to see if they were what I remembered.

        The bar

        When you unwrap the bar, you see something that is about 5 inches long and an inch thick, covered in slightly rippled milk chocolate. When you unwrap the bar, you get the sweet Cadbury's chocolate smell, and there is also a slight nougat smell as well. The overall scent is one of something sweet and satisfying.

        Growing up, I used to eat the nougat first, and then eat the cereal layer, but I decided to take a bite of both bits together. You get a crunchy, yet chewy mouthful. I then decided to eat it the way I used to growing up – and eat each section separately. The nougat by itself is quite tasteless, but very chewy, and the crispies layer is very sweet yet crunchy. It is definitely my favourite of the two layers, although I think that when you eat both together, you get something that is sweet, yet crunchy and chewy.

        My thoughts

        I do like these bars, although it's not a bar that I often buy. It is a perfect combination of crispiness and chewyness although after eating one, my jaw can feel slightly sore with the chewing. It's also not a bar that you can hurry eating, as you have to take small bites to fit it all in your mouth, so it is a satisfying eat as well as being tasty.

        Sometimes I make the mistake of putting these in the fridge, as I do like chilled chocolate. However, it also hardens the nougat, and makes it very painful to eat initially, so I wouldn't recommend chilling this bar, even though it does improve the the chocolate and the crispies layer.

        Price and Availability

        I have seen these on offer in various shops recently, with packs of three or four for £1. A single bar costs around 60p – 70p from most shops and supermarkets. You can also get a duo bar if you want something more substantial, and these cost around 15p extra.

        Ingredients are:
        Nougat (36%) (Glucose syrup, Sugar, Glucose-fructose syrup, Vegetable oil, Fat-reduced cocoa, Dried egg white, Flavourings, Salt), Milk chocolate (Sugar, Dried whole milk, Cocoa mass, Cocoa butter, Dried whey, Vegetable fat, Emulsifier (E442), Flavourings), Sugar, Crispy cereal (5.5%) (Wheat flour, Sugar, Anti-caking agent (Calcium carbonate), Barley malt syrup, Salt, Emulsifiers (E471, Soya lecithin), Raising agent (Ammonium bicarbonate), Vegetable oil), Vegetable fat, Dried whole milk, Fat-reduced cocoa, Emulsifier (E442), Flavouring.
        For those wondering about allergies, these cars contain milk, egg, wheat, gluten, soya and may contain peanuts or other nuts.

        Nutritional information per bar

        Calories 250kcal
        Sugars 30.0g
        Fat 9.9g
        Saturates 6.6g

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      • More +
        24.08.2014 19:08
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Relatively cheap"
        • Moreish

        Disadvantages

        • "Calories "

        Lovely peanut buttery goodness

        I hadn’t really eaten much American candy until recently, when shops selling candy seemed to grow in popularity in my local area. While it is still more expensive, I do like trying different things chocolate wise. One thing that I have noticed that I eating more is chocolate with peanut butter in it, so when I saw these in B&M, I decided to try these. At 49p for two cups, I figured that if I didn't like them, at least I hadn't wasted much money.

        When you tear open the outer packaging, there are two cups protected by a cardboard sleeve. I have noticed this in a few American chocolate bars recently, they seem to protect their chocolate more than we do in the UK! Each cup is approximately 5cm in diameter and is encased in a black case. When you peel off the case, it feels heavy, but when you are halfway through, you realise it's just a thin paper case, it was the thick chocolate against it giving the illusion of something stronger.

        When you unwrap the chocolate, you can see the indents of the case on the chocolate. The chocolate smells sweet and you can detect the slightly moreish smell of peanut butter as well. I have often found American chocolate isn't as rich as UK chocolate, and the chocolate that surrounds the peanut butter is no different. Biting in, you get the slight crunch of the thick chocolate outer, before the soft peanut butter inner is revealed. I did find that the chocolate wasn't a uniform thickness, about halfway through I noticed that one bite had revealed a thin end and a thick end, but you do still get the slight chocolate taste when you eat these. The peanut butter is the star of this – it looks slightly crumbly, and not totally smooth, with an almost fudgy texture. It tastes smooth and slightly salty – there doesn't seem to be any 'bits' with each bite.
        I found that to eat mine, it was better to take small bites, and let the flavour develop on my tongue. That way, not only did it last longer, but I got the full range of the flavour of the combination of the sweet and saltiness of the peanut butter. I do find that peanut butter can get sickening after a while (I only like small amounts of it at a time), and one cup is enough to satisfy my sweet craving.

        I bought the original milk chocolate peanut butter cups, but they are also available in a Dark Chocolate and a White Chocolate variety.

        If you are a fan of peanut butter, I would definitely recommend these cups – they are tasty, and just small enough that you get a chocolate and peanut butter hit, without having too many calories.

        It goes without saying, but these are unsuitable for those suffering from a nut allergy. It also contains milk and soya, but they are suitable for vegetarians.

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      • More +
        18.08.2014 18:15
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Important message within the story"
        • "Great story"

        Disadvantages

        • "None for me "

        Another great read from one of the queens of chick lit

        I am a big fan of Adele Parks's novels. When I saw this was 99p recently for the Kindle version, I snapped it up.

        The Book

        Initially we meet Eddie and the year is 1976. He is frustrated with his life with wife Diane and kids Dean and Zoe. He yearns for a different life with his exciting mistress. He is an unlikeable character and his comments about his wife and kids are downright cruel. I felt nothing about his character was redeeming.

        Next we meet Clara and the year is 1982. We meet her, her husband Tim and their three children Lisa, Joanna and Mark. There is marital trouble that is hinted at rather than explained in detail, and it does seem to hint that she was the other woman in Eddie's life.

        It's 2005 and we meet the now grown up Dean and Joanna, who meet by chance on a flight to Chicago. Dean was returning to Chicago where he now lives after receiving word that his estranged father is dying. Jo is travelling to Chicago to try to break up her ex-fiancé’s impending nuptials. Despite not thinking she has the best idea, Dean nonetheless helps her on the road to the wedding, and declines her offer of accompanying her as a date. However, Dean has followed her, feeling lonely and lost after seeing his father, and Jo ploughs on with her plans, not realising that her own world was going to fall apart even more than it had already.

        My thoughts

        Despite this book being 400 pages long, it didn't feel like it and it felt as though it was taking no time at all to plough through each chapter.

        I love Adele Parks's novels as there is more realism and cynicism and less fluffiness, than some chick lit authors. However, this one isn't as abrasive as some of her novels. I was initially all set to describe how this book starts to be predictable about halfway through, and how I felt that this was a slight cop-out, but there is a curve that I didn't expect and this threw me completely.

        I also felt that this story had a very important message. There is the element of seizing life, making the most of what you have and not letting your past affect your future. It's something I am guilty of myself, and even if this is the only thing I take from this book, I hop I do remember this. While I shouldn't need a book to remind me, I think sometimes we get bogged down with life and we just need someone to tell us and prod us along.

        Would I recommend?

        If you are a fan of chick lit, I would definitely recommend this book. Adele Parks's books aren't as fluffy and happy ever after as some authors and are always steeped in reality and cynicism. However this is an easy read and I had it read cover to cover in 2 days.

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      • Coca-Cola / Soft Drink / 13 Readings / 12 Ratings
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        17.08.2014 21:31
        Very helpful
        (Rating)
        1 Comment

        Advantages

        • "Helps settle my stomach when ill"
        • "Quenches thirst"

        Disadvantages

        • "Slight aftertaste"
        • "High calorie"
        • Sugar

        A nice occasional drink

        When I had a stomach upset as a child, my mum always made me drink flat coke for some reason.  It did always help, and to this day, when I have an upset stomach or don’t feel fantastic, I’ll buy a can of Coke. I don’t drink Coca-Cola normally, as I find it too sweet, but when I don’t feel fantastic, I do find it helps me feel a bit better.

        Normally, I buy tins of Coke as I think the contents taste better, but as I couldn’t find any tins in the Lidl near work, I bought a 500ml bottle instead, as it was only 99p.

        The Product

        There are a wide variety of core products available. These include
        Coca Cola
        Diet Coke
        Caffeine free Diet Coke
        Coke Zero
        Flavoured versions including cherry and vanilla Coke.

        The Taste

        As I am much more used to the taste of Diet Coke, I find the taste of Coca-Cola strange.  It is very sweet, with a slight aftertaste.  I do find that Coke can be a very refreshing drink if served ice cold with some ice cubes but it's not normally a drink I would seek out when I am wanting something to drink, mainly due to the high calories and sugar content.

        My thoughts

        One thing that has always puzzled me when it came to Coca-Cola, is that on the packaging it is described as being a soft drink with vegetable extracts, and I was always suspicious of the word vegetables as a child.

        As I mentioned above, I usually only ever drink this when I’m not feeling great.  If I have an upset stomach, I find drinking flat coke helps.  If I am feeling tired or just off colour, I find that the sugar in this drink helps give me an energy boost.

        I would also occasionally order a glass of coke if I am in a bar and I am the designated driver, if I feel my energy flagging, or if I get given a glass by accident in a restaurant, but it’s not a drink I usually seek out.

        While not the healthiest of drinks, and not something I’d recommend consuming huge amounts of on a daily basis, I am of the opinion that a little of what you fancy is a good thing, and that you have to treat yourself occasionally. Since I usually drink this when I’m not feeling great and it helps me, I don’t drink a huge amount, but I can see why it becomes addictive to some people.

        I would recommend this if you are looking for something that will give you an energy boost if you're flagging or as I said above, it helps settle my stomach when I'm feeling a bit under the weather. I wouldn't recommend you drink vast quantities of the stuff though.

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          16.08.2014 21:25
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          Advantages

          • "Nice scent"
          • "Leaves hair looking brighter and fresher"

          Disadvantages

          • "Price "

          A great dry shampoo for blonde hair

          I am a big fan of dry shampoos and I tend to go through a lot of it as I prefer to only wash my hair every other day but it can look slightly lank and greasy.

          The dry shampoo

          This is part of Batiste's 'Hint of Colour' range which can get for blondes, brunettes and redheads. As my hair is dyed blonde I was looking for something that would help brighten as well as remove any dirt or grease from my hair.

          As per the name this is for blonde hair. While I used to think that dry shampoo for colours was a bit of a gimmick, having used a few blonde ones now, I have really noticed a difference in my hair – the dry shampoo seems to leave my hair looking brighter as well as fresher.

          To use this dry shampoo is the same as other brands that I have tried. First you shake the tin vigorously and then spray to the areas where you need help. For me, it is the roots and my parting that I spray the dry shampoo on. Massaging the dry shampoo into the areas that need some help, I then wait about a minute or so before combing through completely.

          This is one of the nicer smelling shampoos that I have tried. It has a nice, fresh vanilla scent. The scent does also last on my hair, if my fringe falls across my face during the day, I can still detect this scent.

          My thoughts

          I do use quite a lot of dry shampoo and have tried a few with varying success. I have used other Batiste dry shampoos in the past and while I thought they were okay, there were better ones in my opinion. However, this seems to have changed with this particular one. Maybe it’s because I do have blonde hair that I have found this more effective than some of the other shampoos in the range which I had bought for the scent.

          This dry shampoo seems to brighten my hair as well as leaving it looking and feeling less lank and greasy. I did also find that this does leave my hair looking slightly blonder which is handy for those times when my hair is starting to grow out a bit.

          Unlike some dry shampoos that I have tried, I didn't find this one left my hair looking grey and it was also easy to comb through without leaving any residue. If I touch my hair after using this I can detect a slight residue but since I don't normally touch my hair, this isn't an issue.

          I am unable to comment on how long this helps keep my hair looking refreshed as I always wash my hair in the evening on the day that I used the dry shampoo but I don't find I have any issues with washing this out of my hair either and it leaves no lasting effects on my hair.

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            05.08.2014 22:43
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            Didn't hate it but didn't 'heart' it either...

            Despite me not really enjoying the previous Lindsay Kelk book I had read , I was reassured that the ‘I Heart’ series was better.

            27 years old Angie has been with Mark for 10 years and even though they haven’t set a date for their wedding, she is confident it will be soon. That is until the day of her best friend’s wedding. After walking around all day in 4 inch Louboutins, she goes in search of her trusty pumps that were in Mark’s jeep. When she opens the door, she finds more than she bargained for – Mark is there with another woman. Realising her friends all know about Mark’s ‘female friend’ Angie does the only thing she can think of and jumps on the next available flight to New York.

            Jumping into a taxi in New York, she instructs the driver to take her to any hotel. The first hotel that they come to is a 5 star hotel in Manhattan. She then is befriended by a concierge Jenny Lopez, who has her own unique way of dealing with heartbreak. A trip to Bloomingdales, $250 of makeup and a fabulous new wardrobe later, Angie feels slightly better.

            Angie’s luck continues when she catches the eye of not one but three men. Following the advice of how to date in New York from Jenny’s friends, she takes her first tentative steps back into dating. The offer of a job as a blogger on a New York magazine cements Angie’s plans to stay in New York.

            Angie initially evokes sympathy, but as everything falls into place perfectly, it’s harder to feel the same sympathy. The author’s preoccupation with designer labels also seemed to grate on me. Yes, clothes are nice but I’m finding it a stretch of the imagination that a freelance writer could afford to splash out so much (even though it was all on credit cards). Even when she starts writing her blog, her Marc Jacobs handbag is the first thing she writes about.


            I felt that this book was an okay read but very unbelievable in some places particularly the timeline. I also felt that in some places, the plot was borrowed from Sex and the City. It does read slightly as though the author read a step by step guide to writing a chick lit book and methodically added each step, but I have read much worse chick lit. The backdrop of New York is used to add glamour, but doesn't change the fact that the main character seems quite weak, and all the padding out of designer labels is just to add glamour to the slightly boring lead character.

            I will probably read the rest of the books in the series, just to see what happens, as I thought this was okay for when I just want something light and fluffy to read. While I wouldn’t say I ‘Heart’ this book, I don’t hate it either.

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            03.08.2014 15:28
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            • "Removes all my makeup "
            • "Really effective"

            Disadvantages

            • Price

            Great cleanser that removes all my makeup on first attempt.

            Lush is one of those shops where I don't always get to, but I do like to treat myself occasionally. I find that the products are generally more expensive than I would spend on day to day skincare but are ideal for when you want to treat yourself.

            This cleanser

            This cleanser contains floral essential oils to brighten the skin, dove orchid for its soothing properties and almond oil to make skin feel refreshed.
            I find that for me, the easiest way to use this cleanser is to squeeze some onto a cotton pad, and smooth over my face. I then take a second pad and go over my facer to remove the cleanser. I then finish with toner to ensure all cleanser has been removed. You can also apply this straight to your skin with your hand and massage in, but I find it gets quite messy doing it that way, and using pads are as effective.

            The cleanser itself is an off-white shade and is quite thin. It feels cool and refreshing on my face and this continues even after I have wiped the cleanser off. There isn’t much of a scent to this cleanser, it just has a fresh scent, but it doesn’t linger on skin after application.

            My thoughts

            I bought this in London and the first time I used it was that evening when I got home. I was expecting my skin to look dirtier than usual, and I wasn't surprised at all to find a lot of dirt on the cotton pads. However, even after a normal day at work these do seem to lift a lot of dirt and grime from my skin and leave it looking and feeling clean and fresh.

            Sometimes I find it a struggle to remove eye makeup on the first attempt. I was very surprised when using this makeup all was removed and I was left with clear skin and no panda eyes like in the past. I managed to get some in my eye when I first used it, but while my vision seemed slightly blurred, this product didn't sting or irritate my eye and was easy to wash out with some tepid water. As I find some products irritate my eyes, I was very happy when this one seemed gentle and didn't irritate even when I was daft enough to get some in my eye.

            I am very glad that I decided to buy this cleanser, as it seems to be fantastic value for money, particularly for those days where I am wearing a lot of makeup. Sometimes in the past when I have been using wipes to remove my makeup, it took a few attempts, and some stubborn eyeliner did sometimes take more to budge, but this wipes my makeup away in seconds.

            Price and Availability

            As it is a Lush product, it is only available from Lush stores or online at https://www.lush.co.uk/ and costs £4.95 for a 95g bottle.

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            29.07.2014 14:35
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            • "Gorgeous scent"
            • "Leaves skin soft"

            Disadvantages

            • "Price "

            Gorgeous sugar scrub with a yummy lime scent

            I am a big fan of Soap and Glory products and when I needed a new body scrub, I decided to treat myself to this one.

            The Scrub

            This scrub contains sweet lime, and almond oil, and also contains smashed brown sugar and macadamia grains for exfoliation.

            My thoughts

            I chose this one as I loved the smell of it as soon as I opened the lid. There is a mouthwatering scent of lime and sugar, and it just smelt so fresh and clean that I couldn't resist.

            I did find that this is a quite thick scrub, and while it was easy to scoop out some of the scrub, once I applied it to my skin, it did feel still quite thick and was harder to rub in than some other scrubs. It also took a few scoops before I really did feel that it was exfoliating my skin due to the thickness of the scrub. The amount that I had to use to produce the results I wanted might be a user error as much as a product error. The scrub goes on easily and is also easy to rinse off, although sometimes small bits of the scrub can be left behind on the bottom of the bath, but these are easily rinsed off. As this is a sugar scrub, it's not as abrasive as some other scrubs that I have used in the past, although the sugar does help to polish and buff any flaky bits of skin. There is a warning on this scrub that if you use it on any cuts or irritated areas of skin, or if you have just shaved, it might sting but I haven’t found this is the case for me so far anyway.

            After using this, my skin felt really soft and smooth, and it was left with a slight lime scent. Another thing that I liked about this scrub is that it didn't seem to leave a film on my skin after use, unlike some other brands that I have tried. I'm sure that some people like that slight moisturising effect of the film, but personally, I prefer the scrubs that don't have it, and this is one of them.

            Would I buy this again?

            While this isn't the cheapest scrub, when mine runs out, I probably will buy this again, as I loved the scent and it leaves my skin feeling amazing. It also doesn't leave any film on my skin, which is another bonus. There are cheaper scrubs on the market, but I don't mind paying for quality, and since I only use this once or twice a week, a 300ml tub should last me a few months.

            Price and Availability.

            Soap and Glory products are only available from Boots or Harvey Nichols, although you can occasionally get some on eBay or Amazon as well. Mine cost me £8, but it is often on a three for two offer in Boots.

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