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I discovered Charles Worthington Hair Healer a few months back as I perused the shelf for my '3 for 2' third purchase in Boots. Had I paid full price, it would have cost me around £5.69 for 200ml. An Intensive Leave in Conditioner, it's designed to nourish your hair to leave it 'soft and silky'. The bottle claims that it has 'super conditioners such as Argan Oil' which can repair and recondition. I was more than willing to give it a go, after all, I had my shampoo and regular Charles Worthington conditioners in my basket and deserved a hair treat with a more expensive label. I won't crack the 'because I'm worth it' joke here, as we're discussing the wrong brand...
A Fine Addition to the Bathroom
Those of you who have read any of my beauty product reviews will by now be aware that I'm a fan of posh bottles of potions and lotions lined up around my house. Although Charles Worthington isn't up there with the salon big boys- it is one of the more 'premium' priced haircare labels in the chemist or supermarket. Therefore a perfectly acceptable bottle to have on display for friends to admire when they go for a wee.
The bottle is tube shaped and a lovely light peach colour with a black flip lid which the bottle sits on. The CW logo is proudle displayed in black at the top of the bottle and 'Hair Healer' stands out well in red lettering. All in all, it's a fairly handsome piece of packaging!
How to Use the Fine Fellow
You are instructed that, after washing your hair, you are to squeeze excess water out and simply apply a small amount of the conditioner to the whole of your hair, working it through to the ends. You must not rinse it out- just style as usual. I have to admit, that, being the rebel that I am, I actually use regular conditioner (Charles Worthington of course!) and wash that out- then pop this stuff in too. I just can not bear the thought of not conditioning my hair in the shower!
I must admit, I don't much like the texture of the Hair Healer. It's very slimy and you do need to rinse your hands afterwards as it leaves quite a residue. The smell however is gorgeous- nicely perfumed and very 'salon like', a nice fresh fruity smell.
My hair is dyed to death every few weeks. It's fine and quite thin, long and straight but a bit frizzy underneath. It's a little greasey at the scalp but I wash it every day. Generally, the condition isn't too bad but it could do with some TLC, especially when I leave it for a few months between cuts (I hate getting it cut!) and the ends get a bit dry. For my hair- I need to use just a marble sized amount, and that smooths through my hair nicely. After I have applied it, I then dry as usual.
When my hair is dry, it looks shiny and feels soft- as promised on the bottle, and I can certainly notice the difference from when I have used regular conditioner only. The ends do appear slightly healthier- although I have to say that the frizz underneath does appear again after a few hours, but then, to be fair, it doesn't claim to be a frizz controlling product. The effects last all day as promised.
I feel that now I've found this products, I can't do without it. I love the 'salon feel' finish and the overall condition of my hair is better than it was- certainly at this time of year when the heating has been on!
I'd recommend this to anyone who has hair in need of a little TLC. I can't comment on if it's effective for veery damaged or dry hair, but certainly for my mediocre condition tresses- it maintains my barnet nicely!
Like other 'own brand' baby wipes, Boots Baby Soft Cloth Wipes are immediately attractive to mums everywhere because of the reasonable price (about 89p for 72 wipes). I started using these wipes around two years ago when I moved into a home that was within walking distance to a branch of Boots. So my relationship with these wipes began with convenience and was further encouraged by good value!
What all Mum's of young ones will already know...
Is the shocking price of the 'branded' wipes. You will pay around two and a half English pounds for them. I'm sure that if you do not have cause to purchase wipes and therefore are not familiar with the varying costs of these products- you are now utterly SHOCKED!!! But, prepare to fall off your chair aghast as there's further news- the branded wipes tend to come in packs of 64! That's 8 wipes less than the Boots wipes (and other own brand ones generally). Value wise, this does not need dissecting further. You can see that Boots Wipes are a must for the financially savvy bottom wiper.
But there's more Shocking News...
Not only are these wipes less than half the price of their branded enemies- not only do they provide 8 more wipes than these pretentious competitors- but they also provide something that the posh ones lack- a plastic clip open and closing system. Now whilst these little plastic doors may not make much of a contribution to saving the planet in terms of packaging- they are a more convenient way of preserving your packet of wipes after use. The branded wipes tend to have a sticky bit to press down after each use- which is fine for a while, until it gets covered with fluff, hair and the odd Cornflake resulting in a loss of stickiness...
A Day in the Life of a Bottom Wiper...
Or at least a quick run down on using the wipes. Opening your wipes is a simple exercise- you need to pop open the plastic clip door and remove the seal by pulling it away and disposing of it. You are then ready to pull out your first wipe! Now this is where Boots wipes loose points I'm afraid. I know you will be disappointed to read that they do stick together and you may well end up with eighteen wipes in your hand unless you find a way to break the link. This is no easy task if you are working one handed with an infant's legs in your other hand. I tend to either shake the chain of wipes furiously to release the train of wipes from the one I want to use, or, if I am sat on the floor, I will jab at the link with my foot. Neither of these actions are in the instructions on the back of the pack- so perhaps wipe makers all over the world need to think of a way to combat the 'wipe stick together' issue (as Boots wipes are not the only offenders- I'm yet to find wipes that don't stick together- please let me know if you have!). It's disappointing as the packet claims 'The wipes are interleaved so that each one can be easily removed with just one hand.' A bit of a fib Boots! However, on rare occasions, you might find that just one wipes releases itself with no problems, in which case, your bottom wiping session is a happy one.
The wipes are a nice size and made of thick material, which is a must when wiping up poo poo as nobody wants the wipe to rip making finger tips vulnerable to offensive substances. The amount of moisture on the wipes is just enough to clean up nicely, but not so much that it leaves your child's skin too wet. The packet claims that the wipes are made with 98 percent pure water and are perfect for delicate skin, which is attractive to us mums who don't like a smear too many chemicals on our children! It is advisable to close the plastic lid straight after use to retain the moisture of the wipes, otherwise a few wipes at the top will dry out.
The wipes come in two varieties- 'Gently Fragranced' and 'Non Frangranced'. I have used both types, but currently stick with the fragranced ones as it's nice to have a little bit of a nice smell on your baby's skin. I used to use the non fragranced ones when my little boy had eczema, but since that doesn't occur anymore, I chanced to the fragranced ones and have had no issues. The smell is what I would describe as a nice clean fresh smell which isn't too over powering.
The packaging is different to the picture here. The fragranced wipes are in a blue pack with a cute baby on the front, and the non fragranced are in a pink packet- with the same cute baby featuring!
The phasing out of the Wipe Purchasing...
My son is now potty trained (in the loosest sense of the term). He still wears nappies at night time, so I still do the morning clean up and use the wipes then. The Boots wipes must not be flushed down the toilet, so for convenience I now purchase toddler wipes too, which can be flushed after you have helped your toddler off the toilet. However, several packets of Boots wipe remain scattered around my home, I can not imagine life without them. Perish the thought that I would need to walk to the kitchen to get a cloth to clean a small splash from the dining room table! And how on earth do people without wipes in their home clean splashes and spills from their leather sofas? Not uses that are recommended on the packet, granted, but never the less, I find these wipes invaluable around the house as well as cleaning up little bottoms, sticky hands and grubby faces.
I have to admit that I used the premium priced wipes for the first few months of my son's life. I think that you are lead to believe that the more you pay for a product, the better it is- and this is certainly a notion that a first time parent like myself might cling to, as we always want the best for our children. Well, I'm happy to report that my findings show that the Boots wipes treat my son's skin very well and do their job wonderfully. They are easily as good as the branded ones, and I certainly can't think of a reason to move away from them in the future. I shall still be buying them when he's 21...
I can't recall when or why I first purchased No7 Quick Dry Tinted Lotion, but whatever the reason, it is a product that I have stuck with and feel that I'm unlikely to trade it in for another brand. Recently I have decided that, as I am in my 30s and had waved goodbye to my youth quite a while ago, I need to up the ante on the beauty front. I can't be bothered with going to the gym and eating berries and mung beans- so my answer to maintaining an acceptable level of attractiveness is to plaster on a few extra layers of war paint, suck the stomach in when wearing vest tops and slap on the fake tan even when I don't have a wedding or holiday on the horizon. Yes, you read it right- I now wear fake tan when all I have planned for the week is a trip to Tesco and a gossip at the nursery gates. I am officially the most glamorous woman in the chip shop queue on a Friday night- never without a natural looking sun kissed glow whilst anticipating my battered sausage.
The packaging of the self tan is nothing to get excited about. It doesn't sparkle in the bathroom or look like it's owned by a fairy princess. The box is brown, the bottle is brown. But hey- this is what we hope to end up to be ourselves right? In which case- it aesthetically advertises itself well I guess! It's not an entirely unattractive bottle though, and has a slight shimmer to it and a nice white pearly lid. It's cylindrical so it's easy to hold. When popping the lid off, one is greeted by a pump dispenser, which I think is great as it means that you don't have to handle the bottle mid tanning, avoiding sludgy, slippy bathroom drama. Fake tan is messy enough without having to worry about bottle handling practicalities.
**Apply and Prepare to Look Glam!**
The instructions advise you to exfoliate before you use the product- a stage which I discovered the hard way, is pretty much paramount when attempting to make like a bronzed Goddess- otherwise you may look like you've had a fight with a carton of orange juice and lost.
Once you have exfoliated and ridded yourself of body hair, you're ready to apply the lotion. When you actually pump the lotion out, it looks rather like a thick chocolate sauce- which I found somewhat surprising, given that the title 'tinted lotion' puts me in mind of a thinner more watery product (maybe that's just me!). The lotion glides on easily and rubs in nicely. I find that, as long as you rub it in until you can feel no more moisture- this pretty much guarantees even coverage. This is another reason why you must exfoliate- as if you don't, you'll end up with brown bits of rolled up skin over your palms, which is never a good look.
Once you have applied the lotion to your entire body, minus your bottom purely for comedy effect to cheer up your husband/partner/milkman, you must prance around the house naked for ten minutes as the bottle advises to avoid dressing for this amount of time. Do NOT apply your fake tan therefore, when the vicar has popped round for tea with your elderly mother- apply when alone, or lock yourself in the bathroom with a comic and a cake.
The disadvantage to this tan is the smell- it's quite over powering. For the life of me, I will never know why fake tan makes my underarms smell so peculiar, but it does so after about ten minutes right up until I shower. Unfortunately you are stuck with smelling a bit like a wet dog after a dip in a stagnant pond for at least two hours until you are permitted by the back of the bottle to bathe.
**Colour Me Good**
After an hour or two, you will find that you have transformed from pale and interesting to healthy looking and glowing. Overnight, the tan deepens and you will wake up Goddess like and golden. At which point you should demand a divorce as you will find that you are far too glamorous for your husband!!! However he may bring you down a peg or two by declaring that you smell like a drainpipe.
It really is a fantastic colour. Friends notice and compliments roll- many people have asked what brand I use, which is always a good sign. There isn't a hint of orange in sight and the overall effect is very natural, even on your face, which is always the part that makes me nervous. Follow the advice of the bottle if you require a deeper shade- and repeat the whole painful process after 24 hours. The lotion is very moisturising from the outset. I need to apply moisturiser to my face within two minutes of showering before it cracks like arid land, but after applying the tan, it's sufficiently soft and supple to get me through to night cream time.
It wears off nicely and doesn't go patchy, provided that you exfoliate every few days- generally you will get at least four days of good colour from this product and if you top up every few days, you can maintain an all year round gorgeous radiance!!!
**Would I Recommend No 7 Quick Dry Tinted Lotion?**
Yes, I think it's fab! I've tried much more expensive brands that don't perform as well as this one, and quite frankly, parting with 12 quid for 200mls of liquid ego booster is well worth it in my opinion!
Picture the scene-a cold rainy night in a dark winding street, lit only by a single street lamp. Ahead there's a bar, buzzing with folks soaking in the warmth of their surroundings, laughing and drinking, carefree and happy. But here, it's cold. Bitterly cold. I know where I want to be, and I know that I can only be there with you by my side. Without you, there's no way I'm taking these dry cracked hands to any bar in any town.
You came to me some time ago, through an old friend. There was no chance I was ever gonna pay for you Clarins- sure you're classy but I ain't parting with the eighteen British Dollars for your 100mls for nobody, no matter how pretty you look. And gee, yeah, you looked real pretty. Your slick white tube and red letters...when I first met you, I never noticed the gold ring around your lid, but now, well, I see it now. So Clarins, I heard you had extracts of Sesame, Japanese Mulberry and Myrrh. What happened to the Gold and Frankincense huh? It's all Greek to me Clarins, but you sure smelt good. Strong and lingering, but good. I'll never forget that musky mysterious scent, the scent of a woman...
My hands, ageing and sore; they've done some dirty work, that's for sure. But all it took Clarins, was to hold you close and squeeze you tight. And then the magic began. You're beautiful inside and out Clarins. Your thick dreamy potion glistens in the moonlight, pearlescent. And my hands? A few close encounters with you and they're like new hands, no word of a lie. You were so, well, easily absorbed. You sure were never one to leave a greasy old residue like the others. The clocks have been stopped and ten years have rolled back, the dryness gone, the softness unreal. And my nails Clarins...well I think you know about my nails. From brittle and flaky, to good as new, yep, you know about my nails. I never believed there'd be nothin' that'd fix these old talons, but you knew how to condition them, for sure.
Did I use you Clarins? Yeah, I used you. Every darn evening I used you. But sparingly. I didn't need too much of you every time we met. A little love went a long way. I look back now Clarins- the smell of you, the way you held my hands and made them brand new...I miss you, that's the truth.
So here I am, bitterly cold. Alone. Alone and with parched hands and flakin' nails. It's been more than a year since you ran out on me and I'm lost without you. But I'm torn Clarins. I love you...I just don't wanna pay for you. You're a five star girl at a five star price.
I'm hoping we'll meet again Clarins. Maybe an old friend will bring you back to me one day. Perhaps...perhaps it'll be at Christmas.
There's a funny old story behind the purchasing of a new electric toothbrush. I had owned a shocking pink Braun electric toothbrush for several years and when I moved back to England from Dubai, my toothbrush wouldn't charge up any longer. Cursing the charger unit, I plodded down to Boots and cheerfully enough, I was met with a half price sale on all electrical toothbrushes! Imagine the delight! I picked up the Braun Oral B Vitality Sensitive Toothbrush for around fifteen pounds, and based my choice on the fact that I have sensitive teeth with some enamel erosion- and therefore a brush with the word 'sensitive' in the title felt like the right tool (I'm not one for extensive research). I returned home and plugged the two point base charger unit into the two point adapter plug to get the whole charging process started. I'm guessing by now that many of you will have figured out what I'm going to say next...yes...it didn't charge. Off I trotted back to Boots to purchase a new adapter, but not before flinging the old one into the bin. It landed on top of the poor old pink toothbrush, which by now had been adorned in a few soggy cornflakes and a touch of yoghurt. I'm not one for wastage...so I fished it out and sprayed a bit of Dettol on it. When my husband returned home, I generously gave it to him and told him I had bought a new one so that he could have the old one in place of his manual one. He knocked it back on the grounds that it was pink. Ungrateful man...
**It's got Braun...**
Once charged and ready for action, I popped a bit of toothpaste on and pressed the button. There was some pretty impressive power in the unit and combined with a shiny new brush head, after the two minutes recommended cleaning, my teeth felt as smooth as they could possibly be. You really do forget how perfectly clean they can feel until you use a fab powerful toothbrush with a nice firm new brush head!
Aesthetically, it's not a looker amounst the brush Gods. It's basic white and blue- the blue being the rubber ridged section that you hold for a good grip. The button is part of the rubber grip section and is a sort of raised lump rather than a 'clickey' on and off button. I guess that's all to do with waterproofing though. The disposable head slides on easily and sits firmly on a metal rod. It vibrates as well as rotates in order to provide a deep clean to reach all bits of your teeth and gums to keep them healthy. The charger is a basic white pod which has a two point plug to be used with an adapter or plugged into the shaver unit in a bathroom wall if you are lucky enough to have one. Charging time, is apparently 18 hours for a full 30 minute charge, but quite honestly, I don't think I've ever left it on charge for more than 2 hours and that usually lasts me a week or so.
You don't need to press too hard when brushing, just move the brush slowly from tooth to tooth, covering back, front and tops of the teeth, ensuring that the edges of your gums are also cleaned.
When you're marvelling over your super sonic deep clean as you stand and vibrate away (oo err), be prepared to be pleasantly startled when the brush suddenly changes its dulcet vibrate tone to several short bursts of vibration! This is your cue to rinse and finish up your tooth cleaning session as your two minutes have been completed. A word of warning though- do be sure to switch off the brush before you remove it from your mouth and pop it under the tap, otherwise your bathroom will receive the equivalent to your pet dog having a shake after a swim.
**What I Likes and What I don't Likes so Much**
It goes without saying that I'm a fan of the whole electric toothbrush experience as a whole. It cleans much more thoroughly than a manual brush and is much less like hard work! As far as the 'sensitive' part is concerned, I guess it's pretty much a matter of the brush heads being made of gentle bristles which are kind to your tooth enamel. You can buy the brush heads in packs of 4 or 8 ( and maybe more!), but your brush unit will fit any standard Oral B brush heads- so I guess you could quite easily adapt your product to a less sensive version on purchasing replacement heads without realising it! They're not cheap, but to be honest, they don't seem to need replacing as much as a manual brush. Your brush head's bristles with lighten in colour when it's time to replace it. Cleaning wise- this brush is a really good performer and charging time is fine. It's reasonably priced at around £34, but wait for a sale and you'll grab a bargain!
The only gripe that I have with the brush is a small picky thing- and that is that the rubber grooved grip collects crusty toothpaste a fair bit (mmm- attractive). But to be fair, perhaps that's my fault for not rinsing it sufficiently!
My second gripe is with the whole electric mains toothbrush thing as a whole. I don't have a two point plug socket in my bathroom and dislike having to plug it in elsewhere, which in my case is in the kitchen as my bathroom is downstairs. It just looks a bit wrong next to the toaster and the utensil pot!
On the whole a great buy for the oral health fan- no major faults, a long lasting, sturdy character that is entirely fit for purpose! It has a two year guarantee, which considering the price, is impressive and will ensure that you get your money's worth!
This foundation was given to me by my mum and sat unused for a couple of months for two reasons; firstly because it looked too dark for my fair complexion, and secondly because tyhe whole idea of it phased me a little bit- who on earth ever heard of a foundation that looks like a loose face powder??? When I finally got around to trying it, I was pleased that I did and have just purchased my second pot.
**What's it all about?**
The foundation currently only comes in three shades- I have the lightest one which is 'New Ivory'. It's fourteen pounds which is reasonable enough for a mid range beauty product in my opinion. The packaging is very classy looking- a black box with gold writing. Contained within is a cylindrical pot of the foundation and a large but squat brush with which to apply it. The brush sits in a little mesh bag with ribbon ties to protect it, which is a nice touch. The tub itself, once the black lids is unscrewed looks very much like a loose powder- a plastic covering with holes in to let the powder out a little at a time. A critisism I have on this score is that the holes are coved by a temporary sticker which must then be disposed of. I'd like something a little more permanent to hold it in when it's bobbing around in my bag, as when I unscrew the lid, there's a fair bit of powder which has come to the top.
The foundation needs to be tapped through the holes (with the lid on so that it doesn't spill!) and then applied to the brush, tapping the excess powder off. Then you should apply it to the face using circular motions until you have achieved the coverage desired.
**What Went on in my Bathroom!!!***
I decided, that after a spray tan for my holiday- I was about the right shade to try the new product. I didn't have high hopes as I just couldn't see how it could give me aqnything more than a light dusting of dry power. However I couldn't have been more wrong. I don't quite know how it works, but the coverage is fab. It's not too thick, so it sits well around the fine lines of my 30 something skin! My skin tone is even and I actually look reasonably youthful and glowing! I find that some foundations can clog and make the over 30 something's skin look a little older- but this is just right! It does have something of a shimmer to it- so some may find it suitable for evening only- but I'm not bothered and wear it all day every day now (or at least until winter sets in and my skin becomes too pale again!). I must admit that I do top it up- which is something I never did with a liquid foundation- but the reason for this is to combat the shine that always pops up after a few hours, which previously I would have sorted with my normal loose powder. I have even used this as a concealer by pressing my finger on some of the powder and pressing it onto a spot and dusting off! A full on concealer it isn't- but it's not a bad alternative in the absence of your usual one!
It's as long lasting performance wise as any other foundation of used (many of which have been the posh brands!) and is definitely worth a try.
The only thing that bothers me slightly other than the plastic film issue, is that, as far as I'm aware, it can only be purchased as a whole package with brush included. Time to think about the environment and our pockets Boots and get a 'refill' option out there which would be completely viable for the simple packaging as it stands.
I'll give it five stars on the grounds that the advantages outweigh the grumbles!
I brought one of these simple baby cups when my son was around a year old. He had only ever been breast fed or bottle fed expressed milk, so when the time came to introduce other liquids (in this case cooled boiled water), I decided to go and buy whichever beaker I saw fit as I stood in Boots and browsed. I chose this Tommee Tippee Beaker as it was bright (I got a green one), looked sturdy, was reasonably small for little hands, was a nice price at just a couple of pounds odd- and I had seen other babies and toddlers using them. The blurb on the card attached to the beaker promised me faithfully that the cup would not leak or spill and that it was an all round indestructable and reliable baby item. I was pretty keen to try it out!
It sat in the cupboard for a few months as I found it hard to drop breastfeeding, so it wasn't needed until he was 15 months. When I handed him the cup, he immediately rejected it! Now, I could go on to tell you the entire story, but it's largely irrelevant to the product as I then purchased four other types of beaker in a bid to get him to accept his water from a different receptacle other than a bottle, and he didn't want any of them. Anyway, to cut a long story short, when he eventually chose his weapon, he chose this beaker. At first, he struggled with it. Despite its small hole, he still choked and spluttered on the water as he could not come to terms with the fact that the hole allowed a faster flow of water than his baby bottle. But bit by bit, he learned to use it, although it wasn't a quick process- it did take a few months for him to fully accept all of his water drinks from a beaker. However, in the interim, he enjoyed holding the chunky handles, which are shaped nicely for little hands to grasp and he eventually worked out how to flip the spout up and down, which provided some excellent entertainment. He enjoyed handling the cup as it's a nice bright colour and an all round good toy for a baby who's easily pleased! I was more than happy to let him play with it as my health visitor had advised me to let him get used to it. But it wasn't the sturdy little number it had promised to be...
**Tommee's Tripped Up**
The 'impossible to spill valve' spilled water out when tipped upside down, thus providing much more fun for baby, but not for mum. But the grumbles don't stop there I'm afraid. Although initially, I was impressed with the tight fit of the lid (I had to take it off under water if it was full so as not to throw the contents across the room), it would seem that the wonder lid is not so effective when your child knocks over (or throws it) from high chair to hard tiled floor. On contact with the tiles, the lid became ajar and the water leaked over the floor. Hmmm, not as robust as I thought. So was that an end to the leaky antics? No, it also leaks slighty from the hinge of the spout when it's bouncing around in my bag. These factors considered, it's not as fit for purpose as it claims to be I'm afraid! My other grumble would have to be that it's quite tricky to clean the lid. The spout and its nooks and crannies requires a bottle brush to tackle it, otherwise it can get a bit scummy if not scrubbed! I've kept hold of mine for this purpose. A slight pain but not a major issue. There are liquid measure marking on the side of the beaker, which go up to 190ml, however these are embossed transparent lettering and therefore difficult to see, especially if you have a darker coloured juice inside. However, you get to know how much you're putting in there anyway, as long as you don't mind estimating.
**But it's Still Going Two Years on!**
Purely because it's my son's favourite beaker! He turned three yesterday, and still loves drinking from his old faithful beaker. Yes it leaks in my bag (but just a bit), but he no longer chucks it or plays tip the water over the house, so I get on with it a bit better these days. The Tommee Tippee logo which was once bold and white has come off completely (infact that only took a few months to wear off), and it's a bit battered, but he loves it.
This beaker gets three stars on my son's behalf! He would give it five I'm sure- so it's mummy who knocks two off for the inconveniences!
My first dalliance with Touche Eclat came five years ago on my 30th birthday. I received not one, but two of the little gold wonders as gifts. Perhaps if I'd just been given just one, I wouldn't have been quite so offended- but two? From two friends that didn't know each other? Needless to say, I accepted my gifts with good grace and secretly, could not wait to try the product!
**What is it Then?**
Touche Eclat looks like a small golden magic wand (and if you believe the hype then you'll be lead to think that that's exactly what it is!). It's about the length of a Biro, but thicker than your standard Bic. When you pop off the golden lid, you will discover a small white brush, a bit like a thick lip brush. At the bottom of the pen, there is a round black button. You need to simply press it in a few times to pump through the liquid to the brush ready to apply it to your face as part of your war painting routine.
**So What's it for Then? Painting Adam Ant Stripes on your Face for an 80s Party?**
No, Touche Eclat is for the covering up of sinful shadows and blemishes on your otherwise radiant and beautiful complexion. It's basically a liquid concealer. The idea is to paint this stuff onto your skin, either before or after you've applied your foundation, blend it in with brush or finger- and all traces of dark shadows and general imperfections shall be gone as if by magic. Or at least covered up a bit. You can use it under your eyes to cover dark circles, on small thread veins or on the less evil spots and blemishes that appear at random. In turn, you shall appear that you have skin like an airbrushed film star!
**So does it Actually Transform you Into a Hollywood Starlet?**
Erm, not really. I would call it 'OK'. For a start, when I used it (and it's lasted me a few years, so it wasn't long ago that I needed to replace my friends' gifts!) I couldn't get a colour to match my skin tone. They were too pink or too orange and there was no happy medium for me. I ended up- rather than having dark circles under my eyes- with white ones. However, with a bit of a pat down with my usual powder, I managed to get somewhere near the colour match. Blemishes covered a little, but it depends how angry the spot is. One thing's for sure- it certainly isn't the 'wonder item' that we are lead to believe, well at least not for me. It's functional, but not outstanding- it covers a little but not completely.
**Is it Worth Saving Your Tuck Shop Money up to Buy One?**
In my opinion, no. It's currently about £24- but if you pop to Boots, you can buy the No7 equivallent for much less (this was recommended to me and I've never looked back). It does last a long time as you only need to use it sparingly, but, it doesn't half smell funny after a while! Don't ask me why! My friends who used it have said the same!
The Toddle Truck came into our household via my friend who purchased it for my son's first birthday two years back. It's still taking up valuable space in our dining room as we speak.
**What's it all About?**
The Toddle Truck is basically a baby walker which holds bricks. It's made from good solid brightly painted wood which can do a fair bit of damage when rammed into furniture/white goods/the walls/my shins/over my toes when wearing flip flops. But that said, it's a sturdy old boy and my son has pushed it around for two years now. It has a nice chunky horizontal handle to grip onto, ideal for little grubby hands. The wheels have a rubbery bumpy grip meaning that if your child were to use it on a tiled or laminated floor, they wouldn't go skidding around like Jane Torville. Contained within is a set of brightly coloured wooden bricks shaped as rectangles, squares, semi circles, triangles and arches. They fit into the truck snuggly tesselating in a variety of ways. It goes without saying that there is hours of fun to be had building with the bricks- making a variety of towers and knocking them over gleefully. The Truck retails at around £25 which is a good price for it's multiple uses.
**What do I love?**
Well, it's a good robust toy which has lasted my son for a couple of years and he's certainly not ready to part with it yet! Although I've never been mad keen on the idea of baby walkers- this is a relatively simple one which doesn't do much to encourage your child to rely on it as a walking aide. I'm happy enough for him to trundle along pushing it around as he does his little shopping trolley (despite damages along the way!). He can excercise both his gross and fine motor skills, switching between pushing and pulling- to playing with the bricks in a variety of ways. I have always really loved wooden toys- they are so much more aesthetically pleasing than garish plastic items and have a nostalgic appeal. So despite the fact that it does take up quite a chunk of space, it's an attractive item! Every child that has entered my house has played with this- it certainly has appeal!
**What do I Moan About?**
All sorts. But in the case of the toy in question -a couple of things. The bricks' pattern has worn and the colour faded a fair bit- but well, general wear and tear I guess. The other annoyance is that it makes an almighty row when your little one throws the bricks into it with some force- so if you're easily startled beware!
**Should you Own One?**
Yes- if you have the space in your home and have a child that enjoys playing with anything at all- they will love this!
I picked this bucket set up the day before we went on our holibobs to Egypt in May this year. I don't make a habit of visiting Matalan as I don't have one locally to me and, well, I don't like it much as a store generally- it's just not my bag! However, I was pottering with my mother in law who was picking up last minute bits before we flew to sunnier climes, and I spotted this little play set hanging on the displays that line the airport style queing system before you get to the till. As I was feeling a touch of pre holiday high jinx, I thought, ah what the heck- let's live on the edge and splash out the 3 quid or so on a bucket and spade for beach time revelry. I have got a child by the way...it wasn't for myself...
I'm pretty sure this was £3 or a bit less, which to be honest is why I bought it, as I was going to wait until we arrived in Egypt and get one there. The odd one that I'd seen in other shops had been more than £7 which I thought was a bit of a rip off for a couple bits of plastic (that's also what my husband said when I got a boob job, but that's another story). Included in the set is a blue bucket which takes the shape of a castle (again- some of the others I'd seen were just squared off and wouldn't have made a very exciting shape). Theres a little spade and a fork for digging purposes, a hollow crocodile and dinosaur for making models with the sand, and last but not least, a little watering can.
**Did My Son Play With a £3 Toy Every Day for a Week?**
Yes. So I'm selling his train set, bike and garage on ebay and we're all off to the pub! Well maybe not- as we don't have a beach in our house to take full advantage of the bucket set. But crikey, what a splendid purchase this was! Every morning, he routinely gathered up his little set of plastic wonders ready for his day by the pool. He mainly played in the pool with his new favourite toys as he doesn't really like the sand too much, but to be honest, although the bucket and all its bits (with the exception of the watering can) are designed for modelling primarily, he had massive amounts of fun digging the water and drowning the dinosaur. Hours passed with him sprinkling water from the can into the bucket, and erm, pouring water from the bucket into the can. Some highlights of playtime included 'watering' Grandad and doing a bit of very sweet sharing of toys with other little children. Then a whole bunch of kids watered Grandad. The one occasion the set was used on the beach- it was most fit for purpose, the spade transferring a little sand at a time accordingly and each moulding toy producing pleasing models. The toys are lovely bright colours and nice and chunky for toddler hands such as my son's. That said- I'm sure a child of any age would appreciate this toy up until the point when they no longer play on the beach, preferring to wear black, eat chips and sulk on holiday. The set is made well enough for the price. It's fairly lightweight, so travelling with it is no major drama and your little one will be able to manage transporting it around as they play. It's not the thickest, most robust plastic in the world- but like I say, it does what it's designed for as long as it's treated properly. I imagine the bucket's handle might snap if it was swung around and stamped on- but provided you don't partake in such a carry on in a moment of holiday madness, I'd think it will last for the duration.
We still have the set. It now lives in various boxes in various rooms. I've not seen the watering can for a while but I did step on a crocodile earlier. The holiday magic is over and poor old bucket set has been cast aside for now. However, fear not, as it's waiting in the side lines to get involved in paddling pool fun just as soon as summer arrives...
So glad I bought this set. It provides as much bucket and spade set fun as you can possibly have for an absolute snip of a bargain! Bargain bucket! Definitely worth shoving it into the suitcase- you can even stuff socks inbetween the plastic toys to save on space! ;-)
I purchased Herbal Essences Hello Hydration a couple of months ago, on what, thinking back was a random whim as it was on special offer at Tesco! My hair is coloured to death- being red, it is incredibly high maintenance (come back blonde, all is forgiven!) and is always happy to have any kind of replenishing product spread over it!
I must admit, for what I would consider to be a 'none premium' hair product, the packaging ensures that the product stands proudly in your bathroom. The tub is sturdy and bright blue. There are some swirly patterns on the front which shine with some kind of hologram effect, ensuring that your product looks sufficiently girly and sparkly on the shelf.
The Hydrating Experience
The only thing that really bothers me about any kind of product in a tub, whether it's hand cream, nappy rash cream or conditioner, is that one has no option other than to scrape it out with fingertips, thus leaving those of us with long nails annoyed and uncomfortable! However- this is a small and perhaps quite trivial gripe, given that you invariably will be using this conditioner in some form of bathroom situation, giving you immediate access to water. Moan over. The product spreads easily through the hair and is nice and thick and gloopy, so you really feel like it may actually do what it says on the tin! My hair is fairly knotted after washing, so requires some combing through with conditioner on. I must say that I've had easier combing experiences, but generally, the texture of the conditioner does help to get the tangles out more easily than if I were combing it dry. The smell is very strong. It's a pleasant, if a wee bit overbearing perfumed smell, with a hint of marzipan (or that might just be me!). After you're done smearing and combing, you can either fidget about impatiently for two minutes and rinse, or shave your legs and read a gossip column for ten minutes should your hair require a little more TLC.
After rinsing, which is a straightforward experience, you can style your hair normally. This for me, means to blow dry with no product for every day wear. After drying my hair felt quite glorious. Really soft and shiny- I was thrilled with the results! I felt like I'd just stepped out of a salon! My fine red locks had been transformed from a little distressed and slightly dull to a glowing, vibrant mane! Well OK, not quite- but my hair was definitely in better condition so I was happy...
Until I noticed
That my hair was weighed down and lank after just a few minutes. Having fine hair- this never bodes well with me and I really would prefer a bit of volume without piling products on. And 24 hours later? Greasy. Nothing more to say really. That's just not cricket! The bonus being that my hair smelt lovely still, but given that I looked like a chip fat smearing grease ball- it wasn't recompense enough.
Next time I used the product, I rinsed my hair much more thoroughly than would usually be required, just to ensure that it wasn't my lack of care that was resulting in the grease ball look- but unfortunately, the same problem occured again.
I use it to give my hair a treat if it feels a bit dry- but only if I know that I'm going to be in a position to wash it again 24 hours later!
I started to use fake tan a good few years ago after I finally left my twenties behind and went 'all sensible' and ceased sunbathing and sunbed use. After a couple of terrible cheap streaky orange encounters, I splashed out a bit and purchased Clinique Self Sun from Boots- purely because I trusted Clinique having owned and liked an array of their cosmetics and skin care products. But that said- at around £15, this product isn't up there with the bad boys of extravagantly priced fake tan on the chemist shelf.
**Mr Self Sun and his Special Occasions**
As some of you who have read my reviews on Clinque products before will already know, there is a shelf in my bathroom which is dedicated to the 'Elite Gang', the products that must be displayed to visitors at all times, but are not, or very rarely used. Mr Self Sun is unfortunate among his elitist contemporaries, as his days are numbered as he comes out on several occasions, these being:
*Parties that require some dressing up effort
*De- zombiefying after a cold/flu/bubonic plague
Mr Self Sun used to come off the shelf considerably more some years back before I was married, as he was enlisted to help entice potential suitors. However, now I'm wed, minimal effort is required skin wise and so I only need him on special occasions.
**A Word of Advice**
Always Exfoliate before use. Otherwise, if you ignore this step, you may well end up as a patchy, scaly fake tan nightmare with orange knees and stripey ankles. So get those exfoliating gloves on and get rid of those dead skin cells. Yes, even Kylie has dead skin cells. Allegedly...
**How Mr Self Sun Rolls**
Application of this chap is straightforward and pain free. On beginning your Self Sun mission, I found that the tube was not just a pretty face with its slick design and typical clinique colourings- but it was also soft enough to manipulate easily, thus meaning that I ended up with the amount of tan that I actually required on my palm. I was thrilled to discover that life was made much easier by the fact that the tan is tinted, so that you can see exactly where you're applying it (and which bits you've inevitably missed). The liquid is a nice consistency and easy to rub in- and a little goes a fairly long way. Smell wise, it's not unpleasant in that there is a reasonably nice perfume to it. Mr Self Sun is a bit of a saucy devil and asks you to stay undressed for twenty minutes after you've finished with him. Good advise though, unless you want to end up with brown streaks over your white Ra Ra skirt. The drying time seems to be just a few minutes but I've never taken the risk of cutting the suggested time short. Just make sure that you don't forget to wash your hands or you could end up starting a giggle fest amongst your friends.
**So is Mr Self Sun all he's Cracked up to be?**
Well, I'd say so. The tan, if done properly is a nice natural, even glow which develops a couple of hours after application. The look is subtle and not at all streaky or orange (but do follow the exfoliating advice or you'll be sorry!). If you need it darker, add another layer a few hours later (or buy a darker shade- but I'd judge that this may not be the best plan for us fair girls (unless you like the satsuma look). It wears well too, the tan hanging around quite nicely for five days at least. The only issue that you may have is that the scent of this cheeky chappy does change after a few hours (we all know about that, don't we girls?). The old fake tan musk that we all know and love soon shines through, but all is forgiven after a shower the next day. That said- I'd recommend that you apply this before your occasion to avoid being the smelly girl in the corner who nobody wants to play with. A definite pro to Mr Self Sun is that I found it is fine to use on the face (and I have sensitive skin), thus meaning you can avoid buying a separate face tanning product that gullible people like me may think is necessary.
**We Love the Man Why?**
All in all, Mr Self Sun should do you proud- he's simple to use, easy to manipulate, leaves you dancing around with no clothes on for a good while, makes you feel great to be out with on a night out, and then clears off after about five days. What more could a girl want I ask you????
Well OK, maybe it's a little odd to compare a purple bread preparing tool to Brad Pitt- but as I entitled the review of the matching kettle 'The Angelina Jolie of Kettles', I saw fit to stay in keeping with the theme. Don't worry- the bizarre analogy ends there...
***Return from Argos***
I picked this beautiful purple toaster up as part of a deal from Argos- buy two items from the Heritage range, and get one of them half price. This deal has changed now to 'Buy two get one free'. Its stand alone price in Argos is £49.99. As does the rest of the range- the toaster comes in several colours including purple, red and cream, all of them stunningly retro and trendsome! After lugging the enormous green box home, I discovered that it was a mammoth machine. But one that would look mighty fine in my kitchen, with it's wife- the Purple Kettle.
***How Handsome is it?***
Very! It's a four slice machine with a sexy shiny purple metal finish. The knobs and buttons are black and sturdy and the slice surround is silver and sleek! The cord is long enough for you to stretch it over to a socket that doesn't happen to be situated directly behind it- handy, but also leaves you with a fair bit of excess cord. I couldn't possibly state that this is a disadvantage, and I simply stuff it behind the toaster, push it back and get on with my life, job done! The slots for the bread are both wide and thick, which means that your crumpets and sliced bagels will sit and sunbathe quite cheerfully without suffocating, relieving you from the job of having to dig out broken bits of bread with a knife as you attempt to surgically remove the remains of what was once a muffin. But be warned- it is, as implied previously, very big! It's a good thing I have ample work surface space as it takes quite the pride of place in the kitchen, thus making lesser items such as the boring old silver coffee canister feel rather inferior. But I have to say- side by side with the matching kettle, they make a very fine pair who are admired and cooed over by visitors from far and wide.
***What Does it do?***
Ah, come on guys, I'm not going to patronise you by spelling this out. But WAIT! Here you are, now assuming that a toaster is a toaster- well here's the special bit- not only does this chubby chap defrost; not only does he reheat- he actually partakes in one sided toasting! This setting is meant to be for bagels (traditionally they should be toasted crust side only- who knew- not me...). This setting is particularly handy for cutting down on grill time when making cheese on toast too, as you can prepare the under side of your toast before putting the cheese layered bread under the grill. Now that is what I call rock n roll! To use any of these features, you simply need to press the appropriate button after sliding down the bread with the knob, and then sit back and rest assured that it'll be doing a grand job of defrosting/reheating/one sided tomfoolery. It also has a browning adjuster, as you'd expect- and a crumb tray which simply slides out and empties to keep the crumb count on your work surface in check. A few minutes later, your toast or other bread based snack will pop out with a satisfying er, pop sound! Hey presto- perfectly toasted bread! Efficient and intelligent! Perhaps I shouldn't have likened it to a male then... (only kidding chaps!)
***Do I love it?***
Yes I do. It's well worth the mini splurge for its features and beauty. I'm fairly convinced that this is a sturdy mean machine that is built to last too. A very welcome addition to the Flowerpotted household that will be with us for years to come!
My little boy was lucky enough to receive a Trunki as a hand me down from a friend before we went on our holiday a few weeks back; a very welcome gift indeed!
***What's one of them then?**
A Trunki, is in my opinion a bit of a genius invention- simply put, it's a plastic suitcase that doubles as a ride- on vehicle for small children. A two in one item of the highest order! I remember seeing this little chap with it's creator on Dragon's Den a few years back- and the crazy fools turned it down! I was going to say that I bet they regret that now, but in retrospect, I'm sure they're not too concerned about what the Trunki is doing whilst they are rolling around in million pound notes. It goes without saying that the Trunki company must be doing well now- in the airport in Birmingham, we saw at least another five children whizzing past on Trunkis of various designs! The Trunki company has since branched out into rucksacks that convert into booster seats and travel pillows for kids. My bitterness emerges when I consider this invention- a bit like how I feel when I think of JK Rowling-slightly put out as I was just about to come up with this idea...
**What's our Trunki like then?**
Our particular Trunki is a little fire engine. Made from sturdy red, textured plastic, it has black wheels and is printed on both sides with silver grates and what I can only describe as 'Go Faster Stripes'. At the front it has two 'horns' (as in like a bull, not a beep beep- thank goodness). These are blue and glittery and double as fire engine 'lights' and handles for the child to hold on to as they ride. The clasps are yellow and on either side of the case- they are very tight and difficult to open, which is no bad thing as you could find yourself with airport disasters if it were any easier to pop open. The Trunki opens down the middle- meaning that it splits into two equal sides, giving access to it's entire contents in one fell swoop. It is therefore a bonus that, not only are the clasps tight, but they also lock. Similar to a handbag might have, the Trunki has two handles (well three really)- two on top to carry it beside you, and another which is detachable to pull the child along with (or the Trunki on its own if you've accidentally checked your child in with your cases and are having a nice quiet stroll round Duty Free). The little plastic key is also attached to the detachable handle. It has an 18 litre capacity (that's a lot of wine) and is apparently accepted as hand luggage by most airlines (ours included). The recommended age group for Trunki use is 3-6, but my little one is two and he got on with it just fine (infact, to get your money's worth, buy one when they're born and just use it as their case for a couple of years!).
**What was our first Trunki using experience like then?**
I can only describe this item as a God send. Two and a half hours of ride-on fun for my little boy! Any parent of a toddler will be nodding away now as we all realise how valuable two and a half hours of Happy Child during queuing and general airport fun is! My son trundled away on his vehicle- catching admiring glances from children with standard luggage and old ladies who thought it was all very sweet. The check in queues consisted of kiddies rolling about bored, some screaming, others kicking parents. Not us! There we were bold as brass with Happy Child in Airport! Quite amusing when another child rolls past on their Trunki- you exchange a nod with their chaperone, acknowledging the 'Happy Child=Happy Parent Secret' quietly. Once on the plane and settled into seats, we found that the Trunki slotted under our seat quite cheerfully and as soon as the first squeak emerged from our son's little lips, out comes Trunki, home to an array of cleverly homed toys! Well, OK, this is where the fun stopped (the Trunki, whilst an amazing creation- can not do much to entertain on the plane when it transforms into a box of toys that your child will tire of after ten minutes). This is where an Ipad is required, (unfortunately, we don't own one of these, so could not join the Parents Exchanging Nods Due to Owning Ipads Loaded with Games gang). So the remaining five and a half hours of the flight was not as cheerful as the airport experience, but that's another story...
**Shall you buy one then?**
Yes- for reasons that I've more than covered above! However, they aren't the cheapest of cases- you'll pay about 30 pounds, but that said- there's always ebay/Amazon to save a bit here and there. The only disadvantage to this product is that when you open it- you need to do so carefully as there is just an elasticated criss cross strap to hold the contents in- fine if you've packed clothing, but not very effective if you have a bunch of small toys in which simply spill out everywhere! I packed all of his toys in plastic bags inside the case to get round this issue. Other than this small problem, the Trunki should definitely be at the top of any travelling toddler parent's list to Father Christmas. It gets the full five stars as the advantages far outweigh the disadvantage!
Buy one for your holiday, otherwise weep when watching others who have done so!