- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
The Kindle was a longed for Christmas present after months of dropping hints, then finally asking for one! I don't always have the time to read, but travel a fair amount with work and through visiting friends and I am such a fast reader that I often have to take two or three books with me. --Product-- The particular Kindle version I have is referred to as the 'Kindle 4' or just the 'Kindle.' There are many other Kindle versions: the Kindle keyboard and Kindle Touch (which I believe wasn't available when this gift was bought for me) The main features of the Kindle are as follows: -This particular Kindle does not have a keyboard and is instead operated through few buttons. -It has a 6" E-Ink screen (just as the other models) -1 month battery life (as opposed to 2months with the other models) -Stores 1,400 books (Kindle Touch stores 3,000 and Kindle Keyboard stores 3,500) --Price and Availabilty-- The Kindle Wi-Fi version (which I own) costs £89. It does not have to be connected to Wi-Fi to read books, but you have to be to download them. This has not caused a problem for me as I have just downloaded the books I want to read in advance so they are already there. If you want to download books on the move, you would need the 3G version which costs £109. Since this was a present I felt a bit cheeky asking for the most expensive version, so I opted for the cheaper. My Kindle was purchased from Amazon and had a free delivery option. However, I believe it can also be purchased from Tesco. --Setting the Kindle up-- This was a pretty painless process as I already had an Amazon account, if you don't have one the first step is to set one up. I then just turned the Kindle on and followed the on-screen instructions which asked you to select the language and then set up the Wi-Fi. The most difficult part of this was figuring out what button to press on the Kindle to select, and as there is no keyboard you have to browse through the on screen keyboard using the buttons. You then register the Kindle to your account and your finished. --Operating the Kindle-- Once you get the hang of all the buttons this is really easy (there is a user guide in the box). The on/off button is at the bottom of the Kindle next to the USB port. You click it once to activate the standby and hold it down to actually turn it off completely. This is not difficult by any means, but I often forget to hold it down for long enough! It is also quite fiddly and I imagine it would be quite tricky for those who have problems with their hands. I won't go through every single button as this would be pretty boring! However, there are two buttons on either side of the Kindle to turn the pages. This is pretty handy as it means you can hold the Kindle with either hand and turn the 'pages' with your thumbs. This is really handy for travelling on the tube when your often standing and holding onto a pole for dear life! The buttons on the front of the Kindle allow you to select different options etc. --Buying books-- If you are connected to a Wi-Fi this can be done through the Kindle, through your laptop/computer or even through your I-Phone. Because your account is synced the book is downloaded instantly. It is a really quick process and takes less than 60 seconds. I like the fact that you can download a preview of a book to check if it is something you are interested in before purchasing. There are lots of free books which you can download, mostly classics such as Treasure Island. The price of the other books varies greatly, but is generally cheaper than the hardbackback option. There are often offers on different authors so it is definately worth checking the Amazon website for latest deals. I have managed to get a couple of good books for 99p! --Key Features-- I was pleasantly surprised to discover that you can access the internet through the Kindle (something that I didn't even think about!). It is pretty slow due to the buttons, but it is still a good feature. There is an option to highlight memorable quotes in books, which are then 'saved' to a virtual scrapbook. I really like this option, and I have built up a short collection of lovely quotes already! The battery life is really good, especially if you turn the WI-Fi off, and it has only needed to be charged once since Christmas. I was a little worried that reading on a screen would 'draw' my eyes, but it is really comfortable to use (apart from the note below about lighting!). I also have the Kindle app on my I-Phone, so if I am ever without my Kindle I am able to carry on reading my book on my I-Phone. You just have to go onto your Kindle account and move the book to your I-Phone device. Because the account is synced, you automatically start reading where you ended on another device. --Drawbacks-- The Kindle has to be charged through a USB cable which you attach to your laptop/computer. If you are disorganised like myself I only realised the Kindle had to be charged an hour before travelling on a long train journey and I had to frantically locate and load the laptop before charging. I haven't timed exactly how long it takes to charge the Kindle fully, but I think it takes an hour or two so not a long time at all. I'm not sure if it is possible to purchase a 'plug' charger but this would be useful. The reason the battery life is so long is because there is no backlight. This is generally not a problem, but I have purchased a seperate light and case for long journeys where there is poor lighting. You can buy these from the Amazon website but I got mine for a few pounds from Ebay. It may not be as good quality but it has been fine so far. --Recommendations-- My friendship group is generally split about the Kindle; some think that it takes away the pleasure of browsing in a bookshop and the feel of an actual book. I, however, don't find this too much of a problem and so far I have genuinely enjoyed using the Kindle. It is really easy to use and I am also able to carry one small item as opposed to a number of bulky books in my already bulging handback. This is a lovely present for yourself or another person who is a book lover. While I could possibly live without it, I have found that it has made my journeys much more pleasurable! For this reason I have given this five stars!
My nails have been in a pitiful state of repair since I begrudgingly removed my acrylic nails about a year ago. Instead of perfect manicured nails I was left with weak, brittle nails that constantly peeled regardless of any treatment I used. Coloured nail polish did provide a temporary cover up, but it tended to chip after a day especially where my nails were badly peeling. ---Product--- I read about the Orly rubberised bonder on a beauty blog and decided to give it a try. It is described as: 'Orly Bonder is a unique, effective base coat for a long lasting manicure. With an innovative, rubberised formula, this basecoat tightly fixes nail polish to the nail surface for adhesion that lasts. Nail polish is prevented from peeling, chipping or wearing off for up to two weeks! Ingredients: Butyl Acetate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Heptane, Ethyl Acetate, Trimethyl Pentanyl Diisobutyrate, Tosylamide/Epoxy Resin, Polyvinyl Butyral, Nitrocellulose, Benzophenone-1, CI 26100 (Red 17), CI 47000 (Yellow 11), CI 60725 (Violet 2)' --Price and Availability-- To my knowledge, the product is not available in local shops or chemists. I purchased it from beautybay.com for £7.95, and used the free 7 day delivery option. If you need it more urgently, then there was an option to pay £2.50 for delivery within 1-3days. I do believe that £7.95 is not ridiculously expensive, but it is definately more than nail products available in Boots and Superdrug. I have purchased lots of nail strengthener type products, but they have failed to make nail varnish last for longer than a day so I was happy to pay a little more for this. --Packaging-- I'm not usually too concerned with packaging as long as the product works, but the packaging is of a very high quality. It was delivered in a cardboard package as demonstrated in the display picture, and the product itself is in a heavy 'glass' like container. The applicator is a typical brush type which screws in tightly to the container. I particularly like the 'rubber' like lid which feels really sturdy and is easy to hold. The product itself appears a pale orange in the container, but applies clear to the nail. --Application-- The product is applied just as any normal polish/varnish. The applicator is a good size which means that only one coat seems to cover the whole nail. It also covers smoothly and the product itself is not too thick or thin. By the time I have covered both set of nails the product is fairly dry, and I can usually apply the colour within a few minutes. I find that the bonder makes my nails very smooth and makes the application of any colour much easier. The website advises you to use an Orly varnish and topcoat for best results, but I have to admit I have been using any old varnish with the basecoat. If I have a topcoat to hand I then apply this over the colour, however I have used the basecoat again over the top to 'seal' the colour. --Results-- The results are amazing! While my usual polish seems to last a day at most, I can get at least four/five days of chip free polish. The basecoat really does seem to 'bond' the coloured varnish to my nail. I have been using the product for about two months and I have found that this has given my nails time to grow enough for some of the 'splits' and breaks to also grow out. It was around these splits that the chips would typically occur, hence as these are growing out I have found that the polish has also lasted longer. The website and the beauty blog which advised the bonder have both stated that two weeks of chip free polish can be achieved, however I have not been able to achieve this. I thought that this may be due to the fact that a few of my nails have splits, so I asked a friend with perfect nails to test it out for me and she managed to get seven days of perfect nails. I have deducted a star for this reason however I still think that it is a fantastic product. I have varied the ways in which I have applied the bonder: applied two base coats, different brand coloured polishes and differed topcoats. I have personally found that one coat works just as well as two, it doesn't really matter what coloured polish I use and also a topcoat of any kind helps to make it last a day or two longer. --Recommendations-- I would definately recommend this product to anyone who wants long lasting coloured nails that you can do at home. A friend recently paid for a Shellac manicure which didn't last as long as my own handywork! While £7.95 is a little on the high side, it has meant that I can utilise all the polishes that I have already have hence saving money in the long term. I have also been using it for about two months and very little has been used up, so depending on usage I would guess that one bottle would last about a year. A highly recommended product.
As part of my never ending quest for perfect skin, I purchased this product after reading about it in a blog. Over the years I have managed to contain acne breakouts through the use of stronger products, both prescription and non-prescription, but I still suffer from clogged open pores, uneven skin tone and occasional spots. --Product-- The product claims to 'EFFACLAR DUO Corrective and Unclogging Anti-Imperfection Care reduces the appearance of imperfections and purifies pores.' --Ingredients-- I was particularly interested in the product as I have sensitive skin, and the cream didn't contain the usual acne ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. While these ingredients are really good at dealing with spots they are quite harsh ingredients. The active ingredients are: Niacinamide, Piroctone Olamine, LHA/Linoleic Acid, thermal spring water I'm not going to waffle on about the ingredients for too long but a full description is available on the Boots website. I was mainly interested by the inclusion of LHA as this is known to unclog pores, helping to promote a smoother skin tone. I read that the Niacinamide and Piroctone Olamine is designed to deal with the actual breakout itself. --Availability and Price-- I purchase the product in Boots for £13 for 30ml of product. I recently managed to get a two for £15 deal which was fantastic, however this is the first time I have found any deal on the product. Unfortunately, I have not found the product available anywhere else where I live apart from Boots. --Packaging-- La Roche Posay is a French brand and so the cardboard packaging is French on one side and English on the other. For some reason my local Boots store places the product on the shelf with the French side placing forward, I think they like to challenge me a little! Inside the packaging is pretty bland; a white tube with blue and black writing. I have tried a couple of different French brands and they all seem to have a similar no frills aproach to the packaging. For me the plain packaging is not a problem and I think it looks quite professional! The tube and lid are pretty sturdy which means no leaks if you travel with the cream. It does, however, have a 'squeazy' tube which means you can sometimes squeaze a little too much out. I also tend to cut the package with a scissors when I think there is nothing left, often meaning that I can get another two or three applications. --Product-- The product is a fairly thin cream which I apply with my fingers. It is definately not a thick cream, but it also isn't so runny that it runs on application. The cream does have a distinctive odour but it is not unpleasant in any way, and can't imagine it would put anyone off from using it. --Application-- I tend to apply the product after cleansing both in the morning before make up, and also in the evening before bed. It sinks into my skin straight away and makes my skin very smooth and 'clean.' --Opinion-- I find that product fantastic for two main reasons. Firstly, I found that it makes my make up last much longer than usual and provides a smooth base for the make up. I have used lots of other primers in the past and some can help prevent oily skin but can make my skin look a little dry. This prevents the attractive oil slick appearance but doesn't make my make up look cakey in any way. Secondly, I realised after a month of use that I hadn't had a breakout at all for a few weeks. Furthermore, the small spots on my forehead and chin had disappeared and my skin and pores looked a lot smoother. I recently switched to another product but I am not the proud owner of two large spots and lots of small spots on my forehead! This has confirmed to me how brilliant this product is. --Recommendation-- I would recommend this product to anyone with sensitive skin which is prone to breakouts. I did not find instant results, but over the course of a few weeks I found a dramatic improvement in my skin. At £13 it is a lot more expensive than other products but if you are struggling with your skin I would definately recommend it.
As a long time sufferer of dark circles, I am always on the lookout for a good concealer. While I sometimes think of Collection 2000 as a brand associated with teenagers, possibly because this was one of the first cosmetic brands which I purchased as a teen, I have heard a lot about this product on a number of blogs so was keen to test it out. The website states that the concealer promises: Ultimate wear concealer conceals flaws, impefections and blemishes for up to 16 hrs Oil free Transfer proof and water resistant for full and long lasting coverage Provides beautiful, shine free, blemish free skin for every waking hour --Pricing and Availability-- I purchased the concealer from Boots for £4.19, but I have also seen it in Superdrug and a number of independent chemists. There are always 3 for 2 offers available in Boots which can make it a cheaper option if you are purchasing other items. It was available in four different shades: Fair, Deep, Medium and Light. Fortunately, the store which I visited had testers which meant I could carry out a little patch test. I read that in order to cover my under eye shadows, which are an attractive purpley-blue shade, I should use pink based colours. Hence, I selected the Light shade which seemed to have a pink base. The colour availablities were pretty good for my own skin tone (caucasian), but my friend who is Asian found that the colours were far too light so unfortunately they do not seem suitable for darker skin tones. ---Packaging--- The packaging is fairly typical for a concealer; the product is contained in the base and there is a seperate screw in lid with a wand attached. I personally find these applicators more effective that the 'pen' applicators which you click to release the product as I seem to waste a lot of it! The packaging isn't the most attractive I have ever seen but there is nothing wrong with it, and for less than a fiver I wouldn't expect or need a fancy gold packaging. With daily use over the past couple of weeks I have found that the writing has rubbed off, but again this hasn't bothered me too much. --Product--- I find the concealer itself to be absoloutly fabulous for covering my dark circles, just as good or even better than some of my more expensive past purchases (in particular the estee lauder double wear or benefit boi-ing). The concealer is lovely and creamy; not too thick that it cakes and not so thin that it doesn't cover effectively. It definately lives up to it's long lasting claim and after a long days work it is still going strong. The colour 'Light' is pretty good for my skin and provides just enough coverage to lighten my dark circles. I can't say that they disappear completely, but as I am mixed race I have inherited pretty dark circles which I have never been able to completely get rid of. --Application-- I tend to apply a small amount of the product with the wand to the parts of my skin that require a little extra help. I do this after my foundation, but I have also used it on it's own for a little extra help if I am exercising that day and don't want to look like a drag queen for the gym! I apply it under my eye, around my nose where I have a little redness and also to any blemishes or only acne scars. I then blend it gently with my fingers or dap it onto any blemishes with a seperate concealer brush if required. I don't tend to powder after the concealer as I don't feel my skin needs it. I tend to only apply a little at a time under my eyes and blend gently, as I find too much product can cake and look a little too much. --Recommendation--- I really like this concealer and would definately repurchase again. I find that it is just as good, or even better than any other concealer that I have used. I would pay a lot more for this product as I find it very effective, but the fact that it is less than £5 makes it even more fantastic.
I am a huge fan of all the Bourjois foundations so when I come across a 3 for 2 offer in Boots I jumped at the chance to try out their mascara. ---Product Description---- The boots website describes the product as 'Be ready to party all night long with the ultra resistant formula that provides a tear and sweat proof result.' ---Availability and Price--- I purchased the product in Boots to collect some points, but it is easily available in lots of different chemists. In Boots it costs £7.99 full price, but there are always 3 for 2 offers on which means you can get a little more for your money! When I purchased the mascara it was available in absolute black and ultra black. I have no idea if there is any actual difference between the two, but I did a quick 'eenie, meenie, minie, mo' and chose the ultra black. ---Packaging--- To be honest I was a little disappointed with the packaging as I thought it looked a bit cheap. My friend actually asked if I was using a Collection 2000 mascara when I applied it in her house! There is absoloutly nothing wrong with the pakaging in terms of quality; it is sturdy and the wand tightens firmly meaning air won't get into the product and dry out. However, as I think of Bourjois as being a more expensive 'drug store' brand I felt it could have looked a little more sleek. ---Product--- The wand is fairly large, so not very good for those of you who like the smaller or 'comb' like mascara wands. It is also probably not very good from those who have short lashes as you will end up with smudges quite easily. When I first removed the wand from the tube I noticed that the bristles were clumped together with the product, and when I tried to remove some on the edge of the tube it seemed to get worse. ---Application--- The application is, unfortunately, exactly the same; Clumpy with a caplital C! No matter how many times I seem to wipe the wand on tissue paper or the edge of the mascara tube, my lashes just seem to clump together. And I'm not talking about a few clumps, the first time I used this mascara was on a night out (rookie mistake) and I ended up with the outer one half of one set of lashes completely stuck together....this was followed by frantic combing with an old wand to try and distribute the clumo! After reading other reviews I am bewildered by my experience as others seem to rave about it, but try as I like I can't seem to get any effective results. I hoped that after using it a few times I would see an improvement, and I always feel that a little air needs to get into the product sometimes to make it work properly. However, this is not the case with this mascara. The only positive thing I can add is that it does lengthen really well, but as the lashes are not seperated I just look as if I have spiders lashes. Also, it is very long lasting which is good and I often have to use a cleansing water before my normal cleanser to remove it properly. ---Opinion--- I very rarely find a product which I want to throw away, but I am disappointed to say that this is one. I am a huge fan of the Bourjois foundations and blushers, and I would like to stress I am not a negative person when it comes to reviewing products. However, I am struggling to find anything postive to say about this mascara. In order to use it up I firstly wipe all the excess product off on a tissue then apply a fine layer to wear to work during the day. As I wear glasses to work I don't worry too much about eye make up so I find this ok. Unfortunately, I can't recommend it and definately won't be repurchasing.
I first purchased this shampoo nearly a year ago during my mission to restore my bleached tresses to their former glory. Prior to the bleaching my hairdresser stripped the hair with a bleach bath in order to remove the dark hair colour, something which I would definately NOT recommend. It was a process which left my hair resemble straw, and also so porous that it never felt clean no matter how many times I washed it. I purchased this product after reading an online blog post about how good it was, and while I was hoping for a miracle I was not expecting much from a hight street brand. I purchase the shampoo from various places, usually stockpiling it when the product is on offer. Typically it retails for about £4.50 for a very generous 500ml of shampoo, and can be purchased pretty much anywhere: Boots, Tesco, Superdrug etc. The shampoo is a clear consistency and has no specific aroma; it is not unpleasant in any way but doesn't leave my hair smelling of anything in particular. The shampoo is contained in a clear container which means you can see how much product is left and has a fairly typical blue 'snap shut' lid which is easy to use and doesn't leak when travelling with it. The labelling is blue and pink and loodks very fresh and modern. The shampoo itself is a clear gel like formulae which lathers really well with only a small amount. I used to wash my hair twice with my previous shampoo, but with the Pantenne aqua light I only need to wash it once which means the 500ml bottle lasts ages. From the first time I used the product I could see a clear difference in the condition of my hair. The Pantenne marketing states that the shampoo is designed to: Helps nourish your fine hair with virtually no weight Helps reinforce the structure of fine hair along each strand Nourishes & helps fortify your hair against damage against styling & combing damage Pantene Pro V Advanced Technology: The Pantene Pro V light nourishing shampoo & conditioner system with micro fortifiers targets and helps reinforce the structure of fine hair, leaving virtually no weight. I had watched the Pantenne advert where the models 'swish' their hair, but I definately did not expect my own hair to have the swish effect! As soon as I blowdried my hair it felt clean, light, refreshed and definately living up to the products claims. I tend to use this shampoo with either to matching conditioner, or a deep conditioner from another brand and it seems to work really well together. I have read a lot of reviews on the shampoo and many people state that they don't see long term results from using the product, but for myself it has performed really well for over a year. I tend to vary using it with the Tresemme Natural range, so maybe because I alternate it with another product it doesn't seem to build up in my hair. I have very fine, thin hair which can become weighed down really easily, so for me the shampoo is really good. I have used the shampoo for over a year and I don't see myself changing my shampoo any time soon. The main benefits for me is that it doesn't seem to build up in my hair or weigh it down, and it always makes it feel really clean. I genuinely can't think of any disadvantages of the product apart from the fact that I wish it was on offer more often!
I bought this cream after getting caught up in all the hype in magazines and on blogs concerning this new phenomenon of the BB Cream. For those who are not aware, the BB cream was originally formulated for those who had recently undergone laser surgery, and needed a cream that would soothe sensitive skin whilst also evening skin tone and covering any scarring. The cream became particularly popular in Asian countries before being marketed by many of our major beauty companies. Personally, I suffer from fairly poor skin so I tend to rely on more heavier coverage foundations. However, I liked the idea that I could use a product like a BB cream on my days off work, and hoped it would even out my skin tone a little without me looking a bit 'overdone.' I purchased the no 17 BB cream on a whim after seeing it on offer in my local Boots store. I had already heard a lot about these creams, and the fact that it was on offer for £4.99 as opposed to the usual £6.99 pretty much sealed the deal. The cream is contained within a sleek black package which would not look out of place with more expensive branded products. I liked the fact that it had a sturdy 'twist' top, which would not come off easily leaving my entire make up bag covered in make up. For your money you receive a fairly average 30ml of product which is pretty typical for this type of product. As with many of these BB creams there is a fairly limited choice of colour, and I was left to choose between 'light' and 'medium.' For those who are familar with the estee lauder doublewear I am a typical 'fresco,' so I decided to go with the medium shade. Unfortunately, there were no testers avaiable so I just guessed and hoped for the best. On further inspection of the packaging I was excited to discover that it is marketed as an 'All in One Magic Make Up' with an SPF 15. It claims to: Covers: full coverage which conceals imperfections and helps control oil. Enhances: the creamy formula evens skins tone for a flawless finish. Protects: SPF 15 and hydrating formula for healthy skin. Whilst I was not particularly looking forward to using this product, after reading these claims I couldn't wait to try it out. The product itself resembles a typical foundation whilst I was expecting a lighter consistency. Regarding the colour it was far lighter than I had expected, and unfortunately appeared even lighter when applied. I am glad to say that there is no unpleasant aroma associated with the product, something which I wish I could say about other products. I decided to apply the cream with fingers as I was under the impression that this was more of a tinted moisturiser than a foundation. It applied fairly typically, but unfortunately looked fairly shiny. I decided to let it 'sit' on my skin for a while hoping it would sink in a little. Regarding coverage, I would say that it provides a light rather than full coverage and I definately needed a little concealer. Those with good complexions would probably be ok. It definately evened out my skin tone, but unfortunately I can't say that I was left with a 'flawless finish.' The major problem for me was that it was far too pale and left me looking a little ill, and also in desperate need of some blush to bring me back to life. Whilst I was not impressed with the product overall, there were some good factors. Firstly, the cream lasted well and when I looked in the mirror after a day of rushing around and dog walking it was still there. Many more expensive foundations which I have purchased have failed to do this so big thumbs up to no 17. Furthermore, I loved the fact that it had an SPF 15 which saved me applying another cream for sun protection. Whilst I would definately not repurchase this product, I have used it occasionally on those days when I am not in work and just want a little extra boost to my skin. It is really quick to use and pretty foolproof, I literally just slap it on and go. For me the major problem is that it looks quite shiny (I think it's supposed to look dewy and glowy but for me I just look plastic). Secondly, it is far too light for my skin tone making me look as if I am wearing something, as opposed to the intended natural look.
*This is my first literary review so please be kind with the ratings! I am stepping out of my comfort zone of cosmetics and healthcare....so here we go. * I purchased this book through the Kindle bookstore in order to read on my i phone during a long journey, mainly because it was rated no 1 on the Kindle bestsellar list (very fickle). I paid £4.99 for the download. The book is centred around the loveable main characters of Emma Morely and Dexter Mayhew, although throughout the remainder of the novel we are introduced to other supporting characters. We first meet the two main characters on July 15th 1988 on the night of their graduation. Without revealing too much about the story, we revisit the lives of Emma and Dexter on this particular date of July 15th on particular occassions over the next twenty years. We are able to explore how their lives, and in particular their relationship and friendship with one another, evolves over these years. I have to pay particular tribute to David Nicholls writing, as although we visit the characters lives over the next twenty years, I never felt that the story was broken in any way. The narrative just seemed to continue smoothly, even when there was a jump of a number of years. Another feature I really enjoyed was how Nicholls subtly dropped in references to the changes which occured over following twenty years, i.e politics and technology. When reading each chapter, I genuinly felt that the story had moved on a couple of years because of these references. There are a number of main themes which are explored throughout the novel, many of which I felt I could really relate to. Again I don't want to reveal too much, but the book begins with the two main characters graduating and trying to find their path in life after University. Even though I was only three years old in 1988, so have no real connection with the time period, I could definately relate to the feeling of excitement at graduating and also fear of stepping into the 'real' world. The book explores their career paths and how their relationships with other people develop over the years. I generally pay little attention to these supporting characters, however they were very effective characters which had a real purpose to the story rather than just being there for the sake of it. One of the main reasons why I loved this book was that I felt a real affection for the two main characters. Emma is very headstrong and witty, but also seems to struggle a little with her career and lovelife. Dexter, however, can come across as very immature and selfish at times, but it is difficult to dislike his character. As well as being a very humerous book, I actually laughed out loud at certain parts, it can also be very touching and poignant. Certain parts of the book really played on my mind even after completing it, in particular the moments where Dexter carries his Mum to bed and Emma and Dexter argue in the street. I have read some really well written and highly recommended books over the years, but if I don't like the characters I find it really difficult to connect to them and the story. I didn't feel that any of the characters were 'one dimensional,' and Nicholls described the positive aspects of their personalities as well as their flaws. I must also pay tribute to how 'real' the book felt. Although it was essentially a story about love it was not a traditional love story in the respect that everyone had a happy ending. Nicholls perfectly described the process of falling in love, as well as the painful break ups which I'm sure we have all been through. As well as feeling support towards the characters and willing them to have their own happy endings, there were also many moments where I felt slightly frustrated with their actions. These types of emotions can only be incited by truly well written characters. As books and films are very personal I'm not really sure what type of person I would recommend it to. However, I hope after reading this review I hope you can gain a little insight into the main themes of this book in order to decide if it is something you would be interested in reading. Sorry if I haven't described in enough detail the major plotlines, as I have tried to detail the reasons why I really enjoyed the book and the particular features I enjoyed. The book has recently been made in to a film, and I really hope that the film does this fabulous book justice.
My quest for perfect blemish and oil free skin has led me to experiment with more gentler skincare products. I have tended to use harsher products which are aimed at acne or oily skin types, however I find that they used to leave my skin feeling very 'stripped,' and they made very little effect on the acne or oiliness. After reading an online post on gentler skincare, and a little research on products available, I decided to try the avene extremely gentle cleanser. I bought the product for £8 from my local Boots store, and it is presented in a simple clear container. The product itself is a thick white creamy consistency. In order to use the product it is recommended that you massage a small amount into your face and neck, and then remove using a tissue or cotton pad. I have to admit that I was a little sceptical of using the product at first due to the fact that you don't wash the product off, as I traditionally use products which foam and need to be rinsed off with water. However, the article which I read described how it is not always recommended to use water on sensitive/acne skin types. Furthermore, I have also read articles describing how the chemical which makes cleansers 'foam' is often highly irritating for certain skin types. I am not a scientist, although I had a little look at the ingredient list and I was pleased to see that there were very few ingredients. Those named were: Avene Thermal Spring Water (Avene Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, O-Phenylphenol, Cetrimonium Bromide, Decyl Clucoside, Disodium Edta, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Water (Aqua). I understand that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate can be irritating towards certain skin, however it is very low down the list so I don't think that there is a significant amount. I am also pleased to say that it is pretty odourless, so I don't think that there are any unnecessary perfumes. After my first application I was immediately hooked. My skin felt thoroughly cleansed, but more importantly, not sore or inflammed in any way. Following a lot of experimentation this is the way that I use the product: I firstly remove my make up using a cleansing water. Then I use a small amount of the cleanser and rub into my face and neck using my fingertips in small circular movements for a couple of minutes. I then remove it using a cotton pad or a muslin cloth. While I would consider the product to be a fantastic gentle cleanser, I don't find that it is very good at removing my make up. (Although I will accept that I wear an excessive amount...oops!) This is the reason why I use a cleansing water in the evenings in order to remove the make up, and although I could probably use only the water, I feel that the Avene cleanser is properly cleansing my skin. In the mornings I use only the Avene cleanser. I alternate between the muslin cloth and the cotton pads as I like these methods of removing the product. Even though I was initially concerned about not using water to remove the product, I never feel that there is any left on my face. The main reason why I like this product is that it is very, very gentle but also very effective. My skin no longer looks inflammed with red patches, which means I need to use less make up to cover these areas. More importantly, however, I have only had one new blemish since using the product. Furthermore, my old acne scars seem to have had time to heal and they are gradually fading. I also have to add that my skin is definately less oily, and I think that this is because the products are not stripping the natural oils from my skin. I will definately repurchase this cleanser, and would recommend it for any skin types, although those with sensitive skin types may see more benefit. It is slightly more expensive that most high street cleansers (at £8) however I would find it to be a small price to pay for better skin!
My skin type is sensitive as well as being combination and prone to acne. Over the years I have experimented with lots of different cleansers; usually aimed at oily and acne skin types. I read an online blog recently written by a fellow acne sufferer, who described how she transformed her skin by switching to gentler products which did not irritate her skin. This encouraged me to change the products which I use, and I have to say that I am very impressed with the results so far. I began by purchasing the Avene extremely gentle cleanser which was lovely and soothing on my skin, but I didn't find it very effective at removing make up. I found that to remove it properly I had to use so so much of it, and I was running out of it quickly. I did a little google search regarding effective but gentle make up removers, and the bioderma micellar solution was a popular choice. As the product is difficult to get hold of in the UK I headed to Boots where I found this micelle water by Vichy. After several google searches I am still not exactly sure what micellar waters actually are, or what makes them so gentle and effective. The overwhelming concensus, however, is that they are essentially an oil in water solution. Lots of different brands seems to produce these waters, but they are predominantly French. (I am definatley becoming more and more interested/obsessed with these French beauty brands!) The Vichy cleanser is described as a 'calming cleansing solution,' which removes make up and eye make up as well as cleansing. I bought the product from Boots and paid about £10 for 200ml. In order to apply the product I pour a small amount on a cotton pad then sweep over my face and eyes. If you wear no/little make up then this should suffice, however as I am a massive fan of trowelling on the old slap I need to repeat this twice. I then like to follow this process with the Avene gentle cleanser to properly cleanse the skin. This is a personal choice and I have to state that all make up is removed after the Vichy cleanser. Also, my skin is never red or irritated after the cleanser and it always feels properly clean and hydrating, without feeling 'stripped' like some cleansers. It also removes all my mascara, which means I don't have to purchase a seperate product. The only disadvantage of the product is that it can be quite costly between the cost of cotton pads and the fact that I use quite a lot of product to remove my excessive make up usage! If you didn't wear as much make up as myself then you wouldn't use quite as much. In the month that I have been using the two products I have had only one new blemish which is quite frankly amazing for my skin. My skin has also had time to heal properly which means my old acne scars are gradually fading. For me, the cost is not an issue at all as long as my acne is kept under control, so for me I will definately repurchase time and time again. (I have had a little look on ebay and I can't find that product much cheaper however I have found a Bioderma cleanser for about £16 which I am def buying as this is for a massive 500ml, which works out much cheaper overall)
After having my acrylic nails removed I found that my nails were very soft and brittle, and very prone to peeling and snapping. No matter how short I kept my nails the actual peeling didn't seem to grow out as my actual nail grew. As a result, my nails always looked unkept, and any nail varnish I applied would immediately chip where the peeling was most prevelant. I was extremely tempted to just have my acrylics reapplied, but then I remembered that I purchased this base coat a couple of years ago for £12 after having a manicure in Nails Inc. I purchased this following advice (pressure) from the manicurist (as you can tell I am unable to say no to salespeople!). At the time there was no real need to use the varnish as my nails were in good condition, however I though it would be worth a try. The varnish is described as being a 'growth treatment,' and contains sea kelp and oyster shell which are supposed to provide nourishment aswell as strengthening the nail. It can be used either on it's own to promote growth and strength, or under a coloured varnish in a the place of a base coat. The actual treatment itself is a pale green colour and is applied in exactly the same way as a normal varnish. It is contained in a standard round bottle with a silver lid. I am not usually that particular about packaging, however I have to note that the silver on the lid appears to be just a foil, and it has bubbled and scratched on my bottle. Considering I paid £12 for the bottle, I would have expected this to be a bit better quality as it now looks quite tatty. The main difference between this treatment and a normal varnish is that while a normal varnish takes a little while to dry, this dries instantly. By the time I finish both hands I can apply a colour straight away, whereas my other base coats seem to take a long time to dry. I find this to be a really good feature as I generally haven't got the time to wait for it to dry before applying a colour. I tend to use this product under coloured nail varnish and I have found it to be a fantastic base coat. It really makes a difference to the way in which the colour is applied, regardless of the brand of the nail varnish. I find that colours are applied more evenly, and they definately last a lot longer than if I use a different brand base coat. In general, my polishes last about two or three days before chipping. When this happens I remove the varnish and base coat and then reapply the base coat and another colour. I also file my nails gently every two/three days. I have repeated this process over the last month, and during this time the peeling on my nails has completely grown out and they are in much better condition. Additionally, there is not yellowing or discolouration to my nails even though I always wear a colour. In regards to my nails breaking or snapping, I would say that I have noticed no difference as I keep my nails fairly short so there is less risk of them breaking. I have used this solidly for a month and I still have 3/4 of a bottle left so this should last me for at least a couple of months. After it is used up I will definately repurchase as I have found it to be an excellent nail strengthener as well as a fantastic base coat. Nevertheless it is still what I would consider to be in the 'high end' price range, so it may well have to be a special treat! For this reason I have classed it as a four star product.
Barry M is one of my current loves when it comes to make up and nail varnish. It is affordable and has a wonderful array of bright, vivid colours which I really don't think any other brand offers. I first purchased a Barry M nail paint over a year ago, but then stopped using them when I treated myself to acrylic nails. Since having them removed, however, my love for the Barry M nail paints has returned with avengence. The Barry M range can be purchased in Boots and Superdrug for £2.99. I recently purchased two different colours in Boots as they were on a two for £5 offer, so it is well worth looking out for these deals. I have also purchased a lovely Fuchsia shade from ASOS (quite surprisingly) for a bargain £1.99 with free standard delivery. On the Boots website there are 16 different shades listed, however I have never seen them all displayed in my local Boots store. The colours themselves are very varied and absoloutly gorgeous. Some are very outrageous and bright, such as the orange and green, while others such as the grey and dusky mauve are more classic. My absoloute favourite of all time is actually the dusky mauve shade, a lovely grey purple with a little shimmer. This looks lovely on nights out but is not so brights that it can't be worn in the day or for work. I also love the mushroom shade (a creamy light brown) and I have purchased this twice. The varnish is contained in a square glass plain bottle, with 'Barry M' written on the front. There is a screw top black lid which is easy enough to open and close. The wand which you apply the varnish with is pretty standard, I find that I have to apply two strokes to most nails but only one to smaller nails. The actual polish itself is a fab consistency which is easy to apply. Some varnishes I have applied can be very streaky and hard to apply, but this applies smoothly and evenly. Before application I shake the bottle then apply either one or two strokes to each nail. One coat provides a lovely colour, however I tend to apply two coats to provide a deeper colour. All the shades which I have used have been extremely pigmented, so much so that I always apply a base coat to avoid staining to the nail. Regarding longevity, I have to say that the Barry M range polishes do not last as long as some other brands I have tried. I find that they only really last a day or two before chipping, however they do not claim to be hard-wearing or long-lasting. For the price, I really don't find that this is a much of a problem and I find that I can make it last an extra day by applying a top coat. I would recommend these varnishes to anyone, regardless of whether they are on a budget or not. In my opinion they are all a fantistic quality, and as I said, I really don't think that any other brand provides such fantastic colours. I am definately in danger of becoming an ardent Barry M collector!
Last summer I took on the challenge of completing my first half marathon in Bath this March. When I first started training I have to admit I was a bit of a running rookie, and didn't really have a clue of even the basic requirements of footwear. After a couple of weeks of running (or crawling) I realised that I would have to invest in a more sophisticated trainer. Unfortunately, I experienced a stabbing pain in the base of my feet, and also seemed to develop the begininng of what appeared to be bunions (shock horror). I decided to invest appropriately and visited a specialised running shop where all sort of tests were carried out. These tests unfortunately included running up and down the street outside the shop while the salesperson examined my 'stride.' I left after half an hour with a rather red face and a pair of trainers costing over £100. At first these trainers seemed to be fantastic, however as my mileage increased I discovered that I experienced a sharp pain in my heels. In addition, the trainers appeared to be too small and they made my toenails on my big toes become black and very sore. I had a chat to a more experienced friend who was also running the marathon in Bath, and she recommended that I try these trainers as in her opinion they were the best. Instead of heading to a specialised running shop, I instead purchased these trainers from a JD sports for a bargain £25. These trainers are actually in the childrens section, however they are suitable for ladies with smaller feet as they available in size 3 to 5.5. When I purchased them the salesperson actually advised against them as they are apparantly not as hardwearing as the adults versions, however my friend assured me that they would be fine. If you are concerned about this then there are lots of different choices of asics trainers in the adults ranges. The trainers themselves are fairly standard for running shoes, and are probably a little clumpier than more general trainers. My version are exactly the same colour as the picture in the description box, however I also saw them in a darker grey version. They are a mixture of mesh and sythetic leather uppers, which I think is preferable for runners as it allows the feet to 'breathe.' There is also gel cushioning, which apparantly helps to absorb impact when running. I began wearing these around January time and wore them during all my running sessions and also during the half marathon itself. I read somewhere that you should change your trainers after a certain number of miles, however I am still using mine without any problems. I am running another half marathon in October, so I will probably buy another pair in a month or so just in case. I have found the trainers to be extremely comfortable, and I have experienced absoloutly no pain when wearing them. More importantly, the brusing on my toenails has began to grow out and there has been no more bruising, avoiding the loss of my toenails (yuck!). I would consider myself to be a beginner with regards to running, so excuse me if the following tips appear a little basic. However, I wish when I was starting I had been aware of these things concerning running shoes. The most important thing I have discovered is to buy a size too big. I am actually a four, and even though the running shop recommended a 4.5 they still caused friction, blisters and bruising. I found the five much more comfortable, and you can always wear two pairs of socks or one thicker pair. I was also taught by a chiropodist, rather embarrasingly, how to tie my laces up. I am ashamed to say that I often did not even tie or untie my laces and would just slip my feet in and hope for the best. He advised me to hold my foot at an angle and pull the laces tight from the toe of the trainer, and also to tie a double knot. This has also been a great help for my damaged trotters! I would say that these trainers are a fab basic running shoe for running rookies, or those who are trying out the sport. The £25 price tag means that you haven't lost too much money if it turns out to just be a fad. Unfortunately, this particular shoe would only be suitable for teenagers or those with smaller feet, however there are adult versions which are a little more expensive. There also seems to be lots of asics trainers for a range of levels, as the adult versions range in price up to over £100. Others have told me that I should be wearing different trainers for different purposes, i.e road, treadmill, or trail running. If my passion developed I may invest further, but for now I am more than happy with this particular shoe. If anyone is reading this who is contemplating a half marathon is reading this then I have a final piece of advice...IF I CAN DO IT THEN ANYONE CAN! Give it a go you may love it!
Over the years I have sampled most fake tans on the market, from the very cheap and cheerful to the more high end expensive products. Last summer I treated myself to a bottle of St Tropez, and while it was lovely, I found it hard to justify spending £30 on another bottle. On a night out, I complimented my friend on her lovely golden skin and when she told me that she had been using St Moriz I rushed out to buy it the next week. I bought the tan in the chemist Savers, and I think I paid about £2.99 for a bottle of 200ml. The bottle itself is very similar to my bottle of St Tropez, and it is packaged in a white bottle with St Moriz written in black and brown writing. It has a pop off plastic lid and a 'pump' which you press to dispense the foam. There was also a spray version available, but I decided to use the foam as I had been used to applying the foam St Tropez over the past month or so. The tan works on two levels; it is coloured brown so it applies an instan tan, however there is also a gradual tan which develops over the next couple of hours. This is perfect for me as I often rush home from work to get ready for a night out and don't have hours to wait for the tan to develop. I was fairly shocked at first by how dark the actual tan was as it is a much darker colour than the St Tropez. I was really pleased by this as it meant that the tan was instantly darker. However, it does mean that you would need to apply it using a glove or tanning mit as you would end up with rather grubby looking hands otherwise! I prepare my skin for the St Moriz tan in exactly the same manner as I do for all other tans, mainly through exfoliating thoroughly and ensuring any remaining patchy tan is removed. I then squirt a handful of mouse and apply to my body. As you can see where the tan is being applied it is pretty foolproof, and there is no danger of avoiding large patches of skin leaving you looking like a dalmation! I always apply using my tanning mit and just rub it in until it disappears. This method always leaves me with a lovely patch free tan. As I said you get an instant tan from the product, and the 'proper' tan develops over the next couple of hours. I generally don't see the full effect until the following morning. While I love the instant tan, I have to warn that it definately rubs off on pale clothing and bedding (however I haven't found a fake tan as yet which doesn't do this!) I know that a lot of people complain about the smell of fake tan and how it smells of biscuits, although I think I am immune to it now. There is a slight hint of the 'fake tan' smell with this product, however I don't think that it is overly offensive. Regarding the colour that is produced, I actually prefer it to the more expensive St Tropez. I have very dark hair and features so I personally think a darker colour tan...the pale look definately does not suit me! I find that the St Moriz mouse produces a much deeper instant tan than the St Tropez, so it is more suited to those who need a speedy tan. Those who a tanning virgins/prefer a lighter tan might find this a little dark, however you could just use slightly less product. The only problem I find with cheaper fake tans, however, is that they generally don't fade as well as the more expensive versions. Unfortunately, I find that this is the case with the St Moriz mouse and after a few days it becomes patchy, meaning I have to try and scrub it off. Nevertheless, this is not a big enough issue to put me off repurchasing and for £2.99 I can live with it. I would recommend this product to all fake tanning addicts out there, and the affordable price means that it is definately worth a go. Just make sure you don't use white bedding!
My hair is naturally curly/frizzy and so hair straightening is a common feature of my life. Unfortunately, it is also very fine and becomes greasy very easily, and although I know many don't recommend this, I have to admit that I wash my hair every night. I read about this product in a magazine and was intrigued by it's claims that it would keep your hair straight for up to three days, and it is in fact described as a 'semi permanent straightening solution.' Prior to using the product I had to wash, blow dry and straighten my hair every night, and then re-straighten it in the morning to make sure I didn't go to work looking like a poodle! Hence, I was hopeful that this would allow me an extra ten minutes in bed every morning! I bought the product in Boots and it was £6.99 for a measly 100ml. In fact, the first thing that shocked me about the product was that it was so small and didn't seem like it would last a full week's use. It is packaged in a cardboard box and the bottle is exactly like the description picture, with a pump attachment to apply the product. After reading the packaging I discovered that I would have to wash my hair as normal (the John Frieda hair range is recommended although I just used my usual products), and then apply 10 to 15 sprays to wet hair. My hair is fairly long, however it is very thin so I usually apply about 8 sprays. I have experimented with different amounts, however for my hair type there is no further benefit to using the full fifteen sprays. You are then instructed to blow dry your hair as normal. There were no instructions regarding whether it is ok to use other styling products and I am not sure what the official line is. I tend to use my usual heat protection spray and other products (i.e Moroccan oil or mouse), and they don't have any detrimental effect on the straightening effect. At this point I noticed that my hair didn't feel like it usually does, and it seemed a little sticky. Even though there was no warning of this, I think this is a normal feature of the product. I have used the three day straight in a number of different ways, i.e just blow drying, or applying to dry hair before straightening, but in my experience the best way to use it is to apply to wet hair. Importantly, the straightening process seems to be the crucial factor in the activation of the product. The instructions just tell you to straighten your hair, although I find that if I section my hair and straighten it properly then my hair is super sleek and straight. After straightening, that horrible sticky feeling also seems to disappear and my hair returns to it's usual texture. After using the product my hair is lovely and straight, and on many occasions I don't need to straighten my hair the next morning. The ability to just brush my hair and leave for work is so amazing for me, and this is the reason why I love the product so much! Unfortunately, I have a fringe so depending on how I have slept, I occasionally need to straighten my fringe to make it lie flat. Even though I love the product, I have to warn that on my hair type it definately does not last a full three days. I would say it lasts an evening into the following day, although by the following evening my hair begins to 'flick' at the ends. It is no where near as curly as usual, but it definately is not as sleek as it was to begin. I definately think that the effectiveness of this product is heavily dependent on your hair type/texture, and so unfortunately this review is certainly not a one shoe fits all job. I will definately repurchase this product simply because I have not used any other product that can make my hair as straight, and so it is excellent for special occasions and nights out. I would love to use it every day, but the price you pay for a small amount would make it a little expensive for me. I have marked this product as a three star just because of it's expensive price tag, and also because it does not last the full three days.