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A couple of years ago, a friend of mine was raving about The Body Shop's collection of make-up brushes, and when I entered the store to have a look I fell in love with the super soft bristles and professional-looking handles. However, I was slightly concerned at the price tag - this particular brush will set you back £16.00. So instead, I decided to ask for it as a treat for Christmas 2009. The very same brush is still used to this date, however I also now own another of the same after buying a collection of the brushes in the sale this year.
The Body Shop is a popular beauty store that can be found on many high streets. One of the remarkable qualities of The Body Shop is that they have very strong morals and ethics. They are against animal testing and any cruelty to animals, and were international cosmetics brand to be recognized under the Humane Cosmetics Standard for our Against Animal Testing policy.
They are also often involved in campaigns for important causes and charities such as domestic abuse and AIDS. They are a strong believer in natural beauty, and have a popular make up range along with their bath and shower products.
The store always has a very clean, fresh and natural atmosphere, with shiny surfaces and clean, polished floors. It is a million miles away from Lush, where everything is "organised chaos" and seems more chilled-out and relaxed, however I can see The Body Shop appealing to more people due to its' more conventional layout, sterling reputation and quality advertising campaigns. Although I had a problem with the customer service a while back, since the situation was dealt with I have not had any other issues, and the staff always seem knowledgeable and friendly.
The Body Shop's website is also very well laid out and easy to navigate. It uses a lovely colour scheme and looks very modern. To find this make-up brush online, simply go onto the website (www.thebodyshop.co.uk), hover over the "make-up" tab, and click "brushes and tools". The Face & Body Brush is third on the list, and you can order it easily, however it costs £3.95 to cover delivery charges. Currently they are offering free standard delivery on orders over £20.00. Alternatively, you can of course just pop into the store and buy the brush there from the make up section of The Body Shop.
The make up brushes generally receive very good feedback, both from word of mouth and The Body Shop website, which allows customers to write their own opinions on the products.
The bristles are extremely soft to touch, feel natural and are very comfortable when used on the skin. It does not cause any irritation and, of course, as the brush is made from synthetic hair, no animals were harmed in the making of this product. If you are used to cheaper alternatives, I believe that this brush will feel especially luxurious; a prime example of this is my sister, who used very cheap make up brushes before I bought her a set of these, and could not believe the difference it made for both the quality of applying and the discomfort she felt before using these brushes. The MAC equivalent of this brush will set you back £32.00, and I personally find The Body Shop brush just as effective.
Referring to my oldest of these brushes, after just over two years I think that it has honestly only lost around five hairs - they do not shed at all. After daily use and letting the brush roll around in various bags, the bristles have however splayed. I do not see this as a major disadvantage though, as I can still use the brush and in fact I find it better to blend my bronzer or blusher in with! The bristles have also only splayed within the past few months. Blending with this brush works like a dream - I use circular motions to apply my powder and bronzer, and the brush collects just enough onto the bristles to give a matte, natural finish without looking cakey or having to tap a load of excess product off the brush. I rarely use this brush to apply anything to my body, however when I have it works with the same fantastic result. I wash my brushes every few months, although this brush does not clog with product at all. Soaking the brush in warm, soapy water and leaving it to dry naturally keeps it in top condition.
The handle of this brush is very strong and sturdy, it is easy to control when using and is also very professional looking - with mirrored casing by the bristles and a charcoal coloured handle with 'The Body Shop - Face & Body Brush' printed on in silver lettering. The only downside for some may be the size of this brush; in the past I have had trouble attempting to fit it in smaller make up bags. Currently one of the brushes fits in fine if I place it in diagonally, but it could be an issue for some people who carry a lot round in their make up bags, or alternatively only own very small ones. However, as mentioned earlier, I have not found that the brush gets damaged easily at all, so leaving it in your handbag should be fine.
If you are in need of a weighty, substantial make-up brush to apply your powder, bronzer or blusher evenly with a perfect finish, I would definitely recommend this brush. Despite the initial cost, it actually works out at pretty good value as it will last you a long time and compared to some of the other premium brands on the market, it is actually quite reasonably priced.
At the minute, The Body Shop are offering a sale on some of their gift sets, and included in this is a make-up brush set that I purchased a couple of weeks ago. Inside there is this brush, a brow and lash comb, a lipstick/concealer slanted brush, an eyeshadow brush and a "fabric roll" - essentially a pretty pouch that will hold all your brushes. It is normally excellent value anyway at £25, however it is currently reduced to an amazing £15 - cheaper than this brush on its own! I am not sure how long this offer will be available for though, so I would get your hands on it quickly if these brushes appeal to you.
I dabble around so much with my make up that the contents of my make up bag vary almost monthly. One month I may be sticking to cheap and cheerful Natural Collection tinted moisturiser (which leaves me with a slightly shiny finish and doesn't do the best job of covering up imperfections, but hey - at £1.99 you can't complain) and the next I may venture into various other branded foundations, however I felt as though I was constantly on a search to find the elusive "perfect" foundation. Until now, it seems...
I feel as though my skin is an absolute nightmare. I guess I'm lucky in the sense that I have never had loads of blemishes - although still a few too many for my liking - however my skin tends to be combination, mainly oily but with a few irritating dry patches, particularly around my nose around the time of the pesky winter cold that I already seem to have caught (perhaps permenantly, as it has stuck around for a while). I hate foundations that make my skin look greasy, cakey or orange, and so finding one suitable for me can be a challenge, and I consequently ended up spending too much money on half-finished products that I just didn't suit.
~*About The Brand & The Promise*~
Max Factor is a well known cosmetics brand with the strapline "The make up of make up artists" and whilst I believe that their products can be a little high in price and a little hit and miss, I trust this brand a lot more than some of the other stands that it can find itself nestled between in Boots, due to its good reputation and advertising campaigns. Max Factor has been around for decades, and prides itself in being the brand that defined "looks" for generations, and made up glamourous Hollywood movie stars. Apparantly, Max Factor was the first brand to use full face foundation. With this in mind, you'd expect the product to be good!
This foundation promises to give even coverage without being too noticeable, and it is apparantly "causing a stir backstage" On the Boots website, the product information states:
"Luxurious flawless skin - does that mean a thick, full coverage foundation? Not with our new Xperience Foundation. Its weightless formula challenges the look and feel of traditional full coverage bases. It's breakthrough, luxurious formula, which contains natural jojoba, gives luxurious coverage with a surprisingly air - light feel."
Normally, products only vaguely match up to their product description, as it usually features a lot of exaggeration, leaving you to feel as though there must be something wrong with your skin rather than the product! However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this foundation really did live up to its high expectations, as I will explain further shortly.
The packaging is very basic - it follows the design of the rest of the Xperience range; a black tube with a green 'X' across the front of the tube. The square lid and slim, sleek design makes it perfect for small make up bags like mine, rather than the large bottles that other foundations are packaged in which can be quite a hassle to lug around. The packaging makes the foundation easy to identify if you were to go
looking for it in a shop after seeing it on the website.
The usual basic information is featured on the back of the tube, telling you what properties the foundation has, and some contact details - nothing too special really.
~*Buying The Foundation*~
I first bought this foundation last Christmas, when I believe the Xperience range was fairly new, for my mum. I was aware that she really liked it and now uses it for her regular foundation, however to be honest that didn't really encourage me to buy it, as we have quite different skin types and never normally buy the same base make up.
A few months ago in summer (oh how long ago it seems!) I bought this foundation for myself along with a blusher from Max Factor. I was in Boots with my friends and noticed an offer on Max Factor cosmetics, where if you spent £15 or more you received a sweet little tin with small "summer essentials", including a mascara, eyeliner, nail varnish and something else (I think), though I can't remember what. Having just been given a Boots voucher for £15, I thought this would be the best way to make the most of my voucher. I thought that the blusher looked really good, and so chose that in Classic Rose, for £6.99. I then picked up a foundation called "Smooth Effect" which I thought looked nice, for £7.99. Typically, I then realised that this only came to £14.98, and that those darn two pennies were preventing me from getting my free gift!
The shop assistant was really lovely, and recommended this foundation to me. Although the counter was fairly busy, she sat me down on the make up chair and applied a sample of the foundation to my skin, finding which was the most suitable tone for me and checking that I liked it. She was really friendly and didn't try sneakily push any more products my way by testing them on me, and I must say that really cheered me up and made me more inclined to buy the product.
She informed me that the colour I most suited was "Beige Linen" as I had a medium tone (this also pleased me, as I hadn't been abroad anywhere and was worried I looked too pale!). There are six shades to choose from and testers are normally available, however if you would like some assistance just ask, and hopefully you will get the same quality of help that I did!
The foundation cost £9.99, which I think is an acceptable price to pay based on the quality, however Max Factor normally have a lot of offers on their products, meaning you can get more for your money! (Currently at Boots they are selling a load of make up products, including this, on 3 for 2).
~*Using The Product*~
I was pleased to note that this foundation not only included SPF, but was also oil free, meaning that it shouldn't cause my skin to break out. This also means that I think it would be suitable for sensitive skin.
I own a Ruby & Millie foundation brush, however it seemed to have gone walkabout at the time I bought this foundation, therefore I had no choice other than to apply with my fingers. I tend to find this an easier and quicker method anyway, however I like to use a brush when I want to feel "professional"! I simply squeezed a little foundation around my face, and then applied the foundation by rubbing it in, taking particular care around my hairline, eyebrows and jawline. I was very pleased to note that the foundation did not look at all orange, and was impressed that it didn't leave any awful visible marks around my jawline or on my neck. However, what blew me away the most was the coverage. It was almost as if the foundation had become part of my skin - it blended absolutely brilliantly and gave a wonderful finish. I felt confident that my imperfections were hidden, but also confident that no one would look at me as though I was a drag queen/Katie Price lookalike with foundation three inches thick.
The shade of foundation was near perfect for my skin tone, if anything I would say it was slightly darker, but it complemented my hair and eyes perfectly. It also sat on top of my moisturiser really well, didn't feel at all greasy and almost gave an airbrushed finish (and believe me, its not often I say that about myself!). I then simply carried on with my make up regime; a dusting of powder to keep the base matte and keep any shine away, a sweep of blusher and a quick fix of eye make up. I had never been so pleased with a foundation!
The only thing I would say is that after you've finished applying make up, give your hands a quick rinse as the foundation does get into the grooves on your fingers and can leave some nasty fingerprints if you are not careful!
As I had recently gone through a phase of not wearing any foundation, that day a friend of mine commented that my skin looked "perfect" and that I didn't need foundation. I let it stay my little secret that I was in fact wearing some, however I was really impressed that the foundation was so lightweight that people thought it was non-existent! It lasted all day without any need of a top up, however if you had a particularly prominent blemish I think that you would probably need a top up of concealer or a dab of the foundation throughout the day.
Removing the foundation was extremely easy; just a quick swipe of a make up wipe and it's gone.
If I remember rightly the foundation last me well over a month, bearing in mind I was using it every day, and I had no hesitation in buying it again.
I would definitely recommend this foundation to everybody, especially those with oily skin tones, for a natural and lightweight look and feel.
5 stars, no doubt.
When Red Hot Buffet opened in Leeds, I was extremely excited. As someone who loves food and never fails to be spoilt for choice when sat at a restaurant staring at the menu, a place where you can go and not only eat as much as you like, but also taste almost every type of food there is, was always going to be good news for me (although perhaps not for my waistline!).
~*Where is it?*~
Red Hot is a small chain of restaurants situated up and down the country, with restaurants in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Nottingham. The fact that there isn't one in every nook and cranny of every town, for example like Nando's or Pizza Express, makes it all the more special, in my opinion, although it does mean that those of you who don't live near one are missing out!
~*Red Hot in Leeds*~
The Red Hot World Buffet in Leeds is inside The Light - a small shopping and cinema centre in the heart of Leeds. The Light is a glass building with a modern, classy feel to it. It houses a Vue cinema, a gym, a hotel, a selection of shops including Joy, The Body Shop and independent clothing retailers, and some other restaurants and coffee shops, such as Nando's, Starbucks, Brio's and Bagel Nash. However, Red Hot is not amongst the other restaurants on the ground floor; it is placed by the main entrance which enables it to stand out even further. The Light is not in the directly in the hustle and bustle of the main shopping streets, such as Briggate, however it is still very much in the town centre; only a short walk away from the train station and with many bus stations outside it. If you are unfamiliar with the location, it will not take you long to find someone who can direct you there with no worries.
~*My First Visit*~
I first visited Red Hot within its first month of opening, with two friends. We rang and booked a table for 8 o'clock on a Friday night with no hassle. Upon arriving, we entered and I was immediately impressed. On the first floor you are met by a waiter who directs you down the stairs to your seats. A bar is situated separately from the main restaurant, making it ideal if you would just like to go somewhere a bit different for drinks. The layout of Red Hot is very imaginative - all red and black and low lights, and it is all set out like an airport when you are walking down into the main restaurant - with an arrivals board and baggage desk, and as you enter the main restaurant it is as though you are getting onto the plain. These little touches really add to the experience of it all.
Luckily, my friends and I were seated very near the buffet hall, on comfy chairs and a nice, clean table. We were dressed fairly nicely; a pretty top and a skirt, and we didn't feel out of place; some people were dressed up to the nines (hmm, high heels and a plate piled full of food - I wouldn't risk it!) and some were just in their general day to day clothes. Nobody looked or seemed to feel out of place. There also wasn't one specific genre of people there - excited children with their parents marvelled at these new alien foods; couples enjoyed a romantic dinner, laughing and joking; a large group celebrated a birthday by singing loudly and dancing at the table...the atmosphere was bustling yet relaxed. We ordered our drinks and then went towards the buffet hall. It looked amazing; food was everywhere and the "stations" all looked equally appetising. I was literally spoilt for choice. I got myself a plate and walked over to the selection of appetisers and heaped them onto my plate. The variety was amazing (a full menu is available online if you're interested), and I particularly loved the
mussels and prawns, they tasted lovely.
As soon as I sat down we began to eat, and we did notice waiters swarming us, ready to take our plates as soon as we were finished. I then made my way around the stations, eating as much as I possibly could. The food was hot and tasty, easy to access and I noticed waiters taking away food and then filling the dishes and shelves back up again to ensure the food hadn't been left too long. Obviously the food wasn't to the highest of standards, but it was so much better than I expected. The only station I really avoided was the typical English one, with shepherd's pie, boiled potatoes and the like, simply because I fancied food that was a bit more "out there". The curry that I had; lamb Rogan Josh, was lovely, the Chinese starters were all amazing, and considering I am not a huge fan of sushi, that was quite nice too. I had a Chinese dish custom made for me at the Teppenyaki bar, which I enjoyed, and the Indian and Lousiana stations all had lovely food - both made in front of me and already laid out. The only station I wasn't crazy about was the Italian - the pizza didn't taste very special and to be honest I preferred the ones that I buy from the fridge in Sainsbury's! My friend had a pasta dish made for her though, and enjoyed it. The variety of food really stimulated conversations between my friends and I, as we enjoyed trying each other's dishes and giving our opinions. The desserts were great too - tiny little meringues, mousses - the white chocolate and ginger one was very tasty - brownies, cheesecakes and more, all in bite size portions. The ice cream bar was very tasty too, and fruit and sweets were available.
The staff were polite and friendly, and all in all we had a fantastic evening. Although we had visited restaurants with a higher quality of food, we agreed that this was one that we'd definitely visit again, as it is something very different and made for an enjoyable night. The meal cost £14.99 plus drinks, which was good value due to the amount we ate!
~*My Second Visit*~
I revisited Red Hot on a Saturday lunch time with my family. Bearing in mind they are not the most adventurous family in the world when it comes to food, it was always going to be a risky step! The price for food was great on a lunch time - £8.99 per person and half that for my youngest sister. My family were really impressed with the décor and although we hadn't booked, there was no wait, although it was very busy once we were inside! We were seated further away from the buffet and the tables were extremely close together - it was almost as if we were dining with the two other families we were next to. This wasn't a major issue for us, although it made it much more difficult for us all to have our separate conversations.
As we did not want to make this an expensive meal out, we asked for a jug of tap water and four glasses. The waiter seemed less than impressed and did a very bad job of masking it. He then only brought over three glasses and no ice in our jug; apparently you have to specify if you want ice. I asked another waiter, as ours seemed to have gone AWOL, if he could bring another glass and some iced water. He seemed happy enough to do so, but when we returned from the buffet hall he still hadn't obliged, and he never did, as it turns out.
The atmosphere seemed somewhat flatter than when I had previously visited. I know there is obviously going to be a different atmosphere when you dine at a lunch time, but I just got the impression that the majority of the staff couldn't be bothered and there was a severe lack of "service with a smile". When I approached a station where the staff keep the cutlery and napkins, a waiter who had been staring at our table in a rather rude manner for the duration of our meal, handed me them with a sigh and walked away. I then had to return there for a second time near the end of our meal, as although plates had been taken away, they had only returned with one clean knife and fork and left the three sets of used ones, that clearly had food smeared on them, the same man muttered something about there already being cutlery laid out. I patiently explained that they had been used, and he again reluctantly handed them over before walking away. I'm not quite sure of his position in the business, as he was wearing a suit unlike the other waiters, but if he is of some managerial standard I must say I do not know how he got there!
Unfortunately there was no seafood available this time, and my mum commented that the shepherd's pie
tasted like "baby food". Some of the food looked a little congealed, almost like the typical school dinner, and there just seemed to be a drop in the quality of it all since my last visit. Although we still had a nice time and my sisters enjoyed it, I don't think my mum was fully sold and the bad service didn't help matters. I assume that this experience was a one off, and I doubt that if I went again I would be as disappointed; however I think I will stick to visiting on an evening.
I would definitely recommend Red Hot, and my first experience was so good that I am only knocking off one star for the disappointment of my lunchtime meal, however if I were ever to go again and experience anything like that I would definitely be put off. It just goes to show how the right attitudes from staff really can make a difference to a nice meal out. I would recommend visiting on an evening, as although it is more expensive, it is worth it.
It is the perfect place to meet with friends for a fun night out, nothing too serious, and it's also great for families too, as I'm sure the children, like my sister, will enjoy trying the new food, and the parents will enjoy not having to worry about wasting money if they don't like it!
~*~*Science & Faith, The Script*~*~
I bought this album myself from iTunes almost as soon as it was released, as I am a massive fan of The Script (of course, it helps that their lead singer, Danny O'Donoghue, is more than a bit gorgeous!) and was intrigued to hear what their first album in two years would sound like. I'll just tell you briefly; I was not disappointed! So yes, you can expect a lot of gushing about their beautiful lyrics, Danny's amazing raw and naturally talented voice, the beautiful accompaniment and basically everything else! Having had this album on my iPod for quite a while now, I am still not sick of it and I feel that since I know all the words to almost every song (!) by now, I am quite justified to review this album!
~* About The Script*~
The Script are a Irish band made up of three members - Danny O'Donoghue, Mark Sheehan and Glen Power. The Script have been around since 2001, however only really achieved success in 2008, when they released their self-titled debut album. The album was very successful in both the UK and Ireland, reaching number one in both countries. Their singles from the album (including the bands best known tracks, "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" and "Breakeven") reached the top forty in the UK, Ireland and Denmark on many occasions.
Danny O'Donoghue is the lead singer of the band, and also writes many of their songs. Danny also plays the keyboard. Mark Sheehan and Glen Power play the drums and electric guitar, and also contribute to songwriting and production.
Personally, I loved The Script's first album, because, bar a few songs, I thought it was very strong, the vocals were great and the lyrics were amazing. I almost daren't click on my review I wrote of the album on Ciao - haven't published it on Dooyoo as it's so awful, but I may have been a little generous, however after a lot more listening to the album there are still around four or five songs I still listen to, two (ooh, actually three - still can't believe it's 2011!) years on.
After the success of their first album, The Script focussed on performing at gigs and concerts, and also supported Take That on their 2009 The Circus tour. My friend went to see Take That on that tour and she said they were amazing and really warmed everyone up for Take That! Upon Googling this a while back, many people online have backed up her opinion, with some saying they were one of the rare credible supporting acts.
The Script are currently attempting to break America, with this album coming out on 18th January 2011.
Then in July 2010, The Script announced that they were releasing an album named Science and Faith, and named their first single - For The First Time. At the end of July I went to Party In The Park in Leeds, where The Script performed live. There they performed For The First Time (for the first time they'd ever performed it live, haha!) and I fell in love with the track on the spot...
~* Album Artwork*~
As I've said, I got the album from iTunes, so I don't know anything about the album leaflet; however I can see that the album artwork is a picture of male and female hands holding each other. It's obviously symbolic - a symbol of love and romance, however it's fairly unusual in the sense that it looks more like they are about to have an arm wrestle, than a typical romantic gesture! Saying that, something about its uniqueness seems to work, it's intriguing and, along with the colour scheme, it all seems to fit together in a sort of odd, deep and meaningful sense.
The album is short compared to many others - with only ten tracks on the album and a running time of little more than 40 minutes, however I don't see this as a bad thing, as it is clear that all the tracks have been carefully chosen and shows that this is definitely a case of quality over quantity. The songs are typical "The Script", however I feel that this album is a lot more consistent and "mature" than their debut. Their style is alternative soft rock, with pounding, catchy choruses and amazing lyrics. I must admit, I was extremely excited to listen to all the songs the first time after I downloaded the album, and hoped that I wouldn't be disappointed...
~*You Won't Feel A Thing*~
Upon hearing even just the first few bars of this song, I knew I was going to love it. The smooth, steady rhythm of the guitar just grasped me straight away, and I loved how the music layered itself, as a sort of build up to the vocals. The vocals don't start until about half a minute into the song, with some "ooh-oooh-ooh"'s. The song isn't particularly fast paced, but the verses cram a lot of words into them making the song sound almost urgent. The lyrics are about a man willing to do anything to protect his girlfriend, promising her she "won't feel a thing". The verse's are about his own experiences of horrible things happening to him, and then the chorus tells his girlfriend that no matter what happens, he will keep her safe and "stand in front and take the blow" for her. Danny's vocals are so sincere and so it really does sound like he means what he is saying, and this track really is a twist on the typical romantic song. I absolutely love it, and my favourite part has to be the bridge of the song where Danny sings "and if I fall here, at least you know my dear, that I would die for you; promise you won't ever feel a thing". I realise that in text the lyrics may seem extremely over dramatic and perhaps a little soppy, but they are really not when you listen to them. They are beautiful and romantic - exactly the kind of lyrics I like to listen to. This is my favourite track on the album - it is one that I listen to continually on my iPod and I just think its perfect.
The arrangement and the vocals suit perfectly, I think that the crashing drum beats heard best in the chorus are perfect, the song is earnest and beautiful and believable, and I think every girl listening to it would wish that she could have someone to sing, and mean, these words to her!
***Rating - 11/10! I cannot express enough how much I love this song, I think it's amazing!***
~* For The First Time*~
This was the first single from this album, and it reached No.4 in the UK charts. I still often hear it played on my radio station, and I feel a little tingle of excitement when I flick the radio on and hear the first few bars playing. The songs beat and tempo is a lot calmer and slower than You Won't Feel A Thing. The song was written about a couple that are friends of The Script, and when the recession hit they moved to America, hoping for a better chance over there. Whilst they were there, they forgot what was really important - their relationship - and how when they realised this they made a real effort to try save their relationship; ultimately feeling like they were starting anew, and meeting for the first time again. As usual, the lyrics are thought-provoking and lovely, my personal favourites being "oh, these times are hard, and they're making us crazy, don't give up on me baby", and "we're smiling but we're close to tears". Again, I love the bridge of the song, where the instruments are heard much louder, it just feels really uplifting and full of hope. This is a song lots of couples could relate to, as its so real - so many couples do get stuck in a rut during their relationship! Although this song really is a lot "calmer" than many others on this album, it's still emotionally fuelled and pretty dramatic, but a lot more positive than many of the other songs on this album, as many of them (apart from You Won't Feel A Thing), are about relationships falling apart, rather than being repaired. I love this song and even though it was the first track from the album I heard, I still listen to it very often and haven't got fed up with it!
***Rating - 9.5/10, I love this song to bits, a fantastic first single from their album. ***
The second single to be released, although for some reason this didn't do nearly as well, only peaking at No.42 in the UK Singles Chart. I honestly don't see the reason for this, as it is just as good as For The First Time! This song is about drunk dialling - his girlfriend has dumped him and his friends are encouraging him to go out to with them for drinks to get over her, but it just isn't working. So instead, he tries to call her up in a drunken state and go visit her to try to persuade her to change her mind. His friends can see that this is a bad idea, but in his head it "makes perfect sense". I first saw the video to this on The Box music channel a little before Halloween, and it made me love the song even more. The song features Danny as the lead character, and Mark and Glen as his friends. During the bridge of the song, Danny jumps off a bridge and falls into the water, where he imagines his girlfriend is. I love the part where he is dragged out of the water, and continues to sing lying flat on his back, and then through the streets, soaking wet in his stylish leather jacket and fingerless gloves...um, oops, getting off the point a bit here, aren't we?! Sorry, but I think Danny is amazing - his talent just adds to the appeal! Anyway, yes, the video is perfect for the song, it really enhances it. But the song itself is amazing - lyrics I'm sure many blokes can relate to, simple lyrics that, as always, tell a real story and make you really listen. The song has a steady tempo and a really catchy tune that just makes you want to sing along! My favourite lines are "oh, sometimes love's intoxicating, oh you're coming down, your hands are shaking, when you realise there's no one waiting". I think this song is unique, as its an unusual angle to take lyrics-wise, but it really works, and it is one you can listen to, with the volume turned right up, singing along (or maybe that's just me...).
***Rating - 9.5/10, a fantastic, catchy and interesting track on the album, with superb vocals as always! ***
~*Science & Faith*~
This song is much more upbeat than the others on the album - with a burst of a catchy instrumental right at the beginning of the track that just grips you straight away. The lyrics are about an unexplainable love; how you cannot describe it with science, but how it is still very much real. This feels like a much more positive track compared to many others on the album, but that it more to do with the catchy chorus and soaring accompaniment rather than the lyrics, because they waver between the more uplifting chorus and then the verses, which are more focussed on him trying to make his girlfriend see that their love is real, which is undoubtedly more negative. My favourite line is simply "it's the way we feel, yeah, this is real". This song sticks in my head all day, and really grew on me. As the title track of the album, it definitely doesn't disappoint and as it is really quite different in comparison to most of the other songs, it really sticks out. On reflection of the whole album, this really stands out for me, although perhaps not at first, and I would definitely say that it was one of my favourite tracks on the album, bearing in mind I think all of the songs are of such a high standard it is really difficult to choose! I think this would be a killer single, as well.
***Rating - 10/10, different from many of the other songs, this sticks out (and gets stuck in my head) and I love it! ***
~* If You Ever Come Back*~
This song stood out from the moment I heard it. The memorable piano melody at the start of the track opens the song beautifully and Danny's voice in the verse sounds more like he is "talking" than in most of the other songs, which adds to the feeling that he is spinning a story with the lyrics. It also adds to the sincerity of the lyrics, as though he is really saying them to this girl. When the song breaks into chorus, the texture of the musical accompaniment once again thickens, the tempo quickens and Danny's voice becomes more melodic than in the verses. The lyrics are about Danny singing to a girl about he still misses her, and that he hopes that if sometimes she still thinks of him, she'll come back. The chorus tells of how he'll "leave the door on the latch" and that "there'll be a smile on my face and the kettle on, and it'll be just like you were never gone" should she ever turn up. This song is, once again, so believable, and the lyrics so well thought out. However, I know in each description I rave about the vocals and the lyrics, because that is the main reason I love The Script so much, however I cannot overlook the fantastic music that goes with them - the drums and strings and keyboard never fail to blend a perfect accompaniment with each song, that is so similar but yet so different to the last, and the accompaniment in this song is no different. In my opinion, this song is on a par with the two singles released so far, and, like all the tracks on the album, I can't get enough of it!
***Rating - 9.5/10, sorry, you're going to see a lot of this rating! Once again, a fantastic anthem from The Script. ***
~*Long Gone And Moved On*~
Although I find this song slightly similar to "If You Ever Come Back", this song grew on me rather than me having an instant love for it. However, now it has grown on me, I find it absolutely fantastic. I say it is similar to the track before as it is once again about Danny not having got over a girl who has left him, however this song is about him facing up to the prospect of moving on without her, rather than being certain that she will be coming back, and waiting for her. I don't really know why it took me a little while to warm to this track, as my friend, who is as much of a fan of The Script as me, bought the album the same night and was singing this song to herself the very next day, telling me it was one of the standout tracks for her. Obviously different people are going to pick out different favourites, but as this actually is one of my favourites now, I'm unsure to why I never really noticed it upon the first couple of listens to the album. Personal favourite lyrics include: "So how do you pick the pieces up? I'm barely used to saying "me" instead of "us"" and part of the bridge; "and it's gonna' be hard, yeah, cos I've got to want to heal, and it's gonna' be hard, yeah, the way I feel, cos I have to get real". The song is of a medium tempo, and is extremely catchy. Once again, flawless, raw vocals, poignant, meaningful lyrics and fantastic music makes this yet another joy to listen to.
***Rating - 9.5/10, (yes _again_), still one of the Most Played on my iPod, another great tune! ***
~*Dead Man Walking*~
This is very different to the other tracks on the album, a twist on The Scripts' usual style. However, boy do they pull it off! A chilling echo of the same opening lyric continues for the first twenty-five seconds, along with a quiet, subtle guitar ostinato. When the verse starts, you can hear the raw emotion in Danny's voice, and the accompaniment, which remains quieter than in previous songs, slowly builds up into the chorus, where it just grabs you with the emotionally driven words and the crashing drum beats, only to wind right back down for the second chorus, and once again rise into the chorus. The distinct variety in this song only makes it more compelling, I find. The bridge of the song still feels slightly chilling, and when I listened to the lyrics I found them pretty heart-wrenching. The layering of the vocals and the way the song builds up so dramatically towards the end just conveys the emotion even more successfully than in some of their other songs. The lyrics are, whether you take it literally or not, about a "dead man" watching his lover move on, wishing he could still be with her as he's still on this earth, as a "dead man walking". I love the lyrics: "already broken, already gone, already know you're moving on" and "already see it in your face, already someone in my place". This song is really unique and interesting, and the more I listen to it whilst writing this (bearing in mind I have already listened to it literally hundreds of times previously) the more attached I feel to it, the more I realise what the lyrics mean, and the more I realise that it's a sublime track.
***Rating - 10/10, although I liked it from first listen, this song has grown on me even more...stands out for me. ***
~*This = Love*~
This song is wonderful. Lyrics-wise, it differs from the other songs as it is talking about love in a wider sense, not just the love between people in a relationship, but the love in families, and in friends. The drums are much more prominent in this track than in some others, but the real surprise is the almost-rapping that springs from nowhere in the second half of the song. It's a risky move, I'll grant that, however I think Danny really manages to pull it off and make it fit wonderfully into the song, not dragging it on for too long but succinctly and successfully showcasing another of the bands talents. The rest of the song is lovely to listen to; with the heartfelt verses giving examples of love in various people and places, and the chorus stating "this is why we do it, this is worth the pain, this is why we fall down, to get back up again". Placing this song after the almost chilling and sad track "Dead Man Walking", and having it preceding what I would say is the "moodiest" track on the album "Walk Away" I think is a great idea, as it provides some optimism and never fails to make me smile every time I listen to it. This song feels more of a raw rock track than the others, and it makes me focus on the positive things in life, I definitely agree with "lj1989" (Ciao member!), who has also reviewed this album, when she says it really makes her put things into perspective.
***Rating - 9.5/10, something a little different, this song makes me feel really good and I really enjoy listening to it***
I was unsure about this song for quite a while, a couple of months back I was reading the BBC's review for this album and the reviewer said that this song seemed half-finished, and in some respects I agreed with her. However, having owned this album for almost four months now, it's had a lot of time to grow on me and I'm pleased to say it has. It still doesn't measure up, in my opinion, to the rest of the album, however saying that I do still enjoy listening to it, by no means do I feel the need to skip it on the album and I have listened to it as a single out of choice quite a lot recently. The song is about the singer not understanding why his girlfriend continues to stay with him when he feels like he is not worthy of her, and that she could do much better. I think the fact that there is no real dramatic chorus or bridge in this song is why it really didn't stand out to me - the music is a lot more subtle, the lyrics more repetitive, and the vocals a lot more "moody" without as much of a variety in the pitch or tempo, until near the end of the song where Danny manages to almost sing "still she stays" at a very high pitch. Although some people really, really love this song, to me it doesn't quite measure up to the rest of the album, and sounds a lot more like it belongs on their debut.
***Rating - 8/10, still a great track in its own right, however doesn't quite compare to the rest of the album. ***
I think this is a great song to finish off the album. I am singing along to every word as I type this, it's unbelievably catchy. The lyrics are really interesting - Danny sounds quite in the verses, but in the chorus it drifts more to melodic desperation. The song is about someone leaving him, and he likens the pain to _exit wounds_. I think this whole song is lyrically fantastic, as I love the clever metaphors used and the emotion that powers the whole track, however particular standout lines are "I don't know how much more love this heart can lose" and "the marks of battle, they still feel raw, a million pieces of me, on the floor". I love the powerful pounding of the instruments that enable Danny's vocals to once more soar across the song almost effortlessly,
The emotional, powerful anthem is the perfect way to finish off a totally amazing album, and this song is yet another standout phenomenon. The song is a perfect mix of self pity, dealing with rejection and interesting metaphor -not so self-piteous that it becomes a pathetic ballad or dreary cry of desperation, not so angry that it scares off listeners and becomes too aggressive to enjoy and not too confusing that there is no way of understanding what the song is really about. It just allows you to use your own imagination, form your own connection with the song and enjoy one last track off The Scripts album. Simply brilliant.
***Rating - 10/10, another favourite of mine, interesting and thought-provoking, and I still haven't tired of listening to it! ***
As you can see, there isn't one bad track on here (Walk Away is still a fantastic song, and if I'd just heard it as a single I would be extremely impressed, but it's upon hearing every other track on here that nudges it down a little) and as I've said previously, I have owned this album for nearly four months now and still enjoy listening to it on a regular basis. In total honesty, I've rarely gone a day without listening to at least one track from here on my iPod, and You Won't Feel A Thing remains in my mental list of Top 10 Tracks Of All Time.
The Scripts' debut was a triumph, but in my opinion this album has totally overshadowed it. The Script have taken their time, thought about what they want to do, and the best part for me is that it's all them; they wrote the songs, they were involved with the production, they play the instruments...and I'm happy that all their hard work has paid off, with the album reaching No.1 in the UK and Ireland and also peaking high in many other charts in countries all over the world.
I would say that this is one of my favourite albums I have ever owned, and although I know that not everyone "gets" The Script, I know it has a strong legion of fans like me, whom to the lyrics, music and everything else are pure magic. I am gutted that I didn't manage to get tickets to their tour, which starts later this year, but to anyone who is going, I'm sure they are in for a wonderful experience.
So, overall, I would say this album is absolutely flawless, and, as you've probably understood by now, I love it to bits.
The Scripts album is available in all the usual places (HMV, supermarkets, Amazon, iTunes etc...) for around £6.99.
As always, thanks so much for taking the time to read this review. All your feedback means a lot to me, so thanks a bunch if you decide to comment and rate. xxxxx
~*~*Olly Murs, Olly Murs*~*~
This Christmas I received a lot of lovely presents as usual, including a bunch of lovely CD's (so expect the majority of my upcoming reviews to be of these!). It gives me great pleasure to share with you my opinion of Olly Murs' debut album, which I received as a gift...
Don't worry, I know that reviews are, as they should be, meant to be based on the product itself, so this isn't going to be some Wikipedia copy-and-pasted tripe, it's just going to be some quick background information about the artist that I know off the top of my head...
Olly Murs' is a solo artist who many of you will know from 2009's X Factor, where he lost to Joe McElderry in the final. He was famed for his quirky dance moves (um, incorporating the Thriller dance into a jazz song, anyone?), his ridiculously tight trousers, his collection of trilby hats and for seeming like a genuinely lovely, down-to-earth kind of guy. As you can probably tell, I'm a bit of an Olly fan, and I backed him all the way through to the final, so understandably I was a bit gutted, but not overly surprised, to be honest, when I watched Joe win The X Factor.
But coming second on the UK's biggest singing competition definitely isn't a bad thing. Olly was signed to Epic record label immediately (the same company that signed previous X Factor runners up JLS) and began working on his album, which came out in November 2010.
The album artwork is simple and clear, nothing too special. It features six full length photographs of Olly (with his trilby, naturally) and "Olly Murs" printed in large red letters across the cover. The album sleeve contains lyrics to the songs and a double page of thank you's from Olly.
Undoubtedly, the most important part of the album! I am going to go through each song, giving it a rating, but before I do I must say I am immensely impressed by the consistency of the tracks on this album. I think many people were expecting him to come out with a poor Robbie-wannabe sounding album, but Olly has proved them wrong and produced an excellent, quirky, light album packed full of catchy tracks. Olly's vocals are simple and very unique, meaning that just within the first line you can tell it is him (yes, I know it would be pretty obvious if you're listening to an album titled "Olly Murs", but still!). A well-balanced mix of reggae pop, ballads and catchy tunes make this album a must, in my opinion.
~*Change Is Gonna Come*~
This song is a smooth, reggae style pop song. I would definitely describe it as a "grower", as the first time I listened to it I wasn't all that impressed, I thought it was pretty mediocre, however having played it through a few more times I actually really enjoy listening to it now. It is something I would listen to around the house on my speakers, or in the car, rather than actually playing it specifically as a single on my iPod. Olly's vocals are extremely recognisable and the blend of instruments used work really well together. I imagine this as a light, almost summery song, very easy listening and uplifting without being boring, but still not outstanding.
Rating - 7/10, definitely not one of the best tracks on this album, but still very good!
~*Please Don't Let Me Go*~
Please Don't Let Me Go was Olly's first single from this album, and was very successful - beating Katy Perry to the No.1 spot in the Official UK Charts in early September 2010. I personally loved this song from the first time I heard it on the radio, and even after months of it being extremely overplayed on the radio, music charts and my iPod, I still really enjoy listening to it as part of the album. The lyrics are basic but catchy, and the song has a great beat which sticks in your head for ages. The song doesn't exactly challenge Olly's vocals but he sounds great throughout. The lyrics are all about Olly pleading to a girl he loves for her to stay with him, which may sound all whiny and pathetic, but the song is actually another very light, breezy reggae sounding track, not at all a slow ballad. Again, I would describe this as a summery track, it certainly reminds me of summer days, maybe a barbeque party...(sorry, going off on a tangent here dreaming about summer when I can hear the icy wind whistling outside my bedroom).
Rating - 8.5/10, a very sensible choice as a first single, breezy, refreshing and a great taster of the album!
~*Thinking Of Me*~
I love this song! It's a real feel good, catchy tune. His performance of this on The X Factor was my favourite guest performance of the series (although possibly on a par with Take That and Michael Buble), as it showed off his ability to sing (very well) live, while conveying his sweet, likeable charm, doing a few dance moves and just generally putting on a great show - urm, Cheryl Cole, you may want to take note... The song itself peaked at No.2 in the charts, falling short of the coveted No.1 spot due to the X Factor charity single. Personally, this song is a standout on the album because of it's catchy beat, fun, quirky lyrics and Olly's down-to-earth, cheeky-chappy charm that really shines through on this particular song - for example, when Olly sings "but if I remember right you like a pinch of spice", where you can almost hear the cheeky smile he will have undoubtedly have had on his face whilst singing! Again, although his album wasn't released until November, in my opinion these first three tracks are all very summery and breezy. The lyrics are clever and believable, and in general this song is one of the (many) highlights on the album.
Rating - 9.5/10, a particularly catchy track which grows on you until you just can't get it out of your head!
A much slower pace than the first three tracks, this takes a much more laid back, simple approach in the first verse, and then really speeds up in the chorus with an added drum beat, which continues into the rest of the song. Personally I don't think this song is a particular stand out, however saying that I would still say that it is extremely lovely to listen to, another which I would describe as a "grower". It is something I enjoy listening to as part of the album, definitely not one which I would skip, but also not one that I would add to my main playlist on iTunes, unlike some of the other songs on this album. Again, (and I really do apologise as I feel I am repeating myself a lot on these explanations), an upbeat, uplifting song. I do realise I seem to be using the same sort of words to describe these songs, but I think that although they are all of the same style, they all have their own little twist, or quirk.
Rating - 7.5/10, pleasant enough, but to me it doesn't measure up to some of the others on this album!
~*I Blame Hollywood*~
With a steady, cheerful beat that grabs you straight away, and sweet lyrics about a lost love, and how "Hollywood" spins a tale and makes it impossible for real life, or love, to measure up to, which he still manages to turn into a cute, clever, catchy song. I particularly like the chorus, which just makes me sing a long every time (oh dear...). I can really see this being released as a single, and doing extremely well in the charts. A similar blend of instruments are used throughout many of his songs, and Olly's voice can be heard clearly above them all, as I've said before, his voice is extremely unique and although it isn't the most powerful voice in the world, it is an amazingly unique, pleasant voice which really suits the happy, reggae-pop tracks on this album, in particular this one. I would say this was another of my album highlights, on a par with Thinking Of Me.
Rating - 9.5/10, a great, cheerful song which I imagine would do very well as a single, too.
~*Ask Me To Stay*~
This is the first ballad on the album, and thank goodness for that, as now I can use some different adjectives! The song begins with a piano playing, and then Olly's voice begins to sing, slowly and almost soulfully, I think you can tell that there's general emotion in this song. Olly's voice actually shows off a bit of variety, there's less of the short, almost "talking" vocals used, and more prolonged notes. Saying that, he still manages to make this seem more uplifting and interesting than other ballads, it's doesn't sound like a Robbie knock off at all. My favourite part of the song is the bridge, with the crashing drum beats which I think really adds to the emotion of the song. This song was a pleasant surprise upon first listen of the album, as it was nice to see that every single song wasn't going to be a summery upbeat track, having said that it is not one of my absolute favourites.
Rating - 8/10, a good ballad which I really enjoy listening to, but doesn't compare to some of the later ballads...
~*Heart On My Sleeve*~
Another ballad, although I prefer this one to Ask Me To Stay. It is the slowest track on the album so far, and I particularly love the title of this song. The lyrics are lovely without being anything too showy or outstanding, but I think the simplicity only adds to the song. Also, I think his voice takes on a different tone in this song, more raw and emotional than I have heard before. The instruments in this song are much less prominent than they have been in previous songs, which makes focussing on Olly's voice even more pleasant. This song is neither particularly happy nor sad, just a pure ballad. The lyrics are about him trying to convince a girl that his love is genuine and that he means what he says, and that he wants her to stay with him. It's a lovely song which I love listening to, and the more I listen to it (and believe me, I've played it an awful lot just during the duration of writing this review to try describe it in the best way possible!), the more I like it!
Rating - 9/10, a lovely ballad with some heartfelt lyrics and beautiful vocals from Olly.
After two ballads, this song was a big change, with its synthesised chant at the beginning, and faster tempo. The verse's are "crammed" with clever lyrics, meaning that there's an awful lot of lyrics jammed together that don't quite make any sense if you think about them, they are all a bit disjointed and random, however somehow it all works. I was a little unsure about this track until I heard the chorus, which I absolutely loved. It's so basic and simple, but something about it's positive message "hold on, you're gonna' get through this" was really what I needed to hear after having a bit of a knock back just after Christmas (altogether now; awwww!). From the chorus onwards, this song just got better, I really liked the bridge and even the whistling that accompanied it! It's just such a happy, positive song that makes you feel so good about yourself, but I have realised you definitely have to let it play through a few times to enjoy it fully!
Rating - 8/10, a hidden gem, in my opinion, and one that I think I will only enjoy more and more as I play it!
Another catchy song, this time about Olly trying his best to woo a girl without her realising that he's "twisting fate to make believe it's all accidental". I love the lyrics to this song, as they make so much sense whilst still being very different and "normal", as in, no OTT flourishes, you could actually imagine a guy hearing this and having done very similar things to try get a girl! The song itself is incredibly catchy - it sticks in my head for ages, and it's so cheerful and cute, basically just more typical Olly. I could imagine this doing very well as a single, and to be honest, having reviewed the other similar tracks on this album I don't really see what else I can say about this song without repeating myself even more than I already have! It's one of my favourite up-tempo songs, not quite up there with Thinking Of Me or I Blame Hollywood, but pretty close!
Rating - 9/10, really enjoy listening to this, a really sweet, realistic and catchy song!
~*Love Shine Down*~
These last three tracks are my three favourites from this album - I love them. The first; Love Shine Down, is a perfect mix of one of Olly's more up-tempo tracks and a ballad - it incorporates the cheerful accompaniment and steady beat with more emotional lyrics and a slower track. The lyrics are great and a welcome addition to the song is the female vocal that joins the song nearer the end...the blend of her and Olly's voices work brilliantly and it adds a new angle to the track, making it stand out even more in the album. I have played this song over and over on my iPod and I still haven't got bored of it, which is a great sign, as sometimes things just don't measure up after the first listen. It's romantic whilst still being typical Olly-style, e.g. simple, light hearted and fun.
Rating - 9.9/10, picky, I know! At first listen, I thought this would be my favourite song, but the next track just stole it for me!
~*Don't Say Goodbye*~
I love this song so much! At the beginning, the song sounds distinctly similar to the start of many Glee songs, particularly "Keep Holding On", with the backing vocals (fellow Gleeks, you'll know what I'm on about...everyone else, just keep smiling and nodding!). The tempo of the song is very slow and relaxed, but Olly's vocals are earnest and seem so genuine. This song is about clinging on to a relationship that's hanging by a thread, and trying to start again. It's the best ballad on here by far, and I can just listen to it on repeat for ages! My favourite part of this song are the lines "But we fell so hard and it felt so right, so don't let it all end here tonight," and the chorus is really beautiful too. I fell in love with this song the moment I heard it, it wasn't a "grower" like some of the other songs on this album, I just clicked with it straight away. The backing vocals (I can't really describe it, but it's like a choir singing "a-ha-ha, a-ha-ha", urm, no, not laughing like a maniac, but without comparing it to Glee I just can't really explain, guess you'll have to give the track a listen to find out what I mean!) add to the simple beauty of the track, and I just simply love it!
Rating - 11/10! If I haven't managed to get across to you yet - MY ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE TRACK!
~*A Million More Years*~
After getting so transfixed by "Don't Say Goodbye", I thought that the final track would be a disappointment, but it really wasn't. It is the slowest track on the album, and at the start it sounds a bit "soppy", especially compared to the style of the other songs on this album, however as soon as Olly started to sing I was once again pleasantly surprised. In my opinion, it is the perfect ending to the album; soft, subtle and very lovely indeed. That unique tone in Olly's voice is more prominent in this song which makes what could be a bit of a plain ballad very modern; he successfully puts his own twist on it. It's maybe more of a typical "X Factor" style of song than the others on this album, but rather than that being a hindrance, I see it as a lovely surprise and, as I've said, perfect ending. I would be disappointed if all the songs on the album were similar to this, but as a one-off it works very well and again shows Olly's capability to pull off many different styles. Yet again, this track is one that has made its way onto my main playlists on my iPod and on iTunes. My favourite lines are "Now I'm missing you so much, loving you so much it hurts, and its never gonna' let me go...".
Rating - 10/10, my second favourite song, and a lovely finish to the album!
As you can see, there isn't one track on here that I don't like, I mean; of course I have preferences, but who doesn't? What makes this album so special is the originality and the consistency of the tracks - Olly has managed to make his own mark on the music business and has managed to use the X Factor as a leg up, rather than letting the X Factor cultivate him into their idea of what Olly should be. This is very much "Olly's album" - he helped write the songs and was very involved, and I think the album reflects that. There is also a perfect mix of ballads and up tempo tracks, and I know I've banged on about this quite enough, but I will just point out once more the fact that the lyrics are so likeable and catchy without being anything fancy. I'm sure I've pointed out in previous reviews that the lyrics of a song mean a lot to me! Although the tracks are similar, they are at the same time all very individual. I think this album is packed with future hits, and I would be confident in saying that (bar Leona Lewis, maybe) Olly Murs is the best thing to come out of The X Factor.
"Olly Murs" is available in all the usual places - supermarkets, HMV etc, as well as Amazon and iTunes and all other online retailers, for around £7.99.
Whilst Olly's music may not be for everyone, I personally found it a refreshing, uplifting album and have a lot of respect for a genuine, normal guy who's done very well for himself. I wish Olly all the best in the future, and have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more of Mr. Murs!
Sorry if this review is a little rusty - I haven't reviewed in what feels like so long, I'm still trying to find my feet again! Thanks very much for taking the time to read this review, and I'll be posting some more up soon!
Take care, all the best xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
~*Trevor Sorbie Beautiful Volume Shampoo*~
~*Why Did I Buy It?*~
Well, a couple of days back I went to Filey for a few nights. It was a nice little mini break, and having not been abroad this summer, it was the best I was going to get! I was packing light, and so I went into Boots and decided to spoil myself with a few mini treats. I know, I know, I've been telling you all about how I'm trying to save on my beauty products (in regards to a comment plod951 left on one of my reviews, _yes_ i really, really do need beauty products, or I look like Frankenstein's monster!) but it was summer and I had a little bit in my pocket, so I thought, why not?
I don't know what it is about mini beauty products, but I love them! I don't know if its the fact that they're so cute (!) or what, but I think they're great! In this case, it's because there's no way I could justify spending the amount of money salon brands charge for a regular sized shampoo, but I can afford 75ml of it! I also tend to use less product if it comes out of a smaller bottle, because I want to make it last, therefore I don't squeeze ridiculous amounts of the stuff out.
So, I went to the 'Salon Brands Haircare' section of Boots, and looked around. A number of brands caught my eye, such as Charles Worthington and John Frieda. I stayed away from Charles Worthington after reading and seeing a number of distinctly average reviews on their products, on the internet and from friends, and the John Frieda didn't have a wide selection of miniature products. Plus, the products I saw seemed very colour-orientated, like one shampoo for blondes and one for brunettes. This was a slight dilemma for me because I'm a sort of muddy-blonde (oh God, that sounds awful!), but you know what I mean; I'm in between blonde and brunette. If I had to go one way I'd definitely say blonde, but as I'm a dark blonde I didn't really want a shampoo that was for "real" blondes, as I'd say.
The Trevor Sorbie stand was slightly narrower than some of the others, but I was drawn to it because of pretty pastel-coloured bottles and wide variety of miniatures.
My hair is fairly long, and I love wearing it down, slightly messily, with lots of volume. When I was a little younger I went through a phase of using GHD's and taming my hair until it was practically plastered to my skull, but as you mature I guess you develop your own style, and I realised that just because my friends really suited their straightened hair, it didn't mean I did. So from there on, I did everything I could to give my hair a bit of life and body - backcombing, curling, using any amount of volume-enhancing sprays, mousses, gels etc...and I have stuck to that and am now really comfortable with my hair.
The Beautiful Volume range is new, along with a selection of other 'Beautiful' ranges. Obviously I went for the volume-boosting range, but for others with different hair types or styles, there are these new ranges to choose from:
Beautifully Straightened, Beautifully Moisturised, Beautiful Curls, Beautiful Blonde and Beautiful Brunette.
~*A Quick Bit About The Brand*~
Now, I don't want to ramble on about every single little detail of the brand for hours, because, if your that desperate you can research that bit yourself, but I don't really think every detail is relevant to anyone considering purchasing this product, but a little bit of background info might give you an idea of the reputation this brand and hairdresser has.
Trevor Sorbie is a hairdresser who has been awarded an MBE by the Queen _and_ won British Hairdresser Of The Year four times - so I'm guessing he must be good at what he does! He has been the person behind many successful cuts and styling techniques, and then released the top professional hair care range, named after himself.
"One of the best hairdressers ever - both directionally and creatively" - Anthony Mascolo (whoever that is, haha!)
The Beautiful Volume range is all in a very pleasant pale lemon colour. I think that the bottle is very attractive - it definitely looks like part of a professional hair care range. The bottle stands on its lid, and slants at the top where the silver 'Trevor Sorbie' logo is.
The front of the bottle is very sleek and basic - just some orange coloured waves (that are very similar to the ones used in the logo) and the words:
_Beautiful volume thickening shampoo, for fine/flyaway hair. With heat protection and shine-enhancing technology._
On the back of the bottle there's just the usual really; it tells you the ingredients and directions and such.
All in all, top marks for appearance - it looks lovely, like a real treat.
~*Using The Shampoo*~
I squeezed a small amount of the stuff into my hand (I told you I like to use the miniature posh products sparingly!) and I'm glad I did - because a little really does go a long way! The smell was, like the packaging, very professional smelling - if that makes any sense - it reminded me of a posh hairdressing salon.
The directions on the bottle read:
_Distribute evenly through wet hair. Lather up. Rinse thoroughly. For best results, use as part of the Beautiful Volume range._
As I mentioned earlier, I have fairly long hair, and a very small squirt was more than enough for all my hair. When I rubbed the shampoo in, it lathered up really well - not a particularly thick or creamy lather, but one that felt really quite invigorating and like there was a lot of it! It was lovely to use.
The shampoo was designed for people with thin hair who would like more volume. I guess my hair isn't particularly thin, but I could definitely feel a different (obviously my hair hadn't magically got thicker, but you know what I mean), however my hair definitely didn't feel heavy, if anything it felt lighter, but not thinner, than before.
I think the reason that it felt lighter was because of the masses of volume that had been added! I also used the leave-in conditioner, so I'm sure that that can take some of the credit for the amazing condition my hair was in, but I think the shampoo definitely made a huge difference! It gave me a much greater effect than I was hoping for, and my hair's new-found body lasted for the full day.
My hair also seemed to have a bit of a gleam to it. It was shiny without looking at all greasy or covered in product (I also used some V05 hairspray before I went out), and the fact that the shampoo included some heat protection technology meant I didn't have to use as much spray before blow drying my hair which was great as I think that using a lot of the spray can ruin the effect my usual shampoo and conditioner can have on my hair.
I truly really loved this shampoo, I think everything about it was perfect, and although it was expensive I think it was definitely worth it.
I purchased the 75ml Beautiful Volume Shampoo from Boots for £1.95 (giving me 4 Advantage Card points). I also bought the mini Leave-In conditioner for the same price.
For more information on Trevor Sorbie products, and to buy online, visit www.trevorsorbie.com.
The shampoo is also available in a larger size - 250ml - for a RRP of £4.99. Currently, there is an offer on in Boots where you can buy three Trevor Sorbie products for ten pounds - I wish I'd known about that at the time, because it would have tempted me to splurge on the bigger sized bottles!
After opening, use within twenty four months.
I would say that the shampoo is definitely worth the money and makes a massive difference to my hair, and whenever I can afford the range, I will buy it!
It has also encouraged me to try all the other products in the Beautiful Volume range -
Dry Shampoo, Volume Booster, Volumising Mousse and Hairspray.
~*Five Stars From Me!*~
~*Simple Hydrating Light Moisturiser*~
Simple's skincare brand is fast growing as a popular, natural brand who make products that are full of vitamin goodness and care for all skin types - even sensitive skin. With its affordable prices, simple goodness and wide availability, it's great for normal women everywhere to know they can buy skincare products from a brand they can trust. No more wasting money on ridiculously priced moisturisers and cleansers, and no more nasty rashes from harsh chemicals and poor ingredients. Simple is a saviour for everyone, bringing a new meaning to good skincare.
~*A Little More About The Brand...*~
Simple was established in 1960 - a massive fifty years ago! Ten years ago, in July 2000, the brand came under new management and the brand slowly grew to include men's products, toiletries, sun care, baby care, facial skincare and dry skincare. Simple are currently raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support and are giving £2 from each £10 Simple pack to the charity. Simple has grown from a relatively unknown brand only really targeting people with sensitive skin to an extremely popular, well respected brand for all kinds of people. Now, I don't usually rant on about brands all that much in my reviews, but I wanted to try get across the fact that Simple really has grown into a fantastic brand that truly believes in 'simple' skincare that is great for everyone, and one that cares. They sell many skincare products; cleansers, wipes, toners, moisturisers, soap and eye creams to name but a few.
~*Buying The Moisturiser *~
I know I have previously written a review about a Lush moisturiser that I loved, but if you have read my Natural Collection review you'll know I'm trying to budget how much I spend on cosmetics, toiletries, bath stuff, etc, and sadly that means that my visits to Lush are few and far between at the moment. I simply can't afford to spend £15+ on a moisturiser anymore. Another thing is that Vanishing Cream is for oily skin, and my skin has turned a lot dryer recently, so I needed one that hydrated skin, as well as kept it clear. So, I was visiting Boots, stocking up on (budget) beauty buys, when I remembered that I had run out of Vanishing Cream (the Lush moisturiser I used to buy) and needed a new moisturiser that'd treat my skin as well as Vanishing did, but was approximately half the price tag. I scoured the skincare aisles, and found the Simple stand, full of it's products in neat little boxes, and the pleasant and natural-looking green and white theme, it seemed so cute and, well...Simple! I came across the Hydrating Light Moisturiser and bought it for £3.29. I bought the 125ml bottle, but there is also a very sweet travel sized bottle (50ml), available for £1.49.
I can remember that the bottle came in a rectangular cardboard box. It had the same information on it that's on the bottle. The bottle is white with a green top and the logo in green text at the top of the bottle. It has the name of the product, a couple of lines of information and green "ribbons" along the front of the bottle. On the back there is a lot of information which says:
When your skin's happy and fresh faced, you feel healthier and happier too! Our Hydrating Light Moisturiser is a perfect blend of active ingredients and vitamin goodness to keep your skin replenished and hydrated. Perfect for even sensitive skin.
~*Using The Moisturiser*~
The moisturiser is very easily dispersed from the bottle, you simply squeeze the bottle and a decent sized amount comes out of the bottle. The moisturiser is white and fairly thick to have in your hand, however when you use it on your face it becomes very light and thin, it feels really nice and actually quite luxurious! It feels hydrating and, although it is a light moisturiser like my old Vanishing Cream, it feels thicker and as though it would be a better base for make up. My skin does feel more a lot more hydrated. It sinks into the skin really well, leaving my face feeling smooth and fresh. A little goes a long way, and as a result of that the bottle lasts a long time. I use it twice a day - once in the morning, and after a few minutes I apply my make up on top, using the moisturiser as a base - and again in the evening, after I have taken all my make up off. I find it extremely effective and I can really see the difference; it keeps my skin in good nick! To me, it feels like a much more expensive moisturiser rather than a purse friendly purchase - but I'm definitely not complaining!
~*The Good Stuff*~
This moisturiser contains two 'Vital Vitamins': Pro-Vitamin B5 that restores, softens and smoothes, and
Vitamin E moisturises to improve skin condition. It also contains two 'skin-loving nutrients' of glycerine that hydrates and nourishes skin, and Borage Seed oil which regenerates and renews skin. It doesn't include any perfume or colouring, or unnecessary or harsh chemicals.
I have a friend who is allergic to perfume; luckily he's a boy, because I imagine it would be even more unbearable if he was a girl, as so many cosmetics and products have perfume in them. It's good to know Simple think of people like this, and have also stuck by their original aim of caring for people with sensitive skin. Because of the lack of chemicals, you can be almost certain that this won't do any harm to your skin.
I find that one 125ml bottle will last me at least three months, if I use it twice a day. I think it makes a fabulous make up base - not too greasy and not too heavy. The bottle is recyclable and personally I like the white and green design - it goes with their natural ethics. As it is un-fragranced, the smell is not too noticeable; it just smells of a typical cream or lotion, in my opinion. Once opened, use within twelve months.
You can also purchase this moisturiser in the Skincare Starter Kit, which includes a 125ml bottle of this moisturiser, a Purifying Cleansing Lotion and a Soothing Facial Toner. This is available for £4.99 and I think it's really excellent value. I have just discovered that it is available in this set and I'll definitely be buying it as part of that set when I need some more!
It can be bought at Asda, Boots, Co-op Pharmacy, Lloyds, Morrison's, Sainsbury's, Superdrug and Tesco, as well as many online shops such as Amazon and Chemist Direct.
The moisturiser has many five star reviews on many websites, not only Ciao and Dooyoo but also Amazon, Boots and many more.
~*All in All...*~
This is a fantastic moisturiser that I would totally recommend. It has now become my daily moisturiser and is a very significant part in my skincare routine. Sorry Lush; I won't be coming back for Vanishing Cream, because, although it's brilliant, this is just as good, but for a fraction of the price.
As we are moving house very shortly (my excuse for not being around on Ciao & Dooyoo as much recently), we've been uncovering many items we forgot we even owned! When sorting through all of our games, we came across ones that we'd totally forgotten about. Hullabaloo wasn't one of them; we could never forget this crazy game, but it was one that hadn't been played with for a number of months.
~*Why We Have It*~
My youngest sister is eight years old, and we have had this game for quite a few years now. My mum was, and still is, always on the lookout for fun, entertaining games. Consequently,. we have possibly the widest variety of children's games ever in our home, but Hullabaloo stands out to me.
~*So, What's In The Box?*~
In the box there are the small, thin plastic mats in a variety of colours, shapes and with a number of different pictures on them. There is also the round plastic Hullabaloo console, which is essential for the game. There is a sheet of rules, but the game catches on pretty quickly and is pretty self-explanatory, so I wouldn't say you really needed them.
~*Playing The Game*~
Any number of children can play the game, the ideal amount all depends on how much space you have, really. The great thing is, if you had a young child you could still join in with them, just the two of you, and still have a fun time. Just lay the sixteen coloured mats around the room, spread out and mixed around evenly, and then switch on the console. You can adjust audio levels, but it doesn't go too loud so the children will have to be fairly quiet so as to hear the voice. If not, you'll have to listen to what the console says and then shout it out so all the players can hear.
To start the game, the cheerful, clear male voice will tell the children to "Get on one of the purple Cranium mats to start". There are four of the purple mats, all with a Cranium character on (Cranium has many family games and all include the Cranium characters - Creative Cat, Word Worm, Star Performer and Data Head.) The mats are very small so if you have more than four children playing they will have to stand around the mats, rather than on them. Then, the console will instruct the children to walk, run, crawl, skip, gallop etc, to another mat with, for example, an item of food, or a circle shaped mat.
The beauty of this game is that the instructions are very simple, and as the console says everything for you, you don't have to really explain anything. It also encourages the children to be active and energetic. Every so often, the console will say something like 'Try this crazy Hullabaloo move' and the children will stop and dance for a couple of seconds to a funny sound effect. All throughout the game, cheerful music will play and fun sound effects are often heard. This creates a lively, happy atmosphere for the children.
The game length varies, but lasts around ten minutes, and to signify the end of the game the voice will shout 'Freeze! Stay on that pad!' and then the children stand still on the pad they last visited, and the console will ask, 'Is anyone on the...(for example) spaghetti? If you are, you're the winner!' Then the winner is often instructed to either 'take a bow', 'do a funky dance', 'jump' or something to do with a monkey dance, I think, I can't quite remember the last one. Some catchy music plays whilst the winner celebrates. The nice thing is when the winner dances or whatever, all the other children can join in happily, regardless of whether they won or not. This avoids tears and tantrums and is a very light hearted game that young children never seem to tire of.
~*When Would We Play It?*~
I think this is a great game to play when kids have their friends over, or have a party. I would say this game is for children around six years of age, as any younger may fall over or get a bit knocked about. But, as long as there's an adult there I don't really see what harm it could really do. And, my sister is eight years old and loves it just as much as she did two years ago. When we have family get together's it is often a game that we get out, and all the older kids and adults join in for fun, laughter and just a bit of general silliness!
It is a great way of turning kids restlessness into something fun and constructive, and I would recommend it to all families, so long as you have a large enough space to play in. A normal-sized living room would be enough space, in my opinion, but the bigger the better!
I have had a great deal of fun playing this game, and I know many adults still enjoy playing. I don't suppose the game is very educational, as it is more about having fun and being active and energetic, but that doesn't stop it from being a very fun game!
~*Price & Availability*~
Cranium games are stocked in most toy stores. Amazon is always a great place to look for games, and it is available on there, too, for around £15.00 new. However, when googling Hullabaloo to try find out where sold it, I discovered that Smyths Toys are selling it for an absolute bargain price of £5.00! I would snap it up quickly, as this is one of the best children's games I have ever come across and is one that no child should miss out on.
~*All in All...*~
An absolutely fantastic game, I really recommend it. It is worth it's price, and the only thing you have to avoid doing is losing the plastic mats! Ooh, and another thing, you need batteries for the audio console (3 AA batteries). It is basically a new, improved, and more safe and fun version of the classic game, Twister. What are you waiting for? Your kids will love it!
~*Natural Collection Moisture Shine Lipstick*~
Colour - Rose Bud
Price - £1.99
Brand - Natural Collection
Bought From - Boots
Natural Collection is a Boots brand, therefore it is available only at Boots.
~*Why I Bought It*~
Right, just be warned, I think you may be seeing a fair few reviews from me on Natural Collection make up in the next few days/weeks (whenever I get round to writing and posting them all!). The reason being is simple: keeping the cost down! With money being so tight at the moment, I decided I had to prioritise. I definitely needed a new summer wardrobe, the holidays are just around the corner which means way more (expensive) days out, I want to start putting money aside for Christmas and I need to still buy my necessities. Something had to give! I chose to start hunting around for cheaper make up.
I tell you, it was actually verging on scary wandering into Boots and instead of going to the usual brands walking to some of the lower-market, more basic stands. There were four I could choose from that seemed cheap and cheerful(ish).
They were: Barry M, 17, Miss Sporty and Natural Collection. Each had its flaws...
Barry M - Well, it's great for nail polish, but everything seemed too bright and florescent for my taste!
17 - It just seemed too basic! I mean, the make up didn't look like it'd last long and I had a bad feeling about it; in a nutshell, I just didn't trust the brand!
Miss Sporty - I sometimes buy a concealer stick from there, but I've always said that that was as far as I would go! Everything about it; the name, the image of the girl they have on the stand and the products themselves all just seemed so, well, young!
Natural Collection - when I first ventured into the world of make up, that was the brand I used...and I dread to think what I looked like as an inexperienced pre-teen piling on 'clear mascara' and bright pink lipgloss..ergh. It just brought back bad memories!
Despite that, Natural Collection looked the most sophisticated and reliable brand, and so I turned to the display. It was a mint green colour, and it did all seem very fresh and natural. All the products were set out neatly, and everything is under £2 - result! As an added bonus, it was on 3 for 2 (I think that offer is still available), and so I would be getting three products for under four pounds! I knew I definitely needed eyeliner, tinted moisturiser, powder, concealer and lipgloss, and I thought I may as well get the second free product, so I looked for a lipstick. I was in a bit of a rush and frankly couldn't be bothered to search through them all finding the perfect colour (also, I'm a bit suspicious about testers of lip stuff) and so I just picked up the one that looked the most promising, paid, and left.
There's not much to be said, really! It's not amazing and it's not awful, it's just pretty average. It is a small white cylinder with 'Natural Collection' printed on in brown writing - the typical logo. There is also some information that reads:
Moisture Shine Lipstick
High shine lipstick that gently moisturises the lips.
Fragrance Free. Dermatologically tested.
The Boots Company PLC
Nottingham, England, NG2 3AA
On the bottom of the lipstick is a coloured circle roundabout the colour of the lipstick, and it tells you the type of lipstick (Moisture Shine) and the shade (Rose Bud).
The lipstick is a glossy looking, dark pink colour. It is fragrance free, and I've had it for quite a few weeks now, and it hasn't broken or lost its shape from me putting it on my lips, and that's with me dropping my make up bag all the time!
The colour is very strong as soon as you put it on your lips, and goes great with lipgloss on top or left by itself. You can also build up the colour by putting on more layers, although I find this too strong for me.
I think this is because my normal make up style is not much on my lips, really, but as it is summer I thought they deserved some cheerful colour on them!
The lipstick has a good staying power, and lasts hours before fading! The 'Moisture Shine' effect means my lips really do feel soft and moisturised.
Overall, for under £2 this is an amazing bargain! It's a lovely colour, and a really cheap price! The staying power would rival some of the more expensive lipsticks, and the only difference is the packaging, and the brand. I would definitely recommend this lipstick, and any other colour you fancy in this range!
For value and how good it is, I would not hesitate in giving this lipstick five stars - I'm really glad I went back to Natural Collection and would definitely buy this again!
Glee The Music: Journey To Regionals
Total Running Time: 22.6 minutes
Number of Tracks: 6
Album Producers: Adam Anders and Ryan Murphy
If you are a total Gleek like me, you won't need explaining what this CD features. However, if you have only ever heard of the show, or watched a couple of episodes, some background information may be useful to you...
Glee is an American musical drama, set in Ohio. It centres around a Glee club at the fictional McKinley High School, and the dramas between the members and the teachers at the school. It also follows them on their journey through competitions against other schools.
The first series has just finished in the UK, on channels E4 and 4. I would expect a DVD to come out soon with the full series, and part one of the series has already been released on DVD - Road To Sectionals.
For more information, why not check out my Glee review (hint, hint!)
~*Glee The Music*~
Nobody could have predicted the massive impact Glee could have had in countries - the UK being no exception. Glee released many of the songs featured on the programme as singles available online, and as a result the music charts worldwide were filled with Glee! Glee also released CD Volumes - where the best tracks were compiled into albums. So far three volumes have been released, with two miniature CD's - The Power Of Madonna and this album, Journey To Regionals.
All the songs on Glee are covers of pre released; a mix of chart hits and songs from musicals. The shows creator, Ryan Murphy, wanted there to be a perfect balance, and something that everyone could relate to in every episode. Because of this, he wanted a little bit of rap, some R'n'B, a splash of pop, some soft rock and of course, songs from the shows.
Journey To Regionals
The songs on this album are all from the finale episode of season one, Journey To Regionals (also the album name). In this episode the Glee club, New Directions, compete at 'regionals' - a regional competition for school Glee clubs. Their competitors are their arch rivals Vocal Adrenaline, and, frankly, no-hopers Oral Intensity.
The title of the album is a play on words - as it is following their, well, journey to the regional competition, but New Directions also decide to tribute Journey, the famous 80's rock band. This came about after Glee totally reinvented their most successful hit - Don't Stop Believin'. It stormed the charts and also introduced the original version to the younger generation. So, half of the songs on this album are Journey songs, hence the name.
~*Purchasing The Album*~
I bought this album on a visit to Harrogate, in HMV, for £4.99. I must say, I felt really, well, 'old-fashioned' and strange purchasing a CD, as I haven't done in years; I normally buy my music from iTunes or Amazon MP3 Downloads. But it caught my eye in the store and the fact that it was probably more expensive online (not sure if there's an offer on but I know iTunes normally prices songs for 99p each) and also the fact that it would actually be quite nice to have a physical copy of the CD, for back up, to lend to friends and to play on my CD player all contributed to my descision to buy it. Also, the album artwork is absolutely lovely - really attractive in typical Glee style!
The album cover features the members of New Directions in their Regionals outfits - pretty gold dresses with black trimming for the girls and black shirts and trousers with a gold tie for the guys. It's a lovely photo of them all and really sums up Glee - I just love it! It makes a nice change from the rest of their album covers - which is usually a block colour with small headshots of the cast in the number of which volume it is (I have just realised how sad I am for memorising that!) or their singles - which is again just a block colour, with Glee written on it, only someone's hand in a 'L' shape for the 'l'.
The leaflet is pretty basic - just one fold stating the track list, who's vocals are featured (both the name of the actor/actress and their Glee alter ego!) and then small images of the cast which are really, really sweet!
This is, of course, the most important part of the review - if the songs are rubbish then there really is no point in the album, however nice the pictures may be!
Original Artist - Journey
Covered By - Lea Michelle (Rachel) and Cory Monieth (Finn)
Sung - At Regionals, as their first song
For all those who thought that Don't Stop Believin' was amazing, but a one off, and that the Glee cast possibly wouldn't be able to carry off another Journey song as well as that - you're about to be proven wrong! In my opinion this is one of the most beautiful Glee songs I have ever heard. It's slow and sweet, and sung with a whole lot of emotion.
Whilst acting, the chemistry between Finn and Rachel is sizzling, and they definitely bring that to their duets. Shortly before Regionals, Finn and Rachel reconciled and just before they go on stage to sing this song, Finn tells Rachel that he loves her. In my opinion, this makes the song even more poignant, but I think that even if you didn't see the song being played out and just listened to on the CD, you would be able to feel the emotion and sincerity behind the song.
Cory Monieth (Finn) sings the lead male vocal, and his voice is good, but by no means the best singer in the world. Although this goes with the character he plays, hearing him sing on tracks can sometimes be a little unpredictable. However, in this particular song he kicks it up a notch and he does sound very sweet.
Lea Michelle (Rachel) sings the lead female vocal, and without a doubt owns the song. Being a Broadway star, she has the experience and most definitely the voice. She manages to evoke the most emotion into her voice and Finn - for the Glee fans reading this I'm going to refer to them by their character names - provides a good 'base' for her vocals to soar on top of.
The main instrument is a piano, and paired with beautiful lyrics and gorgeous vocals, this song is one of my favourite Glee songs. As the music crescendo's partway through, the rest of the Glee cast join in with backing vocals (singing 'oh-oh-ooh-oh' over and over) and Rachel hits the big notes. It's actually a joy to listen to, whether you're a fan of Glee or not, and as with Don't Stop Believin', I think it's the fact that they have made it so different from the original that makes it so fantastic.
~*2) Any Way You Want It/ Lovin Touchin Squeezin*~
Original Artist - Journey
Covered By - Lea Michelle (Rachel) and Cory Monieth (Finn), Mark Salling (Puck), Naya Rivera (Santana), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Kevin McHale (Artie), Chris Colfer (Kurt), Jenna Ushkowirz (Tina) - in other words, members of New Directions
Sung - At Regionals, as their second song
Just like in the episode, this song follows Faithfully on the track list, and is a really refreshing change.
Glee first did 'mash-ups' in an earlier episode - where the girls covered Halo/Walking On Sunshine and the boys It's My Life/Confessions. These songs worked so well together and sort of 'melted' together to create a whole new song; fitting together seamlessly. A mash up of two Journey songs could have been tricky to pull off, but the cast of Glee definitely make it work!
Rachel and Finn are still very much the lead vocalists, but you can definitely hear the other cast members more clearly in this - other characters such as Puck are given short solos, and in the chorus's you can hear them singing. I think it makes a lovely change because we have to remember that there are far more than just two talented vocalists in Glee (something that will become even clearer in the next track!).
The track is lively, exuberant and really catchy! The males sing the most part of the Any Way You Want It half, and the girls sing most of the Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'. It just makes you want to sing along and be happy when you hear it - the soaring vocals and the cheerful lyrics are really great. It shows just how versatile Glee is - it can go from a classic slow, sad song to a song like this.
There's a great guitar solo partway through and that is the main instrument used in this piece - the electric guitar. Also used are drums. The vocals are layered on top of each other, which creates a lovely effect.
Again, because it is so different from the original it's really interesting to listen to and its not just some standard cover - it has a bit of a difference, both with the way it's sung and the mash up! I think Glee have definitely done Journey proud!
~*3) Don't Stop Believin' (Regionals Version)*~
Original Artist - Journey
Covered By - Lea Michelle (Rachel) and Cory Monieth (Finn), Mark Salling (Puck), Naya Rivera (Santana), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Kevin McHale (Artie), Chris Colfer (Kurt), Jenna Ushkowirz (Tina) - in other words, members of New Directions
Sung - At Regionals, as final competition song
I'm sure you have all heard Glee's first cover of this - after all, it did peak at #2 in the charts over here in the UK! It was dubbed a 'Glee classic' and is now seen as its signature song. You couldn't really have a season finale of Glee without featuring this - it was sung on their first episode back when the Glee club only consisted of five members, and they were very inexperienced. Despite all that it still sounded amazing! But I suppose covering it again for the final wouldn't work as there are now more members and they have undoubtedly improved massively. So they had the brilliant idea of re-doing it, but including more cast members and giving many of them solos and shared lead vocals.
You can hear the difference between the original Glee cover and this one - the tempo is slightly faster and Finn and Rachel's voices are definitely more polished and pronounced. Puck and Santana get a verse to sing together, and it's really lovely - many fans have said that Santana, who you don't really get to hear sing that much on the show - totally steals it. Personally, being a fan of Rachel's voice, I wouldn't go that far, but she does sing very well. After the first chorus and instrumental, Kurt sings a solo part and he sounds brilliant, with Finn backing. Then Tina and Artie duet together and Mercedes sings. Finn and Rachel then join in and for the final chorus; the whole cast sing again with Mercedes pulling off some amazing, powerful notes. It sounds absolutely fantastic and is a real show of all the talent in this Glee club!
Of course, if you don't watch Glee then that paragraph will have meant very little to you, so I'll go over it in terms more of the music than the character's singing.
! I think what makes it so good is that it is so different from the original; they have really made it their own and it is just so fantastic - real toe-tapping, sing-a-long stuff! If you play the original alongside this version you can really see how they have changed it so it suits them, a show-choir, and teenagers of this day and age, in the Noughties/Tensies (or whatever we are calling it now!).
Don't Stop Believin' has been a phenomenal anthem for kids everywhere for many years, and I think that thanks to Glee it will be one for many more - they have revived it and re-entered it into the charts, and peoples minds!
"Bah-bada-bah-bada-bah-bada-bah-bada-bahhhhh" (No, not some sheep with a terrible cough, but my attempt at putting the opening vocals of the track into words!)
See, even from the opening bars this track is different. I mean, listen to the original and you get a pounding piano. This version - you get the genius idea of using human voices instead. The background voices ("bah-bada-bah..you get the idea) carry on throughout the length of the song. I find it simply fantastic to listen to the background music, as the voices layer beautifully and it creates lovely texture, and, accompanied by the instruments that join in a little way into the song, provides a great base for Finn and Rachel, and all the other people, to sing on top of.
Finn starts the song, and in this particular track it doesn't matter that he doesn't have the strongest of voices. In fact, I've got to say that this song is actually really works for him, but without Rachel he wouldn't have the big enough voice to carry it all the way through. Rachel's voice does tend to overpower his throughout the song, but as she undisputedly has the stronger, and better, vocals, this works well. Their voices "soar" through the music and sound beautiful together. They make the song lively, entertaining and fun! The other singers actually do an amazing job and it sounds absolutely amazing - way better than Glee's first attempt at this song!
~*4) Bohemian Rhapsody*~
Original Artist - Queen
Covered By - Jonathon Groff (Jesse) and the rest of Vocal Adrenaline
Sung - At Regionals, as Vocal Adrenaline's entry.
This song, one of the greatest of all time, was always going to be tricky to pull off. This by no means measures up to the original, but then again, how could it? As covers of this go, though, it's pretty damn good!
This song is sung with Jesse on the lead vocals. Jesse is a very unlikeable person on the show, meaning if you are a fan of the show you are probably going to dislike it in terms of the fact it's sung by a rival Glee club. But if you are just listening to it normally, you can't deny its a good attempt.
Jonathon Groff is a Broadway star, like Lea, and they have even starred in a show together. His vocals are very good, and the rest of the Glee club that support him provide fantastic backing vocals and such.
A number of things make this arguably the weakest track on the album - for one thing, it's not sung by the New Directions Glee club, so fans could lose interest in this song, for another, this is, as I've mentioned, an impossibly hard song to cover, and as you all probably know, it is a very long song - Glee's cover is 5 minutes 57 seconds.
These weaknesses are by no means saying that it's a poor attempt, or a bad cover - its actually pretty amazing and nice to listen to, it's just compared to the other songs it is possibly not as good.
~*5) To Sir, With Love*~
Original Artist - LuLu
Covered By - Lea Michelle (Rachel) and Cory Monieth (Finn), Mark Salling (Puck), Naya Rivera (Santana), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Kevin McHale (Artie), Chris Colfer (Kurt), Jenna Ushkowirz (Tina) - in other words, members of New Directions
Sung - Back at school, when they have been told that Glee club is over.
New Directions have just been told that as they didn't win Regionals, Glee club is cancelled, and so the club sing this song, dedicated to their teacher, Will Schuster.
What I love about this song is that it features so many different people again, you can hear Rachel the clearest in the chorus, but many other people get solos and you can hear loads of the member's voices!
The original was released in 1967 - as the theme tune to the film, also titled 'To Sir, With Love'. On the episode of Glee everyone is very emotional and teary as they sing this, and I think this carries through into the music. Everyone's vocals are spot on and beautiful, as always, and it's a really sweet, cute song for the Glee club to sing.
I think it's lovely that Mercedes, who is normally just noticed for her powerful voice, showed a more subtle and sweet sounding vocal - which was absolutely beautiful!
It is most definitely a 'tear-jerker' tune, as a website said. It isn't my favourite track, mainly because I'm a bit of a Journey track, but it's very beautiful and very, very well sung!
~*6) Over The Rainbow*~
Original Artist - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Covered By - Matthew Morrison (Will Shuster) and backing vocals from Mark Salling (Puck)
Sung - To the Glee club, as the final song.
This is a really, really lovely, chilled out tune which I think has a really summery feel to it. I listen to this over and over on my iPod as it's just so calm and really easy listening.
It is sung as the last song on the episode, in the practise room by the Glee teacher Mr Schuster, with him also playing the guitar. He calls on Puck to help him out with more guitar playing and backing vocals. Just so it's clear, this isn't the Judy Garland version, it's the acoustic and very different Israel Kamakawiwo'ole version.
Matthew Morrison has appeared on Broadway and is a very established singer. In my opinion sometimes the song he sings on the programme can be a little cringey and not that amazing, but this really suits his voice and it's actually a really beautiful cover.
It shows off his voice to the best of his ability and shows his appreciation for the kids. However, even if you are not a fan of Glee, I defy you not to enjoy this track for what it is - a lovely piece of music with great vocals!
An amazing EP, and the best £5 I've spent in a long time! Definitely one for the Glee fans, but even if you are not a fan, I'd still recommend you give it a listen; I'm sure you'll find at least one song you like! In my opinion, a must buy - and I hope you lot enjoy it as much as I do!
Yes, guys...I am going to make all of you who live nowhere near Otley jealous again with yet another review of a lovely shop there! I find Otley can be overlooked quite a bit, as along the main street stores are closing and it seems to be lined with charity shops! Not that I have anything against charity shops, but when you are looking for some gifts or treats, Otley is not the place most people think of. However, I hope with my reviews of places like The Traditional Sweet Shop and The Pink Teapot, I am helping you change your opinion? Maybe...
~*Never Heard Of It Before!*~
Well, you have good reason for that, my friend, as it's fairly new, it came just before Christmas 2009! I'm not sure how long the store in Hebden Bridge has been there for, as I've never visited, but I am positive that the company is relatively new. But once you decide to visit... you will never be able to drag yourself away!!
~*What Is It??*~
Well, The Yorkshire Soap Company is a company based in Yorkshire that specialises in making soaps! No, I'll explain properly in as much detail I can, but to be honest I don't know much about it's history and the website is very basic and doesn't give much information about this. But The Yorkshire Soap Company is a small independent retailer, and I must admit I like the fact that it is - after all, who would want loads of shops the same on every single high street in the country? I like the fact that it there are only two of them in the whole of the world, however I do feel sorry for you Southerners and the rest of you, who aren't from round here! However, they are 'currently working hard on their new soap bakery website and online soap patisserie', so some of you may be able to get it delivered to you soon! Fingers crossed, yes?
~*Where Is It??*~
Well, after this section the review will almost purely be based around the Otley shop, because as previously mentioned I have never been to the Hebden Bridge store. However I have found out it is located on Market Street in Hebden Bridge. The Otley store is on Market Street in Otley - confusing, I know. I'm guessing they are separate Market Streets rather than one large Market Street that stretches right across the town. If your not sure where Market Street in Otley is, if you get to the bus station and walk down past the Beauty Box, it is near the pet store and The Silk Sisters. If you can't find it, just ask somebody!
~*The Look Of The Store*~
The store is a beautiful boutique! On the outside it is painted a pale blue colour, there is a lovely display in one of the big windows. You can also see the products through the window...which really entices you in! There is also a bubble machine by the door, which is really fun and I have seen many people highly amused and entertained by it, popping bubbles to their hearts content!
When you get inside the boutique you see it is very small, which is unfortunate, but it is still lovely. They have cheerful music playing in the store, and a pretty Welcome sign hangs on the wall above the till. In the middle of the boutique is a table where soap 'cakes' are presented on platters and cake tiers. It looks stunning and the soaps actually look so realistic - definitely good enough to eat! The cakes are cut into even slices, and you can get many different scents and designs...my sister loves one that looks exactly like a child's birthday cake - pink icing and yellow sponge... and each slice comes complete with a pretty candle! I love them all, however! When you walk in the door, to the right of you will be a chest of drawers, and in the drawers will be loads of types of bath ballistics. I find this quite fun as you have to open all the drawers to see which bath bombs are where and if the drawers even have anything in! On top of this chest are some tiered cake platters holding little soaps and bath truffles. On some shelves next to the drawers there is a selection of beautiful handmade soaps (I will get into more detail of the products themselves later). On the main wall (opposite the doorway) there is the main selection of products, such as bath salts, rubber ducks, body creams, more handmade soaps and a selection of gift boxes. The till is on a glass cabinet, and inside the cabinet are bath 'creamers'. There is also a stand of lip glosses and another of some example creamers. Overall, the boutique is beautiful and very welcoming. So, the layout and presentation is definitely a 10/10 !
~*The Products Themselves*~
The products are either homemade by the owner, or stocked from Bomb Cosmetics. I only know this because I have bought products from the Bomb Cosmetics websites - and stalls when I see them in markets and the likes - and I can spot a Bomb product a mile off! I asked the owner and he confirmed that they were.
Well, they are commonly known as bath bombs by us lot, but it seems like every store has a different name for them; at Lush they are bath ballistics, at M&S they are bath fizzers and at Bomb they are bath blasters! The blasters are absolutely gorgeous from Bomb, and I love the fact that instead of ordering them online, I can just hop on a bus to my local Soap Company! The bath blasters are made entirely by hand at Bomb, which is brilliant, as I don't like the processed and machine made types of cosmetics, and they only use "simple ingredients and the finest essential oils". They don't use artificial binders, and they set naturally which is brilliant! The bombs themselves have been tried and tested by your very own bath-product-addict (me!) many a time, and I find them an excellent quality. When I drop them into my bath they fizz beautifully and fill the whole room with their gorgeous fragrances. And as I have mentioned how natural they are, I can enjoy my bath with no worries whatsoever! As the owner of the YSC just stocks them in when he likes, the stock he has varies, however there are always loads of lovely products to choose from! All of the bath blasters are £2.50 from The Yorkshire Soap Company, which is the same price they were when I bought them off a stall at Harewood House, but most are cheaper on the website. They are, however, cheaper than many ballistics at Lush and such places. I think the price is very reasonable.
~*Top Bath Blasters At The Yorkshire Soap Company*~
They have different names at the shop than they do at the Bomb website, but I can't remember them all for the shop! I have used them from the Bomb website, but I promise I have only included ones I have bought from the Yorkshire Soap Company!
Look them up on the website to see what they look like, then buy them at the YSC!
*Sink The Pink
Sweet and girly, but fresh as well. Scented with jasmine, bergamont, vanilla and redberry.
Extremely strong scented, and very pretty to look at! Smells of raspberry and vanilla - beautiful!
I bought this as a present for my sister for Christmas, amongst other things, and she loved it! It is known as simply "Strawberry" at the store, and I suppose now you can guess what it smells of? Also has a hint of cranberry and some cocoa butter chips thrown in.
Known as Cocoa Butter Melts on the Bomb website, most of them are ordered from them, however the owner has tried his hand at making his own "truffles" and they are just as good, if not better, than the ones he has ordered in (and no, I don't know the owner on a personal level, I just know him through chatting to him when buying products!). These all contain moisturising vegetable butters and essential oils - so they are great for your skin! They are also very natural and are also rolled by hand and contain 'real' ingredients, such as petals, cocoa shavings etcetera. The truffles are my favourite bath product. In my opinion they are way better than the blasters, although some may disagree as the blasters are more 'exciting'. I understand that, but I prefer the luxury of these truffles, and the fact they have a stronger fragrance to them. They are quite small, but extremely effective! They are only £2 each, which I think is good, although some may not! There are so many to choose from, all gorgeous, and I have made it my goal to try them all!
~*Top Bath Truffles*~
This is very simple, and obviously scented with vanilla, but very luxurious. I recommend it when you want to get a good nights sleep.
Vanilla and raspberry scented, with real coconut shavings on top. Also scented with ylang ylang and lavender.
*Rhubarb & Custard
One of the owners hand made truffles, it smells absolutely gorgeous and looks beautiful too, with a decorative flower on top!
The main product of the shop, obviously! They are made in the owners soap making place where he lives, and are all natural. The soaps are all handmade so the types you can get are always changing, but these are the types I can think of at the moment...
First there are the basic soaps - they are a square shape and come in a range of designs, colours and scents.Each slab costs £3, and lasts for ages.
Then there are the soaps stacked in the middle of the store. They are beautiful! They are made like little slices of cake and are decorated with different colours, glitter, candles...It's fantastic! I love the 'Chocolate Truffle' slice and the birthday cake slice with the candle. Most of them have an exfoliating base, as well as being very moisturising for the skin. They cost £4.50 each, but I assure you they are great quality and last a long time - well worth the price. There are some 'cakes' on the tier that look like little buns with masses of whipped cream on them (it isn't whipped cream, but I thought it was until I touched it - it looks so real!). They are five pounds each, and my lovely friend bought me one for Christmas (it has a little holly decoration on it - how sweet) so I thanked him a lot. I have yet to use it yet but it is making my bedroom smell gorgeous, plus it is a little extra decoration! There are other soaps, such as the Raspberry Tart for £4.50, which literally looks like a little raspberry tart - and smells divine! The only problem is that they look so nice I am scared to use them!
Other products include bath salts, rubber ducks (aww!) and some lovely ice cream body washes, as well as many others. I find them all to be fairly priced and I love them all!
The man who owns the store is very friendly and kind - that's how I know so much about the products! - he is always up for a chat and is sure to explain how to use and look after the products, ever since one customer shoved some bath truffles next to a radiator and then complained when they melted! He also has a lovely kind assistant who is equally nice!
The only bad thing about the boutique! Because they gift wrap everything in either little cardboard boxes with 'The Yorkshire Soap Company' printed on them, or in cellophane bags and purple ribbon, and add that to the fact that people have to choose bath truffles at the till, and to the fact that everyone in this shop seems to be extremely chatty, and to the fact that it is a very small shop, and voilà - you have queues out the door - literally!
As most things are handmade here, they sometimes run out, which is unfortunate, but it cant be helped as the man really does try his hardest - he was telling me he is up till three in the morning most of the time trying to make soaps and replenish his stock!
I hate it. Ha - seriously, from this review you can see how obsessed I am with it; it is even overtaking my Lush obsession (the Ciao nation gasps in horror!). No, honestly, I love it - it is natural, friendly and just gorgeous! Why not go visit yourself? And tell him you heard about it from a review on Ciao - that should please him - free advertising!! It deserves it though, I love this shop and think everyone should know about it!
Thanks for reading!
Ages ago now, I received a compliment from a member of Dooyoo/Ciao saying someone had branded me 'like an ambassador for Leeds'. I was so touched by that, and I thought I'd better get writing another review on a hidden gem the city has to offer... I also promised you a review of this place on my actual Leeds In General review, so here it is...
~*Food, Glorious Food!*~
Food is one of life's greatest indulgences, and I believe that finding a fantastic restaurant you can visit again and again is important. Here in Leeds there are many different restaurants that you could visit, however many of them are hidden away and not very well known, and I love it when I discover them! I like all different types of food, but when I eat out my favourite is either Chinese or Italian. Casa Mia is an Italian restaurant, and a darn good one at that!!
~*How I Discovered It*~
Me and my family wanted to try somewhere new, local and exciting for a meal out one lunchtime. My auntie, who had visited here once before, suggested here. We decided to trust her idea (and I am definitely glad we did!) and we decided to visit the one in Chapel Allerton as we assumed it would be less busy than the one in Leeds City Centre, near the Millennium Square. I have now visited the Millennium Square one once.
Please bear in mind, for the most part this review will be about the Chapel Allerton Casa Mia Coffee Shop'
~*Casa Mia Coffee Shop*~
The Coffee Shop is the original Casa Mia restaurant, and has been open for ten years now. It can be all different kinds of things to all different kinds of people - a restaurant, a cafebar, pasta bar, wine bar, a delicatessen, takeaway or a pizzeria! Not bad, eh?
Casa Mia Coffee Shop
10 - 12 Stainbeck Lane
Leeds LS7 3QY
Tel: 0113 266 1269Opening Times:
Monday to Saturday
9:00am - 10:30pm
9:00am - 10:00pm
~*Other Things You Need To Know*~
Casa Mia has a wide range of vegetarian dishes.
Some dishes may contain traces of known allergens, e.g nuts
~*How To Get There*~
Casa Mia Coffee Shop is on Stainbeck Lane, in Chapel Allerton. It is approximately ten minutes away from Leeds City Centre. Casa Mia is in amongst a small collection of stores, mainly independent, and opposite Somerfield. When we come by car we park in Somerfield's car park as we get two hours free parking. We don't really buy anything from Somerfield, but we just walk through on our way to the restaurant to justify our parking there! Sorry, Somerfield!
~*The Look Of It*~
Casa Mia looks very inviting, and it has a relaxed, classy atmosphere, very chilled out. It is the sort of place which looks like you could arrive for a posh meal without having to dress up too smartly or feel you don't fit in. The cafe has a terrace style bit outside. There you are greeted by the friendly staff and given the choice to sit either in the terrace part (nice on a summers day) or inside (which I would recommend - it's lovely in there!).
Friendly waiters will ensure you are sitting comfortably, however as I've mentioned before I think you will get a better experience of this fabulous restaurant if you are seated inside. The inside decor is very nicely styled and there are condiments and other products to buy all along one side of the wall. You are given a menu and children are often given colouring crayons and paper to keep them occupied.
The Coffee Shop is a fairly small restaurant and I think that is a good thing as you are more likely to get served quicker! The staff will note down your order and get working on it straight away. If you are inside you will be able to see the staff get to work behind a counter of gorgeous cakes and pastries.
~*Drinks To Go With The Meal*~
Drinks are reasonably priced and I would recommend the simply sublime fresh orange juice - squeezed in one of those fancy orange squeezers in from of your very eyes! The orange juice is lovely, and comes in a fancy glass complete with straw and paper umberella! Little things like this show off the fantastic standard and great quality of the restaurant.
Other drinks include:
Pineapple/Peach/Apricot/Pear Juice - £2.05
ACE Carrots/Lemon/Orange - £2.05
That Divine Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice - £2.35
Wine by the Glass (175cl) - £3.15
Wine by the Glass (250cl) - £4.60
Italian Beer - Nastro Azzuro - £3.15
Wide Range of Soft Drinks - £1.95
Italian Mineral Water (Still or Sparkling) - £2.00
They have a large selection of White, Red and Rose wines, and a selection of Champagne & Sparkling.
You don't often have to wait long for drinks to be served, and they are all of finest quality!
~*To Start You Off...*~
I don't often get a starter as I find the main courses are often big enough for me, however when I'm feeling particularly indulgent I either get the Soup of the Day - always gorgeous - or, more recently I have tried the 'New' Smoked Salmon dish. I find the starters to be rather expensive, however if you can afford them I would definitely recommend them as they are really good quality, a generous size (e.g. big enough to justify the price without filling you up to much before the main course) and they are presented well too!
Salads - £6.25 (Salads available as a main course at £11.95)
Soup Of The Day - £4.95
Other Starters - from £6.25
The most well known Italian dish (arguably!) - and their are so many variations of it! Choose from eleven Italian favourites (including the Pasta Of The Day) and let your tastebuds embrace the divine meals. My personal favourites include the traditional Lasagne and the Penne al Pomodoro.
* Prices range from £7.25 - £9.50, however the majority are priced at £8.75.
Here are some of Casa Mia's best selling dishes, all absolutely scrumptious, I'd imagine! These dishes range from the much loved Italian Meatballs and Spaghetti to Chicken Cacciatora. Prices from £8.25 - £10.95.
Never have I seen such a wide range of pizzas, or tasted such quality pizzas, until visiting here! The pizza's are freshly made from a light, doughy base and topped with only the best quality ingredients. With a massive twenty-four different 'flavours' to choose from, you will be spoilt for choice!
My personal favourite is the Tropicana pizza - it takes the modern ham and pineapple to a whole new level. The pineapple chunks are fresh, sweet and juicy, and the ham is bursting with flavour.
The pizza's are large and cooked to perfection!
Pizzas are around £10 each, and you can add extra toppings for £1.30.
For an extra £2.00 you can 'upgrade' your pizza from cows mozzarella to buffalo mozzarella.
Garlic bread is available for £4.95. I have tried the Tomato Garlic Bread With Cheese and it was lovely, such outstanding quality.
I have only ever had a side order of chips before, to share with my family, and I know it may sound ridiculous but even they are like nothing I have ever tasted before. My mum, who isn't the biggest chip lover, has even said she would be happy with just a bowl of the gorgeous chips as her whole meal! Side orders include Italian Homemade Ciabatta (£1.95) and Tomato and Onion Salad (£2.95).
Whilst waiting for a dessert, we let our meals settle by ordering a hot drink. My auntie always gets a coffee, my mum a cup of tea, and me a hot chocolate! The coffee is made with beans imported from Italy to create the 'best espresso'. You can ask for an extra shot, for stronger coffee and they offer to use skimmed milk, if you prefer.
Mocha Cappuccino £2.20
Double Espresso £2.25
White Coffee £1.95
Black Coffee £1.95
All coffee can be decaf, and you could add a flavour to enhance the experience for a mere 25p!
Tea - £1.95
Speciality Teas Teapigs - £2.50 (many flavours, these are award winning teas!)
Oh my God. These are the best hot chocolates you have ever tasted, I promise you. They are so rich, creamy and full of flavour. They are served with whipped cream and a straw. It may just be me, but I think hot chocolate tastes so much better through a straw! Absolutely gorgeous... I recommend the 'Milk Hot Chocolate' for the best one you will ever taste! They all cost £2.80, apart from the Traditional which is 5p cheaper. Expensive, but 110% worth it!
Traditional Light Hot Chocolate (30% less calories!)
Cinnamon and Orange
Chilli Hot Pepper
Amaretto and Rum
If you still have enough room, I recommend buying one of the divine desserts displayed in the counter. They are made daily and there's such a wide range - definitely worth trying. If you are a little full, I'd get a scoop of Italian ice cream. I get the chocolate flavour regularly and its lovely. You can also get a scoop of sweets and a Liqueur Coffee.
If you come here for lunch there is a great selection of paninis, for £5.95.
There are only two toilets at Casa Mia (women and mens, and I think there may be a disabled one as well, I'm not sure). They are cleaned regularly and the whole restaurant is extremely clean.
The staff are very child friendly, they are always chatting away to the young ones and keeping them occupied, and even give each child a free Kinder egg after the meal! The thing is, there is no children's menu and the portions are very large.
Casa Mia holds Gourmet Evenings and wine tasting at Casa Mia Grande, along with Cookery and Wine classes. They hold special menus and evenings for special dates such as Christmas, New Year, Valentine's Day etcetera. They have a special 'Mums and Toddlers' weekday menu.
~*In The News*~
Casa Mia have participated in the StreetSmart campaign to help the homeless, and have become the first Italian restaurant in Leeds to be awarded an AA Rosette.
You can sign up for a Casa Mia loyalty card and get exclusive rewards and discounts all year round.
For more information and to shop or make reservations online, please visit:
A restaurant which I visit over and over - definitely my favourite restaurant in Leeds. I love everything about it and recommend it to anybody in the area. The meals are well worth the price - in size and quality - and the atmosphere is exactly as it should be. If I could, I would give it a million stars! Utterly fantastic.
I hope I have included everything you would want to know. As always, any feedback greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read! xx
I emailed Casa Mia Online just to send a link to this review letting them know what I thought of it. I received a reply via emal:
Thank you for your review, it was really great to see someone who loves Casa Mia and wants to share it with people. We were really pleased with the review, although I would like to point out that Coffee Shop are always willing to make smaller portions of food for children! We have tried a kids menu at Coffee Shop before but most of our customers are regulars and already know what they want, and the staff are always happy to help!
And I definitely agree with you on the Hot Chocolates! Best ever!
Thanks once again for the fantastic review.
So, there you have it, they sort of do do childrens meals! Great stuff, I will let my mum know that for future visits when we take my little sister!
The mousse's are a pack of 4 and are clear tubs with purple lids. On the lids it includes the name of the product, the barcode, the weight and the sell by date.
~*The Asda Brand*~
There are different 'levels' of the Asda brand. There is the basic range; Smart Price which sells you very...um...basic quality food at cheap prices, and there is the Asda Extra Special range, which sells very high quality food at the prices of well known brands, and sometimes higher! There are also the 'good for you' range, and the great stuff' kids range. However these chocolate mousses are just from the middling, good ol' plain Asda range; a nice comfortable middle between Smart Price and Extra Special. On one of the lids it has a green 'Asda Brand' box, which tells you that as this product is an Asda brand it will have no artificial colours or flavourings in it. The standard Asda brand is known for good quality, affordable goods.
~*We're Off Shopping!*~
So, bundle yourselves into the car/bus/train/spaceship (or, if you're being really good walk or cycle - it'll pay off when you are eating the chocolate mousses later on!) and head off to your local Asda. Go to the aisle where the dairy products are - you know, the really chilly one where you always wish you'd brought an extra jacket - and around where the yoghurt's and chilled desserts are you should find these mousses. If there is no Asda nearby (or, frankly, you just can't be bothered going there), pop online and start your grocery shopping there. Find it by either clicking the link I posted above or clicking the tabs:
Dairy, Eggs & Chilled >>> Chilled Desserts
Simple really! And at only 50p for four chocolate mousses, you could well add another few packs to your trolley!
Obviously there are many different types of chocolate mousse available, so why should you go for Asda? Well, there are the reasons which I will gloss over further on in the review: taste being the obvious one! But another is price. Here I will show you the other prices of some popular brands which are also sold at Asda.
Aero Chocolate Pack Of Four - £1.10 (Never tried them...)
Asda Good For You Pack Of Four - £0.50 (Good price, but as they are good for you bet they're not as nice!)
Cadbury Light Mousse 4 - £0.85 (Prefer the Asda ones!)
Asda Smart Price Mousse 4 - £0.25 (Doubt they'll be as good as these!)
Cadbury Mousse 4 - £0.94
Weightwatchers Mousse Pack Of Two - £1.00 (These 50p each, the ones I'm reviewing 12.5p each!)
Rolo Chocolate And Caramel Mousse Pack Of Two - £1.58 (Expensive, but totally gorgeous, see upcoming review!)
~*Bring It Home...*~
Simply pop the mousses in the fridge and chill. Oh...and I'd make sure you eat it by the use by date. Otherwise they might taste a bit funny...Then simply eat them when you want!
In their small clear plastic pots, I admit the packaging isn't great, but that really doesn't matter. When you peel back the lid of the mousse a gorgeous chocolately smell fills the air. The consistency of the mousse is very bubbly and light, but sometimes I mix it up with my spoon (!) to create a smooth mousse. Whichever way you eat it, the taste is so rich and chocolately, very surprising for an Asda branded mousse, and I think the 60g tub was just enough without it becoming sickly! I really loved the taste, much preferred it to the other more expensive mousses I have tried, such as Cadbury's.
Skimmed Milk , Sugar , Cream (7.0%) , Chocolate (5.0%) [Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Solids] , Cocoa Powder , Milk Proteins , Fructose-Glucose Syrup , Thickeners (Pectin, Sodium Alginate) , Emulsifiers (Lactic Acid Esters of Mono and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids, Acetic Acid Esters of Mono and Diglycerides , of Fatty Acids) .
Suitable for Vegetarians.
Free From Artificial Colours. Free From Artificial Flavours.
~*Posh It Up!*~
My special idea of the day: When inviting friends for a dinner party, I scoop the mousse's into a posh bowl, and squirt some whipped cream on top. I then grate some chocolate over the top, or add a little chocolate sauce, and my friends are none the wiser that their mousses cost little over 12.5p each! It is so rich it could easily pass for a very expensive, upmarket desert.
So, that's it then! I fully recommend these lovely desserts!
This was written and published on Ciao a while ago, so if it is a little dated I apologise, however I think I've amended it so it is up to date!
When I found out about these discount voucher websites, I jumped for joy! And after checking out quite a few, I concluded that My Voucher Codes is by far my favourite!
~*What's All The Hype About?*~
We all know about the credit crunch Britain's got itself into recently. And although things are looking up (apparently!) we are all scrimping and saving as much as possible. And these voucher websites are a very helpful way of doing so! I'm not saying that they will save you thousands, but the discounts do add up over time, and even though you may not realise how much your saving, I can guarantee it will be a fair few quid!
So What Makes MyVoucherCodes So Special?
MyVoucherCodes is the UK's number one discount code website, which is saying something. There is a lot of competition from other websites such as HotUKDeals and Latest Discount Vouchers, but in my opinion they can't compare to MyVoucherCodes! In this in-depth review I will do a mini comparison (Good Lord, expect me to be wearing a twirly moustache, putting on a few stone and singing with a French accent with all this comparing lark!) between these three websites, to try to prove to you why MyVoucherCodes is the UK's number one discount code website, and what it has to offer where other similar websites lack.
Although the homepage is a little busy, I think it is fairly attractive and I love the blue and white colour scheme; the blue is very eye catching and really livens it up! On the homepage is the small title and a little text box boasting the fact that they are in fact, as mentioned earlier, the UK's leading discount code website. I will come back to the tabs later on, but apart from the navigation tabs it includes a handy search toolbar, where you can select a category from the drop down list and then type in what you are looking for. The categories are listed in alphabetical order, with this weeks featured deals at the top marked with asterisk's (*). Since the welcome page is so big (my only tiny criticism!) there is a massive task bar down the left hand side which features the following:
~ The option of browsing by letter or viewing all the stores featured on the website.
~ You can go straight to the promotional categories of the week (as I type they are City Break Discounts, I wish I could be checking out these, but I doubt they will have a big enough discount - e.g. 100%! - that would enable to let me afford these at this moment in time, and Chocolate Week, which is, quite simply, Heaven Week for me!).
~ There are the options which are now common on most popular websites, that links to follow their company on Facebook and Twitter (not for me I'm afraid, I can't be bothered with these things!), to download their toolbar to get alerts on new vouchers (I made the mistake on downloading too many toolbar's on my last computer and was bombarded with annoying links, alerts and pop-ups, so I won't be trying that out, although I'm sure it is very useful) and to bookmark or share MyVoucherCodes by emailing, bookmarking, sharing via Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Digg, Stumble Upon, Twitter, Delicious or Google,
~ There is a link to a competition where you can win £1,000 by placing a banner of MyVoucherCodes on your website, blog or social network page. For more information, terms and conditions simply click on the link!
~The 'In The Press' text box is where they boast that they have been featured and very probably praised by the UK's media, and shows who has mentioned them! You have the option of visiting the 'Press Room' which tells you how to contact the site owner or the public relations agency and it shows you their latest press releases, with quotes that they were mentioned in. Just scanning through the press room you can see many magazines, websites and newspapers have recommended them, and needless to say they have not had any negative press (or so they say, but I doubt they'd print it if there was any!).
~ Further down the taskbar are logos of clickable featured and 'hot' retailers.
~ Hot Voucher Codes show you MyVoucherCodes cream of the evouchers recently. This is handy as you may come across one you might not have thought of searching for, but it is annoying that it is featured so low down the page!
~ Latest Retailers shows, well...the latest retailers to offer vouchers etcetera to be advertised on the website, and Most Popular Retailer's This Week feature links to the most popular retailer's this week...bit of a no-brainer really!
Back up to the top of the page now, and to the main page. There is a scrollbar which shows the thousands of retailers that supply promotional vouchers that can be found on this website, with the caption 'It's So Easy To Save Money Online!'. Then popular retailers such as Boots, Comet, Argos and Dell flash across the box. This really enticed you and confirms you can get some worthy deals here! When you scroll down (and down, and down, and down...) the paragraphs tell you all about MyVoucherCodes, and other bits of information and tips to do with the website, along with bright blue boxes advertising more Featured Retailers and the like.
**Since the review isn't really about the two following websites the paragraphs won't be in such great detail.**
When you type www.hotukdeals.com into the search bar and press enter, it is nowhere near as welcoming as MyVoucherCodes. I know that presentation is only a small factor of these types of websites, but it can really put someone off straight away. The colour scheme is a sludge and bottle green and it is absolutely awful - very dull. Like with MyVoucherCodes, I will say more about the tabs later, but HotUKDeals only has a very basic search bar, and a voucher finder. Their taskbar is on the right, and it is very small, with three topics: Hottest This Week, HUKD Blogs, and HUKD Tips And Help. I think the headings basically say it all, but I'll just add in case your not very on the ball today (don't blame you, I need about twenty cups of coffee to keep me awake at the moment!) HUKD stands for HotUKDeals. Then on the welcome page are mounds and mounds the latest deals to be submitted by users. I find it very hard to see what the deals are about, as the headings, details and retailers are difficult to spot. The whole thing just really put me off and was hard to understand and just generally very off-putting.
~*Latest Discount Vouchers*~
Something good about this website - in contrary to the other websites, it has an average sized front page which is fab - no trawling through just the front page for hours! The colour scheme isn't bad, it is just very very boring - mainly white with tinges of blue to it. There is another basic search bar and the option to bookmark the web page. There are a few links to basic categories, but they are not very in depth at all! They have a 'Daily Pick' (ooh, today is the Travelodge!) and, like MyVoucherCodes, they also have a list of the media which has featured them
(though their list is somewhat shorter than that of MyVoucherCodes!). The two things last mentioned are
both on the left sidebar. In the main textbox of the homepage it tells you how about Latest Discount Vouchers, and underneath in the next textbox is the option to sign up fro Latest Discount Voucher's newsletter. I won't be doing this, though,as I am not keen on their website. Below that is tells you what evouchers are, when they are updated on their website and what else Latest Discount Voucher's do (they also feature sales and offers, much the same as the other two websites!). To the right hand side are the navigation tabs. The website is very plain and dull and looks as though it has been put together by somebody with less than outstanding web design skills.
So far, it looks like MyVoucherCodes is winning the race, but looks aren't everything! If you'd like to check out for yourself, check out my print screen shots below!
~*Navigation Tabs/Basically The Whole Website!*~
There are eight main navigation tabs at the top of the homepage of this website, and I will explain them after explaining the headings underneath those tabs, which navigate you through almost all of the site!
All Stores is a link to an A-Z browsing of all the companies featured on MyVoucherCodes. They are all clickable and takes you straight to the featured page of your choice.
In the forum you have to register to post comments on the site. Once you are logged in, you can see if there are any new alerts on your subscribed threads. You can also edit your control panel (edit your details, profile privacy, contacts, social groups, editing options and miscellaneous). Here you can check out the FAQ (frequently asked questions) and use the handy search box - type in search word and select from the drop down arrows the 'matching options' and the 'search in' toolbars. You can join social groups, update pictures and albums, see your contacts and check out the members list (alphabetical order!). I don't use this feature as it is too much like Facebook to me! I just use this site to find discounts! There is a handy calender function so you can add events to it, perfect for when you need to remember the dates of the sales showed on the website! On the 'New Posts' section you can see what other members have posted on the website and you can also search the forum. There are also some 'quick links' to certain parts of the site.
On the blogs it really just has posts of the latest offers, all about it and how to navigate to it.
Competitions basically says it all! It features a list of the best free prize draws in the country and there are some worthy ones worth entering!
You can compare prices of products via a lot of categories. It is very easy to find what you are looking for as the categories are clear and simple.
This brand new section of MyVoucherCodes lets you browse the products available from the retailers featured on the store. I have yet to try out this part of the website, but it looks promising, with the usual categories.
Totally random but fabulous, MyVoucherCodes actually has a 'Trolley Dash' game! It is a fun break from the time you have to spend finding worthy vouchers and it makes me smile! You can also add the game to your site.
Request A Deal
If you are a member you can post a request for any deals or discounts you would like to see on the site, and hopefully the website will find you one!
Share A Code
Here members can post details of codes they have found and they can...well...share them with other users!
Home just takes you to the homepage!
This shows you the discounts which have been printed off/used the most by the public today.
These deals are handpicked by the editor of the site every day, so MyVoucherCodes recommends you visit this page often to see the cream of the UK's discounts...
Well, doesn't the heading just say it all??!?? This is a great link if you are sick of seeing 'expired' printed across the codes after searching, as they only show the codes listed from the last five days. Sorry, I feel a bit of an idiot explaining it to you after it clearly states what it is...but that's dedication for you!
For Goodness sake! It is a list of discounts which are nearing their expiry date, so get them before they're gone!
Yet another link to the A-Z list of retailers featured on the website.
Search for a product using the main categories listed on this page. When you click on them there will be a list of all the sites within that category.
This shows you all the printable vouchers from this site, plus offers that are in the latest newspapers or magazines that you should look out for.
At the top of the tabs there are a list of categories where you can click them and they take you to all the offers to do with the category. The bad thing about this is that the categories are quite vague, for example just 'Clothing' rather than 'Women's Clothing', 'Men's Clothing', 'Children's Clothing' etcetera, which makes it quite confusing and hard to find what you want. The topics are:
Below the 'topics' navigation bar is the 'forums' bar. You can click a category listed above and then choose from:
You choose from this list to based on what sort of offer you are looking for.
There are two ways to navigate this website. You can use the 'Categories' tool. The categories are organised as follows:
Appliances/Catalogue Shopping/Clothing And Footwear/DIY And Garden/ Flowers/Food And Drink/Furniture/Gift Experiences/Gifts And Gadgets/
Health And Beauty/Home And Living/Kids Shopping/Lingerie And Nightwear/
Adult Toys/Sport And Fitness
Computers And Electronics/Digital Photo Prints/Gifts And Gadgets/Mobile Phones
Magazines/Music And Film/Tickets/Restaurants
Car Insurance/Credit Cards/Current Accounts/Home Insurance/Loans/Pet Insurance/Savings Account/Travel Insurance
Airport Parking/Flights/Holidays/Hotels/Trains, Ferries, Coaches/Car Hire/Tours And Activities/Travel Insurance
Affiliate Schemes/Broadband/Web Hosting
The other way is to use the other navigation tabs on the right hand side of the page. The headings are:
I'm guessing the headings are pretty self explanatory...
And once again, MyVoucherCodes tops them all - with the easiest way to navigate the site, the most options, and who can forget about the cool Trolley Dash game?? Fabulous!
~*The Actual Vouchers - How To Use Them!*~
The way to use the vouchers vary from site to site, and depending on what sort of discount it is. On MyVoucherCodes it usually tells you what to do with the code, and gives you a link to click which takes you to the website. When you have clicked it the discount code will appear in the text box. You can then give the code a thumbs up or thumbs down depending on whether it worked or not.
HotUKDeals has a slightly different approach to the codes. Most are submitted by random users and therefore some are not so reliable. Also, as they are submitted the codes or information are just featured as part of a posted message. This can sometimes be quite confusing!
LatestDiscountVouchers lets you click on the name of the brand rather than the offer (this is also an option on MyVoucherCodes) and then lists all the offers for this brand, after an introduction about the brand.
MyVoucherCodes really does have the easiest way to use the vouchers, and it has the widest range too!
I hope I have managed to prove to you that MyVoucherCodes really is worthy of the title of the 'UK's #1 FREE Discount Codes Website'! It gets my vote every day. I find it so easy to use and I hope you see that in this review I have attempted to prove to you why, not review three websites for the sakes of it! But, I guess that's up to you guys, so...what are you waiting for?? Go ahead and rate, comment and whatever! I hope all these days of late night writing have paid off....
As many of you know, I am a bit of a Lush addict, however I just haven't really had the cash or the time to browse through the products as much as I used to this year. I first tried this around a year ago, and bought it again the other week as I remembered how much I'd liked it.
~*How It Came About*~
If I remember rightly, the Lush Sugar Scrub is about one year old right now. You know the hit BBC1 show The Apprentice, with Alan Sugar? You do - the one where candidates compete for a job to work for Alan Sugar and have to undergo a load of tasks to win, yep, that one. Well, in 2009 for one episode the two teams had to invent a new shower product using natural ingredients and then sell it. And where did they visit to do so? The Lush labs, of course! Anyway, because Lush had the honour of Sir Alan (or is it Lord Alan? I'm never sure) choosing to work with them, they got all excited and created two new products - Sugar Scrubs. This one in particular that I'm reviewing was even named after him - it was first called the A. Sugar Scrub. Get it? A. Sugar, as in Alan Sugar? Clever, huh! They even described him the same, they said that their new Sugar Scrub was "hard and takes no nonsense, but is a bit of a sweetie on the inside". A year later, they are still flying off the shelves at a rate Alan himself would be proud of!
~*Why I Bought It*~
I first bought it when it was a new product, because it was a new concept at Lush and I'm always after a good body scrub! After that first one, I tried the other sugar scrub - Sugar Babe, but preferred this one and so bought it regularly after that. Then I had a little bit of a lapse when I just didn't visit Lush for a while. When I went back earlier this month, I sure remembered what I had been missing and shoved this into a little yellow bag and bought it straight away!
~*Using The Scrub*~
The sugar scrub is like half a sphere and is fairly small. It is a bright green colour, but it looks very natural and not at all synthetic. It is basic ally all made of sugar, so there is no gloopy mess like other scrubs on the market. I would recommend putting it in some sort of tub or container though, as once it gets wet it dissolves straight away. Here is the description featured on the Lush website. Can you see how it has references to Alan Sugar and his Apprentice candidates?
Our Sugar Scrub is hard, but a bit of a sweetie. Its no nonsense stance stimulates activity and tackles cellulite with fennel and ginger. Skin calming lavender has a balancing effect. Get yourself wet in the shower or bath, but don't let the bar get under the running water or it'll be lost before it can prove itself. Scrub, scrub, scrub and rinse away. It doesn't waste any time getting down to business.
The smell is very unusual but extremely lovely - sort of like freshly cut grass. That may seem a strange thing to smell of but believe me its actually really nice. As it is such a unisex smell and because of how hard it is, maybe it's one for the guys to try too?
When using the scrub, break it into quarters (this is why you need a tub, you see). Keep hold of one of the quarters and put the other three away for later use. Then, massage onto damp skin and feel the scrub working its magic and scrubbing away all your dead skin. A little goes a long way, and so a quarter should do your torso, bum, arms and legs just fine. DON'T GET IT WET, is the biggest thing to be aware of, as if you do it will dissolve into nothingness! Because of this, I would recommend stepping out of the shower while your skin is just a little wet to massage it in, or if you are in the tub, just standing up and trying to keep the scrub as far away from the water as possible!
When I use the scrub, I can definitely feel it getting rid of any nasty dead skin and it really feels as though it is toning my body! It is definitely no wimpy exfoliator; it gets straight down to business and really scrubs! The only thing is it may be a little too hard for some, and if you have sensitive skin it is definitely not for you as it could leave nasty scratch marks. This happened to a friend of mine but has never happened to me - it works a treat!
After using my skin feels deliciously smooth and silky, it works great if you use it before shaving your legs too! I have also heard it works wonders on stretch marks, although I have no evidence of that myself!
When you use the scrub it turns into a sort of paste from the dampness of your skin, and the sugar crystals are the best for exfoliating. The smell is lovely - and I would say this product is a must, especially in summer!
~*Price & Availability*~
This only costs £2.60 and I think that's a pretty good deal seeing as this lasts me at least four uses! It is available from Lush stores or their website - lush.co.uk. You can't really miss it when looking out for it in store - it is near all the other shower products and they most likely will be piled on top of each other on a stand, in all their bright green glory!
Fair Trade Sugar, Sodium Bicarbonate, Cream of Tartar, Sodium Laureth Sulphate, Fresh Fennel, Fennel Oil, Lavender Oil, Fresh Ginger Root, Glycerine, Cocamide DEA, Lauryl Betaine, Limonene, Linalool, Perfume, Chlorophyllin.
~*All In All...*~
If you want probably the most effective scrubbing experience and don't mind it feeling a little scratchy, this is definitely for you, however if your skin is fairly sensitive I wouldn't get this one. The more you dilute it with water, the less scratchy it will be!
In my opinion, a great bargain for a great product!