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Being prone to oily skin, blackheads and spots, I'm always on the lookout for new products to try to help keep my skin clear without drying it out. So I picked up this Deep Action Daily Facial Scrub in Superdrug. It's a Superdrug own-brand product so not available anywhere else. It's priced at a very reasonable £2.59 for a 150ml tube but the range often has offers on for '2 for £4' or similar. The packaging is fairly attractive: it's a transparent squeezy tube with a flip top for easy dispensing. Through the clear plastic you can see the scrub itself, which is a light bluey green colour with little beads suspended in it. It looks very clean and fresh, and this impression is backed up by the fragrance, which is also very light and 'green'-smelling. The directions say to use it daily, applying to wet skin, massaging in and rinsing off. Apparently it 'facilitates the removal of dirt, oil and impurities, leaving your skin feeling soft, smooth and looking clearer. Used daily, it will help prevent further breakouts.' Does it work? Well, once mixed with warm water on your face, it does lather up very well which is satisfying and means you only need to use a very small amount each time. The granules don't feel scratchy but you can feel them getting deep into your pores and washing away all the dirt. It also tingles slightly, presumably because it contains menthol which has a cooling effect. For this reason, this scrub may not be suitable for people with very dry or sensitive skin. Also, watch your eyes as it can sting a bit of you get it too close! It's easy to rinse off using your hands or a flannel, and once you've dried your face it certainly feels nice and 'squeaky clean', with not a trace of makeup or dirt remaining. If anything, it's a bit on the drying side and I find I have to use moisturiser straight after the scrub, but as my skin is greasy I don't mind this. It doesn't make my skin flakey or sore however, just smooth and soft. I've been using this product for about a month and I think it's helped my skin in general. I still get the odd breakout but if anything, slightly less often than before. As it's a bargain product and feels nice to use, I'll carry on buying it.
I don't often wear lipstick, but sometimes it's nice just to add a slick to look a bit more 'polished' when I'm dressed up - but even then I tend to stick to neutral nude colours. That's why I was attracted to this Clinique lipstick. I chose the shade 'Blushing Nude' which is a slightly rosey nude colour, just a little bit darker and pinker than my natural colour. I think this compliments my fair skin and blonde colouring; however it's available in over 20 different shades so there's sure to be one to suit every taste and skintone. This lipstick costs £15 for a 4g tube, which is a standard lipstick size. You can buy it from the Clinique website, or from Boots, Debenhams, House of Fraser or other department or cosmetic stores, as well as online from the likes of Amazon. It comes in a nice silver metallic 'bullet' container which has an understated yet classy appearance, and seems to withstand the knocks inside my makeup bag and handbag OK. Clinique's claims for this lipstick are as follows: 'Longest-wearing creamy-matte formula. Keeps its just-applied look for hours and hours. Won't feather, creep, stain, or dry out. Opaque coverage. Colour stays true without caking or drying. Gives lips a smooth texture and comfortable feel.' And did it live up to the claims?! It certainly has a smooth texture and glides on easily, with even coverage and a nice amount of colour. It has the usual tapered end which makes applying the lipstick easy, even when you haven't got a mirror to hand. However if you used a lip brush and even lined the lips with lipliner first, I'm sure the results would be even better (I'm too lazy to do this so can't comment!) Like all Clinique products, it is hypoallergenic and fragrance free, so good for those with sensitive skin. Once on, it feels quite thick - you can tell it's there, if that makes sense. It's not the lightest lipstick in the world, but I suppose this is because of its longlasting properties. It just makes it feel a bit uncomfortable for me, as I prefer a sheer product. However I have to say, it does last much longer than most lipsticks I've used. It needed a touchup after a few hours, but has good staying power even after eating and drinking, whereas I usually need to touch my lips up every hour or two. Yet it didn't dry my lips out, and still looked even and not patchy. I'm quite torn on this lipstick and whether I would buy it again. If you prefer the sheer look and feel and don't mind touching your lips up, then I wouldn't recommend this. However, it does live up to its name and its claims, so if it's long lasting lips you want, this is the product for you.
Being only in my mid-twenties, eye cream isn't something I've ever spent much time thinking about. I've generally assumed it's only for 'older' ladies or those with serious wrinkles. However, recently I've noticed some tiny lines beginning to appear below my eyes and at the corners when I smile, so can only assume that I must be getting old! Hence when I was last in Debenhams browsing the Clinique counter and being tempted by their latest 'Bonus Time' offer of a freebie goody bag when purchasing two products, I thought I might as well give this a try and see if I noticed any difference! This eye cream is available from Boots, House of Fraser, Debenhams and other department stores and chemists (as well as online). At full price it's £22.50 for a 15ml jar, which is surprisingly small, especially as the jar itself is quite thick, fooling you slightly into thinking there is more inside! However, it looks classy and expensive as you would expect from Clinique. The jar has a nice metallic lid and is itself transparent with the name of the product printed on it, and you can see the cream itself through the packaging. It's a very light pink colour and looks smooth and creamy. The packaging (and Clinique's advertising) claim that this cream 'diminishes the appearance of eye puffs, darkness and fine lines', and recommends that you apply it to the lids and underneath the eyes twice a day, as part of their Three-Step programme (cleanse, exfoliate, moisturise). The cream feels very lightweight and non-greasy when you apply it, and you only need a very tiny amount, however it doesn't sink in instantly and it's impossible to apply makeup directly on top. I have found it works better to apply this at night and allow it to sink in overnight. Although I haven't got that far down the jar, I suspect it might get awkward as I get near the bottom to get my fingers into the corners... I'm glad to say that it doesn't sting or burn though, which is always a worry when using products near your eyes. It's unfragranced and hypoallergenic, according to the packaging. I've been using this cream every night for around a month now and although it's pleasant to use, I don't think it's doing anything that a normal moisturiser wouldn't - I can't say I've seen any difference to the lines around my eyes so I'll probably go back to my usual Simple moisturiser! I certainly don't think it's worth £22.50 and won't be buying it again.
I was expecting great things from this moisturiser, as I'm very much a budget girl and rarely buy expensive products like Clinique so was keen to see if it was any better than my usual own-brand moisturiser! Available from Boots, Debenhams and similar shops, it retails at around £15 for a small 50ml tube,up to £27 for a 125ml bottle. I bought the large pump bottle pictured above as I was enticed in by a Debenhams 'Bonus Time' offer with a free gift bag when you buy two full-size products - Clinique products are often on this kind of promotion so if you're a fan it's worth keeping an eye out. The packaging, like all Clinique products, is fairly minimal and understated, with the name of the product in English and French on the front and the ingredients etc. on the back. The square bottle is quite unusual compared to the usual tubes and bottles on the shelf, so stands out and I think it looks good quality and expensive. It's handy to have a pump dispenser so you aren't dipping your fingers into a pot which might spread bacteria or harbour dirt. This Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel is designed for oily skin, as part of Clinique's 3-step process of Cleanse, Exfoliate and Moisturise. The bottle claims that it is 'developed by Clinique's dermatologists to maintain optimal moisture balance for skins comfortable in the cheeks but oily in the T-zone or oily all over. Oil-free formula softens, smooths, improves.' M skin certainly tends towards the oily, although it's often a combination of oily and dry, especially in cold weather or in an air-conditioned office. I often find moisturisers too rich and greasy so I was attracted to the fact that this is a light gel rather than a heavy cream. It's a light creamy-yellow colour and has a very light texture - if anything it's a little bit watery. You only need to use a very small amount to cover your whole face as it spreads very easily and absorbs quickly: I use a smaller than pea-size blob and that's more than adequate. The pump dispenser is great because it dispenses just about the right amount. Unlike many moisturisers, it absorbs into the skin quickly rather than sitting greasily on the surface, which is an advantage if you wear makeup over the top because you don't need to wait for it to sink in (nothing worse than that 'sliding off makeup' feeling!) It makes my skin feel instantly smooth and comfortable: not tight or dry at all. It also feels light, fresh and not at all heavy. My makeup stayed put all day and my skin remained smooth and healthy-looking. After using this for a few weeks, I can't say I've noticed a long-term improvement in my skin: I still get blemishes and oily/dry patches, but in the short term, every day I use this it does the job and keeps my skin looking good and feeling comfortable. I like it, but I'm not sure it's worth £27 as there are other, cheaper, products out there that do the job just as well.
I recently bought an Apple iPhone 4, so I thought it would be helpful to also review some of the apps I've downloaded from the App Store. As always, some have been better than others but this is one of my favourites and which I would wholeheartedly recommend! It's free of charge and easy to download from the iPhone app store simply by searching for 'Ebay' and then clicking the button to download. Most people will be familiar with the Ebay website and the activities it involves: listing items for sale, placing bids, keeping watch on your selling or bidding and making sure you don't get outbid. Well I'm glad to say this app has made all of that so much easier for me. Because I work full-time and spend a lot of time commuting, this has meant that I don't need to fret about missing any action and being outbid, and I can keep an eye on who's bid what for my selling items, without having to be at my desk at work or on my laptop at home. Basically the app notifies you instantly on your phone (via a screen alert) when any action takes place on your items, which means you can quickly bid again if you need to, and never miss out on winning an auction! It also reminds you when one of your watched items is about to end, so you can get in there quick before someone else does. Searching for items using this app is fairly straightforward: obviously the photos are smaller than the full website version, and it takes a few seconds to tick over (depending on your internet connection), but it's very easy to navigate and to find an item, and to bid on it, or add it to your watch list. If the description of the item is very long, it can run over a few pages which you need to scroll through, which can be a little annoying. If you're looking at something where the photos are vital then I think using the proper website version would be better. Once you've sold or won an item, it's possible to pay using this app (which links through to your Paypal account), but being the paranoid person that I am, I haven't dared do anything to do with payment using my iPhone. It's probably safe, but I'm a bit worried about open networks so I'll stick to doing this on my laptop. Basically, this is a really useful app, especially for those that use Ebay a lot and are often on the go and away from a computer, but it doesn't replace the website - just enhances the experience.
I've never been a massive technology fan and probably wouldn't have bought an iPhone last year had I not had my previous phone (an LG Cookie) stolen. I was in a hurry to replace it and was sucked in by the shininess and general loveliness of the iPhone 4. I got mine on Orange, and paid £119 for the phone plus £30 a month for their lowest contract. The phone itself is very attractive: it's pleasingly heavy (137g, according to the Apple website) and substantial, but still really streamlined and elegant looking. Unlike the previous iPhone 3, it has sharper lines and proper 'corners' rather than rounded edges, which personally I prefer. Almost the whole of the front is taken up by the touchscreen, except for the Home button at the bottom which functions as a kind of 'enter' or 'select' key. The screen is exceptionally high-resolution meaning the graphics and photos are extremely clear. I think this is one of the main benefits of this phone above others. I haven't used my proper digital camera since buying this phone as the inbuilt camera is so good (5 megapixels) and the photos show up so well on the screen. It's also really easy and quick to download them onto my laptop (via the little white power lead that is supplied with the phone) or upload them straight onto Facebook, etc. However the screen is made of glass and is therefore quite fragile. At least one of my friends has shattered her screen by dropping her phone with very little force - they are apparently less good than other phones at withstanding knocks, so I would advise buying a plastic or rubber shockproof cover/case for your phone to avoid the huge costs of a repair. I had heard in the news about people having problems with phone reception and calls cutting out, but either this glitch had been fixed before I bought my phone, or it doesn't effect mine at all. Either way, the reception is always crystal-clear and it never drops calls. One of the most important features of this phone for me is the speed of internet browsing. With my previous smart phone, it took a few seconds for pages to load and generally felt a little sluggish. This is much faster, whether using WiFi or the inbuilt 3g cellular data. However you need to watch the battery life when using the internet lots (especially WiFi) as it runs down within hours - if I have one complaint about the iPhone, this would be it as I always need to make sure I have a charging lead with me. However it's easy enough to plug in on my desk at work or at home so it's not a massive problem. One of the main selling points of the iPhone is the facility to download 'apps' from the Apple store. I have to admit I haven't downloaded many myself, but the ones I have used have been very easy to work and I have found them useful: so far, Tube Map, Facebook, BBC News & Weather, the game iJewels, Twitter, Google, Yell.com and Bump (this isn't the place to review these so I may do so separately!) I also use the inbuilt Maps function often - this is really handy as not only does it generate maps, but it uses Satnav technology to know exactly where you are, and marks this on the map and gives you actual directions to your destination. Overall I would strongly recommend this phone. I love it and I can't imagine how I managed without it!
I decided to buy a new laptop as my previous one (a Dell, only 3 years old) had slowed down beyond belief despite me cleaning, defragmenting, uninstalling all the rubbish, etc. Its battery life was also rubbish and it frequently overheated. I bought my new Vaio laptop in April 2011 from PC World and paid £479, which was a special offer price. I have to admit I chose this Vaio laptop partly because I liked the way it looked - it has a sleek, matte silver lid and the inside and keyboard are white, and look superficially a little Mac-like. It has a wide screen (14 inches I think) and is very streamlined and compact looking. It's also pretty light for a full-size laptop and is comfortable to hold on my knees (or even in bed, as I am lazy like that). Another thing I liked about it was that it includes a numeric keypad at the right hand side. This makes typing numbers much faster, especially useful for people who do a lot of data entry or who need a lot of ALT+ shortcuts for special characters, accents etc. The touchpad feels slightly different to use to that on many older laptops but it's very easy to use, and I have got the hang of it in no time. The display is nice and bright and not overly reflective. As far as its performance goes, I absolutely love this laptop! It's 10 times faster than my Dell and when I switch it on, it's up and running in seconds, compared to 4+ minutes with my old one. There is also a 'Quick Web Access' one-touch button if you just need to go online quickly before it's properly warmed up - very useful! The battery life is fine - around 4 hours, which is better than my old laptop but still could be better. However as I mostly use it at home, that's fine for me. I'm sure I could tweak the power settings to conserve battery life further if I wanted to. It came with Windows 7 installed, plus lots of superfluous Sony software which I haven't really explored. Some users have commented that this 'bloatware' can slow the system down but I haven't noticed this. It also came pre-loaded with a trial version of MacAfee anti-virus, which is always useful. I bought Office 10 at the same time and loaded that no problem, and have since downloaded things like iTunes which seem to work perfectly first time too. Overall I'm extremely impressed with this product and would definitely recommend it. I wish I'd bought mine months ago!
I've been using this product for a couple of months as I blowdry my hair nearly every day and like to feel that I'm protecting it from the worst of the heat damage. I've used various sprays, balms and serums over the years but this one appealed to me as it claims on the packaging to 'Help prevent styling damage, condition and detangle hair for more manageability.' My hair is shoulder-length and quite fine and straight but gets flyaway after washing, and I do have quite a few split ends. However I don't like to use anything too heavy on my hair that weighs it down or makes it greasy. This product costs £5.49 for 250ml in Boots but is also available in some supermarkets, Superdrug etc, and is sometimes on 3 for 2 or 2 for £10 making it slightly less pricey. This product is just one of many in the Toni & Guy range, and is in the characteristic red and silver packaging which looks quite stylish and in keeping with the 'high end' feel of the brand. It comes in a red metallic can with a frosted plastic cap, and has a pump spray (rather than an aerosol). All the text is in silver but is still quite easy to read against the red. It is designed to be used on damp hair, after washing and before styling with a hairdryer or straighteners, and I use it nearly every morning after towel-drying my hair. It is easy to spray and just the right amount comes out in a few squirts - it's best to concentrate on the ends rather than weighing down the roots. It has a very pleasant smell which is hard to describe but just smells classy and clean, like a nice hair salon, adding to the high quality feel of the product. I can tell the difference immediately after drying my hair when I've used this, compared to when I haven't used anything. It feels much more soft and manageable, less flyaway and looks sleeker and shinier (but not greasy, unless I've used too much or too near the roots). The fragrance lingers for most of the day too, which is nice. And it doesn't need washing any sooner, which is a downside of some similar products I've tried. All in all, I'm very happy with this product. It does the job and doesn't cost the earth. Recommended.
I have been a mystery shopper with Retail Eyes for around a year now. I was initially attracted to it because it sounded intriguing and a little bit exciting, and of course I love to shop and couldn't believe I could get paid for it! I've found it really interesting and although I'll never get rich from it, it's nice to earn a little extra money from something which basically has become a hobby and which I now do on average once a week. For those that don't know what Mystery Shopping is, the general idea is that you visit businesses such as shops and restaurants posing as a normal customer, often asking for advice or making a purchase, but paying special attention to the customer service you receive, and spend time writing up a report afterwards which you submit to the Mystery Shopping company. They then feed this back to the business and it helps them to see their service from an outsider's perspective and identify areas they can improve in future. The 'mystery' part is because you are essentially undercover and don't let them know that you are not a normal customer, thereby getting a more authentic experience rather than them making a special effort to impress an official inspector. And for each job you do (or 'assignments' as Retail Eyes rather excitingly call them) you receive a small fee for your time, as well as a reimbursement of any purchase you make. You therefore need to make sure you get a receipt and scan it to attach to your report, to prove that you actually visited the location and made the appropriate purchase. You often also need to take a photo of the outside of the location and upload a digital photo to your report. There are many Mystery Shopping companies in the UK, all with a different client base, but I chose Retail Eyes as I had heard about them from a friend who also works for them, and she assured me that signing up as a shopper was simple and that they were easy to work with, reliable at paying and good at replying to any queries. Basically to sign up, all you do is visit their website and set up an account with your email address and contact details. You also need to tell them your location, as each time you log into the website it has a page of available jobs in your area. However if you work in a different city for example, you can set up up to 5 alternative locations - maybe places you visit often or where you have friends or family. You can also specify how far from that central postcode you are willing to travel (eg. 1 mile, 5 miles radius etc). You also need to submit your bank account details - this is so you can be paid! RE do a payment run every 2 weeks by BACS, so the money is usually in your bank account a few weeks after completing each assignment to allow time for them to process your report, checking and proofreading etc. I've never had any problems with payment arriving on time, and the payment section on the RE website is very easy to use and look up details of your pending payments, past payments etc. To apply for an assignment you need to check the website regularly, as all available assignments are posted on there and it's a case of first-come, first-served to apply for whatever takes your fancy. RE do occasionally send direct emails letting you know about available assignments in your area but this doesn't happen very often: it seems to be when they have an assignment they're struggling to fill. Then you need to download all the details in a PDF format, read carefully and answer a few questions to check you are eligible (eg that you don't have any family members employed by the company being visited etc!). Then you choose your date from the days available. When it comes to actually doing the assignment, my tips are: * Read the instructions carefully, especially the location. I have messed up a couple of times by visiting an incorrect branch of a chain, when there are several very close together. * Make sure you're wearing a watch so you can time your waiting length etc. accurately. RE are hot on this and your times need to be very accurate. * Make some notes as soon as possible afterwards while it's still fresh in your mind, even if you don't complete the full report till later * If you have any problems, contact RE as soon as possible. They are very helpful and will try and help if you have any queries or problems. That's all I can think of! If you have any questions let me know, and good luck if you decide to delve into the world of Mystery Shopping!
I bought this fragrance as a bit of a 'spur-of-the-moment' purchase during my lunchbreak as I had almost run out of my usual more expensive perfume. I hadn't really noticed but M&S seem to have expanded their toiletries and fragrance range since I last looked, or maybe it's just because I was in a huge store in a city centre. Anyway there were lots to choose from and most were available in two different sizes: 100ml and 25ml. This Azure Breeze fragrance came in a small 25ml bottle which is just about the right size for a handbag or travelling. As it was just a stop-gap measure I was happy with this and thought it would be handy to tide me over. This was priced £6, whereas the larger size was £12 and this is the kind of bottle you would keep on your dressing table for everyday use. The bottle itself is a round, frosted translucent glass bottle with a silver cap covering the spray. It has the name of the fragrance embossed into the frosting and the whole effect is nice and simple which looks quite classy. This comes in a cardboard box which was light blue and to be honest wasn't much use (I just threw it away) but obviously if you're giving this as a gift it would make it much nicer as well as easier to wrap! The spray is very easy to use and dispenses a light mist of fragrance: a couple of squirts on the neck and on each wrist are perfect. The smell is (like all perfumes!) tricky to describe in words but is very light and summery, with a definite hint of fruit (the packaging says green apples and I agree) and quite a cool, seaside-y feel. Looking on the M&S website I see one reviewer has described it as similar to D&G Light Blue: I haven't smelt that but maybe that will help if you have! I thought it was in the same vein as Davidoff Cool Water: not at all overpowering and very fresh yet still sweet and girly. My only criticism is that the scent just does not last long enough for me - if I apply it in the morning it has worn off by lunchtime, and doesn't even seem to cling to clothes or scarves, jackets, etc like many perfumes do. In a way it's nice that it's not overpowering but to me this just means it's not great value for money as I have to reapply all the time and definitely if I'm going out in an evening. I think this must be what sets many cheap fragrances aside from the more expensive quality ones. However if you just want a cheap smell to freshen up with, this is lovely. I probably won't buy it again though - I'll just use less of my more pricey perfumes!
I bought this in Boots as I've been impressed by some of the other products in the Essentials range, particularly the moisturiser. I have quite oily skin and like the extra-clean feeling you can only get from a toner, but at the same time I don't want to spend loads on a fancy name and packaging, so I thought I'd give this a try. It's exclusive to Boots and retails for £1.39 for 150ml, which is a similar price to the other products in the Essentials Cucumber range - bargain! The packaging is very simple: it's a translucent clear bottle with a pale green plastic cap which flips up and just has a small hole to dispense just the right amount at a time. It has a clear label on the front and back with all the basic information typed on it including the name of the product, 'for all skin types', and on the back, the usage instructions and ingredients. It is very minimal packaging but doesn't look cheap and nasty: it's still OK to keep on your bathroom shelf! The main ingredient after water is alcohol, which doesn't sound great for your skin but is the active ingredient in most toners and is probably what gives you that lovely squeaky-clean feelinfg... As instructed, I used this after cleansing my face at night: I squeezed this out onto a cotton wool ball and wiped it all over my face, concentrating on the T-zone, where my skin is oiliest. The texture is like water so you do need to use something quite absorbent otherwise it would run and dribble everywhere. Cotton wool is easiest but I guess you could also use a tissue. It definitely smells of cucumber and it's quite a fresh, natural smell rather than a chemical approximation. It feels nice and cool on the skin and dries quickly. As it dried, I could feel my skin tightening slightly, but not uncomfortably, and it did leave my face feeling really clean with no residue of dirt, oil or excess cleanser. I woke up the next morning with a still-clean face which wasn't greasy (this is an improvement for me!) I'm not sure whether it's just a mental thing but using this regularly just makes me feel cleaner and less grotty at the end of the day. It's lovely to use on hot days just to freshen up and I think my skin has been clearer since using it. It doesn't dry my skin out though and leaves it soft and easy to use makeup on. I'm very impressed with this product and at this price you can't go wrong - I'll definitely be using this again.
I've always liked fresh 'green' smells and have enjoyed using Aloe Vera products before so when I saw this Moisturising Body Gel in Boots I thought I'd give it a try. I think it's a fairly new product and because of this was on offer at £3 rather than the usual price of £4.49. This is quite a lot more than I'd pay for my usual body moisturisers so I was expecting great things! It also comes in a Cocoa Butter variety but I can't stand the smell of that although I know lots of people love it... This gel comes in a 200ml clear plastic bottle with a green plastic flip-top lid. You can see the gel through the bottle and it's an attractive light green transparent gel with bubbles suspended in it like a glass of lemonade or something! This is quite unusual and eye-catching. The packaging is quite simple, with a label on the front and back with the Vaseline logo on and the name of the product. On the back it lists the ingredients in and has a bit of sales-y blurb which claims that this gel 'glides onto skin for a sheer burst of hydration. The light aloe vera formula conditions while instantly refreshing skin. For daily use all year round - and contains no alcohol.' I sometimes find body lotions or butters a bit too heavy or sticky so was looking forward to trying this. It squeezes out easily and is just the right consistency: not too thick but not so runny it's hard to control. I applied this to my arms and legs and rubbed it in a little bit. The first thing I noticed was that it felt quite cold - at the time of writing, in this lovely sunshiney heat, that was a good thing, but not great if you'd just got out of the bath or shower in the middle of winter! It spreads easily over the skin and you don't need to use a lot to cover a large area. It leaves a glossy sheen on the skin and really does make it feel soft and healthy. However I was disappointed to note that it does take a while to absorb and feels a little bit sticky for quite a while which is annoying when you want to get dressed! The smell is every bit as gorgeous as I hoped: it smells fresh, natural and 'leafy' - like freshly cut grass. The fragrance lingered on my skin and also on my clothes for the rest of the day, so if you like it, it's nice to get a waft now and again. With continued use, my skin did feel softer and more moisturised, but it's definitely a lighter moisturiser than many I've used. I don't think it would be great on very dry skin. I actually find the best use for it is when I've epilated my legs and they feel a bit hot and stingy, as this is really cooling and soothing without bunging up my pores. It's also nice to cool you down on hot days and I imagine would be good as an after-sun lotion on mildly sunburnt skin. In conclusion, I'm not sure I'll buy this again. It's a pleasant product but not one for heavy-duty moisturising! I might try the lotion of the same scent from the Vaseline range next.
The Therapy range is clearly Boots's own competitor to the Radox brand, and they haven't tried to be particularly subtle about mimicking the packaging and product names. I saw this bath essence on the shelf next to my usual Radox and thought I would give it a try, as it looked very similar but was only £1.49 - only about two thirds the price of the Radox equivalent. I love rose fragrances and chose this mainly for the scent, but also because it describes itself as 'moisture rich' and 'hydrating', which I thought could only be good for my poor old dry-skinned body! It promises that 'skin is left feeling naturally restored, silky soft, smooth and delicately scented.' It comes in a 500ml bottle (quite a good size, made of clear plastic, which is a square shape crosswise and has a pink plastic screw-on cap. The product itself is an attractive pale pink colour, with a hint of pearlescent sheen. The writing on the bottle is all white and pink and it has an illustration of a rose flower on the front. It all looks very girly but very pretty and attractive. I poured this under warm running water as per the instructions and was very glad to see that it made a huge amount of foam very quickly. It bubbled up and kept making more and more froth, and the scent was just GORGEOUS... it smelt like a normal rose fragrance but with a sweet twist. I can't quite describe it but it had something a little bit different and totally irresistable. The bubbles felt very soft and moisturising on my skin and lasted a long time in the bath. The smell also lingered for the half hour or so I was in the bath and also fragranced the whole flat with perfumed steam! When I got out of the bath and dried off, my skin felt lovely and moisturised, not dry like it often does after a long bath (I like my baths really hot!), and it wasn't at all irritated or itchy. The lovely fragrance stayed on my skin all evening and I got a waft of it now and again. Since the first time I tried this product a couple of months ago, I've bought at least 3 more bottles as I get through so much. It seems to have cured me of trying out loads of different bubble baths as I never seem to get bored of this one - the smell is just perfect and my skin likes it too. I've also seen it on offer in Boots at 2 for £1.50 (as it is at the time of writing, 13 May 10) which is a really good deal as the normal price is £1.49 each. There are also shower gels in the same range which are included in the offer.
This is my local pub and my boyfriend and I find ourselves there at least once every week or two! The reason we like it is its nice atmosphere, which is not too scruffy and 'local' but not too trendy or soulless. It is right next to the canal in Apsley in Hertfordshire, near a footbridge that leads over to the towpath. Despite being right next to a main road, it's a really nice setting and the 'front' of the pub looks over the canal, which often has swans, ducks and barges floating past...ahhh. We moved here in summer and on the day we came househunting we had lunch here, and they had a lovely BBQ on the decking by the canal which I think swung it for us! It is decorated in quite a traditional way but because it's newish and pretty big, it doesn't feel stuffy. It's very airy and light in the daytimes, and cosy in the evenings - especially in winter when they have a big open fire right in the middle of the pub. There are lots of tables and chairs, as well as comfy squishy sofas and a long bar which you can also sit at. The Paper Mill has an extensive drinks menu, with a good wine list (not cheap but lots of choice) and always have changing ales and beers on tap. My boyfriend likes all the local ales, but they also have all the usual lagers and bottled beers. They also do lots of unusual drinks which are sometimes advertised on blackboards at the bar, the latest one being different kinds of Pimms, with all the different No. blends as well as the option to top up with ginger beer instead of lemonade. Yum! The staff are always friendly and there are lots of them, so you always get served quickly. Upstairs is a restaurant and is a little bit darker and smarter, but still laid back and really welcoming. (You can also eat downstairs in the pub though). I've only eaten here a couple of times but both times it's been great. The menu is quite gastro-pubby with traditional English favourites and a few posher things with a twist. I've had a lovely steak, and a coq au vin, both really good. Portion sizes are pretty generous too, and you don't usually have to order sides separately. Prices are higher than average pub food with starters from around £5 and mains from around £9-£20 but the quality is worth it. The service is quite classy for a pub too. The loos are easy to find and very clean and pleasant. There is also lots of parking which is a plus, and it's easy to find from the main road through the village. Overall this is a really nice pub and one which anyone would feel welcome in. Come and visit if you ever find yourself in Apsley!
Normally I use hot water, general multi-purpose kitchen or bathroom cleaner spray and a reusable cloth to clean, but I recently bought these when our boiler broke and we had no hot water for a while, as I thought they would be easy to use in the meantime. They are available from most supermarkets as well as shops like Superdrug, Wilko etc. The average price seems to be about £2 per pack but I picked mine up from Savers for 89p - bargain! The pack says it contains 60 wipes, but as I found when I opened them, they are actually joined together in pairs to make 30 large wipes. You can easily tear them in half along the perforation but they'd be very small and not very useful, so I've been using the large double wipes as I suspect most people would. They come in a plastic pack with a sticky label opening in the centre which means you can pull out as many wipes as you need and then reseal to stop the wipes drying out. This means they last longer and are more effective. The packaging claims that they kill 99.9% of bacteria, which is especially reassuring for bathrooms and kitchens. I also took them to work and used them on my desk and my phone as they were pretty minging and probably harbouring scary amounts of bacteria too! The thing I noticed first when I opened these was the strong smell. It's not exactly unpleasant but it quite overpowering. It smells like Flash liquid cleaner- pretty chemical and very clean, with a hint of citrus. This made me think I'd better wear rubber gloves to use them as the chemicals must be pretty strong. They are also a little bit wet, like baby wipes or makeup removing wipes, so you don't need to use any water or other product with them. I'm glad to say these were so easy to use! I just wiped them across all my surfaces and they picked up dirt, crumbs and sticky patches effortlessly, leaving surfaces sparkling clean, shiny and fresh. They worked well on toilets, sinks, baths, tiles, kitchen worktops, taps, sinks... the list is endless! They pick up dust well and once you've finished with a wipe you can just pop it in the bin (don't flush them down the toilet as they don't biodegrade). I feel rather guilty at the wastefulness of this, and the environmental impact, but as a short-term measure until I can get my hot water, bleach and mop out again, they are working wonders!