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loulabelle17
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    • Kitchenaid K45SS Classic / Mixer / 43 Readings / 38 Ratings
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      20.02.2011 19:36
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      Very expensive but worth every penny.

      KitchenAid mixers have a cult following and often feature in many cookery and bakery programmes on television. Although I had wanted one for a long time I did wonder if I was naively been drawn in by all the hype. Having now owned the kitchenAid K45SS Classic for two years I am happy to say I really wouldn't be without it, for me it's worth every penny and a lot of pennies it is. The kitchenAid K45SS Classic Stand Mixer is eye wateringly expensive, selling currently on Amazon at £293. 69. Although it's not as pricey as it's more colourful cousin the KitchenAid Artisan which sells at nearly £100 more in price and mostly just because the Artisan mixers come in pretty colours and have a handle on the bowl, where as the Classic just comes in standard white colour and with no handle. It's a real shame the KitchenAid range is so much more expensive here than it is in America. Luckily, my fiancé bought me mine a couple of years ago when Amazon had it reduced. If you are keen to buy it's worth keeping any eye on the prices as they do seem to fluctuate.

      When you open the box you find the main machine with a stainless steel 4.3 litre bowl, instruction book and three attachments (more on which coming up). The mixer's head tilts back, which allows easy access to the bowl. This is done easily via a sliding paddle located on the top right of the mixer. The bowl is sturdy and durable and at 4.3 litres is large enough in capacity to prepare large quantities of food, lots of cakes in my case. You really need to make sure you have enough space to sit your mixer, its dimensions are approximately 28 x 41 x 41cm. Fully metal in construction and approximately 12 Kg in weight means the mixer can not be moved around easily. Mine is a permanent feature on my worktop, initially I though this would be a really pain but as I use the mixer so often it really is the most convenient option for me. It really does look super stylish anyway and I think the mixers are designed for being on show. Once in place on your worktop the machine stays firmly put. It has rubber feet to help keep it in place and because of its weight there is no worry of it toppling over and it doesn't move around at all when its motor is on, even on the highest speed setting.

      The mixer comes with three standard basic attachments, a flat paddle beater, a dough hook and a whisk. The paddle mixer and dough hook are enamel coated white and the whisk is stainless steel. They are sturdy to touch and built to last. I find them easy to attach to the machine with a simple twist and push into the mixer's hub. Once locked in place the attachment is ready to get to work. The dough hook makes light work of kneading dough. I love baking bread but could never get the hand of kneading. Since getting my KichenAid I now knead all dough in the mixer for five minutes and luckily I can't tell any difference in quality between machine kneaded and hand kneaded bread. I use the flat beater for making cakes and the whisk for whipping things like cream, it mixes ingredients evenly and thoroughly. I do find accessing the bowl to scrape the sides mid mix a little difficult, you either have to remove the beater (getting mix on your fingers in the process) or remove the bowl but this means the mix drips down onto the base of the machine. I haven't really found away round this but it is a minor niggle really. There are additional attachments available and these can be bought from Amazon. These include things like an ice cream maker, pasta attachment and a food grinder/slicer. Although I don't yet own any of these, I hope to in the future and think it makes the KitchenAid even more versatile in its use. It is worth noting the additional attachments are on the pricey side though and range in price anywhere between £50-£100. If required, you can buy an extra stainless steel bowl or even a swish looking glass bowl but again this will cost around £50.

      It has a power output of 250watts and there are ten mixing speed settings in total, 1 is the slowest and 10 the fastest. This may sound like a lot of settings but believe me I often find myself using all of the speed settings as I like the flexibility this offers. Speed is easily adjusted via a sliding paddle located on the top left of the mixer. You do need to make sure you have the machine on the correct speed for the task, this helps ensure you get the best result but also prevents the mixer motor from being unduly loaded. For example, setting 2 is ideal for kneading dough, whereas setting 8 is perfect for whisking egg whites and for making buttercream for cake fillings.

      One bonus for me is that the machine is very easy to keep clean with a wipe of damp cloth. This is because the mixer is smooth and rounded and there are no fiddly bits to try and get at. The bowl and attachments are very easy to wash also. I believe the majority of mixer parts are dishwasher safe, however I prefer to wash mine in warm soapy water as its easy enough. I am always put off by kitchen gadgets that actually make you spend more time in the kitchen washing up all the fiddly parts. This is definitely not the case for the KitchenAid.

      The description from KitchenAid state the direct drive motor makes the machine silent. Unfortunately, I have to disagree with this. When in use the mixer does make some noise. This is not bothersome to me and it's a lot quieter than a lot of the other mixers out there. I think the motor makes quite a unique sound, when I first used it. I thought maybe there was something wrong with it. Further investigation led me to realise that there was nothing whatsoever wrong and the noise is perfectly normal for the KitchenAid.

      I do hope my KitchenAid lasts me years to come but it is reassuring to know that KitchenAid will repair my mixer should anything go wrong with it. My Mum always owned a trusty Kenwood, who really seem to have stepped up their game in relation to the mixers they now sell. One of the advantages of Kenwood is the range of mixers they offer caters more for differences in budget as their mixers sell from around £100-£300. I can't comment on the Kenwood machines in terms of use compared to the kitchenAid K45SS as my Mum's Kenwood is many years old and it would be an unfair comparison.

      Despite one or two minor niggles, I find the benefits of the kitchenAid K45SS far outweigh any niggles. If you can afford it and do a lot of baking I would be happy to recommend it.

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        02.05.2010 18:36
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        A fab little multi purpose mist.

        I was a bit apprehensive about using the Body Shop's Vitamin E Face Mist after my poor experience with the Vitamin E facial cleansing wipes. I bought the mist at the same time as the wipes as it was also on special offer but because I was disappointed with the wipes the mist has sat at the back of my cupboard for a while. It was only when I spotted it whilst looking for something else I decided to get it out and give it a try. Funny, as I've now become a bit addicted to spraying myself with the mist.

        Aside from the disastrous facial wipes I do like products with vitamin E as I find it suits my skin well and seems to make a visible improvement to its condition. Vitamin E does have quite a few things going for it. It acts as a powerful antioxidant which can help protect the skin against damage from the environment such as sunlight, pollution and smoke. As well as being an antioxidant it is also an effective moisturiser so it can help keep the skin hydrated. The face mist also contains liposomes and lecithin, which apparently help the skin absorb the vitamin E in order to achieve maximum moisture balance. It's not got a huge list of ingredients in it and it states on the front of the bottle that is suitable for all skin types, though as it does contain alcohol and paraben preservatives this might not be the case, especially for sensitive skin.

        As with all of the Body Shop vitamin E range the face mist comes in a minimalistic style pale pink container. The face mist is clear and has a lovely rosewater fragrance, it is very delicate and discreet though so it doesn't over power at all. It just smells nicely refreshing. Once the mist has dried the fragrance completely disappears. I would prefer it if it lingered a bit more. To use the mist you simply hold the bottle 10cm away from the face, close your eyes and push down the pump action spray to release the mist, one or two pumps are sufficient to give the skin a good coating of the mist. The mist is really fine so there is no problem with it making the face too wet, it only gives a very light covering which absorbs into the skin and dries within a matter of seconds. There is also no need to rub it in as it is evenly distributed by the spray. I thought it might make my skin greasy but it doesn't, well that is as long as I don't go spritz crazy.

        The face mist seems to be one of those products that hasn't been designed for one specific purpose, instead it can be used for a few different things. It can be used to set make up in place, I was a bit apprehensive about this to start because the idea of spraying liquid onto my newly applied make up seems to me like a bit of an odd idea. I thought my make up would just run everywhere. I was wrong to think this though as this is not the case. You apply make up as usual and then give a couple of spritzes to the face, it stops foundation and powder from looking dry or caked on which is good as it gives make up a dewy fresh look but without any greasiness. It also seems to help keep make up in place for longer, though I wouldn't say it is as effective as a good primer but it does a good enough job for me. I will say to make sure you avoid the eye area as the mist does make eye make up run and the first time I used it I just sprayed it all over my face and I was left with the panda effect around my eyes. Luckily, it doesn't seem to sting though if it does accidently go onto the eye area.

        It can also be used to give the face a quick boost of moisture during the day if skin feels tired, dry or tight due to things like air conditioning. It's great as you can see and feel the effect of the mist instantly there is no long wait for it to work. Skin looks fresher, less tired and feels lovely and soft. If I am really pushed for time then I will sometimes give my face a quick spritz of the mist instead of applying my usual moisturiser. It isn't really a replacement for conventional moisturiser, as for most people it probably wouldn't be moisturising enough but it is fine for times when it is not convenient to apply a cream moisturiser. The bottle is not too heavy so its good for taking out and about as the lid clasps shut well, so it doesn't come of in my bag, nor does the spray dribble. If you place the face mist in the fridge it cools it down and when you spray it onto the face it feels really refreshing, so it would be great for taking on holiday to freshen up. I actually like spraying it on my neck as well to freshen up in the middle of the day.

        I paid £3.50 for the face mist but it usually sells for £7.00 for a 100ml bottle. Although I am enjoying using it I do think the full price is on the high side for me so I will probably only buy it again if I can get it when it is on offer. It is available to buy in store and online at www.thebodyshop.co.uk. It is long lasting though as only one or two spritzes at a time is needed so one bottle could last a good few months, even with daily use. You may well be thinking wouldn't a water spritz, which would be a much cheaper option be just as good. I always give my face a good splash of cold water in the morning to wake me up and during the summer months I often use a water spritzer. This is all well and good for freshening up but it doesn't feeling moisturising or softening at all. I can tell and feel the difference on my skin from spraying this face mist as opposed to just water. Although I enjoy using it and feel the benefit I do think it is one of those products that could divide people.

        Thanks for reading.

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          26.04.2010 18:10
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          An easy to use body lotion which leaves skin feeling soft.

          I'm trying to make sure my legs are not all dry and scaly like they usually are in the summer. I thought I would make an effort to get into a strict routine of applying body lotion every day, in the morning after I've had my shower. I was therefore pleased when I saw the Nivea Sensitive Body Lotion on special offer in Sainsburys. I paid £2.03 for a 250ml bottle whereas it usually sells at £4.07 so I got it for half price. I thought for this price it seemed like a good buy. The lotion is also available to buy from Boots, priced at £3.99.

          Generally, I don't really find myself buying Nivea products all that often. I'm not sure why as I think overall they are good and pretty reliable to use. I think it's probably because in the past their products have been quite discreet looking so they have never jumped off the shelf at me. Nivea makes me feel reminiscent though as my Mum always used the thick white cream in the blue Nivea pot when I was younger.

          Like a lot of Nivea body lotions, this one now comes in an unusual but attractive curved shaped bottle as opposed to the original square looking bottle which is shown in the dooyoo picture. I think Nivea have done the right thing by replacing the square type bottles. I like the newer style a lot more as I think it makes the product stand out from the rest of the body lotions as it is appealing to look at as well as being more modern looking. It is also easier to hold in the hand due to its curve. The bottle is a pale lavender colour and has a handy flip top lid, so no scrabbling to get a lid on and off with creamy hands. The lid is also good as it is easy to close with one hand after use and stays firmly shut whilst not in use, so avoids any messy accidents from happening.

          This body lotion is meant specifically for sensitive skin. I wouldn't say I have sensitive skin, more like it's a bit temperamental. I find that so many body lotions that are meant to be kind on the skin either sting my legs or bring me out in unsightly red bumps and I'm always looking for a lotion that doesn't sting my skin when applied after shaving. For that reason, I quite often buy the body lotions and butters designed for sensitive skin. Nivea state the lotion has a skin kind formulation, it's dermatologically approved and is colourant free. It contains Chamomile Extract which is often used for its skin calming properties so helps relieve any stress on the skin. I'm not actually sure how good the lotion would be for sensitive skin though as it does contain quite a lot of ingredients, including parfum and paraben preservatives which can irritate sensitive skin or people with skin allergies.

          The information on the back of the bottle states that with daily use the lotion helps maintain the balance of moisture within the skin, leaving it noticeably softer and smoother. The lotion is white and has a good consistency, it's not runny at all but is not overly thick either. Yet it still has a fairly rich feeling. It does have the familiar fresh distinctive Nivea smell to it along with a hint of chamomile, the smell reminds me of summer holidays spent on the beach. It's easy to squeeze the right amount from the bottle and the lotion feels slightly cooling when applied to the skin. It does take a bit of rubbing in as it doesn't sink into the skin immediately, though this is easy enough and doesn't require much time or effort. It's not greasy or tacky though so there isn't any problem with getting dressed one or two minutes after application.

          I use this cream after I've had a shower and shaved my legs in the morning. I've been really pleased to find that I can apply the lotion straight after I've shaved my legs as it doesn't sting or irritate them at all. Once it has sunk in it does leaves my skin feeling nicely soft and gives it a looked after feeling. The softness does remain throughout the day as my skin still feels moisturised and hydrated by the evening, which I like. The Nivea smell remains on the skin for quite a while after application which is nice as it leaves the skin smelling clean and fresh.

          I think this body lotion was a good buy as only a small dollop of lotion is needed to moisturise the skin, so I've still got plenty left in my bottle still. Though I think I may stock up on a couple of bottles now whilst its half price and then I will have no excuse for scaly legs this summer.

          Thanks for reading.

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            23.04.2010 19:48
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            Tasty simple recipes but not one of Rachel's best books.

            Rachel's Favourite Food at Home was Rachel Allen's third book. The updated paperback version (the same as the dooyoo picture) was released in 2008 and contains 240 pages. The book tied in with the television series of the same name shown on BBC 1. In keeping with Rachel's usual books, Rachel's Favourite Food at Home is pretty and girly and mostly makes use of pastel shades of pale pink, green and blue. The book contains lots and lots of pictures of Rachel and her family and friends eating and doing stuff like walking on the beach. Whilst these pictures are a nice enough to look at there are simply just too many of them. After all, this is ultimately a cookery book, so I feel there should be more pictures of the finished dishes as opposed to superfluous pictures like the ones of Rachel standing by the fridge. This is a shame as the balance of pictures could have been better thought out and in my mind more pictures of the dishes themselves would make the book far more appealing to more people.

            The book starts with an introduction from Rachel where she covers what to expect from the book, which is quick easy meals for the family as well as cooking for special occasions. As with most of Rachel's recipes they use readily available ingredients and with a handful of exceptions none of the recipes are particularly pricey to make. In fact, some of the recipes only call for a few simple ingredients which is great if you are watching the pennies.

            There are eleven main sections, there is also an additional section which is titled 'Useful Extras' this contains a handful of basic recipes for kitchen staples that can be used as the base for a dish or as an accompaniment. Recipes include things like Roux, Stock, Mayonnaise, Pesto and Shortcrust Pastry. This section could be handy for keen beginners in the kitchen and of course if you've got the time to make them these kinds of things taste so much better homemade than shop bought.

            The other sections, along with some of their recipes to give an idea of what's in the books are as follows:

            Easy Family Food - Broccoli Soup with Parmesan Toasts, Spicy Salmon Cakes, Upside Down Apple and Cinnamon Cake.

            Sweet Celebrations - Porter Cake, Chocolate and Almond Cake with Brandy Cream, Sponge Cake with Rhubarb Cream.

            Picnics and Days Out - Rocket, Tomato and Sugar Snap Pea Salad, Asparagus and Spring Onion Tart, Ham and Egg Pie.

            Food for Children - Parmesan Chicken Goujons, Party Sausages with a Mustard Honey Dip, Chewy Seedy Oat and Apricot Bars.

            Extended Family - Beef Stew with Brandy, White Wine and Cream, Chicken Pie with Bacon and Peas, Pasta with Tomato and Ginger Salsa and Crème Fraiche.

            Dining Alfresco - Green Leaf and Pea Soup, Warm Pasta Salad with Herbs, Garlic and Rocket Leaves, Summer Tiramisu.

            Home Cinema - Lamb Samosas, Popcorn Paradise, Baked Potatoes.

            Big Celebrations - Green Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing, Chicken Pilaff, Sicilian Pasta.

            Edible Gifts - Spicy Tomato and Apple Chutney, Summer Fruit Jam, Dark Chocolate and Stem Ginger Biscuits.

            Just Like Mum used to Make - Macaroni Cheese, Homemade Pork Sausages with Colcannon and Apple Sauce, Baked Eggs and Soldiers.

            A Few More Faves - Prawns with Lemon Mayonnaise, Beef and Rocket Wraps, Chicken Casserole with Chorizo, Tomatoes and Beans.

            The recipes are nicely laid out using clear text and short concise paragraphs, with easy to follow instructions. Guidance is provided for the quantity each recipe makes or how many people it serves. In general, a lot of the recipes either serve 6-8 or 10-12 people so most of the recipes need scaling down if you are cooking for less people than these amounts. The recipes do state if they are suitable for vegetarians, which quite a few are, so this is good for any veggies. Some of the recipes are accompanied by pictures of the finished dish but as mentioned before, not enough for my liking. I always think a lack of finished dish pictures sometimes makes it difficult to visualise how the dish should look. Also some people may find it a let down if they like to flick through cookery books and look at the pictures for inspiration on what to make.

            I'm steadily working my way through the book and most recipes have turned out how I expected. So far, I have much preferred the sweet recipes but then I do have a sweet tooth. The Lemon Biscuits are simple but delicious biscuits which are a doddle to make and so quick too as they only take 6-10 minutes to bake in the oven. Only four ingredients are needed, flour, lemon zest, butter and sugar so they are cheap too as the mix makes 25 biscuits. I make them most weekends to enjoy with a cup of tea. There is the Chocolate and Hazelnut Toffee Tart - this rich tart is my favourite recipe from the book. It has a layer of biscuit pastry, on top of this sits a layer of hazelnut toffee and then this is finished off with a layer of intense chocolate mousse. Ok, so this is ridiculously full of fat and calories but my motto is if you are going to go to the trouble of making this tart then you may as well indulge. Next, is the Toffee, Apple and Almond crumble, I didn't think the humble apple crumple could be any better until I made this recipe. The toffee sauce bubbles up the sides of the cooked crumble and it always makes me want to eat it straight from the dish. My family and friends put a request in for this dessert as its one of their favourites. Funnily, one of the recipes I like the most in the book is actually a recipe by Bill Granger for a Banana Butterscotch Pudding (I always find it a bit odd when books feature other peoples recipes) but I'm glad I've got this recipe as it is simply divine and its so easy to make.

            Whilst I do like this book and refer to its recipes fairly frequently because they are reliable to do. For me, there is just something a bit lack lustre about it. I feel it's missing some oomph, which probably sounds a bit strange but I was hoping for something more. I think the savoury recipes are fine for everyday simple meals and I guess that is what the book promised. I still feel a bit let down by it though as I really like Rachel's two most recent books 'Home Cooking' and 'Bake' which I would both recommend. They are excellent books that I use time and time again. Both of these books seem like much more effort, time and thought went into putting them together than Rachel's Favourite Food at Home which looks to me as though it has been much more rushed.

            If you do fancy trying Rachel's Favourite Food at Home it is published by Collins and has an RRP of £14.99. Amazon is currently selling it at £9.60 with free super saver delivery. Its ISBN is: ISBN-10: 000727579X and ISBN-13: 978-0007275793.

            Thanks for reading.

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              20.04.2010 20:19
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              I've enjoyed using this bath cream it makes for a pampering treat.

              I recently received a bottle of the Champneys Classic Rose Bath Cream from my lovely mother in law to be. I was very grateful as this is not something I would buy for myself because of the price which is £7.00 for 300ml but also because I've generally been put off rose scented products before. They always seem to smell too synthetic for me. This is a shame as I truly adore (though my hayfever doesn't) the smell of sweet fresh garden roses. My Mum has a big rose bush at the bottom of her garden which I love to linger by in the warm summer months. I find the fragrance irresistible, for me the fragrance is far more captivating than the flower itself. I think this is part of the problem though, I always feel let down when a rose scented product doesn't truly smell of roses, instead they invariably smell something similar to pot pourri.

              The bath cream contains rosehip seed oil which I believe helps rejuvenate skin cells and smooth wrinkles through its hydrating and moisturising properties. Though this is not where the rose fragrance comes from, as far as I know rosehip seed oil does not have much of a scent to it and so it's often used in aromatherapy as a base oil. The rose fragrance in the bath cream instead comes from parfum. The cream also contains plant sugars (this helps explain why the cream smells so sweet) which helps the skin absorb moisture.

              Like so many rose scented products the cream is a pale pink colour and comes in a very simple but fairly stylish clear container, which bears the classic Champneys logo. On unscrewing the gold coloured lid (originally the cream came with a red coloured lid like in the dooyoo picture but this has now been changed) I am immediately hit with the fragrance which I was pleased to find is lovely. It's very strong, which I like and super sweet yet this doesn't make it smell sickly. Well I don't think it does but then again I do like sweet things. I do think it's the kind of fragrance that could divide people, if that makes sense. Some people I'm sure would find it romantic and feminine whilst others may find it old fashioned. Though I do think this bath cream would suit a woman of any age and in particular I think it would appeal to girly girls. Whilst I normally like a bit of spicy kick in my bath and shower products I like the fragrance none the less. I initially thought I would prefer it if it did have a subtle spiciness to it to give it a bit of an edge which could counterbalance the sweetness but this thought was fleeting as I think it's good enough as it is.

              The cream is lovely and thick but still pours smoothly from the bottle. A small pour is plenty to provide a good frothy foam covering. This is good as it means a 300ml bottle has the potential to last for a long time. The foamy bubbles are not just for show, they do last whilst bathing, which I always like if I'm having a long relax in the bath. The water feels nice, not greasy at all like some bath creams with oil can be but soothing on the skin. Once the cream is added to the bath the fragrance is intensified and reminds me of romance (or maybe that's just me getting carried away). I find it nice to light some candles and lie back and relax. Whilst I don't think the fragrance smells overly synthetic it's by no means discreet smelling either. Admittedly, its not as authentic smelling as the highly praised Moroccan Rose products by REN, which have a much truer garden rose smell because they only use 100% natural fragrances. But that said, this is an unfair comparison as REN products are ridiculously expensive in comparison to this bath cream.

              Reading the bumph on the back of the container tells me that I will be left feeling relaxed yet uplifted. Which I have to say after bathtime I did. The sweet fragrance of rose lingers on the skin for a good while after bathing. I also love that it fills the whole house with a delicate rose fragrance too. After soaking my skin felt relatively soft but I did need to apply moisturiser, which I would do anyway as I have dry skin but I would prefer the bath cream to be more moisturising as this is what I was expecting. The cream has a very long list of ingredients, some of these known to irritate sensitive skin so unfortunately I would say it might be best to avoid it if you suffer from sensitive skin.

              The Classic Rose Bath Cream is sold in Sainsburys stores at a price of £7.00 for a 300ml bottle and is also available to buy from the Champneys website (www.champneys.com) for £6.50 but there is a £4.00 delivery charge. I have enjoyed using this bath cream but because of the price I don't think I would buy it myself, maybe if I was feeling flush I would. It would definitely be gratefully received though if I am lucky enough to receive is as a gift again.

              Thanks for reading.

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                17.04.2010 14:38
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                My three wishes have been granted.

                In a quest to make my eye make up last longer I decided to invest in an eye primer, which acts much in the same way as a face base does. It basically prepares the skin for make up and helps any make up stay put for longer. I'd heard such good things about the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion I decided to take the plunge and splash out and buy the 10ml tube at Boots, for a price of £11.50. It's also available at www.lookfantastic.com for the same price. Paying this price is quite unusual for me as I generally wouldn't spend this much on an item of make up but I'd been getting fed up with my eye make up disappearing an hour after applying it and it always smudging everywhere. I tried lots of things to stop this from happening but nothing seemed to work. This eye primer therefore had quite a lot of pressure on it to perform.

                Urban Decay say that the primer which is dubbed the 'genie in the bottle' comes good on three wishes, these are: it makes eyeshadow last, colour keeps its vibrancy all day long and there is no creasing whatsoever. The primer comes inside a pale purple tube which sits inside a cardboard box of the same colour, the box lists all of the ingredients used in the primer (there are quite a lot) whilst the tube itself doesn't. I get the feeling that the outside of the tube has been designed to look pretty and to keep in with the 'genie in a bottle' tagline rather than be completely practical. I do like it though, its curvy design is funky and distinctive and it does look like it's a genie's potion. It has a round flat base so the tube can stand upright on a dressing table. I have read that inside the curvy casing there actually sits a standard circular shaped tube in which the primer is in, rather than it sitting directly in the curvy genie tube.

                There is a wand applicator attached to the lid which looks very similar to a lot of lip glosses. It has a small flocked sponge attached to the bottom of the wand which is positioned at an angle (not shown in the dooyoo picture). It has specifically been designed like this to enable you to get every last bit of product out of the tube, hopefully meaning there is no waste. I believe this angled wand is a more recent addition to the primer as it used to be a straight wand (as shown in the dooyoo picture) so some people ended up cutting their tube in half to get the remaining primer out. I find the wand makes the primer very easy to use. Although I generally use the wand to put some of the primer onto my finger and then apply it, rather than putting the wand direct to my eye but this is just personal preference.

                The primer is a pale cream colour and has a texture similar to a light foundation or tinted moisturiser, it has a lovely sheer feeling. It goes onto the eyelid really smoothly and doesn't irritate at all. I only tend to use a small amount as this seems to be enough to get a thin coating, which is all that is needed. It doesn't really take much rubbing in, you just gently smooth it over the eyelid. Once you've done this you just need to leave it for about 10 - 20 seconds, the directions say the primer should be left until it is dry but I find it best to not let it completely dry, instead I only wait until it is has dried mostly but is ever so slightly still tacky. For some reason, this is what seems to work best on my eyes. Once dry the primer is not visible on the eye at all. Now you can apply your eye make up as you usually would on top of the primer. I don't find I have any problems with applying my eye make up, I'm able to blend my eyeshadow as usual and my eyeliner goes on as normal. Straight away, it makes the colour of my eyeshadow seem more vibrant and intense. The look is bolder, even for subtle eyeshadows, this effect works equally as well when using cheaper eye shadows so you don't need to worry about needing to use an expensive eyeshadow to get this effect. Because the primer makes my eye makeup stand out more I only tend to use it when I'm going out somewhere for the day or a night out, rather than on a daily basis.

                What I really love about this primer is that once my eye makeup is on it stays exactly the same all day/night as if it's just been applied. The longest I've gone with my eye makeup on is 14 hours but I believe it could easily last longer than that if needed. It remains fresh looking, it doesn't crease whatsoever and it doesn't look tired. It gives me the confidence to know my eye make up is still in place and I don't have it smudged everywhere (this has happened on many nights out). It's resilient against heat, sweat and sunlight too, so it's great for taking on hot sunny holidays.

                I know the price of £11.50 is quite hefty but this genie really does perform and for that reason I don't mind too much paying the price. Overall, I feel it is pretty cost effective in the long run as when I use this potion I only have to apply my eyeshadow and eyeliner once so they last me longer overall. I've had my tube of primer for 9 months now and have used it at least once a week, unfortunately it's difficult to know how much I have left due to the fact that I can't see inside the tube. I'm not sure of its shelf life either as there is no information on the tube or the box and I've had a look online and can't seem to find a definitive answer. As with so many beauty 'potions' the primer does contain parabens and therefore would not be suitable for people avoiding parabens.


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                  19.03.2010 20:22
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                  An effective enough scrub but not as natural as Radox make out.

                  I don't really use body scrubs all that often, I think it is probably because I've never found one that was quite right for me. They have been either too grainy or not grainy enough. I actually bought the Radox Mineral Spa Scrub Shower by accident whilst in Superdrug, I thought I was buying shower gel (they come in identical containers). As it was on half price offer at a £1.00 it wasn't too much of a problem I just decided to give the scrub a go.

                  On closer inspection I should have realised it was not a shower gel as the finely ground apricot seeds contained in the scrub are visible through the container. I think the scrub has been given the shower gel like container because it too is designed for using in the shower. Making it have all the practical features such as a flip lid, a flat bottom for standing and visibility of the scrub through the container. Practical that is aside from the lack of hanging hook attachment. The overall look of the scrub is quite a lot different to the typical standard Radox look. Instead I feel it has been designed to look more feminine, natural and 'spa like' with a picture of a pile of stones and apricot seeds and a 'well being' logo featuring on the container.

                  Radox claim the scrub will put the sparkle back into my skin thanks to the blend of sea minerals and finely ground apricot seeds which help gently exfoliate in order to smooth and add radiance. Apparently, 100 years of expert know how has gone into making the scrub which also has a perfect pH balance. I think these 'claims' really should be taken with a pinch of salt. As the scrub also states it has been given the 'thumbs up' from the Radox skin experts. This thumb up approach doesn't exactly fill me with confidence as I would like to have a bit more information as to what this exactly means.

                  There is no guidance on how much of the scrub is needed too so I started off being quite over zealous with it, I held the palm of my hand and squirted out the pale beige scrub into it. Though, it's really not necessary to be that generous. Initially, I was a bit surprised how runny the consistency of the scrub is, it's definitely more shower gel like than a body scrub that you would scoop out into your hand. When squirting I needed to cup my hand to stop the scrub from running off the edge of my hand. The fragrance is pleasant enough, though it is pretty strong smelling. I can kind of smell the apricot but the scrub also smells very floral like too, almost like Rose (I don't know why) but it's a very synthetic smell that is the strongest smell. I would prefer it to smell more natural and understated as this is how I was expecting it to be. Though why I thought this of a scrub that actually contains very little 'natural' ingredients is a mystery to me.

                  I wasn't sure if I was meant to use the scrub with or without water (there is no guidance) so I settled on adding a small amount of water and rubbing my hands together which produced a lather. I wouldn't say there are as many bubbles as with a standard shower gel, but the lather is sufficient. The warm water makes the fragrance stand out even more. I apply the lather to my legs using fairly small circular motions. You do have to be careful not to get too much water on yourself as this washes the scrub straight off as it is fairly slippery. It feels nice enough on the skin, grainy enough so you can feel it exfoliating the skin but not so much it is uncomfortable. Though if you like particularly grainy scrubs this would probably be too gentle.

                  Once I've rinsed and dried my legs I notice they feel smooth and my skin does look refreshed, the fragrance remains for a while after so you get a clean feeling. I do feel that I need to apply moisturiser after using the scrub as there is 'tightness' to my skin. My legs don't feel irritated by it though and I only use the scrub one to two times a week as that seems to be enough to keep any dead skin at bay.

                  Whilst the scrub is fairly effective, convenient to use and offers good value for money I can't say I would go out of my way to buy it again as I feel the natural 'wellbeing' emphasis placed on the scrub by Radox is all a bit misleading. It seems they have gone out of their way to design a product that makes people think it is natural but actually it isn't.

                  The scrub comes in a 250ml container which can be recycled, it just needs its lid removed first. It has a shelf life of 12 months, used on a weekly basis one container lasts approximately 2-3 months. Its usual selling price is £1.99 from both Boots and Superdrug.

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                    17.03.2010 20:48
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                    An enjoyable to use foot treatment but with average results.

                    I neglect my poor feet in the cold months, they never see the light of day they just get bundled into socks and boots. Around spring time I usually try to undo all of the neglect by slathering on copious amount of foot cream to try and get them in a sandal worthy state (I love wearing sandals, I'd wear them all year round if I could). Luckily, the Christmas Champneys set I received had in it the Perfect Pedicure Foot Butter. This gave me no excuse I had to get on with giving my feet a bit of much needed pampering.

                    Champneys Perfect Pedicure Foot Butter is dermatologically tested and said to be an intensive moisture treatment that softens and soothes tired and achy feet. It contains a blend of shea and olive butters to condition the skin, vitamin E to soften and hydrate dry skin and essential peppermint and orange oils to revive and provide fragrance. As with other body butters it comes in a clear round plastic tub with a gold coloured screw lid. The 'butter' is a very attractive pale green colour, it reminds me of mint ice cream. It does look like it is going to be refreshing to apply. The combination of peppermint and orange is really nice and not one I would have thought would go well together. Each oil fights for attention, I noticed the peppermint smell first, followed by the orange I've now decided that close up the butter smells predominantly of mint but held further away it's the orange that is predominant. Weird, or maybe it's just me.

                    Surprisingly, the foot butter doesn't have the same consistency as the body butters I have used, which are often very thick and butter like. This is much lighter, I would say its more like a thick cream than a butter so I'm not sure why it was given a the butter name. Champneys recommend massaging it liberally into the feet. I don't find I need to use a lot to cover my feet, a blob the size of a 10 pence is adequate to do both feet. It does require a fair bit of massaging to work in, otherwise it just sits on the skin, though it does seem to blend in quite a bit easier than body butters. I only apply it in the evening when I've got some time to do this. It does feel nice on my feet, for some reason (probably because of the peppermint) I was expecting it to be cooling, it isn't. It does feel nice and refreshing though and soothes my feet, the thing I like most is the fragrance, which smells really good. Though this does become realy faint after a couple of hours. The butter does start to soak into the feet fairly quickly and doesn't feel greasy, which is great as the 'slippery feet' problem after application is one of the reason I often avoid moisturising my feet. Though it does take quite a while longer for the butter to fully be absorbed, so the feet do feel a bit tacky for a while after. I tend to apply the cream in the evening and then pop on some bed socks and let the butter do its stuff over the course of the evening.

                    My feet are fairly dry and scaly, and this butter has gone some way to make them look and feel better, although I do still feel they could benefit from something more intensive even though this is what the butter is meant to be, but then maybe that's because of my feet neglect. It has softened my skin and added some moisture but it hasn't really had the desired effect on the dry and cracked skin on my toes and heels which isn't really that bad anyway. I've been using it for 8 weeks now on a daily basis and because not much is needed I still have at least another 8 weeks worth left so I will continue to use it.

                    The Champneys range is designed to offer luxury spa/beauty products and gifts at a reasonable cost.and is available in many Sainsburys stores as well as online at www.champneys.com. A 200ml tub of the Perfect Pedicure Foot Butter has a usual selling price of £8.50 but is currently on offer in sainsburys at £6.37. I don't think I would buy it myself as I could get the same results from a much cheaper foot cream. I also feel the title of the product is a bit misleading as I didn't really find it to be an 'intensive' treatment nor did I feel it was a 'butter'. If you buy it as a result of its title then you may be disappointed. I feel it's just a nice foot cream. As with so many other creams the butter does contains paraben preservatives and is therefore not suitable for anybody wishing to avoid parabens. It therefore may not be suitable for anybody with allergies or sensitive skin. The butter has a shelf life on 24 months.

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                    • Natural Lip Gloss / Make Up / 44 Readings / 43 Ratings
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                      15.03.2010 22:43
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                      A lovely lip gloss that smells, tastes and looks good all for a value price.

                      The Natural collection is one of Boots own brands and includes shower gels, bath foams, bodycare and makeup in its range. The products include fruit and floral combinations Boots say are designed to be fun and vibrant and inspired by the benefits of natural ingredients. Though I'm not sure how accurate this description is as I think the majority of ingredients used in the products are not natural. The collection of make up includes things like face powders, blushers, lipsticks, mascaras and lip glosses and offer very good value for money. The collection is frequently on offer at three products for £5.00, so I can treat myself without breaking the bank. Even when not on offer the gloss sells at a usual price of £1.99 and all other items in the collection are sold under £2.00.

                      One of the items I bought in the £5.00 deal is the Juicy Lip Gloss in Rasberry Ripple, which is a pale baby pink shade with a hint of shimmer. Other colours in the range include Toffee Cream which is a pale brown colour and Vanilla which is clear. The gloss has been dermatologically tested and comes in a simple clear plastic tube with a white screw lid and the Natural Collection logo. As with most glosses the applicator is attached to the lid, it's basically a slim wand with a small soft sponge at the end of it. There isn't anything fancy about it but it does the job and I have found it to be durable from the knocking it gets in my bag. The gloss is not only Rasberry Ripple in name but does actually smell and tastes like the ice cream but a more sweet synthetic version but I still like it, it always makes me hungry for ice cream.

                      The gloss is easy to apply and it does a good job of evenly coating the lips, you don't have to apply loads to get a decent covering. For a lip gloss I would say it has average stickiness, it's not overly sticky but it does have some stickiness to it in order for it to cling to the lips. I would say you can feel you are wearing it as the gloss is fairly thick in consistency but it doesn't feel uncomfortable on the lips, as long as too much isn't applied. Once on the glossiness achieved is pretty impressive, it gives the lips an attractive shine. The depth of the colour achieved is similar to how it looks in the tube but slightly paler so it looks natural. It does have some shimmer but not in a sparkly way as there are no glittery bits in the gloss. It keeps the lips feeling fairly moist but I still find it necessary to put on some of my Blistex lip cream before using it, but then I do have very dry lips.

                      Unfortunately, the lip gloss doesn't have great staying power but then again I wasn't expecting it to have for the price. It looks great when first applied and for a short while after and definitely comparable to more expensive glosses but then the colour and gloss effect really does start to disappear. After an hour or two it does need applying again. This is only if the lips have been left alone, if any eating or drinking has taken place then it is necessary to apply the gloss again as it really doesn't stay on. It also does transfer on to things like mugs and glasses.

                      Because of the need to re-apply the gloss quite frequently I didn't expect my 8ml tube to last me that long but it lasted about 3 months and I wore it most days. Towards the end it did require a bit more pumping to get the gloss out. Overall, I like the gloss and will try another from the range. It can be bought in store and seems to be available at some smaller Boots as well, or online at www.boots.com. Currently the three products for £5.00 deal is on offer.

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                      12.03.2010 21:02
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                      Overall a good eye cream that immediately brightens and softens fine lines over a period of time.

                      I bought the Time Delay Wrinkle Reduce Eye Cream a while back to make use again of a £5.00 off skin care voucher. Although the £5.00 vouchers have encouraged me to spend, I'm pretty pleased as I've found some decent products as a result. I've had a 'might as well give it a go' attitude with all of the products I have tried, so my expectations have not been that high. The cream has a usual price of £6.84 but it's currently reduced to £5.84 and available via the website (www.boots.com). As I bought it with the £5.00 voucher it only cost me a bargain £1.84.

                      We are told the cream contains an intense formula which is blended with a 'skin firming' complex to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Antioxidants and lipopeptides protect, nourish and repair the eye area. Where as light diffusing particles give the eye area a boost of radiance making it look brighter, smoother and firmer.

                      The cream comes in a slim 15ml clear plastic tube with a silver coloured screw lid. It is easy to dispense and you only need to give the tube a slight squeeze to get the small amount needed. The cream is pale pink in colour which is a bit unusual, most eye creams I have used tend to be either white in colour or those with added concealer, which are a beige colour. I was initially worried it may make the skin around my eyes look a pink colour, it doesn't though.

                      The cream has a very light texture which is fluid but not at all runny. It doesn't have any greasiness to it which I like. There is also no fragrance as such, if I really sniff hard there is a slight smell but it's very neutral and doesn't smell of anything distinctive. To use the cream you just squeeze a small amount onto the finger and dot it around the under eye area and to the side of the eye, tapping it lightly into the skin in upward stokes. It doesn't take much effort for it to sink into the skin. This cream is good for those people who are worried about touching or rubbing the delicate eye area as I find a couple of gentle taps sufficient. Once on, it doesn't have any heaviness and leaves no residue and the reason for its pale pink colour becomes apparent. It isn't possible to detect any pink on the skin but somehow the colour acts as a light diffuser so it immediately brightens any dark circles and makes the eye contour look less dull and tired. There is no sparkle at all but it does have a sheer look about it but this isn't overly shiney. The cream feels cooling and soothing, so the eye area is immediately refreshed on application. It doesn't sting at all which I find some creams do. I tend to give the cream about a minute to fully sink in before applying my eye make up, which then goes on smoothly.

                      It does do a good job on fine lines and crepey skin. Over time it softens and smoothes fines lines but you do have to have patience with it, as it takes a good 4-6 weeks before noticing much difference. I wouldn't say it works massively well on wrinkles, there is no disappearing act but it does soften them a bit. The greatest overall benefit I have found is the brightening to the eye contour area. This effect is immediate and just becomes more so over time. I feel the cream also adds some moisture, so the eye area feels less tight and dry and looses the slight bumpiness under the eye. It is recommended the cream be used twice daily, in the morning and evening, which I have been doing as it really is no hassle to use.

                      I feel the cream offers pretty good value for money (especially if the voucher is used). I think it holds its own against some more expensive eye creams which I have tried. That said, I do have a couple of quibbles. The first being, as an anti ageing product I feel it should incorporate an SPF into it, as this would provide protection against sun damage on a daily basis. It would provide better value for money as it would act as an all in one product instead of needing to obtain sun protection via a different cream. Second quibble, there is a staggeringly long list of ingredients, which I won't list here. Though they can be found on the Boots website (www.boots.com). The cream has been dermatologically tested but I will mention that it does contains paraben preservatives and therefore is not suitable for people who avoid parabens. For this reason, it may also not be suitable for people with allergies or sensitive skin. The cream has a shelf life of 6 months. If used twice daily one tube lasts approximately 4 months.

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                      11.03.2010 00:05
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                      A ridiculously expensive shower gel but so worth it.

                      I was very lucky to receive a bottle of the Molton Brown Relaxing Yuan Zhi Bath and Shower Gel for Christmas. It was bought for me because I had been having difficulty sleeping with general tension and the Relaxing Yuan Zhi Bath is said to aid relaxation, relieve stress and promote peaceful sleep. Before using this I did know of Molton Brown but had never tried any of their products, as for me they are just too expensive. For example, this gel retails at an eye watering £17.00 for 300ml. I did feel rather guilty at the time of receiving it as I was happy enough just using cheap shower gels, so I thought the gift was wasted on me.

                      Molton Brown endeavour to use as many naturally derived unique ingredients as possible but this doesn't mean that it equates to a completely natural product. None of their products are tested on animals. The main ingredients in the gel are: Yuan Zhi which is a wild plant from South China, traditionally used to balance energy (Chi) and soothe the spirit. Mango oil is added due to its anti-oxidant powers and also acts an anti-inflammatory to restore the condition of the skin. The gel also contains aromatic essential oils of vanilla, Ylang Ylang and rose. It can be used as both a shower gel and bath foam which I think is good as although I'm mostly a shower person I do have the odd bath from time to time.

                      The Relaxing Yuan Zhi is a deep purple colour and comes in a very stylish clear plastic bottle, bearing the classic Molton Brown logo. The bottle has a very swish looking silver coloured screw lid which is also embossed with the Molton Brown logo. The overall look is very high end, almost too good to use but its not meant for just looking pretty. If you buy the Relaxing Yuan Zhi from a Molton Brown shop they will package it in a lovely box which is tied with expensive looking ribbon. This is ideal for special gifts.

                      As soon as the bottle is opened you get a whiff of the strong fragrance. I just love it, I can definitely detect Ylang Ylang, vanilla and mango. All of these smells combine together to produce a strong exotic, musky smell. I don't think it favours either a feminine or masculine smell. Molton Brown products often don't differentiate between sexes, so their shower and bath gels can be used by both males and females. I feel the Relaxing Yuan Zhi would be suitable for men and women, although I guess it comes down to personal taste.

                      I normally use quite a large glug of my cheap shower gel in order to get a good lather. I didn't want to waste this so I was pleased to see that it's recommended to use approximately 5-10mls (this equates to about ½ - 1 capful) dispensed onto a sponge or cloth. I have to tentatively pour half a capful onto my sponge and start to later with water. I say tentatively as it is easy to pour too much out because the gel comes from a large pouring hole at the top of the bottle. I feel it would be better dispensed from a pump but this just my individual preference. I didn't expect this amount of gel to give me much of lather, I was surprised to find this not the case. There was a generous amount of lather which wasn't just for show either as sometimes I find you get a lot of bubbles but not much substance behind them. This was bubbly but had a richness as well that is luxurious on the skin. The fragrance is intensified as the warm water is added to the gel. Again the fragrance isn't just for show, after showering the skin does smell quite strongly of the fragrance, it's almost like I've sprayed some fragrance on as well. The scent does linger on the skin as I drift off to sleep. When I wake up in the morning I can still smell it on my skin which I find really nice. I've used the gel a couple of times in the bath where it's recommended 25ml-30ml is poured under running taps, though I find it sufficient to use just 1 ½ caps. This is enough to give a good amount of bubbles. It's nice to have a good soak and have more time to take in the fragrance. As far as moisturing the skin I think the gel does a good job. I always use moisturiser after my showers as standard but the gel does leave the skin feeling soft and smooth, I just like the added moisture of a cream.

                      Before using this gel I never really thought showers could be all that relaxing as I tend to have one in the morning to wake me up. I've now got in to the routine of having one in the evening and use the Relaxing Yuan Zhi to wind down. I can get in the shower feeling stressed and uptight but something in the luscious purple potion makes my whole body ease, clears any fuzzy head and just generally puts me in a better mood. I was sceptical to say the least with its 'promoting sleep' claim but I have to say I do find it easier to get to sleep after I've used this. The problem being I now love the Relaxing Yuan Zhi I'm a traitor to my cheap shower gel. It's just too expensive for me to buy myself though so think I will have to keep my fingers crossed for my Birthday. I do expect my current bottle to last me a good while longer. As only a bit of gel is needed I still have over two thirds of my bottle left and I've used it daily for 10 weeks.

                      The Relaxing yuan zhi can't be be bought direct from Molton Brown (www.moltonbrown.co.uk) or from department stores like John Lewis. Also in the Relaxing yuan zhi range is a body cream, a sleep mist and candle, but again prices are extremely high at £17, £25 and an eye watering £49 respectively. Which is a shame as I think it would be lovely to layer the gel and body cream together to get an added depth to the fragrance.


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                        09.03.2010 18:43
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                        A certified organic serum to combat the first signs of ageing.

                        The Nutriganics range is a fairly new addition to the Body Shop (launched October last year, I think) and is their first certified organic anti ageing skin care regime. The range is certified organic by the globally recognised independent certification body ECOCERT, as it meets the minimum level of organic content as specified by them. The range consists of several anti ageing products including facial washes, toners, moisturisers, eye creams and face masks that are said to be high performance products and prices range from £8.00-£13.00. The whole range features several very appealing organic ingredients which include: Community Trade organic babassu oil from Brazil to soften the skin, organic Aloe Vera from Guatemala to smooth and revitalise the skin, Mallow flower from Switzerland to moisturise the skin and Cornflower floral water from France to refresh the skin.

                        I've wanted to try a serum suitable for my skin for a while. Unfortunately, all the ones I have tried so far have been too rich and have resulted in breakouts. As I wanted to try the Nutriganics range I decided to buy the Smoothing Serum priced at £13.00 for 30ml. The serum is certified as being organic as 99% of its total ingredients are derived from a natural origin and 34% of the total ingredients come from organic farming. I like that this serum has been designed for the initial signs of ageing by smoothing, revitalising and softening. I believe the product range is suitable for any age range but it has been suggested to be particularly suitable for ages 30-40 years. This is ideal for me as I'm 31. Really, I'm sure it can be used outside of this age range though.

                        There is no information provided by the Body Shop on which skin types the serum is suitable for. So we are left to assume it's suitable for most types. I have mildly sensitive skin and used to think that organic products would be the least irritant. I have since found this is not always the case as just because something is organic doesn't mean it can't still irritate the skin. I haven't had any problems with the serum but I do think it comes down to individual skin and I feel it's worth mentioning that the serum uses potassium sorbate as a preservative which can sometimes irritate sensitive skin.

                        The serum comes in a neutral looking container with green writing which I do like as it ties in with its organic content. It has a pump dispenser that I have found easy to use. The container is not transparent so it's not possible to see the serum before dispensing. It's designed to be used at the in between stage, so after cleansing and toning but before moisturising. After toning I apply a thin layer of the white serum to my face and neck (one pump is usually sufficient to do this), using small circular upward motions. It really doesn't take anytime at all for it to sink in to the skin as it has a really light texture and as it goes on it feels soothing. The fragrance is quite unusual (probably because of the long list of plant oils used) definitely not in an off putting way. The smells I can detect are lemon, orange oil, thyme and olive.

                        Once applied the serum dries almost immediately and it actually feels like you've not really applied anything. It does seem to have an immediate smoothing effect on the skin and makes it look matte as it's not greasy. I normally apply my moisturiser straightaway after using the serum, I find my moisturiser goes on really well, it's as if the serum is acting as a primer for it. I would say the serum does provide some additional moisture to the skin but I always find it still necessary to use my moisturiser. I have had no problem with breakouts probably because the serum is very light as opposed to being really rich like others often are.

                        I know serums aren't for everyone and can often be viewed as an unnecessary expense on top of moisturiser. After all, do they really make any difference? Well I was initially unconvinced the serum had much of an effect aside from the initial smoothing and accelerated moisturisation. My fine lines have seemed slightly softened but it could be argued that this could all be achieved through a good moisturiser. For this reason, after using the serum twice a day for six weeks I decided to go three days without using it. During this time my face felt noticeably tighter and definitely not as soothed or smooth looking. As soon as I started using the serum again I didn't have these problems which lead me to think that the serum was keeping my skin more hydrated. I would buy the serum again and will probably try some more of the Nutriganics range. Within my budget, it is on the pricey side but not as far as other serums go. Although the price could be a bit lower there is some justification for it as organic plant extracts are expensive. Although I can't see how much serum I have left, because only a small amount is needed I do expect it to last me some time yet. If you fancy giving the serum a go visit www.thebodyshop.co.uk.

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                        • Avon Pro to Go Lipstick / Make Up / 39 Readings / 38 Ratings
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                          07.03.2010 13:54
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                          A good lipstick that can be used simply with just one hand.

                          As mentioned in one of my more recent reviews (Body Shop Colourglide Lip Colour - thank you if you read) I don't often wear lipstick. My Mum bought me the Avon 'Pro-to-Go Lipstick' though as a little treat. My Mum paid the full price of £7.00 for it but I believe it is sometimes on special offer at around £4.00 - £5.00.

                          For me, without a doubt the most likeable feature of this lipstick is its clever innovative concept. Dubbed the 'one handed lipstick' we are told it can be applied anytime, anywhere. The lipstick is stylish to look at. It comes in a sleek and shiny black casing which is approximately 3 inches in length and is much slimmer than a normal lipstick. On the side of the casing there is a small lever, which when pushed releases the flip up lid at the top of the casing. Also revealed is a silver barrel in which the lipstick sits, as the lever is pushed upwards more of the lipstick becomes visible. The lipstick slides easily back down into the black casing as the lever is pushed back down again.

                          The design does have positive and negative points. I'll start with the positives. I'm always loosing the lids of my lipsticks, they seem to make a break for freedom in order to join the rest of the lost lids in my bag. With the Pro-to-Go there are no lost lids as the flip lid is attached to the casing. The lipstick also doesn't get accidently crushed by the lid like it can do with conventional lipstick if not fully wound down. Application of this lipstick is a doddle and does live up to its marketing of being a 'one handed lipstick'. This is great as it leaves the other hand free to hold a mirror or to do whatever it likes. The lipstick is slim and has a downward slant, this does have its advantages, it makes it easier to follow my lip line during application giving a more precise finish. On the other hand, as the lipstick is quite a bit thinner and more stick like than usual lipsticks it makes it more prone to breaking. I find you do have to be careful with it to avoid this, particularly as the slant of the lipstick faces the same way as the lid opens. Meaning you have to raise the lipstick up quite a bit in order to avoid the lid. Avon could easily avoid this by simply turning the lipstick around to face the other way to the open lid.

                          Right, onto the lip colour. It's available in 9 different shades. I would call the shades pretty traditional so they won't be suited to all tastes. They are predominantly pink with a couple of reds thrown in. My Mum chose me the Perfect Pink shade, as I tend to like neutral pick colours. This is a sheer pink with a slight purple tinge and a hint of shimmer. I can often find with some of Avon's make up the colour that appears in the catalogue or online isn't a true representation of the colour in reality. Whilst I've never been overly disappointed with any colours received I do feel it is worth taking this into account. I like that the lipstick has an SPF15 to it. I often neglect my lips when it comes to protecting them from the sun so this added protection gives me some reassurance.

                          Avon describes the lipstick as being sheer to medium colour and a balm all in one. I would say this is a fairly accurate description. It has only a very light fragrance which is sweet and floral like but this is hardly noticeable once the lipstick is applied. As I apply the colour to my lips, it does feel lovely and moisturising, it glides on easily and doesn't look flaky or dry. It does have a sheer appearance which gives my lips a slight shimmery glossiness without them feeling sticky. The depth of colour is fine for me because it looks fairly neutral. Though I would say if you like your colour medium to strong looking then this probably wouldn't give you enough depth. Or if your lips are pretty pigmented, again this probably wouldn't have enough colour to it. The lipstick has average staying power, it lasts for a good couple of hours or so but I did need to reply it after eating and drinking and there is some transfer onto cups. In fairness though it doesn't make any big claims in relation to its staying power. My lips remain soft whilst wearing it, so its seems to do a pretty good job of keeping them hydrated.

                          Would I buy this lipstick myself? Probably, yes. It's not without its faults but I do like its quirky 'one handed' design. With just a few tweaks I feel this could be a great lipstick in all ways. If you fancy giving it a go check out the Avon website: avonshop.co.uk or speak to your local Avon representative (if you have one). Avon does not test any of their products or ingredients on animals. All of their products are dermatologically tested and it is therefore suggested that they be suitable for most types of skin, including sensitive. If the lipstick is unsuitable though you can return it and get a full refund up to 90 days after purchase.

                          Thanks for reading.

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                            01.03.2010 19:10
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                            What a let down. I will stick to my usual wipes.

                            I bought these wipes recently on a 3 for 2 winter essentials offer at the Body Shop. They are normally priced at £5.50 for 25 wipes. I do like wipes for convenience and I also like products with vitamin E, which is known to be a powerful antioxidant as well as helping moisturise the skin. I generally find vitamin E really does make a positive difference to my skin. The wipes also contain wheat germ oil which helps to moisturise and nourish the skin and glycerine which acts as a softener and improves hydration within the skin.

                            Like other face wipes, these come in a minimalistic plastic pack which is a pale pink colour (all of the Body Shop vitamin E range is this colour). The information on the pack tells us that the wipes will gently take off make up by cleansing, toning and moisturising all in one. Whilst I use wipes all the time I don't usually use 'all in one' types. I therefore didn't really know what to expect when using them. The wipe itself is actually really fiddly to get out, they tend to stick together meaning it's very easy to pull out more than one wipe. This annoys me as then I either have to use two wipes or try and put the wipe back in the pack and it never goes back in the way it should. Once out the wipe is also a bit of a faff to get open as its folded tightly, its not very thick and feels flimsy. Once the wipe is fully opened there is pleasant fragrance which is floral and sweet smelling. I like my wipes to be really moist and soft, these wipes are soft but they are not particularly moist. They are ok but I would prefer them to be wetter.

                            Once I have smoothed the wipe over my face, my skin immediately tightens and feels slightly irritated. Not the feeling I am expecting at all. My face can be a bit sensitive but I've never had a problem with vitamin E or Body Shop products before. In fact, I normally find Body Shop products to be the one of the least irritating to my skin. Although the wipe has done an ok job of cleaning my face I do need to apply my usual soothing toner and then a very generous amount of moisturiser to get my skin feeling normal again. I don't know if this is what normally happens with an 'all in one' wipe but I really feel the wipes do not do what they are supposed to. I wanted to give the wipes a fair go and I also didn't want to waste them so I carried on using them until I finished the pack but the same 'irritation' and 'drying' effect occurred each time. I feel the wipes did an ok job of cleansing as they seemed to remove most of my make up, but my face did not feel toned or moisturised after using them. It's a shame as I really like Body Shop products but unfortunately I wouldn't buy these again as they irritated my skin and didn't save me any time at all.

                            Thanks for reading.

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                              28.02.2010 15:13
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                              Foundation for skin that suffers from dullness due to lack of sleep.

                              I'm very pale and have very long black hair and a liking of black clothes. This has led me to acquire many nicknames that vary around Morticia Addams, names which I don't like. To try and stop myself from looking like I'm permanently on my way to a Halloween party I use foundation, as fake tan just doesn't seem to suit me. I still like to look fairly natural though and can often find foundation feels uncomfortable on my skin. I've tried tinted moisturiser but they don't give me enough coverage. As I like Bourjois products I was immediately attracted to their '10 Hour Sleep Effect' foundation as my face frequently suffers from a lack of sleep.

                              Bourjois tell us that the foundation is oil free and dermatologically tested. The formula is said to fight the signs of fatigue as it is enriched with a high concentration of vitamins E, F and B5 as well as minerals. I often use face creams containing vitamin E so know this helps improve skin condition. From reading around, I believe vitamin F helps renew and regenerate the skin and Pro-vitamin B5 acts as a skin restorer and smoother. Bourjois claim the foundation will 'conceal dark circles and a dull complexion' and replace it with an 'even and rested complexion'. This seems to be quite a long list of promises they are racking up. The foundation comes in six shades, the palest being the one I use which is called Abricoté Clair (71) through to the darkest called Rose (76). I do feel that Bourjois could extend the range of shades available as currently they seem to be suited more to people with either pale or rosy complexions.

                              The foundation comes in a fawn coloured cylindrical shaped container and is dispensed via a pump. Whilst the lid is transparent the container itself is not, making it really hard to see how much foundation is left. The pump dispenser is fairly sturdy and you do have to give it a good push to get it working. I tend to rest the dispenser on my finger as I pump to avoid the foundation escaping to places it shouldn't. This works fine but is does have a fairly fluid consistency to it, so you do have to work quite quickly to make sure it doesn't run off your finger. It smells deliciously sweet and naturally fruity, peachy like. I love the fragrance as it lightly lingers on the skin after application. Due to its fluid consistency it goes onto the skin really easily. I just dab bits on to my face with my finger tip and then gently smooth it over the skin. It really doesn't take much blending at all and doesn't drag the skin in anyway. I use one pump as I find this enough to provide a really good light but even coverage. This normally lasts all day without any breakout shine. Though if I'm going out in the evening I do find I need to re apply just to freshen my face up.

                              I like the coverage it achieves as it gives a matt and flawless finish yet it still remains natural looking. It's enough to lessen the fine lines around my eyes and tone down the redness around my nose and lessen my blemishes. It doesn't cover my dark circles but it does make them appear less but I guess it depends on how dark your circles are, mine are not that dark. The foundation doesn't leave any tell tale tide marks nor does it transfer onto clothes. After I've applied there is an immediate brightening effect to my skin. My sleep deprived face looks more refreshed. One of the things I like most about it is that I can't feel I'm wearing it. With previous foundations, I remove them as soon as I get home in the evening. With this, I forget I'm wearing it and leave it on all evening until I cleanse my face before bed.

                              As you may have guessed by now I love this foundation, it really does live up to many of its claims. I don't think I'll achieve an actual '10 hours sleep' but at least using this foundation makes my face looks like it's had a decent nights sleep. I just need to convince my body next that that's the case.

                              Bourjois 10 Hour Sleep Effect Foundation is available from Boots currently priced at £8.99 for 30ml. I don't actually buy it that often though as I find it lasts a long time as you don't need much to get a good coverage. I've had my current container for over 6 months now and I've used it nearly every day. Though I always keep one in spare as I never know when I'm going to run out.

                              Thanks for reading.

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