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since 23/04/2008


The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins 17/06/2015

Better than Gone Girl!

The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins Rachel takes the same commuter trains every morning and evening. Every day, her train passes a stretch of cosy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to watch a couple who live in one of the houses. Sometimes they are sat outside on their makeshift roof terrace .Rachel starts to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then Rachel sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Suddenly everything has changed and unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? To read or not to read? I will begin by saying that I was in no particular rush to read The Girl On The Train after being given it to read by my daughter. The reason being that it was being described as the new "Gone Girl" which was enough to make me be discouraged from reading it. Indeed I was previously left dissapointed after falling for the hype of "thriller of the year" Gone Girl, a novel which certainly did not live up to the hype in my opinion. Therefore, if I was disappointed by Gone Girl was I going to be equally disappointed with The Girl On The Train? I decided to give it a chance after it had sat on my bookshelf for a while, with the promise to myself that if I found it to be hard going or ...

Premier Inn Carlisle Central North, Carlisle 28/04/2015

Not the best in Carlisle.

Premier Inn Carlisle Central North, Carlisle I needed to book a hotel in Carlisle recently as we had tickets to see Paul Weller at the Sands Centre. My first port of call was the Premier Inn website, as I know Premier Inn have a few hotels in Carlisle and we have previously stayed in a couple of them. The big factor however was the price. Having used Premier Inn a lot, I know there are cheap rooms to be had when you book at the Saver Rate - non-refundable if you cancel. Given that it was a Saturday night stay I was wanting to book, I wasn't hopeful of getting a £29 room, as these never seem to be available for Saturday stays, but I hoped to still find something reasonable and I did! Carlisle Central North was available at the Saver Rate of £39, so I booked it immediately. I wasn't expecting to get a room that cheap on a Saturday night, especially when Paul Weller was playing a sold out gig in town, so I was very happy! Premier Inn - Carlisle Central North This hotel was one of the Premier Inns in Carlisle that I had not stayed in previously. However, it seemed ideal for our needs and also had a 'Flaming Grill' bar/restaurant ( The Gosling Bridge) next door. We were travelling by car from Newcastle and having to driven to Carlisle many times, the only directions I needed were those to the hotel from the A69 which sounded easy enough following a quick look on Google maps. The hotel has two floors and adequate free parking. It is situated on Kingstown Road/A7 so can be reached easily by local transport too. Our ...

The Body Shop Tea Tree Lotion 24/03/2015

It works!

The Body Shop Tea Tree Lotion I am quite a fan of The Body Shop's Vitamin E moisturiser since being given some as a gift last year, so when I used it all up I decided to buy myself some more. Now usually I would purchase from The Body Shop online, as they regularly have discounts and special offers and I find making my purchases online can actually work out cheaper than buying in store. However on this occasion I was in town and decided to call into the actual store. They had a 3 for 2 offer on skincare and so I picked up my moisturiser and decided to have a look at the other products. I was drawn to the Tea Tree range as I had recently been using the facial wash from this range and liked it, as found it was helping soothe the sensitive skin on my face which I had been experiencing. I have combination skin and have found as I have got older that I can sometimes suffer from red patches or blemishes, particularly in the winter months as the skin on my face becomes more dry at this time. As someone who has had clear skin for years, I found this quite annoying and troublesome. Whilst I can hide the blemishes with concealer when they appear, my face can sometimes feel sore, despite my regular moisturising routine. I found that swapping soap for The Body Shop's Tea Tree Facial Wash had helped , but was still on the lookout for something which could make my blemishes disappear. Tea Tree Skin Clearing Lotion When I saw the words 'Skin Clearing Lotion' whilst browsing the Tea Tree range, I was therefore ...

Thierry Mugler Alien Eau Extraordinaire Eau de Toilette 23/02/2015

Not as extraordinary as Alien, but still out of this world!

Thierry Mugler Alien Eau Extraordinaire Eau de Toilette I fell in love with Thierry Mugler's 'Angel' perfume back in the 90's and still use it to this day. I thought the fragrance couldn't be surpassed until they launched their 'Alien' fragrance a few years later in 2005. My favourite fragrances to this day are Angel and Alien, with Alien being my favourite of the two. So, when Alien Eau Extraordinaire was launched last year I was of course very keen to try it and headed off to the Debenhams perfume counter to try the tester. As this edition looks somewhat less striking than the bold purple glass Alien bottle, I expected Alien Eau Extraordinaire to be a more subtle fragragnce than Alien and I was right. My initial impression was that it was once again, a very nice fragrance but not as strong or musky as Alien itself. Fast forward a few weeks and I was lucky enough to be given a bottle of Alien Eau Extraordinaire as a birthday present and I could now wear it often and decide what I really thought of this new fragrance. Alien Eau Extraordinaire The design of the bottle follows the style of the Thierry Mugler collection, resembling a gem stone and golden detail. The actual body of the bottle is curvier than the original Alien and is transparent, all of which present this as a more feminine looking fragrance than its counterparts. I am not a particularly feminine person when it comes to clothes and fragrance. I avoid all things pink and floral and also have never been a lover of any floral fragrance, preferring muskier, spicy ...

Travelodge Chester-le-Street Hotel, Durham 17/02/2015

As quiet as a mouse....

Travelodge Chester-le-Street Hotel, Durham Although I live in the North East of England, I often stay at hotels which aren't very far from home, particularly when attending a concert, family occasion or night out. The reason being, you can often bag a Premier Inn or Travelodge room at a bargain price, which proves cheaper than the cost of a taxi home. Although Premier Inn remains my budget hotel brand of choice, I am happy to consider other options, including Travelodge, which at one time I used frequently, until I thought it began to go downhill and then Premier Inn proved to be the better option in my opinion. Just before Christmas I needed a hotel in the County Durham area and a friend recommended Chester-le-Street Travelodge, having stayed there herself on a couple of occcasions. She informed me that in her opinion this particular Travelodge was "one of the better ones" and she had always been satisfied with her stays there. She also likes the Vintage Inn pub/restaurant 'The Church Mouse' which sits adjacent to the hotel. It sounded good to me and was in an area which would suit my needs exactly for that night and so I looked up the Travelodge website to take a closer look. Chester-le-Street Travelodge Chester-le-Street Travelodge is situated on the Great Nort Road not far from Chester-le-Street itself. It is an ideal base for visting Durham County Cricket Ground, Lumley Castle and Beamish Open Air Museum, which are all easily reached a short car journey away. It is situated just over 4 miles away from Durham ...

Sell-Ideas Samsung Glaxy S5 Leather Wallet Case 22/01/2015

Excellent case for your S5!

Sell-Ideas Samsung Glaxy S5 Leather Wallet Case A few weeks before Christmas my mobile phone contract was due to end and I was offered an upgrade. I had been perfectly happy with my Samsung mobile and the only phone worth considering I thought was an upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy S5. However, this would mean paying more each month than I wanted to and so I was considering not upgading, when my network provider then offered me a 'special offer' plan which I thought was good value, for only a little more than I had been paying, and including a free S5 phone plus more data and minutes than I had previously enjoyed. Upgrade complete, I left the shop happy with my new Samsung Galaxy S5. I had chosen the metallic blue phone and loved the colour, however, I knew I would have to buy a protective case for it and so really the colour of the phone wasn't that important. Indeed buying a protective case was something I wanted to do as quickly as possible. I had previously had a case on my old phone, but the S5 is a bigger phone and therefore my old case would not fit. I am grateful I purchased a case for my old phone as I have dropped my phone or it has fallen out of my bag on a couple of occasions and because of the case there was no damage to my phone. With the S5 being even bigger, there was no way I was going to leave it unprotected, and as much as I liked looking at the colour of the back of the phone, it would have to be covered up to protect it from drops and scratches. I had purchased a flip-style cover from my old phone ...

Remington D5220 PRO-AIR Turbo 13/01/2015

Blown away with this bargain!

Remington D5220 PRO-AIR Turbo In the run up to Christmas I knew that my hairdryer was possibly on its last legs as it would make a strange noise now and then. However, I hoped it would see me over Christmas at least, then I could maybe pick one up in the sales. It chose to finally stop working on Christmas Day of all days, which wouldn't have been so bad except that I was working that day and so it was a bit of a rush to work after having to wake my daughter to ask where her hairdryer was, as I needed to borrow it. The weekend after Christmas I ventured into town and went into Boots to take a look at the half-price sale and it was there that I spotted this Remington Pro-Air hairdryer, half-price at only £15 instead of £30. My daughter was more than happy to keep sharing her hairdryer with me, however, I was also bearing in mind that if myself or my daughter went away for a break, one of us would be left without a hairdryer as we both like to take our own hairdryer away with us. Therefore this hairdryer seemed to tick all the boxes for me when looking to purchase a new one, in that it was a great price, a good brand and most importantly for me, it was an Ionic hairdryer. I have used Remington products in the past too and have always been happy enough with them. Since discovering the advantages of owning a hairdryer with ionic conditioning after buying an Andrew Collinge ionic hairdryer around 13 years ago, I have since refused to use anything else. This is because the results I get after drying my hair ...

Pantene Pro-V Repair&Protect Conditioner 03/01/2015

I have been lured back to Pantene!

Pantene Pro-V Repair&Protect Conditioner Up until a couple of years ago, I swore by Pantene shampoo and condiioner and could not be swayed from the Smooth & Sleek range. Even if I used a different shampoo occasionally, nothing could tempt me away from Pantene Smooth & Sleek conditioner. Then I began to notice these products were no longer giving me the results I wanted. Instead of the smooth and soft look and feel I was used to achieving, I found the conditioner was leaving my hair looking slightly lank and the ends weren't as smooth as they usually were, despite regular trims. Now this could be down to my hair changing as I get older, or it could be that the product had been changed or 'improved' as often happens. Sometimes product 'improvements' infuriate me, as this has often ruined a favourite product of mine. The same goes when products are swapped for a new range or discontinued and I am left feeling disappointed. Whatever the reason in the case of Smooth & Sleek however, I found I wasn't happy at all with the results I was getting and began trying different products in my quest to find the perfect shampoo and conditioner. I have found a couple of new favourites, but unfortunately one of the conditioners I found and loved, has recently been discontined in favour of a new range which sadly doesn't live up to its predecessor. Therefore once again I was on the hunt for a conditioner to love. Repair & Protect I have tried some expensive conditioners and found one or two decent ones which I still buy if on ...

John Frieda Full Repair Strengthen & Restore Conditioner 17/12/2014

Repair your hair!

John Frieda Full Repair Strengthen & Restore Conditioner I always use a conditioner after shampooing my hair and have always had one or two favourites I liked to use, but unfortunately they have often been out of my price range if not on promotion. Therefore I tried to stock up where possible after spotting them at lower prices now and again. I actually ran out of conditioner recently however and needed to buy some. So I was happy to notice that the John Frieda brand was part of a promotional offer whilst shopping in my local Morrisons, but unhappy to realise that my preferred 'Brilliant Brunette' conditioner from John Frieda was actually out of stock. There were other John Frieda conditioners available however and I decided I would try one. Full Repair The Full Repair range is something I have tried before, when I purchased the Perfect Ends spray, but I had never tried the shampoo or conditioner as always plumped for the Brilliant Brunette ones. Full Repair offers a range of shampoo, conditioner, stylers and treatments for your hair and after studying the different conditioners I decided upon this 'Strengthen & Restore' condtioner. Priced at just £3 instead of the usual £6 per tube, it was a half-price bargain and sounded ideal for my hair. I have always been pleased with other John Frieda products, with Brilliant Brunette being a firm favourite of mine, so I did feel pretty confident about my puchase. Strengthen & Restore This condtioner is said to have a strengthening formula, with Inca Inchi Oil, rich in omega-3, which ...

L'Oreal L'Oréal EverRiche Nourishing and Flowing Conditioner 15/12/2014

Go with the flow!

L'Oreal L'Oréal EverRiche Nourishing and Flowing Conditioner A few months ago I set out to find a new conditioner suitable for my hair as I was becoming a little disillusioned with those I was using. I wasn't getting the results I expected and wondered if the product has changed or maybe my hair condition was changing. I have fairly long hair which can become dry at the ends, despite regular trimming, but oily at the roots. My hair is also wavy and can become frizzy in hot or humid conditions if getting wet in the rain. I always use a conditioner each time I wash my hair and also I often buy a deep conditioning hair mask or treatment. I decided I would try some of the more expensive conditioners around, but waited until I spotted them on offer first, as I find hair products are often part of promotional deals in supermarkets and stores such as Boots and Superdrug. L'Oreal Hair Expertise EverRiche Nourishing & Flowing Conditioner was one I spotted on offer at Morrisons supermarket a few months back. The price stated it was usually £6, but it was part of a half-price offer and so just £3 at the time for a regular sized tube. After reading the product information on the tube, I decided I would give this a go whilst it was half-price. These onditioners are advertised as hair care products specifically designed for very dry and rebellious hair. Enriched with botanical oils, the formula leaves hair feeling intensley nourished whilst helping to protect from dryness. Now whilst I wouldn't go as far as to say I have very dry or rebellious ...

Avon Paddle Brush 14/12/2014

A good quality hairbrush from Avon.

Avon Paddle Brush I have long hair and so always like to use quality brushes when brushing my hair to try and help protect it and minimise damage. A few years back, a friend at work used to bring her Avon brochure in to work and whilst flicking through it I spotted some brushes which were part of a promotional special price at around £2- £3 each at the time. I noticed these paddle brushes but didn't really like the look of them and thought they would be awkward to use, but I did order a vented brush instead. When it came, I was impressed with the quality of the brush for the price I paid and it was a really good hairbrush. Not long after my purchase, my daughter mentioned paddles brushes. She has long hair too and regularly used straighteners on her wavy hair and told me the hairdresser had mentioned using a paddle brush. Christmas was approaching and I bought her a paddle brush from the Toni & Guy range in Boots. It was around the £8 mark at the time and she was delighted with it. I thought back to when I saw them in my friend's Avon brochure and decided that if these brushes were ever on promotion again, I would buy one and try it. Although I was happy with my vented hairbrush, my daughter enthusing about her paddle brush made me keen to try it out and I thought that if I bought one for £2 or £3 then it wasn't a lot of money to spend if I didn't like it. It was only a couple of months or so after this that I spotted these paddle brushes once again in my friend's Avon brochure and they were ...

Yankee Candle Black Cherry Wax Tart 03/12/2014

Great longevity from Black Cherry.

Yankee Candle Black Cherry Wax Tart Whenever I am in town I like to treat myself to a couple of Yankee Candle Wax Tarts. Priced at £1.35 on average, they are ideally priced to give yourself a little treat if you're a candle lover like me. Buying these wax tarts or the votive sampler candles from the huge Yankee range, also means you are able to try out the different fragrances without paying out a lot of money. I would hate to spend a lot of money on the expensive glass jar candles in the Yankee range only to find I am not keen on the fragrance. I had noticed this Black Cherry fragrance a while back when treating myself to some wax tarts, but at the time they only had a glass jar available and so I made a mental note to keep looking out for it in wax tart format. Fortunately for me, I have a kind daughter who often treats me to some wax tarts too and so I was really pleased when on my recent birthday, she surprised me with some wax tarts and one of them was Black Cherry. You can smell the fragrance of Yankee's wax tarts through their clear shrinkwrap packaging and this one has a lovely fruity cherry scent, which Yankee describe as a delicious sweetness of rich, ripe black cherries. I have generally found that the strength of fragrance from a wax tart whilst it is still in its wrapping is a good indicator of how strong the throw from it will be when you are burning it. Usually if the fragrance seems weak, then it doesn't last as long or give off as strong a fragrance when burning as the stronger scented ones. ...

Premier Inn Nottingham West, Nottingham 24/11/2014

Ideal Nottingham hotel, especially when driving!

Premier Inn Nottingham West, Nottingham Having booked tickets for my partner's birthday to see a band play at Rock City in Nottingham, I needed to find a reasonably priced hotel room for the night too. We were going to be driving down from the North East and as it was my partner's birthday I wanted to make a night of it for him and stay over. I was looking around online and found this Premier Inn at Nottingham West was available for just £29 for the night I wanted. Having taken advantage of many Premier Inn cheap room rates in the past, I knew I was getting a bargain and as it was so cheap, I decided to book two nights at £29 per night and travel down the day before the gig. Location As we were going to be driving down to Nottingham, I didn't really want to book a city centre hotel as I am not keen on driving in city centres when I am not familiar with the area, so this Nottingham West Premier Inn seemed ideally situated on the outskirts of the city centre and easily accessed from the M1. It sounded easy enough to locate from the M1 and I am happy to report we experienced no problems finding this hotel. After leaving the M1 at junction 26, it was simply a matter of following the A610 to Nottingham for less than a mile, until we spotted the Premier Inn and adjacent Millers Barn Beefeater pub restaurant from the main road, located on Phoenix Park, where there is also a handy tram link to take you into the city centre. Premier Inn Nottingham West The hotel looked quite large from the outside and covers three ...

Yankee Candle Fruit Fusion Wax Tart 19/11/2014

Great scent, shame it disappeared so suddenly!

Yankee Candle Fruit Fusion Wax Tart After reading some great reviews of Yankee's Fruit Fusion, I was looking forward to burning the wax tart version of this fragranced wax, which my daughter bought me as a gift. As a fan of fruity fragrances, I was confident this was going to be one of my Yankee favourites. Fruit Fusion seems to be an ideal fragrance for the summer months. Described as 'Summer-licious' this wax tart is a fusion of berries, orange and lime. Sweet and tangy with an inviting warm orange coloured wax, this tart appealed immediately on all counts. You can expect to achieve around 8 hours of fragrance from burning a wax tart and I have found this varies from fragrance to fragrance. Whilst most wax tarts will provide you with the 8 hours fragrance or even longer on some occasions, there have been times when I have also experienced the odd poor fragrance here and there which has disappointed me and fallen way short of providing 8 hours of fragrance. Thankfully this has been rare and I have mostly found these Yankee wax tarts to be a quality product and from the strength of fragrance from this Fruit Fusion wax tart before I had even removed it from its packaging, I had high hopes that this would be another strong, long-lasting quality wax tart from Yankee. When placing my Fruit Fusion wax tart into my burner and lighting a tealight underneath, it was only around two minutes later when I began to detect the fruity fragrance filling the air. It was initially very strong and emitted a lovely citrus ...

Yankee Candle Christmas Cookie Wax Tart 10/11/2014

Cookies are not just for Christmas!

Yankee Candle Christmas Cookie Wax Tart Yankee Candle's Christmas Cookie wax tart was one I first sampled last Christmas. It was quite a bargain buy at the time, as I spotted a lot of the Christmas range from Yankee reduced in price in a branch of Collectables. Reduced to just 50p each, this was less than half the usual price of £1.20 - £1.30 per wax tart at the time, so being the wax tart fanatic that I am, I seized the opportunity to stock up and bought quite a few of the wax tarts. You can smell the fragrance of Yankee's wax tarts through their clear packaging before opening them and this one had a lovely sweet scent as I held it up to my nose before making my purchase, which Yankee describe as buttery rich, vanilla scented, holiday sugar cookies. I could definitely smell the vanilla which is actually a fragrance I am not so keen on, but here it certainly has a 'buttery' scent which does indeed remind me of home baking. I have also generally found that the strength of fragrance from a wax tart whilst it is still in its wrapping is a good indicator of how strong the throw from it will be when you are burning it. Usually if the fragrance seems weak, then it doesn't last as long or give off as strong a fragrance when burning, as the stronger scented ones. For good longevity I prefer the stronger smelling wax tarts and Christmas Cookie certainly has a strong but very appealing scent. Longevity varies with these wax tarts,with some lasting longer than the approx 8 hours burn time and I thought that this one may ...
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