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What do you do when you're playing through Fallout New Vegas and gamers' fatigue kicks in: you're flying through the missions, you've explored the length and breath of the Mojave, you've crucified Caesar/NCR/everyone you've ever met and you just fancy a new challenge? Head to the Sierra Madre of course! Haven't you heard the advert on your pipboy? There's a grand opening to get to!
For those of you who are wondering what on earth I'm going on about, Dead Money is a downloadable add-on that can be purchased to extend the game play (in terms of time, story and levels) of Fallout New Vegas. Dead Money is currently only available for Xbox 360 Fallout fans, but there is talk of bringing it to other gaming platforms soon. First of all, what is Fallout New Vegas? Well, it's a role-playing game set after a nuclear war. Your character wanders the Mojave wasteland around Las Vegas completing missions and generally deciding everyone's fate. Fallout New Vegas is enormous and requires a separate review to explain, so I won't go into further details here. I have written a separate review for Fallout New Vegas on Dooyoo with the title 'DIY Ending'. Please feel free to read that review for a complete explanation of the game before continuing with this review if you feel lost already.
So, now we're on to Dead Money. The first thing that will happen when you install this add-on is that a message will flash up on your screen informing you that you've picked up a radio broadcast. It's an advert for the grand opening of the Sierra Madre Casino and it promises to be one hell of an event. But wait! It's a trap! Too late... On tracing the source of the broadcast you're going to be gassed, stripped of all your weapons and amour and to add insult to injury, when you wake up you'll find a sociopath has fitted you with an exploding neck collar and is forcing you to do his bidding - or kaboom! Oh dear. Boy were you suckered: no weapons, no amour and a job to do.
What is the job though? The man who had you gassed and fitted with your snazzy new neckwear turns out to be Father Elijah, the former head of the Brotherhood of Steel. (The Brotherhood is one of the main factions involved in Fallout New Vegas and its predecessor, Fallout 3.) Father Elijah has been disgraced after making an almighty miscalculation and killing swathes of his own men and rather than facing the music, he ran. Although it is close by no-one would follow him to the Sierra Madre for very good reason - it's a scary place (more on that later). Years alone have sent Father Elijah quite mad and he has become obsessed with his goal of cracking open the Sierra Madre casino vault, where it is reputed the largest amount of treasure in the Mojave can be found. Father Elijah has spent years luring people to the casino to help him crack the vault. It's impossible to do it alone because the mechanism of the vault is directly linked to the opening ceremony. This requires several people to be in different places at the same time. It's also impossible to do it alone because of the 'residents' of the Sierra Madre.
'Residents? I thought this was post-nuclear war, who'd survive that?' you might ask. Well, some of the casino's former employees apparently. The casino was at just the right distance to be saturated in toxic gas. These unfortunate workers donned their 'Hazmat' radiation suits to protect themselves but instead became trapped inside the suits and transformed into weird, twisted, irradiated freaks whose only desire is to kill. These delightful residents took the name 'Ghost People' and without all your weapons, they're formidable enemies. Oh, and that gas problem hasn't gone away years later either. Another joy of the Sierra Madre is wandering through clouds of the toxic red gas, concealing your enemies and sapping your health.
The fun's just begun though. Remember that I said this vault heist wasn't a one man job? Well, that's your mission here. You have to 'recruit' other people to your team (why you have to recruit them when Father Elijah's already bagged and tagged them too I have no idea - but you have to convince them nonetheless). Your new best friends are: Dean Domino - a singer at the casino who has been 'ghoulified' by the radiation, Christine - a mute girl trapped in an 'autodoc' machine and finally Dog and God. Dog and God is in fact just one person, well mutant. He is schizophrenic and Dog and God each represent a separate personality.
Once you've assembled your crew, it's then you can begin your heist. The story centres around you preparing for and completing this heist. Once again, endings can vary depending on your decisions and I have no wish to spoil the surprise by discussing possible endings. After you've completed the heist however, you're free to go and the add-on is completed. So is it worth buying at 800 Microsoft points (about £7.50 to you and me)?
Dead Money has to be one of my favourite parts of Fallout New Vegas. As I've discussed in my New Vegas review, many gamers have complained that 'hardcore' mode in New Vegas isn't that hard - it is in Dead Money. It's a proper challenge to find food, a safe place to sleep and to keep your companions from dying in this hellhole! To make things even more difficult, Father Elijah has linked all your collars - that's right, one dies, you all die. Despite the lethal link, your companions can be surprisingly unwilling to co-operate and persuading them can be a challenge. Sleeping here is also difficult. The smallest of openings to the outside renders a bed useless due to the toxic gas; of the many mattresses lying about, you'll find very few you can actually use. Food and fresh water is extremely scarce. Even when you find a weapon, ammo is even scarcer than food. This is the challenge hardcore players signed up for. The game will warn you before you enter the add-on that only players who have reached level 20 or above should attempt Dead Money and I think that's reasonable.
The added bonus of Dead Money is that it raises the game's level cap from 30 to 35, giving you 5 extra levels of points and skills to distribute to your character. Dead Money extends the game play by a good 20 hours. I think that's great value for money. You will also find unique weapons and clothing to bring back in to the Mojave with you to liven up your game. Collectable fans should be sure not to miss the 'Sierra Madre Snowglobe' for a bonus 2000 caps (Fallout money).
Well, all good things come to an end and that is my only criticism. Just like the main story of New Vegas, once you've completed Dead Money, you cannot return to the Sierra Madre. Dead Money reminds me of 'The Pitt' add-on for Fallout 3: dark and foreboding but once you've done it, there's an amazing sense of achievement. Sometimes, you want to be able to go back and relive your glory! Previous add-ons (such as The Pitt) have allowed players to travel back there and explore at will, so why can't Dead Money?
All-in-all, Dead Money is a brilliant add-on. If you're finding New Vegas just too easy, Dead Money is the add-on you've been waiting for. It's extremely sinister and hard work playing through it all but it's worth it!
I couldn't be without my guinea pigs. It's amazing how addictive they are. Most people will melt when they hold one. As with all animals though, they take some work and you should never buy one without considering the implications. I have kept guinea pigs since I was ten years old, 18 years in total, so I definitely speak from experience here. The most I've kept at one time was 13 - practically the whole back garden was devoted to them. Guinea pigs don't have the longest lifespan, about four years, and as old age carried my herd off, I wasn't allowed to replace the numbers due to my imminent leaving home and going off to university. I had four relatively pig-free years at university (save my trips home - my mother loves them as much as me and still kept a couple) then I returned home and immediately purchased a couple of long haired guinea pigs to keep me company. Since then, I've added a third. Now I'm in my own home, I don't have the space I once did so I'm unable to return to a garden full and sadly, I think three piggies are my current limit.
The thing about guinea pigs is that they are so loving. A lot of people find that small animals don't 'love you back' like a dog or cat (being a small animal fan, I dispute that) but with guinea pigs, it's different. My guinea pigs can certainly tell the difference between me (the bringer of cucumber) and other people. I have one guinea pig that will actually take flying leaps out of guest's arms to get to me: the highest compliment! Guinea pigs are particularly recommended as a first pet for small children due to their size being larger than other small animals (making them easier to hold and less fragile) but mainly because they rarely, if ever, bite. In 18 years, I've only ever had one 'biter' and that's because she was poorly and in pain: after we fixed that, no more bites.
Guinea pigs love to be picked up and will demand your attention! Unlike other small animals, they're very 'vocal' and have a variety of different squeaks and rumbling noises which they will use constantly to talk to you and other pigs. Don't buy one expecting a quiet animal - they don't shut up! I find the noises cute though, as do most people, and they are not overly loud, like a dog barking for example. The other thing to mention here is my comment about them talking to each other: yes, that's right, you will need at least two. You can not just buy one - it's cruel. Although unscrupulous outlets may sell single guinea pigs, reputable breeders will only let single pigs go if you already have others to keep them company. Guinea pigs are extremely social animals, living in large 'herds' in the wild. They need company and will be absolutely miserable alone, even if you handle and play with them everyday. You should not go into guinea pig ownership unless you can house at least two.
So, you've decided to get two or more. What should you expect now? Well first of all, stock up on supplies. You're going to need a large enough cage for your pigs. The standard size hutches sold in pet shops will only house two; any more and you're going to need more hutches or a proper run. This is the most expensive initial outlay. I purchased my last standard size cage five years ago. It cost me £50.00 and I'm sure prices will have risen since then. Your guinea pigs cost will vary depending on where you buy from. For various reasons, I have concerns about buying animals from pet shops and recommend you find a reputable breeder, or rescue. Pet shops will charge around £15.00 a pig and breeders the same, although breeders usually give heavy discounts on pairs or trios to encourage you to keep your pigs in groups. You may see guinea pigs housed with rabbits in pet shops but don't even think about it! A rabbit will not fulfil a guinea pig's social needs and sharing can be downright dangerous. One good kick from a rabbit's hind legs and your piggy's going to heaven. Aside from the immediate danger, guinea pigs have very special dietary requirements that differ from rabbits. Sharing food runs the risk of the guinea pig becoming malnourished.
So you have your hutch/cage and your guinea pigs. Now you need to get them comfy. You'll need: a good supply of newspapers to line the cage, chunky wood shavings (not fine wood shavings/sawdust and no cedarwood or pine, all of which cause respiratory problems and massive vet's bills in guinea pigs), hay (not straw, which is too hard and sharp for delicate eyes and mouths), guinea pig dry food, a food bowl, a water bottle and some nice wooden toys to chew on. All this could easily run up to another £30.00. You should purchase a decent ceramic food bowl. As with all rodents, guinea pigs are chewers and will shred plastic bowls in a matter of days (not to mention electrical wires, fabrics and anything else within mouth-range). This is also why you need to buy plenty of wooden toys. Rodents need to chew constantly to wear down their teeth. Problems with teeth can result in vet's bills and even death if the guinea pig's eating is affected. The newspapers, hay, dried food and wood shavings will be ongoing for the lives of your animals. Hay is required daily - guinea pigs need hay to 'process' their poop (sorry!). Stocking up on hay, food, wood shavings and paper each week costs me about £10.00 for my three piggies. You will need to clean your piggies twice a week and scoop out their 'poop corner' every day.
Aside from these basic costs are other expenses. The guinea pig's dietary needs are specialist mainly because they cannot produce or store Vitamin C and require a good dose every day to stay in optimum health. Some owners crush Vitamin C tablets into the water supply but the best and most stimulating way is fresh veg. Unlike rabbits who can get by on the humble carrot, guinea pigs need their veg to be dark, leafy and full of Vitamin C. Kale and cabbage greens are particular good for this but most pigs love cucumber and salad leaves too. My guinea pigs get fresh veg every day, this probably costs me about £5.00 a week, and you should be prepared to do the same. It is important to note that your dry food should be especially for guinea pigs: rabbit food just doesn't contain the required Vitamin C.
As for other expenses, well - VET BILLS! When I purchased my very first guinea pig, insurance just wasn't available for them. It is now, but only through two or three specialist companies (you can find them on the internet). If you decide to purchase insurance though, you have to weigh it up. Most guinea pigs I've kept have only ever needed one visit to the vet in their lifetime, costing about £20.00 a time, usually for mites they caught outside or in a bad batch of hay. A quick injection and they were good as new, never seeing a vet again for as long as they lived. Some piggies of mine have never seen a vet. So when you get your insurance quote for £6.00 a month, you have to wonder if it's worth it. I would insure a dog or cat no questions asked, but a guinea pig? Well, you have to make your own choice about that I'm afraid.
On the other hand, that average four year lifespan can stretch to eight years and the older your animal gets, the more likely it is to need a visit to the vet. When you buy your guinea pig, you should prepare yourself for an eight year lifespan, not four. Can you devote eight to ten years? My oldest piggy is six and early last year, at five years old, she finally needed to see a vet. One morning we woke up to find her back legs completely paralysed. Thank goodness it was only a temporarily slipped disc but it took £100 of x-rays and £200 of steroid and antibiotic treatment to clear (no insurance remember!). She's now happily running around on all fours again and showing no signs of letting old age slow her down.
The final point to make about vets and guinea pigs is that believe it or not, guinea pigs are classed as 'exotic pets'. Finding a vet that has the specialist knowledge to treat a guinea pig properly is like finding a needle in a haystack sometimes. I've had some great vets but also some who were clearly uncomfortable with exotics. My poor pig with the slipped disc was threatened with being put to sleep by the first vet we saw, simply because he didn't know what else to do. Thank God for his brighter colleague who seemed to love her as much me. Most experienced guinea pig owners will warn you to brush up on basic vet care before you buy. Learning how to clip your guinea pig's nails and in the case of boys, how to remove impacted poop (sorry again!) is a must. For the love of God, please don't venture into breeding without a good vet on speed dial. For my last litter, I had to help my girl give birth (this is quite common) then hand rear a pup she rejected. As in the human world, not all girls make good mothers. My advice: don't breed unless you know what you're doing and already have good homes lined up.
In summary, guinea pigs are beautiful, sweet little animals that (unless you want to breed from them) generally need the minimum of veterinary care. They are excellent with even small children. As with all animals though, it pays to remember you're buying a living being that needs as much attention as any other member of your family.
Here at the Mc. residence, we were in desperate need of a new phone. The old one had been battling for months, dropping calls and generally misbehaving - it was time to retire. Although our phone receives more than its share of usage (both our mothers love to talk); we don't give our number out, remain ex-directory and prefer not to have an answer phone so we don't have to return calls if they're not wanted (I'm not going to say which family member here but they know who they are!!). So we didn't want to spend money on a phone with a huge range of features we'd never use. Seeing as it's just the two of us, we also didn't need a second or third handset, which so many cordless phones have now. In short, the kind of phone we were after was fairly basic but I still didn't want it to look 'cheap'.
Mr. Mc. loathes shopping. I could have picked up a squeaky dog toy shaped like a phone and he would have said something along the lines of 'Yeah, great. Can we go home now?' So I was really surprised when in our third shop I found him with the Siemens Gigaset AL180 in his hand. What had drawn him in was the price initially - £26.99. That morning we'd already discussed budget and neither of us wanted to pay over £40.00 for the kind of basic phone we wanted. The AL180 comes in an orange and yellow box with a picture of the phone on the front and a couple of symbols highlighting various features of the phone (which I will discuss throughout the review).
So Mr. Mc. liked the price. For me though, I'm quite environmentally conscious and as long as we were within a reasonable budget, the eco credentials would come first. One of the symbols on the front of the box says 'ECO DECT'. On the side on the box, it tells us that ECO DECT means an overall reduction of 60% power usage due to its energy efficiency, a 100% reduction of transmitting power in standby mode and up to 80% reduction in power in talk mode. The box also states that despite the reduction in power, you will get 210 hours of standby and 25 hours of talk time out of a fully charged battery.
The look of the phone was also pleasing for £26.99. The model was black and although it does state there are different colours, black was the only model we saw. It's fairly slim for a cordless: 2cm thick and stands at 14cm tall and nearly 5cm wide. I find this to be a really comfortable size to hold, even for my very small hands. We agreed that this phone was the right price, didn't look awful and cheap and was environmentally sound too.
When we got it home, I opened the box and started to set it up. I'm really not very technical and I managed this with no issues or help from hubby whatsoever. Inside the box you'll find: a simple instruction manual, one handset plus batteries, a base unit, a power lead and a telephone cable. The instruction manual is multi-lingual, which normally I hate as I find it so confusing navigating to the English parts in each section, but this was well laid out and extremely simple to follow. The first thing to do is attach the base unit to the power lead. Then you can attach the telephone cable. After that you register your handset by scrolling to 'register HS' on the simple menu and pressing OK. The phone automatically registers the handset to the base unit for you and viola! You're ready to make your first call.
Like most cordless phones, the batteries are rechargeable and require some care. First you have to leave the handset charging for a full 8 hours in the base unit, then remove the handset from the cradle and let the battery drain. After that, you can replace the handset back on the base after every call. This is no problem to perform and standard procedure to protect the battery life. Whilst it was on its first charge, I set about adding our numbers into the phone book. Again, this was really simple and fully explained in the manual. You simply press the button with the book icon, then new entry, add the number, add the name and press OK. I can't overstress - this really is one of the simplest phones I've ever had. For a budget phone, it also has an impressive 40 entry phone book, which won't fit everyone but covers family and close friends so suits our needs perfectly.
The Gigaset comes in various different models which have answer phones and more complicated features like messaging but as we went for the basic model, I can't discuss those features here. If you're looking for a phone packed with features, get a different model. My one gripe is that this phone only has 10 different ringtones, none of which I find offensive but none of which I find particularly inspiring. But you can't get everything for £26.99 so I'm certainly not complaining. As for the promised battery life - Siemens keep their promises: draining the battery down took 3 full days of stand by and making a few calls. The sound quality on these calls has also been superb. I have every faith then that this phone will continue to perform, but just in case, Siemens also include a helpline number on the front of the manual and a 24 month guarantee at the back. If you're after an inexpensive basic cordless phone, I really think you can't go wrong with the Gigaset AL180.
I'm a bit tea obsessed and have a tendency to go through about eight cups a day; I have to have two before I even leave the house in the morning. So after a recent visit to the Dr. I had a total flap when I was advised to stop drinking caffeine. Now I like fruit teas, but most of the time I want a nice strong cuppa with milk; so I knew total replacement with fruit teas just wasn't an option. The T.V. adverts for Tetley Redbush really caught my attention then when I saw the lady clearly enjoying what looked like a normal cuppa, with milk, whilst completely avoiding any caffeine.
I did a bit of research on the internet and found that Redbush tea also contains far less tannins than standard black tea, another health point to Redbush then. (I was also told the tannins weren't going to do me any favours either.) I went to the supermarket and picked up a pack of Tetley Redbush (without vanilla). As soon as I opened the packet, the smell of rolling tobacco hit me. I'm not a smoker and found that really unpleasant. I'd purchased a pack of 40 teabags and found it a real struggle to get through them but I felt I had to now black tea was out-of-bounds. So when I'd finished the pack, I asked my husband to pick me up another on his next trip to the shops.
He came home not realising that he'd unwittingly picked up Tetley Vanilla Redbush. In fairness, the packs look extremely similar. A pack of 40 Vanilla Redbush set us back £1.69, so slightly more than supermarket black tea but not excessively expensive. The teabags are loose inside the distinctive red box. The box has a white pattern on the front and the Tetley logo with 'Vanilla Redbush' written underneath. You can clearly see you're getting 40 teabags for your money and that is also on the front of the box above the Tetley logo. I decided to give the pack a go now they were home, even though the taste combination seemed bizarre to me.
As soon as I opened the pack, that familiar rolling tobacco scent hit me, tempered with a sharp, overly sweet scent of vanilla. Erghh... I was sure I wasn't going to like it but I was desperate for a brew. I don't drink my tea with sugar and found the sweet smell really off-putting.
Ok, remember the tannin bit? Well I like my tea strong and it's the tannins that help give that lovely strong flavour. Due to Redbush's much lower tannin content it doesn't brew as strongly as black tea. The tea will be a much paler red colour (and a much weaker brew) than you're used to unless you brew it for longer and add less milk. The vanilla does give the tea sweetness but only very slightly; it doesn't taste as sickly sweet as it smells and I found despite not liking sweet tea, the vanilla addition has not put me off.
After drinking this tea exclusively for 6 months, I am now really used it and quite like it. Although I still find the smell of the dried leaves to be a bit 'funny', I actually put this in my shopping trolley on a weekly basis. Though that's because I felt I had no choice but to get used to drinking Redbush. It's definitely an acquired taste and took me a good three or four packs to get used to. My mother, father and husband have all tried this Vanilla Redbush and pronounced it 'disgusting' - my thoughts exactly for the first month of drinking it.
I've given it three stars out of five because although I like it, I'm sure that's only through necessity. I can't recommend it to anyone because the flavour is just too 'weird'; I don't think anyone reading this is thinking 'Yum - tobacco and vanilla! My favourite!' In short, if caffeine's now off limits and you have the time and patience to get used to this tea, you will eventually like it. If you pick up a packet just because you fancy a chance one day, you'll probably bin it that afternoon.
Oh, what's a girl to do when her husband comes home a little tipsy, falls into the toilet and rips the seat clean off? (I really, really wish that was a joke. Two words: Stag Night. Of course you have to try and keep up with the groom. Well, 10 out of 10 for trying honey... ) I suppose the first thing to do is assess the damage - husband will live (I'm feeling generous) but toilet seat has not fared so well. The two locking poles that attach the seat to lid now look more like one and a half poles.
The only thing I can think of to fix it is the tube of Locktite in the kitchen drawer. It was purchased from a pound shop, but it was slightly more expensive, about £2.00. Of course, the RRP is higher, I believe it to be £3.49, but I can't abide cheap superglues; they never seem to stick properly for me. Locktite is suitable for plastics and that's all I needed to know at that point - the thought of going a night without a working toilet seat, it's enough to send shudders down your spine.
I'm afraid the glue was purchased a while ago, so I no longer have the paper packaging but on the image for this review, you can see it's basically blue paper with the red, white and blue 'Locktite Super Glue' logo on the top and I'm pretty sure that's what it looked like when I picked it up 6 months ago. Locktite's a well known brand and I don't think you would miss this packaging in the shop. The usual precautions and provisos apply with all superglue: Don't get it on your skin, don't inhale it, don't ingest it, don't let children anywhere near it obviously. Also now, you will find that most stores will not sell superglue to under-16s (a good thing I think) so you can't send your kiddies off to the shop for a pack if you run out, you'll have to buy it yourself.
It looks like any other tube of superglue. It's a white plastic bottle with the blue and red Locktite logo on the front and a black screw top. Each bottle contains 5g of superglue. The only real difference to other brands is a slightly longer nozzle - I think that's why it's classed as precision. I have to say that when I've used other superglue in the past, I've always ended up with loads coming out and gluing everything around me. Locktite seems to fare better here; the speed at which the glue comes out is a little slower affording more control (probably due to the longer nozzle and therefore, smaller hole). Another good point is that the six months or so it's been left after opening in my kitchen drawer don't seem to have hampered the quality of the glue: I'm impressed.
I find the odour of all superglues to be offensive though and this one is no exception. I don't like breathing the stuff in. It does dry very quickly though and within a minute or two my poor toilet seat was ready to be put back where it belonged. Looking up Locktite on the internet, it seems it will glue more than toilet seats(!) with wood, ceramics, metals and other plastics are being cited as examples. I'm only talking about plastics here, but I'm extremely satisfied with the strength of the bond it's formed. Nearly a week later, it's still in place quite comfortably. In the past I have used this glue to stick the handle back on my favourite tea mug too and that's still going strong several months later. So I'm quite confident in saying the repairs you make with this glue will last. I think it's well worth paying the extra for this brand.
I have decided however that we will have to buy a new toilet seat soon, but that is no remark on the quality of the glue, which I have found to be superb. If you treat it with the care all superglue requires and stick your broken stuff together as fast as possible after applying the glue, it works perfectly. Hanging his head in shame, Mr. Mc seems to understand that our next shopping trip will result in either the purchase of a new toilet seat or a fancy headstone for his final resting place. I look forward to reviewing a new toilet seat soon then - I'm not sure what I could say about a slab of black marble.
Where do I start with Breath of God?? It's complicated! Here's the condensed history: Simon Constantine, the creator, was born into the Lush family but decided he really didn't want to join the family business. So off he went travelling the world instead. (Nice choice Simon!) Now I don't know what happened in Tibet, may be a blow to the head or too much incense, but after returning home, he did a complete u-turn and began creating perfumes for Lush just like his dear old dad. Anyway, I for one am glad of his time out in Tibet, as it was there he formed the idea for 'Breath of God'.
Breath of God actually began life as two separate perfumes, 'Inhale' and 'Exhale', inspired by Simon's time in Tibet. The idea is that Inhale is the fresh, clean air scent that you take in and Exhale is the dirty, smoky out breath scent. Breath of God is the result of combining the two perfumes. Inhale is described as a citrus scent and the main fragrances are lemon, melon and neroli (sweet orange oil). Exhale is based on the smell of temple incense and the main fragrances are cedarwood and sandalwood. Inhale is the light, fruity fresh feminine part and Exhale is the dirty (sorry guys!), heavy masculine part. (You can still buy Inhale and Exhale separately from Lush under their perfume arm, www.gorillaperfumes.com) So you see, it really is complicated! Breath of God is not just a perfume; it's an amalgamation of clean and dirty, feminine and masculine, light and heavy. (Not a big 'conceptual artist' myself but I get the idea.)
Now the history's out of the way, what does this mix look and smell like? Well, it's described as unisex and I'm happy with that, although whether or not my husband would wear it, I'm not sure. The light fresh citrus scents are supposed to eventually give way to the smoky sandalwood and cedarwood after a few hours of wear but honestly, I find that although I can smell the smoky side of the perfume, it is the citrus part that dominates no matter how long you've been wearing it. It's not overly light and summery though due to the underlying sandalwood. It has more substance than a lot of traditional citrus based scents and a lot more staying power. Don't expect to smell like you would when you wear a full-on citrus like CK1 (Calvin Klein) - you won't, you will still have a smokiness to your scent. But here's the big advantage to the sandal/cedarwood mix: they don't dominate but what they do is help the citrus notes 'cling' longer to your skin. I really am not a perfumer and have no idea how or why they do this - but they do. You will get a good 5-6 hours wear out of your perfume once applied.
Breath of God comes packaged in the usual Lush solid perfume tough, black plastic push-up stick. It's 6cm high and has a circumference of 8cm. It has the standard plain packaging: black tube and black label with 'Breath of God Solid Perfume' written on the package in white writing. Those of you who have read my other reviews on Lush solid perfumes, please forgive me for repeating the packaging information but I think it's important consumers know what they're getting. As with all Lush products, the packaging is by no means pretty but it has a low environmental impact and the products are ethically sourced - and that's the most important thing.
Breath of God solid perfume is a coloured stick. It's a beautiful light electric blue which I love drawing on myself with! (I never grew out of crayons) As with the other bright colours in the Lush solid perfume range, this poses a problem if you don't rub the perfume in well. You could well be wandering about town or work with an electric blue stripe down your neck or forearm - be warned!! It's also best to keep your perfume away from any little ones - the bright blue colour and the crayon type appearance can prove far too attractive for budding artists. (Unfortunately, I speak from experience there.) As with other Lush solids, this lasts and lasts. You will get a good 2 months regular usage out of this stick. It's lovely and portable and not messy at all (until children get their hands on it!). It won't spill like a liquid and only costs £7.00 a tube. (One of Lush's more expensive solids but I still think it great value for 2 months worth of perfume.)
So there you have it, Breath of God: two perfumes in one and unisex to boot.
For those who've been shopping with Lush for a few years, some time ago, you may have panicked as I did when hearing 'Flying Fox' temple balm was being taken off the shelves. For the unfamiliar, Flying Fox is a sexy Lush jasmine and honey fragranced shower gel. Lush created it specifically to help calm PMT - but it turns out that men love it just as much apparently... although we won't go into that here. The temple balm version was akin to a solid perfume but was meant to be rubbed on pulse points whenever you felt a bit stroppy! 'Poor Mr. Mc!' I cried, 'it's the only thing that stops me killing him some months!' So imagine my delight (and Mr. Mc's relief) when the staff told me not to worry, Flying Fox temple balm was being ever so slightly tweaked and reborn as Lust perfume.
I waited patiently and a few months later, Lust appeared in the same tough, black plastic push-up tubes as the other solid perfumes. The tube looks small, 6 cm high and 8cm in circumference, just like the others in the range. It's very plain packaging - it simply has 'Lust Solid Perfume' written on it in white writing, and that's all. I'm going over old ground here: I always point out in my Lush reviews that the packaging isn't up to much, and it's true, but Lush's little black plastic tubes are both recycled and recyclable - so don't base your decisions on the packaging! Take one for team mother earth and ignore the toughness of the plastic. Those of you who haven't shopped at Lush before, you have to learn to look past the packaging and look to the product to make your judgement.
The great news for all us die-hard Lushies is that they haven't actually played with the scent that much; it still smells very much like Flying Fox and would layer up beautifully with your shower gel. The not-so-great news for the uninitiated is that Lust is a very strong fragrance that takes some getting used to. The Lust fragrance is described a 'dirty jasmine' - meaning strong and heady. The main fragrances are: masses of jasmine followed by much lesser quanties of rose, ylang ylang, sandalwood and a tiny bit of vanilla. It can overpower the wearer at first. In fact, I was once told after applying it that I smelt like a friend's potpourri(!) 'but in a good way - I really like my potpourri!' he added. I would also like to add a very important note here: the fragrance still works wonders on PMT and general strops!
I advise you to apply Lust, then wander about a bit and wait 30 minutes before you smell it and judge whether to buy or not. The scent calms down after about 30 minutes on the skin and settles into a beautiful floral jasmine with just a touch of rose, that although still strong, is much less 'in your face' than you think it will be on applying. The vanilla smell is almost none existant - there is no sweetness whatsoever to this perfume, it's thick, strongly floral and heady. If you don't like a strong perfume, you're not going to like Lust. It's not heavy and 'masculine' sandalwood-based like say 'Opium' (Dior) or anything similar; it's still very feminine and floral, but make no mistake, people will notice you're wearing it. I often find that too much jasmine or sandalwood will bring on a migraine (I can't use Lush's 'Sex Bomb' bath ballistic for this reason), but I'm quite safe with this perfume. In part, I think that's due to lesser quantities of perfume being used. I've mentioned in another review that Lush charge less for their solid perfumes than their liquid ones not just because of size, but also because they put less of the perfume oils into the solids than the liquids. I think that makes the solid route a good way to ease yourself into Lust, rather than going for the full-on double the strength liquid hit. Having said that, the solid fragrance is still strong and will last somewhere in the region of 6-7 hours on your skin.
Like all Lush solid perfumes, Lust is colour coded, which the big kid in me just loves. The perfume stick is bright red. When you apply it, you can see where you've been because of the red streaks! Make sure you rub in well - you don't want to face the world with a big red stripe down your neck (yes, I've done this too). The texture of Lust solid perfume is just right in my opinion, it glides on well and is easy to rub in without being overly greasy. Another advantage of Lust solid perfume is that it is one of Lush's least expensive ones at only £4.50 a tube; great value I think. These tubes will last and last despite their small size. As the texture is slightly firmer than some solid perfumes, Lust will last you longer - I go through a tube about every 2-3 months. What an absolute bargain: 2-3 months of perfume and change from a fiver! Like all solid perfumes, Lust is of course extremely portable and won't distroy the contents of your handbag/make-up bag if the top comes off - and that's really important to me; my handbag's like a black hole! It's one of the many reasons I'm such a fan of solid perfumes. Lust isn't for everyone, but if you're not afraid to wear a bold perfume, after about 30 minutes you'll be smelling extremely foxy! Who knows, you might even seduce someone!
You've probably heard of Vanillary; it's been on the Lush perfume market for a while now and during that time, they've played with the formula a bit. So instead of the tin as pictured on this review, you now get your new formulation solid Vanillary in a tough, black plastic, push-up tube about 6cm tall and with an 8cm circumference. It has a black label with 'Vanillary Solid Perfume' written on the front in white writing and that's about it! Part of Lush's draw though is their willingness to sacrifice fancy pakaging for the good of the environment and the new black plastic tubes are both recycled and easier to recycle in the future than the old style tins. It might not look the prettiest perfume on the block but you can't judge a perfume by its packaging! Before I talk about the new formula, I have to add that being a Lush product, I'm reassured that it's ethically sourced and made with no nasty harmful chemicals. The scent you get from this perfume actually comes from real vanilla, which is expensive! A lot of companies will add a synthetic scent instead - not Lush.
The new formulation admittedly looks a lot more attractive than the old resin-type dollop in the tins. When you push the stick out, you'll see a lovely pale yellow colour, like custard, flecked with real Vanilla seeds and you'll be hit by a warming and slightly sweet smell. The perfume itself isn't an over-sweet Vanilla in my opinion - you won't be walking about smelling like a creme brulee! Alas, we're all individuals and if you're not a fan of all things sweet, the chances are that this isn't the perfume for you.
The creator, Simon Constantine, describes it as a 'floral vanilla' scent and I'd agree with this. The main two fragrances are vanilla (of course!) and tonka bean, which gives it the floral edge. As a side note, I personally do not like the scent of Vanillary in its liquid form - it smells far too harsh and strong for me, but I love the solid version. This is because Lush put slightly less perfume into the solids than the liquids (and adjust the prices accordingly of course! You'll pay a lot more for the liquid version) The scent releases very easily when you apply the push stick on to your wrists, or wherever else you want to perfume. The pale yellow colour allows you to see where you've applied the perfume (unlike the old formula) and rub in accordingly. Like all perfumes, the warmer you are, the more scent is released but another advantage of being warm when applying is that the solid melts into your skin easier.
I find a couples of dabs of my solid Vanillary on my wrists last about 4-6 hours before I feel the need to top up. I base this on the comments I receive! As soon as I started wearing Vanillary to work the compliments came pouring in and now my little solid gets passed around the office on a daily basis. (It has been known for colleagues to shout 'Vanillary!' when I pass!) When colleagues stop commenting on the scent, I reapply! I feel that this perfume is great value for money at £6 a tube. I think the time the scent lasts is quite reasonable and also, the tube will last you a over a month of daily applications. Where else (apart from maybe Next) could you get a month's worth of perfume for that price? Don't let the small size fool you, it will last.
Being in a little tube, this perfume is extremely portable and not being a liquid, it has the added bonus of not spilling all over your handbag when the top comes off (how many times have I done that before??) The new formula is full of moisturising cocoa butter which helps you to spread the perfume and mositurises your skin but in my opinion, this is also the main downside. The old formulation was undoubtably too solid and difficult to remove from the tin but this newer formula is now almost too easily spread and feels slightly greasy when you apply it. It takes a while to sink in to your skin and in the meantime, your wrists might well be sticking to your desk! Little and often, well rubbed in, is probably best to tackle this problem. Although that is my only complaint about an otherwise fine perfume.
I'm a huge fan of the Fallout series and in the end, was literally counting down the days until this came out. Was it worth the wait? I certainly think so. I would describe the game as slightly more linear in storyline than Fallout 3, with some major restrictions, which I'll come to later. As with all Fallout games, New Vegas is set in the period after a major nuclear war, whilst society is still grappling to get itself back up and running. The landscape isn't as bleak as Fallout 3 as New Vegas was further away from the bombs and you will see more greenery and the odd tree dotted about - which I think adds to this game's charm - but does make it seem less 'dark' than Fallout 3 (rest assured, the same black humour is still there!) New Vegas is actually post-apocalyptic Las Vegas and the game's geography is based on the real features of Las Vegas and the Mojave desert.
The game starts with your character being shot in the head and buried in a shallow grave. When you wake up, you find a strange cowboy robot has dug you up and taken you to the local Doctor to save your life. Turns out you're pretty good despite the bullet to the brain and you're hell-bent on revenge. You remember that you're a courier and you were carrying a special package which the man who shot you has now stolen. Later in the game you will realise that your package is pretty vital in deciding who will rule the Mojave. You also get to set the ground for your character here - do you want to smite your enemies with your silver-tongue or sheer brute force? You also make other basic choices here such as how lucky or intelligent you are and how your face looks. You have limited 'points' to spend on these attributes though so you can't cheat and make yourself the luckiest, most intelligent and charismatic player ever right at the beginning! The game's story centres on you following the trail of the man who shot you around the Mojave and either exacting revenge or not. Along the way, you meet different factions, all fighting it out to rule the Mojave and it is up to you whether you side with them or make enemies out of them.
Before you leave the Doctor and are set free to wander the Mojave wasteland, you have one more choice to make; should you play in Normal mode or Hardcode mode? The game will warn you that hardcore mode is not recommended but let me explain the difference in the two. Whether you play normal or hardcore, as in real-life, your character can only carry so much weight. In normal mode however, ammo for your weapons is weightless and doesn't count to your limit. In hardcore it does. In normal mode when your companions get badly injured during a fight, they fall unconscious for a few minutes before getting back up and stuck into your enemies again. In hardcore mode, they simply die and you fail all missions attached to them. In normal mode, you can apply 'Stimpaks' to heal injuries instantly. In hardcore mode they heal over time, so you have to apply in anticipation of a big fight to avoid death. And finally in hardcore mode, just as real-life, you are required to eat, drink and sleep regularly otherwise you suffer ill effects and eventually death. It sounds extremely difficult but many gamers have actually complained that hardcore mode isn't quite the challenge they expected it to be. I have to agree, hardcore mode isn't so hard and if you complete the story missions in hardcore mode, you bag yourself an extra XBox achievement - bonus!
As with Fallout 3, you can go off totally on a tangent throughout the story and delay story missions whilst you wander the Mojave discovering new places and taking on minor quests for people you meet. Enemies killed and quests completed result in XP points. As you gain more XP, you advance in levels. As you advance, you earn skill points which you spend on different attributes for your character, such as speech, barter, science, etc. just as in Fallout 3. This means that the more you play, the better developed and equipped your character becomes. You can also earn XP points for talking your way out of problems, using your medical knowledge, or even hacking into computers or picking locks. In short, most actions you take continue to shape your character. This carries on until you reach level 30, the highest in the game. (Although the new add-on 'Dead Money' raises this to 35; I will not discuss Dead Money here as it requires a seperate review.) In addition to raising your levels, actions have an effect on your karma - potentially either giving you a reputation as a devil or an angel to the people you meet. Your karma will have an effect on how other characters in the game treat you and the dialogue and mission options available to you.
You can recruit companions whilst wandering the Mojave on your side missions, and each companion themself will give you a new mission should you spend enough time with them and hit certain geographical or dialogue 'trigger points.' The side missions vary from really quite simple; asking around, getting an item, etc. to clearing out packs of Deathclaws (the hardest enemy in the game) from places. There are also new enemies in addition to old favourites like Deathclaws - such as poisionous Cazadors (massive flying posionous mosquito-type creatures) and Nightstalkers (a bizarre cross between coyotes and rattlesnakes) There's hours of fun to be had clearing out caves!
Coming back to the main story mission, the one major disappointment of Fallout New Vegas for me, is the fact that there is a 'point of no return' in the main story mission. Fallout New Vegas creators did warn us of this: The problem is that actions throughout the game and also your decisions about whether you play independently or side with a faction are so vast ranging that if you carried on playing after the story mission ending the landscape of the game would be so dramatically changed that the creators would in effect have to create another game world for each ending. Since there are so many possible endings depending on your choices, it was decided that this just wasn't practical or economical. (I have to agree there - the game on XBox 360 brand new will set you back about £40 - imagine if they'd tacked on the cost of multiple endings!) Whatever ending you choose, you will get to hear all about what happens to your friends and each faction because of your choices, which is very satisfying. Also, as you are about the reach the point of no return and start your end mission, your game will warn you. To continue playing after completing your end mission, you will need to reload an earlier save, so create a seperate save at the warning point. Some players also like a seperate save earlier than this, before siding with a faction, as an independent player has more options when wandering the Mojave. (I did that and I can recommend it.)
The game is vast and despite the hefty price tag of Xbox 360 games, I believe this one's worth it. The amount of playing time you will get out of it can run well above 100 hours. You will also continue to find missions seemingly from nowhere if you take the time to explore places and cover all the dialogue options when talking to new people.
Many gamers complain of 'bugs' and 'glitches' plaguing the Fallout series, and unfortunately, New Vegas is no exception. It's such a massive game, it was bound to have a fair few glitches. Save often! The creators are constantly putting out patches to fix reported glitches, so keep your Xbox Live connected each time you play and hopefully, you can get all the updates and avoid as many glitches as possible.
Finally, this game is a deliciously dark piece of work; suitable for those of us with a slightly twisted sense of humour, not so suitable for the very easily offended or small children. The game is rated as an 18 and I leave that to your judgement, but it is littered with killing, swearing, general violence and the occasional sexual reference - so I personally wouldn't play it in front of the kids!
I do love coloured mascaras! I was hooked on BADgal Blue but that's no longer about so I was really excited when Benefit introduced BADgal plum. What I loved about BADgal Blue was that it made my whites appear whiter and my irises appear brighter. Benefit promised similar colour enchancing benefits with Plum. The sales assistant told me that the plum colour is supposed to bring out the colour in your iris more. I told the sales assistant I wanted more green to show through in my eyes (I have hazel eyes) and she assured me that purple was THE colour to do that.
It's not cheap at £16.50 but I purchased it hoping for the same success as BADgal Blue and went on my way. (For your £16.50 you get a lovely looking fat metallic purple tube full of the mascara. It's applied using Benefit's classic fat BADgal brush.) I tried it that afternoon and I have to say I have mixed feelings, which disappoints me as Benefit usually sell such quality products. The first upsetting thing about BADgal Plum may seem really obvious but here goes - it's not purple, it's plum. It's a true plum and quite muted. Don't expect a bright pop of colour, this is too subtle to bring out the colour of your eyes in my opinion. (I should have tried in on for free in the shop but I was already wearing mascara at the time.)
Secondly, even though it has the same style brush as the other BADgals, I had to work really hard to remove the clumps from my lashes. I want them fat, not clumped together! It also seems to lack staying power. I kept finding plum coloured dots under my eyes during the day and if you smudge it, the colour will make you look like you've got a black eye!
If you manage to comb out the clumps, if offers the same big lashes look as the other BADgals in the range but I can't justify the price for something that clumps so much and offers very little in the way of colour. If I'd tried this in the shop, I wouldn't have purchased it.
My household is music mad and we all have Ipods. I started on the old Ipod Mini 8GB when Ipods first hit the shelves but when the Mini's battery died and went to silicone heaven a year ago, I decided to invest in the enormous capacity Ipod Classic 160GB.
The Ipod Classic's capacity can be put to great use if you set it to sync manually rather than just automatically syncing with Itunes. This means you can delete all the audio and video films off your PC/laptop and have them solely on your Ipod - saving massive amounts of space on your C drive. (Of course, if you are prone to losing things, you might well want a backup copy of all your files!) To do this, use the menu in your Itunes and remove the tick from the box that asks you to sync automatically. Also be aware, that your Ipod could one day develop a fault and need to be restored to factory settings - losing all your files. Mine has actually done this last month. Replacing the files took me the best part of three days.
When you buy the 160GB Classic, you will probably never again delete songs to make room for new ones, or have to mess around transferring songs back-and-to from Itunes. That was the big selling point for me. Firstly, I like to have all my music on me - I don't want to choose until the last minute, I'm fickle! Secondly, I'm not particularly technical and I don't want to have to make space, juggle things round and transfer music every time I plug my Ipod into my laptop.
Like all Ipods, I find the Classic especially easy to use. The box you get with the Ipod looks suspiciously bare. You get your Ipod, headphones, a USB charger and a few leaflets. This is because it's as simple as plugging the Ipod into a USB port on your computer, downloading the latest Itunes and then either buying or moving your video and audio on to the Ipod at the click of a button.
To give some idea of the space available, I have only filled 50GB so far and have just over 2,000 audio files and 80 video files in addition to some small photo files. My husband also has an Ipod Classic which he has completely filled and that has taken him 2 years to fill. In comparison, my C drive on my laptop is pretty full and only has 40GB space left. You can see this small Ipod is a goldmine of information - and it's extremely portable!
As for navigating your way around your Ipod, again it's extremely easy. Using the wheel in the middle, you pick the file you want and press play. Simple as that! Rewinding, skipping, adjusting the volume, etc. - everything is done on the wheel. You can set the menu to remove things you don't need, for example, you can remove audiobooks, etc. if you don't have any. This streamlines your personal menu. I find the sound quality is great but I actually think you get better sound out of some cheaper headphones than you do the expensive Ipod ones that come in the pack.
Throughout the Ipod's brief history, one of the major gripes consumers bring up is the battery life. Apple have made a few battery adjustments recently and insist now that their batteries are reliable and long-lasting. I personally find the battery will last me 3 or 4 days if I'm using mainly audio files but if I'm watching films, I might only get a day of usage. So my answer would be, it depends on your usage! If you're a film fan, take a USB charger wherever you're going.
The other big issue that comes up time and time again is the thorny issue of whether or not the screen is damage resistant enough. Here I would say no. It's certainly up to the consumer to protect their equipment, but Apple have definitely not made the casing or screen scratch resistant enough for me. I don't go boxing with mine in my pocket or anything like that(!) - yet I still have a couple of scratches on my screen and loads on the case at the back. When I purchased my Ipod, I talked to the assistant at Apple and he advised that the Silver coloured version is more scratch resisitant than the Black coloured version - why that should be so, I'm not sure. Perhaps it's a case of the scratches being less apparent on the lighter colours. However, I can vouch for this: my husband who bounces his Ipod on the floor, etc. at regular intervals, has a Silver Ipod and his is far less damaged than my Black one despite being a year older. So choose your colour wisely! (Another disadvantage here: your choice is silver or black, that's it.)
I love my Ipod but if you buy one you should be prepared to treat the screen and battery with respect - don't overcharge it - and perhaps consider a different set of headphones!
My husband and I married and honeymooned at Sandals Grande Antigua in summer 2008. As another reviewer has mentioned, it was next to other resorts, which I'm sure are lovely, but Sandals is just so amazing it made everywhere else look a bit dull.
We arrived and were treated to champagne whilst it was explained that as we were marrying at the resort, they'd upgraded us for free to a concierge suite. Apparently, they also do this for couples who aren't marrying there if they have rooms free anyway.
The resort is divided into two main areas: Caribbean Grove and Mediterranean Village, both of which have their own accomodation and restaurants but no matter which part you're in, you are free to use the pools and restaurants anywhere in the resort. Sandals call their resorts 'ultra all-inclusive'; this means that unlike other all-inclusive resorts where only local spirits and buffet restaurants are usually included in the price, Sandals includes everything. Want Jack Daniels instead of local rum? No charge. Three course dinner instead of buffet? No charge.
The main pool is the largest in the Eastern Caribbean and has a well-stocked pool bar in the middle offering any drink you want. The staff are super-polite and helpful and will make drinks off menu at the drop of a hat. Every restaurant in the resort, even the basic buffet 'Bayside' offers beautifully cooked food. Aside from the buffet restaurant, there is an Italian, Carribean, Seafood, Steakhouse, English Pub (loads better than your local!!) and a Pizzeria. The only time you'll pick up a charge for eating or drinking is if you care to order wines from the premium list.
Entertainment is regular and usually involves wine or cocktail parties, beach BBQs and beach games. The entertainment staff are also superb. You get the feeling that they would bend over backwards for you and there is never the least bit of insincerity. Tours and trips out can also be arranged by the staff on your behalf.
The rooms are pristine, as are the grounds and beach. Our minibar was re-stocked daily and the wonderful cleaning staff turned down our covers nightly whilst we were out partying. The staff are absolutely trustworthy and security is second-to-none. The beds are all kingsize and each catagory of room comes with an amazing view, whether you choose garden or oceanfront. The gardens themselves are amazing and the staff will cut down coconuts for you to be filled with rum or whatever you like at your request.
We were thoroughly spoilt and would return there tomorrow if we could but there are some disadvantages. The first one being that Sandals resort holidays are more expensive than most other all-inclusives. We reasoned that all the 'extras' like premier spirits, etc. made the cost more than worthwhile but the initial outlay is still steep.
The second major disadvantage is that Antigua is now fairly difficult to get to. 2008 was the last season of BMI flights from Manchester. Now if you want to go to Antigua, no matter where in England you are, you will have to fly from Gatwick.
Finally, I should also point out the heavily restrictive entrance policy: All Sandals resorts insists that only heterosexual couples over the age of 18 will be admitted. No singles, no children, etc. Sandals resorts are part of the 'Beaches' family of resorts and everyone who would not be admitted to Sandals would be allowed in Beaches, ie. families, groups of friends, etc. but Sandals will not budge on their entrance policy, so check before you book!
A bit of background before I start:
I have naturally jet black hair which has been dyed every colour under the sun (as well as bleached) - this left it a medium to dark brown, which was my starting point for this henna. It is slightly wavy and fairly thick. I am fortunate not to have any grey hairs yet. I have never had an allergic reaction to a hair dye but have other allergies.
Ok, Lush hennas aren't the easiest dyes to use - this is not the dye for those short on time or easily bored.
First of all you have to dissolve the required number of blocks (as a guide for fairly thick hair, 2 blocks short hair, 4 blocks mid length to bra strap, 6 blocks long). I find the easiest way to do this is to put the blocks in a bag and bash them with a rolling pin then dissolve them in water over a saucepan full of boiling water.
Next, you have to apply it. Put on some gloves - MOST LUSH SHOPS WILL GIVE YOU A FREE PAIR OF GLOVES WHEN YOU BUY YOUR HENNA, JUST REMEMBER TO ASK!! Put some vaseline or thick moisturiser around your hairline to prevent the henna staining your skin. Then, take your bowl of hot henna mixture and sit naked in your bath with it. (I know that sounds wrong but trust me)
Now start from the roots at the back, scoop up your henna in gloved hands and spread it like cake frosting all over your scalp and hair. Pile your hair on top of your head and wrap it in clingfilm if you like. (Wrapping in clingfilm is supposed to bring out the red more but I don't actually find it makes any difference in colour - it's just a lot more secure and safer for your furnishings - so yes, I recommend wrapping up.) I also recommend putting cotton wool round your hairline and wrapping over that with another layer of clingfilm - this prevents drips down your face and neck and on to your dressing gown. Then, because you've applied naked in the bath you can simply use the shower to remove henna that's splashed on your skin or bathtub - ta dah! Your carpets and clothes are saved! After the desired time (I wait 4 hours) get back under that shower with a tonne of conditioner and rinse, rinse, rinse.
After I'm done, I'm always left with beautifully soft and shiny red tinted hair. Because of my hair being so dark, it doesn't go red on me it just gives red highlights. I can't comment on how well it covers grey but I will say that henna is supposed to make curls drop out, but Caca Rouge has no effect on my waves. It does last 6 weeks on my hair and I don't get noticable roots from it. The colour clings especially well to my bleached highlights, which are now a beautiful red. It is exceptionally shiny, even my husband comments and my hair feels thicker and less brittle. The other big advantage of course, is the lack of nasty chemicals which are still included in many other hairdyes despite being lethal - ie. PPD.
So, any drawbacks? Well, when I say 'red' I mean ginger - don't be confused. Don't use this dye hoping for a true 'red' and be disappointed when you get carrot colour. The smell is strong and can be off putting. It is undeniably messy - the bathtub technique as described above helps though. Be mindful that henna will stain ANYTHING it ends up on, carpets, clothes, towels, etc. It's also extremely time consuming, taking about 6 hours end-to-end if you leave the henna on for 4 hours. This is partly because it also takes so long to rinse off. Effectively, you are trapped in your home all day, which is off putting when 6 weeks is up and you need to henna again. All the effort involved is a serious drawback for an otherwise brilliant and safe product.
Yum, I love this lip-balm so much, I'm always re-applying, which may make me look a bit too made-up for daytime... it is VERY red. My husband also loves the smell so I always get extra attention when wearing it.
1. It's cheaper than a lot of lipsticks but offers the same colouring benefits
2. It's very portable in its little tin
3. You know with Lush that it's not full of rubbish chemicals
4. Smells delicious
5. The colour lasts longer than most lipsticks
NOT SO GOOD POINTS:
1. It's advertised as a balm but it doesn't quite deliver there I'm afraid - this will not offer much in the way of moisture for your lips, I often put a clear balm under or over it
2. It's very red (this may be a good point but also means it may be too bright for some)
3. If applied with fingers, it spreads like a balm and you may end up with red going over the lip-line in a 'Joker from Batman' sort of style - Definitely requires a mirror to apply unlike most balms
4. Despite being cheaper than a lot of lipsticks, for such a small pot, £5 is an excessive price
5. If applied with fingers and hands aren't washed immediately, you will find red on clothes, computer keyboards, etc...
I switched from the Orange Network (see my review there dated 27th Jan 2011 if you like) to Virgin last month after years of rubbish service from Orange. I'm with Virgin Media for my phone/TV/broadband package at home so I got a discounted rate on my contract and am now the proud owner of an all-singing-all-dancing Blackberry phone for only £15.00 a month (less than I was using on Orange PAYG). One of my main complaints about Orange was that despite being with them for 10 years, I got no loyalty discounts or bonuses, so I love that Virgin have done a discount for me because of my home contracts.
They offer a range of contracts, you can actually get a Blackberry for only £10.00 a month if you're a very light user, and I wasn't pressured into taking the higher price contracts. Although I was asked if I wanted their phone insurance (I said no), there was also no pressure to take it. Also, unlike other networks, the Blackberry data service is completely free of charge. My colleague recently came into work with the same phone on a similar contract which he got through Phones 4 U - he's paying £40.00 per month!!!!
I liked the fact that I could check the strength of the signal in my area on their website before I signed up and I can also manage my account online - which is great because I hate call centres. When my phone arrived, it was totally set up for MMS, email, etc. If you order a phone that isn't, you can download the settings really easily from their website. Believe me, I've had problems downloading settings before - if I can do it, it really is easy!
I've spoken to one disinterested member of staff out of 8 so far, but that wasn't really that annoying. My number ported over exactly when she said it would, so she didn't lie, she just wasn't that bothered. The only real complaint I have is that if you need to call the call centre in peak hours, ie. after 5.30pm, then be prepared for a good 10 minutes wait, however, if you're calling from your Virgin mobile, the call only costs 10p no matter how long the wait. As with all mobile companies, if you exceed your contracted minutes/texts, etc. the price per minute rises sharply, so make sure you pick the right one!