- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
I have a love hate relationship with running, it is not something I find easy but when its good I do enjoy it and I also love the stress relief that it gives me. I learnt pretty quickly that in order to have a good run I need a good pair of trainers otherwise I end up in all kinds of pain - which is not good in anyone's book.
My trainer of choice is the Saucony Kinvara 3, after having my gait tested on the running machine this is the trainer that suited my running style and felt the most comfortable when running on the treadmill for me. The Kinvara is ideal for a Neutral runner and is a lightweight shoe that still gives comfort and support where required.
The Kinvara 3 model was released originally in 2012 and superceded the 1 & 2 models improving and updating on previous versions, it is available in both mens and womens styles and various colourways. I find the trainer very comfortable and it gives me all the support I need when running. My only niggle is that sometimes when you run into a puddle some water seeps through one of the lower vents into the trainer, I've learned to avoid the puddles!
A word of advice always try on your trainers and run in them bfore buying I have to go up a size and a half from my normal every day shoes for my running shoes.
I have had two pairs of the Saucony Kinvara 3 paying around the £50 - £60 mark due to discounts available at the time. They are now extremely hard to get as there has been two model updates and Saucony are now on the Kinvara 5 version. I have to admit I have grudgingly had to move onto the latest version which I love too and they also seem to have solved the problem of water leaking into the trainer.
I cant recommend these trainers highly enough, they make my run that bit easier and more enjoyable, and that can't be a bad thing.
I change my nail colour on a regular basis but not because they are chipped more because I like to change them depending on my mood, outfit, occasion pick any or all of the above.
I am a stickler for using a base and top coat particularly as I often use dark nail polishes that can often stain or mark if not properly treated. My preferred top coat is the Nails Inc Kensington Caviar 45 second Top Coat. It leaves nails shiny with a professional finish and enriches the colour of the nail varnish. It is also touch dry in 45 seconds which can make painting nails on the go a lot quicker and easier! But remember it is only touch dry not completely dry so still watch out for any knocks or scratches.
The beauty of this top coat is that it really does last as the colour remains highly polished and doesn't chip and is also Nails Inc bestselling top coat. The caviar extract of the top coat title conditions and protects the nails.
I have yet to find another Top Coat that matches the Nails Inc product and I also have to admit that I use their Kensington Caviar Base Coat which I love just as much. The Top Coat costs £15 or can be bought in a duo pack with the Base Coat for £25. It can be bought online at the nails inc website or salons as well as other online sites like boots, amazon, Sephora and ebay among many others.
After experiencing various Margaret Dabbs products I purchased the Exfoliating Foot Mousse as I have a lot of dry skin on my feet and need as much help as I can. My left foot in particular for some reason is pretty bad and I really needed something to make my feet summer ready!
At £18 for a 100ml tub it’s not cheap but as with all Margaret Dabbs products I have tried it is worth paying a wee bit more for. You only need to use a small amount and rub it over wet feet concentrating on your problem areas (for me it’s my heels). You should only use once a week so it means that the tub lasts for a long time. The key ingredients are Emu Oil for rehydration, Pumice and Ground Tea Tree Leaf which is a good exfoliator and has antibacterial qualities. The packaging states that the mousse aims to achieve the removal of dead skin build up, removal and repair of broken skin and hydrating and smoothing the skin on your feet. I have to say it does work and it is my new go to summer foot product, in fact I’ll be using it all year round!
I have now been using this for a while and my feet are in a much better condition ready for flip flops and sandals. You can purchase this instore or online with Margaret Dabbs or from a variety online sites, the best one I have found it feelunique.com who has free shipping for anything over £10 and regularly has discounts which are worth looking out for.
After a pretty disastrous gel pedicure, my first and most definitely my last my toenails were in a bit of a state. So in order to get my tootsies back to some form of normality I went for a medical pedicure at the fabulous Margaret Dabbs. They agreed that the gel had stripped away my nail top coat and set to work. On finishing, my feet were so much better although the nails were going to need a little time and tlc before they would be back to fighting fitness. I decided to invest in one of the products used during the treatment the Nourishing Nail & Cuticle Serum.
At £12 for a 15ml pump dispenser bottle it is not cheap but boy does it work. You only need a very small amount to apply a thin layer to cover the nail and cuticle area, so the bottle lasts for ages and it can also be used on finger nails too. It is a handy handbag size and perfect for travelling coming in well under the 100ml airport restriction. The key ingredients in the serum are Emu Oil and Tea Tree Oil which is used for its antibacterial qualities. The serum strengthens and hydrates the nails and cuticles and repairs any cracked and damaged nails as well as helping to protect against any nail infections. Results are visible fairly quickly with regular use and after a few weeks my nails were back to new, in fact they were better than new and looked healthy.
This is a great product that is so easy to apply and makes such a difference, let me reassure you I will never be going anywhere near a gel pedicure again but at least I have found this fabulous product as a result of my disaster! You can purchase it from the Margaret Dabbs Salons in London or online from a variety of retailers. The best one I have found is feelunique.com who have free worldwide shipping for anything over £10 and also have a variety of discount codes normally from 10 – 20% on a regular basis which can make a real difference.
I am forever breaking my finger nails and can never keep them long for any length of time, so I always tend to have a nail file to hand to smooth out any rough edges or breaks. A friend of mine recently recommended the Margaret Dabbs Crystal Nail File as she had found it to be a real lifesaver.
On her recommendation I purchased one from the salon off Marylebone High Street, now it is not cheap at £12 but I have to say I am a convert. It is like the formula one of nail files leaving my nails smooth with a great finish. The abrasive crystal finish on the file protects the nails and is far more effective than any of my previous nail files. I only have to use this file a couple of times to sort a nail out rather than sawing away at it for minutes to achieve the same high quality finish. It is far kinder and stronger to the nails and really does work. With it being of a hard material the glass crystal nail file cannot bend or snap so easily and is also said to be more hygienic and long lasting. The only thing you have to watch out for is not to drop it on a hard surface as it may smash, but this is not something that I am unduly worried about.
I cannot recommend this nail file high enough it has improved my nails no end and has also saved me a considerable amount of time, while expensive compared to more throwaway nail files I think it is worth every penny and is now a handbag essential for me.
You can purchase it from a variety of online retailers as well if the Margaret Dabbs Salon in London is not handy, the best I have found is feelunique.com who offer free delivery on anything over £10 and often have anything from 10-20% voucher codes which are worth hunting out.
I came a late to the Broadchurch party after missing the first series. However all my friends and family raved non stop about it so when the second series launch date was announced I thought I better right that wrong! Trying to get my hands on a copy of the Broadchurch Series 1 DVD proved more difficult than I originally thought. I think everyone else had the same idea so it was sold out everywhere, eventually I tracked a copy down on amazon for £9.
The DVD contains the eight episodes of the first series of this original ITV series in three discs, in addition there are a few extras including Broadchurch: Behind the Scenes; Cast Filmographies; Picture Gallery and Subtitles. I’ll be honest I was only interested in the actual episodes so haven’t looked at any of the special features.
The story is located in the Dorset town of Broadchurch in July. Local boy Danny Latimer goes missing and when his body is found on the beach the small community comes under scrutiny and secrets unravel. Local police officer Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman)returns to work after holiday to find the promotion she was guaranteed has gone to an outsider Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and the two now must work together to solve the murder that is threatening to rip the town apart. I don’t want to say anymore to give anything away, trust me you’ll thank me for it!
From start to finish this drama is gripping I couldn’t stop watching and fired through the episodes in record time desperate to see how it unfolds. Broadchurch has an exceptionally strong cast with many familiar faces, the partnership pairing of David Tennant and Olivia Colman is genius and keeps you gripped.
I can’t recommend this series highly enough if you love a good drama then this is definitely for you. To make things even better you can see the second series as well and wait for the third to be shown.
I travel pretty frequently and am a huge fan of painting my nails but if you are anything like me will always chip your polish at the most inappropriate time! My normal nail polish remover is not very handy to pack as it is a 250ml bottle of boots essentials nail polish remover. not only does it not fit in the 100ml hand baggage limit it also has the potential to leak or burst in my baggage, it is the kind of thing that would happen to me!
So instead I always take a small tub of Boots Moisturising Nail Polish Remover Pads. They are a bargain at £1.50 and you probably get around 20 to 30 pads in the pack. The tub has a screw lid which helps protect against any leakage and is small and compact for travelling not taking up much room. The pads have vitamin e in them to help moisturise and condition the nails. I normally only require 2 - 3 pads to remove all my polish from both hands or feet, I tend to wear very dark colours so it can be harder to remove all the polish. however these pads work well and removes all colour efficiently and effectively, they are easy to use and wipes off even the most stubborn of polishes!
The only downside is that after using them your fingers tend to be covered in the remover and slightly stained with polish, but a quick wash removes that and my nails are in great condition ready for a new colour!
You can also purchase the Boots nail polish remover pads in a strengthening formula.
These are a great product and perfect for anyone who travels or who wants to carry a remover in case of emergencies.
I love to paint my nails and frequently change the polish dependent on my outfit and mood. In order to keep my nails in tip top condition and free from any chips I regularly use a nail polish remover. My product of choice is the Boots Essentials Nail Polish Remover, I have been using this for longer than I care to remember (a lot of years) and find that it works brilliantly.
It comes from the Boots basic essentials range and does exactly what it says on the bottle and at £1 for 250ml who can argue about the price. The bottle lasts for ages even for someone like me who regularly changes my polish!
I tend to wear dark coloured polishes which can be more stubborn to remove however I find this nail polish remover does it with ease and doesn't leave any residue or colour on the nail. I also find that my nails are always clean and healthy looking after using the remover it doesn't dry them out like some polish removers.
My only issue with this product is that it is not particularly handy to travel with and it is certainly over the 100ml limit for hand baggage. So I tend to keep this bottle for the home and use the boots nail polish remover pads when away which avoids any leakages and is much easier to pack.
I cannot praise the Boots Essentials Nail Polish Remover highly enough it is efficient, effective and great value for money - what's not to love about it!
As you may deduce I'm a bit of a Jo Malone aficionado. Blackberry and Bay is one of my favourite fragrances so I was very happy to receive a bottle of Blackberry & Bay Body & Hand Wash as a present. (someone obviously knows me well!)
As well as complementing my perfume perfectly it is a fabulous shower gel and hand wash. It comes in a 250ml size in a clear plastic bottle with black pump dispenser in the distinctive Jo Malone branding.
The pump dispenses just the right amount of gel so it lasts for ages and produces a luxurious lather and scent that has real staying power. The top note of the fragrance is Blackberry with the heart notes Bay Leaves and Cedarwood. The 250ml size is priced at £28, cheaper if you manage to purchase it in one of Jo Malone's duty free outlets.
I tend to use the body & hand wash as a shower gel and layer it with my perfume for a stronger longer lasting fragrance, my mum on the other hand loves it as a hand wash and it lasts for several months.
You can also purchase in the Blackberry & Bay range the Body Crème, Home Candle, Fragrance in two sizes as well as the Body & Hand Wash. Jo Malone also recommends that the combines well with Orange Blossom for a warmer fragrance or Lime Basil & Mandarin for a fresher fragrance meaning you can use the hand & body wash in combination with those fragrances.
This is a lovely treat and lasts for ages combining well with the Blackberry and Bay signature scent as well as some of Jo Malone's other scents.
I recently had a real problem with my bathroom sink. The water was taking ages to run away and the sink filled up very fast but drained at a snails pace. To try and sort this I made a visit to the cleaning aisle at my local supermarket.
After pursuing all the available products I realised I needed something heavy duty to solve the problem and settled on the Mr Muscle Dual Force Foamer. It definitely seemed more potent and powerful than the rest. At my local Asda it was on special offer at £3 it is normally priced around the £3.75 mark - a bargain if it worked!
The bottle contains 2 separate liquids each in their own separate compartments in the bottle. When mixed together they activates on contact to unleash a powerful foam that gets to work removing whatever gunge you have clogging up your pipes. You then leave it for an hour then run warm water down your sink to get rid of the foam and any residue.
The only problem I had was that my bathroom sink is fairly average in size but when you position the bottle over the plughole it doesn't quite fit and the 2 liquids started activating quickly at the plughole rather than in the pipes. It meant that I ended up doing this process twice using half the bottle on each occasion. However having said all that it really did work and I now have a sink that drains quickly just like new.
A word of warning the liquids can be quite corrosive so be careful when using this and keep it our the road of children.
This really works and I'm going to used it on my kitchen sink next!
Anyone who knows me knows I love a bit of Jo Malone and my new favourite is the company’s original fragrance – Nutmeg & Ginger.
Nutmeg & ginger was launched in 1990 and was Jo Malone’s first fragrance. The scent was originally created and hand blended as a gift for Jo’s clients after their facial. Twenty five years on and it is still one of the company’s top scents.
The fragrance has the top note of ginger, the heart note is nutmeg and the base not is sandalwood which all combine to make a perfect scent from the spicy family. For me it is a real autumn / winter warm fragrance and is perfect for sweaters and party dresses. For the summer I tend to change to a lighter fragrance.
I always get comments when I wear Nutmeg & Ginger which is really nice particularly as I love the fragrance so much.
The cologne comes in two sizes, 30ml for £40 and £82 for 100ml. the 30ml size is perfect for your handbag and travelling while the 100ml is better value for keeping and using in the house. A word of advice if you are travelling through Heathrow check the shops in your terminal as there are several Jo Malone outlets and it saves you about 20% on the cost – worth remembering.
I always find the fragrance lasts well but if you are keen to maintain your scent Jo Malone is big on layering your fragrance and you can also purchase Nutmeg & Ginger in a Bath Oil and Body Crème to keep your scent lasting longer.
As I write this its snowing outside and is the perfect winter day for a Nutmeg & Ginger day!
Tucked away in Glasgow’s Merchant City is Pancho Villas, a buzzing Mexican restaurant. Situated in Bell Street across from the bars and restaurants of Merchants Court this restaurant holds its own with a lively atmosphere, great frozen margaritas and some sizzling Mexican food.
It is always best to book ahead particularly at the weekend when it can get very busy. The restaurant has two levels – street level and the basement, if you can I would ask for a table on the street level it is much airier and more spacious.
I have visited Panchos on many occasions it’s a great place for big groups as it has a good atmosphere and is not a quiet restaurant.
The owner is Mexican born Maya NuAtez who has brought to Pancho Villas her home cooked Mexican food.
The menu is fairly extensive starters include soup, quesadillas, nachos and taquitos among other things, starting from £3.75 up to £9.95 for a combination sharing plate. My favourite is the chilli con carne nachos with sour cream, just the right amount of spice and cheese.
Vegetarians are catered for with a selection of starters and four main courses including a Quesadilla, Fajitas and Enchiladas. The main course selection includes everyone’s favourite Mexican dishes including Burritos, Tacos, Chilli, Enchiladas of every variety (including cracked crab and various chicken styles), Quesadillas, Steak, Lamb, Salads and the perennial favourite fajitas either with chicken, steak, king prawn or a combination. I have to admit my dish of choice is the chicken fajita which always comes sizziling to the table with a good portion of chicken, peppers and onions. Sometimes the accompaniments can be a little lacking and I've had to ask for more guacamole and tortillas. Friends of mine had the spiced meatballs which they said was really spicy, the only thing missing from the menu is wee chillis to mark how spicy the dishes are for the more sensitive palates.
I’ll be honest I don’t think I have ever had a dessert in Pancho’s as I am always so stuffed after my starter and main although I do make sure that I always have room for their frozen strawberry margeritas, which are particularly drinkable!
The cocktail list favours Mexican and holiday specialties and offer an extensive range of normal and frozen margaritas either by the glass or pitcher. They also have a good range of Mexican style beers and tequila as well as your normal drinks and are always good at bring pitchers of tap water to the table too.
I would recommend Pancho Villas for a friendly tasty and buzzy Mexican it also is fairly reasonable and makes for a good night out.
I have to say I have a soft spot for Panchos they are consistently good and the cocktails are pretty darn great – what more could you ask for!
The Glasgow restaurant can be found at Bell Street, they also have an Edinburgh outpost which can be found at Canongate, the Royal Mile.
Jo Malone has been one of my favourite perfume brands for a very long time and over the years i have had many of their fragrances. Two of my particular favourites were Vintage Gardenia and Verbena de Provence, both of which were fabulous, however I was very disappointed to find out last May that both of them were being discontinued at the same time!!!!!!! What was i going to do!!!!!!
Back to square one for me, so I started my search for a new favourite and I didn't have to wait very long, Jo Malone launched last Autumn their new fragrance Blackberry & Bay. On first smell I loved it - it was fabulously fruity and after trying it on my skin for a day, always best to make sure it suits you before buying, it is amazing how often i smell a perfume love it then try it out and hate as it does't suit my skin, however I needn't have worried the Blackberry & Bay smelt amazing.
The fragrance top note is overwhelmingly Blackberry, bursting with fruity juiciness and a tart accent, the heart notes are Bay Leaves bringing a green aroma to the perfume and the base note is the mossy inspiring Cedar Wood. The fragrance is clean, refreshing and juicily fruity just like you are in a field of blackberries picking & eating them. The fragrance comes in two sizes, the first is the 30ml cologne which is perfect handbag or travel size and comes in at £39, the larger size a 100ml cologne is probably better value but not quite so portable and comes in at £78. Both come in clean minamilist glass bottles with silver lids. (If you are flying through Heathrow there are several Jo Malone shops in the various Terminals including 5 where you can pick up all the products at duty free prices, which makes quite a considerable saving).
Also available in the range is the Body & Hand Wash in a 250ml plastic bottle which looks similar to the perfume bottles and comes in at £32. The very luxurious Body Creme comes in a 175ml jar and is priced at £50, a fabulous gift to receive, and finally the last in the Blackberry & Bay collection is the Home Candle at £39 for 200g.
The Blackberry & Bay is an amazing all year round fragrance and also is recommended to combine well with Jo Malone's Nectarine Blossom & Honey Cologne. I love my new fragrance and am keeping my fingers crossed that they don't discontinue it any time soon!
I found Mark Gimenez books a while ago when I read his The Colour of Law, it had some references to one of my all time favourite books To Kill A Mockingbird. I have since read several of his books and in my ever increasing reading pile was his latest paperback Accused.
I was pleasantly surprised to see he had gone back to the original characters of his first novel The Colour of Law, the one that started it all for me.
A.Scott Fenney is still a practising lawyer in Texas, now for his own small law firm, he looks after his 2 daughters Boo and his newly adopted . He receives a distressing call from his ex wife Rebecca, who left him in the previous novel for a professional golfer - Trey Rawlins, but she is now accused of murdering him and is being held in a police cell in Galveston. Rebecca is now begging Scott to defend her, something he can't say no to as he doesn't want their daughter Boo growing up with her mother in jail and he still has feelings for her. If found guilty Rebecca would be sentenced to life imprisonment. Scott moves his family and associates to Galveston to try and prove Rebecca's innonence and find some flaws in the prosecution's case and some new suspects.
There are plenty of twists and turns in this book and it is fast paced, while it was 576 pages in the paperback version I raced through the book, it is a real page turner and it was also great to welcome back familiar characters.
Although not strictly necessary it is adviable to have read The Colour of Law first to completely understand the references and characters.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it maybe didn't quite hit the dizzying heights of the Colour of Law but was an excellent read that kept me guessing right to the end. I enjoyed seeing how the characters had developed and would love to see more books about them.
Gimenez is often compared to John Grisham but I think he stands by himself as the author of excellent legal thrillers. Keep up the good work. You can purchase it on Amazon for £2.99 the rrp is £6.99.
The Fighter - A Knockout Film!
The Fighter has had some great reviews and awards buzz so I had fairly high expectations when I went to see it at the cinema. I have to admit I wasn't disappointed!
The film is based on a true story about two brothers from Lowell, Massachusetts. Dicky Eckland (played by an almost unrecognizable Christian Bale) has had his chance in the boxing ring and famously knocked out Sugar Ray Leonard, a story that is relived on a daily basis even although he has become a crack addict and a somewhat fallen hero. His brother (or half brother to be more technically correct) is Micky Ward a journeyman boxer who has some talent but lives in his brother's shadow and is always seen as a step up fight by opponents looking to hit the big time. He is managed by his mother Alice Ward (played by the brilliant Melissa Leo) who is a true matriarch in every sense of the word, mother to 9, seven of which are possibly the scariest girls to grace the cinema screen, their hair is back-combed and bleached within an inch of its life and to be quite honest I think you would prefer to come up against Dicky & Micky instead of them. While Alice is the manager, her focus is always on Dicky and you feel she doesn't always have Micky's best interest at heart.
Micky, who is played by Mark Wahlberg, has not much time left to crack the big time and his coach and brother Dicky while a great tactician cannot always be relied upon to even turn up for training sessions. Micky's barmaid girlfriend Charlene (played by the superb Amy Adams) has Micky's best interests at heart and goes head to head with his family (even giving a mean right hook too) to release him from their hold and give him his best chance at a title fight. Throughout the film a documentary film crew follows Dicky on what is thought to be about his potential comeback but really ends up being about his crack addiction.
This film is more than just about the boxing it is about family, relationships and all their ghosts that haunt us. The cast is quite literally superb and I was certainly not surprised to see it nominated for so many Oscars and for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo to pick up gongs for Best Supporting Actor and Actress - both very well deserved. The film has highs and lows and you are taken there with each character. You care what happens to them and there is also plenty of humour along the way to lighten the mood on occasion.
I would thoroughly recommend this film for the engaging performances of a stellar cast, a well made film that leaves you still thinking about it hours and days after seeing it. It deserves all the awards it gets.