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jeffjen

jeffjen
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Member since: 25.02.2009

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      20.08.2014 15:21
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      • " twists and intrigue."
      • "Great readability"

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      Another gripping Coben thriller!

      Six years ago a confused and hurt Jake Fisher, watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man.
      Following Natalie's wishes, Jake promises to stay away from her. However, six years later, after seeing an Obituary notice for Natalie's husband, Jake decides to attend the funeral. More confusion follows for Jake, when he discovers the grieving widow is in fact not his Natalie, but a complete stranger. And the confusion does not end there, as Jake starts to ask questions and finds out it's as if ever Natalie never existed.
      Jake sets outs to try and find Natalie and get some answers, but in his quest for the truth he soon finds his own life is at risk as a deadly secret threatens to destroy him.
      Right from the start of Six Years it is obvious that Jake does not understand why Natalie marries Todd who she claims is an ex of hers, instead of Jake. Jake has been suddenly and inexplicably dumped for Todd, and after believing he was the love of Natalie's life, he struggles to accept this sudden turn of events.
      The confusion and shock Jake feels, transfers well to the reader and right away I was hooked, wanting to know what had happened to Natalie and why suddenly nobody appears to remember her.
      I found Jake's character a little weak at first but I did warm to him and understand his character. He wants answers and therefore is determined to pursue the truth, heightened by the fact he can’t even find someone who admits remembering Natalie and there is no record of her marriage to Todd.
      I enjoyed the character of Benedict, Jake's friend and colleague who also features in an intriguing twist, which is a Coben speciality. My only real niggle was that I wished the 'bad guys' had featured more here, as bad guys are another Coben speciality, with some making returning appearances in other Coben novels.
      I did have a minor niggle with the overuse of the word 'stumble.' As Jake stumbled out of here and stumbled out of there and thoughts hit him so hard he almost stumbled, I did find myself wishing Jake would stop stumbling or that Coben could have came up with some alternative words! It was almost amusing thinking back to this after reading.
      Intriguing twists and turns are what I love about a Coben novel, as you can guarantee nothing is ever as it seems. I have never failed to be surprised at how Coben can introduce so many twists and turns to keep you guessing and then marvelling at how he ties everything together at the end.
      Whilst Six Years isn't the most complex Coben novel I have read, nor is it my favourite, it still managed to keep me gripped througout and although I began to guess at certain things, there was still a great twist I never saw coming.

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        19.08.2014 13:21
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        Lacking the usual Hurwitz sparkle!

        Daniel Brasher is about to leave his job as a probation counsellor working with hardened criminals to start a private practice. This isn't made easy however, when he finds a letter in his pigeonhole at work carrying a rather menacing note and a midnight deadline stating "Admit what you have done or you will bleed for it." Daniel then realises the note was not for him, but for someone else, but unfortunately the victim is already dead, having missed the deadline
        More letters carrying death threats appear and Daniel finds himself caught up in a series of gruesome murders. Then he finds a note addressed to himself..

        I am a fan of Gregg Hurwitz and was eager to read this book, however I found it much harder going than any of his previous novels. It was easy to get into, with plenty of intrigue and tension at the start, but then it slowed in pace and the middle section of the book didn't engage me which I found disappointing and is something I haven't experienced before with his work.

        Daniel begins working with the police as he receives the notes and it seems like they just miss the killer each and every time, which was exciting at first but then started becoming predictable. Daniel has reason to suspect one of his group is involved and whilst parts of this figuring out process was interesting, his sessions with his group were often relayed and I felt this went on too long with some of it needless. The story seemed disjointed and it was a struggle to keep reading before it thankfully then picked up pace again. I had no idea who the murderer was, which was good, but when all was revealed I felt as if a major piece of the puzzle was still missing from the book.

        I also didn't enjoy the characters the way I usually would in a Hurwitz novel.I struggled a little with Daniel, trying to work him out and his wife Cristina I found very difficult to warm to, with her use of "mi vida" at the end of many sentences when she spoke to him or addressed him, was extremely irritating. There were however some good characters in Daniel's group, which I did enjoy and felt they were developed and researched well. This made up for my disappointment with the main characters.
        Tell No Lies was an average read overall, certainly not the usual Gregg Hurwitz standard. Some have enjoyed this book as much as his others, but I found it was lacking the usual Hurwitz sparkle.

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        06.06.2014 21:29
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        • " moisturises and illuminates"
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        I'm converted!

        Illuminating moisturiser is simply a daily moisturiser with the inclusion of light reflecting particles to give your skin a healthy looking glow. It is said that when used regularly, your skin will benefit from looking radiant as well as being hydrated and moisturised. I had been concerned my face would look shiny if I used an illuminating moisturiser and this is something I wanted to avoid. I have always had combination skin with a mixture of dry and oily patches, however as I hit 40 I began to notice the dry patches slowly overtaking the oily ones and although I still experience some oily patches on my face, the dryness irritates me more and if I didn''t use a daily moisturiser my face and neck would feel dry, tight and sore. I also sometimes suffer with sensitive skin on my face and when it flares up from time to time and blemishes appear, it can feel sore and dry so I need a product which won''t irritate my skin, but will leave it feeling thoroughly moisturised. I was curious to try this illuminating moisturise cream, but taking everything into account, I wasn''t sure it would be right for me. The Body Shop have a range of Vitamin E products. This illuminating moisturiser contains light-reflective particles for a healthier looking glow. It promises to provide daily hydration and enhance radiance and is suitable for all skin types. Directions for use are simple, you smooth the cream evenly onto your face and neck after cleansing and toning. The cream is pale pink in colour and is lightly fragranced. It comes in a 50ml pot with a twist off lid and is priced at 10.00GBP from The Body Shop. Because of the problems I experience which I mentioned above I thought this cream may make things worse and I was nervouse about using it. Indeed I am usually trying to mattify my skin if anything and conceal any redness/blemishes, whilst keeping it hydrated and moisturised without being oily. This can be tricky when you have combination skin. The cream is a pale pink colour and has an appealing light fragrance. It feels really creamy as you scoop some out of the tub onto your fingertips and is easy to apply. It feels really light and absorbs fairly quickly into my skin as I apply using circular movements with my fingertips. From the first application I loved how light it feels having used some heavier moistursers in the past and it immediately makes my skin feel fresh and smooth without being greasy. Using this cream instantly transforms both the look and feel of my skin upon application. It also serves as a good base for applying make up. It was the ''illuminating'' factor which worried me at first, but I need not have worried because all this cream does is give my face a radiant glow which looks natural and doesn''t enhance the oily patches or make blemishes appear more red or more pronounced.

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        22.05.2014 18:57
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        • "Well developed characters."
        • "An engaging read."

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        • "Ending was a little rushed."

        Surprisingly good!

        When Gina meets Rex, she quickly realises he is ''the one'' and six months later when they are married, Gina feels she is the luckiest woman alive.
        Until Rex vanishes without trace whilst on holiday windsurfing abroad wihe his brother and friends.
        As her dream marriage slips into a nightmare, Gina refuses to accept Rex may be dead and never loses faith in her belief that one day he will be found, or that he will walk back through the front door. However, when her search begins to unearth troubling secrets from Rex''s past, Gina begins to question how well she really knows her beloved husband and struggles to accept that she isn''t the luckiest woman alive after all.
        After a short Prologue, the story begins with Gina being shown by Rex''s brother Jake, the beach cabin in Spain where they had been staying. Gina flies when told Rex is missing and from that moment on, she refuses to believe that Rex may be dead.
        As time goes on Gina remains adamant he is alive and vows never to give up hope, always believing one day he may walk back through the door after maybe suffering some kind of temporary memory loss.
        No clues are given to the reader about Rex and therefore I found I could not guess what reason he would have for disappearing from his adoring wife, which makes up the intrigue.
        If it was a windsurfing accident, then there are no clues and no body. The only evidence is that Rex got up early and went out alone. This is what makes Husband, Missing an intriguing read as we live out the story, search and revelations at the same time as Gina as she deals with feelings of shock, grief, disbelief and anger.
        As time passes, we begin to see Gina as quite naive and totally blinkered about Rex, especially when she finds out one or two things about him which she never knew.
        To reveal the things which come to light, would spoil the story for readers and although none of these things came as a surprise to me personally as I kind of expected them.
        Gina''s naivety about Rex and how she comes to terms with her feelings as she struggles to face up to reality was handled very well without becoming overly irritating.
        I particularly enjoyed the characters of Rex''s brother Jake and his wife Fran, but in truth there were no characters to dislike.
        There was an earnest honesty about each character,they were all so ordinary but wonderfully described.
        After thoroughly enjoying the readability of this novel, I found the ending a little rushed I have to say.
        The story remained unpredictable right until the end in terms of what happened to Rex, but in other parts it was predictable.
        Overall I would like to have seen more time taken with the ending, but Husband, Missing is a novel I am glad I read and so I am happy to recommend it

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          15.03.2014 16:57
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          The third book in the Brennan/ Esposito series isn't as good as the first two.

          Into the house... down the stairs... through the dripping dark of the cellar...someone is there... someone who shouldn't be there...

          As an old building awaits demolition, a horrifying discovery is made down in the cellar: a cage made of human bones - with a terrified child kept captive inside.
          As DI Phil Brennan and psychologist Marina Esposito investigate, they expose the trail of a serial killer who has been operating undetected for thirty years. A killer who not only wants the child back, but also a killer who has a disturbing link to Phil Brennan.

          Cage of Bones is the third book in the series featuring DI Phil Brennan and his psychologist partner and mother of his baby daughter, Marina Esposito. I have previously read the other two books, 'The Surrogate' and 'The Creeper' but you do not need to read these books as a series at all as they work well as stand alone novels too. Enough background information is given in each book about the characters, so you won't be lost off if you picked up this book to read not having the read the others. I actually read the second book before reading the first myself, as I had not realised it was a series and I still understood them perfectly, my enjoyment not spoiled at all.

          Having enjoyed both The Surrogate and The Creeper, I looked forward to reading Cage of Bones and I do enjoy books where there are returning characters.
          Cage of Bones starts off with the discovery of the little boy held captive in a cage made of human bones before then switching to a terrified woman running for her life to escape someone chasing her. This is an interesting sub-plot running alongside the cage of bones discovery and I was drawn into the story right away just as I had with the previous books.
          The author Tania Carver, which is actually a pseudonym for the husband and wife writing team of Martyn and Linda Waites, writes short punchy chapters which are guaranteed to hold your interest throughout. The chapters do jump between the characters, but they are short enough to ensure you don't have to go back to recap at all I found.

          As mentioned at the start, Phil Brennan discovers he has a link to the killer from his past which he was unaware of at first. The revelation didn't really come as a surprise however, as when Phil discovers he is linked to the killer, I had already guessed how.
          It was also possible to guess who the killer is before the end of the book but this didn't really spoil any enjoyment for me as there were a couple of decent twists earlier on in the story. Whilst you begin to realise some characters were not exactly as they might seem, I didn't guess exactly why and the suspense and twists were good leading up the revelations.

          There was a part however, later on in the story when one of the civilian characters, Donna, and a young child she has found herself responsible for, are present whilst the detectives are discussing the case with SOCA detectives. A few revelations are made and she is privvy to this and also taking part in the discussion. I felt this was unrealistic and this bothered me as I failed to see how so much would be discussed and revealed in their presence? All this made me wonder why the killer had been at large for thirty years too and had not been detected sooner and I began questioning the overall story and my enjoyment of it. I did feel the story dragged on a bit and overall was longer than it needed to be at 531 pages, but there was still enough suspense to keep me reading, although it stopped short of being a page-turner about half way through.

          Once again I found I couldn't really get into the character of Marina Esposito. Whilst she is a 'nice' character, after reading three books now I don't think there is enough about her to make her interesting. I found her slightly annoying and superficial in the other books and sadly this continued here in Cage of Bones.
          I also found Phil's character to be a little annoying in this story too and the depth and warmth I had for him from the previous books was somewhat lacking here. A few times I found myself irritated by him and it tended to make both Phil and Marina appear unrealistic to me. Indeed the character of DS Mickey Philips was my favourite character in this book. I warmed to him more here and found him realistic and likeable, enjoying the parts which featured him as they were some of my favourite parts of the book.

          Overall I found Cage of Bones to be something of a wasted opportunity. The storyline holds a lot of possibility and promise, particularly after the opening chapters, but didn't quite get there in the end. I couldn't help but reflect afterwards that it could have been better. The opening chapters are great, the suspense and tension builds and it holds great promise, but then it slows and falters and doesn't manage to maintain the initial expectation or excitement in my opinion, resulting in an average read for me, leaving me frustrated thinking of what might have been.

          Cage of Bones is a little disappointing when compared to the previous two books in my opinion, but still manages to be mildly enjoyable overall and worth a read for thriller fans.

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            11.03.2014 20:17
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            A great health supplement for both men and women.

            Taking Vitamins wasn't something I did since my childhood, until last year when my GP suggested I take some Vitamin E. She thought I may be pre-menopausal and informed me this 'state' can begin up to ten years before the actual menopause. She recommended taking Vitamin E supplements to help with the periods I was having and hot flushes too, which I wasn't actually experiencing, but she thought I may well experience them sooner rather than later and to be prepared for it. If my symptoms were not pre-menopause but premenstrual, then Vitamin E could only be of benefit to me she advised.

            Although never having taken Vitamin E previously, it was something I was used to buying as my partner had sufferered some health problems a few years back and was advised to take Vitamin E to support his red blood cells, which he actually still takes to this day, as feels they do benefit him greatly.

            Therefore I didn't have to go out and buy some for myself as I simply began taking some of my partner's Vitamin E capsules on a daily basis.
            I purchase his vitamins and other supplements online, keeping an eye out for offers and free postage or cashback offers. The last order I made was from Healthaid.co.uk where 100 Vitamin E capsules were priced at £14.49 but I was able to secure a cashback offer and free postage for spending over £30, as I also ordered his other supplements from Healthaid too.

            Healthaid Vitamin E 200iu Capsules contain Vitamin E, which functions as a natural powerful antioxidant, helping to combat free radical damage to the body. It is also used to support vital nutrients such as Vitamin A and unsaturated fatty acids from oxidative damage. Oxidation of cells is a process connected to cellular ageing, which can bring harm to the body. Vitamin E may help to maintain a healthy heart, support red blood cells and nourish the skin. Healthaid's Vitamin E capsules are suitable for vegetarians and gelatine free.

            As well as being beneficial to my partner to support his red blood cells and reducing premenstrual or pre -menopause symptoms for myself, these capsules may also be of benefit to people who wish to improve their immune system, people who have been sunburnt and also those who wish to safeguard against the effects of aging. Therefore I couldn't see any harm in taking these, as I also would like to think I am safeguarding myself against the effects of aging as well as boosting my immune system.

            These capsules are suitable for Vegetarians, the ingredients are Natural Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol), Bulking Agent (Soybean Oil), Capsule Shell [gelling agent (modified starch, vegetable glycerine, Carrageenan), Acidity Regulator (di-Sodium Phosphate)].

            There is an Allergy cautionary note to inform you these capsules do contain Soya.

            Adults and children over 12 years of age should take one capsule daily after food and this can be increased up to two capsules daily, but you are advised not to exceed recommended daily intake unless advised by a suitably qualified person.

            Healthaid is a good quality brand and these Vitamin E capsules are really easy to swallow. I have been taking one of these capsules daily for a few months now and do feel they benefit me. I am still experiencing some symptoms of pre-menopause but do believe I feel better for taking these as the symptoms are not as bad as when I consulted my GP or advice. I do not experience any hot flushes (yet) so cannot say whether I am simply not experiencing any due to taking Vitamin E or not, as this wasn't a symptom I was experiencing in the first place.
            My partner also states he knows he feels much better for taking these and like myself, he also takes just one a day. He actually stopped taking them for a while a couple of years back and noticed the difference in how he was feeling, so began taking them again and will continue to do so.

            I will definitely revisit Healthaid.co.uk to order more of these and am happy to recommend this brand to everyone.

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              09.03.2014 23:22
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              The best lip gloss and balm I have used

              Clinique isn't a brand I have a lot of experience of mainly due to the cost of the products. I can't really justify paying out a lot of money on skin care and make up products and have found other brands I am more than happy with at a price to suit my purse.
              My daughter on the other hand is a big fan of Clinique and just over a year ago she presented me with a couple of Clinique products as a gift. One was a facial moisturiser which I have to say I was very impressed with and the other was a Superbalm Moisturising Gloss which I didn't actually try until recently. The reason being I had another lip gloss to use up and lip gloss isn't something I use very often.

              Clinique Superbalm Moisturising Gloss comes in a range of shades and is described by Cliniques as lip balm with a colourful twist. Gorgeous colours are said to treat your most undermoisturised skin to helpings of soothing shine. It promises to instantly relieve dryness, protect with antioxidants and more.
              The full size product is 15ml and priced at £16.00 which is expensive, but when I did a little research I found that it has been voted a top product by various magazines and also customer reviews are often very generous. Indeed 98% of reviewers on the Clinique website state they would recommend this product. Based upon my experience of the Clinique moisturiser I used, I was expecting another quality product and I am happy to say I was not disappointed.

              The shade I was given is known as Rootbeer - a sheer coffee brown nude shade from the Naturals/Nudes shade range. This is most probably the shade I would have personally chosen if I had bought this myself as I prefer natural/brown shades for my lips for day to day wear.
              My lips are quite often dry particularly in the colder winter months and I do carry a lip balm around with me in my handbag at all times. I have also carried lip gloss around with me too on occasion, but I don't really associate lip gloss with being moisturising or protective. Also I have found most to be sticky and as I have long hair, I have experienced my hair being stuck to my lips on more than one occasion after application which I find annoying. Therefore I tend to stay away from lip gloss, which is another reason why I haven't got around to trying this lip gloss until recently.

              However, this Clinique Superbalm Gloss I have found, is quite different compared to any lip gloss I have used previously.
              Directions for use are to apply Superbalm Moisturising Gloss to clean, bare lips, or over your lipstick for extra shine. I have tried both, but prefer to apply this product to bare lips rather than over a lipstick as my lips tended to feel too clogged with product when I tried this.

              When using this gloss I can state that Clinique's claims of eliminating dryness are true. My lips feel soft and smooth after application and I like how they look too. It has great staying power too. I find one application can last hours without the need to reapply and the shine is still evident on my lips during this time, as is the soft feeling I get.
              As for the colour, I find this particular shade is ideal to wear during the day when I want a natural look. I am left with a very subtle soft nude-brown colour and a nice subtle shine too. This gloss scores top marks from me too for its total lack of stickiness. It is the sticky feeling which has put me off lip gloss in the past and I am happy to report there is no sticky feeling when using this product. There isn't really a scent or taste to this lip gloss either, which is something else which pleases me personally.

              This Clinique Superbalm Moisturising Gloss is without doubt the best lip gloss I have ever used and it has the added bonus of being a protective balm too, smoothing and softening my lips instantly each time I use it.
              The only downside for me personally with this product is the price, but then Clinique products are not cheap. I cannot really justify spending a lot of money on beauty products as I mentioned earlier, but I am so impressed with this product I may find I have to treat myself to another one once I have used it all!

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                05.03.2014 13:54
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                A great wardrobe staple at a great price.

                Most of the jeans I buy are from Dorothy Perkins and for the last few years now I have repeatedly bought their Bailey Superskinny jeans in a variety of colours apart from the usual denim, as I find they fit me perfectly and I love the style and quality.
                My daughter also buys the jeans too and then last year she showed me her new Eden 'Jeggings' from Dorothy Perkins, which on first glance I thought were another pair of jeans, until she explained they were in fact jeggings.
                I had heard of jeggings prior to this and knew that they were leggings which actually look like jeans. However, they weren't something I was particularly keen to try. I am not a big leggings fan to be honest and prefer my jeans, but on seeing my daughter wearing her new jeggings, I had to admit they did look nice and actually looked like a pair of superskinny jeans. She explained they were really comfortable and I decided next time I was in Dorothy Perkins I would try some on.

                A few weeks later I did try on some Eden Jeggings in Dorothy Perkins and although there were a few different shades to choose from, black was my preference.
                These Eden Jeggings are described as ultra soft. They are 67% Cotton, 31% Polyester and 2% Elastane and fully machine washable.
                I was impressed by the quality of these jeggings as they aren't as thin as leggings. In fact they are just like the Superskinny jeans I often buy and are also styled like the jeans, with pockets and a waistband and front pleat where the zip would be if they were actually jeans. The only difference is that they are not jeans of course and you simply pull them on without any zips or buttons to fasten.

                Right away as I was pulling the jeggings on they felt so comfortable and once on, I thought they looked really smart. Ideal I thought for those uncomfortable days when I may feel bloated or be suffering with cramp. I purchased the black pair I tried on and was very happy with them. At £20 I think they are great value for money.
                What I also like about these jeggings is that they come in the various leg length sizes too just like the jeans, so you can select your dress size then choose, short, regular or long leg length, to ensure the perfect fit.

                These Eden jeggings are also available in various shades which change during the year depending on the season. Dorothy Perkins often have sales too and online offers which means you can often buy these for less than £20 too. I recently bought another black pair with a charcoal grey pattern on them for just £12 and they look great to go out in with a black top and boots. They are one of my wardrobe favourites at the moment and so comfortable too. They look good to go out in with a nice top, but also are ideal to wear with a long jumper or comfy top when just slobbing around in the house and as I mentioned before, I find these are more comfortable to wear than jeans when I am suffering with cramp.

                I haven't had any issue with these jeggings going out of shape either and find they wash well and retain their shape perfectly. Although my plain black jeggings faded a little after a few months, I find this happens with all black jeans I have purchased and so have come to expect it. I still have had great value for money out of them and simply replace them when they become too faded.

                My daughter owns a few pairs of these jeggings too in blue, wine and plum shades and she is equally as happy as I am. I still purchase the Superskinny jeans too but I will also be purchasing more of these jeggings. Even if like me you are not a fan of leggings, then I would suggest trying a pair of these Eden jeggings on and you may find you are as pleasantly surprised as I was.
                Visit www.dorothyperkins.com or a branch of Dorothy Perkins or Outfit for more info and to purchase.

                Happy to recommend!

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                  26.02.2014 19:52
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                  Beautiful ends proved to be not so beautiful after all for me.

                  Many years back I was a huge fan of Clairol's Herbal Essences range of shampoo and conditioning products and used them regularly. Then Clairol changed and repackaged the range and although I tried the new Herbal Essences range, I pretty much hated it. Thankfully there is one Herbal Essences shampoo which is still available from the old range which I like and still purchase when I spot it on the shelves, but overall, Herbal Essences has left me disappointed whenever I have tried any products from the newer range and I have tried a few, always hoping I would find one that would impress me.
                  I did think last year however, that things were looking up when I bought a bottle of their 'Ignite My Colour' shampoo and although I wasn't entirely overwhelmed by it, I did think it was an improvement and certainly better than some shampoos I have tried.

                  It was this more positive experience which left me willing to buy the newer range of Herbal Essences again, also they have changed the range yet again since my less positive experiences.
                  Always on the look out for a bargain too, I was tempted to try the Herbal Essences newer range once again when it was half-price at my local Asda store recently. I first looked to purchase a bottle of the 'old style' shampoo as I call it, but being only a small Asda store they don't stock the entire range. They also did not have the Ignite My Colour shampoo I had previously tried, so I had no choice but to try something new.

                  Looking through what may be suitable for my hair I decided upon this 'Beautiful Ends' shampoo. I have long hair which of course can be prone to split ends and so along with regular trimming, I also like to use a shampoo and conditioner which help to protect my hair. The ends of my hair have a natural curl and can become dry and frizzy at times too, especially in damp or humid conditions and so I liked the idea of a 'Beautiful Ends' shampoo. I paid £1.86 for a large bottle, taking advantage of the half-price offer.

                  Clairol Herbal Essences Beautiful Ends shampoo offers split end protection and is suitable for long hair to defy and defeat split ends and breakage. Described as a 'luscious formula' this shampoo contains red raspberry and silk extracts to leave your hair protected and luscious.

                  Packaged in a red bottle, the shampoo itself is a pink colour and has a non-runny consistency which I find easy to apply to my wet hair from the handy flip top bottle and it lathers up fairly easily too.
                  The fragrance I think is more floral than the fruity fragrance I expected. Whilst I don't dislike it, I do think it smells more synthetic than it possibly should and certainly not as nice in my opinion as Ignite My Colour and the Herbal Essences range of old.

                  The first time I used this shampoo I did initially like the feel of this shampoo on my hair as I massaged it in, although again it didn't feel as moisturising as some shampoos. However, as I began rinsing it out, I wasn't as impressed, as I could certainly tell by this point that this wasn't going to be as good as I had first thought, as my fingers weren't gliding through my hair as easily as I would expect. Whilst it was easily rinsed out and left no residue behind, I wasn't entirely happy with the feel of my hair overall as it didn't feel as smooth and soft as I would like.
                  I always use a conditioner and had followed this up with the matching Beautiful Ends conditioner. However I was still left feeling after rinsing, that my hair still did not feel as good as I would like it to.

                  After drying my hair as usual, my fears were proved correct, as although this wasn't the worst shampoo I have ever used and it did clean my hair, I just felt it didn't feel as silky soft or smooth as I would prefer and not as good as the results I can achieve with other shampoo and conditioning products, so overall it was a let down. As for the ends, well I can't say they looked particularly beautiful, nor did I notice this shampoo offering any particular protection to the ends. Because my hair didn't look as soft and silky, then the ends didn't look as good either and again I was left knowing I have achieved far better results using other shampoos.

                  I did try this shampoo several times to give it a fair chance, but every time I was left disappointed and it ended up sitting in the bathroom half empty, whilst I went back to using my preferred shampoos. Indeed it is still sitting there now and to be honest I can only see myself using it again if I happen to run out of shampoo.
                  Of course everybody's hair is different so I recognise the fact that this shampoo may work better for others, but personally I was left disappointed and won't be buying this again.

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                    24.02.2014 18:58
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                    A sweet strawberry and cream fragrance from Yankee.

                    Yankee's 'Summer Scoop' fragrance was first introduced in the summer of 2013. I was keen to try it out at the time, but never spotted it in wax tart format (which is my preference) in any of the shops I visited which stocked Yankee Candles.
                    Finding shops which stock these wax tarts is actually becoming a bit of a problem lately I have found, as the Collectables gift store chain has closed down and my local Debenhams appears to have stopped selling them too. Even Clintons only seem to be stocking the glass jar candles and votives of late. Therefore I have had to resort to making purchases online of Yankee Wax Tarts and had made a note to look for this one in particular, Summer Scoop.

                    Before I got to order it however, my daughter bought me a gift of some Yankee Wax Tarts and I was delighted to find 'Summer Scoop' was one of the wax tarts included.

                    Yankee describe their Summer Scoop fragrance as 'Delicious memories of creamy, homemade strawberry ice cream on a hot summer day'.
                    Now being a fan of fruity fragrance and having enjoyed other Yankee Strawberry fragrances, I felt pretty confident I would like this one a lot.
                    Pale pink in colour and with a picture of some delicious looking strawberry ice cream on the label, Summer Scoop is exactly like its name suggests, which I quickly confirmed when holding up the wax tart to my nose and smelling the creamy sweet strawberry scent whilst still in its packaging.

                    I placed the tart in the well of my burner and lit a tealight underneath. As the wax began to melt, a sweet fruity and buttery aroma began to appear. My initial thoughts were how much it reminded me of Yankee's 'Strawberry Buttercream' which is one I love. As the fragrance developed further, I then thought it reminded me of Yankee's 'Christmas Cookie' too. Indeed if you are a fan of either of these fragrances then I am sure you will also enjoy 'Summer Scoop' as it seems to be a very similar scent to these. Fruity but very buttery and cookie smelling, making quite a mouth-watering fragrance overall.

                    Yankee state you can expect to achieve 8 hours of fragrance from one of their wax tarts and I am happy to report that most of the time, I find these 8 hours are exceeded and I can easily eke out a few more hours of fragrance, as even though the scent begins to fade, there is usually enough to still create a nice aroma around the room before it disappears altogether.

                    What surprised me with Summer Scoop however, was that although the fragrance was quite strong at first and wafted out through the downstairs of my home, I then noticed it seemed to be weakening after just 4 hours. Although I could still detect the fragrance, I did expect it to remain stronger for a while longer. Whilst I did achieve the expected 8 hours of fragrance, I would say that for the last couple of hours the scent was not as strong as I have experienced with many other Yankee wax tarts. After 8 hours it suddenly seemed to disappear altogether and as I have experienced far greater longevity from Yankee's other strawberry fragrances, I was left feeling a little disappointed.

                    Despite this, I would still purchase Summer Scoop again, but it did not give as good longevity as many others I have tried.
                    I think this one will be one I will purchase if I see it on offer at a reduced price. If I am paying full price then I will look to purchase wax tarts which give me the greatest longevity. I think the other strawberry Yankee fragrances will be my preference over Summer Scoop.
                    It was a shame this one didn't perform quite as I expected, but the fragrance when evident, was really lovely and one to be enjoyed all year round, not just in the summer.

                    Yankee Summer Scoop is also available in votive, tealight, and glass jar format. The wax tart is currently available, along with the formats, online from wwwyankeecandle.co.uk priced at £1.25. There are also other online Yankee stockists to browse for your Yankee candle requirements and they can also be bought from online retailer Amazon.

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                      20.02.2014 16:53
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                      The Cure at their best.

                      Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me is the 7th studio album by The Cure, who were one of my favourite bands of the 80's and remain so to this day. Released in 1987 and produced by David M. Allen along with frontman Robert Smith, this album quickly became my favourite album of theirs to date featuring some of their best work in my opinion. Their sound rejuvenated, it felt when listening to this album for the very first time that The Cure had found a new enthusiasm for their work and that they were on the up again. Little did I know that their following album 'Distintegration' would be even better still, but that's another story. Looking back however, it proved my initial thoughts were correct as the band came up with two fantastic albums as their seventh and eighth releases.

                      Tracks:

                      The Kiss
                      Catch
                      Torture
                      If Only Tonight We Could Sleep
                      Why Can't I Be You?
                      How Beautiful You Are
                      The Snakepit
                      Hey You!
                      Just Like Heaven
                      All I Want
                      Hot Hot Hot!!!
                      One More Time
                      Like Cockatoos
                      Icing Sugar
                      The Perfect Girl
                      A Thousand Hours
                      Shiver and Shake
                      Fight

                      There was so much material on this album I felt that perhaps they had enough for two separate albums, but instead decided to put it all on this release to make an epic album, whilst taking advantage of the still new compact disc format which meant artists could cram a lot more onto a disc than they could a vinyl record.
                      At the time, I was very happy about this, but my love of cd's began to wane fairly quickly when I realised that they could be damaged after all, or be flawed upon purchase and jumped and skipped just as much as vinyl could at times! I also quickly began to miss and yearn for the covers of vinyl records, as there was something exciting about the cover of a vinyl album I thought. The cover artwork was often something special and the insert often included the song lyrics. With cd's everything had to be scaled down and the excitement and effect was somewhat lost. Say what you like about vinyl but I will always miss the large album covers.

                      I think The Cure were experimenting a little with this album as I do believe Kiss me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me is the most varied album the band have made, as it covers both the dark songs they did so well as well as the more poppy catchy songs which once heard, would be buzzing around in your head the rest of the day. I loved the contrast, as this album contained everything I love about The Cure and not just one side of them.
                      From the opening blast which is 'The Kiss', featuring great guitar from singer Robert Smith as well as the powerful thud of the drums to help hammer the song's message home, there is a deep melancholy message throughout the entire album which takes you on a rollercoaster of ups and downs till it ends with the dark lyrics of 'Fight': "Sometimes there's nothing to feel, sometimes there's nothing to hold , sometimes there's no time to run away, sometimes you just feel so old, the times it hurts when you cry, the times it hurts just to breathe, and then it all seems like there's no-one left.. and all you want is to sleep.."
                      Robert's warbling singing ensures you feel his pain as he belts out " Fight, fight, fight" leading the album's feeling right back to where it started, but you know you have been part of a wonderful story.

                      Simon Gallup's bass and Boris William's drums have maximum impact here and blend so well with the guitar throughout the entire album, it is truly a joy to listen to.
                      If you recall The Cure's singles then you will surely remember the delicate 'Catch' telling of adolescent lost love. Sweet, is the word I would use to describe Catch with it's tender and innocent lyrics. "Sometimes I used to try and catch her, but never even caught her name." Then by the time you get to the darkly atmospheric and sitar influenced "If Only Tonight We Could Sleep" with its long musical intro, we are taken back down to the darker place once more and I love it.

                      Speaking of what I love, then I have to mention one of my all time favourite Cure tracks 'Just Like Heaven' which is a fine example of what The Cure did so well, coming up with a song which is catchy and uplifiting but sad at the same time, allowing you to experience the emotions of both joy and sadness whilst you listen. It was one of The Cure's most popular singles featuring a brilliant introduction as each instrument joins in turn, completing with the jangling guitar and Robert's distinctive vocals as he proclaims "I must have been asleep for days" and "You're just like a dream" always stirring an emotion inside me.
                      Another favourite of mine is the bittersweet 'How Beautiful You Are.' "You want to know why I hate you? Well I'll try to explain" begins Robert on another catchy track which The Cure are so good at - uplifting melodies but often dark, sad lyrics to leave you experiencing a whole load of emotions.

                      An inspiring vocal performance comes on 'One More Time' which is quite an ethereal track to take you to an almost dreamy trance-like state. The track is a contrast to the hostile feel of 'Shiver And Shake' which
                      Smith has stated was written about band member Lol Tolhurst, with his numerous addictions and deteriorating role in the band. "You're just a waste of time!" sings Robert in an angry tone I can't recall hearing before on other tracks. In fact the entire song is angrily performed, but it does have a strangely appealing quality too. It is possibly one of my least favourites on the album but I still like it enough to listen. I did used to think that maybe it shouldn't have been included but I now think the overall Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, succeeds in giving you the experience of every emotion, so why not have a bit of anger in there too? Also by placing 'Fight' right after this track, it slowly simmers down the anger to a beftting end for this wonderful album.

                      Kiss Me. Kiss Me, Kiss Me, is a must have for all fans of The Cure and remains one of my favourites to this day.










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                        18.02.2014 21:05
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                        An intriguing first novel in the Lacey Flint series.

                        "What's the worst thing that could happen to you Karen?"

                        This... thinks Karen, her eyes tightly closed. This is the worst thing that could happen to me.

                        After reading the blurb on the back cover of Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton, the first novel by the author to feature DC Lacey Flint, I was suitably intrigued. I had also purposely sought out this particular book, having read the subsequent Lacey Flint novel 'Dead Scared' a few months back and realising there were other books in this series and I was actually reading them in the wrong order.
                        Not that this matters really, as I thoroughly enjoyed 'Dead Scared' as a stand alone novel and now having read this first book, I can honestly say it doesn't matter if you read the Lacey Flint series in the wrong order or just read one as a stand alone novel, as the author provides you with everything you need to know to ensure you are not lost off when reading.
                        Now You See Me also introduces us to DI Mark Joesbury, Dana Tulloch and the rest of the team who also feature in subsequent novels too.

                        Now You See Me is another captivating thriller from S.J. Bolton, as a savage murder takes place on London's streets, 120 years to the day since Jack The Ripper claimed his first victim. The coincidence doesn't end there however, as the murder also bears all the hallmarks of a copycat 'Jack The Ripper' murder.
                        DC Lacey Flint has never worked on a murder case but having found the first victim, she finds herself involved and having to try and outwit a psychopath whose infamous role model has never been found.
                        When the murderer strikes again, Lacey agrees to be the bait to lure out the killer, but things don't go quite to plan as the killer appears to be one step ahead and fixated on Lacey too.

                        Once again, I enjoyed the writing style of S.J. Bolton, with short and punchy chapters ensuring a riveting read from start to finish. There is no lengthy character history or explanation, instead, small snippets are gradually released throughout.
                        Lacey Flint is a flawed character who has one or two secrets of her own. Her past is a little mysterious and she appears to be quite hard and stand-offish at times. This makes her somewhat irritating at times and quite difficult to like, but there is something intriguing about her too. I still can't decide whether I like her or not after reading two books, but I want to read the others so it hasn't put me off.

                        The copycat Ripper killer seems intent on involving Lacey from the start and it soon becomes clear this is personal. Suspicions abound with Lacey herself not escaping suspicion from DI Mark Joesbury. As the investigation unfolds, Lacey's past becomes entangled with her present and this makes for some exciting reading with just enough questions raised to allow the reader to beging guessing the answers.
                        There is some sexual tension between Lacey and Joesbury which was also evident in the other book I read and whilst at times it bordered on being a little silly, at other times it added perfectly to the tension of the story, so it didn't bother me too much.

                        About halfway through the book Lacey's fear of what may happen is suddenly revealed to the reader, as are her sudden plans, which came as quite a shock but I think this was the intention. It immediatedly made me question everything and I couldn't really come up with any explanation or answers and it threw me a little. If I was to elaborate further on this it would spoil things for the reader, but suffice to say, I was confused for a little while and began wondering if I was going to enjoy the remainder of the story or if it was going to make sense.

                        The story moved on but I found I was feeling slightly irked, as Lacey's actions and plans now seemed to be on hold or forgotten, which I partly understood given how events unfolded, but they weren't referred to again for some time and I felt a little explanation here would have allayed my frustration. I felt I was led in a certain direction only to suddenly change to another and then back to the original again without explanation. Although everything is revealed in the end, I found myself thinking back to the mid section of the book whilst reflecting on the story and thinking it could have been handled better.
                        Apart from this I enjoyed the twists and was definitely kept guessing until the end which I personally enjoy when reading this type of novel and it worked very well at keeping me off balance. I certainly don't enjoy reading a book where I can guess who done what pretty much from the off and find I am right.

                        There are a number of references to the Jack The Ripper killings which made for interesting reading as I have never really read up on this infamous killer prior to reading this book. The story also features sexual assault and gang rape, apart from the killings themselves, which makes for some graphic content at times.
                        I enjoyed the fact that Lacey Flint is as much an enigma here as the case is and the author makes sure all is not revealed, paving the way for her character to develop further in the other novels. Whilst the case here is solved, you just know there is still more to learn about Lacey and even though she can be a difficult character to like, you are strangley left intrigued enough to want to know more, which I am sure is the author's intention here, so full credit to S.J. Bolton as she has ensured I will be reading the other Lacey Flint novels!

                        I am happy to recommend Now You See Me to readers of crime and thriller novels and am looking forward to reading the other novels in the Lacey Flint series.

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                          11.02.2014 19:52
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                          Beautiful setting for weddings as well as a beautiful place to stay.

                          Lumley Castle has stood proudly above the banks of the River Wear at Chester-Le-Street, County Durham, for more than 600 years. Living in the North East all my life, I have always been aware of the castle and always remember looking up at it standing tall above the riverside park at Chester-le-Street which I visited a few times as a child.
                          I never actually went up to visit the castle however and these days its main function is as a hotel and wedding/function venue. A few people I know have attended the Elizabethan Banquets held there too, which appear to be very popular. I always planned to visit, or maybe book an overnight stay at Lumley Castle, but it is often the case when something is more or less on your doorstep you don't often bother with it.

                          It was when my daughter decided to have her wedding at Lumley Castle last December, I finally got to visit the castle and also booked a room to stay overnight.
                          I booked a courtyard room for myself and my partner via LateRooms.com, as at the time of booking the price was a little cheaper than booking with Lumley Castle direct and also cashback site Topcashback.co.uk offer a decent cashback rate for using LateRooms.com. Therefore by clicking through via Topcashback to make my booking I received a few pounds cashback too.
                          I paid £99 for a double room in the courtyard and this included breakfast. I thought this to very reasonable indeed and a few of the wedding guests also booked a room.

                          == Winter Wonderland ==

                          My daughter was getting married on the afternoon and when we arrived at the castle it wasn't long before the ceremony was due to commence. We parked in the courtyard and entered the Reception area which is in the main part of the castle. As soon as we walked in I thought how beautiful it looked, all stone and low light/candlelight, velour drapes, stained glass windows, all very cosy and welcoming, but I must confess I love castles and cathedrals.
                          The staff were dressed in Elizabethan attire and we explained we were there for the wedding and also to check in as hotel guests too. We were welcomed warmly and checked in and told just to pop back to the desk for our room key anytime after the ceremony, to save us having to carry it about with us.

                          My daughter and soon to be husband's names announcing their wedding were on a candlelit sign along with information on other events happening in the castle that day. Further signs directed us to the room where the ceremony was to be held. There are a number of rooms to hire for weddings at Lumley Castle depending on the size of your party. My daughter was only having a small wedding but I found the rooms where the ceremony and wedding breakfast were held to be very spacious and I was more than impressed with it all.

                          After a beautiful ceremony, we enjoyed a candlelit wedding breakfast. Huge candleabras sat upon the tables and Christmas trees were lit. It was a perfect winter 'Christmassy' wedding, with the stained glass windows and midnight blue and snowflake theme my daughter chose, adding to the setting.

                          I wasn't sure what to expect in regards to the actual wedding, but I can thoroughly recommend holding a wedding at Lumley Castle. The service and setting throughout was excellent and it was a truly beautiful day and night. The backdrop of the castle made for some stunning wedding photographs too!
                          My daughter and her husband had an amazing wedding, just the way they wanted it to be. By getting married in December and on a weekday instead of a Saturday, it saved quite a lot of money and was in my opinion, as well as theirs, even more magical.
                          Further information and all you need to know in regards to booking a wedding at Lumley Castle can be found on the website at www.lumleycastle.com. You can also find information on functions, Elizabathan Banquets and special offers here too.

                          == Staying at Lumley Castle ==

                          Lumley Castle offers 73 unique and individual bedrooms, some of which feature their signature secret bathrooms!
                          There are bedrooms in the main part of the Castle as well as in the Courtyard buildings. Some are four-poster feature rooms and all are fully ensuite with flat screen TV and complimentary wireless internet included.

                          My daughter and son-in-law were staying in a room in the main Castle building with a four poster bed, which was included in their wedding package.
                          As mentioned earlier, I had booked a Courtyard double room and this was located just a short walk from the main building.
                          I liked the setting of the Courtyard rooms, there were various doors to enter the Courtyard building depending on your room number. We entered via the door corresponding to our room number and found a room either side of the door downstairs on entering, then another two rooms up a short flight of stairs. Our room was one of the two upstairs rooms and after unlocking the door and entering our room our initial reaction was a very good one.

                          Our double room was on the small side, but large enough for our needs and nicely decorated and so size was not a problem at all. A curtained archway led to an alcove with a rail to hang your clothes, store bags and cases etc. There was a writing desk with a welcome pack and tea/coffee making facilities with sachets of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, biscuits and mints. A comfy looking double bed was made up with crisp white linen and the TV was wall mounted. The room was heated via a radiator and was very warm on arrival. So much so that we had to adjust the thermostat and open the window!

                          A door led through to a spacious bathroom and this definitely had the wow factor. Apart from being spotless and beautifully tiled, there were luxurious towels and toiletries included. There was a powerful shower with a large shower head over the bath and plenty of hot water throughout our stay.
                          Extra toilet rolls and a hairdryer hung from the back of the door in embroidered toiletry bags.

                          The bed was very comfortable, if a little on the soft side for me personally. I think we were still so excited about the great day we had all had at the wedding when we went to bed and so it took a while to fall asleep, but this was no fault of the bed or the room. I had experienced the emotion and excitement of my eldest daughter getting married and simply found it difficult to nod off to sleep!

                          The next morning we went over to the main castle building for breakfast. Lumley Castle seems huge, but there are plenty signposts directing you to where everything is. There are some lovely corridors, rooms and outdoor garden areas to view on your way around the castle, it is a beautiful building inside and out. I was impressed with the amount of Christmas trees around the castle too. I was just starting to get my bearings and find my way around by the time we had to leave!

                          We found the room where breakfast was being served and were greeted by waiting staff and shown to a slightly raised area containing one private table. There was another identical raised area with a private table at the other end of the room and my daughter and husband had been seated there. There were various other tables around the room and overall I was impressed with the breakfast area, just as I had been with everywhere else in the castle.
                          We were invited to help ourselves to juice, cereals, fruit etc from a long table in a hallway just leading from the room and our orders for a cooked breakfast were taken at the table. We both opted for a full English breakfast. Coffee and toast was also brought to our table and butter and little jars of jam and marmalade sat in the middle of the table.

                          We didn't wait long for our breakfast and when it arrived we were warned the plates were extremely hot, which I promptly forgot about and almost burned my fingers when I moved my plate slightly. Our cooked breakfasts both looked and tasted lovely. Quality products had been used and I couldn't fault it at all.

                          == We will return! ==

                          After breakfast we made our way back to our room and gathered up our belongings before checking out. We helped my daughter load up her car, as the staff had kindly packed everything she had taken with her and what was left over, as well as gifts and cards. We were thanked for staying and once again I have to mention that the staff are very friendly and helpful at Lumley Castle. They made sure my daughter had a day to remember and that all the guests were looked after from start to finish.

                          I wouldn't hesitate to recommend staying at Lumley Castle. My son-in-law's parents have stayed there a few times and keep returning as they love it so much and enjoy trying the different rooms. I think there is something magical about staying in a castle and Lumley Castle doesn't disappoint. We will be returning for an overnight stay for sure, as I think it will make for a lovely night away for a special occasion and therfore I am more than happy to recommend it to everyone.

                          Lumley Castle
                          Chester le Street
                          County Durham
                          DH3 4NX

                          Tel: +44 (0) 191 389 1111
                          Fax: +44 (0) 191 389 5871

                          Email: info@lumleycastle.com or visit www.lumleycastle.com for further information.

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                            05.02.2014 18:39
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                            Works well on mild to moderate symptoms, but stronger wind may only be reduced to a breeze!

                            Trapped wind is not something I suffer with very often I am pleased to say, but like most people, it crops up from time to time and can be very uncomfortable and quite painful on occasion.
                            I was going on holiday last year and began to experience some sharp stomach cramps at the airport and recognised the symptoms of trapped wind. Facing a four and a half hour flight, I didn't want to be sat on the plane feeling uncomfortable and in pain and so I visited the Boots store inside the airport to see if I could buy anything to relieve the symptoms.

                            I must admit I had never bought anything to help relieve the syptoms of trapped wind before as thankfully it doesn't happen to me very often and when it does, it doesn't usually doesn't last too long. However, I felt uneasy on this occasion knowing I was going to be stuck in a plane seat for a few hours and really wanted the cramp-like pains to go away and not get any worse.

                            I came out of Boots having bought a box of Setlers Wind-eze tablets, which promised express relief from the pain and discomfort of bloating and trapped wind. Peppermint flavour which I don't mind and also being chewable, meant these tablets are really convenient to take right away.

                            Wind-eze chewable tablets contain the active ingredient simeticone, which is a type of medicine known as an 'anti-foaming agent'. This works to reduce the amount of trapped wind in the gut. It brings together all the small bubbles of gas which become trapped amongst your stomach contents and forms larger bubbles which are more easily expelled by burping or passing wind.
                            I was hoping for the express relief stated as I really didn't want to be burping or passing wind whilst sat on the plane. How embarrassing!

                            One or two tablets can be taken three or four times a day to relieve the symptoms and these are not suitable for children under the age of 12.
                            I decided to take two, as I really felt quite worried as well as being uncomfortable. The cramping pains were quite painful too and I recall thinking what a time for this to happen to me!

                            I chewed two tablets which were not unpleasant having a nice peppermint taste and waited. After around ten minutes I did feel like burping and managed to do this discreetly whilst we were sat in the airport departure lounge. I felt some relief from the pain too which had became really painful prior to taking the tablets.
                            I continued to feel like I wanted to burp for quite some time and also visited the toilet twice. By the time we came to board the plane, the symptoms had not entirely gone, but I felt a lot more comfortable than I had earlier. During our flight I still experienced some niggling cramps for a couple of hours however, before my symptoms eased completely.

                            I have since experienced trapped wind whilst at home on another occasion and once again turned to Wind-Eze to help relieve the symptoms. Fortunately on this occasion my symptoms weren't as bad as before and after taking a couple of tablets, the pain and discomfort eased fairly quickly.
                            Therefore I have come to the conclusion that if you have mild to moderate symptoms, then Wind-Eze can give you the fast relief promised, but if you have a more severe bout then it may take longer, or the tablets may possibly only help to bring partial relief.
                            Having said this however, I do believe Wind-Eze tablets are a handy addition to have in your medicine cupboard and to carry around with you, as they do provide some relief, even if it isn't as fast as you would like on some occasions. Taking Wind-Eze is certainly better than suffering with the pain and discomfort, when trapped wind strikes.

                            I paid nearly £5 for a box of 30 tablets from a Boots Store at the airport and they currently retail at my Boots store in town for £4.69.

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                              04.02.2014 02:16
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                              A good product to help smooth and straighten hair as long as you don't use too much.

                              Trevor Sorbie Straightening Balm is a product I first tried some time ago and whilst I thought it was ok, it wasn't exactly a product I felt I couldn't be without. I had been given it as a gift and I hoped it would help straighten my naturally wavy long hair, without me having to resort to straighteners everytime. I found it worked reasonably well, but still had to rely on using my straighteners and also it was trial and error how much product to use, as all too often I would use slightly too much and this would result in the lengths of my hair looking lank and feeling greasy and clogged with product.

                              I had not bothered with this product for a while but a promotional 3 for 2 offer in Boots a few months back saw me trying this product again. Instead of being a blue pump dispenser, the range had changed to being pink in colour. Other than this, it seemed to be exactly the same product, but I did wonder if it would be 'new and improved' as many products claim to be when the packaging changes.

                              The instructions for use appeared to be exactly the same - Use on towel dried hair, pump out a generous amount of the balm into your hand and work through your hair using your fingertips.
                              Now this is where I went wrong last time, as I literally followed the 'generous amount' instruction and it was too much for my hair, leaving it looking lank and greasy. Therefore I would advise, as indeed my experience proved, to start off with a small amount and work up to whatever suits you best. Maybe use the balm a few times experimenting with different amounts until you find what looks and works best for you, but I would advise using a small amount and take it from there, or you could find yourself using too much as I first did and having to wash your hair again!

                              The balm is ideal for prepping and also protecting your hair before blow drying and styling. It is said to condition, tame and eliminate frizz to leave your hair feeling moisturised and silky smooth. This balm can also be applied before using heated stylers to create the ultimate smooth and sleek finish, whilst simultaneously helping to reduce heat damage to the hair.

                              Although they state this can be used before using straigteners etc, Trevor Sorbie also advise that you don't rely on straigteners, which is what I was hoping for when first using this balm.
                              Their tip is that you blow dry your hair with a paddle brush, drying the roots first, then section your hair and starting at the back, work your way around until all your hair is dry, using a nozzle on your hairdryer to help smoothen your hair cuticles.
                              Now I have done just this, but still have found that I really need to use my straighteners to achieve the look I want. I still find I cannot rely on this straightening balm alone, but if I use a small amount, it does seem to help protect my hair and keep it looking and feeling smooth. I feel it does offer protection from the heat, but again I have to be really careful I don't apply too much as then the results are terrible.

                              I never notice any immediate difference to my hair upon application, but after drying my hair I find it feels smooth but just not quite as straight as I personally would like. Therefore the straighteners still have to be used.
                              If I apply just the right amount for my hair, then my hair still feels light and soft, but if I applied a generous amount as directed, then my hair feels heavy and greasy.

                              This balm works well enough for me and my hair feels smooth enough all day although I do use straighteners too. I would say however, that using the balm helps keep my hair straight for longer too, as I find when I don't use it and only use my straighteners, my hair starts to become wavy again sooner than it does when I have used the balm too. Therefore I believe this is a good product to use to help keep your hair straight all day long and I also think it helps protect your hair from heat damage and breakage too, you just have to have a couple of trials with it first to find the right amount to use on your hair.

                              A 100ml pump dispenser of Trevor Sorbie Straightening Balm is priced at £5.59 from Boots stores, but is currently part of a 2 for £8 promotion on selected Trevor Sorbie products. I always tend to wait until a product I want is on offer before buying, as I find there are always haircare offers to be had, not just at Boots, but most other retailers soon such as Superdrug and at supermarkets.

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