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musicmad2020

musicmad2020
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Member since: 16.06.2010

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      14.08.2012 16:42
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      A base you really must try for yourself!

      I am a girl who loves her foundation, but sometimes my foundation doesn't show the same love back. Either it oxidizes and ends up looking orange on me, or feels like I have smothered myself in concrete because it just feels so heavy on my skin, thus also usually breaking me out. In my quest for a make-up base that didn't feel heavy and suited my rather pale skin, I decided to give the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer a try, as I had heard *many* a good thing from make-up artists and beauty bloggers alike. The nearest counter to me was 2 hours away in Meadowhall, Sheffield so when I went last September, the LM counter in House of Fraser was one of the first places I went to. Before I even get into the product, I must comment on the make-up counter service I received at Laura Mercier. Usually, I leave make-up counters disheartened having been sold something *way too dark* for my pale skin, having been told by the assistant it looks perfect and gorgeous and "just the right shade"... when it is miles from it. This in turn has made me very weary when buying foundation, and I have to go to the counter instead of buying online, and be absolutely sure it is the right shade. Not only was the assistant genuinely lovely and even asked what course I was doing at uni, she really seemed to know what she was doing and even applied a LM primer first. It was one of the few make-up counter experiences I have had whereby I didn't feel pressured into buying the product. The shade I ended up buying was "Porcelain" which is LM's lightest shade out of the 10 shades that are available. The Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer comes in two varieties, the oil inclusive version which is pictured and the one I had tried on me, and the oil-free version. I ended up buying the oil-free version as research tells me that products contain oil can cause breakouts. The oil free version is in a purple tube instead of the grey one pictured, and is currently priced at £33 for 50ml. To many, £33 may seem incredible extortionate, and I have to be honest if it was any more than that I could not have afforded it. However, the fact it is a high quality product from an esteemed brand, and has had such rave reviews across the board really made my mind up... not to mention the counter service. The size of the tube you get for your money - 50ml, also does go a really long way... 11 months in of using this almost on a daily basis, and there is still a fair bit left in the tube. So, what makes this product worth the fuss you may be asking? Well, it's not a heavy foundation.. yet gives good, buildable coverage. Equally, you can apply it just where you need it for example I like it on my chin where I have quite a bit of redness and the odd breakout. It's a product that suits how you want to use it, and generally stays put throughout the entire day. I apply it after moisturizer, and sometimes a primer first depending on how long I want it to last/if I want a more flawless finish. Although it is a moisturizer itself, I will always apply my Nivea moisturizer without fail before any make-up base, just to give my skin a good drink. I also find that a moisturizer helps the base to go on smoother, whether it's a foundation or a tinted moisturizer you happen to apply. This particular product also contains an SPF of 20, so is also helping to protect the skin which can only be a good thing! As for it's consistency, it really does depend how you apply it. I used to apply the product with my hands and blend it in, as it says to on the side of the tube. However, I now use a Real Techniques Stippling brush to buff it into the skin, and find it gives a lovely finish in which a little product goes along way. I have found that no matter how you apply it, it is difficult to apply badly because of the way it blends so easily... something which is great for me as I'm not the most confident when it comes to applying foundation evenly. The finish it leaves after application is quite natural. It enhances your natural features without caking you in a thick layer of make-up, and feels much more comfortable to wear throughout the day. I still find I need a touch of concealer, however this does blend nicely over the top of the tinted moisturizer. I also find that it does provide a good base for my blusher, just the same as a foundation would yet on a much more natural level. The packaging is also one of my favourites of any make-up base I have ever bought. It's a squeezy tube, in a deep purple/aubergine colour which appears slightly sparkly. It also has a really secure lid, that is just as easy to get off yet won't fall off in your bag. There is also nothing worse than foundations in glass bottles, because a good amount of the product ends up going to waste. With the LM tinted moisturizer packaging, you can really squeeze every last drop out and not see your money go down the drain. All in all, I count the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer as one of the best beauty buys I have ever purchased. It goes on beautifully, doesn't irritate my skin or clog my pores, can be used in any amount, blends nicely and even has sensible yet equally sleek packaging. It also doesn't make me look orange which is a major plus when you are as pale as I am. Granted, it is certainly not cheap however given the quality and how long it lasts, you begin to see how the price spreads quite well as a little goes a long way. The Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer is certainly a product I will be re-buying when it's all gone, and I couldn't recommend it enough.

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    • Samsung Galaxy Ace / Smartphone / 36 Readings / 35 Ratings
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      09.08.2012 19:53
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      Great alternative to an iphone

      It was November 2011 when my Blackberry Pearl finally gave up the ghost, and decided the ASDA delivery man wasn't a call worth accepting when living in high rise student accommodation - therefore making some poor unsuspecting first year have to make the journey up the stairs to come tell me my groceries had arrived. Given that I was also living away from home, having a mobile phone that worked properly was pretty essential. With my old phone, I was on PAYG tariff, paying an additional £10 a month for Blackberry services on Orange. Given my experience with both my phone and Orange had been so poor, with me ringing their support line more often that I do the local Chinese Takeaway, I knew it was time for a change. Being a student, I really didn't have an awful lot of cash in my budget to spare on a new phone, so decided a contract option would be better so I could spread the cost and not have to constantly top up. As me and my Mum are existing Virgin Media customers, I went instore and got a £10.99 a month deal on the Samsung Galaxy Ace, with 500mb of internet, 250 texts, 75 minutes and 3000 Virgin to Virgin minutes (to any non Virgin customer this would have been £21 a month!) The Samsung Galaxy Ace appealed to me because of it's sleekness and it's touch screen abilities. I wanted a phone that could connect to the internet and allow me to browse webpages, and the phones 3.5 inch 16 million colour screen certainly allowed me to do that. As I got to grips with the phone, I also discovered other features which I quickly became impressed with - the 5 Mega Pixel camera which shot crystal clear images that could rival my SLR, being amongst one of my favourites. It may seem excessive that a mobile phone - in which it's primary function is to call or text would need such a good camera, but what with the world of social media it's great being able to capture something so clearly and upload it without having to use a camera then retrieve the image from an SD card first. Other notable features include an FM radio which is ideal for when you are on the move, as well as a great App store which allows for a glipse of the perks of an iphone. The Apps I now have come to rely on include twitter, facebook, youtube, ebay and news and weather, to name a few. The Maps Application also has helped me out of many sticky situations when I have been lost and needed directions, with excellent satellite mapping services especially if you are on foot. Although the Galaxy Ace is generally a phone to rave about, there are a few issues with it which deny it a converted 5 Dooyoo stars. Battery life for one. Now, I know smartphones do use a heck of a lot of power to run things even in the background of what you are doing... but boy oh boy if using the phone even marginally throughout the day, expect the battery life to drain like your pockets the week before Christmas. I sometimes find that I have to charge my phone anywhere up to twice a day, which as you can imagine gets very frustrating especially if I am out without my charger and have to make do with only very minimal use. The phones official stats claim that the battery life on 3G is up to 420 hours, and up to 620 hours on 2G. I don't know who came up with that estimate but it's total rubbish. I tend to average about 18 hours at the very best, with minimal or no use of the phone. Secondly, I have noticed that when calling a place such as my bank whereby you have to manually enter numbers to get through to the right department, the phone will not allow for any type of keypad option... no matter what you press or how many times you try. I also find that when trying to end a call, the phone will sometimes not allow you to slide down the top bar to re-activate the screen to end the call. There have been a few instances whereby I've actually had to turn my phone off to end a call, which can be a bit of a nuisance. Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Ace is an ideal phone for anyone who would make use of some of the features such as Apps, yet by the same token doesn't want to fork out for an iphone. It's not a bulky phone, yet also isn't overly girly so would happily suit either male or female. I was quite freaked out to find out my Brother also has the same phone when I visited him last, so in that respect it's quite versatile in appeal. It also comes with an interchangeable white cover incase you want to mix things up a bit. It's also very sleek in operation, with a minimal amount of buttons including a volume adjuster on the side incase your Ricky Astley ringtone accidently rings at full blast on the train. You wouldn't want that now, would you?! This phone may not suit those who spend 24/7 emailing, texting, tweeting and even gaming on their phones due to the way the battery drains, but for me this phone ticks all the boxes and even keeps me in check with the Calendar, which syncs all your events from Facebook to make sure you don't miss a birthday or an event. I'm certainly glad I upgraded, and I may well stick to the Samsung brand in the future.

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      06.08.2012 18:58
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      If you can try this in an Apple store first, it may help you make your mind up.

      My first Dooyoo review in almost 11 months and boy have I accumulated alot of tech and gadgets in this time! After years of needing an imac computer for my university course, and finally getting one after I'd finished... (typical!), I now have the Apple Magic Mouse to go with it. When selecting your machine on the Apple website, you can choose whether you want the standard mouse and keyboard connected via a USB cable, or you can go wireless with the "Apple Magic Mouse". I had never used a wireless mouse before purchasing my Magic Mouse, however I liked the idea of having a desk which was not cluttered up with wires, also meaning more USB ports would be freed up in the process. I should also mention that the wireless mouse and keyboard option comes at no extra cost, unless you also wish to purchase rechargeable batteries and a charger at £21. I did not purchase this extra option, instead deciding to wing it with Tesco's finest. When I received my mouse in it's uber sleek box with "Designed in California" emblazoned on the side, I was immediately impressed, even before I had used it! Right from the first moment you pick it up, you can see that it is meant to be beautiful and light to the touch. It is white on the front with the Apple logo on either side. It is quite curved down and perhaps lower in angle than your typical mouse. To use it, it's simply a case of flicking on the "On" switch underneath and when you do so the little green light next to the switch will turn on. Similarly, when you turn off your machine the mouse automatically switches itself off too, as when you look underneath the green light will no longer be on. As with all Apple mice, the default setting is that there is only one click. You can leave it like this if you wish, however it is very easy to enable a right click, just by clicking one of the options on the top toolbar, going down to your mouse name and then selecting "open mouse preferences". This option may suit those who are used to a Windows two click setup, or just for ease when doing tasks such as copy and paste. One of the features I have really come to love with this mouse, is the way you slide across in the click section, to complete tasks such as scrolling a page, and also going a page back or forwards by moving your hand from side to side. The mouse itself is also really smooth to use, and I have found that I have not needed to use a mousemat at all. Perhaps the only complaint I can make about this mouse, is the fact the battery life is a little less than you would expect. I am yet to change the keyboard batteries, yet I am on my 3rd set of batteries for the mouse and it only takes about 2/3 weeks of use for it to be showing they are low again. I am new to the wireless phenomenon, so maybe I over estimated how long they would last, but still I find that they do run out quite quickly. I have now switched to rechargeable batteries to save money with this problem. Comfort wise, as this mouse is quite low down it perhaps doesn't give the support that other mice do. I don't find it particularly uncomfortable, however it is a different feel as your palm lies much flatter rather than curved as it would with a typical mouse. So far this has not caused me any problems, however if you suffer with RSI in the hand or wrist, this may be an element you wish to consider. The great thing is you can switch to a regular mouse via USB if for whatever reason you wish to switch. Overall, I am glad I was brave enough to go wireless with my Apple Magic mouse and keyboard. From a designers perspective, I really love how sleek and professional it looks on my desk without the messiness of wires all over the place. Granted, it isn't quite a 5 star product in my eyes due to the somewhat disappointing battery life, but in terms of it's appearance and cool features and ease of use, I think it's brilliant. Although this mouse comes as standard with your imac purchase, if you wished to buy this mouse separately it is priced at anywhere between £30-£60 on the internet, as well as being available in Argos for £59.99.

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      13.09.2011 17:22
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      Part of an impressive make-up range from Accessorize

      Ahhhh Accessorize. The wonderful shop which sells sparkly necklaces, posh fascinators, cute bags and now, Make-up?! At first I have to say I was a little dubious, as what did an accessories company know about the world and the makings of cosmetics? Upon seeing the shades and designs of the eyeshadows in Superdrug, I was actually taken aback at how beautiful and intriguing the ranges were, not to mention how reasonably priced everything seemed too. Whilst browsing on the Accessorize website, I decided to treat myself to the Chocolate eye pencil. Dame Vivienne Westwood had recently remarked that The Duchess of Cambridge's black eye make-up looked way to harsh, and she should try something softer. Although I wouldn't totally agree, I think sometimes black can be sometimes harsh for everyday wear which is why I chose a brown instead. Although the website states it's called "Chocolate", you may also find it listed as "Dark Chocolate" in Superdrug and also on the crayon itself. I have double checked and there is only 1 brown available so this must be the same shade just listed incorrectly on the Accessorize site. So onto the crayon itself. It is very intriguing to look at, as it is a double ended pencil. One end is the pencil itself, with a brown cap. The other end has a clear cap to reveal an eyeshadow type sponge, which I assume is for blending the crayon in. The shade of this pencil is very similar to the packaging, if not a touch darker (but still lighter than a square of Galaxy, in chocolate stakes). When applying it to my undereye and also my hand, I was immediately impressed with how soft it goes on, even when using the point and not the side of the crayon. There is nothing worse than going along your delicate eye area with a horribly stiff crayon, but this pencil couldn't be any different in how incredibly soft it is. This makes gliding along the eye very easy indeed. Now, the only thing I could possibly find fault with is that occasionally I find the pencil doesn't always stay in place, and seeps down into my fine lines I have under my eyes. I don't know whether this is because I don't use a primer, or if I am applying too much product.. but either way it does give a bit of movement. Perhaps if I use the blending brush on the other end to work the product in it would give less movement. All things considered though, it's so easy to apply and the colour is absolutely gorgeous so I am willing to overlook the odd technical hitch. As for the price, this pencil costs £3 and is available in 6 truly gorgeous shades, which can be purchased from Accessorize or Superdrug (only some stores). I think that £3 is very reasonable for this product, as some eye crayons on the market can be around the £20 if you went to Mac or another high end brand. The use of gold both for the text and to coat the sponge applicator section, makes it seem much more exquisite at a fraction of the price. I think the lovely thing also, is this particular shade Chocolate, would look good on pretty much any skintone. I am quite pale and this makes for a refreshing change from black, so I am really glad I bought it. The other shades also seem quite weddingy in a sense, as they are very pretty and feminine, but could also be used for everyday wear too. All in all, if you are yet to check out the Accessorize range of make-up, then I would really recommend you doing so. The colours are gorgeous, the packaging is just as luxe but the prices remain sensitive to the fact we're not all on an endless budget. I know my Chocolate Eyeliner did give a little bit of movement, but in the grand scheme of things I think it's a pretty beautiful purchase. I will *definitely* be buying more make-up from Accessorize!

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        05.09.2011 18:26
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        Definately a product to try at least

        Did you know that the hair removal business is worth 2 billion pounds in the UK alone?! Hair raising, isn't it?! There are many different methods available, from traditional shaving and waxing, to epilation, laser removal and also, hair removal creams. Generally, I have always stuck to the use of creams as I am not a fan of wincing in pain from having my legs waxed (okay okay how would I know if I've never had them done? - Having my eyebrows waxed was enough to know). There is also the matter of cost, and how long the results last. Each to their own, but for me I prefer to use a hair removal cream on my legs, especially if I am going away and need the results to last as long as possible. Why you might choose a hair removal cream: *Less painful than waxing (infact pain free, unless you manage to scratch the skin or have a reaction) *Results typically last a lot longer than shaving *Can cover a large area relatively quickly *Many different forms, skin types, fragrances and brands to choose from I have previously reviewed Nair Hair removal cream, however I recently switched to veet due to curiosity, and also the fact Veet comes in a squeezy tube which seemed fair more ideal than the Nair sachets. There are many different varieties of Veet, from sensitive skin to "supreme" as well as a longer 5 minute cream. The cream I chose was the one in the pink box, which is the one for normal skin (I bought it thinking it was the sensitive skin one but oh well!). At the time, it was buy one get one free, however it's current price in Superdrug is £4.35 for a 200ml tube. The great thing about Veet is, you get an applicator inside every box, which also doubles up as a valuable tool to remove the cream. This applicator is pink, and made of quite strong plastic, which has a rubber seal along the top so it will not scrape or scratch the skin if you use it to remove the cream with. The applicator is curved in design, so you can use one side for applying/distributing the cream and the other side for removing it, which is especially helpful if you accidentally apply it on a piece of skin you didn't wish to, or if you are clumsy like me and happen to stick your elbow in it. Before you use the cream, there are a few safety/advice issues I would like to point out. Firstly, I know it sounds obvious but if you have sensitive skin, or skin which has reacted badly to similar products before, then do a patch test on the skin (further instructions are on the box). Although I never have any problems with these types of creams, I did once use veet on my underarms and it burnt them quite badly, and took a few days to recover so please be careful! Also, make sure you tie your actual hair well up so there is not a cat in hells chance it can disintegrate your hair. It may sound obvious, but honestly it would be pretty horrific if that happened. If you wish to wash your hair, make sure the bath/shower is fully cleaned of any remaining Veet particles and don't submerge your hair in the same water for those reasons. Finally, be weary of the Veet getting on your hands or other body parts such as arms during application, as it will remove any hair in it's path! Onto the actual application, and although it states "3 minutes" to remove the hair, you will need to set aside much longer than that if you plan on doing a large section, such as both legs. The application must be done on dry skin, *away* from water. If you attempt to apply Veet whilst in the shower, it will only rinse off before it's worked and we don't want that! You should try sitting down, or in a position which is comfortable as you will need to apply section by section, making sure you layer on the cream quick thickly (at least half a cm thick). If you try and apply it too thinly, or rub it in, you will not remove any hair as the skin needs to be fully coated. It's worth pointing out you should avoid broken skin, cuts, sunburn etc. Also, before you go to apply Veet, have a wetwipe or tissue handy incase of any spillages. It might sound over-precautious, but if you spill Veet onto a bathmat for example, it will leave a noticeable stain because of the material. It can also create a hazard if you accidentally slipped on some (try explaining that one to the fire brigade!) To apply the cream, simply squeeze out the cream either directly onto the skin, or onto the applicator and then transfer onto the skin. Using the applicator gives smoother results, and makes it much easier to reach the back of the legs, as it means the cream is less likely to end up on the floor! It does take a bit of time to completely cover each section of the leg, so I tend to do the lower legs first, and then do the upper legs after this cream has been removed. If you are running low on cream and don't have a spare tube, you can re apply the cream to another section once you have taken it off, but of course fresh cream will work best and will be cleaner. What you will probably notice at this point, is the smell. I have used a variety of hair removal creams over the years, and although the smell isn't exactly pungent, it's not a smell I really want to smell of either. It's difficult to describe, but certainly doesn't smell all that delectable. It's okay to put up with during application, but that's about it. The time Veet takes to dissolve & detach the hair is remarkably quick, probably more so than Nair but it does depend on the length and thickness of the hair you are trying to remove. Blokes for example (I make no judgement here fella's, perhaps you are part of a synchronised cycling team and need to be smooth?!) or anyone with thick hair, will need to coat the hairs quite generously, and may need to add another 1-2 minutes to make sure the hair comes off smoothly. You can use the applicator to do a test patch to check how easily the hair comes off. If it only comes off a little bit, or not at all, you haven't left it long enough. Do not exceed more than about 8 minutes max though, as you may irritate the skin. To remove the cream, it is best to submerge yourself in a warm bath, using the scraper to gently remove all traces of Veet. Whatever method you use, you need to make sure you really do rinse the skin well, to reduce the chances of irritation. An additional option afterwards, is to use an exfoliator on the skin and shower it off, as this will remove any stray hairs you didn't catch with the scraper. Exfoliating the skin regularly is also said to promote circulation, as well as the chance of ingrown hairs. I also find that using an exfoliator helps to remove the smell of the Veet which can sometimes linger. When my skin has been veeted, rinsed, towel dried ect, it is time to assess the results. I think that Veet makes the skin incredibly smooth, and removes about 95% of the hairs. I will often find that areas such as the knees, or certain patches on the backs of my legs whereby it's difficult to apply it thickly/neatly, can sometimes get left out. At this stage, you can re apply a little amount to these areas if you wish, but be careful not to use too much on an area you have already Veeted, incase you irritate the skin. As for how long the results last, this is dependant on a few factors. For example, I am currently on special multi-vitamins to enhance skin, hair and nails. I have found when I am on such tablets, that my nails and hair naturally grows through a lot faster, regardless. It also depends on the hair length to begin with, and the thickness. Personally though, I find that my legs will stay hair free for a minimum of 2 days, anywhere up to about a week before I would say the process needed to be repeated. Overall, I think although in my opinion expensive, Veet is definitely a viable method of short term hair removal. There is no pain involved, and the results generally are silky smooth. The only downsides, is perhaps the length of time the application and thorough removal, cleaning out the bath etc can take. The actual length of time Veet takes to work though, is quite impressive and does take the time stated (3 minutes). This is not a method of hair removal I would use if I was going away for longer than a week, as the results simply do not last as long as waxing most certainly would in comparison. That said, the results do last longer than shaving and are ideal for scaredy cats like me who wouldn't dare get their legs waxed. It really is down to the individual, and the needs but generally this is a product I would recommend. Not quite 5 stars due to the negative points mentioned, but other than that I will probably use this cream long term over Nair from now on.

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          01.09.2011 19:17
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          A fantastic yet essential purchase for your camera

          For my birthday, I was lucky enough to receive an SLR camera. As is standard with pretty much any digital camera, an SD memory card was needed to store all photo's and footage from my new camera. I do own several 2GB SD cards which have served me well for many years, but I thought, new camera... new card! Whilst reading my camera's manual, I found that SD cards actually have a class system according to quality/speed, and the recommend class system for my particular camera was a "Class 10" card. My current SD cards were infact only Class 2, so this meant I definitely needed a new memory card to ensure I was going to make the most out of my camera, and get the best possible results. I also decided that I wanted to seriously upgrade on my previous SD cards, in terms of memory capacity. 2GB/4GB is okay and acceptable, however I found that when I filmed anything it would eat up the memory like a kid drinking a milkshake. As SLR camera's produce even *greater* quality images and HD film, a bigger card was an absolute must. The search began on Amazon, and I originally looked at brands I was familiar with, such as SanDisk. However, there were some negative reviews such as "this card said it was a class 10 but it's actually a class 2!", not to mention prices of at least £32+, which for me as a student just seemed way too excessive for something so tiny (even if it was an essential purchase). I was on the brink of paying over the odds, until a friend of mine who also owns an SLR camera, directed me to the play.com memory cards. I had no idea that play.com even did memory cards, but I was most impressed that a 16gb class 10 SD card would set me back just £12.49 including delivery! Tech Specs: * High Speed memory, perfect for Digital SLR cameras and the latest compact digital cameras * Ideal for Full HD camcorders * 'Class 10' Speed SDHC * Up to 20MB/s transfer speed* * Protective Case included * 5 year warranty * *Up to 20MB/s transfer speed. Based on internal testing * performance may be lower depending on host device. I was quite dubious buying from play.com, as although I had been recommended by a friend, I thought surely their cards couldn't be as good as the likes of SanDisk. What really swung it for me apart from the price, was the 5 year warranty which I think is pretty excellent, and shows they are committed to quality. The reviews on the site also seemed to back this view up, with every person giving this product 5 stars so far. I have been using this card for almost 6 weeks now, and in that time I have taken a lot of high quality (and memory) images, as well as trying out the HD video settings. So far, I have been really impressed as the card seems to respond really well when inserted into the laptop, transferring files quickly without errors or corruptions. Transfer rate does also depend on the laptop/computer itself of course, but so far I have found no problems. As for how many images/hours of footage this card holds, that really does depend on what camera you are using and on what settings. I currently have 259 files on this card, mostly consisting of photographs I have taken with my Canon 500D, as well as several HD videos. These 259 files currently use 1.4GB of the possible 16GB, so as you can see my experimenting of photographing pretty much everything insight, has barely touched the cards capacity. Again, this is something I am really impressed with, as the reason I ended up with so many 2GB SD cards is because they filled up so quickly. This is not a problem which would come up for a very long time with this sized card. If it hadn't of been for my friend pointing me in the direction of play.com, I would have never of bought this product, and I am so glad that I did. I had myself convinced for years that only the likes of San-Disk were worth purchasing, and I can happily tell you how wrong that is to think! This 16GB Class 10 SD card is literally a quarter the price of it's competitors, and none of these have outstanding reviews and a 5 year guarantee like this card has. If you are looking for an SD card, I would really point you in the direction of play.com

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        • Canon EOS 500D / Digital Camera / 53 Readings / 44 Ratings
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          31.08.2011 23:03
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          A fantastic mid-range SLR which I'm delighted with

          I have always been a keen photographer, and for years I have been using my Canon Ixus 900ti digital camera. However it became clear over the years that in addition to this camera, I really needed something which would allow my photography to be taken up a notch, especially as I felt limited with the quality of my images, amongst other issues. Also, being on a Graphic Design course at university whereby everyone in my group seems to have an SLR, I really felt it was an essential purchase as I was lagging behind. Being a student, there was no way I would ever be able to afford an SLR camera without extending my overdraft (no thanks) or saving for a long time - difficult when I'm also saving for a new computer/New York trip! My Mum kindly offered to buy me an SLR camera for my 21st birthday present, as she wanted to get me something I would really appreciate and of course, get the use out of. So that I was happy with what she got me, it was up to me to research SLR cameras and decide exactly what camera I wanted. I'll be honest, the world of SLR camera's is an absolute minefield, especially if you are a first time buyer as I was. I decided to stick to what I know, and choose a Canon SLR as Canon are known for their quality. I also felt I would perhaps understand the camera's features and settings a little more, as from my research a lot of them seemed similar to my Ixus 900ti. Although my Mum didn't set me a budget, I wanted it to be no more than around the £500 mark, as I would have felt bad with anything more. Upon viewing the sample images taken by actual users, and reading *many* reviews, I settled for the Canon 500D, which cost approximately £560. The camera comes with the following: *Canon 500D EOS Camera Body *18-55mm Lense *Lense Cap *Battery Pack *Battery Charger *Interface Cable *AV Cable *Neck Strap *Range of CD's The camera itself is 15.5 Megapixels, which is a considerable step up from my previous 10 Megapixel Ixus. From a designer's point of view, this means that when I take an image into Photoshop, I can do a lot more with the image before pixilation occurs. It of course depends upon what setting I have used, and what focal length but generally speaking the quality of the images are really superb. This is especially the case when photographing landscape images, particularly the sky against a field - the quality and the depth of the colours are really vivid. Appearance wise, the camera looks similar to the other cameras in the EOS range. It is black, with a fairly generous sized screen on the back. There are numerous buttons which provide many different functions, and these are also mainly located on the back next to the screen. The overall weight really depends upon what lense is attached, as the body only is stated as being 480 grams. However with the standard 18-55mm lense that's provided, I would estimate it adds another 200 grams. It's a fair bit heavier than a digital, but I would say that overall it's not too heavy for prolonged use, especially if you use the neck strap for extra support and security. I have owned 3 camera's in my lifetime, including a traditional film camera used for my A/S Photography course, and I have to say despite all that I was still absolutely baffled when taking the camera out the box and trying to work it all out! Thankfully it comes with a very detailed instruction manual, and I would *really* advise reading it all, even if you think you know what you're doing, just so you know exactly how to work all the features, so you will get the best out of your camera. After a few weeks of using the camera, I have tried the 500D under different circumstances, such as photographing a "country scene" for a photography competition, and also for journalistic purposes, as well as trying it out at my birthday party and even filming some piano playing on the HD setting. At times, the pictures don't always come out perfectly in focus, however I put this down to my inexperience rather than the camera being at fault, as by playing around with a different setting I can usually find a remedy to the problem. The 500D has liveview capabilities, which for me is fantastic as I have friends with SLR's who don't have this function and I know it can get frustrating. Although not all settings allow the use of liveview, "M" up to "P" on the dial (as well as video shooting), allows it, by hitting the button at the side of the top arrow. For all other modes, you have to look through the viewfinder, which I think is appropriate given it's a manual lense, which you have to physically zoom in and out yourself. The Liveview is particularly useful on the Video setting, as it would be a little impossible to use the view finder! Using the menu whilst on Liveview, you can alter the dimensions, picture quality, and other key features. The screen then doubles up as a playback option once you have finished shooting both video/stills to review your work. As for the battery life, I would say overall it's around 8/10. It has the wonderful chargeable battery which comes with the majority of Canon cameras, in that you charge it as often as you would a toothbrush, and there's certainly no breaking out packs of AA batteries! The battery does flag up a low battery message on the screen more often than I find with my IXUS, however I put this purely down to the fact it is taking a much higher quality and size of image, not to mention powering a lense. Although I have not yet tried another lense with this camera, some people have stated that the higher quality lenses will hammer the battery much quicker, so this is something to bear in mind. Generally speaking though, you should be able to go on a shoot or short break without needing to charge after it has fully charged, which I found takes a couple of hours to do. The shooting modes are very similar to other Canon models, including my Ixus. There's the Portrait, Close-Up (Macro), Landscape, Night Portrait, Flash Off, Sports as well as Full Auto, CA, P, AV, TV, A-DEP. I have to be honest, I am still getting to grips with all of these, although I have really taken to the portrait setting as it enables you to get a really clear, in focus image without too much effort (especially when the lense is switched to Auto Focus). It may not be the most creative of modes this camera has to offer, but is perfect for when you need to capture an image quickly, or with minimal effort. I have also become partial to the "Flash Off" setting, especially when photographing the sunsets/night sky and I don't wish to set the flash off, which is quite powerful considering it's a built in flash (there is a slot on the top of the camera if you wish to buy your own flash). A problem I found with my previous digital, is that in low or artificial light the images would become grainy or blurred, however with "flash off" or even Night portrait (automatic flash),the images are really crisp and atmospheric. Perhaps the only downsides I can think of with this camera, is the fact there is no internal memory. I personally don't see this as too much of an issue as I bought a 16gb Class 10 SD card(the recommend class for this model). However, if you have never owned a camera before and don't buy a card with it, then you will not be able to use the camera properly. Also, I do find it a bit of an annoyance that there is no camera bag supplied as obviously this camera is precious cargo, and taking it out the house is a bit of a problem as I'm yet to buy a bag. My Mum did tell me however that if you buy this camera with a tripod, then you do get a camera bag with it, only it's a massive one to fit the tripod in it too! Overall, although I am still working out all the features of the 500D, I have to say I really pleased with it, not just as a present but as something I will rely on during my 3rd year at university on an arts course. There are so many modes and indeed lenses to choose from, which makes the whole experience inspiring and very creative. It allows you to take a straight forward, high quality image, but then there are also options which allow you to suit the setting to your surroundings and proximity to the subject. I really cannot fault this camera, and I know it is going to provide me with years of creativity and most of all quality. It may be an expensive purchase, but if you are serious about photography then this is most certainly a camera I would recommend. **For full product specs, visit www.canon.co.uk and search for "500d".**

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          • UK Fashion Trends / Discussion / 71 Readings / 67 Ratings
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            19.08.2011 17:21
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            A real pick n mix

            For my latest review, I thought I would do something a little different. This article is just meant to be a little thought provoking, and entertaining, so please don't take it too seriously! You are free to disagree with me, as these are just my opinions. As a 21 year old Graphic Design student, we have always been told to question everything that is related to our designs. Sometimes, I find myself asking the same questions when shopping for new clothes. There is no doubt that Britain has some exceptional talent in the fashion design world, not to mention those in the public eye who carry themselves with an equal amount of grace and sophistication. It was whilst watching some footage of a UK city on Youtube, which showed the city centre, whereby somebody commented on how people dress very differently to 100 years ago. Obviously, beyond the fact it was Victorian times etc, what the person was getting at, was how people took a lot more pride in their appearance - a million miles way from news reports in 2010, stating that young women in Cardiff were banned from a Tesco store for wearing their pyjamas. There is no getting away from the fact that people can be under immense pressure, whether it's balancing work life with family life, the economic crisis and many other factors which affect the population. The question is, have we let standards slip in the way we conduct and present ourselves? I know The Jeremy Kyle Show is a terrible example and representation of the British public, but you only have to watch an episode to see that the only person wearing a suit on national television - is the presenter. In some respects, I wish I was born in the era's when women especially, dressed as the black and white movie stars did. Pretty, feminine dresses, smart footwear and a dash of lipstick - none of this "sex sells" nonsense young girls look up to from the likes of Nicole Schr-whats-her-face, Rihanna, Katie Price and the rest. You could argue it is based on a more cultural change, however all of this inevitably has an impact on how we dress. The worst of the current UK fashion trends was recently a well discussed debate on The Student Room website forum. The main culprits from there were (as well as my own) : Ugg Boots, Leggings as trousers, Neon Clothing, Sportswear when not doing sports, Ultra skinny jeans on men, Crocs, Guys who deliberately wear trousers low so underwear shows, Espadrilles and Palazzo trousers. That is just the opinion of myself and other students, but what do you think - do any of these actually form good/respectable image for Brits? Nobody is under the illusion that you need to wear a suit to your local co-op, but I personally think the way we dress, and present ourselves, definitely has an impact on our attitude. Not to mention how others perceive us. Speaking off the Ugg boots, leggings as trousers, pyjama debate - when did this sense of slobbery creep into our everyday wear? Of course we want comfort and warmth in the winter, and I myself wear leggings (never as trousers) as they are easy to construct an outfit around, but for some reason cannot bring myself to wear any style of Ugg Boots, other than my slipper boots for inside wear only. When I see young girls in my local town wearing them, I don't see anything relatively attractive or appealing about them. We are not in the rockies whereby you keep your feet warm or risk loosing them, ladies. I'm also having a difficult time warming to footwear in general at the moment too. From Espadrilles to Creepers and manish Brogues, the shape and design of all of these makes me shiver, and I perish the thought of strolling around in any of those shoes. Granted, this is just my opinion and everyone should dress as they please I guess, but personally... I don't want to wear something my Grandad once did before he passed, y'know? In many fashion magazines I read, the writers always seem to comment on how having individual style is much more important than following trends, and that you should invest in key pieces rather than just what is "hot" at the moment. For the most part, this is advice I totally agree with. A good quality pair of jeans, a coat, a pair of boots etc, - are all items which will serve you faithfully for many years. There's nothing wrong with buying into trends of course, but what I have a problem with is the ones which make people look ridiculous, and they themselves only buy into it to look "cool" and because "it's in fashion". On all fronts my message would be to stick to your true self, and don't wear something silly and unflattering just because everyone else does. It's not to say such opinions are directed solely at women though. Through asking some of my male friends, it became clear they too have pet hates when it comes to the way us Brits like to dress. On men, ill fitting jeans, whether that's overly tight or the ones which are extremely baggy in the middle, making it look like you've had a dreadful accident - all carried a weighty opinion. Personally, I take a dislike to guys who deliberately wear their jeans low enough to see their boxers. It just looks like you can't be bothered to pull your trousers up! At the end of all this, you could well argue that fashion and the way we dress and present ourselves, is all just superficial. In many ways I agree with this, however as it's illegal to *not* wear clothes, it is something that has to be taken in consideration. I also understand those who equally, are not bothered by fashion whatsoever. When I'm at home, behind closed doors I happen to be one of those people too. Whenever I have been to France, and looked at how French women dress, there is a stark contrast, and no they don't all wear stripey tops and have onions draped around their necks. It's about being chique, feminine, understated and very classic. There's also no such thing as Le Croydon Face-Lift (extremely tight/high up ponytail, for those of you who don't know). That's not to say I would ever wish we dressed like the French as I think we have some amazing British brands, it's more about not being so je ne sais quoi. For me, the stand out shops we have in Britain are: High Street: Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Warehouse, Zara, Debenhams, New Look, River Island, M&S Shoes: Office, Schuh, Barratts, Kurt Geiger Online: Asos, Missguided, Boohoo, Very High End: Selfridges, Reiss, Coast, Whistles, Ted Baker Agree with me, disagree with me? Let me know (P.S: I wasn't going to post this on Dooyoo, until I saw a woman in town earlier pushing a bike up a hill in see through leggings. Nuff said!) **Also appears on my blog http://grafikwaffle.tumblr.com/

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            • More +
              17.08.2011 17:48
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              Great if you are on a budget

              So, for anyone who wears make-up or has a skincare routine, face wipes are a pretty essential staple. They are brilliant for using with make-up remover, removing heavy eye make-up, and even getting rid of any fall-out which may end up on clothes. As brilliant and essential as I personally feel face wipes are, they can also be very costly... as much as £4 a pack for 30 wipes! This is where Skin Therapy, a brand from Wilkinson's, comes in. A pack of these wipes, are always sold for under the £1 mark, and can often be found on offer/buy one get one free. They are often always placed close to the entrance of the store also, so can easily be located. These wipes are available in fragranced, or fragrance free. I would always rather have products which are fragrance free, for the simple reason that I don't believe putting anything perfumed on your face is at all good for you, sensitive skin or not! These wipes claim to be PH balanced, dermatalogically tested, and also "cleanse, tone and moisture in one go". When you take a wipe out the packet, they open out to measure about 9 inches long each side. I think the size of these wipes is quite good, and often one is enough and only two are really needed if I am wearing particularly heavy make-up. I find that by using a few drops of make-up remover on these wipes is a much more effective way of getting all my foundation off, than just applying it directly to the skin. The wipes allow for all of the make-up to actually be removed, and so you just need to rinse the skin/possibly apply cleanser to get all traces off. As these wipes are relatively soft, you can go near the delicate eye area without it scratching or hurting the skin. As much as I think these wipes are effective in removing make-up, if I use these on my bare skin to remove say, a bit of mascara that has dropped onto my skin, then I can sometimes find they irritate my skin a little. This could be due to the fact I have sensitive skin, and pale skin which shows up any redness immediately, but it is still something I am dissatisfied with. I have to say this is a problem I don't tend to find with other brands of facewipes, Garnier and Simple to name a few. Understandably, these wipes from Skin Therapy are much cheaper therefore are probably also made with cheaper ingredients, but they still shouldn't put anything in them which could potentially irritate! Thankfully, the redness is not a problem which occurs with every use. Overall, I would say these facewipes are a cheaper alternative to the frankly overpriced competitors on the market. They do the job, remove make-up pretty well but unfortunately do on occasion, irritate my skin. This of course may not be a problem for everyone, as we all have different skin but it is something to bear in mind if your skin is extra sensitive. I buy these wipes as I am a student and need to watch the pennies, but if I could afford better quality ones then I would buy those instead. *Please note the picture of the packaging is differs slightly to how it looks in the shop*

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            • More +
              08.08.2011 20:11
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              For a touch of glamour

              Mascara is without a doubt, one of the most highly purchased cosmetics in the UK. In the search for beautiful wide-eyed, thickened, volumised lashes, there are many brands of Mascara to choose from. By far, the most stand out of any Mascara and indeed make-up brand I have tried, is Dior and in this case The Diorshow Blackout Mascara. From the off, the packaging suggests a sophistication that is more Middleton than Middle-cop. It's black, curved plastic container with silver detailing and "DIORSHOW BLACKOUT" written across the side has a definite elegance to it. It is available in two sizes, the 4ml tube which is just perfect for handbags, and lasts a surprisingly long time. This sample size is available from counters, and can often be found in Dior gift sets/promotions. The full size tube however, retails at £22. Some of you may question why anyone would pay such an amount for a Mascara, and the answer is like all Dior products, it is sheer luxury and quality. The applicator is a typical, brush style and reveals just the right amount of product on the wand when you go to use it, unlike some cheaper brands I have used which have a swamped lid. The wand glides through lashes with ease, and it is easy to build up the amount of coverage you desire. This mascara does not go sticky or clumpy whatsoever. A tip for ultra curved lashes, is to curl lashes prior to applying mascara. For a very dramatic effect, you could add false lashes and then use the mascara to blend them in with your own (great for nights out/special occasions). Once applied, this mascara will pretty much last all day (try not to accidently rub your eyes though, as occasionally little flickers of black may fall off). I have applied this mascara to one eye as I write the review, and the difference is very obvious. My lashes look a lot longer and fuller in the eye which has Diorshow on it, and best of all it doesn't feel heavy on my eyelashes, nor are any lashes stuck together. It also has an interesting, slightly marshmallow smell to it. Dior describes this product as: "Courtesy of Black Fix Complex - a unique blend of deeply saturated pigments - this creamy formula is the first to reproduce the intensity of kohl. Thickening powder adds staying power, while an Arabic gum extract provides a perfect charcoal-like finish and adds to its incredible resistance. Spectacularly intense!" I definitely agree with the intenseness of the black. All too often when buying eye make-up, the black can be very underwhelming, and can even look more green or grey than an intense black. This mascara is definitely the blackest mascara I have ever used. The only downside I have ever found with this product, is that it dries out much quicker than the average mascara. This was also a problem my cousin found with it when my Mum bought her this mascara for Christmas. I know the recommendation is that you should change your Mascara every 6 months due to the bugs and bacteria which supposedly build up on the wands, but realistically, who can afford to do this? For that reason this mascara may best be suited to evening use, rather than everyday as you may find you get through it quicker than expected otherwise. Overall though, a fantastic product. Definite brownie points if you buy your lady this for her next birthday! If you wish to purchase this mascara and don't have a Dior counter near you, it is readily available on the House of Fraser and Debenhams websites, as well as Amazon and other beauty outlets. Visiting a Dior counter is well worth it though if you are near one, as they often give you a mini-make over, and sometimes give you freebies... no bad thing!

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              • Yamaha DJX / Keyboard / Synthesizer / 57 Readings / 55 Ratings
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                07.08.2011 18:33
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                One for keyboard collectors

                The Yamaha DJX was the first keyboard myself and my Brother came to own, around 10 years ago when I first started my music lessons at school. Since then, I have come to own several keyboards and a piano, but there's something which always draws me back to the DJX, especially when recording. On it's blue exterior, the vast array of dials, buttons, pitch bend and ribbon controller gives a nod to the time in which it was built, towards the end of the 1990's - when rave and techno was arguably at it's peak, amongst the wish wash of Boybands and Girlbands who ruled the airwaves at the time. From a specifications point of view, this 61-key keyboard has 283 "Voices", 100 "Styles" and a wonderfully eclectic range of functions, changeable via a numbered keypad that even Coolio would be impressed with. Granted, the voices are not as exciting as the synths you would find with a keyboard made in 2011, but for a 14 year old keyboard there is still a lot of fun to be had. On occasion, I even see modern day bands feature the DJX sounds/keyboard in music videos (the name of the band I'm thinking of escapes me), but it just proves that keyboards/synths are allowed to age, unlike anyone in Hollywood. As for the functions of the DJX, there are standard ones such as transpose, dual and reverb, but also more intricate ones such as panning, arpegiator, volume and octave options. You scroll through each of these options by continually hitting the "function" button, and then if the particular option displayed is what you want to change, wait a few seconds and then use the arrows below the screen to change it. One of the main features which I get the most use out of, is the MIDI capability. For those of you who don't know, this is where you can connect your keyboard to your PC via a USB cable, and then play in music into a software program to make songs. On a modern day piece of Software such as Mixcraft, you can play in any voice or effect through MIDI, and then change it completely within the software, i.e play in a piano voice and change it to a rusty old synth. Many hours of fun have been had with this particular feature, not to mention the amount of songs made. Arguably, you use this feature with any modern day MIDI-capable keyboard, but I have always preferred to use the DJX as you can really have fun with the settings, especially the arpegiator (which none of my other keyboards possess). There are also some wonderfully random features, such as voice sampling. This is where you plug a microphone into the back of the keyboard, go on the sampling setting and you can record a short voice clip which then gets turned into the full set of keys. As kids myself and my cousin would mess around saying Bullseye phrases, and have "One-Hundred-and-EIGHTY!", played at every pitch possible, much to the joy of the neighbours. To use this setting (and to plug in headphones), you will require a special jack which you can get for about £1 at Maplins. As with most keyboards, you can also record a 6 track song by playing in each voice individually. This is a feature I use often when making up songs and melodies, although with the DJX it can become tricky to re-record over a voice, as it sometimes doesn't allow you to do this. Nevertheless, the range of voices which cover everything from percussion, synths, strings, SFX, organs, guitars, brass and many more, allow you to really have fun, and be creative. Some may appear ear-piercing, without adjustment from the dials, but this is all part of the fun, as this keyboard doesn't just hand you a great sounding voice on a plate - in many cases you have to work for it. I guess to sum the DJX up, it's like a vintage Aston Martin, in that it is classic and has a uniqueness about it that modern cars don't possess, but that doesn't mean it's suitable for the school run. Yes, it has amazing quirky features which keep me entertained for hours, but sometimes it's age can be a problem. The speakers for example, differ greatly from modern keyboards and have plastic lines going across them instead of the plastic mesh style ones used today. When you turn the keyboard on, unless you disabled several functions you will automatically set off the pre-programmed song, and the touch sens will be impossible, unless you change it from the set level 3, to level 1. For some reason the "Grand Piano" sound is set way over to voice 156, yet on every other keyboard I own the Grand Piano is always the first of the voices. The Yamaha DJX is now expired, in that you can only really find it for sale in places such as Ebay. The going rate seems to be about £30-£85, which is quite fair given it's age, but to me this keyboard is worth much more than that and I could never see myself parting with it. It's not shiny and new, and doesn't have the latest features, and the plug is as big as Mount Everest - but it has wisdom and feel to it that you simply don't get with newer keyboards, certainly none I have tried to date anyway. Beginners to the keyboard may wish to steer clear and opt for something simpler, as the amount of functions may seem overwhelming if you are not sure how to use them. However, if you are interested in retro features and being able to really play with the sound (there are 6 dials to choose from: Cutoff, Resonance, Groove, Asign and Bass Boost) then I couldn't recommend this keyboard enough, especially if you are a fan of 80's/90's music, and wish to recreate similar sounds. My prediction is that I will still be using this keyboard as much in another 10 years!

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                • More +
                  06.08.2011 19:19
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                  Great if you are after specific whitening

                  Please note this review is for the Colgate Max White "One", which is in a box different to the one pictured. White teeth seem to be everywhere at the minute, just look at Simon Cowell! In my own quest for whiter teeth, I had looked at my options. Professional teeth whitening at £400 seemed a TAD extreme, especially given my teeth aren't that bad, well not too bad for a tea addict. I had since tried Pearl Drops whitening tooth polish, but I began to notice increased sensitivity in my front teeth after use, so decided to ditch it. Although the Beverly Hills Formula range had caught my eye (claims to visibly whiten teeth in 1 minute), I was somewhat worried at what chemicals and processes it must use to do that. I opted for what I hoped would be the gentler option - Colgate's new MaxWhite "ONE" toothpaste, which claims to whiten teeth 1 shade lighter in just one week. You will find this on the supermarket shelf in a silver box, and a 75ml tube will set you back on average £4, although it is currently on offer for £2.71 in Tesco (until 30/08/11). I'm not the world's expert in how much toothpaste costs, but £4 seems a little steep to me. Best hope it works then! The Claims: Colgate Maxwhite ONE with white accelerator micro-crystals contains ingredients similar to those used by dentists. It safely removes stains and prevents tartar build up to help you get one shade whiter teeth in just one week. Continued use will help keep them whiter for longer. The tube itself is not shaped like regular toothpaste, it's actually more of a squeezy tube which looks more like a beauty product, not that it's a bad thing - I hate it when you can't get the last of the toothpaste out of the normal tubes. It's a metallic silver colour, with a series of dots coloured from black to white, which is ever so slightly worrying as my teeth are neither black or grey, lol. The toothpaste looks like any ordinary toothpaste, except it's blue and has tiny blue speckles in it. It's easy to become sceptical about a blue paste which is supposed to turn your teeth whiter, but I gave it a try anyway. It recommends you use this 3 times a day for a week before comparing the difference, so that's 21 applications. When you use the toothpaste, it's like any other toothpaste although I am used to the Aqua fresh Iso active which foams up and becomes much thicker in consistency. This toothpaste is not quite as thick in consistency. I did notice this toothpaste does sting the tongue a bit because of it's very strong minty taste, not a bad thing I guess but you do have to rinse more than normal to stop the sting, as it's a little stronger than normal minty toothpastes, and one time it made my eyes water! I have used this toothpaste for week now, in addition to my usual dental routine. The difference isn't massive, but I have noticed my front upper teeth are looking a little whiter. I am a tea drinker, and looking inside the teapot only heightens the realisation that this is what discolours teeth, probably more than any other drink/food. I don't think my teeth will become as white as I would like without giving up tea completely/having professional whitening. Although my teeth aren't *too* bad, I will continue to use this toothpaste to hopefully make them more of a pearly colour. My only reservation with MaxWhite One, is that although it claims it "prevents tartar build up", as it is concentrates more on whitening, I worry my teeth are not being properly protected/cleaned. This is why I wouldn't give this product 5 stars, other than that I am impressed with the fact it has made a little bit of difference, and has not increased sensitivity. So overall, a good product for gentle whitening but perhaps not brilliant for overall clean, protected teeth.

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                  • Revlon Matte Lipstick / Make Up / 64 Readings / 63 Ratings
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                    02.08.2011 21:35
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                    A lipstick if you don't want glossy lips, but solid colour.

                    In my search for a pinky/coral lipstick, I was drawn to the Revlon section in Superdrug. The shade I picked up was 004 "Pink about it". There are also several other shades in this range to choose from, with a mixture of reds, pinks, nudes and browns. I deliberately chose a "Matte" lipstick, as I think they are far more wearable for daytime use, or when you are not looking to make your lips stand out the most in your make-up look. The packaging is quite sleek, as the end of the lipstick has has a clear, see through lid. The outer plastic is black, and inside has a silver metal applicator. For a high street brand I think the packaging is quite nice, and doesn't feel cheap like some brands. It has very clear cut, rounded edges and is about 3 and a half inches in length - perfect for bags. The shade of 004 is quite pretty. I would describe it as a cold, dusty pink. As it is not bright red, it is much more wearable than my other lipsticks, and it's coverage is buildable depending on how much you apply. The finished look also depends on if you apply Vaseline beforehand, which is a good tip if your lips are dry/cracked and you wish to wear lipstick. As for how long it lasts, again it depends how much you applied, but generally this is a long lasting lipstick. If you apply it all over the lips, you will get a few hours wear out of it before needing to reply. It's initial brightness does fade a little, but it does stain the lips fairly well. It also looks nice with a clear gloss over the top. As it is a matte lipstick, there isn't really a need to blot it off as you may have to with a glossy lipstick. The lipstick itself is quite solid, and is a pure, pinky colour and contains no glittery particles. It will literally give you a sheer, non gloss matte finish. The price of this lipstick is around the £7.49 mark, depending on where you look (I think online it is slightly cheaper). This is significantly cheaper than a Mac/Estee Lauder Lipstick, but certainly not the cheapest brand out there. Having said that, I think it is worth the price given some very cheap lipsticks I have tried, often have quite dismal results. Unfortunately the shade I have, 004 Pink About It, appears to have been discontinued. However, there are a few similar shades to this which look just as nice. Revlon are a brand I am starting to take more of an interest in, as they are very highly rated amongst beauty bloggers and consumers alike, yet don't break the bank. Even though my current shade is no longer available, I would certainly recommend this range.

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                    • Scott Cornwall Colour B4 / Hair Care / 54 Readings / 48 Ratings
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                      01.08.2011 17:12
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                      How it works depending on your individual hair

                      I have been having my hair coloured for many years now, first highlights and then full all over colours. For the last 18 months I have been a brunette, and having my roots done became a costly business, which is where I turned to home colourants, namely the XXL Live 89 Bittersweet Chocolate. Although this was ok to begin with, I soon noticed a problem. The underneath of my hair for some reason, has not lightened with repeated washing the same way as the top of my hair has, and infact no product or amount of washing has managed to lift out this colour. In short, my underneath sections are jet black and my upper sections of hair are dark/medium/light brown... what a mess! After four months of not colouring my hair and there still being no change, I turned to "Colour B4". The Claims: * Colour B4 shrinks the artificial dye molecules in the hair, enabling you to simply wash them away. * What's more Colour B4 does not touch your natural hair pigment so you are left with the colour which lay beneath your artificial shade * Colour B4 takes you back to your lightest shade. * It will return your hair to its natural colour if the artificial hair colour applied is darker than your natural level. What's in the box? Three bottles consisting of Parts A and B which are the developers and Part C which is the buffer. There's also some plastic gloves and an instruction leaflet. I have to say I was quite impressed with the range of information supplied, as it answers all FAQ's as well as giving quite in depth instructions on using and testing. Testing: As with all chemicals intended for the hair, it's always a good idea to test them first. The instructions state to mix a pea sized amount of parts A & B, and dab behind the ear and leave for 24 hours. I made the fatal mistake of smelling part A in the bottle, I really wouldn't recommend this, unless you enjoy the smell of rotten eggs mixed with sick (yes, I know sorry). I think I got about 2 hours into my skin test, when I could no longer bear the smell, it is absolutely disgusting and that is no eggs-ag-eration (again, sorry!). So, I unwittingly decided that I would remove the product from behind my ear, see if any irritation came up from the short time it had been exposed to my skin, thankfully it didn't. To test the effect on my actual hair colour, I cut a piece of hair from my underneath sections (as my hairdresser does), taped it up to secure it all, and applied the mixed A&B parts, and left it for about an hour before rinsing off. I didn't entirely coat the section of hair with the product, as I was worried about wasting it and not having enough for the actual treatment. My hair is quite long and thick, so this is always a worry when dying my hair. Application: For the application, I used rubber gloves (the ones they supply are a bit useless in my opinion), a colour brush, 3 plastic hair clips, a tail comb and a colour bowl. I had also straightened my hair, to make it easier as I have quick thick hair. Mixing the colour is the same as any normal hair dye process, simply add part A to B, and shake for 30 seconds until mixed. There is the option to then pour the mixed contents into the colour bowl, but I opted to apply the colour with the nozzle directly onto my colour brush, and then brush through each section. This is where I found my initial problem when trying to apply the product to my hair. The consistency was very watery (and yes, it was correctly mixed). Unlike most dyes or treatments you apply to your hair whereby they are a little thick and glide and distribute through easily, Colour B4's watery glue like texture made it very difficult to do so. Because of this, the application took over 40 minutes which was a bit of a hassle. One positive, was the smell wasn't as extreme as when I did the skin test, although was still pretty bad. It smelt more like burning matches than pure rotten eggs though. Rinse Off/Results After you have left it to work for between 30-60 minutes depending on the result you are after (I left it for 40, as it had taken so long to apply), there is then a series of buffing and rinsing to complete. After rinsing the hair for 10 minutes (by 7 I was absolutely fed up!), you then need to apply Part C, which is the buffer and leave for 1 minute. Thankfully, the buffer is the only part which smells remotely pleasant, very apricoty. You then need to rinse for at least a futher 5 minutes, and then repeat the process. All of the rinsing left my hair extremely knotty, tangled and messy. There isn't any information in the instructions which says if you can apply conditioning products afterwards, although for the sake of my hair I applied some Repair & Restore products. Finally the moment of truth and well, I have to say I was very underwhelmed at the results. Despite concentrating the product mostly on the underneath sections, there has been *very* little lift, if anything. The only difference I can see is that the top sections of my hair have tiny sections ever so slightly more lightened, but this could have been down to the 40+ minutes of rinsing my hair endured? According to the instructions, dark hair which has failed to lift could need up to 3 applications. It also states that in severe cases, the staining of the cuticle is impossible to remove and can only be removed by growing the hair out. I understand that dark brown is difficult to lift, I just wanted a subtle lift but unfortunately, there was no change to my underneath sections. Overall The results this product gives, is entirely down to whatever you are trying to lift out of your hair, and of course what lies beneath. Unfortunately for me, I found the results quite disappointing as it didn't even manage to lift any noticeable difference from the lighter sections. Stating "3 applications may be needed" is all well and good, but at £12+ a time, are consumers better off just going to the hairdressers to get it done? I have also noticed that despite washing my hair since, I can still smell the burning matches scent, and no amount of shampooing and rinsing has been able to completely lift that. This side effect is not mentioned anywhere in the instructions, and it really should be as it's not the kind of smell anyone wants their hair to smell of! Would I recommend this product? On the whole, no I wouldn't. Having said that, for some it has worked miracles for and there are many pleased customers, but I can only go on my experience, an experience which has left me disappointed, out of pocket and hair which still smells of the stuff. This one wasn't for me, I'm afraid.

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                      • More +
                        30.07.2011 19:10
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                        Definately a product you should try if you want smooth feeling skin

                        Just about every woman in my family is a fan of Liz Earle. It's not a brand readily available on the high street (at least not where I live), but it was a brand I was really keen to try, especially as it was approaching my 21st birthday and I wanted nice skin for my party. The Hot Cloth Cleanser Polish, is a product my family have been raving about for years so this is the product I decided to buy. As it is not readily available on the high street (unless you live near one of it's few counters), I went onto the Liz Earle website, and ordered myself a 30ml tube for £5.10 (not including p&p). This is the smallest size they do of this product, although there are other options such as tubes, bottles and pump starter kits up to 200ml. The prices range from £5.10 to £13.25, depending upon which size/bottle type you wish to purchase. To my delight when the polish arrived, it came very nicely packaged. Inside was my 30ml tube of hot polish and a muslin cloth, a letter from Liz Earle welcoming me to the brand, a booklet of other products and treatments and most amazingly of all... an additional 30ml tube of hot polish, and a second muslin cloth! This was a really lovely surprise - I certainly don't get that kind of treatment at Superdrug! So, onto trying the hot polish for myself. The actual "polish" is white, and has a similar texture to the Dior hydra moisturiser, in that it's quite rich and thick. It's smell is based on it's key ingredients - Rosemary, Chamomile, Cocoa Butter and Eucalyptus essential oil. The smell isn't overpowering at all, infact I think it's quaint and I can definitely detect the rosemary. To use the hot polish, you gently wet the face with warm water. (By the way, the polish isn't actually "hot", but becomes so during the following steps)... I apply the polish to my cheeks, nose, forehead and chin evenly and rub it in. I then leave it for a minute, and the idea is you soak the muslin cloth into warm water (even when the water is quite warm, it never actually gets the muslin cloth hot enough to burn the skin so don't worry), you then gently remove the polish with the cloth. Finally, give the skin a rinse with lukewarm water so all traces of the polish have gone. Although that's the recommend way of using this product and I do sometimes do use that method, I have also found using it whilst in the bath works just as well. It is a product which works well in steamy environments as it allows your pores to open up, and leaves the skin feeling refreshed. I have found it is a nice treatment to use whilst my hair conditioning treatments have been left on to work in. After I have used the polish and rinsed my skin, my skin feels really smooth and soft. On the back of the tube, it recommends using morning and night, and that's what I have been doing for the last 6 weeks. Amazing, my 30ml tube is still going after all these weeks so I am really impressed with that, as well the results of course. As for the products packaging, I have to say it's quite elegant. The tube is made of plastic, and is pale green, with the Liz Earle logo emblazed across the front. As it is a 30ml tube, it is perfect for taking through airports as it's under the 100ml restriction - great for getaways. I think the biggest advantage though, is that unlike some brands whereby you have to fork out say £50 on a huge tub of something, this allows you to try the product before committing to make sure it's right for you, and feels much less of a rip off in the process. Having a variety of sizes available makes it more flexible for budgets, and by the way - would also make for a great present idea for someone special. So, would I recommend Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish? Yes, I think I would. It's not the only skincare product I use on my face, and it's not something I would totally rely on for "prefect skin". But, for the quality of the product, and how it leaves my skin feeling, I think it's quite wonderful. The fact that contains naturally active ingredients and doesn't irritate my skin or wallet are just added bonuses. Perhaps the only downside is that it's not all that available, can be pricey if you want it in a bigger size. But, if you can get over those two factors and want to try a great quality skincare, I would definitely recommend this to you.

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