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So Halloween was last week, and my husband and I are obsessed with the Walking Dead and decided we wanted to go as zombies. After watching some Youtube videos that taught us how to create wounds with realistic looking skin ripped from our faces, we needed to stock up on supplies! One of the things I needed was a pale liquid foundation, and I came across Stargazer on Amazon.
I paid £3.99 for a 30g bottle. The bottle is nothing overly fancy, a long black lid the bottom half clear so you can see the thick white foundation inside, and some black writing. Unscrew the bottle and the bottle lid almost looks like a nail varnish brush, with a long stick and instead of a brush this has something similar to a spatula on the end.
The foundation itself is nice and thick - and very white! For what I desired for our Halloween costumes, I had some liquid latex wounds on my face and I had to blend the latex into my normal skin colour using my regular foundation. Then I used the spatula to apply some foundation to a wedge sponge and dabbed big blobs of the white foundation across areas of my face before blending it in. I quickly realised that the foundation was a lot thicker than I assumed and I probably needed to start off with less and build up the layers until I had the desired effect, but after some good work with the sponge I managed to work it in for a good coverage.
Thankfully the foundation did not look as white on my skin as it did through the bottle. It worked really well to make my skin look very pale though, and I had compliments all night as it worked so much better than some face paints would have done. Once I applied some shading to eye sockets and cheek bones it really gave a greying look to my face.
I used this on both myself and my husband, yet I barely took any of the bottle, so even though it is not a huge bottle, I still have plenty left. I'm not quite sure what I'll do with it yet as its way too pale for my skin tone.
I know this is a make up so its not necessarily meant to be used for fancy dress, so I think if you have very pale skin and want a foundation, this would be good, but don't make the mistake I did and slap it on, use small amounts and build it up.
The coverage is really good and it lasts for hours, my own normal foundation doesn't like to be worn for long hours and I need to reapply my powder after a few hours or I look patchy, but this foundation held its own all night long and even by 2am still looked great!
As my children get older, buying them birthday and Christmas presents seems to be getting harder and harder, and I recently looked into buying my eldest a nice e-reader that didn't cost a small fortune. I stumbled across the Allwinner tablet accidentally, but after a little reading of some mixed reviews, I decided to take a risk. I ordered well in advance of her birthday as some reviews warned of broken screens upon delivery, or not being able to connect to WiFi.
I paid around the £42 mark for a bright pink tablet. In all fairness, stick this next to a £150 tablet, and it does look cheap, but to give it credit, it does look good, its slim, it is light. I read that screen resolution was poor, but I held up my 'decent' mobile next to it and the colours were brighter, the picture clearer and sharper. For the price, I really don't understand how anyone can complain.
It has a 7 inch screen, plenty big enough, in my opinion. For some extra stats (which don't really mean much to me!) This tablet has:
Processor Speed - 1.2ghz
RAM size - 512 mb
Hard Drive size - 4gb
This tablet is an Android, and comes with the Google Play Store already installed. Which is perfect as there are hundreds off free apps available which means when kids are using it, you can skip past the part of adding credit card details, so they don't accidentally run up a huge bill by paying for apps.
My daughter has lots of apps installed - Candy Crush, Facebook, Wikipedia, to name a few, and still has plenty of memory left, so there is a fair bit of space on this tablet.
She also has downloaded pdf e-books which she can read really well on this, so she doesn't need a separate e-reader, and she has also lots of music on here. She was slightly upset when we bought her some speakers that lit up with LED lights to the rhythm of the music that she wanted to connect to her tablet, but as the tablet doesn't have a USB port, she couldn't do so, but other than that she has no need for attaching a USB.
As much as she loves the tablet, we did find a few faults. One main one being that the adapter on the mains charger is a very small connector, and after a few weeks she managed to snap it when she tried to plug it in. Fortunately for us, we had purchased a couple more of these tablets so we had spare chargers, but now we take charge when they need charging as if the kids are just slightly too rough they are very flimsy.
Like I said, we did go on to purchase more of these tablets, we bought another for one of our other daughters, and myself and my husband now also have one too. We have them in pink, purple and blue now. Out of the 4 we have in the house now, one of them is having problems, where it will not hold its charge. I use this one as I use it the least, but I have to use it while it is plugged in to charge as otherwise the battery lasts about 10 minutes. As we got one of them really cheap though I don't complain, but I will if it happens with any of the other ones!
Using the browser can be a little slow, and if other apps are open it can often become unresponsive, so I get into the habit of using a task killer before opening the browser to make sure it runs smoother, or even using Chrome instead of the pre installed browser.
At the price we paid for these tablets, they do the job, and in my opinion they are perfect tablets for kids when you want a step up from the kiddy ones like a VTech handheld etc, but you don't want to risk small hands damaging a very expensive tablet.
If you have been reading the Sookie Stackhouse books, Dead Ever After was a highly anticipated book, bringing an end to Sookie's adventures with vampires, fairies and all the other amazing characters along the way. So when I grabbed hold of a copy, it wasn't put down until I had read every page.
What an absolutely underwhelming, disappointing end to a brilliant series. I can't believe that is the way Charlaine Harris really wanted this to end.
The story line was slow, sluggish, and somewhat tedious in places. There was none of the fight, and certainly none of the sex, that has been in the rest of the books. And, most importantly, where were the friggin' vampires??!!! Put everything of Bill and Eric together and I think it would have been a struggle to fill 2 pages - serious let down.
I liked the fact lots of characters from across the series came back for the last book, it was like making sure those loose ends were tied up, minus the vamps. And there wasn't enough Alcide either. And the final showdown was anti climatic, too.
Oh, and who she ends up with. Really? Did Charlaine Harris really think that was the one we all wanted Sookie to end up with? Because it really wasn't!
I have read many series that have a lot of books included in them, and it is fairly often that so much has been done across the books that it is had to write a final instalment that wows at every page, but this book was the biggest disappointment to a series I have ever read. My only hope is that When True Blood finishes, they manage to wrap up the tv show based on these books in a better way!
I am beginning to think my 2 star rating is a little generous...
*this review also appears on Goodreads.
As an avid reader, I was devastated at the start of the year when my old, little known Samsung e-reader was beginning to show signs of not keeping up with me anymore! After lasting almost 3 years and being used daily, I shouldn't really have been surprised! So I was delighted when for my birthday in April, my husband bought me the Nook Simple Touch. At the time, he paid around £60 for it, which I believe was a sale price in Argos. Since then, Nook have partnered with London Evening Standard partnership to Get London Reading, and have been offering the Simple Touch at just £29, which is an absolute bargain. I cannot say how long this limited time offer is going to last, but at the time I write this, the offer is still going on at Argos, Currys, and the Nook uk website.
The Nook Simple Touch has a 6 inch touchscreen. This is more than ample sized for reading, and I find it a very comfortable size for reading, and gives a nice sized font, although you do have the option to change the font sizes, I think there are roughly 6 different font sizes to choose from, but I have never needed to change the font size.
The home screen is divided into three sections. Along the bottom, is the Nook Top 100 book list. you can scroll through this and if you see a book you like, you can just touch the picture and a bigger screen loads up, showing you a full synopsis of the book, the price, reviews, and there is an option to buy. Upon setting up and registering your Nook, you can connect your debit card details so that if you wish to buy a book straight from the Nook website, you can press the buy option, then it gives you another option to confirm your purchase, and the book will be added straight your library. It is a very simple way to do it, although personally I rarely buy books this way as I feel it could be quite dangerous to my bank balance!
The top left section shows the book you are currently reading, and the page that you are on. The right side is for your library. Your library shows six books per page, with a picture of their covers and the title written underneath. You can choose to have your books sorted between most recent, title, or author,so depending on if you have a preference as to how you like your books ordered, you have a few choices. To start reading a book all you need to do is press the books icon and your book loads straight up.
While reading a book, if you tap gently at the bottom of the screen, a list of options appears, you can choose to go to the contents list, search for keywords, 'go to' so you can jump back through pages, there is a font button so you change the size, and the font design, and the 'more' button brings up the details of the book.
While reading, it is so easy to turn the page just by sliding your finger across the screen in the direction you want to turn the page. When I first got the Nook, I used to swipe my finger all the way across the screen, but soon realised the screen is slightly more sensitive than that and just a gentle flick will turn the page easily enough.
When you are on the home screen, if you press the N shaped button below the screen, another bar of options appears. The first two take you back home or to your library, the third is for the shop, which you can connect to with your Wi-Fi connection to browse through books, magazines and so on. The fourth option is a search function, I have never used this and don't really see the need for it to be there. but maybe somebody is using it! The last option is the settings tab, here you have the options to sort out your wireless connectivity, which comes in handy if you are away from home and trying to connect to a hotspot for example. You have other options here, like changing the time, language and so on. In fact I have just discovered myself that here I can connect my Nook to my social networks, too!
Apparently, the Nook has 2gb of memory, which will hold up to 1,000 books. At the moment I only have about 10 on mine, I had a bad habit of adding hundreds of books to my last e-reader and my library became very cluttered and I lost track of what I had read and hadn't, so I have been trying not to do that this time, but Im sure at some point I will.
The battery life is brilliant, in my opinion. My old e-reader needed to be charged weekly, and I probably read even more in the last few months than I used to, and I find myself needing to charge up overnight about every 5/6 weeks. Nook say the battery will to months on a single charge but I think that depends on the usage. I read for around an hour during the day, and a minimum of two hours on a night. I also discovered that just putting the Nook into sleep mode overnight drained the battery more, so have gone to shutting the Nook down properly overnight, this gives me around another week of battery a month!
The Nook accepts .PDF and .epub versions of ebooks. Most books come in this format so adding and reading books shouldn't be a problem if they haven't been downloaded from your Nook. I was also sent a copy of a book that was an .acsm file, which I had never heard of. I was then told that a Nook is pretty much the only thing these files will work on, you just need to download Adobe Digital Editions for them. You then add your books to the software, hook up your Nook to your computer, and if you register your Nook with Adobe through the software, you don't even need to drag and drop files, it will automatically register your Nook when it is connected to the computer, and you can choose to add your book to the Nook option and they will appear in your library!
I do have a few niggles about the Nook. It seems very slow to load up and switch back on when you do a total power off. Unlike my old e-reader that used to turn straight back on, the Nook takes about a minute to switch back on and load up, but then you are taken to a standby screen rather than the home page. On the standby screen you have to swipe your finger across the little padlock in the corner to unlock it and get into your book.
I also think the time it takes for the book to go into standby mode needs increasing. I can put the book down to nip and put the kettle on, for example, which takes about a minute, and I come back to find the Nook has gone into standby. There may be a way to change this but I haven't discovered it yet. They are the only things I wish were different, so on the whole they are small things that shouldn't put people off buying a Nook!
The Simple Touch is so light, and easy to carry around. The screen was a concern for me, I hadn't had a touch screen before and was wary of damaging it, so I went out and bought a protective cover for it so I could pop it in my handbag and take it without worrying. Even with my case, which is quite a thick one, the whole lot still weighs less than a thin paperback book. I would definitely suggest a case for the Nook to look after the screen.
I love my Nook, in fact I think my husband is slightly jealous of our relationship, and I know a lot of people think the Nook pales in comparison to a Kindle, but I am not a fan of the Kindle after using my mother in laws, and find the Nook more comfortable, easier to read and manage.
I used to own a Blackberry Bold 9700, and for 2 years, that phone never left my side. I thought it was amazing, and that no phone could beat my Blackberry. Then my husband got a simple HTC wildfire, and within a few days I was totally jealous, mainly of his amazing app store, which left Blackberry App world standing in the shade. It took less than a week for me to realise that the Blackberry App store was miles behind its competition and didn't offer me as much as I thought, so I started shopping around.
I didn't necessarily have a HTC phone in mind when I started browsing, I just wanted an Android phone, but as I checked out various phone websites, the HTC Desire C kept appearing, it was the android I was looking for, it was small, sleek looking, and has Beats Audio built in, so I knew playing my music on this was going to sound good.
When it arrived, I was quite shocked and pleased with the packaging. I remember the days when a mobile phone used to come in a fairly big cardboard box, filled with wires and discs and so on. The HTC Desire C came in a compact plastic case, that looked more expensive than it sounds! There was minimal wires, just a charger that doubles a USB lead, and a small pair of headphones, plus the handset and a small booklet of instructions.
The first trouble I had was getting the back off to insert the battery! There was no instructions that told you how to do that bit! I tried sliding it off, pulling it off, until finally I realised there is a tiny groove behind the power button and I had to try and get my nail in there to flick that back, so the whole thing comes off. I have had this phone since August 2012, and I still struggle now to get the back off as its stiff and doesn't come off together, I always feel like I am going to crack the back casing. While I am talking about the back though, I will say that the inside of the back of the phone is gorgeous! Everything is covered by a clear casing but it is bright red, and looks great, you can see some of the technology gadgetry bits through the casing but the colour is a wow factor. I wish they had made the back case of this the same red because then this phone would have really popped!
The handset is really light, especially compared to a Blackberry. You get 3.5inches of touchscreen, which is a lot of the phone. I would say the phone altogether is 4.5inches, so the majority is screen, meaning its nice and big! There are speakers on the front and back of the handset, so when you have music playing that Beats Audio kicks in and it sounds great, like I am playing a cd through a real stereo. The colours on the screen are amazing. I never really paid much attention to colours on a phone before, but they are really clear and sharp, and watching videos looks much better quality because of this.
Of course after setting my phone up, one of the first things I wanted to do was hit the app market! I always use the Google Play Store, which is pre installed, but there is also the HTC Hub that you can apparently get apps from, too, but I have never used that one. Installing an app is so simple, and you get a little arrow appear at the top of your screen so you can check the progress, they usually download in less than 30 seconds. Another thing I love is that when you have an app installed, the phone checks daily to see if there are any updates and if it finds any it will automatically download and install those, too.
I have around 15 apps installed that I use pretty much daily, plus another 10 or so others, plus hundreds of photos and my music, and I still have memory left on my phone, and I don't have an additional memory card either. There is 4gb of memory built in to the phone, for my personal uses that's more than ample, but the phone does have a memory card slot if you need more.
The downside to the apps is that the phone comes with, in my opinion, too many pre installed apps that you cannot remove. Apps like Play Books, and Play Movies, I have never used and probably never will, yet they cannot be removed. I wish there was the option to do so, so then that would free up a bit more memory, too.
The Desire C has a 5mp camera. It takes good enough pictures, and has the facial recognition technology so it has a box come up that detects a face in the picture and will try to make it clearer, but in this day and age a 5mp camera is a bit behind the times, and I would have loved a more powerful camera. I would have also have liked this phone to have a flash, taking pictures in dim lighting, or at night etc is impossible which I found a bit of a let down as I was always the 'person with the camera' and I feel I have missed a lot of good picture opportunities with this.
The battery life, at first, was pretty good, I got around 3 days use before I would charge overnight. As I added more apps and spent more time using the phone, I now get 2 days if I don't use it too much, if I spend a lot of the day on the phone or messaging, I only get 1 day out of it.
Considering a mobile phone is supposed to be about phoning, I should mention that the speakers sound good and clear when you are on the phone. The contact list could do with some work as I don't like the fact it puts all your latest calls at the top of the list, I would just like to be able to scroll through my phone book easily to get to a number.
I did at one point have to take my phone to a shop, as for some reason the handset had a personality problem and believed it was French! I couldn't work out why every time I sent a text message, or used Facebook or Twitter, my words would have little accents above them, or my predictive text would keep changing my words into French ones. If you are not used to phones like this, at the bottom of your touchscreen keyboard, there is a 'key' that has EN written on it, only when my phone arrived, it was set to FR, which now I know stood for French, and needed to be set to EN for English!
I do love this phone, I think its great for a starter smartphone. As I said before I got this phone in August 2012, so I have had it 10 months now, and it is starting to get very slow. It takes a while to load screens up, more often than not it struggles to open up apps and they crash and have to be closed and reopened again, in the last week my alarm clock has stopped working and just doesn't go off anymore. I had to take a 2 year contract out for this phone, and its starting to struggle and it hasn't made it to one year yet, and I am seriously beginning to wonder how I am supposed to make it last another year until I can upgrade. It is a shame because it is a great little phone, I just don't think it was built with a very long shelf life.
A few months ago I began my obsession with Yankee candles by buying a couple of Christmassy wax tarts. I had a small burner at home from a gift set I was given years ago and never used, but the space on top to hold my wax melts was very small and didn't hold much, so I looked through the burners on Amazon when I came across this Petal Bowl burner.
I have seen it in a few colours, including cream, yellow, blue, but I purchased it in pink. The colour is a nice, dusky shade of pink, so its girly looking but not a vibrant, Barbie pink that is very in your face.
The holder is made out of metal and looks very elegant, like wrought iron, although it is very light, while still being sturdy. It has a solid base which means it can be placed on any flat surface without worrying about your coffee table or so on getting hot or having melted wax dripped on it. There are 4 'legs' round the stand, all in that elegant, curvy stye, and the they are held in place at the top by a circle of metal. Where the legs end at the bottom of the holder, they create a perfect space for your tealight candle to sit and they hold it nicely in place. The holder stands around 3 inches high.
The bowl, which is removable from the holder, making it easy to clean, change waxes etc, has a lip around the bottom. This then sits nice and snugly in the circle of the holder.
The bowl is about two inches deep, so there is plenty if depth to hold the melted wax without it spilling over the side. Its also around 4 inches round. You could easily pop a wax tart on whole and it would fit nicely, although i never burn a whole tart at a time, but crumble around a quarter in a time.
This burner is given its name due to the fact the bowl is shaped to look like a flower opening up, and all around the bowl are lips shaped into petals. It gives the burner that little bit of wow factor which you wouldn't necessarily get if it had just been a round bowl.
I paid around £6.99 for this from Amazon around Christmas time, I have seen it on other Yankee websites and prices can vary but not much more than £1 either way, and some websites offer some wax tarts with the burner too. It was delivered in a well padded box with an official Yankee Candles label attached to the holder, which assured me, as a newbie to Yankee products, that I had bought a genuine Yankee product.
I found that with my old, small burner, removing old wax was a bit of a chore and it would get on my nerves when I would be scraping wax off for ages before removing it all. Then somebody gave me a tip to pop the burner in the freezer for ten minutes and the wax would pop straight out. I needed to use this trick just once, because then my Petal Bowl burner arrived, and I soon realised that Yankee must have added some thing to this burner because not once have I had a problem when removing old wax, it just slips out in one piece with a little nudge of the finger! So much easier!
I absolutely love burning my Yankee candles, especially my tarts which i find to give out a stronger smell than some candles. I don't know if this has anything to do with the openness of the burner or not.
I am really hoping I can manage to find this burner with a red bowl, I have recently redecorated my living room in cream, red and black, so if I could find this burner in red it would look great, and I would actually pay for two!
When we got married, the lady that owned our reception room gave us a bottle of Martini Asti at the end of the night. It was a lovely gesture from a lovely lady, but neither myself or my husband were big wine fans, and we expected this bottle to sit in a cupboard with various others for a long time, but the night after we decided to crack open this bottle and try have a quiet night after the hubbub of the big day!
Originally, we started by watering it down a bit with some lemonade. I have never found a wine I liked, I have tried quite a few but always find them to have a vinegary, horrible taste. My mother always said I had a palette not designed for wine! But after the first sip, I realised that this Asti was the first wine I tried that instead of that horrible taste, it was nice, sweet one.
Martini describe it as 'light, sparkling and fruity' and it definitely is. When pouring, you get a slight fizz, but the bubbles quickly settle. I have tried others before that have been so fizzy they have made my eyes water, but Martini have found the perfect balance of fizz with this.
There is a fruity, sweet taste to this wine, no nasty bitter aftertaste, which is very pleasant. I spent a while mixing this with a bit of lemonade, which made it taste less 'winelike' but now I can easily drink this without the lemonade and still enjoy the taste.
The bottle is a dark colour, it looks almost black but it is actually a dark green colour. It is easily spotted among the shelves by Martini's branding, the neck if the bottle is covered in a silver foil, with Martini in bold black lettering, and a silver label is on the front of the bottle, with the splash of red on the Martini logo. The label also tells us this 7.5% (and I am not sure whether thats a bottle or a glass, I never understood alcohol percentages!) Either way I dont find it very strong, I have been known to polish off a bottle alone on special occasions, and I do not tend to be staggering around the room! Although I do get a wine hangover the next day....
We purchase this wine quite a lot now, and always have a bottle on our wedding anniversary. We thought it would be quite a hard bottle to find knowing our luck of finding one we both actually liked, but we found it easily at our local Co-op convenience store and our local Tescos. Over the last few years we have found it selling anywhere between £6 and £8 a bottle, which isn't the cheapest on the market but it is worth it!
My daughter is a massive Barbie fan and has watched the latest film, Barbie: Princess and the Popstar over and over again the last few weeks, so she was delighted to receive this Barbie doll from the film for her birthday a few weeks ago, and practically threw it at me in excitement for it to be removed from the box.
Well, that led to a massive problem in itself! I know toy manufacturers nowadays like to make sure everything is kept in its box, but the heights they go to to do so are ridiculous! It took me twenty minutes to remove barbie from her packaging, fighting through cardboard, plastic, string, those little plastic tags and tie wraps to remove it. I ripped, I cut, I did mumble a few expletives, too. In the end I sat in a little heap of shredded up packaging, daring the doll not to work, because theres no way a shop would let me return this mess!
Once that joyous task was done with, my little girl could not wait to try and transform this doll. And why? Because this is a 2 in 1 doll. What you see in the packaging looks like your usual, princessy Barbie doll, with flowing blonde hair, a pink, lacey gown, tiara and necklace. What my daughter then showed us was that the top of Barbies head turns (I know, it sounds really bad!) and her hair flips with it, and Barbie now has bright pink, funky hair! Also, you need to unclip the gown at the front, and pull a string at the back of Barbies dress, and the skirt opens and ruches up at the back, to reveal a shorter bright blue dress and big boots, giving us the second look of the Popstar, (complete with a microphone in hand!)
If you press Barbies necklace, the Popstar begins to sing! The doll comes with 2 songs installed, one which is a complete rip off of Cyndi Laupers 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun'. with the lyrics changed to Princesses wanna have fun! Plus another song from the new Barbie film. Luckily for parents, the doll does not play the whole 2 songs, just a few lines from each one. While my daughter loves this and is constantly pressing that necklace to sing a long, as a parent I do admit it gets really irritating!
My daughter absolutely loves this doll and is always carrying it around with her. It looks pretty good, although Mattel could have improved the hair, when the head is flipped around to the pink hair, it looks really bad, scraggly and with a really dodgy fringe going on. This isnt the first Barbie any of my daughters have had where they could flip the hair around, but this one looks the worst. Other than that I have no other complaints about it, its thrilled my daughter for hours already.
At the moment, this doll is on sale in Argos, reduced from £24.99 to £19.99, or for a bigger bargain, if you buy it with the Popstar Prince doll, you can get them both for £24.99, instead of £30 if bought seperately.
Even though she just turned 5, my youngest daughter is quite dinky for her age. Her birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and she spent a lot of the summer riding round the garden on her older sisters scooters, which to be fair have seen better days, so when it came to asking her if there was anything in particualr she wanted for Christmas, the first thing she answered with was...a scooter!
I had a browse around the usual toy stores and came across lots of different designs, but it was only when I found a new B&M store opened nearby that we spotted this Hello Kitty one. I loved the idea of a scooter that was a bit more sturdy with 3 wheels and thought the chance of her falling off of it were decreased slightly.
After looking around it appears these scooters come in a fairly big variety of designs. Unlike the photo above, the one my daughter has has the two wheels at the front, and one at the back. The two at the front are slightly wider than the one at the back, and are bright pink, and the wheel at the back has a soft plastic 'arc' over it that acts as a brake. I thought my daughter might struggle with this but after we demonstrated to her that she just needed to gently put her foot on it and the scooter would stop, she quickly got the hang of it.
The scooters base is wider than the scooters aimed at slightly older children, giving little feet room for both to be stood on. The base is pink, and has a picture of Hello Kitty herself on it. The handle is quite sturdy, with foam padding on the handles to make it kinder for little hands to grip on to!
This came boxed in a long brightly coloured box, and assembly was minimal. The base came with all the wheels already attached, and all we had to do was slot the handle into the base and make sure it clicked into place. I didnt think it seemed enough to hold the handle in place, but its very sturdy with no wobbling at all.
This brightly coloured scooter is really sturdy and my daughter has spent hours zipping around on it and loves it. This scooter costs us just £20 in B&M, and they also sold the same kind of scooter with a Mickey and Minnie Mouse design on it for the same price, and I noticed yesterday the Hello Kitty 3 wheel scooter with a slightly different design around the handlebars was on sale in Argos for £24.99. As I said my daughter is dinky for her age, and right now this scooter is the perfect height for her and would last her height wise at least until her next birthday, but I would say this scooter would be great for kids aged 3 to around 6 - my friends 3 year old had a go on this the other day and had no problems with the height of it.
After using a 2-in-1 anti dandruff shampoo for the last few weeks, my hair was in desperate need of some tlc. Although my hair was dandruff free, it was dry, brittle, dull, and even though my natural hair has a tendency to be straw like, it felt really horrible, as if I could just snap it off. I usually spend a lot of time blow drying and straightening my hair but it felt so bad I didn't dare risk adding heat damage to it, so have had it twisted up into a bun for weeks.
A few days ago, I decided I had been flake free for a while and it was time to get some life back into it. At this point, I would like to point out I am a bit of a cheapskate - well, not really but I do think that lately the price of shampoo and conditioners is ridiculous, so I tend to be buy Tesco cheaper brands. But I noticed that for the price of my usual Tesco branded shampoo, I could spend 80p more for L'oreal, as the big bottles are on sale for £2.00, even more perfect as I also have a lot of long, thick hair, so big bottles at that price seem a bargain to me.
The L'oreal Elvive Nutri Gloss bottles stand out on the shelf as they are a bright pink colour, with an even brighter pink flip lid. The big bottles are 400ml. The bottle claims that Nutri Gloss is a shine shampoo, which apppeals to me as my hair is naturally quite dull, but I was totally sold by the small description at the bottle that says for mid to long, dull hair...my hair to a tee!
The bottle claims to give results in the form of 'Mirror shine, Cashmere touch'. 'It sounded like the medicine my hair needed!
So, how do they get these results? Well, L'oreal let us in on that secret! For the Mirror shine - ' Enriched with Pearl (which we are told in the small print is actually Mother of Pearl powder) the formula illuminates and smoothes the hair's surface for better light reflection and a mesmerising shine.
Cashmere touch - Now even more concentrated with protein, the formula helps nourish each hair fibre for glossy, irresistible cashmere softness from root to tip.
So, I put it to the test!
To use, its like pretty much every other shampoo out there, wet hair, then I applied a large dollop to my hair and worked into a lather, rinse until hair is clean (and then follow with conditioner)
The shampoo has a very light fragrance, something that smells slightly sweet but not sickly. There is no mention of what that may be on the bottle but it is quite a nice smell. It is a pink shampoo, with a slightly pearlescent look to it. Quite thick, it has an expensive look to it, not like the cheap ones that are really runny. When I applied, it lathered really quickly and foamed up really well, producing a lot of suds. It also rinsed out really well, too.
I left my hair to dry naturally overnight. Usually I wake up looking like I have a birds nest on my head when I go to bed with wet hair and it is really difficult to manage. I had intended to just wash my hair again and blow dry it, thinking it would need a few washes before it would start to feel normal again. But I woke up the next morning and my hair felt soft and silky, and even though there is no mention of it on the bottle, my usual frizz was a lot calmer than it tends to be (which is usually bad!) So I decided that maybe I didnt need to re wash it again and decided to get my GHD's out already.
After my hair is straightened is usually when it is in its best condition. It is straight, with no wierdly kinky curls, not much frizz, and looks healthier than my natural hair. While using my straighteners I noticed it wasn't quite as much hardwork to get through as any other time, and that when it was done, my hair was so smooth, like it never has been before, and there was an actual shine! For the first time in 28 years my hair was shining! It looked amazing. Even to the extent that my husband got confused and asked if I had been to the hairdressers (Confused him as in the 12 years we have been together I have been to a hairdressers just twice!) It looked and felt great and gave mu more confidence too.
I would just like to point out that although I have only reviewed the shampoo, I did also use the matching conditioner, too.
I am always finding a new shampoo and saying it is a new favourite, but my hair has never been in this good condition my entire life, so this one will definately be my favourite now, and I will buy this a lot, in fact I am going to stock up and buy a few more bottles while it is still on sale in Tescos so I have plenty in before I have to pay full price, but for this cheapskate, I will even pay full price for this!
I used to have a dressing table full of bottles of perfumes, but a few months ago I was gutted when I realised I had emptied all of them and had nothing left. I was browsing through an Avon catalogue and although I don't usually go for their perfumes, their double page on the Herve Leger perfumes really jumped out to me, mainly due to the fact that it wasn't an Avon one, but this was a serious designer, and secondly, at the time the perfume was on offer at £10 a bottle. Bargain!
Herve Leger, if you don't know, are probably most famous for their 'bandage dresses'. Super tight dresses worn by stunning models and celebrities that look amazing. I am NEVER going to look anything but laughable in a bandage dress, so the appeal of at least being able to smell like on of those women was what pushed me to order the bottle.
It arrived in a sleek, brushed effect silver box with Herve Leger Femme written in the centre. There is no fuss, just a very sophisticated looking box. Already I could tell this was a designer fragrance, and not just one of the celebrity perfumes, which seem to come in a cheaper looking box.
Inside, is a stunning bottle. Yes, I am one of those people who likes the bottle too! I am drawn to perfumes that have eye catching bottles, and this one does not fail to impress. While it is a fairly simple design, there is something about it that is just...wow. The glass is cut pretty thick, and the bottle is a rectangular shape. There is a kind of criss cross shaped through the middle and the Herve Leger Femme branding exactly the same as on the box is in the centre. The lid is a smaller rectangle shape, that pulls off easily.
The bottle does sound quite simple looking, and I cannot fathom why I think it looks so much more than it sounds. Maybe its the perfume inside that makes the look so much more. The fragrance inside is a lovely shade of pale pink, really pretty looking. Feminine, but not garish at all.
So, what does it smell like? Well, officially, the top notes are pink grapefruit and magnolia, the middle notes are woodsy notes and African orange flower, and the base notes are vanilla, cypress, and benzion.
The first time I sprayed this I thought I had made a huge mistake, it seemed very heavy, overpowering and strong. I am more prone to light fragrances, and this seemed way too much. Like a really heavy musky scent - now Im not too good at guessing a lot of these things - but I assume was maybe the woodsy notes?, but, in less than a minute, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief as the fragrance seemed to settle into my skin and become more subtle. For me, I think the smell I mostly pick up on is the pink grapefruit, but I do get the waft of what I can only describe as a sweetness, which I guess comes from the vanilla, but doesn't give off that strong vanilla scent. There are other scents mingled in, but if I am being honest, I have no idea what African orange flower, or benzoin smell like so I wouldnt be able to pick them out!
I usually spray 3 blasts of this in a morning, two on either side of my neck, and one on my wrist. I then rub my wrists together. I do this before 8am every morning, and at 6pm I can still smell it on my wrist, not as strong as first thing but the smell is definitely still there.
When I first bought this, because of the fact it was heavier than any of my usual fragrances, I thought I would keep this for nights out, but after a while I realised I couldnt resist spraying this every morning because I love the smell so much. My husband said this suits me much more than any of my fragrances ever have - he did say it suits me more as my older perfumes were maybe too young, and the fact they were still the kind of fragrances I had been wearing since my mid teens said that maybe it was time for a change. I think he pretty much told me Im getting old, but he buttered me up by saying how much sexier my new smell is haha!
I do wear this out on evenings and nights out, too. Spritzing a few more sprays over the perfume I have been wearing during the day makes it stronger without being too over the top. My friends have pointed out many times how gorgeous it smells and I have recommended this so many times already.
For just £10 for this 50ml bottle, its a bargain, and I would happily pay double for this bottle without hesitation. I just hope this is a regular in the Avon book so I can easily get a hold of it, as I use it so much I am already halfway through my bottle!
I have long, thick hair, and my best friends mum is always fiddling with it and says she has hair envy! About a year ago, she was looking and asked if I had considered dying it purple. At the time my hair was a boring brown, and I am usually someone who likes bright and bold colours on my hair. The next day, she turned up with a purple hair dye for me!
At the time I had never seen these Shake it up foams, they were pretty new on the scene a year ago. I tried looking on the Shwarzkopf website but couldnt actually find any information on them there, but did come across their official Facebook page for them. On there I could see they have 8 shades available, Red berry burst, Blueberry crush, Dark cherry bliss, Black velvet crush, Cranberry kick, Violet berry burst, Dark toffee swirl, and Dark chocolate delight. The shade I had was the violet berry burst.
The packaging is different to a norma home hair dye kit. Instead of coming in a box, this looks almost like a takeaway milkshake bottle, with a rounded cardboard container, and a domed plastic lid. The colouring is blue, which fits in with the other dyes in the XXL range, the same as the picture of the models. The XXL range always has a male and female model, the female always being the more prominent of the two, with their hairs dyed the colour of the dye. The Violet berry burst models hairs are a a gorgeous deep, but vibrant shade of purple, and I was so excited to try it out.
The first time it was used, my friend helped me out applying it, but when I used it again a month or so later, it was easy enough to apply myself. You just add the contents to the pot, place the lid on, and shake. The contents will turn into a foam, that you can then just scoop out and apply. It doesnt look very secure, but the lid manages to stay put!
It soon became obvious on the first application that there wasnt enough foam for my hair, but I should have known better as the length and thickness of my hair, there arent very many home dyes I can use without needing at least two packs. My friend dealt with this the first time by applying the dye mainly to the top and back of my hair so the underneath was still brown and I didnt have purple patches. We applied another pot to the rest of my hair the following day.
One thing about these dyes I liked was the smell. Instead of a strong ammonia smell you get with most dyes, these ones are fruity scented. They still have that slight chemically smell to them, but mixed with the strong fruity smell, it isnt too bad at all.
After waiting approximately 30 minutes for the colour to develop, we rinsed it off, and I dried my hair. I was pretty disappointed. My hair was darker, and it looked slightly purple, but it was nowhere near the vibrancy shown on the box. It wasnt until a bit later we went outside, and my friend pointed out that in the daylight, my hair was a lot more vibrant, but still not what the box showed. Which is all good, but I dont plan on being outside all day!
It was just 4 weeks later when the dye started to wear off, and as I couldnt decide on another colour I liked, I decided I would reapply this one. This second application is what put me off these, as I think I began to have an allergic reaction to it. I did the application in the evening, and the next morning I woke with a pounding headache, and my eyes felt puffy and swollen, and I was slightly warm. The only thing I could put this down to was the hair dye. Luckily these effects slowly disappeared after taking an anti histamine, but it was enough to freak me out of using these. That along with the short time required between reapplications and the lack of vibrancy were enough to put me off these for life.
Living in a house with 3 children, I am always hunting high and low for pens! Its like magic, one minute they are there, the next they are gone! So recently, I noticed a bag of various Bic pens in Poundland for...you guessed it, a pound, and decided I would buy them and keep them as my hidden stash! Two of the best pens in the packet were the 4 colour pens.
I always remember being in high school when I think of these pens, I had one and it was my favourite pen out of a massive variety my pencil case held, mainly because of the convenience of it.
Slightly chunkier than a bog standard Bic biro, these pens are different because they hold four different colours in one pen. The bottom half of these tend to be either blue (my high school pen!) or pink (my new ones). They may be available in other colours but I havent seen them. The top half of the pen is white, and at the end, going around the pen, are four different coloured 'switches'. The most popular of these pens tends to have blue, black, green and red. To choose one of the colours, you just slide the switch down, and it will click into place. To put the nib away, you can lightly push down one of the switches and the nip will pop back inside the pen, preventing the ink from drying out.
These pens were always convenient for school work, as some teachers preferred blue/black ink, and then we could use the green and red for underlining, or any corrections etc on our work. I am sure they would be just as handy in an office, too.
My newest pen is a slightly funkier version. Instead of the black/blue/green/red combination, I have two nibs of pink ink, and two of a sky blue colour. While these would probably not be great for school or an office, they are good enough for me for notes around the house and the endless supply of permission slips for the kids school I have to fill out!
I always find these pens to be great writers, the ink runs smoothly and there is never any blotting. I do remember my sister owning one of these and her black never was smooth, it would be blotchy and kind of scratchy to write with, so either I have been lucky or she got a bad pen!
Another bonus with these is you can easily check to see if your ink is running low. They screw apart in the middle, making it simple to see the cartridges inside.
As I said at the beginning of my review, I managed to get my latest pen in a mixed bag with other Bic pens from Poundland for just £1. A quick look on Amazon shows you can pick up the black/blue combi pen for as little as £1.34, which I think is a great price for this nifty little pen, as really you are paying for four!
Possibly one of the most famous vodka's, Smirnoff is easily recognisable by its red label. All Smirnoff vodka comes in a clear bottle, with a bright red Smirnoff label across the centre, and also has a a matching screw top lid.
Smirnoff is a Russian vodka, created in the 1800's, although it is owned now by a UK company. There is obviously a lot of history behind Smirnoff, the label on the back of the bottle tells us :
' Made using a traditional charcoal filtration method developed by P.A Smirnoff. Recipe No.21 was created by P.A's son Vladamir after escaping Russia and the Bolshevik revolution.' The front label of the bottle also tells us that the brand is honouring P.A Smirnoff, a purveyor to the Russian Imperial Court. noff. Recipe No.21 was created by P.A's son Vladamir after escaping Russia and the Bolshevik revolution.' It sounds like the Smirnoff family have a very interesting history!
The vodka itself is a clear liquid spirit. Another label at the bottom of the bottle tells us that the 70cl bottle is 37.5%, which is pretty strong! I personally think it is best drunk with mixers, I once did a shot of vodka in my younger days, never again! It is so strong it really burnt my mouth and throat and was not something I would call a pleasant experience.
There are many mixers you can drink Smirnoff with, coke, orange, and my personal tipple of favour, lemonade and lime, which I find very refreshing. Smirnoff have also started bringing out a range of flavoured vodkas, I have tried the apple one, and the lime one. I don't find these appealing to be honest, its like they have a horrible after kick to them, and prefer to use normal mixers rather than the flavoured bottles.
There are probably hundreds of cocktails that call for the use of vodka too.
Interestingly enough, I also recently found another use for vodka, and not for drinking! I have been self teaching myself the art of cake decorating, and learnt a new skill of painting on cakes. To do this I mix some lustre powder dusts with a little bit of vodka and paint on the the cakes. I first tried it a few weeks ago on an engagement cake for my little brother and stencilled on a pattern, and was complimented all night on how good it looked. And you use such a tiny amount of vodka there is no taste to it, so it is safe to use.
Smirnoff vodka is widely available just about anywhere that stocks alcohol. Bottles come in a range of sizes, from tiny little minature one drink bottles, right up to litre sized ones. I am currently looking at prices on Tescos, and see that a litre bottle is selling at £15, while a half litre bottle is £14.98, so its worth having a look at the different sizes for money saving deals!
For me, Smirnoff is the only vodka I drink, I cant expalin the taste but I find other vodkas harsher on my throat and Smirnoff is just perfect and smooth. I have tried a few and none live up to the great Smirnoff!
We recently decorated our bedroom, cream with a feature wall of fuchsia pink with a black and pink border. The wall looked amazing, really stood out, and I as our bedding, curtains and so on are cream, I wanted some fuchsia accessories for the room that really stood out.
As someone who goes to bed every night armed with a book, I decided my first buy would be a bedside lamp. As I tend to do with colour schemes now, I headed straight to Argos to check out the Colour Match section.
If you don't already know, Colour Match is a range from Argos that has various items ranging of products for the entire household , from lamps, to weighing scales, to toilet seats! There are 12 colours in the range: Apple green, chocolate, lagoon, purple fizz, ocean blue, super white, fiesta blue, true purple, jet black, poppy red, cream and the colour I wanted, funky fuchsia.
There were a few lamps available in the fuchsia, but I am a bargain hunter, and when I spotted this plastic lamp at just £2.99, I couldn't resist such a low price!
The base of the lamp is the plastic part. Its also a see through plastic, although coloured too, but you can see through it. I actually quite like this, you can see the wire coming down the middle,and there is a small hole to the back of the plastic that the plug has been threaded through.
The lampshade is good quality, I thought it would be really thin and flimsy for the price, but it is quite thick and sturdy.
It requires a golf ball light bulb, that is very simple to screw in, but does not come provided with one, so check out the Argos catalogue for deals as they often have special offers on when purchasing lamps!
I noticed on the website that the picture of the lamp in the fuchsia colour I have makes it look more red than pink, but it really is not/ It is a deep pink, not bright or 'bubblegum barbie' pink, but definately fits the fuchsia description, so if an item from the Colour Match range doesn't look like the colour you want online or in the book, it is worth going in store and asking to view the items to get a better idea of the colours.
As for the lamp, itself, it works great! Once I had managed to quickly screw in the light bulb, I plugged it in, and there is a white on/off flick switch about 15cm down the cable. I prefer these to the old fashioned buttons that used to be close to the bulb, this way if the bulb gets hot you won't burn your fingers!
For small lamp, it gives out a good amount of light, although the actual brightness depends on your bulb, but I have a soft glow bulb in mine, which gives me ample lighting to read on a night, and also enough that I can see around the room well enough.
For a bedroom lamp at under £3, this is an amazing buy! Well worth every penny. I even went and bought another for my daughters bedroom, and she uses this much more than her tall standing lamp now.