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luckyarchers

luckyarchers
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Member since: 15.07.2004

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      05.02.2014 15:19
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      Effective and great value diarrhoea relief.

      == How Tesco Diarrhoea Capsules Work ==

      They each contain 2mg of loperamide hydrochloride as the active ingredient. Diabetics will also need to know that they also contain lactose.

      Loperamide is called an antimotility medicine. This means that it works by slowing contractions of the muscles in the bowel, so that food will pass through your digestive system less quickly. The longer the stools are in the bowel, the more water and water-soluble nutrients are absorbed, which makes them solidify.

      The maximum dose is 8 in a 24 hour period, but with simple problems one pack of 6 should be enough to allow your digestion to settle down and get back to normal. Don't take more than you need or you will get constipated.


      == Possible Problems ==

      Before taking this, and all medicines, do read all of the advice that comes with the pack.

      If the reason for diarrhoea is not obvious, taking these tablets could mask the symptoms of a serious digestive complaint.

      Even if you think the cause is obvious, do not take for more than 2 days without consulting a pharmacist or doctor.

      I have never had any bad side-effect from this non-prescription medicine, but some people do.


      == Availability ==

      Packs of 6 can be bought from Tesco supermarkets and I find these very easy to swallow.

      A pack of 6 currently costs 80p for 6. This is the cheapest I have seen this type of loperamide hydrochloride medicine sold for. As there is no special offer sign displayed, I assume that this is a permanently great value for money own brand.


      RECOMMENDATION


      == Short Term ==

      INDIGESTION

      I have found these very effective in relieving the symptoms of diarrhoea when I have eaten something that disagrees with me.

      TUMMY BUGS

      They will also alleviate the symptoms of a tummy bug. However, I think that it is important to let the body get rid of the bug naturally, but it is equally important not to dehydrate.

      I would initially treat tummy bug symptoms with a re-hydration medicine such as Dioralyte dissolved in water, and then use a loperamide hydrochloride based medicine like Tesco Diarrhoea Relief capsules, after I thought the body had naturally cleared out the bug. The loperamide hydrochloride in the capsules will help keep the essential salts in the Dioralyte, and the clean water in which it is dissolved, in the body.


      == Long Term ==

      If, unlike the examples above, the cause is not obvious, or the symptoms go on for more than 2 days, it is important to seek advice from a pharmacist or doctor, as taking the loperamide hydrochloride in Tesco's diarrhoea capsules could mask the symptoms of a serious illness.

      Long term, doctors can recommend that the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can be controlled with this type of medicine, BUT POSSIBLE LIFE-THREATENING CAUSES NEED TO BE RULED OUT FIRST.

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        29.01.2014 16:15
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        Great for neutralising acidic symptoms of over-eating or stress.

        == How Gavison Double Action Works ==

        The stomach needs to produce strong acid to digest your food, where its walls are equipped to deal with a normal amount of acid.

        However, if this acid becomes even stronger than it needs to be, or gets outside of the stomach where the digestion is not so well equipped to deal with it, you will feel a burning sensation.

        The cause of excess acid is often temporary such as over-indulgence or stress. This is the type of situation where Gaviscon Double Action tablets have helped me cope with the short-term effects.

        They contain two antacids, calcium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate. These help to neutralise the excess stomach acid, and form a protective barrier to reduce the burning pain.


        == Possible Problems ==

        As with all medicines, it is wise to read all of the information that comes with it before taking. I will mention the possible problems that I think are most common.

        If Gaviscon is taken within 2 hours of other oral medicine, it can affect the effectiveness of the other medicine, so time doses accordingly.

        Some patients need to restrict the amount of calcium and/or potassium in their diet. If this applies to you, do not take without medical advice.

        If the reason for the excess acid is not obvious, taking these tablets could mask the symptoms of a serious stomach complaint. Again, if this applies to you seek medical advice. Even if you think the cause is obvious, do not take for more than 7 days without consulting a pharmacist or doctor.


        == Availability ==

        Gaviscon Double Action is available without prescription from many pharmacies and supermarkets.

        I find it most convenient to take in a chewable tablet form. The mint flavour helps disguise most of the "chalkiness" for me.

        I have seen the tablets in packs of 16 (for about £2.90) and 32 (for about £4.25). An adult dose is 2 to 4 tablets, up to four times a day.

        I noticed a lot of special offers around Christmas time, when people are more likely to eat too much or get stressed out.

        It is also available as a liquid, but for me this option can get a bit messy when trying to measure accurate amounts.


        RECOMMENDATION


        == Short Term ==

        I have found these very effective in relieving the symptoms of an over-acidic stomach when I have eaten something that disagrees with me, simply overeaten, or had a temporarily stressful time.


        == Long Term ==

        If, unlike the examples above, the causes is not obvious, or the symptoms go on for more than a week, it is important to seek advice from a pharmacist or doctor, as taking Gaviscon could mask the symptoms of a serious illness.

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        • Tesco IR07 Steam Iron / Iron / 137 Readings / 133 Ratings
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          11.01.2014 00:14
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          This iron has served me well for the past 5 years, and is still going strong.

          == My Iron Usage ==

          I think that life is too short to spend much time ironing. Consequently, when I am buying textiles, one of the criteria I look for is that they need little or no ironing.

          Also to reduce ironing time, I partially tumble dry clothes in much smaller lots than my tumbler manufacturer says my machine will take. I then take them out while they are still damp and hang them up and ease them into shape straight away. For example, after doing this, I see no need to iron our stretch denim clothes.

          Despite these precautions, our steam iron has come out once a working week for cotton office shirts.

          It also gets occasional use for the sort of things that get infrequently washed like heavy curtains.


          == The Iron ==

          The iron came in a box with an easy to understand instruction leaflet and small plastic water measuring jug.

          At the front of the iron, about 1 ½ inches above the base is the spray nozzle. Above this is the water filling inlet, leading to a transparent tank.

          Then at the top of the front of the handle is the variable steam control knob and the spray button.

          The iron has 3 temperature settings, with 1, 2 or 3 dots on them, which correspond to modern washing instruction labels. Near this is the indicator light which will come on initially when the iron is first plugged in. It goes off once the temperature has reached the indicated setting.

          Where the flex is connected to the iron it has a "swivelling cord protector". The flex is about 70 ins long, and fitted with a 13 A fused plug. As I usually use it near a plug socket this is long enough for me. On the rare occasions when I have needed to use it in another location, I have used the extension lead we have that comes in handy for a number of appliances from time to time.

          The water tank is transparent, and the sole plate just described as metal, with a non-stick covering.


          == Use and Durability ==

          I bought this Tesco Value Steam Iron about 5 years ago.

          The reason for my needing to buy a new one was that my daughter was setting up her own home for the first time, and took a number of things with her "on long term loan", including my previous Tesco Value Steam Iron. Having had no problems with this type of iron, I bought another one to remain in my home from my local Tesco Extra.

          I am happy to report that I have had no problems with this one either. It is showing no signs of needing replacing, but I think it has already given me good value for money, so when the time comes I would be happy to buy a similar one.

          I have always used 100% distilled water in it, as I live in a very hard water area. This has no doubt contributed to the good length of service that I have had from the iron.

          The fact that I have never felt a need to use starch may also have helped to keep it free from debris.

          Sometimes I have instead used it as a dry iron, especially if I have had the time to iron while the fabric was still damp.

          It is advised to only use the steam part of the iron if on the highest setting, to prevent water from leaking out of the sole plate.

          For delicate fabric, to help get rid of creases more easily, you can instead just spray a thin jet of water from the front of the iron.

          This spray feature can be used whether dry or stream ironing.

          The fact that it is lightweight 0.75 kg, before water is added, is a good point for me, as I am a weakling and do not buy, or therefore launder, any particularly difficult fabrics.


          == Price ==

          I think I only paid about £5 for my iron about 5 years ago.

          The only Tesco own brand iron that I know is currently available is £10. This looks similar, but is not identical, to mine. Based on previous experience, I would strongly consider buying it, if mine needed replacing.


          RECOMMENDATION

          I think the Tesco IR07 is a great value for money steam iron, which can also be used dry if required.

          Apparently some people feel a need for a lot more sophisticated and expensive iron, but the Tesco IR07 1200W Value Steam Iron has been perfect for my needs.

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          • More +
            30.12.2013 16:52
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            This cleanser chemically exfoliates and does not suit my facial skin.

            == Avon's Guidelines ==

            Avon typically say very little about their beauty products in their advertising. Instead they tend to rely on the impression potential customers get from their promotional photographs. However, with their skin care products, they do have age guidelines.

            In the Anew Anti-Aging Skin Care Range these are the age guidelines.

            25 to 40 Years Vitale
            40 to 50 Years Reversalist
            50 to 60 Years Ultimate
            60 Years upwards Platinum

            For Anew Reversalist Renewal Foaming Cleanser Avon say, "Moisture-rich, fast-foaming cleanser formulated with Activinol Wrinkle Reversal Technology. It removes dirt, excess oil and make-up, leaving skin looking refreshed, toned, soft and smooth based on a Consumer Study, 30 people."


            == Exfoliation ==

            I think one of the ways the Reveralist range is supposed to work is that the AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) in it chemically dissolve away the top layer of dead skin.

            Other cleansers do a similar thing by having naturally occurring abrasives in their cleansers - for example Avon Clearskin Scrub (primarily aimed at teenages). A popular example from another brand is the St Ives Apricot Scrub. This is the sort that seems to suit me best, and even then I only feel a need to use them once a week on my skin.

            Although experience has shown that the AHA method of exfoliation has not worked well for my facial skin, others apparently do benefit from it. Getting rid of the dead surface skin this way can make the skin smoother and encourage new growth, if your skin is not sensitive to it.

            Any way of exfoliation is likely to make skin more susceptible to the damaging effects of sunlight, so it is extra important to use a sun protection factor product afterwards.


            == Are You the Right Age? ==

            On the Avon website, they have reviews from customers who have used their products, who score the product from 1-5 stars and also leave comments. On this Anew Reversalist Renewal Foaming Cleanser the age of the customer is not necessarily an indicator of how much they liked it.

            My experience of Anew Reversalist Renewal Foaming Cleanser was poor.

            I tried it when I was at the upper end of their 40-50 years age guidance. It certainly cleansed my skin, but also seemed to get rid of beneficial natural skin ingredients as well. Afterwards my face felt like it had been stripped of all its natural protection, was extremely dry, and cried out for immediate hydrating cream. I used my usual moisturiser and my skin absorbed about twice as much as I normally apply.


            == Comparison with Avon's Cleanser Aimed at my Daughter's Age Group ==

            I got on fine when my daughter let me sample her Avon Anew Vitale cleanser aimed at 25 to 40 year olds.

            Have my previous anti-ageing products really benefitted me so much that I now have the same sort of skin as someone decades younger?


            == Comparison with "Teenage" Type Cleansers ==

            I always have in my toiletries cupboard a cleansing product from one of the popular brands aimed at teenage spotty skin. I don't use it often, only when I have an occasional greasy skin phase. (As well as teenagers, 50 year olds also tend to start having hormonal imbalances.)

            Cleansing products including those from the brands Clear Skin and Clearasil, plus own brand cleansers that contain tea tree oil or witch hazel, have not stripped my skin to the same extent as Anew Reversalist Renewal Foaming Cleanser.


            == Summary ==

            Anew Reversalist Renewal Foaming Cleanser does not suit my face, as not only did it cleanse my skin, it also stripped it of my natural good protective ingredients.

            The anti-ageing hydrating creams in this Reversalist range have also not suited my skin.

            My star rating is based on how well it suits my skin. It may, however, suit your skin type.


            == RECOMMENDATION ==

            My recommendation on all skin care, including Anew Reversalist Renewal Foaming Cleanser is do not rely on age guidelines to tell if it is suitable for you. It is best to try a sample before buying a full size product.

            Anew Reversalist Renewal Foaming Cleanser does not suit my skin because it stripped it overly dry.

            On the plus side, my Avon representative will honour the money back guarantee on products that do not suit my skin, as she did in this case.

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            • More +
              28.12.2013 23:53
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              Very comfortable sandals and good value for money.

              == Shoe Zone Velcro Strap Sandals ==

              I have been buying this type of synthetic sandal from the Softlites range at Shoe Zone for a few years now.

              It has two adjustable Velcro straps one at the ankle and one across the toes, which makes for a comfortable width fitting both when the weather is cool, and when my feet swell in hotter temperatures. It is also quick and easy to adjust.

              I have found the supple upper straps and outer thick sole to be robust.

              For me the part that tends to wear out first is the insole, where my extra hard skin wears it away. Depending on the type of summer we have, I buy one or two pairs a year.

              The full price is a modest £14, however, because I know that I have got on well with various, slightly different, versions of this style from Shoe Zone, I will buy them when they are on special offer if I can.

              I bought my first pair of these sandals from a shop on my High Street. Sadly my local shop closed down the last time the owners of the building told them that the rent was to rise. (I wonder if the landlords foresaw that the shop would be standing empty a year later.)

              However, I can now buy on-line, if I don't want to travel to my nearest town with a Shoe Zone retail shop. I don't usually like buying footwear on line because of the size variations in styles, even of the same brand. However, with this type of style from Shoe Zone, I have always had the same size, even though over the years they have changed minor details.

              They are made in sizes 3 to 9. There are no half sizes, but as they have adjustable straps, I don't think that this would be a problem for most people.


              == Similar Shoe Zone Styles and Prices ==

              Currently the black style with 3 rows of stitching, as in the photo above, is £14.99.

              A very similar sandal, with 2 rows of decorative stitching in beige, has been reduced to £9.99.

              There is also a version of the style with no decorative stitching. Instead it has four flowers, with stud centres holding two layers of petals each, across the toe strap. This is currently available in black or brown for £14.99.


              == Shoe Zone versus Hotter Comparison ==

              I used to buy a very much more expensive version of a similar leather sandal sold by Hotter (called Easy), but I no longer think that the extra cost is worth it.

              The Hotter sandals are a bit more durable, but no more comfortable when new. I prefer to not have to worry about spoiling my cheaper sandals in inclement conditions, because I know that I can afford to replace them.

              If you can afford it, and prefer the extra durability of Hotter's leather sandal, it will cost you £55. Hotter will then charge p&p on top of this price, whereas standard delivery to your home, work or one of their stores is free from Shoezone.


              == Ordering from Shoe Zone On-Line ==

              I find their website easy to use, and have had no problems with delivery.

              Free standard delivery will take 2 to 5 working days. Shoe Zone only charge for premium delivery services, such as next day or nominated day, although this service is not available for remote postcodes or Northern Ireland.

              The price of return postage would be your responsibility, unless the footwear is faulty, or you can return free to one of their retail stores.


              RECOMMENDATION

              To get the full 5 star rating from me the insoles would need to be made a little more durable, but despite this, I think Shoe Zone's Velcro sandals are very COMFORTABLE and GOOD VALUE FOR MONEY.

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              • More +
                18.12.2013 13:43
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                Beneficial for me, but my not be for you, please read full review.

                Sainsbury's Multivitamin and Iron Tablets are round tablets that measure approximately 1 cm across. The oval shaped container has a child resistant cap that you have to squeeze the sides of to open. I find this easier to open than the push down type of cap, so it is still important to keep them out of children's reach.

                They contain 100% of an adult's daily requirements for Vitamins A, C, D and E, plus Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folacin (folic acid), Vitamin B12, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin K and Iron.

                Sainsburys multivitamin and iron tablets are currently £1.15 for 60. The without iron version, which will suit some people better, is currently 95p for 60 tablets.

                Sainsburys often have a 3 for the price of 2 offer on food supplements.


                == Who Could Benefit? ==

                Healthy adults, who eat a well-balanced diet, should not need any brand of food supplement tablets.

                Adults with certain medical conditions, including those on a restricted diet, digestive absorption problems or who have recently had heavy blood loss, may benefit from taking these.

                The healthiest, and most effective form of long-term weight loss, is to lose weight slowly by cutting out "bad" calories, while eating everything you need to stay healthy. If despite this health advice you are determined to go on a crash diet, taking a food supplement like this could go some of the way to give you the nutrition you need.


                == My Reason for Taking Sainsbury's Multivitamin and Iron Tablets ==

                I had to have part of my intestines removed. After giving my body a reasonable time to recover, my doctor gave me a blood test to see if I was still absorbing everything from my food that I needed.

                This test showed that I was mildly anaemic, despite eating a well-balanced diet. After taking these tablets, the blood test was repeated and the results were good. Therefore, I will continue taking these unless my doctor changes his opinion.


                == CAUTION ==

                They are not recommended for children under 12 years of age.

                Also pregnant ladies, or those likely to become pregnant, should not take them unless advised by a doctor or antenatal clinic.

                Vitamin and/or mineral (for example iron) overdoses can damage your body. Do not exceed the stated dose.

                As it is easier to overdose on minerals than vitamins, if you feel that you are in a category that needs to take a food supplement, but you have not been advised to take extra iron by a doctor, is it safer just to try taking the multi-vitamin version of this tablet (that is without added iron). If you think you regularly need to take an iron supplement, my advice is to consult your GP.

                Iron tablets can cause constipation in some people, so this is an extra reason not to take them, unless advised by a health practitioner. I also would not take on an empty stomach.


                RECOMMENDATION

                As my digestion has trouble absorbing all the nutrients I need to stay healthy, even though I have a well-balanced diet, my doctor advised me to take multivitamin and iron tablets.

                I bought the Sainsbury version as that it where I was doing my grocery shopping.

                I was mildly-anaemic before I took them, but am no longer, so I believe I should continue taking them, as my health condition is permanent.

                For others who feel that their poor diet/lifestyle requires a food supplement, if they can't improve it otherwise, I would usually recommend that they stick to the multivitamin version without iron, as it is easier to overdose on iron than vitamins.

                For me these tablets are a 5 Star product, but they will not suit everybody.

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              • More +
                12.12.2013 16:54
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                Artists' Quality Soft Wax-Based Coloured Pencils with Non-Toxic Pigments

                == Derwent and Their Main Competitors ==

                Derwent are the UK's market leaders in good quality pencils.

                Their main competitors worldwide are Faber Castell (Germany) and Prismacolor (USA). Usually these competitors' products, which I believe can produce similar artistic results , are slightly more expensive if bought in the UK. The full range of Prismacolor can be especially hard to buy from UK based stores, so this often means paying shipping costs from the USA.

                Although there are small differences in similar ranges from these three companies, the pencils artists prefer most appear to be down to individual tastes and types of artwork. Personally, I like to experiment by combining as many different brands and types as I have available, either from my own supplies or from friends.

                A good way of avoiding expensive mistakes is either by reciprocal loans from other artists, or by using the testers available in some art shops.


                == Derwent Ranges ==

                Derwent have a wide range of pencils. Many are aimed at adult artists.

                Derwent also make good quality pencils specifically aimed at children (the Lakeland and Colourland ranges).


                == COLOURSOFT ==


                == Safety ==

                Although Derwent Coloursoft pencils appear to be aimed primarily at adult artists, there is now an assurance on their Facebook page about the safety of all their pencil ranges. Their representative has posted,

                "I can confirm the products don't contain any heavy metals and are safe for children. We wouldn't recommend anyone under 3 using them just because they're a bit pointy! But colour wise, all the pigments are tested and are safe."


                == Quality, Softness & Blendability ==

                The Coloursoft pencil range has round barrels and a wax-based core.

                There are pros and cons of wax-based pencils, whichever brand you buy.

                Artists that think that having the softest colour cores to their pencils is of the most importance will prefer the Prismacolor Premier brand.

                However, the softer the core the more prone to breakage it is.

                This is why I prefer Derwent Coloursoft. They are soft, about 7B grade, but not quite as soft as Prismacolor, so the coloured cores are more robust. However, I still like to be careful with them. (If rambling about looking for a landscape to provide inspiration for my artwork, I think it more practical to take my Derwent Graphitint Coloured Pencils, which are graphite based and more robust.)

                Coloursoft wax-based pencils' softness allows the colours to be blended easily, which means that if you buy only a small selection of colours, you can blend them on the paper to make many in-between shades.

                Special blending tools can be bought, or you could try to make your own, by tightly rolling paper to make a blending stick. (I found the book called The Coloured Pencil Artists' Drawing Bible one of the most useful sources of advice about this and many other aspects of using this art medium.)

                Coloursoft come in sets of up to 72 pre-made colours, as well as being sold individually, but because of their blendability many artists can make all the colours they need by buying a smaller set.


                == Wax Bloom ==

                ALL brands of wax based pencils, if used or layered heavily enough, will produce a wax bloom. You may think this is a reason for buying the full 72 pre-made colour set, if you can afford it.

                Buffing your work with a tissue will remove the filmy coating temporarily, but to avoid wax bloom spoiling your art-work, you can spray the finished picture with a fixative, which can usually be bought at the same place as the pencils.


                == Light-Fastness ==

                Coloursoft's light-fastness rating is good at 7-8 for 54 of the 72 colours. You can check the light-fastness of individual colours on Derwent's web-site. If one of the colours I needed a lot of had a low rating, I would check out other pencil brands and mix and match with them, or even other types of artists' colour mediums. I would certainly mix coloured pencils and paint on the same artwork, as with the correct technique, work done in artists' coloured pencils can look like a painting.

                The best pencils for light-fastness are currently the Swiss Caran D'ache Luminance 6901 range, but their top of the range quality will cost about three times the amount of their good quality competitors, so I think they are only worth buying for elite professional artists, who can afford to pass on the cost to their customers.


                == Cost ==

                I have seen Coloursoft pencils sold individually, in a blister pack of 6 and tins of 12, 24, 36 and 72.

                There is also a Derwent Coloursoft Collection tin, which I think is a good starter set because it contains 30 Coloursoft pencils, 1 blender tool, a paper stump (also for blending), 1 burnishing tool, a sandpaper block for helping get exactly the pencil point you need and for cleaning your paper stump, a kneadable eraser, a plastic eraser and a metal sharpener.

                My advice is to ignore the Recommended Retail Price. The maximum price I think that you should pay per pencil is £1 if buying as part of a set. They are likely to cost more than £1 each if bought individually to obtain specific colours though.

                I would expect the larger sets to be better value per pencil than the smallest, but bear in mind that because Coloursoft pencils are so blendable, you may feel that you can make enough extra colours from one of the smaller sets to meet your needs.

                In my experience, the high street is the most expensive place to buy them. For this reason I have bought all my artists' quality pencils through internet-shopping. I have done my own price-checking of competing sites. These include Amazon, eBay, and small businesses that I have initially bought from through eBay, and for subsequent purchases dealt with directly.


                == eBay Tip ==

                When I first decided that I wanted to try artists' quality coloured pencils, I was over-whelmed by the choice available.

                As well as seeking advice from friends and library books, I bought a mixed lot of pencils from eBay. This helped give me the experience of using different kinds (wax-based, oil-based, graphite-based, water-soluble and pastel pencils) as well as experimenting with various brands, for a bargain all-in price. I think these brand new pencils were oddments from a shop clearance.


                COLOURSOFT PENCIL SUMMARY

                Derwent Coloursoft are good artists' quality pencils,
                with a soft wax-based coloured core,
                which are easily blended,
                sharpen well to a fine point for detailed work,
                plus with care I have had minimal breakage,
                can be gently shaded for subtle work or give vibrant colour with more pressure
                and have good average light-fast ratings.

                Visit Derwent's excellent website for all sorts of valuable information and ideas.


                RECOMMENDATION

                I recommend Derwent Coloursoft pencils for those who want good soft wax-based artists' quality pencils, which are usually reasonably priced in the UK, making them better value for money than their main competitors.

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                • More +
                  01.12.2013 15:13
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                  Shows what can be achieved with artist grade pencils but needs more information about techniques.

                  == My Early Artistic Attempts ==

                  I have read a lot of books for beginner artists recently, as I think I would like drawing, and possibly also painting, as a new hobby.

                  Although I have always wanted to be able to draw and paint, I never managed anything realistic while I was young and so became disheartened.

                  I thought that you either had talent or you didn't, and that I fell into the latter category. At school my art teacher just said, "Draw this", or "Paint that." There was no indication that art skills could be acquired.

                  Recently I have been seeking out books in my library for would-be artists, and have found out that I can draw. I haven't progressed to painting yet, but I am confident that I can, with the help of learning relevant techniques.

                  == The Complete Colored (American spelling) Pencil Book ==

                  The Complete Colored Pencil Book claims that it, "Takes you from the basic all the way to advanced colored pencil techniques."

                  The first chapter describes the various drawing tools you will need and how to choose the most suitable. The latest artist grade coloured pencils are far superior to the ones sold for children. The book does not carry a warning about these, but I think it should. My advice is to be careful if you are tempted to buy artist grade pigments for a talented youngster, because these pigments can be toxic, even if just absorbed through the skin.

                  The opening chapter, combined with chapter 3, on what to draw on (paper, board etc) is a good guide to these tools. However, most of the rest of the book was a disappointment for me.

                  The second chapter describes setting out a room as a studio. After a quick look, I skipped this section. I have neither the space nor the money to follow these guidelines. With coloured pencils, even at the top artists' end of the market, being a relatively cheap art option, I doubt whether many readers of this book would expect it to cover expense on this scale.

                  There is plenty of high quality and varied art work in the rest of the book, using a variety of coloured pencil techniques, but there is too little in the way of description on how to achieve the finished work.
                  Portraits and figures, which I think is a subject that needs a whole book to explain, is reduced to 18 pages of mainly pictures with the subjects in difficult to draw postures.

                  The overall impression that I got was that this is mostly a catalogue of artists' work. Impressive as the pictures are, I was hoping to learn more about how I too could achieve a higher standard myself.

                  == The Good Parts ==

                  The advice on tools sections.

                  The quality of the art works which could well inspire those who already have some skill to do even better.

                  == The Big Disappointment ==

                  Too little in the way of how the reader could achieve anywhere near the quality of work themselves.

                  If this had been the first book I had read about this subject, I think it would also have been the last, because I would have thought I did not have enough talent. The truth is, for most of us, technique is the most important aspect to producing good likenesses.

                  Although it began well with the reasons why I would need certain tools, it too quickly progressed to a level that I could not hope to achieve, certainly in the near future, with such scant advice.

                  Fortunately, I had already read two more appropriate books for the beginner.

                  == Alternatives ==

                  Two great books for a beginner in art using coloured pencils are these.

                  Coloured and Watercolour Pencils by Gary Greene
                  and
                  Quick and Clever Watercolour Pencils by Charles Evans.

                  == Summary ==

                  Those who already have a foundation of knowledge of drawing techniques may find some of the good quality pictures inspiring. By foundation I mean being able to break down complicated subjects into simple shapes, use shading to show shape and texture, understand linear and aerial perspective and be able to draw and use guidelines to check for accuracy of proportions.

                  I will give it 3 out of 5 stars because I have reached a stage where I can learn by just looking at great quality pictures, but I am glad that I just borrowed it, rather than buying.


                  RECOMMENDATION

                  BEGINNERS

                  In my view, this book is NOT suitable for a beginner, despite its claim that it takes you from the basic all the way to advanced coloured pencil techniques.

                  The opening chapter, which is the most relevant part of the book for beginners, can be read in full through the "Look Inside" feature on the Amazon web site.

                  INTERMEDIATE

                  It may inspire artists with intermediate skills, but for those I recommend borrowing this book rather than buying it.


                  Paperback: 144 pages
                  Publisher: F&W; Revised edition (29 July 2011)
                  ISBN-10: 1440303886
                  ISBN-13: 978-1440303883
                  Product Dimensions: 1 x 21.3 x 27.7 cm
                  RRP: £12
                  Amazon current price: £9.09

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                  • More +
                    26.11.2013 17:35
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                    Easy to swallow, economical and effective form of relief for mild to moderate pain.

                    PARACETAMOL

                    Paracetamol is a good value for money pain reliever. However, whichever brand you buy, as with all medicines, do ALWAYS read the up-to-date instructions that come with them.

                    Especially if you are taking more than one medicine, be sure that you do not exceed the stated dose, as this can be fatal, with no early warning signs, before the effects are untreatable. For example, some cold remedies, including Lemslip, already have paracetamol as one of their ingredients.

                    Adults (and children over 12) should take a maximum of 8 x 500mg tablets a day.
                    If taking 2 tablets at a time this means only 4 doses a day, with no less than 4 hours between them.
                    Children aged 6 to 12 years should have a maximum of half the adult dose.
                    Children under 6 should not be given paracetamol in this form.

                    Do not take for more than 3 days without seeking medical advice from a doctor or pharmacist.


                    TESCO'S PARACETAMOL

                    I have found own brand medicines to be generally cheaper, and just as good, as their more expensive alternatives. I find it convenient to buy Paracetamol for my first aid cupboard from Tesco, as this is where I usually do my weekly grocery shop.

                    Tesco's own brand of Paracetamol comes in three types for those aged 6 to adult.
                    They all have the same medicinal pain-killing capability.
                    The only difference is the ease of swallowing.

                    They sell Paracetamol Oral Suspension for children between 3 to 6 years, or for older patients who need a liquid form.

                    The cheapest are round and cost 20 for 16 Tablets.
                    For just a penny more you can buy 16 torpedo-shaped Caplets.
                    The easiest to swallow are the gel coated Capsules which are 54p for 16.

                    For me to swallow the round Tablets, it is essential to have cold water available. When I have tried to swallow them with anything else, they started to dissolve in my mouth and made me cough. However, you may find swallowing Tablets easier than me.

                    For me, it is well worth the extra 1p for the Caplets. Although they have no special coating, I find their shape a lot easier to swallow than the round tablets.

                    I would consider buying the gel coated Capsules if I was suffering from an extremely swollen throat, as this is the occasion when the extra cost would be worth it for me.

                    I have used this medicine to relief the symptoms of colds, toothache, muscular pain, headaches, period pain and fevers.


                    RECOMMENDATION

                    I have found TESCO'S own brand PARACETAMOL CAPLETS to be an easy to swallow, economical and effective form of relief for mild to moderate pain, and in the reduction of body temperature when feverish.

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                    • More +
                      24.08.2013 16:59
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                      Good value watercolour pencils for beginners

                      These are marketed as ARTIST GRADE Watercolour Pencils and NOT TOYS.

                      Artists colours, in any brand, can have toxic ingredients, which can be absorbed through the skin, and definitely should not be swallowed. If they are not marked as non-toxic, my advice would be to take appropriate care.


                      == Availability and Cost ==

                      The Boldmere brand of artists' material is available from The Works, either from their website or the High Street.

                      When ordering from The Works web site, if your total order comes to £25 or more, there is no standard delivery charge. Under £25, this would be £2.99. Therefore, it can be cost effective to add an extra item to your shopping if you are close to spending £25 anyway. This is how I came to try out these pencils.


                      == Vital Statistics ==

                      In the full length 17.4 cm hexagonal, varnished wood casing, the coloured core is approximately 0.3 cm thick.


                      == The Colours ==

                      The ends of the pencils have colours painted on them to indicate the colour of the "lead" core. This colour likeness is not as good as I had hoped for, so I recommend trying them out both dry and wet on a spare piece of paper before using them on your "masterpiece".

                      Boldmere do not give these colours a name or number, so these are my descriptions.

                      White
                      Black
                      Reddish Brown
                      Bright Red
                      Bright Pink
                      Dark Purple
                      Light Purple
                      Dark Green
                      Light Green
                      Dark Blue
                      Light Blue
                      Warm Yellow
                      Cool Yellow
                      Warm Orange
                      Cool Orange

                      The difference between the 2 yellows and the 2 oranges is so small, that it is difficult to tell them apart in day light, yet alone artificial light. A greater contrast in these colours would improve the selection.

                      Also I would have preferred a medium brown to have been included, instead of one of the oranges, yellows or the reddish brown.

                      When using with water, the colours can be blended to makes extra hues.

                      Even just adding extra water will lighten the colours.


                      == Using the Colours ==

                      The colours can be used as traditional coloured pencils, or as watercolours.

                      To use as watercolours different effects can be achieved by using dry pencils on damp paper, or dipping pencils in water before applying to dry paper.

                      Another alternative is to produce a picture using dry pencils on dry paper and then blending the colours with a wet paintbrush.

                      I like experimenting on a scrap piece of paper first and then using different techniques on the same piece of work.


                      == The Coloured Core ==

                      The quality of the core depends on the superiority of pigment and the proportion used, compared to the binder, in the manufacturing process.

                      I judge the quality of the colour produced about half way between the budget pencils that can be bought in £1 discount stores and the top end of the market (approx £10 for 12).

                      At £3.99 for 15 pencils, this makes them good value for money for a beginner artist to practise with.

                      After using about a third of the length of these pencils, I have found that all but one have sharpened well. One of the orange ones has had some lead breakage. As I ordered through the post I don't know if they were roughly treated in between leaving The Works warehouse and being delivered to me.

                      Some coloured pencils are marketed as having extra strong leads. As these makes no such claim, I think they have performed quite well.

                      With watercolour pencils, if the core does break, you need not waste it. Water can be added and the resultant liquid applied with a brush.


                      == The Works Discounts =

                      By signing up to promotional emails at The Works website, you will be able to take advantage of the various special offers available on the goods they sell.

                      The free delivery if your order is over £25 is available even without a special discount code.


                      == My Star Ratings ==

                      Overall quality an average 3/5
                      But value for money 4/5 - if bought for list price of £3.99 - but look out for discounts.


                      == RECOMMENDED AS GOOD VALUE FOR BEGINNER ARTISTS ==

                      I am glad I bought these to use as a beginner artist, but now that I have made good progress, will just use these up for quick sketches, and use the top quality, but a lot more expensive, Derwent Inktense or Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer watercolour pencils for creating my "masterpieces".

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                      • Sainsbury's TU Clothing / Clothing / 158 Readings / 158 Ratings
                        More +
                        18.08.2013 20:15
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                        Good range of great value clothing.

                        I have been very pleased with my purchases from Sainsbury's own brand range of clothes, which they call TU.

                        The range includes ladies', men's and children's clothes, in casual, formal and party styles.

                        Here are my favourites.

                        == Mens ==

                        Very easy care poly-cotton men's office shirts for my husband, some with matching ties.

                        == Ladies (for me) ===

                        Various viscose gypsy style, short sleeved tops. A similar baggy style has appeared in the last few years, with the pattern on the material varying enough for it to feel significantly different. I have a rose coloured one with a swallow pattern, a bright blue and white dotty one, and a third with a purple and green abstract pattern. As you can tell, I like bright colours, but conservative hues have also been available. I feel the style is smart enough to be dressed up with a plain tailored skirt or trousers, and comfortable enough to be dressed down with denim separates for casual wear.

                        Heavy-weight, but easy care, acrylic winter knitwear. My favourite is my cardigan that can be zipped up from the hips to the top on my neck when cold, or left unzipped with the collar turned down over the shoulders for milder times.

                        == Accessories ==

                        I have bought some good value winter gloves, scarves and hats for myself, as well as for presents. For this sort of gift you don't have to know the recipient's exact size, plus they are easy to exchange if you have misjudged their taste.


                        VALUE FOR MONEY

                        The items I have bought have all washed and worn well, and I consider that they would have been good value for money, even if I had paid full price for them.

                        However, as I usually go to Sainsbury's once or twice a week for food shopping, and I know that they have various special offers on clothes, I wait until these appear before purchasing.

                        Special offers that I have taken advantage of are a general 25% off all marked clothes prices (including some already marked down to half price in the sale) and money off vouchers given at the till when using a Nectar card. The 25% off days are often near a bank holiday. I have signed up for Sainsbury's promotional emails to help ensure that I am one of the first in store at these times.

                        Of course, the bigger the size of the Sainsbury's store, the more choice you are likely to have, and I have often timed my occasional visits to extra large stores to match the special clothes offers.

                        I expect to continue enjoying the benefits of TU clothing, and have my eye on some cute looking children's clothes for my grand-daughter.

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                        • More +
                          17.08.2013 15:40
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                          They are soft, absorbent and comfortable, looped sanitary towels, without waterproof backing.

                          These looped sanitary towels were once the market leaders, but that was many decades ago.

                          Their loops need to be attached, front and back, to an elastic, adjustable sanitary belt, which goes around the waist.

                          Nowadays most women prefer the type of sanitary towel, with waterproof backing, that sticks on to their knickers. For heavy flows, the modern version can be worn as well as a tampon for greater confidence.

                          I agree that the stick-on variety is what I have usually wanted, but not always.


                          == When Old-Fashioned is Best ==

                          There are times when I have had an extra heavy flow, when wearing a tampon with a towel has been inadvisable. Examples are, after a difficult birth involving a forceps delivery, and after gynaecological surgery.

                          Because these Dr Whites looped towels do not have a plastic waterproof backing, I have been able to benefit from the absorption power of using more than one towel at a time. I have then had, as my last line of protection, the everyday stick-on towel in my underwear.

                          If you don't also need a waterproof last layer, you don't have to worry about it "rustling" when you move!


                          == Availability ==

                          This is a problem. Retailers stocking these are rare.

                          They are currently showing on Boots website at £2.35 for a pack of 10. However, next to this are the words "Sorry currently out of stock." Boots aren't showing the belts for sale at all.

                          Retailers please note, if I were to need more gynecological surgery, I would gladly pay 4 times this price PROVIDED THEY WERE READILY AVAILABLE.

                          Since typing that I would pay extra, I have seen for sale, from an eBay business seller, 10 Dr Whites towels plus the required sanitary belt for £9.99 plus £3 p&p. Another business seller has packs of 10 towels for £4.65 including postage.

                          Only one seller on Amazon UK is selling them for £3.91 inc postage, but they are currently showing as only having one pack left. There are currently no belts on this site

                          If I was due to have surgery soon, I would be stocking up while I still could.


                          RECOMMENDATION

                          They are soft, absorbent, and so comfortable.

                          There is no plastic backing, so you can benefit from using more than one at a time.

                          Although I have rarely needed to use this type of towel, the times when I have most benefitted from them are when I felt at my most vulnerable, and was filling a single towel in just half an hour.

                          I AM GIVING DR WHITES 5/5 STARS BECAUSE OF THE CONFIDENCE THAT THEY HAVE GIVEN ME WHEN I HAVE FELT AT MY MOST VULNERABLE.

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                          • More +
                            03.05.2013 11:10
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                            Rich luminescent anti-aging day cream at a reasonable price, made for Tesco.

                            == The Skin Wisdom Range ==

                            Tesco launched their own brand skin care range, called Skin Wisdom, about 10 years ago, with cleansers and moisturisers.

                            They gradually extended the range and in 2011 they launched Skin Wisdom Anti-Aging products with a variety of products marketed for different age groups. These were created for them by Bharti Vyas, who specialises in holistic skin care.

                            The age guidelines are:-

                            Youth Protect Products for those under 35,
                            Ultimate Life Products for those aged 35 to 50, and
                            Age Delay Products for over 50s.


                            == My Facial Skin Type ==

                            Until I reached my 40s I had excessively greasy skin all over my face, so only used very light skin care products, often those designed for teenagers.

                            In my 40s some previously greasy skin became what I believe to be average. The very greasy T Zone (forehead, nose and chin) persisted though.

                            Now in my late 50s, I still have that greasy T Zone, but have to be careful that potentially dry patches on my cheeks and around my mouth are kept well moisturised.


                            == Age Delay Day Moisturiser ==

                            Last summer, aged 58, I first tried the Age Delay Day Time Moisturiser.

                            The manufacturers claim, "The Skin Wisdom Age Delay range is designed to address the needs of mature skin. Helping to hydrate and replenish to leave skin feeling more resilient and nourished with a youthful radiance." The recommended age range is for the over 50s.

                            My brief SUMMER use proved to me that the SPF 15 stopped the areas I had applied it from burning. It was obvious on my fair skin, after only a little sun exposure, where I had applied it, and where the cream was less dense or stopped altogether. However, I stopped using it after just one full day, as it was just too thick, even when used sparingly, for my skin type in summer.

                            This WINTER I tried it again. It worked well keeping the parts of my face and neck prone to dryness feeling very soft and pampered.

                            I found that a very miserly amount was all my skin around my eyes and most of my cheeks needed. For the apples of my cheeks and around my mouth, I applied a second light amount only on days when central heating and/or the outside weather made this necessary. With my skin though, I still need to keep it away from my greasy T Zone. Also don't be tempted to use more than you really need near your eyes, as when I was over-generous in this area, it made my eyes water.

                            One 50 ml plot lasted me 5 months, from November to March this year when used on my face and neck. A little goes a long way, so I believe this is an economical as well as effective choice of anti-aging cream. As night-time creams are usually thicker, and the day-time version is the thickest that my skin can absorb, I used this version both day and night.

                            The INGREDIENTS that the manufacturers say combine to make it effective are:-

                            White lupin extract to help improve skin elasticity, firmness and elasticity.
                            Deepaline helps reduce the appearance of expression lines.
                            Calcium to restores lost moisture.
                            UV filters and antioxidants which help prevent further damage.
                            Wild yam, shea butter and soya to help provide 24 hour skin hydration.

                            I don't understand the science, but know that this rich cream immediately makes my skin feel soft and supple.

                            It has a light sheen to it which makes imperfections underneath less obvious, and so evens the appearance of my skin tone, and reduces the look of wrinkles.

                            Once a light layer is on my skin, it has a faint nut-like smell to it. I believe this is mostly due to the shea butter it contains, which comes from the nut of the shea tree. If I put my nose over a pot full, it smells a lot stronger though, so I recommend that you don't judge it that way.

                            Despite the detrimental effect that winter had on my face and neck in the past, my skin remained consistently moisturised and healthy looking while using it.

                            As with any moisturiser, if you apply it while your skin is still slightly damp, it will help to lock in extra moisture.

                            The only disadvantage that I can think of, provided that this suits your skin type, is that it is packaged in a glass jar, which makes it heavy to carry around in your handbag.


                            == Best Value Time to Buy ==

                            As I often do grocery shopping in Tesco, I have timed my purchase of Skin Wisdom products to co-inside with special promotions.

                            I have found that the best value time to buy is when there is a limited-time, half-price offer on the type of Skin Wisdom I appreciate, combined with double-up Tesco Clubcard voucher offers on beauty products.

                            The full price is £7.00, but I make sure that I buy my Skin Wisdom products when they are on a half price offer. As the Age Delay Moisturiser would last me about 5 months with continuous use, I find it easy to time my purchase right.


                            == RECOMMENDATION ==

                            I believe that Skin Wisdom Age Delay Day Moisturiser has helped care for my skin's long term health, as well as providing instant cosmetic effects due to its light reflecting property.

                            Therefore, I highly recommend this to those with persistent or occasionally dry skin.

                            I use it in the harsh winter months, but need a lighter moisturiser for the summer months when my skin becomes naturally greasier.

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                            • More +
                              26.04.2013 11:08
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                              Designed for facial deep-cleaning.

                              == Clean & Clear Range ==

                              The Clean & Clear range of facial care, by Johnson & Johnson, is primarily aimed at those with greasy skin, typically teenagers.

                              However, I believe that skin type is just as important as age when choosing products.

                              Clean & Clear have their own moisturiser, which I used to use after cleansing, but since maturing I have switched to an anti-aging brand, although I still occasionally use their exfoliating wash.


                              == Exfoliating Daily Wash ==

                              I used to use this a lot when I was younger and had very greasy skin. Now in my 50s I still use it occasionally, concentrating on my greasy (even though mature) T-zone of forehead, nose and chin.

                              Exfoliators work by getting rid of the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, and with them dirt and excess oil. I find that this makes it look and feel healthier, as well as reducing the risk of spots.

                              The exfoliators in Clean & Clear's Exfoliating Daily Wash are tiny "micro-beads". (Some exfoliating washes use liquid chemicals to remove the top layer of skin instead.)

                              I wet my face with warm water, squeeze some wash from tube onto the palm of my hand, massage it well onto my greasy T Zone, and then rinse off thoroughly.

                              After cleansing, whichever skin care product you use, moisturising is advisable. After exfoliating, protecting the skin with a suitable moisturizer is especially important, with an appropriate sun protection factor during the day.


                              RECOMMENDATION

                              For average skin types who are only occasionally spot-prone, I recommend that you rotate your daily cleansing between this and gentler methods of cleaning. Getting the balance right will come with trial and error, and is likely to alter with the seasons and diet.

                              For very greasy skin use daily to help deep clean your face and prevent spots.

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                              • More +
                                23.04.2013 18:40
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                                An entertaining read about those involved in late Tudor theatre,

                                == The 2 Annes ==

                                The author's inspiration for this story came from surviving records showing that, in the local Book of Marriage Bonds, William Shakespeare became engaged to two women within two days, one Anne Hathaway of Stratford, Worcester, and the day before, Anne Whateley of the nearby village of Temple Grafton.

                                This book tells the story from Anne Whately's point of view.

                                == Locations ==

                                I liked the way the plot easily flowed from countryside to town, and the lives of ordinary working folk to court life. This is aided by the work of Anne Whateley in the courier business, and Shakespeare's work with travelling players, whose entertainment is appreciated by those in all walks of life.

                                Anne Hathaway stays in Stratford-upon-Avon, but could Anne Whateley have been his London wife and Dark Lady of his sonnets?

                                Life in London could at first sight seem much more fun, but with The Plague a recurring feature of town life, I think I would have preferred countryside living. Of course, the rich had the best of both worlds, with at least one home in each location.

                                == Characterisation ==

                                The wide range of characters shows the author's skill in bringing them to life.

                                I admired Anne Whately. Although realistically far from perfect, I believe her many good characteristics, including loyalty to friends, and determination to make the best of her opportunities, make her a good role model.

                                The two main playwrights in the tale, Shakespeare and Marlow, I suppose were products of their time. I found their characters interesting rather than likeable.

                                Although only occasionally appearing in the novel, the all-hearing through his contacts, ruthless Robert Cecil, Chief Minister and Spymaster, is always a personality individuals may have to reckon with. Amongst other concerns, he is ever watchful for any political messages being spread by the contents of plays, adverse to the status quo.

                                While this is an adult book, with occasional lusty scenes, this could be a good way of enticing reluctant students, of say over 13 years, to finding Shakespeare more interesting. Boys would have the macho Shakespeare, and clever but very unconventional Marlow, to identify with. Girls hopefully would see qualities in Anne Whately that are definitely relevant in our modern world.

                                == Fact or Fiction ==

                                There is plenty of information, in the form of author's notes, to indicate which parts of the book are factual, and which are there for illustrative and/or entertainment purposes.

                                As regards the title of the book, in Tudor times, the term "Mistress" was used as we would use Mrs or wife, as well as for a lover.

                                == Writing Style ==

                                The book is an easy to read way of finding out about life in Elizabethan times. It also cleverly introduces the reader to a few lines of Shakespeare's that complement the plot.

                                There are romantic parts to this book, but they are far outweighed by the practical and political problems of the time.

                                This is how the author's main character introduces the work.
                                "The rendering of my thoughts, emotions and experiences is part comedy and part tragedy as well as history, for life is such a mingling. And so, I write this report of the woman born Anne Rosaline Whateley, she who both detested and adored a man named William Shakespeare."

                                == The Author ==

                                The American author, Karen Harper, has taught English at University and High School levels.

                                Since seeing all the historical inaccuracies in The Tudors, produced originally for US consumption, I am very suspicious of American authors. I am still not tempted to read her series of books of Elizabeth I Mysteries. Portraying this Queen as a kind of Tudor Miss Marple seems far too far-fetched to interest me.

                                However, based on her treatment of Shakespeare's England, I may read more of her historical fiction books, but will read any author's notes and reviews first.

                                Her extensive website at www.karenharperauthor.com shows that she has written many contemporary novels as well.

                                RECOMMENDATION

                                I think that this would appeal to a wide range of readers.

                                I believe that readers only need to be interested in ONE of the following areas to like this book. If, like me, you LIKE ALL of them, you should LOVE IT!

                                - girl power - how a young woman is determined to be independent in a man's world.

                                - Tudor lifestyles from ordinary working class to court life.

                                - the Tudor theatrical scene (including the politics behind their running, and actors/playwrights such as Shakespeare and Marlow).

                                CONCLUSION

                                In my opinion, this is a great entertaining way to get some background knowledge of the lives of those involved in late Tudor theatre. I believe it would be much more appealing to most readers than text books.

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