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When going on short holidays where I am unlikely to be taking huge numbers of photos, I tend to opt for disposable cameras, as there is less likelihood of me being so upset if it was lost or stolen. We were headed for Tenerife for the weekend, and I decided to buy and try out this Kodak Sport Single Use Camera because:
a) I trusted Kodak to be one of the better camera brands, of both disposable, analogue and digital cameras, so I hoped that this would meet my expectations.
b) It was under £10 in Boots, which is an acceptable price even though there were less than 30 exposures available.
and c) Because it claimed to be waterproof, so it would be perfect to use in the pool, in the sea, or other wet places which may have damaged a typical digital camera, which would have been a big loss as they are expensive.
First of all, let me just point out that, being a disposable camera, of course the picture quality was not going to be as clarified and clear as the ones of which you get in high megapixel digital cameras. Nevertheless, the picture quality was clearer than I had expected, so I was pleased. It took good pictures on both land and in water. However, one major fault of this is that it is not equipped with a flash function so it was near impossible to take good pictures in the dark; and it was also hard to get clarified pictures underwater where there was little light. But all in all, I was very impressed with the picture and colour quality, as it was by far better than the quality of the pictures from disposable cameras of which I have tried before this one.
Another fault is the small viewfinder, which makes it hard to see properly through because of its miniscule sizing- but then, that can be expected from a waterproof camera which aims to prevent water from getting into the machine. The winding button, however, took some time to work, which was quite a shame because some ideal spur of the moment picture opportunities were missed out because of this. However, I was not too disappointed as I had got good enough pictures from the camera already, and I did not expect the same speed as you received from digital cameras.
All in all, a good enough disposable camera for a good price from Kodak- better than many I have tried so far within its price range. I would recommend this for holidays and short breaks, especially if you are going somewhere with ideal scuba diving potential! This prevents you from losing expensive digital cameras, either by getting them stolen on broken because it has come into contact with too much water. Of course, its downsides should be taken into account before deciding to purchase this disposable camera, but you cannot expect too much from a disposable camera within its price range. I would therefore reward this with four out of five stars.
I joined giffgaff a while back, as one of my friends recommended me to it and it seemed to have some of the cheapest deals around. It uses the O2 Network, so the phone lines are relatively fast and you get fast service. Its motto is "the mobile network run by you", which is partly true; you can order your own sim cards, give them to friends and for everyone who tops up at least £10, they get an extra £5 credit, and you also get an additional £5 added to your account simply for referring them. You can withdraw this money inside your giffgaff account after a certain period of time whether by PayPal or other giffgaff merchandise (hoodies, etc.). This is one of the best, highest earning referral schemes I have come across in a long time, so you can earn quite a little bit if you have a lot of friends willing to try giffgaff out.
It costs 8p per minute and 4p per text- cheaper than most mobile networks.
A main attraction to giffgaff is its variety of gift bags; you choose which one you want on the giffgaff website and the amount of that goody bag is deducted from your phone credit. These goody bags have saved me quite a bit of money on my monthly bill so far (each goody bag lasts for a month).
FOR £5 YOU GET:
- Unlimited Texts
- 60 Minutes
- 300 Texts
- An extra minute for every Inbound minute received
FOR £10 YOU GET:
- 250 Minutes
- Unlimited Web
- Unlimited Texts
FOR £15 YOU GET:
- 400 Minutes
- Unlimited Web
- Unlimited Texts
FOR £20 YOU GET:
- 800 Minutes
- Unlimited Web
- Unlimited Texts
FOR £25 YOU GET:
- 1500 Minutes
- Unlimited Web
- Unlimited Texts
FOR AN EXTRA £3 YOU CAN GET BLACKBERRY SERVICES WITH YOUR GOODY BAG (so you can get Blackberry Messenger for only £3 if you have a Blackberry).
I find that these goody bags are very useful, as they are cheaper than normal contracts, and you can start your goody bag month any time you like.
Giffgaff like to send you friendly text and email alerts about choosing your giffgaff goody bag plan for the coming month, and it is always handy when they text you to let you know that your phone time is incorrect.
However, there are some downsides and inconveniences of deciding to use giffgaff as your mobile network. For example, it is a small company and everything is managed online so that you cannot just pop into a store and ask if anything is wrong. You can only buy goody bags logged onto your giffgaff account which may be a hindrance if you cannot access the internet. There was one day when the whole mobile network shut completely down, due to unforeseen circumstances- we were sent apologetic texts after it; but still, it was a whole day without being able to contact anyone via mobile.
Otherwise than that, I have had no real problems with giffgaff and have been pleased with its pricing and goody bags. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a cheap deal for their mobile phone.
I picked up my first Ryman Refill Pad only last week (though I had seen it inside Ryman stores before, and had wondered if I should sample it or not) for the shockingly low price of 99p for 320 pages- what an absolute bargain! You can perhaps purchase the same amount of lined paper in your local pound stores, but of inferior quality by far. For good quality paper, I did not think that Rymans (which I had never thought of before as a particularly bargain worthy store) would be able to supply it for such a low price, and that there had to be some kind of setback on it... right?
I absolutely hate writing on bad quality paper- it makes you write slower and distorts your writing; moreover, it is uncomfortable. Like I have mentioned, you can probably buy refill pads at this price; but the lined paper inside is more than likely to be so thin that your ink manages to seep straight through, and onto the next page. This Ryman Refill Pad was an exception however- the pages, if not even thicker than acceptable, were more than adequate for writing on- even if I used a writing utensil such as a fountain pen or a blotchy ink pen, it would not go through. The paper is quite thick and regular, just as paper inside a good quality refill pad.
The paper is very easy to rip out of the pad, which is good, and it is also possible to remove paper from the back of the pad without all the front pages falling out. The lines are grey and regular, but not faded, with a blue margin. Unlike other refill pads of which I have come across previously, when the paper is ripped out there is no sticky, gummy residue at the sides.
I had seen the previous bold, red cover for this refill pad; unfortunately, they have for some reason decided to change this into a rather more unattractive cover, in a shade of shocking neon green. This I do find is quite a bit tacky, but this has not put me off the product at all; it is about the paper in the refill pad after all, not its cover. This is backed by recycled cardboard, which helps to reinforce the structure and make it stay rigid (so that you can write on it without a hard surface underneath. The cover prevents the top page from collecting too much dust.
This refill pad has been very useful to me these past few days- I can write away and there is still more than half the pad left- 320 pages does, after all, take quite some time to use up. It is the standard A4 size, so it can slot easily into files, folders and ring binders with little to no fuss. The pages also have four hole punched holes,just in case a specific folder requires it to have that much.
In conclusion, a brilliant bargain from Rymans- you get quality and quantity all for the price of 99p. However, I am not sure how much longer this offer is going to stick around, as it is already growing increasingly popular and of high demand- so next time I pop into Ryman, I will be sure to stock up! It is extraordinarily good value, a very good option if you want to save a little bit extra money. I would highly recommend this.
Body mist is one of my preferred alternatives to perfume. First of all, here are some pros and cons of using body mist in general as opposed to using perfume:
- It is many times cheaper than a typical bottle of esteemed perfume, for usually much much more body mist; so this is a good way to save money.
- The smell is not too extravagant, meaning you can get the body mist in simple yet delicious flavours such as the vanilla one being reviewed.
- Body mists are usually packaged in plastic bottles instead of the irregularly shaped perfume ones, so it is easier to avoid smashing it and spillages. Also, this makes it more convenient to carry it out and about whilst you are travelling.
- Perfume is often seen as the more sophisticated choice, as it does not just have one simple flavour, so that it is more impressive to give as a gift.
- Perfume lasts for much longer than body mist, so that with body mist you will be in need of frequent reapplications.
- Perfume tends to be more fragrant, with a multitude of different smells, whereas with body mist, it is easy to overdo the scent, to the point of it being sickly.
Having covered the main pros and cons of body mist, here are my views on this product:
I was very gleeful to find this product on sale for the meager amount of £3 at the Body Shop store near me, and I bought it without much thought as it was to my understanding that it cost much more at its Recommended Retail Price. This was relatively cheap for a body mist, and only a fraction of the amount of which a tiny perfume bottle would have cost. Good fragrances do not usually come cheap and so I was very pleased with my buy.
SMELL / FRAGRANCE:
This body mist had a lovely fragrant vanilla smell, which, even in cold weather, could bring back memories of summer. It had a prominent smell, so I only needed a tiny amount to make an impact, so this was very good value. However, I found that if I sprayed even a little bit too much, the scent started to become a little bit overpowering and sickly, which was a shame. I would have preferred it if the Body Shop had weakened the body mist to make it not so strong, but unfortunately, I find it too much so to wear it on an every day basis.
PACKAGING AND QUALITY:
The body mist was packaged in a simple yet effective plastic bottle with the logo, ingredients etc. printed on it. The liquid was a golden yellow colour, and could flow freely; this was dispensed through a spray nozzle (much as you would find on a bottle of perfume) for convenience. I have never had any problems with the quality of this body mist; the smell, even after six months after purchase, remains just as lovely as ever.
This is a lovely body mist, but because of its strength, I would not advise wearing it as a daily scent; occasionally only. It is a brilliant alternative to perfume, and I would highly recommend it.
Out of all things, I am quite picky about the ice cream that I consume, and I cannot stand the taste of cheap, inferior quality ice cream, which unfortunately this product was. However, it is very very cheap for ice cream, considering that the price of vanilla just keeps increasing these days, and I was therefore not too disappointed in something that I was not expecting much from anyway. If you don't feel like spending a lot on a simple cold treat, then this Sainsburys Basics Vanilla Ice Cream may be the option for you. However, though I do like to save as much money on my grocery shopping, ice cream is just something that is worth paying more for a better quality product; after all, since it is already so unhealthy, why not have better ice cream so at least you feel happy about ingesting so much junk? Also, better quality ice cream which costs more money makes me feel guilty, and then I do not tend to eat as much, which, I suppose, is better for me in the long run.
One 2 litre tub of Sainsburys Basics ice cream cost less than a pound- a fantastic bargain, even for a basic product. Compared to the £3 to £4 you usually pay for a tub of vanilla ice cream (when it is not on special offer) it is a very cheap price to pay. I decided to try it out anyway, since it cost so little it would not be too much of a waste if I decided that I did not like it.
The taste of this ice cream, to me, seemed to be quite artificial and fake, compared to the smooth creamy and scrumptious taste of good quality ice cream. The sweetness of this ice cream was severely unbalanced with the texture and creaminess of it; it was sweeter than I would have liked in comparison to the almost watered down texture of the ice cream. The texture reminded me unpleasantly of the outcome of mixing ice cream with a slushie, which marred the experience for me. The vanilla flavouring tastes artificial; it is quite evident that they used vanilla flavouring instead of real vanilla. However, for things such as making milkshakes, this is a perfect cheap choice for it, when the flavour of the ice cream is mainly blocked out by the flavour of the milkshake.
QUALITY AND PACKAGING:
The packaging is quite a meek ice cream tub, coloured with orange and white. It is quite obviously a value product, which you would expect from something of the price. Though the packaging does seem to be slightly flimsy at times, it manages to contain the ice cream in a hygienic way, which is a plus. The quality of this product is not completely commendable- the texture of the ice cream, for one, regularly has small ice crystals on it, giving it an unpleasant crunch as opposed to the creamy softness that you would expect from an ice cream. However, it is relatively good quality in comparison to other value and basic ice cream brands of which I have tried.
If you don't mind not eating in luxury all the time, then this could be a good buy without costing you much money at all (2 litres is a large tub after all). Though it is not really the ideal product for me, I cannot really dispute of its quality compared against its price, and so I would say that it is a very good value product. It can also be lovely to make milkshakes with this Sainsburys Basics ice cream, perfect for a hot summer's day.
I needed some basic soft cheese to make a New York style vanilla cheesecake that would not cost me a fortune, as each cheesecake required quite a large amount of soft cheese. Many other soft cheese brands were either charging ridiculous amounts for a tiny portion of soft cheese or adding salt to it, which would not taste very good inside cheesecake.
One 250g tub cost me just over 50p, which was the cheapest offer I could find, and Sainsburys was one of my more trusted supermarket own label brands, so I was reasonably happy with it. Bear in mind that soft cheese is heavier and denser than butter, and I was a little surprised at how thin the package was- but that probably explained why the recipe for cheesecake required so much in weight- 250g is really not that bulky.
It was packaged in a tub with a plastic lid and a foil lid underneath it, to ensure its hygiene. Sure, it is not as well packaged as your typical pot of Philadelphia, but then Philadelphia does not exactly come off as cheap as this Sainsburys Basics Soft Cheese. There is nothing extravagant about the packaging and exterior which consists of its main colours of orange and white- it seemingly makes it clear that it is a basic product, which is far better than pretending that it is a better product than it actually is.
This soft cheese, I found, was very malleable- you could very easily whisk it into your mixture of cream and eggs without lumps. It had a soft texture, but was slightly jelly like in the way that it stuck to itself. The finished cheese cake was delicious- in fact, just as good as the one I had made using a supposedly superior brand of soft cheese. I found that it was by far adequate for my purpose. The texture was soft, velvety and rich.
There was also a little bit of left over soft cheese, which I tried on a piece of toast. It was, of course, not as scrumptious as Philadelphia, but then again, for what I paid for it, I was pleased, and I had bought it for the main purpose of making a cheesecake anyway, so I was not expecting a huge amount out of very little. It tasted edible, though not very flavoursome- but that is the ideal condition of something you are using for a cheesecake that you are adding extra ingredients to flavour it.
All in all, one of my better value buys, brilliant for baking a delicious cheesecake, adequate for spreading. I would highly recommend this as a bargain buy, especially for baking.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one of my all time favourite childhood novels, and I find that it is a book that I enjoy immensely still. Roald Dahl narrates the brilliantly spun story in his own unique, funny and descriptive way that is suitable for children and adults alike. Here is my review, covering several aspects of this book:
It is hard to be specific about the price, as this book was published quite a long time ago, but there are regular reprints of this book of which you could easily pick up at your local bookstore. At the moment, you can buy this book for £2 (cheaper than most books you can find) including postage and packaging, which is quite a good deal for such a witty book. If you are not too bothered about the state and condition of the book, providing that it is still intact and that you can read it, then it would be advisable to scour junk sales and charity shops for this book; it is relatively easy to find good condition copies for around 50p or so- a fantastic bargain.
CONTENT AND PLOT:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has a unique, Roald Dahl style plot; a poor boy finds a golden ticket admitting him to a once in a lifetime chance to be taken on a tour around the magical chocolate factory of the mysterious and completely eccentric Willy Wonka. One by one, the greedy little children get 'disposed of' in bizarre ways of which only Road Dahl would have been able to invent, leaving only Charlie and his grandfather. Though these ways of disposing of the children are by no doubt slightly mean, you cannot help but find them funny; and Dahl makes the point that the children were greedy and deserved their punishment, and the good people (Charlie and his grandfather) will always have more to gain in the end. It is a humorous book which never fails to make me literally Laugh Out Loud, but also spreads hope amongst its readers; if it happened to an ordinary boy like Charlie, then why should it not happen to you? The way in which Dahl conveys his weird and wonderful tale is unique, and unlike any author I have read before; he uses a variety of strange words (some of which I am pretty sure are as made up as Wonka's chocolate factory), and makes the book suitable for all people of all age groups with its witty and charismatic storytelling.
The illustrations in this book are by Quentin Blake, and the images often look strange and distorted; they take quite a bit of time to get used to. However, when you DO get used to it, you find that the style of Blake's illustrations rather match the style of Dahl's writing; what with its weird and wonderful creation. At childhood, I found the illustrations to be odd and mismatched- however, now I find that the pictures fit well with the text, and gives it a little something extra.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a recommended read for anyone of all ages; it is a brilliant witty book suitable for everybody. If you have already read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, then I would recommend either rereading it to see how your perceptions of it have changed, or to try reading some of Roald Dahl's other works, which are just as funny and bizarre as his most famous book. For me, I can never get sick of the strange yet wonderful style of writing applied, and would recommend this book very highly.
Having never had chives on my shopping list before, nevermind tried to grow them, growing chives was a relatively new experience for me. When I popped into the supermarket, I saw a pot of grow your own chives on special offer for £1 and I thought that it would be at least worth a try; after all, it could be a good investment and save me a little bit of money on herbs and spices. However, I was a little apprehensive, as I am not exactly well known for remembering to water the plants. Here are my views on chives, and growing them:
*GROWING YOUR CHIVES*
I am not a master at gardening, but you really did not need to be to grow these chives. The pot did not have any specific instructions, and it did not seem like the chives needed special attention as such, so I just placed the pot on a saucer (to catch the excess water) next to the windowsill where there was a lot of sunlight to be found, watering it daily. This was all the attention, it seemed, that it needed- it grew faster than I would have expected, so fast that I HAD to use it regularly so the chives would not be in danger of bending over. All you had to do was snip off the ends to use in your cooking, and it would just grow again, so it was a very sustainable plant. All in all, it was one of the easiest plant growing experiences I have ever faced, so it is a perfect herb to grow for beginners!
*TASTE AND FUNCTIONALITY*
The chives had a taste different from, but not unlike that of spring onions- it was a welcome addition to spice up ordinary, boring meals. You can add chives to basically anything you want to; it is great to add flavour to scrambled eggs, and you can make some delicious sour cream and chive dip with it. Pizzas and casseroles could also benefit from this, I believe. Chives are very easy to use- just cut or pluck a bit off the plant, chop it and add it your cooking whenever it is required.
The only problem I had with my little pot of chives was how, after several weeks of me owning it, flies suddenly started swarming around it. I don't know why, maybe because it is growing warmer, maybe they just like the taste of chives. It literally attracted flies like a magnet, and it was such a shock to see the flies buzzing around it one morning. This was such a shame since I had been having such success with the herb before the flies started attacking it, but I had to throw it away for obvious hygiene reasons, and did not manage to see it to the end of its lifespan. This has, I am afraid, put me off the idea of chives for a little, but I am sure I will try to grow some again later, perhaps in the cooler months.
Chives are a lovely plant, so easy to grow, and if you DO decide to grow them yourself, you could end up saving quite a bit of money. However, it is quite a shame about my experience with the flies and for that reason I could only rate it with 4 dooyoo stars
Some may underestimate the importance of having a good hand cream, but in reality it is almost essential for a good appearance. Though I don't have any particular problems with the skin on my hands, sometimes it feels slightly dry and chapped; and besides, keeping your hands nourished on a day to day basis is going to aid you in the long run. This Soap and Glory Hand Food hand cream is by far the best hand cream I have tried so far, and I am doubtful whether I will find something more suited to its purpose. At first, I was hesitant to buy a tube of this, because it wasn't the cheapest hand cream available and the packaging looked to me as if it was a tiny bit tacky, but in the end I invested in some of this, with brilliant results. Here are my views on several aspects of this product:
PRICE AND QUANTITY:
I bought this product for the price of £5 for a 125ml tube at the local Boots; only slightly bigger than a normal tube of hand cream and about double the size of a regular toothpaste tube. You might think this as quite overpriced for such a product that you could probably buy for half the price from another leading brand, but for such an effective product, I am sure that it is worth paying more for. I have also seen this, as well as other products from Soap and Glory's brilliant range, on good offers which could save you quite a bit of money, should you decide to buy some. For example, 3 for 2 offers are not uncommon (though I am still on my first bottle, and have had it for around 7 months now, to give you an idea of the value). Most hand creams would only last you two months or so under regular use, before you have to replace it, but I have used Soap and Glory Hand Food daily for around 7 months, and I am not yet planning to buy a new one as I suspect this one is going to last me yet longer. True, the tube now looks a little deflated (no more than you would expect from something that has been used for so long) but you only need a tiny amount of cream per applications, as opposed to the amount you have to use with another hand cream brand. For this reason, I believe that this product is well worth its cost, and will probably even SAVE you money in the long run.
PACKAGING AND QUALITY:
The packaging, which I found was at first slightly tacky, is now such a welcome addition in my bathroom cabinet. Once you get over the pink-ness of the tube, it gives a lovely effect. It has an easy to open lid, and all you need to do is squeeze for the cream to come out. Written near the top of the tube exterior is: "THE MOST ASTONISHING HAND CREAM EVER? YOU DECIDE!". Well, I have to agree with Soap and Glory on this one, it is really an astonishing hand cream. There have been no defects with the quality of the product so far, and I am very pleased with it.
This product worked by far the best in comparison to all the hand creams I have tried out before. It comes out of the tube like a thick paste, but when actually applied, it feels like a creamy lotion, pleasant to the touch. Its scent is sweet (with a hint of aloe vera) but not too overpowering, so your hands don't seem to be too perfumed. It nourishes dry and chapped skin marvelously, nourishing and hydrating it better than all other hand creams I have tried with only a tiny amount needed per application. Even when your hands feel normal without any real need for hand cream, it still leaves the skin leaving soft and nourished; and I have taken to applying this daily as part of my normal beauty routine.
IN CONCLUSION...? :
This is a lovely product, that has worked better for me than other similar products of which I have tried before. Even though at first sight, the price tag may seem quite expensive for something only used on your hands, I believe it actually turns out to be cheaper than other hand creams in the long run; and therefore this a fantastic product to invest in.
We bought this Samsung fridge freezer with an attached water and ice dispenser because we decided that we simply needed a bigger fridge and freezer; our old one with the fridge on top and the freezer at the bottom just wasn't big enough to fit all the groceries in. A separate fridge and freezer would have taken too much space, so we decided that a side by side fridge freezer was the best, most convenient option. However, this did not come cheap at the heavy price of around a thousand pounds (and that was on sale at Currys!), but that is no extraordinary price to pay for such a big, multi-functional fridge freezer, and actually, it was one of the cheaper ones that Currys had to sell- so it did not feel like we were throwing away too much money. So hopefully this review, covering several aspects of the product, will help you to decide whether this is worth the investment or not.
This fridge freezer is a beautiful brushed steel addition to any kitchen- it looks sleek, sophisticated and hi tech, despite its rather looming size. Its handles, which are long and easy to use, are also sleek and of the same colour. Just a note, though, if you consider yourself to have a small kitchen or small doorways, this freezer will not fit in. It is rather large and bulky, though its design makes it seem less so. Just a warning; there is no point purchasing such an expensive item for it not to fit in; we were scared that we would have to put it in the hallway! It is best to do some measuring before you decide to purchase an item as large at this.
FUNCTIONALITY (FRIDGE AND FREEZER):
The fridge and freezer functioned perfectly, just as it was expected of it; it kept a steady temperature (which to my knowledge can be adjusted) and managed to fit all the groceries inside. The fridge section, on the right hand side, has three drawers on the bottom half, to separate your different vegetables, fruit, and so on, with the top half having shelving units where you can display your groceries in full view. The door of the fridge also has many shelves and compartments, which are very handy for fitting in relatively thin items like milk cartons or jam jars and helps to organise the clutter. The freezer, on the left hand side, is slightly smaller than the fridge, and the ice and water dispenser cuts into its space, so there is less space available to store stuff; however, it is more than adequate. It has two drawers on the bottom instead of three, and yet again, shelving units on top.
I have had this fridge freezer for less than a year, and I have never had a problem with it (apart from issues with the ice and water dispenser, as is explored below). No cracks inside the plastic interior or clogging up of the fan. The exterior can get a little greasy (but this can easily be removed by regular wiping) but that is only because it is located inside a kitchen, and so it is only natural.
ICE AND WATER DISPENSER:
The ice and water dispenser, though with its faults, is a useful thing to have in the house. You can activate whether you want ice or water, crushed or cubed and set a child lock with the buttons above the dispenser which are sensitive to your touch. It also has a panel to tell you the temperature of the freezer and what you have selected for it to dispense. This panel also shows when you need to replace your water filter (about once every few months, to ensure that you are drinking clean water); it turns purple, then red when it desperately needs changing. The dispenser itself is activated by using your cup or container and pressing it on the button, which is the signal for it to release either ice or water into it. I find that though the water comes out deliciously chilled, which is perfect for a hot summer's day, it comes out in quite a thin stream, which can leave you exasperated and impatient just to fill up one glass full. Also, it is hard to fit a large jug inside. The main problem is what happens if you don't use the ice dispenser regularly- leave it out of use for three to four days and the machine will clog up and refuse to feed you ice, whether it be crushed or cubed. You have to then remove the ice maker, tip all the ice out (what a waste!) and then insert it back in again. This is no issue in the summer, when you are grateful for any excuse to have more ice, but we have taken to simply removing the ice maker during the colder months.
This was a well functioning fridge freezer with its performance only slightly marred by the ice and water dispenser, which itself is adequate. However, it varies from person to person whether this fridge freezer is the right one for them, whether by price or by functionality. If you think that your groceries could fit inside a regular sized fridge freezer, then I would not recommend this to you, as it is a spectacular amount of money to waste if you do not need the space. However, this perfectly suited my purpose, and I would recommend it to those looking for a fridge freezer like this.
In this review, I won't exactly be weighing out the pros and cons of these books, trying to keep up the suspense before you hear my overall testimony; there is probably no point in that, as you can probably guess by my generous rating of 1 star (Dooyoo would not let me rate any lower) that I am no fan of Meyer's books. I will try not to give away too much of a spoiler, just in case you have been lucky enough not to read the saga, so I will try to cover some general points; however, I may just let slip of a few details, for the sole reason of illustrating and backing up my points with evidence. Just to add, if you don't want to read through all of my complaints about the utter awfulness of the Twilight Saga, then I have included a quick 'Short Review' summary which you can just scroll down to, so you can make a quick decision as to whether you should go to the trouble of buying or reading these books at all. The answer is no, by the way.
Don't be fooled by the gorgeous dramatic gothic book covers for these books, all covered in deep shades of midnight black and scarlet red (which I must admit was what attracted me most to these books in the first place- I was imagining how pretty they would look on my bookcase). If even the most beautiful book has an ugly content within it (like Twilight), it still classifies it as what I would call A Rubbish Book, which only stresses the fact that you should never ever judge a book by its cover.
A brief summary of Twilight. A girl called Bella with, surprise surprise, pale white skin, oh my gosh so pretty features and a completely cliched life story overall (so she is practically a vampire already, will you believe it?!) meets the "dashing" and "beautiful" Edward Cullen, who, surprise surprise, is a vampire. Oh, the suspense is killing me. (By the way, that does not technically count as a spoiler, as it states that on the blurb of the book- so much for letting the reader find out the so-called mystery for themselves.) And then, because Bella is just so magically gifted that darling Edward cannot read her mind (which is, of course, his power), they are swept off their feet in a spiral of dark romance. Add in a few dashes of Jacob Black the werewolf who also loves Bella- yet again, surprise surprise- and some evil vampires, and there you go. That is the oh so brilliant oh so popular vampire romance that Meyer has mixed up to earn herself millions of dollars.
The thing that I dislike, perhaps the most, is the way that the characters seem to bent around to what Meyer's fantasy would be; the best stories are those which are meant to be told, almost spinning themselves instead of being manipulated to be a happily ever after cliche. Isn't imperfection what ultimately brings perfection in the end? Take the main character, our lovely charming Bella Swan, with hardly a blemish on her perfect face. Why is it that she, with no reason at all, can oppose the mysterious powers of vampires; there is not an explanation for it at all, it does not even mention halfway through the book that Bella is actually a half vampire or something. And why is it that it is the same Bella Swan that Edward Cullen and just about everyone loves. On top of this, Bella also believes in self sacrifice, etc. etc. because she is such a nice, selfless person. Of course, main characters have to have a little something to them to make them main character role worthy, but it just seems too much like Meyer is bending and molding the main character into her ideal person. Every main character's faults are those of which are, in a way, the best faults to have, which just deepens the fact that they are being twisted into the so-called perfect figure.
Also: Edward Cullen and his gorgeous Cullen family. This part is played over the top, in my opinion. For one, the Cullens are, to your astonishment, a lovely civilised vegetarian vampire family. The father figure goes around saving lives and he is describes to be so gorgeous that probably Bella had a crush on him before turning to our dear Edward. I am not looking down upon the idea of lovely vampires, I mean, each story has its very own twist, right? But they seem so manipulated, yet again to Meyer's purpose, and this makes the "saga" seem even less believable than it already is.
The lesson of this story is probably intended to be about the power of love and being a good little vampire; however, for the adolescent audience it is aimed at, the message that is being given out is not very helpful in life. When Edward leaves her "for her own good" (as he is being a stereotypical gallant person), let's see what Bella does and what that teaches us about letting go of people when you have to. Oh yes. She does nothing but mope, grieve and at its very extreme, she hurls herself off a cliff. When a loved one leaves you, what are you meant to do? Remember them, yes, but also move on as it is what they would have wanted you to do. What does Bella do? She nearly commits suicide because she wants to hear Edward dearest's voice again. Not a good thing to be advising teenagers with bad judgement to do. Also, it teaches us that if we are pretty, we will get the oh so handsome vampire figure; and to those insecure about there looks, this could just set them back even further.
The language of this book is... not very well utilised. See, I have no problem with long words and Shakespearean like language, but only if it is used well and effectively. Meyer does not; sometimes simple ideas need to be described with simple words, and to me it seems like Meyer wrote this saga with a thesaurus in front of her. Consider that it is meant to be in the Young Adult section, and the fact that the main characters are 17 and I have never seen real 17 year olds talking in the way of which is described, which annoys me the most.
Nowadays, you cannot walk into a bookshop without seeing vampire romance novels stacked up all across the shelves. I am not trying to say I dislike the whole genre of vampire romance, but the originality of them seems to have run out, and I only pick up a vampire romance novel and read it reluctantly now. The popularity of Twilight, I presume, comes from the perfection of the plot and characters- they feel whisked off their feet by the romance and sentimental value. I, however, do not find it to my taste at all; it is a shame because the Twilight saga, with its great publicity, could have been much improved, if a LOT of the aspects of the books are changed. However, in its state right now, I would definitely not recommend them.
The Twilight Saga, I find, is a book that seems like the characters are too much twisted to the author's purpose, the speech irregular and its storyline stereotypical and cliched. If, however, you decide to read it, then I will not beg you not to- however, I recommend that you borrow it from the library or from someone you know as buying it would be a big waste of money.
Rubicon's mango juice has long been a favourite of mine. Before I start to review the different aspects of this product, I would just like to point out that Rubicon retails its mango and other exotic juice drinks in different types and packaging. You can buy the sparkling, fizzy kind, mainly inside metal cans or bottles, and the non sparkling regular juice comes in cartons, whether they are big or travel sized. Not being such a big fan of sparkling drinks, the rest of my review will be mainly covering the non sparkling cartons of mango juice.
PRICE AND QUANTITY:
Mangoes, in general, are not the cheapest fruits in the world, so you would not expect mango juice from a good quality producer such as Rubicon to be cheap. However, it is not bad value for money at all; you can often pick up a 1 Litre carton for around one pound, especially considering the supermarkets' frequent offers and promotions (much as a typical orange or apple juice carton would cost). This is one of the best priced mango juice manufacturers that you can pretty much find nowadays. A 1 Litre carton is enough for a couple of drinks, but it is very tempting to finish the whole carton off in three large pint glass sized cupfuls; not very good for your purse strings if you want to be having it everyday, or if you are just generally a very thirsty person. However, it is adequately priced for an exotic juice drink, and if purchased not too regularly, it could be a very good exotic replacement to your normal, boring juice drinks.
PACKAGING AND QUALITY:
The packaging of this product is not brilliant, but it is not bad either. It has a blue background with pictures of mangoes all around it- though they do not look real and in my opinion, it gives a tacky effect to the carton. Even so, it does brighten up your cupboard or fridge! And, like you should never judge a book by its cover, the packaging of a product so delicious otherwise does not matter a great deal. I have only had one problem with the quality and that is that the real juice seems to sink to the bottom after a while, and leaves the top thin and not as lovely tasting; but that is with most juice drinks, is it not? And it can be solved by a very simple method- VIGOROUS SHAKING. Otherwise, I have found both the juice and the packaging to be of good quality.
The taste of a drink is, after all, the most important aspect of it, and this Mango Juice did not fail to meet my expectations. It was lovely, exotic and fruity, with a thicker texture than perhaps you would find inside a carton of apple juice, but yet it was refreshing. It is a yellowy orange colour; if I was to say that it was the very colour of sunshine I would be an exaggeration, but taking a sip of this does in a way remind me of the sun every time- its sweet yet refreshing taste always recalls me to hot summer days with a glass of mango juice clutched in my hand. Rubicon's mango juice is sweeter than normal juices I had been accustomed to in the past, but it was not too sweet and sickly as I had found with Rubicon's guava juice. This was a lovely exotic change to ordinary fruit juice; and also, you can mix half a glass of apple juice with half a glass of mango juice, which, in my opinion, gives it a delicious twist.
A lovely mango juice drink from Rubicon with a delightful flavour and a fair price- I would highly recommend this.
Nutella is a chocolate hazelnut based spread from Ferrero, the esteemed manufacturers of those shiny gold foil wrapped Ferrero Rochers you may have come across; and it is, no doubt my favourite spread of all spreads. It is perfect for everyday use... however this may not be the best for your health. Here are my views on this product, covering various aspects of it:
I won't lie to you, Nutella doesn't exactly come off as a cheap spread- and admittedly, you can get other supermarket branded chocolate hazelnut spreads for much cheaper; however they are of inferior taste and quality (and believe you me, after you have tasted Nutella, you won't be wanting to revert back to other spreads). In normal supermarkets, you can usually get a regular 400g jar of Nutella for between £1.50 and £2; and if you are not the sole user of Nutella and like a bit of it with everything, unfortunately this will not last you for too long. A small 100g jar which will last you no longer than a couple breakfasts' worth of Nutella on toast costs around £1. There are occasional promotions on Nutella products which I would recommend for you to take advantage of when they come; for example at times you can get two 400g jars for £3 which is not such a bad price. The best promotions come at and before Pancake Day, when everybody wants Nutella to spread on their pancakes and don't need it any more before Easter; so the major supermarkets try to clear out as much of their stock as is possible. The Pancake Day promotions on Nutella was superb- a 400g jar for £1 from places such as Tesco! I therefore advise you to take advantage of these rare promotions and stock up!
The taste of Nutella, as I am sure many will agree with me, is far superior to that of many other chocolate spreads. It is rich and nutty whilst at the same time managing to be light and slightly creamy. The taste of hazelnuts in this, though delicious and sufficient, could, I think be made even more delicious and intensified by adding more hazelnuts per jar- though it is to my knowledge that there is quite a lot in it anyway. The chocolatey aroma, though strong, rich and prominent upon taste, is balanced and made not too overwhelming by the addition of the hazelnuts, which is a bonus. In fact, it tastes exactly like a Ferrero Rocher (which I may point out costs much much more for just a tiny amount) but without the crispy chocolate outside and the chopped nuts, which you could probably manage to live without, or if desired, I am sure these could be easily added without spending tonnes.
QUALITY AND PACKAGING:
The hazelnut spread is packaged securely inside a rounded glass jar with a white cap and white labelling, with the normal ingredients, brand and information that you would expect from a decent chocolate spread. To my understanding there is a promotion right now which allows you to enter for a chance to win a hazelnut tree, which is advertised clearly on the jar. The only downside, I find, with the packaging is the gold coloured film protecting the spread at first. Of course this is necessary for you to know whether or not it has been opened previously, but it is very hard to peel off, and I usually have to stab it with a sharp object and then tear it off in order to remove it. The quality of Nutella has always been near immaculate to me- no lumps or anything inside. The texture is smooth and non gritty; though do take note that if left in a slightly warmer temperature, it can turn rather more like a sauce than a spread, so I would advise for this product to be kept in a cool place, for example a kitchen cupboard.
HEALTH BENEFITS AND PROBLEMS:
With all good things, Nutella has a downside; and that is its unhealthiness. Well, you hardly can expect a chocolate spread to be healthy, can you? There are many calories inside a spoonful, that can be consumed in a matter of seconds. Though on the Nutella jar, the company has made a lot of effort to emphasize the fact that it is a hazelnut spread, not a chocolate one, people do tend to underestimate how oily nuts can be, especially if you are planning on consuming a lot. And, admittedly, Nutella can get a little addicting! It is very possible to just sit there with your jar of Nutella and a spoon, digging in as an idle moment of binge eating; this can hardly be good for your health.
WHAT CAN YOU USE NUTELLA FOR:
Nutella, being a chocolate hazelnut spread, has many different ways of which it can be consumed.
- Just eat it out of the jar (I know, I know, this is very unhealthy, but at times irresistable) with a spoon. This will deplete your sources of Nutella by quite a lot, though.
- Eat it spread out on toast, or other baked goods, for example croissants. Nutella, I find, compliments the crunchiness of toast perfectly. Also, there is nothing more delightful than settling down after a long hard day with a lovely Nutella sandwich.
- Bake it in brownies; just add a spoonful or two to your brownie mix (put a little less cocoa powder or chocolate than you normally would) and tada!- You now have delicious hazelnut brownies! I am sure you can make Nutella cookies too, though I have never tried it, by using the recipe for peanut butter cookies, but replacing the peanut butter with Nutella- it would give it an interesting different taste!
- Instead of adding hot chocolate powder to your hot milk, add two generous table spoons' worth of Nutella instead- it makes a delicious hot treat!
- I am sure there are many more uses for Nutella, like mixing it in to your porridge.
Nutella is one of the best manufacturers of chocolate spread available, and, depite the fact that it is rather unhealthy, I have to give it 5 stars for its taste, quality and the multitude of ways of which you can use Nutella.
Not being a huge fan of fizzy drinks, I wasn't much of a frequent buyer until quite recently; for I thought that, even with the low calorie versions of this and so on, it could hardly be great for your health as a regular habit. First, some background information on its price. You can usually obtain a regular sized bottle from most supermarkets for £1 or under- however this price does go into extremes of both high and low. For example, whilst I have picked up several of the really large bottles for 50p on a lucky detour to the supermarket, I have known places to charge you up to £2 per small bottle, particularly places like theme parks and tourist hot spots. However, there is more to Coca Cola than appears on the surface! There are more uses to it than just glugging it back and rotting your teeth!
Here are some things you can do with Coca Cola... :
- I have to begin with the classic, most widely utilised method of using up Coca Cola; by drinking it. Coca Cola is one of the biggest soft drinks industry in the world, and you nowadays it is near impossible to walk around without seeing someone drinking this is in one form or another (whether it is in the classic bottle, or contained within a McDonalds cup). Whilst I find the taste to be too sugary and fizzy, I know plenty of people who enjoy the taste; and who can deny the fact that it is a refreshing drink on a hot summer's day? You can also mix it up with alcohol to give it more of an overall flavour and to weaken it. I have known people to mix it up with squash before consuming it, though why would you want to make it even sweeter than it already is?
- Coca Cola can clean your toilets. I know that many of you may be doubtful over whether this one actually works, but I have tried it and have found it as effective as ordinary toilet bleach- just tip a bottle full into the toilet, leave it for a few hours and flush to find a nice shiny toilet! Of course, it is in no way as strong as the more hard wearing tough toilet bleaches out there in the market, but instead of flushing down harmful chemicals, you are flushing down a soft drink! I know this might seem such a waste of both Coca Cola AND money, considering how cheap you can find toilet bleach these days and how little you have to use per cleaning as opposed to the normally heavy cost of £1 a cleaning with one bottle of Coca Cola. However, though I am not sure of its effectiveness in comparison to normal Coca Cola, I am sure that normal store branded Coke would be a sufficient replacement.
- Season your meat with Coca Cola. Have you ever heard of Cola fried chicken? Well, it is possible; it gives the meat a sweet caramelised taste that balances out the oiliness and greasiness of being fried. You can also layer other meats with it before you roast it, giving it, again, a sweet caramelised taste whilst also making the meat nice and moist!
- Being somewhat of an acidic substance, Coca Cola can remove stains much like vinegar can. Just wipe a bit on your clothing with minor staining, or your dark-coloured carpet (it will just add to the staining on a light carpet, so I would not advise it), and voila!- you don't need to fork out for expensive stain removers any more... but please take note that this can only deal with MINOR staining, not something like wine stains and those of similar grades of staining.
- A cheap non chemical cleaning solution- you can clean work tops, kitchen and hard tiled floors, and your car windows with Coca Cola (I have heard that it can even remove rust), though take care to wash over it with water (preferably warm and soapy) once you're done so as not to attract flies. It can also be used as a window cleaner. I'm guessing it is more eco friendly than using normal surface cleaner, anyway, and cheaper too.
- Coca Cola is said to serve as a sort of medicine in some cases (though I am not sure how reliable this is!). It is said to relieve stomach pains, nausea, hiccups and, because of its acidic substance, even neutralise jellyfish stings (ouch!), but only when you have let the drink go flat first.
I'm sure there are still plenty more of uses for Coca Cola that I haven't mentioned, but as you can see, it is not just for drinking and giving you cavities. It can help you with many everyday situations, waste you money at times but also save you money. Thank you for reading my review. :)
I am always on the lookout for products that will extend my lashes, or volumise them greatly. So when I saw the adverts for the L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes mascara, a mascara that, as I gathered from the name of the product, made it look like you had a million lashes, I looked for the product on my next shopping trip and sure enough, it was clearly displayed near the front of the drug store (I can't remember if it was in Superdrug or Boots) at the promotional price of £6.99. I understand it is about just a little bit more than this nowadays, but cosmetic stores are always putting on promotions that can save you quite a bit of money on products such as this one. Here is my review on the L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes mascara, covering the main aspects of the product.
PACKAGING AND QUALITY:
The mascara itself is packaged in a shiny, slightly rounded yet slightly cubic gold mascara tube, which may either appear to you as classy or tacky. For me, I found that it was rather classy but nearing a point of which I might have been able to criticise it for being slightly tacky. However, this is just the kind of design that L'Oreal is able to get away with; the brand name and reputation overshadows this, and gives the product an overall air of class and sophistication, something that looks good sitting inside your make up bag. The quality, I find as is with most L'Oreal products, was almost immaculate; no leakages or anything, or the packaging falling to pieces. The quality of mascara was also good; it did not dry out as easily as with some previous mascaras I had used, but I did find that after a bit, the mascara did become a little bit clumpy when applied to my eyelashes; but it is similar as is with all mascaras- the contents will start drying out after extensive usage. This was not too noticeable either; the clumps were easy to remove from my eyelashes.
This mascara functioned quite well, and it came with a good mascara wand that was easy to use and apply the mascara with. The mascara was dark (well, the black shade that I purchased it in was, anyway) and lengthened, as well as volumised my lashes quite a deal more. As mentioned above, after some usage came a minor problem of clumping, but that was not very noticeable, easy to sort out and expected of a mascara under the frequent use of which I used it with. The ease of use was commendable- it was easy to take this out of my make up bag and apply for great looking lashes in a matter of seconds. The size and weight of this mascara makes it an ideal product to slip into (most) pockets and use in a hurry.
A MILLION LASHES?:
Well, not quite, but it DID seem like I had a lot more lashes than before. This sufficiently volumised and lengthened my lashes, but, I'm afraid to say, not much more than I would expect from similar mascaras of this price. It wasn't absolutely amazing, but by this I am by no means trying to put you off the product; it was still one of the best mascaras I have ever used within that price range.
IN CONCLUSION...? :
A lovely product that both volumised AND lengthened my eyelashes; however I have to dock one star merely for the fact that it was not extraordinary. I cannot say it did not meet my expectations, because you cannot expect to receive the world without paying for the world. But there are other mascaras within this price range you can buy with much the same results.