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reddanni

reddanni
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Member since: 02.04.2010

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      30.06.2011 15:19
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      Excellent value for money.

      Following on from my Champneys toner review I have also been using their cleansing milk. I have been using Champneys products for nearly 2 years now as primarily I could no longer afford premium brands like Dior, Clarins and Origins. I still wanted what I perceive to be quality but at a price bracket down from my normal brands. Sainsbury's had been selling at half price so luckily I brought 2 of each toner, cleansing milk and eye make up remover pads that I use, then I discovered recently they have discontinued this range.


      I purchased for approx £3.50 and the bottle lasts me over 6 months which is about the same as other brands I have used so this bottle (200ml) is very good value for money. I would like to buy again and have spotted in Boots at £7.50 so I think I'll wait for a promotion or until I have enough advantage points to pay for my next bottle.


      So what's it like?
      Well the bottle has a pump action for dispensing. I always pump too much on to a cotton wool pad which is very annoying and wasteful. Once on the cotton wool I wipe over my face. I really like the smell almost vanilla like which is my favourite scent and quite mild not at all a chemical smell.

      The consistency is just right, not so runny that it feels too thin to do it's job and not so thick that the pump gets clogged up, it also doesn't dry up like other pumps and get crusty. As I wipe over my face it feels really smooth and nice it must do the job well of taking my make up off as on the cotton wool left behind is the remnants of my foundation. It doesn't dry or irate my skin and feels quite moisturising, almost a shame to then use toner! I have not had many spots since using which is another tell tell sign that not all my foundation has come off.

      One downside is that when I get to the end of the bottle it's not easy to get every last drop out. I usually either turn the bottle upside down or cut open once the pump has stopped dispensing but it's not easy to balance upside. I did both methods last time and got another weeks worth once the pump had stopped working in the normal way. I very much like the fact the bottle is clear so you can clearly see how much is left, very handy so you don't run out unexpectedly.


      Overall not only would I recommend but would be willing to pay (nearly) full price. Currently they are on a champneys 3 for 2 offer in boots (30.6.11)

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        09.06.2011 17:47
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        My bottle was very good value for money.

        Bargain! Half price Champneys products in Sainsbury's, so I stocked up on all my facial toner / cleansers etc.. Then what happens they stop selling Champneys! I had no idea they were on special because they were discontinuing them, I was miffed as I had only discovered these products a year ago. After tightening our belts out went my favourites of Origins, Burt's Bees and Clarins in came Champneys as I felt they were still a luxury brand but at half the price (when full price even cheaper when they were on offer). I loved most of the products I tried from the range so I am gutted.


        I think I only paid about £3 for a bottle containing 200ml which will last me approximately 6 months. The bottle dispenses the toner by pump. I can't stand pump containers as I feel you can not have full control over how much of the product you want at a time. Also when you get near the end it's frustrating getting every last drop out as you can not leave upside down to get the last drops out. The only plus points is that this pump bottle actually lets you unscrew the pump to the container and it's a clear bottle so you can see exactly how much toner you have left.


        Once dispensed quite easily on to a piece of cotton wool I can really smell an orange fragrance which is a little annoying as no where on the front of the bottle does it say anything about it being fragranced and orange isn't my favourite smell so I recommend you avoid if you hate this scent. It also has a slight mineral smell about it and feel on my skin. At this point I thought I should read the blurb on the back of the bottle which I didn't do in the shop and yes it does indeed state about invigorating orange flower water and mineral rich natural spring water.

        So once on the cotton wool I then wipe over my freshly cleansed face (Champneys cleansing milk). It feels like water and to be honest I don't see a lot of dirt once I've finished on the cotton wool that I get with other brands, whether this is because the cleanser has done such a good job I'm not sure but unfortunately combined with the scent of this toner I wouldn't buy again. It did leave my skin feeling clean, fresh and a little soft ready for me to apply moisturiser.


        So where can I get hold of replacements (for my cleanser at least) once I've run out? Well I have only just recently spotted them in Boots, obviously they wanted to sell through them there rather than Sainsbury's. They have been revamped in different packaging. So although I can get hold of them my little Boots store is yet to stock the full facial range but have seen them online at £7.50 way more than the couple of pounds I paid but at least I can collect Boots advantage card points or buy them using my points.


        Overall disappointing but value for money at the price I paid.

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          21.05.2011 17:34
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          A well used book in my house.

          BBC books has published a whole host of these GoodFood Magazine 101 recipe books. This 101 best ever chicken recipe book, is the second I currently own of these. I brought mine from a Bookclub where I work for £3 but I have seen them since in WH Smith for £4.99 which is the RRP or Amazon for approx £3.43. At 215 pages and 101 recipes a bargain I thought.

          Not being a big lover of red meat my family does eat a lot of chicken dishes each week, hence why I decided to purchase this book and as I found the 101 pot recipe book so useful I would be happy to purchase more of this range at £3 or just over. Not sure I would pay the full price of £4.99 though.

          The book is separated into 6 chapters after an quick introduction and 2 pages of notes and conversion tables.

          Chapter 1 :
          Suppers for one, two and more.

          I cook from this chapter when hubby is out for the evening at football and I want a decent meal rather than an uninspiring microwave meal. I would highly recommend tangy chicken breasts which is basically grilled chicken with barbeque sauce brushed on it with a rasher or 2 or streaky bacon topped with grated cheddar cheese then I do half a plate full of different vegetables. The recipes in this chapter do exactly what it says, you can take one chicken breast out of the packet and cook or several and the recipes aren't just for dinners but lunches also such as chicken Caesar sandwich.


          Chapter 2:
          Light and healthy

          The chapters aren't separated very well as you can only tell when you stray into another section by the chapter title written in small at the bottom of the page, hence I have cooked meals from this section without realising they are meant to be healthy. The recipe I did was pesto chicken which is frying a chicken breast then adding cherry tomatoes, crème fraiche and pesto, doesn't particularly sound healthy to me just a nice quick easy meal. Each recipes comes with nutritional guidelines but I would treat as a very basic guide as surely the book doesn't know exactly which cream you will buy from the supermarket? If on a diet I don't think this will be accurate enough for you if counting calories etc. The recipes do lend themselves well to putting on your twist on them tweaking the ingredients here and there either to make them healthier or just take out something you don't like. So in summery I think just use your common sense.


          Chapter 3:
          Hot and spicy

          To be honest I have only made one dish from this chapter. All the recipes seem to have a very long ingredients list and look for complicated or time consuming than the rest of the book. Confident and accomplished cooks would probably enjoy this section. The only quick recipe in this part is chicken nacho grills but as I'm not keen on tomatoes salsa and soured cream I haven't tried it but it looks incredible easy and quick to do. As the name suggests there is a lot of Indian and Chinese inspired dishes in this chapter.


          Chapter 4:
          Suppers in 20 minutes or less

          This chapter is the biggest let down. Not because of the actual recipes but the fact you are meant to be able to prepare and cook in 20minutes. Just like Jamie Oliver's 30 minute meal cook book it can take me 20-30 minutes to do all the prep work! On the positive side there is a gorgeous sticky chicken with mango couscous I do from this section but I tweak it by adding a variety of vegetables and on one occasion did with boiled rice instead as a friend came over who doesn't like couscous.


          Chapter 5:
          Dinners to impress

          No less than 6 roast chicken recipes in this section I think it would be better suited to call this chapter family dinners instead. Saying that there is a nice chicken skewer recipe that I tweaked for the barbeque last summer that turned out well but I won't say it was actually a dish to impress.


          Chapter 6:
          Classics from around the world

          Includes dishes from Ghana, Russia, France, America, China, Japan the list goes on....
          Attempted the chicken Kiev dish and decided to stick to shop brought Kiev's as the hassle wasn't worth it but certainly some interesting recipes included such as Jewish soup and Persian chicken pulao!



          Then to finish of the obligatory index of recipes to help quickly find a repeat recipe, I use indexes quite a bit as I can never remember which cook book has which of my favourites in and I have a lot of cook books.


          The size of the book is quite small compared to all my other recipe books as this is less than half the size of an A4 piece of paper (less than A5 I think the next size down is called) but it is reasonably thick. I don't find it stays open on the page we need which is a little bit of a nuisance but as they are easy to cook recipes this isn't a major problem. It's a paperback which is possibly why it doesn't stay open but the cover does wipe clean when my dirty mitts have got flour etc over it!


          The recipes themselves are all accompanied with a colour photo, a must for me I need to see a dish before I will attempt it! The instructions are quite short but detailed enough for me to follow, nothing overly complicated is included so a good book for novices and intermediates but not for those looking to be challenged. Overall fantastic value for money even if book is a little small.

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            02.05.2011 13:09
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            Very good value.

            I received my Oral B electric tooth brush 3 years ago as a present. I don't think it came with any spare tooth brush heads so at first was slightly concerned about how much it was going to be to upgrade to an electric tooth brush after using a normal 'manual' one for years and having no trouble with my teeth. I had heard very positive reports about electric over normal brushes so was delighted when I received it despite any extra costs involved (not just heads but energy bills for yet another appliance that needs charging).

            I don't actually have to change my electric tooth brush heads very regularly as I decided to use my electric brush in the mornings but stick to my normal brush in the evenings (I only brush my teeth twice a day which I find sufficient). Thus I only change both brushes every 6 months despite the recommended 3 month change but I look at this as if I were using said item twice a day. If I need to change them more I will but find both last quite well. So after the initial outlay of the brush which I didn't make! The replacement brushes actually only work out as much as a normal brush.

            My recent purchase of these were from boots as they have a 1/3 of offer at the moment so 4 replacement heads at a discounted price of £10.89 only works out to be £2.72 per head. Plus with my boots advantage points, a voucher they had sent me to earn double points and as I spent over £30 on various items I could use another voucher to receive an extra 300 points (worth £3) they really weren't expensive. I did look at the 8 head pack but for some reason this isn't in the offer and would work out £3.60 per head.


            So the packaging is easily labelled to pick the correct brushes for your particular electric brush and they come out of the packet very quickly and fuss free via the cardboard at the back being perforated. I then keep the extra heads still in the packaging in my bathroom draw until needed.


            They slot in and out of the electric tooth brush handle without having to pull off or push on very hard. They also come with a small plastic coloured ring in different colours. As my husband also has exactly the same brush so this is most helpful so we know whose is whose.


            Hygiene wise I find them easier to clean than a normal brush I think the bristles are further apart in the rows. The bristles are also blue on two rows which changes from the base to the end of the bristles to white over time indicating when to change heads. This is a nice idea but I seem to change mine way before its gets to the half way mark so not sure how reliable this indicator is.


            In summery replacement heads are something to consider before choosing your actually main body electric tooth brush if cost is an issue for you. These ones are very good value, easy to change and clean also very sturdy and strong. Can not give top marks due to the blue time to change indictor not being reliable enough.

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              22.04.2011 15:23
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              High quality perfume that has staying power.

              Dolce Vita is my favourite perfume. It is also one of the most expensive perfumes I own and as such I always receive as a gift rather than buying for myself. My current bottle my husband brought for me at Christmas is the 50ml eau de toilette version. It's a classic Christian Dior fragrance that was launched back in 1996 and although Dior markets the perfume as daywear I think it is far too strong and prefer it as an evening fragrance.

              The bottle I think resembles a golf ball in that it is round with different size dimples all over it and the name dolce vita in gold around the base of the neck. The bottle in my opinion is very pretty and looks high quality. It is also very easy to hold and spray which is something that some novelty shaped perfumes are not easy to do. There is a smaller golf ball shape to take off the gold neck of the bottle as the lid. This fits very snugly so won't come off easily and get lost.

              The actual spray of the perfume is a nice fine mist and sprays in a good wide enough area unlike other perfumes I have that eject the perfume in just one concentrated stream.


              I also have the shower gel and body lotion as my friend who works in the perfumery department of Debenhams (very handy friend to have) says the secret to a long lasting scent is to layer on the smell so using several different products all of the same scent will prolong the staying power. Personally I find the scent does last longer than cheaper perfumes and my friends have commented on how nice I smell when I wear the fragrance which shows it does last past leaving your front door. Smelling my wrists (I can't small my neck which is the other place I apply) I can still smell the scent at lunchtime and when I get home I can still make it out, but by bedtime it has more or less faded so if I was going out in the evening I would reapply. However I rarely wear it during the day not only because I feel it's too strong but also the expense, I wear cheaper scents during the day unless a special occasion.


              The perfume is a blend of magnolia, rose, cinnamon, peach, apricot with bottom notes of vanilla and sandal wood. I was really surprised to find out cinnamon is listed as I can't stand the smell (or taste for that matter) but as I can't make it out in the scent don't let this put you off if you don't like either equally you be disappointed if you buy this hoping it would! I'm not surprised that vanilla and sandalwood are notes included as I do loves these. I'm not very good at picking out individual notes but what I do think is it's a very strong woody scent not an overly floral feminine scent, that settles down after a couple of minutes and lasts a very good length of time. I love all Dior perfumes so if you already wear one of there scents you may like this one.


              Available in chemists (i.e. some larger Boots stores) and department stores, in the following sizes at approx prices

              30ml £36.50
              50ml £49
              100ml £69.50

              If interested the shower gel is approx £25 for 200 ml
              Body lotion £17.99 for 200 ml
              Best to get them in a gift set as works out much cheaper.

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              • Dish a Day: 365 Recipes / Cookbook / 75 Readings / 72 Ratings
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                08.04.2011 12:22
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                Excellent value for money.

                This recipe book does as the title suggests, include 365 dishes as a gimmick cook book relating each recipe to each day of the year (plus one for a leap year!) this is worked out sensibly ie summer dishes during the summer(salads) and warm winter meals like casseroles in the later months.

                I purchased from a door to door scheme, through work where a lady use to leave a box full of various products for you to browse through then collect a week later taking any orders, hence I only paid £3 through this book compared to the £9.99 rrp marked on the back cover. An absolute bargain I thought for so many recipes.

                The cover is a striking red, shimmering away on my cook book shelf, it stands out like a sore thumb compared to my black or white Delia Smith cook books, which means I often feel drawn to it when I need inspiration.

                The recipes are called dishes in the title and I think this is a good description as some are very basic dishes that really don't require a lot of cooking/following of a recipe. For example warm fruit nests made with shop brought filo pastry and just berries put into cooked filo nest's isn't a complicated Gordon Ramsey recipe. However for me (not an experienced or confident cook) this book and it's dishes/recipes are perfect. Yes there are more time consuming dishes such as the time consuming lemon meringue pie which after cooking I decided it really wasn't worth all the effort to be woofed down by my family asking what shop I brought it from! I did huff for a while!

                Although the book is quite heavy, at an A5 size it's had to cram so many dishes in you don't get a lot of detail on the cooking instruction and not all the dishes have a photograph which I hate, I always like to look at a picture when deciding whether I want to make it or more importantly what it's meant to turn out like. Jamie Oliver's 30 minute meal book is much better at this but I prefer so many more of these recipes. One of my favourites is chicken nuggets, home cooked, fab for mums that have kids that want nuggets but you want them to eat nutritionally good food. Check out page 16, chicken breaded morsels, my niece and nephew loved these.

                Dishes range from drinks like lemonade, starters, main meals, desserts, side dishes, snacks ..... My cover is a little creased as this is one of my most used cook books. While I'm mentioning the cover I will say it's a strange cross between a paper and hard back book. Firm card board I'd call it, good enough to stay open at the page you need and can be wiped clean (unlike my Jamie book!).

                Certainly worth every penny of the meagre £3 I paid, the only reason it's not got 5 stars is due to at times the lack of photos or cooking details.

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                • NSPA Hot Detox Bath / Bath & Shower / 65 Readings / 64 Ratings
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                  02.04.2011 17:00
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                  Wouldn't buy again.

                  At the Vitality show in London a couple of years ago a stand were offering a couple of different Nirvana products at special prices, this one I think was £8 for the Nirvana hot detox bath . Having never tried this sort of beauty item or indeed this brand before I thought it looked very interesting and worth ago.

                  The square glass container is very heavy and carrying it around with me for the rest of the show was a pain. I don't fancy accidentally dropping this on my foot at any time! I would imagine it would damage someone's bathroom floor and possible without even breaking itself. The jar opens by a metal clasp holding the lid almost air tight closed like I've seen in old fashioned home made produce jars. I find it a strange choice of openings and although I would prefer a screw top maybe those with problems such as arthritis might find it easier to open. The metal clasp on my second jar that my Aunt passed onto me as she never used, has rusted quite badly which is not good for a bathroom product and I am very careful that it doesn't stain my bathroom surfaces.

                  Once opened the contents I can only describe as pleasant smelling sticky mud in a light brown colour with a slight green tinge. I was slightly apprehensive about applying once opened and also wondered how much should be applied as a thick coating would mean there isn't many applications per jar. Whilst bathing you are meant to massage onto your skin and leave in on for 10 minutes having a lovely soak in the bath. This was a very nice relaxing process once on! You have to scoop the mud out of the jar and as massaging on (I was about to say massage in, but it doesn't actually soak into your skin just stay on it) the mud warms and does feel quite nice. It doesn't go on very well and is very thick where you have just applied a splat and very difficult to spread about evenly. In the process my bathroom does suffer with little flicks on the bathroom tiles and bath. The combination of sea salt to exfoliate and naturals oils to soften and nourish your skin is meant to be a skin soothing treatment. Well as for exfoliating, no it doesn't do the job like my normal body scrub so I would never use solely as a scrub treatment. As for leaving your skin soft, it works slightly.

                  My overall opinion is although it's a good excuse to wallow for while I don't think I have seen any results. So you won't be shocked to know my final verdict is I wouldn't buy again

                  If you think you would like to give this product a try I have seen in on the nirvana spa website for £8.50.

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                  • Silkymit / Hair Removal / 73 Readings / 71 Ratings
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                    29.03.2011 10:04
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                    Cheap, effective but drove me mad.

                    I purchased these from John Lewis over a year ago. I can't remember exactly how much I paid I think it was approx £1.99. I have since seen them on Amazon for £1.50

                    Silkymit's come in small card board packaging like an envelope without the folding lip to stick down. The top is not sealed at all and I gently squash the cardboard together in order to put my other hand in to get the mits out. The packaging I think is great, minimal enough to be environmentally friendly and strong enough to protect the mits.

                    The mits themselves are exactly as my title suggests purple sand paper for your legs. You get 3 in a pack.
                    You wear them like a sleeve on your fingers, doesn't matter what side of the purple mitt you use so effectively with 3 mitts you have 6 sides to wear out before throwing them away. They do last quite awhile though.

                    Once I have the mit on I them use on clean, dry legs, rubbing in small circles, 4 times clockwise then 4 times anti clockwise on the same patch of skin. It doesn't take very long to do both my legs. You are warned on the packaging to only rub gently and not in an up and down motion, also do not use more than once a week.

                    As you do this you will notice a fine skin dust coming off your legs so I suggest you do it over a bath or towel. Then when you have finished wipe the mitt and its ready to use again, although as I have already mentioned they do wear out just like normal sand paper. On your legs you are meant to apply a cool damp towel then moisturise. I don't do this every time and haven't noticed any difference whether I follow this method or not on my legs.

                    So it is incredibly easy and quick to use and so cheap can it possible work?

                    Yes! I don't feel any irritation when using the mitts and my legs don't just look and feel hair free but actually are silky and smooth exactly as they say they will. My legs feel so great much better than ANY other hair removing process I've tried (waxing, shaving, moose, cream) must be a down side? You bet there is. After using a few times I notice my re growth was the same as if using a cream, re growth appears after 7 days, although I can just start to feel after 2 days. I did notice a slightly itching almost tickling sensation a few days after using but was so impressed by the mitts I didn't want to stop using. However the last time the itching drove me mad and I accidently starched my calf so bad it bleed. This I decided was the last time I would use them. It is such a shame but I just can't stand the after experience.

                    Overall I so want to continue to use these, they are incredible good value, quick to use and really work leaving me with fantastic results but I just can't give them more than 3 stars as I won't use them. Shame.

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                      24.03.2011 16:47
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                      I wouldn't purchase.

                      A bottle holding 75ml was passed over to me last August by my friend from last summers buy 2 products get a selection of summer essentials free, one of which was this and as she prefers Clarins one step cleanser it was thrown my way and greatfully received. I only use it about once or twice a month so it has lasted me 8 months so far and will probably end up lasting a year.

                      I usually use the traditional cleanser (milk), toner then moisturiser to take my make up off as I find it easier. However when away from home taking one bottle is better than 3, as I also use it to take my eye make up off as well, I'm sure it's not really meant for this but on the odd occasion I don't have any issues doing this.

                      The product comes in a clear tube which stands on it's own white flip lid. I like the fact the bottles clear so you can see when to buy another one or if going away don't take it with you and end up running out while away. The flip lid is easy to use even if I use in the shower with wet hands as it's very sturdy to place on wet surfaces while still being easy to open and close.

                      The instructions are to apply on dry skin and gently massage in, the gel will then transform into an oil which once rinsed with water to create a milk is meant to eliminate impurities. Sometimes I apply on dry skin most of the time I go straight to the milk for quickness as I haven't found any difference in getting my make up off either way. I'm not a fan of facial washes for taking make up off with the exception of Mary Kays timewise product that also exfoliates as well leaving skin exceptionally soft. I find although leaving my skin feeling cleaner than cleansing milk and toner most products of this type also dries my skin out leaving it in need of a thicker (richer) moisturiser than I normally use. This product is no exception. The oil effect I really don't like as I feel it's not really doing anything, then when it supposedly turns into a milk it's not foamy enough for my liking. Does it actually work? Well yes it does take my make up off and sometimes eye make up but do I like using it? No. So I won't be replacing this bottle once gone, I'll go back to my Mary Kay.

                      For those of you who think you may like, it sells for around £18.50 at places like boots/department stores.

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                      18.03.2011 17:00
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                      Better than other hair removal products I've tried.

                      Leg waxing is a luxury I can't afford since having my daughter, so for the past 2 years I have been trying different cheaper methods of hair removal and this is my latest product in the bathroom. Brought just before Christmas in Boots for approx £5, the packaging has 50ml extra free so is obviously larger than the tube shown in the picture and will therefore last longer than the normal size, so my recommendation on how long the tube should last may be out by a little bit.

                      The tube stands at 20cm and so doesn't fit in the bottom shelf of my bathroom cabinet, this is worth mentioning as I don't like having this sort of product out on show and the design printed on the tube is pretty garish, hopefully the normal size will fit next time I buy it. It stands upright on its pink screw top lid and is very stable and easy to handle, open and close even with slippery hands.

                      I choose the cream as I had already used various other makes and types and find a cream to be the best for me and my purse!. The moose I tried before this although was a nice hair removal product the can of moose didn't last very long, the cream lasts much longer maybe as you can be more in control when applying. I have also tried the cream that you leave on while taking a shower then remove after 3 minutes or so. This cream I really didn't find worked, at least not in my power shower even though I tried to avoid the water getting directly on my legs. Hence this cream is best I have tried so far.

                      Although I don't have particularly sensitive skin I thought using the sensitive formula with moisturising camellia oil and protecting ylang ylang might be better for my skin than the regular flavours such as raspberry that I've used in the past. To be honest I haven't noticed any difference but I'm quite happy to stick with this flavour in future purchases.

                      The way I use this product is to smooth on my legs applying a not to thin but not so thick you use half the tube in one application! Then wash my hands and do a mini manicure while the cream is working. As I have already said I find the creams don't work if I get in the shower while the cream is working. I always have a little alarm clock in the bathroom with me so I don't go over the maximum time limit of 15 minutes. I do find it does take the full 10-15 minutes to work and not the minimum of 5 minutes stated on the packaging. It works very well getting all the hairs I've applied it to so I feel is does do exactly what it says it will, my skin is left smooth and hair free.

                      My legs stay hair free/smooth for approx a week, definitely by day 7 I'm feeling the start of re growth. Also the re growth doesn't have any in growing hairs, something I suffered from using an epilator so another plus point for cream. The tube has lasted me since November last year (but I have shaved a couple of times in this period due to time constraints) and has a good 2 applications I think left so money wise compared to waxing and some other hair removal products I thinks it is very good value for money

                      I think the only reason I can't give it 5 stars is it would be nice if it kept my legs hair free for longer.

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                        11.03.2011 10:01
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                        Excellent for families

                        I'm going to show you how to put a whole meal on the table in 30 minutes flat! Not just one dish, a whole spread of beautiful things.

                        This is the TV chef's mantra for his TV show on channel 4 that spurned this book. I watched the show amazed at how effortless he made it look to cook several dishes within the same time it takes me or my husband to cook a one dish dinner of meat and 2 veg. My mother in law brought the book for me for Christmas. I did not ask for it as I would not have actually brought this for myself as there are an awful lot of recipes I or my husband would not eat, so before you purchase try and have a flick through to see how many dishes you would like to eat (I do not like pasta and this features an awful lot). What I have done is follow the whole dinner courses per the book and also mix and matched dishes from different pages using deserts from one and dinner from another. Jamie does discourage from this as the timings could go wrong, he applauds you not to alter he dishes (ingredients) saying do not freestyle your way through recipes with ingredients or measurements as they have been tested time and time again by him and his team to make sure they work. This is really only ok for Jamie to say if you like trying new foods or do not have a long list of things you do not eat!.

                        The book itself is a hard back which I like for cookery books as they tend to stay open at the page you are working from easier than paperbacks. There is also a blue ribbon page marker so you find your favourite page very easily which all cook books should have in my opinion. The cover itself I have got dirty already and thought about throwing the cover away but the plain grey actual book cover does not look very nice so have kept the cover on for now.

                        The photography in the book is good, showing pictures of all the dishes which I find and aid in the choosing and cooking process, I can't stand following a recipe that doesn't have a picture as I'm not that confident at cooking and wonder if it's turned out right.

                        What I really like is if like me you aren't an overly competent cook during the instructions if you see a little video sign you can go online and see a clip on how to do a particular step. I haven't had to do this but what I have done is got the whole series on my sky plus box in case I need to refer to it. Overall I find the instructions very good, what I can't get my head round is not doing all the preparation work first and / or doing one dish at a time. I'm sure this will come with practice but until them I am only doing these meals on my days off so I can work at my own pace.

                        There are 50 dinner recipe meals in the book, obviously I won't list all of them but hears a flavour (excuse the pun).

                        Curry Rogan josh with fluffy rice, carrot salad, poppadoms, flatbread. By far my favourite and can now cook in approx 30 mins (after practise)
                        Swedish style fishcakes with roasted baby new potatoes, sprout salad and fresh zingy salsa. We were not too keen on the sprout salad but I have to say one of the best fishcakes recipes I've made and I have cooked several from Delia Smith to Annabel Karmel recipes.
                        Roast beef with baby yorkies, little carrots, crispy potatoes and super quick gravy. I still have not managed to cook this in 30 minutes yet and I don't expect to as we like to add other items (e.g. more vegetables) which increases the preparation time.


                        Other menus range from sausages, pizza, lasagne, tapas to picnic foods. I can't comment on all the recipes as I have already said I don't like many but overall the book has turned out to be worth getting for me.

                        I don't know how much it was brought for but I see Amazon is selling it at £13.00

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                        • Bio Oil 200ml / Skin Care / 96 Readings / 94 Ratings
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                          18.01.2011 15:48
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                          I would definately recommend for mums to be.

                          When I found out I was pregnant (with my first) I was recommended by friends 2 different stretch mark products to prevent them during a time of rapid body weight gain. One product was a Clarins oil which I received a couple of Christmases ago then once it had run out I brought myself a bottle of Bio Oil to try and haven't contemplated another brand since. Cheaper per ml than the Clarins oil and stocked more widely were my initial reasons for buying. Also Bio oil seemed to have a more scientific proven record for actually working than other stretch mark lotion and potions that seem to be mere moisturisers. I think this is because Bio oil is also for a number of other issues such as scars, uneven skin tone, aging and dehydrated skin. It calls itself a specialist skincare product and is marketed as such in it's television adverts with no silly celebrity endorsements, I feel it sets itself apart from other stretch mark products.

                          Does it work?
                          Well you are never going to know whether it has prevented stretch marks as if after regular use you don't get any, what's to say you wouldn't of without using it?
                          So I did a scar test whilst using it while pregnant. I had a scar on the top of my foot that I was quite self concise of especially during the summer. It was not a tradition type of scar but after accidentally kicking the side of my bed the skin broke and when healed it left a red blotchy circle mark where I thought maybe I had permanently damage some skin cells and I had this mark for a couple of years. Read on to my results!

                          Using the product:
                          I massaged in targeted areas such as abdomen, hips and thighs from the first trimester until 4 months after the birth to take into account weight gain and loss, twice a day rubbing in until I felt it had absorbed as much as it was going to. I also did the area on my foot each time . The oil itself is orange in colour, not sure what colour I really expected it to be but it isn't an alarming colour, nether is the fragrance off putting, kind of reminds me of baby oil/powder smell and once massaged in the smell doesn't linger. Disppensing the oil was easy gently shaking the bottle to put droplets directly on the skin or in my hand, the white screw on lid is easy to open and close even with oil residue on my hand. As for the non greasy statement on the packaging this is the only downside in that yes I did find it greasy. The view I take is that you can't use an oil product and it not be greasy. It did soak in as well as it could and I found I could get dressed within a couple of minutes of using with the slight greasiness not being an issue for me.
                          As well as putting directly on to your skin you can use as a bath oil. I tried this twice and although lovely in a bath my husband went mad at how slippery the bath was after I had used it and it took more cleaning than normal (the bath not me) so I won't be doing this method again.

                          Bio oil comes in 3 different sizes 60ml £9.18, 125ml £15.31 and 200ml £20.42 prices as per Boots.
                          It comes boxed with an instruction leaflet inside, some boxed beauty products I feel are over packaged just to make it seem a more upmarket expensive item but in this case I think the box and leaflet were the correct balance. I started off buying the small bottle then brought the middle one then the largest one, so all 3 lasted me approx a year. I recommend buying the largest if you are going to use through out a pregnancy as ml for ml it's the best value I didn't realise when I first started using it what amount I would get through. Boots also include it in a promotion from time to time where you can buy 3 for the price of 2 and with getting advantage points as well I think this product is great value for money.

                          Results..........
                          Pregnancy stretch marks = NOT ONE (more than I had before falling pregnant!)
                          Foot scar = GONE !!!!!!
                          Without doing my test patch on my foot I would never have fully believed that this product really worked but after that mark went I am now using Bio oil for my second pregnancy and am using on a tradition type of scar mark on my hand and am hopeful for the same positive results as its smaller than the mark on my foot.

                          I would recommend for stretch mark prevention and also scars but this isn't all this product can be used for as already mentioned but I can't comment on how well it would deal with other skin issues.

                          Boring part, list of ingredients for those interested:
                          Paraffinum Liquidum, Triisononanoin, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Isopropyl Myristate, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Anthemis Nobilis Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis Oil, Calendula Officinalis Extract, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Glycine Soja Oil, BHT, Bisabolol, Parfum, Amyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Salicylate, Citronellol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, Linalool, Alpha-Isomethyl ionone, C1 26100

                          Wow that took ages to type in and my spell check has gone berserk!

                          I don't think this could be called a natural product but at least I can't see any parabens that I normally try to avoid.

                          Will update review in a year with results of my hand scar. Fingers crossed.

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                            29.10.2010 14:25
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                            Great product.

                            At the beginning of the year I went on a healthy eating drive like most people after an indulgent family Christmas. It was not a diet just trying to eat more fruit and vegetables and less crisps and chocolates. Hence I asked for a smoothie maker from Santa and started using it once all the Christmas choccys had gone.


                            PACKAGING AND PIECES

                            On unpacking after washing all the parts I realised just how much space this item was going to take up in my kitchen. It is very tall and did not fit in the cupboard I was hoping to keep it in. So word of warning really think about where you will keep this if you brought one, note if its a lot of hassle to get in and out of your cupboards you will probably lose enthusiasm for it quickly, which is what happened to me after 3 months.


                            USING AND RECIPES

                            Included in the box was a simple instruction leaflet on the usual how to assemble/take apart/use information including a very handy diagram and 18 recipes. This is all great to get you started but I was pleasantly surprised to find a colour smoothie recipe booklet also included citing 27 different recipes most with a colour photo of the final product. The photos are great not only to see if they look appetising, something a lot of my own 'chuck it in' recipes don't look, but also shows how to serve them looking great to guests. I'm not going to start listing loads of recipes but just to give you an idea of how this is for the whole family you can have various recipes aimed directly at adults or children, as well as the normal healthy smoothies. Children's recipes include thick banana milkshake using 3 medium bananas, 500 ml semi skimmed milk and 6 scoops of vanilla ice cream. A great way to get them to have fruit without them feeling it's a chore. My favourite adult recipe is summer fruit crush, 300ml cranberry juice, 75ml cherry brandy and 200g frozen summer fruits. Both these recipes make 4 glasses.

                            A tip I didn't pay attention to at first is to put liquid ingredients in first, then fruit/vegetables and finally ice or frozen ingredients. The reason this is important as I found out, the mixture gets stuck at the nozzle when dispensing and needs dislodging a couple of times before the mixture will flow easily into the glass. The black stirrer that slots into the lid is great for doing this and general stirring, I thought this was an excellent idea of Kenwood's.

                            The 4 buttons on the side are for pulse, smooth, mix and off. The recipes tell you to press various buttons for different amounts of time. The pulse is a high speed option which controls the texture of the smoothie. The mix button does exactly what it states, mixes the ingredients together. The smooth button then allows the ingredients to blend together until smooth. I can hear a change in the speed / blade operation for each option but I am really not sure whether these different buttons are just a gimmick as after experimenting with them I haven't noticed any difference in the mixture after using certain buttons.

                            There are smoothie makers that you can put the whole fruit/vegetable in the machine so no need to peel/skin. This unfortunatly isn't one of them but after looking at the price, between £100 - £300 I felt this was too much for a machine I wasn't sure how much use I would get out of it. However if money was no object I would go for one to save time.

                            The only real downside I have to say is that only my shorter tumblers fit under the nozzle. For taller glasses I have to place blender at the edge the kitchen counter to dispense holding the glass. However the nozzle does occasional drip so I can't leave it there or it will drip onto my floor. In Kenwood's defence there is no way round this as the item is so tall already they can't increase the height any more.

                            Once I have enjoyed my smoothies washing the pieces up isn't difficult. I find all the pieces undo easily and quick to clean. The nozzle needs the most amount of time as you need to run water through it a couple of times to ensure its clean. The cleaning has never put me off using it as some pieces of other kitchen appliances can take longer to clean than to use. I wash them all by hand which as I said I don't find a problem but just to warn you the pieces are not suitable for the dishwasher.

                            Overall I am very impressed with the quality of the machine, ease of use, cleaning, and smoothie results. Although I go through phases of using it I would miss it if it broke and would replace with the same model again. The only reason it doesn't get 5 stars is because of the height of the item, occasional dripping nozzle and buttons not showing different liquid results.

                            I have seen them available at approx £49.95 from Amazon and electrical department stores.

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                              08.10.2010 17:45
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                              Well worth the money

                              Is my daughter hallucinating? Can she see sweets in the electrical sockets in our house and must get them out by any means? No amount of saying 'no, dangerous' or baby signing works. So we have had to buy socket covers. My daughters safety is obviously my priority but I did wonder whether I was wasting money if she could get the covers off herself and also having the annoyance of having to remove a cover every time I wanted to plug an item in especially the iron that comes out most days.

                              Mothercares own brand of socket covers comes in packs of 12 for £5.99 and due to the amount of low level sockets in my house I have had to buy 3 packets, although not used all the 3rd bag. The packaging is a space age bag that looks like it should have an astronauts dinner in it. Silver backed with a clear front stating they are easy to use and prevents children from placing sharp objects into plug sockets. On the back it also lists the benefits as preventing children from plugging in appliances by mistake and carries a warning that the product is not a substitute for adult supervision.
                              Once the top of the bag is cut open you can reseal the packet if you have some left over and store the packet.

                              You get an small and very simple leaflet inside. The instructions are actually just 5 diagrams showing you how to use. The socket covers are white plastic with 3 prongs that you fit in the socket like a normal plug. Thus giving the socket an almost flush surface. You then take the cover out of the socket when required by either your nails (my favourite way as I have just the right length) or by interlocking another socket cover to the front by the flush front of the cover that has 3 raised bumps of plastic that lock into 3 small holes on the other cover, twist and pull out. Sounds trickier that it actually is.

                              These have certainly done the trick my daughter has now lost interest in electrical sockets! It also has not turned out to be such a pain taking them out when I want to plug something in. Just remember to keep a spare one handy in each room to remove any cover you need taking out.
                              As for the quality and price I haven't seen any significantly cheaper around considering how many you get and I always find Mothercare to be one of best so I wouldn't actually trust a very cheap brand. All in all very pleased and would be happy to recommend to anyone

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                              • Sanatogen Pro Natal / Health Product / 98 Readings / 96 Ratings
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                                23.08.2010 18:12
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                                Giving baby best start before even being born.

                                For new parents who plan to have a baby, reading lots of magazines and books on conception and pregnancy quenches a thirst for knowledge to make sure you are prepared and doing everything right. One piece of advice that is very important is taking folic acid. This is important for a babies development in the womb and health professionals will always ask expectant mums whether they have been taking it and for how long. It is recommended that it is taken 3 months before conception and throughout pregnancy.

                                You can get folic acid tablets on there own, I know Holland and Barrett sell them as I have brought these in the past. Then I discovered Sanatogen do these tablets that are also a multivitamin pill. The packaging states each tablet contains 18 vitamins and minerals including folic acid and call them 'mother to be'. The nutritional information list includes vitamin D,E,C,B1,B2,B6,B12, iron,zinc,copper and niacin amongst others. The folic acid in each tablet is your full daily recommended amount of 400mg. I'm not sure if this is a good idea for it to be the full amount as I eat a lot of green vegetables such as broccoli so am possibly going over the recommend amount. One massive plus I have found is since taking these multivitamins is I have noticed a significant drop in the amount of colds etc that I use to pick especially around the winter/Christmas period. Once I don't need folic acid I will convert to taking Sanatogen multi vitamins.

                                The packaging is very striking with a pink screw top lid that needs squeezing when turning but not as child safe as medication tablet bottles, worth noting if you already have children! There is a picture on the front of a pregnant women and its immediately obviously on a chemist shelf what these are for and easily spotted. They come in various different bottle sizes. The one I have at the moment is the one in the picture on Dooyoo that comes with a bottle of 'mother to be' and a bottle of 'omega 3 ' tablets. There were on offer and wouldn't of bothered with the omega 3 otherwise as I eat a lot of fish. The omega 3 is for the babies brain and eye development and in each of the 2 bottles you get 30 tablets. One to be taken with your main meal each day.

                                The tablets themselves are quite a size to swallow compared with the contraceptive pill so if you find it hard to take tablets I would stick with finding just folic acid tablets as these are very small without all the other ingredients in them. .

                                For all you men thinking these pills are sexist Sanatogen has also brought out a father to be tablet that my husband takes!

                                Also they have brought out a 'new mother' tablet for breast feeding. The original 'mother to be' tablet use to be for after pregnancy as well but have obviously decided to distinguish between the 2 different needs for mum.

                                Overall for me they are piece of mind I'm giving our new baby the best start before they are even born.

                                Priced at approx £12 depending on where you buy and what offers are on e.g. boots often do a 3 for 2 on vitamins. Available in many chemists and supermarkets.

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