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Having run out of my usual brazil nut anti-frizz cream I searched around the bathroom cupboards to find something similar and stumbled across an unopened travel size of Trevor Sorbie straightening balm. I read the instructions which were to massage a pea sized amount through my damp hair and then blow dry or leave to dry naturally to achieve straighter shinier hair.
After the first application I noticed that it had definitely taken away some of the waves and reduced the frizz from my dry, wild, bushy mane. Once the GHDs had been passed over it the results were pretty much as good as anything else I've tried.
Unusually this doesn't leave your hair feeling all sticky or hard and there is no residue left on you scalp or hands.
With each passing hair wash I have experimented with adding a little more of the clear gel substance to the hair while it was still damp. There has been a good improvement up until a few nights ago when I added probably around two pea-sized amounts to my now barely shoulder length hair and got amazing results.
Although my hair was left to dry naturally it did so almost completely straight with a few subtle unfrizzy waves even before transforming it to the poker straight non frizzy result which the ghds give. I could even have opened the front door before straightening without scaring the person ringing the bell as my hair normally expands further windthways than my hips.
After straightening my hair looked sleek, slim and shiny and I have noticed with regular use of this product that it doesn't make your hair look greasy and disgusting after a day or two if you over do it.
One of the best straightening balms I have used but I would only recommend it to those who wish to have the body flattened out of their clown like wide hair rather than those who would like to have body and volume.
Available from Boots the travel size costs £1.50 and it should last for enough washes to let you decide if it works for you before you buy a large size.
Will I buy it again - absolutely. Its going to be great for holidays when I'll be in the pool everyday and won't always have time to blow dry, straighten etc. before other people are frightened by the unruly mass on top of my head.
We are currently looking for some easy to use, inexpensive video cameras for use with students. Having been disappointed with the cheapest Busbi cameras we decided to go up to what is probably the next level of camera the flip.
The Flip Ultra Series video camera is a compact little video camera with an LCD screen which allows you to video upto 60 minutes of film digitally and upload it immediately with the flip out usb stick on to your computer. This footage can then be used for inclusion in reviews, reports, powerpoints, attached to emails etc. and all for the bargain price of around £80.00.
On opening the box you find the video camera itself, TV connector cables, wrist strap, soft carrying case and two AA batteries. So you are up and running straight out of the box.
- - How does it look - -
The video camera is about the same size as a normal digital still camera. At the side is a little sliding catch which you pull down to release the usb stick for connection to the PC. At the back you have an approx. 1" lcd screen and a red button which you click once to begin videoing and once again to stop. This red button is surrounded by a joypad type of frame which allows you to zoom in and out, skip from one video to the next and adjust the volume, a play button and a delete button are on either side of the red button. The microphone is presumably held within the rectangle of holes beside the lens on the front and is effective within 12 feet.
- - How do you use it - -
To record simply switch it on at the side and the lcd screen comes immediately to life with the scene in front of it showing clearly. To record press the red button in the centre once, to stop recording press it again, the only other button you may need would be to hold in the plus or minus key while recording to operate the zoom in\out. The other two buttons on either side are to play or delete and both are clearly marked.
When I've been handed our big JVC camcorder it takes me a couple of minutes to place it properly and remember how to turn it on and then how to record and zoom on it. This is about 10 x faster to begin recording on as its simply point and shoot, very important if you like catching people unaware or when trying to capture kids about to start walking for the first time.
- - How do you access the video - -
Once you have plugged in the video camera on the computer using the usb stick the camera itself works rather like a normal usb stick, only all the files on it are video files. You are given the option to access the video files using the software already loaded onto the flip camera. This allows you to actually do a little bit of editing while still on the camera itself. There aren't a lot of options but you can edit the start and end points of the video and take still photographs which can then be opened or downloaded onto the PC all within a few seconds.
While you can simply plug the video into the usb port of your PC I wasn't happy with the weight of the camera pulling down on the usb port as hubby has previously complained about me inserting a usb stick on a heavy key chain as it would distort the port. I therefore purchased a little usb extender cable for around £4.00. One end plugs into the port and the other into the camera, you don't need to purchase the official flip extender cable at twice the price.
- - Video Quality - -
When you first look at the video on the screen at the back the quality is really good much better than I've ever seen on even the most expensive of mobile phones. When you first upload it to the computer and watch in a youtube video size screen it still looks almost as good as a full-size video camera footage. Its only when you show the footage at full screen size or on a television that you start to notice its not as good as a full-size video camera but its still clear enough to watch and enjoy.
It videos acceptably well in low light which other cheap video cameras struggle with but there is no light on the unit so some degree of light in the room is required.
- - Sound Quality - -
I'm not an expert in sound technologies so from a totally non technical view point I will point out that you can hear any speech or music reasonably clearly. It easily picks up any noise within the 12 feet radius and plays it back without any sign of crackling etc.
- - Zoom - -
The digital zoom is a great little tool but is definitely not in the same league as the ones on a full-sized video camera. If you were taking a full length shot of a child the zoom would allow you to zoom in and capture them from the waist up rather than being able to zoom in on just the face. The zooming action doesn't affect the quality of the video as far as I can see.
- - Accessories - -
There are a number of accessories currently available.
Small tripod to capture steady video footage.
USB cables which come in different colours but as previously mentioned are twice the price of the standard grey cables
An underwater case allowing you to capture your close encounter with jaws or the great barrier reef. This can be used down to 30 feet with full access to the controls.
Action mount - allows you to attach the video to your handlebars, helmets etc.
- - Final thoughts - -
I have been very impressed with the quality of this little video camera for the money. The ease of use, ability to slip it into your pocket and reasonably good sound and video quality make this ideal for taking on day trips, holidays etc where you are happy to get a bit of sand in and around it or have the kids mess around with it.
Although the quality of the footage wouldn't compare to that of our family JVC video camera, this camera would be my preferred choice to take away. Its so slim, always ready at the touch of a button and I can download anything I shoot onto the computer in seconds.
The ease of downloading and no need to convert the files is a stark contrast to our JVC as I don't even know how to get the video off the camera and hubby has presently got footage of the last two holidays and Christmases waiting to be taken off the camera and put onto disk which is such a bothersome job he keeps putting it off. With this I could have had it done and saved onto a disk within minutes.
For kids wanting to video you've been framed shots, youtube videos, my holiday powerpoint shows etc this is the business and if it gets scratched or sandy at £80.00 you are not going to break your heart.
Use straight from the box
Good video quality in reasonably low light conditions
Simple enough for a grown up to use in less than 20 seconds
Compact and fits into your pocket
Higher quality than most video phones
No tapes or additional memory cards required
Videos saved on the camera as avi files - no conversion needed
Comes with a 2GB memory card which holds 1 hour of video this cannot be upgraded or swapped for another.
No built in light for very low light conditions
Not upto the standard of a £300/£400 video camera but then it doesn't cost as much either.
As anyone who reads my reviews knows I am a complete sucker for anything in the wrinkle department which claims to be new, improved, faster working, deeper working etc. etc.
Having spent so much money on No. 7 anti-wrinkle creams, freeze 24/7, eyesential to name but a few I decided against splashing out over £25.00 on a small tube of Olay Regenerist's new 30 second wrinkle filler which claims amongst other things to reduce the appearance of deep lines in the few seconds it takes to apply.
When I saw the free trial for this little pen on offer via the Olay website I couldn't get my details in quickly enough. It didn't matter if there was only a few days worth of use in it all I needed was one or two goes to check whether it worked or not without having to spend all that money. Which was then wasted if it was as unsuitable as previous smoothing lotions and potions had been. After all you don't need to wait 30 days for results this product promises results in 30 seconds so one try is all you need to know if it will work for you.
After a week of excitedly waiting for the postman to ring the bell or rushing through the front door at break neck speed at 5:30pm I was rewarded. My newest little miracle had arrived.
I was quite impressed on opening to find quite a good sized tube certainly enough to last a week or two if you were just using it on the forehead and under the eyes. The cream was in a slim tube with a pointy nozzle at the end. The nozzle I read was to allow you to easily aim the enclosed substance perfectly into your wrinkly bits.
I didn't fancy applying straight onto the wrinkles so squeezed a little out onto a clean finger. The cream was quite dense and resembled the colour of a fair shade of foundation. The cream spread easily under the eye and at first glance the change was amazing, the thick cream disguised the furrows underneath and the light foundation shade covered the black rings.
Unfortunately when you started to blend it in the coverage blended away.
There was a slight improvement in the look but the blending had totally taken away the miracle, but it was too obvious sitting there like a thick blob of foundation to leave it without blending.
Following the disappointment under the eyes I started on the wrinkles on the forehead, I'm even starting to get the hint of the number 11 lines right between the eyes so targeted these first. After patting around the lines of brown cream there was a small difference in tone, texture and depth but only if you got out a magnifying glass and carefully examined it. Once the cream had dried on my forehead and under the eyes there was a little bit of a powdery residue which made applying foundation very difficult.
If I had to put a percentage improvement on the wrinkles I would have to go with about 5 - 10%.
Admittedly my skin type doesn't seem to work as well with these kinds of anti wrinkle products as others do, greasy skin particularly seems to show a more marked improvement going by past experience, so while I unfortunately do not rate this product and will not be purchasing the full size I am quite happy to point you in the direction of a free sample to let you make up your own mind as all skin types seem to react differently to these type of products.
My search for the holy grail of wrinkle busters goes on - but give it a go yourself its free as at April 06 2009 and it might work for you.
I am allergic to many soaping agents, nickel, chemicals etc. If my hands touch certain cleaning products, depilatory creams etc. or my hands spend to long in hot soapy water or handling loose change they react really badly.
I have always used cortisone cream once a reaction has occurred and stayed well away from hand creams as I believed they might cause more problems than they would help. About a year ago when I bought a TSV on QVC of Liz Earles products I received a small tube of her hand repair. On the show she mentions that her products do not aggravate eczema etc. so I thought if I'm going to try hand cream this would be a great one to start with.
On opening the tube the smell of the essential oils hits you straight away, the thin white cream dispenses easily and a blob about the size of a 10 pence piece is enough to cover both hands front and back.
As you massage the cream in and around the hands and fingers it dries in almost instantly and does not leave any sign of a greasy residue behind. No running about flapping your hands trying to encourage it to sink in and let you get on with your work. My hands plump up and look moisturized immediately and I have never suffered from any reaction to the contents.
Since discovering hand repair, anytime I have a reaction I have only needed to put cortisone cream on twice and then used the hand repair to encourage the red, itchy, sore patches to heal and now always add it to my order when buying my cleanse and polish etc.
The cream is made from natural ingredients and anti-oxidants including bergamont for healing and soothing, Beta-Carotene an anti-oxidant, hops, glycerin, echinacea and more with lavender, chamomile oils for fragrance
150ml pump - £19.00
100ml pump - £14.25
50ml tube - £8.50
As one of my nieces is currently taking her nursing training and was complaining about her dried out sore hands from constantly having to wash her hands and use special wipes, I passed my last 15ml hand repair (yet another TSV) onto her and she has raved about it, particularly how fast it sinks into her skin compared to the other hand creams which she has been trying. She is now a convert and carries this with her every day and plans to order the full size one.
Sinks in immediately
Easy to dispense
Heals and moisturizes hands
Expensive compared to other manufacturers
You need to order more than one hand repair or other product to make the p & p hurt a little less.
Can't be bought in the high street
Available from www.lizearle.com, her shop on the Isle of Wight or QVC.
I have had a lot of trouble and spent an awful lot of money on foundations over the last few years trying to get one which stays smooth on my dry skin.
A lot of foundations go on beautifully and last for a few hours before my skin drags every ounce of moisture out of them leaving me with dry almost white lumps of residue on my face apart from the Maybelline dream matte mousse which lasted a lot less time. I've bought practically every brand of mineral make-up and I either don't get the coverage I want or they just make my skin look even drier.
Tempted though I was to go down the tinted moisturiser route I'm one of those people who if I'm going to wear make-up wants it to be reasonably obvious that I have made an effort - I'm not saying I want to look like a laid on with a trowel 1970s air hostess but I do want to look as though I have put some make-up on.
I arrived at the Body Shop not really expecting to find the perfect foundation but after speaking to one of the assistants and showing her the lovely caked in white spots on my face which had made an appearance by lunchtime she immediately suggested the body shop moisturizing foundation. She tried a few of the eight colours on the edge of my face and declared shade 06 a reasonable fair shade which didn't have that yellow undertone which I have detected in some of the No. 7 foundations to be a perfect match.
Next morning I lifted the glass bottle and pressed on the pump. A very pale runny foundation flowed out easily. The foundation was really easy to blend but did give reasonably good coverage to even out skintone and play down under eye shadows etc. The finish was dewy rather than flat and it felt as though the foundation was sitting on top of my skin rather than sinking straight in.
I was really pleased with the colour, dewy finish and ease of application but knew it would be a few hours before I could be sure that this foundation was actually going to stay on rather than sink in. I applied a bit of powder and set off for work.
A quick check at lunchtime showed the dewy look and coverage was still there. No dryness or caking was evident. At the end of the day when I came home and began to smear cleanse and polish over my face there was actually some foundation left to show up on the muslin cloth.
I have continued to use this product everyday and haven't had any problems with caking or drying and every evening there is still some left to take off. The added SPF 15 which will help to prevent ageing is the icing on the cake.
Even if you are having a bad day and decide to add a second coat the lotion spreads evenly and blends perfectly.
The website claims that the contents in this foundation - Marula oil and organic beeswax are effective moisturisers which will condition the skin and act as a barrier to repair the skins moisture barrier and seal in moisture and in my opinion there is some truth in this claim as my skin does feel less dry since I began to use this foundation.
I know there are a few ladies out there who sympathized with my problems on finding a foundation with decent coverage for dry skin and I would definitely recommend this foundation as the one for them to try. At £11.50 for 30mls of liquid which goes a long way I would place this towards the bottom end pricewise of the decent foundation brands.
I can't comment on how those with greasier skin would get on with this product but would imagine it wouldn't work at all well as it gives an added shine to the face which you probably wouldn't want.
As a family we have 14 kids between myself and four brothers as such we have limited Christmas presents to a token spend of around five pounds.
No problem with girls - a bit of make-up or smelly stuff but boys once they go above 12 are hard to buy for in this price range, without going down the lynx deodorant route. This makes buying for my 17 year old nephew a bit of a nightmare.
While browsing Amazon I came across a number of short, funny books by Guy Browning which seemed to be ideal and pricewise at £5.99 fitted the bill perfectly.
I chose this title. marketed as Guy Browning's guide to surviving embarrasing moments mainly based on the excerpt published on Amazon re. How to use a lift
"Getting into a crowded lift is like entering a mini party. Everyone's already settled in there and when the doors open they all look at you as if to say, 'You're not coming in here.' Just take a big breath, step in and then say something to break the ice such as, 'You're probably wondering why I called you all here".
This appealed to my sense of humour and I felt it would appeal to my nephew.
On its arrival I had a quick flick through it, the chapters were short mostly 2-3 pages, well written and quite a few were laugh out loud funny. He wouldn't be much for novels but this seemed like a good way to get him reading and enjoying a book.
After watching him lying about the sofa on Christmas day, laughing his head of and thanking me more than once for the present, cheeky mare that I am I asked if he could pass it on to me when he was finished and its now perched in the bathroom as my new loo book.
The dust cover exclaims Just imagine how much easier life would be if you knew what you were doing. The book then covers the rules for little problems in life such as:-
What to do with your arm when you've failed to hail a taxi
How to share a romantic bath while avoiding the taps.
How to give clear directions to a place you've never heard of
The politest place to look in a full-length mirror
All of which advice allegedly helps to eliminate social embarrassment and ease social intercourse.
The Section headings
Out and About
Home and Health
Reading and Writing
Maps and Roads
Planning and Action
Health and Hygiene
Shopping and Spending
Head and Heart
Lying and Swearing
Travel and Tourism
Under Maps and Roads one of the chapters tells us how to drive on motorways introduced by:-
"There are three speeds on motorways, fast, faster and "For goods sake slow down Brian".
Under Shops and Shopping there is a chapter which tells us How to... Shop introduced by:-
"Shops are the only places in society where people ask you whether you need help. They will then treat you like the attractive and interesting person you could become if only you would part with some of your cash"
How to... be security checked under Travel and Tourism a chapter which is introduced by:-
"Security checks are a cross between the police and your mother in that they're just a tougher way of saying "Your not going through the door in that"
All in all some of the chapters were laugh out loud funny, some give you a little giggle inside and others just don't come up to standard. Ideal for a loo book, beach read or putting a bit of time in when travelling - Not really recommended to sit down and read in one go you will definitely enjoy the humour more in small doses.
In lots of the stories you can see your own actions clearly portrayed, you read them and think "Oh my god I do that". At this point I should admit to dancing around a lift when I'm in it alone.
The short chapters allow you to amuse yourself from 2 minutes to an hour depending on whether its being used as a loo book or beach book.
As we are trying to branch out and try new foods I was tempted by this new version of the fajita range from Old El Paso as it contained the ingredients to make fajitas with oven baked Crispy chicken strips. The picture on the front of the box made the end result look really tasty and the price of £2.99 covered :
8 soft flour tortillas
1 crispy crumb seasoning mix
1 mild original salsa
The packaging informs you that you need to buy 500g chicken breast, and some lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream to add to the fajitas as you are making them.
As hubby was off work on friday I left this pack out and ensured a pack off chicken breasts was in the fridge so dinner could be waiting for me when I arrived home from work. I stopped off at Tesco on the way home for some accompaniments to the fajitas and just bought what seemed like reasonable ingredients as I've never made fajitas before. The biggest surprise for me was that there were no peppers included in the recipe as they seem to feature a lot anytime I have bought fajitas when out.
Hubby later confirmed that all he had to do was put two teaspoons of cooking oil into the shaker bag with the crispy flavoured crumbs and shake them around and then lay them out on a baking tray cooking them for around 22 minutes (should be 18 minutes but I prefer overcooked rather than under) and microwaving the tortillas just as he was about to serve.
The aroma which met me at the door when I arrived home was very strong and my immediate reaction was "I'm not going to like this" it's way too spicy. But I was starving and began to put all the little accompaniments out determined to give it a try rather than have to start cooking something else.
I tried one of the smaller bits of chicken from the tray before it made its way to the dish and was really surprised, the chicken was lovely and moist on the inside but the crispy crumb was crunchy and delicious, yes it was very flavoursome but in a beautifully tasty way rather than in the overpowering way I was expecting.
A little sad I know but there was a real air of excitement when all the little dishes, chicken and tortillas came out to the dining table as the kids had never made their own dinner at the table before. There were slices of cheese, lettuce, chopped scallions, sliced tomatoes, one of those mix of four dips and the salsa which came with the kit.
I popped in a few strips of the coated chicken, covered them with slices of creamy mature cheddar and topped with lettuce and scallions (spring onions) then I drizzled a little of the salsa along the length and began to wrap. I was really impressed, the tortillas were soft and the coated chicken tasty, the salsa was quite mild but that would be my preference and the scallions and cheese just gave it that extra little bit of taste. I used the same mix for my second tortilla, by the time I had finished this all the chicken and tortillas had disappeared.
Hubby spread salsa and some thousand island type dip on his and declared this a winning combination and my daughter had, salsa, sour cream, cheese, chicken, lettuce and tomato and had a ball lifting bits back up and into her mouth as they fell out the bottom of the badly wrapped tortilla.
Even my thirteen year old son who is notoriously bad at trying anything new and turned his nose up at the smell when we first came in managed to eat one with just the crispy chicken and cheese in it with no dressing and finished it saying he would definitely have these crispy fajitas again.
- - Would I buy it again - -
I have already been back to Tesco and as this version has sold out I purchased the kit for the seasoned rather than crumbed chicken fajitas to try. I will definitely buy the oven baked pack again as soon as it comes back in, next time I might go a little wild and throw a few peppers into the mix as well.
A quick, fun, tasty and easy dinner, full of flavour and a lovely change on a week night - and the kids loved it.
Admittedly although I would buy a fair amount of nail varnish I have never paid over ten pounds for one even when feeling flush. A few months ago when Glamour were giving away a Nails Inc nail varnish on the cover of their magazine I couldn't buy it quickly enough. A chance to sample a premium brand nail varnish worth £10.50 for the price of a £2 - £3 magazine was a bargain in my eyes.
I chose a dark red shade called Tate and I was really looking forward to trying it to see what the difference in effect could possibly be for that amount of extra money.
On the first night I tried it I did feel quite posh as I knew the price and the packaging and bottle looked upmarket. On opening the bottle I could see that it was very fluid and not at all thick and gunky which some cheaper brands can be if they have been stored for too long.
I removed the top easily and the brush looked the same as any of the other cheaper brands prior to application. The amount on the brush covered a full nail easily and was very easy to apply. I touched the nails after about a minute and a half and they were dry and didn't smudge. I know this is a really stupid way to test if they are dry but its like seeing a wet paint sign and just wanting to touch it to check.
After completing the nails on both hands I checked the brush and it was still in perfect shape, no little hairs sticking out the sides etc. ready to run a nice red line down the side of your finger which is an improvement on some of the very cheap brands.
After a quick examination and being a lazy blurt at 10:30pm on a Sunday evening I decided that the coverage of one coat was good enough to wear to work the next day. It was even, glossy and covered the nail 100%.
By the end of the following day I realised that even an expensive nail varnish wasn't strong enough after one coat to withstand a day bashing away on the computer.
The top edges of two or three nails had chipped. Not enough to have me sitting on my hands in shame but enough to know that I would have to remove and reapply.
The nail varnish came off with a reasonable amount of effort and rubbing no more difficulty than a decent less expensive varnish.
On trying again this time I applied two coats and although one coat was passable, two definitely looked more impressive. This time we got to day three before there was even a slight chipping at the edges and day four before it required to be removed, I could probably have got by with it for another day or two but had a meeting to attend and so didn't want to turn up with even marginal chips on the nails.
I love this varnish, the colour is a glossy rich deep red, its easy to apply, and the brush doesn't lose shape and paint the edge of your finger. Its been open a couple of months now and there are no signs that it is glooping up, thickening or drying out.
- - Would I buy it again - -
There are such a wide range of colours from the normal pink or red shades to funky blues and greens, it's a great nail varnish, covers well, shines well, easy enough to remove and lasts a reasonable amount of time.
Is there anything special about it worth paying 3 to 4 times as much as I do for a rimmel or boots nail varnish - no I'm afraid I won't be paying £10.50 for it although I would certainly buy it on offer for around the £5.00 mark.
The website www.nailsinc.com has the widest range of colours and there are some good options and offers if purchasing in multiples.
I did supply a link to a picture of my Targus Wireless Presenter which has a little joystick in the middle rather than a button type of interface but dooyoo decided it was the same product and directed my to put the review under this version. This is presumably the newest model.
- - What is it - -
This little beauty is a remote integrated laser pointer and mouse which offers control of your software during multimedia presentations etc. In other words it's a mouse that doesn't need to be plugged into the computer to work so you can get up and walk around the room while using it.
Gone are the days of standing beside the computer clicking slides forward while class 4C sit down the back passing notes and holding hands. Now you can be right down there with them, slapping those little hands with a ruler (ok that's probably not politically correct) but at least you'll be aware they are doing it.
A wireless presenter is essentially a plug-and-play device that requires no drivers or special presentation software and features an omni-directional mouse pad that controls a PCs mouse functions and a laser pointer.
I think most of us would agree that standing up in front of a group of people and giving a presentation is one of the most difficult things we have to do. Even the most seasoned of pros sometimes gets butterflies before they start.
As I lump myself firmly in the group who get nervous when presenting to a new class or group I was really impressed when I attended a talk to note that instead of standing at the front of the group with us all gawping at him, the presenter walked around and between us, even behind us and controlled his presentation with one of these new fangled wireless pointers. As he kept moving position it meant that our eyes were drawn to the non-moving screen with the information on it rather than having all eyes on him which to me is a definite plus and I was off ordering one soon afterwards.
- - How does it look - -
It comes in that awful moulded plastic packaging which is normally a real nightmare to open without a pair of industrial strength scissors. Unusually this wouldn't stop you being able to open it if you were travelling to a seminar etc, as the sensible people at Targus have made the back of the packet with a perforation so simply push in and the back comes away with a tear. A very good idea but I still managed to jag myself a few times as it came away in several pieces.
The outside of the packaging tells us that it contains the Targus pointer with cursor control, a usb receiver, 2 AAA batteries a carry bag and a user guide and that the wireless pointer\presenter\mouse (everyone has a different name) has a 2 year warranty.
- - What do I need to run it - -
This pointer will run on Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP or Vista and requires a vacant USB 1.1 or 2.0 compliant port. Simply plus the USB receiver into the PCs USB port and the system should automatically detect the wireless pointer if required follow any online steps to search for a driver to complete the set-up.
- - Instructions - -
The instruction booklet enclosed covers the basics of what each button, twiddly bit etc. does and gives a number of websites and phone numbers for technical support in different countries. Not a very detailed instruction manual but then you are basically buying a mouse without a wire so how hard can it be.
- - How does it work - -
This little gadget is designed to wirelessly control your powerpoint presentation or to be used as a wireless mouse. You can be as far away as 15 metres ideal if you are having a bad hair day and want to hide at the back of the room while everyone else has the eyes on the screen at the front.
You need to insert the usb stick into a usb port before switching the device on to allow the device to communicate with the computer.
The pointer itself fits comfortably in the palm and resembles a small television remove control. This may take a little bit of getting used to by the female population as they might not have had the same amount of remote control practice as their male counterparts but the design makes this easy enough to work out what to do.
There is an on\off switch at the side, click this to switch the unit on before starting to present. Towards the front of it the pointer has a little cursor joystick which can be used to maneuver the cursor on screen and pushing down on this acts the same as a left click on a mouse.
Below this are page up and page down buttons then below these is the function button easily recognised as it has fn stamped on it. Click this once to play powerpoint files and twice to to mimic escape or to close a powerpoint presentation.
At the front of the unit are the equivalent of the left and right mouse
There is also a little trigger underneath which shines a thin concentrated red laser allowing you to highlight something on screen or possibly to take someones eye out depending on the mood you woke up in this morning (please do not try this at home).
Once the presentation is in full swing you can also use your pointer to annotate your slides - simply use the right click button on the pointer and a pointer menu will show which allows you to write over your slide with a ballpoint, felt tip or highlighter effect. You can even change the colour of the ink used.
While this is an asset it is quite difficult to master as you need to hold down the equivalent of the left mouse button and move the joystick at the same time to make shapes etc. Not to be recommended until its been well practised and you are in a situation where a little bit of messing up is encouraged and enjoyed rather than resulting in you being sent to the companies equivalent of the stocks which rotten fruit and veg is thrown.
As it uses radio frequency between the wireless pointer and the usb stick you don't have to point it directly at the screen in fact there doesn't even need to be a clear direct line between the pointer and the computer.
- - Learning Curve - -
I would imagine most people would have this fully operational and be confident with about two minutes of practice although using it for annotations would take a little longer.
- - Who is it for - -
I would recommend this to anyone who uses presentation software on a regular basis or who doesn't like standing in front of people being watched while their presentation is shown. I would imagine it would be of use to sales people etc. who could demonstrate their product while interacting more with the audience than would normally be possible with a slideshow.
I know teachers who use online quizzes and they pass this around the class and each child takes turns to choose the correct multiple choice answer by clicking on it. This means online interactive challenges can be brought into a classroom and used by a large class with the only equipment required being a laptop and portable projector.
- - Would I buy it again - -
Yes I would, on the downside it does go through batteries quickly even when not being used (don't ask me how, its switched off for goodness sake, its sometimes just dead when you switch it on weeks later) but for the extra flexibility to interact with students, staff on a training session etc. its well worth it. I have already ordered a total of 15 since this for various other members of staff who were impressed with its flexibility and all have worked well and lasted so far. Available now for around £25.00
As my hair is coloured and grows really quickly it's too costly and takes to much time to visit the hairdressers every six weeks for a full colour, and meche on top. It can take two hours or longer and costs upwards of £70.00 so I tend to get the blonde meche in and then home colour in between salon appointments.
Although I use a single colour due to the different tones already in my hair the colour takes in a different way on the different colours leaving me still looking like I have streaks and avoiding the flat look you can sometimes get with an all over permanent colour.
I was tempted to try the Excell 10 range due to the advertised 10 minute waiting time as that cuts down on the amount of damage I can do to the household and furnishings by wandering about with a headful of hair dye while waiting for the colour to develop.
- - What is it - -
Excell 10 is a relatively newcomer to the hair dye market and promises permanent colour and grey coverage in only ten minutes which is about a third the amount of time for most of the other hair dyes.
It comes in eleven shades the lightest being light blonde and the darkest natural dark brown. There are no funky colours just the different shades in between blonde and dark brown.
I chose dark blonde as I wanted to cover any greys but didn't want to cover up my blonde streaks.
- - How do you use it - -
Before you start you are recommended to do a sensitivity test. This involves putting a little of the mix on an area of skin and waiting for 24 hours to see if there is a reaction. I know its wrong but I didn't do this as I have never had a reaction to the probably hundreds of dyes I have used and once I decide I want my hair coloured I want it done then not 24 hours later.
I stripped as I was going to wash it off in the shower and covered my embarrassment with a black towel which I keep just for dyeing my hair. The leaflet recommended putting an intensive moisturiser around the hairline to allow for easy removal of colour if you get a little carried away. As I am a bit of a messy person I did this.
You need to wet but not wash your hair then towel dry. This is really unusual as I'm sure all the other dyes I have used have been put onto dry hair. Mix the cream and the developer together by shaking in the tube and then either use the comb or the precision applicator to put the dye on.
The comb attachment is used to spread the dye throughout your head but I used the precision applicator as I mainly wanted to cover up my roots.
I put on the supplied good quality rubber gloves and separated my hair into partings and ran the applicator along the edge. The cream came out really easily and although easy to spread it wasn't so runny that it ran down the length of the hair. I massaged the colour about ½ inch length along each parting and sat back to wait for five minutes before applying the remainder of the dye to the rest of my hair.
After a few minutes I noticed the splashes of dye on the white bathroom tiles, my forearm and slipping down my forehead. A baby wipe removed the stains really easily with just a quick wipe which was a relief as some previous colours hadn't been so easy to remove, one even left me with what looked like a big bruise on my forehead for a couple of weeks.
Adding the remaining colour and rubbing it through to the ends of my hair was again a simple process and even when the whole head was covered there were no drips.
After the time has elapsed I stepped into the shower and used the shower head in my hand to allow me to bend over and avoid the dye going all over me. Simply wet the hair lather up and rinse until the water runs clear. After the I replaced the shower head and stood under to shower.
When I felt my hair ever without the provided conditioner it felt great, no matting, no tatty bits, my fingers ran through it easily. I applied the deep action cashermere conditioner and left it on for the required 2 minutes. On rinsing my hair felt as healthy as it would have been before the colouring which was a good sign and not one you feel after some other dyes. Looking around the shower cubicle there was no evidence that hair dye had been rinsed off.
- - How does it look - -
As I have had dyes which required 30-40 minutes which didn't cover greys I'm really amazed that this managed to cover them in just 10 minutes. The colour was slightly darker than my orginal colour but looked well as the bits which were blonder didn't darken to the same extent so I still have my different tones which brighten it up nicely. My hair was shiny and looked in great condition and there wasn't a hint of grey anywhere.
After three weeks the colour has lightened a little probably due to the blonde underneath but the greys are still covered and the shine is still there.
Works in 10 minutes
Really does cover grey
Removes easily from surfaces and skin
Leaves hair in great condition with a lovely shine
Slightly more expensive than most at £7.99 per packet
- - Will I buy it again - -
I have definitely been converted and couldn't go back to dyes with a development time of 30-40 minutes. The colour was great, application was easy and clean-up a breeze add in that I managed not to dye any of the household furnishings or fittings by dandering around for 30 minutes its well worth the extra couple of pounds.
While I have my suspicions about the whole roll back the clock magic lotions and potions type products, I'm still a sucker for a nice piece of marketing, shopping channel demos and persistent sales ladies.
I was therefore very pleased when I received a 5ml size of the eye cream when I purchased my Estee Lauder night repair serum. The eye cream normally comes in a 15ml tiny brown glass pot which retails for around £32.00.
I have been using the advanced night repair eye recovery complex for over a month now and there is still a little left in the pot so I imagine the full size would last around 4 to 5 months.
Due to insomnia, a bad diet, dry skin and a love of red wine I find that my eyes are ageing faster than the rest of me. At heart I'm 18, in my head about 21 and round the eyes probably closer to 50. I had black shadows, lines and lumps under my eyes and ever hopeful of using preventative medicine I have been using anti-ageing products since I was about 25 (I know I'm a sucker for adverts). So would this be the cure.
- - What are the claims - -
Estee Lauder claim that this little pot of goodness works instantly to help repair past damage and that it also protects the eye area from future damage. They promote the complex saying that lines and wrinkles are immediately made less apparent due to the increase in collagen production, this allegedly means that lines and wrinkles become less noticeable.
The serum also claims to reduces puffiness and diminishes dark circles to give you a fresher appearance. It also mentions that this serum aids with applying your makeup by giving your skin a smooth, even surface.
- - Content - -
The serum contains anti-oxidants and lipids to help nourish the skin and give it protection. The moisture barrier helps to strengthen the skin to help against sun damageom UV exposure.
- - How to use it - -
You simply take a little of the slightly yellow tinged cream\gel and place it under the eyes on the dark circles\wrinkles and pat along the length until its absorbed, then pat a little along the outside of the eye and under the brow. I applied it morning and evening as instructed, when applying my estee lauder serum.
- - How does it feel - -
I didn't really feel anything, no allergic reactions, no reddening, no tingling, no tightening, it was as though I had put the simplest of formulas on and that no reaction was taking place.
The cream absorbed quite easily but left a bit of a shine under your eye, at times making you look as though you were welling up a little. Not a great look for going of to work so in the mornings I tended to blot the wet look off from under the eyes but left it to soak in on the evening application.
- - Does it work - -
After the first couple of weeks I hadn't noticed much of a difference however
on dooyoo one evening I read Crisella74's great review which told of how well it had worked for her. This gave me renewed hope, maybe if I kept going it would start to lessen the bags, wrinkles and black shadows under my eyes.
I continued to apply twice daily and I did begin to notice a slight lessening of the black circles but the wrinkles and bags remained.
- - Will I buy it again - -
While there was a slight improvement in the dark circles I didn't look any more refreshed or well slept. For £32.00 even I couldn't think of a way of convincing myself that it was a worthwhile buy.
After a while here on dooyoo I'm learning that when it comes to reviews it is so much easier to recommend an electrical gadget etc. as it either works and lasts well or it doesn't than a beauty cream.
With beauty creams etc. there doesn't seem to be a magical brand or product that works for everyone across the board. So while this worked for Crisella74 who has a greasy skin it didn't work so well for me with drier skin.
I would have to recommend that if you are reading a review on beauty products in general or this product in particular that you read various reviews to get a balanced view of a product especially an expensive one. Try to work out whether your skin is closer to the persons who gave a product five stars or the one who gave it one star before you rush out throwing your money away or possibly miss out on what could have been your miracle product.
Always try to get a sample before purchasing
For anyone who hasn't read my Estee Lauder pore minimising refinishing serum review I should probably explain how I ended up with a bottle of £47.00 face serum. I had been persuaded to try the above serum to deal with dry skin on my face and when I returned it as it made my dry skin worse instead of getting my £32.00 returned I got talked into spending another £15.00 to upgrade to the Advanced Night Repair Protective Recovery Complex.
I could have traded my refinishing serum for the 30ml night repair at £34.00 but decided to buy the 50ml size as the assistant mentioned there was a special offer on this of a 5ml pot of the night repair eye cream worth £11 inside.
After a month or so of use I feel its time to decide if its worth such a monstrous amount of money.
- - What does it claim to do - -
The product claims to help your skin repair UV and environmental damage and also protects from the damage in the first instance. The assistant assured me that it would increase the moisturising capabilities of any moisturiser and would completely rebalance my dry skin.
- - Awards - -
When I checked online I began to think I might not have been as insane as I first thought at spending this amount of money. These are only a few of the awards which the product has acheived
Cosmopolitan Beauty Awards 2007 for the Best Age-Defying Serum
Red Magazine Beauty Awards 2007 for the Best Night Product
Harper's Bazaar 50 Best Beauty Buys 2006 for Anti-Ageing Skin Saver.
- - How does it look - -
The serum comes in a dark brown glass bottle which gives the impression that there is something expensive and voltatile in it which can be affected by light\sun and must be treated with care. The lid comes off to reveal a dropper.
- - How to use it - -
It is recommended that you apply this serum below your moisturizer morning and evening. To activate simply squeeze the little bulb and then drip around four drops onto your hands then massage across the face. I find four drops covers my whole face easily but for those with less dry skins I imagine 2 to 3 drops would be plenty. The thin white\yellowey oil\gel type liquid spreads easily across the face and you don't feel any drag with it at all.
The liquid sank in really quickly and I was able to add my normal moisturiser on top almost immediately. The face does feel a little sticky but has a glow and you can actually see the moisture sitting on the skin.
There was not a sweet flowery girly smell from it, in fact it was more like an alcohol wipe smell which was a little strange but it makes me hopeful that there are some strong medicinal ingredients in there. The smell fades within seconds.
- - How long will it last - -
It has a shelf life of 24 months once opened, and as I have been using it around a month now and have used a tenth of the bottle at most I believe it will last for around 10 - 12 months and still be well within its use by date when I have finished it.
- - Results - -
I noticed my foundation was going on much more easily, no caking was evident and I still had some on when I arrived home whereas previously it would have completely disappeared. I felt my skin had a little bit of a glow about it and definitely looked better either with or without make-up on.
- - Enough already what about the wrinkles - -
Sorry to report there has been no noticeable reduction in my wrinkles, no sudden tightening, taughtening etc. of any part of my face and none of the transformation into a love goddess which I was quite expecting for this kind of money.
I asked my eldest son if I looked any less wrinkly - reply "I can't remember what you looked like before"
I asked my sis in law if I looked any less wrinkly - reply "um err, um err, your cheeks have a lovely glow"
I asked my niece if I looked any less wrinkly - reply "Not £47.00 worth you sucker".
So the general consensus is absolutely not.
- - Will I buy it again - -
If this product does last 10 - 12 months as it looks like it might do - that works out at less than £5.00 per month and while I am ready to admit it isn't going to turn me into a fairytale princess it's the best moisturiser I have ever used. Its making my foundation look better and last longer and for that even without any ironing out capabilities I'm willing to pay £5 a month so yes until I find a better serum I will buy this again.
- - Recommendation - -
For anyone with dry or dehydrated skin this is an excellent product which really does work and isn't as expensive as you may think at first.
For those wanting to attack wrinkles I would recommend trying one of the protect and perfect range of serums first at a third the price on offer in Boots and I have seen the age rewind one work amazingly well on my sis in law. Unfortunately for me this whole range brings me out in spots.
I guess I'm still on the look-out for the perfect wrinkle remover but I have found my perfect moisturizing serum.
I do treat my hair very badly, its coloured every six weeks, blonde meche added most times throw in the temperature highs of GHDs and an already dry mop and you can see why I have an addiction to deep action conditioners.
As I adored the brazil nut no frizz balm my sister-in-law who works in the Body Shop brought me home a sample of the deep conditioner in the same range.
- - The claims - -
The body shop claim that this mask will give dry or chemically treated hair some tender-loving care. The ethical image of the body shop is upheld as the ingredients include community trade brazil nut oil, sesame oil, and organic olive oil, plus honey to bring back the softness and shine.
- - How to use it - -
The instructions are to scoop out some of the very thick, gloopy white product and rub it together in your hands then apply it to damp hair evenly.
You then need to wrap your hair in a towel and leave for upto 15 minutes or overnight. Once the conditioner has penetrated the hair, shampoo off and condition as normal.
I followed the instructions quite confident that I would get a really good result. The thick paste was quite difficult to spread easily through my hair and I kept applying more and more product to completely cover it. Once this was done I wrapped up my hair and waited the 15 minutes.
On stepping into the shower and letting the water begin the rinsing process I realised that this was not going to be one of those easy rinse products. Even after a couple of minutes under the water my hair felt quite heavy, tatty and as though there was still product on it.
Eventually I decided even though it felt as though there was still product on it to go ahead and shampoo. After shampooing I was glad to add a conditioner as my hair felt very matted. The conditioner helped it to feel more silky and for the first time I was able to run my fingers through it without catching them in stuck together bits of hair. I am still a little confused as to why you would need to apply conditioner after having just used a deep action conditioner but agree that it is definitely required.
On drying I found my hair was more difficult to style and looked more coarse and dry than normal. Even after applying my brazil nut no frizz serum and running the straighteners through it I didn't get the finish I would normally expect never mind a new bouncy hydrated look.
- - Will I buy it again - -
I was disappointed in the results especially after the great results I had gained from the serum and I will not be buying it. In fact I wouldn't even use it again if I was given it free as I felt it actually made my hair worse rather than better. The price of £7.80 for a 200ml tub is not worth it for me.
- - What is it - -
Moodle is an open source course management system the name being an acronym for Modular Object Orientated Developmental Learning Environment. This may sound very high brow and difficult to master but the software itself is mostly extremely easy to understand and navigate.
- - What is it used for - -
Moodle software has a very solid position in the market for E-learning platforms. This software is used by companies, universities and schools for seminars, training courses or project groups to share files and improve communication.
The functions provided by moodle continually expand and it has now gone into partnership with the second life site leading to the new branding for this of sloodle. We are presently working on having a virtual College Campus on second life which is used for distance learning or revision for those attending daily.
A course management system like this will often be administered by a School\College or Business but I know a number of individuals who have set them up at home to create a course web site, which limits the information to just those enrolled as students.
- - How do I get it - -
This software is open source material making it free. You can download it from www.moodle.com. I am reviewing the use of Moodle in an educational setting.
- - How do I use it - -
Once the administration has been set-up and courses or modules added you are ready to access your course and begin to populate it.
When you first open your Moodle interface you will be greeted with the site news and the courses you are either teaching or taking. If you are enrolled as a teacher you have the rights to edit this page by deleting or adding blocks or by uploading content. The blocks can be used to show activities, blogs, courses, HTML, RSS feeds etc.
Within your course you can choose the format of how your information will appear. Within an educational setting this will normally be set as weekly, for businesses or other users this will often be set to Topic or social to allow headings to be used per topic rather than dates.
Under each section be it by date or topic you can add the content which you want to share. To allow students\co-workers access to the data you can choose to set security to nil and allow everyone access or you can set a password and only those who have this will be able to access the materials. Often in a large school\College the student base will be automatically taken from a database created at registration and the students will be placed into the correct course.
On each topic\week you can create a label possibly explaining what the topic\lesson will be covering and then upload the relevant materials. The method for uploading is extremely intuitive.
- - What can I add to my course\topic\module - -
Click on add a resource to:
Insert a label - Type up an introduction or note
Link to a document or website - Opens a document or website
Compose a text page or web page - Share information
Display a directory - Show files in a directory
Add an IMS Content Package - Add an IMS Learning resource
Click on add an activity to add:
Chat - allows a real-time discussion
Forum - Allows a discussion between students. As forums are
asynchronous your students can carefully word their
responses drafting and rewriting until they are
happy which is especially good for shyer students.
Choice - The teacher asks a question and specifies a choice of
multiple responses. The answers can be used as a
vote on a specific subject or to confirm that a learning
objective has been achieved.
Quiz - Upload hot-potatoes or scorm quizzes or compose your
own multiple choice, short answer, missing word, match
quizzes. Results are stored for each person
Wiki - Along the lines of wikipedia it allows students to work
together to add to and change the information included
on a particular subject in a set of linked webpages
Glossary - create and maintain a list of definitions - relating to a
Assignment - Set assignments which can be uploaded and graded
Embedding - Videos from youtube, teacherstv etc. can be embedded
into lessons and watched at home\in school by students
You can also add details of events onto student calendars add RSS feeds with the newest finance news, share prices etc.
- - What do I need to know - -
The most important things to remember when starting out in Moodle
Name everthing very carefully - you could end up with several courses and many quizzes and assignments, make it easy to differentiate between them.
Also make it easy for the students to understand what documents are eg. Click here for homework Jan 13th rather than worksheet1.
Work tidily - keep your files etc. in folders possibly for each topic/week section.
Zip files into a folder to upload multiple files to Moodle then unzip once uploaded.
Avoid long lists of worksheets one under the other instead use 'display directory' . This shows a briefcase icon and when the student clicks on it, the files will be shown, rather than cluttering up the page.
Where possible choose compose a webpage for new worksheets rather than uploading from word. The students can access it more quickly and you can edit more easily.
Students can access notes before class begins - helpful for those with learning difficulties
Students can run through class notes, quizzes, forums, chats etc. as revision prior to exams
Forums are good for those shyer students who prefer asynchronous work
Notes, assignments, quizzes, forum posts etc. can all be accessed from home for those with access to Broadband if they are off ill.
You need a good system administrator or a lot of time to set up the system but the forums at http://moodle.org/course/view.php?id=5 can be a great help with any queries.
This is a very useful free educational software package and is really helping to forge the way forward for elearning at the present time. It adds an extra dimension to study and in a manner which the younger generation understand.
The help system for working on your course\module\topic on Moodle is reasonably good but there are some very good forums with helpful members available online where you can pose more technical queries. The software can be used on Unix, Linux, FreeBSD, Windows, Mac OS X, NetWare and any other systems that support PHP and a database, including most webhost providers.
If you are computer literate you can begin to use Moodle without much in the way of training and no web design skills are required.
If you would like to see a working moodle course or would like to see if it would be useful in your teaching or group check out
I have been moodling for over a year now and have found it to be easy to use, fun for students and as your notes, partially completed spreadsheets etc. can be shared with students it saves a lot of time on student preparation for a lesson allowing more time to examine formulas rather than spending time typing in numbers and text.
I know these kitchen towels are quite tacky and many will wonder what sort of a person would buy such a tacky branded item and I have to admit that its me. Nor have I bought just the one pack but stock up on them when they are on offer.
My daughter is completely high school musical obsessed and is determined to marry Troy Bolton and hsm 1, 2 and now 3 are playing pretty much on a loop on our TV until my daughter goes to bed so as soon as I saw these I popped them in the trolley. The first time I paid £1.99 for the two kitchen rolls which would normally have given me a nervous breakdown but I knew as a one off it would be worth it to see the look on her face.
When we unpacked the shopping she recognized the branding straight away as there were pictures of Troy, Gabriella, Chad and Sharpay on the outside and she started screeching high school musical at the top of her voice. Next morning as we prepared her break for school she insisted in taking in a sheet of kitchen roll with it and has continued to do so on a daily basis. Apparently she's the coolest girl in P1 for having this.
While I hadn't planned on buying it again there have been several offers in Tesco allowing me to get the double roll for 97p which is no more expensive than other kitchen rolls so I have stocked up. The towels are manufactured by Thirst Pockets which are a decent brand and one that I have been happy to buy in the past.
The rolls themselves are manufactured by Lotus and are 2 ply. The kitchen roll sheets only have the high school musical logo on them printed in the obligatory red and surrounded by stars in red and blue which is a little disappointing after the colourful packaging with pictures of the stars on it.
The marketing blurb around the thirst pocket products is that they have "shhhhlurp technology" which absorbs spills quickly and efficiently with 25% more absorbency than previously. The manufacturers claim that there are 56 sheets per roll and I will take their word for it as I have no intention of unrolling and checking.
As for quality well Thirst Pockets are marketed as the number two brand in the kitchen roll market, which I presume is just behind Bounty. They are not as thick as bounty and would not withstand the scrubbing that Bounty does, but be honest how often do you scrub the boards with bounty. It certainly doesn't fall apart or rip when wet the way some of the value brands do which are pretty much the same price.
Mostly kitchen roll is used for shelling eggs onto to keep the mess together, blowing the odd nose, drying hands and mopping up little spills. In my early years I occasionally used it to strain a bottle of wine when I couldn't get the cork out and ended up with lots of little bits of cork in the bottle but we'll gloss over that for now.
While I presume that only those with daughters under the age of 11 would be tempted to buy this I have to say that for 97p and the fact that its perfectly capable of mopping up spills and drying hands it's a good value and a decent product. The fact that it makes my daughter smile when she uses it is an added bonus.