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Julie449

Julie449
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Member since: 04.02.2012

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      22.09.2012 18:38
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      Liquid foundation from Benefit

      Benefit Hello Flawless Foundation

      After receiving a benefit make over on my hen weekend I have since become a fan of benefit products. After running out of erase paste I went to my local debenhams to pick up more erase paste and browse the other products available. While there I was asked if I had tried flawless foundation. As I hadn't I was offered a quick make over at the benefit counter and was quickly taken by this product too and ended up buying this along with my erase paste and a foundation brush.

      Benefit cosmetics was founded back in the 70's and started as a beauty boutique specialising in quick fix products for beauty dilemmas. However benefit cosmetics is now a global brand selling over the counter in more than 30 countries. There are also now brow bars available at a lot of these counters. I've experienced benefit counters in both boots and debenhams. There products are widely available online too.

      Hello flawless foundation is an oil free new liquid foundation from benefit. It states it's brightening make-up that contains SPF 25. Hello flawless foundation is available in a number of shades which will cover most skin tones. I was advised after trying a few different shades to go for the ivory. The other shades available are: Champagne
      Honey
      Beige
      Toasted Beige
      Amber
      Hazelnut
      Nutmeg
      Each shade comes with its own tag line. The ivory shade has the tag line "Believe in me"

      Like most benefit make-up this foundation is quite pricey. I paid £25 for mine from debenhams. It's £24.50 on the benefit website but I have seen it online for as cheap as £17.

      The packaging for this foundation isn't as quirky as most benefit products. The foundation comes in a see through plastic bottle with a frost coloured white lid. It has a white pump dispenser which makes the foundation really easy to use allowing you to easily control the amount of foundation that comes out. Unlike some foundations I have experienced in the past that come in squeeze bottles and end up with half the bottle out on the first usage.
      The front of the bottle has "hello flawless oxygen wow" written in large black letters that are in a fun/quirky font. It also has "brightening make-up" written in smaller letters and "oil free SPF 25" written in a pink bubble like shape. The bottle comes in a nice, classy looking rectangular box. The front of the box is white and has all the same information as the front of the bottle. Both sides are silver and have black writing saying things like "oxygen" and "wow". Each side has a different font. The top of the box is also silver and has a sticker on it telling you the shade and the shades tagline. The back of the box has the foundations names/promises, how to use and warnings. The bottom of the box lists the ingredients. Inside the box along with the bottle of foundation there is a fancy/classy looking leaflet which is black with white writing. The leaflet has more details of the product, how to use and warnings. I also got a free sample of benefit porefessional, not sure if this is a constant thing or just for a limited time.

      Statements on the box/aims
      "It's you... just more luminous and healthy looking! Our brightening make-up builds from light to medium coverage for a natural complexion you can believe in. Goodbye imperfections. Hello flawless."

      "Helps to boost cellular respiration for a plumping up effect."
      "Helps to protect against environmental stresses"

      "Contains vitamin C & E derivatives known to prevent signs of ageing."

      I really like this foundation, I prefer the more natural look and this gives me that perfectly. It is really easy to apply, this is a liquid foundation that has the consistency almost spot on. Its not too runny, that its slipping through your fingers, but runny enough that its easy to work with. It blends into my skinwell, and also works well with my other products, like Benefit erase paste. It blends so well with my skin and as it gives a light-medium coverage I'm not left with that orange line round my face, or that tangoed look. Although only a light coverage it hides all imperfections on my face well, it gives a real natural look not that shiny look so many foundations are guilty of. I also like how this foundation is SPF 25 as it means I don't have to worry about sun cream on my face after I have just put on all my make-up. Not that there has been a lot of sun but from the little we have had my skin has been fine so I believe it is working. It also feels really light when you are wearing it. I have used foundations in the past that have left my skin feeling quite heavy but this is the total opposite and sometimes I forget I am wearing it. It lasts well throughout the day and I very rarely have to top up. In fact I have only topped up once and that was because I was going out straight after work.

      Overall I think I have found a foundation I will be happy to stay with. So far it has lived up to my expectations and has done everything it has aimed to (time will tell if it helps prevent the signs of aging). When I am wearing this foundation my skin looks better and brighter and I feel more confident. I would highly recommend this foundation to those who like a more natural look however I would suggest shopping around for a good price as at full/normal price it's a bit on the expensive side.

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    • Benefit Erase Paste / Make Up / 23 Readings / 20 Ratings
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      22.09.2012 16:29
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      Great concealer from benefit

      To be honest until recently I never really wore much make-up, nothing much more than a general foundation. My mum wasn't one for make-up, and my older sister was a bit of a tomboy growing up so I had no-one to show me so I never really knew how. That was until a few years ago, my wedding wasn't too far away and although I had booked a make-up artist I hadn't given too much thought to what I wanted. So I went out shopping on my hen weekend, my best friend decided enough was enough and took me to boots and sat me down in a benefit chair for a bit of a make over. The woman at the benefit counter was great. I left feeling great and with most of the products used on me that day. One of these products was the benefits erase paste.

      Benefit cosmetics was founded back in the 70's and started as a beauty boutique specialising in quick fix products for beauty dilemmas. However benefit cosmetics is now a global brand selling over the counter in more than 30 countries. There are also now brow bars available at a lot of these counters. I've experienced benefit counters in both boots and debenhams. There products are widely available online too.

      Benefit products have great quirky packaging which make them stand out against other make-up brands that tend to look very much the same. Some of the products have quite humorous designs but are also very pretty to look at making them look good in your make-up collection.

      Erase paste is a concealer, with a difference and it really works. On the box it states "This concentrated cream formula FLAWLESSLY helps to conceal and brighten dark circles, discolouration and imperfections." Erase paste comes in 3 different shades that fit most skin tones.

      1. Fair - For pale skin tones
      2. Medium - For normal skin tones
      3. Deep - For darker skin tones

      The price can vary a lot. I think I paid just over £20 for mine from boots, but I have seen it online for as little as £9.99.

      Erase paste comes in a small purple cute but quirky box that's about two inches in size with the back being slightly higher. This has a small, kind of before/after style of picture and the wording "Conceal and brighten in one easy step Poof! I'm perfect." On the top of the box there is a large circle with the shade on it which is very clear so you won't go away with the wrong shade easily. Erase paste is in large font on the front so easy to spot. The back of the box has a three step how to use. One side states there is a complete concealing and brightening lesson inside which is great news for people like me with little make-up experience. The other side states "Signs of stress and fatigue are a thing of the past with this innovative formula", great news for me as a busy mum.

      There is a small purple pot inside, don't be alarmed by how small it is it will last. It comes with a small white spatula which is used to scoop out the paste and there is a folded up set of instructions or a lesson as it is named. The pot has a screw top lid and when the top is unscrewed there is a clear piece of plastic which needs to be removed before you can use the paste. I always replace this after use to keep the paste fresh.

      Like I said before when I first purchased erase paste I was pretty new to make-up so I studied the erase paste medicine step by step a fair few times before usage. The lesson is set out in three steps each with a helpful diagram.
      Step 1 is for under eye concealing and for brightening dark circles. We are told to use the little spatula to scoop out a tiny amount of paste and place it on the back of your hand. Using a finger make dots on the inner and outer corners of the eye, blend from each corner to the middle. There is a really helpful diagram for this stage with little arrows to help with which way to blend.
      Step 2 is for camouflaging shadowy areas from your nose to your lips. Using the side of your finger draw lines like cat whiskers in an up and outward motion blending with your finger tips. This step also has a helpful diagram which I found much easier to follow than the written instructions. This step also has a small tip suggestion - Run fingertips under warm water to heat them up before blending.
      Step 3 is for concealing imperfections. With a side of your finger draw an X on top of imperfections then blend. Again there is a handy diagram and a tip. This tip I tend to use - Apply 10% more paste than necessary, by the time you get to where you're going you'll look perfect. This tip is helpful for nights out or for travelling a distance to work.

      The first thing I noticed when I opened the erase paste pot was the colour. I purchased the medium shade as this is what had been used on me at the benefit counter. I hadn't paid much attention to the colour at the time of my make over. I started to worry I'd picked up the wrong shade as it looked really dark and orange. However it blended in really well and matched my skin tone well. I would say I have a pretty average skin tone so I think this shade would suit most.

      When I first started using the erase paste I followed the lesson step by step but after time I found my own way with the product and use mainly under my eyes, to hide the dark circles left from being a busy working mum. The paste is really easy to use and blends easily and works well with my foundation. I have changed the foundation I use a few times over the years, but have still used erase paste and haven't found any problems using erase paste alongside them, as it blends really well. I did worry about the size of the products and worried that it wouldn't last long, and with a heavy price tag I feared I would be spending a lot of money on it on a regular basis. However one pot lasts me close to six months which is perfect because once opened the paste should be used within six months and I do tend to use it most days.

      I have fairly sensitive skin and often have a reaction to certain make-ups but touch wood I haven't had any problems with erase paste. I am now totally lost without this product. If I go away for a night/weekend and forget to pack it I feel my skin looks dull and the dark circles under my eyes are too scary to mention.

      The erase paste stays on well but I do tend to follow the helpful tip I mentioned before about applying 10% more than needed. It's also in such a small box that it's easy to carry around with you if you are worried about it fading throughout the day. Erase paste is also easy to take off and can be removed easily with most make-up remover or face wipes.

      Overall for me this is a must have great concealer for both make-up lovers and beginners. However I think I will be buying it online from now on at half the price. 5/5

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      • More +
        28.07.2012 17:04
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        That dirty book everyone is talking about!!

        Yes I too have given in to the hype, and fallen into the Christian Grey trap. I decided to buy this book after nearly every woman I knew was telling me about it, even my Mother (who never reads). I have to admit I was curious to see what all the fuss was about. The book has become so talked about due to its sexual nature and is starting to get called 'Mommy Porn'. Just about every where is selling these books, or selling out of. The rrp on this book is £7.99, but they can be picked up at various different prices, in different stores. I think the best deal is at Asda with all books for £10, but I have seen buy one get one half price offers to name but a few.

        Fifty Shades of Grey is that book that everyones been talking about. It's the first book in the Fifty Shades trilogy by British author E L James. The 2nd book is Fifty Shades Darker and the 3rd is Fifty Shades Freed. The Fifty Shades trilogy are currently the only books available by E L James. It states in the inside of the book that E L James is a former TV executive, wife and mother of two based in West London.

        The book follows Anastasia Steele, and is told from her point of view. Anastasia (Ana) is a young woman in her early twenties, in her final year at university. She lives with best friend Katherine (Kate) Kavanagh. Kate works for the student newspaper and has set up an interview with a successful super rich entrepreneur Christian Grey, who is also a major benefactor of the university. Kate takes ill on the day of the intreview and asks Ana to do the intreview for her. There is an instant attraction between Ana and Christian, however the intreview doesn't go too well in Ana's eyes and she shrugs the whole thing off. However Christain was taken by Ana, and the two meet again on a photo shoot for the student paper. Christian warns Ana early on that he is not the man for her. Anastasia is fascinated and confused by Christian. Although warning Ana to stay away from him, Christian is the one who can't stay away. Ana can't quite resist Christian and is quickly has her eyes opened to a dark and dirty world she never knew existed.
        Christain doesn't do normal relationships, and is into dominant/submissive relationships, and has a kinky 'playroom' to boot. Ana is confused by this side of Christian and wants more from there relationship, than sex and games. They both want different things, how will it work?

        At the start of the book Christian comes across very arrogant, but as the book develops you almost can't help but like him. He's described as gorgeous, filty rich and spoils Ana with gifts. He is always quick to respond to Ana's emails. However althought he does do some lovely things, he has major issues and I can't think of many people in real life, who would let the nice things he does, overshadow the deep issues he has. He is a total control freak and has some stalker tendencies, yet does it all out of want and need for Ana.

        Ana seems likeable, quite and relateable, yet throughout the book she struggles with self doubt and her eagerness to please can sometimes be annoying.

        I found this book, strangely addictive, it's not something I would usually read, and to be honest. it's terribly written. The sentences don't always make sense, and often don't flow well. Some words and phrases are used on a number of occasions, and it can feel very repetitive. I felt some words had just been picked out of a Thesaurus, to sound dirty, and they don't always fit in the sentence. Some of the wording made me cringe. Ana's intimate area is often called 'my sex', really who has ever called it that? The constant references to her inner goddess and her subconscious like they are real people is strange, and it almost makes it seem like Ana is three different people. There is one sex scence that put me right off, which had a little too much detail, that I felt didn't need to be there. The fact that Ana and Christian have perfect orgasmic sex every time, is a bit unbelievable. The wording in the sex scenes is also repeated alot. So although these sex scenes are exciting, they get a bit boring after a while.

        The 1st few chapters are slow. There isn't much to them, and as I, like most, was aware of the dirty bits to come, felt like I was just waiting for something to happen. There were sereval times I considered puttting the book down.

        The book has the basis of a good story, it just isn't written very well. I was taken in by the book and would have liked there to have been more, on why Christain had become involved in the lifestyl he is in, and the reasons behind his deep issues. I haven't yet read the next two books, so I am unaware if this is discussed in later books, but I really hope so. This book ends quite suddenly, and alot seems to take place in the last few chapters, and it all seemed a bit rushed at the end for me. However this did leave me wanting more, and ready to start the next book.

        I had a little look on the net about this book, before starting this review and found out that this book was developed from a twilight fan fiction originally titled 'Master of the Universe' and was originally published episodically on fan fiction websites. The original story used the names of the main twilight characters Edward and Bella. Don't worry this book really is nothing like twilight. E L James had to remove the original work from websites due to many comments concerning the sexual nature of the stories. The story was originally one big piece, but was reworked into three different books becoming what we see today.
        The film is also now being made into a film, I just hope that the screenplay is a bit better written, and Ryan Gosling would make one fine Christian Grey.

        Overall I enjoyed the book, and look forward to reading the next 2. I have heard the second book is better, but I'll have to read on to find out. I am almost disappointed in myself for enjoying a book so badly written, but its just so strangely addictive. I am keen to know how it all pans out for Ana and Christian. I would recommend this book, it is a slow starter, and isn't the best written book, but it serves its purpose, and if anything it might add a little spark back into your sex life!! It did mine!!

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        • More +
          25.07.2012 19:11
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          Colouring fun with the Gruffalo

          My son and my husband are huge fans of the Gruffalo. My husband has enjoyed reading the Gruffalo and related books to my son since he was very young. My son is now almost 4 and he has started to enjoy colouring and drawing more, so when I came across this colouring book, I thought it would be something nice for us all to do together. The gruffalo is by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
          The colouring book has a large picture of the Gruffalo on the front and the Gruffalo text (same as the book and dvd), making it instantly recognizable as a Gruffalo product. There are oictures of colouring pencils, crayons, paint brushes and one felt tip pen on the front cover, that show straight away what we can expect from inside this book. On the reverse of the book it states 'colouring fun with the Gruffalo! there's lots to do in this busy book, so grab your pens and pencils and get ready to join in.'
          Inside the front cover, and the back cover there are pictures of all the different Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler books available. There is also a link to the Gruffalo website for more activities and games.
          On the first page there is a small picture of the Gruffalo holding a sign that says coloured in by, providing a space to write your childs name, making the book more personal. I think it will be something I'll keep and show my son when he's grown up. A little keep sake for Mummy!!
          The pages of the book are thick, good quality paper. The paper is thick enough that when felt tip pens are used, they don't go through to the other side. Which is excellent as no pictures get ruined and both sides can be used. Nothing worse than when you can only use half a colouring book.
          The illustrations in the colouring book, are just like the ones in the story book, except mostly without colour.
          The first 2 pages are for simply colouring in, all the main characters from the Gruffalo story are there, with some trees to colour, and there is also some blank space to add trees of your own/childs.
          Some of the pictures like that on the 3rd page, have quotes straight from the story book, with a picture to be coloured to match.
          All the pages that have a simply to colour picture, have a plain coloured border round them, and all the puzzles/tasks have detailed illustrations (that look as if they could have been taken straight from the story book) round them.
          One of the tasks that is featured a few times, but for different pictures is to draw parts of the Gruffalo. These include his turned-out toes and his terrible teeth. These are inside circles in faint lines, that need to be drawn over. These are quite detailed and small, so myself or my husband had to do these as to hard for our young son. These would be better for older children.
          There is a dot to dot puzzle, and there are two grid drawings. The grid drawing tasks have two sets of grids on each page, the top grid set is a completed illustration, and the bottom grid set is blank. The aim is to copy the top picture onto the bottom, one grid square at a time. I think this is aimed at older children, this was far to tricky for my son to do.
          There are a couple of pages for imagination drawings, where you/your child can use there imagination to use the blank spaces provided to draw backgrounds for the Gruffalo, and draw son of his favourite foods.
          My son's favourite part of this colouring book, is an activity/page where you can draw your own monsters.
          Overall I thought this was a great colouring book/activity book for all Gruffalo lovers, however I felt it was trying to please too many age groups at once. I am not sure what the target age market was for this colouring book. I found that some of the activites were to hard for my son/young children that are at the perfect Gruffalo loving age. The children that are of suitable age to complete these activites may have lost intrest/almost grown out of the Gruffalo by the time they can tackle these themselves. I would have liked just a colouring book/ simple activities from this for my son, however that being said I picked up for around £3 and it has provided us with hours of fun, so I can't complain to much.

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          • The Notebook (DVD) / DVD / 81 Readings / 78 Ratings
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            21.07.2012 19:43
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            captivating love story with Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams

            I picked this film up years ago, in one of those 2 for £10 dvd offers at my local HMV, however although I have been dying to watch it, it has sat on my dvd shelf just waiting to be played. Finally my husband and I decided to watch it, the other night, and have a bit of a romantic night in. I have heard lots about this film, that it was very romantic and was a bit of a tear jerker. I wasn't disappointed.

            The Notebook is the 2004 romantic drama, based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. The film is directed by Nick Cassavetes. The film has a running time of 118 mins approx. The dvd is rated a 15, however the main feature is only a 12, this is due to additional material on the dvd being classified at a higher certificate.

            Cast-
            Ryan Gosling (yummy)
            Rachel McAdams
            James Garner
            Gena Rowlands
            Sam Shepard
            James Marsden
            Joan Allen

            The film begins in present day, at a nursing home, where an elderly gentleman (James Garner) is reading a story from his 'Notebook' to another resident (Gena Rowlands). As he begins to read the story we are pulled into the story, and we are taken back to the 1940s to a town called Seabrook. Here we meet a young country boy named Noah (Ryan Gosling). Noah is at a carnival with his friends when he sees and is instantly attracted to Allie. Allie is from a wealthy background and is only in Seabrook for the Summer with her family. Noah dramatically introduces himself to Allie by jumping on to a moving ferris wheel, she is riding with someone else. Allie resists Noah servel times at first, until their friends who happen to be dating (courting as it was in those days) set them up on a double date at the movies. Noah and Aliie walk home together after the movie. They start to get to know each other a bit better, and Noah questions Allie about her privledged lifestyle, asks what is it that she wants to do, not what her parents want.
            Allie soon falls head over her heels for Noah ( I did too), and the couple begin a whirlwind summer romance, with ups and downs, fights and make ups. Noah is invited to a dinner with Allie's parents and friends, and it is here that it becomes clear, they don't approve of Allie and Noah's relationship. This is due to Noah's class and how little he earns from his job at a lumber yard.
            The young couple don't let this stop them and they enjoy the most of summer. One night Noah takes Allie to an abandoned house, that he has always dreamed of buying and doing up. Allie makes Noah promise that he will and to paint it white with blue shutters. Sadly there night is ruined when they are interrupted by Noah's friend Fin, who has come to warn them that Allie's parents and the police are out looking for her. Noh returns Allie home, only to have to hear Allie's parents call him trash. There is a huge arguement and the couple break up. Although they fight all the time, and soon make up, they are not given the chance to this time as Allie's parents pack up all there things and they head home, and Allie off to college in New York.
            Years pass before the couple meet again, and in those years both have been through a lot of things and changes. Neither ever really knowing how the other had felt since that night they split. When they finally meet will that spark and passion they once had resurface?
            The film flips betwen the story of Allie and Noah (the main part of the film) and the elderly man and woman in the nursing home. It quickly becomes clear that the woman in the nursing home suffers from Alzheimers disease, and the man reads her the story often.

            The film ends differently to how I thought it was going to and although I felt throughout I knew what was coming, the ending adda a beautiful, yet sad twist.

            I loved this film, even more than I thought I would. After seeing Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine (see review) I had a new appreciation for his acting talent, and when I noticed it was Gosling in this film, I was hoping not to be disappointed, and I wasn't. His acting was fantastic in this and he played his character very well, I almost feel in love with Noah myself, and wished I was Allie. Goaling and McAdams have real chemistry and work together fantastically on this movie, and there relationship feels very real. I had sen McAdams in Time travellers wife and was quite inpressed with her, but I feel she is much better in this. All the characters are believeable.

            The film is very captivating, and I hated when I had to pause it to nip to the loo, it was the quickest bathroom break possible. However the film is a little predictable but the ending adds a little bit of a twist. There are some beautiful romantic scenes throughout the film that made my heart melt, my favourite being where they are out rowing and get caught in the rain. The film leaves you feeling happy and sad all at once. It was truely beautiful.

            The film is set in the 1940s pre and post war and pulls this look off very well, it made me feel I was born in the wrong era, the style of the clothes and the things they did for fun, are a far cry away from these days.

            The film doesn't only explore the relationship of Allie and Noah, that of true love and first love, but we also see Allie and her mothers relationship being explored throughout.

            I liked how the film flipped between past and present, as when in present time it gave me as a viewer the time to reflect and digest what has been happening between Noah and Allie and try to figure out how both parts of the story fit together.

            The notebook tells the tale of love, class divides and tackles Alzheimers in a beautiful yet heart breaking way. I like how this is in there, as it is a subject not many films tackle, and adds a bit more to the story than just another love story.

            One thing that stood out in the film for me, was that Noah always made Allie think about what it was she wants and not what will please others. I like this because it teaches Allie and us as viewers to follow our hearts.

            I haven't read the novel yet, so I am unsure as to how the film compares, but I can't wait to read it and find out. The film received some fantastic reviews and some not so fantastic, but as a whole was well received. The dvd case features some of these review/quotes from reviews.

            Dvd extras, when I really enjoy a movie I like to watch the dvd extras, and this dvd has lots to choose from.
            There are some deleted/alternate scenes, 12 in total that can be watched with or without commentary. I watch all these scenes and I felt that they add a little more to my overall experience of the film, as some of these scenes told us more about certain characters and helped explain areas that the film itself doesn't. For example where Noh's mother is.
            There is feature commentary with Nick Cassavetes the director, and also there is feature commentary with the novelist Nicholas Sparks.
            There are 3 featurettes-
            All in the family: Nick Cassavetes- this is all about the director
            Nicholas Sparks a simple story well told- is all about the autor
            Southern Exposure:locating the Notebook- is all about how they found the right location for filming, and all the things that needed to be done to make it look like 1940.
            There is also a bit about casting which includes Rachel McAdams' screen test, and a movie trailer.

            Overall a beautiful fantastic movie, that I am sure to watch again. The dvd has extras that are worth watching. I love this movie and would highly recommend it. It will make you cry, and even though most won't admit it, it will make the men in your life shed a tear or two as well.

            This review is also on ciao under the same user name.

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            • More +
              20.07.2012 22:41
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              another lovely Spot tale, this time with lift flaps

              I loved Spot growing up, as did my husband. After introducing Spot to our son with other Spot books (see my review on the book Spot loves his Mum) he is now a big fan of spot too. When my husband and I were on our honeymoon we came across this book, and thought it would be a nice little present to take back to our son.

              Spot goes on holiday, is one in a huge collection of Spot books by Eric Hill, there are also Spot dvds available. This book is how I remember spot books to be with lift flaps.

              This book is 6 inch square in size, and has carboard pages, so I guess it would be considered a board book. However the pages aren't as thick as most board books I have experienced. The spine of this book is a bit flimsy and I feel it could eventually come away from the individual pages. This book consists of 24 pages.

              Like most spot books this book doesn't follow a story as such more a series of statements. In this book we follow Spot, his mum and dad as they go to the beach, and share in all the fun things they get up to. Spot does everything from playing ball, to building sandcastles, and covering dad in sand, to fishing and making a new friend.

              Each statement/illustration is over two pages, and apart from the first, and the last two pages of the book, they all have one lift flap per two pages. Each lift flap, has a picture underneath that relates to the statement. For example on one page it says 'Puppy overboard!' . We see a picture of Spot's dad on a boat, and a lift flap of a large splash, when we lift the splash we find Spot underneath in his rubber ring. The flaps are made of thin carboard board, but are high quality and my son hasn't managed to rip any of them yet.

              Illustrations in this book, are classic Spot. They are bold, bright and colourful, yet they still have plenty of added background details, like buckets and spades, sea shells and crabs. These added details add another dimension to the book, and provide extra talking points to share with your child/children. My son enjoys telling me all the different things he can see in each picture, and talks about when he was at the beach searching for crabs with his grandad.

              Like in most spot books, the text is limited, and in bold large black font. This is great for holding a young child attention, and great for young readers to read along with the adults.

              The RRP on this book is £4.99, this might seem a little steep, but considering its a lift flap book, and a classic spot, I think its reasonable value.

              Overall another lovely Spot tale, that my son loves and i love reading with him. Only 4 stars due to the spine but the book as a whole was great.

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                19.07.2012 23:10
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                Little peppa books

                My 3 year old son, like most children his age is quite a fan of Peppa Pig. My husband and I got married last summer, and on the run up to the wedding my son was getting a little frustrated when we were in another shop for last minute wedding bits and pieces, he spotted these little Peppa books, and refused to put them down. Although we normaly don't give in, the run up to the wedding was stressful enough that we gave in and let him have them. They managed to keep him happy and amused for a little while, so it was all worth it in the end.

                Peppa Pig's Little Library consists of 6 little books, that are about 3 1/2 inches squared. The books slot into a cardboard storage box. I have seen many different little library collections with various different characters, but this is the first we have bought. The six little books are board books, which I love for kids as they are less likely to get damanged, however these books don't feel as well made as larger board books we have. The spines of the books feel a bit loose, although it hasn't happened yet I do worry that if my son pulls a little too hard, if the spine/cover of the book will come away.

                The cardboard box is open along one side, so you can see all the books spine on. There is a small semi circle (about finger tip size) cut out of the box on either side of the opening, so books are easy to remove. Sadly the box isn't as sturdy as I would have liked, and is close to falling apart. Although still in one piece at the moment, I can't see it standing the test of time, which will leave us wwith six little books that will no doubt get lost or forgotten about.

                The front cover and spine of each book, is in a different colour. Greens, blues, purple and yellows. This makes it easy to tell the difference between the books, so even though my son can't read yet, he is able to tell me which book he wants/ is his favourite, by telling me which colour book he wants.

                All six books have part of a picture on the back, that when put together, like a jigsaw form a picture of Peppa and her family in the infamous muddy puddle. This is a nice added touch, making the books not only books to read/look at together but a little puzzle to do together as well.

                The books don't follow a story as such, more a serious of statements that follow a different theme in each book. The books are
                Peppa's Family
                Peppa at playgroup
                Peppa at home
                Peppa's Friends
                Peppa's favourite things
                Peppa's garden
                Each book follows the same layout, with one statement about the illustration and then something relating to the illustration in speech marks. For example in the book Peppa at playgroup, there is a picture of Peppa and her little brother George painting pictures, with the statement, 'Peppa likes painting pictures' and then in speech marks we she Peppa asking "Do you like my very pretty flowers".
                I like how there are parts when the characters are talking, I put on different voices for the different characters, and my son and I have a good giggle. I find that theses parts also help the books relate a bit more to the tv series.

                The illustrations are bright, and colourful, making them great for young children. Although the books are small there is still plenty of detail in the illustrations, without being too small and unnoticeable. All the little details (for example the characters shadows) provide extra things to talk to your child about.
                Most of the goings on in the books will be easy for children to relate to, and provide various talking points to have with your child, e.g in Peppa at Home 'Peppa and George have a splashy time in the bathroom', here my son and I talk about bubbles in the bath and how much he too likes to splash.

                Due to the books being so small, they are great for popping in your bag to provide a little entertainment for your child when out and about. However I would say that they are not really bed time story material as there isn't a great deal to them. There isn't much in the way of educational value to them, and they to me are a bit overpriced for what you get. That being said my son seems to like them, and I have found them handy at times when on car journeys etc. I would also say that small books are great for small hands, but not so great for mummy or daddy hands.

                Overall a good little set of books to provide some entertainment for young children, but that aren't made to the highest standard.

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              • Moxie Tampons / Sexual Health / 51 Readings / 49 Ratings
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                14.07.2012 23:57
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                16 super girly non applicator tampons

                Let's face it, periods suck! So when I saw these Moxie tampons with the brand slogan 'Spoil Yourself', I thought I'd give them a go and see if I could add a little luxury to the dreaded time of the month.

                Moxie tampons come in three different variants, regular, super and super plus. For the purpose of this review I will be discussing the super tampons.

                The packaging is what drew me to these tampons, sitting on the shelf next to other feminine products they really stand out, they actually look really cute and pretty. These tampons came in a small box of 16 tampons. The box has a cut out window at the front, through the window you can see two small tins. The tins are cylinder in shape and only a few inches high. The tins and the box are pink and white stripes, which looks very cute and girly. The moxie logo features on both tins and the box. The logo is an oval shape with moxie written inside it and a little bow on top. The tin also has a little bow around it making it look like a little present. They almost look a little old fashioned, with a 50s feel to them. They look like the belong in a Boux avenue store. The box has all the information you need, from absorbency, changing info to recyclablity and contact info for moxie.

                Moxie says 'We girls deserve the best, all the time. That's why we created Moxie:quality tampons, securely protected in unique and discreet purse-worthy tins. Stylish and feminine with a hint of glam, we no longer have to keep tampons under wraps. Every day should be special... spoil yourself with Moxie.'

                Inside each tin there are 8 tampons, and an instruction leaflet. The tampons are tiny, they look like little bullets. They are non applicator tampons, and come with a twist of wrapper, that also has a little bow on it. This wrapper is said to be for easy and hygienic opening. When removed from the wrapper they have a good length of string which is also pink. These tampons also have a silken glaze coating meant to help provide effortless insertion. The super tampons are for a medium to heavy flow and an approximate absorbency of 9-12g. Moxie tampons are not flusable.

                The leaflet inside is also very cute and girly. Pink and full of little pictures of bows. The leaflet has a detail 5 steps for easy tampon use, which is handy for people who are new to tampons all together, or new to non appilcator tampons. A little information about the other tampons avaliable, and information on TSS (Toxic shock syndrome) which all tampon leaflets have.

                My experience. To be honest I hardly ever use non applicator tampons so for me these were a little tricky. The silken glaze for me wasn't noticeable, so made little difference to me. They did work well and at no point was I worried about them not being absorbent enough, (apart from the very first time I used them as I was in shock at how small they were). I wouldn't say they were uncomfortable but for me they were more noticeable than my usual brand (tampax pearl) which I find I hardly notice at all. The wrappers are great and twist of easily and quickly. The can be removed easily as the string is strong, long and bright pink. However for me its a bit of a negative thing that they don't flush, I'm not sure if its me or all girls fel this way but its just a bit of a pain when tampons aren't flusable. The little tins fit in handbags easily and can sit on the bathroom shelf without men (my husband) even knowing what they were. Great for when you are on a night out and only taken a little bag. The tins are recyclable, or can be reused, I have found quite a few uses for mine, including buttons and hair pins.

                Price- I picked these up in my local poundland, so although they aren't me favourite tampons, I can't argue with the value for money. They look like they should be much more expensive, largely due to the packaging.

                Overall, these are tampons with a little luxury. I would love it if Moxie had an applicator range as this would suit me better, however that being said, they are great value for money, and would be my second choice if I couldn't get my usual brand.

                Moxie also do Regular tampons which come in peach and white packaging, and super plus which come in blue and white.

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                  13.07.2012 19:18
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                  Cheap face wipes

                  I tend to use 'Simple' products on my face as I have fairly sensitive skin, however there are times, especially towards the end of the month when i am starting to run low on cash and look for cheaper alternatives. In this case I had ran out of my usual Simple wipes, and when I saw these in my local poundland, (2 packs for a pound) i picked them up.

                  Each packet comes with 25 wipes inside. 50 wipes for a pound. You can't really complain about that.

                  Packaging-
                  The wipes are in a dark blue plastic packet. The pure logo feautures clearly on the front, a green leaf with a dew drop and the word pure in the middle. There is a close up picture of a face (in green) with a target symbol on it and a list of the wipes aims. On the back of the packet, there are directions, the same aims featured on the front, cautions, and an ingredients list. The packet is the same size and shape as most other face wipe products. there is a resealable label at the top (like all wipes) allowing you to remove and reseal easily. In terms of packaging these wipes look fairly good quality, and certainly don't look as cheap as they are.

                  Wipes Claims/aims-
                  as stated on the product
                  'deep cleansing action with puryfying agents and zinc cleans and unclogs pores, removes makeup and unwanted oils protecting against blackheads and impurities'

                  Directions-
                  Wipes are generally pretty straight forward to use and these are no different. First simply peel back the resealable label and remove a wipe. Wipe gently over your face, neck and eye area, being careful to not get in the eye,(keep them closed). Then reseal the pack. These wipes are not flusable so need to go in the bin.

                  Usage/my experience-
                  The first thing I noticed about these wipes was the smell, the only way I can descibed the smell is a clean smell, it reminds me a little of tea tree oil but not as strong, these wipes are enriched with aloe vera, so this is more than likely the reason they smell this way.
                  On first feel, these wipes feel quite moist, which I think is always a good thing with wipes however, after a quick wipe over my face, I felt they had already started to dry out, so I needed quite a few for a overall clean feel. They were pretty good in terms of removing makeup, I didn't feel I had to scrub too hard, however I don't tend to wear too much makeup so people who wear heavy makeup may need to use more/or scrub a bit harder. My skin wasn't left feeling as clean as it usually does compared to other wipes I have used. After using the wipes my skin was left feeling quite tingly and a little itchy. About half hour to an hour after use my skin still felt this way, and was also feeling a little dry. I have sensitive skin, and think this is the reason for my negative experience, so therefore I would not recommend these to people with sensitive skin.

                  Cautions and other Information-
                  Avoid contact with eyes, sore or broken skin. Keep out of reach of children. These wipes are not tested on animals. Once opened use within six months.

                  Overall-
                  If you don't have sensitive skin, these wipes would be good to carry in your handbag, or use in an evening for quickness. However I would suggest avoiding if you have sensitive skin. I may have saved a few pounds buying these at the time, but I ended up having to buy my normal wipes anyway, I guess I got what I paid for. Two stars, as packaging was good, and removed makeup.

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                  • More +
                    10.07.2012 20:33
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                    a great little book to help with your childs potty training

                    I came across this book, after my mother in law bought it for my son when we were starting to potty train him. My son wasn't taking to potty training very easily and my mother in law thought this book might come in handy. It worked wonders.

                    Pip and Posy The Little Puddle, is one of a few in the Pip and Posy series of books, by Axel Scheffler, published by Nosy Crow. This book was published in 2011. This book is a good size at 220mm squared. It is aimed at young children, from 2 +. It is a padded hardback and has quite thick paper pages. The pages are just the right thickness, so not to rip and are also thick enough for a young child to turn themselves.

                    The story follows friends Pip (a rabbit) and Posy (a mouse). Pip comes to play at Posy's house, but they are having so much fun, that Pip forgets to use the potty and leaves a puddle on the floor. They have to stop playing, clean up and find Pip some of Posy's clothes to wear. They can then carry on playing, and the next time Pip needs to wee he remembers to use the potty.
                    The back of the book states,
                    'Pip and Posy are having such fun playing that Pip forgets he needs to wee. Soon there is a little puddle on the floor. Oh dear! Find out how the two friends overcome Pip's embarrassment in this gentle story about the trials and tribulations of potty training'
                    The story is fairly short, and there is only one or two sentences per two pages/illustration, so the story holds a young childs attention.

                    You may recognize the illustration style, as Axel Scheffler has illustrated lots of Julia Donaldson books including The Gruffalo. The illustrations in this book have lots of detail, and are bright and colourful. There are lots of little details that make the surroundings seem more real, and there are plenty of things children will be able to point out and relate to, wheter its a toy, piece of fruit, bath or the potty!!

                    There is also a poster that comes with this book, that slips in the back of the book. The picture is from one of the illustrations taking straight from the book, where Pip and Posy are playing with a big train track.

                    I found this book to be a little treasure, it really helped me with my son's potty training. It allowed me to tackle it in a more fun relaxed way. The poster was a nice idea, and became a constant reminder of the story for my son, seeing it up on the wall everyday. The book helped my son understand that it was ok to have accidents, and that they happpen to everyone, but that when you wet yourself although its ok, it spoils the fun. He learned that by having an accident it meant that like Pip and Posy he would have to stop playing as he would need to clean up, and get changed. However if he remembered to use the potty, its much quicker and less mess meaning he can go back to playing quicker. Although I did have some sucess with reward charts I felt this book helped me talk to my son in a different more positive way. I found with reward charts that he would get very upset and stressed out if he had had an accident and didn't receive a sticker. This book allowed me to talk to him about potty training without the upset, and I found this generally got a more positive reaction. I did however end up reading this book everyday sereval times a day. The book is also just a nice little story, for before or after potty training.

                    The book has an RRP of £7.99, which although seems a little steep for a childs book, its well worth it. I have however seen it for less than £5 online.

                    Overall a great little book to help with your childs potty training.

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                      09.07.2012 21:15
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                      Touchy feely christmas themed reindeer book

                      My son was given this book as a christmas gift quite a few years ago, when he was only a tiny little baby(still feels like yesterday), along with the That's not my penguin book. He has enjoyed these books greatly and now has quite a few in the range.

                      That's not my reindeer, is one in a huge range of Usborne That's not my books by Fiona Watt and illustrated vy Rachel Wells.These books are touchy feely books aimed at very young children. The range covers everything, from toys, animals, vehicles and fantasy characters. On the back of the book it describes the that's not my range of books as
                      "This delightful series of board books is aimed at very young children. The bright pictures, with their patches of different textures, are designed to develop sensory and language aawareness. Babies and toddlers will love turning the pages and touching the feely patches."

                      All the books in the range follow the same layout.
                      The book is a board book, that has a slightly thicker cover. The book is square in shape about 6 inches. I feel this is a great size book for both adult and child to handle. I really like board books for children, they are almost impossible to rip, and can deal with being chewed, or dropped. This book can easily be wiped clean as it has that laminated feel to it, so sticky handprints are easy to come off. The book is really sturdy and can stand just about anything a child can throw at it.

                      This book, as all in the series doesn't follow a story as such, more a series of statements as to why the reindeer on the page isn't our reindeer. Each page follows this layout until we get to the last page where we find our reindeer. Each reindeer has a different feel/texture to it for young children to explore.

                      The page has 10 pages in total, and one reindeer/texture is fetured on each 2 pages. The front cover also has a reindeer/texture on it, so the book begins before you even open it. The textures/feels in this book are furry, fuzzy, sparkly, velvety, hairy and shiny.

                      This book is a great introduction to textures for young children, but this book is also great for winter/christmas time. The pictures have a great christmas feel to them with pictures of snow and snowflakes, allowing you to chat to your child about the winter season and all it has to offer. One of the pictures even has part of a christmas tree. One of the reindeers in the book has a shiny red nose, my son and I love to sing Rudloph when we get to this page, getting us right in the christmas sprit. This however does limit the book a little, you don't want to be singing Rudloph in May, so I do tend to put this book away through most of the year and get it out again near christmas.

                      Illustrations in this book are large, colourful and very eye catching, so are great for little ones. The background detail adds a extra dimension to the book, without it being too much and taking away from the textures. There is also a little mouse that features on each page, front and back cover too, which my son has enjoyed pointing out. The font is large and black, and now my son is older I find that this helps him to follow the words on the page, coming in handy when learning to read.

                      The pages are easy for children to turn by themselves, giving children a great first/early experience into the world of books. I found as my son got older, I was able to leave him with the book and he could amuse himself, feeling all the different textures as I got on with that little bit of housework thats always there to do.

                      These books do have an rrp of £5.99, which I think is a bit overpriced for this kind of book, however I have seen them online cheaper, and in various stores in 3 for 2 offers.

                      Overall a great book for young children, however this one in the range is more limited to the time of year.

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                      • Blue Valentine (DVD) / DVD / 52 Readings / 51 Ratings
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                        06.07.2012 00:04
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                        a beautiful masterpiece that has gone a bit unnoticed.

                        I found this film on a bit of an off chance. My husband and I were having a look round our local Hmv store for a few cheap dvds, and I found this for just £4. I hadn't heard very much about this film but after reading the back of the dvd box, I felt it was something I would quite enjoy. What I got though was so much better. After seeing this film I can't believe it hasn't proved more popular, I found this film a true masterpiece.

                        Blue Valentine is the 2010 romantic drama, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The film stars Ryan Gosling (from The Notebook) and Michelle Williams ( the blonde one from Dawson's Creek and Brokeback Mountain). The film runs for approx 107 mins and was directed by Derek Cianfrance.

                        The film follows couple Dean (Gosling) and Cindy (Williams), as they begin their relationship together and as their marriage starts to fall apart. We are flipped between their present day and their past.

                        The film begins with a little girl outside looking for her dog, when she can't find her dog she goes inside her home, to her mum (Cindy) and Dad (Dean). Cindy looks like a busy rushed of her feet mum, and Dean looks scruffy and hungover. Here we get to see how different the couple are, including with their daughter. As a viewer you are able to see/ feel that all is not well pretty much from the get go. Dean is more of the fun Dad to Frankie while Cindy is the laying down the law Mum. We see the couple go about their day to day lives, at work to the school play.
                        We are then sent back to about 6 or so years before, where we meet a younger, much more handsome Dean. Dean is working with a removal firm, and we see him discussing love and relationships with his co workers. It is quite clear from here on out that Dean is a bit of a hopeless romantic who believe in love at first sight.
                        We then meet young Cindy, who is busy at college and has a boyfriend Bobby. Cindy also helps take care of her eldery grandmother, where we see Cindy discussing love. It is when Cindy returns her grandmother back to the nursing home that the young couple meet for the first time.
                        The film continues to flip between the present day, and past. We get to witness how the young couple first get together, sharing some romantic moments and intimate moments too. We watch them fall in love, but it is not all plain sailing. We as a viewer are invitied into all the behide closed door moments. We also get to see their arguements and how they have both dramatically changed throughout their marriage, resulting in there being a huge crack in their marriage. We see every tear, every laugh and smile. Will it all work out in the end?

                        This film moved me in ways I wasn't expecting. You actually feel like you are in this relationship. I went through so many emontions, I laughed out loud and cried like a baby. This film will take you on a rollercoaster of emontions. As the viewer you can feel/sense the mood & tension in the scene before a word is spoken. The film allows you to see and feel things from both sides of the relationship. We may feel that Dean has over reacted to something in the present day, but when we flip back to the past we can then understand his reasons for acting the way he does in the present. Gosling and Williams are fantastic together, and give off great chemistry. This is largely to do with the fact they improvised alot of scenes. There is a part in the film, when the young couple are wondering the streets getting to know each other, that was unscripted. After doing some research I have found that Gosling and Williams went to great lenghts to become their characters including renting a home, and buying food etc on their characters budgets. Getting a real feel for how things would be. Although I have seen both Williams and Gosling in other films, I haven't really stepped up and took notice of either of them before. I really believe this film sees them both at their best, and it sad more people haven't seen this film, and apprreciate the acting talent they share. There isn't a plot as such with this film, more just a tale of love but I don't feel the lack of real plot really matters here, down to the fantastic acting and moving relatable scenes, it works!

                        This film reminded me a little of the film Candy but on a more relatable scale, with a much more everyday feel to it. Although the film is about everyday people, and the situations they find themseleves in, its still very hard hitting, and in some places it can be hard to watch. There is so much depth in this film. Even the scenes that overall aren't that important, add another dimension to it, for example Cindy helping her elderl grandmother getting dressed and into bed. This on a whole isn't all that important to the story, but it was still a very touching scene and helped add another layer to Cindy's character. The film as a whole is very powerful. It made me cling to my husband and promise each other never to let things get as bad as Cindy and Dean do.

                        The only negative thing I have to say about the film is that it ended to soon. I felt like I was in the relationship and I was left not knowing what the future really held. Although it looks as if the film is ending one way, it is almost left open ended too. Things could still change.

                        This is a fantastic film for anyone who has ever fallen in love, or out of it.

                        Blue Valentine is not only a great film, but also features some amazing music, especially that of Indie band Grizzly Bear. Ryan Gosling also wrote and performs some songs himself.

                        The film is rated a 15, which I feel is appropriate, due to quite a few sex scenes, some very emontional scenes including one in a doctors office, and there is a bit of violence too.

                        The Dvd comes with quite a few extras too. There are some delted scenes, a making of, home movies and a director & editor commentary. There is also a Q & A which does include Williams and Gosling. I don't always watch extras, but I was so taken with this film, I wanted all I could get. I'm sure you will too.

                        Overall a beautiful masterpiece that has gone a bit unnoticed.

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                          03.07.2012 22:36
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                          Touchy feely penguin book

                          My son got this book as a christmas present quite a few years ago, when he was only a month old. He now has quite a few of this style of book and has really enjoyed them all.

                          That's not my penguin, is one in a huge range of Usborne 'That's not my' books, by Fiona Watt, illustrated by Rachel Wells. These books are touchy feely books, aimed at very young children. The books in the range cover a range of things, from toys, animals, vehicles and fantasy charcters. The books all follow the same style/layout.

                          This book, like all Thats not my books, is a board book, with a slightly thicker front cover. The books are square shaped and are about 6 inch squares in sizw. The book is the perfect size for both adult and child. I really like board books especially for young children as they are almost impossiblt to rip, and with that wipe clean laminated feel to both covers and pages, they are easy to clean. Sticky handprints or baby dribble can easily be wiped off. The book is really sturdy and can deal with all the events of a baby/toddlers day to day life, being thrown out the buggy, to being chewed on.

                          That's not my penguin doesn't follow a story as such, but a series of statements as to why the penguin on that page is not our penguin. This is the same on each page until we find our penguin on the last two pages. Each penguin has a different feel/texture for your child to explore.

                          The book consists of 10 pages, with one penguin/texture spread across 2 pages. The front cover also has a textured penguin. The textures/feels featured in the book are, fuzzy, velvety, silky, shiny, rubbery and fluffy.

                          This book, like all in the range is aimed at very young children, and is a great introduction to textures. This book is also great for showing your child about the winter season, making it perfect for christmas time. Most pictures feature snow, so I found this a great topic to talk to my son about as he grew more aware. We also see the penguins doing things that penguins do like swimming and gliding on ice, makes the penguins and there habits another topic of conversation to have with your child.

                          The illustrations in the book, are large, colourful, and very eye catching, making them great for the little ones. The illustrations have some background detail, like snow and snowflakes, but nothing too much as to distract children from the textures. My son does find the penguin on the first two pages scary, and I can kind of see what he means, but the rest are really cute. There is also a little mouse on each page, that once my son was a little old he liked to point out to me. The font is large and black, and although the textures aren't that intresting to my son now he is 3, I have found these books great for getting him to follow the words on the page, and I believe they will come in handy when he is learning to read.

                          The board book pages make the pages easier to turn with their little hands, giving them the experience of books from an early age. The books have also stood the test of time, and I know I can keep these books for my future children I may have, or pass on, as all the books my son owns in this series look as good as new.

                          I also found as my son got a bit older I could give him the book to look at, and amuse himself while I got on with the dishes or that other little bit of housework that never gets done.

                          Overall a great little book for young children. The books in the Thats not my range are a great introduction to textures, and to books in general. However as there isn't too much of a story to them, parents may get a little bored of them.

                          This book and others in the range have an RRP of £5.99, which I feel is a little on the steep side, however you can pick them up in various offers in stores and online.

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                            03.07.2012 21:24
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                            A novel full of secrets, twists and turns.

                            After reading The Lost Daughter by Diane Chamberlain, I went on the hunt for more of her novels. I came across this one 'The Midwife's Confession', I was drawn to it straight away, mostly by the title, as I thought it sounded intresting and the picture of the little baby shoes on the cover made my heart melt.

                            Diane Chamberlain is an American award winning author, writing adult fiction book,aimed more at the female market. Before starting out as an author Diane Chamberlaine was a psychotherapist, which I feel influences the way she writes, (that being a good thing). She also suffers from rheumatoid arthritis.

                            Her books come with a 'As good as Jodi Picolt or get your money back' guarantee. Although I understand why this has been put on there, as Jodi Picolt fans will be drawn to it, I feel Diane Chamberlain really is a great author in her own right now, and feel its time to let this one go.

                            Her books focus on all types of relationships and from the few book I have read tend to involve secrets and what happens when they come out.

                            The Midwife's Confession. The book is based around Noelle, Tara and Emerson. The three women have been friends from university and have a very strong friendship, which has seen them through most things. Noelle is a midwife with a unique personality and take on life. Tara has just lost her husband Sam, and is struggling with grief,and raising teenage daughter Grace. Emerson is a busy mum to teenage daughter Jenny, wife to Ted, and running a busy busines called Hot!. Emerson also has a very sick Grandfather. Teenage daughter Grace and Jenny are also the best of friends.

                            The book begins in present time (2010). Where we find Noelle struggling to cope and feeling as if she has a huge weight on her shoulders leading to her committing suicide. This happens very early in the book. Noelle's suicide shocks everyone. Tara and Emerson refuse to let the fact Noelle killed herself go, and while cleaning out Noelle's house they begin to search for answers.
                            What they find will change everything. A half written letter that was never meant to be read, leaves the two women with more questions than answers. The letter reveals a terrible secret that Noelle has been carrying around with her and keeping from everyone for years. The two friends are left wondering if they really knew Noelle at all. As they dig deeper into the truth, they keep uncovering more of Noelle's secrets. Tara and Emerson go on a journey throughout the book into Noelle's real life, and work together to uncover what really happened the day Noelle changed forever. The answers they find will not only change their lives for ever, but their families, friends and even the life of a complete stranger and her family.

                            The book is plit into 3 parts. Part one is split from the diferent points of view of Noelle, Emerson and Tara. Part 2 again follows the three women, but we are also introduced to Anna, who although is a stranger at this point, her story and point of view become very important as the book goes on. Part 3 follows all previous 4 woman and Grace (Tara's daughter).
                            Each chapter is told from one woman's point of view. For the most part the book is set in present day (2010), but some chapters jump back in to the past. This is however clearly written in italics at the start of each chapter and therefore is easy to follow.

                            I really enjoyed this book. I was a little worried after enjoying The Lost Daughter so much, if this would live up to what I expected, but I wasn't let down. I was hooker on this book from the start. A suicide as an opening to a book, was very unusual, dramatic and captivating. I found the book always kept me guessing, and just when I thought I could guess what was about to happen, there was another twist or bombshell to think about. This kept going throughout the book, and there is a big twist at the end that I just didn't see coming. The actual Midwife's confession comes out fairly early on in the book, and the rest of the book is more about the details and how this confession coming out effects those left to deal with it, and how they go about finding out the whole truth.
                            I liked how the book was based both in the present day and in the past, as it allowed me to get to know the characters and how their pasts have shaped their future, especially Noelle.
                            The book features so many different relationships, from friends, mothers and daughters, fathers and daughters, to even lovers. As a reader you are also let into the private moments, and the relationships that the other characters are unaware of, including Noelle's friendship with Tara's husband Sam.
                            Many issues and emontions are covered throughout, including death, illness and grief, adding yet another dimension to the book, and allowing readers to relate to the characters. The book is written with everyones emontions/feelings taken into consideration, and even though we may not agree with things people have done, we get to see things from their point of view, and can't help but sympathise.
                            I also liked how we got to know Anna as well. I enjoyed learning her back story and am glad Anna's character wasn't just brought in as background character. I feel getting to know Anna and her family really helped shape the outcome of the book.
                            My only real negative about the book, was that I was left wanting more. Once we have the answer and the big twist at the end, it's only briefly mention at the end about what happened next. I could have read another novel on the outcome of this alone.

                            Overall another great read fromDiane Cha,berlaine. A novel that keeps you guessing. I would highly recommend this book. The book is easy to read, and some of the chapters are quiet short, so you can squezze a chapter or two in even when short on time. I have since started reading another Chamberlaine novel called The Shadow Wife so keep your eyes peeled for a review on that one soon.

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                              29.06.2012 23:11
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                              Spot's off to the farm in this touch and feel book

                              I loved Spot growing up, as did my husband, so when we had our son, Spot books were a must. There are lots of Spot books, and dvds out there and my son has many, some of which used to be his Daddy's. I have previously reviewed the Spot Loves His Mum book.

                              We bought this book for my son on his first birthday and it was one of the first spot books we bought him.

                              Spot's Touch and feel farm is one of many spot books by Eric Hall. This book is one of the larger spot books available and is slightly smaller than A4 in size. The pages are that of a board book. The cover is slightly thicker than the pages. Like I mentioned in my other Spot Book review I really like books with sturdy board pages as they tend to last longer and are alot harder to damage. They also have that wipe clean feel, so they can be easily wiped clean with a baby wipe. The book consists of 10 pages. Each page has a large bright classic spot illustration, and has large font, bold black writing.

                              Like most Spot books, this book doesn't follow a story as such, more like statements of things Spot has seen or done at the farm. I think this is a good thing with this book as it is aimed at young children, and due to all the touch and feel elements that feature on each page, there is lots to see and do (feel). Each two pages feature one thing spot has seen or done while at the farm. For example the first two pages, "Moo! Spot milks a cow.' There is a detailed picture of Spot milking a cow, and the surrounding farm, there is a touch and feel element on one page. The next eight pages follow the same layout, and each feature a different animal, and also each have two touch and feel elements. The front cover also has some touch and feels, including a bright yellow fluffy chick.

                              The book states it is suitable for 12 months plus. I believe that it would be fine for a slightly younger child too. This book is a great way to introduce children to different textures, and I used to love watching my son's face when he experienced a new texture for the first time, that look of what's that mummy. I also think that the farm is a good topic you can talk to your child about, and this book helps teach children about farm animals and there surroundings. It also helped my son to understand where things came from. For example milk comes from a cow and chickens give us eggs. The touch and feel elements allowed my son to entertain himself, as he didn't need me to read it to him for him to be able to enjoy it. This was handy for when I needed to get a quick job done. I have also found Spot books, including this one excellent at helping my son to read, as the words are mostly basic and there are only 5 or so words on each page. Plus the words are in a large font.

                              Overall I think this is a really great book, not only for very young children, but for those a little older and starting to learn to read, like my son who is now 3 almost 4. It provides a good topic to discuss with your child, but also has an element of fun with the touch and feel magic.

                              The RRP of this book is £6.99, but you can get it much cheaper online. We picked it up in a local discounted book store for a few pounds.

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