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****Pyrex oval Roaster****
I bought the Pyrex oval roaster pictured here around 4 and a half years ago from Dun-elm mill when I moved into my first home. I wanted something for cooking pasta bake, meats etc in and could be multi functional for us. I was a bit dubious and honestly still am with this dish as I worry about it falling out of my hands or burning myself on it as there isn't any handles. The dish is 35cm x 24cm and around 7cm in height. The dish is clear and see-through and is oval in shape. It's quite thin too so it isn't too heavy unlike some of the Pyrex dishes I have which can be like a work out just lifting it.
I get a little annoyed with this dish as when trying to get something out of the oven with my folded up tea towel, I 9/10 times get food on tea towel trying to grab hold of the sides to be able to take it out of the oven. I've learn my lesson now and end up putting it on a baking tray before placing it in the oven so I can easily get it in and out.
I like the shape of this dish as it looks really appealing when it's in the centre of the table with the main dish in it ready to serve up. It is so easy to clean too and still scrubs up like new after all the use it's had over the years. It hasn't got any signs of use on it as there are no scratches, chips, marks or stains which is a really big thumbs up to Pyrex for making such good quality kitchen items. It's had burnt cheese stuck to it, burnt on mashed potato, sticky syrups and tomato based sauces which often send things a bit orange and yet they have always been easily cleaned off unlike baking trays or ceramic dishes which start to discolour with age. I like to look after Pyrex dishes and clean them very well so meals looks appealing to the eye as it's see-through so any layered meals like lasagne or Shepard's/cottage pie could be seen through the sides.
I not only use this dish to cook hot meals with, I also like to use it for making desserts. Trifles look great in this dish as you can see the layers and it's just right for a family and leftovers can be placed in the fridge. Pyrex dishes are safe for use in the oven, microwave, dishwasher and also the freezer but comes with instructions not to put it in the oven straight from the freezer or it can cause it to crack or shatter due to such different temperatures. If you are putting this in the fridge or freezer after cooking with it, always let it cool to room temperature first if you wanted to save those left overs for later.
Pyrex don't seem to sell this version of the oval roaster any more and have made a much safer option of this to replace it. The newer version of this Pyrex dish has handles on it which seem much safer and easier to use than the one I have is. I also have a circular Pyrex dish which has the same problem as this one does as it doesn't have handles and I find my dinner is all over the tea towel from me trying to get it a good grip on it as to not drop it on the floor whilst taking it out. Pyrex can get very hot when it's been in the oven so always take real care when getting it out and use something to protect your hands.
After really searching on line, I couldn't find this dish for sale but can see the newer version of this selling at Dun-elm Mill for £4.79 on sale (correct of 18/01/2014) usually £5.99. The dish is the approximately the same size with the added bonus of those handles so it is definitely worth the buy just for the nice shape and to present your dish in. I know I will be going on a trip for some new Pyrex dishes soon just to get a few more with handles!. I give this dish 4/5 stars as it doesn't have handles and can be a right pain to get out of the oven. I do like the dish though so I've give it 4 stars as it does the job I want it to do. It's easy to clean, easy to prepare meals in and gives me results each time I use it.
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****Sharwoods sweet & sour sauce****
Being a vegetarian can be difficult at times as my partner eats meat and I have to find something we can both have or something I can make two separate meals with. I'd never been a fan of sweet and sour before but as I had a voucher offering me money off this product, I decided to give it a go. I made two separate meals from this and made one with vegetarian 'chicken pieces' by Quorn and another with diced chicken breasts.
Obviously the first thing I looked at with this jar of sauce was to check if it was suitable for vegetarians and it is!. It has a few allergy alerts on the jar saying it contains barley and may contain nuts and sesame seeds so avoid this sauce if you are allergic to any of those. The sauce is a red in colour and is smooth and thick when taken out of the jar. When I first made this, I firstly fried off the chicken pieces and boiled up some egg noodles. When both were cooked, I added the noodles into the pan with the chicken and poured the sauce on top. The jar contains 195g of sweet and sour stir fry sauce and I used half in each pan I was cooking in. It covered the chicken and noodles very well and didn't take too long to heat up so I could serve.
This sauce is in the Chinese range of sauces, but Sharwoods also have a Cantonese style sweet and sour sauce jar in their range which contains bits of peppers, pineapples and water chestnuts which I prefer to this sauce. I made the mistake of not adding any vegetables to this particular sauce and it was quite a boring dish. The second time I used this stir fry sauce, I added some mini sweetcorn cobs chopped up and some chopped peppers to give it a bit of crunch and texture. This sauce is mild and is great to also serve to children. Hollie didn't like it as she is such a fussy eater and wouldn't try it purely on the smell.
The thickness of the sauce is great as it really coats all the things you mix it with when cooking. It's a great flavour too with a gingery sweet flavour, in my opinion it's very similar to the flavour of sweet and sour sauce from Chinese restaurants. After trying this, I really changed my mind about sweet and sour sauce. I hadn't tried it in years and was I surprised myself that I really enjoyed it. A general description fo the taste is one that is difficult to say, I would describe it as sweet from the taste of pineapple and then sour from the vinegary taste it gives off. I have give this product 4/5 stars because it isn't the best sweet and sour sauce that I've tried and like I previously mentioned, the Cantonese version has so much more flavour and all the vegetables packed into it make the sauce much more flavourful and tasty. However, I do recommend this sauce if you are adding your own vegetables to a stir fry, this sauce would be great for it as it's sticky, sweet, sour and definitely tastes great.
****The ingredients are:****
Water,Tomato Puree ,Sugar ,Malt Vinegar (from BARLEY) ,Fructose-Glucose Syrup ,Modified Maize Starch ,Concentrated Pineapple Juice (3%) ,Salt ,Ginger Puree ,Colour (Paprika Extract)
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****CRAYOLA MINI COLOURING PAGES TOY STORY****
Hollie got this for Christmas from a friend of mine. She absolutely loves it as she is a huge fan of Toy Story. Upon looking it up online, I noticed they sell a variety of different disney and other well known characters for these mini colouring pages. They have disney princesses, spiderman, cars and others too. I was so happy that my friend decided to get Hollie this as a present along with others as she is very interested in colouring and art at the moment that this was the perfect gift for Hollie.
You can find these Crayola mini colouring pages sets on-line at Toys r us, Amazon and other retailers it just needs a google search and you can find them. The quality of this product is very good. The paper isn't too thin and the pens are just right for this activity. Hollie does need to use her own Crayola pens aswell as the colours provided sometimes aren't right. There are pictures of Lotso the bear to colour in and he is a purple/pink colour and that isn't included in the box and Hollie won't colour him in any other than what he is supposed to be. Felt pens can be quite wet on paper so I would suggest putting something down on the table if you are using them as children often colour too hard and go through the paper which Hollie has done on several sheets. The sheets are good quality paper and need to be thinner to be able to accommodate for 80 sheets in this little set.
Hollie mainly uses this at home. She has taken it to my grandparents a few times to play with but she likes to be laid out on the floor of the living room, her big bag of colours beside her and paper sprawled all around her. She has coloured in about 20 sheets already as she is so in love with this set. I really enjoy seeing her concentrate not to go over the lines and at 4 years old, she is doing extremely well.
****WHAT'S INSIDE THE BOX?****
Inside the box is 6 washable Crayola colouring felt tips in colours:
They are mini pens which are slimmer than usual Crayola pens I've seen in the shops. This is a real handy kit as the box acts as a holdall for the pens and the sheets of paper. There are 80 colouring sheets in the pack which are 8.8 x 12.7 cm. The pictures to colour in on the paper are made with black lines and you just need to fill in the gaps with colour. The images are of Characters from all of the Toy story films so you have a good mixture of people and characters to have a go at colouring in. This pack is really good for travel or just something to do at home. You could easily carry this box around as it is small enough to pop into a child's rucksack or even a ladies handbag.
I would recommend these colouring pages sets to anyone with small children over 3 years old. (recommended age for this set is 3+) I say this only because the sheets are small and younger children who don't have much concentration may scribble over the paper onto the surface they are using. I am very pleased with this set and I'm looking for another set to buy for her birthday in April as no doubt she will be finished the Toy Story ones by then.
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****TYPHOO ONE CUP****
I am a huge fan of drinking hot drinks. If nightclubs served coffee and tea, I'd rather go for that over alcohol any day. I have tried a variety of different teas over the years and after finding clipper tea, I thought I wouldn't ever go back to any other kind. Money gets tighter for everyone and I was finding clipper tea too expensive for us to keep buying and at £2.55 for just 80 bags, I had to make a cut and find a different brand.
I popped into the local home bargains where I buy most of my dried food good now and came across typhoo one cup. It has 100 tea bags for just 95p and I was sold. I've had Typhoo before and knew it was a good brand but as this was a one cup bag, it meant it wouldn't be as strong as the usual tea bags I buy or regular Typhoo. I don't like my tea too strong so I thought it was better for me to have these tea bags instead. The 100 packs comes in a red box (updated since the photo shown) and you can also buy large 440 tea bag carriers which work out very cheap too at just £3.99 a bag in Home Bargains.
I got them home and decided to try them out and didn't tell my partner about them being a one-cup tea bag to see if he could even tell the difference. I poured the hot water into the cup over the tea bag and let it sit for 20-30 seconds to let the tea infuse into the water. It was dark and looked just like a regular tea bags and didn't show any signs of it looking different. I poured the milk in and squeezed the teabag hard until it had no life left in it!
Taking the first few sips, I was so pleasantly surprised. It tasted lovely and wasn't weak like I thought it may have been. My partner actually commented on how lovely his tea tasted and was impressed when I told him how much they were and how many was in the pack. They work out at less than 1p each and are worth a try if you don't have your tea too strong or trying to pinch the pennies. I don't like to leave mine brewing in the cup for too long and have my tea medium rather than brewed to the death of the teabag. It was such a wonderful cup of tea and I was so pleased it was something we both liked and could then purchase again and save ourselves a lot of money. I was paying 3.2p per teabag with clipper tea but this is just under 1p per teabag saving us over a third.
I definitely recommend this tea to anyone. If you aren't a tea drinker but sometimes have visitors who do have tea, try these boxes out and save yourself some cash. I haven't seen the one-cup tea bags in supermarkets, only in the discount shops so even if it isn't home bargains you use, you might find them in another discount store for a similar price. I give this product 5/5 stars.
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Black & Decker KA161BC Multi Sander
This sander also referred to as the Mouse detailed sander is a pretty nifty tool to have in your tool kit. I bought this for my partner for his birthday back in August as we wanted to make some seats for the garden out of pallets but knew we would need to sand them down. Instead of opting for sanding sheets which often hurt your hands, I looked on Amazon and found this for £19.99. It came within a few days so once the chairs were made, we were able to sand it down using this. I think since buying it, I've used this sander more than James has as he is usually doing something else with his jigsaw or fixing this that and the other so I go for the sanding job which is pretty fun!
I wasn't happy with the sheets that came with this mouse as they weren't coarse enough and were taking a long time to sand down a rough pallet so we took a trip to B&Q to find something a bit coarser. We bought the coarsest ones available and went home to test it out. It was perfect and got all the splinters and rough patches off and now the wood looks brilliant.
What comes in the box?
In the box comes your mouse sander which has a good length of cord on it for you to be able to move around easily whilst sanding and it's plugged in. There is a dust extractor to attach to the back which looks like a black tube. I haven't yet seen the benefit it this part as there is always dust flying around from sanding that you can't much tell the difference!. There is 19 pieces of sanding sheets which 6 are the big sheets and it has 13 spare parts for the point of the sander. It also comes with 2 foam pads which can be used to buff and polish ornaments
You also receive a handy little black bag for you to put all the items in to keep them together. If we are using the sander, we will bring the bag with us as often we need to replace the point as it is used a lot more than the rest of the sander.
How to work it?
To get started on sanding you need to chose which type of sheet you need. If you are sanding down something that has been varnished and you want to go back to it's original wood then I suggest buying the coarser sheets as the ones that come with it aren't rough enough for the job. I went with P40 for mine as it was the coarsest one in the store and It felt like it was going to make the job quicker and easier. The sheets have a fluffy kind of material on the back which sticks to the velcro underneath the sander and get's you on your way. If you are sanding something then take it outside as it does make a bit of a mess. Definitely wear goggles or something to protect your eyes as depending on where the wind is blowing, it can get into your eyes and I often get it all over my clothes and in my hair. I wear my sunglasses rather than safety goggles/glasses.
The next step is pretty obvious! turn it on and get sanding. The sander is shaped into a point which makes it so easy getting into corners and really good for getting chips and scratches worn down. I have a task to sand down a new welsh dresser I have not long bought. We have previously sanded down a sideboard which was varnished and looked a bit too orange/yellow for my liking and it came up brilliant. I've sanded down the cupboard doors and the drawers so far which looks amazing. Using the P40 sheets on this make it so much easier and quicker to do that when I did the sideboard with a P80.
Not only does sanding items down make them look new again, but it also shows all the grain of the wood and makes them look so much better than when covered in wood stains or varnishes. I prefer to have my furniture made from real wood (not this rubbish flat pack stuff made from wood chippings) and for it to be untreated. Treating wood with varnish just makes it go a very orange/yellow colour and it ruins the look of it. As long as it's well looked after then keeping the wood bare shouldn't be a problem and any scratches or chip can just be sanded back out!
I haven't yet tried out the foam pads as I don't have anything that I need buffering up or polishing but I will keep the pads safe just in case. The extra sheets and pads for this sander are pretty expensive. I paid £8.49 for 5 sheets in B&Q but found them much cheaper on Amazon for £4.49 which seems like a much better deal. The sheets come with extra tip tabs, you have 3 per sheet so in effect you are getting 15 of the tip tabs and 5 of the bottom sheets. The bottom sheets don't need replacing as much as the tips do as the tip is the part mainly used for us. We use it to do the edges of doors, in the corners of things and to rub out any scratches so it does need replacing much more.
This sander can be annoyingly noisy when in use. It vibrates to be able to sand it down whilst you are holding it so it makes a bit of a racket. It also makes your hands feel very strange after using it. Mine felt incredibly soft because of the vibrations it has given off. It does get tiresome to hold and hurts your wrists after an hour or so from all the vibration so I would recommend stopping for short breaks to relax your hands.
Do I Recommend this product?
Definitely! I give this 5/5 stars. It is quite noisy but I don't think this should effect the use of the product. It does the job that it's supposed to do and works extremely well. I like that it has so many different functions and reading through the instructions will give you an idea of how many different things this could be used for. I really enjoy the outcome of this and it does the job effectively and easily without me having to put too much effort into it like I would have to with ordinary sand paper sheets. We've bought 2 second hand pieces of furniture since purchasing this sander just because we knew we had the right tools to give it some TLC and get it how we wanted it to look. I am so pleased with how well it works and give it a big recommendation.This can now now be purchased from Amazon for £24.95 or £19.99 in Argos. (price January 2014)
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***Peppa pig complete art pack***
Hollie has become very interesting writing and drawing. She started school in 4 months ago and has already learnt the whole alphabet, all her numbers and loves to show everyone how good she is with them. For Christmas, her aunties bought her this art pack as they know how much Hollie loves to colour, draw and write. This art pack is brilliant and Hollie was so excited to get colouring when she opened it on Christmas day.This art set it for children ages 3+ and is warned it is not suitable for children under 36 months.
One of my partners sisters works in Asda and I think this is where she got it from. It is £6 in Asda but can also be bought from Toys R us for £4.99 but isn't sold on the online store. This set is perfect for all those Peppa Pig fans out there and i t is unisex so can be used by boys and girls over 3. The paints in this set need water and possibly some thicker paper to paint on. for smaller children, it's best to supervise the painting as it can get very messy with all the paint and water being splashed about.
***What comes in the art pack?***
**12 stubby felt tip pens - I was slightly disappointed with these as they are quite difficult to get off your skin. Hollie's fingers were covered in blue pen for a day or two but a bath did the trick.
**12 coloured pencils
**12 wax crayons
**12 oil pastels
**Ruler, pencil, eraser, sharpener
**Paint palette with 12 different colours, paint brush and sponge.
The whole set folds in half and clips together with a popper to become a carry case. I love this as when Hollie opened it, I worried about where all the items would go but it means it is all kept lovely and tidy together. This is also very handy to take with you on a long train journey or other trips as it is something children will have lots of fun with and you just need a pad of paper to go with it. The carry case has a handle for easy transport and each item in this case has it's own slot inside so you can keep it together and know what item is lost if there is a space left after packing away.
I absolutely love this Peppa art pack as I can see how much Hollie enjoys using it. She plays with it for at least 2 hours at a time and draws me lots of wonderful pictures to put on the fridge. Hollie is 4 years old and pretty new to being able to really concentrate on what she is drawing and this pack helps her to choose colours and help her to understand the different types of pens/pencils she can use to draw with. I give this art pack 5/5 stars for being a brilliant tool for imagination and letting children really go to town with their drawings by being able to use different types of drawing media.
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Russell Hobbs Bread Maker:
For Christmas, James's parents bought us this bread maker. We had asked for one and we were very pleased we got one! We opened it before Christmas as we were asked to so we could check it worked so we were making fresh bread throughout December. With England always getting bad weather and possibilities of snow, I've always wanted a bread maker so we wouldn't need to go out to the local shop and pay almost £2 for a loaf or even risk is being sold out. Our fridge freezer isn't huge so we can't stock on bread in case of an emergency.
Upon opening the bread maker I thought it might have lots of different accessories as it mentions on the box you can make 3 sizes of bread. What this actually means is that the loaf tin that is inside will make all 3 sizes!. So inside the box just came the bread maker which the tin already inserted and an instruction manual/recipe book. It's always best to follow the bread recipes in the books you get with your bread maker as other ones could be different sizes and ingredient portions could be different.
We popped to the shops and bough some bread mixes so we could try it out. We had a wholegrain bread mix which would make a large loaf and just needed water and a knob of butter adding to the mixer. These mixes are handy to keep in the cupboard for emergency breads.
Our first experience:
As mentioned, we first used a wholegrain bread mix (Hovis) which we poured straight into the tin of the machine along with the water and butter. We then had to set it to a large loaf and for it to give us a medium crust. We then chose the wholegrain setting which meant it would take 4 hours from start to finish. Firstly it mixed the ingredients together and combined it all really well. I watched this stage as noticed bits of flour around the edges of the tin but the machine is brilliant in how it mixes and it got all of the ingredients combined together well. It then went on to kneed the dough and then let it prove. The smell by this point was very satisfying and smelt so homely and inviting.
The next stage was to cook the bread which smelt like heaven. There is a small glass window on the top of the machine which lets you look inside instead of having to open the machine and ruin the temperature that it has built up to. Once it was finished it beeped to let us know it was done cooking. I then opened the lid to remove the bread. The instructions stated that I had to lift out the tin with the handle then turn it upside down and shake the bread out, so I did that and let it cool on a wire rack. I was amazed to see the bread was perfect and couldn't wait to have a taste and when we did, it was brilliant. The rise was perfect and the texture was great. I couldn't have made this bread myself as I don't have the right tins and I get really bored of kneading the bread by hand.
Our second experience was for another bread mix of a parmesan cheese and sun dried tomato loaf. We this time used the basic setting as the mix suggested a 3 hour bake. I was so excited by this loaf as whilst baking, the house smelt incredible.
What else can the bread maker do?
The bread maker can make bread in sizes 1lb, 1.6lb and 2lb you just need to adjust the ingredients measurements accordingly to the recipe book. You can pick from 3 different crust types which come in light, medium and dark. I've tried out both medium and dark and they were both delicious. I always prefer my bread a bit dark so I doubt the light crust option will get used for us. I was amazed to see this machine can also make cakes and jam! I will definitely be trying these features out as I love to make jam with foraged fruits we find in the summer time. I think my next bread to make in the bread maker will be a fruit loaf full of currants and raisins from which I will use the recipe from the book.
It also had the option for you to make rolls. This setting will just mix and prove the mixture for you and you then go on to divide it into roll sized balls and bake in the oven. If you want to add ingredients to the top of your bread like sesame/poppy seeds for a special loaf, the machine will beep to let you know you can add them.
The fast bake option on this machine is something I probably won't want to use. It can take from just 55 minutes to make and bake a loaf but that takes all the fun away from using the bread maker. Unless I'm desperate for a loaf straight away, I think I'll stick to the longer settings which can bake it from 2-3 hours.
Pizza dough is another option for this and again, the recipes are in the book for this. I will be trying this out with my daughter so we can make our own home made pizza. It's very handy to be able to make these as the ingredients will cost less than a store bought pizza and we can put whatever we like on the top.
Recommending the machine:
This machine is perfect for us and each time we've baked bread, we've had perfect results. The ingredients measurements in the recipe book are perfect too for a basic white loaf and I can't wait to get using some of the other recipes and trying out rolls. I have used a similar bread maker before of my nan's to bake rolls and hers is at least 5 years old and it worked very well, so I have no worries that it wouldn't work just like that one did. I give this machine 5/5 stars for being such a fun machine to use and for having lots of options of bread making available. I would say if you've been thinking about getting one, then think no more! they are definitely a worthwhile investment and you can show off to friends and family with your home made breads, cakes, rolls, pizza and jams!
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Gliss oil nutritive conditioner:
This shampoo made by Schwarzkopf is a god send to my hair. I switch between this conditioner and another in the range called Liquid silk which is in a pink pearly bottle. This conditioner comes in a yellow bottle and can be bought in a range of stores. I buy mine from the 99p store or Home Bargains depending on which one stocks it that day. Both stores stock this brand but often the conditioners are out of stock due to a popular demand for them.
This conditioner is recommended for people with long hair and are prone to split ends. This conditioner has liquid keratin in which is a natural protein that helps aid healthy hair. It also mentions on the bottle that it is good for combability after washing and anti-split ends. When I first started using this, I already had split ends so obviously I didn't see a difference in this part as I still had split ends after using it. I don't think any shampoo or conditioner can fix already split ends. I had my hair cut and noticed a difference with the conditioner then. My split ends weren't appearing til at least 8 weeks after my hair being cut and that was with using the conditioner every time I washed my hair and with using heat to style my hair.
I'm so happy with the Gliss range of shampoo's and conditioners. This one seems to smell different to the others in the gliss range. This is more subtle and has a slight banana scent and smells very sweet. After washing it out it leaves a really nice soft scent behind and does smell very clean. This is probably my favourite from the range as it leaves me hair feeling much softer than any other conditioner I've used and I've tested A LOT of conditioners. I have very curly hair which can get very frizzy, so finding the right conditioner to tame my hair can be a mission in it's self. I find this conditioner makes combing and hair drying much easier as I can manage it much better with how soft and shiny it leaves my hair.
I definitely recommend this conditioner if you have long hair as it leaves it looking shiny and smooth without it getting greasy within a day or two. I would recommend you leave this on your hair for 2-5 minutes before you wash it out and when you do, make sure all the conditioner is washed out of your hair. I give this 5/5 stars for being a product I can rely on each and every time I wash my hair!. You can buy this in the 99p store and other pound shops, Home bargains sell it for £1 and Superdrug also sell this range but it's at £2.49 a bottle and only sell a limited selection.
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Boots essentials hair grips:
I used to always buy my hair grips in discount stores but more often than not they would only stock black ones that would stick out like a sore thumb in my medium brown hair. I started buying them in boots at £1.49 for a pack of 30 so they worked out at 5p a per grip. I was stunned to see how hidden they were in my hair as they aren't shiny like most grips are and they held very well. These grips are the biggest pain in the bum for losing. I must buy a pack of these every 2-3 months as my house seems to eat them. I will put them down somewhere and then go back to get them and they have disappeared. I keep a handful of these in my handbag for when I get caught in the rain and need to clip my hair up to stop the frizz taking over and I usually style my hair with these everyday.
Using them in my hair:
I use these hair grips for all sorts of hair pinning. I have a centre parting and will plait the front of my hair either side and clip it up at the back making it look like a plaited halo which looks nice. People always thing I look a bit folk/hippy with this hair. The grips are very strong and hold this in place really well. I have thick curly hair and these grips are probably the only ones I have used which never lose their shape. When I would buy them at discount stores, they wouldn't be tight enough or would just slip straight out and feel too loose. These ones feel very sturdy and I don't need to worry about my hair falling out of place. I have also used these when using a donut (for buns). I grip the straggly hairs into the donut to keep it in place and they work perfectly for my needs.
Whatever you need grips for, I definitely recommend you try these from Boots. They have worked really well for me since I started using them. Just by looking at them and feeling them you can see the quality is far more superior than the cheaper packs. I now choose quality over quantity when it comes to grips as after trying these, I definitely won't be going back to any other brand. I just need to keep them all in one place now and stop losing them!. Obviously these are best for people with brown hair but can be bought it black or blonde too for the same price.
These are only available in Boots stores for £1.49. If you have an advantage card for this store, you can collect 4 points on this purchase which is worth 4p. I give these 5/5 stars for being such a helpful and useful product. I have already converted a few friends to these are they were complaining for the poor quality of some grips and after they borrowed mine or bought their own, they noticed the different of how good they are. If you use grips often then you should definitely give these a try!
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Alberto Balsam tea tree shampoo:
A few months ago I started to get a really itchy scalp and started to get a bit of dandruff. I'd never had it before so after asking a few friends for some ideas of what to use, I ended up being recommended this shampoo which is easily bought for £0.99-£1 from discount stores and some supermarkets. I bought mine for 99p from home bargains and went straight home to try it after buying it. I was so frustrated with the itching that I had made myself bleed from scratching too hard. It comes in a 400ml bottle and with my long hair which comes half way down my back, one bottle lasted me about 12-15 washes. I didn't buy the conditioner that matches this shampoo as I didn't want to smell too strong of tea tree so I used something else.
Upon stepping into the shower, I set down my new shampoo ready to try but felt a bit dubious about it as I'd cut my head from scratching and was worried it would sting. I put a dollop into my hand about the size of walnut and lathered it into my hair. This shampoo works up a brilliant lather. It covers your hair fully with just a small amount. I could straight away feel the calming cooling sensation the shampoo gave me and immediately felt relaxed and less stressed from the itching. It didn't sting me thankfully so after washing it out, I applied a second load just to make sure my hair was fully clean and that I had satisfied the itch.
For the past few months I have regularly been using this. I tend to wash my hair 1-2 times a week (as to not wash my natural oils away) and make sure I don't overload it with product. The dandruff problem went within 2 weeks completely but I noticed signs of it going after the 3rd application. Since using it, the itching has subsided and my head feels so much better for it.
I am completely happy with this tea tree tingle shampoo by Alberto Balsam. I was so pleased and surprised with how well this £1 shampoo had worked! I have noticed it on offer in supermarkets for 2 for £1.80 so shall be stocking up on it whilst I can! I had heard before that tea tree was a good natural way to get rid of dandruff and itching but I never thought something so cheap would work so effectively. I had used head and shoulders in the past but the price is very high and the itchy scalp assortment would sting a little sometimes. I give this 5/5 stars for being a brilliant shampoo that not only cleans my hair well but also gets rid of dandruff and itching!.
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Skull candy dubs:
I have an Ipod and the apple earphones which came with it are really poor. They are too big for my ears so it hurts when I wear them and they don't have a very good life on them. Mine broke within 6 months of having them, the sound got quieter and then finally they just stopped working.
I popped into Argos and spotted these skull candy dubs which had the soft ear pieces which came with it and also some spare sizes for you to choose from to fit you right. I paid £14.99 for these and 2-3 years on, they are still going strong and work just as well as they did on day of purchase. You can still buy skullcandy headphones in Argos which offer the same effects as these earphones do but with different designs and colours. I recently bought a pair for my partner as his headphones were breaking too and he loves how well the bass and music just flows through into your ears so well.
The reason for me choosing these earphones was for when I was listening to audio books. These are perfect for that as you can hear each word being said so clearly, even when walking outside with noise around you. They aren't completely noise cancelling but they are excellent quality. The sound that comes from them is just excellent. I was listening to an Elbow song on the walk to picking my daughter up and the earphones were just perfect. I felt like I was at the concert with them! I could hear every note played on the instruments and the singing was fantastic without any distortion or other background noises blocking me from hearing the music properly. The sound is brilliant and I am very pleased with the clarity of the music coming through them.
They fit in my ears very well and are lovely and comfortable. You are given 3 different sets of the plastic silicon toppers which you can change to fit your ears or to keep as spares. I love wearing them and listening to music in bed as they aren't awkward or uncomfortable when lying down. The design and colour of these specific earphones are brilliant. I love the colour and the design of the logo on the end of the earpieces. The only grumble I have is that the L and R indicators are very difficult to see in poor lighting. They aren't easy to read so you have to guess most of the time!
These headphones fit in my Ipod, my Iphone and my laptop which I use to watch films on occasionally using my earphones if my partner is watching something else or playing on his Playstation. I am really pleased with the quality of these earphones and would definitely recommend them to anyone looking for some new ones. Skullcandy is a good brand and their newer models are just as good if not better. I give them 5/5 stars for being easy to use, brilliant sound quality and feel comfortable in the ear.
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17 Boots Blush Powder:
In the town where I live, Boots is the prime place to buy cosmetics from. We have a Superdrug store but the staff in there make you feel uneasy with them constantly watching the make up aisle for shop lifters. I prefer to buy from Boots because their 17 brand is brilliant. The prices are brilliant for the quality of the products. I bought this 17 blush powder for £3.49 in the colour First Flush as it was the most pink and I wanted something to brighten up my skin. I have olive skin but my face seems to be a little paler than the rest of my body so I like to have some colour to my cheeks.
I used to just use bronzer powders but I decided to try something different. I apply the blush first to give myself a sweet rosy glow to my cheeks then afterwards, I apply a matte bronzer which just dulls the colour down to a more earthy colour as this is the look I was after. This blusher would be perfect for people with light skin as it does really help to brighten your face and bring out some warmth to your cheeks. Especially in the winter when we're all looking pale from the lack of sun tans.
This blusher comes in 7 different shades online but instore, I've only ever come across 3 shades (although it might depend on the size of the store).The colours are different shades of pink with some dusty pink to baby pink. It comes in a round pot with a clear lid and is easy to apply with a blusher brush. The powder is so soft and easy to blend into your skin without having to apply pressure with the brush.
I really enjoy using this blusher as it gives brilliant results each time I use it. I have used all sorts of different powders and even creams over the years and I haven't found one like this where I can blend it well with my brown bronzer to create a lovely glow to my cheeks. If I am going out for an evening, I will use it without bronzer and apply a little more than usual to give me a nice warming glow.
I would highly recommend this blusher to anyone who uses it regularly or someone who is looking for a bit of a fresh rosy glow to their cheeks. Obviously application is different on everyone and you need to just use a little at a time to create a natural look. Light application to the brush is very important as if you apply to much you can end up looking like a very embarrassed clown. I give this blusher 5/5 stars for giving great results every time.
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No 7 beautiful skin wipes
At £7.00 a pack, you'd expect these wipes to be brilliant, and that they are. My partner works in boots and I get a discount on these so I tend to buy them and use them sparingly. Inside you get 30 wipes which remove make up and dirt from your face including waterproof mascara which can be stubborn and tough to get off. Upon my first trialling of these I was shocked to how well they were taking my make up off. With other wipes or make up remover I'd used in the past, I would always struggle with getting mascara off completely as when I'd wake up the following morning, I would always have panda eyes where the left over mascara that didn't come off would come off during sleep and leave me looking a bit like death.
The texture of these wipes is excellent. They are so soft, thick and luxurious that when using them, it doesn't rub or hurt my face at all like some wipes have done in the past. If you have used a lot of mascara you just need to rub gently with your eyes shut and wipe downwards to clean you lashes. It takes just a minute or two for your whole face to be rid of make up which is perfect. I would say even at £7, they are worth every penny as the quality of these is excellent. Some wipes are so thin and scratchy that they leave your face feeling raw afterwards but these are excellent and leave your skin feeling nourished and soft.
Would I recommend?
I recommend these wipes to anyone who uses make up and needs something to get rid of stubborn waterproofs or if you have more sensitive skin, these would be lovely and soft and not irritating at all. they are Hypo-Allergenic too which is good for those with reactions to harsh beauty products. I give Boots' No7 wipes 5/5 stars for being an excellent tool in my make up bag and save me a lot of hassle trying to scrub off my make up. They come with a nice plastic lid so there won't be any dry wipes when you next go to use them.
Where to buy- Boots no7 counters £7.00. (Quick tip: Sometimes Boots give out £5 off any no7 skincare product vouchers and can be used on these wipes so don't throw it away, go straight to the no7 area in boots and pick some up!)
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VO5 Heat protect serum
I needed to get my hair cut last week due to split ends and as I had very long hair, something needed to be done about it. I ended up asking for 4 inches off my length and it felt so revitalised. I popped to the local boots before my cut and looked around the hair styling section as I wanted something that would protect my hair from heat when using the hair dryer or straighteners. I spotted an offer from 2 items for £5 in the VO5 range, so I decided to buy this serum and a bottle of the heat protection spray.
On it's own, this serum is £4.19 so I got a very good deal. It comes in a pink dispensing bottle with 50ml of serum inside. When I pump the serum into my hands, I only use a small amount and rub it into my hands well before applying to my hair. I towel dry my hair, brush it through and I apply it mainly to the tips of my hair and a small amount on the roots as to not make it look greasy once dried. I brush it through again after applying just to even the serum over my hair and then use a hair drier to dry it thoroughly.
This serum has really helped with my frizz control. As I have been cursed with thick curly hair, It becomes very frizzy when I blow dry it as the quick drying prevents the curls from naturally setting in place and I end up looking like Hagrid from Harry Potter. I've been using the serum for a month or so and before the hair cut, I could see that the serum was making my split ends look much healthier and gave my hair a bit of shine but after having it cut last week, I noticed it made so much more of a difference and made my hair so much easier to manage when drying and I can feel better that my hair will be protected against the heat when I'm using the dryer.
What the serum claims to do
VO5 claims that this serum will control frizz and leave your hair illuminated and shiny. It also claims it protects from the stresses of heat styling. I believe it does do all of these things it claims to do. I haven't seen my hair looked illuminated though but I'm sure it's just an adjective they've picked to emphasise the shine aspect. I feel that since I have started using it, my hair does feel less stressed and it is much easier to look after and manage each day. It does however make my hair look greasier quickly compared to using just the heat defence spray but I much prefer the look that the serum gives and once I've curled my hair, it looks bouncy, healthy and shiny. The bottles don't tell you what scent the products are but most VO5 products all small the same, it's a slightly floral perfumed scent which is very hard to identify. It is a lovely smell and once heat is applied it does linger on your hair for a while so you know your hair is smelling fresh when the serum is rubbed into your hair.
If you are prone to frizz then I would definitely recommend this serum is the way to protect your hair from heat over the spray. If you're hair is a little dull too then use this serum to give it back some life and shine. I love this product and will be stocking up whilst the serum is on offer in Boots stores. I give this heat protect serum by VO5 a whopping 5/5 for being a great service to my hair. It feels wonderful on my hair and makes me feel better when applying heat.
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Boots 17 instant glow bronzing powder
After having a severe accident with my previous bronzer and it smashing all over the floor and needing hoovering up, I decided to venture out to boots to my favourite make up section the 17 range. This is boots own brand and is perfect in price and for all my needs. I searched for a bronzer that was matte, no glitter or shimmer lurking and I wanted a powder. I had recently also bought a new blusher brush so wanted something I could easily use with this.
I contemplated buying those little bronzing pearls but stuck to my guns and bought this bronzing powder. I bought the medium shade as I have olive skin and the lighter shade was the same colour as my foundation so wouldn't give me the colour I was looking for. I tested a small bit on my cheek bone whilst in the shops because your hands are a different colour to your face so could come out darker/lighter than you intended so I would suggest a small trial on your face but just make sure to take a tissue with you so you don't walk out of the shops with a patch of bronzer on your cheek!.
How to use the bronzing powder
It can be used it lots of different ways and everyone usually has their own way of applying. I will usually put a thickish line along my cheek bone and with a blusher brush, I rub it in and blend it well to make it look natural and to give my skin a glowing look. Some people like to use it on other parts of their face and even collar bones, but I just stick with my cheek bones. There is only two shades to choose from, a light colour which is perfect for ivory skin and a medium for people with skin like mine.
I really like how this powder applies. It looks so natural due to it being so matte rather than having the shimmer than most bronzers tend to have. This one has much better coverage and is easy to take off. You can just use make up remover or even just have a wash in the sink to remove this bronzing powder as it feels and works just like a powdered foundation does.
I give this bronzer 5/5 stars for being a great product and brings some life and colour back into my cheeks when the weather turns dull and dreary. This product is only available from boots. You can get it in store of order it on-line too for £4.59. I managed to get mine in a buy one get one half price offer which was great as I could also buy a pink blusher and get it for half the price. Boots often have offers on their make up items so it's worth keeping an eye on for offers if you wanted to buy a product like this.
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