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I know it sounds bizarre, but this really is a great little gadget. To call it a great little gadget probably understates the importance it plays in many people's lives. My father had a mini-stroke and bought one of these to monitor his blood pressure (which is rather high). Clearly from his perspective, the monitor is crucial, but for me it has also been of use. The thing is, as with my father, many people don't realise when their blood pressure is high (me included). But this little machine can put you in the know - for as little as £15. Omron is a great company - they've made medical machines for a great number of years and it shows. It's automatic, so no hand pumping etc. You simply slip the arm band over the top of your arm, relax and press the button. It expands gently and beeps as it takes a reading. It takes all but 20 seconds and all the information is displayed very clearly on the screen. The leaflet that comes with it is really helpful, giving you lots of extra useful information, as well as clear instructions on how best to take readings and how to keep track of your blood pressure. It's so easy to use, comfortable and quick. It's extremely simple - no gimmicks or extra features that you'll never use. The packaging it comes in is sturdy and simple, so no fear of ordering it online and having it posted. The machine itself is also sturdy and sits well on the table. It's also very easy to pop away (I keep it in the bathroom cabinet). I've found it to be invaluable. I use some everyday medication which can affect your blood pressure (as many medications do), and what with my father suffering from high blood pressure, I do find this to be very useful and reassuring. Just a great thing, at a low price, to have in any bathroom.
I think I paid around the £100 mark for this hard drive. Which considering that it is a massive 2TB, is crazy impressive. It's about 20cm x 10cm x 4cm in size, which isn't small, indeed I've never taken it away from my desk with me, and if I required something that I could easily ship about I'd probably buy something else. But if you just want something that sits in the same place and does a good reliable job, then this is the one! You do also have to have it plugged in to the mains as well as connected to your PC to run it, it won' just run off the USB connection. This has never been a problem for me. It's really, really quick at transferring large files. It's also really easy to do, just with any ordinary USB storage device. You just plug it in and away you go. The size of the thing means I'll never have to be concerned about running out of space - in fact I have all of my boyfriend's files on it as well! If you have a large family and wanted to back up everyone's files from different computers this would be ideal, as it really does hold ever such a lot, and it's very sturdy and reliable.
I think it's about time that I wrote a little review on my laptop. After all, I've had it for about 6 years! I'm not very geeky, so be warned that this review is going to be purely the thoughts and feelings of a girl in her twenties who uses her laptop for nothing out of the ordinary! The IBM ThinkPad R50e has never let me down! I bought it (or rather I should say that my lovely parents bought it for me) for about £400 back in the day. I'm not even sure if the model is still available, but I think my experience of the machine is relevant to anyone who wants to buy a more recent ThinkPad. I got it for use at university. And I do remember that one of the best things about it was just how quiet it was. I know that sounds ridiculous, but some people's laptop fans would whirrr away during lectures, whilst mine would be practically silent. The ThinkPad is aesthetically in many ways the antithesis of an Apple. It is black and corporate looking, clean lines and dark features. It's the Johnny Depp to Brad Pitt if you like! When closed it is entirely black, looking so neat and square. The screen is encased, which I've been told is one of it's best features, as it minimises damage to the display. The screen is 'bolted' onto the keyboard (excuse terminology) by two very large gunmetal bolts. This is much sturdier than some laptops I have seen and lend a quality look to the laptop. I like the red point in the middle of the keys. It's a sort of mouse which you can use your middle finger to navigate the screen with. It's actually much more useful than a touchscreen as it means that when typing (say into a search engine) you don't need to move you hands away to navigate and then back again to type. I know that sounds like a small thing, but it's actually very convenient and you'll notice how much simpler things are when you get better at using it (it takes some getting used to). It has built in wireless capabilities, which was a hidden surprise. I've never had any problems with the battery. Although I don't use it much - nowadays the laptop sits static on my desk, with the battery in a drawer. I did wreck my harddrive about a year ago (I'm not very good at keeping my anti-virus up to date and one thing lead to another), and I used 'Access IBM' and their online support to restore the beast to factory settings. I actually accidentally deleted everything on my harddrive prior to this (as I said - not great with things) and IBM very helpfully sent me all the boot disks etc for Windows so I could install it all again. It was all very easy, I did have to pay a small fee as expected (I think £30), but they were very efficient and explained things clearly for me. I actually later then installed Linux - which has made my laptop run furiously quickly. I doubt whether I would be any happier with a more recent model! The laptop has been amazing. I've had no problems with it at all. And it's just as quick as when I had it (thanks to Linux!) It's totally reliable. I sometimes think, hmmm, I could treat myself to a new laptop, but then think 'why bother?' Six years later and it's running beautifully!
I've been using the Kindle 3 for about a month now. I say I've been using it, but I guess actually I haven't. Not that much anyway. I bought because I thought that it was so light (which it is), small (which it is) and pretty (which it is). The screen is actually surprisingly clear to read, and does not feeling like reading off of a screen in that your eyes don't strain quite as much as you would expect. You can buy it with or without 3G, I opted for without as I have wifi at home in any event. It can hold up to 3,500 books on the device itself (and more on your Amazon account if necessary). The best thing about the product is probably the website itself. Amazon have gone to great pains to ensure customers are kept happy by having all their questions dealt with online. There's even a forum where Kindle-geeks will happily lend you a helping hand. If you do have a problem with your Kindle then do check on here first, as their over-the-phone support is really poor (I don't think phone staff have been trained to deal with the product). There are many free books in the Amazon store (I suggest you look at this list first before you commit to buy, as they may not be to your liking). BEWARE, if you do not live in the UK, and your Amazon account is not registered to the UK, you may not be able to access these books (I guess because of publishing rights etc). This is contrary to what they may tell you on the telephone - my father bought one following telephone advice from Amazon which assured him that it would be no different (he lives in France). On attempting to download a book, he was told that he would have to use the US Amazon site - and the books were not the sort that he would wish to read. You can browse through the Amazon Kindle store, and order a book. Then you can read it straight away off of your Kindle. Most of the free books are classic books, and if reading is your thing then you will likely own a lot of these already. I don't find that the books which you are required to pay for are much cheaper than if you were to buy them from say a discount online book shop. So do bear that in mind. The screen size was actually much smaller than I envisaged. Smaller than a Penguin paperback. Though as I said it is quite easy to read from. The build quality is good and I've had no hardware problems - but I do have quite a nice cover on it - I wouldn't want the screen to get scratched. The Kindle costs about £109 on Amazon for the basic one without 3G (I think the one with 3G is about £40 more) So why haven't I used it all that much? Well, because it's just not enjoyable to read from. I don't think it necessarily anything that can be fixed - it just feels wrong. To flick through a book is one of life's great pleasures. To see how much left of the book you have to go and to turn each page in anticipation (and at the same time wishing that you were not nearing the back so quickly) is not a sensation one feels when handling this device. You don't have that sound of the paper, nor the smell of the book, nor the weight and shape in your hand, the dog-eared edges of a well-loved novel etc. Besides, an Amazon online account does not compare to a shelf of novels, read and loved for ever more. Yes, it does hold 3,500 books. But how often do you start reading a book, then decide 'ahah! I wish I had that other novel handy to dip into right now!' It simply does not happen. I read one book at a time - so why would I need them all together unless I was going away for a good many weeks to a place where I could do nothing but read. If that were the case I would seriously question my going in first place! Further, there's the added annoyance of having to drag the thing about. I know it is indeed lighter than some paperbacks, but it is also a darn sight more expensive, and you become conscious of not leaving on the chair next to you on a train as you drift off to sleep, or throwing your handbag onto the floor or tossing it off your bed as you twist around. It's just another thing for me to worry about! I know that sounds ridiculous but there you are! I am always breaking/losing things! Living in Central London I like to keep the number of things that I can have stolen off my person down to a minimum. I don't want to look too flash sitting on the tube. I just want to bury myself in a good book.
I've had a few mp3 players over the past 10 years. A couple of Ipods, a Sony Walkman, a Creative Zen, but none have been as good as this little player. I bought it initially as a cheap replacement when my Sony HD player packed in (as HD players often do - tiny moving parts don't much like to be dropped/thrown about). The best thing about this player is that it is surprisingly robust. It gets whacked about in the depths of my handbag day in day out, but has yet to break 2 years on. And even if it did break, it would hardly bother me, after all I paid perhaps £40 for it, and could likely replace it for the same amount (have a rummage on Amazon/Ebay). So much cheaper than the Ipod/Sony! Yes, the interface isn't that pretty, and no, you can't gaze at the album art as you listen to it - but if that's really something that you would care about then you are not a music lover. This player is substance over style, undoubtedly. The interface is exceptionally easy to use. The buttons are indeed small, but my 67 year old father is able to navigate it without problem, and he's as blind as a bat. If you just want to be able to locate the track you want to listen to, when you want to listen to it, then this is a blinder. You don't need to install 'Itunes' or anything similarly annoying. You can just copy and paste songs onto it, as though you were copying them onto a USB drive. Really simple. 2GB isn't very much space, I have about 70 songs I think on this player at the moment. If you require more space the best thing to do is to buy the latest model - the Sansa Clip Plus (+), which ingeniously has an expandable memory so you can buy a cheap 2GB one and pop a cheap memory card into it (look on Ebay/Amazon). Other great things about this player are its size (it's tiny!) and yes, it is made out of plastic unlike an Ipod, BUT this makes it extremely light - which is great if you're carrying it about in an already overloaded handbag. You don't have to think twice about its being in the bottom of your bag. This also makes it great for running (no falling down jogging bottoms!) Because it's not running any ridiculously unnecessary extras, it also means that the battery life is impressive, and I don't often need to plug it in. Finally and most importantly - the sound. The sound is absolutely superb on this machine, and you'll find few who say otherwise. If you find yours is too quiet - that's because you have it set to Europe (the EU regulates the sound levels on products registered here). Go into settings, return it to factory settings, then choose the north american option when prompted, go into 'sound' and change to 'high' and it should be fixed. And always remember, if you drop, sit on, lose, have it stolen etc...no big deal - pick up another one for the price of a night down the pub! Enjoy!
I'm not going to go over all the phone's specs in this review. Not least because they're very extensive and have been covered in many of the other reviews on this site. Instead I am simply going to give my experience and views of this phone. I've been using the phone for a year and a half now. And it's alright...but that's it. Perhaps I have such a luke warm opinion of such a popular phone because of the type of user that I am. I mostly text and call. Indeed, I text and call an awful lot. I don't use the internet on my phone, although I do use Skype. As such, I find this phone awkward to use. The battery life is about two days depending on usage. It's actually pretty good compared to most smartphones. But the thing that I don't like is that it has a full qwerty keyboard. This means that every letter has a key. This is probably pretty useful for writing emails and the like, but I find it cumbersome for text messages. The curved, raised keys makes it easier to type accurately I'm sure, but it still remains that you have to hold it with two hands, and whilst this doesn't sound like it's that annoying, I was used to typing extremely quickly with the one. The predictive text is not helpful, and can be more annoying in fact. It's not like the normal Nokia predictive. It takes me much longer to write a simple text, whereas before I could type and talk at the same time (that was on a streamlined smartphone) without difficulty (much to the amusement of my boyfriend). So in short, only buy this if you're going to be using it for the internet and emails. Otherwise features that are supposed to be a bonus become a burden.
These are literally the best tissues in the world. I used to hate tissues because they were dusty and drying (we're all familiar with the dreaded peely nose). But then I found these and have never looked back!! I bought my latest box of 90 3 ply Kleenex Balsam from Superdrug for about £2. So definitely not cheap. But absolutely worth it. The box is easy to use and durable. Just like any other standard tissue box. The colours are probably a bit bright for my taste, but hey, I'm not wearing it. The box reads "Kleenex Balsam tissues contain a protective balm with calendula to help soothe a sore nose and prevent your skin from drying out. Ideal for when you have a cold, flu or hayfever." The tissues are from well-managed forests and other 'controlled sources', as I suspect most are these days. The balm in the tissues does exactly what the box says it does - it keeps your nose from drying out. They're super soft to use, not chaffing at all. And whilst you can feel the balm, it's not something that you notice lingering on your face afterwards. There is a very very faint smell of the calendula, but they're nothing like those Olbas tissues which you may have tried (extremely strong smelling). My nose doesn't peel at all when I use these in the short term, and even when I have one of those fortnight long winter colds, my nose is barely affected (and certainly not as red and sore as with normal tissues). I even carry their handy packs in my handbag. Love it.
The thing about All Saints is that it stands out from amongst the usual high street stores, which churn out very similar looks every season. They clearly take their lead from Vivienne Westwood (so many of their dresses and coats are almost direct copies!) and cut military edged clothes in plaid and laser printed fabrics. But here comes All Saints gripe number one: they turn the same stuff out practically every season! I am so so bored of seeing the exact same dresses but in a different print every single season! It's particularly annoying if you happened to have bought one, because the shape has been sitting on their racks for so long that by the time they discontinue it (which I'm not sure they've ever done!) everyone and their mother is wearing it in some colour or other. And by then everyone can look at it straight away and think 'oh, she's wearing All Saints' - which is not what I want! So please All Saints - design a few new shapes. My second gripe is the price. I simply don't think it's worth it. Believe you me, I am perfectly happy spending a coupld hundred on a dress, but not one that everyone is wearing and not one which has clearly cost them about £4 to make. All Saints is just a high street brand, not a high end brand so I don't think the prices are worthwhile. For the same money I could pop to Selfridges and buy something more unique and... better made. This is my third and biggest gripe! The clothes are appallingly made. And I really do mean that. Worse than any other single thing in my wardrobe. Buttons fall off all the time, seams split, colours wash out, colours bleed, edges fray, jumpers bobble and trousers shrink. And I really take care of my clothes, so this is not the norm for me. I always follow the labels properly and use especially delicate non-bio washing liquids. My latest, and probably worst All Saints quality-related experience is a bikini which I bought for £75, which on it's very first wear in a swimming pool tie-dyed itself. No one else's costume was affected. It is now a hideous yellow and brown instead of Khaki green. That's appalling given the price. Of course there was no label on the bikini warning that it wasn't fit for pools, but I didn't keep the receipt so won't be able to get a refund. Great. This is related to my fourth gripe: returns policy. Now, I know that in this country we are very lucky to have such helpful consumer protection and I appreciate that by law (and I am indeed a lawyer) a retailer doesn't have to give a refund unless goods are faulty. However, it is common place that they do - why? Because they know that the consumer will be happy and will probably buy something with a view to trying it at home, and then perhaps forget to return it anyway. It's comparable to a loss leader in many ways. I dislike the fact that this isn't the case at All Saints. What have they got to be so cagey about? It's as though they are trying to squeeze you to buy things and this gives me a bad feeling. Shopping should be about making the consumer happy as well. It's an unhelpful policy and probably puts a lot of people off buying things that they might otherwise just take home and try on (I know it has for me). It's also not helpful that the lighting often is purposefully dark in their changing rooms - all makes me very suspect. Despite all this, I do still buy the occasional thing from All Saints. Why? Well, they have a great online website, which therefore comes within the Distance Selling Regulations - allowing you to retyurn after 14 days. As for all the constant fixing, sewing etc - I try not to wear the items that often. I suppose I put up with it because they are convenient to shop with and it's often difficult to resist temptation... What a fool I am.
This tiny tin of wax is really an excellent addition to your summer wardrobe. It's very much like the normal Vaseline, but of course with a subtle pink tint. When you smear it on your lips, it's not obvious that you're wearing any colour on them. It's like a blusher in a way, just a very sweet tint, enhancing your natural colour. It's very rosy and so I like to wear it on days when I'm not really wearing much make-up - sunny days are best - when you're wearing something pretty, or just dressed down, because it just makes you feel naturally pretty. As it pinks your lips up a tad, it also adds to the contrast around your lips as well - bringing out either a paleness or a tan. Of course, it's hydrating as well. And in this respect works as well as other lip balms - although if you have properly dry lips you really can't beat Cymex (which I've also reviewed). But if all you need is a tiny bit extra, then this does do the trick. It has a nice solid, substantial texture which you can rub in to the lip, or let sit with a bit of a sheen. The tin itself is very retro. I don't mind using my fingers to apply, rather than a stick, as I think it's kind of cute and you have better control over where the product goes. It comes in tins of 20g and smells very faintly sweet. It apparently has rose and almond oil in, which is a nice addition.
I usually use Dove, but I'm a stickler for a bargain, so could not resist the Superdrug introductory price of this roll-on. I paid about 99p for it, it's usually around the £2 mark. The packaging I think is a bit awful. It looks like a dog's chew-toy or some sort of state-of-the-art vibrator or something!! It's got this garish purple base and a green bit on the lid and the rest of it is white. I understand it's important for products to stand out, but please - does it have to be so ugly?! It's like it was designed for a GCSE Graphic Design project by a kid adverse to homework. The lid is the most confusing lid I've ever come across...I've a postgrad degree and I know I'm pretty bright - but this was like that incident with the child-locked toilet seat all over again. I kept trying to pull it off (in my defence it looks like it needs to be pulled off!) but actually it's a twister. I'm fairly sure this is a design faux-pas as they've even put a diagram on how to open it on the label...which isn't exactly the usual for a deodorant now is it. What next, an insert telling you how to roll?! The deodorant claims to be enriched with Mineralite. I don't know about you, but I am just so obsessed with Mineralite right now, I just can't get enough of it. Come round mine, and most likely you'll fine me Mineraliting all day long. On the label, as if to clear up the confusion, the label informs us simply that 'Mineralite = Perlite' Ah yes, of course... A quick Wiki search informs me that "Perlite is an amorphous volcanic glass that has a relatively high water content, typically formed by the hydration of obsidian". What that will do for my armpits I don't know. Is it hydrating? Who knows. Rather worryingly Wiki goes on to say "It occurs naturally and has the unusual property of greatly expanding when heated sufficiently"...we'll see how my armpits hold up this summer when the weather picks up...they're either getting bigger or they're exploding. I rather prefer the latter to the former. Anyhow, Mineralbullshitite aside, the deodorant is alright. It claims to keep you 'ultra dry' (not just dry) for 48 hours. I'm afraid dear reader, that I am unwilling to test this theory just for you, it's far too disgusting. Even at Glastonbury I've passed a wet wipe under those bad boys at least every 12 hours, and I suggest you do the same. It contains no alcohol and no parabens, which is good. But lots of other deodorants provide the same. It kept me dry and there were, indeed, no white marks. So WHY OH WHY Garnier did you have to package and sell this product so absurdly?! They just went and ruined it all with their stupid claims and ridiculous plastic. It's a decent deodorant. 'Nuff said.
First things first, this product is not particularly cheap in store at £23.50 (Benefit shops, the larger Boots, Debenhams) but I bought mine for a steal on ebay, I suggest you do the same! It really is fantastic. Inside the pretty illustrated paper packaging (typically Benefit) there's a concealer (Bo-ing shade no.2), a pretty dusky pink eyeshadow, a darker milk chocolate eyeshadow and a very dark cocoa shadow. There are also two brushes - one is a concealer brush and the other is double ended - one typical shadow brush and the a liner brush (with a thin flat edge). There's a small mirror on the inside lid of the "compact". You also get a slip of paper with instructions on. The concealer is very useful. Even if it is not your perfect shade you can smother it on your lid where the powder is going to go and it holds everything in place. If it is your perfect shade then you can use it wherever, eyes or otherwise. The brush is super useful - a good quality brush (the other is as well). It's well designed so that you can be precise and hold the right amount of concealer. The concealer itself is solid and melts on the brush and when it gets hot. The pink powder is to go right over your eye and to your brow. It's a very light iridescent colour and suits most people I would have thought. The milk chocolate colour powder is for contour - the instructions show you how to brush it along the crease and the tip of your eye. The liner is the best bit. The brush with the flat edge picks it up perfectly and you draw a little line around the outside of you eye. It really is lovely - softer than a pencil liner, it really does widen your eyes right up. In short, this is easy to apply and I've been wearing it every day! Sometimes I just wear a small amount of liner for the day time and then crank it up with a thicker, heavier line in the evening. I can even add pencil liner to the inside of the lid to give a more dramatic look. The concealer works well in that it holds everything in place and the two shadows are perfectly complimentary and really give just enough colour and shape! Another super useful thing about the pack is that the liner powder doubles up for me as a filler for my eyebrows. Just a tiny amount added to give definition.
I bought this eye cream as it was on special offer in Sainsbury's. I rather wish I hadn't bothered. It comes in a 15ml pump bottle. It costs about £12 (although I paid much less). 15ml is clearly very little indeed. However, the tub itself is so large you would never have guessed it. You can't see into the tub so it's difficult to know how much is in there (or indeed left). Now, I wouldn't mind the price and size of the item, if it were really that great. But it simply isn't anything special. It is easy to use with the pump (although there's always a bit that dries out in the pump and so is wasted each time you use it which can be rather annoying to pick out). You don't have to unhygienically dig your fingers into a large tub. The cream is light and easily absorbs. You don't seem to need very much of it to cover your eye area (though this may be simply because your eye area is rather small anyway). It smells fine (not really of anything) and has a velvety, almost matt texture once absorbed. But it doesn't do anything to reduce the appearance of dark circles or puffiness (of which I have very little anyway). The cream itself has a pink, glittery tinge to it, which I suppose must make your eyes look a little lighter. But I think, if I'm going to be absolutely honest, I can't see any difference at all.
The first time I had a tub of this body butter, was when I came free with a magazine about a year ago. I've been using it ever since. My skin can sometimes get a bit dry and tight, especially my arms. And frequently after shaving my legs can be too. Part of this is because of the harsh shower creams on the market, which I find often just strip your skin bare and leave it smelling nice. As such, you need to buy this! The tub itself is a sturdy screw top affair with tidy, basic labelling. It comes in 50ml (£5) or 200ml (£12.50). The tub itself, even the smaller one, lasts for ages. Even when, like me, you slather it on in quantities never tested on a human being before. That's why actually it's not half as expensive as it sounds. It's so thick and rich in consistency that there is a physical limit to the amount your skin can absorb (trust me, I've pushed the boundary of acceptable levels of moisturisation, I should know). The cream does take a little time to absorb, unlike loose moisturising fluids, you do have to sort of work it in. But this makes me think that it's getting deep into your skin rather than sitting on its surface. Skin feels instantly hydrated. All tightness is gone. It's supple and smoother. This is why it's particularly good for rough spots like your elbows and knees. This feeling lasts all day. It smells lovely. At first I was a bit put off by the smell, as I prefer things to be subtle, but actually, once it's on the skin, all you get is a nice warm scent. Recommended.
I was relatively new to the world on tampons, always prefering to use sanitary towels instead. However, I started out using Tampax Compak because of the smooth, easy to use applicator. They can however be rather expensive, and so, I thought I'd try these instead as they were less than £2 for a pack of 16 which is really pretty great. They come in packs of 8, 16 or 24 (in light, regular, super etc). The box of 16 itself is very, very small. Indeed, their size in general is their best feature as you can slip them into your bag whether in the box or loose. Each of these individual tampons is less than 2 inches long and a cm across when packaged. Unlike the Tampax Compak, the plastic wrapper doesn't split so you won't have loose tampons rolling around in your bag. They are also not garishly coloured individually, so they are very discrete. They're simple to open. At first it can be a little strange not having an applicator, but once you get used to it, it's not too difficult at all as long as you relax. They expand widthways, so will fit you properly without moving or slipping. These are really very simple to use. The only problem with I think is that they can be a little messier to use than an applicator tampon, but on the other hand, the waste of packaging is greatly reduced.
I was given a Korres Party Survival Kit as a Christmas present a couple of years back, which contained a small bottle of this. You can also buy it in small 10ml tubes for £4 or you can buy the large 40ml tub for £19. The cream states that it is a day cream for normal and dry skin. I can't see how that can be true. This is because the sole biggest failing of this cream is that it is just not moisturising enough. I myself have combination skin, imagine if I had dry skin - it simply would not work at all. This is a great shame as the cream smells really lovely (a very soft, natural scent of roses). It does have a nice finely whipped texture and leaves skin feeling smooth and soft, yet, it does not moisturise as much as it ought to, and my skin still feels tight after use. Perhaps if one had quite oily skin, this would be the product for you. Certainly it does very little for me in this respect. I don't have any fine lines so can't really comment on it's claims that it helps here. Saying that though, I believe that the main way to combat lines is to keep your skin well hydrated, and as I said this simply is not the product for that. The other way of course to prevent lines is by using sun protection. This cream claims to have SPF6, which I simply do not think is enough. Many people make the mistake of thinking that because it is not particularly hot/sunny, then your skin will not be damaged. However, the damaging rays given out by the sun are always there, even in winter. As it already has an SPF in it, I don't understand why Korres did not simply bump it up to the usual SPF15?! Very strange. Korres is an expensive range (it's a Greek company which uses only organic ingredients where possible), and so I really did hope that this would be better than it is. After all, their body butters are fantastically moisturising for dry body skin. Alas, not so here.