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The first iPad purchased in my household is when I bought my daughter one for her seventh birthday four months ago. Considering how hard it is to pry it out of her hands at times, being the possession of a young child, and me being her parent, naturally I have to check up on what she does on it time to time with it having access to the internet and with me doing this I have a pretty good idea on how it shapes up in my experience of Apple products and can now write a review on my thoughts on it.
In the months leading up to her birthday, as I do every year I queried with my daughter in what she wanted for her presents. The first answer I got was a mobile phone - I try not to be a horrible strict parent but even to me at the age of 7 my daughter is not going to have a mobile phone that young. After discussions lasting a few weeks we made a compromise to get her an iPad instead. This wasn't a huge decision for me to make as I had purchased an iPod Touch for her birthday the year before which already allowed her access to the internet and the ability to text anyone with an iPhone, iPad or iPod so to me she is just going to do the same things as before only on a bigger screen. She hadn't specified which type of iPad she had wanted so it was then up to me to hunt round the different types to get the best one suitable for her.
I decided at getting her the iPad Mini 16g in White for a few reasons - she had requested the colour be white anyway because my iPhone 5 is white and her iPod touch is black - to her, Apple products in White look a lot more girly. My boyfriend owns the iPad 2 which he was highly recommending to me at the time, however when I viewed the Mini's in a shop I was really happy at how compact they were and how weightless they were compared to the other models - to me the Mini's are the best ones you can buy for a child due to this. Although the screen size is quite a bit smaller compared to the other iPad models to a child I don't think this matters too much anyway because the screen is huge to them! Naturally I was also more attracted to the price and the fact the it is a newer model with features that older models do not support such as Siri (I will go into more information on that later in the review). I had opted for the 16gb option as I have 16gb iPhone and not even I use this amount of space up so I couldn't imagine a 7 year old managing it! Many people are opting for 3G iPad's now so they can be used out and about on the go. I decided on the Wifi only version as she only ever uses this when we are in the house or go away on holiday where there is Wifi anyway - there is a difference in the price which I couldn't justify paying for when its a service that would not be used plus the fact that I don't want to offer her too much freedom on it to use outside the house...
On Arrival from Amazon...
I then purchased the iPad Mini from Amazon as it was the cheapest place I could get it from if took into account the vouchers that I had earned from DooYoo which shaved £40 off the price for me. I had signed up for a free month subscription to Amazon Prime which granted me free of charge next day delivery by a courier firm. I am pleased to say it had arrived the next day but I was a bit shocked that as I was out the courier firm had signed for the delivery themselves and left the parcel in my daughters playhouse in the back garden. There was no harm done on this occasion but in my opinion it could of been very easily stolen from the back garden so be aware of this if ordering from Amazon.
The iPad mini comes contained in a white cardboard box like all other Apple products I have had, I would say its around 1 inch high in height and the dimensions of the box fit the iPad perfectly leaving no extra room at the sides. One thing I will say is that when you take the lid off the iPad is not secured to anything inside the box except the mould it rests in, so I would stress to be very careful when lifting out of the box the first time. With the iPad you also get a wall adapter, charge/sync lead and headphones. Like my newish iPhone 5, for once I am very impressed with the headphones which come with the product. I am the worst person in the world for moaning about how poor the quality was on the free headphones which came with all Apple products, thankfully Apple have re-designed them and I believe they are now called Ear-Pods which are of much better quality, look nicer and sit a lot more comfortably in the ear. However like with the iPhone 5 the connecter to charge the device has changed from the original Apple 30pin connector to an 8 pin "lightning" connector which is supposed to charge the phone better and faster. I am not won over by the new connecters at all - they are smaller but this makes them more feeble and open to damage - I have now lost count of the number of official Apple 8 pin charger leads I have bought and they all stop working within a couple of months... as well as the number of products we have in our house such as speakers which connect to the old 30pin style the new connector is a pain as you need to buy adaptors if you own products which are supposed to work with older Apple products.
When my daughter was fast asleep later that night I had synced the iPad to her iTunes account which copied all her apps and music over to it which she was using at the time on her iPod Touch. The process was done but as with every other Apple product in my opinion iTunes can be a bit temperamental and difficult to use when it comes to transferring on to a new device - so far this is one of my biggest gripes with Apple products as there has been times where the material has not synced to the device and I have had information and contacts deleted as a result. To avoid this there are lots of step by step guides online to use iTunes which unfortunately do not come included with the device.
Upon first turning on the device you get a selection of essential apps already pre-loaded which are essential for storing information such as contacts and downloading music and apps from the stores. The apps are as follows :
* Calendar (you can also use this to add events / appointments)
* Camera (there is a total of two camera's, one on the face, one on the back of the device)
* Photos (which stores all the photo's taken on the camera)
* Stocks (in case you want to check the stock market...)
* Maps (gives you directions on how to get to places using GPS)
* Weather (so you can check the weather forecast)
* Notes (to make notes)
* Reminders (so you can make a reminders list if needed)
* Utilities folder (contains alarm, calculator, compass and voice memo)
* iTunes (to download more music from the store)
* App Store (to download other apps)
* Game Centre (game leader board with other app users)
* Newsstand (to download newspapers or magazines on subscription)
* Contacts (phonebook)
* Videos (to hold recorded videos from the camera)
There is also a newish feature to the Apple devices called Siri - where you hold down the home button and ask a general question such as "what is the weather like" - it will then look up the weather forecast in the area and read this back to you. Its a good feature but can be temperamental with our northern accents but its a fun feature and a lot of the time my daughter would probably talk to it 24.7 if I let her!
Other features include 2 x camera's (one on the front for taking "selfie" photos and one on the back for taking normal photo's) and Face time (which is pretty much free of charge video calling to any other Apple device depending if you are connected to WiFi).
Just like the iPod touch you can also send text messages free of charge through "iMessage" on this iPad to any other Apple device and also text messages to other types of devices as long as you download a multi-platform app to do this.
You can customise this iPad to exactly as you want to depending on your lifestyle and preferences. On the app store you have a variety of different apps to chose from in the following categories:
* Health & Fitness
* News Stand
* Photo & Video
* Social Networking
A lot of apps she plays, mainly games, are free of charge and you can buy in game purchases to further your game ahead if desired. Many good games can be offered around the £2-£3 mark and there is always plenty of reviews from other users to determine if its worth the purchase.
The iTunes store holds a variety of music ready for you to download to use to listen to full tracks or just use as ringtones for your device. Full albums can also be purchased which can sometimes work out less than buying a CD version. Personally as we get our music from other sources we only use this to get her new ringtones for the iPad.
Keeping up appearances?
On to the appearance the iPad mini matches the style of the iPhone 5 with the new "less smash able" aluminium material back cover - one issue that people mainly with the older iPhones were complaining about was how easily the glass back smashed and I can only imagine they received a similar number of complaints for the older iPads. To date (touch wood) with this material on my iPhone I have had no issues but I always keep a silicone cover on to protect it and I have done the same with the iPad too. The white iPad mini's have a silver aluminium appearance on the back whereas the black iPads are black in colour and looks almost like a carbon effect. As well as being more sensible and practical using this material instead of the old style glass it also looks a lot better.
A child can easily work out how to play music on this device and due to the size can play out some really decent music and this can be made better by also purchasing speakers to plug the device into to make it better!
I don't want to go into massive detail on the spec such as screen resolution, size ect because this information can be found anywhere online and I just want to give the opinion of a normal person who owns one who isn't very techy about this kind of thing. In my opinion the picture quality on the screen is much better than the popular iPad 2 I believe this is down the screen being smaller and the general specifications being higher so it fills out better on the screen. I also like that on the main menu you also have 5 lines filled with apps per page just like the latest iPhone has so you can view more per screen. In terms of how the device runs ie. slow running? apps crash... I have to say compared to her iPod Touch 8g it runs like a dream. After a year of use the iPod really did start slowing down likely due to lack of memory but I have noticed this on other Apple products so this may well start running slow in future but at the moment a few months after purchase there is no issues - all apps she has downloaded play absolutely fine on it and from generally talking to other people iPads seem to be the best device to use most apps anyway.
Another great thing which surprised me when I compare to my iPhone is how well the battery holds out compared to my phone when she seems to spend a lot more time on the iPad than me on my phone! Considering you would think it would run down more due to the large screen its having to support she is only having to charge it once every few days when I am lucky if I only have to charge my phone once a day! So in my opinion the battery life is brilliant especially when iPhones are very well known for poor battery!
Easy for a child to use?
In terms of simple-ness to use Apple is the top brand for me and my daughter. Each family to their own but the devices are so easily to work that young children can use them - many people are shocked when I say my 7 year old daughter owns her own iPod Touch AND an iPad but I see it as being no different to any child with a games console at the same age - I am 26 and at her age I owned a megadrive. The difference being iPads can be very educational. She has countless fun games for herself but I also put apps on there which can help her maths and spelling. She also isn't a keen reader due to the amount that she feels she is forced to read at school but with the Kindle App she has plenty of brilliant childrens books stored on there and she enjoys the novelty of reading on a screen rather than a real book. The other difference being the obvious dangers of a child being let loose on the internet. Its all a case of checking what your child does on this kind of device to make sure they are safe at all times.
One thing I have noticed when compared to iPhones is the easiness of the menu's - for example on the iphones settings page you get one list at a time to get you where you want to be but because of the large screen you also get sub-menu's after every click which can make it easier to find what you are looking for.
In general its a great tablet device to give a child due to the ease of use especially if you do not want them to have the responsibility of a phone or a laptop just yet. I have no regrets buying this device and its safe to say my daughter never uses the iPod touch anymore as the iPad has near taken over her life for the better! The device is great for anyone at any age I really recommend this and hope at some point in future I will buy myself one too!
Finally, after taking it upon myself more than 12 months ago to start colouring my own hair at home which saves me around £60 a month, I have finally found my perfect toner after a lot of sweat and tears with other brands and shades that I have tried during that time.
Time to time over the last couple of months I have wrote about my own experiences trying out different products and I have limited knowledge on colouring / bleaching due to a short stint as an apprentice hairdresser nearly 10 years ago. I am not a practicing hairdresser and nor do I have the training to offer advice on this subject these reviews are based on what I do myself and I would recommend if you are unsure at doing this yourself always seek professional advice.
Three months ago was the first time I had tried this toner after trying some normal colours on top of bleach from the same range - Clynol Viton Go Blonde. In my opinion and that of many hairdressers, a hair toner is simply a semi permanent colour which is used after a hair bleach to achieve a nicely blended colour and also gets rid of orange/yellow tones which bleach can leave behind. I first read about this toner online when looking for a shade which will turn my hair white with a slight silver tone after a bleach. Every review I read online was fantastic which was a nice change to see after the seemingly most popular toner L'Oreal P02 had received mixed reactions - my experience with L'Oreal P02 was initially good, it was the first toner I had ever used on myself... but after using it a few times I noticed the colour was colouring the ends of my hair white and still leaving my orange roots... ORANGE! This was what started my journey into finding the perfect toner to make the perfect colour and today in this review I am going to share with you my experience with Clynol Viton Go Blonde in Crystal which ended my search.
Like many other toners and colours the Clynol Viton range come packaged in a rectangular shaped cardboard box displaying the brand and range details on the front. To those who use normal hair dye products at home will feel a bit more at ease with the tube that comes inside - it looks like a normal tube that holds colour in a home hair dye kit. You simply twist off the lid, turn upside down and pierce the entrance to the tube.
As if you were doing a full head bleach / normal colour you just use your brush to apply on to your full head - I normally start at the roots and spread to the tips using my hands - PRECAUTION : ALWAYS USE GLOVES FOR THIS BIT AS YOU ARE USING CREAM PEROXIDE WHICH CAN CAUSE IRRATATION... Once your head is covered in the substance its quite thick to look at and doesn't drip like a lot of other colours. I simply roll my hair up into a clip when its in and I can still get on with other jobs around the house not being worried it will stain anything. Obviously still be wary as you are messing with a semi permanent colour here and I am sure it will stain materials given the chance.
The packaging states you can leave this on anywhere up to 40 minutes. Unlike other toners I have used where I wash off normally after 20 due to the scariness of what the colour has changed to on my head but with this Crystal toner I am very comfortable to leave it on for the full duration as it doesn't cause any weird colours on your hair. When squeezed out the tube it is initially a pearly white colour and when left on your hair for around 40 minutes it changes to a very light brown / slight silvery colour. Unlike the L'Oreal Luo range its much easier to wash off your head in my opinion... and the difference in colour is outstanding compared to the latter. I also want to add that the scent to this toner like the others in the same range is pleasant and not overpowering and is definitely bearable at leaving on your hair for 40 minutes.
As stated at the beginning of this review I am so happy as this toner is the exact colour that I have been longing for, for over 12 months and hand on heart I will continue using it as long as it is available for me to buy!
The colour comes out perfect every time after leaving on for 40 minutes where in the past I haven't been able to leave a toner on anywhere near this long due to the scary colour that is normally left on my head and the excessive hair washing which follows! To maintain the colour all I do is use purple shampoo in between washes to keep the colour bright and I just re-tone after every bleach which is roughly every 4 weeks.
The only bad thing I have experienced with this is the cold burning sensation that you get whilst applying the solution to your scalp - but after playing around with many toners I have to say they all do this and I cant fault the product for doing this as it happens with everything. I would recommend if you do go ahead with toning and you experience this discomfort which turns out to be unbearable wash it off straight away and seek professional advice as some people do suffer nasty reactions to colours. To avoid this you can also try a skin test to see if there is any reaction just like you can in any other colour.
In terms of how long this toner lasts, I bleach and tone every 4 weeks and by around the 3rd week you do notice where your natural hair is growing through it starts to look a bit yellow towards the top but this can be fixed by re-bleaching and applying the toner again and lets face it, if you do it yourself at home it costs next to nothing to buy the things you need compared to getting it done at the hairdressers!
I would always recommend using a toner to anyone who goes for a full head bleach, not just to maximise the colour and to take the yellow and orange shades away but they also seem to really condition it and add a bit of shine which is great when you think about how much bleach can damage your locks.
I am happy in the meantime to continue using the Crystal toner as it has exceeded my expectations but in the future if I decide on playing around with the colour I will likely try out another tone shot in the range - there is a pink shade called Blush and I believe this will be the next one I review. Information on the other tone shots in the range are available below.
Clynol Viton Go Blonde is available quite widely but mainly in salon supply shops as this is a salon use product and its supposed to be used by professionals only. This review is in no way advice on how to colour your hair at home yourself as results can vary and I have limited experience on colouring myself which is why I do this myself.
Clynol Viton Go Blonde has a range of blonde shades available in colours but if you do want to use a toner after bleaching there is 6 shades to choose from which are : Crystal, Wheat, Almond, Honey, Mandarin & Blush.
I bought this 60ml tube out of my local salon supplies shop for £6.60 and the price varies on Amazon between £6-£7 with delivery on top so you would most definitely be more beneficial finding a supplies shop which sells this.
I was very excited when DooYoo opened the garden category to make suggestions as it meant I could finally give my review on the Argos Butterfly lights that I have been waiting to do for over 12 months!
Generally I love anything pink and girly and after finishing redecorating my full house top to bottom by the time my birthday came around in April last year I was already getting stuck into doing up my garden - and garden things have never been anything I have been generally interested in before last year. Naturally by the time my birthday rolled around, my nearest and dearest rallied around to buy me quite a lot of garden related things including 2 boxes of these Argos solar lights from one family member.
I was quite excited to try these out and had selected my decking area in the back garden to wrap these lights around to brighten up the area at night time.
Speaking from memory the lights come packaged in a strong black cardboard box with the image of these lights showing in the background. The box was well secure and there was no damage caused to the lights upon opening due to carelessness in the shop previous to purchase.
The one and only thing that drove me mad when I first got these was the untangling of the string that connect all the lights together. Due to the pointy shape of the butterflies on top of the lights the butterflies were very easily caught on the string and made untangling a pain. It can be done with one person but due to the length and being a new product they have to ability to almost spring back into the shape they came in the box originally - so when first setting up I would recommend 2 pairs of hands to make life easier!
From what I recall after throwing the original packaging out you get your 20 solar lights which is roughly 3-4 meters long (I'm just guessing this but in my opinion one set is very ample as long as its not a huge area you want to cover) connected by a long wire with the solar panel attached at one end. The panel has a small circular engraved section which is great for attaching to a hook if you are like me and attach it to something high up such as a wall or a tree - however due to the way I have wrapped it around my decking it doesn't need any permanent fixture and doesn't tend to move or fall off unless there is strong winds which we sometimes experience here in the North West. There is a larger engraved hole in the back of the panel which I assume is for inserting a stake to put it in the ground but cannot say for certain as I have never used this and cannot recall this from the original box.
How does it work?
In a simple explanation without going scientific any solar panel is a device which feeds off the sunlight and collects the energy it generates. In the case of outdoor garden lights it activates at night time when everything else is dark. Solar panels are becoming more and more popular in life with many people opting to place them on the roofs of their properties in return for cheaper utility bills and sometimes even money back from their energy supplier - which is what my parents do. It is a great way of generating energy for outdoor lights as its not fed from your main electric supply and you don't need to remember to change batteries therefore keeping your costs down as the energy is taken from a natural source.
Obviously the idea is for the butterflies on the string to look pretty at night time when they light up but what I love is how much detail the manufacturers put into the butterflies to make them look good during the daytime as the general colour is just transparent. I have noticed on butterfly lights from cheaper shops such as B&M that they would look very bland during the day but the Argos ones have lots of detail popping out on them to show a 3D shape and engraving to show detail on the wings. This is great for me as it does look like a general garden decoration during the day whilst the lights aren't actually turned on.
So as previously mentioned the butterflies themselves are transparent but when activated at night time after feeding off the sun during the day, they bump through a number of colours which are :
So as you can imagine, very colourful...
Generally there is nothing bad with these lights at all as long as you are sensible and look after them. The main annoying thing about them is the untangling when you first take them out of the box but after this they seem to loosen themselves out and don't tend to try and bend back into their original shape...
The other bad things are really things I have done in the sense I / other people could of looked after them better. As previously mentioned I got these in April 2012 for my birthday that year - and I regret to say I didn't store them away safely over the Winter we have just been through and as a result the connection from the long string to each of the butterflies has gone brown and discoloured which I am guessing is likely due to all the rain we get here up in Cumbria... and the previous colour of the butterflies being transparent has now changed to a slight yellow. These issues are my fault and to avoid this just do the sensible thing over Winter and store them away in a safe and dry place.
The only other bad thing is the fact that they don't react very well with footballs - there is a grass area over the top of the fence of my garden where local children often gather to play football - one night I witnessed a football sailing over the fence and going straight into an area of the decking where the lights were wrapped around. Sadly a butterfly was split in half that night but this was easily fixed a few days later with a decent brand of superglue to fix it. With this in mind, be aware when you have young children playing in the garden as they can be easily damaged by footballs especially. Generally the butterflies are quite strong and there was a bit of force behind the football to cause this so don't mistake what I am saying for them being flimsy as they are anything but. One thing that could of been great with these as I suspect other people may have had odd ones damaged was to buy replacement butterflies but when I have looked at how they are fitted they are fixed on and cannot be removed. Its just as well they are not expensive at all as I suppose its just as cheap to buy a new set.
My overall opinion
In honest opinion considering they have been left to their own devices over the winter I thought they would of been ruined but they are still as strong as ever which is very surprising. If like me you decide to leave them out over the Winter don't expect to see much lighting coming from them at that time of year as in my experience you were lucky to see around 30 minutes of light a night. However as soon as the weather starts brightening up around Spring to Summer I have found they have the ability to last from around 9.30 to around 2am which in my opinion is more than enough considering we are in the North West you wouldn't think we would see that which sun to power them for very long!
You really can't complain at the price of them if you consider how much some people pay for similar items in home and garden centres - at the time I was given these it was 2 boxes for just £20... now you can pay 1 box for £15.99 so always look out for this on offer.
I do think these have the ability to last a long time as long as they are looked after properly over the winter and children tend to be careful with footballs around them and I would highly recommend them to everyone who wanted to put something in the garden to brighten it up which doesn't cost the earth.
Having a 7 year old daughter our house is fill to the brim with Moshi Monster bits and bobs. Personally I never saw what the big fuss was over Moshi Monsters and I think my daughter loves them because all of her friends are really into it! The first time I was introduced to these cute furry monsters is when one of her friends brought the tiny plastic toys into our house one day.
Moshi Monsters originally started out as a website aimed at children a couple of years ago - in the website the child creates their own virtual "pet" monster to care for and play games and take on adventures. The website states that it is a safe enviroment just for children and away from dangerous predators. I'm not sure that my daughter knows this website exists but at her age I wouldnt be comfortable letting her on there as the way I understand it, its just like a colourful fun chatroom and lets face it anyone can go on there no matter what the website claims.
Since the website launched, the brand has grown in popularity... I have mentioned our house is overrun with merchandise and it really is. Everything from clothes, to jewellery, bags, games... the list goes on...
I came across the Peers Moshi Monster watch on Amazon when looking for some small presents to give to my daughter for her birthday. Her main present was an iPad this year so due to what I had already paid out on I didnt want to go overboard - just some nice things she would enjoy that didnt have to last a lifetime. My daughter was still struggling with certain aspects with time telling such as quarter past and quarter to the hour so I thought a fun watch may make telling the time a bit more fun for her. I was attracted to these watches by the huge detail of Moshi Monsters on the face and the strap - and also the low price - so due to red being my daughters favourite colour I snapped it up.
When the watch arrived it was protected in a thin plastic bubble to hold the watch with a cardboard back which was themed like all the other Moshi merchandise you see in shops. The watch looked very durable at first glance in the casing but it was when my daughter opened the present on her birthday morning that I was able to get a good look at it for the first time. I certainly didnt think it would look cheap and nasty like I was half expecting and it looked like something I had paid a bit more than what I did for it. One thing I absolutely hate about is taking out new toys and accessories away from the protective packaging as you can often find yourself fighting it with a pair of scissors to get the product out - however this time none of that happened which left me a very happy mummy! Delivery was also very quick (I would like to add that I am an Amazon Prime member however) and there was no damage caused during the delivery.
One other thing that made me happy was seeing that a watch battery WAS included - there is nothing worse than buying a new novelty to find there is no batteries with it and you have none in the house!
As previously noted this particular watch is red and at the time of ordering I was sure this was just going to be a cheap looking rubber watch where you have to pull it on and off the wrist with no fasteners.
The first thing you notice is although the strap and surrounding area around the face are rubber (and quite bendy) its actually really strong and resistant and I dont think its likely the material would damage or snap unless someone was meaning to do it!
I was also really happy to see that there actually is fasteners in the form of stud pop buttons - like you see on some jackets. With this type of fastener the watch holds firmly in place everytime and doesnt fail unless you are unpopping it to get the watch off. There is also a few different studs so that the strap can be easily adjusted according to the childs wrist size. For younger children as well this type of button may be hard to unfasten so I think its great for kids who like to pull things off, leading on to losing it - the buttons give you that added reassurance that the watch is less likely to go missing!
The next thing I will mention about the appearance is the two moshi monster "charms" which are there mainly to brighten up the watch strap. My only issue with this is that they are VERY easy pulled off and so far my daughter has lost one of them. When this happens this leaves a noticable hole in the strap where this charm obviously used to be and can look a bit rubbish. The reason this can easily be removed is because the other watches in the range in other colours have different Moshi charms so if you had more than one watch you could change them round. As great of an idea this is, its not great for children who love to pull things off and I would of prefered them to be permenantly fixed to the strap.
Obviously as well as being a novalty for a child the same age as my daughter, the main objective of this is to teach the time but in a fun way! The watch face is bright white which stands out really well against the overall red of the watch to see the numbers clearly which are also marked in bold red. What I love about this watch more than standard ones you see for kids is the fact that the numbers 12, 3, 6 and 9 are highlighted larger than the others which makes it miles easier for parents like myself where your child struggles more to say things like "on the hour", "quarter past the hour" "half past the hour" and "quarter to the hour". Personally since investing in this cheap watch I have found my daughters time keeping has come on a lot better than just a couple of months ago and lets face it when she teams it up with moshi clothes and other accessories she is considered a cool child - so its always a win win situation for the parent and the kid! The watch face itself is plastic so should the worst happen and the watch gets broken you dont need to worry about the child hurting themselves on broken glass!
I also want to point out in case the clocks go forward there is a silver dial which can be turned until the correct time is achieved.
One thing I have noticed in the last couple of months is that the watch is apparently water resistant up to 30 meters - however due to the low cost of the watch I dont think its worth chancing as its not as well built as other top brands which have been made for this purpose but it gives you peace of mind that a little bit of water such as in a water fight will likely not do it any damage if you listen to what the manufacturer has said!
I would highly recommend this watch to any children who are into Moshi Monsters from around the ages of 4-8. I love the watch for its uses in helping my child learn the time and my child loves the watch due to appearances. The watch it suitable really for any age of the child due to the adjustable strap and if your a young at heart adult like myself with skinny wrists you can also wear this if you like (just like I have in the past!)
In my opinion it is a great little gift for things like birthday parties and stocking fillers and I believe it looks more expensive than it actually is.
Durability in the last 3 months has really outdone my expectations due to the low price I paid. The battery is still very much alive and my daughter wears this watch most days to school. The only thing I can really say is that due to the rubber material it can get a bit grubby looking depending on what your child has been up to but you can put some life back into it using wet wipes.
If your child doesnt like the colour red on the watch then no problem. The colours available on the other watches in the range are pink, yellow, black, blue and white - and they all have different charms attached so your child may end up picking their favourite moshi monster on the watch rather than the colour!
The only reason I am not giving this watch full marks is due to how easily the charms can be removed by a child and then end up going missing and leaving the watch looking rather incomplete.
At present this is available on the Amazon website at £9.89 with free delivery if you are a Prime customer. However the other watch colours do vary and the prices can be over £10 depending on when you look.
In a beauty box in recent months I recieved this cheek and lip tint from the Model Co company and I have to admit this is the first product I have tried from the brand. I have been wary to try this particular product out as liquid tints are not something I use ever - due to usually horrible skin I prefer to cover everything up with liquid foundation, concealer and face powder so as you can imagine you cant really use a tint on top of all that! I have recently tried it out for the first time and now I believe I have used it enough to give you enough information in a review.
About the brand
Model Co is not a brand I have ever heard of in all honesty as I tend to stick to brands I am familiar with in order to avoid dissapointment. Model Co was launched in 2002 by a former modelling agent, which is how its name came about and is a brand which originates from Australia - all their products are made there but they have also set up base in Hong Kong. The newest advertising face of Model Co is said to be Dannii Minogue who is said to be a huge fan of the brand as well as her sister, Kylie.
The tint comes packaged in a pink and silver hard plastic tube with a screw top lid and thin nozzle to dispense the liquid. The lip in my opinion is very tight and secure and very unlikely to cause a leak in your handbag which is important as this is a liquid product which turns out to be quite thin and very colourful!
Across the front of the tube you are told this is a cheek and lip tint and the back tells you that this contains 10ml of product and has a total shelf life of 12 months.
When squeezed out, the first thing you notice is how dark this is - to give you an idea it almost looks like the colour of blood! However when rubbing the product into the skin, the colour does tone out and turns more pink and absorbs really well.
On application, it does seem really thick but when mixed in, it almost has a watery texture and has a nice cooling effect on the skin.
One thing I really love about this product is the actual smell - it smells like a really pleasant fruity lip gloss which would suit most people.
As previously mentioned, in the past I have swayed away from tints like this as in my opinion it wouldnt suit the make up I tend to wear. However, now that the weather is getting nicer I am finding myself wearing more tinted moisturisers as opposed to thick foundations, and just thin layers of face powder on top (if any at all!).
When I apply this to my face I apply a tiny blob to each cheek and blend in on top of the tinted moisturiser. Due to how light coloured my skin is, I dont need a lot of this product but the great thing about this is you can build up the colour using a bit more of the product and I believe this has the ability to suit all skin tones. The tint works well on top of the moisturiser I use and certainly doesnt clash or come off easily when mixed with another product. The colour which you are left with on your cheeks is a very sutle pink glow but as previously mentioned you can definetely use more of the tint to build it up depending on the occasion and your skin tone. Usually for pink cheeks I use very pale pink powder blushers, and although this colour is darker than I am used to and in liquid form, it does work very well.
I have tried using this on my lips but I have found the colour doesnt suit me very much as it does go too pink and watery and if I was to wear pink on my lips I am better off using a bland lipstick for full on colour.
I am really glad I got this in my beauty box and would definetely be tempted to buy it again in future when it runs out. My favourite is still very much powder blushers but this is a more sensible lighter option to go for now that the sun is starting to shine and will be a huge huge when I go on holiday.
I love the fact that you can build up the colour to suit your own skin (I have had some friends try this out on their own skin) and that a little goes a long way with this. I have been using this for nearly a month now and you can barely tell that any has been used which is great for a little 10ml sample.
For putting power, it doesnt last all day and in my opinion you need to apply it every 4 hours or so but I would expect the same with many powder blushers so this is not a huge issue to me. Since first using this it has not left my make up bag and is a very huge hit in my eyes.
The only thing that has let me down for this is the darkness of the product when I am used to using very pale products normally on my cheeks - I would of prefered a much lighter coloured tint. The price can be seen to some as very expensive (myself included!) but as you dont need to use a lot of product each time it has the power to last a long time and makes it worth it.
The RRP for 10ml in Rosy Red cheek & lip tint is £15.00 but at present you can buy this on Amazon for £14.32 with free delivery.
I got my first GlossyBox delivery back in January and since then I have been getting stuck into the many great mini products they have sent me - and I dont think I will be cancelling the subscription anytime soon. In one of my first two boxes I recieved this mini sample of Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream - and this is the first product I have ever tried out from this brand.
Now at the age of 26, as my skin just isnt what it used to be, I am very into trying out new skin care products which cure problems I have such as uneven skin tone, random spots and dryness. So I was very happy to see this in the box as you can imagine.
What does it do? * Description from Amazon*
The Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant from Elizabeth Arden helps to sooth and care for minor skin irritations and complaints. This cream is also perfect for the symptoms of chapping, peeling or flaking as a result of minor burns. This multi-use cream from Elizabeth Arden can also be used to sooth the effects of sun burn, wind burn, scrapes, abrasions or even cracked lips. For best use, apply the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream liberally and as often as you made need it.
At first glance...
The sample itself is rather cute in a little white plastic 7ml tube with a red screw top lid - the labelling itself it quite plain but effective which tells you the product is fragrance free and that it works as a skin protectant. From the description you would be forgiven if you thought this was a type of day cream / moisturiser but its completely different to what I thought it was going to be...
Whats in the tube?
To dispense this "cream" you simply unscrew the lid and squeeze the tube... when you expect a normal looking cream to come out you actually get a very VERY hard pearly orange coloured serum come out. When mixed into your skin the colour turns transparent.
Although information on the tube tells you this is fragrance free I can tell you now there is a distinctive scent to it, which is very hard for me to explain exactly but to me it is quite unpleasant and old-lady like which at times has stopped me from actually using this!
Where to apply?
As I suffer from dryness on occasions around my forehead and cheek area's this is where I rub the product in. With all the change in weather, dry lips is also another thing that I suffer from but due to the unpleasant scent to the cream I find this very hard to apply to my face so my lips is an even worse thing for me to go through.
How long does it last?
I have noticed over the last 2-3 months of use, the very hard serum in the tube has turned a lot softer and easier to dispense and apply from the first day I opened it. The best advice I can give is to possibly leave it in a warm place in your house for a couple of days before use and it should help to soften the cream. The total shelf life for this is 36 months which in my opinion is great!
Does it work?
In all honesty, due to the hardness of the cream when you first start using it I noticed it does tend to tighten your skin up and works as the next best thing to having plastic surgery as a short term solution. So that is definetely a bonus for other women like me who have qualms about the appearance of the skin. Downsides to me outway the good unfortunately in the sense that your skin is very sticky and too shiny looking afterwards and the effects defintetly do not last the whole 8 hours as claimed.
I don't think this will be a product I would buy in full size at all in the future. The only thing I actually liked was how it tightened my skin up, but the skin shiny-ness, sticky-ness and scent were absolute put off's for me. Not to mention the price... Its really not worth it for what it does.
The RRP for this cream is £22.50 but at present you can get this on Amazon for £13.15 for 50ml
Generally I love all Barry M products such as the nail effect pots but in particular my absolute favourite has to be their eye shadow pots. The brand is well known for their eye catching effects in make up and nails but they also do more neutaral products which suit even the fussiest of people. When in Superdrug yesterday there was a 3 for 2 offer on which included Barry M - so after picking up my badly needed foundation and eye liner, I decided on a new lip gloss which I havent bought for a while after spending months living in lip stick. Unlike lip stick where I like to wear the brightest pinks and reds I can find mainly in the matte look, I do prefer my lip glosses to be more neutural due to the shininess of them. Upon looking at the Barry M lipglosses I found most of them to be too dark and colourful for my liking but I spotted shade "3" and decided this one would suit me better. Technically with the other two products costing more, I got this lipgloss for free!
The Barry M lipglosses all look the same and like basic lipglosses that you see in most ranges - your tube is made out of a very hard plastic and comes with a black twist top lid with a wand attached under to apply the gloss on to your lips as desired. Down the front of the tube in a sideways font you are told this is a Barry M lipgloss and on the back you are given further product information such as the address for Barry M (in case of any issues with the product?) and that the contents are 2.5ml and there is a total shelf life of 12 months. The tube is transparent which gives you a better idea of the colour inside which is pretty much the same as when its applied, and you have a sticker on the bottom of the tube giving you the shade number.
Unlike some other glosses which are not very well made the lid twists quite securely on to the tube as long as its used right so you wouldnt have any worries about spillages in your handbag. The total size is also quite compact and would fit happily into any normal make up bags.
Upon twisting the lid and pulling out the wand, the wand itself is a white stick and has a small slanted sponge on the end to apply the product on to your lips. The sponge absorbs the gloss easily dispensing a good
amount as you desire.
On application like all other lipglosses this is quite sticky against your lips which cant be really avoided due to this being a lip gloss and this is what lip gloss does! This particular shade comes out a slightly different colour to whats on the bottle as a slightly beige colour with a pink sparkly tint to it, but in my opinion the colour would suit most peoples tastes and personally I will be using this as a lip gloss for work so the colour isnt too daring or outrageuous!
Since buying yesterday I have been wearing it constantly since last night, in all opinion it has good putting power but due to overplucking and rubbing lips together you can expect to have to re-apply every 2-3 hours I would think.
On to the actual smell - if you are a regular user of lip gloss unless you buy horrible cheap brandless ones you will agree most of them have a pleasant smell to them - this Barry M one smells slightly fruity and a bit alchoholic to me (which isnt too bad if you take this on a night out with you!) - the scent really isnt bad on this one.
In all its a nice lip gloss however I prefer beige coloured ones that leave a bit more of a colour tint on your lips than just a slight colour with a bit of sparkle but I do think I will continue to use this until its gone as its a great one for day time and keeps my lips moisturised whilst working under constant air conditioning!
In total there is around 9 shades sold in Superdrug in the Barry M wand version - at the moment they are all included in the 2 for 3 offer - shade 3 which I have reviewed today is called "Strawberries & Cream" which is priced at £2.99 and the others at £4.49.
Being a lover of nail varnishes but usually sticking to brands that I know, so that I am not dissapointed by results I was really happy to see that a Nails INC varnish in Tate had been included with my Marchs GlossyBox subscription which was themed around Travelling (and included make up which seemed to be all themed around the colour red that month!). I first noticed the brand months ago in Boots and liked the selection they had to offer in terms of effects - such as sparkly, crackle and bright bold colours... however at over £10 for just one bottle it was more than I was used to spending on the likes of other brands like Rimmel and this is the reason I hadnt endulged before. The reason I subscribe to GlossyBox is to recieve decent test sizes of other big brand products that I wouldnt otherwise look at or buy and if I like the results I have more of a push to go out and buy the full size!
So in the shops the general size of Nail INC varnishes is 10ml but in the GlossyBox you get a cute little 4ml which is a handy little size for slipping into your handbag to do top ups. I think generally the bottle looks great, as its a cylinder size bottle and the twisty lid is the same thickness which is unusual compared to other varnishes I have tried... however because the lid is thicker it can be application a bit trickier to apply to your nails... You are advised on the front of the bottle on a sticker this comes from the Nails INC range and the shade "Tate" is on a seperate sticker on the base of the bottle. The bottle is made out of glass which is transparent to show the varnish colour inside and the lid is made from what is thought at first glance to be a well made plastic which is silver in colour - attached under the lid is the varnish brush which like the lid is quite thick but benefits applying to your nails. At first glance the red colour in the bottle is very bright and due to the high price you pay for it in the shops you have high expectations that this stuff will be decent.
On application I was very happy to see that the colour becomes out very bold on your nails and there really isnt any need for a second coat unlike other varnishes. The colour is the boldest red you can imagine with nail varnishes. Using on its own without a protective coating it has the potencial to last anywhere between 2-4 days depending on what you are doing which in my opinion is really good. Colour-wise, and how long it lasts is really where the good things stop when it comes to this...
The first thing I picked up on around 3 weeks after I first used the varnish was how bad the quality of the lid is - the silver was too easily scratched off for my liking and went very scruffy looking very quickly. The second thing that went wrong was the brush which was attached to the inside of the lid fell off and went into the bottle of varnish - and as you can imagine was quite messy and covered a lot of my hands in varnish. I did manage to re-attach the brush to the inside of the lid but I wasnt very confident this wouldnt happen again. The third thing that went wrong for me which ended up with me throwing the varnish into the bin was because of how dry and un-usable the varnish had become - with under 2 month of use from me. The lid had always been secured properly and as tight as possible to avoid this from happening and there was plenty of product left in the bottle so was not just the rubbish dregs that you normally see left in the bottom of a bottle. For me, if you are going to spend all this money on a varnish you would expect the packaging to be made decently and certainly not fall apart after less than 2 months of use especially when its expected by the manufacturer to last a lot longer. Its also dissapointing for me that there is plenty of other reviews for Nails INC and not one of them mentions just how shabby they are made. In all if you have the money to throw around and get a great colour but not too bothered ahout the quality of the bottle then this stuff is for you - but for me its a complete let down and will not be buying a full size version in the future.
Currently you can buy Nails INC in Tate in Boots for £11 for 10ml.
In a few of my reviews you will notice that a couple of months ago I subscibed to GlossyBox.co.uk for monthly beauty boxes containing skin and make up product samples that normally I would never go for myself - I think they are great overall as I have discovered some great little gems in these boxes that I am certain I will buy again in future but normally wouldnt have because of the price.
The product that I am reviewing today - Lavender Mint Moisturising Body Butter from the Paul Mitchell range - was my personal (at first sight) favourite from the January 2013 box which was self titled "Detox Box" - likely due to the after effects of Christmas & New year which everyone was suffering. The box that month as a whole really impressed me as the samples were all a really good size, effective and related mainly to skincare. When I say this was my favouite at first sight, this was due to the HUGE size of the sample - 75ml contents in an stand up bottle where the lid is situated on the bottom.
Seeing a Paul Mitchell body butter defintetly surprised me as I wasnt aware they had skin care products in their range - I have only ever seen Paul Mitchell hair products and usually seen them in selected salons - not really something you could walk into a shop and buy generally. I used to swear by a Paul Mitchell leave in hair conditioner years ago which worked incredibly on my usually unmanagable thick hair so I had really high hopes for the body butter!
I am not the greatest fan of things Lavender related as it tends to remind me of an "old woman" kind of scent... but what intriged me was the fact that it was actually Lavender Mint - sounded a bit of a funny concoction as I am used to things like Chocolate Mint, and I generally love all things mint related - for this reason I was very excited to try it out and hoped the scent would be more minty!
As previously mentioned in my opinion I was given a monster of a sample - and the body butter contents come in a plastic squeeze bottle which is all dark green in colour - this attracted me more to the bottle as when you see green you think of mint - and if it was presented as purple personally I would feel this would put a lot of people off. To take out the contents you simply pop open the flip lid which is a cloudy white colour and squeeze it out...
I have had a fair bit of experiance with body butter, and normally I am used to scooping it out of tubs with my fingers... when dispensing this one, the first thing you notice is how much effort you have to put in to squeeze this out due to the thickness of the butter! It comes out plain white in colour looks just like Sudacrem but thicker...
As I am trying to make the product last as long as possible I have been applying this to my upper body only which is just my chest and arms - I have another reason for this which I will go into more detail later in the review. Although white when first squeezed out, when rubbed into your skin it does blend in really well and doesnt leave any white residue behind although you can feel slightly sticky for half an hour after application so always bare this in mind.
On to the actual scent of the product and if its lived up to my expectations of being more mint than lavender... I was quite dissapointed in a way about the scent. Yes it is more lavender, to my dissapointment and yes I do feel like a granny after application, however the mint element makes your skin tingle afterwards and you feel really refreshed especially if you have just jumped straight out of a bath. You do also get a slight swift of a mint smell but sadly its only me who notices it - my boyfriend told me I smell like his grandmother!
As mentioned above where I tend to apply to the upper part of my body only - as well as for trying to save as much of the sample for long term use as possible - I have found that this body butter does actually help me drift to sleep better due to the lavender smell - which is very welcoming for someone like me who can find it difficult some nights to wind down. Upon waking in the morning there is only the slightest tint of lavender left on your skin so you dont need to worry about others noticing the old lady smell - which is why I think this is a great product for bedtime only to help others like me actually drift off!
Upon looking at the ingredients on the back of the bottle you are met with other skin tingling natural ingredients such as teatree and peppermint and although many of the other ingredients do look suspiciously chemical I think there is a lot less in this than there is in another similar products.
The Shea Butter and TeaTree elements in the ingredients are commonly found in many skin care products these days and are great at repair and maintaining healthy skin. This body butter is no exception, as although the scent has near dissapeared 12 hours later, you still get the nice refreshed tingle and soft skin - no stickiness at all by this time!
In terms of how long its lasted, I used used the eqivilent of putting it on every night for around a week in total and when holding the bottle up to the light I can see there is probably over half the butter left inside. You can buy this product in two different sizes - for 75ml (which is the sample I was given) it is £5.75 and its £12.95 for 200ml. So to be fair its a little bit more expensive than the likes of Body Shop when they have offers on, but I really believe this is a little gem and worth the money just to help you get them extra few winks in at night time without resorting to popping sleeping pills - just be aware if you hate lavender this is definetely not for you and you may want to give it a miss!
I have been with my boyfriend for 6 months now and with me having a 7 year old daughter and him a 3 year old daughter - who get along great - we decided to have a trip away together now that the weather is starting to get nicer. We live up north in Cumbria and the obvious choice for us and everyone round here for a weekend away is Blackpool - being just a 2 hour drive and having lots to offer in terms of entertainment for the youngsters.
Most people my age in the UK love Blackpool and others would prefer to stay away - the usual reason for this is because of how dirty the place is in general and the horror stories you hear of some of the hotels... one in particular that I went to with friends a few years ago had you leave with the smell of fry up permenantly attached to you free of charge as well as free pets in the form of bed bugs from the rooms... So this time we wanted a really decent hotel without any of the horrors so the kids didnt get scarred for life!
The choice of the Blue Bay Hotel came from my boyfriends previous experiance where he had one of the cheaper rooms which he stopped in overnight for a swimming competition - and he had nothing but praise for it in the sense that it is not like the others in Blackpool! A look at photos, guest reviews and room details sealed the deal for me as well! For two adults and two kids we had the choice out of two different types of family rooms - which were superior and deluxe. We opted for a deluxe room as it was a lot more spacious, with a sofa and a playstation 3 in the childrens room. The superior rooms looked the same apart from they had a playstation 2 instead and there wasnt as much space. It worked out a difference of just £20.00 for the full weekend for the better room and it was defintetly worth it in my opinion!
We booked the hotel just last month and the total for the stay between Friday 22nd March 2013 - Sunday 24th March 2013 was just £235.00. In my opinion this works out really well because its between four of us for 2 nights and you get a buffet all you can eat breakfast included with free WiFi, free parking and a special entrance to the Pleasure Beach. It worked out a lot cheaper this particular weekend as its the weekend before the entertainment really kicks off in Blackpool such as the circus ect... However there was still plenty to do with two children and being quieter means not as many queues at the theme park! We checked the prices after this weekend out of curiosity and the price can work out over £400 for the same two night stay - so we got a bargain!
Getting There and First Impressions
We had set off from Cumbria around 11am on Friday and expected to be at Blackpool for no later than 2pm as we had pre-booked some tickets to the Sealife centre which had to be used this day - and then to check into the hotel later on. We actually arrived just before 4pm due to the snowy conditions causing first an accident on a main road near home and some backed up traffic on the motorway due to the snow causing yet more havoc. So as you can imagine with two bored kids we were not in the best of moods due to the days drama and were anxious to check into the hotel and settle down for the night as soon as possible. Around 5pm we arrived at the hotel which is literally right in front of the Pleasure Beach and drove straight into the hotels secure car park which was a one way system. Due to the freezing weather and young children in tow we were a little unimpressed that the closest car park space we could get was at the back of the hotel where there was a door but not one you could use to get inside! However I can hardly hold this against the hotel as that area was unmanned and everyone else obviously had the same idea as us to park as close to the entrance as possible!
The hotel from the outside is very well kept and painted completely blue in colour - hense the name! - with white windows and bits of detail. If you havent seen a picture of the hotel you may think this sounds tacky just like Blackpool in general but in my opinion looks very nice and a bit out of place compared to the other scabby places opposite which is a great thing!
Walking into the hotel and first impressions of the reception gives you very high hopes for your weekend - very warm compared to the outside and there is plenty of comfortable seating and even free apples in bowls which the kids loved! There was two or three hotel staff on the reception who were very happy and friendly and within two minutes we were checked in and had our swipe cards for our room - much quicker and pleasant than other hotels I have stayed at!
At quick glance in the reception you had your resturant / breakfast serving area on the left through another doorway, general toilet area behind the reception desk and to the right was another doorway which lead to the lift and stairs and also access to the ground floor rooms. We were on the third floor of the hotel which when you got to the floor to get to our room you had to walk down a long hallway full of hotel rooms and then walk down another long corridor along the side to get to where we were going. This was one of the only downsides for me as it was quite a treck from the lift with two young tired children in tow.
On the way to the hotel room the corridors were really nicely presented with cream walls, decorated with nice pictures, pine doors and blue patterned carpets. To get into your room rather than have a key like many other Blackpool hotels you get a keycard which you pop into the lock and it electronically opens.
The Room and if it Lives up to Expectations?
When you walk into the hotel room the first area on the left was the childrens bedroom/area. This particular area was painted vibrant green and blue and consisted of a bunk bed and two flat screen TV's moulded into the wall - one for each bunk - which the kids could watch different channels at once if they wanted to. Each TV came with its own remote control and at the bottom was a Playstation 3 with two controllors. To our dissapointment knowing the kids wouldnt use the Playstation as they are a little young, we found this was secured to a wooden moulding which couldnt be removed - the idea was that we were going to take this through to our room to play at night when the children were asleep but I understand the hotel did this to make sure the device wasnt stolen! Opposite the TV area is a snakes and ladders game stuck to the wall with magnetic pieces with a huge blue dice - and the children got a lot of use playing this over the weekend! So far, so good - the children were very excited at the prospect of bunk beds and spent the first couple of hours climbing up and down and watching their own TV's - I thought the two TV's were a great touch from the hotel as there is nothing worse than children arguing over what to watch! Another great touch in the childrens were were the round lights which could be located above each bed which could be operated easily by young children at the touch of a button - this is great if you have one child who needs a night light when they go to bed or if they want to read as it doesnt disturb the other child.
You then walk past the childrens area and to the right is a shelfing area to put clothes and other bits and pieces and a coat rail attached to the wall and shoe hole. This particular area is a dark brown wood colour and goes very nicely with the overall theme of the room. The area is very spacious with plenty of room to put all of your things.
Opposite this storage area is the bathroom which consists of a corner sink and mirror, a toilet with a shelving area above and a bath with shower it. Like all great hotels you get nice little freebies standing up on a wooden rack which include shower gel, bubblebath and shampoo. On the sheving area above the toilet there was plenty of towels for both hands and for the bath. Hotel staff also came in on both mornings and changed all the towels and topped up the essentials such as toilet rolls. On the left hand side of the door is a heated towel rack which kept the bathroom very warm and for me it was great to step out the shower straight into a heated towel!
When you come out of the bathroom towards the main section of the hotel room to the left of ours was our bed - which was huge, I would say bigger than a queen size bed and could easily fit three people in it comfortably! This was tried and tested as we had both kids jump in on both mornings to watch some TV before we got up properly. All sheets and pillows were white in colour, including the ones in the kids rooms, and none had any marks or stains which you do worry about in some hotels. Our bed had four pillows in total which some decorative ones on top, but we had two spare pillows packaged in a plastic pocket on top of the storage unit for extra comfort - which we used! On each side of the bed was a "floating" bedside table with a copy of the ever useful bible!
Opposite the bed area was a huge dark wood coloured desk with extra storage shelves above which we used to put things like teabags, sugar and coffee which we had brought with us. On this desk was also a telephone which could be used to call other hotel rooms if needed, numbers outside the hotel (which were charged to our card) and the reception in case of any problems. Next to this was a 20" flat screen TV with a wide range of channels and even a DVD player which also played music CD's. With the desk also came with a tall back comfortable beige coloured chair.
Next to the bed was a big beige coloured sofa which would comfortably sit four adults and also converted into a sofa bed incase there was a total of four children - opposite the sofa was a blank wall with extra shelves under moulded into the wall. In my opinion rather than having a tiny 20" TV opposite the huge bed it would of been better suited to have a large TV on this huge blank wall. In between the plain wall and sofa was a large area which would of comfortably fitted a cot - which the hotel can provide - but as we had two children over the age of 3 this didnt apply and therefore I cannot comment on how good the cots are there.
One thing I want to add is that you can control the room temperature and there is air conditoning - the rooms are VERY warm anyway so even in this cold weather you find yourself using the air con more. Other things you get in the room include an iron with ironing board, hairdryer and kettle complete with four clean cups and sachets every day.
The next morning we had a good look out of the window at the back of the room to see what the view was like - according to information on the website it states all the family rooms have a view of the pleasure beach to the rear - and true to its word this is exactly what you get. This may not be to everyones taste but with having young children they loved this and seeing the rides working - the big dipper ride went under our hotel window and you can also view the Pepsi Max ride and Grand National ride with ease.
In general the room was beautifully decorated and nothing looked out of place and pushed into a corner which is typical of Blackpool B+B's - everything worked that was supposed to and the room was entertaining enough for the youngsters.
Facilities we used and were they any good?
Being a social networking freak, one of the things of the hotel that appealed to me was the free WiFi as I am used to having to pay an extra charge to get this service and I hate having to use my 3G. Before we set off on the Friday I just happened to have dropped my iPhone 5 from the top of the stairs in my house and have been phoneless since as it refuses to turn on. However so I could keep up with family, friends and things back home I fetched my laptop along to use at night when the kids were settled into bed. Other devices we took with us were my daughters iPod touch and my boyfriends iPhone 4s. On entry to the hotel on check in they give you the WiFi username and password to gain access on a piece of paper - the username and password both change each day I'm guessing for security purposes so you do have to ring the reception when this happens to update. On connecting to the hotel router it prompts you for the log in details and you are good and ready to go. The internet was very fast and could keep up with what we were all doing which included Face-Time calling, Facebook and online games - as well as the use of the other hotel guests. What annoyed me about the WiFi is if you left your device alone for a little while you had to log back in again so you always needed the log in details to hand - but as far as I'm aware this tends to happen in most hotels so its nothing I can fault them on. The only real issue we had with the internet was this morning before the check out at 11am - where the internet stopped accepting our log in details. I did call the reception thinking they had changing the log in details where they informed me they hadnt. I was the only person at this point who had reported a fault so they went into detail querying what the error was to try and resolve the issue. In the end they gave me a slightly different username to try but unfortunately this didnt work - however as we were close to checking out this wasnt a huge issue but I felt like I was missing an arm not having internet access!
Food, glorious food!
Included with the price of the room was a buffet breakfast which was available between 7.30am-10.30am on the weekend - but is available until 10am on week days. You really feel like you get your moneys worth at this hotel compared to general Blackpool B+B's are there is so much choice available and you can really eat as much as you want. When you step into the resturant in the morning you step into a board which advises you to wait until you are seated. On both mornings, there was only ever one family in front of us and you barely have to wait long to be assisted. A friendly member of staff then leads you to a clean, spacious reserved table and you simply go and help yourself to some food. There is something for everyone here which ranges from everything you see on a full english breakfast (minis hash browns :-( ), to all cereals which adults and children love, dried and fresh fruit, a range of croissants, toast, yogarts, fresh juices and every hot drink you can imagine. The choice was brilliant in the sense that my boyfriends 3 year old literally changed her mind at what she wanted to eat every two minutes and she got to try a bit of everything because it was covered in the room price - anywhere else and it would of cost us a fortune! There was always a member of staff on each section constantly topping up the food and keeping the areas clean and tidy - as well as staff constantly jumping on the tables when families had left to clean up in time for the next party and when we had finished with cups and plates. I was so impressed with the breakfast meal as a lot of places leave dirty tables next to you for ages!
By the time we got to the hotel on the Friday it was past 5 o clock and the kids were quite tired and hungry. Our intension was to go out for somewhere to eat but it wasnt practical considering the day we had and we decided to try the room service. The hotel promised to deliver what you have ordered within the hour with a menu included in the room information pack which is the same as the lunch menu where you have a choice out of salads, pizza, childrens meals, burgers and lite bites. You order simply by calling downstairs and you can either pay in cash downstairs before the food arrives, on the door when they deliver the food or they can add it to your bill. We chose to pay in cash on the door. Outdoing our expectations the food actually arrived this night within just half an hour and the staff delivering the food were very friendly and curtious and nothing forgotton or left off the order. This particular night my daugter ordered a pizza which arrived in a takeaway box, my boyfiends daughter ordered fish fingers and chips and me and my boyfriend both ordered a Big Blue burger with chips - which was a salsa style burger. All food arrived beautifully presented and cooked and tasted perfectly according to everyone else - and I really enjoyed my tea that night! When you are done with your food you simply leave out the trays and plates outside your room door for them to collect - very practical with young children. My only issue with that was I did notice at night time and in the morning a lot of people were leaving their trays and and plates outside the doors and they didnt seem to be collected by the staff very often. Many items on the menu could be ordered 24 hours a day and others up until 11pm - and the ones available at certain times were clearly marked on the menu. If you decide you want room service they do charge you an extra £5 but to the likes of hotel guests like us where the comfort of the hotel room is better than trecking down to the resturant this is a very small price to pay! We enjoyed the service so much that when we arrived back at the room on the Saturday from a very cold day at the pleasure beach we used the room service again, and was once again delivered in a decent amount of time and just as good as the night before. All prices on the menu were reasonable in our eyes and the total bill was coming to between £25-£35 including the charge on both nights.
Other Facilities in the Hotel
According to the website there is a range a leisure facilities which we simply didnt need or have time for whilst we were there! Those include a personal fitness trainor at request, massages and professional occupational / injury consultants. We didnt feel the need or have the time to try out any of those things but I suppose its great to know they are there! If you do visit there and feel the need for these services you do need to book them 24 hours in advance and they are subject to availability.
To my own shock there is a well stocked bar next to the area where you eat your breakfast which you can go down to at night or order to your room - but neither of us touched a drop of alcohol over the weekend but its great to have that there as a lot of hotels do not have bars... but I suppose this is still Blackpool so it does need it!!
We were a bit worried before we arrived if we were going to be roomed next to a group of young people who were going to be noisy and drinking at all hours of the night but apparently the hotel is split into wings where your down your corridors and in the floors above and below are just for families so they were the only ones to annoy and vice versa - but that worked well as after a certain time where all the kids in the hotel were going to bed and quietening down ours were doing the same. It could be a bit noisy where you could hear the kids in the room above running round and causing noise but I'm sure the room below us thought the same of us - and it wasnt constant so it wasnt a big issue. The other room types such as singles and doubles were placed in different areas of the hotel. We felt a bit jealous looking at photos of the other rooms as they had a boutique look to them and looked even better than ours!
I can honestly say this is the BEST hotel I have ever stayed in at Blackpool - not that it has much competetion or anything! The price we paid when we split the cost didnt work out that much more expensive than a general B+B for this weekend when you think you get an all you can eat breakfast included. I love the fact that the Pleasure Beach own this hotel and offer a special entrance to the park out the back exclusive to guests - this means you enter the park at the same time as those who get to the main gate at opening time but you can do it from the comfort of the hotel! If you havent pre-booked for the park you can also buy the wristbands and tickets from the reception desk.
The room and everything we saw was remarkably clean and you were constantly seeing cleaners in and out of rooms getting everything ready for the next guests and keeping everything tip top for those guests returning later in the day.
The room in my opinion was just amazing and the kids loved it and didnt want to go home. The bunk beds were a great touch for overexcited kids but the snakes and ladders game on the wall and seperate TV's did help to keep them entertained. The Playstation was a great bonus and although we got no use I need to add you can rent games from the reception for a refundable deposit - although we didnt use this considering what good I have seen of the hotel in general I cant imagine there is any issues with this.
All staff in particular the hotel reception were so polite and were just generally happy to help you with any query you had whilst you were then - and were even partial to a bit of conversation and banter with you which is unusual as many hotel staff just tend to grunt their way through the day.
Generally this is a great hotel whether its for a family, a couple or if your there for business. Its in a great location with the Pleasure Beach to the rear and main road in front with loads of places to eat in small walking distance from the hotel.
Personally I would DEFINETELY go back here and really does make Blackpool feel less scummy than I am used to. I would recommend not going on a weekend thats not supposed to be busy / during the week or just before/after season as the prices do go up depending on when you want to go. Would highly recommend the Big Blue Hotel to anyone who goes to Blackpool who is sick to the back teeth of horrible places to stay.
I really hope someone from the Blue Bay reads this review so they know what a great weekend we had with them - as I have previously explained the weekend didnt start great due to the weather but stopping in such a great place really put us in a great mood and we didnt want to leave!
The most expensive freebie I have recieved to date would be my Braun epilator that the Savvy Circle sent to me last year and I'm guessing I qualified as I had anwsered truthfully that I had no experiance in these scary little things and would be unsure if I would... I suppose they saw me as the perfect candidate to sway me to the dark side! I have owned this for more than 6 months now and believe I can give a more accurate review now based on its reliability, durability and uses as opposed to when I first got this.
I generally have a strong threshold for pain - give me a tattoo or body piercing and I will not flinch even though one of my biggest fears is needles... but hair removal is another story. My prefered method is just regular shaving although I have tried waxing in the past and ran for the hills after just one strip - to me its completely different to other pain. I was so happy to be accepted on to the Braun epilator trial and that I got to keep it after it finished and couldnt wait to try it out... however at the time the hair on my legs was quite long and I didnt want to try it out first on long hair due to the pain I knew I would suffer on my first time... So I had to go back to my regular method of shaving and wait a few days for some hair to grow back before trying it.
What do you get?
For a freebie it really wasnt shabby at all! For those in the dark with epilators, this is simpy a device which works in the same way as shaving but is something you can do at home away from the beauticians - for free! The device pulls the hair by the root using the 40 tiny tweezers which are located in the head - like waxing, by pulling away by the root it is claimed that you dont need to epilate as often as someone would need to shave which you normally need to do every couple of days. By epilating you can get away with not doing it again for 1-2 weeks.
The epilator comes packaged in a black cardboard box with the device protected by a plastic mould which is visable from the front of the box. The contents inside the box include a number of changable heads for the epilator including:
* Shaver head (my personal favourite as it tends to work better on legs)
* Trimmer cap (not one I have used but I suppose its useful if you want to just trim the hair)
* Efficiency cap (not one I have had any use out of)
* Sensitive area cap (I have used this twice on the bikini line so far)
* Facial cap (which I have used a few times on stray dark hairs on my face)
Other bits that you get inside the box is a pull string pink waterproof travel bag for the epilator, a small brush to clean the hair away from the epilator and a charging cable attached to a european shaver plug. In order to charge it up I had to buy an adaptor so I could charge it in a standard UK socket in my house but these can be picked up fairly cheap - I got mine on Amazon for less than £1 with free P+P and has not failed me yet.
Another added bonus for me that other buyers of this epilator may not have got was recieving 5 packets each containing 16 pre-epilation wipes from Braun/Olay which you are supposed to use before taking this to your skin to help moisturise and help the appearance of your skin after use.
The epilator looks really good in comparrison to others in the sense that its plan white in colour and other areas such as the setting dial are silver/grey - I dont like the look of other epilators that are white with full bits of other colours such as pink and blue as they certainly make it look cheap and this one from Braun really does look like an expensive one - which it is! Many other epilators I have seen are a lot shorter and thicker making it uncomfortable to hold whereas this one is longer and skinny and fits very nice into the palm of your hand.
At the top there is a round light which is grey coloured when turned off but when in use if its on a low battery or charging it will flash red in colour to let you know. I think this is a great feature compared to others as I could imagine there is nothing worse than it running out of charge and there is nothing on there to let you know this before hand... and also like some other epilators you can actually use this whilst its on charge which is great.
The detachable heads can be changed with ease by pushing in the button at the back - it simply comes off with a bit of tugging. However all the changable heads are made out of a thin plastic compared to the body of the epilator and I do fear being too rough will cause damage to the clips so this is always something to be careful with.
There is also a dial which means you can adjust the speed of the epilator accordingly - the three settings on the dial are to turn off, setting 1 (which is slow) and setting 2 which is faster. I personally prefer setting 2 as it gets it over with a lot quicker! On the dial there is two sections of settings - one at the top one at the bottom and both sections do the same things to turn on and off.
There are two buttons at the top to remove the changable heads and also to take the full top off which is great for when it starts getting really clogged up with hair - and you can use the small brush provided to do this although its very hard to clean in my opinion. You can make this a little easier by running under water as the epilator is advertised for wet and dry use but you can honestly spend a lifetime trying to remove all the hair from it.
I had a feeling before I first turned it on that it would be loud... and my god it is loud... the best way you can describe the noise is a very loud "ZZZMMMMMMMMM" and does tend to quieten down a little when actually using it against your skin. Having this epilator makes me really glad I live on my own with a 6 year old as I imagine if I still lived at home with my parents and I was trying to privately epilate in my room or the bathroom they would get the wrong idea and think I was being naughty with a very loud sex toy! Nightmare... so always be wary when using due to the noise and who it may disturb!
I was set on trying this out on my legs for the first time rather than any other part of my body such as armpits or bikini line as the reviews I read online were simply terrifying! Pretty much everyone says the same thing about epilating... that it really does hurt and you shouldnt kid yourself about the pain you are about to go through and they are right. As per advice I gained from the reviews and from friends who have tried these, I tried it for the first time in the bath to take advantage of the fact this epilator works in wet conditons as well as dry. The reason for this is because the hot water will open your pours in the bath therefor making the process a hell of a lot less painful although it was still very mind blowing sore. I have not dunked the epilator right to the bottom of the bath intentionally before for the fear of breaking it if it goes too far but once I did drop it accidently and got it straight out and it still works so in a durable sense - you get what you pay for and I dont think it would break very easily. Also out the bath I have accidently dropped this many times on hard floor and nothing has fell off or stopped working so it wins points from me for this.
What I did notice the first time and times in future is that having wet skin can cover up still hairy patchs of skin that you have missed and annoyingly you dont really notice how bad it is until after you get out the bath. This is one of the things I hate about this epilator in the sense that you dont really miss any areas with shaving and its so easy to do with this device.
Another gripe for me that I have noticed everytime I have used the epilator is how red and blotchy it makes my skin after use. As per advice, I usually use one of the pre-epilation wipes before use leave it 30-60 minutes to let it sink in, then get in a bath to open my pours. So in my opinion I do everything in my power to stop this happening however due to my skin type which can often be sensitive this is not enough to stop it from happening. Another poor point for me would be the amount of ingrown hairs the device causes. With shaving I do get ingrown hairs if Im in a rush and shave in the wrong direction and I do not do anything different with this epilator but it does seem to make it worse. Anyone who has suffered ingrown hairs due to epilating or shaving will tell you how horrible they look as it often leaves huge puss filled spots which do not look attractive in the slightest and really bad ones can be so painful.
I have attempted to do my bikini line just once - and I dont think I would ever do it again. We all know the skin in that area is probably one of the most sensitive areas on the body and an epilator certainly puts the sensitivity to the test... and no amount of pre-epilation wipes will help. Its unbarable... and for the one tiny section I did, it did cause a painful ingrown hair... I wont try it again in a hurry. On to armpits - although I have tried this due to this curved bumpy area of your body I think its very hard to get the device that close to your skin and again does leave the area patchy as well as sore... and you can forget leaving anti-perspirant afterwards as it stings like a b*tch! In my honest opinion I can only usually bare using this on my legs, not any other part of my body.
I do sometimes suffer from dark hairs sprouting up around my chin area from time to time. I really hate it and in the past I have just shaved the area but doing this does make it worse. I have used the epilator on that area of my face using the suitable head for the job but in my opinion its very scary turning this on and putting it so close to your face that its not something I do very often. However it is effective in the sense that as it pulls the hair from the root, like your legs it does leave the face hair free for much longer than shaving.
If I thought I was terrified of epilators before I started I would say my fear is worse now as I only use it on my legs mainly and occasionally my face. Other parts of the body are impossible to me due to curves and bumps (such as armpits) and sensitivity (bikini line). However this is just my thoughts and Braun state the epilator is safe to use on all parts of your body.
The epialtor failed to impress me in many ways so although these days its not as painful to use its still uncomfortable and compared to shaving with is not painful unless you cut yourself its no contest really, I will always go back to what I am used to.
The main issue for me is how it leaves my skin afterwards with the blotchiness and ingrown hairs. I cant imagine how annoying this is if you were getting ready for a night out and this was your prefered method of removing the hair because I would imagine you would look very poorly with all that bad skin. The best way I can advise for anyone wanting to do this is to epilate a good couple of hours before you get your legs out as the redness does subside but only after a few hours.
Personally I would feel really dissapointed if I paid this much money for this as these days it doesnt get much use maybe once every 4-6 weeks and I am so glad it was a freebie. It all depends on the person, as previously mentioned I can take pain very well having had 6 tattooes to date, numourous body piercings and giving birth to my daughter but epilating pain is a league of its own in my head.
However if you do want one of these they are available for around £80 on Amazon and you can also buy them in Boots (this way you get your points with the purchase).
Since buying my first tart burner last year I have never looked back and regually buy different tarts when i see them out and about on offer. What I love about Yankee tarts is being able to try out the different scents at much lower prices than the larger candles without spending a fortune and in my opinion they actually give off a better stronger scent!
A few months ago I spotted the River Valley tart for 60p in Clintons and as this is not one I have tried before it couldnt hurt to try at such a bargain. However unlike a lot of other tarts this one didnt give off much of a scent through the packaging which I found unusual and wasnt sure what I was actually going to get out of the tart and if there was a reason it was reduced...
The tarts are wrapped in transparant plastic which can easily be opened using your finger nails or snipping with a pair of scissors.
About the tart
The tart is baby blue in colour and when melted it turns into a transparent blue oil like liquid. It is made from wax and is round with ridged edges like all the tarts in the Yankee range. The Yankee Candle Co logo is also stamped into the tart.
The front label advises you that the tart is made from pure natural plant extracts and has the image of a river and scenary in the background to match the tart it represents.
The back label then gives you your usual warning symbols for what not to do with this product ie . keep out of reach of children ect.
The label also confirms the tart weight is 22g and total burning time is 8 hours.
How to use
You literally pop the tart on the top of your burner, light your candle and put under the plate and it starts to melt within 5 minutes. Depending on how good your tealights are it can be completely melted in anything from 15-25 minutes.
A great thing about Yankee tarts is if you want to change the tart/scent you simply blow out the tealight wait for the tart to harden and you simply pop it out. I tend to do this all the time as I feel if you are constantly melting the same tart over and over again you get used to the scent and it gets to a point you can no longer smell it, so in my opinion its great to vary between different ones this way.
As well as melting a tart on its own, I have read you can mix tart scents to create more unique smells - you simply break off smaller bits of tart and melt together. More information on mixing and ideas can be found on the Yankee website.
The best words I can use to describe the scent is clean, spring, light and perfumed. Yankee prefere to desrcribe the scent as "A cool and calm stroll by the river...watery green notes with hints of sage, amber and oak"
Like certain Cinnamon flavoured tarts I have tried I have to say this scent is my least favourite so far and I completely understand why it was reduced to half price as its a bit of a waste of time. Its definetely what I would use during the Spring as the scent suits to that time of year unfortunately as in the official Yankee description it is defintely watery and the scent is barely there. In the past with other tarts the scent wafts through the house but this one its barely noticable being in the same room and you have to sit up close to really smell it.
This is just my opinion but I like the scent bursting tarts the best and I understand not everyone feels this way and others like lighter scents. This tart would suit that kind of person better. In fact, I bought my grandmother her own tart burner for her birthday last year, with a mixture of tarts including this one - she is this type of person who doesnt like overpowering scents and she told me she actually likes this one. So word of advice, you probably wont like it but your grandmother will!
Not one I will be buying again
The RRP for the Yankee tarts is around £1.20
Moving into my own home last year after buying the essentials which I needed straight away I have been busy picking up bits and bobs that werent so much of an emergency over the last couple of months. Other than my sofas the only furniture I had in my living room was my TV unit which came from the Rhodes black and chrome collection in Argos and when I won some capital bond vouchers in work some months ago I decided to buy the matching Rhodes black and chrome nest of tables to match - as I was getting sick of putting my coffee cups on the window ledges and the floor!
The day I picked up the items over the counter in Argos I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the cardboard box in which the flat packed tables were held in - the shape was rectangular and fairly easy to carry out the shop to my car. I had a miniture nightmare with the matching TV unit the year before in the sense that the box was very heavy and barely fitted into my car so this made me a very happy girl!
Upon opening the box just like the TV unit you have individual sections which make up the tables, each with pre drilled holes to insert the screws and bolts which essentially hold the tables together. All you need to provide is a screwdriver! What I love about Argos furniture is that each section is labelled with an orange sticker with a number which you can then match up to the instructions to make assembling much easier. You also recieve four chrome strips which make the chrome design down the front of the tables - you get two pairs of two different sizes to fit the individual tables and these come packed seperately in their own plastic wallets. The different sized screws and bolts also come held in their own small plastic bags, which are numbered again and I'm pleased to report I had enough screws and bolts to build the table and there was no parts missing which is often the case with flat pack furniture!
Upon close inspection of the tables the material is typical of what you see in hard Argos furniture - chipboard - but you only notice this before assembling the panels (down the sides which are covered up when putting everything together) and is not visable when its assembled correctly. To cover up the chipboard it has a black coat finish which you see in the pictures. As mentioned above, the chrome strips which with the tables are not made out of metal as you would expect but a mirrored plastic material. On the back of these strips there is an outward bit that sticks out and with this you push and attach into the fronts of the tables - this holds the chrome strips to the tables - no glue required unless you want to! Unlike what I expected (in the sense I thought the strips would easily fall off) they have actually stayed attached!
Assembling is easy enough - Personally I always follow instructions as a rule and in the case of these tables as well as the TV unit you can often get the panels back to front meaning the tables are kind of built backwards... however if you mess up it is so easy to undo with the help of as screw driver to put it back to how it should be! However its not the hardest thing to build and I have dealt with much worse so for all the burly men out there who yell "I don't need instructions!" this table set will likely be a doddle!
In terms of size... I was quite dissapointed in the height of them in the sense that I am 5'4 tall and the biggest of the two tables doesnt even come up to my knee cap! The smaller table that fits under is just a few centimeters smaller... and I dont think the photos on the Argos website show just how small they are. To give you an idea of what you can actually fit on the taller table I have a lamp (which is quite small and skinny), some cup mats and a yankee tart burner which takes up around 3/4 of the total space. On the smaller table when pulled out I have tried and tested that you can fit between 8-9 coffee cups on there (which is the primary use for this table in my house!).
Due to its small size I believe it could be a health hazard by tripping and it currently sits between fireplace and living room door (but pushed closer to the fireplace to minimise the risks). For those interested in the accurate measurements the following has been taken from Argos.co.uk:
* Size of largest table H40, W47, D38.8cm.
* Weight 10.2kg.
So unlike me who is annoyed over the smaller size compared to others I have seen, if you are limited for space this could be the nest of tables for you.
Other than the size that has let down the tables for me the only other thing I hate upon close inspection under the tables you can really see some of the bolts and screws underneigth so I'm a bit annoyed that the designers of these tables did not think about how tacky this can look. Luckily I am the only one who has really noticed this and others I have complained to about it havent noticed until I have pointed it out... but its still very annoying!
In terms of durability they have held up quite well the last few months and are not dropping to bits nor scratched... but I'm sure being a "cheap" table set if someone was to fall on them they would come down like a stack of domino's... literally. What I like about these being black if slight damage such as a scratch was to appear you could probably get away with dabbing black paint over it to cover it up... I am still waiting for this to happen and it wouldnt surprise me if a mark was to easily appear as at the end of the day, it is a cheap brand from Argos and is not expected to last forever. On to cleaning, I give this a dust all over every few days and clean with a Flash spray every couple of days. The cleaning solution again, hasnt caused any discolour / damage to the tables but one thing I will mention is that its very hard to keep them dust free... but thats typical of black furniture I suppose.
In my opinion the tables look great (other than the size!) however I think it depends on the person. I, personally love black furniture and after my experiances with this nest of tables and the matching TV unit I will be looking at investing in the matching sideboard from the same range in the future. The visitors in my house have commented on how great they look but my mum hates them... each to their own I suppose.
At present you can buy this nest of tables from Argos at £39.99 but I got them much less than this when furniture was on offer and I paid around £30 for them.
In the same range you can also buy a TV unit (which I also own and would recommend), a low TV bench (for larger screen TV's), a media unit, a coffee table, a sideboard and a bookcase.
As a self confessed hair bleaching addict, to keep the colour as bright and un-orange as possible I have to use silver shampoo on it a couple of times a week... the secret to silver shampoo is the bright purple pigment in the product which helps to neutralise yellow and orange times in bleached hair... if used often and long term it can have the ability to turn your hair a white/grey colour which is the colour I love the most!
Really good silver shampoo costs me a small fortune which is close to £8 for a bottle and when talking to a blonde colleague she mentioned how she uses this Pro-Voke shampoo instead and how well it works for her - and to my jealousy her hair was even whiter than mine! After this conversation I spotted the shampoo with the other products in the range in a savers shop for £1.99 - at such a low price compared to what I'm used to it definetely wouldnt hurt to give it a try!
For the price you recieve a 200ml size bottle which is silver in colour with a purple lid and label. You are advised this is a daily maintenance shampoo with an optical brightener which is suitable for grey, blonde and platinum hair colours. To dispense the product you push down on the lid which pops up the opening - and you simply squeeze the desired amount out.
For use you simply lather into your hair and for best results to follow up with the Pro Voke touch of silver conditioner. Due to the pigment in the shampoo you are advsied to avoid contact with clothing and surfaces may stain.
When you squeeze the product out, like you would expect the shampoo is purple but a very light purple in colour... very light compared to the very bright silver shampoo I am used to. The scent of the product is very pleasant, clean and fresh and actually very nice to apply although I can't name a particular scent to attach to it. What I liked about this product was the fact that it wasnt difficult to wash the purple colour out of your hair due to just the slight tint in colour. Silver shampoo is a nightmare to wash out.
As nice of a shampoo as this is I dont notice anything in terms of how it helps my colour compared to regular cheaper shampoos that I use in between silver shampoo washes. Silver shampoo is the only thing that keeps my colour looking its best. Sadly I did try using this Pro Voke shampoo for two weeks as a replacement but had to switch back to my regular shampoo as it just wasnt working for me.
Generally you get what you pay for and products will work differently on different people. My colleague who recommended this to me is a natural but bleached blonde which is probably why this works so well on her hair - she doesnt use silver shampoo at all. I am a natural brunette therefore is harder for me to keep on top of the colour. To me this is not a suitable replacement for my beloved silver shampoo and if I do decide to buy this again it will be used as a general shampoo in between using my silver shampoo twice a week. Do not buy this thinking that it will work just as well as silver shampoo because in my opinion it doesnt and it really is worth spending more money to get a decent product.
I would only really recommend this if you are a natural blonde and you are lucky enough for your hair to take to these types of colour enhauncing products - as although you are not spending a lot of money on this you can buy cheaper shampoos to use in between which have the same effects.
After a bad hair accident involving hair bleach around 18 months ago, and still regually bleaching my hair every 4-6 weeks the condition is not the greatest and I do suffer badly from split ends, dryness and lack of shine. I'm always on the look out for great protection products to use on it and I am yet to find the perfect product to use... but it doesnt mean I dont have fun testing new products in the meantime! I am forever applying for freebies from the big manufacturers and last week I was happy to see a sample 3.5ml sachet of this L'Oreal Extraordinary oil lying on my doormat when I got home from work and couldnt wait to try it.
Generally I dont have the greatest experiances in the world when it comes to oil based hair products - the worst one I have tried was V05 Hot Oil which for some reason a lot of other people have plenty of praise for... it didnt do much for me but with that in mind due to the damage in my hair I need to use really great products to see a result. I thought this Loreal oil would be similar in the sense that you lather it into your hair and wash off after shampoo and conditioning... but reading the information provided I was pleasantly surprised to see it has multiple uses. These uses include:
* Before shampoo (for a nourished feel)
* As a masque (if you wanted to use as a conditioning treatment)
* Before styling (hairdryer/straightners/curler to protect hair from the heat)
* As a finishing touch (for soft feel and shine)
For each option there is no need to wash out the oil unless you apply before shampooing it claims the oil is perfectly safe to do this.
The product claims to do five things with use which include:
* Glowing shine
* Feels nourished
* Silky soft touch
* Sumptuously smooth
* Looks perfected
Due to the poor condition of my hair the best treatment I can do in my experiances is the second option - to leave it in as a condioning treatment. Over the weekend I washed and conditioned my hair as normal but instead of drying I poured the full sample on to my head and brushed it in down to the tips. I did attempt to lather it in using my hands but as an oil it was quite greasy and uncomfortable to touch and I had to wash my hands straight after this for the fear of touching and staining items in my house. After this instead of using the hairdryer and straighteners I left the oil in my hair to dry naturally. My hair takes quite a while to dry anyway and in my opinion the oil didnt slow down the drying process which is great for me! Once the oil had dried I couldnt tell the difference in terms of condition in my hair as its quite thick and fly away naturally but the first thing I noticed was the scent which the oil had left behind. The scent instantly reminded me of a handwash I have from M&S which is flower scented - in my opinion it was quite sweet and pleasant... and the type of smell that you would notice if someone walked past you in the street with this on their locks. Its a very clean and fresh scent... The smell is my favourite thing about this product. When you look at the ingredients sure enough, there is plenty of flower ingredients there which include chamomilla recutita extract matricaria flower extract and even coconut oil - which is a great product to use in hair repair products. The second thing I then noticed was once straightening my hair the next day I used a little bit of hair protection spray (less than normal) and I did notice a huge difference in terms of condition and healthy shine and I just couldnt stop touching it! In my opinion it really made a difference to my hair with heat protection and I'm just a little bit gutted that my sample was so small so I couldnt try it out for the other uses!
So, out of the five things Loreal claims this oil will do for you it ticks 4/5 of my boxes - obviously it doesnt make my hair look protected but there isnt any such thing as a miracle product like that unless you are willing to cut off all your damaged hair but people with normal / undamaged hair types I believe will genuinelly love this product. I for one was very surprised with the results after one tiny sample use considering my previous poor experiance with oil treatments. I genuinelly believe I will be buying the full size version of this product very soon, for me for the four different uses you get out of the one product in the long run it would save me a lot of money than having to buy four different hair treatments and I can't wait to try the other methods now that I have used it as a conditioning treatment.
In terms of what I dont like about this product the only thing I hated was the greasiness of the application but you can avoid this by pouring on your head and brushing it through everything else I absolutely loved.
At the time of writing you can request the sample from L'oreal like I did so you can see if the product works for you before you buy, and if you do decide to go ahead and buy it is available from Boots for £9.99 which is worth every penny in my opinion.