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If you own a large dog, and if your dog loves balls, you will know how difficult it is to find a ball that will withstand their 'tough love'. My dog, a large German Shepherd called Daisy, can shred a standard tennis ball in three minutes. Although she's only ten months old I must have bought her thirty balls already; some have got lost, but most have been ruined by her huge teeth and jaws.
Although she loves all balls, Daisy's particular obsession is the rubber ball-on-a-rope type, and of the many we have tried, the absolute best is this Tough Toys Jumbo Rope Ball.
*** What is a Rope Ball?***
Most dogs love Rope Balls. They are simply a rubber ball with a hole in the middle through which a rope is attached to form a 'handle' approximately six inches long. This makes them easier to throw than a standard ball; you can get a good swing as you launch it, meaning it will fly further, giving your dog a longer run.
***About the Jumbo***
This is simply a scaled-up version of the standard ball-on-a-rope, but with added indestructibility! It is aimed at large dogs, as it has a 3.2 inch diameter (roughly the size of a large orange) and weighs 370 grams. A small or medium dog would struggle to handle it comfortably, but it is perfect for large breeds. It is made of solid, non-toxic rubber with a small hole through the middle where the rope fits. The rope is very heavy duty, yet still soft to hold. It is available on-line or at Pets at Home, where it costs £7.99. It comes in a variety of colours, and I would recommend a bright one (the pink ball with yellow rope is lovely) not only because it is attractive, but because it stands out in long grass making it easier to find.
***Why Daisy loves the Jumbo***
Daisy really gets attached to her toys. She carries them around with her, takes them to bed with her, and plays with them every day. But due to her strong teeth and jaws, she keeps accidentally destroying them, meaning they have to be thrown away - very frustrating for her! Luckily, her Jumbo Rope Ball is virtually indestructible, so she can love it for a long, long time.
However hard she chomps down on it, the rubber never breaks or cracks. She makes tiny indents with her teeth, so it takes on the texture of orange peel, but it stays smooth and safe at all times. We play 'tuggy' with this (basically tug-of-war, where she holds the ball and I hold the rope) and the rope has not loosened or frayed at all. After many days of rough play, it is still as good - and safe - as new.
***Why I love the Jumbo***
When I first felt the weight of this toy, I did wonder whether I would be able to throw it properly as I'm not very strong or good at throwing! But actually it throws very easily, and I can launch this one much further than a non-roped ball and just as far as the lighter roped balls. It keeps Daisy exercised when I don't fancy a long walk; I simply stand still and keep throwing the ball while she runs after it and fetches it back.
It comes in loads of different colours so you can buy one to suit your play environment. For example, I would avoid a green one if I was going to be playing on grass, and I wouldn't buy a beige one to take to the beach.
When it gets dirty or smelly, it rinses clean easily under a tap and dries immediately (the rope takes slightly longer). So she can use it both inside and out.
***One small caution!***
At 375 grams, this ball hurts if your dog drops it on your toes! And if you're a rubbish thrower, keep away from parked cars as it could cause damage.
***To sum up***
This is a lovely, high quality toy and Daisy and I award it five Dooyoo stars. Happy dogs make happy owners, and this toy makes Daisy happier than any other!
I first sampled Clinique's Take The Day Off Make Up Remover for Lids, Lashes & Lips a couple of years ago when it was included in one of Clinique's Bonus Time promotions. I've been using it ever since.
I'm getting on a bit (fifty two years old), and I'm doing my utmost to fight the signs of ageing. Unfortunately, like many women, my face shows its age most around my eyes; crows feet, laughter lines, bags, dark shadows - sadly the list goes on! I want a product that will help me win this fight, and I also like to be careful about what products could potentially come into contact with my actual eyes. So I just don't economise with eye products; I buy the best I can afford. I already have a firm favourite eye cream (see my Clinique 'All About Eyes' review), and to complement that I use this Clinique Take the Day Off eye make up remover every night.
In true Clinique style, this product is beautifully presented in a lilac plastic bottle with a silver screw top and the standard Clinique logo. It looks sleek and classy on my dressing table. It is allergy and opthalmologist tested, and is apparently suitable for people who wear contact lenses. It is colourless and odourless.
Inside the bottle, the product sits in two distinct layers - a layer of oil and a layer of watery fluid. Remember to shake the bottle well before use to mix them.
To use, I simply shake the bottle, remove the lid, and gently tip the bottle to dispense some product onto a cotton wool pad. Only a small amount is needed to get excellent results. I then sweep this pad over my eye area, and with just one sweep all my 'standard' eye make up comes away. For mascara with extra staying power, or if I'm wearing more dramatic make up, I may need two or three sweeps, but never more. And I never need to rub or press hard - only a light pressure is needed which means I'm not pulling or dragging that delicate skin around my eyes.
After use, I can feel a very slight oil film on my lids, but this is very light and it feels pleasant rather than greasy. It disappears into my skin in less than a minute and my eyes feel very soft and moisturised. There is no visible sign of the product. My eyes are then ready to apply my favourite eye cream.
On occasions I have got this product in my eyes when using it. I have felt absolutely no irritation when that has happened; no watering, no discomfort, no reaction, nothing. So I'm even confident using it after a good night out!
The product is designed to remove lipstick as well. I'm sure it would be equally efficient at that, but I just tend to remove lipstick with my usual cleanser so can't really comment.
Boots sell this product at £14.50 for a 125ml bottle. I suppose that is quite expensive, but a little goes a long way - much more so than with cheaper products I've used - so I actually think it gives excellent value for money. A bottle lasts me about six months.
Although I am older, this product isn't particularly aimed at mature women and is suitable for all ages. My eighteen year old daughter borrows it all the time and it is her favourite too. I'm going to make her a hamper of high-quality products for Christmas this year and I will definitely be including this one.
I would recommend this product to everyone. It is easy to use, it works quickly and efficiently, leaves your skin feeling great and won't irritate your eyes if you make a mistake. What else could you want?
This Clinique 7 day scrub cream came to me as part of a 'Bonus Time' pack. For anyone who isn't familiar with 'Bonus Time', this is a promotion which Clinique run occasionally whereby if you buy two Clinique products (one of which must be from their skincare range), you receive several sample-size products to try. It's a great opportunity to try out some really high-quality products and, as the samples are quite large (50 ml in this case), you actually get to see the medium-term impact that the products can have. A good marketing ploy from Clinique, and several times I have actually bought the full-size product after sampling the gift.
The scrub comes in Clinique's trademark green, flip top plastic bottle; it looks OK, but nothing special. If it didn't have that premium name 'Clinique' written on it, I wouldn't give it a second glance. A 100 ml bottle costs £17, which is pretty dear for a scrub. However, based on my sample-sized one I estimate that this would last maybe four months if used daily. It is allergy tested and fragrance free.
As usual, Clinique don't skimp on the promises! They say that with regular use 'skin looks translucent, clearer, brighter' as the product 'takes the edge off tiny lines with better stimulation. Promotes even skin tone. Helps control oil-related problems. Gives a light reflecting look to mature skin. Allows better makeup application. Moisuriser absorbs more easily. Deflakes, polishes, clears pores'. Well, there's not much left to ask for, is there!?
To really test these hefty claims, I committed to using it every night for a week. I thought that might be a struggle, but I really enjoyed it.
This scrub is unusual in that you apply it to dry skin. As recommended, I removed all make-up from my face and squeezed some product onto my finger. It is pure white with a creamy consistency, and when I rubbed it between my fingers I could feel that the beads were very fine. I applied 5 pea-sized blobs around my face and gently massaged them into my skin. I could definitely feel the grains, but they were gentle and didn't irritate in any way. After maybe 30 seconds, the whiteness disappeared from the product and it became clear - my skin just looked damp. It was very interesting to watch in the mirror! After maybe a minute of massaging, I rinsed the product off using warm water, and I was pleased to find that it rinsed away easily and left no residue on my face. I patted my skin dry and waited......
I was waiting for that customary tightness that my dry skin gets after exfoliating. And it did feel a bit dry, and I did want to get some moisturiser on there, but it was nowhere near as uncomfortable as I had expected. That really impressed me as I can NEVER get my face wet without it feeling awful when it dries.
I repeated this every night for seven nights (last night was the final one). By half-way through my experiment, I found that each application took less time - the product seemed to glide around my face more easily, and it turned clear more quickly, needing even less rinsing.
I genuinely have noticed an improvement in my skin while using this. I thought that daily exfoliation on my face might be too much for my ageing skin to cope with, but it was very pleasant to use and didn't irritate in any way.
After the first use, my face started to look clearer and brighter. This became more noticeable as the week went on. Having dry skin, I tended to get 'flaky' patches down the sides of my nose and even on my cheeks. Those have completely gone. My moisturiser does tend to absorb more easily now, and I feel that I need to apply less mosituriser to get the result I want. Now, bear in mind that I already look after my skin quite well; to someone who doesn't tend to bother much, I think this product could seem like a mini-miracle!
I really like this, and when I have finished my sample I shall buy the full-size product - unless I can pick up another freebie during Bonus Time!
For years I have been a fan of the Tesco Value All Purpose Cloths for all the cleaning jobs around my house. However, last time I went to buy some of these Value cloths, my eye was drawn to the Daisy brand sat next to them on the shelf. The Daisy ones caught my eye for no other reason than that my dog is called Daisy! Once I saw the price and the size/thickness of the packet, I decided to give the Daisys a try, and I am pleased that I did.
They come, like most products of this nature, folded and bundled in a plastic bag. The packaging has now changed from the picture above, and looks less gaudy and cheap. The pack contains 20 cloths and currently cost £1.29 - that works out at just over six pence per cloth. Although that's dearer than the Value ones (at four pence each), it is substantially cheaper than Tesco's standard All Purpose Cloths, which are either ten or fifteen pence each, depending on the packet size bought.
Size-wise, there's not much to choose between these and the Value ones - they are the same width, the Daisy ones are just 3 inches longer. The real difference is in the thickness. The Value ones are very flimsy, whereas these Daisy ones are quite substantial - easily on a par with Tesco's own. To illustrate this, I weighed ten of the Daisy ones, and they came to 105 grams. Ten of the Value ones weighed 59 grams. For completeness, ten of Tesco's own weighed 110 grams! And yes, I did have too much time on my hands today!
Appearance-wise, they are blue and white diamond-checked (Value ones are blue and white striped, if you're interested!) - not particularly attractive, but then they are only cleaning cloths.
The instructions say that they are ideal for 'wet and dry use in and around the home. Ideal for dusting, polishing, wiping up, mopping down and general cleaning'. Personally I prefer to use purpose-bought orange dusters for dusting as I find they hold the dust better, but I daresay these would be fine too. According to the packet they can be machine-washed, though I tend to think of this type of cloth as semi-disposable; I use them for a few days in the kitchen for washing up/wiping down, then they get relegated to bathroom cleaning, after which they are thrown away. Whilst I realise this is not particularly 'green', I do get plenty of uses from them before disposal.
They are certainly excellent to use. When dry, they are a little rigid, but as soon as they are damp they become soft, pliable and easy to handle. They are hygenic, easy to rinse through after use, do not hold stains (if mopping up spilt red wine for example) and do not hold smells. They can also be used for some pretty hard-core scrubbing (I used one today to scrub the mud off some filthy walking boots) without disintegrating. They do tend to 'bobble' a bit when given a hard job such as floor washing, but they still do it effectively. Brilliant!
So, all things considered,these are now my favourite All Purpose Cloth. I will continue to keep a pack of the Tesco Value ones in my cupboard for small 'one-off' jobs which suit a smaller and more disposable cloth, but for most of my day-to-day cleaning, it's Daisy for me now.
Who'd have thought there was so much to say about a cleaning cloth...!
This night cream is part of the Olay Regenerist range, developed for mature women hoping to reverse the signs of ageing. I am a massive fan of this Regenerist range and use several of their products on a daily basis - this All Night Recovery Cream is one of those products, and I just would not be without it.
At the age of 52, my skin shows signs of age, despite me having used appropriate creams and lotions throughout my life. That's a shame - but I haven't given up! Admittedly, my skin is nowhere near as elastic and line-free as it was in my thirties, but when I compare my face to that of other people my age who haven't cared for their skin, there is a remarkable difference.
***About this cream***
The cream is available from all the usual high-street chemists and supermarkets, and the standard price is around £22 for a 50 ml pot. However, it is available cheaper on-line, and is regularly on special offer with Tesco and Superdrug, where it can sometimes be bought for half price.
There are thirty-three ingredients in this product, mainly unpronounceable, and you can find them at www.olay.co.uk if chemistry is your thing. Personally, I am only interested in the results it gives, which according to Olay is down to their 'revolutionary aminopeptide complex'.
The pot is made from lilac plastic with a black screw top. I can't say it passes my 'dressing table attractiveness' test, but on this occasion I don't care!
*** My experience***
I use this cream every night before bed. First I cleanse and tone my skin, then apply this cream quite generously to my face and neck by dipping my fingers into the pot and applying dots across my face, which I then blend together. At first glance, the cream is a rather alarming lilac colour, but it is colourless once applied. It has a very faint but pleasant scent. It is extremely light on the fingertips, and blends into the skin easily without any need for dragging or pulling. It feels extremely rich and luxurious both on the fingers and the face, yet is light and non-greasy.
Once applied, it absorbs into my dry skin immediately and is invisible, with no unattractive shine. However, I can certainly feel that I am wearing it because my skin feels moisturised, nourished and completely 'comfortable'.
When I wake up the next morning, my skin still feels hydrated. I occasionally have a 'slobby Sunday'when I sit around in my dressing gown until midday without cleansing or applying any products. This night cream - applied maybe twelve hours previously - still keeps me comfy and hydrated; that's pretty impressive with my dry skin!
This is one of my 'must-have' products, and I make sure that I stock up when it is on offer so I always have it to hand. I have occasionally tried cheaper alternatives, but this is the one I always come back to. A 50 ml pot lasts me about five weeks, which works out at between £2 and £3 per week depending on the price I paid. I consider that to be excellent value for money given the results I get.
I would recommend this product to all mature women. Five stars from me.
Soups are just so practical. I have a couple of recipes for home-made soups that I use regularly, but there are times when I simply want to heat up a ready-made, top-quality soup to make a quick lunch or snack. This Tesco Finest Puy Lentil and Vine Ripened Tomato Soup is one that I usually have in the fridge for such times. I also take it to work for lunches - half a tub of this and a bread roll at lunchtime will keep me going through the afternoon. It can be either microwaved in its pot, or heated in a pan.
It is a fresh soup so needs to be stored in the fridge, and you will find it in the chilled aisle at Tesco. At £2.20 it is quite expensive, but this is a top-of-the-range soup and I genuinely don't mind paying that for it. Having said that, the Tesco Finest soups regularly come on offer (buy two for £3 is the common one) and as they have a Use By date of around two weeks, you can stock up when the offer runs. According to the pot it can also be frozen, but I've never tried that.
I won't list all the ingredinets (you can read them on Tesco.com), but the soup contains a large variety of vegetables - tomato being the main one at 54%. Lentils account for 8% of the ingredients and, although lentils can be quite bland, there is no blandness in this soup courtesy of the coriander, chilli and garlic included.
This is a very wholesome, filling soup. It is thick in texture, with the consistency of tinned rice pudding (but with lots more flavour!). It is spicy, and both the smell and taste remind me of a curry. Its wonderful red/brown colour and chunky vegetables give it a very appealing appearance. The smell as it is warming is delicious, and it always promotes a lot of interest at work when I produce it. Several people have seen/smelled mine, then gone out and bought it themselves! It looks and tastes like a home-made soup, made from top quality ingredients.
A portion of this contains 180 calories and only 4g of fat (of which only 0.6g is saturated). I suppose the salt level is a little high at 1.1g, but I don't eat much salt in other foods so I forgive it! Impressively, a serving of this soup contains two of your 'five a day' fruit and vegetables, which is brilliant. It is suitable for vegetarians.
This product is superior to any other soup I have ever bought. Tasty and nutritious, it is a filling light meal in itself. I am a vegetarian but my son and husband are not. Often they complain that vegetarian food is boring and 'lacking something'. However they both love this soup and don't seem to even notice that it is meat-free.
I would recommend this soup to everyone.
I was excited to find that Tesco have included their Finest food range in their current Double Clubcard Exchange Scheme. This means that Finest products can be bought using clubcard points at twice their usual value - so effectively half-price, plus paid for in vouchers rather than cash. Yay! This gave me the perfect excuse to buy lots of goodies which I normally consider too expensive. And one I'd had my eye on for a long time was their frozen Tarte Au Citron. As some of the Finest puddings are currently included in a two for £5 offer, I bought this one along with the Eton Mess (which was, incidentally, lovely), making it £2.50 instead of its usual £3.00 price tag.
Anyone watching their weight/fat intake should bear in mind that a serving of this contains 240 calories and 10.4 grams of fat, of which 6.7 grams are saturated. And that's before you add the cream!
The packaging is standard Tesco Finest, as shown in the picture above. But everyone knows that the idea with puds is to rip the packaging off as quickly as possible and get to the good stuff, so that's enough about that.
Once removed from the cardboard and foil and placed on one's own plate, well, it looks very nice. You could actually pass it off as home made as it has a homely, slightly imperfect look - the pastry edges are somewhat over-brown (or burnt as we say in Yorkshire) and the filling is quite a natural yellow colour with an attractive scattering of grated lemon rind on top. I would go so far as to say it looks delicious.
Taste-wise, it's actually OK. Not brilliant, and certainly not 'finest', but OK. The lemon filling is quite sharp and tangy, though it doesn't make you pull a 'sour lemon' face. It is sweet enough, but not sickly. But it is definitely not the taste of an authentic French tart au citron. It has a slightly artificial taste. Think lemon curd rather than French citron.
The pastry bizarrely doesn't taste of anything at all, so there's nothing to actively dislike there as such. Except that you know it SHOULD have a taste - it should be sweet and buttery and just delicious. It isn't.
The texture is where it REALLY goes wrong for this pud.
Firstly, the pastry. The visible edges are fine - reasonably crisp and light. But the rest of the pastry is just awful. Firstly, it is far too thick. Viewing a slice side-on, the pastry is nearly the same depth as the filling; the proportions are all wrong. Now I do like pastry, so I wouldn't mind the thickness if this was good pastry, but it isn't. Aside from being tasteless, it has the most bizarre texture. It is 'bendy' - it doesn't snap if you fold it, it happily moulds into any shape you want. Not soggy exactly, but not short either; more like raw pastry, though it clearly is cooked. Maybe the moisture from the filling causes this, but I ate it as soon as it was defrosted so it hadn't been left standing around for days.
Now the filling. A good tart au citron should be smooth and glossy and thick. And I suppose it IS glossy and thick, but unfortunately the filling has a strange powdery texture, and that was all I could think of as I ate it. It's not gritty, but definitely not smooth. Powdery. From the ingredient list I see that this product contains icing sugar and maize starch, so maybe that's the reason, but unfortunately the rather pleasant taste is completely over-shadowed by the strange, powdery texture. The lemon zest sprinkled on top of the tart is quite rubbery and, although it looks nice, it adds nothing to the taste or texture and would have been better left out.
I SOOOO wanted this to be lovely. I wanted the pastry to be short, buttery and sweet, and I wanted the filling to taste like the tarts I've had countless times on French holidays. And it just wasn't.
Having said all that, I ate it! I have a ridiculously sweet tooth, and if I'd paid £1 for this in a discount shop I would have been quite satisfied. But this is supposed to be a quality Finest product, and it just wasn't fine enough.
I tend to think of serums as quite new-fangled. Up until a few years ago I'd never even heard of them. Back then, my morning pre-make-up routine was a simple cleanse, tone and moisurise. Well, I still do all that, but nowadays in between the tone and moisturise, I also incorporate a bit of Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum.
I am a big fan of Oay Regenerist products, and have regularly used their day and night creams for a good few years now in the hope that the anti-ageing claims are true! Then one day about three years ago, whilst Boots-browsing, I came across their new addition - the Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating serum. It was on special offer, so I decided to give it a whirl. Three years on, I'm still buying it!
***About the product***
This serum is part of Olay's Regenerist range, which is aimed at mature women who hope to reverse the signs of ageing. Olay recommend that this serum be used morning and night and, although it can be used alone, most people prefer to use it under other creams in the range. Olay claim it will moisturise and regenerate your outer layer of skin cells, so your skin looks and feels like new. The active ingredients, apparently, are the anti-aging pentapeptide KTTKS and an anti-oxidant peptide, Carnosine. There are forty-four ingredients listed on their website, most of which are unpronouncable; if you're into chemistry you might want to take a look! The serum comes in a 50 ml plastic tube which, if I'm honest, isn't particularly attractive. However, for this product, I will overlook that! The product is dispensed through a pump-action lid which is easy to use and hygenic.
I use this product every morning. I cleanse and tone my face then, when all toner has dried, I dispense two pumps of the serum onto my finger tips and blend it gently all over my face. The serum is an opaque white, and has a gel-cream consistency. It feels very light on the skin and has a slight delicate fragrance, a bit like Johnsons Baby Powder. It blends very easily into the skin - no dragging or pulling is required, just a light, finger-tip action. Once on my face it absorbs instantly leaving no visible trace. My skin feels immediately hydrated and any tightness (people with dry skin will know what I mean!) disappears instantly. After a minute or two, I apply my usual moisturiser. Having already used the serum, I do find that I need less moisturiser than I otherwise would. The layering of the serum and moisturiser (which is usually Olay Regenerist Replenishing Cream - review to follow) gives an excellent base for my foundation, and I can rely on my make-up to last throughout the full day.
This is a lovely item. I enjoy trying new products, and I'm a sucker for special offers, so I have experimented with other serums. None of the others have even come close to this one and I always come back to it. At £25 for a 50 ml tube it IS expensive, but shop around - it can be bought much cheaper on-line, and both Boots and Superdrug regularly have it on offer at either a third off or half-price. A 50 ml bottle only lasts me about five weeks, so it is worth looking round for the best deal.
Highly recommended for mature ladies, though I'm sure younger women would love it too.
I have used this foundation for several years now and won't be swapping any time soon. I'm 52 years old, and when I reached 45 my skin tone and texture changed quite dramatically. My favourite Rimmel foundation started to look wrong, and although I spent a small fortune trying various different alternatives from the cheaper ranges, I couldn't quite get it right.
After a few failed purchases I decided I needed professional help, and I visited a local independent department store which stocks many of the premium brands. I chose the Clinique counter simply because the assistant looked like I wanted to look! She was about my age, attractive and well made-up, but in an elegant, understated way. I was there for over an hour, undergoing a full 'foundation fitting' and came away with the Clinique Superbalanced Foundation in Ivory which I have used ever since.
This is a liquid foundation, which comes in a chunky glass bottle. It passes my 'dressing-table-attractiveness' test! The 30 ml bottle costs about £21, and Clinique describe it as a moderate coverage foundation, giving a natural finish, which is suitable for combination skin. They say it absorbs oil where needed, and minimises the appearance of fine lines. Like most Clinique foundations, it is oil free and contains anti-irritants and anti-oxidants. It is also water-resistant and perspiration-proof.
*** My experience***
I use this daily after applying a serum and moisturiser. Using my fingers, I place several dots of foundation on my face, then blend it across my whole face with my finger tips. It blends very easily, and leaves no 'tide-mark' around my jaw or neck. It feels very light on my skin and I don't actually feel like I am wearing any foundation. Although light, it is gives an excellent coverage and completely evens out my slightly blotchy skin tone. It looks fresh and very natural - people have commented that I am lucky to have good skin and not need to wear make-up!! Obviously this is due to the sales advisor helping me to choose exactly the correct colour, but with twenty shades available there should be one to suit everybody. It lasts for a good eight hours - if I was going out after work I would need to re-apply it, but I think that is the case with any foundation. Before bed, all remaining traces are removed easily with a standard (cheap!) cleansing cream.
*** The Verdict***
This is the now only foundation I own. I have it in two shades - Ivory which is my staple choice, and Vanilla for the rare occasions when I have a suntan. At £21 I suppose it is quite expensive, but a bottle lasts me about four months and it does everything I could ask of a foundation. I don't begrudge paying that little bit more for the confidence of knowing that I look as fresh-faced and attractive as I possibly can at 52 years old. Having said that, it is not purely a product for mature women. My eighteen year old daughter borrows it occasionally and, although my shade is slightly dark for her, she would buy a lighter one in a heart-beat if she could afford it!
I most definitely recommend this product.
This Moisture Mask was included in a No7 gift set that I was given at Christmas. It is my favourite product from that set, and probably the only one that I would now go out and buy.
***About the product****
Being a No7 product, this is only available from Boots. It currently costs £14.00, but Boots regularly have offers (buy two get one free/free £5 vouchers etc) so you rarely need to pay full price. Boots describe it as 'an intensively quenching treat for softer, smoother skin'. They recommend it be applied to the face after cleansing, left on for at least 3 minutes (or overnight if you wish), then removed with tissues and rinsed away. If you have extra dry skin, you may wish to follow it with a moisturiser.
It's pretty! It comes in a transparent plastic tube, about five inches high, with a matching push-on lid. The product is visible through the tube, and looks very appealing; a pale pink, swirly, whipped mousse - like a Mr Softee ice cream! Dooyoo don't have a picture, but you can see it at www.boots.com. It has a pearly white, push-down dispenser to release the product, and sleek gold writing on the front of the tube. It looks classy and expensive.
I used the product exactly as recommended. The pump dispenser is easy and effective, and I was surprised that the product is actually a creamy consistency - from its appearance I was expecting a mousse. It feels rich but quite light, and applies easily to the skin without dragging or pulling. It is cooling and comfortable, and has a light, pleasant, clean perfume. Being a mask, much of the product sits on top of the skin rather than being fully absorbed in, but it doesn't set hard like some masks and retains its creaminess until removed. Removal was easy with a tissue and a quick rinse, and it left no residue. After removal, my face looked pleasantly plumped up and felt hydrated. I have dry skin, which is prone to feeling 'tight', but it felt nicely moisturised after using this. I applied my usual day cream an hour or so after using this product, and I noticed that I needed to use less than usual.
I like it. The appearance and texture of the product give a luxurious, pampering feeling, and it was easy and pleasurable to use. My skin felt cared for and nourished. Whilst I don't particularly have sensitive skin, this felt gentle. I have used lots of masks over the years, but this one is now my favourite! At £14 it is quite expensive, but the tube will probably give me about 15 treatments, and I don't skimp on it! Used once per month it will last me a year, which is pretty good value. And it looks good on my dressing table. Recommended!
My tub of Boots No7 Essential Moisture Night Cream was included in a gift set I was given at Christmas. Lots of the stuff in that set was really lovely, and I am a fan of many No 7 items, but I was very disappointed in this particular product.
I've been spoiled I suppose. I normally use a brilliant night cream (Olay Regenerist - review to follow), But Olay is quite expensive, so naturally I hoped that this one would be just as good, but cheaper. Not so!
*** Product details***
Being a No7 product, this cream is only available from Boots. A 50 ml tub of it costs £10, but there are usually offers around (eg buy two products, get third free ) to bring the price down. I would estimate that if you use it every night, this tub would probably last you about three months, so I suppose it's not expensive. It comes in a plastic double-walled tub which looks ... just OK. It won't enhance your dressing table, but it won't make your eyes cry either. Apparently it is hypo-allergenic, dermatologically tested and fragrance-free.
The instructions for the cream are exactly what you would expect - ie apply to cleansed, toned skin and massage gently over face and neck.
I used the product exactly as recommended. The first thing I noticed as I dipped my fingers into the tub was that it is quite solid and stiff feeling. When I applied it to my face, I felt my skin was being dragged and stretched - and that's the last thing most women want. Application became a little easier once I started warming it between my fingers, but surely that shouldn't be necessary?
Once it was on, my face looked shiny and greasy. It felt sticky to the touch. If someone had rung the doorbell I would have been too embarrassed to answer it. I thought it might sink into my skin after a few minutes, but it didn't. If anything, as the temperature of the cream rose due to the warmth of my skin, the shine increased. The next morning it looked just as shiny and my hair was greasy where it had rested on my face.
To be fair, it felt reasonably 'comfortable' on my skin, but I didn't have any confidence that the product was going to reduce or prevent wrinkling. It looked and felt like a cheap, budget product.
*** The verdict***
I really didn't like the way this cream made my face look and feel each night, but I could have tolerated that if I had noticed any improvement in my skin's appearance or texture over the following weeks. Unfortunately I can't say that it improved my skin tone in any way.
This cream seems old-fashioned. When I looked in the mirror, I saw my mum looking back at me from the 1960s after applying her Ponds Cold Cream! There are many products out there that DON'T leave my skin shiny and sticky, and that don't cost much more. I'll stick with them, thanks!
I bought this oven 14 months ago and I LOVE it. It is a large double oven, which sits beautifully inside my standard-sized double oven-housing unit. At the time (after shopping round for the best price) it cost me £555.
***Why this one?***
I bought this oven to replace my old Bosch one, which had finally broken down after 21 years of daily, problem-free use. A good engineer might have been able to squeeze another few years from it, but I decided that the time was right to get rid of it (it was 1980s brown which no longer looked good amongst my other silver appliances). This old one had performed so brilliantly that I didn't even consider choosing a different brand. I knew I would buy Bosch, it was just a matter of deciding which model. Bosch have a brilliant website which gives massive detail about all their appliances (www.bosch-home.co.uk) which made it easy to select the one I wanted. This one is actually from their Avantixx range, which is classed as an 'added value' range. That apparently means it is relatively basic. However, basic from Bosch is not the same as basic from some cheaper manufacturers! It does everything most people could ever want from an oven; it looks wonderful and it performs brilliantly. True, the bottom oven has two functions rather than eight - but, like most people who aren't professional chefs, I would never use the extra six, so why pay for them?
It's a beauty! It had to be - a double oven is a large piece of kit, so people can't help but notice it when they walk into my kitchen, and I'm a bit of a snob like that. I love its brushed steel surround and black glass doors. The brushed steel actually LOOKS like brushed steel - some silver appliances tend to look like silver-painted plastic, or are so shiny that you can see your reflection in them. This one is just right, it has a classy subtle sheen and screams 'quality'. The glass doors are black, so are not transparent when the oven is turned off, but when it is turned on (and therefore illuminated inside) there is a huge viewing area so you can clearly see how your food is progressing without opening the door. Importantly to me, the glass is not mirrored; I think that looks tacky.
The control knobs (of which there are three) are 'pop-out', so when the oven is not being used they sit flush with the oven, adding to the sleek appearance.
The control panel for the clock and timer is touch-screen, with the clock visible at all times but other controls only illuminated when in use. And - a small point maybe, but important to me! - the clock illuminates in RED! It's surprisingly hard to find that out from either a showroom or a catalogue, and I didn't want it to clash with my freezer, which also lights up red!
The full technical spec for this oven can be viewed here - http://www.bosch-home.co.uk/our-products/cooking/ovens/ovens-range so I don't need to repeat that. I shall instead tell you about how good it is!
MAIN OVEN. The bottom (larger) oven is fan-assisted, and this fan works quietly and efficiently, meaning that food on the bottom shelf cooks just as well on food on the top shelf. There is room for three trays, though obviously this restricts 'head-room' for at least one of the trays, so for some foods only two will fit comfortably. The temperature control is accurate and, being fan-assisted, the food cooks quickly. The timer is easy to operate so there is no reason to over-cook food, and the intermittent 'beep' when the timer goes off is loud enough to hear from a couple of rooms away, yet won't make you jump if you're stood next to it.
TOP OVEN/GRILL The top oven doubles as a grill - there is a simple knob to select which function you require. The top oven is not fan-assisted and is smaller, with room for just one shelf. It cooks efficiently and the temperature seems accurate, which I believe can be an issue in top-ovens from some manufacturers. The grill heats up quickly and works perfectly, giving even cooking results across the width of the grill.
Internally, I simply wipe the oven down after each use with a damp cloth. Occasionally (say, every 6 weeks) I use a standard Mr Muscle-type cleaner on it to remove anything more stubborn. It always looks clean and hygienic.
Externally, I again use a damp cloth to remove any finger prints or food residue. To get a good sheen on the steel, a soft cloth dipped in a little baby oil works wonders and makes it look like new.
*** To sum up***
This is a quality appliance and does everything I ask of it. I'm a working mum, married to a working dad, so we tend to cook simple food and the odd cake - I can't, for example, comment on its ability to rise a soufflé! However, at Christmas it easily coped with cooking a large dinner for eight people, with room to spare, and with delicious results. Any disappointing meals that have come from this oven have 100% been due to my 'I'm-not-a-very-good-cook' syndrome and the oven has been in no way to blame! It is still relatively new, so as expected we have had no problems whatsoever with it. I expect to get many more problem-free years out of this oven, but when it does eventually break down, I will be buying Bosch again.
I wholeheartedly recommend this oven.
I bought this perfume last week when I was out on a shopping trip with my elderly mum and realised that she smelt much better than me! Not that I smelt particularly foul or anything - I'd done the deodorant stuff - but I'd rushed out without perfume and I always feel a bit 'undressed' unless I've had a squirt of something nice.
I was stood outside Body Shop at the time, so that seemed the obvious choice. I always enjoy browsing round their shops, and everything I have ever bought there has been high quality. Add to that their ethical sourcing and values, and it's a winner with me.
Having tried a few samples I decided on 'Love Etc....'. Body Shop sell this fragrance in various sizes, plus a range of matching toiletries (body butter, body wash, body lotion), and I chose the small 'purse spray' eau de parfum. This holds 10ml of perfume, and costs just £5. Although it would have been more slightly more economical to buy the 30 ml bottle for £15, this little one is a very handy size to keep in a handbag; plus it is just plain cute! It's shaped like a slightly over-sized lipstick, and is a glass tube with a pull on/off gold lid covering the usual press-down atomiser. The paper label on the bottle is lovely, with pink writing and multi-coloured hearts - very feminine and pretty.
*** The Scent***
'Love Etc...' is a very sweet, floral perfume. Body Shop describes it as "a heart-stopping fusion of jasmine, vanilla and sandalwood notes". Whilst I wouldn't particularly recognise the smell of jasmine, I can definitely pick up the vanilla in there, and I also think there is a hint of violet. Whilst it is sweet, it isn't sickly. It has just enough sharpness to prevent the sweetness being overpowering. However, considering it is an 'eau de parfum', rather than an 'eau de toilette', I don't find it lasts very long and needs to be re-applied every couple of hours. On the other hand it did only cost £5 so I really wouldn't expect the longevity of an expensive perfume.
***Who might wear this, and when?***
This is quite a 'girly' fragrance. It is very sweet, feminine and light, and I feel it would appeal to younger women. It has a carefree, youthful feel to it, and I think it makes an ideal light, daytime perfume. It would also suit a warm summer's evening, say out for a walk or sat outside a pub.
I do like this perfume, but I won't buy it again. I'm 52 years old and I feel it is just too young for me. To be honest, I think I may have combined a couple of samples on the same wrist, because it isn't what I thought I was buying! I will pass it on to my 18 year old daughter who has tried it and loves it. But whilst it isn't for me, I wholeheartedly recommend it for a younger, 'girly' woman who wants a light, happy fragrance.
Overall, a lovely, light-hearted fun fragrance for younger women and girls and an absolute bargain at £5
My BT phone line was playing up. When it rang, I could barely hear the caller. Naively, I thought all I needed to do was ring BT and they would come rushing out to help me and all would be well. Wrong. Before they will visit, they need assurance that it is not your actual handset that is faulty. If it is, you get to pay £130 for wasting their time. To avoid this they recommend trying a different phone in your socket to check it's not your phone causing the problem.
So, it was off to Tesco to buy another handset, purely (I thought) to establish that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the ones I already owned.
Tesco have a surprising and impressive array of phones. Many of them have lots of fancy features, but on this occasion I was only interested in price as I thought it was destined for a drawer after five minutes use. That led me straight to the Tesco Value Gondola, costing a mere £4.28. I wouldn't normally have bought this - the packaging would have put me off, screaming "CHEAP" as it does, with its standard 'Tesco Value' markings on the box. But common sense prevailed, and I shoved it in my trolley.
When I got it home I was very pleasantly surprised. It looks just like the picture above - a semi-matte, cream plastic with black buttons. The box describes it as white, but it is definitely cream. The numbers on the buttons are white against the black background and are quite large, so they are easy to read. There is a grey sticker on the base where you can, if you wish, write down twelve phone numbers. It wipes down easily and doesn't particularly show fingerprints. It isn't especially stylish, but it doesn't look cheap and there are no Tesco or Value logos on it to give it away.
It attaches to the phone socket with the standard plastic clip, and this fits fine and seems quite robust. It can be wall-mounted or sat on a table. If you're thinking of wall-mounting it, bear in mind that the coiled cord is quite short - at maximum stretch it is only about one metre long. But if you're sitting it on a desk you can get more 'reach' as the socket-to-phone cord is 2 metres long, making it quite portable.
It is low on features, but that's fine for me; if I want fancy stuff I use my mobile. It has a mute button, a last number redial button, and another black button with an 'R' in the middle - I still have no idea what that does! The ring volume can be set to either low or high. I found high was just too loud for normal use and kept making me jump. Set at low, you can still hear it from a couple of rooms away.
It is actually a very good phone, and I am still using it as it turned out that the fault WAS with one of my phones. I know corded phones are old-fashioned nowadays but in some ways they are very practical - the kids can't run off with it, there are no batteries to go flat and when it rings you know where to find it! I've only had it for about two months so can't comment on how long it will last, but so far so good, and if it should ever break down, I would have no hesitation in buying another one just like this.
So, overall I would highly recommend this phone for anyone who is on a budget or who simply prefers a basic, uncomplicated phone.
As part of a recent 'Bonus Time' offer from Clinique (where they give a selection of sample-sized goodies with every two standard purchases) I received a small tube of Sparkle Skin exfoliating cream. I am normally faithful to a wonderful FCUK exfoliator, which is a fraction of the price, so I was keen to see how the Clinique one compared.
Mine was a sample size and contained 40ml of product. Looking on-line, I see that a standard size bottle contains 200 ml and retails at around £16.50. I used my sample quite lavishly (as you do with freebies - I might have been more conservative if I'd paid for it!) and I got three uses out of it. By that reckoning, £16.50's worth of product would have given me fifteen full body exfoliations. Or, to put it another way, it would be £1.10 a pop. Ouch.
Firstly, outer appearance. As mine was a sample, I haven't studied the real one 'in the flesh', but looking on-line it seems to be a larger version of mine; a functional, blue, flip-top tube which is waterproof and ideal for use in the shower. Not particularly attractive (which I usually think Clinique do so well), but practical.
The instructions for use were exactly what you would expect from an exfoliator - wet the skin in the shower, rub the product all over the body (avoiding the eye area), paying particular attention to dry areas such as heels, knees and elbows, then rinse off. Clinique claim that this will slough off any dry or flaky skin, leaving the surface smooth, clean, and with a healthy glow.
So, once wet, I opened the tube and was immediately surprised by the smell. It was very minty and mentholly, like a mild Vics Vapour Rub! Not unpleasant, and actually rather invigorating - ideal to wake you up in the morning. I was a bit worried that the smell would linger as it would have clashed with my perfume, but once the product was rinsed off the smell disappeared. The product itself is quite an attractive blue colour, and the texture was perfect for shower use - it was soft enough to squeeze easily from the tube and massage in, but thick enough not to run straight off.
The exfoliating beads (that's what they call the grit!) were very fine, so it felt to be quite a gentle exfoliation, even when I rubbed my heels and knees quite hard. Whilst using the product, I did wonder if it was too fine to be effective. Once I had finished, it rinsed off very easily leaving no unpleasant residue or stickiness. Overall, it was easy and pleasant to use.
Now the important bit - did it work!? Well, yes, on the whole it did. My arms felt much smoother, even around the elbows, as did my back and stomach. However, I do have very dry, almost scaly lower legs (how attractive that sounds!), and it just wasn't robust enough to fully exfoliate these. I could still see dry skin, which I don't usually get after using my favourite exfoliator. Within a couple of hours, whilst my 'normal skin' areas still felt lovely, my legs looked and felt like they needed doing again. So, somewhat disappointing for me. I would say that this is a good product, but it will not suit everyone and is not one of the best I've used.
I think this product would be ideal for people who do light, frequent exfoliations, say every couple of days. But then again, for most people the product is just too expensive to use that often. Personally, I only tend to exfoliate maybe once a week, and Sparkle Skin really isn't heavy-duty enough to cope with my legs. So, I would class this as an excellent product for people who don't have particularly dry skin, or who have deep pockets! But personally whilst I did enjoy trying it, I won't be buying it.