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I am personally a fan of wearing perfume every day - but it can become a bit pricy (especially as I have the bad habit of spraying liberally) so after a recommendation from a friend tried 'Suddenly' - by Lidl...
Personally I believe that 'budget' supermarkets are great for all - and when this was on offer for £1.99 I bought my first bottle - it usually retails at Lidl for around £4 for a 50ml bottle. I bought this because I had been told it smelt like Chanel Mademoiselle - which I have always liked due to it's floral / fruity smell... I will be honest and say I can tell the difference - Chanel does last much longer and has a slightly nicer fragrance to it.
However considering this is 2% of the price it's an absolute steal. On my skin I would say that the Chanel version does last all day - so around 16 hours at a push (the scent does develop and lessen through the day) and the 'Suddenly' lasts about 6 hours without reapplication. I personally have no issue with it's longevity - it lasts better than some more expensive body sprays that come with less in the bottle - so I can't complain.
It's potentially unfair to write the review as a comparison of the two scents - as if I hadn't been bought the Chanel as a gift I probably would have never have worn the Chanel regularly (it's a bit out of my usual price range for everyday perfume). As a scent on it's own 'Suddenly' does exactly what it you'd want of it. It's a great perfume that could command a higher price than it does. It's an absolute bargain and one that I continue to buy and use regularly.
Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash
I was recently given three travel size bottles of this when my mother developed allergies to all sorts of facial skin care products... Not one to turn down free goodies I dove right in... Each bottle is 30 ml, and with once daily use most days each bottle seems to last about two weeks so not too bad going. Currently a 142 ml bottle is just under £20 - but there seem to be lots of offers on, so shop around.
The face wash comes in a nice white bottle, with black writing, and the travel size had a nice 'freshness' seal under the screw off lid (this took me longer than it should have to figure out)... The product is a nice consistency, the exfoliating system is small granules which work really well. I have used it through massaging my face with my finger tips as well as an electric facial massager, and it works very well with both. This product doesn't particularly lather, but it seems to wash and clean my face well enough.
The product does leave me with nice soft skin, but I personally dislike the fragrance or lack thereof off putting. Although I have no specific issues with the product it has left me feeling decidedly underwhelmed. If I had actually paid for a full sized bottle I would have been even less than impressed.
Overall I have had much better experiences with much cheaper products, and will not be buying a bottle of this. I wouldn't recommend this as it just didn't seem good value for money. It does get two stars as it did exfoliate well, but that was the only positive thing I can say about the product.
Boots Natural Water Guard Mascara
This product is currently only available at Boots, and is priced at £1.99 (for an 8ml tube), or three products for £5 across the Natural Collection range.
I have to admit that I bought this product as a way of economizing - I don't think that I have ever finished a tube of mascara, I throw them away when they are between 4 - 6 months old to avoid eye infections and if the product has gotten a bit on the gloopy side.
This is sold as being water and smudge proof, as well as being dermatologically tested. As someone who can sometimes suffer with dry eye I like the idea of something that should be gentle on my eyes. This for me is not an economy that I will be making again. The product has a rather sharp scent to it, and when it is applied it can be a little 'dusty' it doesn't flake, but it does come off just too easily. It leaves my eyes drier than usual, and overall the longevity of the product is very disappointing.
The applicator is a 'standard' bristle type, and overall does go on 'OK'. It is nothing special, yet it isn't the most awkwardly shaped applicator I have seen. It can be difficult to use it on the smaller lashes in the corner of your eyes. The black shade I bought is fine in colour, but I didn't think the mascara did much to make my eye lashes 'pop'.
Other than the very cheap price I have to say there isn't anything that I could say is a positive of this product. I have paid similar amounts for mascaras before and not been as disappointed as this.
It gets one star, and I am only giving it that grudgingly. Definately not recommended.
Nivea Raspberry Rosé Lip Butter
I was bought this product as a gift by some friends at university - the theme of the packages seemed to be 'pink' which is how I think this qualified. Having had a quick look at places such as Superdrug it seems to be available for less than £2.50.
The product is sold in a nice pink tin, and contains 6.9g or 19ml. I personally have had a few issues removing the lid of the tin - as it has no ridges to make this easier, and as the tin is very shallow this doesn't lend itself to getting a very good grip on the lid, or bottom.
The lip butter itself is a lovely pink colour, which does show up on the lips. The scent is very sweet, and is very obviously that of raspberries. As these are one of my favorite fruits it really is heavenly. Personally I find the lip butter is much thicker than many other lip products I use, and this can be annoying as it makes it just too easy for hair to stick to it.
It does leave my lips soft, but it takes just too long to sink in effectively. Overall I wouldn't recommend the product as it is just too thick and gloopy once on my lips. There are many other products out there that are just loads better.
Tesco VCU12P Pet Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner
Jut after Christmas my old vacuum gave up the ghost after about 8 years, and as such we obviously had to replace it with something (after I tried to fix it, and obviously failed)... For me the most important factors for the new vacuum cleaner were that it was upright, and that it was in stock.
As the brand of the product suggests it is available from Tesco - currently £59.50 - however we paid just £27 for the product. It seems this is a fairly regular offer as others have commented on this price in their reviews.
When we bought the hoover we (well my boyfriend) assembled the hoover in less than two minutes. The hoover can obviously be used as any upright hoover, and rolled over your carpets to pick up dust and fluff. I find this easy to do as the vacuum is nice and light. The handle tilts back with just a small foot flick of the release button. The power button is close to this release, and it did at first sometimes get flicked too, but this is now starting to happen less frequently as I get used to where these functions are. The power button is nice and easy to press to start the suction.
The vacuum has a nice appearance, and is funky purple and white. From the first use this has been a great little hoover. My partner after setting it up took off round the house (who was I to stop a man from hoovering round?). The first thing he said was how strong at sucking it was. The first thing I noticed was how light it is. I can easily lug it around the house, even when my back is playing up. The appliance works well in our moderately to really dusty / fluffy rooms, and even copes well in the rabbits room - she is in a cage, but likes to throw around wood shavings and bits of hay.
The handle attaches to the hose function which makes it easy to use. It has a nice release catch at the back, and when lifted up this pulls off, and it needs to be pushed back down when the handle is back in place to hold it firm. The hoover came with 'attachments' a rotary brush, a bristle brush, and extra rigid pipes to make the hose longer. The suction height can be adjusted with the turn of the dial on the front of the hoover.
According to the website the cable is 7m and the container has a 3l capacity for dust. What this means for me is that the hoover will do basically all of the downstairs without moving the plug, and that the whole house can be hoovered before I need to empty the dust pot. A word of warning, when emptying the dust bucket don't press the purple release button until over an appropriate receptacle (unlike me who did it over my foot). The funny thing was that when I spluttered my fella knew exactly what I had done...
I would definitely recommend this hoover, and wouldn't hesitate to get another.
Givenchy Noir Couture Mascara
I got given this product as part of a gift from my partner - I suspect it came as some kind of free gift when he bought me perfume...
An 8g tube seems to vary in price from about £15 (Amazon) to around £23 (Harrods). As with most mascaras it is 'good' for 6 months from opening, and I have been using mine for around 4 months. The packaging is nice and shiny, however the product inside was for me a little disappointing. The wand has a three bauble effect and I have to say that this isn't something that works for me.
The mascara is designed to add instant volume, curl and length. Well I have to say it hasn't ever made my eyelashes curl - but no mascara has, so this may not be the product but my lashes... The volume is sketchy at best - it seems to clump my lashes together in patches. This I blame on the design of the brush. When it comes to length it also seems to lack, sadly.
The product doesn't wear very well, it can sometimes give me panda eyes through the day if I have rubbed them at all. (It does come off easily however when wiped with any kind of eye make up remover)... It has never flaked through the day, and it has never run in the rain.
Overall I wouldn't recommend the product. It isn't even close to being the best mascara that I have used. For a lot less, I have bought better products, and for this price I would expect it to be a much better quality.
Delonghi ECC220.R Pump Espresso Machine in Red
With my partner being such a big fan of coffee - the Mother in Law bought him this coffee machine for Christmas. Prices online seem to range from £100 - to £160, so do have a god shop around to get the best deals.
I have to admit I was a bit skeptical thinking it wouldn't get used (I have been converted, and had to relent and have him show me how to use it, as the coffees are frankly lovely). The machine itself is slightly smaller than the box, and according to a quick search this means it is 32cm high, 22cm wide, and 27 cm deep. We have made the choice to leave it it all the time, and it basically takes up a bit more space than our kettle.
The machine makes great espresso shots, to which we can either drink as is or add frothed milk to - which makes great lattes and cappuccinos. The coffee filters screw into the machine, and can be tapped down with a built in 'tamper'. The filters have the option of either a one or two shot nozzle, and seem to be fairly robust for home use. My partner was disappointed as the cups shown on the front weren't included in the package, but we have bought some cute espresso cups as 'normal' mugs and cups wouldn't fit under the spout.
The machine is really easy to set up - the milk steamer has a black nozzle that screws onto it, and there is a drip tray under the coffee spout. Each of these is removable and easy to clean. The water tank on the back will hold 1 litre, and is easy to either remove and top up, or just pour a jug into the top. This tank also has a space to store one of the coffee filters while it is not in use.
It is just a case of turning the water to heat and waiting. Which probably takes two minutes. Then you just attach the coffee filter and turn a knob to allow the water through. Personally I start the milk off first as this can take much longer to heat through. We have been using a Pyrex jug, which I have to admit is probably a little too tall to easily get under the milk nozzle, so we have been on the look out for something a bit shorter. My partner feels if he adds sweetener, or sugar to the milk before heating it holds it's froth longer (obviously no good if you don't like sweetened drinks). Personally I feel this makes the nozzle harder to clean, but his coffees do stay frothy for longer than my coffees do.
Overall given the price of the machine I am happy with how easy it is to use, and the coffees it makes are lovely. The black nozzle is a little delicate, and I am concerned that this could cross thread rather easily, and I have to be careful when I screw it on, I also wish the milk frother was either higher up, or that you could lift it to make using it, just a little easier.
I'd give the machine a four out of five rating, as it is good for the price paid, but there a e few little things that would make it's use just a little easier. The machine is a mixture of plastic with metal components so it will withstand 'normal' day to day use, but I don't think it would be particularly indestructible. I would recommend it, as it works well.
The Organic Pharmacy Double Rose Rejuvenating Cream
I was originally given this product by my mother as part of a cull when she realized that she is allergic to - well everything (I think it may have been overzealous of her to rid herself of all of her skincare products, however since I got this for free, I'm not complaining)...
The Organic Pharmacy website states that this should be mixed with two drops of a face firming serum - which I have to admit I haven't been doing, however overall I have no complaints about this face cream really. A 50ml pot of this product is around £37, and is suitable for all skin types. The 50 ml pot has lasted me for a very long time, and since it was already opened when I inherited it, I have to say I'm fairly impressed by the longevity of it. The product says it should be used within 9 months of opening.
As the name suggests the product is scented with roses, both rose water, and rose hips have gone into the product. This smell does linger on the skin for a short while, and leaves the scent of flowers (kind of like Turkish delight), with a little hint of something kind of spicy, which may have come from the rose hips, or the aloe that the product contains. For me this is one of the small niggles, as I tend to like fruity scents rather than floral.
The product itself is a slightly tinted white colour, and feels light and smooth on my skin when I use it. I glides on easily, and soaks in well, and quickly. Although my skin was looking fairly dry, and weathered (it generally does in the winter months), literally after the first use it was looking smooth and soft. At this point I would be just a little disbelieving, but I can honestly say that I would normally revert back to a much cheaper product after using on this price for a while, however I have the next pot of this already for when the free one runs out. It's that good.
The product is supposed to promote regeneration, and repair broken capillaries. Although as far as I am aware I have no broken capillaries, I have noticed that my skin really is looking fresher, and at this time of year this is something that is unheard of.
Overall I would definitely recommend this product - it lasts well, and has a positive effect on how good my skin looks.
This year I decided to have a good old go at making sloe gin - originally meant to be presents for friends that are fans of the stuff - however after going picking with the mother in law locally she came back from visiting her daughter with bags of them for us to use up...
Having looked around the recipe I followed was a connotation of the BBC food recipe (they were all fairly similar to be honest, and this one worked for me).
450g/1lb sloes - with pricked skins
225g/8oz caster sugar
1 litre/1¾ pint gin
Basically the process involves bunging the ingredients, into a sterilized container, and shaking them daily at first, then weekly, and then when you remember, until you either drink it, or decant it into bottles to store it in (you should leave it at least 8 weeks, although it can be left for longer if forgotten). We personally used demi johns, but big jars, or bottles will do (do make sure that the berries will for through the top before you start). (Pop into Wilkinsons or the like, to get something to facilitate the sterilization process, and just follow the instructions, even I managed this. So it won't be taxing).
Generally the rule of thumb states that you should wait for the first frost, as this will make the berries sweeter. Although when we planned to do this, the first lot of sloes that we went to pick were gone (my boyfriends choice of patch) - to birds or other foragers who knows? At this point we went to the next patch the MIL knew of. Personally we went mad, and just picked the lot. I do recommend going with pots, and a bag to carry them in, also not taking the most hyperactive dog in existence would probably help too.
After a bit of research it does become clear that you can freeze the berries, which will serve the double purpose of sweetening them, as well as bursting the skins. Well apparently - we did this, and with the first batch we then proceeded to smoosh the berries as we popped them in the jar... With the second as I was in a hurry I didn't bother with the smooshing, and I feel it made a less flavorful gin. (We chose to squish the berries as the thought of pricking them all with a pin with frozen fingers just sounded like a dangerous idea).
The two batches of gin have gone down really well - I'm not usually a fan, but obviously had to try before doling them out, as I didn't want to poison anyone. It's bloody lovely! My fella drinks it straight, and I like it over ice, and with bit of tonic. It was a lovely day out, and something that will definitely be a Christmas tradition. We strained out the berries through a jelly bag, however you could use a funnel, and piece of muslin. There are many things that can be done with boozy sloes after they have made sloe gin, the most appealing to my boyfriend is flapjacks - however this year we just didn't have time - but we will give them a go next time.
Highly recommended as a good day out in the fresh air, followed by an interesting tipple for Christmas festivities. I did however go with people who knew what they were doing, so do make sure you know what you are looking for, although I am informed that it's very hard to mistake sloes for anything else...
We have laid a few bottles down, as it apparently ages well, so we'll revisit at the time of the village show this summer to see if the flavour has got even better!
Bassetts On The Go Vitamins
Being in my third year at university I have to admit that fir the last three or four months I have been feeling run down, and have been taking one of these vitamins each day (and feeding on to my boyfriend when I can)...
I purchased them in Poundland of all places, and have to date used three different flavours. Each tube has fifteen pastilles, and comes i an oval shaped 'sweet' for want of better word. They are chewy, similar in consistency, but probably a bit sweeter than fruit gums are. I have been trying to get him to take vitamins, as we have both been creaky, to no success. However give them to him in the form of a sweet, as 'pudding', and hey presto, vitamins taken! (He really is like a big kid, adn I would have thought that at pushing 40 he would have grown out of this)...
Vitality - or citrus flavour
The vitamins contained in this tube are designed to combat fatigue, (B2, B5, B6 and B12). Overall these are my lest favorite in the range, as they are rather orangey. This is a personal preference thing, as with all gummy sweets these would be the ones left to last (my fella has no issues with these ones. I have to admit I've only ever bought one of these packs, as I disliked the taste so much).
Immune - or raspberry and pomegranate
These vitamins are designed to help boost your immune system - as the name suggests. They contain, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid and Zinc. I love the flavour, and overall they were pleasant (I think these maybe my favourite taste wise, the other half thinks they are awful). The raspberry really comes through, and leave a pleasant taste in the mouth.
Maintain - Mango flavour
These vitamins are supposed to help maintain a persons health and well being. They contain Vitamin C Vitamin B5 Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin B12 and Biotin. Overall, both my partner, and I both agree that we can take these ones, and as such I tend to pick these ones up most frequently.
Overall the pastilles are sold as being sugar free, and free from natural colours. I can't tell this, and my partner who would normally smell out sweeteners at 100 paces hasn't commented, so overall the taste of each must be generally pleasing. I can't fully comment of the efficacy of the product, although I can state that I haven't had a cold (yet) this winter. They haven't filled me with beans, but it is cold, and dark, and I have been busy.
I would recommend these, as even if all I have gained from them was related to the placebo effect, they were very reasonable priced. I also feel that at this time of year we could probably all do with a little boost!
Suitable for people aged over 12 years of age, and only one to be taken daily.
I purchased me Luna Mini as part of the Bzzz Agent promotion, and got it for the bargain price of £27 - but it retails at £99, however I have to say it seems to be a really well made piece of kit overall.
The product itself is a small flat round vibrating facial cleansing device - on one side at the top it has 'fingers' that are around 1mm think, and the other side has the same sized fingers at the top, and finer protrusions under them. I have to admit I was a little sceptical at reading about it, however as I have never been blessed with the clearest skin I thought it was worth a try (I had been looking into buying a product that needed to have it's heads replaced, but this one has nothing that needs to be replaced on it so even at full price over time is well worth the price). It comes with a lead that will charge it through a USB port all tidily placed in a see through pod shaped box.
I have oily combination skin, with enlarged pores (at the age of thirty) - and was definitely up for trying it to see if it would visibly improve how good my skin looked. The product claims to work within three days to clear skin - I have been using it now for several weeks and am very happy with how well it is working. After five days I could see the difference in my skin. The enlarged pores have shrunk, and my skin is now lovely and soft (not something that would normally happen in November). Overall my skin has improved vastly, it isn't perfect, but the difference was apparent really quickly after beginning to use this. I have used the product with my normal face wash (it has lathered well with a bit of water added to the device), and this for me has been a really effective method of cleansing my skin.
The product does recommend a routine to using it, although I have to admit I use upwards strokes all over my face, and then concentrate on my problem areas for as long as I have. The device has two power settings, the first being 'filling rattler', and the second a more gentle buzz. Although the makers recommend the first for most of the face, and the gentler speed for the sensitive under eye areas I have to admit I use the second speed all over my face, neck and décolletage.
The product has been made well, and has so far been waterproof (it's been dropped in the bath several times, and no dramas). The charge has held well, and I have only connected it to my PC once, for about an hour - as it came charged (but I like to make doubly sure).
The product is really easy to clean, and I just rinse it under the shower, or in the bath, and agitate the fingers or bristles. It comes with a two year limited warranty, and a 10 year quality guarantee, showing that the makers feel it is a product they can believe in.
For the sake of one minute twice daily, I cannot recommend this product enough. It has for me worked wonders. Definitely a five star product. (This review is a longer version of the review posted on the product website, by myself).
Palmolive Naturals Coconut Shower Milk
I have previously bought products in this range, and after a recent 'redesign' of the packaging I was tempted to pick up a couple of 250ml bottles of this at Morrison for 86p a bottle. (The bottle is now taller, and slimmer with a v indent in the lid - it looks funky, but makes standing it on the lid a little precarious).
The product itself is nice and creamy, and lathers well. I have recently just been slapping it straight onto my skin, but it works equally well with a shower pouffe of some kind (or a sponge). The product has aloe vera in it, and this has been keeping my skin soft and well looked after in this nasty weather, so I can highly recommend it as being effective for dry skin.
The shower gel is 'flavoured' with coconut milk, and this makes it smell wonderful. It leaves a nice fresh scent on my skin after use which works well with my perfumes rather than overpowering it. The shower gel leaves me feeling fresh and clean and for the price paid it is definitely a bargain.
The only issue I have with the product in this range is the clever selling technique of highlighting the 'natural' elements of the product. The bottle redesign has at least acknowledged the fact it is made 'with extracts of 100% natural origin' - however looking at the back of the bottle will demonstrate the fact it isn't totally natural. I understand that for the price paid it is a bargain, but personally I feel it is a little underhand to use it as a selling point.
Overall a 5 * product, but I'm only giving it four for the less than entirely honest selling techniques.
Clairol Herbal Essences Seductively Straight Conditioner
The Herbal Essences Seductively Straight conditioner has been used for the last few bottles (lasting around six weeks or so), with the Ignite my Fire shampoo from the same brand. My boyfriend who picked them up for me saw the two pink bottles and thought they would work well together. In his defense they have seemed to do this, although I would normally try to use matching products.
He paid £1 for a 200 ml bottle, which I do feel represents good value. These products are available in many places but do shop round for good deals as the price can vary widely.
The shampoo he had chosen was for coloured hair, and this is for dry and damaged hair. Overall the two together have worked well. I have never used the conditioner by itself, but after a good wash I tend to use a good 'dollop' and smooth it through the ends of my hair - I then tend to massage it, and leave it for a minute to do it's work. The product washes out well, and easily, and does help my hair to be tangle free after it has been washed. Overall I think it works well to smooth my hair, although when my hair has gotten to the ratty stage of needing a cut it is less effective (although I would blame this on the split ends rather then the product).
The product is supposed to smell of pink lily extract - and it does have a nice floral scent to it. It lasts well, and when I brush my hair it becomes apparent, although it doesn't overpower me, or mask the scent of my perfumes.
The lid of the bottle is easy to open, and the bottle will stand on it's lid, making it nice and easy to access it, even with wet hands. I have issues gripping, due to nerve damage and this it easy to use even for me.
Overall I would recommend it as it works well and is a great price.
Clairol Herbal Essences Ignite My Colour Shampoo
I have to admit that I am fan of most Herbal essences products, so when my partner was asked to get me some shampoo he went to the two 'safe bets'. Herbal essences - check, pink bottle - check. To be fair it worked out well for me, (although for some reason he managed to pick up a mis-matched conditioner for it).
For a 400ml bottle he paid £1.50, which is a bit of a bargain. The bottle will happily stand on it's lid, which makes accessing the product easier, and the 'snap' closure is a nice easy push button that even I can manage with wet hands (I have a right hand that doesn't like to grip due to nerve damage).
The product is made for coloured hair, and is said to relight the fire within, as it were. Overall it performs well as a shampoo. It lathers well, and washes out easily (I have thick long hair, and use a bit the size of a 50p piece). It leaves my hair shiny and grease free. It may have helped my hair to stay glossy for longer (ha-ha I sound like a horse) but I have no real way of measuring this...
The product is supposed to smell like acai berry and silk extracts - I can't comment of what 'silk extracts' smell like on their own, but in this they smell yummy. It smells fruity, with a hint of flowers in there too. The scent lasts well, I tend to wash my hair every other day, and when I brush it I do get wafts - although it isn't overpowering, or cloying.
I would definitely recommend this, as it works well, and is a bargain price.
Glade With Love Candle
Being a fan of all nice smelling candles I was definitely going to purchase one of these when I saw them on offer for £1.50. The packaging has been updated, and the glass candle holder is covered in a softer pink color with a heart and swirl design. The glass container that the candle comes in is rather thin (I managed to break one in Wilkinsons once), so it is best to be a little careful with them, and as with all candles do use it on a protective surface. The glass is covered with a decorated layer of plastic / polythene - I have never had issues with these burning or melting - however they aren't impervious to meddling (I have a habit of peeling off labels - although this does make it reusable if you want to change the color scheme it it situated in)
The candle is a soft pink in color, as has 'A rich floral bouquet of sensual Jasmine blended with soft fruity notes' (taken from the Ocado website). I personally do feel the scent of Jasmine is obvious, although I think overall the floral tones are more obvious than the undertones of fruit (which to be honest I can't detect at all). I find the candle when lit for a few hours does scent the whole of my house if I have all of my doors open. The burning time is estimated to be 30hours - I have used mine for about six so far and haven't yet got half way down it, so this is probably on track to be right. It isn't as impressively scented as candles such as the Yankee range, but it does smell wonderful (it also has a much smaller price tag).
Overall I would buy these candles again, and feel it is well worth what I paid for it. The rices online seem to range from £2 (Asda) to £5 (Tesco and Ocado) a discount store local to me has them for £1.50 so it is worth shopping around.
They are definitely recommended -