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ryeb

ryeb
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Member since: 19.09.2011

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    • Yellowstone Camping Shower / Camping / 13 Readings / 12 Ratings
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      31.08.2014 18:03
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      Advantages

      • "Easy to transport"
      • "Really does heat water"

      Disadvantages

      • "Needs consistent sun for best results"
      • "Doesn't retain heat"

      A handy product for summer camping

      My boyfriend and I like to go camping off the beaten track. So the Yellowstone solar/camping shower is used as a extra source of hot water. It only cost 5GBP in Wilko.

      A solar shower is basically a large bag of thick black pvc. You fill it with cold water, and lay it in the sun for a number of hours to heat. Assembly involves putting in a metal pole adjacent to the shower hanger - to reinforce it as the shower has a 20l capacity and it is easy to underestimate just how heavy that is when full. It folds down relatively flat with patience which is useful if you are backpacking. It isn't heavy when empty either.

      Once filled the bag is laid flat somewhere sunny. Best results come from laying it on a concrete path if you find one! A pebbly beach is also excellent but make sure there's nothing sharp about.

      On the shower there is a guide which suggests what temperatures the shower can reach on a sunny day of 70 degrees Fahrenheit EG, the heating time is given as 3 hours for water at 105 degrees F. You're warned that the shower can reach temperatures exceeding 120 degrees so you need to test the water temp before use. Here's how it works in practice. Recently, the air temp was 84F. After an hour laid on grass, the water was luke warm. After three it was hot enough for me to happily wash with. For really hot water, I prefer to leave the shower in the sun all day but this only works if you make sure it actually stays there and doesn't get shady. I've never found the water to be scalding but a pat of the outside of the shower doesn't give an accurate reflection to how warm the water actually is inside, so be careful. The main problem is that the water doesn't stay warm for long when the sun goes in. You can't heat water in the morning and expect to have hot water in the evening if it's a cloudy afternoon. The 20l capacity is enough for me to actually have a proper shower but you can't compare it to the experience of using one at home. The water flow is steady but not exactly powerful. The shower head is modestly sized so the water at least lasts well. The other thing to consider is you will need somewhere sturdy to hang it up in order to use it as intended, although we have improvised and let the water flow out in to a bucket.

      This is cheap and does heat water but it also has significant limitations. The water won't stay hot for long, it doesn't work much at all when the day is overcast, and the water flow is modest. But overall it's worth a try.

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    • Barry M Kohl Pencil / Make Up / 14 Readings / 14 Ratings
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      25.08.2014 16:38
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      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Comfy to use"
      • "Long lasting"
      • Cheap

      Disadvantages

      • "Not all colours easily available"

      A great kohl pencil for the price

      I was converted to the use of navy eyeliners after a make up demo some time ago. Thankfully Barry M do one, shade no four. It cost me just 2.99GBP from the Superdrug website as I couldn't buy it instore.

      The pencil has a sticker on it saying "new formula". It is a while since I last used a Barry M pencil, and that was in a different colour so I am not sure whether there is much difference between the new and old versions. The pencil has minimum packaging, and there isn't a sharpener included. But really I rarely need to re-apply this during the day and I have a stand alone sharpener at home to use when I apply this first thing in the morning so it's a minor inconvenience.

      The pencil is comfortable to hold, being neither too fat or thin which does make a difference to someone such as myself whose hands are not make up steady. The tip feels nice and comfortable - it's definitely one of the softest I have tried. I can't bear eye pencils that make you press hard to impart the colour. This one needs no effort and doesn't drag. The strong colour means a mistake would look horrible so I like the fact that a steady sweep is enough to complete a smooth line of even colour. We all have our favourite ways of applying kohl, but for me just one sweep minimises the risk of any accidental smudging. I am not one for smokey eyes using blue but for the purposes of this review, I tried to create that effect and yes, the eyeliner can be smudged for a smokey look should you wish. It is quite easy but not so much that you end up with smudging when that wasn't the look you wanted.

      I didn't think the kohl would last that long because of its soft texture, but I have been surprised to find that it does actually stay put. It isn't waterproof but failing runny eyes, I get the colour to last most of the day without re-applying. It is definitely fine for a night out which is when I am most likely to use it. It doesn't travel anywhere around the eyes, but the colour gets a little less intense without completely disappearing, after about five hours.

      I don't have sensitive eyes so I am not surprised to have had no problems with irritation when using this. I have also found it easy enough to remove using my usual basic eye make up remover. I'm sure you will be pleasantly surprised by the comfortable feel and staying power of a cheap brand. For me the colour is just what I was looking for and I will be buying again. Barry M products are available from many places, including Amazon and Boots.

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    • Sally Hansen Insta Dri / Make Up / 17 Readings / 13 Ratings
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      07.07.2014 22:18
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      (Rating)
      2 Comments

      Advantages

      • "Lasts well"
      • "One coat polish"
      • "Dries very fast"

      Disadvantages

      • "limited stockists"

      A top performing nail polish

      Sally Hansen Insta Dri nail polish is a great find. It''s been good to finally find one that not only lives up to it''s claims but actually exceeds them. The even better news is that if you shop around you may be able to pick up a bottle for a little as 1GBP! My first polish cost me 5.99 in Superdrug, but I have subsequently found that both Poundworld/Poundland have a good selection to choose from.

      It''s supposed to be dry in 60 seconds and it''s also a one coat polish.. There was quite a limited range of colours in Superdrug, but Poundworld sells imported ones from the much larger American collection. I have used Steal-a-base, Racey Rouge, and Blu-By. (9.7ml.)

      I have been delighted that most of the polish has had delivered completely opaque coverage with just one coat. Only Blu-By needed a second layer for me at first but now I know I can safely apply it thickly without spoiling the finish. The polish even seems slightly thin when you first use it, but it isn''t drippy so even when I am in a real rush I can coat nail in a few strokes and don''t have a lot of tidying up to do. I apply it as thickly as I can given the consistency and this doesn''t add to the drying time much.

      The polish is supposed to be dry within a minute but Sally Hansen haven''t done themselves justice there as for me it is touch dry in half that time, if not before.In fact it dries to lightly tacky in a few seconds. The finish is excellent too - most have a straightforward glossy sheen. "Steal a base" looks more matte although it does catch the light. That colour looks metallic up close but it''s very subtle.

      I mainly wear this polish when I want to quickly sort my nails after working in the garden. I tend not to need it to stay in place for a long while. However, the finish has proved to be nicely durable and on my toes I find it easily last 5 days with the one coat and no top coat. As this product is so quick and easy to use it is tempting to make it quicker still and not apply a basecoat. I did this and after wearing it more or less continuously for a fortnight (but re-applied every few days, I developed light staining on some nails. No lasting harm was done however. Otherwise it is dead easy to remove.

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      • Zoya Nail Polish / Make Up / 14 Readings / 13 Ratings
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        05.07.2014 19:59
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Huge colour range"
        • " formaldehyde resin"
        • "Free from camphor"
        • " toulene"
        • "Free from DBP"

        Disadvantages

        • "Not very long lasting"

        A poish free of potential toxins but it doesn't last long

        I love nail polish and was delighted to receive a Zoya nail polish as a gift from a friend. They are an American brand, not widely seen here but available from the likes of Amazon and some salons. I have bought a few of their polishes now for around 10.50 per 15ml but keep an eye on Amazon as their are very often some reduced to more like 5-7GBP. Zoya say they were the first brand to remove potential toxins such as formaldehyde resin, toluene, DBP and camphor from their products which is good to know.

        With more than 300 colours to choose from, picking my favourite is hard but it''s probably Channing, an unusual metallic rusty colour. There are colours here I haven''t seen anywhere else, which is saying a lot. I find the texture of the polish on the thin side but not actually drippy. It is a classic two coat polish - one coat leaves a fairly decent level of colour but two really develops the unusual metallic finish on Channing for example. You really need to shake this polish more than average to avoid a slight streakiness to the colour as well. That done though, I happy with the finish, which is smooth and in the case of Channing, slightly sparkly. Others are matte or high shine but all are very true to how they look in the bottle. The brush is a bit shorter than I would like for the size of the bottle but the head is good quality so no stray hairs to worry about and it does spread neatly across my nails.

        As I work as a gardener, I don''t expect polish to last on my fingers more than a day or two now. On my toes this only lasts around 3 days for me which is a couple less than average, with two coats. It chips too badly to allow for a quick touch up but on the plus side I have found it to be one of the quickest and easiest to remove completely when the time comes. It hasn''t stained my nails even when I am naughty enough to skip a base coat. It dries fast too, even the second coat which is unusual - within a couple of minutes on average. I also think it is less strong smelling than some, although it isn''t completely free of that classic nail polish aroma.
        Generally I would recommend this if you are looking for a polish free of some potential toxins and even if you aren''t, the colour range is superb. However there are cheaper polishes that I find last longer and dry even faster still eg Sally Hansen Insta Dri and some of these are free of at least some of the chemicals Zoya is. So overall it is 4 stars considering the price.

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        05.07.2014 19:17
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        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Delicious and natural"

        Disadvantages

        • "Leaves fingers oily"
        • "Relatively expensive"

        Worth a try for a different kind of snack

        I love vegetable crisps and one of the easiest to get hold of are the Tyrrels brand. They aren''t cheap at around 1.15 for a 40g bag, but my goodness they are delicious. They are appreciated even by those in my family that are not really keen on veg!
        The beetroot, carrot and parsnip flavour is just one of several available. I like their naturally more colourful appearance - I think the beetroot in particular looks appetising and certainly different, being a dark red colour. I don''t think the parsnip pieces would pass any beauty tests as they are brownish and frequently look curled up and twisted. They tend to be the ones approached with most suspicion by those that haven''t tried them before! You are going to get all shapes and sizes in the pack but I think it''s fine for a natural based product.

        The crisps are made just from the vegetables themselves plus sea salt and sunflower oil. When I make veg crisps myself I try not to add extra salt for healths sake but I have to admit the addition of it here is pleasant. There is just enough to compliment the veg without it being too dominant. As for the rest of the flavour, it''s a interesting, delicious mix. The beetroot has an earthy flavour, like the fresh kind but the underlying sweetness is also really brought out by the cooking process. It''s unusual and much more interesting than potato crisps. Tyrrell''s say that their packs contain vegetables in "variable proportions" so what you get may differ but I have always found that the carrot chips tend to be least in evidence. They are also slightly sweet tasting but the aftertaste is intensely carroty. I am surprised at how much this taste resembles that of really fresh carrots pulled from the soil, considering it is obviously a cooked product. Lastly comes the parsnip, and the least popular with my family. I like fresh parsnips so I like the crisps too. However the taste is quite strong and aromatic so I can understand why they wouldn''t appeal to all.

        Texture wise, I find these crisps vary a little. They are crispy but not as definitely crunchy as many potato ones. They are also slightly chewier, but not too much. The oil means that there''s a slight residue left on your fingers, along with a little salt, after you have consumed a few. I don''t mind this as it isn''t too messy.
        I think these are crisps to eat slowly and enjoy the flavour. I find them about as filling as potato ones and more of a treat. There is still 15g of fat per 40g bag, so not something for everyday. Give them a try!

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      • More +
        22.06.2014 16:00
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Illuminating finish"
        • "Creamy texture"
        • "Easy to blend"

        Disadvantages

        • "Mildly greasy feel "

        Good enough but not an exceptional match

        When I wanted to try a new foundation I bought the Rimmel True Match as it was 6.99GBP for 30ml.
        It is described as a Light perfecting radiance foundation. It is supposed to provide natural looking traceless coverage in any lighting.
        It comes with a pump action top that dispenses easily. I am pleased to say that even though my foundation is nearly finished the pump has kept working almost to the last.
        I didn''t expect this foundation to have a particular scent but does. Sadly, I don''t especially like the aroma. I think they have tried for a cucumber like freshness but to me it smells too artificial. I can put it with it as I only notice the perfume during the brief time I am actually applying the foundation. I found this very easy to blend and the finish is undoubtedly natural in any light as promised. I like the fact that if my skin is looking radiant by itself, the foundation doesn''t hide that. If on the other hand my skin needs a bit of help in the glow department the True Match gives that to me. It evens out my colour but doesn''t make my skin look "masked". I am not convinced it gives a better match for my skin than other products though. The fact it is easy to blend is also obviously a help, but more that I don''t see the so called advanced technology is doing anything more.
        If I touch my face immediately after I apply the foundation it feels a bit greasy. However, the foundation does seem to settle down and I can''t say I notice the same feeling after a short while.
        I would call this a light/medium coverage foundation. It doesn''t completely disguise the larger pores near my nose, and I still need concealer.. You can layer the foundation but that magnifies the shine on my skin too. Otherwise, I do like the way the foundation makes my skin look healthy. I do think the product lives up to it''s illuminating description but it leaves my forehead looking a little shinier than I would like it. I can powder over the top easily but the shine does tend to come through later in the day. Powdering also sort of negates the fresh look the foundation gave.
        For me this definitely does not last all day. I have to re-apply it at lunchtime, so after around 5 hours.
        I like the radiant finish. I don''t think this offers a match for my skin that is exceptional though. I don''t like the slightly greasy feel or the fact it makes my forehead shiny. If you have combination skin like me I would not recommend this. Otherwise, at the price, I would suggest this is worth a try.

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      • Nabisco Ritz Crackers / Snacks / 21 Readings / 20 Ratings
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        03.06.2014 22:28
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        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Now lower in salt"
        • "Tasty alone or with topping"

        Disadvantages

        • "Not a low fat snack"

        A versatile snack to eat alone or with a topping

        I remember Ritz crackers as a big feature of my childhood Christmas. They always came in the hampers a well meaning relative sent us every year, but sadly I never got to actually try them then. My health conscious parents deemed virtually everything that came out of a packet unsuitable for children. Sigh. Well I am glad I finally tried them. I find most crackers boring unless I put on plenty of something like cheese on top but Ritz have a pleasant savoury and slightly salty taste all of their own. I can easily eat these without my usual cracker topping of cheese on which helps save the calories piling up so quickly. They are not nevertheless a low fat product as 7 crackers contain 5.8g of fat. The small bite size pieces mean just one or two are never going to fill you up and it would be all too easy to eat those seven. On the plus side, the Ritz have a crisp but melt in the mouth texture that is a world away from some other dry and boring crackers. So at least I do not have to add any spread. On a less saintly day, I do love these with a topping of Cheddar cheese which gives a good texture contrast with the base. They have a versatile flavour and work with most cheese and chutney combinations. You can also use them for dipping. A cream cheese based dip is my favourite - I find the crackers break up if you use them with anything too chunky though, and their small size means it isn''t always an elegant experience! They are probably easiest to use as something you top, as they don''t seem to fall apart often then, and don''t go soggy if you use something like a pickle on there too. The makers have reduced the salt content to 0.34g per 7 piece serving which is good news. They promise the same great taste as before but I can''t compare the two as I didn''t try the old ones. I do think there is a salty edge flavour wise but it''s not bad enough to make me feel actually thirsty. I paid 1GBP for the traditional 200g box in Poundland, but you can also little crisp like bags too. I think that is quite good value for a versatile treat. Suitable for vegetarians.

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      • More +
        30.05.2014 23:07
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        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Great combination of flavours"
        • "Proper milk chocolate"

        Disadvantages

        • "Limited stockists"

        A simple but tasty flavour mix

        I thought that I had tried almost every Dairy Milk going, so I was surprised to see a variety in Tesco that I hadn''t sampled yet - the Tiffin bar. It was in the Irish foods section and is mainly sold in that country - I had no idea they had their own Dairy Milk flavours before. Well, I may well have to move to Ireland because this chocolate is just delicious. Modelled on the traditional tiffin slices, it is classic Dairy Milk chocolate with shortbread style biscuit pieces and raisins mixed in. Of course there are lots of recipes for tiffin but this is similar to my favourite one. It is very moreish and quite filling. That''s just as well, as being an imported product, English shoppers such as me will pay a hefty price for a smallish bar. I paid 1 pound for 53g when I could have got a sharing size normal Dairy milk for the same price. On the positive side, the bar comes in a new handy re-sealable pack, but at 53g the one I bought wasn''t going to last too long! The thick, smooth chocolate has the typically good quality and milky Cadbury''s taste and aroma so if you''re someone who doesn''t normally like Dairy milk this won''t change your mind. If you do, you will be in heaven. The biscuit pieces make a satisfying change in texture and are just big enough to add a nice bit of shortbread type flavour of their own. They are well distributed and so are the juicy but slightly chewy raisins, so every bite gives you the full flavour experience. I don''t find the ingredients make the taste too sweet when combined, which may not be a good as it is easy to keep popping a piece in your mouth without feeling sickly. The bad news is that a 53g bar contains a hefty 14g of fat, of which 8.4g is saturated. I only eat things like this occasionally anyway and I don''t expect chocolate to be a slimming food. Of course you could easily make a treat like this yourself by following a recipe for something like chocolate biscuit cake or tiffin and adding your own favourite biscuits, but for an on the go treat, this does taste great and I almost don''t begrudge paying a premium for it. Available from selected Tesco''s and Asda, plus Amazon and online suppliers, and probably many more places in Eire.

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      • More +
        28.05.2014 18:07
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        Disadvantages

        A cheap but user friendly hand sanitiser gel

        Because of the health problems of family members, I take hand hygiene seriously. I often use anti bacterial hand gel to kill germs if I can''t immediately access a sink to wash my hands, for example when travelling. They are used without water and dry on the skin by themselves. Wilkinson''s own brand are amongst the cheapest I have come across and yet they still work very well. I paid just 50p for a 50ml mini bottle of the Citrus Burst hand gel but I would have paid 5p less if I had gone for the unscented version. I thought a scented product would make a nice change as sometimes the gels can smell a bit medicinal. The Wilko one smells fruity in the bottle and surprisingly nice on the hands, although the initial citrus burst does fade and can''t quite discard the base aroma. I can still detect a little orange if I sniff my hands but the medicinal part does overtake it. Neither are especially lingering or overpowering though so like or loathe the scents, you won''t have to put up with them for long. The product is thinner than the word gel may make you think but I think it is just the right texture to spread quickly and easily across your hands. It does not feel too wet on application, just a little cool. A tiny blob goes a long way and it comes out easily so you will get your money''s worth. I don''t have sensitive skin but I don''t find it stings or feels uncomfortable. It dries very quickly and leaves my hand actually feeling cleaner and refreshed. They don''t feel sticky which is where other gel brands have let me down. Of course if your hands are actually stained then it can''t melt away grime but it is a sanitizing rather than a soap.
        Overall I trust this product to do it''s job. It''s cheap, fast absorbed, smells as nice as you can expect, and is a practical size for transporting. The lids hold firm too! You are not supposed to get it in your eyes, so be careful if you are an eye rubber like me but otherwise the usage instructions are common sense - don''t eat it!Only available at Wilkinson''s.

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      • Snickers Flapjacks / Snacks / 12 Readings / 12 Ratings
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        23.05.2014 13:30
        Very helpful
        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Plenty of peanuts"
        • "Moist oaty flapjack"

        Disadvantages

        • "Not enough caramel flavour"

        A nice flapjack but a Snickers bar is nicer still

        I love Snickers so I thought that it would be fun to try the Snickers flapjack. It is a basic flapjack with the addition of a milk chocolate topping and caramel and peanut pieces - all of my favourite things. I bought a nifty little tin pack for a pound, with each piece individually wrapped making them perfect for lunchboxes. You can buy a larger pack too which work out much better value. The oaty base is thick and delicious -full of proper oat taste and with a moist but chewy texture. I love the fact it doesn''t shower you with crumbs as you eat as some do. There are plenty of peanut pieces mixed into the vase which makes the texture more interesting as the nuts give a pleasant crunch. Most of the nuts are near the top but there''s enough to spread the taste throughout. In a Snickers bar the caramel would be under the chocolate top but I can''t see a distinct layer. I can''t taste it that much either except perhaps a bit of extra sweetness. I love the caramel part of a real Snickers so I have to say it is disappointing that there isn''t more caramel in the actual flapjack. The chocolate hasn''t thankfully been missed out in the same way - there is a layer on the top, thin but it is there. It tastes nice and like genuine Snickers chocolate but as I am a chocolate fan I would have liked there to have been even more of course. Overall, I did enjoy this as a change from a normal flapjack. It is filling and not overly sweet and the addition of peanuts makes a change form the other nuts that tend to be included in flavoured flapjacks. I don''t think it is a substitute for a real Snickers though - it doesn''t give enough of a chocolatey hit. But if you like oats and peanuts, give it a try. Available at all supermarkets. Suitable for vegetarians.

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      • More +
        17.03.2014 20:17
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        Nice if you like sweet and spicy hot drinks but the chocolate taste is too mild for me

        It was love at first sip when I first tried the Drink Me Chai latte in Vanilla so I knew it would only be a matter of time before I worked my way through the other flavours. The chocolate version sounded very appealing but it has proved the hardest to get hold of. I eventually found it in a larger branch of Waitrose so I decided to grab it while I could, even though at £2.55 for 250g it was around 50p more expensive than I pay for other flavours elsewhere - and pricier than the other varieties within Waitrose as well.


        If I hadn't tried the vanilla chai latte, I doubt that I would have picked up the chocolate version. The drink is described as a blend of sweetened tea, milk, spices and chocolate. I like chocolate of course and don't mind tea but I wasn't too sure that I would want them mixed together, especially not with spices thrown in as well. Thankfully the combination does work, although I wont be adding chocolate to my regular tea anytime soon. The black tea extract in this drink accounts for only 2% of the ingredients so it doesn't actually taste much of tea. I don't mind that because the flavours left are pleasant and it also means that my family members that don't like tea are happy to drink this.


        The drink is in instant format so there is no brewing needed and it is a doddle to prepare. You just need to be careful to stir it well when you mix it up as you may get a chocolate layer in the bottom of the cup - not that is a hardship to spoon out! That done, you are left with a lovely velvety drink that looks like a milky hot chocolate. The powder itself looks a lot like hot chocolate as well but smells almost entirely of the spices inside. There is a real delicious hit of ginger and clove in a particular when you open up the tub. The lid sit on firmly and that helps keep all the aromas intact even after a few weeks of the drink being opened. I have drank this at a slower rate than the other lattes so I do appreciate that. You are supposed to use four teaspoons of the powder into each mug when making it so you can see that the tub wouldn't last that long for most people if they have it reasonably often. I find the suggested quantity of latte is the right strength for me which has not always been the case with the other flavours in the range. I am glad I don't need to use more than four spoons given the added price of this one. You can of course adjust the strength to taste but as the sugar is already added there isn't much you can do about the level of sweetness if it is too much for you. I find it ok as it is but I have found that my family members who are not used to having sugar or sweeteners in their drinks find it slightly too sweet, although less so than other drinks in the range.


        You can make it up with hot water or half water and half hot milk. I normally don't like instant hot drinks made with just water as I find the taste too weak and the texture less appealing, but the chai latte has plenty of flavour and creaminess so I can leave out the milk from that point of view. However for me the spices are a bit too strong so I prefer to ad the milk as it seems to tone down the spiciness without removing more of the chocolate taste which adding fewer teaspoons in the first place would. The spices included are listed as ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. My favourite of these is cinnamon, and unfortunately that is the one that I can taste the least. The cloves is the strongest to me, both in taste and smell, but the ginger and nutmeg add to a warm aftertaste. The chocolate isn't very strong which is the main disappointment I had with the drink - I think the spices are perhaps a bit too pungent and dominant to give the cocoa much of a chance. I was hoping for the flavour balance to be more in the other direction. I feel this more of a drink for chilly days for me when there is something warming about just the smell of the aromatic drink. I can't imagine this chilled which is how I enjoy the vanilla flavour for example, on a warmer day. The strength of the spices overall make me feel it isn't so versatile because I don't think it goes so well with all food unless you like lots of strong flavours jostling together.


        The drink is 99% caffeine free but it does contain 15.7g of sugar per serving made with 4 teaspoons plus 1.8g of saturated fat. Thank goodness I don't feel the need to add more sugar to suit my taste buds!


        I do like this chai latte but I don't find myself craving it in the same way as the vanilla Drink Me one. I am happy to have it occasionally but now my tub is nearly finished, I won't replace it. If you like the spices included more than I do and don't mind that the chocolate and tea flavours are relatively mild in comparison, then I would say this is worth a try. If you wanted something like a spiced hot chocolate wit a good "cocoa-y" favour then I think you may be disappointed especially if the addition of tea was what intrigued you as you can barely tell it is there. As I like the vanilla chai latte so much and it is cheaper it doesn't make sense to pay more for one I find so so, if delicious smelling.


        I have only found this particular variety in Waitrose although the vanilla and original spiced varieties are easy to find in other supermarkets so you may find that a larger branch of one of those may also stock the chocolate kind. I have also seen it for sale on Amazon although it is more expensive there - £5.36 at time of writing- which is more than I would pay!


        Suitable for vegetarians but not vegans as contains milk powder. May contain nuts. Gluten free.

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      • More +
        09.03.2014 21:18
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        2 Comments

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        An ok lipstick for the price but not one that really lasts all day

        I tend to avoid lipsticks that claim to be long lasting because they nearly always dry out my lips even if they come with a soothing balm or promises to be moisturising. I bought a Collection lasting colour Lipstick without really thinking about the name, because l liked a particular colour - Sugar Plum. I read the product description afterwards and hoped this lipstick would be the exception that really did work. I paid just £2.99 in Boots so I wasn't that hopeful..


        WHAT IT PROMISES

        I tend to have a mixed bag of results with Collection 2000 products - some are great despite their price, others not. I do think they have improved a lot on quality and range since their early days though. I have noticed that although the company have shortened their name to Collection from Collection 2000, this lipstick is still listed under the former name on both Superdrug's and Boots websites and my local Wilkinson still displays the old name on their stand. The make up itself has the shorter name on the packaging just to confuse things.

        Collection say this lipstick will last all day without drying out my lips, and that it has a "luxurious" creamy feel. The colours are supposed to be bright and bold but the range is quite limited compared to some - there are currently 11 shades. A couple aren't what I would call especially bold either - there's a pale pink for example, but they do seem to have covered the main trends including for peachy and orange tones if that's what you are after. I wanted something a bit more boring so the plum suited me fine.


        FIRST APPEARANCES

        The packaging doesn't look like it belongs to a product calling itself luxurious. I don't care much about that these days but I do think the lack and dark pink tube looks simple and a bit flimsy - what you would expect for the price. The lid end has a slanted edge like some of the other Collection lippies. That doesn't really have a purpose but it is the one distinctive feature. The lipstick rolls up and down easily which is the main thing for me.

        The lipstick has a slight scent - quite sweet and a little fruity. I don't really like scented lip products in general but this one isn't too strong and you only smell it briefly when putting it on. It doesn't have a particular taste which would be worse for me as it would probably be more lingering.


        CREAMY FEEL?

        I thought the lipstick felt quite think when I first put it on. This is obviously especially true if you blot and layer it. I have got more used to it now but I don't enjoy wearing it that much compared to others. I prefer to use just the one layer but of course this effects how long it lasts. It does feel a bit creamy but there are many lipsticks I think are better in this regard - including the cheap MUA ones from a similar price band. I don't feel the lippie much after a little while and it certainly looks smooth and nice on so I am happy enough to keep using it.

        I do agree that it doesn't dry out my lips in the slightest. I don't think they feel actively moisturised on the other hand but I suppose that would be asking too much for the price!


        THE FINISH

        I saw a description of this lip stick on a website which called it matte - I don't know if some colours in the range are but Sugar Plum definitely isn't. It does actually look a little like that in the tube but on the lips where it matters, it has a glossy sheen. I really like it as it is definite but not too shiny and it doesn't feel sticky like a similar lip gloss usually does. The colour pigment is excellent and I think this would be especially important when buying one of those bold shades. The colour in the tube is exactly what's on the lips. I think the colour I chose goes well with my pale skin - it really seems to lift my complexion and add some nice healthy looking colour!



        BUT DOES IT LAST?

        Yes and no. If I don't eat or drink, the colour stays strong for a few hours even if I just apply the one layer. Blotting makes a difference to most lipsticks I find and if I then layer up I can get this to last maybe 4-5 hours at best.. that is hardly exceptional. When I ha my first cup of coffee when wearing this ( with the blot and reapply method ) I was quite pleased that my lipstick wasn't completely destroyed - the colour wasn't as vivid but it was still there enough to be noticeable. If I then have lunch, I am afraid the colour can't survive that. There is always some imprinted on my coffee cup so it definitely isn't completely transfer proof. I have also tried lightly powdering over my lips which often gets a lipstick to last longer for me but it doesn't really work with this one. It made the colour look weaker in the first place. I can't get this to last all day, and I would be surprised if anyone who ate or just drank a few times could either. At least it doesn't "bleed" or prove hard to get off at the end of the day.


        WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS LIPSTICK?

        I really like the colour and as it is cheap, I would repurchase it but if I could find a similar one from a different brand that felt less thick or really did last longer, I would buy that instead even if it cost me more. I wouldn't recommend this if you really want a lipstick that can last all day. If you don't mind reapplying though, and don't mind a thicker texture in lipstick, I would say this is an inexpensive product with good pigment while it lasts. I have however decided to award 3 stars because it doesn't live up to it's main selling point of lasting all day for me, even if it stays around a bit longer after a cup of coffee than some.

        You can buy Collection make up from Boots, Superdrug, Wilkinson, some supermarkets, Amazon, and lots of places online.

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        • More +
          03.03.2014 13:16
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          An OK mouthwash but the taste doesn't live up to the soft mint name

          I like fresh mint a lot but mint flavoured products like mouthwash and toothpaste often seem too strong and medicinal tasting to me. I don't like the alternative flavours such as clove much either, so I am always looking for a mouthwash that offers a mint taste that can stomach first thing in the morning! I have been using Wilkinson's excellent own brand mouthwash for some time but when I ran out and so did my local Wilko, I decided to buy something for tide me over. Colgate Plax was on offer in Superdrug and the "soft mint" variety sounded like it might suit my tastebuds. Full price is around £3.50 for 500ml.


          WHAT IT PROMISES

          The mouthwash is alcohol free and anti bacterial. It is supposed to kill up to 99.9% of germs and to form a "protective shield" around your teeth for up to 12 hours. It contains fluoride and is recommended for those over the age of 6 years. It's quite easy to open compared to some I have used which may be good for those who find normal caps a struggle.

          You are supposed to use it twice a day by rinsing it around your mouth for 30 seconds.


          SOFT TASTE?

          The mouthwash smells strong for a variety called soft mint but the scent is made up of all the ingredients of course, and I suppose the non minty ones have a strong odour of their own. I don't especially like the smell but it isn't something I have to put up with for long. I put the cap back on fast!

          I often find that when I use a new mouthwash my tongue feels a little tingly for the first few uses. This always wears off and it was the same with the Colgate Plax. The feeling wasn't so bad that I didn't want to continue using it and as soon as the mouthwash was out of my mouth the sensation was mostly over. By the time I had finished the bottle, it wasn't causing me any tongue problems.

          The flavour doesn't seem to me to be as mild as the soft mint description lead me to believe. When I compare it to the Dentyl Ph one I used to use, I find it is a little milder tasting but it is far hasher than the Wilko one that is now my favourite. Overall, I would actually describe the flavour as quite strong but it has the advantage of not being too lingering afterwards. I dislike mouthwash that taints the taste of any food you have some time afterwards but this isn't one of those.



          FRESH MOUTH?

          The mouthwash does make my mouth feel quite cool and fresh afterwards, once the initial minty overload has gone. It is a pleasant feeling but I don't find it lasts that long. My breath doesn't feel cool when I draw my breath in after the first half hour or so but my mouth feels especially fresh for a few hours at least. That is ok for me but not the best performance from a mouthwash that I have had. Still my mouth feels pleasantly clean all day, and certainly from the morning mouth rinse to the evening one.

          As for whether the mouthwash lives up to it's claim of providing a protective barrier around my teeth, I can't judge that easily. I can only presume the anti bacterial qualities are at work. I sometimes suffer from a dry mouth, and I know that can contribute to an environment that suits bacteria. Some mouthwash have made that worse but since following my dentist advice to switch to an alcohol free formula I have found things better. This Colgate alcohol free version seems to suit me in this regard and doesn't make my mouth feel at all dry.


          WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS MOUTHWASH?

          It is a perfectly good but not exceptional mouthwash at an average price but I think that for me, the cheaper Wilkinson one is more suited to my taste buds and makes my mouth feel fresher for longer. The Colgate Plax makes more claims about killing germs but as I have not suffered any dental problems since using the cheaper kind, I will continue to use that. If you bought this version because of the soft mild tag and wanted a really mild tasting product, you might be a bit disappointed with the taste of the Colgate version. I could put up with it as the taste isn't too lingering but the initial blast may be more than enough if you like it even less than I do. I would recommend this if you want a branded anti bacterial mouthwash and the flavour isn't the key thing for you. Otherwise, I wouldn't recommend this for those who really want a mild mouthwash.

          You can buy this in Superdrug, Boots and most supermarkets.

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          • More +
            28.02.2014 19:10
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            A smooth chocolatey dessert even for those on special diets

            I like chocolate desserts but many shop-bought ones contain gelatine so they are not suitable for a vegetarian such as myself. I knew I would be on safe ground with the Alpro Soya Dark Chocolate dessert pots as they are not only vegetarian but vegan as well. The inclusion of soya in any food is not generally a recommendation for me as I am not a huge fan of the taste although I like it more than I used to. However, I had previously bought and enjoyed the milk chocolate version of the desserts so I thought the dark ones would also taste nice. I was right on that one!


            Alpro desserts have the advantage of being a vegan food that is easy to get hold off in almost any supermarket although I find the dark chocolate dessert is less commonly stocked outside of health food shops compared to other flavours by the company. You can expect to pay around £1.49 in a supermarket and a little more elsewhere for the 4 pack. Again this makes them cheaper than many vegan puddings and I do find them on offer quite a lot, especially in Sainsbury's and Holland and Barrett. Look for them on the shelves with the "free from" foods or non chilled desserts, as they don't need to be refrigerated. Once I have them home I do pop them in the fridge though as their silky texture makes them especially delicious cold I think. They don't take long to chill so you can keep them in the cupboard almost until you need them. Handy for those of use with overstuffed fridges!


            They come in a pack of 4 nice and deep single serve tubs weighing 125g each. These are definitely pots you can dig your spoon into. Peel of the lid and you get a nice chocolatey taster with no hint of the soya I'm not keen on. The description of dessert could cover anything I know, but having had similar ones before I knew what to expect. they have a smooth creamy texture that comes somewhere between a set yogurt and a mousse. They are nice and thick which makes them so much more satisfying to eat. I feel as though I have had a nice treat when I have had one of these.


            They look a lot like melted chocolate to me and as deeply coloured as you would expect something made with dark chocolate to look. It's the kind of thing that makes you go "yum" just when you take a look at it. Thankfully, it also tastes chocolatey. Soya haters can rejoice in the fact that doesn't make an appearance as an aftertaste. Whilst there is plenty of flavour, and the dessert definitely isn't too sweet, I did feel that while this is definitely a chocolate dessert, the flavour lacks the real intensity of dark chocolate specifically. There isn't that hint of bitterness and the taste s more one dimensional. It is a bit stronger than the brands milk chocolate version though, so I do prefer it out of the two. I do enjoy the flavour, but the dark description made me expect something a little different. I appreciate the fact it isn't sickly though.


            I had my first tub on it's own, and I had the second with some orange sorbet I had left over and that taste combination was gorgeous. I would definitely consider using a dollop or two of the dessert as a sort of cream equivalent on the sides of other puddings, but it would have a thinner texture so it wouldn't suit everything. On a more saintly level, sliced banana is a nice partner to the flavour.


            Health wise, the dessert has 4% of an adults RDA of fat and 16% of their recommended maximum sugar intake. This isn't too bad for a dessert when I compared it to others, especially as I find one tub really is enough on it's own. Vitamins B2, B12 and D2 have also been added, along with calcium, at levels equivalent to 15% of your RDA which I welcome as every little helps.


            I enjoyed these and would definitely buy them again, even though the taste isn't as "dark" as I expected. It is still very pleasant and I think they are good value for money. Everybody in my household likes them, including the meat eaters so it is nice to find something that keeps everyone happy! I would recommend them to anyone who wants a choc dessert that is relatively low in fat but they will be especially of interest to those whom normal chocolate puddings aren't always suitable for - I have listed the allergy information below.


            Made with certified non GM soya, may contain traces of almonds and hazelnuts.
            Contains soya. Free from dairy, wheat, gluten and lactose. No artificial colours or preservatives.

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            • Ryvita Pumpkin Seeds & Oats / Snacks / 41 Readings / 39 Ratings
              More +
              26.02.2014 19:45
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              A good alternative if the Original Ryvita tastes too boring for you

              I used to joke with my dad that his favourite Ryvita was made from the cardboard we put out for recycling. I just didn't like the taste at all, and I found them dry and boring. So much for the Original, and Dark Rye Crispbreads, but the flavoured ones are much nicer in my opinion. Not only can I bear to actually eat them, but I actually look forward to doing so! The pumpkin seed and oat version is my favourite and it is the one that I am reviewing today. It costs around £1.59 for 200g at full price but I have always managed to get it for £1 as it is one of those products that always seems to be on offer somewhere. I know that they are on offer for £1 currently in both Waitrose and Sainsbury's as I saw them on today's shopping trip. (26th Feb)



              I have to admit that first impressions aren't great. These aren't going to win any beauty awards as they are brown and the rough underside reminds me of chip board. They do look a bit more appetising to me than the usual Ryvita because the generous sprinkling of pumpkin seeds on top. Thankfully they taste better than they look.



              I like the crispbreads because they provide a savoury snack that isn't too high in fat or salt and I like the taste enough not to absolutely need a topping of cheese as is my downfall with something like crackers. The rectangular crispbreads are the same size as other Ryvita - in order words considerably bigger than those crackers which means you are spoilt for choice about what you can pile up on top of them. I don't like the taste of rye at all normally, in whatever form it takes, so normally I would wince at the thought of eating something that has that as the main ingredient. I can't be off from tasting and smelling it in these Ryvita, but somehow it isn't as strong as in other products. It also combines well with the added pumpkin seeds in particular, making a combination taste that is rather moreish. What my taste buds can't detect is the added oats. They are one grain I do really like the flavour off so for me it is a shame they aren't more apparent. The pumpkin seeds are in large pieces and stuck into the top of the crispbread so you can notice those. I think they are the key to a much more interesting taste and they are the reason I can now happily snack on the Ryvita without even a smidge of butter. I do not always eat them plain, but add a variety of toppings according to my mood. The pack gives a serving suggestion of prawns and avocado slices which is not for me as I am a vegetarian and a avocado hater, so I stick to cheese, chutney or marmite. I used to have to have a spread on these as well as I found them too dry otherwise but now I miss that out and don't notice it. I also like to break the pieces up and dip them in hummus. The crunchy seeds contrast well with the smooth dip but some will probably fall off into it as you go. They can be a bit crumby overall in fact. The other downside is I am left with a bit of a salty aftertaste. So it is surprising for me that each slice only contains 0.07g of salt which is 1% of an adults RDA according to the pack.


              As they are nice and crispy in texture I can munch my way through a slice slowly and that means they are good for grazing on. They would take the edge off my hunger and keep me going for a while but if I am really hungry I couldn't say that they really fill me up. Most of the time I just want a light snack though and they are perfect for that.


              The crispbreads come foil wrapped and so they are nice and crunchy when you first open the pack. They don't stay that way if you leave them exposed to the air though, so I store mine in air tight box. My dad has a posher Ryvita brand tin which you can order direct from the company. If you do leave them out they are still edible but become chewier and not nearly as satisfying to eat.


              Overall I would recommend giving these a try if you like pumpkin seeds, even the original Ryvita isn't a favourite of yours. At 0.9g of fat per slice, and as they are a source of wholegrains, you could do a lot worse for a snack. How good for you they are ultimately depends on what you top them with of course. They aren't perfect as I think some people will definitely find them too dry, and they taste salty even if they are not high in sodium. I would also prefer it if they were less messy to eat but they are a good size and have a nice crispness. I certainly enjoy them much more than I imagined I would.

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