Welcome! Log in or Register

meganstrong123

meganstrong123
  • 1
  • 87
  • 43
  • 36
  • 789
  • 1335
  • Crowns
  • Premium reviews
  • Express reviews
  • Comments
  • Reviews rated
  • Ratings received

Member since: 18.08.2009

People I trust

User that trust you
  • Sort by:
    • More +
      09.12.2010 20:05
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      Disadvantages

      A great nail varnish remover

      I find painting my nails to be greatly relaxing, and it's very rare that I don't wear nail varnish. I love trying out new colours and brands, and quite regularly the shade that I wear changes every couple of days. However, I find removing nail varnish greatly tedious and in some cases very time consuming, depending of course on the brand of nail varnish remover used. Prior to trying out this particular product, I mostly used Sally Hansen nail varnish remover but I found that it ran out quite quickly and wasn't great at doing the job it's supposed to. Therefore, I decided to browse in my local Superdrug store for an alternative.

      I was attracted to this particular product due to its appearance on the shelf. The bottle is translucent and there is a large white label on the front of the bottle which contains the name of the product and some information about it. Although this is standard for most products like this, there was one feature of the bottle that was particularly attractive. The nail varnish remover itself can be seen through the bottle and the colour of the varnish changes sharply from a turquoise colour at the bottom to a pale mint green colour above. It looks really colourful and definitely caught my eye. The two different colours represent the dual phase property of the remover. The 'top phase' (i.e. the liquid of a mint green colour) removes nail varnish quickly and effectively and the 'bottom phase' (the liquid of a turquoise colour) contains moisturising nutrients and vitamin B5 to encourage healthy nails and cuticles.

      The bottle should be shaken before use to 'infuse' the two phases of the remover. The nail varnish remover should be dispensed from the bottle onto either a cotton wool ball or a cotton wool pad. The cotton wool should then be wiped over the nails to remove traces of nail varnish quickly and easily. I usually wear two coats of good quality nail varnish (such as Barry M, O.P.I. or Nails Inc), and hence it is usually quite difficult to remove both layers quickly. However, this particular product does the job perfectly. To give you an idea, I usually put just two large drops of the remover onto a cotton wool pad and this is more than enough to completely remove all traces of the nail varnish on one hand. This nail varnish remover seems to completely dissolve the polish without spreading it around the nail area as many similar products do.

      This product is marketed on the fact that it moisturises the nails and leaves them feeling healthy, and it definitely doesn't disappoint in this respect, either. My nails feel smooth and strong and my cuticles feel soft and supple. Furthermore, the nail varnish remover is very gentle. If I have any small cuts around my nails, most nail varnish removers that I have previously used tends to sting if it comes into contact with this broken skin, yet this particular product does not present that problem.

      The one downfall of this acetone based product is that it smells very strongly. Most nail varnish removers have a distinct clinical smell to them, yet the smell of this particular brand is quite overwhelming. However, washing your hands after use with a good quality soap should remove all traces of the smell quickly and easily, so this really isn't a big problem.

      Overall, I have been really pleased with this product. It is a fuss free nail varnish remover that not only removes nail varnish quickly and easily, but removes it effectively. This is definitely a product that I will be using for a long time to come, and I highly recommend it.

      Elegant Touch Moisture Balance Nail Polish Remover costs just under £2 in most drug stores such as Boots and Superdrug. It comes in a tall, cylindrical bottle.

      Comments

      Login or register to add comments
    • More +
      09.12.2010 19:39
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      Disadvantages

      An okay self tanner...if you have the patience

      The Piz Buin Summer Sensation Gradual Self Tan Body Moisturiser retails at around £3.99 for a 200ml bottle in most high street stores. I picked up a bottle from the discount store Home Bargains for just £1.79. I hadn't previously used the product but was attracted by the reputable brand name and cheap price. I regularly use Piz Buin sun cream products which I love, and so figured that the gradual self tanner would live up to the high standard of the world famous brand.

      The self tanner comes in a tall golden coloured bottle with a flip lid. The 'Piz Buin' name is printed on the front of the bottle in an orange tone and information about the product is also printed in gold lettering. Further information about the product is printed on the back of the bottle in gold lettering. The bottle is very attractive and certainly conjures up images of sun kissed skin with the colour scheme! The bottle is however packaged and sold in a cardboard box which I personally think is a complete waste of packaging - totally unnecessary.

      The lotion should be dispensed from the bottle by holding the bottle upside down and squeezing it lightly. The self tanner has quite a thick consistency, thicker than most body lotions. The bottle states that the lotion has a 'summer scent' but I personally think that it smells overwhelmingly of fake tan, which is definitely one of the biggest problems with self tanning products.

      It is best to apply the lotion using gloves (to avoid the hands becoming stained), taking particular care to blend it in around the ankles, heels, knees and elbows. Given the thick consistency of this lotion, I find it quite difficult to apply and it takes a long time for the self tanner to soak into the skin and dry. Not only this, but the skin is left feeling quite greasy for a while. If you have the patience or spare time to sit around waiting for the tan to dry, then this won't be a problem for you. However, I like a quick and easy fix to pale skin and this is definitely neither quick nor easy.

      I usually apply the self tanner before bed. The morning after, the difference in the colour of my skin is barely noticeable, despite the fact that I tend to use a lot of the product. In comparison to other gradual self tanning products, this lotion has minimal effect. However, after three or four applications on consecutive days, the colour does start to develop, and this colour looks very natural. Out of all the gradual self tanning products that I use, I would say that this particular one gives the best colour. However, this colour does take time to develop and this product won't be suitable if you want to be able to see a noticeable difference the next day.

      This lotion does smell particularly strongly of fake tan (if you use fake tan products regularly, you will know exactly what I mean - it is otherwise quite difficult to describe), and it continues to smell this way after application. Even after showering, the smell of the product on the skin is very noticeable and I believe that this is a great downfall of this self tanning product.

      To conclude, this is probably one of the poorest quality gradual self tanners currently on the market that I have used. Although it is cheap and is made by a very reputable firm, I personally wouldn't recommend it. The colour is eventually rich and natural looking but it takes several days to fully develop. Admittedly, this is a gradual self tanner, but I would expect the tan to develop a little more quickly. Despite the above negative points, this lotion does moisturise the skin very well and the skin feels noticeably softer after just a few days. I don't think, however, that this compensates for the development time and the poor quality of the lotion itself in that it is too thick and takes too long to be absorbed into the skin.

      Find a better alternative!

      Comments

      Login or register to add comments
    • More +
      07.12.2010 01:22
      Very helpful
      (Rating)
      2 Comments

      Advantages

      Disadvantages

      Find an alternative!

      I'm one of those girls who is guilty of hoarding boxes and boxes of half used toiletries, only to buy new ones and never get around to using the ones I already have. I recently made a promise to myself to use up the products I already own, in the hope that I might by chance come across a product that I actually love. Not only was I excited about trying out a number of new products in the hope of discovering something wonderful, but I was also excited at the prospect of saving money and clearing some storage space!

      No. 7 is a brand that I have used for a long time. My mum and Nan have always been big fans, and so I got into the brand by using their No. 7 goodies over the years, much to their delight! I found this particular eye make up remover around 2 months ago, and decided to try it out. I have the travel size bottle of the product (30ml), but the normal sized 100ml bottle is available from Boots for £7.75.

      The eye make up remover comes in a small but tall bottle, which is almost cylindrical in shape. The No. 7 name is printed on the front of the bottle, along with the name of the product. Further information about the product and instructions for use are printed on the reverse side of the bottle. The bottle is translucent, but appears to be a pale blue due to the colouring of the liquid.

      The product itself has a thin consistency, not dissimilar to that of water. It is a pale to mid blue in colour. The eye make up remover should be dispensed by holding the bottle upside down, and applying it to either a cotton wool ball or a cotton wool pad. The directions for use on the bottle recommend that you sweep the cotton wool over the closed eyes to 'remove even waterproof mascara.'

      I wear minimal eye make up, usually just mascara and a little pencil eyeliner, and so I would expect any good remover product to remove all traces of the eye make up without much effort. This eye make up remover feels very cool on the eyes, and appears to instantly refresh them. The product claims to condition the skin and indeed it does leave the skin around the eyes soft and smooth. However, with regards to actually removing eye make up, it really doesn't stand out to me. I find that I have to use quite a lot of this eye make up remover to get rid of my mascara, and in turn I also have to use a lot of cotton wool. A little of this product doesn't really seem to make much difference with regards to removing make up from the eye, and one squirt of the bottle definitely isn't enough. However, to be completely pedantic, two squirts of the bottle leave too much on the cotton wool pad, and in turn, I tend to end up with the product in my eye. With this product, I find that I have to really rub at my eyes to remove traces of mascara, which not only results in my eyes becoming irritated, but on occasion leads to my eyelashes falling out.

      To conclude, I'm not at all a fan of this product. It has quite a high price tag in comparison to other eye make up removers on the market, and it isn't very good value for money. A lot of eye make up remover is needed to remove even the slightest bit of mascara, and so the product runs out very quickly. The one plus of this eye make up remover is that it is gentle and so perfect for sensitive skin, and so if you wanted to use this product simply to remove eye shadow, it'd be fine. It just doesn't work particularly well at removing mascara from the eyelashes!

      Comments

      Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        07.12.2010 00:59
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Worth keeping in your medicine box!

        Nowadays, the market is crowded with big brands fronting multi million pound campaigns, promising that their new 'wonder' product is the best in the market at relieving pain. Pain killers and paracetamol aren't things that are bought by choice, but rather than by need. They are essential to the lives of most people, and in any household, you're likely to find a 'first aid' box crammed with various tablets and concoctions, all for the purpose of pain relief. The market has become so competitive nowadays that it can be easy to lose sight of what we actually buy paracetamol and other pain killers for. As with most products, we get persuaded by bold television commercials, and tend to go for reputable brands rather than cheaper alternatives.

        These paracetamol capsules from Tesco cost just 15p for 16 capsules, which works out at less than 1 penny per tablet. This is ridiculously cheap in comparison to many other brands; for example, 32 Paramol paracetamol capsules retail at £4.99, averaging at 16p per tablet. Many people might assume that a price tag as cheap as 15p means low quality pain relief, but this perception really couldn't be more wrong.
        The capsules claim to provide relief to mild to moderate pain such as headaches, migraine, neuralgia, toothache, sore throat and period pain. They can also be taken for relief of muscular aches and pains, sciatica, lumbago, flu and feverish colds.

        The tablets should be taken orally, and preferably swallowed with water. These particular capsules are quite large in size, and hence can be quite hard to swallow, especially if you're not a fan of taking tablets by this method anyway. The tablets also start to dissolve quite quickly in the mouth, which can leave a bit of a horrid aftertaste if you don't manage to get them down straight away.

        I have personally only ever taken these tablets for headaches, period pains and sore throats. I sometimes wake up with a headache, and if not I usually get a mild headache during the day when I have been in lectures or reading a lot. I find that these tablets do an absolutely excellent job of relieving the discomfort of mild headaches. I used to take much more expensive tablets such as Syndol, and the only difference between the two brands is that the Syndol tablets made me ridiculously drowsy. The capsules are also great for the relief of period pains, and I find that taking a couple of the Tesco paracetamol capsules in the morning usually sees me through most of the day when it's that time of the month. With regards to sore throats and related pain however, I have to complain! I'm very susceptible to throat and ear infections, especially in the winter months. These cause me extreme pain, and I find that these particular tablets don't relieve the pain even nearly enough. I tend to take Ibuprofen instead (or failing that, Syndol), but I must admit that the Tesco paracetamol capsules are good for bringing down temperature quickly and they do also work well to top up pain relief if you're reluctant to keep taking high strength pain killers at regular intervals.

        The paracetamol capsules come in a small blue cardboard box, with white and dark blue lettering. The front of the box bears the name of the product, along with a small picture of two capsules. The box is small and compact (meaning you can carry the box around in your hand bag or coat pocket!) but the bold lettering on the front means you could easily pick out the tablets in a first aid box, for example. Instructions for use are printed on the back of the box. There is also a pamphlet inside the box, which should be read carefully before use. The capsules themselves come in two trays of 8. The 'trays' are silver in colour, and the capsules are dispensed from the trays by pushing them from behind through the silver foil like tray. All in all, the packaging of these particular tablets is not dissimilar to most other paracetamol products on the market.

        Adults and children over the age of 12 years should take one or two tablets up to four times in one day, without exceeding 8 tablets in any 24 hour period. Children 6 to 12 years should take between half and one tablet up to four times a day, again not exceeding 8 tablets in 24 hours. These tablets aren't suitable for children under the age of 6.

        These are good quality paracetamol which do exactly what they say on the box. They are great for mild pain relief, although for more intense pain, I would recommend taking a stronger form of pain relief. Definitely worth keeping in the house for emergencies.

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        06.12.2010 23:29
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        I wouldn't bother!

        Imperial Leather shower gel is available from stores such as Boots or Superdrug, as well as from supermarkets such as Tesco or Asda. Although I have my preferred brands of toiletries, I am a student and so I'm obviously enticed by special offers, and so when this shower gel was on offer in Tesco (£1 for a 250ml bottle), I popped it into my basket. Imperial Leather is a world famous brand and I have used many of their products before, and so I had high expectations from this product.

        This shower gel contains Bergamot and Thyme which claims to help you 'wash away the daily grind' and I must admit, it smells incredible, too. It has a very invigorating scent which makes it great for freshening up in early morning showers! I do prefer more fresh smelling shower gels as opposed to sweeter smelling ones, and so I was obviously a big fan of this shower gel at first.

        The Imperial Leather Freshen Up Shower Gel comes in a clear bottle. The bottle is in a kind of curved shape with a flat base. The lid of the bottle is green and is a flip lid. Despite the bottle being transparent, the green colouring of the shower gel makes the bottle appear green. The 'Imperial Leather' logo and the name of the shower gel is printed on the front of the bottle. All in all, it's a really attractive and bright coloured bottle, which will look great in any bathroom.

        The shower gel should be dispensed by turning the bottle upside down and dispensing it onto a sponge or a loofah by squeezing the bottle gently. This is where the problem starts with this shower gel, unfortunately! The shower gel is incredibly thick and gloopy, and just one gentle squeeze of the bottle causes a great big dollop of the product to come flying out of the bottle. This sounds dramatic, I know, but it really is ridiculous. Several times, the shower gel has missed the sponge completely and fallen onto the floor of the shower before it's washed away. The fact that so much of the product is dispensed with just the lightest of touches means that the shower gel runs out incredibly quickly. Most 250ml bottles of shower gel would last me around 14 days, whereas this lasted for just a week. The shower gel doesn't lather up well either, which means you having to use incredible amounts in order to thoroughly clean yourself.

        The selling point of this shower gel is that it freshens you up, but I can honestly say it does nothing remotely close to that. My skin feels absolutely no different after using this shower gel, and I definitely don't feel invigorated. The only fresh thing about this shower gel is the smell, but there are many other great smelling shower gels on the market, and they actually do their job well! Despite this shower gel smelling great in the shower, there is no lingering scent of it afterwards, which is also a big disappointment.

        This product smells great, and the bottle is very attractive, but I can't really say anything positive about the shower gel itself. It is thick and gloopy, and doesn't lather well at all. Not only this, but it doesn't leave the skin feeling fresh at all, nor does it leave it feeling soft or smooth. Most shower gels that I have used in the past have at least left my skin feeling clean and moisturised, but this product fails even to do that!

        Don't waste your money.

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
      • Olbas Oil / Coughs, Colds & Flus / 13 Readings / 12 Ratings
        More +
        06.12.2010 23:05
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        A winter essential

        It's getting to that time of year again when Olbas Oil is as important a member of my make up bag as my lip gloss! I think I speak on behalf of many when I say that Olbas Oil is one of the most important products to help get you through the sniffles and sneezes that come with the winter months.

        Olbas Oil is a decongestant that works by being inhaled; in other words, it is an inhalant decongestant. It comes in a small 10ml bottle, the body of which is a darkish brown in colour. The bottle has a green label with the 'Olbas Oil' name printed on the front in white text against an orange background. Underneath the 'Olbas Oil' name is a small image of a leaf. Directions for use and the ingredients of the product are also printed on the green label, in small black text. The bottle has a white screw top, which can be fastened tightly so that children aren't able to open it.

        The ingredients of Olbas oil are as follows:
        Cajuput oil
        Clove oil
        Eucalyptus
        Juniper berry
        Menthol
        Dementholised mint
        Wintergreen oil

        The directions for use on the bottle recommend that adults and children over the age of 2 inhale 2 or 3 drops of Olbas Oil from a tissue to clear painful sinuses and nasal congestion. The directions also recommend that at night, you should sprinkle a couple of drops of the oil onto a tissue and tuck it inside your pillow. The directions also state that for children aged 3 months to two years, a tissue with a couple of drops of the oil should be placed by the child, but out of their reach. However, I'm not sure if I would use this oil with small children since, as previously stated, the smell of the oil is very strong and might be a little too overpowering for babies and toddlers.

        It's evident from the above list that this product is designed to clear the head. The oil smells very minty and refreshing, yet the scent is perhaps a little overpowering. You really do only need a couple of drops of this oil on a tissue to make it work. Too much of the oil can actually sting your nose. If my nose is chapped in the winter months, I find that overexposure to Olbas Oil causes the chapped area to feel like it is burning, which can become quite painful. I would therefore recommend that you put a maximum of two drops of the Olbas Oil onto a tissue, and only add more drops if you absolutely need to. To be perfectly honest, opening the bottle and leaving it open for ten to fifteen minutes really does leave the smell of the oil lingering in the air, which is sufficient if you only have mild symptoms of a cold.

        The directions for use recommend that you pop a tissue with a couple of drops of Olbas Oil into your pillow at night, but from past experience I wouldn't advise this unless you absolutely have to. The Olbas Oil, in my opinion, makes you feel more awake due to the minty aromas it has. Therefore, if you're hoping for a peaceful sleep, I'd recommend that you don't use Olbas Oil on or around your pillow. One of my favourite tricks with this product is to use it in a bowl of boiling water; one of the best ways to clear your sinuses is by steaming. If you pop one or two drops of the oil into a bowl of boiling water, you should hold your head around 6 inches above it, covering your head with a towel. It's best to do this for around ten minutes. The aroma of the Olbas Oil will really clear your head, whilst the steam will also help it along the way. In my opinion, this is definitely the best way to unblock sinuses and relieve the pain that comes with it.

        Olbas Oil, without a shadow of a doubt, helps to unblock sinuses and relief the pain of congestion. Your head will feel noticeably clearer in a matter of moments, and if you're suffering from a cold, breathing through the nose becomes easier almost instantly. However, I personally feel that the smell is overpowering. I understand that the oil does have to have a strong aroma in order to unblock the airways but you do have to moderate your use of the product if you don't want it to linger for hours afterwards. My personal preference is to sprinkle one or two drops onto a tissue or a handkerchief, and to sniff this tissue throughout the day as much or as little as you need. However, if you're really suffering from a cold and blocked airways, it's definitely worth a try to use the oil in a bowl of boiling water to steam yourself better!

        Overall, I think this is a great product. It's an absolute winter essential! Just a little strong on the scent front...

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        06.12.2010 21:41
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        A good body wash

        I'm a very big fan of the Dove brand, and have never been disappointed with any of their products. I use their body washes and shampoo/conditioner products mostly, and so I snapped this body wash up last month when a 250ml bottle was available on special offer in Tesco for just £1.00. The body wash comes in a really attractive bottle, which is quite narrow at the top, and then curves outwards before becoming more narrow again at the base. I think this shape is really fitting for the Dove brand as it is kind of in keeping with their huge advertising campaign which promotes the image of more curvy, healthy-looking women. The body of the bottle is white, with the 'Dove' logo and some information about the product printed on the front. As with most products like this, there is some further information printed on the reverse. Most of the detailing on the bottle is in a goldy colour, which makes it a really pretty bottle that looks great and girly in any bathroom! The lid is a flip cap with gold detailing on the top. It opens easily and shuts firmly, ensuring that the body wash doesn't spill.

        The body wash should be dispensed by turning the bottle upside down and squeezing it lightly. It has quite a thick consistency and it is a pale gold in colour, with a very faint shimmer. It can be applied to the body either by hand or sponge, but I personally prefer to use a loofah. When the body wash is dispensed, it should be lathered up using warm water. This particular body wash lathers up very easily which is something I really like about it. This means that a little goes a long way and you really feel as though the body wash is cleansing your skin properly.

        This product has quite a distinct yet traditional soapy smell. It isn't overpowering but even after showering, the sweet scent lingers on the skin. My personal preference are body washes containing more refreshing ingredients such as tea tree or peppermint, but as far as more subtle and girly scents go, this is probably one of my favourite.

        With a 1/4 moisturising crème, it is no surprise that this body wash leaves the skin feeling noticeably more soft and smooth. After showering, the skin feels a lot fresher and a lot more supple. Admittedly, this might have something to do with the fact that I use a loofah to apply this body wash, which obviously exfoliates and softens the skin further. However, this is one of the best body washes that I have used with regards to its ability to have an impact on how the skin feels. Many brands claim that their body wash or shower gel products moisturise the skin, but I feel that this is one of the few that actually live up to that claim.

        This body wash is called the 'Silk Glow' body wash. With regards to the 'silk' part of the claim, I'm completely satisfied. This body wash works wonders and smoothing and moisturising the skin and making it feel more silky. However, I don't think that this body wash makes any difference to how my skin looks. Given the reference to 'glowing', I'd expect my skin to look a little brighter. Given that it doesn't, I question just how good this shower gel is at removing dead skin cells and exfoliating the skin thoroughly. All that said, I think that using a good quality body scrub once a week on the skin does an excellent job of removing dead skin cells and brightening the appearance of skin.

        All in all, this is a really good body wash. It smells great, looks great in the bottle, and the texture and appearance of the shower gel is lush!

        Another great Dove product.

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        06.12.2010 21:09
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        A great eye make up remover

        I find that eye make up (mascara, eyeliner and eye shadow) is always the toughest kind to remove, and in my opinion there are very few good quality removers that do the job that they're supposed to without irritating the eyes. For years, I have used make up wipes to remove both facial make up and eye make up, but I found that rubbing my eyes so hard with the wipes caused my eyes to become red and irritated, and also caused my eyelashes to fall out on occasions. I therefore decided to switch to a more gentle eye make up remover, and given that the Simple brand prides itself on being kind and gentle to skin, I decided to try this product.

        The Simple eye make up remover is available at most drug stores such as Boots and Superdrug; it retails at £3.19 for a 125ml bottle in Boots, and £1.20 for a 50ml bottle in Superdrug. The eye make up remover comes in a clear plastic bottle with a green screw top lid. The 'Simple' name is printed on the front along with the name of the product. Instructions for use are printed on the reverse of the bottle. All in all, the packaging has a standard appearance. It isn't particularly attractive but is in keeping with the general appearance of most 'Simple' products.

        The eye make up remover is transparent and it has a consistency very similar to water. It can be dispensed from the bottle by turning the bottle upside down and squeezing gently. I find that the best way to use this remover is to dispense it onto either cotton wool pads or cotton wool balls, and then to sweep the cotton wool over the eyes. The eye make up remover is incredibly effective; it feels almost like the make up is 'dissolving' from your eyes. I tend to have to use one cotton wool pad per eye to completely cleanse the area. I wear waterproof mascara and even that is easily removed with this product. With many other eye make up removers that I have used, I tend to have to rub at the area to thoroughly remove the make up, but this is not the case with the Simple eye make up remover.

        This product feels incredibly cool on the eyes, and the eye area feels very refreshed after use. The eyes aren't at all irritated with use of this product, so it really is perfect for sensitive skin. (It does help that this product is both perfume and colour free!) This eye make up remover softens the eye area and leaves it feeling smooth and clear, without a greasy residue.

        This is without a doubt my favourite eye make up remover on the market at the moment. It does an excellent job of removing eye make up, and a little goes a long way, which makes it excellent value for money. This product is kind to skin, too, so it is absolutely perfect if you have sensitive skin. Not only this, but its gentle nature means it doesn't leaves eyes feeling irritated. It is absolutely excellent product which is much more effective than many more expensive alternatives on the market.

        Highly recommended.

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        05.12.2010 11:23
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        A good quality bronzer

        If you have read any of my recent reviews, you will see that many of them are for Clinique products, and that for all the Clinique products that I have used, the reviews are very good. I am a bit of a brand addict! I therefore decided that along with my Clinique foundation, concealer and mascara, I would invest in the bronzer.

        Prior to using this brand of bronzer, I would tend to buy brands such as Rimmel or Maxfactor from drug stores. Although I was impressed with the Rimmel bronzer, the rest of the bronzer brands were a bit of a disappointment. Therefore, I decided to invest in a more expensive bronzer, that was more reputable and would more than likely be of much better quality.

        A 9.6g Clinique True Bronze Pressed Powder Bronzer retails at £20 in most department stores, such as House of Fraser, Debenhams and Selfridges. It is, however, currently on offer in Debenhams for £18.00. As with most of the products that I review which are expensive, I will recommend that you first try a small sample of it - either pop into your local department store and ask for a sample or try and find a smaller bronzer in eBay, for example.

        The bronzer comes in two colours; sunkissed and sunblushed. Sunblushed is a little more of a brown shade whilst sunkissed is the pinkier of the two shades. I opted for the sunkissed shade as I wanted to create more of a healthy look than a bronzed look, especially in winter. The Clinique bronzer comes in a small, flat compact with a flip lid. The lid is gold in colour. The packaging of this particular bronzer is very attractive and is in keeps with the simple yet pretty theme that is seen on most Clinique products. The compact is also small enough to fit nicely into your make up bag. The lid closes firmly and securely to prevent it popping open when you're carrying it around in your handbag.

        I use the Bobbi Brown Kabuki Brush to apply this bronzer; it is a brush that I have used for years and I know it is of very good quality. I think it's really important that if you're going to invest in an expensive bronzer, you should invest in a good quality brush, too; you really won't get the true effect of the bronzer if you apply it using a cheap brush. You only need to use minimal bronzer to make a noticeable difference to your face. I tend to sweep the bronzer brush along the apple of my cheeks twice, and maybe a little on my T-Zone if it looks oily at all. The difference is great; my skin instantly looks brighter and more fresh. A little goes a very long way with this product which makes it great value for money. However, it is very easy to appear orange if you use even a little too much. With this product, it is definitely best to start off with minimal bronzer, and build up only if you need to. This product does build up extremely well and doesn't look at all patchy.

        This product claims to be long wearing and oil free, which are the two main reasons that I opted to buy this particular bronzer. In terms of being long wearing, it definitely lives up to its claim. If I apply the bronzer first thing in a morning, it looks hardly different when I return home from work or university after a long day. With many bronzers, they smudge or wear off with even the slightest contact, such as dabbing your mouth with a napkin, or putting a jumper on. I don't think that this bronzer presents this problem at all. It seems to cling to your skin without being overbearing, or leaving your skin feeling greasy or weighed down. With regards to it being oil free, it also doesn't disappoint. As I said, it doesn't leave your skin feeling greasy and it feels more light and silky. You hardly notice you're wearing bronzer, and your face does not feel at all tight.

        The one thing I would say about this bronzer is I'm not sure how effective it is worn alone and without a prior base of foundation. In summer, for example, I sometimes like to just wear bronzer and mascara, but I'm not sure whether or not this would give as much of a bronzed look as other brands may. Therefore, I'd recommend this particular bronzer for the winter months, when you're more likely to wear it with a base.

        All in all, I'm delighted with this bronzer. Although it is expensive, it lasts forever and hence is great value for money. It blends well into the skin and you can build it up as much as you like to achieve the desired colour. It is neither heavy nor greasy, but light, and it lasts all day without re-applying.

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        04.12.2010 14:31
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        A good, subtle self tanner that gives a healthy, natural glow

        I used to go on the sunbeds quite a lot, until I realised just how much damage I was doing to my body. I still go on them once or twice a month, or sometimes before a night out on the town, but I do tend to avoid them if I can. I decided to seek out alternatives and tried a number of fake tanning products such as St Moriz, St Tropez and Loreal Sublime Bronze. However, I found that I didn't at all have the patience for them. I could never find the time to exfoliate and moisturise beforehand to avoid any streaking, and then to let the product dry properly afterwards. I'd usually end up looking either streaky and smudged or luminous orange, and so I decided I should try something else a little less extreme.

        I found the Dove Summer Glow Body Lotion in Wilkinson's for £2.99 for a 250ml bottle. This product normally retails in high street stores for around £5, costing £4.95 in Superdrug and £4.99 in Boots. However, it can usually be found for around £2 cheaper in Wilkinson's, Home Bargains and other similar discount stores.

        The Dove Summer Glow Body Lotion is a moisturiser with a hint of self tanning agents which claims to 'gradually build a light tan'. It comes in a cream yet slightly shimmery bottle, which is tall yet not very deep, fitting perfectly into the palm of the hand. The 'Dove' name and logo is printed on the front, with the main details of the product beneath in gold lettering. Further information about the product and instructions for use are printed on the back of the bottle. The bottle has a flip cap, and the product is dispensed by squeezing the bottle lightly and holding it upside down.

        This product is available in two shades; fair to medium skin and medium to dark skin. I opted for the medium to dark skin shade, especially since this product only contains 'subtle' self tanners. I apply the product every morning after showering or every evening before bed. The instructions on the bottle stress the importance of applying the tanning product evenly. However, I just apply the tanner like a normal body lotion, without paying much attention to how evenly it is applied. With most self tanning products, this would be a problem and would leave some noticeable streaking. This product doesn't present that problem at all. As I said, I don't pay much attention to how evenly I apply the self tanner, yet the morning after my skin looks naturally tanned without streaks. Admittedly, there may be a few dark patches round my ankles, knees and elbows, but this really isn't noticeable. The instructions on the bottle also tell you to let the tanning lotion dry completely into the skin before dressing, but again, this isn't a problem. The tanning lotion absorbs quickly into the skin without leaving it feeling greasy or sticky. Therefore applying this product is quick and easy. Another big plus of this product is the fact that it doesn't leave an overbearing smell on the skin like many tanning products do. There is some trace of a faint smell, not dissimilar to that left by other tanning products, but it is hardly noticeable. Also, if you shower the morning after you apply the product, this does a great job of getting rid of any traces of the smell.

        The colour left by this tanning lotion is subtle yet noticeable, and leaves a golden glow rather than an orange glare. One application of this product makes a difference to the colour of the skin, and the colour from one application should remain for about 3 - 4 days if you don't re-apply. Regular use of the tanning product genuinely does leave a summer 'glow' that looks natural and balanced. A little goes quite a long way with this product; an amount the size of a 50p piece should fully cover the legs, and the same again should cover the abdomen and chest, so it is great value for money, especially if you can get it at the lower price!

        The one negative of this product is that I don't think it would have a particularly good effect on darker skin. I have fair to medium skin and the effect of this product is subtle, even though I use the darker shade. Therefore, if used on olive skin for example, I doubt the lotion would make much difference to the colour of the skin.

        However, if you want a quick fix to pale skin and you just want to look a little healthier in the winter months, this is a great, fuss free, cheap product.

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        19.11.2010 16:45
        Very helpful
        (Rating)
        1 Comment

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        A great foundation

        I'm usually guilty of buying foundation brands such as Rimmel and Maybelline from drug stores, and my biggest splurge prior to this product had been Boots No 7 foundation. I find that the cheaper foundation brands look fine when initially applied, but as the day or night goes on, they tend to wear off and don't have particularly good staying power. I had never really expected much more of a foundation since I had been used to this for as long as I can remember, but then I realised I would have to make an investment in a much better quality product in order to see a difference.

        Clinique is a brand that has a great reputation worldwide, and so I decided to try some of their foundation. I was obviously aware that the Clinique name brings with it higher prices, and I was quite reluctant to splurge on a product that I wasn't entirely sure would work. Therefore, I went into the House of Fraser on a recent shopping trip and the Clinique sales assistant offered to let me try out the various foundations they had before I bought one. This is the first foundation that I tried. She firstly cleansed my skin using the three products from the Clinique 3 Step Skin Care line; the facial soap, clarifying lotion and the moisturising lotion (all three of which I have recently reviewed), before applying this foundation using the Clinique foundation brush (also recently reviewed). I was really pleased with how the foundation looked on my skin, and so decided to buy it. It cost £20 for a 30ml bottle, but I have been advised that it can be found for £18 in Debenhams. Alternatively, you could always look only on websites such as eBay, Amazon, or cheapsmells.co.uk. If you're reluctant to splurge on such an expensive foundation before trying it, it's worth looking online to see if any sites offer free samples, and you might even find a small tester bottle available on eBay, for example.

        The Clinique Superbalanced Foundation comes in a total of 17 different shades. I think this is a great since many brands only produce their foundations in 5 or 6 different colours. I personally use the 04 Cream Chamois shade, which suits my fair to medium skin really well. On most websites, this is the shade that seems to be sold out the most, and hence I would imagine it is the most popular of all 17. I can only comment on this particular shade since it is the only one that I have used, but I imagine that with so many different shades, you will be sure to find one to match your skin tone.

        The foundation comes in a square glass bottle that is transparent, with a silver, screw on lid. The bottle has the 'Clinique' logo and the name of the foundation printed in white on the front, and on the back is a little information about the product. The bottle in which the foundation comes is quite dinky and cute, but it is quite heavy and a little awkward to fit into your make up bag. I personally prefer foundation to come in a sort of squeezy bottle. One downside of the design of the bottle is that the only way to dispense the foundation is to tip the bottle upside down and simply let it run out of the neck of the bottle, which is quite wide. This is a problem since you usually end up pouring far too much foundation out of the bottle, leading to wastage and a bit of a mess. I would advise you that a little goes a long way with this foundation and less is definitely more. Try using a little bit of the product first and then adding more if you need to, rather than applying too much and making yourself look like a plastic doll!

        The foundation is a liquid foundation and has quite a runny consistency, but with a silky texture. I find it best to pour the foundation from the bottle onto the back of my hand and then apply it to the face using the Clinique foundation brush. When I spoke to the sales assistant before purchasing this foundation, she advised me to apply it in a 'butterfly' pattern: You should stroke the brush down the centre of your forehead, nose and chin in one long vertical line. Then, the foundation should be applied in a horizontal line across the cheek, starting at the corner of the eye and sweeping outwards along the cheekbone. You should then fill the gaps with strokes of the brush, starting at the centre of the face and sweeping outwards. The best way to blend in this foundation is either with a brush or with the fingers. However, using the fingers tends to spread grease around the face and doesn't always distribute the make up evenly. My personal preference is to spread out the foundation using the Clinique foundation brush, and then blend it in if necessary using your fingertips.

        The foundation blends into the skin very well, and I think that this was the big selling point for me. It doesn't feel heavy on the surface of the skin, nor does it leave the skin feeling greasy. I have found that the foundation can be more difficult to blend in around the eye and mouth areas, but this is the case with the majority of foundations, and using the fingertips to touch up these areas seems to do the trick. The foundation looks very natural and doesn't have an orange tint to it at all. It is great for every day use although you might want or need to add a little bronzer on the cheekbones if you're heading out on the town for the night. Clinique Superbalanced Foundation leaves my skin with a kind of 'dewy' look, which is something that I absolutely love about this product. It gives the illusion of clear, bright skin without even having to use blush or powder. The foundation also gives a matte finish to the skin, contributing to the natural look that it has.

        With regards to staying power, this foundation is an absolute winner. I apply the foundation every morning before leaving the house, and it really doesn't look that much different at 8pm! I don't even tend to use powder or blush, and hence the foundation is totally on its own. It doesn't rub off easily onto clothes which is great, and seems to stay put on the skin without 'sliding' around. All that said, it is really easily removed using a simple cleansing face wash. If I go out clubbing at night, I wear this foundation with a little bronzer over the top on the cheekbones. Prior to discovering this product, I would be horrified when I looked in the mirror after a couple of hours of dancing and a few too many glasses of wine, but this foundation seems to stick to my face regardless! This is exactly what I have been looking for in a foundation, and I'm absolutely delighted that this product achieves what I want it to.

        All in all, this is a great foundation. It is easy to apply and has a light texture, and most importantly it doesn't leave the skin feeling greasy. It blends in well and looks a lot more natural than other foundations I have used in the past. The colour that it gives to the skin is bright and clear, and my face looks fresh even without powder or blush. The one thing I don't like about the product is the design of the bottle and the way in which you have to dispense the foundation, but if this really bothers you too, you could always transfer it to a plastic travel size bottle, which can be bought from most Poundstores and chemists. Despite the badly designed bottle, this is a wonderful product that is more than worth the price tag it carries.

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
        • Ugg Boots: Classic Tall / Shoes / 17 Readings / 16 Ratings
          More +
          19.11.2010 00:29
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

          Advantages

          Disadvantages

          A pricey but good winter boot

          Over the past few years, UGG Australia have seen their Classic Tall UGG boot transform into a worldwide phenomenon as celebrities across the globe have set the trend that has sent these boots soaring to the top of every young woman's shopping list. The UGG brand was founded a lot earlier than many may realise, with an Australian surfer names Brian Smith first introducing the UGG sheepskin boot to the United States in 1978. Since, then, the UGG brand has only continued to grow, with the company expanding to manufacture clothing and bags, alongside their biggest selling product - the UGG boot.

          Classic Tall UGG boots are very expensive in the United Kingdom, retailing at around £200 on the high street in stores such as House of Fraser, Bank and Selfridges. This can put some consumers off buying them as many people think that this hefty price tag is simply due to the brand name. However, the same boots can be bought in America for around £110. Although this doesn't include the American equivalent to VAT, currently at around 8%, it still works out much cheaper to buy the boots across the Atlantic. If you're considering buying a pair of Classic Tall UGG boots, it might be worth trying to get them from overseas. However, shipping and importation taxes can often mean it works out cheaper to buy them in the UK. I bought my UGG boots on a shopping trip to New York, and so I didn't have to pay shipping or importation taxes, which was great!

          The Classic Tall UGG boots have a sheepskin interior and a fleecy outer. The sole is synthetic. This particular style of UGG boot come in several different colours: light brown (sand), grey, dark brown (chocolate), a mid brown/tan (chestnut) and black. The chestnut UGG boots are the biggest sellers - I imagine that this is due to the fact that this colour is easiest to match with the majority of clothing. In my opinion, the UGG boots are quite attractive and go well with most casual clothing. They obviously won't be to the tastes of everyone, but this is purely down to personal preference. In all honesty, they aren't the prettiest of boots and don't have a particularly feminine look to them, but still manage to look cool and chic.

          When I bought the UGG boots, I was advised to pre treat them in order to water proof and stain proof them. I bought a regular shoe protector from a local shoe store, Clarks, for around £3 when I was back in England. The UGG brand does produce a special protector designed specifically for UGG boots, but this is more expensive than alternatives on the market. The UGG boots should be sprayed before use and left to dry overnight, ideally. I treated my boots twice to ensure maximum protection. It is important not to soak the boots when you treat them as this may lead to them becoming stained.

          I live in the North of Scotland hence I know what cold weather feels like, especially in the winter months. I'm also very prone to the cold and am one of those girls who consistently whinges about it! I tend to find that no matter what shoes I wear, my toes are still freezing cold, and unless I'm back at home with my socks and slippers on, my feet just aren't happy. However, UGG boots completely solved this long lived problem for me. The sheepskin lining means that you best benefit from the insulating properties if you don't wear socks. I honestly can't believe how these boots keep my feet warm - without making them overheat and sweat. Aside from keeping my feet warm and snug, these boots are so comfortable. The soft lining and supple material of the boot create the illusion of wearing slippers. I wear my UGG boots almost all day every day and have never once suffered from blisters, and not once have they rubbed me or irritated my skin. UGG boots are classic, well crafted boots that are perfect for winter, and comfortable enough to wear all day, every day, if you so wish.

          Despite the above excellent qualities of these boots, there are a few major downfalls. Firstly, and most importantly, the boots aren't waterproof, which makes them unsuitable for rainy days. Many winter days come with both cold temperatures and heavy rain, and so I find that a lot of the time, I have to find alternatives to my much loved UGG boots. Despite the fact that I have pre treated my UGG boots to try and ensure that they repel water, this hasn't been particularly effective. If UGG boots come into contact with water, I find that the water lingers on the surface of the boots and makes them appear stained unless they thoroughly dry out.

          The second big downfall of these boots is the fact that they aren't stain repellent. I'm quite clumsy and often spill tea and coffee onto my UGGs, and I also find that they can become quite dirty when I'm out and about. Obviously, the sand coloured UGG boots are most susceptible to becoming stained, but I find that even the smallest of marks show up on my chestnut UGGS. The boots cannot be machine washed but can be cleaned in a much more simple (yet, admittedly, less effective way). The stained area should be moistened, and an appropriate cleaner selected. A cleaner suitable for cleaning leather should suffice. An appropriate cleaning solution should contain one part water, one part cleaning agent. This solution should be applied to the stained area using a wet sponge, and then the area should be wiped over with a clean, damp cloth. Whilst allowing the boots to dry, you should stuff them with newspaper or equivalent to ensure that they keep their shape as they dry. Don't put them in direct sunlight or in a particularly warm area, as this may cause them to shrink as they dry. Although this method of cleaning will get rid of minor stains, it won't be appropriate for more serious stains and unfortunately, if you spill a glass of red wine on your sand coloured UGGs, chances are that the stain will be there to stay!

          To conclude, I absolutely adore my UGG boots. I think that they look stylish (even if a little clunky and unfeminine) and feel that they look good with the majority of casual outfits. They are incredibly comfortable to wear and keep my toes warmer and snugger than I ever thought they could be! My only complaint with regards to these boots is the fact that they are neither water nor stain proof. This is a design flaw that I would expect UGG Australia to address if they want to maintain their high market share at a time when many other rival companies are fast improving the quality and practicality of their products.

          Otherwise, UGGs are absolutely wonderful boots that truly deserve the excellent reputation that they have across the globe.

          Comments

          Login or register to add comments
        • More +
          18.11.2010 23:07
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

          Advantages

          Disadvantages

          A lovely, moisturising and sweet smelling handwash

          On a recent trip to Tesco, all Nivea hand wash products were on special offer for £1 each. Given that this Honey and Oil hand wash usually retails at twice this price for a 250ml, I decided to take advantage of the offer and try this product.
          The hand wash comes in a white bottle with a sky blue press pump dispenser on the top. The 'Nivea' logo is the text printed at the top on the front of the bottle, and it is in the usually 'Nivea' colours - white text printed on a dark to navy blue background. Beneath this title, it says 'Honey & Oil' and there is a small gold design. Beneath this is a little bit of navy text. All in all, the bottle is attractive yet the colouring is subtle and neutral enough to ensure that it would suit most bathrooms well. Not only does the bottle look good, but it is also practical. The body of the bottle has a small indentation on each side of the bottle, making it comfortable to hold in your hand whilst you dispense soap into the other. The bottle also has a flat yet slim base, so that it can stand neatly at the side of your bathroom sink.
          The hand wash is dispensed by using the press pump on the top of the bottle. With many products, a press pump will dispense either far too much of the product, or so little of the product that you have to keep pressing the pump a ridiculous number of times. As petty as that sounds, it can be quite irritating. With this hand wash, the pump is great and does not stick. Pressing the pump once lightly dispenses just the right amount of soap to lather up and thoroughly cleanse the hands.
          The Honey and Oil hand wash has a very light and silky texture. It lathers well when the hands are wet and rinses off easily without leaving the hands feeling greasy. The hand wash contains honey and jojoba oil to relieve dryness and to moisturise the hands well. It smells quite sweet, but I really don't think it smells much like honey at all and I think I would find it hard to distinguish between this hand wash and others. To me, it doesn't have a scent dissimilar to many other hand wash products that I use.
          Aside from this, the hand wash leaves a lasting smell on the hands after use. My hands smell sweet and clean, and this smell lingers for quite a while after using the product. The one thing that makes this product stand out to me is how great my hands feel after using it; they feel soft and moisturised, as well as smooth and clean. This isn't the case with most hand wash products that I use, and this is why I'm such a fan of the Nivea Honey and Oil hand wash.
          Last but not least, this hand wash lasts forever. Given that you only need to use a little bit of the product, it means that one small 250ml bottle lasts for a long time. Therefore, this hand wash, although more expensive than some others on the market, is great value for money.

          Comments

          Login or register to add comments
        • Benefit High Beam / Make Up / 15 Readings / 15 Ratings
          More +
          18.11.2010 22:29
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

          Advantages

          Disadvantages

          A great highlighter

          Benefit High Beam is a dewy, liquid highlighter that is known on the market as the 'supermodel in a bottle'. A friend of mine recently bought a bottle of the High Beam and was consistently telling me how amazing it was, and so I decided to try out the product. Benefit High Beam is quite expensive, retailing at around £17.50 for a 13ml bottle, and I was a little reluctant to spend so much money on a product that I hadn't previously used. Hence I searched on eBay for a smaller sample, and found a 2.5ml bottle for just £2.50 plus postage.

          The product comes in a small, circular bottle with a black screw on lid. The body of the bottle is transparent, showing the pale pink colour of the highlighter. The word 'Benefit' is written on the front of the bottle in black lettering. Attached to the lid of the bottle is a 'lip gloss' type applicator - the design is similar to that of a nail varnish bottle. The packaging is plain yet very attractive and girly and the bottle is small enough to fit into your make up bag whilst you're on the move.

          The High Beam is applied to the face using the brush that is attached to the lid of the bottle. The brush is very similar to the kind that you would use to apply lip gloss. The highlighter has quite a thick consistency, and it isn't dissimilar to that of lip gloss, although it is a little less sticky. It is pale pink in colour, with a light shimmer.

          This complexion enhancer can be used in many ways and for many different purposes. From what I have seen and read on the internet and in magazines, people used this product in the way that works best for them, and there is no right or wrong when it comes to using High Beam. For example, you can apply the Benefit High Beam either before or after the application of foundation, or you can mix it with moisturiser or foundation for an all over glow. The best way to make use of this product is to apply it to the cheek bones and brow bones, and rub it in gently to accentuate the features and generally enhance the overall appearance of the skin. However, I have found that it's just best to experiment and see what works for you.

          From my personal experience, mixing this product with foundation or moisturiser makes you look a little too unnatural - a little goes a long way with Benefit High Beam and I find that applying it all over the face gives you too much of a shimmer and makes you look a little bit like a plastic doll. My preferred method of application is as follows, and this was demonstrated to me by the Benefit sales assistant. I dab three small dots of the highlighter under the eyes, starting below the centre of the eye, and working outwards along the cheekbone. The highlighter should be gently rubbed in using either the fingertips or a small foundation brush, and you should work outwards and up towards the temple. I then dab one small dot beneath by eyebrow and gently rub it in along my brow bone to make my eyes look wider and much more bright. I do this after applying foundation and before using powder. I must admit, the highlighter does leave me looking a little 'shimmery', but applying a little powder over the top makes the skin look a little more matte and a little more natural. One thing I must stress is that a little really does go a long way with this product, and it is best to apply the tiniest amount and then use more only if you need to. The High Beam blends really well, too, and doesn't feel greasy on the skin after application.

          This product is also great for early mornings when your eyes and skin look tired. There are many mornings when I don't wear make up on my face, and instead I just dot a little bit of the High Beam beneath my eyes and on my cheeks. I feel that this instantly brightens my face and gives my skin more of a 'dewy' look - it is such a time saver! Many reviews complain about how the High Beam dries up in no time at all, but I can't comment on this yet since I've only been using it for around a month now.

          I must stress that this won't change the appearance of your skin massively, but if you do look after your skin and it is already healthy, this is a great product to brighten the skin and make it glow. I definitely wouldn't refer to it as a 'supermodel in a bottle' but as far as highlighters go, it is one of the best on the market as far as I'm concerned.

          Comments

          Login or register to add comments
        • More +
          17.11.2010 20:24
          Very helpful
          (Rating)
          1 Comment

          Advantages

          Disadvantages

          A great way to jump on the Blackberry bandwagon

          I recently went into Phones4U with my broken Samsung Tocco Ultra, which I had received on opening a contract with Vodafone in June 2009. I expected that Phones4U would offer to repair the phone (since all Samsung phones come with a 2 year warranty) but I got a lot more than I bargained for. The sales assistant explained that he would be able to 'buy me out' of my contract, and allow me to start up a new one. I had 7 months left on my original contract, and my tariff was £30 a month for unlimited texts and 600 minutes, hence Phones4U would contribute to this oustanding £210. I was offered £100 cash and a £30 trade in for any phone of my choice (I opted to give them an old LG that I bought for £10 2 years ago). I had to come up with the extra £80 myself, but with the prospect of receiving a new phone on a cheaper tarfiff, I didn't mind.

          I was asked in Phones4U which phone I would like on my new contract, and I didn't hesitate in asking for a Blackberry. I think that the Blackberry brand has become so popular over the few years and so many people now own the handsets that I kind of just wanted to be a part of it. I have to admit, if all of my family and friends didn't have Blackberry phones, I probably wouldn't have opted for one. I was offered a contract with Orange: £25 for 300 anytime any network minutes, unlimited texts (3000 texts), unlimited internet usage (500MB was the limit - but I was advised that it would be almost impossible to exceed this limit), and unlimited email and use of Blackberry Messenger. The handset was offered to me for free, and so I decided to take the deal seeing as at the time the handset retailed at around £250. All in all, I was really pleased with how Phones4U had helped me out, and I was excited to get home and try my new Blackberry - the brand that everyone has been talking about.

          - THE DESIGN

          In my opinion, Blackberry handsets are great looking phones. This particular phone measures approximately 11cm (height) by 6cm (width) by 1cm (depth) and weighs a tiny 104g. The phone is dinky enough to fit into your pocket or into a small clutch bag on a night out, and is really light and easy to handle. The screen occupies around half of the front of the phone, and the QWERTY keypad is below the screen. Above the keypad is the button used to 'scroll' around the screen, a 'Back' button, the 'Menu' button, the 'Make a call' button and an 'End a call' button. The 'Blackberry' name and logo is printed above the screen. To the best of my knowlegde, the 9300 3G only comes in one colour scheme. The front of the phone is mostly black, with the lettering on the buttons a silverish colour. The buttons on the keypad with numbers printed on them are two tone, and I imagine that this is to make them stand out. The 'Blackberry' name and logo is also printed in a silverish colour to match. The edges of the front of the phone are a silver colour. The back of the phone is black and is a little bit rubbery. The word 'Curve' is printed at the top of the back of the phone, and there is a small silver design beneath. All in all, the Blackberry Curve 3G is a very chic phone, and is very attractive. However, I think it would be nice for the handset to be available in more than one colour!

          - THE SCREEN

          The screen is rectangular, more wide than it is high. I feel that the screen is big enough for navigation around the phone and for using the internet. To be honest, the screen couldn't really be much bigger without increasing the size of the phone - this is a good aspect of the design of the handset. The screen has a 320x240 pixel display and has inbuilt light sensors. The display on the screen is very clear. I upload a lot of pictures from the internet onto my phone (for use as my wallpaper, etc) and I think that the resolution of such photos is maintained incredibly well. The screen is also very bright and the colour scheme of the menus is great - very contrasting.

          - USE

          Before I get to the features of the phone, I'd like to give my opinion on how it is to actually use the phone. Initially, I found that the buttons on the keypad were really small, and I did at first find it difficult to operate the phone. However, after around 2 months of using the handset, I am able to use the keypad as easily as I would be able to use a standard mobile phone keypad - I just think it takes a bit of getting used to, as the layout of the keypad is quite unique (similar to that of a computer keyboard). The main button used to scroll around the screen is easy to use, but I find that sometimes it sticks - I think that this is due to dirt and grease becoming trapped. However, I find that if I use either my nail or a toothbrush (an old one, obviously), I am able to scrape away any trapped dirt and the button works well again. In general, I think that the phone is really easy to use, although it does take some getting used to. The Blackberry keypads are different to those on most phones, although the other buttons and what they do are easy to get used to.

          - FEATURES

          This phone has many features, so many that I haven't used all of them yet. A list of the features is given below, and all of these can be accessed via the main menu. A brief description of the features is given, along with my opinion on each of them.

          E-MAIL
          You can link up your hotmail (or yahoo, etc) email account to your Blackberry, so that all emails you receive are sent directly to your handset. You can choose to delete emails from your handset and keep them on your email account, or you can choose to delete emails entirely. This feature is great if you're away from your computer and on the go, although some emails can't be properly displayed due to the 'mobile layout' that they have. Also, if there is a link in the email, you won't always be able to access it and view it as you normally would on a computer. Another downside of this feature is that the message mailbox on your phone can quickly become clogged up with junk mail.

          MMS & SMS
          There isn't anything special about this feature - it is much like on any other phone. One thing I would say, however, is don't use the MMS service unless you have to. Picture messages are expensive to send, but you can send pictures for FREE using Blackberry Messenger. SMS messages between you and the recipient are displayed in a list so that you can view the entire conversation in one window - this is a feature I really like. One negative of SMS messaging on this phone is that you can't send mass messages to more than ten people. You either have to create a group, and then send the SMS to the group as a whole, or go through the process several times, sending the SMS to only ten people at once.

          CONTACT LIST
          Easy to access, easy to browse through. You can add contact pictures and can call, SMS or MMS your contacts directly from the list.

          INTERNET BROWSER
          Use of the internet is chargeable, and so if you are getting this handset on a Pay Monthly Contract, I would recommend that you get the internet as an add-on as this will work out far cheaper. The internet browser on this phone is very easy to use. The homepage has the Google Toolbar which you can use to search the site you want to view. Below the Google Toolbar is a list of your recent searches, which makes it easy to return to a recently viewed page. When you search using the Google toolbar, a list of results will show, just like they would on a normal computer, and clicking on a particular link will take you directly to the site advertised. There is the facility to 'Zoom in' on the internet, allowing you a closer look at the information displayed. The display is clear, and most websites show exactly the same information that they would on a computer. The one big downside of this internet comes from the problem that arises if you zoom in too much: If there is a large piece of text or a large image spanning the entire width of the webpage, zooming in won't condense this image or piece of text to make it smaller. By zooming in, you get a much clearer view of the information, but this means that not only do you have to scroll up and down, but you also have to scroll side to side. Therefore, reading even a newspaper article is likely to be much more trouble than it is worth. Connection to the internet is not something I usually have a problem with, unless I am in a remote area. Provided that you are in an area with good mobile phone signal, the internet should work no problem, and navigation through the internet should be very quick and easy. I often find that the internet on my Blackberry handset is faster than that on my home laptop computer, but the speed of the internet on your phone will depend entirely on the area that you are in.

          BLACKBERRY MESSENGER
          Probably my favourite feature of the phone. If you have used MSN Messenger or Yahoo Messenger in the past, this feature will be easy for you to use. It is basically an Instant Messenger service that can be used between Blackberry handsets. On receiving your Blackberry, you will be given a 'PIN'. This PIN is unique to your Blackberry, and all new models have them. Using Blackberry Messenger, you can contact with other handsets by adding this 'PIN', and the other handset will subsequently appear on your contact list. This enables you to instant message this other handset quickly and easily, and unlike texting, it is completely free. Not only is it free, but sending pictures via this messenger service is also free, and it is free to use it abroad. Therefore, you could be in Australia, and a friend be in Spain, and you can message each other for no cost at all. Of course, the negative of this feature is that you can only contact other Blackberry handsets. Furthermore, at times, the handset does not allow me to open conversations. Many online forums tell you that this can sometimes be due to a lack of free memory, and that this problem can be rectified by turning your phone on and off again, but this is evidently an inconvenience.

          CALENDAR
          This calendar allows you to input events, appointments or meetings into a day to day calendar. Although you can assign each event a time, it can't be a half or quarter hour.

          MEDIA (Music, Videos, Pictures, Ringtones, Voice Notes, Video Camera, Microphone)
          You can playback your music, view your vidoes and pictures, select ringtones and use your video camera using this feature. Music playback is clear and the quality is good considering that it is being played from a small mobile phpne handset. Pictures can be scrolled through easily. Unlike with some phones, you can use your own music as ringtones. (Music and pictures can be sent from your computer to your handset using either the Bluetooth feature - if your computer is Bluetooth enabled - or with the USB cable that comes with your handset)

          MAPS
          This feature is very similar to Google Maps. It allows you to search for locations over a world map and get directions from one place to another. There is also inbuilt GPS Navigation, so your phone almost has its own Sat Nav system. Great if you get lost whilst on the move!

          CLOCK (with alarm)
          The time is displayed on the screen in either a 12 hour or 24 hour format (depending on your choice). This clock shows the time on a clock face, and also allows you to set alarms. There is the option for the alarm to be On, Off, or just On on weekdays. The default alarm tone is horrendously annoying, but sure to get you awake and out of bed.

          CAMERA
          This is the one major downfall of this phone. The camera is only 2MP, which is poor considering that many handsets now are 12MP, better quality than many digital cameras. The pictures are not terrible quality if taken in VERY well lit areas (ideally in natural light), but pictures taken indoors or at night time are not of good quality at all. There isn't much more to say on this feature other than it is disappointing and I can't understand why the manufacturers didn't elect to install a camera of much better quality.

          HELP
          This application is a great feature of the phone - it basically gives you answers to FAQs regarding messages, files and attachments, media and browsing the internet, amongst many other things. It's really useful if you're having minor problems with your handset or aren't aware of how to use a certain feature and avoids the hassle of having to call the manufacturer or visit a local phone store.

          SEARCH
          This feature is also very useful - it allows you to search for text or a name in your messages, calendar, contacts, MemoPad, Facebook (if you have the application installed), Blackberry Messenger or Tasks. So if you've arranged a meeting but can't remember when or how, you can simply type the word 'Meeting' and search through your entire phone for records of any information regarding a meeting. Very, very useful.

          APPLICATIONS (MemoPad, Tasks, Calculator, WordToGo, SheetToGo, SlideshowToGo, Files, Voice Dialling, Password Keeper, Saved Messages)
          MemoPad allows you to 'scribble down' anything you might need to remember, whilst the Tasks feature allows you to set reminders for yourself for tasks that need to be done. WordToGo, SheetToGo and SlideshowToGo are similar to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint but obviously are much more simplified versions. You have to install these features and there is a Licensing Agreement that you must read beforehand. I personally don't use these features much as I feel it would be too time consuming, and I would much rather use these programs on a computer. The Files feature allows you to access and search through all of your files; pictures, videos and music.

          GAMES
          There are five games already on the handset, including Sudoku and Texas Hold Em Poker. I'm absolutely addicted to Sudoku and this feature keeps me greatly entertained on long train journeys. I feel that there is a good selection of games on the handset since most phones only have one or two to choose from.

          SETUP
          This feature basically enables you to set up WiFi and Bluetooth, and to manage your email settings. This feature allows you to register more email addresses to your handset, which is useful is you have a home email and a work email for example. I have used this feature only once when I first bought the handset, and haven't felt the need to use it again since.

          CONNECTIONS MANAGER (Bluetooth/WiFi etc)
          Using this feature, you can set up WiFi and Bluetooth connections, or you can choose to turn all connections off. You can also manage your connections, for example you can access a wireless router providing that you have the necessary log in information, or you can choose to add other Bluetooth devices.

          OPTIONS
          This feature allows you to alter the settings of just about every other feature on your phone, from setting the date and time, to altering your SMS options, to setting passwords and changing security options.

          PHONE PROFILES
          Using this feature, you can choose to have your phone on either the Normal, Loud, Medium, Vibrate Only, Silent, Phone Calls Only or All Alerts Off profile. This feature also enables you to set ring tones, alerts, contact alerts and also enables you to edit profiles.

          SPEAKERPHONE
          Not only is call quality on this phone great, but the speakerphone does not at all disappoint. Usually, using the speakerphone affects the quality of the call, but this is not at all the case with this phone. The speakerphone is loud and clear, although as expected, it emphasises background noise which can make it difficult to have a conversation if the person onthe other end of the phone is in a noisy location!

          - MEMORY

          The Blackberry 9300 3G has 256MB inbuilt memory, which I do not feel is enough. Although this is sufficient for quite a number of songs, pictures and videos, it definitely isn't enough for me. Also, as previously explained, my BBM sometimes fails to open conversations, and this is apparently due to a lack of free memory. Indeed, deleting pictures and songs does rectify this problem but this low built in memory is a downfall of the phone. I would expect more, especially given the retail price.

          - ALERTS

          When your phone is on silent mode and you receive a SMS, MMS, email, BBM or Facebook notification (if you have the Facebook app installed), you wouldn't even know apart from a small red flashing light in the top right hand corner of the front of the phone. I don't like this aspect of the phone - I would much prefer for the screen of the phone to light up a little bit or to give a little bit more of an indication of the receipt of a message! Obviously, if your phone profile enables ringtones or vibration, this isn't a problem, but when your profile is silent (and vibrations are disabled), I find that I have to be constantly checking my phone.

          - APPLICATIONS

          Facebook and Twitter both have Blackberry compatible applications, although I can only speak for the Facebook application. You are able to access your Facebook account directly via your Blackberry, and enjoy many of the features from your handset. Updating your status, checking your messages, and viewing friends' recent posts is made easy. Plus, I no longer find myself signing onto Facebook as soon as I switch on my computer, which is great in terms of productivity! The Facebook application is however disappointing in some respects. Although you can view your own profiles and the profiles of others, personal information cannot be seen, and you cannot see the recent activity of other users. All that can be viewed is status updates, and the posts from other people onto the wall of the person whose profile you are currently viewing.

          - BATTERY LIFE

          Aside from the poor quality camera, this is the biggest downfall of the phone. The battery life is poor, and I find that I have to charge it for around 6 hours a day. I admit that I do use my phone a lot in terms of texting and using the internet and BBM, but I would still expect such an expensive and reputable phone to have a battery life of much longer than (approximately) 18 to 20 hours. Also, when your phone battery is low, you cannot send texts or use BBM, nor are any texts received. Making calls is also disabled, unless of course they are emergency calls.

          - VERDICT?

          All in all, I am delighted with this phone. The positives far outweigh the negatives. The internet and BBM feature mean that I can carry my whole life, so to speak, in my pocket and my urge to get home to read my emails has disappeared. It is a very stylish and attractive phone, and I find that I am actually quite proud to carry it around with me. The features on the phone are great, and I couldn't really ask for more on a handset. Of course, the two major problems with this phone are the poor quality of the camera, and the short battery life. However, if you have a digital camera that you can use instead, and you are able to charge your phone whilst you sleep every evening, there is no problem as far as I can see. Obviously, this phone won't be to everyone's tastes as the sheer number of features and applications can be confusing. But if you're big on technology and style, and you enjoy being in contact with your friends and family every second of every day (BBM and email updates mean you don't get a second alone), then this phone is definitely for you.

          I hope that this review has been of some use to you. There is so much to write about with a phone like this that it is very likely that I might have missed out some important information. If this is the case, and if you have any further questions, please don't hesitate in contacting me, and if you can think of any way in which I can improve this review, please let me know.

          Comments

          Login or register to add comments
          1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 9