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I had my previous hairdryer for way too long, since I was a teenager infact, so when it started just blowing cold air I was gutted and a little bit lost. I hadn't bought a hair dryer as an adult so had no idea what to look for - what brand, what price, what size, what functions.
So after a little research I decided on the Babylis Turbo Shine.
It was a great price, at £14.99 from Boots. It was the same price at Sainsburys but I'm quite partial to my Boots points, so that swayed it for me.
This hair dryer came in a distinct Babylis box - black, sleek and looks classy. To be honest, it looked more expensive than the price I paid, so I was happy. It felt like more of a treat than just an essential item.
the one thing I didn't want, was a hair dryer with lots of different attachments and fandangled bits. And so this was great for me. It is relatively small in size (for a full size hair dryer - not as small as a travel one) and although there are a few attachments, they aren't essential. And it doesn't need the attachments to look complete, which is like some I've seen.
The look of the hair dryer itself is black and sleek, just what the box portrays really. The wire is long enough so I have mine plugged in behind the shelving unit and I still have plenty of give to use it freely. The function buttons works as a sliding motion. So slide up once and its on low and hot, twice is high and hot, and up the third time and its cold air. At first I wasn't sure if I would get on with this, but it isn't stiff so easy to use with one hand.
The other part I was worried about was the noise. And this one is great. My boyfriend complained continuously at the noise of my hair dryer, but he hasn't moaned once since I've had this one. I am able to use this in the living room and it can't be heard once the door it closed. I think this is probably more because it doesn't have that tinny noise that some hair dryers have.
In terms of its use, it is powerful enough to dry my hair really well and really quickly - and doesn't get too hot either. I have quite short hair so I can't comment on what it is like with long hair. I'm not sure if it has made my hair have more shine, but has definitely helped it look healthy.
Overall, this has been a great hair dryer so far. It has been two months and it is still looking and acting as new. I feel I've got a great deal and at £14.99 in store I couldn't have done better!
Here's to hoping it lasts as long as its predecessor.
I've had a pretty bad run of luck when it comes to shredders - three shredders in 18 months, one blew the electrics, one didn't even shred - it just sort of crumpled the paper.
I purchased this Rexel shredder on the staples website. I got it through work you get a discount the more you buy. On opening the box and taking it out of the box, I was pleasantly surprised with the look of it. It is more compact than others, which is probably due to the curved edges, curved drawer and the white and black contrast in colours make it stylish looking (well, as stylish as a shredder can look!). This now lives in our living room on the shelf and I have to say it doesn't stand out or make the shelf look like a stationary cupboard.
It is able to shred upto eight sheets at a time, and credit cards one at a time. At first I used this for office use and found it great for my 'every day' shredding needs. I took it home when doing a big clear out, which culminated in a bin bag of paperwork which needed shredding. The Rexel shredder couldn't cope with this too well - as every now and again it would overheat and took 5 to 10 minutes to work again.
I found the noise of this shredder to be pretty good, not half as loud as the other ones I've had.
Once full, the drawer is easy to access and easy to empty. It is also easy to squish the paper down to create more space, and the confetti cut ensures you can shred more than the ribbon cut.
Overall I have found this to be a pretty durable shredder, and although it can overheat, it is able to shred even with staples in and cuts up confidential information to a high standard. A shredder is one of those dull but necessary purchases for me, and because of this the main thing I look for is one that will last - which this one seems to be doing. Nine months and still going strong.
We moved into our latest rented flat about six months ago, and it was partly furnished. We had relocated to a new city, so money was a little tight. So we did what we always do when we need something for the home and not much money - we hit Ikea.
I've always found the thought of Ikea much more fulfilling than going to the store, as we hardly ever get exactly what we want for a price we are willing to pay. On this occasion though, we were pleasantly surprised when we saw the Poang chair.
The springy bentwood frame and cushion makes for a really interesting and modern design. We went for a cream cushion colour, mainly to keep it neutral so it would fit into our living room, which it does perfectly. It has anti slip pads on the front two legs too, which make it great for wooden floors.
As with almost all Ikea furniture, it came flat packed. This has caused many world wars in our house, with an endless number of screws, bits of wood and other 'bits and pieces'. On this occasion, it was quite the opposite, and this was probably because it is a very simple design and very distinguishing parts. It took us about 30 minutes to put it together, and its been strong, sturdy and a great addition to our living room ever since. Another great thing about this chair is how easy it is to move around, which has helped when we've had people over or needed floor space and so have had to move around the furniture accordingly.
This isn't a chair we use everyday, so I can't speak in terms of continuous use but as an occasional chair it looks as new as the day we bought it. Also, the wooden sloped arms don't make it a 'lazy evening' chair or any good for two people to sit in.
Overall, for the money this cost - I would conclude that it is a great deal; it is easy to put together, looks great in our house, easy to move around; good quality.
We received this kettle for Christmas this year, as our old one was Wilkinsons own brand which we've had the for past five years - and we were starting to get judged as it really was an ugly looking thing.
I hadn't put a specific type of kettle on my the list, so didn't have a choice in this one.
The packaging makes it look good, with a predominately black box with all the stats and fancy features of the kettle. When opening the box and getting out the kettle, it looks good. Sleek silver design, with a black handle and white switch. It matches our toaster, which although isn't an essential for me, but I would say this added to the positives of this kettle. The base is also black in colour, and matches the circular base of the kettle. The good part about the base is it is pretty sturdy, so doesn't move when you remove and replace the kettle.
So far, we were pretty happy with this kettle.
Then we went to use it for the first time. This is when we realised the water gauge. It only labels 1 litre and upwards. Us, and I believe most people are, trying to save on our bills and therefore electricity as much as possible. One of the ways we do this is only boiling the amount of water needed, and this kettle is useless for this. To get just the amount of water for a cup of tea, I now have to measure this by putting the water in the mug and then into the kettle.
This kettle is only a week old in our household, so I will get over this annoyance, but for now it is annoying. And to counter this, it does have a rapid boiling element and it does boil really quickly.
In terms of noise, it is pretty loud but for us thats a good thing.
I can't say I bothered reading the instructions as it is a simple bog standard kettle - no fancy features or buttons so I can't comment on ease of following these instructions.
I was lucky enough to have received this watch as a Christmas present this year, as I was after someone quite chunky and 'bling'. I had initially looked at the Michael Kors one, but I much prefer this.
The box the watch comes in was sleek, black and classic - perfect box and contrast for this rose gold watch. The name Marc Jacobs is around the watch, which was the one bit I was apprehensive with at first, but it is a great addition to this watch. The feel of the watch is one of good quality, and is pretty heavy (which is just what I wanted).
It is stainless steel, water resistant chronograph watch with three mini faces and a date function on it too. The three mini dials are the seconds, minutes and hours of a stopwatch. This, along with the date function and the time can be changed and controlled using the three dials on the side of the watch. The instructions are extremely easy to follow, and I only needed to read them once as the watch is really easy to use.
I have had a few of the links taken out (which only took the watch shop a few minutes) and am using it as more of an everyday watch more than a dress watch.
Overall, I am in love with this watch. I have had a few high end fashion watches in the past, but not one that has made this much of a statement and has this level of quality.
I purchased these chocolates as they were part of a really good offer in the Thorntons shop in town. The other four boxes have been received as gifts and prizes in this festive period, but I thought I would keep one for myself and visitors.
The box itself is the lovely classic size and design of a luxury box, which is what had initially drawn me to the collection. On opening the box, the selection looks delicious - with a mixture of white, milk and dark chocolate shell designs. There were three of each type of chocolate in the box, which I thought was a good number. The addition of the plain milk chocolate 'Thorntons' chocolate was excellent, and perfect for my friends little girl who wanted a chocolate too. This one was a really good size (bigger than the others) and was very well received.
Reading the chocolate menu, I thought there would be a diverse selection of flavours and textures. When I had my first one (the heart shaped citrus truffle) I was impressed. The flavour was tangy and the chocolate was chocolatey. It was wrapped in red foil too, which was a nice touch. From this I moved onto the double chocolate praline. This was pretty disappointing in my opinion. I expected a distinctive difference of taste with the praline and chocolate, but it was only average. From there, I had gathered opinions from others who had tried this box and had similar responses -
'hard to tell the difference with most of them'
'could do with a few more textures'
'delicious.. but not the best chocolate I've ever had'
Needless to say, the chocolate box is pretty empty right now. Only the white chocolate shell ones seem to be left, but I'm pretty sure this is because white chocolate doesn't go great with wine.
Although my review has been somewhat negative, I can't say that I feel hard done by with this box. But that is because of the price I paid. If I had paid full price for this, this review would probably be slightly more damning.
Overall, I think this box of chocolates was okay for the festive period, and lovely box, but in future I would go for the Roses and Quality Streets.
Every Christmas is always a bit of a challenge for me, as although i don't have any children, buying for my hyper four year old nephew can sometimes be a chore as his dad tends to shower him with all the boy toys (reliving his own childhood i always say!) and I've always been a bit more sensible than my brother so i guess i feel the need to balance out the gadget toys with educational ones. This mixed with finding something he actually will like, is getting harder each year.
I came across Charades for Kids by accident actually, during one of my regular 'browsing trips' to John Lewis. And i am so glad i did! Here are my thoughts.
Cost and quality:
Charades for Kids cost me just under £10 which i thought was a really good price. Looking online, its around that price in most places. Im a bit of a John Lewis fan so i was happy to buy the product without doing any research into the quality of the product, and i wasn't disappointed. The pack came with timer, cards and dice and was all neatly packed into the box, and everything has its place, which i find helps when encouraging a child to tidy up themselves. As mentioned above, my nephew is pretty hyper, and even he didn't manage to bend or break any of the cards or pieces, so for me the quality is brilliant.
Fun for all the family?:
We played this on Christmas day and there were five adults and one child. None of the adults thought it would be too fun and approached the game slightly half heartedly, until the game began. We played by the special charades for kids rules, which states everyone has one turn each in guessing and in goes. I thought this was a brilliant rule, as it kept a calm tone for the game. Each card has different options to act out, including a well drawn picture, which were the ones my nephew acted out. I thought this was great too as it is a game him and his friends can grow up with, as they learn to read more. Each round is timed using a mini egg timer, which was needed as some of the acting from the adults left a lot to be desired. Within about five minutes, the game was in full swing and everyone thought it was brilliant. Although the words and actions were basic, playing with my mum for whom English wasn't her first language, it was great for everyone! And my nephew was in his element as he was able to join in a 'grown up game' as he called it.
I couldn't recommend this game enough and i have ended up buying a few for gifts for other children throughout the year. In a time where toys and gadgets are the expected gift for children of all ages, this was a refreshing change. And asking my nephew if he liked it, he said he loved it! Almost as much as his remote control monster truck. Which, for me is a huge achievement.
I have had my Apple wireless mouse for over two years, and was an impulse purchase to go along with my iMac. At the time I haggled a deal due to the rest of my purchases but now it retails at around £40, which although makes it a luxury purchase, it is also very good quality.
As mentioned, I have had and used this product almost everyday for the past two years, and it has no signs of giving up anytime soon.
This wireless mouse follows the sleek, modern Apple design look which I personally have come to love and am willing to pay extra for. Its white shiny texture makes it very attractive in any room, and the wireless benefits mean it is a very discreet product which matches perfectly with the wireless keyboard and iMac. Its size is slightly smaller than most PC mouses, but it really does feel good quality.
When I first purchased this wireless mouse, it did take a while to get used too. This was mainly due to it being multi touch and so you have to get use to one click to scroll, right and left click. Once I got used to this, it became a dream to use. And you can configure the functions to your own needs. It has brilliant reaction times and connection strength is very strong, although it sometimes loses its bluetooth connection for no reason. All it takes is switching the mouse off and on again, and it tends to reconnect. I don't use a mouse mat with it, and don't deem it necessary as it has two smooth plastic/rubber strips underneath which prevents any damage to the mouse itself.
One negative aspect to this (which is echoed in my previous review on the Apple Wireless keyboard) is the battery life. It tends to last around three to four weeks and that is with pretty regular use. The plus point to this is it takes AA batteries, which means getting hold of decent priced batteries is pretty easy. One tip - to conserve energy you can switch off the mouse from underneath.
For me, this has proven to be a brilliant mouse and having used it for so long, I wouldn't go back to a regular mouse now. Although its pricing is a little high for a mouse, it seems to be a long lasting product which hasn't lost any quality after two years of owning it.
So, would I recommend? Yes, and I have!
I have had my Apple Wireless keyboard for over two years now. I purchased it at the same time as my iMac and admittedly it was a bit of an impulse buy at the time.
I had a few concerns when I first got it, including the battery life and also the connection strength. And my conclusion is the battery life is really good, and the connection strength is even better.
The sleek, white and silver look of this keyboard was the main attraction of this for me. It fits in perfectly with the decor of my room, as well as matching the sleek look of the iMac. In addition to this, having no wires adds to the look modern, sleek look of the product. One negative thing about the look, would also be due to the white keys. This is as they are prone to getting dirtier than a black keyboard, although this is probably more due to my boyfriend using it just after DIY tasks more than anything else.
As I have mentioned, this product has lasted me over two years so far - and has no signs of giving up anytime soon. Typing using this keyboard is very smooth, and very quiet too. This is due to the wider sized buttons as well as the keys being slimmer in depth. The slimmer depth also helps dirt not get stuck in between the keys. Set up of the keyboard was incredibly easy. Just put the batteries in and switch on the bluetooth on the device and let the Apple fairies do the rest.
It uses two AA batteries, which fit into the keyboard in a very discreet way. The batteries tend to last me about 6 to 8 weeks, depending on level of usage. I use my iMac most days, for around 2 - 5 hours and about 50% of that time is typing. My iMac monitors the battery life, although I quickly noticed to only use this as a guide. This is because the alert will say batteries will need to be replaced but I have found the batteries have lasted around a week longer than this. So my suggestion would be to always keep spare batteries in the house, and replace when the keyboard stops working.
The Apple Wireless keyboard is a really decent product, although due to its battery use as an ongoing expense I would deem it a luxury product. Saying that, it is a luxury I wouldn't do without now!
I have only started using facial toners in the past two years and that is only because the first signs of old age have started to lurk.
As I have never been one to spend loads of money on products, this Boots Essential Cucumer toner seemed a good one to try. And I am glad I did. I use it mainly to remove traces of make up after using face wipes and face wash and just before moisturising and have found it to be perfect for my needs.
When I first bought this product I was slightly worried that the cucumber scent would be too overwhelming and I would start smelling like a salad, but I find it just right. It has a slight scent when using it but it is not a scent that lingers on my skin.
The toner is a liquid and I use a cotton pad for applciation. I only tend to use one pad with about 7 drops of toner on it and this does the trick for me. But saying that, I don't use an awful lot of make up so some may need more. I tend to use it on my neck too, which is more as a freshner than its toner purposes.
As the liquid is very light, it absorbs into my skin very quickly and so there is no lasting shiny effect which some toners have. I use it twice a day and it helps to keep my skin moisturised and healthy looking.
For £1.50 a bottle, its brilliant! I tend to buy a few bottles at a time (one for gym bag, one for travel bag, one for home) and this lasts me a good three to four months.
We have been using these Brother printer HL2150N at work for over three years now, and I must say it is the most consistent and quality printer for its price range. I have purchased 3 of these for the organisation i work for, each serving three to four members of staff, who all use it on a medium usage basis. By this I mean about 20 - 50 sheets each, per day.
It's not the prettiest printer ever, but lets be fair, no printers are THAT good to look at. It is mainly grey in colour, with minimal buttons on it, which makes it very easy to use and more importantly, hard to break. I find the colour and the simplicity combined makes it look sort of retro, but that's just my opinion. Either way, it's size makes it relatively portable and fits on a decent sized desk very easily.
As this printer only prints in black, the level of print quality I can review is limited. What I can say is the quality is incredibly consistent, clear and concise. The printer has separate toner and drum, which saves on money when only one part is empty. Although the toner is quite an expense ( around £50 for original Brother toner) each lasts for around 2000 pages. The drum is slightly more expensive, at around £80, but I find this only needs to be replaced very rarely. In fact, each printer I have have only had to be replaced once in its three year life span. Although the drum is pretty much the same price as the printer, I have found you can haggle with stationary companies (Viking direct, staples, local stationary companies) if you are willing to buy in bulk. I tend to buy three at a time and tend to get about 15% discount through a local supplier.
As I mentioned above, this is a brilliant printer. I have found it to be an excellent and stress free purchase for a small office environment. The only downside would be it is only capable of manual duplex printing, which can be wasteful on paper but for the price range its fine.
I discovered the joys of Clean Cotton Yankee candles whilst at my sister in laws holiday home in Italy last summer. We settled in for an evening meal and needed some mood lighting, and from that first spark I have been hooked!
I think the glass jar packaging is durable, sturdy and most of all it looks pretty. The durability also makes it easy to store. The labelling can split opinions, but I like it. I find it not tacky and fits in with most decor. For those who don't agree, it is removable so you can enjoy the lovely scents without the label.
I have always loved the smell of clean, fresh washing. This Yankee Candle embodies all those smells and more. For me, it evokes so many memories of my childhood and of folding washing with my mum. Alas, I digress. Unlike other candles I have used, this is the one I find most real to what it says it should be and doesn't overpower. I find it almost organic smelling, without the chemical smells other scented candles have.
I find the burning time to be really good on this candle, and as the scent fills the room very quickly even after it goes out the scent continues long after, which I love.
This is the one sticking point of this product for me. It is really expensive for a candle, a luxury item. This may partly be because I only like the biggest one as I find it looks better in my house. Because of this, Yankee Candle Cotton Fresh finds itself on many a birthday and Christmas list which means I can stock up for the rest of the year. Other than that, on Money Saving Expert forum there are often tips and codes for discounts for these products.
This is an amazing candle, which is good for your own home and as a gift.
Pound shops have been increasing in popularity since many of us have been forced into economic austerity, so much so there are now four in the nearest shopping centre to me. I never realised the difference between the different brands until watching a documentary on the top two brands in the UK. Poundland was one of those two. And in my humble opinion, I can see why.
Of all the pound shops, Poundland is the newest and most organised of stores, which is a real positive considering the vast range of products on offer. This includes food, toiletries, cosmetics, garden accessories, car accessories to name a few!
My favourite aisle is the snack aisle, which has many well known brands for normally amazing value. My favourite purchase has to be the Snack a Jacks, which have been available for quite a few months now. They come six bags in a multibag, which I have found to be more than half the price than in other supermarkets.
I do find it quite hard (as most I imagine) to go out of Poundland with just the items on my list, alas I stick to brands I know and mostly products I already use.
Although I find the product range to be brilliant, the staff are not so brilliant. In fact, 85% of the time they have been terrible. As well as being incredibly unhelpful, they even seem to lack the basic customer service rules of smiling or even a bit of eye contact to acknowledge the customer. Alas, it is a part of this bargain shop I have come to accept as the norm and although it means I don't go in there as often as I possibly would, I still go there. And overall, I love the place and what it offers.
In conclusion, I recommend Poundland to those who can deal with a little unfriendly, organised chaos.
Reading through other reviews of the Maybelline Dream Matte Foundation, I was really shocked to see negative comments as ever since I started using it (about 5 years ago) I have never found anything better.
Although, every skin is different.
I've always struggled with getting too hot too quickly and therefore having a shiny complexion is part of my daily battle of life. All other foundations I've used int he past have contributed to this, and have made my skin even more shiny and almost making me feel trapped in it.
Dream Matte foundation I have found the complete opposite, and can compare it to wearing a light moisturiser all day.
Packaging & Price:
I like the compact size of the packaging, and much prefer it being in a tub than a squeezy bottle which most other foundations come in. It only comes in one size, which fits perfectly in both my travel make up bag and my day to day one. One criticism would be the glass material it is made from, as it can prove slightly lethal which I found out the hard way after an incident with a falling Dream Matte Foundation container and my toe! We fell out for a little while for that..
The pricing varies so I always find it better to buy it when it's on offer, even if you are stocked up already. I generally purchase mine from Boots, although it is available in Superdrug and other stores.
The mousse texture of this foundation makes the application an easy process and I have always managed to apply evenly across my face without much thought. It takes me less than five minutes to apply in the morning.
I tend to apply once in the morning and that's it, as my working day is pretty chaotic and make up is the last thing I can think about. And although the Dream Matte foundation wears off through the day, I have always found this minimal. And even when removing sweaters / scarves which touch my face, I find it doesn't stain those items either. Going for drinks after work with the girls, I have never been self conscious about re-applying this foundation as it still looks good by the end of the day.
Again due to the mousse, light texture of this foundation, removal has been easy and I have always found a few make up removal wipes have done the job perfectly. I have noticed a theme with some other reviews suggesting that it causes dry skin after long periods of use, I have not found this is the case. But as stated above, every skin is different.
I find Dream Matte Mousse Foundation a brilliant addition to my make up bag, and would recommend anyone to try it (when it's on offer!). It comes in 15 shades too, which is perfect for tanned skin in the summer, pale in the winter.
If only my toe would forgive its glass container.
I've had my iMac now for a good few years, and its still as good as the day it was purchased.
The decision to spend just over £1000 for a computer was made after our windows laptop had a slow demise. The decision to move to a desktop was quickly made. Living in a small apartment in the City Centre, space has always been an issue and when looking at Windows PC's at the time, nothing was suitable for the space we had for it. So after a month or so of research (and whining to my boyfriend) we decided on the iMac. It was a pretty big decision for us, as it would be our fitst big major purchase TOGETHER.
As there isn't an Apple store where we live, it was purchased from John Lewis so we got the guarantee from them and it didn't take long to be persuaded on a wireless printer, keyboard and mouse.
Opening the box I expected all sorts of wires and fan dangled bits and bobs, but there was nothing. Just the All In One PC, a power cable and a disc. From the first time it was started up, I was converted. The first thing you notice is how sleek it looks, and how much neater it is to have an all in one system. The strong structure of the screen and its stand is so impressive, and for me is now part of the design of my living room.
I love the ease of the MAC Operating System and I found the location of all the programs and shortcuts very logical, although it was a little confusing at first as this was my first Apple product. My main concern with the iMac was how useful I would find it considering I don't use the iPhone and have a windows PC at work, but this has never presented a problem so far. I did have to buy Office for Mac which was an extra cost, but haven't had any problems.
I find the wireless capabilities brilliant, and it has meant I can move the PC to the bedroom when I want to watch a film and don't need to plug in anything more than the power cable.
One thing I will say is the batteries for the keyboard and mouse are a bit of a nightmare in terms of life span but for me it's a small price to pay for minimal wires.
Overall, I can't see me ever going back to a Windows PC and would be more than happy to recommend this to anyone.