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My mum noticed I had been getting quite a few spots recently (because I was unemployed and couldn't bring myself to buy more Lush Love Lettuce) and suggested that I try the Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash, taking a little from a relative's 500ml pump bottle. The relative had been recommended Dermalogica products by a hospital specialist, so I had quite high hopes for the product. I decided that I wasn't going to try any other Dermalogica products until I had seen benefits from this one, although they do advocate getting all your products from their range (naturally!).
It comes in two sizes, 250 and 500 ml. I think that the pump bottle is a great idea because it keeps the product from accumulating any bacteria. The packaging is plain but classy looking, it's well designed. Simple rather than pretty, but it does look more high end than a Sainsbury's basics product would look! I find that I have to press the pump really quickly, otherwise I will get too much product out of it. I only need a tiny amount, smaller than a 5p piece, because it lathers really well. The product is clear, and quite runny. A little will go a long way, which is just as well considering the price (over £30 at least) for this skin wash! To use I just lather it all over my face and neck, avoiding my eyes, nostrils and mouth. I think it smells slightly herby and slightly medicinal. It's nice, but I wouldn't want to use it as a perfume. It feels cool and refreshing even when used with hot water. Once I have spread it over my skin, I try to leave it on for a few minutes, whilst I wash my hair, and then rinse
I found it more pleasant to use than products like Clearasil, and I think it works fairly well at preventing the condition of my skin from getting any worse, I didn't get more than two or three new big red spots whilst using this, except when I had to use sun screen for a few days - my skin hates sun screen. However, I wouldn't say that the Clearing Skin Wash made my skin any better, or stopped blackheads. To really work on improving the texture of my skin and getting rid of spots that are already present, I need something that exfoliates, and this just gently cleanses. I expect that it works most effectively as part of a more complicated skin regime - however I don't want to spend money on umpteen other products from Dermalogica or other brands.
One good thing about Dermalogica is that in the salons and other stores where you can buy the products, they usually have sample packets of different products that you can try. You used to be able to do a skin mapping quiz and get free samples from the website, but unfortunately that feature is no longer available. The website is still quite useful and very informative about different skin conditions and the products they recommend for them. I would suggest that if you are interested in giving this product a go, you see if you can try a sample before investing in a bottle.
Dermalogica products are not available in the big chains like Superdrug and Boots, they have to be bought online, or from a salon, skin treatment centre, or a spa. This is another disadvantage, but there is a store locator on the company website, http://www.dermalogica.com/uk/.
When my parents redid their kitchen a few years ago, my mum decided to get a separate hob and oven so that she could have the oven higher up and avoid bending down to use it. She chose this hob because it looks good, she prefers electric hobs, has always found Hotpoint products to be reliable, and she thought it would be easy to clean.
It's got four different sized rings, or rather, 'cooking zones', that correspond with standard pan sizes, and if you want to use a larger pan, like a wok, the fact that it is completely flat makes it very easy to have multiple rings on under the one pan. There are nine power levels for each cooking zone. Like all electric hobs it needs electric power to operate, unlike a gas hob it is completely useless during power cuts, and you can't use it to light candles!
When the hob was installed I was really excited. I still introduce it to people as the 'touch hob', as in 'touch screen', and I honestly still can't get over the fact that we have a touch hob! It's just so space age! Yes, I think I have been nominated for nerd/geek of the year. The hob is operated by gently pressing your fingers over the control markings on one side of the unit. It doesn't take a lot of pressure, however the on/off switch can sometimes be a little bit temperamental. There are four little white rings - one for each cooking zone, the on/off switch, the child lock (also very useful during parties if you want to put things on top of the hob without accidentally switching it on), and a plus/minus switch for getting the cooking zone to the right temperature. To use the hob, all you have to do is press the on-off switch, then select the cooking zone by pressing the appropriate mini-ring and press the plus and/or minus until you get it to the setting you want. To turn a cooking zone off you just press the appropriate mini-ring, and then the minus until the number next to the mini-ring is 0. If you want to turn all the cooking zones off at once, you can just press the on/off switch. If a cooking zone is hot, its mini-ring will glow, so you know not to touch it.
This hob is extremely easy to clean, all it requires is a regular wipe and a bit of elbow grease if something drips out of a pan and dries/burns onto the surface. The surface is made of glass, however, so you do need to treat it delicately to avoid scratching it or worse.
The fact that the hob is so delicate is the one thing that puts me off getting a similar model for my own home (when I have one that's not rented). One excruciating afternoon I chipped one of the corners off this hob. I was cleaning up after my lunch, holding a Pyrex jug in one hand, when I slipped a little and knocked the jug on something. There was a small noise like something smashing, but the jug was fine. It took me ten minutes to realise, from the colour of the tiny pieces of glass that had bounced to the other side of the floor, that I'd chipped the hob. I was absolutely horrified, my mum's kitchen is her pride and joy. I have apologised many times and I still feel really bad for chipping her beautiful touch hob. So, that said, I think I would choose a model that is built into the worktop, rather than slightly raised above it, so there are no exposed corners for Big Ms Clumsy here to smash. You can actually get this model with a stainless steel 'frame', but it doesn't look as nice.
Beyond the delicacy and the on/off switch needing a little patience sometimes - it doesn't ever not work, it can just be a little slow - I think this hob is pretty much perfect. It cooks great and it looks great (until somebody slips with a Pyrex jug).
A quick look online has shown me that the prices for this hob can vary quite dramatically. At some stores the price is over a hundred pounds less than at others, so shop around if you would like to buy it. I would also suggest you visit a store where you can see it or similar models, because it is an aesthetic object as well as a functional one.
I have used Pritt Sticks ever since I was a child, they are popular in schools and amongst parents because they are non-toxic and a relatively unmessy form of glue, that washes easily out of clothing. On the Pritt World website (prittworld.com) you can see a video that shows you how they are made. Pritt Sticks are produced by a German company called Henkel.
If you are not familiar with the packaging, it is a tube with the white lid on one end and a black twistable piece on the other end. Once you take off the lid, you twist the black end and the semi-solid glue will (hopefully) slide upwards. Sometimes the mechanism does jam, or stop working.
The glue itself is white when applied but dries clear. When the Pritt Stick is new it will apply smoothly if you just drag the tube over the paper, but although Pritt Sticks can stay effective for several years, I find that the air that gets to the glue even with the lid on will make it more likely for the glue to not apply smoothly and sometimes leave lumps of glue on the paper. Sometimes if the lid isn't put on properly, it will end up being stuck to the rest of the tube as the glue dries out.
A few years ago, Pritt brought out a pink 'just 4 girls' Pritt stick, which I thought was a bit ridiculous (you can see it here: thefword.org.uk/blog/2008/05/pritt_stick_4_g) but they have used different packaging designs before, and have different designs as standard in different countries.
I personally prefer to use PVA glue, neat or watered down, for all my paper-gluing needs because it is more effective and lasts longer than Pritt Stick. I also find that no matter how hard I try, Pritt Sticks leave my fingers feeling sticky, whereas PVA can be applied with a brush and if you get any on your fingers it will dry and can be peeled off.
I think that Pritt Stick has been enormously popular with children for a long time now and will continue to be popular for use by children for a long time yet. Adults will probably find it more frustrating, as the novelty of sticking things together with a tube cannot compensate for the poor longevity of the glue!
Pritt Sticks are available in small, medium, large and sometimes jumbo sizes. Pritt Sticks can be quite expensive in comparison with own brand knock-offs, but they can often be found in multipacks in stationary supply stores. You can buy Pritt Sticks in WHSmith, Staples, independent stationary stores, newsagents, post offices and many other places as well as online.
I bought the Alice in Wonderland tie-in palette when it came out because I am obsessed with make-up and had never tried any Urban Decay products before. I also love Tim Burton and quite like Disney (though I still haven't seen the film!) but for me the biggest draw was that as well as getting loads of new eyeshadow colours from one of the more upmarket cosmetics companies, I would also get mini versions of the 24/7 eye pencils, and the much hyped Urban Decay Primer Potion, or as beauty bloggers abbreviate it, UDPP. The mini version is 3.7 ml.
It comes in a purple plastic pot in an unusual shape - it makes me think of a lamp that should have a genie inside - with a silver lid. I love the shape, I think it looks really pretty, although I know from reading many a complaint online that the packaging makes it very hard to get to all the product. When you think that you have run out of UDPP you can (carefully) cut the packaging open with a craft knife, and discover loads more product within. Some people have gotten really annoyed at having to do this, however I will quite happily cut open *anything* if it means that I get more product. You know when you get sample sachets of things? I usually completely unpeel the sachet so that all the inside is outside and I can get to absolutely all the product. I expect that cutting open my UDPP contain will be a bit of a hassle, and it would be easier if it were in a squeezable tube, but I'm not going to avoid the product just because of the packaging.
The lid is attached to the 'applicator' so you just have to unscrew it and pull. I use single quotes around the word 'applicator' because all I use it for is getting the product out and putting a few blobs onto my eyelids. I like to use my third fingers to actually spread it over my eyelids because it gives me more control.
I have found that UDPP works best when you use as little as you can get away with. You want to coat your eyelids, but with the thinnest layer possible. Once you've done this, it's time for the magic to happen! Of course UDPP works great with Urban Decay's own eyeshadows and with other high-end brands, and mineral make-up tends to glide on better over UDPP, though if you want really vibrant colours from mineral eyeshadow you will need to foil (apply it wet) use a slightly sticky product on top of the UDPP, like a cream eyeshadow that doesn't really dry, or Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy, which I haven't tried but have heard amazing things about (fyrinnae.com). If I apply mineral eyeshadow over just UDPP it lasts well and the colour is great but it isn't as bright as it could be, so I tend to do this for day time looks only and use cream eyeshadow as a base in the evening. But UDPP really becomes worth the money you pay for it, when you use it as a base for cheaper eyeshadows, like those made by Sleek, or the various low-price Superdrug brands. They show up a lot better and last a lot longer on top of UDPP.
I personally have not experienced any creasing with UDPP except once, when I accidently put on a bit too much. I find that it helps my eyeshadow stay consistently vivid all day, and I will definitely be getting my greedy little hands on a full-size. I think I will get the new UDPP in Sin, firstly because I love the Sin eyeshadow, and secondly normal UDPP doesn't show up very well on my brown eyelids.
It's not a cheap product, at £11.50 for 10 ml, but a little goes a really long way. I have had my mini UDPP since February or March, and I started off using it only rarely, but now I've become addicted and I'm sure there's still loads left. This is a product that gives extra value to all your eyeshadows. If you don't think you need primer, you must not be into bright eyeshadow, or have exceptionally welcoming eyelids!
My mum has always bought real butter, my family all agree that sunflower spread is a poor substitute, and as we eat quite healthily in general we allow ourselves this slightly less healthy luxury. The brand of choice has always been Lurpak. I remember when Lurpak Spreadable, which contains vegetable oil as well as butter to make it melt faster, first came out how much of a novelty it was, but it quickly became a staple in our fridge.
Lurpak Spreadable comes in three different sizes, 250 g, 500 g, and 1 kg. The best before dates are usually several weeks after purchase, so really I think choosing what size you will buy just comes down to how much room you have in your fridge! The small one I find won't last more than a week, even for just one person buttering toast and the occasional sandwich. The medium size is ideal for me, as it lasts a few months, and fits nicely into all the fridge doors that I've had - and I've had a lot of fridge doors, my ex-landlady kept buying us second-hand fridges that broke a month or two after we got them. The large size is probably best value if you're having an event and want to put butter by pieces of bread or rolls so that people can spread it themselves, or if you have a big family and a giant fridge. I can't imagine that most people have room for a tub of butter that large!
The container is plastic, printed with the usual brand and nutritional information, and when you open the lid there is a foil seal that you pull back to get to the butter. Sometimes there are recipes or competition information printed on this seal, so make sure you check it before you throw it away! I have a bit of a guilty secret - when I take the seal off I like to lick the butter off it! When I have crumpets I sometimes wipe it across the top of them to get the butter to melt off.
Lurpak Spreadable is only really immediately spreadable from the fridge if you're using it on warm food. If your food is cool - for example, if you're buttering bread - it's best to let it stand for a couple of minutes (not too long or it'll get runny), before using it.
I prefer the slightly salted to the plain, I have tried the plain, having once picked it up in the supermarket by accident, and I just didn't like it as much as the slightly salted! I know that the salt probably isn't very good for you, but I don't add salt to anything else at all. Not my water when I'm boiling vegetables or pasta, not my salad. I'll occasionally have salt and vinegar on chips. I don't eat crisps normally. So I think, that, on balance, it's okay for me to have slightly salted butter.
Lurpak Spreadable tastes great on a wide variety of foods - I've tried it on toast, bread, croissants and crumpets. I wouldn't use it on most occasions instead of regular butter in recipes as you might mess up the balance, however I have used it when making Mexican Icebox Cookies because if I use regular butter the mixture is way too hard to stir. I even add extra olive oil to the butter to make it a bit easier to stir and because they're cookies it's easy to tell when they've cooked properly.
I can't imagine a time that I would stop using this product, as it has always worked great for me. It is a bit more expensive than many other butter products, but I don't spend very much on food in general.
I received a tube of Nivea Hand Nourishing Cream as a present. I wouldn't have picked it up and bought it for myself, as I am quite fond of the Nivea Soft Intensive Moisturising Cream, and have found all the other Nivea creams that I have tried to be just poor cousins of that. However, I did get it in the winter, which is when my hands are most dry, so I was keen to give it ago - as soon as I could tear myself away from my Lush favourites.
This product comes in an easily squeezable plastic tube which is quite durable, with a blue flip-top lid that can also be unscrewed when you're getting low on the product and want to be able to squeeze more out or fish some out of the lid. The tube has an inoffensive blue, white and pink design, and is printed with the ingredients, brand and product information, and suggestions for using it. Nivea recommend that this be used daily.
I would agree that for lasting results this should be used daily, because overall this Nivea Hand Nourishing Cream was a bit of a disappointment. If your hands are a little dry you might like it, but if your hands are more red and raw by the time you try it don't expect it to be a miracle cure. There are products that work very effectively and quickly on very dry hands, I found the Vaseline Intensive Care hand cream much more effective than this. If you use this every day as a rule (I don't like to use hand cream except when I'm going to sleep as it makes my hands feel clammy) as suggested, it would probably protect your skin quite well though.
The smell is a bit chemical and it also seems stronger than the Nivea Soft Intensive Moisturising Cream. I don't really like the scent, especially when I'm going to bed as I sleep with my hands under my pillow and can smell it! If I put this cream on during the day and keep my hands away from my face it's no problem.
Nivea Hand Nourishing Cream is £3.15 for 100 ml. My advice is that you save your money and if you want a Nivea cream to carry in your bag, go for the Nivea Soft 75ml tube, which is only £1.95 and can be used on face and body as well as hands.
Note: This is a film only review. After watching this trainwreck I wasn't exactly going to hang around and check out the special features on the DVD!
1. The protagonist, Percy Jackson, is boring. He has no interesting features. He is a teenage boy who lives with his mum and his stepdad, whom he hates. He's not allowed to know anything about his life and somehow he has put up with this situation since he was like seven months old, or something. I've forgotten how many months. But it doesn't matter anyway. Even his name, Percy Jackson, is pretty boring, and probably he would have gotten bullied at school - does anyone ever name their kid "Percy" any more? All the other characters are boring too. No hopes, no dreams, nothing outside the plot is ever suggested.
2. Very little in this film is actually explained. The characters don't even really demand explanations from anyone else. When some terrifying huge creature appears in the museum at the start, does Percy scream his head off and then demand to know what the hell it is? Well, he is a little panicked, but then he's saying 'I'm not the lightning thief' when really he should be like 'What the heck are you talking about and what are you get away from me oh Mummy'. Or rather, 'Mommy'. When Percy's best friend turns out to be a satyr, he's pretty much like 'Okay, cool', and he never demands to know why his best friend kept the truth from him! It's nearly two hours long, and still feels like it's rushed.
3. This film is, as Mark Kermode said in his review (you can check it out on YouTube), second-rate Harry Potter. Imagine a Harry Potter without all the good characterisation, back story, mystery, and magic, and make everyone inexplicably American, and you have "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief".
4. This film features some well known adult actors, and all of them are woefully underused. Their characters are completely flat. Take for instance, Medusa, played by Uma Thurman. Medusa looks cool, what with her classy black clothes, sunglasses, and CGI head of snake hair, but what does she actually do, or care about? Nothing. She just wants to turn people into stone so they'll stay with her forever. Boring.
5. This film features butchering of Greek mythology in a way that makes absolutely no sense. Medusa, whom I mentioned in point 3, was killed by the original Perseus, so should not really be involved in this story at all! Plus Mount Olympus is in America. In fact, the whole FILM is set in America. In reference to point 2, no reason for all this Greek God stuff taking place in the USA is ever given. Nobody even ASKS why the Greek gods are all hanging out in the USA. Also, the gods are all too human. In actual Greek mythology, the gods are human like in the sense that they're petty and jealous and engage in an awful lot of infighting, but most of them don't really care much about looking after humans. Even their kids.
6. The teenage actors are bad. Well, maybe they're okay, but the completely flat roles this film gives them doesn't help. The kids in Harry Potter actually have personalities, plus the actors are at least close to the ages of the characters they are playing. Grover is supposed to look 17, but the actor playing him is 26. The actress playing Annabeth, also supposed to look 17, is 24.
7. Hades has a English accent, and an electric guitar sitting in his grand ol' living room. BORING and OVERDONE. Next!
8. The two black characters, Percy's best friend Grover and Persephone, are totally stereotypically obsessed with sex. Really, this is just embarrassing. And BORING.
9. All the demigod kids supposedly have dyslexia and ADHD, because their brains are 'hardwired' to read ancient Greek, and because ADHD makes them better fighters. Never mind that not all of them would have been fighters, because not all the gods were fighters...oh, whatever.
10. The cheesy shots of Percy and Annabeth eyeing each other up. The fact that Annabeth magically likes Percy for no reason. It's all a bit Twilight 2.0. They stare at each other a bit, fight for a while, and suddenly they're friends without having much in the way of conversation.
11. (Because ten turned out not to be enough) The fact that when, at the end, Percy approached Annabeth with the singularly most smug expression that it is possible for a human being to wear on his face, she did not kick him in the balls.
Unfortunately, this film has done really well in the US, so there will be sequels made, based, as this film was, on the Percy Jackson series of books. I've heard that the film barely resembles the first book, and that the books are actually good, but (possible point 12) I think I may have been put off reading them for a while by this dire film.
"Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" is an awful 118 minutes of your life that you will never get back. I mean, that's how long it is. One hour, fifty-eight minutes too long. Nearly two hours of wasted time. Trust me. Even the trailer is rubbish - Percy goes up some big tower in a sequence that doesn't exactly happen in the film, and that's it. If all your walls are dry and you're bored of watching your goldfish, and there are no other films left on earth, apart from Closer, Vanilla Sky and Twilight, you can get this DVD from pretty much any shop, Lovefilm, etc, etc. Prices vary and it's rated PG.
I'm only twenty-three so I don't want to start using a proper 'night cream' yet, because they feel so heavy on my skin. I still get some acne, so I don't want to clog my pores. These leaves me with the problem: what to put on my skin at night? I definitely do need to moisturise, because my skin gets so dry, and I can do fine putting on a double layer of Lush's Vanishing Cream, but it's £15.25 for 45g and I'm unemployed at the moment. I just can't justify the expense, even though it is my favourite moisturiser. I ran out of Vanishing Cream a couple of months ago and as I was spending more time out in the sun decided to use up one of my sample pots of Skin Nanny (I have learned to spread it very thinly) over the daytimes, and go back to the old faithful, Nivea Soft Intensive Moisturising Cream at night. I had a big pot (200 ml) already because my parents tend to give me one every Christmas!
I've used this on and off for years, mostly on my body, but it's never made the skin on my face break out in spots and it keeps it moisturised without performing any miracles. If I get a spot it doesn't do anything to combat it, but it doesn't worsen it and for the low price of this product, it's okay. I wouldn't use this cream on my face during the day time, because my skin looks greasy a few minutes after application and I know from experience that it doesn't go well under make up. The clue's in the name - 'Intensive Moisturising' - this is one to avoid if you can't bear having a shiny face! After washing my face in the morning, however, I can apply a more matte moisturiser and have no problems. For moisturising my hands and body I find that this is actually better than Nivea Hand Nourishing Cream, though not as good as many of the other specialist hand creams available. It's also quite good to apply after sunburn - after I got lightly burned on my chest one day I put this on the next day and a few hours later I was back to my usual milkbottlesque colour!
If I could bear to spend more money right now I would prefer to buy other products because the ingredients list on this stuff is full of unpronounceables, and it doesn't really achieve a lot on my face! As I said before it doesn't bring me out in spots but it doesn't do anything positive either besides moisturise and it's not completely pleasant to use, making my skin quite greasy after application and smelling inoffensive but still quite medicinal. I like a nice smelling moisturiser!
You can buy this cream in two forms. The big round plastic pot, 300 ml, with screw top lid and foil seal, will set you back £5.39 at Superdrug. 200 ml in a similar pot is £3.85. The squeezy tube, which is better for travelling as you're allowed to have it in hand luggage on a plane, with flip top lid, is 75 ml and costs £1.95 from Superdrug.
I probably won't repurchase this product as I will probably get another pot of the stuff this Christmas, but it will remain a staple beauty product as it is good to use if I've run out of my favourite products. I would recommend it if you want a fairly cheap, good value moisturiser with no special requirements.
Skin Nanny is a moisturiser with SPF, meant for 'mature' skin. I'm only 23 so my skin hasn't reached mature in skin terms quite yet (I remember reading on some other product that 'mature' means age 25 and over!). I would not have bought this moisturiser if I had gotten the samples in a shop, but I got a sample of this and two other moisturisers with an order I made with Lush Online, as that was the special offer at that time.
My sample came in a screw-top tin like the tins used for the lip balms, with stickers on the lid and base with the Lush logo and product name on the top. On the bottom sticker is the made by initial and date, and the use by date, as well as the weight. There are no ingredients listed, you are referred to the website for them. There is a note that says: 'Bring this empty tin back for recycling and get £1 off the full size pot!'.
If you buy a full size pot of this moisturiser, you get one of Lush's plain black plastic pots with full ingredients listed on the label. Five of these pots, when empty, can be exchanged for a free Fresh Face Mask in store.
Skin Nanny smells like a slightly medicinal version of apple juice, which is still quite tasty-smelling in case you're wondering! It is a pale creamy colour, and when I first started using it there were some orange flecks present on top but once the cream on the surface had been used there were no more. It is very thick and I would be very surprised if anyone needed more than one finger scoop of this for their whole face.
I have only recently been using this product on my whole face. I have been using very small amounts for months to soothe the patches of dry skin I sometimes get, and this works very well, it is a very soothing product. However, I ran out of my usual Vanishing Cream a couple of weeks ago and so I have been experimenting with other products.
Once before I tried using Skin Nanny undiluted over my whole face, and once was enough! It is a heavyweight moisturiser and I can feel it on my skin all day. It makes my face shiny just like sun protection creams normally do and I was pretty uncomfortable. I decided not to even try putting foundation on top of it. I have found that if I dilute it with water I can use it and put mineral foundation on top, however, I can still feel it on my skin and by the end of the day the powder on my forehead has creased.
Skin Nanny is obviously not the ideal product for me to use all over my face, though I will still use it to moisturise the dry patches I occasionally get. If you have dry skin this might be just what you've been looking for. It hasn't brought me out in spots, my skin has actually been in good condition since using this, but it is uncomfortable for me to use.
This is quite an expensive moisturiser, at £25.50 for 45g, so I would suggest you try before you buy.
After I'd exhausted the possibilities of every demo game I was interested in on Shockwave.com, I wanted to find a new site full of demos to play. As I said in the Shockwave.com review, I don't want to download the full games as I get too addicted and don't want to spend my money on them, so demo sites are ideal for me when I want to waste an hour or so and am too tired to read a book.
Big Fish Games is another site that provides a wide selection of games (mostly Flash) to demo in the hope that you will enjoy them and pay to download the full version. There are a few games you can play through to the end - usually because they are hoping to sell you the sequel - but most of them are demos where you can play a few levels and then you have to purchase and download to finish it off, should you want to.
The selection of games available is vast, but the quality varies too. Some games have hideous graphics and are really repetitive, whereas others are beautifully designed and challenging. You can see preview graphics before you start playing, so it is worthwhile using this feature.
I don't like the design of the site as much as Shockwave.com. I think there are too many links on each page and the banner ads blend into the background which is annoying. I also think that Shockwave is a faster website. However, I have found that Big Fish Games gets updated with new games sooner than Shockwave, sometimes a game will appear on Big Fish Games and then on Shockwave - weeks or even months later. For example, at the moment Big Fish Games has the new Farm Frenzy game, and Shockwave doesn't. However, there are also quite a few games that the sites never share so it is worth checking out both if you are into games.
There are forums but they aren't very active or well designed. The Shockwave site has the ability to leave reviews below the game, but Big Fish Games does not.
Several of the games on Big Fish Games have sequels, which are generally longer, with better graphics, but you will usually need a faster computer. If you are playing games having several tabs open at the same time can make them run slowly. Banner ads can also do this, so I right click on the banner ad and turn the quality down to low, which usually solves the problem.
My favourite games on Big Fish Games are the time management games. They have the two new Farm Frenzy games and several building games which I have really enjoyed.
If you like a game you can usually download a limited time trial of the full version, which gives you an amount of time, say, an hour, before you need to purchase it. Games are offered for both PC and Mac. Games cost from $6.99 each and can be paid for by credit card.
The Something Wicked This Way Comes bath melt is a small 30g cuboid that comes wrapped in the Lush logo-patterned greaseproof paper. It is pretty squishy and starts to melt as soon as you touch it, so I recommend you keep it in the paper until it is time to use it or transfer it to a box of similar size immediately.
It is a light purple colour and as soon as it is unwrapped the scent is released into the air. When you put a piece of this bath melt into water, the scent fills the room. It is strong enough to linger for a day or so, but not so strong it would give me a headache in the bath. The bath melt contains ginger oil and jasmine absolute which combine to make a scent that is floral, but not excessively feminine, as it has the spicy kick of ginger.
You don't have to use the whole bath melt in one go to get a nice bath, for better value you can break it in half or into thirds. I used half but in future I will use a third. A half resulted in about half the surface being covered in small bubbles and a perfect amount of scent and silky water. A whole one might give you more bubbles, but I don't think it is worth it as the bubbles disappear really quickly, within ten minutes or less. The water itself goes grey thanks to the pink and purple colouring in the bubble bar, but it's a soft, slightly lilac-y grey and does not leave any marks behind.
This was a really nice bath to lie in for an hour and three quarters - I like to make my baths last! The scent was beautiful, when I got out and rinsed off it lingered on my skin for the rest of the evening. This makes this a good bath melt to use before you are going out. The scent also lingered on my hair. Because the water becomes quite oily, I would not suggest you lie down with your head under the water for more than a few seconds. I sat up so only the ends of my hair were in the water, and this meant that part of my hair was lovely and soft after I shampooed it.
I enjoyed using this bath melt and will definitely purchase it again. It is a Retro Lush product and is not available in stores, only online at www.lush.co.uk. It is £3.55, which is expensive by conventional standards for 3 baths, but pretty good if you use Lush prices as the benchmark!
The Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal in Jet Black was the first black eyeliner pencil I ever owned. When I was younger I used to use this practically everyday. At first I would smudge it onto my eyelid just along my upper lash line and out across my lid slightly with a finger, then when I started getting into alternative fashion I started wearing it on my waterline.
However, I quickly discovered the Special Eyes Eyeliners, which I find go on more smoothly, are more pigmented and last longer. The Soft Kohl Kajal pencils I had were still needed though, as a messy teenager I ended up having to buy several black eyeliners because I kept misplacing them.
They are long thin pencils with plastic lids. The lids are not the best quality, I have broken several. I think I only have one Rimmel eyeliner with an intact lid left. All you have to do is push the lid onto the pencil a bit too enthusiastically and crack! The pencils are easy to hold and whether sharpened or blunt they are the right size to fit my waterlines if I want to apply eyeliner to them. They sharpen easily and produce a nice black line, it isn't as opaque as the Special Eyes Eyeliners, but this does mean that it can be smudged without such a dramatic effect.
Strangely, I have found that the older my Rimmel eyeliners get, the easier they are to apply, rather than drying up and going hard like they are supposedly meant to do, they seem to get softer and nicer. New eyeliners from this brand seem to me to be a bit hard. It does help however if I put them in my pocket or tuck them in my waistband for a short while before I want to use it to warm them up.
The first time I apply it on my waterline this eyeliner wears off pretty quickly, lasting half an hour, if that. But when I reapply it lasts for a couple of hours, and then when I apply it again for a few more. When I'm going out I do take this eyeliner with me in my make-up bag so that I can reapply it when it has worn off. I don't tend to use it very much on my waterline nowadays, however, because I have a Special Eyes Eyeliner which I prefer. I have also found that once I use these pencils on an eyelid, they can never be used on my waterline again or they go all weird and run into my eyes.
What I do use this for is as a base for liquid eyeliner. I find that if I put some of this along my lashline on my top eyelid liquid eyeliner will look blacker and last longer.
I find this is easy enough to remove with olive oil and a warm damp flannel, however I have struggled in the past with eye make-up removers, finding smudges under my eyes the next day. You do have to be careful when removing this, no stumbling to the mirror drunk and wiping it haphazardly!
It is only £2.99 for one pencil from Superdrug, but the Special Eyes Eyeliner is the same price so I would suggest you invest in the latter instead.
I was given my piece of I Should Coco soap one Christmas. It came wrapped in a plastic bag - a biodegradable plastic bag. Obviously this is better for the environment, but it's not so good for long term storage, by the time I got around to using the soap the wrapping had gone slightly sticky and I had to cut it open to get it off the soap. If you do buy any product from Lush that comes in this packaging, I suggest you take it out as quickly as you can and transfer the product to a more permanent home. Normally when you buy soap instore you will get it wrapped in a piece of greaseproof paper printed with the Lush logo and sealed with a sticker that has the product name and ingredients on it. The plastic bags tend to be used more for mail/web ordered products, in my experience.
My piece of I Should Coco is a very pale pink shade with white/brown little pieces of coconut all over and through it. It smells very nice, sweet, but not overly girly at the same time, like the coconut it contains. It also contains sweet orange, coriander, and vetivert oils, but I can't say for sure that my nose can detect those. When I first unwrapped it and put it in my bathroom it made the room smell lovely, however it wasn't as strong or as long lasting an effect as some of the other Lush soaps have, it doesn't really produce much of a smell unless I'm using it now.
I Should Coco is lovely to use, however, it doesn't lather up as easily as other soaps and needs a bit more work. I think this is because there is so much grated coconut in it, that gets in the way of the soap. It is a little bit messy, because so many pieces of coconut come off every time I use it. As long as I'm not in a rush this is not a problem, however, as they don't stick to me or the bath and rinse away easily. I wouldn't use this on my hair though as the pieces would surely get tangled into it!
The pieces of coconut give a texture to this soap that makes it ideal for a gentle scrub. This is probably the most gentle of Lush's scrubby body products that I have tried, it's much softer and gentler than Porridge, for example. However it is surprisingly unmoisturising, and my skin does need lotion or body butter afterwards. It actually seems slightly drying on me. Looking at the ingredients list, however, this soap does not contain anything that would moisturise so this is not much of a surprise.
One thing I have noticed about this soap is that it seems to be wearing down faster than any of the other Lush soaps I have tried so far. This is probably because so much of it is coconut pieces and lots of those wash off every time it is used.
I would recommend this soap to fans of coconut and to anyone who finds Lush's other exfoliating products much too harsh. It is £2.60 for 100g, which is pretty low for Lush soap prices, however, it does seem to be wearing down quite quickly. I'm not sure how soon I would buy this again, there are more Lush soaps I want to try or re-buy first, but I do like using it and it is good value in my opinion.
I got two small sample pots of Fair Trade Foot Lotion in the Night In For Toes pack that Lush were offering last year, and I have loved using it. Fair Trade Foot Lotion is a refreshing mint foot lotion with arnica in it. It is £7.95 for 100g and comes in one of Lush's black pots. When you have five black pots you can exchange them for a free Fresh Face Mask at any Lush store.
The black pot has black sticky labels with white print on them listing the ingredients and giving the product description. It also has a round label with a picture of the person who made it, the date it was made, and the use-by date.
Fair Trade Foot Lotion is a medium consistency, and bright pink. It smells almost exactly like mint Feast ice creams to me. The scent is very strong and most people probably won't want to smell like it all over but I wouldn't mind! I sometimes rub a little bit of this on my "pulse points" as perfume!
I love rubbing this product into my feet. It feels so cooling and healing, thanks to the oils, arnica, and cocoa butter, and it makes them smell delicious! The smell does linger for quite a while as the spearmint and peppermint oils used are very long lasting.
The downside to this product is that I have to use it as it is, I can't add olive oil to it because it would change the smell and the consistency too much. This means that I use it up much more quickly, and so it isn't as good value as Pied de Pepper, which I can mix with olive oil. However, they are very different products. I won't use Pied de Pepper very much in the summer because it is warming, and Fair Trade Foot Lotion contains arnica, which means that it can be used to relieve bruises anywhere on the body. One pot does last a fairly long time, and I might try adding a plain unscented lotion or plain cocoa butter to it in future.
I would recommend this to people who like mint smells and have tired feet that need looking after!
Pied de Pepper is designed to be a foot lotion, containing ginger, cinnamon and clove oils for their aromatheraputic and deodorising properties, and olive oil and cocoa butter to moisturise. It is currently £6.55 for 100g, and comes, like most of Lush's liquids, in a black pot. If you collect 5 black pots you can exchange them for a free fresh face mask in any branch of Lush. The pot is labelled with the product ingredients, description, person who made it and the date it was made and the use by date.
I will say straight away that I love this product. Pied de Pepper is one of those products that make me think, 'Yes, this is what Lush is all about'. It smells delicious. As soon as I open the pot I can smell the gorgeous spicy, warming scent. I could happily keep sniffing it all day long. It is a pinkish-brown lotion of a medium consistency, and it is easy to apply, not so runny that it is messy.
I find that it is very effective for warming up my feet and making me feel good. It's not as soothing to sore feet as Fair Trade Foot Lotion (which I also completely adore - are my feet spoiled or what?), but it makes up for this by being better in winter, soothing and warming whereas Fair Trade Foot Lotion is cooling and minty. The scent lingers for ages, I can usually still smell it on my feet three days later! I like to use it on my elbows and knees as well as my feet, anywhere with hard skin really.
The price is quite expensive for the quantity, but I mix it with olive oil to make it go further and last longer. It doesn't mix with olive oil very well, probably because the lotion already contains quite a lot of it (it's the second ingredient on the list), if I mix some in it usually separates again within a few minutes, but I put up with having to stir it every time I want to use it because it does the job so well. Olive oil does not disrupt the scent at all but for the sake of freshness I pour a small amount of Pied de Pepper into a separate pot, then mix it with olive oil, never pouring any olive oil into the original pot. I usually make enough of the decanted Pied de Pepper and olive oil mixture to last me a couple of weeks.
A few words of warning - if you put this on your feet and put light coloured socks on, it will make marks on them. They have washed out, but I have had people asking me what I did to my feet a couple of times!
I would recommend this product to anyone and everyone - although if you have skin that is dry and cracked so much that it is broken, I would avoid this as the spicy oils, particularly the cinnamon, could irritate it. I first tried a small tester of Pied de Pepper before asking for the full size pot for Christmas. I got my tester as part of last year's Night in for Toes kits from Lush, which were great value. If you ask in store or put a note in your order whilst buying online or from mail order you may be able to get yourself a small sample.