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*~*Introduction and reason for purchase*~* I've been buying Avon products for as long as I can remember, mainly through a local Rep and also direct from the company during a brief stint as a Rep myself a few years ago. Whilst I find certain Avon products can be hit or miss, I've come to know what works for my skin and what just doesn't agree with it and so stick to certain items. When it comes to their fragrances I've always found these to be adequate enough and whilst I wouldn't normally class them as a 'special' fragrance for evenings for example the majority I have tried have been ideal for daytime wearing. A school friend mum was an Avon Rep for a while last year and I made a purchase from most of the campaigns, and when she gave up running it early last year she gave me a full sized bottle of Rare Diamonds EDP as a thank you for all the custom and support I'd given her. I have been using Rare Diamonds on and off recently and feel I can now justify a fair review. My review will now focus on Rare Diamonds EDP by Avon.. *~*How its described*~* "..Rare Diamonds is an extremely rich, romantic and brilliant perfume, worthy of its name. The layers of beauty and luxury that diamond carries are embodied in this oriental - floral composition, with the sparkling opening that leads to the sophisticated, sensual and creamy notes.." *~*The fragrance itself*~* *Top notes* Plum blossom Guava Peony. *Heart notes* Gardenia Diamond orchid Sambac jasmine. *Base notes* Cashmere wood Patchouli flower Creamy amber. *~*Price*~* Although I received this as a gift as I've just mentioned, the current RRP is £13 and comes in one size only of 50ml. The fragrance is often on offer, as are most Avon products, and at going to press it is currently on offer at just £7 giving you a reasonable £6 saving. *~*Packaging*~* The bottle is understatedly exquisite really. It is very minimal in design and really quite a simplistic affair but stands out nevertheless and immediately catches my eye when I look for a perfume to wear amongst my vast collection (don't tell my husband as they are mainly hidden in my wardrobe!). The bottle starts off on a flat circular base, with the glass bottle gently curving outwards until nearing the neck where it veers in dramatically giving an almost flat appearance and positioned here is a dome shaped lid with a shiny silver metallic edging. The lid alone is enough to grab attention as apart from the metallic edging, directly on top is a decorative arrangement meant to look like cut glass and which is very eye catching especially when it catches the light. The bottle itself is made from a transparent glass which has a pearly iridescent glow and which again sparkles delicately in the light. Because of the transparency we can also see the contents clearly which in this case the parfum is in a clear water like liquid form. The bottle is housed in a matte silver/ grey cardboard box with minimal decoration which doesn't do the bottle any justice at all as it's quite dull and pedestrian and think if the box had a metallic sheen to it like the lid of the bottle it would make it much more interesting.. needless to say the box was binned shortly after I was given this! *~*Availability*~* As this is an Avon product it can be purchased either directly from the company through their online shop @www.avonshop.co.uk but please be aware there is usually a P&P charge unless ordering over a certain amount. As I have never ordered in this way I can't comment on delivery satisfaction etc as I've always bought via a Rep which is the most common way of buying it seems. Avon products can also be picked up on sites such as eBay so its always worth a peruse if trying to hunt down something specific. *~*My thoughts on wearing Rare Diamonds*~* I was given this bottle as a thank you for placing orders with a school mum friend and generally supporting her whilst she was a Rep for a while. When she presented me with this fragrance it was at the same time that I had just placed my last order with her and included in that order was another of the 'Rare' EDP's - Rare Sapphires. I have recently used the last of the Rare Sapphires fragrance and have to admit it is one of my favourites from the collection so when it came to using Rare Diamonds I was already comparing it having unfairly put Rare sapphires high up on a pedestal. My mum has always been a fan of the Rare EDPs though I remember trying the Rare Gold many years ago and found it reminded me of cheap hair spray and so stayed away from the entire range as I was and truly put off. It wasn't until trying the Rare Sapphires last year that I realised how unfair I had been in classing all the fragrances the same as I fell in love with the unique scent of Sapphires as it smelled like no other perfume I'd used before. Rare Diamonds comes housed in an identical looking bottle (barring colour) to the other Rare fragrances and to be honest it just didn't appeal very much to me at all at first. But being free I wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth, and after an initial spritz to test it out on receiving it, I placed it in my cupboard until I'd finished using Sapphires up completely. The bottle may look delicate and pretty but it is actually made from fairly thick and sturdy glass which I haven't hesitated in 'throwing' in my bag for when I've required a top up whilst out and about. The lid is quite tight fitting and takes a slight effort to pull off which on one hand is annoying but at the same time reassuring that it wont leak when it is in my bag being 'bashed' about. Once the lid is removed there is a faint aroma which escapes and is very floral, which at the risk of sounding constantly negative it doesn't have the required drawing power that I look for in a fragrance as I'm not the biggest of floral hearted perfumes and this falls directly into that category. Underneath the attractive 'glass' lid is small and stout looking nozzle in a shiny and slick looking metal where directly in the centre is a large circular opening but with only the tiniest pin prick of a hole for the liquid to emit via. This isn't too much of a problem however as when the nozzle is pressed the liquid dispenses evenly in a fine mist which covers a remarkably large area when spritzed, and I feel this needs mentioning for when spraying on the neck area as it has a habit of ending up on your face if not held a good distance away as the range is impressively large for such a tiny opening. The first thing I noticed when I'd spritzed this onto my skin was the somewhat strong and overpowering artificial scent that accompanied it. The fragrance was quite overwhelming and it actually made me cough and so far it wasn't doing anything to win me over.. Luckily the strong scent fades quite quickly - within seconds actually - and leaves in its wake a much more natural and fresher aroma. It is then that the fragrance starts to actually shine through and there's no denying peony is used in the opening notes as it stands out almost immediately. The peony takes over and whilst it is a very pleasing scent in itself it is disappointing that the guava and plum blossom, which are also used, cannot be detected at all.. however I'm no perfume expert and certainly don't claim to be and others that own this EDP may be reading this saying the complete opposite but having used this fragrance on numerous occasions I'm yet to notice anything at first other than that of the peony. The dry down happens very fast and is in fact a quick affair with no sooner the peony making itself known as the heart notes start to emerge. Again it is a full on floral tribute here with the gardenia fighting its way to the top knocking any other contenders to the bottom of the list and though the peony is still around it is very much pushed to the back of the queue with the gardenia taking over. Once the fragrance has fully settled on my skin I found it hard to notice any of the base notes and to say that cashmere, patchouli and amber are supposedly featured I really can't say that any of them stood out.. *~*Recommended?*~* Whilst I may have sounded quite pessimistic about this fragrance so far I have to say its not all doom and gloom. I wont lie though this isn't my favourite of the Rare collections though it does have its favourable points. Once applied it does come across as overpowering and even artificial yes, there's no denying that, but it does transform almost instantly into quite a natural floral scent so it appeases itself quickly. Rare Diamonds is very floral, full on floral to be precise and if you are a fan of this genre of fragrances then this is ideal as it *is* very pretty. Unfortunately for me I am not a floral fan (except for the odd exception) but even I can appreciate the soft balmy scent that Rare Diamonds has to offer. Once applied the strength does start to wane fairly rapidly and though dwindles a lot compared to its initial application it does maintain a level of strength for a good hour or so. Disappointingly though its doesn't hold this longevity wise and the fragrance fades almost completely within a 2 to 3 hour period depending on how much you applied in the first place. If this was merely an eau de toilette then I could understand it more, but the fact it is an eau de parfum it is a more concentrated form and should realistically last a lot longer with the minimum amount used. I am slightly torn with this fragrance as on one hand once it settles it offers a light and sweet bouquet but on the other hand it fades so quickly that you do have to carry this about with you as it needs reapplying on a frequent basis to retain a reasonable level of scent. *~*Overall*~* This is a light floral scented fragrance ad if that's your cup of tea then you will love it - sadly its not the type I would normally wear at all and once this bottle is finished I can't see myself repurchasing another. As a gift it was a lovely thought and I fully appreciated it, but given the choice I wouldn't have opted for this myself. The main let down for me though is not the keen floral element, it is the lagging in the longevity stakes as it goes from super strong to barely there in such a short space of time and if I was buying this - and especially at its full RRP of £13 - then I'd expect much more than it has to offer. Because it is a gentle scent it works best for the daytime, as its lack of presence doesn't justify it as a reason to wear on an evening at all. Stylish, elegant feminine it is charming in its own way but not for me. I'm going to give this a middle of the road 3/5 as I feel along with Rare Gold it is one of the weakest of the Rare collection..
*~*Introduction and reason for purchase*~* I have a great love of beauty items - well all except for make up as I don't really wear it - but anything fragrance or pamper wise I simply can't resist, and because of this 'obsession' I have amassed a great quantity of products over the years. I received several gift sets and pamper products for my Birthday in November as well as recently for Christmas, and though I regularly state this I really am not buying anything myself now (apart from basics like shampoo/ deodorant etc) until I've made a decent enough dent in my stock to warrant replenishing any of it. I was bought some lovely fragrance sets for my Birthday and apart from testing the scent on my skin I have put them away in my cupboard as I want to use up the remains of the vast collection of fragrances that I already have 'on the go' with the one I am going to review now - Rare Sapphires by Avon - being one of them. As I have just the smallest amount remaining in the bottle I feel I can justify a fair review of 'Rare Sapphires' by Avon. *~*How Avon describe it*~* "..A sparkling citrus blend of grapefruit and mandarin based on a creamy fig accord enhanced with touches of dewfruit.." *~*Price*~* It is almost 8 months ago since my friend stopped running Avon and this was one of my last purchases along with a few other bits and pieces so I'm not sure exactly what I paid at the time. Having had a quick look online at the Avon shop I can see that the current RRP is £13 for a 50ml sized bottle but is currently on offer at just £7 at the moment. *~*Packaging*~* Rare Sapphires is presented in a midnight blue cardboard box which has a few intricate swirls in a lighter colour blue with the wording of the fragrance in a golden shimmer lettering. For some reason the word sapphires is in a much bolder gold colour and stands out much more than 'rare' - not sure why this is as the box indicates the fragrance is simply titled Sapphires, but there you go! The bottle itself is very minimal in design being an oval shape which stands solidly on a flat base and increases in curvature before tapering in near to the neck, which is then finished off with plastic lid to match. The bottle is made from a relatively thick glass as it is heavy when picked up and no doubt would withstand being gently bashed about if it were in my bag. The glass itself has a very gentle blue hue to it but with the liquid inside it gives the glass a much deeper, richer midnight blue colouring and is very attractive. The lid, though made of a lighter plastic, matches with a blue dome like gem on top and is finished off with golden edging. All of the 'Rare' fragrances are of the same design but I think this one is the most elegant looking mainly due to the deep blue colouring. *~*Availability*~* I purchased mine through my friend who at the time was an Avon Rep and so ordering and delivery was free and easy to do, though if there isn't a Rep local to you it can be ordered from their online shop @www.avonshop.co.uk though ordering this way does normally incur a P&P charge, as I have not ordered online though I am unable to comment on my experience of buying this way. Alternatively sites such as eBay often have a large collection of Avon products so its worth perusing the many pages if wanting this. *~*The fragrance itself*~* Rare Sapphires is available in the one size of 50ml and is an Eau De Parfum. It is classed as a 'fruity floral' fragrance. *Top notes* Fig Grapefruit *Heart notes* Gardenia Lily Snowdrops *Base notes* Cedar Vetiver Fig tree. *~*My thoughts on wearing Rare Sapphires*~* I remember my mum wearing the Rare Gold many years ago and I distinctly remember thinking how horrid it was and reminded me of the scent of hairspray. Because of this I avoided buying and of the 'Rare' fragrances for many years, until I was bought a bottle of the Rare Rubies as part of a pamper goodie bag and I have to say that that particular fragrance won me over and so I tested with trepidation the other Rare EDP's. It turns out the only one I'm really not keen on is the Rare Gold as all of the others I've found quite favourable and in particular Rare Sapphires seems to stand out that little bit more for me. On removing the very easy fitting lid there is a golden metallic nozzle housed underneath which when pressed releases the EDP in a flurry of fine mist. The EDP looks midnight blue whilst in the bottle but when sprayed the liquid is actually transparent so it's quite deceiving. When I purchased this bottle almost a year ago now my first thoughts were how different this came across as compared to the last time I wore it a few years ago. I don't know whether any of the notes have changed but it had a slightly different essence when worn on my skin, or maybe I just thought it was different as it is quite a while ago since last wearing it. Whatever the reason I was instantly smitten. The first thing I noticed when I'd applied this to my pulse points on both wrists and neck was the very blatant use of figs here. Fig can be one of those fruits that you either like or don't, and the same can obviously be said about its scent but I for one happen to be a fan (more of its scent than taste though if we are being honest) so I was very happy with its presence included here. Once applied the fig is quite a dominating note but it starts to gently fade and takes a side step after a few minutes to allow the sharp scent of grapefruit to shine through. I really liked this combination in the opening notes and I loved how the sharp tang of the grapefruit sat alongside the soft mellow fruity scent of the fig as it gave off an unusual scent which I simply loved. The dry down isn't quick and it takes its time to start changing before transforming into a more floral fragrance and after about 20 to 30 minutes I really started to notice a gentle floral aroma on my skin which presumably was the lily and the gardenia, I'm no expert so can't say exactly but it was definitely much more flowery at this point. The EDP starts to fade fairly quickly after this point, as on first applying it comes across as very overpowering and catches in the throat slightly, but luckily this doesn't last for long as it does settle very soon after applying. What I am left with after wearing this for a while is a warm woody aroma (this is where the cedar in particular really shines through) with a very mellow floral backdrop and finally the fig notes. As fig is used in both the opening and base notes it is, as I mentioned, the most predominant scent here throughout really and if you aren't a fan then this EDP really wont be for you at all. *~*Results and recommendations*~* I really do love this fragrance as it is unlike anything I've worn myself before and have had people compliment me when I've spritzed it on asking what the beautiful perfume is I'm wearing, to which they always reply 'Avon really?' as they didn't expect that answer! Rare Sapphires generally though seems to be the marmite of the EDP world - you either really love it (like I do) or really hate it (which I know others have not taken to it) and there really seems to be no in between. Personally I adore it as it is warm and woody with just the right hint of floral notes for my liking and most of all is different and not just some generic fragrance similar to millions of others. The only disappointment I have come across, and this goes for all of the other 'Rare..' EDPs is that as far as longevity is concerned it is very poor indeed. For an Eau De Parfum I would have expected a decent amount of wearing time when applied but found after 2 hours it was starting to fade to the point of having to reapply. Yes for an EDT I would deem that probably acceptable but for a stronger 'unwatered down' fragrance it is quite on the poor side and is reminiscent of many of my beloved Yves Rocher EDP's which have the same problem. This is quite a rich fragrance and so can be worn during the evening though I've tended to wear this the most throughout the day, though as it isn't too strong once its settled it is versatile enough to be worn either AM or PM whichever is your preference really. I would recommend this if you are after something both cheap and cheerful and a little bit different, if you are then you wont go far wrong as long as you are willing to keep the bottle in your bag to reapply. The bottle luckily isn't bulky or cumbersome and as I mentioned above is sturdy enough to be carried around so this shouldn't deter you from wearing it. It gets a 4/5 from me and I'm only dropping a star because the fragrances fades quite quickly but apart from that it very much gets the thumbs up from me.
I am a big fan of the french beauty company Yves Rocher as anyone who knows me will vouch for. I don't have much spare money but as I don't smoke and drink modestly I see treating myself to some of their beauty items every few months or so as my 'habit'. I've just received my Christmas themed Yves Rocher order but decided before I started to use my new products I was determined to use up the remains of any toiletries I currently had on the go. One such item was this shower gel, by unsurprisingly Yves Rocher, and having just used the remainder of the contents up in the shower this morning I thought I would share my thoughts on the product. Retropical is a whole range of 'limited' beauty items that were launched earlier this year by Yves Rocher and were meant to surmise the whole tropical holiday feeling. I purchased this shower gel as well as the EDT mainly because they were both on introductory offer at the time, and also because I'm a sucker for trying new products. The shower gel was actually part of a set which included said EDT and for which I paid a reasonable £12.95 for both, if bought singularly the shower gel's RRP was at the time £1.95, which whilst still a decent price it worked out cheaper for me to buy the set as the EDT was priced far higher if bought on it's own than in a set. Although this is supposedly a 'limited' range there are many of the products still available on the website, though this gel is temporarily out of stock at the moment. I take their 'limited' items with a pinch of salt as usually it means they will have those limited ranges for a lot longer than they make out to try and entice people to buy them (which I have to say works on me..). The shower gel also doubles up as a hair wash as well, though I haven't personally used it on my hair but my husband has and I'll go into that in more detail shortly. The gel is housed in an upright standing container which is made of plastic and fully recyclable. Yves Rocher have a very green ethos and their products are made with plant based materials and as much as possible of the minimum packaging is recyclable. The appearance is quite deceiving as the container is quite wide from the front angle though very thin from the side angle, so although it looks like you get a lot more than you do it does only hold 200ml. The bottle tapers in from the bottom where there is the 'infamous' finger nail breaking flip top lid that YR seems to constantly place on all of their body care products. The lid is about the only negative thing here though I'm pleased to report! Using as a body wash: The gel itself is a very girly looking pink in colour, which can be clearly seen through the transparent plastic bottle despite there being a large sticker covering the majority of the front. On (finally) opening the lid the bottle doesn't need much of a squeeze as once it is tipped the gel flows with relative ease and is neither too thick nor thin in consistency. Texture wise this feels bizarrely quite 'dry' if that makes sense. Usually a gel or wash tends to have an almost greasy feel to it, but Retropical feels more jelly like and is quite an odd thing to touch though it doesn't deter its cleaning capabilities at all. Once the gel is poured out into the palm of my hand I found it took a minimal amount of time for it to lather up once it was mixed with water and its pink slightly iridescent appearance rapidly disappeared and was replaced by a mass of white creamy bubbles. The fragrance is really quite a refreshing one and despite its very obvious 'feminine' appearance it has quite a unisex scent to it. It does smell similar to the EDT - which you would expect - but it isn't quite as obvious with some notes and given that the EDT contains mandarin, orange, sand (yes sand) and bergamot the gel itself gives off a very fresh citrus scent with a deeper underlying bergamot scent in the background which is why my husband ended up using it on several occasions whilst showering. The gel lathers quickly as mentioned and cleansed my skin adequately on each occasion used. It isn't the most hydrating wash I've ever used but neither did it leave my skin feeling taut or uncomfortable after use either, it was simply okay but I use a separate body lotion/ cream afterwards regardless so it was never an issue. As a hair wash: I can't give a personal opinion on this myself as even though I have short hair now and wouldn't think twice about using it this way my hair was very long when I bought this set and would tangle very easy, so no way would I attempt to use something that doubles up ass another product on my hair. My husband has very short hair so he will use anything that is within reach when in the shower and used this on numerous occasions stating it left his hair soft and fluffy, though not 'silky' like regular shampoos do. It is very handy for taking away on holiday if limited for space, or on overnight trips perhaps but personally I'd only use as a shower gel. Recommended then? This ticks all the required boxes for me. Despite the difficult to open lid the bottle itself is easy to grasp when showering and the gel itself pours out with little effort. The fragrance is fresh and fruity with a nice woody essence making it ideal for either sex to use. If needed it can also be used on hair, and isn't overly expensive plus a little goes a long way so it is actually quite economical in the long run. The downside? The dreaded lid, though once opened initially it does start to loosen each time (though not much), and the availability issue though as mentioned it is often 'limited' but available for well over a year afterwards, though if really wanting a bottle the likes of eBay will probably have it somewhere on a listing. 4/5 from me.
I have been a fan of Yankee candles, and in particular their wax tart formats for a few years now after reading so many positive reviews on sites such as here and became quite addicted to purchasing. When I started reading reviews about a company called Kringle I admit I was intrigued as some of the scents sounded wonderful, so when an online friend offered to send me some of their collection for me to try I was eagerly looking forward to testing them out. Having become as hooked on Kringle wax tarts as I am on Yankee I have been purchasing from both brands when funds allow with my most recent purchase being the Fresh Mint Wax Tart by Kringle. My thoughts having recently burned Fresh Mint.. I knew very little about the Kringle brand until a quick click on the search engine informed me that Kringle candles were the brainchild of Mike Kittredge lll, who just happens to be the son of the former Yankee Candle owner (and inventor no less). Knowing this little bit of information made me somewhat more positive to the Kringle brand for some reason and so I have been purchasing them on a fairly frequent basis. I purchased my Fresh Mint wax tart from an online retailer, an eBay store to be precise, where I paid the princely sum of just £1 with £1.10 added on top for postage and packing which I thought was still quite a reasonable amount to pay. Although I've not used as many Kringle wax tarts as I have of the Yankee variety, one thing I have noticed so far is that all of the Kringle wax tarts are the same colour, being a snowy white, whereas Yankee do different colours normally to tie in with the particular fragrance. The packaging is similar to Yankee wax tarts being sealed in a transparent wrapper with a sticker on the front depicting an image to coincide with the fragrance, with Fresh Mint unsurprisingly showing an image of freshly cut mint leaves on a white background. The other notable difference here as well, at the risk of being too comparative, is that Kringle tarts all seem to be shaped in a circular disc unlike Yankee's more flatter, fluted edged versions. I found the wax tart just as difficult though as its Yankee counterparts to get into and ended up having to get a knife to tear the cellophane style packaging from the wax tart which then saw bits of the tart getting caught in the blade - not a good start, but I was used to this from previous Yankee experience. On opening the wax tart I was slightly disappointed by the lack of scent as I expected it to emit a stronger minty fragrance, but this wasn't so and seemed slightly insipid with only a very faint minty aroma just escaping.. I placed the whole wax disc into my oil burner, as dependent on strength I will break into half if the aroma is too overpowering, but felt that as it wasn't emitting much aroma when unwrapped then it wouldn't be very strong if only half was used. After placing a lit tea light underneath the pot area I placed my burner on my window sill in my kitchen (we live in a small cottage all on one floor with the kitchen being the most central of rooms) and waited.. After around 5 minutes of the tea light starting to melt the wax tart I did notice a fresh minty scent gently wafting from the burner and from what I could smell it certainly came across as very authentic and 'real' and not remotely synthetic. The more the tart melted the stronger the fragrance became until after around 1 hour of burning in total I felt it was *too* strong and so extinguished the flame of the tea light at this point. The minty aroma had gently seeped into each room and whilst very noticeable it was obviously the most prominent in my kitchen. I noticed the fresh mint fragrance around my home for around two hours after extinguishing the tea light though the scent grew more subtle as time went on. When I re lit the tea light the following day I noticed how the fragrance seemed to be much more subdued and was barely noticeable and left burning until the tea light and burned out but didn't bother replacing with another as the scent was just too weak. Would I recommend this wax tart? I have to say the fragrances are so tempting from Kringle and somehow seem purer and more realistic than Yankee - despite my love of the brand. The only thing that I've been let down by with not only Fresh Mint but also the other Kringle wax tarts I've tried is the longevity. The strength seems to disappear after around 2 to 3 hours and at the risk of being too comparative with Yankee I feel they are the weaker brand despite preferring their fragrances. I would certainly recommend trying this is you are a fan of anything 'minty' as the fragrance is very fresh and uplifting and when used in my kitchen it helped to eradicate any foul cooking smells and left my home smelling really clean. Longevity wise I was left a little disappointed but the actual fragrance itself is wonderfully authentic and smells just like freshly cut mint. I will buy this again in the future if I see it on offer but wouldn't go out of my way to track it down though but it still gets a rating of 4/5 from me, deducting a star for the level of longevity only..
I've become quite a fan of beauty products by the H&M brand over the past year and take advantage of any offers when placing an online order with them. Although the online catalogue doesn't have a huge selection of beauty products I've yet to be disappointed with what I've ordered, in particular their body sprays - or splash's as they prefer to call them - with my last order seeing me add a few different fragranced splash's from their sale line. After using one called 'Cotton Wood' almost consecutively whilst away on holiday recently I feel I can give an honest opinion on the product's performance. Body Treats 'Body Splash Cotton Wood' by H&M What H&M have to say "..Cotton wood has a fresh, light scent of flowers and amber with warm wood overtones. Cashmere has a lovely light scent of musk, vanilla, sandalwood and tropical fruit.." This is a light spray that can be used all over the body. The normal RRP of Cotton Wood is £3.99, which is still quite reasonable in my opinion. I managed to grab a real bargain here though with not only this, but a few different variations scent wise and picked this up whilst in the sale at £3 then with an additional £1 off at the checkout due to a code giving me a promotional percentage off of my final bill, making this for me a fantastically priced purchase. I've never physically stepped foot into an actual H&M store so can't comment on the availability in individual shops, however this is still available online @www.h&m.com where it is currently selling for the sale price of £3 making it still a good buy in my opinion.This Body Treats Body Splash is also available in Apricot and Cashmere fragrance which is also currently £3 online. Cotton Wood is presented in a simplistically designed plastic bottle which is soft enough to squeeze (if you felt the urge to) but sturdy enough for it to withstand being battered about in your bag when on the move if you so wished. Cotton Wood (and Apricot & Cashmere) is available in one size only being 170ml and for the money I think this is quite reasonable considering a small amount seems to go a long way.The bottle is a simple cylindrical shape which has a soft and sedate sage hue to it. The colour is very attractive though the fact the bottle has no transparency at all is a bit of a let down with me as it's hard to judge how much of the liquid remains, but that's just my opinion as aesthetically it is very appealing. There is quite a tall neck on the bottle though the actual nozzle is fairly small and this is hidden beneath a clear plastic lid which removes easily enough. My thoughts on using Cotton Wood I bought this, and a few different other body sprays (sorry 'splash's) back in June when I placed an online order mainly for some Summer clothing for my sons. I find their clothing to be very good quality so every few months I have a peruse of their collections as more often than not there is either some kind of sale on, or I get sent an electric coupon for either free P&P or a percentage off at the till. Because of my 'frequency' on their site I always have a quick look at the toiletries too and since I started shopping from there have had some real bargains and have yet to be disappointed by any of their beauty items (or clothing).When I clicked on to the beauty section and saw that there were some new fragranced splash's in stock I quickly clicked on to see if anything appealed. Not only did I order both this beautiful sounding Cotton Wood and it's sister fragrance Apricot & Cashmere from the Body Treats range, but the fact they were both so cheap in the sale and the added bonus of having a discount voucher to use also persuaded me to add to my basket. When my parcel arrived I tested all of my items by spritzing a few times and being thoroughly appeased I placed them with my other beauty items as I already had a few sprays and perfumes on the go at the time. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I started to use this on a more sequential basis and when packing for a recent holiday I took this and just one perfume with me. On removing the lid there is a very faint and soft aroma which is predominantly musky with a hint of floral notes to it, though the scent isn't obvious and I had to actually spritz it onto my skin to fully appreciate the fragrance. The nozzle is quite wide and one press dispels the liquid in a quick succession with the large central opening meaning it covers a large area when sprayed, which I found made it easier for applying all over the body. The 'splash' is a watery like substance and because it emits in a 'heavy' way it isn't like a mist so will fall to the ground if not aimed directly at the body - liberally applying a mist and walking through it can't be done with this if this is the preferred method of applying I'm afraid. The 'splash' is clear and when applied to the body it dries almost instantly to say it is water like and have found it hasn't marked any clothing as of yet though I tend to apply it before getting dressed, though that's not to say it wont leave marks on clothing so just be aware when applying if still fully clothed. The fragrance is slightly stronger when applied though isn't too 'in your face' as the softness of the musk seems to dull down the floral notes, which for me I prefer as I'm not really a floral fan preferring muskier/ oriental scents any day of the week so this suits my style and preference perfectly. I've never really been a big wearer of body sprays/ splash's/ mists (whatever you want to call them) until fairly recently and that's all changed since I started wearing H&M's versions. I find a classic body spray to be initially refreshing and heavily scented in some cases which quickly seems to fade, but the splash's I've tried from H&M seem to be almost on a par with an EDT longevity wise which is why they are such a good bargain (especially at the sale prices). Cotton Wood is no different either as mentioned I've tended to apply first thing in the morning before dressing and a few short sharp sprays from head to toe seems enough to suffice for the day - well the majority of it anyway. I popped this spray into my bag whilst away recently after I'd initially applied it first thing and only used it to freshen up out of habit really as we stayed at a seaside town (Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire) where we literally abandon our car at our accommodation and walk everywhere. I always carry some kind of spray in my bag whether it be a small antiperspirant, EDT or body spray as I like to freshen up throughout the day or simply reapply a fragrance that may have faded. Cotton Wood remains noticeable for several hours and whilst it may not be the strongest of fragrances when worn it never really loses its strength which I think is pretty impressive in my opinion. Although it states that Cotton Wood features Musk, Vanilla, Sandalwood and Tropical notes I can only ever detect a light floral aroma and heavier musky notes - which is beautiful don't get me wrong - but it would have been nice to be able to smell the so called tropical notes but if they are present then my sense of smell must be lacking! I was also very surprised that I can't even find a hint of vanilla when I wear this as normally vanilla makes itself known in fragrances but again I simply can't smell it at all. What does linger on me skin is a light floral (Iris?) scent which has a deeper musky undertone and smells simply divine. The fragrance is light enough to wear for everyday use and perfect to carry in your bag without causing any damage whilst the Cotton Wood aroma delicately envelops my skin for at least 4 to 5 hours (though subtly so). I would highly recommend this if you get the chance to try it as even at the full RRP it is a really beautiful soft feminine scent and suits any age range I would say. The only downside if you can even call it that, is the opaque bottle as it is difficult to judge how much of the contents is remaining, but apart from that trivial negative it fully gets the thumbs up from me. 5/5
Although I am very busy during the day, when it comes to the evening I'm literally nodding off but I find that once I do get in to bed I can't seem to settle into a deep enough sleep to make me feel refreshed when I wake up. I wouldn't go as far as to say I'm suffering from insomnia, but I do at times find it hard to fully wind down on a night and so have taken to trying natural methods like a drop of lavender oil on my pillow. Whilst this has helped a lot I thought I would go one step further and use some lavender scented body products after my evening bath to work in conjunction with the oil. I've tried various products scented with lavender but always seem to come back to buying the same one which I will discuss in this review - 'Johnson's Baby Bedtime Lotion'. I'll be honest at what attracted me to this product initially was the very purse friendly price of just £1 - which for a bottle which holds 300ml I deemed it to be a complete bargain. I have always been a fan of Johnson's baby products, and not only used them on both of my children when they were babies, but I also used to use them regularly myself. I find them perfect for use on delicate skin such as around the eyes and always keep a bottle of baby lotion in my bathroom cabinet as I class it as a beauty staple. I remember trying this bedtime lotion on my sons when they were babies and always liked how easy it was to apply and how quickly it soaked in to their delicate skin, not to mention the relaxing lavender scent that accompanies it, so I knew the product quite well from use on my children but until fairly recently had not tried this particular product myself. The packaging is quite sedate being a soft white bottle, which is in the same shape and design as most Johnson's products, being upright standing,wide at the front and slimline at the side with a soft roundness that tapers in at the neck which leads to an easy to open flip top lid. The lid is a soft lavender in colour, as is the Johnson's teardrop logo on the front and this to me adds to the gentleness that the product is trying to promote. Would I say the packaging stands out amongst similar items in the shops? Not really due to the sober colouring, but the pricing was the real pull for me as was the Johnson's branded name. On flipping open the lid, which fastens tightly but opens easily enough, I found there to be a small circular hole which didn't seem big enough at first for the product to dispense through. On tipping the bottle and gently squeezing though I found that due to the light and thin consistency that dispensing the correct amount wasn't a problem at all. The lotion is a pale, creamy, slightly 'off white' colour which as mentioned is quite thin consistency wise and smells simply divine..as long as you are a fan of lavender scented products that is. As this is classed as a baby product the scent is subtle, but unmistakably soothing, and once applied to the skin it soaks in quite instantaneously with no need for constant rubbing. The lotion may be a light colour but as soon as it touches the skin it starts to evaporate and absorbs turning transparent within seconds. Would I recommend this lotion? Yes without doubt this is one of the most soothingly scented products I've used and trust me when I say I've tried many. Viscidity wise lotion may not be the type I would normally opt for as I do prefer a much thicker lotion or even body creams/ butters to be honest, but the smooth silky texture of this lotion more than makes up for what it lacks consistency wise. Once applied to my skin I find that because it absorbs very quickly I end up applying almost the same amount again all over as my skin often feels slightly tacky (though I wouldn't go as far as to use the word sticky) though not fully moisturised, so economically speaking a 300ml size bottle doesn't last me as long as it probably should. Does the gentle aroma help me to sleep easier on a night? I can't vouch that it helps me actually sleep any easier no as my mid is too coiled up like a spring with thoughts whirring through it for me to sleep, but yes the delicate scent certainly helps me to relax to a certain point. The lotion makes my skin feel soft and smooth, smells deliciously delicate and is a complete bargain at the price I paid so it gets the thumbs up from me. Would I use it on a baby? I'd have no reservations about using this as I used the 'regular' Johnson's baby lotion on both of my boys with no qualms and would definitely use this on any future offspring. Available from most chemists, large supermarkets and some independent shops as well as a plethora of online retailers. Prices may vary but I paid just £1 as mentioned from my local Poundstretcher store where it was situated on the toiletries aisle. Gets my vote, 5/5 from me.
Whilst I prefer to open windows and my door to let fresh air in to freshen my home, this isn't always possible and so turn to alternative methods of either burning wax tarts and scented candles (my preference) or for a quick fix I reach for a can of air freshener. I only use air fresheners occasionally, so often only have one can at a time in my home with the one I am currently using being Oust Odour Eliminator in 'Garden Fresh' fragrance. Having recently finished using the contents of this can up entirely, my review will now focus on my thoughts on using the product. Oust tends to retail at around the £1 mark, making it quite a reasonable price to pay for something that eliminates odours and doesn't just cover them up. I purchased my can from my local Poundstretcher store where they had two fragrances to choose from - Cotton and Garden Fresh - the latter being the one I chose, having previously tried different fragrances I wanted to try a different variety. This was priced at £1.09, though has since had a reduction in price to a round £1. Oust is available in a 300ml sized tin and can be found on the cleaning aisle of most large supermarkets and discount stores. Packaging wise it's pretty standard fare really; being in a cylindrically shaped can that is slimline enough to grip with ease for spraying, and though predominantly white each fragrance features a different coloured lid and matching themed background with Garden Fresh featuring a bright pink lid and images of pink florals in a field. It's attractive enough but not different enough to stand out amongst its competitors really, so unless you were actively seeking it out then it wouldn't immediately grab your attention. My thoughts on using Oust Garden Fresh? I have previously bought Oust in the past though for some reason have never tried this Garden Fresh fragrance before, having tried all of the other varieties this seems to have eluded me until know. I'm not one for using air fresheners on a regular basis as mentioned I prefer to open my windows or failing that burn scented wax tarts but now and again an air freshener spray is far more convenient, and because this eradicates and doesn't mask smells it is one of my top choices along with Febreze (which I only buy when on offer as it's not always purse friendly cost wise). Oust is simple to use - simply aim upwards towards the ceiling and spray. There is a small nozzle directly attached to the lid where the spray emits from in a fast and furious fashion. Once pressed it releases a fine mist which although looks white at first is actually clear. The scent is quite strong and my first thoughts on spritzing this around my home was that it was a little bit too overpowering. There is no denying that there is a summery fresh fragrance to this but the overall thought I was left with on the first occasion of using it was it gave off a slightly artificial aroma, whereas some of the other Oust fragrances seem a bit closer to nature. Garden Fresh is quite strong florally which is nothing surprising, but it seems *too* intense and literally took my breath away at first. Having spritzed this in each of my rooms (I live in a small cottage on one floor) I found the scent started to fade by the time I'd gone back to the first room I'd sprayed this in and by this time it was a more subtle, acceptable level of aroma. I've since used the entire contents of Garden Fresh up so would I recommend it? I wasn't overly impressed at first on the fragrance having much preferred the others in the Oust family but nevertheless carried on using this as I'm not a wasteful person. I mainly stuck to just freshening up my bathroom and kitchen to help dispel any nasty odours that come with the territory of those rooms and found it did work. The Garden Fresh scent is pretty enough once its settled in the air but doesn't last too long - maybe 20 minutes or so at the most, but for money its acceptable though I do prefer Febreze over Oust at the end of the day. It did eradicate nasty aromas and didn't just cover them up by masking them, so for that I think 4/5 is a reasonable amount to award though I don't think I'll buy this particular fragrance again out of personal choice but as a product it did its job perfectly well.
*~*Introduction and reason for purchase*~* I absolutely love fragrances and own far too many, with quite a large collection (including my beloved Yves Rocher perfumes), though many are more high street than premium with the odd exception in and amongst my collection. My husband's aunty is in her late 80's and lives next door to us, and having had no children of her own tends to spoil us all rotten with her buying me a 30ml size bottle of Lancome's 'Tresor' EDP for Christmas last year. Having used this fragrance for most of the year I will now share my thoughts on wearing Tresor.. *~*Price*~* I've never bought anything from the Lancome range though I am fully away with it being a premium brand that their products also come with premium price tags. I am unsure as to where hubby's aunty purchased this from exactly but I do know she shops at Boots quite a lot and a quick look online tells me that the 30ml that I have has an RRP of £39.50, so although it's not exactly cheap it isn't as ridiculously over priced as I imagined it would be, though it is still out of my budget range. *~*Availability*~* As Lancome is a well known premium brand, this fragrance can be found in large department stores, Chemists (such as Boots) and Perfume stores as well as extensively online. *~*Packaging*~* Tresor is presented in a simplistic, yet stunning flacon which is almost diamond shaped at the top before tapering in gently to the base in fluted layers. The bottle is completely transparent and features an equally clear glass lid which is more like a cube and this sits upon the black neck of the bottle where the nozzle is housed within. Because of the transparency of the bottle we can see that the liquid inside is a rich warm honey in colour which just oozes sheer class and sensuality..and this is whilst still in it the bottle. Although I recently threw the box away that this was packaged in, I do remember it being a pinky/ peach in colour with the Tresor logo emblazoned boldly on the front and overall had a very sophisticated if not dare I say it, dated appearance. *~*The composition*~* Tresor is made up of the following: *Top Notes* Rose Petals Apricot Blossoms Peach Tree Flowers *Middle Notes* Lily of the Valley Vanilla Heliotrope Iris *Base Notes* Sandalwood Musk *~*What Lancome have to say about this*~* "..Love is a treasure. Lancôme's iconic perfume, Trésor for treasured moments.." *~*The fragrance itself*~* Tresor in french apparently means 'treasure'. It was launched way back in 1990 and is one of the most popular and best selling fragrances even now after 20 years. For those 'in the know' (i.e not me) it was created by perfumer Sophia Grojsman which will no doubt mean something to perfume buffs, but alas not me. Tresor is classed as an Oriental/ Floral fragrance and is available in both 30ml as well as 50ml sized bottles with prices varying on where you decide to shop. There are also a plethora of matching toiletries available including body lotions, body milks and shower gels to name but a few. *~*My thoughts on wearing this fragrance*~* I have to admit that when I opened this on Christmas morning it was a real surprise and I was very pleased as I've never owned anything by this brand before. I've told hubby's aunty to not spend so much on us as when we reciprocate we can't afford to be as luxurious with gifts with money being much tighter for us, but she doesn't listen as last year she bought me a Clarins gift set and reprimanded her then for spending too much! On opening the box I was really eager to see..or should that be smell, what this actually was like as it was a fragrance I was familiar with by name only. I'm quite shallow in the fact despite how beautiful a perfume may be if it has a plain or boring bottle I'm more likely to pick a fragrance in a more decorative or colourful looking flacon (I know..) Luckily for me Tresor's bottle is very unique with its tapered glass design, and is instantly recognisable amongst my other perfume bottles on my dressing table. It has an understated appearance and whilst it may not showcase extravagant decoration it's classic design is extremely stylish resulting in being very aesthetically pleasing and I do like its design immensely. I'm no perfume expert at all and certainly don't claim or pretend to be, but if I've been bought a new perfume or simply when I am on the lookout for new fragrances I do tend to look up it's notes to see if there are any that I can pick out when wearing. I have to admit that if given a choice of buying this myself or say a Calvin Klein fragrance (which I do have a soft spot for most CK fragrances though not owned any for a while) then I would most definitely have chosen a CK perfume. It wasn't until I was bought this and discovered how beautiful it actually is that I've noticed it fast becoming a favourite of mine, I certainly wouldn't go as far as to say it has become my signature scent because it hasn't, but it is one I seem to be choosing for special occasions as it is simply stunning to wear. On removing the fairly sturdy lid I was instantly greeted with a powerful fruity aroma despite this being classed as a floral fragrance, and could easily detect definite peach notes. Tresor is nothing like I expected it to be, and to be honest I expected it to be overpowering and very heavy on the floral notes so I was pleasantly surprised with what I was presented with. Once applied to my wrist and neck the apricot and peach were decidedly more noticeable and at first were all I could smell on my skin. After a few minutes though the fruit notes started to become more delicate and it was then that I noticed the beautiful rose petal notes which though were also subtle, stood out enough to differentiate between the fruit and floral notes. The dry down is quite long, slow and smoldering really and took at least 30 to 40 minutes before the scent started to change at all. Once it did though the fragrance took on a whole new level and became more focused on its floral heart notes with lily of the valley mingling perfectly with the iris which was stunning - and this is from someone who isn't normally a fan of floral based fragrances, but there was no denying that this was turning into one charming and bewitching fragrance. The vanilla adds a softness and breaks up the floral notes gently without taking over completely, which I thought was nice as sometimes vanilla notes can take over a fragrance completely by drowning out other notes but here it just added a warmth and combined with the rose petals it gives the EDP a powdery, subdued effect which creates that little bit more depth. Tresor ends on a much more deeper and intense tone, with the sandalwood giving a warm sensual feel and the musk notes adding that little touch of sexiness making it seem a much more provocative scent. *~*Would I recommend Tresor?*~* As I've previously mentioned in an above paragraph this wouldn't be the sort of perfume I'd normally go for as generally speaking I prefer more oriental/ woody fragrances as opposed to those with a floral heart like this. Having worn this on numerous occasions over the past 10 months or so I can whole heartedly recommend this EDP for anyone looking to invest in a new evening scent. I say evening scent as I have worn it on the odd occasion during the day but haven't found it to suit daylight hours for some reason, it seems out of place and far more 'natural' to wear on an evening. Longevity wise this is impressive as a few small spritzes on each wrist and neck meant that this was still noticeable 6 to 7 hours later - more delicately as the time went on though which was only to be expected. I've been really impressed with Tresor and have since been told that if I like this (which I very much do) then I will adore Tresor Midnight Rose, which having since sent for a free sample online and been seduced by I can see myself dropping heavy hints to my husband for my upcoming birthday.. Tresor is a beautiful fragrance that is soft, powdery and very feminine. It is seductive and sexy in a very subtle way and has really won me over. The 30ml size bottle I own barely looks like any has been used despite me wearing at least two to three times a week so value wise it's a very economical purchase as only a small amount is needed per application. I've taken this out in my bag on the odd occasion and found the bottle to be sturdy and resilient enough to withstand being 'bashed about' but to be honest I've ended up not really using it as I've felt the level of fragrance to still be adequate enough to not have to top up. Although I'd say this would suit most women of any age it probably wont appeal to teenagers but the fragrance is neutral enough for any age in my opinion. Simply beautiful, and one of my favourite special occasion fragrances. 5/5
*~*Brief synopsis*~* Dex is living the high life - young, handsome and rich with a high flying career and a string of girlfriends, so when he gets a call one night to say that he is an uncle he is over the moon as he is very close to his older sister Laura. Dex couldn't be happier knowing Laura will make a fantastic mum to her newborn daughter Delphi and the future looks rosy. When Dex decides to buy a cottage in the picturesque village of Briarwood as a weekend get away from his fast moving London life he doesn't realise how attached to this beautiful tranquil village he will get..or more to the point how attached he will become to charismatic neighbour Molly. When tragedy strikes Dex finds that his life will never be the same again and finds himself spending more time in Briarwood to the point of moving there growing ever closer to Molly - there's an obvious connection and spark but will it lead to something more? How will Dex adapt to his new life in the much slower paced Briarwood in comparison with his hectic London life? Throw into the equation the tangled lives of Frankie and Joe; the owners of the local cafe, the pub landlady and her mysterious father who has a secret in his past he'd rather keep quiet about and a whole host of interesting characters all make up the 'ingredients' for Jill Mansell's latest bestseller 'Don't Want To Miss A Thing'.. *~*My thoughts*~* My best friend introduced me to the world of Jill Mansell books around two years ago, after reading one of her books for the first time deciding she wanted to read more by this author and so over time has built up quite a collection. This benefits me as whenever a new book is purchased it is then leant to me to read with Don't Want To Miss A Thing being Mansell's latest book and also my friend's most recent purchase. Having recently just finished reading this latest novel, what did I think?I have to admit I've enjoyed almost every single Jill Mansell book I've read and whilst Don't Want To Miss A Thing is no exception it was also extremely predictable for most of the book, in particular the majority of the characters story lines. We meet Dexter first - literally on line one of page one and are then slowly introduced to the characters that centre around him with Molly playing a predominant part. Although Dexter's story is the main feature in the book there is another story that develops gradually before interweaving into the Dexter storyline and this seems to be a key feature with Jill Mansell's books. Although both of the main stories have a serious note to them they are written in a fairly light hearted way and whilst I wouldn't go as far as to say they are 'frothy' they seem to have a sunny disposition despite each of the story's circumstances. As much as I enjoyed reading this book I found that the Dexter/ Molly/ will they/ won't they plot was a little tiresome and seemed to be a rehash of most of Mansell's other books. The other main plot caught my attention far more with its 'shock' revelation about a main character and I found myself becoming slightly bored to be honest once the story switched back to the Dexter/ Molly plot which it did quite often which was frustrating as no sooner had I got sucked into one plot I then suddenly found the book switched with no warning to the coinciding plot. I thought most of the characters were likable, but none in particular stood out enough for me to say they were favourites and I found it hard to warm to most of them. Normally with Jill Mansell books I find that most of the characters I end up taking an instant shine to and care about what will happen to them as the story progresses but I'm sad to say I just didn't feel this way about any of them apart from baby Delphi who featured adorably throughout the book. I do have to point out though that whilst I didn't exactly 'love' any of the characters, I didn't exactly dislike them either. I did think baby Delphi was cute (who wouldn't?) and Dexter himself was a likable enough lothario but I didn't feel strongly enough about him to really care about how his future panned out (harsh I know). Molly was again *nice* enough but her character just didn't seem deep enough to love that much as did any of the characters - that's not to say they were all horrible as they weren't, just very one dimensional and a bit insipid to be honest. I did quite like the character of Frankie but thought her daughter was cold, spoiled and really didn't connect with this 'precious princess' at all and found her storyline rather becoming and served her right. I thought some of the characters could have been involved far more then they were as they seem to be loitering in the background for much of the story(s) then suddenly have a chapter or two to themselves with big revelations towards the end, making it all seem 'too little too late' as by the time the characters start to come into their own I found I'd already lost interest, which was a shame as I think both of the stories could have greatly benefitted from more in depth characters. I've read many of Jill Mansell's books up to press (all through my friend kindly lending me them) and I have to say that 90% of them have had such a positive impact that I would happily read them again. There has been the odd one that I have 'endured' to the end but generally I find her books fun, lighthearted and engaging enough to make me want to read until the early hours. I was so looking forward to reading Don't Want To Miss A Thing as the last Mansell book I read (A Walk In The Park) was so captivating that I found it difficult to put it down once I'd picked it up. The appearance of the book certainly caught my attention with its attractive pink cover and soft cartoon drawings and I was eagerly looking forward to reading it, having saved it to take on a recent holiday as I thought it would be a perfect holiday read. This book started off well and piqued my interest with its opening paragraphs enough to make me want to read on, but I have to say I was more than happy to just read a few pages here and there rather than spend hours engorged as this book just didn't keep my attention enough for me to really care how it panned out. I think if you are a fan of Mansell's books then you will probably enjoy this too but be warned that it is fairly predictable throughout and not one I'd read again, and am very glad I was loaned this book and not forked out cash to buy it. Miscellaneous www.jillmansell.co.uk www.headline.co.uk 420 pages ISBN 978-0-75535587-7 Headline Publishing Group 2013 RRP £14.99
Due to the fact I have two young sons who love getting messy and a husband who works as an engineer, my washing machine is on at least 5 out of 7 days of the week meaning I go through quite a lot of washing products. Although getting the clothes clean is obviously the key principle I also like my washing to retain that 'just washed' scent for as long as possible afterwards so use a fabric conditioner with almost every wash. I'm far from brand loyal and tend to opt for what is on offer, and whilst I'm certainly not a brand snob I do tend to stick to the more well known brand names as I've purchased products at half of the price in the past that smell wonderful but unfortunately the scent never transfers to my clothes. Because of this I alternate between names such as Lenor, Fairy or Comfort and a major decision is availability as I don't drive so buy from my local Supermarkets. I nipped into Superdrug a few weeks ago which is in close proximity to my home and was surprised to see in their household section Lenor Infusions selling at just £1.49 for a standard 750ml. I've purchased from the Infusions range in the past and although have been pleased with the results I've often found the price to be off putting as the RRP is normally way over the £2 mark. Superdrug had two different variations in fragrances at the time and I purchased one of each at that price with the Struck By Fuchsia being the one I will be discussing now. Presented in a generic looking, upright standing bottle Stuck By Fuchsia lives up to its name of the bottle being a bright pink in colour so is easily spottable amongst its competitors. The bottle tapers in slightly towards the neck where there is a twist off lid which doubles as a measuring cup, as is the norm with most fabric conditioners. Once the lid is removed there is a strong and powerful floral fragrance which escapes and my first impressions were pretty positive I have to say as I do like my clothes to smell nice once they are washed and dried, as well as being clean and soft to the touch. The liquid was thinner than I expected and whilst it looks white in the bottle once it is poured out into the cap it has a soft gentle pink hue to match its name. The fragrance is beautiful and dominated by a strong floral element, which given the name of Struck By Fuchsia it was no surprise. I wont go into details about dosage as this and other directions for use can be found on the side of the bottle, so would I recommend this product? Having poured the appropriate amount of liquid into the drawer of my washing machine I had high hopes for this product as I do use different Lenor products on a regular basis and am generally mollified with the brands performance. Once the washing cycle had finished and I went to retrieve the wet clothes I was a little disappointed by the lack of scent that greeted me when I opened the washing machine door. Once the clothes were hung out on the washing line I hoped the Lenor promise of "..gradually releasing uplifting aromas with every touch, revitalising your senses with an impulsive burst of freshness.." would start to happen as so far I was feeling a bit let down. Once my clothing was fully dry I noticed the scent did slightly intensify when I started to iron some of the items, but overall I was a little bit disappointed that the overall fragrance was very subtle compared to how strong the liquid came across as whilst still in the bottle. Even when I placed some items on my radiator one chillly evening I couldn't really detect anything more than a subtle scent, whereas normally washing drying would radiate a lovely scent around my home. My clothes felt very soft so I have no complaints there, and having since used the contents up my bedding and laundry has always felt very soft and almost crease free but unfortunately the fragrance just doesn't seem to hold which is why I can only give this a middle of the road 3/5. Availability wise this can be picked up from most major supermarkets and has an RRP of £2.25 depending on where you choose to shop, I have since noticed the price of this has risen to £2 in Superdrug now and whilst it is still cheap for a brand such as Lenor I think there are far more superior products. I will buy this if it is on offer again for its effectiveness at making my laundry soft but scent wise it is a let down and will stick to other Lenor products in the future as this Infusion range so far has not 'struck' me..
*~*Introduction and reason for purchase*~* As most people who know me will be aware, I love toiletries of any kind and though I am far from brand loyal at all I do have a soft spot for the french beauty company Yves Rocher. I've been buying their products all of my adult life, though due to the not exactly purse friendly prices I stick to everyday items from Superdrug etc for daily use and save my YR items for a touch of luxury pampering (not that I seem to get much time for that but still..). I place an order with Yves Rocher every few months, normally when funds will allow, and a recent (ish) order saw me purchase a bottle of the new Secrets de Essences fragrance 'Neroli'. As this was an orange based fragrance I also chose a bottle of one of their shower products which was also infused with the same essential orange so I could layer the fragrance to help prolong the scent. The shower product in question is 'Oriental Shower Milk' from the Tradition de Hammam range and having used up my first bottle I will now share my thoughts and experience of using it.. *~*Price & availability*~* I placed an order for the shower milk actually by mistake, thinking I'd ordered a body milk instead..yes you would think the words 'shower milk' may have been a big indication that this was indeed a, well, shower milk but nevertheless when it arrived I decided to keep one bottle for myself and as it was part of a 2 for 1 offer thought I'd save the other as a gift. The RRP is actually £6.30 for a 200ml sized bottle, which for everyday use isn't exactly economical but as I bought this to layer on my skin when wearing my Neroli EDP I thought it would be ideal for occasional use, plus the fact it was part of a 2 for 1 offer at the time it turned out I made a considerable saving, making it quite a bargain (as far as Yves Rocher products are concerned). Availability wise it can be purchased directly from their website @www.yves-rocher.co.uk but for some reason when searching for it it comes up as being called tradition de hammal despite it being part of the hammam range so it was actually difficult to find at first, which could be off putting for potential customers as they may give up searching on the website for it. There is a P&P charge of £3.50 for orders under £25 so it is worth bearing this in mind if deciding to order this product. I tend to place my orders through their mailing leaflets as I have said before in previous YR reviews as it's not only my preferred method of ordering but they also offer a 3 month credit facility this way (subject to status of course). Alternatively they have several stores dotted about and some large department stores stock their products, but I often find eBay to be one of the best places to source their items, especially discontinued products or limited items. *~*Packaging*~* The shower milk is presented in a very impressive looking bottle which is really quite striking. Being in a cylinder shaped upright bottle that veers in 3/4 way up giving way to a slim line neck this is extremely easy on the eye and is very aesthetically pleasing for 'just' a shower product. The bottle itself is made of a thick plastic material that is completely transparent, though because of the cream coloured milk inside it gives the appearance that the bottle itself is this colour so I was quite surprised on starting to use it that the bottle was actually clear. Decoration is quite limited here, apart from the swirly delicate font of the logo on the front, which stands out due to its beautiful gold and contrasting chocolate brown hue and a small equally swirly pattern also in gold, though the rest of the bottle is plain but looks suitably charming perched on the edge of my bath. *~*What Yves Rocher have to say about this shower milk*~* "..All the relaxing benefits of orange blossom essential oil. Discover all the benefits of Moroccan Argan oil combined with the relaxing power of orange blossom essential oil in this oriental shower milk. In the shower its milky texture envelops you in a silky veil as it releases it soothing scent. Close your eyes, relax and savour the intense moment of relaxation.." Uses over 98% of botanical based ingredients and is Paraben free. *~*My thoughts on using Oriental Shower Milk*~* I've used quite a few of the products in the Tradition de Hammam range and have been suitably impressed though the fact they are one of YR's more premium and therefor more expensive ranges means I can't afford to buy these products very often. At the beginning of the year I decided to blow caution to the wind and purchased some of the Oriental Shower Oil in the same range which cost over £10 at the time (though again was a BOGOF) by using some money that I'd received for my birthday shortly before Christmas. I was instantly smitten by the beautiful orange aroma and have used extremely sparingly over the past 10 months to the point that I still have 1/3 of that particular bottle remaining. When I purchased my Neroli fragrance I wanted a body lotion with a similar scent so that I could layer all three products to intensify and prolong my Neroli fragrance but as mentioned in my opening paragraphs I mistakenly ordered another shower milk rather than a body milk! Once my order had arrived though I was actually looking forward to testing it out as the packaging matches the oil version exactly so I wasted no time in displaying both bottles on my bath edge (sad I know). I decided to test it out later that evening when I had a shower, so.. did it impress me..? Because I have used the shower oil in this range I was quite aware that the access for the milk to emit via was quite small - which with the oil was ideal so there wasn't too much in the line of wastage but I did wonder if the design would limit the shower milk from dispensing. On removing the tightly fitted screw top lid I was greeted with the most exquisite, indulgently orange aroma that I have ever come across. It differed slightly to the shower oil for some reason as this was slightly bitter, whereas the oil has a sweetness to it and is understatedly beautiful. (I've been racking my brains what perfume this lotion reminds me of and then it came to me - 7411 eau de cologne. The scent is very reminiscent of this vintage cologne and it brought back childhood memories of this fragrance as soon as I got that first hit of aroma from removing the lid.) Using the shower milk on that first occasion was a real pleasure as I tipped the bottle up and found that a small pea sized amount emitted without any effort of squeezing the bottle. The shower milk is a pale creamy colour with a very slight iridescent sheen whilst the consistency is remarkable thinner than I expected, though makes dispensing from the bottle much easier. The texture is almost velvety soft and once rubbed against the skin the orange blossom oil scent exudes far more intensely leaving not only my skin but my bathroom smelling delicious. I wouldn't say this milk lathers up particularly well and for me that was a disappointment as I prefer a shower product - whether it be a gel, cream or milk - to lather up well but this oriental shower milk simply doesn't do that at all, in fact it creates virtually no bubbles at all. The milk releases its soothing scent when washing over my skin and to say it doesn't lather up well it actually takes quite a lot of rinsing to make sure it is all fully removed from the skin. *~*Results and Recommendations*~* I can't speak highly enough about this shower milk as it smells exotically wonderful and left my skin feeling very soft and supple. I nearly always have to apply some kind of lotion/ cream after bathing as my skin can get dry at times but on the odd occasion I've been in a rush and skipped moisturising afterwards I've found my skin to feel silky soft and adequately hydrated enough with no visible dry patches so it certainly scores highly with me there. As I've just mentioned this doesn't particularly lather up and though I do prefer products that do it is not the end of the world so I won't be deducting points simply based on this factor. I've been using this product for a while now and am now onto bottle number two which has been 'on the go' for around 5 weeks now, though using only 2 to 3 times a week (to make it last) and I still have half a bottle remaining, so although the initial cost may seem high the fact I received two bottles for just over £6 isn't too bad considering the length of time it has lasted. I would highly recommend this shower milk for an indulgent luxury treat as it not only smells divine and lingers on the skin but is a perfect layer for any orange based perfumes. It leaves skin silky soft and feeling hydrated enough to skip the body lotion so for me it gets a full 5/5. Top marks for a top product.
*~*Introduction and reason for purchase*~* Anyone that knows me, or has read any reviews I have written will no doubt be aware of my Yves Rocher 'obsession'. Yves Rocher are a french beauty company that have been around for over 50 years now and not only have very green ethos as far as (minimum) recyclable packaging is concerned but also their products are natural and plant based and for me suit my skin perfectly which is why I have been a loyal customer for many years now. It was my mum who first introduced me to the delights of this company's products as she used to use their face creams and perfumes regularly so whilst growing up I was fully aware of the brand having seen various YR products around the home. At age 18 I started buying from the company myself and *cough* 19 years later still am. Although I find their skin care products the most practical buys I can't help myself when it comes to their fragrances and having a large perfume collection (mainly made up of Yves Rocher perfumes) is my guilty pleasure. When I received a sample size of Clea` recently I was transported back to my youth as this was the last time I wore this perfume 'properly', so when my asking my mum if she remembered it she dug out a half bottle of this classic fragrance for me to keep as in her own words she "has far too many" (wonder where I get my obsession from..). My review will now focus on my experience of wearing this wonderful classic fragrance.. *~*What Yves Rocher have to say about this*~* Lily-of-the-Valley with its sparkling freshness, rose and jasmine with velvety petals, the deep and sensual notes of moss and sandalwood... For mischievous and sassy seduction on the surface of your skin, a classic fragrance of timeless elegance. *~*The fragrance itself*~* Classed as an oriental floral fragrance Clea is made up of the following: *Top notes: Ylang-ylang Lily-of-the-valley Jasmine *Heart notes: Headspace gardenia Rose Vanilla *Base notes: Patchouli Amber Sandalwood Clea` is only available as an EDT spray though over the years there has been matching body products available but as this was first launched way back in 1980 it seems to be available now just as an EDT. *~*Price, packaging & availability*~* Anyone interested in ordering this or any other YR product can do so in a number of ways and at the risk of repeating myself in similar reviews will keep it brief - either order from their secure online website @www.yvesrocher.co.uk, phone their customer care/order line on 0870 049 22 22, in store, via their mailing leaflets (my personal preferred method as they offer a 3 month credit facility subject to status this way) or eBay generally have a reasonable range at much more purse friendly prices. This is available in one size only which is a 75ml spray format currently costing £29 (Sept 13'). It's been around for several years and is one of Yves Rocher's longest standing fragrances as it never seems to have been retired. Packaging wise the design of the bottle is more or less identical today to how it looked when it was first launched all those years ago, and I don't know whether this is a good thing or not as quite frankly it looks slightly dated in comparison with more modern fragrances. The only differentiating factor is the older version featured a more rounded orb like lid where as the 'newer' bottles have a golden coloured, slimline cylinder shape lid with the bottle itself remaining identical. The bottle in question is shaped in a sphere (though with a very slight oval appearance, though it's more circular than it is oval if that makes sense) with a small flatter base for balance and is made from a transparent glass. The decoration here is in the form of an embossed pattern which I've never been able to decide is whether it's supposed to be leaves or flames - I'm going for flames though! The 'flames' start at the base and ascend towards the centre of the bottle where the logo is clearly visible in a black swirly font. Although the bottle is attractive enough it still looks very dated though also has a retro appeal and fits in perfectly with the rest of my perfume collection on my somewhat over crowded dressing table. *~*My thoughts on wearing Clea - now and over the years*~* One of the things that I love about this company is that when they send me my order they always include a few samples and even when they send their monthly sales leaflets (they don't do brochures like avon) they nearly always include a small sachet or towelette sample and one I was very surprised to receive a short while ago was a sample of Clea in towelette form. I say I was surprised as the fragrance has been around since 1980 so whether they are trying to reinvent it or just introduce it to newer customers I don't know, but it was a nice surprise in a 'blast from the past' sort of way. I admit that I haven't gone out of my way to buy a bottle of this myself for several years, if I'm being honest it's at least 10 years ago since I last owned a bottle and then I think it was a Christmas gift (from my mum) so on opening the sample and rubbing the towelette over my skin I was amazed at how beautiful it was, something which sadly I'd forgotten about. When my mum offered to give me her semi used bottle I said yes immediately as on closer inspection there was nearer 2/3 of the EDT remaining in the bottle so I was more than happy. As the bottle I was given was a newer version the lid is the cylindrical style which though looks attractive from a distance up close it looks cheaper as it's made from plastic and despite its shiny veneer it spoils the style - the 'old' versions looked far classier in my opinion with it's sphere lids but that's just my opinion. On removing the tightly fitted lid the fragrance of Clea is immediately noticeable. The fragrance may only be an EDT but it gives off a very strong scent - initially anyway - with it making it clear from the start that its heavy on both the floral and more muskier notes. On spritzing just once per wrist and and again once on my neck I had to wonder why I had neglected buying this perfume for so long. The fragrance opens with a floral theme and though I couldn't detect the lily of the valley I could definitely smell the strong - but not over powering - jasmine notes which when mingling amongst the ylang ylang it helped to create the obvious oriental theme here, which as I'm a big fan of these themed fragrances it was perfect for me and I was actually really excited to be wearing Clea again, which after seeing it continuously in the YR leaflets over the years it just didn't stand out enough for me to want to wear it again. The dry down is quite long with Clea and it took quite a while for the fragrance to start to settle on my skin as it was at least 40 to 50 minutes later that the heart notes were at all noticeable. Once the fragrance did start to settle it started to develop into something more softer as though it was a 'calmer' version of itself and this is where the romantic rose notes really started to shine through, though strangely the vanilla, which can often dominate I've found, was very subtle indeed but added a much needed sweetness and balanced out the heavy floral notes. The fragrance for me is at it's most perfect once it has been worn for just over the one hour mark. It not only gives off an appealing oriental/ floral scent with it's opening and heart notes but it ends with a musky woody feel and gives off a truly warm and comforting scent due to its base notes with patchouli being the most obvious (to me anyway). *~*Recommended?*~* I'm no perfume expert and certainly don't try to come across as one but I do love perfumes and EDT's and have a vast collection, though they tend to be of the 'cheap and cheerful' variety as opposed to the designer brands as my budget doesn't stretch that far unfortunately. My one vice is my lifelong obsession with Yves Rocher which is why when it comes to their fragrances I've pretty much tried (and ended up buying..!) almost every single release over the years. When I rediscovered Clea recently I really was quite taken in with its romantic, feminine and classic scent and so when my mum gave me her bottle I couldn't wait to start wearing it again. My husband normally takes very little notice of perfumes I'm wearing but he has commented on several occasions on how nice this is, as have a few school mum friends on the school run so I think for me I'm ready to welcome Clea back in to my life. Once sprayed this is quite strong but does start to wane slightly around the 30 minute mark before settling to a comfortable degree to which it then lasts approximately 3 to 4 hours. Although this doesn't sound very long I think for an EDT it is quite an acceptable length of time and also given the fact that YR's 'premium' EDP's only last around this length then it's actually quite impressive. The size of the bottle isn't exactly small but it is compact enough (depending on bag size) to carry around if top ups are required and also the bottle's glass is quite thick and sturdy making it robust enough to withstand being 'bashed about' in a bag - within reason of course. This is a quite a sexy and heady scent - despite it's bottle's demure appearance - so I tend to stick to wearing it on an evening time mainly though there are no rules and each to their own I say. I'm very glad I rediscovered Clea and will be definitely buying myself another bottle once this one runs out. Top marks from me as I really can't find anything negative to say about it. 5/5.
**Introduction and reason for purchase** I was introduced to the H&M brand shortly before Christmas time last year when my oldest son received some Super Mario clothing from one of their ranges as a birthday present. I was so impressed with the quality and price that I had a look online and placed an order for clothes for both of my sons as well as adding a few bits and pieces in for myself. Although H&M are a large company with stores dotted sporadically there isn't one in my home town, which is why I've never really come across their clothing before, but I've been so impressed over the last year that I am now a loyal customer. Having placed an order shortly before the school summer holidays mainly for my ever growing children I decided to see what was new in the line of their cosmetics ranges as I've been very impressed with their own brand of toiletries. I came across some new body sprays (or splash's or mist's as they refer to them) and decided to add a few of the delicious sounding fragrances to my order with 'Freesia & Lychee' being amongst them. Having used this product several times now over the past few months I will now share my thoughts on the product. Freesia & Lychee Body Mist by H&M. **The range** Since discovering H&M I've bought many clothes for my two sons from their online website and catalogue and whenever I place an order I see what new toiletries they have as they change regularly. I'm not really a big fan of body sprays in general but since I tried H&M's pear body splash back at the beginning of the year I've been transformed into a body spray wearer. When I placed my last order I perused their cosmetics range and found they had several new body splash's and mists, all of which sounded beautiful and at low prices made the decision to try them out an easy one. There are three in this particular collection which are: *Freesia & Lychee (currently being reviewed) *Lily of the valley & Musk *Heliotrope & Vanilla Shimmering Spray **Price, packaging & availability** All three of these body mists are currently priced at £2.99 though I picked mine up when they were not only reduced to £2 each, but having been sent a code for 20% of of my total bill these ended up just costing me £1.60 each which is a complete bargain (hence why I bought all 3 at the same time). The packaging is quite simplistic though looks far classier than it actually is, especially at a distance. Being in an upright container with is rectangular shape, the plastic packaging is transparent enough to see the liquid through despite being quite a dark purple in colour and looks like it is actually made of thick glass from a distance so it is quite surprisingly soft and flimsy on picking up the bottle. The bottle itself holds an impressive 250ml of liquid so even for the full RRP of £2.99 I think it is well worth the money let alone for the bargain price I managed to buy it for. To access the spray there is a large plastic nozzle placed on the top of the bottle which features a large circle but with only a tiny dot of a hole for the contents to emit via. I've bought many fragrances in the past in both perfume form as well as body sprays with similar designs and found there to be no problem with the fragrance expelling so didn't worry too much in this case. Apart from a white sticker on the front of the bottle with the name of the body mist there is no other decoration at all and whilst the bottle could be classed as too plain it's simplicity is what makes it attractive and looks comfortably at home sat amongst my perfume bottles as it blends in perfectly. As this is a H&M product it can be bought from one of their stores though as I've never visited one myself I can't actually comment personally on availability in each store. I have always found when ordering through their website they seem to have plenty of each item in stock or if sold out will tell you along with popular products which will inform you if stocks are low to avoid disappointment once ordered. If interested this and the other fragrances in the range are available from www.h&m.co.uk **My thoughts on using this product** A year or two ago I wouldn't have bothered so much with body sprays/ splash's/ mists or whatever name they want to go by as I've always found them to fade far too quickly which is why I tend to stick with wearing perfumes or EDT's generally. When I placed my first order with H&M it was the sheer quirkiness of the 'Juicy Pear' bottle that won me over as it was shaped like a small plant spray (far nicer than it sounds trust me) though I have to say its longevity impressed me and so my love affair with H&M toiletries began from there. I recently purchased an equally stunning Raspberry Citrus body splash that had as much staying power as the Juicy Pear so didn't think twice about trying this Freesia & Lychee along with the other two in the collection and was thoroughly looking forward to them arriving with my order. The only thing I've found with my experience of buying H&M body products is that they tend to not be around for too long as they change their products on a regular basis so I've learned now if I find a product I love I purchase a few of the same item as chances are it will soon disappear. On one hand it's nice to see what new and exciting products they will introduce but on the other it's disappointing when you find something you like then it disappears. When my body mists arrived they were all separately packaged in sealed transparent bags with plastic seals around the nozzle to avoid any leakages whilst in transit which I was impressed with. On removing with ease from the plastic bag the plastic wrapper around the nozzle was far more difficult to get into and I resorted to removing with sharp scissors in the end, which was annoying but at the same time at least it was well packed. The plastic lid is very tightly fitted and is quite difficult to remove and replace but again I thought this was a good thing as if the bottle were to be carried around in my bag at least it could be done so safe in the knowledge that it wouldn't spill all over the other contents. Once removed I proceeded to spray quite liberally all over my body and found that despite the tiny pin prick of an opening the product actually bursts out in a rush of fine mist, covering a considerably large area with just one press of the pump dispenser. My first thoughts on the product once sprayed were how beautiful it came across as, and I was really taken in with the fragrance as it wasn't what I was expecting at all. I'm not the biggest fan of floral fragrances normally but freesia is a scent in perfumes that I don't mind so was expecting something very heavy on the floral note. What I was greeted with was the complete opposite though. The lychee dominates this body mist completely and it was the first of the two notes that I noticed as it was very bold and gave off a rich and fruity fragrance. Once the body mist had been applied all over I noticed a subtle floral scent in the background which I presumed to be the freesia and though was gentle it was still noticeable. **Recommended?** I loved the initial scent of the lychee in this spray as it was full on, strong and really quite intense but started to fade within minutes so never became too overpowering luckily. The delicate floral note of the freesia works really well together creates quite a provocative and alluring scent, especially as there seems to be a heady musky undertone that just adds to the stunning fragrance. When I first spritzed this all over it's strength was very impressive though it does start to fade pretty quickly - within minutes actually though not completely. I found I had to reapply the mist on several occasions on my first day of using and was a little disappointed with its longevity in comparison with other H&M sprays that I've had *but* it still managed to impress me as a body mist and at the end of the day I was let down only because I had compared it to other products. The fragrance of this body mist is really stunning and due to the large 250ml bottle it lasts and lasts. I've been using this bottle on and off for months now and found the contents of the bottle to have barely gone down so even at the full RRP of nearly £3 this is still very good value. As a light gentle body mist this is ideal - it offers a gentle aroma that does linger even if it is very subtle and smells simply divine once applied. My only negative criticism is that due to the bottle's large size it's difficult to grasp hold of when applying as the bottle really is on the bulky and cumbersome side. For cost value it is excellent though its size means unless you have a large bag then it is difficult for transporting around though it is very lightweight just bulky. I would recommend this though as it is a beautiful fragrance ideal for if you want a light gentle daytime fragrance. The mist itself is very lightweight and dries instantly on the skin, it has caused no rashes or skin irritations on myself nor has it stained or left marks on any of my clothing. Beautiful. 4/5 - only deducting a star due to its bulky packaging but top marks for fragrance.
*~*Introduction and reason for purchase*~* We live in a lovely small cottage and have done so for the past 19 years, and whilst our home may be small our garden is very spacious and more than makes up for our tiny dwelling. When I met my husband 19 years ago he had just bought the house and back then the garden was 90% covered in grass, whereas over the years it has reduced with the addition of decking and a pebbled area taking over a small part of the lawn. Around 8/9 years ago when my oldest son was a baby and whilst pregnant with my youngest son, we had some fencing built to divide our garden from our neighbour (who is my husband's aunt) as a precaution for when the children would be walking so they wouldn't escape, and whilst having some fencing built it spurred us to spruce up our garden in general and one of the things I'd always wanted was a water feature. Having purchased a small solar powered fountain that you placed into the ground and surround with decorative stones I was deeply disappointed to find it never worked very well and broke shortly after buying. I took it back to the shop I'd purchased it from and was given a refund, but it put me off buying a water feature again until fairly recently. A few months ago I decided to throw caution to the wind and purchase another solar water feature that I'd had my eye on for over a year. Having had our newest garden addition up and running since May I feel I can justify a review now so will now discuss my thoughts on the 'Spouting Frog Solar Water Feature'.. *~*The design*~* What I liked the most about this water feature was the simplicity of its design; being primarily a small oval basin with the water flowing out of the mouth of a strategically placed frog. Whilst this doesn't exactly conjure up too much of an attractive image, the actual water feature is very aesthetically pleasing and because of its green colouring it fits in perfectly with the garden surroundings by amalgamating into the background perfectly. 'Froggy' as ours has been affectionately named, is approximately 4" in size from his head down to the tip of his back and sits in an upright position as if searching for flies. There is a small opening for his mouth which is around 1 centremetre in diameter and this is where the water emits from. The bowl itself is approximately 3" at its deepest point which is right in the centre and tapers out giving a gentle concave appearance. *~*The dimensions*~* 32cm x 37cm x 15cm with an overall weight of 5kg. The cable, from the pump to the solar panel, is 10ft so can be placed well away from the actual bowl if desired.Both the frog and the bowl are made from a glazed ceramic material which is both thick and sturdy though if dropped would no doubt shatter, but luckily I've not experienced dropping any part of it so can't comment directly on exactly how tough it is! *~*Key points - how it's described by the manufacturers*~* *Water flows constantly through the frog and into the bowl *Creates a relaxing atmosphere in your garden, patio or balcony. *Constantly recycles the same water. *Operates in direct sunlight. *No wiring, just simply install and enjoy *~*Price & Availability*~* I've seen this particular water feature in a number of magazine supplements and catalogues over the past few years now and its always had a similar RRP of around the £50 mark. After our last experience of having a water feature I was reluctant to part with that amount of money for something which may be as much of a let down and quite frankly I didnt want the hassle of having to send it back and sort out a refund.When I received a Christmas brochure for ACE catalogue back in early May (yes I did say Christmas!) I found myself idly flicking through the accompanying garden brochure and spotted 'froggy' on sale at half price costing just £24.99. I decided that this was worth forking out for as I'd been hankering after it for some time so at less than £25 it was definitely an omen to buy it (so I kept telling myself). The price has since gone back up to £49.99 and after looking around online it can also be purchased from amazon where it currently retails at £59. If interested in buying from ACE catalogue, or its identical sister catalogue Studio, then their websites with full details and order numbers can be found @www.24ace.co.uk or www.24studio.co.uk though please note there is normally a delivery charge of £4.99. *~*Packaging*~* 'Froggy' was delivered in large and sturdy cardboard box from ACE and on opening up there was adequate padding and protection in the form of several layers of large bubble wrap, then in the centre was the actual packaging of the water feature. The cardboard box for this was far thinner though I didn't worry too much about any damage to the item due to the padding surrounding it. On opening this packaging I was pleased to see that each item was separately wrapped in both bubble wrap and was securely fastened to thick cardboard whilst also separating each piece from each other with large polystyrene pieces. Although there is minimal set up required I passed the box over to my husband so he could start to set the water feature up as the sun was shining on the day of its arrival so I wanted to test it out as soon as possible. *~*Set Up*~* Once all of the parts had been carefully taken out of the packaging, the set up itself was quite quick to the point that less than 10 minutes from unpacking it was up and running in my garden so it scored highly with both myself and my husband that there wasn' much in the line of 'faffing' about with it involved. The ceramic basin is obviously the largest part and so once positioned wherever you want it to sit in your garden the next job is to attach the pump. This is a very simple process by which the pump in question sits neatly in the basin area towards the back and holds in place with the help of suction pads that are placed underneath it's rectangular base. The pump's cable is then fed through a small hole in the back of the basin which then plugs into the solar panel itself but more on that in a minute. Once the pump is in place there is a small tube that fits neatly in place and which then feeds up through another hole on the rim of the basin - this is where the ceramic frog sits on top of for the water to flow through. The solar panel is black and approximately 6" width by 5" depth in size, with the solar panel itself in the centre being ensconced around the edges by a thick black plastic edging which has a small tube at the back of around 2" which then can be attached to an accompanying plastic stake and placed in direct sunlight for maximum effects. *~*Maintenance*~* Once the water feature is set up the maintenance is very low key and all that is required is to make sure the water is changed regularly and that it is kept to a level to which the pump is constantly submerged. The solar panel is to be kept clean by either washing with plain water or glass cleaner and gently wiped over to remove any marks or dirt for optimum results. Apart from being told to occasionally check the connections between the pump and the panel there are no other instructions apart from simply enjoy. *~*Our thoughts*~* I'd had my eye on froggy for quite a while but having been disappointed with our previous water feature it took until it was reduced to half price before I finally took the plunge. Once I'd placed my order I was already looking forward to it arriving as I'd picked the perfect location in our garden which received the most sun throughout the day and early evening and knew it would fit in perfect with our surroundings. We have a very child friendly garden though there are several pots and tubs scattered around the edges of the lawn with flowers in and near to our gate is a pebbled area with a small wooden wishing well that my dad once made me, and I knew next to this would be the ideal place to position the water feature as it was away from the prying eyes of the public (we have had things go walkabouts in the past) yet would be visible to not only ourselves but our neighbours as our garden is built up than the pavement next to it. Once my husband had set froggy up I proceeded to fill the basin with water and found that 3 to 4 large pyrex jugs sufficed and covered the pump adequately with the water filling up the bowl to around 3/4 full. Once I positioned the solar panel in direct sunlight I waited..and waited..until after around one or two minutes (but what felt to be much longer) the pump started to make a plunging type of noise and started pumping the water up and to our delight came spouting out of the frog's mouth. What I really like about this water feature is the fact it can be placed wherever you want even in the shade, and within reason regarding the length of the cable the solar panel can be placed quite a distance away. I've found that from around 10am to 2pm when the sun is on a certain spot in our garden the solar panel can be almost hidden out of sight between some plant pots and it still works extremely effectively yet looks 'tidy' as the panel is hidden and the cable is pushed behind the pots and tubs. The water feature is one of the best garden buys I've purchased over the years as once the sun hits the solar panel the water starts flowing instantly and creates such a wonderful relaxing ambience in our garden. The sound of the water is soothing and literally trickles rather than gushes so is very calming to listen to, especially when sat relaxing in the garden on an evening. I love the simplistic design of this as there are simple touches, such as the slightly fluted edges around the bowl, and even the shine of the ceramic glaze that just give this such a delightful appearance. The green is subtle so fits in amongst the garden scenery without being too outlandish and with or without decoration in the bowl this still looks beautiful and serene. *~*Recommended?*~* This is highly recommended by myself and I wouldn't hesitate to tell someone to buy one if they were thinking of doing so, in fact my mum has also had her eye on one of these for a while and after seeing how well this one performs has since bought one herself (though at full price) and is also very pleased with hers.The maintenance is low key, as is the set up, and apart from topping up the water on a weekly basis or so I haven't had to do anything else to this except admire it and listen to the tranquil sounds of the water falling back into the basin. The fact that it reuses the same water by recycling itself via the pump, frog then back to the basin is also a key point for me as is the movement of the solar panel itself. Froggy has so far worked perfectly well for us and has entertained my boys who despite having lots of toys have sat and just watched the water flowing for several long periods at a time..my husband on the other hand couldn't resist adding some of my bubble bath to the bowl the day after we had placed it outside as he may be 46 but acts more like 6 at times and needless to say I wasn't too amused as froggy appeared to be foaming at the mouth, taking several water changes to fully eradicate all the bubbles!! So far we've encountered no problems, and though we bought ours during the warmer weather and have had excellent results so far, I will be putting the water feature into storage in the garage when the weather turns colder as it advises to do so and I wouldn't want to risk keeping it outside on the off chance that it would be okay. If you are looking for a low key water feature for your garden, that can be moved to different positions and blends in naturally with the look of your garden, then I'd highly recommend this. It's ideal as a 'starter' if wanting a water feature as it's low cost to buy and low maintenance. 5/5
**Introduction and reason for purchase** I've never been a fan of fizzy drinks but on the odd occasions that I have consumed them I've always opted for the likes of Appletiser and Apple Tango rather than coke/ pepsi. A few weeks ago I was perusing the toiletry aisles of my local UGO store (currently owned by Poundstretcher so stocks the same things more or less) when I came across two shower gels by the soft drinks giant Britvic under the Tango trademark. The choice was between apple or orange fragranced gels and costing just £1 each I opted to try the apple as it appealed far more than the orange, and after just using the entire contents up of the product I will now share my thoughts on the product. Invigorating Shower Gel 'Apple' with Aloe Vera by Tango. **Price, packaging & availability** This was priced at just £1 as I've mentioned in my opening paragraph and although I hadn't seen it anywhere else at the time other than UGO I've since spotted several of the different fragrances in similar discount stores, all priced around the 99p/£1 mark. The shower gel is housed in a slightly odd shaped upright standing bottle which holds 400ml. When I say odd it looks rectangular at the first glimpse but on closer inspection it has a hollow cut out on the right hand side with a 'wavy' texture on the left which is presumably, and rather sensibly, to make it easier to grip whilst in the shower. The bottle is made from a thin plastic material which is completely transparent so the product can be viewed within, which in this case is a lurid green in colour, only shielded from sight slightly by the large sticker on the front and back with the logo and relevant product information. I'm not a fan personally of listing lengthy ingredients lists as it can be clearly seen on the back of the packaging if you should so wish to buy the product. Access to the gel is via a large flip top lid placed directly on top of the bottle. The lid is all black and matches the design of the black sticker on the front of the bottle, though opening the actual lid is no easy task despite the fact it has a helpful overhanging lip it is still quite difficult to do so. Availability wise I've since spotted this in discount stores such as Poundstretcher, B&M's, as well as Superdrug so it seems to be more widely available now than it was a few weeks ago. There are 4 fragrances in the Tango range to choose from which are: *Apple (currently being reviewed) *Orange *Cherry *Lemon **My thoughts on using Apple Tango shower gel** Despite already having a shower gel open and 'on the go' I decided to try this out on the day of purchase as I'm quite unwavering in the fact if I have something new I *need* to try it there and then. On finally opening the lid in the shower later that day I found the gel flowed from the upturned bottle with ease..too much ease if I'm being honest. The gel looked far thicker whilst still ensconced in its packaging so I was quite surprised by how much thinner its consistency actually was when poured. The gel has a very gentle apple aroma, which though pleasant enough was a bit of a disappointment as I was expecting something tangy with a 'zing' to match the Tango drink, but still the apple was evident just far more subtle than I was expecting. On applying to my damp skin I found that a lot of the product was needed to create the required amount of lather for washing myself and even when applied to a netted bath scrunchie (which a small blob normally suffices) I found I had to reapply the gel several times over the course of my shower as the lather disappeared as quickly as it developed. Washing wise this certainly cleanses the skin adequately enough and left my skin soft and feeling impressively moisturised after each use. **Recommended** I've recently just finished using up the shower gel contents in its entirety and have very mixed feelings on the product. Although the shower gel lathers up fairly quickly when mixed with water I found I was using almost twice the amount that I normally would use which given the fact the gel is 'cheap and cheerful' at around the £1 mark it is a false economic buy as one bottle lasted just over one week in our household whereas normally we get at least double the usage from other brands. The gel has a subtle scent and whilst it was noticeable whilst cleaning my skin it didn't linger so may as well have been fragrance free as the scent disappeared at the same time as rinsing the bubbles away. I was actually very impressed by how soft it left my skin feeling and the addition of the aloe vera was noticeable as normally my skin can feel dry and taut after showering/ bathing and whilst I always apply a layer of body moisturiser afterwards I felt that I could perhaps get away with missing out this step now and again and my skin would still feel soft. I bought this merely because of the Tango name and probably wouldn't have looked twice at it if it had of been a different brand, shallow I know, so was left feeling a bit deluded and to a point crestfallen as I expected much more than it had to offer. I think it could be improved 100% if the consistency was thicker for a start and if the fragrance was more intense as it was far too feeble and insipid and didn't go with the tangy expectancy of the Tango brand. Okay to try for £1 but its not managed to win me round I'm afraid nor my children, though my husband has said on many occasion 'when will I buy some more of the apple stuff' as he thought it was fantastic. Each to their own I suppose but this is one Tango I wouldn't dance again..! I'm going to award this a generous 3/5 as it may have lacked in the scent and consistency departments but was a cheap enough product and did leave my skin very soft and clean.