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As Caudalie products go, the SOS Morning Eye Rescue looks like a bit of a bargain at £18 for a 15ml tube but it would still be hard to call it ‘cheap’. This French brand has near iconic status in its home country but it’s still struggling to really establish itself over here. My sample tubes of the eye cream were bought via the website latestinbeauty.com and despite using this for some time, I’m struggling to be really ‘moved’ by the product.
The claims on this one include that it soothes and quenches the eye area to leave the eye ‘contours’ looking naturally glowing, fresh and well rested – in effect, like a good night’s sleep in a tube. It can be used both morning and night - which is odd given the name - and is fragrance free, oil free and has been tested as safe by ophthalmologists. It should allegedly work with all skin types but is particularly good for those with sensitive skin.
On applying it to my eye area, it has a gentle, slightly cooling effect and it soaks in quickly despite being quite a thick cream. As for it making any visible difference to the look of my eye contour, I honestly can’t claim that I can see that it has any impact.
As eye creams go it’s pleasant enough but I’m not convinced that it’s anything particular special. If you can get a small tube to try it out, it’s well worth a go but I wouldn’t consider buying a full sized tube. I do however, recommend the Polyphenol eye cream from the same Caudalie brand as that is rather special.
I’ve previously reviewed two other Caudalie serums and it’s fair to say I wasn’t exactly knocked out by either of them. I know people rave about this French company but I’ve had more bad than good from them. However, with several more products in my box of goodies, I’m not ready to give up on them completely just yet. I bought several sets of small product samples of their ranges through the website ‘latestinbeauty’ and have found the tiny little tubes are ideal for popping into my wash bag when I’m travelling for work.
The SOS Thirst Quenching Serum should be ideal for my slightly dry skin as I like indulgent and highly moisturising products. I also appreciate that this is much better value than the Vinoperfect product I reviewed recently. The SOS sells for 29 GBP for a 30 ml bottle compared to the Vinoperfect at 45 for the same size.
The SOS comes out of the tube with a lot of control so I’m able to use very tiny blobs and the serum spreads astonishingly well. The cliché ‘a little goes a long way’ is one that I over-use in my beauty reviews but it’s very true with this product. It gives an instant cooling feeling on the skin, soaks in quickly and leaves my skin feeling refreshed without being sticky or tacky to the touch.
Looking to the ingredient list, I’m happy to see that it includes a small amount of hyaluronic acid since this is one of my ‘look for’ ingredients in skin care products and I find it very effective.
My sample tubes were very small and I only got a few days use out of them but I really rather liked this product and would buy it if I were to find it available on a good offer.
I was not impressed by the other Caudalie serum that I have tried which probably explains why my bottle of Caudalie Vinoperfect radiance serum sat on my shelf for a long time before I finally cracked it open to give it a go. My complaint about the other – the polyphenol serum that I reviewed last year – was that it felt very thin and watery and gave no noticeable impact on my skin. I tried to be open minded about trying the new one.
The serum comes in a small glass bottle with a dropper. Mine is a 10 ml bottle and I suspect I probably got it in a mixed box set from Latestinbeauty which is where most of my Caudalie products have come from over the years. I haven’t had a 30 ml full sized serum bottle but I can only hope that the droppers are better when you are paying full price as the 10 ml bottle droppers tend to pick up more serum on their outside than on the inside.
Caudalie specialise in ingredients extracted from grapes and I assume that’s why this is called Vinoperfect. The claims for this particular serum are that it will correct and prevent dark spots, even skin tone and boost the radiance of your skin because it contains something called ‘Viniferine’. Whilst I am of an age when my peers seem to be concerned about so-called ‘age spots’, I have been a freckled person all my life and don’t seem to have really switched on to the whole age spot ‘vibe’ at all. I don’t think I have them and if I did, I’d probably not spot them through the freckles. I guess it’s all about perspective. Aside from the sun spots, it’s also supposed to tackle acne marks and scars and fortunately I don’t have those either.
This product is quite thin and runny and a few drops are plenty enough to cover your whole face and neck so even a small bottle gives a good chance to see how it performs. It spreads well and soaks in fast but I find it leaves my skin feeling slightly sticky and that’s not entirely pleasant. It should be used under moisturiser and if you slap something else on top soon after applying, you might not notice the tackiness but I don’t much like it. I think it would be better as a summer serum when you may not want something richer or more indulgent but for me it’s a product that’s not really exciting me.
I've had my Hotpoint WMUD962P for over a year and a half and I love it. It has masses of features I never use and plenty that make my life both easier and much cheaper than it was with my previous washer.
For a start it has a massive drum that takes up to 8 kg of washing and consequently, most weeks our household of two people does a light wash for undies and bedding and a dark wash for everything else. This compares really well to previously doing almost twice as many washes.
It has a fabulous fast wash which means that most of what we clean is done on 45 minute cycles. I have a 40 degree, 45 minute wash with a 1600 rpm spin set in the washer's 'memory' and it's foolproof - even my husband can figure out how to do that. On the rare occasions when I need to do something special - a delicates wash, a heavy wash, or last week when I got oil all over my coat - it's easy to reset the system.
The 1600 rpm that I use means that the washing comes out of the machine already well squished and dries very quickly. About 6 months after getting the washing machine, our tumble dryer broke down. We bought another and we've never actually plugged it in because the laundry dries well in our utility room just hanging from the wall-hangers.
Almost everything about this machine is intuitive. I did read the manual - sort of - but only because I was obliged to as part of the testing regime. I think filed it and forgot it. Everything I do now, I work out as I go along. It's a very easy machine to use, and thanks to the fast wash programme, a very cheap one as well.
If my machine broke down, I'd buy it again. That's how good it is.
I bought the Roberts Vintage radio as my step-father's Christmas present a couple of years ago in the Amazon Black Friday deals, paying about 40% less than the RRP. I liked it so much that I then bought another for my husband for his birthday the next time Amazon made a similar deal.
I've always admired the styling of Roberts digital radios but thought they were much too bulky for their own good. The Vintage has all the classic Roberts styling but in a much smaller unit. I'd estimate it's about half the size of the original Roberts DAB radios.
The RRP is 130 but I paid around 70 for each of the ones I bought. You can currently get it for 88 on Amazon.
The radio offers both digital and FM radio but ours is never off digital. Whilst we live in a cave when it comes to broadband service, we do at least have an excellent DAB signal in our area. If you are the kind of person who occasionally wants Long Wave (cricket listener perhaps) this won't work for you. We only use ours plugged in at the mains but it has a rechargable built in battery with up to 80 hours life which might be useful for many people.
The radio holds a lot of preset channels but we only use a couple and if you want another station, it tunes very quickly and efficiently. Sound is clear at all volume settings without any distortion. We almost only listen to talk radio and the quality is so smooth that even Janet Street Porter would sound melodious on our Roberts.
In total we have 8 or 9 digital radios and this is one of the best. It's on a par with the Pure Evoke and Tempus models that we have and I love it.
My husband bought me a second hand Nikon D7000 for Christmas 2013 after getting me trained up on a much simpler - and much lighter - Sony Alpha. He knew I was getting a bit miffed at the ridicule my poor Sony got from so-called 'serious' photographers, and his mate Dave wanted to upgrade to something even more expensive so he bought the body from him, giving him a better deal than he'd have got from the local Camera Exchange.
I have loved it from the moment I got it and have taken thousands of photos in a relatively short time. It's a bit of a beast and there's no denying that it's a pretty hefty bit of kit, but used with a wide, spongey camera strap, it doesn't give me neck ache even with the heavier lenses.
I have the Nikon D7000 for Dummies book and it has helped me to navigate the often confusing world of Nikon. If you hate things getting technical, you can stick it on Auto and not worry about anything else but quite honestly, what was the point in getting a good camera if that's all you do with it?
It would be impossible to even scrape the surface of what you can do with one of these within dooyoo's tiny word limit but you can be reassured that you get a solidly built camera with more features than you'll probably ever get through in your lifetime. If you want to do anything clever, it's probably possible and if you hunt through the Dummies book, you'll most likely find it. You can film colour, B&W, multiple shots, clever bracketing, videos, ultra long or ultrafast shutters speeds - you name it you can do it.
And best of all, all those snooty Canon and Nikon owners will stop looking at you like you're scum. First day out with my Nikon, I asked a guy if I could photograph his beautiful dog. "Sure" he said, "since you've got a Nikon". I went out the next day and bought the unbranded neck strap to avoid such comments.
On one of my occasional trips to TK Maxx in search of fancy bargains, I came across a Neom body lotion and a hand cream and snapped up both. I paid 9.99 for the body lotion which TK Maxx claimed had an RSP of 26.00.
My bottle was the Neom Complete Bliss Organic Body Lotion in the ‘Moroccan Blush Rose’ scent. I was a little nervous in case it should turn out to be a bit too flowery and ‘old ladyish’ but I need not have worried - this is a rose with bite and attitude.
The box tells me about the ‘Neom Promise’ which is mostly about what they don’t use and what they won’t do. They don’t use petrochemicals, parabens (a type of preservatives), SLS (a detergent), PEGs (a type of humectant) or silicones. They use 100% pure essential oils and they never test on animals or use animal based ingredients so it’s suitable for vegetarians.
Ingredient listing reveals that after water as the biggest ingredient (not unexpected in such products) the next four ingredients are all natural oils - sunflower oil, shea butter, Macadamia seed oil and grape seed oil. In fact 95% of the ingredients are certified ‘organic’ and the balance are ‘natural’ ingredients.
There’s a downside to all these natural goodies and that’s the usage guidance that you should finish this off within 6 months of opening the bottle. That's really not a long time.
The bottle itself is not a great design for dispensing such a thick cream. I also find that with use, the gold print on the bottle is starting to wear off. It’s not a classy enough bottle for the beautiful product inside.
The Neom product totally changed my normal reluctance to take the time to apply a body cream becaue I realised after only a few days that my skin really did feel much softer than I’d ever known it before as well as smelling absolutely fabulous.
This is quite a heavy cream and it’s the colour of a rich clotted cream. I need quite a lot of it because it’s so thick and it doesn’t soak in very quickly so I’m left a bit ghost-like and slimy for longer than I’d normally put up with. I have to plan when I use this to allow time for it to soak in fully.
Not only is the cream really rich and moisturising, it smells absolutely astonishing. The Moroccan Blush Rose is combined with lime for edgy juiciness and a slightly sour note and black pepper to give it a bit of fire and pizzazz and there’s a host of lesser extracts and oils to increase the complexity of the overall fragrance. Neom claim it should raise your spirits and it certainly does that with mine.
I have rather lovely teeth but they are prone to plaque build-up. If I don’t floss regularly, this turns to tartar and needs to be chiseled off by the dentist in my six-monthly ‘scale and polish’ appointments. Flossing is essential but sometimes - even when I’m trying my best - I do still get some bleeding and I’ve been using the Curasept mouthwash when that happens.
The best bactericides used in mouthwashes are long established and they are both horrible. The lesser of two nasty tastes is Cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) which is a bit out of fashion these days and the most effective one is chlorhexidine gluconate. Chlorhexidine gluconate is like oral Domestos - designed to kill all known germs, DEAD! It’s an awesome bug killer but it’s not nice to use.
The first thing you’ll notice about a product which contains chlorhexidine is the disgusting bitter taste. It’s the active ingredient in Corsodyl so if you’ve tried that, you’ll know what I mean. The second disadvantage it is that products like Corsodyl really do stain your teeth.
7 months ago my dentist shocked me into action by telling me that if I didn’t get better with flossing, I’d get gum disease and he’d have to put so-called chlorhexidine ‘chips’ in my gum pockets. He also suggested that I start using a chlorhexidine mouthwash. I told him I hated Corsodyl and he recommended that Curasept was a non-staining alternative that had been specially formulated to address the yellowing problems.
I use it as a treatment rather than as a preventative. If you already have a specific gum problem, your dentist might tell you to use it every day for - for example - a fortnight to treat the infection but I’m not yet at that stage so I use it for an infrequent booster.
I swig it from the bottle and I try really hard to swoosh it about for 20 seconds. I use the mouthwash after brushing with my regular toothpaste and rinsing my mouth with water. After swooshing, just spit it out and DON’T rinse your mouth again, no matter how tempting it might be.
Usually I use the mouthwash at night because it’s most effective if you don’t eat or drink for four hours after use. The chlorhexidine clings to the teeth and keeps working for up to four hours.
Curasept is alcohol free. This is kinder to the skin in your mouth and reduces the ‘sting’ you get with some mouthwashes. It’s also sugar-free but that should be pretty obvious.
I told my dentist that I wasn’t convinced by the non-staining formula and he admitted that he wasn’t either and that we should probably call it ‘less staining’ than the regular chlorhexidine mouthwashes.
My Neal's Yard hand cream was a gift with purchase on a magazine last year and is the Geranium and Orange hand cream and it’s absolutely fantastic. I generally find that hand creams either smell wonderful or feel wonderful but rarely both. I’m happy to say this smells great and feels fabulous although perhaps a little lighter than some of the heavy shea butter creams.
Mine is a 50ml ‘stand on its cap’ tube which would cost GBP10 from the stores or the company’s website. I thought this price was pretty reasonable - perhaps because I’ve seen many much more expensive creams with credentials that are no more impressive.
Neal's Yard are accredited as an ‘ethical company’ by the Good Shopping Guide, are ‘cruelty free’ and the product is certified organic by the Soil Association. The ingredients for this cream are 92% organic.
The tube is in the company’s usual blue and lavender colour-way and I admire the clarity and simplicity of the tube which is easy to read and not overly cluttered with extraneous information. The cream is quite thick and is a very pale creamy-white colour. It takes a bit of time to rub it in well but it’s worth the effort. I find creams that soak in too quickly often don’t have any lasting power so I don’t mind taking the time to rub it in well. I would only need to apply this a couple of times a day to keep my hands soft and smelling lovely.
The smell is absolutely delicious although whether you love it or not, will depend a lot on how you feel about geraniums. I adore the scent of geranium leaves and this contains both geranium flower oil and orange peel oil which contribute to the scent. If you don’t like rose geranium, skip this product. Geranium has a juicy, edginess to its scent that really appeals to me and the addition of orange peel extracts stops it from being too sweet.
The cream is packed full of natural oils including soya oil, almond oil and beeswax. Normally I prefer to buy hand creams with shea butter in their recipe but this one has none. I would assume it’s the beeswax that helps to give the harder, waxier texture usually found with a high level of shea butter.
Despite the high degree of organic ingredients, this cream comes with a 12 month ‘post opening’ shelf life which is good and if you’ve not opened it, the best before date is May 2016 - so probably about 2 years from the date of manufacture. If you are prone to buying stuff and then not getting round to using it in a hurry, both factors are quite important.
I have several bottles of Rose 4 Reines eau de toilette by L'Occitane including tow of the 10 ml roller ball format. L’Occitane perfumes don’t come cheap so I’m always tempted by a good offer on a smaller bottle so that I can make sure I really love something before I buy a full size. I particularly love the roller balls as they are small enough to pop in my travel wash bag where space is always at a premium.
There are two rollerball versions of the Rose 4 Reines EDT - one which combines the fragrance with a lip gloss and the perfume only version which I have. It’s an attractive package with a long, slender glass tube that’s topped off with a golden cap that has a roundel with the L’Occitane name on the top. The colour of the glass is variegated from clear glass at the bottom through shades of pink and ending at the top in a deep red. It’s a lovely thing to behold.
Once the cap is removed, the small golden rollerball is revealed and you simply upturn the bottle and roll it across your skin. I think the ball is too small since it dispenses only a very tiny amount and as an EDT, it doesn’t have the lasting power to get by with such a small dose.
Rose 4 Reines (literally Rose 4 Queens) was released by L’Occitane back in 2009 and was positioned as containing four of the best rose extracts in the world. The name was inspired by four daughters of Count Forcalquier from Provence (the home of L’Occitane) who each married princes and went on to become queens. The four roses used for the perfume are from Grasse, Bulgaria, Morocco and Turkey.
It smells incredibly, deeply, intensely rosy. And that’s about that. I’d love to tempt you with lots of different complex fragrance-speak but the outcome is simple. If you like rose, you’ll like this. If you don’t like rose, keep on walking; nothing to see here. Real expert noses may be able to make a good story about the subtle differences between the four different national roses but normal people who lack the nose of a bloodhound will just get a sweet, juicy, blast of rose. Experts will claim there are notes of violet, blackcurrant, sandalwood and white cedar but I defy you to spot them through the overwhelming rosiness.
Sadly it would seem that L’Occitane have pulled the plug on this one and replaced it with ‘Roses et Reines’ in 2014 but it is still available online from many websites. It’s a ‘now and then’ for me - not a regular perfume nor one I can’t live without. But when I need a bit of rose, this is the one I reach for.
A few years ago on a trip to the USA, I lost all control of my normal sense of moderation in an outlet store in Colorado which was selling heavily discounted products from - amongst others - Clinique and Origins. One of my Origins bargains - and boy it really was a bargain - was a set of ten of their top selling products. Most of them I recognised, but the set included two products from the Dr Andrew Weil range. I’ve recently finished the Dr Weil serum which was amazing and moved on to the Dr Andrew Weil Plantidote Mega-Mushroom Eye Serum.
Dr Andrew Weil is a white haired, white bearded ‘Santa in training’ with a lovely smile and twinkly eyes. He wasn’t what I expected at all. I wanted to adopt him or marry him off to my mother. According to Wikipedia he’s “ an American medical doctor, teacher, and best-selling author on holistic health. He is founder, professor, and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona”. Not at all the man I was expecting.
Would I have bought Dr Weil if it hadn’t been in my box? No, almost certainly not, and I am unlikely to buy him again but I had some fun with the products none the less.
The reason why I wouldn’t buy again is that this range is designed for people with problem skin, particularly focusing on those with extreme sensitivity, redness, and even scarring from acne and similar conditions. I don’t have any of those problems.
The eye serum contains Dr Weil’s special ‘mega-mushroom’ blend of three types of exotic mushroom as well as extracts of ginger, turmeric and holy basil. Put together these create a rather ‘mushroom’ coloured product that's an unattractive sludgy beige brown.
My product is in a 15 ml green tube which stands on its cap to ensure that the product comes out easily when I squeeze the tube. Checking the Origins website, I think they’ve now moved this to a pump dispenser. I squeeze the tiniest possible blob onto a finger and dot it around my eye area - underneath first and then across the top. I don’t put it directly on my eye lids.
I won’t buy this eye serum again and I wouldn’t have bought it if it weren’t part of a 10-product ‘deal’. That’s not to suggest it’s not a good product, but it’s designed for problems I don’t have and priced to solve issues I don’t need solving. A small 15 ml bottle of this will cost you around GBP40 from the Origins website or 46 dollars if you can get to the USA and for that sort of sum, I’d need it to work miracles.
I bought a box of Origins 'best sellers' in the USA. It was a set of 10 of their most popular products. I knew many of them but the Dr Andrew Weil range was new to me. I received two of those products - the facial serum and the eye serum and have been using both of them. Both were supplied in full sized containers.
The range is designed for people with sensitive or very sensitive skin. I have quite dry skin, but I don't consider it to be sensitive but once I'd bought the product, I wasn't about to waste it.
When I first started to use it, I thought the smell - which was oddly earthy and 'mushroomy' - was a bit strange. With many weeks of use, I started to not notice the mushroom so much and to spot the citrussy fruity notes.
It's a very thin serum and just a couple of pumps of the dispenser gives enough to treat your whole face. It slides smoothly across the skin and soaks in quickly so you can apply your moisturiser a couple of minutes later.
I have used other Origins serums, particularly their Perfect World White Tea skin guardian serum, and the others tend to be much heavier and thicker than this one. I used this pretty much every day for two months and I do think that my skin tone looked a little brighter and more even during that time.
The serum contains Dr Weil’s special ‘mega-mushroom’ blend which combines several different mushrooms - Hypsizygus ulmarius, Cordyceps and Reishi Mushrooms. As well as the mushroom extracts, Dr W squeezes in some ginger, a dash of turmeric and holy basil and some grapeseed extract. Honestly it reads more like a recipe for a curry than a facial serum. It’s a very ‘culinary’ scent.
My problem is that I don’t really have the problems that Dr W is trying to fix but if you do and you want a facial serum for sensitive skin that’s prone to redness, it may be worth a trip to your Origins counter to ask for a small sample.
I bought a set of Along Came Betty products from Tesco - the only place you CAN get them. I started with the hand cream which I thought was excellent and I had high hopes for the 'cream of all creams' body lotion but I was very disappointed by this product.
Along Came Betty is a 'brand' (OK, a retailer's 'own' brand so in my eyes, not a brand at all) that's trying too hard to pretend to be Soap and Glory. It has a retro 'girlie' look - all big skirts and coy smiles, with a clear nod towards the TV show Madmen.
The scent is light and fruity and although it doesn't linger terribly long, it's pleasant enough when it's going on and it soaks in quite well leaving a gentle cooling effect on the skin. It doesn't leave your skin feeling moisturised all day - despite the '24 hour moisture action' claim on the tube but it does soak in fast enough that you can dress again shortly afterwards.
The ingredient list shows there's quite a lot of shea butter in the recipe as well as sweet almond oil, cocoa butter and aloe vera so they haven't gone down the route of making this stuff as cheap as possible. The fragrance is a bit cheap and cheerful and there's nothing terribly sophisticated about the way the product smells or feels but for the tiny price, I can't moan too much.
I will attempt to get through the tube as it's not so dreadful as to deserve being thrown away but I see this as a functional body lotion rather than an indulgent one and I wouldn't buy it again.
My Dr Hauschka body care set included two oils - the rose and the lemongrass. As the vials are very small at only 10 ml each, I had to think carefully about how to use my oil. 10 ml is not enough to really apply to much of your body as a massage oil so I ruled that out. I wasn't sure whether it would be safe to use on my face, so I decided to avoid that to.
Yesterday I had been out helping my sister on her canal boat with some seriously heavy lock gates and had really strained my shoulder muscles and my buttocks so I wanted a long soaky bath and decided to spoil myself and use the rose oil.
As an aside, when I told my sister I had 'buttock ache' from heaving on the locks, she got excited and asked where it was and if she could have some. She thought I said 'butter cake'. Shame.
I ran a hot bath and poured almost exactly half of my tube of rose oil under the hot tap. I was pleased to see that it dispersed really well to leave a fine film of microdroplets on the surface. It didn't fill the bathroom with rosy vapours but at only 5ml I probably shouldn't have expected it to. However, once I got into the bath, the delicate, sweet rosy vapours were a real delight.
I enjoyed my bath and my skin was left with a very fine oil layer and I skipped a body lotion to enjoy the oil fully. It didn't make a slimy mess of my bath either so I was happy with that too.
I've been pretty scathing of most of the Dr Hauschka products I've tried with the rose products coming in for more abuse than some of the others but this was very pleasant and I look forward to using the rest of it and to trying the lemongrass. 75 ml of this would cost you 20.50 which is a lot. However, if you can get 15 good baths out of it, it's not the most expensive of treats. I do suspect though that it wouldn't be hard to find alternative rose oils at better prices.
For my step-father's birthday last year, my husband and I bought him the Acorn 5210A camera. We had two reasons for doing this. Firstly he loves wildlife and we thought he could set it up in the back garden and snap birds on his birdtable, and secondly, he was due to go into hospital for major surgery and was worried about my mother being at home on her own. Their house is near to quite a lively pub and they'd had drunken revellers wandering into the front garden and throwing plants around. We figured he could set up the camera to keep an eye on any intruders.
The camera is motion sensitive and it also works in the dark, so it was ideal for both the wildlife and security aspects. It's also impressively waterproof so it can be left out in all conditions.
We spent a weekend getting it set up and taking ludicrous pictures of people wandering in and out of the kitchen. We set it up to cover the front of the house and also identified a spot in the back garden. And then we left him to get on with it.
Sadly, like so many boys toys, he lost interest rather quickly. There was a reluctance to leave a 90 pound camera (normal price was a lot more) outside in an unsecured place. We keep trying to persuade him to let us have it back as we'd like to set it up and point it at our cat flap since in the summer months, we often don't see our Burmese for weeks on end but we suspect that he comes home and sneak-eats when we aren't around. Unfortunately we didn't manage to persuade him yet but if the price comes down, we may well get one.
Photo quality isn't brilliant but it's adequate for the purpose. It's a fun toy rather than something to take too seriously.