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Mascara; the one make-up product I honestly couldn't live without. I have big brown eyes with long black lashes and LOVE to emphasise these at every given opportunity.
Now I run the risk of sounding very high maintenance but everyday I use two types of mascara, a normal 'volume boosting, false lash effect, thick and long as can be' one for my upper lashes and a waterproof mascara for my bottom lashes. This is because I tend to rub my eyes and forget about said mascara ending up with me looking like a little panda!
I have also started swimming in a bid to keep fit and of course have to look my best in the pool so waterproof mascara is a must!
Every time I run out of mascara I try a new one, I don't rate cheap ones so I usually grab whichever is on offer in Boots. This was new out when I purchased it and therefore £4.99 instead of its RRP of £7.99.
As in the picture but with a blue band around the bottom as mine is the waterproof version as mentioned.
A red, quite square tube which tapers off to one end. Looks good enough.
Apparently this is where this mascara varies from others, the unique shape of the applicator brush. Its almost an elongated s shape with a definite wiggle in the middle, very strange and I cant see how this will help 'coat every lash'.
Straight away, not very happy.
Applying the mascara I ended up with blobs where the brush curves in which I then had to brush out with an old mascara wand!
I chose black as my eye lashes are black already and id love for them to look blacker but so far not managed this, this is no exception, I don't think it's very black at all and definitely didn't make my lashes stand out anymore than they do without mascara.
I am quite fussy with mascara, I suppose if you have fair, stubby eyelashes any mascara would make a difference but it takes a special one to make my eyes look any different and this is not one.
It added a bit of length but no volume despite branding itself as 'voluptuous'. On my bottom lashes it was a bit clumpy and the silly shaped brush did not aid application at all and I ended up with more under my lashes than on them.
This is the one area where it gets full marks! It didn't budge or smudge even slightly after an hour of swimming so thumbs up for that.
Again though, this sets it up for another downfall....even with my usual trusty waterproof eye make up remover it wasn't budging at all well. It smudged all over my eyes and only a small amount was coming off on the cotton wool, I had to absolutely saturate the cotton wool ball in remover to budge it and even then I had to rub my eyes harder than I would have liked, I was left with red and quite sore eyes :(
So if you have tough skin that can withhold vigorous rubbing and fair lashes then maybe this is the mascara for you, if not I wouldn't bother with it.
First review for ages so best thing to pick... something pretty and girly; my new perfume!
I have for the past couple of years stuck to Angel by Thierry Mugler as I found it to be the only scent that lasted more than 5 minutes on my skin. Eau de toilette's have no staying power whatsoever so I always have to fork out the extra pennies on an Eau de parfum anyway.
My best friend has the original Agent Provocateur perfume and I've always been a fan but it's a little bit too floral for my liking. I like a bit of a kick of spice or something different in my scents.
The downside to Agent Provocateur is that only certain shops sell the perfumes and that's either Debenhams or Agent Provocateur themselves so when I spotted this online I couldn't have a spray and sniff as I usually do in Boots.
But this was reduced from £42.00 to £22.00 for a 50ml bottle of the Eau de parfum and I thought this too good an offer to miss and took a risk and ordered a bottle.
Agent Provocateur Strip
Description from the website "Agent Provocateur Strip is Agent Provocateur's fourth scent creation and to date, their most sexual boudoir-like perfume. Agent Provocateur Strip starts with an immediate twist, a woody and brandy-like accord , like an aged cognac, with earthy, dirty accents that intensify with the interesting addition of vetiver from Haiti combined with patchouli, which is so dense at times, it is almost leathery. After this unusual opening Agent Provocateur Strip melds into a softer more feminine powdery musky and amber accord with floral notes and ylang-ylang rounded off by rosy accents, softened by iris and slightly sweetened with vanilla"
Sounds good to me, good start!
(I dont know if the image on dooyoo is an old one but my bottle and every bottle online looks different)
I am a full on girly girl and tbh the bottle has to look good on my dressing table too! I wasn't disappointed, the same shape as all their perfumes like a teardrop (actually reminds me of a hand grenade but that's not the prettiest description) it is a pink and black splodge design with 'Strip' written in pink capital letters and 'Agent Provocateur' printed over the top in red. It has a little black leather tassle hanging from the top for an added kinky edge ;)
The bottle also has a clever little metal loop attached to the tassle which stops the perfume from spraying so no leakages in your bag etc.
The important bit
So it looks pretty, it was a decent price...but what does it smell like?
I could describe it exactly as the website does with all this top note mumbo jumbo that reminds me of wine tasters or I could do what I'm going to and tell you in my own normal person language.
Sex in a bottle is the best way to describe this, on first spray it is quite overpowering but this is a good sign because I hate weak perfumes. The first thing I smell is the patchouli mentioned, I've always been a fan of Lush products with this ingredient, it just reminds me of hippies and free love and all that and I can understand the free love concept if this scent was being worn in the 70's.
As it settles into my skin it is just a very warm, sexy scent. I think I can probably pick out the musky notes and the leathery heat, it smells classic and yet different. It is a sweet perfume but not as sweet as my other favourite Angel, it is not in any way sickly, this is definitely a grown up fragrance thought the vanilla is still recognisable in the background. It smells like essential oils in that pure way (if that makes any sense) the different notes do not seem synthetic; they are the real McCoy.
And the best bit for me...it lasts, longer than any man I've known :p I can still smell this when I'm getting into bed at 4am Sunday morning and then on my sheets for a couple of days, honestly. I don't need to reapply through the night either.
People notice my perfume, I introduce myself and am met with mmm you smell good (male and female!) this is what I want from a scent.
I think this perfume could suit any woman of any age if she had the confidence to pull of such a strong scent as I hope I do!
Now all I need is a man who can afford to buy me Agent Provocateur lingerie.......
I bought my bottle a couple of months ago now but ive checked and on cheapsmells.co.uk it is still £22.
Before I start- ** My mascara is the newer version of this, I asked Dooyoo to add it to the catalogue but they said I should write my review here **
So my mascara is the 2 in 1 version of Coup de Theatre, using only one brush and therefore cutting out the hassle of the white basecoat before the black mascara.
The bottle is the same shape as the one in the pic thought obviously not double ended, it is black and white striped and I must admit this is what first attracted me to it amongst the sea of mascaras in Boots, it looks pretty!
Coup de Theatre 2 in 1 mascara retails at around £8.99 RRP but when I bought it about 3 months ago Boots had it on an introductory promotion at £6.99, I dont usually spend this on mascara but it was one of my first nights out with my new boyfriend and I wanted to look my best for him :)
* False lash effect.
* Length + volume.
Sounded perfect to me so in my basket it went.
I have dark and quite long eyelashes anyway so really wanted my eyes to stand out hence looking for a false lash effect mascara.
This mascara is only available in black or 'noir' it being Bourjois!
So the night had come, big night out with my gorgeous new fella!
I unscrewed the black and white lid and applied a coat to my lashes, instantly they were coated with a thick black liquid and looked tonned longer and fuller, no exageration!
It's quite a liquidy mascara so don't blink after you've just applied it or you will end up with eyelashes on your cheeks! it takes about a minute to dry completely and then it's easy to apply a second and even a third coat and absolutley no clumping occurs.
It is blackest of black which is just what I was looking for so another tick in the box!
The brush is really narrow so different to my old favourite No7 mascaras but no harder to apply, the narrowness actually makes it easier to apply to my bottom lashes without ending up with smudges under my eyes.
It is not waterproof (fingers crossed they'll bring that out next) but it doesnt smudge easily in the rain or if you itch your eyes etc.
On the bottle it says it will stay fresh for 6 months.
The mascara is 9ml, slightly smaller than some others on the market but it's lasting me long enough.
All in all I'm very impressed, i've had the mascara over 3 months as I say and there's still plenty left and it hasnt gone at all gloopy which often happens if you buy cheaper makes so i'm glad I shelled out for Bourjois.
Thanks for reading x
With last weeks Grazia magazine was a coupon for a free 650g jar of this scrub so off to Boots I rushed and grabbed the last one on the shelfs.
This salt scrub retails at £8.95, i'd usually not pay that much so jumped at the chance for a freebie.
I am a fan of Sanctuary goodies but usually only buy them if they are on offer or if I've saved enough advantage card points up.
The Sanctuary is a luxurious ladies day spa in Londons Covent Garden and they started producing a range of products for us 'unprivileged' folk to use in the cheaper surroundings of our own homes :)
These products are apparently what they use in the spa but at more purse friendly prices.
They have a facial and body skin care range plus accessories like sponges, face cloths, massagers etc.
The only place around here that sells the range is Boots but i'm not sure if it's exclusive to them.
This salt scrub looks posh, its in a fat glass jar with a clip top.
"Pamper, polish and nourish your skin with exfoliating dead sea salts and nourishing jojoba oils"
The scrub is said to contain coconut, sweet almond oil and jojoba along with the salts from the dead sea, these work together to refine and resurface the surface of your skin.
Using the scrub
To use you massage a handful into your skin in circular motions and then rinse off. It is recommended that you then bathe in the water and let the oils infuse your skin.
The jar clip isn't the easiest to open if you're in the bath with wet hands but I managed!
The scrub inside is a pale yellow colour, it looks solid but when you dip your hand in it feels like sand and its easy to get a bit out.
It feels quite greasy but thats ok as I know its the useful oils making it this way.
As you rub it into your skin you can really feel it working, it isn't uncomfortable but its rough and definitely scrubs! As its greasy it isn't too easy to rinse off and you will be left with a bit of residue on your skin, this however moisturises your skin for hours after your bath.
My favourite thing about this scrub- the smell, so so beautiful! Its sweet but girly and lingers on your skin all day or night. My apartment also smells lovely for hours.
I'm looking out for offers on the body butter as apparently this smells just as good :)
I've been working today, the dreaded 10-2 shift. I have breakfast before I start but by the time I get home its 2.45pm and too late for lunch, I always have some kind of little snack so i'll still be hungry at tea time!
The snack today is a bag of mini cheddars with a few slices of cheese.
We purchased a multi-pack of 7 bags- 3 original, 2 cheese and onion and the flavour of choice today; extra mature cheddar.
They are currently on offer at Sainsburys for £1 per 7 bag multi-pack.
We buy them as an alternative to crisps for my fellas lunch box everyday for work. I sneak the odd bag when I'm home during the day too and always enjoy them. I feel they're slightly healthier, the cheddars are baked rather than fried and the bags are smaller so you eat less than you would with a bag of crisps.
Mini cheddars have been around for ages and unlike some foods they haven't messed about with the recipe too much as they still taste as good as they used to!
They contain no artificial colours or flavourings and the extra mature flavour i'm currently enjoying contains 7% real cheese.
This bag contains 129 calories, the original flavour contains slightly less for some reason.
The taste test.........
On opening the foil fresh bag I am greeted by a really cheesy smell, good cheesy not smelly cheesy!
The cheddars themselves are around an inch across with little dots like perforations on the top. They are golden brown in colour and look 'cooked'.
As this variety has extra flavour compared to original cheddars, these have a fine layer of powder on them which is the cheese flavouring. They do taste strong just like a proper mature cheddar cheese.
Once you've sucked the powdery flavour off (if you're a messy eater like me lol) the rest of the biscuit has a different milder flavour but still cheesy.
They are crunchy like a cheese biscuit, they're fairly thick and I think they take longer to eat than a crisp and are a more substantial snack, my stomach definitely agrees!
Another good thing is as they aren't as thin as crisps you rarely come across a broken one and get a bag full of whole mini cheddars :)
You can eat them as you would a bag of crisps as a snack anytime of the day or like I am doing now with a few slices of cheese or some cheese spread as if they are a mini cheese biscuit.
Mini cheddars are also available in crinkle cut in a variety of flavours including Prawn cocktail and salt and vinegar!
The Island by Victoria Hislop has to be one of my favourite books so when I spotted this for £3.98 in Sainsburys (and already at number 1 in the chart) I had to have it.
Anyone who has read The Island will know that it is a trip back in time started by somebody reminiscing, this story is very similar in that way.
The book is split into 3 parts.
In Part One we are in Granada in the year 2001 with Sonia and Maggie, two friends on a Salsa holiday. They both love dance and are taking lessons, after seeing a Flamenco show one evening Sonia becomes obsessed with the more passionate of the Spanish dances.
She finds a cafe with a lovely old man owner and gets chatting to him over her morning coffee, on the walls of the cafe are hundreds of photos of both a bullfighter and a young flamenco dancer and Sonia asks who they are and why so many pics.....
Part two returns to 1931 to Granada as the old man tells the story of the Ramirez family who lived and worked in the cafe they are sat in right now.
We meet the Ramirez family, the two main characters of the family are going to be brother and sister Antonio and Mercedes. In the family there is also mum-Concha, dad- Pablo and brothers Ignacio and Emilio.
Ignacios love is bull fighting, he has different political beliefs to the rest of his family and this will cause uproar in the future.
Emilio is a flamenco guitarist and music is his passion, he is homosexual which makes him the butt of many of the towns jokes. He and his guitar accompany Mercedes as she flamenco dances for family and friends. She hopes one day to be the most famous in Spain.
Mercedes has a chance meeting with a famous flamenco guitarist; Javier and its love at first sight for the two of them.
At this point the story seems to be one about the passion of dance, bullfighting and true love and it really does seem as simple as that!
But no...the story erupts into one of politics as the old man tells the tale of one of many familys in Spain who were torn apart by the horrors of the Spanish Civil War.
For Part three of the book we follow Mercedes on her search for her one true love and also Antonio as he becomes a soldier and fights for his country. Their two stories are very contrasting but it's easy to keep up as the author switches between them.
In many ways the book is very similar to The Island and I love that, the story for me is not as gripping or unusual but I still enjoyed it. Hislops writing style makes this another perfect book for summer as despite the country tearing itself apart it is still described well in all its beauty and she really makes you feel as though you are there.
I feel Part one is a bit drawn out, Sonia and Maggie have nothing to do with Granada and really are just two tourists so I don't feel like I need to know so much about them and what they think of Flamenco.
I think Hislop could have condensed the intro to the cafe owner to a few pages rather than 150!
Part two and three make up for this though as they are action packed and I couldn't put the book down at this point.
The history and passion of the country is fascinating but I won't be rushing to read this again soon, it would have been a good book in its own right but I can't help comparing it to Victoria Hislops best seller, there is even a circle on the cover of this saying 'From the best selling author of 'The Island' so this is probably the main selling point of the book which is a shame.
Now i've finished this i'm reading The Island yet again!
Everytime I've got to 50000 dooyoo miles before, i've opted for a cheque payout. Thus far I have received 7 cheques (£350/350000 miles) but the miles seemed to be adding up rather slowly this time so when I got to £20 I decided i'd treat myself to something from Amazon instead.
Cue- the epilator. I've read nothing but good things about epilators; minus the pain factor of course but i'm not a wimp so I dared to try!
My natural hair colour is darkest brown and I have always shaved my legs before, the hair grows back coarser each time and it seemed I was only going a couple of days between shaves which is extra annoying when you're on holiday and have better things to be doing!
I've tried waxing; ouch, sore skin and most hairs just broke not plucked. Hair removal creams; manky smell, have to sit still for 10 minutes smelling manky and seemed to remove half my hair only.
So the last thing to try is epilating, fingers crossed.
I had a look in Boots first of all and this one initially caught my eye but the price wasn't pleasing; £48. I liked the idea of cooling the skin before the epilator got to work so hoped it would be cheaper on Amazon, for once I was lucky and the current price on Amazon is £21.
One £20 Amazon voucher from Dooyoo + £1 of my own hard earned cash and I was the proud owner of a Phillips HP6481 Satinelle Ice.
Described as an "Ultra gentle epilator", I liked the sound of that!
For those who don't know, probably men lol an epilator is a device which is made up of tonnes of tiny tweezers which pluck each hair out from the root as it moves along your leg (or wherever else you dare try it!)
This one says the tweezers can remove hairs as short as 0.5mm so you don't need to wait for a long regrowth (eww) as you do with waxing.
The epilator looks just like the one in the pic above (seen as I requested this was added to the Dooyoo catalogue!) It's an attractive little thing in pretty colours, what surprised me was the size of it; it's only about 4 inch long and easily fits in the palm of my hand.
The epilating head itself is the pale blue bit and is about an inch wide and half an inch deep, behind this is a lime green 'massaging element' which combined with the ice pack confuses your skin and minimises the pain signals apparently.
The dark green bit you can see on the front is a special rubber material which is really easy to keep a grip on (despite sweaty palms from pre-epilating panic lol)
There are 2 speed setting, number 1 for areas where the bone is close to the surface of the skin; knee, ankle etc. Aka the more painful bits and number 2 for areas of denser hair on less sensitive bits. Number 2 is faster than Number 1.
I liked the box of goodies I got; the epilator itself of course with AC adaptor plus an exfoliating bath puff thing in the same green colour, a little pouch to store everything in (again in the same pretty colours of white and pale green) the cooling glove, into which you slip a special shaped ice pack (also supplied, pretty colours) and a cleaning brush.
So to start you need to put the ice pack in the freezer, leave for a minimum of 2 hours and then slip it into the clever glove thing.
There aren't many instructions; just make sure your skin is clean and dry and it's best used after a bath as your pores will be open easing the epilating process slightly.
I held the ice pack glove over a bit of my leg for about a minute, it felt suitably cold and slightly numb after this time. Plugging in my epilator I was panicking, if it hurt as much as waxing I didn't think I'd cope.....
So I turn it on, quite noisy which makes me scared! I edge closer to my leg, trying to be brave..and i'm off.
For any one who has one (I have two now) it feels like getting a tattoo. As the tweezers bits are spinning really fast they are plucking around 24 hairs at a time and it really does burn. The other thing I could liken it to is probably getting a static shock over and over again....
I presume the ice isn't really working so move onto a bit of leg which is un-cooled and try there, it doesn't feel any worse and after about 5 minutes the pain does dull (just like when getting a tattoo) I can cope with it more than I can waxing as that is just a sudden bolt of pain, this is at least consistent!lol.
After one leg is done I resemble a plucked chicken, each and every pore is red :(
I run my hand over my skin and still feel a couple of stubbly bits (and a lot of sore bits) so brave another go, the good thing about this is you can go over the same patch of skin as many times as you need without making it sore as if there aren't any hairs present the epilator does no damage and just glides over your skin.
The same can't be said for shaving or waxing, your skin would be sore as hell if you went over the same bits over and over again.
Doing my 'touching up' is a lot more bearable though it did make me jump when it found a hair lol.
The redness disappears within a few hours so don't worry about that, don't do it the day before your big night out thought just in case.
I have always had an obsession with plucking my eyebrows and I think it's going to carry over to this!
It's been 2 weeks since I first used this and there are still no stubbly bits on my legs, i'm going out three nights in a row (my poor head) next weekend so come Wednesday i'll probably have a little 'touch up'.
Apparently when the hair grows back it will also be softer and finer each time as each hair is 'new' as you plucked the old ones out by the root.
A bargain at the price it is on Amazon, i'm looking forward to my first
summer holiday without needing to shave my legs!
P.S you can also use the epilator on your underarms or (heaven-forbid) bikini line but I'm not brave enough for that yet!
Just found this category through someone elses review and couldn't resist telling my happy story :)
Bit of background.......
I met my fiance when I was 16 and he was 27, everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) said I was far too young, such an age gap would never work etc etc...but we knew from day one it was something special, yes I was young but I was not naive or stupid!
We booked our first holiday together within 2 months of getting together (Feb 2003) and the holiday was for Lanzarote, somewhere neither of us had been before for 2 weeks in July.
Sadly 3 weeks before we were due to jet off my beloved uncle lost his long fight with cancer, instantly I wanted to cancel and be there for my mum but she insisted Uncle Michael would not have wanted that and she had my dad and brother to look after her, his funeral was before we went so we got to say goodbye.
So its July 2003, we've been together 6 months and off we jet......
Its not an overly romantic story I must admit but its full of all it needs to be; love.
Having a drink or three for my uncle (naughty me, still only 16) we were drunkenly chatting and decided life was too short and people should do what they want, spur of the moment...
Thought no more of this and finally fell into bed.
In the morning Nick said he was just nipping to the supermarket for some food, I was sat at the edge of the pool dangling my feet in to stay cool when he returned. In his hand he had a ring box, by now everyone round the pool is looking...he just opened the box, no 'will you marry me?' or anything but I could see in his face what he meant, he held the ring out and I stupidly asked 'Which finger was it for?' (think I was just checking I hadn't got the wrong end of the stick lol) he grabbed my hand and put it on my ring finger :)
The ring was a perfect fit, it was a silver band with a big pale green stone;the stone was Olivine (a pale green precious gem native to Lanzarote) he promised a 'better' ring when we got home but I thought it was incredibly special and meant a lot.
Sadly when we got home I realised my hand was obviously a lot warmer when on holiday and the ring nearly fell off once in the cooler climes of England! I took it to a jewellers to have it made smaller but the silver used was Spanish silver and they could not resize it without adding more so the band was strong and it would need importing, the cost of this was huge so sadly I can now only wear this ring on a necklace or on my fatter fingers. Still its with me every day.
I got my replacement, a 1/4 carat clear clarity diamond on a thick gold band a few weeks later. Another perfect ring from my perfect man.
P.S- nobody was over enthusiastic for us when we got engaged either, saying it would never last. We've proved everyone wrong and are still going strong (after a few ups and downs) 6 and a half years later :) getting married next year.
My new chocolate bar of choice from the vending machine at work (number 46 if you're interested, sad that I know that I know...)
A Twix is two shortbread fingers topped with chewy, smooth caramel and then coated in thick milk chocolate...mmmm.
The wrapper has changed slightly over the years but always remains gold and shiny with the iconic Twix writing in red and white.
The bar is 58g and the calories and fat info are given per 29g so they're presuming you're a strong willed person and can eat just one finger at a time! I wish I had that strength.
The fact it is divided into two equal fingers means little to me, for some better people it would mean this would last them for two snacks/breaks but not me sadly.
A Twix is 35% milk chocolate and 32% caramel, the rest is shortbread (and probably additives)
Obviously a Twix isn't the healthiest of snacks as its a bar of chocolate and sugar! One finger contains 143 calories and 7g of fat (more than 25% fat that is!)
I love the combination of textures in a Twix; the shortbread is very crunchy, the chocolate creamy and the caramel sticky, it is unsurprisingly one of the sweetest choc bars available so only suitable for those with very sweet teeth!!
They are made by Mars so the chocolate isn't Cadburys but still a pretty tasty milk chocolate and its a nice thick layer all around the two fingers, the caramel is not hard (except if you freeze it which believe me is a tasty way of consuming Twix's!) and melts in the mouth or the cup of coffee I usualy dip mine in, you get about the same thickness of caramel as you do shortbread. The shortbread is quite a plain flavour and is there mostly for the texture in my opinion.
The main taste for me is definitely the caramel, its sickly and sweet but all 3 flavours and textures work in lovely, sweet harmony in my opinion.
A classic chocolate bar which is definitely in my top 5 (I think!)
A bar costs 50p from the vending machine at my work and around the same from supermarkets, you can buy them in multi-packs which works out cheaper per bar but I don't trust myself with a pack of 6 or 12 of these in my fridge!
I LOVE hot drinks, especially when we finally get sat down around 9pm to relax after doing all the boring chores! I tend to avoid caffeinated drinks as they really keep me awake if I have them after 8pm so a mug of horlicks is a perfect option.
Horlicks comes in jars or tubs, the one I have is a cylinder tub with plastic pop-off lid. It's 200g and has the RRP of £1.29 printed across the packaging.
The tub is dark blue and looks relaxing before you even have a sip of the drink!
Its a pic of a night sky complete with stars, clouds and a crescent moon that looks to be dozing away.
Mine is the original version (there are also light or chocolate versions) and this is also clearly written on the tub.
Horlicks is a malt drink which has been around for ages. It's a tasty alternative to hot chocolate for a bedtime drink.
According to the blurb on the back "Horlicks is the natural choice" It is caffeine free and contains no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
"Unwind for a good nights sleep".
The taste test
I have drunk many a mug of Horlicks since I was a little girl and to me the taste hasn't changed a bit, unlike so many other succesful brands they obviously haven't messed around with the recipe and realised that original is indeed the best.
It is made mainly from wheat flour and 25% malted barley. This doesn't give much indication to how its going to taste I know but i'm getting there.
You make it by adding 4 heaped teaspoons to a mug of hot milk (I warm mine in the microwave for around 1min 40sec) and stir it in well, theres nothing worse than getting a mouthful of soggy powder in your last mouthful!
So the taste.....
It's quite a mild flavour, mostly creamy and to me slightly of vanilla but not at all sickly sweet.
It's probably a love it or hate it drink, i'm sure most people have tried it as it really has been around forever but if you haven't its worth a go.
If you don't stir it well enough or let it cool down a bit too much it can go
powdery so best to stir vigorously and drink it while its lovely and hot.
As you use quite a lot (4 teaspoons per drink as I said) a small tub doesn't last very long but it's not too expensive. A big jar, 800g costs around £3.50 and probably gives you around 30 mugfuls.
It really does relax you too as it claims, I sleep soundly after I have a mug. I always have some when I have a cold as I have problems dozing off when i'm all stuffed up and it works better than sleeping tablets and its all natural!
The only downside is as the drink is made with milk its much more calorific than most night-time hot chocolates or ovaltine with 183 calories per mug and 4.3g of fat.
As my last note I had to add the packaging includes a little fact about dreams too "In some cultures, people believe that if you have the same dream three times it becomes reality" so dream on people!
A week ago today I set off on a mini adventure with my fiancé!
The mini adventure was a two day, 1 night trip to the Alton Towers Resort.
We were staying in the original Alton Towers Hotel (the Splash Landings hotel was around the same price but more child-orientated) and included in our package were tickets for the Alton Towers theme park and Splash Landings water park for the duration of our stay.
The Hotel room itself for bed and breakfast was £128 for the two of us for 1 night; we then used a promotional code from The Sun newspaper which cut 50% off this amount.
The theme park entry is usually £36 pp per day but if you book in advance this is reduced to £29 pp per day, the water park entry is £14 pp on top of this. The deal then is that if you are booking the hotel stay at the same time you get 2 days for the price of one for both the theme park and the water park.
(Child prices are obviously less)
I'll try not to waffle on but there are a lot of factors to consider in a hotel review so bear with me!
Arriving at the hotel
We had been to Alton Towers before but never stayed at the hotel so were hoping finding it was easy enough, once you get to the Alton Towers gates you imply follow the road round all the way, don't turn off!
It was sign-posted so we got there quickly and easily.
First impressions count.... our first impression was on a rather windy and wet morning but still the magic was there!
The hotel is a gorgeous big building with a massive fountain in front of it, for those that don't know the hotel is based around the travels of adventurer and explorer Sir Algenon (whoever he is!)
Inside was just as impressive, a hot air balloon rises up from the floor below in-between the wooden spiral staircases winding around the reception.
We were met by a porter, dressed in the old fashioned gear and checking if we knew what we were doing and were ok.
Check in is any time as long as your room is ready, check out is 10am so when we arrived at 8.50am we knew our room wouldn't be ready and just went to the booth in reception which above it said 'ticket collection' presuming this would be where we picked up our tickets for the theme park and waterpark.
Now the next member of staff was 1 of only 2 who didn't go out of his way to help us, he said we couldn't collect them there despite the fact I had printed the e-mail confirmation exactly as it was sent he said t was missing the number he needed and we'd need to go queue at the park entrance and wait for admin!!
We took a chance and went across to reception and they said we could collect our tickets there and that was that, we were relieved we wouldn't have to queue and wait!
The staff at reception gave us an envelope containing the theme park tickets for both days and the water park wristbands. We were told we could leave our bags with concierge and they would put them in our room as son as it was ready, we thought this was a nice touch and were looking forward to returning to the room to find the cases waiting, sounded posh!
To get into the theme park you just follow the signs for the monorail which runs every five minutes or so to the park entrance. If you are feeling less lazy you can walk the pretty woodland walk which takes around 15 minutes from hotel to park.
Fast forward a few hours in the theme park and we headed back to the hotel and went to reception to collect our keys, the staff there were very helpful and told us everything we could need to know; all about the restaurants we could eat in, opening times, check out etc and also about the early ride times on certain big rides for hotel guests- the park usually opens at 10 but hotel guests can go in from 9 and ride on the following rides before any big queues build up; Oblivion, Enterprise, Mutiny Bay, Duel, Runaway Mine Train, Haunted Hollow, Rita and Sharkbait Reef.
We were then given our key card in a little Alton Towers wallet and headed up in the lift to the room.
I had read other reviews before we went and so expected what was ahead of us in the lift, I hadn't told my fiancé and he was little shocked...I don't want to spoil the surprise but believe me the fun doesn't stop in the lift!
The key card worked first time which is a miracle in itself!
Our cases were as promised waiting inside the room for us, the room itself was spotless and styled in the adventurer style with little compasses on the headboards and mirrors and a very cool carpet.
We had chosen a standard room but you can also go for themed rooms at a higher price but our room was themed enough for us.
The bathroom was gleaming clean, I have a thing about bathrooms and as we checked in I heard someone complaining about theirs so I was a bit worried but was relieved it looked as clean as my own.
As well as being clean there were added goodies; a full size Original Source shampoo and conditioner, Imperial Leather Foamburst shower gel, Imperial Leather soap and a little Nivea bubble bath. V. impressed!
Next important part of the room, comfy bed? Tick, we had a quick lie down to check it out and it felt gorgeous, we were informed by the sign on the door that it was a Silent Night bed.
The room was warm enough but there was a thermostat so we could have warmed it up or cooled it down as required.
There were a couple of drawers and a clothes rail, not a proper wardrobe but we weren't bothered as we only needed to hang up Nicks shirt for the night and a dress I'd taken, we laid the rest of our clothes on the spare single bed.
There is a restaurant in each hotel, as a guest at either you have access to all the facilities within each. The two hotels are joined together by corridors so you never have to step outside to go between the two, it is a bit of a maze though so beware you don't get lost as we did on more than one occasion!
In the Alton Towers Hotel we had the Secret Garden restaurant, we had a quick look at this menu but had been recommended by a friend that we visit Flambos in the Splash Landings Hotel.
There is also a snack bar called Ma Garritas in Splash Landings which sells pizzas and toasties but we fancied a proper meal.
The Secret Garden is a brasserie type restaurant; it overlooks the beautiful gardens of the hotel. You have to ring up from your room phone to make a booking to eat here.
An example of the menu:
Starters were around £4-£5 each and included Soups, Pate and Garlic mushrooms. Main courses were around £10-£12 and included Steak, chicken and the vegetarian option of tomato pasta (something I am getting bored of as all restaurants seem to only offer this!)
As I said we decided to eat in Flambos Exotic feast this was just off the reception area of Splash Landings. At this restaurant you just turned up and were seated, it was a lot bigger than The Secret Garden.
In Flambos you help yourself to a 3 course buffet.
For the starter there was a choice of 2 soups; mushroom or tomato and freshly baked bread rolls.
For the main course there are tonnes of choices; a Chinese section including noodle dishes, rice, sweet and sour chicken and stir fried veg, an Indian section which included Samosas( meat and vegetable options) tonnes of curries, poppodoms and naans, a childrens bit with pizza, chips, chickens nuggets, garlic bread etc, a huge salad bar and finally a massive carvery with a choice of 3 meats, roast or new potatoes and about 6 vegetables.
For dessert you had the choice of pastries, cheesecake, chocolate fudge cake or my choice a chocolate fountain complete with Turkish delight, fruit and mini donuts to dip in!
The food was absolutely gorgeous but we both ate far too much!
It was an all you can eat for £16.95 per adult, you just paid for drinks on top.
The drinks were a reasonable price, around £1.60 for a decent sized glass of Coke.
Our waiter (who just cleared the plates away and brought drinks) was a lovely Polish man who couldn't have been more helpful! All dirty dishes were cleared away promptly as we helped ourselves to the next course.
As I mentioned earlier there were 2 members of staff that weren't great, we encountered the other one in the restaurant; a waitress took our full drinks away as wree getting our food even thought the table had a 'occupied' sign on it and then when she helped our waiter to clear the table she put all the other dirty dishes on our table as she stacked ours up which I didn't like!
In our hotel there were both childrens and adults entertainment, in Splash Landings it was all for children so we stuck to our hotel for the evening.
The childrens entertainment was a clown at 7pm but we wree eating at this time so I can't say if it was any god, the adult entertainment started at 9pm and was a singer in the bar area down a floor from the reception.
He was only on an hour but was decent enough singing classics everyone could toe-tap to!
The bar was slightly overpriced for 'normal' drinks, a pint of beer costing around £3.50 and a vodka and coke the same. Cocktails thought were better value, coming in a huge glass and costing around the £5 mark, I sampled one (can't remember its name lol) and was nicely merry half way through!! I am a bit of a lightweight but they definitely weren't skimpy with their measures, the bar service was very slow though.
We stayed in the bar about an hour after the singer had finished and then went into the gardens for a bit of an explore.
The gardens themselves are gorgeous, landscaped with fountains and steppingstones everywhere.
We then went up the room and got a lovely nights sleep dreaming of breakfast!
As I mentioned a full breakfast was included in the package price.
You had the choice of either restaurant for breakfast, they were both serving the same menu and as the Secret Garden was a bit posher we decided to eat there!
The restaurant was really lovely and the food was to die for!
It was self service again, the waiters just brought tea or coffee to your table for you. There were tonnes of different sections; a juice bar with a choice of around 6 juices, a pastry bit with croissants, Danish pastries, pain au chocolat, baby muffins....Mmm, Tonnes of cereals all in the mini boxes, a place to toast your bread and of course the Full Eglish Breakfast including everything you could imagine minus fried bread sadly as its my favourite bit!
We again stuffed our faces and then when Nick decided he was going to get on Oblivion in the early ride time, I was worried his breakfast would make a re-appearance but thankfully it didn't.
The breakfast was so huge we didn't want anything else to eat till about 3pm (which is odd for us believe me) lol.
Before we headed into the park for the second day we had to check out, this included handing our key in to one of the many porters around the reception area. Simple and quick.
There was a questionnaire to fill in too if you had the time.
All in all the break cost us £150 plus around £50 for food and drinks so it wasn't a cheap night but it was highly enjoyable.
It's lovely as a treat but with a family it could get very expensive!
Thanks for reading :)
I have been using my trusty Venus razor to shave my legs for about 7 years (with the same blade would you believe lol)
I decided it was about time I bought a new blade but looking at the prices (£6 for 3 blades) decided it would be cheaper to buy a brand new razor instead.
In Boots this Razor was on offer, half price from £4.88 to £2.44 and I decided I had nothing to lose and chucked one in my basket.
There are 3 different types of Intuition razor; Natural, Hydrasoft and this one- Sensitive care.
I have sensitive skin everywhere so this was the obvious choice.
The razor is a light turquoise colour, it looks girly and pretty so will be living on the side of my bath tub!
It has a turquoise plastic top which covers the blades, I haven't replaced this since I started using it but as the packaging suggests it makes sense to keep this top for when travelling etc.
It has three blades so guarantees a close shave.
The blades are surrounded by a white block which looks like soap, this is the bit that lathers up when wet and reduces the need for shaving gel or foam.
The razor is really easy to grip when wet, I always shev my legs in the bath so this is a plus point. The handle bit has rubber around both sides so its non-slip.
I dipped the razor head into water as instructed and then the second I started to slide the razor down my leg it lathered up and gave a light layer of foam as I shaved. It smelt clean but not too heavily fragranced.
You have to keep the head wet while you shave so I just kept dipping it into the bath every few strokes.
It shaves really closely and my legs feel smooth for a good few days before the stubble re-emerges!
The headpivots too so theres no need to press harder when you get to any curvy bits as this hugs every curve of your body as it shaves!
As yet I have not had any nicks or cuts on my legs, I presumed with the lack of gel or foam that it may slice my legs to ribbons but thankfully not.
The soapy bit around the blades is enriched with aloe vera and vitamin E so aswell as soothing skin it also moisturises, this is definitely true as my legs feels reslly soft after shaving and not just perfectly hair-free.
I've only used it a few times but the soapy-type stuff doesn't look to have shrunk yet so it should last a fair while.
As with all of this kind of razor the blades are quite expensive, i've just had a quick look online and the cheapest I can find them is £6 for 3 but i'll be checking out Bodycare soon!
I just hope the blades last a long time and make it worth my while.
Dogs needs constant attention, if we are not giving Hazel attention she either cries or jumps on the settee (both her ways of getting our attention!)
The odd time I leave her during the day, be it only for 15 minutes while I hang the washing out (if she comes with me she jumps at it and it ends up very hairy, that's the only reason I keep her inside!) she whines and scratches at the door.
She's a rescue dog and I'm sure whoever had her before us didn't come back for long periods of time, you can tell she isn't sure we'll come back whenever we leave her for any amount of time poor thing.
So this is where the quest for long lasting treats to keep her attention for more than 3 seconds comes in, she needs a distraction from the fact we've left...rawhide ticks all the boxes but I'm sure she'd like some variety.
I found these Bakers Meaty Twists at a shop called The Range in Halifex, all the Bakers treats were around £1.50 each but were on a 3 for the price of 2 offer, I grabbed 2 of these and a packet of Dental sticks.
I've had a look in Supermarkets since and the Meaty Twists RRP seems to be somewhere around £1.70 each which is quite expensive for a single treat.
The Bakers products certainly look the part, the packaging of this one in particular is clear and blue with an image of the product though through the clear end you can see the product itself so you know what you are buying.
There are 2 sizes of Meaty twists; Regular (come in packs of 2) and the one I bought, Jumbo.
The benefits of this chew are claimed as: Longer lasting chew, does not splinter, contains essential vitamins and minerals for a healthy dog and calcium for your doggies bones and teeth.
These are to be fed as a treat, no more than one a week according to the packaging.
I am also told it is a low fat treat.
Meaty twists should not be fed to dogs under 3kg or 9 months in age.
So onto the chew....
"Extra chewy with a meaty middle"
The chew is a traditional bone shape but twisted around so there are more interesting surfaces for your dog to gets its teeth into (literally!) It's cream in colour just like a normal dog bone and in the middle (in place of marrow I guess) is a meaty filling, this is a browny red colour and also in the shape of a bone.
It weighs 200g, its fairly solid and does weigh a fair bit for the size of it! The twist is about 6 inches long and 2 inch across so a decent size. You can feel from the end that the cream bit is rock hard and the red/browny middle is a lot softer, I think the two textures will make it more interesting for a dog.
The outside is meant to be the chewy bit which is long lasting; the softer middle is the reward for all your dogs chewing!
This may sound a bit odd but I had a sniff (don't worry I wouldn't taste it!) and it didn't smell of much at all, her gravy coated biscuits and other treats always smell quite meaty but this seemed plain in comparison.
According to the ingredients list the outside is made up of mostly cereals, pleasingly the inside does actually contain meat; a minimum of 15% it claims.
The first time I gave this twist to Hazel I stayed with her to see how long it lasted¸ she made light work of it to be honest! The outside seemed to my touch to be pretty solid but to her strong jaws it seemed like the equivalent of jelly, it crumbled and went soggy quite fast.
The outside was chewed and swallowed within about 3 minutes, she did slow down when she got to the meaty bit, either because she wasn't so keen or maybe she was savouring the flavour, who knows!
From giving her the chew until she was licking up the last morsels from her rug I would say about 5 minutes passed.
I don't call that long lasting, a rawhide chew of the same size lasts her about 2 hours and costs half of what this did.
She did enjoy it though so it wasn't a complete waste of a pound. She licked up every last crumb from her rug and was licking her lips for hours afterwards so it must have tasted good!
I won't be buying any more of these once she's eaten the other though.
Garnier Nutrisse has had a major revamp since the pic above, the box is now lime green and yellow; it looks a lot more modern and attractive.
The colour cream itself has had a makeover too, it is now a 'conditioning cream' with 2 times more avocado oil than it used to have, avocado oil is a natural conditioner.
The colour I have chosen is 4.34, the colour names have changed along with the new formula so it tells me the old name for this shade was 'Toffee' now its called 'Gold Copper Brown'.
My hair is dyed black which is notoriously hard to over-dye if you change your mind, this colour says it works to lighten hair even if it is dark brown-black so I'm hoping it will work!
I'm writing this review as I dye my hair, almost a live feed! At the minute I'm sat with the mixture on my head with my kitchen timer set to 35 minutes beside me.
Applying the dye
In the box are a bottle of developer milk, a tube of colour cream, 1 sachet of after colour conditioner and the instructions.
The instructions are simple to follow, simply squeeze the mixture from the tube into the bottle, shake it up and then break off the tip of the applicator bottle and start straight away applying the mixture to your dry unwashed hair.
As you mix the two creams together in the bottle the mixture starts to change colour, it goes a purply brown colour (in this case).
First tip, be very careful with the applicator bottle! I went to squeeze some dye out onto my hair and it went in the opposite direction! I snapped the tip off as I was meant to but obviously on an angle lol. I ended up with mixture on my bathroom door!
When I eventually mastered the crazy bottle I managed to apply it evenly to all my hair, the mixture is quite thick and once on your hair doesn't drip which is good. I as usual didn't wear the gloves provided and am typing this with dark brown hands lol.
I am told on the instructions that the mixture will get darker as it develops and not to worry.
Leave the mixture on for 25 minutes unless your hair is hard to dye (me) then leave it on up to 35 minutes.
This is the point I'm at now, 20 minutes to go......the mixture is now dark brown, the bit that was left in the bottle has changed colour too.
Its drying very quickly, it doesn't feel at all wet on my head.
A good thing about this colour cream so far is it's smell; it smells fruity and not too chemically, good when you have to sit with it on your head for 35 minutes!
Brrriiinnggg! - That was my kitchen timer by the way, times up.
So to the bathroom to rinse, I'm using the shower head attachment on my taps so I can minimise the mess!
The mixture does take a while to rinse out but I always find hair dyes do so it's not a minus point for me.
The colour coming off in the bath is a nice golden brown so I'm really hoping this colour will be on my hair too!
Eventually the water runs clear, next I have to apply the conditioner. Some other dyes have a conditioner in a tube that lasts a couple of goes but this one is in a sachet so I'll have to use it all or throw the remainder away.
The conditioner smells lovely and fruity too, a lot like Garnier shampoos do.
It's quite a greasy conditioner but it feels nice on my freshly coloured hair and I'm thinking it will do some good.
Leave for 2 minutes then rinse out....I do.
Now its crunch time....is the colour nice, with my hair wet I can't tell much difference as my hair looks nearly black when its soaking wet!
And after drying it still looks nearly black.....
The colour is ever so slight, mostly on my roots but not really anywhere else!
My hair feels in nice condition at least, it's shiny and healthy looking but not enough difference in colour for my liking
The little chart on the box that shows the results shows black hair going a golden brown colour and I'd say mine is more a mahogany colour, very dark brown/black with a hint of red.
By all means try Garnier Nutrisse yourself but don't pin your hopes on the colour on the box.
Garnier Nutrisse Cream costs around £4.80 and is available in tonnes of shades.
I have this contraption in the colours in the pic above, The Sanctuary have now released the Spring/Summer 09 version which is black where this is fawn. Because of this monumental(!!) change the old colour ones were all reduced from around £10 to £1.93 in my Boots store, all have sold out now but if you have a store near you its worth a look.
I wouldn't have paid £10 but at this bargainous price I thought I'd give it a go, for the last 2 weeks I have been blitzing my imperfect parts (mainly trying to tone up my thighs and bum) as on Tuesday I'm going to Alton Towers and the Splash Landings waterpark so I will be wearing a bikini in front of other pool-goers, therefore I must look perfect!
I have been using my favourite Garnier Body Tonic which firms my skin gorgeously but thought this gadget would just add to the finished result!
So in my basket one of these went.
The Sanctuary is a lovely spa in Covent Garden, they have developed a range of products and accesories which they say they use in the spa on the posh clients and now we can use too (for a fraction of the price) in the comfort of our own home.
The cellulite massager
"Perfect for daily detoxing in the bath or shower, the specially designed nodules assist the lymphatic drainage system, boost circulation and help to improve the appearance of cellulite"
The contraption itself is round, about 4 inch across and has a handle (the fawn coloured bit in the pic) which fits oves your hand. The white bit (where the stimulating nodule thingeys are) is then in the palm of your hand so you have full control over it.
These nodules are of different kinds, there are smaller ones which are just like tiny curved spikes and there are the larger ones which are the same shape but half is partially cut away so one side is a smooth curve and the other is a straight diagonal line, you can kind of see the big ones and what I mean in the picture above if you look carefully.
"Use on damp skin, massage in firm circular motions towards the heart, concentrating on targetted areas of the body"
So the first time I used this I was in the shower and decided to try without using any shower gel on my legs and bum first....big mistake, as the thing is rubbery it kept almost sticking to my skin and me trying to rub in circular motions was giving me friction burns!lol
So I tried with a bit of shower gel and the result was much better, the gadget slid around in nice circles on my skin. My skin went a bit pink from the pressure of the little spiky bits but it was not uncomfortable. Its more comfortable than body brushing and I never minded doing that either.
You can also buy a toning body oil from The Sanctuary range to use in conjuction with this massager for even better and faster results but that will probably cost you in the region of £10.
Its quite a hard rubber material but when pressed on your body it squashes into your shape so each nodule is touching your skin even on your curvy bits!
It says on the little label attached that the firmer you massage and the longer you do it for at a time, the better the results.
It also says for bets results use 3-4 times a week.
I do about 3 minutes on each leg and have been doing this every night for a fortnight now and the results are obvious. My skin feels firmer on my thighs and my bum and my cellulite has all but gone, good job really as its only 2 days till my bikini body baring time!
If you manage to find a reduced one, grab it. If not think carefully about paying £10 but rest assured it does work.