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Firstly I will appologise for this being a long one but I feel there is a lot that needs to be covered to make this a thorough review, Legoland is a big place and there is a lot to it so hopefully you wont fall asleep reading.
Legoland is a family theme park which is open between the months of mid March and November. Owned by the Merlin entertainment group the park is entirely themed around the much loved and ever so popular toy Lego, now seeing that my four year old son has taken a keen interest in all things Duplo and Lego we thought that this would be the perfect place to take him for the day.
Located on the outskirts of Windsor in Berkshire Legoland is easy enough to acess via the M25, M3 and M4 and sign posted on all approaching roads to the park to make it that little bit easier if you dont know the area well.
The Park has a large amount of parking although you will find that the later you arrive the further away from the entrance you are more likely to be parked up. Parking itself costs £2.00 per vehicle, thats unless you are a merlin anual pass holder then it is free, you just scan your pass upon exit. You can purchase your parking ticket at any of the kiosks or booths within the park but remember to do so before you leave of you wont be able to get out.
If you would prefer to park closer to the entrance then you can use the Prefered Parking section of the car park but this will cost you £6.00 per car and their is only a limited amount of spaces so you need to look at getting there for opening to get a space.
Now like most of the Merlin Entertainment theme parks Legoland does come at a cost, on the day prices are as follows:
an Adult ticket costs £38.00
a Senior ticket (60+ years) costs £29.00
a child between the ages of 3 - 15 years costs £29.00 Under 3s are free entry.
Now if you decide to pre book your tickets online before you go then you can benefit from a 10% reduction in the price of your tickets and it also means that you wont need to que up at the kiosks to purchase tickets you just print them off at home and when you get there go straight to the turnstyles which saves time as during peak season queing for tickets can involve a bit of a wait.
The park itself is spread across 150 acres and split into 11 different areas of which are all individually themed and boast many exciting attractions of which I will try to explain to you:
The name really says it all, this is the entrance area to the park itself and is where you will find the ticket booths, ticket gates, guest services, gift shops, photo collection points, QBot kiosks and other facilities such as toilets and cash machines.
Located at the top of a hill it gives you some stunning views across Legoland itself and the Windsor, Heathrow areas.
From here you will find that there are two pathways which lead you down into the park, these paths are quiet steep so not suitable for everyone so there is a Hill train that you can use to take you down into the park. Its been designed so that it is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs and let me say its a gods send at the end of the day when you are all walked out and need to get back up to the top of that hill.
This areas is aimed at the younger visitors to the park and is one that my four year old son thoroughly enjoyed, it features :
Duplo Play town - this is a soft surface family adventure playground aimed at children under the age of five years old.
Duplo Train - this ride is a small railway, its a bright colourful train that travels along a figure of eight track, not the most exciting in the park but certainly suitable for the younger, smaller guests.
Extreme Team Challenge - This is a ride where you should prepare to get soaking wet and requires two riders (my Fiance and son loved it) You board an inflatable dingy at the top of the hill and then when the green light shows the platform you are on raises and you begin to race the other dingy to the bottom.
Chopper Squadron - is a ride that involves lego themed helicopters that rotate around a central colum, the rider is able to control the movement on the helicopters going up and down.
Waterworks - this is a water play area in which young children can play with the numerous interactive water features such as fountains and water cannons. The day we went it was a really warm summers day, perfect for this area but it does get very busy and remember to take your lil ones swim wear and sun screen and you will need a towel as they will get very wet and the likely hood is that so will you.
Fairytale Brook - This is a lovely enchanting little ride great for younger children, it involves a nice relaxing boat ride through different animated fairy tale scenes including little red riding hood and hansel and grettle. Each boat holds four people so we found it good for a family ride.
Cuddles corner - This is a take on the 'build a bear' factories which you find in shopping centres across the country. Your child is able to chose a bear which a member of staff will then stuff , you are then able to chose from a large selection of Lego themed clothing for your bear to wear. You can also purchase swimwear for your children to use within the waterworks section and it also has a section where you can purchase items and have them personally engraved. A good place for lego land to cash in on their branding.
This area is just like a 'little city' it has its own harbour, train station, restraunt, a variety of gift shops and what city isnt complete without a building site. You can even find lego built black cabs parked up on the side of the streets and little workmen sticking up through the manhole covers. The harbour is also home to the pirate and Johnny Thunder stunt shows which are held at different times throughout the day. Features include:
Digger challenge - this is suitable for those of five years plus, Legoland have 12 mock JCB diggers and after watching a short video the children have to tranfer as many balls as possible into a metal container. Now one point about this ride is they require that the child who wants to have a go has proof of ID in photographic form..yes you read that right! they want ID to prove that the child is old enough to have a go, now how many children at the age of five actually have a passport as this is the only photographic ID that children have, they say its because of safety requirements.
Orient Expedition - this is a lovely train ride suitable for those of all ages that takes you for a journey across different areas of the park.
To be honest compared to the others I dont really see that Adventure land has a specific theme, The rides in this area are:
Wave Surfer - This is a really fun ride that you should be prepared to get very wet on, it involves lego themed jet skis which are connected at a central turntable which rotates at quite a speed , you can control the jet skis so that they either move away from or towards the centre. Other guests that are watching are able to detinate water like bombs from under the surface and fire water cannons directly at you as you aim to dodge these as your spinning around, its a really great laugh especially when you have other family members watching and trying to get you soaked.
Dino Dipper - This ride is suitable for the younger guests, it is a loop of cars which travel around at high speeds over a series of bumps, I wouldnt advise to go on when you have just eaten and some younger children may find it a bit too bumpy, my four year old wansnt too keen on the sudden jolts.
Dino Safari - this ride is more suitable for the younger guests, its a safari car that can fit two people that takes you around a track that features giant model lego dinosaurs all around, my son thoroughly enjoyed this ride, he called it the "Dinosaur hunt" ride
Mini land is an amazing section of the park and has many depictions of European, and Americam buildings and monuments. It has an amazing London section which includes models of the Gherkin, the Millennium Bridge, The London Eye , Canary Wharf, St Pauls Cathedral and Buckingham Palace. The attention to detail all of these models is absolutely amazing, the workmanship that goes into these to make them look so realistic makes these a true work of art. Its an area which you could spend hours looking at although not really one for younger children as my 4year old got really bored.
This is a fantastic section for children and adults alike, it gives children the chance to get behind the wheel, whether it be a car or a boat and let lose, my four year old son absolutely loved this area but be warned the waiting time for the following rides were quiet long.
Driving School - this is designed for children between the ages of 6 - 13 years old and it gives them the opportunity to drive cars and earn their own driving license which you see many children proudly wearing as they walk around the park.
L Drivers - this is the same as driving school but all on a smaller scale for children between the ages of 3 - 5 years old. My son had an absolutely fantastic time driving around in the electric car and was so proud of the license that he achieved from it.
Boating School- I have never had so much fun watching people in boats attempting to stear a course, here a maximum of three people can stear a battery powered boat around a course avoiding all the obstacles on the way. My son and fiance had so much fun although this was the one ride that had a waiting time of 1hr and 20 minutes, although I believe this could have been something to do with the boats batteries kepy dying half way around and members of staff kept having to wade out around the course to rescue and pull them back in.
Ballon School - Another nice relaxing ride for all of the family. This ride allows you to experience a ballon ride, as you rotate around the central colum you can pull on the the rope to take the balloon higher or release it to gently float back down, it gives some lovely views across the park.
Fire Accademy - You certainly need a burst of energy for this ride and it requires team work, we had such a laugh and you will almost certainly get wet. Teams of four people are placed into a fire engine which is hand powered by an up and down lever, you need to race other teams to get to the burning house then using the water extinguish the fire and then all jump back onto the fire engine and race back and be the first to win.
This area is where children can let their immagination and creativity run wild and experience different lego workshops to create lego models, test how they work and see how Lego and robotix can combine. These workshops include:
Mindstorms and the Robo test workshop - Now this workshop needs to be pre booked, its aimed for childrem aged 8 years and up and gives the child the opportunity to explore robotics and lego and how they can work together.
Build and test workshops - The build and test workshop is made up of three seperate sections:
-The creative zone is aimed at younger guests who can explore and play with brightly coloured soft bricks.
-Motion Zone that allows older guests to build cars and test them out and see how they fair and the Tremor zone which allows children to be creative and build towers out of lego bricks and then see how their building would withstand the tremors of an earthquake on the tremor table.
There are also two rides within this area, these are:
Space Tower - Another ride which requires some energy, the ride requires two people to winch themselves up to the top of the tower and then to slowly descend back down. this is another ride which provides some spectacular views of the park but does require some strength and energy.
Sky Rider - is an elevated tack ride which takes you around the Imagination centre area, at a nice slow pace this ride can give you some lovely views across Mini land and the rest of the park although if your not keep on heights then this ride really isnt for you.
-Kingdom of the Pharaohs-
This area is themed around Egypt and the Pharaohs and the main central piece to this is a six metre high statue of a Pharaoh made entirely out of Lego. Features of this area include:
Laser Raiders - this is an indoor laser ride where you are borded onto a car equipt with four lazer guns you are then driven through an ancient tomb in search of the lost hidden treasure. Using your lazer guns you need to battle the evil mummies and skeletons by fireing upon red and green targets to accumulate points. Its a fun ride but it did involve over an hours wait to get onto it.
Scarab Bouncers - Located within the Egyptian tomb (tent) this ride is certainly a bouncy one. You are raised up to the top of the ride before gently being bounced back down then it repeats a couple more times before being bought back down and stopping.
Thunder Blazer - this is what you describe of a chairoplane ride. Its basically a fairground style ride where you sit in metal chairs that are suspended by chains, as the ride rotates these chairs swing outwards.
Desert Chase - is aimed at the younger guests to the park. Another fair ground style ride this is a mini carousel that rotates around.
Aero Nomad - Another fairground style ride, this is a miniature Ferris Wheel that slowly goes around, a pleasant little ride that my son really enjoyed.
-Land of the Vikings-
this area is a Nordic themed area of vikings and full of adventure Features include:
Lokis Labrinth - this is an exciting hedge maze, you enter at a starting point and then need to find your way to the look out tower located at the centre of the maze. Its a good way to waste twenty minutes although keeping up with an enegetic four year old without losing him was good fun.
Vikings River Splash - this is a very popular rides at the park and has the ques to prove it as we waited just under an hour for a go on this ride. A fast flowing river rapid ride that takes you on a journey downstream but be prepared to get soaked as at every turn, there are sections of rough water, curtains of water that you cannot avoid and a combination of static cannons and ones that other guests can fire unon you to get you even more wet. A really great ride and better on those warm summer days where you can dry off quicker.
Spinning Spider - this is just like a giant spinning tea cup ride but on this one the tea cups come in the form of logs. Its basically a giant turntable with smaller turntables within that and then the logs mounted upon them, these all spin round and then using a wheel at the central colum of your log you can spin around even more. I wasnt too sure how my son would take to this one but it had him screaming faster faster and Mummy wanting to be sick.
Longboat Invader - Im not to sure how to describe this, al I can say is that its a rocking viking boat that turns. The boat rolls back and forth on a track which then later starts to turn and continues with this motion for some time, not one of the most exciting that we qued up for.
Pirates Landing is new to Legoland for 2010 and is an exciting new area children and adults alike which is themed around pirates, treasure and treasure hunting. Features include:
Pirate Falls Dynamite Drench - This one is a log flume ride that will almost certainly get you soaking wet, once you board the log boat you find yourself floating along a river, along the way there are many different pirate themed lego scenes for you to look at, you then find yourself making a steep ascent up into what I could only describe as a dark wooden shed, you see a few more lego models and some warning signs and then its the drop down which will get you soaked through. We all thoroughly enjoyed this ride, my son wasnt to keen on getting wet yet wanted to go on it again and again. Unfortunately its a very popular ride in the summer months and found waiting approx 40 minutes to get on.
Pirate training camp - The pirate training camp is a giant wooden playground designed for both children of all ages and you will often spy adults on there having fun too.
Jolly Rocker - this ride is a giant swinging pirate boat. The ride swings back and forth taking you higher and higher each time before slowing back down and stopping. Althouh suitable for younger children who are accompanied by an adult our four year old son hated this ride, by the end it had him sheding a few tears and wanting off.
This is a really picturesque area that I feel has really been thought out and works really well, it themes around knights and dragons and is dominated by a giant lego themed knights castle. Features include:
The Dragon - Located within the castle itself the Dragon is a fast paced rollercoaster ride. Starting off within the castle it moves through a series of different rooms which all have different lego model scenes before exiting the castle and going out into the open where you find yourself racing through trees in a lovely picturesque parkland area. Now this rollercoaster is not for smaller children but Legoland have made up for this by creating the Dragons apprentice which is a smaller rollercoaster ride.
Dragons Apprentice - this is another rollercoaster that has been designed for those not big enough to ride the Dragon which I think is good of Legoland. Its a fast paced rollercoaster wit many twists and turns. My son absolutely loved this ride and we later found ourself waiting to go on it again that he loved it so much.
Enchanted Forest - this is ideal if you want a bit of peace, the enchanted forest is a beautiful woodland area which throughout you will find lego creatures all dotted around and nature sounds over the audio speaker system. As we walked around we noted that it seemed popular for those who wanted an area to sit down and picnic but to be honest its a bit boring and my son just wanted to get out and go on more rides.
Now like I have said these rides can involve ques and at peak times these ques can be quiet lengthly. Now Legoland have introduced Q-Bot, it costs £10.00 per person off peak and £15.00 peak. Q-bot is a virtual queing system where you are given a small red and yellow electronic device, it allows you to scroll through all of the rides in the park, to see their current waiting time and to reserve a place in a virtual line, now you still have to wait the same amount of time that you would if queing for the ride but instead you book your place in a virtual que so it means your not having to stand around waiting for say 50 minutes getting bored,when your allocated time slot comes around all you need to do is enter the ride at the Q bot entrance and you get through to the ride.
Now we decided to pay the additional money to use one of these and this extra time does give you the chance to have a look around at different areas of the park so does save you time,we took advantage a couple of times to grab something to eat or to have a look around mini land, its also great if you have a younger child who doesnt understand that they cannot just go straight onto the ride and have to wait an hour.
There are a few negatives though to the Q-Bot system:
-It only allows a maximum of 6 people per party to use the Q-Bot so if you are a larger party its not really beneficial to you
-You can only reserve one ride at a time and have to wait until you have finished that ride to reserve your next.
You can also purchase the Qbot Express, Now this is the same as the QBot but this allows you to reserve as many rides as you want to, great BUT... it comes at a cost of £40 per person (more than the £38 adult ticket to get into the park) although it would save you an awful lot of time.
Now due to health and safety restrictions there are height restrictions on a lot of the rides which means that younger children cannot go onto specific ones but Legoland have pretty much catered for everyone so there are rides that everyone can go on no matter their age so this shouldnt effect or ruin your day.
A selection of the rides also offer Photograph opportunities, that mid way through the ride your photograph is taken and upon exit from the ride you can review your photograph and decide whether or not you want to purchase. More often than not these photographs are hit or miss as you never know where the cameras are or when they are going to capture you.
If you are lucky enough to get a good photo then you can purchase them at £7.00 each. Legoland do offer a photopass, this retails at £20.00 and gives you four vouchers to use throughout the park on purchasing either ride photographs or magnet or keyring photographs. If your planning on purchasing a few it does work out cost effective as it means a combination of four means that you are only paying £20.00 and not £28.00 if you were to purchase individually. Also if you are planning on coming back the vouchers are valid until the 31st December each year so do not have to be used up on the first visit, we still have two left and will use when we return later in the year.
As well as the rides Legoland also has a selection of theatre shows, movies and stunt shows being shown throughout the day at different times and locations over the park, these are a great way to take a break from walking around and give you the opportunity to take a break. Each one usually lasts for approx 20 minutes. These include:
Pirates Of Skeleton Bay which is a Live stunt show.
Bob the Builder in 4D at the imagination theatre and theatre shows of Little Red Riding Hood, The Elves and the Shoe maker and Goldilocks and the Three bears in the Duplo theatre for a younger audience
Across the park there are a veriety of differnt eateries for you to choose from. Whether it be Burgers, Mexican, Fried Chicken, BBQ Ribs, Rotiseries,Pizza, Ice cream and coffee shops or Hot dog stands they have them all, there are also a selection of picnic areas where you can sit down and eat your own food
The price of food we considered to be really reasonable, we went to one of the burger bars where you give them a table number,order and pay for your meal and then it is bought out to your table. Three adult burger meals with fries and drinks and a childrens meal with water and apple came to £21.00 which considered to some attractions we have previously been to was good value. The service was prompt, we probably waited approx 10 minutes for all of our food to come out together, It was hot and there was no issues of the food being under or over cooked, they also paid attention to the requests we made on one of the burgers and it came out how we wanted.
Located throughout the park you wiil find that there are many ameneties, Toilets and baby changing and feedign areas are located throughout the park so you dont have to walk far to find them. Toilets were always of a high standard and always very clean.
If you found your feet getting achy then there were lots of benches located all around the park which at times I was grateful for when my fiance and son went onto a ride without me.
There are many shops dotted all across Legoland, some selling products specific to the area which you are in at the time but all boasting the Lego branding. The largest of the shops and the one which we found the best was the Lego Big Shop, located at the begining it almost certainly sold the biggest range of lego products, it also has giant lego models of polular characters like Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, Harry and Hagrid from Harry Potter and the much loved Thomas the Tank Engine.
From novelty products like keychains, Teddies and magnets through to a large variety of Lego branded clothes, from boxed lego models to a section where you could pick and mix your own bag of lego bricks to take home this shop certainly had it all.
Because of the Lego Branding a lot of the products were what I considered overpriced although saying that the lego model sets were actually some of the cheapest which I have seen around.
Where ever you are in the park members of staff were always very friendly and polite, especially those who operated the rides, they would always be chatty with our son. If you needed to ask a question they were always were very helpful which I feel all adds to your day.
All in all our day to Legoland was a really enjoyable one with lots of fun had although if I was to be honest I would say that you really do need to spend more than one day there. We arrived there for 10:00am when it opened and was there until close at 7pm and we didnt get to see and experience everything that is there to see and we certainly didnt even manage to get onto half of the rides, there just isnt enough time especially when you take into account that at peak times you can expect to que for rides from anything from 20mins to 1hr 30 minutes which is where we did find that paying for the QBot came in handy otherwise we wouldnt have managed all that we did that day. We found that we spent a good 3 to 4 hours in the Duplo and Traffic areas alone. My son absolutely loved these areas as they are very much more child orientated and child friendly and means children can get more involved.
The only one downsides of our trip to Legoland this Summer is the amount of wasps across the park site,
This year Legoland have had a dramatic increase in the amount of Wasp nests found on site, the fact is you cannot escape them anywhere you go, they are there. Everywhere across the park are signs informing guests that they are trying to deal with the problem by setting traps, bringing in exterminators when the park is closed, emptying bins more reguarly and that if anyone within your party is stung to alert a member of staff to receive medical treatment.
Now its great these signs being all dotted around the park but they seem to be failing to address certain issues that seem to be attracting the wasps. Within the food areas guests food trays are left on tables instead of being instantly cleared away therefore attracting the wasps to the food areas. Also dotted all over the park are these nice bright pink round pots designed for guests to disgard their chewing gum, now these are great as there is no sticky gum on the floor for you to tread on but instead these are also attracting the wasps being sweet and sticky.
This wasp issue can make your day a little uncomfortable, especially if you dislike wasps as much as I do but I got on with it for the sake of my son and wouldnt let these little critters ruin our day, I dont think I would be saying that if any of my family had been stung and you were hearing of this occurrence often as you walked around the park.
I would highly reccommend this attraction to anyone and believe that it is very much a family orientated park and works well with children aged 3 - 15yrs which it is aimed, none of the rides are what you would call hard core so if your after a theme park purely for rides I would reccommend Thorpe Park, Alton Towers or Drayton Manor.
I also believe that one day really is not enough time to cover all of Legoland therefore thats the reason we will returning later in the year to finish off what we started, lets just hope next time around they have the wasp problem under control.
When I was younger I always remember going with my parents to our local Early Learning Centre and heading straight for the table set up with BRIO railway which was there for children to play with, all the children would head for the little magnet connected trains amazed at how the magnets worked thinking that it was magic, I used to love playing with them but unfortunately being a little girl I instead used to get bought dolls and tea sets, my parents thought that it was too masculine for a little blonde haired girl to have a train set.
Now Im all grown up and have a little boy of my own who is just about to turn four so I decided a while back to see if I could find the toy I always wanted as as a clild, that I really wanted to introduce him into the world of Brio railways as I can vividly remember the enjoyment which I used to get out of those trains when I did have the opportunity to play with them.
Brio is a Swedish toy company that specialises specifically in the manafacture of quality wooden toys. The toys themselves are made out of beech, a strong, durable wood that is perfect when you consider they are being designed for children. It is this quality that has made Brio one of the biggest wooden toy manufacturers around the globe. Their most popular toy is the classic wooden railway system which was first released back in 1958 which in over 50 years has seen a significant advancement in technology yet the classic track has always stayed the same and has seen the pieces being handed down through the generations. My Nana had a selection of Brio train tracks that all us Grandchildren used to play with when we were all little, she has since passed these on to us to expand my little boys brio collection. Now I can remember these when I was my little boys age and Im 26 so they are over 20 years old,they are still in a lovely condition (well apart from someone attacked a couple of bits with a felt tip pen) and they all fit together perfectly and work in conjunction with the brio track that is sold today.
The tracks are all made to a high standard out of beech wood, you wont find any un even, sharp or splintered edges on any of the pieces and each is extremely hard wearing and durable.
Now unfortunately because of the high quality wood being used in the manufacturer of these pieces you will find that they have a higher price tag than other brands that are available out there, but they do say that you have to pay for quality.
Unfortunately because of this you will find that a lot of independent toy stores feel that these prices are too high so no longer choose to stock Brio products, they would rather stock brands like bigjigs that are more affordable.
Each individual piece wheter it be a building, bridge, train or piece of track is designed so that they can be connected together easily, you will find that these pieces can also be connected and be used alongside other brands such as Tesco, Bigjigs. ELC and Ikea. They seem to have all designed them in a universal way that compliments the Brio track which I think is great because if you cannot afford Brio pieces all of the time you can still expand the track by purchasing from these other brands.
Now I would like to comment that ELC also sell a brand of railway system under the name "Learning Curves" which also connects with the classic brio track, its designed around the much loved Thomas the tank engine and friends . Now Brio actually licenses these trains under the name Learning curves so if you purchase these you are still getting the same quality that you would assosiate with the Brio name.
The Brio train systems are designed for children of three years upwards , their is a vast collection of starter sets which you can purchase to start of your Brio collection. From the basic circle to the clasic figure of eight or the more expansive up and over layouts ( which can range from anything from £10.00 to £120.00)
I started off with a basic figure of eight set with a little viaduct bridge for my son as I felt that the circiular track would be a bit boring for him, this cost me £20.00. My son absolutely loved it from the moment he saw it and wouldnt stop playing with it but I soon found myself back online ordering some additional curved and straight tracks when he was trying to build his own track design and didnt have enough to expand, this was ok for a while but after a couple of weeks he was asking for some more track so I started to look around and decided to purchase a couple of expansion sets. Now the expansion sets are great, they include more complex pieces of track like curved crossings, additional pieces of curved track and cross track sections which allow you to expand the railway into all new directions, I also decided to purchase a couple of assending tracks and supports as this allowed him to take the track upto new heights.
My son really loves these pieces which allow him to take the track into new directions, all the different pieces makes this product so versatile, it allows him to let his imagination run wild and create what he wants too.
One of the things that I like about the Brio train tracks are that you can purchase additional packs to expand your collection, there are so many pieces available out there. From additional track straights, curved tracks, ascending tracks, turntables, bridges and tunnels
There are also many additional add ons that you can purchase, These include: railway crossings, track supports, fuel tank s tations, tower cranes, loading cranes, railway stations, repair sheds, tunnels, engine sheds,, suspenssion bridges and lifting bridges, all of which will be sure to add a bit more excitement in your childs play, Ive also reccently discovered that they sell road sections, these can be connected up with or along side the brio track, they are wider than the train track and have road markings, great for the little brio cars which you can also additionally purchase.
Now the only thing that I have found with some of the additional pieces is that some of them combine plastic as well as the beech wood and with my son being a little heavy handed he has managed to snap a couple of pieces so I now tend to stray away from the pieces which include the combined plastic.
Brio also sell a large selection of assorted train engines and wagons, from the classic engine that your child needs to push around the track themselves to battery powered or remote control operated locomotives and trains with lights and sounds, the trains can certainly show the changes in times since Brio was first established.
Personally I only purchase the trains which my son has to push along the track himself, my son is one of those children who has to be in control of what he is doing, for him a battery or remote control operated one is no fun, he likes to be on all fours, scrambling around the floor doing it himself.
Now as I said earlier Brio does come with a higher price tag, the following will give you an idea on the price you could expect to pay for pieces that you could add on to a basic starter set to expand your collection even more:
-Beginners Expansion Set £14.99 ( a selection of straights, curves and buffers and ramps)
-Intermediate Expansion Set £19.50 ( a selection of additional straights, curves and curved crossing tracks)
-Expansion Switches Advanced Pack £19.99 (a selection more complex pieces of track to expand the railway into new directions)
-4 x mini straights £4.99
-4 x medium straights £4.79
-4 x long straight track £4.99
-2 x ascending tracks £4.99 (allows you to take your track up into new levels)
-2 x track supports for the assending track £7.99
-4 x Short curved tracks£3.99
-4 x large curved tracks£4.99
-T- Switch Track £4.99
-2 x curved crossing tracks £8.95
-Double Suspension Bridge £15.99
-Magnetic Action crossing £8.99
-Manual Turntable £10.99
-Wooden viaduct £10.99
I would like to add that all of the prices which I have listed are based on Amazons prices as over the months I have extensively looked for good offers and this seems to be the best site to purchase authentic Brio products from
The trains for the sets can cost from as little as £4.99 for a basic push along train with 3 carriages or waggons up to the higher £25.00 for a remote controled train and carriage.
You can also purchase the Thomas the Tank Engine Character trains which Brio sell under the name learning curves, these sell from £10.00 for an individual character train to £15.00 for a train and cariage/waggon pack.
We have a large selection of different trains, especially the Thomas the tank engine ones and they are of a very high standard, they withstand my little boys heavy hands and being knocked about and they are still in good condition, they may have a couple of scratches or chips of paint here or there but I personally feel that this shows how loved and used they are by my son. The way in which the wooden pieces are made means that they can withstand virtually anything thrown at them and will last a long time meaning that they can be passed on to other children to enjoy.
So my overall opinion, well personally I feel that the Brio rail systems are a great investment for any child, whether it be a boy or girl.
The enjoyment I have got out of seeing my little boy sitting there playing with it, seeing his creative side emerge from all the different track layouts which he creates from his little mind make it worth that higher pirce tag. Its also a great opportunity to get down on the floor and play and interact with my son, have some one on one play time with him as we attemt to build the most complicated of layouts. My son has had hours of fun and plays with it on a daily basis, Im now use to walking into the lounge, the floor being covered in track and being told by my son to stop because a trains coming.
Who out there doesnt feel better when they have a bit of colour to their skin, I know that it always makes me feel better in myself when I have a nice bit of colour and glow but unfortunately I am not one of those people that has been blessed with a natural olive complexion that holds colour all year around, even though my upper body does tan easily and maintain the colour for sometime my legs are the complete opposite, you could say that they resemble that of two milk bottles.
This does not really bother me during the colder winter months as Im usually covered up and can hide it but since the sunshine has started to grace us with its presence over the past few weeks and wanting to bare my legs but not reveal their true milk bottle colour to everyone I have found myself reaching for the fake stuff.
Now personally Im not a very huge fan of tanning lotions themselves, ive had bad experiences in the past, they would look totaly obvious and fake so I wanted something a little more subtle, a product that would give me a little colour and disguise my milk bottle legs.
On one of my recent shopping trips I decided to see if I could find a product that would offer me what I was after, looking at many creams, mousses and sprays I noticed the Garnier Summer body lotion.
The Garnier Summer body lotion is a moisturising body lotion for those who want a daily moisturiser that will help to maintain your skin keeping it feeling soft and supple but also contains a hint of tanning agent which will provide your skin with a natural looking sun kissed colour.
The lotion claims to work in harmony with your skins natural tones and that daily use will gradually build up a natural looking colour which doesnt look like you have been tangoed and will keep you looking radiant all year round whilst providing an effective 12 hour moisturization.
The lotion claims to contain natural extracts of apricot which are known to have hydrating and rejuvinating properties so this will help to keep your skin moisturised and Chamomile which is known to have soothing and rejuvinating properties and is great for dry and sensitive skin if you have it.
The body lotion itself comes in a fairly simple and basic 250ml flip top bottle that is shimmering gold in colour, you could say that the colour fits in well with the natural sun kissed look that it claims it will give you. The bottle is a simple design and its flip top lid makes it simple to dispense, all you need to do is shake, flip up the lid, tip up the bottle and gently squeeze.
The lotion is available in two different tones:
Light sun kissed look - which is suitable with thise with a paler complexion.
Deep sun kissed look - which is suitable for those who already have some natural colour to their skin.
Now I personally use the light sunkissed lotion as it is specifically designed for lighter skin tones which is definately the catergory which I think my plae milk bottle legs fall into.
The lotion itself is white in colour and very thin in consistency, maybe a little runnier than what you would expect from other body lotions that are available out there but I find this is a bonus.
When you first use you will discover that the lotion has a pleasant citrus scent which makes a nice change to many tanning products which leave the skin with a scent that I could only describe as chemical and not pleasant at all.
To use the lotion Garnier tell you to " Apply evenly to your body everyday all year round" now personally I feel that these directions are extremely poor, telling you to apply evenly is not exactly rocket science but seriously if you are after flawless results with no streaking or patching to the skin then their is a bit more to it so I am going to explain what I personally do to achieve this...
Now I really only use this lotion on my milk bottle legs (tops of feet up to the top of my thighs) as this is the problem area for me that sees less natural sun light.
For the first initial application I have found that it is best to thoroughly clean the skin and then make sure that by waxing/ shaving/ epilating or using hair removal creams (which ever method you prefer) make sure that your skin is nice and smooth. You then need to thoroughly exfolliate the skin to remove all dead skin cells from the surface and then thoroughly moisturise allowing this to be absorbed by the skin. This will then form the perfect base to start applying the Garnier Summer skin lotion.
Then all you need to do is evenly rub the lotion into your skin, the fact that it is thin in consistency means that it rubs in and is absorbed effortlessly and then you just need to wait for it to be touch dry before you put on any clothes.
Now as with all products that contain tanning agents please remember to thoroughly wash your hands after each use as I dont think that anyone wants orange hands and palms, its not a good look for anyone.
The first time that I used this I decided to do it before I went to bed and I will admitt that I was pleasantly suprised when I woke the next morning and had started to develop a nice, even, sun kissed look to my legs. There was no streaking or patching, No build up on my knees or heels like you can develop on areas of harder skin and I was even more impressed to find that the lotion had not rubbed off on my nice white bed sheets and left any marks.
I know that cleansing and exfoliating can take up some time beforehand but I really do think that the results anre worth it, the first use had made a perfect base for continueous, daily use and within four days of use I had developed a lovely sunkissed colour, my legs match the rest of my body.
Now because I had managed to develop a colour that I was happy with within just four days use and really didnt want to risk making it look like fake tan I decided to reduce the usage of the lotion to that of every other day. I have found that this is great for maintaining the desired look and that as long as I do keep applying it every other day I continue to maintain a nice healthy, radiant, sunkissed pair of legs. A colour which I still maintain after a shower or a bath, it doesnt just wash off, thats unless you exfolliate thoroughly.
There is only disadvantage which I have noticed with the lotion and that is that even though the initial scent if this lotion is citrus like it doesnt last, I have noticed that with continueous usage a slight chemical scent has started to develop. I personally believe that this could be a build up of the tanning agent on the skin. Now it is not as bad as some tanning procucts out there but it is starting to become obvious to me, although in my opinion its a small price to pay with the overall results achieved.
I believe that this is a great product for thos who want to develop a natural, healthy, sun kissed look whilst keeping the sklin moisturised at the same time.
Now if you suffer from sensitive skin then you may care to know that this lotion is dermatologicallyt tested and should be suitable for you. I personally have sensitive skin and not experienced any issues.
You can purchase a 250 ml bottle of Garnier Summer lotion for £4.99p from Boots, Superdrug and most supermarkets
Musical Bubble Thomas is described by the toy manufacturer Tomy as a fun, bubble blowing, music and sound effects toy all rolled in to one and thats just what it is.The toy itself is the perfect replica of the much loved Thomas the tank engine, great for any little Thomas the tank engine lover out there and with the added fun of bubbles which you can use as either a static toy or in motion.
The design of the toy is the perfect replica of the little blue train, the colours, the expression of Thomas' face, even the realistic train sounds that you get as he chuggs along on the ground makes him great fun for any child. Its made out of extremely robust plastic which makes the toy extremely durable and hardwearing, great seeing that its designed for those of 18months upwards and could be prone to heavy hands and the risk of being dropped.
Now I will admit that I purchased this for my son when he was a little under a year old. Before he was crawling we would have it on a flat surface using it as a static bubble machine and then when he started crawling I would use it in the motion mode, he absolutely loved following Thomas around the room on all fours, chasing it around the lounge floor or out in the garden and chasing all of the bubbles trying to pop them. He is now coming up to his fourth Birthday, its still in perfect working condition and he still loves playing with it and having just as much fun with it as when he was a baby.
To be able to function the toy will require 3 x C size batteries, these are not included so you will need to purchase separately. The batteries go into a compartment located on the base of the toy, you will find that you will require a small cross head screwdriver to access the compartment to be able to insert them. Now the combination of the bubble machine, sounds and the motion means that this toy does drain the batteries fairly quickly so I would recommend you consider purchasing some rechargeable as in the long run you may find this more cost effective.
The toy itself comes with a small bottle of bubble mixture that obviously is to be used in the toy, the mixture is of the correct consistency for bubble Thomas to be able to work perfectly but unfortunately its only a small bottle so it runs out very quickly. Now there are many different bubble solutions available out there on the market but not are all of the same consistency or formula as this one. I've found that if the formula is too thick it wont work in this toy, if its to watery it wont work in this toy, I have tried many different bubble solutions that are available and would like to take the opportunity to highly recommend that you go to Early Learning Centre and purchase their bubble solution mix, I've found that it is the perfect consistency for using with this toy and their is no need to dilute and Early Learning centre is a reputable children's toy retailer so you know you are getting something that is child friendly.
The bubble solution itelf goes into the front section of the train, to fill it involves removing the front section of the train, (thomas' face and funnel), now to be honest my son sometimes get a little concerned that mummy is removing thomas' face and I can understand this. Maybe not a great design idea from Tomy.
To remove this section you will find that there is a small little catch under the front buffer of the train, this needs to be moved across and held whilst you push a button located just below Thomas' face which combined should release the front section, then all you need to do is pull this section away from the train. It can be a little tricky at first to figure out but once you get the hang of it you will be fine, I would highly recommend that you follow the instructions of you could risk damaging the toy and do not think that you can just pour the bubble solution into the funnel as if you do this you cannot judge the amount being poured in and could also damage the toy.
I also recommend that when removing this section and looking for the little catch at the base of the train DO NOT tip it upside down as you risk being covered by any excess bubble solution that may be left in the train from previous use and getting it everywhere. This is also a great reason why to make sure you supervise your child with this toy if you dont want the bubble solution everywhere.
The solution itself goes into a small little compartment to the back of Thomas' face and funnel, there is a minimum and maximum level mark on this so be sure to fill between these two level markings or there may be too little or too much solution to allow it to work properly and create the desired bubbles.
Once filled you need to click Thomas' face back onto the front of the train, it should click in really easily and make sure that it has locked in and it is secure.
To turn the toy on you will find a small switch located at the rear of the train, this can move along to two different settings of which each can be identified easily by two small images, this means its also easy for your child to identify each of the modes.
These modes are:
-Thomas in static motion whilst playing the tune and blowing bubbles through the funnel (great to use as a static bubble machine)
-Thomas in motion whilst playing a tune and blowing bubbles through the funnel
Now most product descriptions for this toy state that Thomas moves in a forward motion or in a circular motion. Now this means just that, this toy cannot turn of its own accord so if its in forward motion and it hits an obstruction the toy is going to get stuck and you or your child will forever be rescuing him to set it in the right direction again, it can become a bit irritating after a while.
Now I feel that for the cost of this toy maybe Tomy should have included a mechanism at the bottom which you find in a lot of other free movement toys that allows the toy to change direction if it comes across an obstruction that prevents it from going on further, it would be so much easier as we dont have a huge house so there is only so far the train can go forward before hitting something.
The train does also have the option to go in a never ending circular loop. As well as the six normal train wheels that Thomas has this toy also has a small wheel at the front centre that can be moved into three positions. forward facing for it to go forward, turned 45 degrees to the left to got in a full circle to the left or 45 degrees right to go in a full circle to the right.
The bubbles themselves are blown out intermitantly through the funnel of Thomas, each time a nice amount of small bubbles are created and blown out into the environment that can give your child lots of fun.
Now as I have said each of these modes involve playing the thomas the tank engine theme..this is a forever repeating 20 second tune that is NEVER ending and that you cannot switch off, it also has no volume control to turn it down either so after a period of time it will start to imprint on the brain and slowly drive you insane.
I really wish that there was a silent mode, that it would blow bubbles whilst either in static mode or in motion and did not have to play the irritating tune, three years of it is driving me nuts but i persevere with it because my son loves playing with it that much and gets so much enjoyment out of it because quiet honestly if he didnt it would have found itself in the bin. A volume control really would have been better than nothing.
As well as the irritating music issue I do feel that it does have another design flaw.
I have a very inquisitive son, he has been since an early age and he is fascinated by the working mechanisms and moving parts of all toys including this one, unfortunately the bubble mechanism is located within the funnel and it is open enough for him to acess with his fingers, my son wants to know where the bubbles are coming from, he can see movement and his automatic reaction is to stick his fingers in, unfortunately a few times it has resulted in him almost getting them stuck in there, I feel that their must been a way that the toy could have been designed withhout the mechanism having to be as exposed as much as it is, especially when it was designed for children of 18months plus.
After each use I would recommend that you remove the front section again and rinse it with warm water to remove any excess bubble solution residue that may be left inside as if left to dry it can effect the bubble mechanism from functioning properly and it will get all stuck up.
All in all I do think this is a fantastic toy for any little Thomas the tank engine lover out there. I wouldnt necesarily go by the suggested 18months plus as my son really did get a lot of enjoyment out of it before hand, I would just reccomend that its used with adult supervision at all time, even when the child is older because of the spillage and moving mechanism issues.
In three years my son has had many hours of fun with this toy, its withstood his ever increasing heavy hands and withstood being dropped a couple of times yet it is still in perfect working condition. At times I do wish that the sound would give up the ghost as that ever looping 20second look will drive you insane but I guess that is just wishful thinking.
The product retails at £24.99 which I consider reasonable because of the amount of useage its had and how durable and hard wearing it has been as my son has grown over the past three years but I would advise that you look around as I have seen this available new in stores for as little as £14.99
When it comes to Mascaras I have found that it can be very hit and miss to whether or not the mascara lives up to the claims.
Over the years I have tried endless different ones some more expensive than others and its amazing how many of them are a total let down.
Ive always found it difficult to find that perfect one that would provide the coverage that I desired, Up until now my old faithful has been Maxfactors False Lash Effect Mascara but on a trip to a local boots store I was drawn towards the Rimmel counter and there in front of me was a striking metalic purple bottle, the product, Rimmels Sexy Curves Mascara.
The house of Rimmel was set up back in 1834 by Eugen Rimmel and is now a world renowned cosmetics and beauty company that sells an extensive range of up to date cosmetics, especially Mascaras and one of these available on the market today is the Rimmel Sexy Curves Mascara.
Rimmel claim that this is a Lash plumping, full curve mascara, that its fuller figured brush will create fuller figured lashes putting curves in all the right places.
The brush itself uses a unique first of its kind tripple plump design, that it has three unique curves to the brush itself. The brush is designed to comb through your lashes effortlessly, to de clump and seperate each lash individually whilst adding curve and volume to create a luscious set of well defined lashes.
It is claimed that the combined brush design and mascara formula which is enriched with proteins, collagen and a plumping formula will help to provide added volume and 70% curlier lashes and that it will provide you with a guaranteed 12 hours hold.
Now firstly Rimmel promising to create an amazing full set of well defined, voluminous, curled lashes ..come on Rimmel we all know that the models used in the TV advertisments with those stunning lashes are wearing lash enhancement inserts so there is no chance in hell that any of us consumers are going to end up with a set of amazing full, defined,voluminous lashes with an amazing curve like we see on the models on the TV.
And as for Rimmel guaranteeing to have created a mascara that provide 12 hours of hold, to be truthful I really was not holding out for that one.
The mascara itself comes in a striking metalic purple mascara tube which I will say is extremely eye catching as its what attracted me to it in the first place, it has no added packaging its just the tube which I like as I really don't see the point of some of the packaging you get with some mascaras, I see it as a total waste.
Its a nicely designed tube thats curvasious which makes it tie in with the mascara want inside. the shape of the tube also makes it comfortable to hold in the hand whilst your applying it.
I would like to say that Rimmels choice in a bold purple colour really makes a nice change from the normal black mascara tubes that everyone else seems to use and it really does make it so much easier to find when im rumaging through the depths of my make up bag trying to find my mascara.
Application of the product is simple all you need to do is hold the brush to the eyes and stroke your lashes from root to tip as you normally would apply mascara repeating application until you've achieved the desired look.
The unique brush design did take a little getting use to but it was better than some out there that I have experienced, it seperated my lashes nicely and moves through my lashes effortlessly,coating them nice and evenly with mascara.
Now I wasnt expecting miracles with this mascara, especially any which resembled the models in the advertisments, too many times have I found a product promises yet fails to deliver but I will admitt that I was happily supprised with the results achieved by using the Rimmel Sexy Curves mascara.
I personally dont have very long evelashes so do rely on mascara to help emphsise and define them.
Brushing from root to tip I automatically noticed a dramatic difference in the length of the lashes as well as thickness and added volume being given. The mascara had seperated the lashes nicely and coated them evenly with mascara. I experienced no issues of my lashes clumping or sticking together which you can experience with some but unfortunately I was not noticing any dramatic curl in the lash being created, especially a 70% one.
I was a little disappointed but next time I decided that I would use my eye lash curlers first before applying the mascara and see if that made any dramatic improvement in the curl and Im glad to say that it really helped, with the aid of the eye lash curlers I had managed to create longer lashes with added thickness and volume and now with a really dramatic curl. I really did have a lovely set of well defined sexy lashes but I only think this is due to the use of the eye lash curlers before hand, I do not believe the mascara can achieve this alone.
The mascara also failed to live up to expectations of providing a guaranteed 12 hours hold and to be honest I never expected it to, even with the aid from the eye lash curlers I found that within 6 hours the lashes were losing their volume and curl and were looking flat.
Now this isnt the waterproof version of the mascara, that one comes in a striking metalic blue tube but there have been a few ocassions where I have got caught out by the rain and I am pleased to say that my fears of resembling a panda were gone, no panda eyes.
Removing the mascara is simple, you can either use a facial wipe or facial cleanser. It removes relatively easy although Ive found that it can sometimes get caught up between the lashes of my upper lash line so takes a little rubbing to completely remove it.
All in all I do really like this mascara, its not the best but it does provide results.
You can find Rimmel Sexy Curve Mascara anywhere that sells Rimmel products like Boots, Superdrug, Tesco, Asda.
It retails at £7.99p for an 8ml tube
L'Oreal is a world renowned cosmetics and beauty company that was founded back in 1907 by Eugene Schuellethat which now produces a wide range of beauty and cosmetic products designed to enhance female beauty (or male).
It has one of the most vast selections of cosmetic products that can be found on the market today and one of those current products is the L'Oreal Super Liner.
Now up until very recently I have never really bothered with eye liners, when I have attempted to use them in the past I would always go for the kohl pencil liners but would find them extremely tricky to apply, by the end they would look smudged and very uneven, neither eye would match and you could say that I would start to resemble that of a panda, not a good look for anyone so because of this I would get extremely frustrated and the pencil would end up in the bin.
After years of not wearing eye liner and a very keen interest in anything cosmetics developing as I grew older I decided to bite the bullet and purchase another but this time around I decided to go for a liquid one, many friends had raved at how much easier the liquid ones are to apply and how much more the eyes can look defined. Knowing of my past history with eyeliners I decided that I couldnt look any worse than when I used the kohl pencil many years back..at worst it could only look like my 3yr old son had attacked me with a black felt tip pen.
The L'Oreal Super Liner is described as an ultra lasting, precision tip liner, L'Oreal claim that the Super liner is a liquid liner in a special sponge tipped pen for the creation of fine lines or thick, sultry flicks, that colour is applied with precision and ease and that it dries without smudging.
The eyeliner itself comes in a tall black cylinder shaped tube which narrows to the top, this is where you unscrew the lid from and are presented with the tip liner as part of the lid, personally I feel that this pen tip really does resemble a felt tip pen.
The tube has a flat base so this allows for it to be put down on a flat service while you use and I would like to have the opportunity to say that ive had a couple of clumsy moment in the past where I have knocked this over and I have never had an issue with spillage, although Im not saying try shaking it upside down to find out just in case.
So far I've found that the super liner is available in two different colours.
Carbon Gloss is an intense black, matte finish that is extremely bold and striking, the other is Black crystal, its the same striking black but it has an added bit of shimmer and sparkle to it, great for nights out and glaming up your look.
The Product itself, well I do really like the design of the sponge tipped pen as it retains enough ink to do at least one eye at a time before needing to dip it back in. To be able to get more liner all you need to do is dip it back into the base, it really is just like dipping it into an inkwell.
The tip is not too thick which I really like as it means that I can create a nice thin, well defined line and build it up more intensely if I like.
Application isnt too bad once you get use to it, the first few times I tried it I found myself suffering from shaky hand syndrome and the lines were really not that great but the liquid liner was a big improvement on the kohl pencil hands down, I was really liking it.
I find by holding the Skin taught from the outside corner of the eye really does aid in the application and make it much easier, the liner itself glides on effortlessly making it easy to sweep along the upper lash line creating a nice smooth, sleek line,
the fine tip also means that you can create your line as fine or as thick as you wish, if you want a more bolder, more visible line then you just need to apply a little more pressure and gradually build it up to the desired look, its as simple as that.
Overall I do really like this eye liner, especially the tip applicator.
The carbon gloss gives a really nice dark line and I love how I can control the thickness of the line which I am creating, whether it be a nice fine one for every day wear or a far bolder, statement line for a night out this truly is a great precision eye liner that can give your eyes some great shape and definition.
The liner itself wears pretty well but does it have the stay factor... well I havent had any issues of smudging , flaking or finding the liner on other places that it shouldnt be although I can apply it in the morning and by the end of the day it will have started to wear off, my straight lines start to look a little un even and worn in places but that is based on approx 8 hours of wear. Now this 8 hours doesnt match up to the guaranteed 12 hour wear which L'Oreal claim but I personally feel that this eye liner really does have everything else going for it and feel that 8 hours is really good going so I would certainly say it does have some staying factor and is worth the buy.
The liner is extremely easy to remove, a facial wipe or some facial cleanser and the liner is completely removed, none caught up in between the lashes of your upper lash line which I always found an issue the kohl pencils before.
Now for those of you who suffer sensitivity issues, according to L'Oreal this Eye liner is opthalmologiically tested so should not irritate people who are sensitive to cosmetic products around the eyes. I personally suffer from sensitive skin and I have not had any problems or issues with irritation from this eye liner at all so it meets the standards on a personal level for me there, although just remember everyone is different.
The only downside Ive found is that using this on a daily basis it only lasts me approx 6 - 8 weeks as there is only a small amount contents wise, although the product only retails at £5.99p so its not a huge issue in having to keep repurchasing every eight weeks as its reasonably priced for what it is.
You can find L'Oreal Super liners in most shops which sell L'Oreal cosmetics such as Boots or Super drugs,even some super markets.
Overall a really good liquid liner from L'Oreal that I would highly recommend, as long as you can shake the Shaky hand syndrome.
I have mentioned it before but one of my penchants in life is fine fragrances, I own so many different types each one individual and unique in the notes that it contains, from the very girlie and sweet to the deep and sensual I have fragrances which will suit every ocassion and Armani Code is one of those. Launched by the design house Giorgio Armani back in 2006 Armani Code was designed to be a sexy, Femme fatale scent, that by using this fragrance "a womans mysterious code of seduction is revealed" rendering the wearer irresistable. Lucky I didnt buy this fragrance for those claims alone and that it was infact the scent that I found the most appealing and this is the reason which I keep buying it when I find myseff running out.
When you look for this fragrance the first thing you will notice is the design of the box, its not really anything special about it and its not one that is going to jump out at you but their is a uniqueness in it which ties in with the fragrance so well.
A deep midnight blue which gradually fades into a paler blue colour as it goes down the box gives the box some intrigue and the black flower design which I would descibe as blossom branches gives the packaging a mysterious oriental feel.
When you open the box you find that this same design is depicted through the bottle design too, they both tie in so very well.
The bottle itself is tall and slim glass bottle with a black spray applicator and has a sturdy black plastic lid to it, the glass bottle contours in at the middle, its a seductive design which I believe is suppose to depict the hour glass shape of a womans figure ( I wish!) and to tie in with the idea of the fragrence being femenine yet mysterious.
Now as pretty as the bottle is I have found one flaw in this design, the colouring and floral design are in fact a thin layer stuck directly onto the glass bottle itself and after a period of time I have found that this can start to peel and flake off ,and when it starts to do that it isnt looking so pretty anymore.
Also being a glass bottle design it means that it is not as hardwearing or durable compared to the Armani She design, it means that its not really suitable to be floating around in the bottom of your handbag and if you do accidently drop it their is a posibillity that the bottle is going to break. Although on the up side where ever you break it the surroundeing area will smell absolutely divine for some time.
To apply the fragrance is simple all you need to do is use two to three pumps, it provides a nice fine, even mist. The initial scent is quiet strong, some may feel that this is a little too overwhelming or over powering for their own tastes but it does tone down after a while.
The initial scent is that of a strong, deep, musky fragrance.
Top notes of Bitter Orange, Italian Orange and sambac Jasmine.
Middle notes of Orange Blossom Absolute
and Base notes of Vanilla, Honey and Sandal wood. Now the base notes of a fragrence are usually the strongest notes which are the most distinguised in a fragrence and will last the longest on the skin but as I go through the day wearing this scent I often find my nose being pleasured to the other different notes of this fragrance too.
Combined together all of these notes create a deep, sensual, seductive, intreaging scent which to me almost has an oriental feel to it. Even though it contains many fruity and floral notes the scent is still very much that of a deep, musk. Saying that I would personally say that this is a fragrance which is best suited to evening wear, that its deep, captivating scent would be perfect for a time of flirting and creating intreague or for those times of intimacy.
Now Personally I would advise anyone who has never tried Armani Code before to test it first and I am not talking about on one of those tester cards but directly onto your skin. Everyone has a different body chemistry and the oils which your skin produces can make a fragrance on one individual smell really divine but on another person really horrible.
You will also find that this factor will also affect the staying power of the scent too. I can apply two to three sprays of Armani code in the morning and 10hours later I can still smell those strong base notes but on other individuals this fragrance may only hast a couple of hours so it is really wort giving the tester a go to see how the fragrance works with you.
You can find Armani Code available in most large department stores such as Boots, Debenhams, House of frasier or John Lewis or any reputable stores which sell fine fragrances.
A 2x 10ml mini bottle pack of the Eau de Parfum retails at £ 20.50p
A 30ml bottle retails £35.00p
A 50ml bottle retails at £49.50p
And a 75ml bottle retails at £64.00 although I would suggest that you look around to see if you can find it on promotional offer and pick it up cheaper.
One of my penchants in life is fine fragrances and over the years I have purchased so many, from sweet and girlie to deep and sensual I have tried so many different brands but I have a particular few favourites that I would call my old faithfuls, fragrances that I always go back to and find myself purchasing over and over again. Emporio Armani She is one of these fragrances. Armani She was launched by the design house Giorgio Armani back in 1998 and has got to be one of my favourite fragrances as I always have a bottle on the go or in my handbag. Its described as as a vibrant signature scent where flowers and spices melt together into a gentle, radiant fragrance. A truly classic and classy fragrance for a woman.
Before I start I must say that the packaging for the fragrance really does leave a lot to be desired, compared to a lot of fragrances out there on the market, its gold metalic foil like wrapping is not particularly striking so it doesnt really stand out amongst other fragrances on the shelves when your out shopping. There are no funky colours or added neon lights or over the top boxes but once you look beyond the foil packaging and simple box of this product you discover its true appeal.
Once inside the wrapping you will find that the fragrance itslef comes in a metallic, gold, metal cylinderal bottle. The bottle design itself is a great idea as it strays away from the usual glass designs that every other perfume on the market out there uses. The metal design makes the bottle so much more practacle and so much more durable and robust than what a glass bottle is as well as it looking modern and stylish at the same time.
As well as being great to carry around in your handbag as you dont have to worry about accidental breakage or spillage you can also drop this bottle on the floor and you dont have to worry about it smashing.
The bottle design is not perfect, it does have its flaws, one I've found is that the metal can get very scratched up, especially when its in the bottom of my handbag being bashed about, the bottle does get really scratched up, especially by my keys.. but at the end of the day its whats inside the bottle thats important not the outside, that's just a added bonus.
Now as practicle as this bottle design is I will say one thing against the design, Being metal it means that you cannot see the fragrance inside so are unable to see how much of the product is left inside, it means that you are left to guess how much of the fragrance you have left and it really is annoying when you think you have more and infact its your last couple of sprays, it can be really frustrating.
To apply the fragrance is simple, the bottle uses a rubber spray mechanism to the top of the bottle which when pushed provides a nice even mist. When you initially spray the scent does appear quite strong to the nose but this does gradually tone down.
The fragrance itslef is a subtle oriental, floral, musky fragrance which combines together citrus Top notes of Pineapple, Bergamot, Pear and Tangerine.
Floral Middle notes of Muguet, Orris, Jasmine and Heliotrope
and Warm base notes of Tonka, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Cedarwood and Musk. Now the base notes of a fragrance are the strongest notes which are the most distinguised and will last the longest on the skin. So combined together all of these notes really do create a warm, deep sensual scent which will provides a lasting impression. I would describe it as a floriental scent. One of sensuality, Femininty, a real sexy seductive scent, a classy fragrance which I would say is perfect for evening wear or intimate time, although I personally love to wear it on any ocassion as the base notes really do mean it has staying power and help it to last throughout the day, I hardly find myself having to re apply, two to three sprays in the morning and its still noticeable in the evening, those strong deep, musky base notes really do last.
Now Personally I would advise anyone who has never tried this fragrancebefore to test it first and not on one of those tester cards but actually on your skin. Everyone has a different body chemistry and the oils which your skins produce can make a fragrance on one individual smell really divine but on the other person really horrible.
You will also find that this factor will also affect the staying power of the scent too, on one individual it may last twelve hours but on another only two, so its really worth giving the tester a go to see how the fragrance works with you personally.
Now even though this fragrance has been around for twelve years now it is still in production and has not been discontinued like many to hit the shelves have over the years so it means that Armani must be doing something right. You can find Armani She available in most large department stores such as Boots, Debenhams, House of frasier or John Lewis.
A 30ml bottle retails at £29.00p
A 50ml bottle retails at 39.50p and a 100ml bottle retails at £51.50p
Although I would advise that you look around to see if you can find different promotional offers on the fragrance as you can often pick it up a lot cheaper
My three year old son has recently suffered from a really bad case of chicken pox, He managed to catch it off of another little boy from his nursery school, To be honest I was quiet relieved as it meant that it would get it out of the way before he starts school in September so I wouldnt need to worry too much about him having to take time off of school any time in the future because of it. Unfortunately the poor little man got it quiet badly,he had over a hundred spots all over his body and even had them spread into his mouth and one of his eyes which was a total nightmare in itself, he had so many spots you could literally of played dot to dot on him.
As soon as those first few spots appeared it was off to the local pharmacy to purchase a bottle of calamine lotion and some Calpol to get him through, unfortunately the more spots that developed the more increasingly difficult we found trying to apply the lotion on the spots.
Trying to get my three year old son to sit still whilst I dabbed freezing cold calamine lotion onto each individual spot, especially when there are over a hundred of them was mission impossible, my son would squirm and move and wriggle and moan and cry, the lotion is also quiete messy to apply so as well as getting it on him it was ending up everywhere else and then trying to get him to stay still until it had dried, you try getting a three year old to sit still. We then started to hit the problem after application that as soon as the lotion had dried onto the skin he would rub the powdery redisue off, defeating the object of applying it in the first place.
I found myself off to the pharmacy again to seek advice as I needed to do something to try and prevent him from scratching the spots and taking the scabs off and because he had so many he was getting very itchy and irritable because of it.
I had a chat with one of the pharmacy assistants and explained the problems which we were having, he automatically understood the issue and presented me with a small round tub, he explained that this was Aqueous Calamine cream that it combines calamine lotion with conventional Aqueous cream and was indeed very popular with parents who have younger children with Chicken pox. I had personally never heard of this product but I knew the benefits that aqueous cream has so was more than happy to try this on my son.
Aqueous cream is well known as being an effective moisturiser for dry skin conditions, it is designed to effectively help keep the skin moist and places a layer of oil on the skins surface creating a barrier that prevents the skin from losing any moisture, locking it inside and helping to keep the skin moist, smooth and soft.
Calamine is known to be an antipruritic and is used within products to help treat itching or mild skin irritations. Its commonly known to help aid in conditions such as Sunburn, Eczema, Chicken Pox, Insect bites and stings by providing a cooling and soothing effect.
Because of these factors I thought that it would be perfect in aiding the relief of my little boys Chicken pox.
The product is suitable for use by both adults and children, thats providing they are not allergic to any of the ingredients.
Aqueous Calamine cream comes in a 100ml white tub, the lid can be removed easily once the seal has been broken and removed and remains secure once the lid had been placed back on.
Inside you will find a pale pink cream, this pink colouring comes from the added calamine as aqueous alone is usually a white colour.
The cream itself is thick in consistency and really easy to apply, its creamy texture makes it easy to rub into the skin, it literally glides on. To apply I simply dipped my fingers into the cream and applied it liberally to the affected areas (obviously not the ones in his eye and mouth), rubbing until it was completely absorbed by the skin, it beat having to individually dabb each spot and unlike the calamine lotion their is no residue left on the surface of the skin which had really bothered my little boy. The cream does have a slight scent of calamine to it but its not over powering in any way and it seems to wear off after a short time so does not linger.
So my opinion:
Well the Aqueous Calamine cream is certainly far more effective to use than that of calamine lotion itself, the fact that all you need to do is liberally apply and rub it into the affected areas is so much easier than having to get my son to sit down still for a period of time whilst I dabbed him with the lotion, withing two minutes I could completely cover him head to toe and then leave him to his own devices, although it couldnt really be used on any of the spots that were on the scalp.
As I said Aqueous cream has great moisturising properties and my sons skin was certainly looking and feeling more moisturised and soft to the touch when I was using this, I also found that this moisturising is great in helping with the scabs.. When a person has chicken pox its the drying out of the scabs phase which causes the itching sensation which you get so you find yourself wanting to scratch or pick at them, this is ultimately what can result in scars. The Aqueous cream helps to combat this itching sensation and moisturise the surrounding tissue around them. Once we started to use this my son was no longer going for the scabs or tearing himself apart by scratching himself , he seemed soothed so it was evident that he was far more comfortable.
I feel that because of this my son came off really well as visually he has only been left with six scars, thats from over 100 spots, although typically they are all on his face and forehead.
I would almost certainly highly recommend this cream in the treatemnt of chicken pox, its a great alternative to calamine lotion but it does not treat the chicken pox itself only the symptoms directly assosiated by them.
The only one disadvantage to this cream is the fact that you can only purchase this cream in 100ml tubs, so if you are liberally applying the cream to the affected areas several times a day you will soon find that you will be running out so I advise you in the case of the chicken pox to stock up on it and as I said earlier it can be used in cases such as Sunburn, Eczema, and Insect bites so it is something handy to have in the house.
You can find Calamine Aqueous in most general Pharmacys or Pharmacy counters at your local super markets although you may find that you have to ask for it as ive found that its kept beind the counter rather than on the shope floor.
a 100ml tub retails at approx between £1.25p- £2.00p depending on where it is that you purchase the cream from. But believe me it was worth every penny for the relief it gave my son.
I suffer from combination skin which means at times my skin over produces the skins natural oil known as sebum. This means that my face can sometimes look oily and greasy and I suffer from enlarges pores or on the other end of the scale I can suffer from patches of dried out and flaky skin. I often find myself looking out for products which claim that they can help with this problem and whilst searching recently I discovered the soap and Glory Scrub your nose in it.
Now as some of you may be aware I am a self confessed Soap and Glory Addict, I cannot get enough of their products, I have different bottles, tubes and tubs all around the bedroom and bathroom and stashed away on shelves and in drawers you will find spares for when I need to replace ones that have run out. I love Soap and Glorys bright, sassy, quirky packaging and I will admitt its probably one of the main features of the products which attract me to them in the first place, that along with lots of raving from friends and lots of positive feed back.
Soap and Glory is a range that was launched back in 2006 by Marcia Kilgore (also the founder of Bliss spa). Marcia had a strong desire to create high quality bath, body and beauty products at affordable prices through a belief that "You shouldn't have to spend an arm and a leg just to moisturise one" and with the Soap and Glory range she almost certainly achieved this.
Scrub your nose in it is an exfoliating facial scrub designed for those of us who suffer from combination skin, that it is designed to reduce and minimise your open pores and to eliminate the oil being produced by your skin, that by trying to eliminate this oil it will help to reduce spots and blemishes.
The product uses a unique fruit acid formula - fruit acids are known to be great in exfoliators as they help to losen off dead skin cells making them easier to remove dead skin therefore leaving you with fresh, smooth, soft skin.
The product comes in a 125 ml bubble gum pink tube with a flip top lid, the tube follows the usual Soap and Glory image that I assosiate with their products, its cute, sassy and uses quirky quotes and 1950s black and white images. Its all very girlie.
When you flip the lid and gently squeeze you are presented with a pale turquoise coloured scrub, it really does reminds me of toothpaste and even more so because it has a minty menthol scent to it.
Directions for use are simple:
Apply a pea sized dollop of scrub your nose in to a damp t-zone, massage gently into circular motions extending out to the less clogged places of your face. Rinse well and follow with moisturiser.
You will find that the scrub can also be used as a pore cleansing mask, all you need to do is apply a thin layer over your face leave it on for three minutes and rinse off, it helps to remove all the excess oils and to matify the skin.
To the touch the scrub has a clay like consistency and as you apply and rub in circular motions you feel that it has a slightly grainy texture to it, that is obviously for the exfolliation and aiding in the removal of those dead skin cells.
I also like the colour choice of this product as being this green colour it helps me to ensure that I have covered all the desired areas of my face properly and not missed any patches.
Now even though it is a scrub I do personally prefer to use this as a facial mask than that of a scrub as I do suffer from sensitive skin and worry that if I keep exfolliating often I may irritate my face further and the fact is if you do over ex foliate too much you can actually cause an increase in sebum production so it would defeat the object of this product.
When I did first use this as a facial mask I did notice a tingling sensation and that it started to sting after a little while, it wasnt really painful just annoying, I just thought it was something positive and that it meant it was doing something to my skin. The more Ive used it the more I have become use to it and the overall results makes it worth it.
I use this as a mask twice a week although I personally leave it on for fifteen minutes rather than three. I feel that doing this it helps to refine my pores more but it has not really helped long term in the control of oil but then that can be down to factors like poor diet, pregnancy, contraceptive pills and hormone imbalances etc.
The overall results are that it exfoliates and cleanses my skin really well. After use all of the excess oils on my skin have been absorbed so my skin really does look more healthy, radient and matified.
I know that this is not a cure for the excess oil problem, the fact is that none of us are ever going to stop the production of sebum as its a natural process to moisturise the skin but products like this can help and can be a short term temporary fix and maybe you can find them help minimise the effects caused by this over production of sebum helping hide or minimise by minimising the pores and reducing acne.
You can purchase a 125ml tube of scrub your nose in it for £7.00 and can find it in most larger Boots stores
Soap and Glory is a range that was launched back in 2006 by Marcia Kilgore (also the founder of Bliss spa). Marcia had a strong desire to create high quality bath, body and beauty products at affordable prices through a belief that "You shouldn't have to spend an arm and a leg just to moisturise one" and with the Soap and Glory range she almost certainly achieved this.
Anyone who has read any of my Soap and Glory reviews will know that I am a self confessed Soap and Glory Addict, I cannot get enough of their product, I have different bottles, tubes and tubs all around the bedroom and bathroom. Stashed away on shelves and in drawers you will even find spares for when I need to replace one. I love their bright, sassy, quirky packaging and I will admitt its probably one of the main features of the products which attracted me to them in the first place, that along with positive feed back from friends.
Knowing my addiction many friends and family members decided to fuel this addiction at Christmas by purchasing me Soap and Glory Gift sets and one of the products in one of these sets was a 500ml bottle of "Clean on Me" creamy clarifying shower gel.
Clean on me is described as a luxurious shower gel with a built in body lotion that will simultaneously clean and smooth your skin.
Now I really liked the idea of a built in moisturiser as with most shower gels that I have used in the past my skin has been left feeling dried out, tight and itchy and Ive found myself having to cover myself in moisturiser to relieve that itching sensation.
The shower gel itself comes in a clear plastic bottle with pump dispenser,
when it comes to shower products I do prefer the pump dispenser design, it means that you only need to push down on the pump aplicator to get the gel out so your not having to try and unscrew a bottle with wet hands making it all slippery and really difficult, it also means you can control how llittle or how much of the shower gel you want to use, saving on wastage.
The label on the bottle follows the usual Soap and Glory image that I assosiate with Soap and Glory products, its cute, sassy and uses quirky quotes and 1950s images. Its very girlie.
The gel itself is pale pink in colour and when you dispense the gel you discover that it is thicker in consistency than many shower gels out there, it feels soft, thick and creamy and far more luxurious than most gels I have used in the past
The scent of the gel is divine and as soon as your dispense the product your nose is treated to the gorgeous combined scent of strawberries, mandarin, bergamot and vanilla . Its a very femenine scent that fills the room as you wash.
Directions for use are simple: : apply a handful of clean on me to damp skin, rub into a thick luxurious lather and then rinse
The product also advises that you turn off the shower why you use to avoid the product being washed away although I just usually move out of the way of the direction of the shower head.
When using I personally find that two to three pumps of the cream gel is more than adequate to provide full body coverage although I would like to emphasise that this is with the combined use of a shower puff.
The first time I used this product I used my hands to rub the gel over my body and I was left disappointed that I was not getting that thick luxurious lather it claims to produce on the bottle. The second time round I decided to combine the gel with a Soap and Glory shower puff I had been given in one of my sets, I feel that this really is the key to be able to produce that thick, creamy lather with lots of bubbles as I have since tried this gel along side a sponge and a flanel and neither of them provided a lather that could match up to the shower puff.
so the results.
Well the shower gel is certainly invigorating, that luxurious lather helps to leave me fealing nice and clean, the gel works well at thoroughly cleansing my skin riding it of any dirt residue that I may have.
The skin is then left with that divine Soap and glory scent that fills the room as you shower and lingers on the skin for a good few hours which I really do love.
The moisturing effects the gel claims to have are also evident because as soon as I dry off my skin is left feeling soft and smooth instead of dried out like many shower gels leave your skin feeling.
Now even though my skin is left feeling moisturised after using this I stil personally like to apply either Soap and Glory Righteous butter or the Righteous butter lite onto my skin to help lock in that moisture and to make sure that that smooth, soft, moisturised feeling lasts.
All in all this is a really good product but just remember that if you do desire a rich, creamy lather than combine the gel with a shower puff or you are not going to get one and you will feel let down. I also feel that these shower puffs are great at aiding in exfolliation if you use enough pressure so this will also help to keep your skin smoothe too, added bonus!
You can purchase "Clean on Me" in two sizes
a 75 ml travel size bottle is £2.25p which I feel is Ideal for if you want to just try this product, it means you dont have to buy the full size bottle
You can also get a larger 500ml bottle for £5.00p. Now some may think that paying this amount for a shower gel is expensive but I feel the cost is justifiable. You only find yourself using a small amount each time so it will last. I find a 500ml bottle will last me between 3 - 4 months and thats using it on a daily basis
Yet again I have not been disappointed, another great product from the Soap and Glory range
Like many others out there I suffer from combination skin which means that certain areas of my face can be oily where as other areas could suffer from patches of dryness, so very annoying, why cant we just all have perfect skin it would be so much easier. Now everyone's skin contain glands which secrete something known as sebum, the purpose of sebum is to keep the skin moisturised and to protect it from the elements of the outside world but unfortunately sometimes these glands can become overactive (poor diet, pregnancy and hormones can be a contributing factor to this) and start to cause problems which can result in enlarged pores, spots, blemishes and oily skin that has a greasy shine to it, especially to the forehead, nose and chin regions ( the t-zone).
Now personally I find that I suffer worse of all with this over production of oil during months of warmer weather when we get humidity or when im inside a stuffy building, I will start to develop a noticeable shine through of my make up which really does irritate me especially when I spend all that time in the morning applying it to then start looking greasy mid way through the day, its frustrating as I really do not want to have to be constantly re applying my makeup all of the time because its sliding off of my face because of this over production of oil.
Thats where the search started for a product which could possibly help me with my shine through issue and would be easy to apply and cover up this shine which I get, thats when I decided to seek some advice from one of the MAC counters in a local department store. I use Mac products and have always found them of high quality so I asked if they had anything which could help, that's when I was introduced to the MAC Blot powder..
MAC started out as a cosmetic brand that was designed for professional make-up artists but it soon developed such a high profile that through popularity and demand it soon found itself opening counters in department stores across the world. MAC sell everything that you could want when you are lookng for make up, they cater for virtually every skin tone you can imagine and are well known for their extreme colour pallete. The only thing is that being such a high end brand it comes with a high end price label.
The Blot powder itself is a unique pressed powder that has been designed to provide shine control without adding any noticeable colour or texture to the skin, that it can be applied over the top of your make up and you wont notice any change in the colour of the foundation which you are wearing
The powder contains two unique ingerdients, Mica and Silica which in this product are used to help reduce the oil on the skins surface and to matify your complexion making it shine free.
the Silica is used within the powder to absorb the oils which are created by the skins glands so stops light reflection which causes that dreaded shine through that we all dread.
the Mica is a natural mineral which gives the powder its transparent pigmentation so this is why when you use this powder it leaves behind no colour so doesnt interfere with your make up.
The product itself comes in a sleek, stylish MAC branded black mirror compact. Inside you will find the pressed powder along with a small round MAC branded powder puff and a nice mirror for use when you apply or just simply need a mirror.
The powder comes in a range of shades which means there will be one suitable for you no matter your skin tone . As I said these powders use natural pigmented minerals so even though its available in a range of shades they still apply to the skin almost translucent so will not interfere with your make up if you choose the shade nearest to your skin tone/ foundation.
The shades available are:
-Medium / Dark
Using the powder couldnt be any more simple. When you start to develop a slight shine through of your make up you just use this powder to touch up your make up and control the shine through removing that excess oil from your skin matifying and still keeping a natural look.
The powder can be applied with either the puff provided which I prefer to use myself or you can apply the powder using a decent powder brush.
As well as using this to touch up my makeup during the day I also use it to set the make up I apply in the morning. After applying either my MAC SPF 15 select foundation or MAC studio fix fluid foundation I apply a layer of powder over the top, concentrating specifically on that t-zone area which I find I suffer with the most. I then find that this really helps and I therefore requires less touching up of my make up during the day.
So the overall results...
To be honest I was a little dubious whether or not this product would deliver the desired results or not. Ive personally suffered from conbination skin since I hit puberty and these glands started becomeing overactive because of the hormone changes occuring in my body, unfortunately as I've got older these hormone imbalances have continued and no matter what I try I still get the problem of greasy, oily skin. Unfortunately as Ive got older I have become more self conscious about it too.
The powder itself applies to the skin really nicely. I personality like to use the puff rather than a brush as I feel dabbing the area is more effective, the powder itself is fine and light in texture so it doesnt feel heavy on the skin once applied, my skin is still able to breathe which I feel is important as it means that my skin isnt going to dry out and start looking flaky (Definitely not a good look!)
As for the shine control, well I feel that it really does help, the Silica in this product works really well at absorning the excess oil being produced by the skin so covers up nicely that dreaded shine through .
I also love the fact that this is almost a translucent powder, so once you have applied to your face (as long as you choose a shade close to your natural skin colour) you dont notice any added colour or texture change to your makeup, all you notice is that the shine through has disappeared...that your skins more matt, Just what I wanted.
Now personally I have found that by applying this powder to set my foundation in the morning I am touching up my make up far less, maybe twice a day compared to if I didnt use it when I do my make up in the morning, it really does provide a great amount of shine control.
I find it perfect for touching up the MAC foundations which I use.
Im also really impressed with the durabillity of the compact itself. I always have one floating around inside the bottom of my handbag so that its always to hand when I need to hide that shine. Being in my bag It really does endure a lot and although it does have a few scratches to the compact externally its really not the end of the world as its the contents thats important here. I will even admitt to accidently dropping this a few times and both the mirror and the pressed powder are still in one piece.
Overall the MAC blot powder really is a great little product although you must remember that this is not a cure, it is only a temporary fix to the shine through problem you may suffer.
You can find MAC products and purchase from www.maccosmetics.co.uk , MAC stores or at selected department stores like House of Frasier or Harvey Nichols.
You can purcchae a 12g compact of Blot powder for £17.00 which I consider worth every penny for the results it provides and also you only need a small amount of the powder to provide full facial coverage so the compact will last a fair while depending on how overactive the glands are, how much oil is being produced and how much you find yourself having to touch up during the day.
The only real negative I have is that you cannot purchase refils for the compact therefore having to re purchase a new compact each time.
When I think about it I really do subject my hair to an awful lot of torture. I have long natural golden blonde hair, mid way down my back. As well as regular trips to the hair salon every 8 - 12 weeks to have the under section coloured I also subject my hair to daily usage of the blow dryer and my GHDs, I also reguarly use my GHDs when I want to glam up my look to style my hair and that combined with the harsher colder months we have had reccently my hair really has been taking some torture and looking extremely sorry for itself, dry, dull, lifeless and really in need of a lot of tlc.
Now I have tried many intensive therapy conditioners over the years but all to no avail, they have always failed to live up to expectations, instead of glorious hair that I was promised I would be left disappointed because I wouldnt notice any dramatic improvement in the condition of my hair, it would just be the same or on the other end of the scale my hair would be left looking greasy and feeling heavy. Unfortunately my hair really was in need of some serious tlc so thats when I decided to give the Aussie 3 minute reconstructor a go. I have used Aussie products in the past and had always been impressed by the results so had nothing to loose.
Aussie is a range which is designed to nourish even the most damaged and dried out of hair. Founded back in 1979 by Thomas Redmond, Thomas had over twenty years experience in the professional salon industry and on a trip to Australia and beign introduced to some fruits and age old remedies known to the Australian continent Thomas was inspired to develop the Aussie hair care range.
Now I dont know if anyone else has noticed or if its just me but there are actually two different versions of the Aussie 3 minute miracle reconstructor deep conditioner for damaged hair on the market.
Both are designed for exactly the same purpose to treat split ends, roughened cuticles and to turn dry damaged hair into managable shiny locks.
One contains Australian Mint balm - Designed to helps mend split ends and roughened cuticles
and the other Safflower seed oil - Designed to help soften your hair.
It was only by chance that I came accross this when I made a recent purchase and stood my new bottle next to my half used one in the bathroom and noticed the difference. Both the bottles are the same style, they both have the same label design, use the same colours therefore making it quiet hard to distinguish between the two, If the two were next to each other on a shelf you wouldnt necesarily notice a difference, its only when you look closely at the label that you notice that one uses Mint balm oil and the other Safflower seed oil.
To be honest if I had not noticed this I wouldnt have known, the conditioner is the same unique peach colour, has the same unique smell which really confuses me when they have two different ingredients and is of the same consistency, even the results are pretty much the same but I am going to base my review on the 3 minute miracle reconstructor with Safflower Seed oil as this is the one which I have had the most experience with.
The conditioner itself comes in a 250 ml upside down design bottle, I do like this upside down design as it means that as the conditioner is nearing the end its far easier to dispense and save on wastage and if you want to double check that you have managed to get it all out you still have the option to unscrew the lid.
On the base of the bottle you will find an Aussie sticker, when you peel this sticker back and remove from the bottle a small hole is revealed, this is where the conditioner is dispensed from when you gently squeeze the bottle, just remember that when you have removed the sticker and pick it up dont squeeze too hard or you will end up with conditioner everywhere, this is where I do wish the product did have a lid.
Directions for use are simple:
Pop a splodge of 3 Minute Miracle onto clean wet hair. Leave on for 1-3 minutes depending on how much of a treat it needs. Rinse with warm water.
Now I personally use this every two to three days after I have washed my hair with the Aussie Miracle moist shampoo, you only need a small amount in your palms and need to work the conditioner through to the ends of your hair, although I personally like to use a little more on the end of my hair because my hair is long and I don't want the ends drying out. I then leave this on for the full three minutes unless I'm pushed for time and then rinse with warm water and blow dry as usual.
The consistency of the conditioner is nice and thick which means that it gives great coverage. The scent of the conditioner is a strong, natural, sweet scent, its very fruity, I put this down to the Saffower seed oil as this is known to have a natural sweet scent. This may not be to everyone's taste as it does linger on the hair for a coulpe of days but I persoanlly love it.
So the results:
Now my first use of this product I will openly admitt that I was really disappointed at the results I got, I wasnt seeing any considerable difference or improvement in the condition of my hair which I was supprised at being an Aussie product, I had always had positive experiences with their products, I was starting to think that hair care manufacturers just create these intense conditioners to give false hope to those who really want to improve the condition of their hair and that its a way for them to cash in and make more money with yet another product.
I was tempted to just thow the bottle in the bin there and then but I decided to percevere and to use it again the next time I washed my hair...
Now I am so glad that I decided to give this product another go instead of bin it there and then, the second use I started to notice a difference in the condition of my hair, my hair started to feel more soft, it was more tamed and more managable. I continued to use this and now after eight months of using the miracle reconstructor every other day my hair has dramatically improved from when I first started using it.
In the past I use to get a problem with knotts and my hair getting tangled but not anymore, I can now run my brush through my hair without the fear of it getting stuck.
My hair itself feels silky, soft and smooth to the touch, that feeling where you just cant stop running your fingers through your hair. The conditioner also gives my hair some added volume and a little extra bounce which I love. Along with the lovely shine this conditioner leaves my hair looking and feeling so much more healthier, there has even been a dramatic improvement to the dry ends which I had previously suffered. Ive noticed far less split ends developing since Ive been using this product and this is because of the fact that my hair is now far more nourished.
Now one thing I will say is that you really do need to keep using this conditioner on a regular basis to be ale to maintain these results otherwise you will find your hair returning to its origional state.
I would really reccomend this product to those of you suffer from dry, damaged hair.This product certainly can aid in our cries of hair SOS.
You can find Aussie products in most stores which have a hair care section. Including Boots, Superdrugs and some supermarkets
You can find the 3 minute miracle reconstructor available in three different sizes:
20ml Sachet that retails at £0.99p
75ml travel size bottle retails at £1.59p
and a 250ml bottle retails at £4.59p.
You will on occasion be able to find great promotions on these products so do make sure you look out for these as its certainly worth stocking up when they are on promotion.
A true miracle for your hair.
When I discovered that I was pregnant the search started for the perfect pushchair and until then I never realised the vast selection and different brands which were out there on the market, all the different features which they could offer me. Confused would be the right word to sum up when I started my search.
Thankfully I did have an idea of specific features which I wanted the purshchair to include and this was a big help to me, this helped me to be able to eliminate many and make my search that little bit easier .
I felt it important that the pushchair had a traditional pram feature, that while the baby was of a young age I could have them laying flat and facing me. I also knew that I would prefer a pushchair that would convert from a pram to a forward facing pushchair once the baby was that little bit older and had outgrown the pram mode, I felt this important as I really didnt want to have to be paying out for another seperate forward facing pushchair in the future, Id rather just initially pay that little extra for having both of these features.
I also wanted the pushchair to have the added option of being able to convert into a travel system too, that I could purchase an additional car seat which I would be able to connect to the chasis of the pushchair when the baby was at a very young age, so that I didnt have to disturb the baby when I was going out in the car and could just take the carseat straight from the car cliping it directly on to the pushchair therefore not waking the baby up.
Another important feature for me was that when collapsed down the pushchair was relatively small as at the time storage was a big issue, I also wanted to make sure that it would collapse down small enough to enable it to fit into most family size car boots.
I looked around at a selection of different pushchairs that were available on the market at the time and taking into account all of the above factors that I wanted I discovered the Mamas and Papas Pliko Pramette.
The Pliko pramette is a two in one pushchair which can also be used as that travel system that I desired, all you had to do was purchase it as a complete travel system or choose to purchase the car seat at a later date.
The Chasis of the pushchair
The frame of the pushchair is extremely robust and extremely hardwearing although it does seem a little bit bulky, it uses an aluminium framework which makes it fairly light weight, its not as light as some other pushchairs out there but light enough to be able to push it with a two year old in with total ease. The frame itself did feel fairly stiff at first but this feeling didnt last so Im putting it down to the fact that it was brand new. The wheels can also be used in a fixed position or as swivel wheels for easier manouverabillity.
Other features that the pushchair includes:
- Height adjustable handles - Now my fiance and I found this feature great and I relly feel that all pushchairs should offer this feature. My fiance is 6' and im only 5'6" so having the option to be able to adjust the handle height really suited us as it made it easier for the both of us to be able to push.
- Raincover - the raincover is of a high quality, not flimsy like some out there, although instead of covering the entire pushchair it zips onto the hood and covers the foot end of the pram or pushchair modes protecting your child from the elements.
- Shopping basket - the shopping basket is a really good size and can store quiete a few items although I will say that when you have it in pushchair mode and the seat reclined you can have issue of trying to access the basket.
-Individual wheel suspension - this is great for giving your child a smoother ride even on uneven ground.
-Solid wheels - Now I felt this was quiet important as a friend of mine bought an expensive Silvercross pushchair with wheels which had inner tubes, when she was out shopping the tyre got a puncture and she couldnt use it, she was literally stuck so solid tyres were a must for me.
- Toddler ride on step - suitable for if you have another child.
- Apron - This can be used in both the pramette and pushchair mode to cover the feet end and to protect the child from the elements.
You can also buy additional products for this pushchair including footmuff, changing bag, parasole but please be prepared that these do come at a cost.
I loved the fact that this pushchair had a traditional pram mode so that I could lay my baby down flat. With many pushchairs that were on the market you had to purchase an additional carry cot to be able to do this.
Now when in pramette mode the pram is spacious enough for you baby to lay down in, the pram is padded nicely although I will admitt that I was a little worried that the baby may be able to feel the straps for the pushchair mode through the material, so I simply rectified this by unzipping the padding , placing a towel or blanket inbetween the two layers to make it that little more padded and that little more cosy inside for the baby.
The Hood of the pram is great, it provides great protection from the sun and is also effective at keeping the pram as a dark environment for when the baby wants to sleep.
The only downside I found to the pram mode is that there is no fastening to keep the baby secure whilst they are laying down, I didnt find this too much of an issue when my son was very young but as he grew and started to wriggle around more I started to get a little concerned.
You will probably find that the Pram mode will last you until the baby reaches 4- 5 months or has simply out grown the pram, thats when you will need to transform it into the pushchair mode.
This transformation is simple:
-Firstly you remove the hood
-You will find that the pramette has a zip running around the edge of the outside of the pram, unzipping the head end you will release the fabric which you then need to fold back.
this will reveal the straps which will be used in the pushchair mode.
-You can then re zip the material you folded back to the oposite end to which you unzipped it.
-The hood is reversable and so are the fittings so all you need to do is put the hood to the opposite end and snap it into place.
-You then need to raise what was the foot end of the pram into a reclined fosition and this forms the back to your pushchair and that the transformation.
It really is much simpler to do it than actually write and explain it lol
I found myself having to convert the pram into pushchair mode when my son reached five months old.
The pushchair itself is spacious and well padded, It has three reclining positions so you can lay your child down if they fall asleep which some pushchairs seem to lack.
The hood gives a good coverage, shielding your child from the sun but also has a viewing window to the top so you are able to see the child whilst your pushing.
Now there was only one issue which I had with the pushchair and that was the harness.
The mamas and papas pliko pramett uses something called a
" Freedom to Explore harness" The harness is a free movement harness which gives your child the freedom to be able to sit up and be able to move freely around in the pushchair, that it has more adjustment points so you can ensure a perfect fit around the child's body as they grow up.
Mamas and papas claim that.
" Whether sat up to explore or reclined for a snooze your baby will be comfortably and securely strapped in"
Now personally Im not a big fan of this, when my son was younger I constantly found myself checking to make sure that he hadnt slipped down or fallen forward because its not anchored at the shoulders and even when my son was older I was then worrying about the amount of freedom which he did have. I felt like he was about to escape or climb out, not good.
Now seeing that I purchased this pushchair as a complete travel system I am going to also give you an overview of the carseat which comes with the travel system package...
The carseat is the Mamas and Papas Primo Viaggio, this is a group 0+ rear facing car seat which is suitable from birth up to 12/15months. (really depending on the size of the baby, My son out grew it by approx 9 -10months) . The maximum weight for the baby is 13kg.
Now this car seat retails at £135.00 which is about average for a decent Group 0+ carseat but I still find this expensive.
When it comes to babies and children traveling in cars The govenment spipulates that all babies and children up to 150cm (4ft 11in) tall have to be in the correct carrier/ car seat/ booster seat for their age and group, that it is illegal for a child not to use one yet car seat manufacturers still make them so expensive. So if you want to travel with your child in a car the fact is you need a car seat, its a necesity. Your not even allowed to be dischared from hospital with your baby without bringing one in to take them home in and of course the manufacturers are perfectly aware of this and as parents we have no choice to pay these prices.
The car seat is nicely padded out making it nice and snug for the baby.It has a five point harness that can be adjusted along with the growth of the baby making sure its always a snug, secure fit.
The carseat came with a surefix base which is a unit which can be secured into the car by the lap section of the seatbelt then when you want to put the car seat into the car all you need to do is click the carseat into the base and loop the cross over section of the car seatbelt around the back of the car seat.
Once the base is in position it is perfectly secure, we never had any issues with movement or instability.
I must say I really did find the surefix base a great help, it would mean that I could just unclip the carseat from the base and easily remove the carseat with the baby still in it.
The carseat can also be used along side the pliko pramette to form the travel system, all you needed to do is click the car seat onto the chasis of the pushchair and you had your travel system. You can also connect the hood of the pram/pushchair to protect the baby from the elements.
One downside to the Carseat is that I found it extremely heavy and found it very dificult to carry around for long periods of times, especially as my son got older and heavier, therefore I found myself using it for purely for transportation reasons.
collapsing it down:
Now another important feature for me is how easy a pushchair is to put up and to collapse down, I only have two hands so I didnt want a pushchair that required four to just put it up or down.
Now Mamas and papas claim that this can be folded one handed.. Yeah right! Its not true!
The Pushchair itself uses a telescopic fold technique which is simple to do but it really does require two hands to do it and take a bit of getting use too, my one reccomendation to expectant parents would be to Practice, it will save you so much time once the baby is born and once you have it mastered it wont be a problem .
Now once collapsed down the pushchair is quiet small, especially for being a pramette and one advantage is that once folded its free standing so is great for storing away of standing up in a corner, great for if you have a lack of storage space like I did.
The pushchair is also small enough to be able to fit into most family car sized boots.
Now it is quiete heavy to carry around and lift into and out of the car but you get used to it, although this is the main contriutiong factor why after 2 1/2 years of use I had to swap it for a light weight stroller.
Overall I really did find this an extremely practacle pushchair, even though it had its faults. It did everything that I wished it would and some. We got a good 2 1/2 years use out of it and we still actually have it up in the loft all wrapped up as it has gained very little wear of tear over that period of time.
The only downfall is that I do feel that it is extremely highly priced
A Piliko Pramette alone retails at £380.00
the Primo Viaggio car seat retails alone at £135.00 and the
Surefix adjustable base for the car seat alone retails at £95.00 and that not including any extras like footmuff, nappy changing bag or sunshade umbrella.
If you do purchase it as a travel system and opt for all three items you may find the price a little more cheaper, I purchased mine from an independant shop rather than Mamas and Papas for just under £500 compared to over £600 if you were to purchase them individually.
If you are considering this pushchair definately make sure that you look around, including some of those smaller indepndent shops as you really can find some good bargains.
Do you ever watch the TV and admire those stars walking the length of that red carpet boasting the most dazling, spectacular, eye catching pieces of jewellery, jewellery that most of us could only ever dream of. Well the likelyhood is that some of the pieces they are wearing are from one of the Tiffany collections.
Tiffany & Co has had a reputation as being a prestige jeweller for the wealthy, powerful and famous for over 150 years now, they are an American company which was founded back in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany and Teddy Young, trading under the name "Tiffany & Young" they initially sold stationary items and luxury goods to those in the lower Manhattan area but some 16 years later in 1853 the company was renamed to what we all know it as today "Tiffany & Co" and found itself re locating to a more desirable location in New York and seeing its main selling emphasis changed to that of fine jewellery, although they are also renound for selling luxury goods too.
These include :
Fragrances and Accessories
and classic timepieces.
Since 1953 Tiffany & Co has seen stores open in major cities all over the world, although their flagship store and most famous one of all is located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Manhattan, New York City. A store which I aspire to visit one day.
Personally I feel that that as well as those stars on the red carpet a contributing factor to the popularity of Tiffany jewellery can also be assosiated with films such as the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffanys with Audrey Hepburn or Legally Blonde where Reece Witherspoon donned that " Return to Tiffany" necklace which saw many young girls desiring to own one of their own, it certainly helped in making the Return to Tiffany collection one of Tiffanys most recognisable collections in the world today.
Tiffany boasts many unique, exciting and exclusive collections.
Designers including Elsa Peretti, the Italian jewellery designer.
Frank Gehry the American Sculptor and Architect.
Jean Schlumberger the French jewellery designer
and fashion designer Palomo Picasso have all been hired to design and create jewellery exclusive to Tiffany & Co.
Whether the piece be Gold, Silver, Platinum or prescious stone you will find designs ranging from the most elegant through to the extravagant, you will find pieces which promote romance, love, style and luxury, each design unique and stamped with the Tiffany name.
Now one of the main reasons for writing this review is that one of my penchants in life is Tiffany jewellery, I am very lucky enough to admitt that I own several different pieces which I treasure.
Before you assume, I am not some high maintenance girl or spoiled child, that could not be any further from the truth but I will admitt that I like some of the finer things in life and Tiffany jewellery is one of them. I also have an extremely generous fiance who fuels this passion too by treating me on occasion to pieces of jewellery as gifts.
My most cherished and treasured item of all of my pieces is my Platinum, Lucida Diamond Engagement ring that my fiancé presented me 2years ago when he proposed to me. He had hired out a private pod on the London eye and as the sun set across London he got down on one knee presenting me with that little Tiffany blue box with its delicate hand tied white ribbon. I cannot explain that feeling you get when you see that little box, it truly is a magical feeling. I had only ever dreamed of a Tiffany Diamond but now I'm lucky enough to actually say I have one, now all I need to do is sort out the Tiffany wedding band.
I have had experiences and purchased from a selection of the Tiffany stores in both London and the USA. These include:
Bond Street, London
The Royal Exchange, London
The Bellagio Boutique, Las Vegas, USA
Sloane Square, London
Mall at Millenia, Orlando, USA and each store experience is unique and special in their own way.
When ever you walk into a Tiffany store you can't help to be impressed and amazed by the most stunning pieces of jewellery on display, the amazing array of diamonds and prescious stones. These are very classy stores but not to the extent where you feel that the staff are looking down at you because your not dressed up to the nines or because you dont fit in to the upper class bracket, in my experience the assistants have always been very polite and helpful, I have never been made to feel uncomfortable or made to feel that I dont fit in or souldnt be there, the fact is most stores I have popped into are usually full of tourists just browsing the spectacular collections where I have always been there to purchase items.
All of the items are beautifully presented, layed out in see through glass cabinets which can be removed by the assistants and examined for further expection if you desire.
When you decide on a piece want to purchase a brand new piece is bought to you from out the back and the assistant will place it onto a black velvet display cushion for you to examine and confirm that you would like to purchase. The assistants will then clean the piece before placing it into a Tiffany blue suede pouch, this pouch is then placed into a stylish Tiffany blue box which is then finished off with a handtied bow made from a delicate white ribbon and wrapped to perfection. This is then placed into that desired Tiffany Blue bag, the bag which always makes me feel like a million dollars as I walk out of their stores with it in my hand.
Tiffany & Co do have an online site where you can view and purchase their vast selection of products, It can give you an idea of the products which they sell and the prices you can expect to pay but I very much prefer going to the stores themselves, I feel that the actual going to the stores and the whole Tiffany experience is what makes purchasing a piece of tiffany jewellery that much more of a magical experience .
From reading some reviews I have noticed that some have had a negative experiences with Tiffanys customer service but to be truthful this couldnt be any further from the truth in my experience. I have had two occasions where Tiffany have been nothing but helpful and the service I recieved was exceptional.
Two years ago my fiance and I went to Las Vegas, Whilst out there I noticed that the pendant of one of my Tiffany necklaces kept falling off for no reason. This really worried me as I didnt want to loose the pendant for centimental reasons so my Fiance suggested that we popped into the store within the Bellagio Hotel to see if they would take a look at it, see if there was a reason to why the pendant kept falling off and what we should do about it.
A really friendly assistant took us into one of the private rooms to the back of the store in order to examine the piece of jewellery further, he agreed that the clasp which attaches the pendant to the chain was in fact faulty and loose and this is why the pendant kept falling off.
Realising that we were British tourists he asked us how much longer we would be in the Las Vegas area for (we still had another 13 days of our holiday left) he then asked if we would like him to send it off to be repaired and that it would be ready to be collected in five days time. The fact that my fiance had purchased this in London and we had no proof of purchase was not an issue for him, the fact that it was a piece of Tiffany jewellery which had a fault was enough for the assistant to help us like he did.
True to his word five days later my necklace was ready for collection, not only was it fixed free of charge but they had even given the chain and pendant a thorough clean and polish, it looked like brand new.
Ive also had a similar experience in their store at the Royal Exchange in London, As I said earlier I was very lucky to be presented with a gorgeous Tiffany Engagement ring by my fiance two years back. Now as hard as he had tried unfortunately the ring size was a little too big and with fear that it might fall off or I might loose it we took it back to the Tiffany Store at The Royal Exchange to ask if it could be re sized.
This was not a problem at all, the assistant who in fact had been the lady who had helped my fiance the few weeks before to chose the right ring took my correct measurement and had it sent off to be re sized.
She was such a lovely assistant, as soon as I went into the store with my fiance she automatically remembered him on first name terms and came up to me to congratulate us on our engagement, asking lots of questions. It certainly makes the experience feel that more personal. Within a week the ring had been re sized to the correct size, cleaned and polished and it was back on my finger and the fear of losing it gone.
Ive also experienced the same great customer service every time that I have taken pieces of my jewellery in to their stores to have them sent off to be cleaned and polished.
Nothing seems to be an issue with Tiffany and Co, the staff always seem to be willing to go that little bit further to help you but then when you consider the quality, clientel and the amount of money which some of their products cost are you really supprised and would you expect anything less.
The fact is that Tiffany and Co is a prestidge Jeweller which provides people with high quality jewellery but this can come at a cost.
Lastly I would like say to those who may have the concept that owning a piece of Tiffany jewellery is a distant dream, the truth is collections range from the affordable to the opulent, accessories can be purchased at as little as £75.00 and Tiffany jewellery pieces can be purchased from as little as £100.00 and although these pieces may be at the bottom end of the Tifrany range ( I would dread to think the most expensive ) the jewellery is still of the highest sandard and quality that you would expect and want from Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany & Co, a great prestige jeweller