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Sparklemouse

Sparklemouse

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Reviews written

since 30/07/2006

10

Sandisk MobileMate SD Plus 03/04/2008

A handy little gadget

Sandisk MobileMate SD Plus I bought this card reader from amazon to speed up transfer of photos between my digital camera and my PC (saves the camera battery). I only used an SD card with the reader, so I cannot comment on the other formats. It is an attractive slim black USB stick with two slots that (the amazon website says) are compatible with the following formats: MultiMediaCard, SD Memory Card, miniSD, RS-MMC, MultiMediaCardmobile, microSD, MultiMediaCardplus, SDHC Memory Card, miniSDHC, microSDHC Despite the product manual being a little skimpy, It was really easy to install on the PC, requiring no software (just put it in a USB slot & let your computer install it for you). Plugging in my SD card was quite simple (do this before you plug the reader into your PC!) but I did feel that the card looked quite vulnerable poking out the side of the reader (could be easy to knock or break?). Transfer of files was very easy & much less fiddly than a camera to PC transfer. Overall, the product is compact, with a sensible design (although the protective USB cap seems a bit loose). It fits in my mini camera bag with all my other junk, so I am really happy with it & would recommend it to others. ...

Epicare Hair Removal 22/04/2007

Chemical-free facial hair removal

Epicare Hair Removal I've arrived at that age where I can no longer deny it: I've got a lady-tache. As a brunette it's more of a problem, especially at those times of the month when the line of hair on my upper lip seems to darken & lengthen. Gah! As a newcomer to facial hair removal, my mind boggled at the conflicting advice (superstition?) about dealing with those unwanted 'taches. Should I bleach? Should I wax? Should I use a cream? Should I put a bag over my head? I'm a bit of wuss when it comes to "things that could go hideously wrong" such as haircuts or bleaching, so I was pleased to discover that the Epicare was perhaps the safest option with regard to hair regrowth and skin damage. I found the Epicare website (thinkbeauty.co.uk) via Google and spent quite a while looking at the information found there. They seem to go to great lengths to reassure you about the product, which I suppose is necessary when you're about to alter your appearance in any way. "How bad could it be?" I thought. "It's just like having 500 pairs of tweezers under your nose all at once!". If you absolutely hate the product, you can return it within seven days of purchase for a refund (assuming you bought it from thinkbeauty), so you've nothing to lose. The actual Epicare implement is a pliable metal spring just over 10cm long (visible spring). It has a coloured plastic handle at each end of the spring for you to grip when using it. The handles are slightly textured, making them easy to hold. It comes in a ...

Clinique Pore Minimizer Refining Lotion 22/04/2007

A Refined Serum Solution

Clinique Pore Minimizer Refining Lotion I've been cursed with a combination skin: an oily T-zone with large pores around the nose & forehead, but with skin prone to drying in other areas. I saw this product in Boots & hoped that it might close up some of the unsightly large pores around the sides of my nose. The product comes boxed with an information leaflet & is presented in an attractive plastic tube. It claims to "Reduce the look of pores. Leaves skin looking smooth, shine-free...". At £15.50 for 40ml, it's not cheap, but it does seem rather economical to use (you really don't need too much). In fact, if you do use too much & then rub your face, you will find some of the product sloughing off in your hands. Before application, you must follow the Clinique 3-step Skin Care program i.e. cleanse, clarify (or do they mean scarify?) and moisturise. However, I must admit that I do not use Clinique products for the 3-step care as I find the soap too drying & the clarifying lotion 'burns' my skin! I would suggest that any decent products designed for these purposes would work just as well, so long as you use them twice every day. Anyway, after following the "3-steps", I applied the serum sparingly in the problem areas. Clinique claims: "(A)...lightweight lotion that immediately and over time minimises the appearance of enlarged pores due to excess sebum production or from aging and the breakdown in the collagen lattice. Benefits Minimises appearance of pores over the long term by repairing collagen ...

Clean & Clear Quick Clear Treatment Gel 01/04/2007

No Clear Advantage

Clean & Clear Quick Clear Treatment Gel The scenario: Romantic holiday with the partner you haven't seen for months. The horror: a monstrously large spot lurking underneath your skin, waiting to erupt. The solution: Clean & Clear Advantage Quick Clear Spot Treatment Gel! Or not, as the case would be... With two days to go before my boyfriend arrived, I decided to beautify myself & blitz all the blemishes that were threatening to blossom before our holiday. I saw the television adverts lauding the benefits of this wonder-treatment & hurried out to buy it. On first glance, you don't seem to get much very for your money - just 15 ml of clear gel for just under a fiver. However, I had faith that a small amount would suffice. Applying the gel was easy & not particularly messy, although I would recommend washing your hands post-application. I felt some tingling after application but no real pain. The manufacturer states that the product can be applied over or under make-up, so I used it over a moisturiser, applied make-up & then set off for work. Imagine my surprise when over the course of the next two days, my previously small subcutaneous blemish began to erupt into a throbbing, red, painful beastie of monstrous proportions! So much for spot reduction. Not willing to disbelieve the hype, I decided to give the gel a second chance on another much less obvious spot. Unfortunately I got much the same results, albeit on a smaller scale. Still refusing to give up, I took the gel on holiday hoping that ...

Belkin TuneCast II 12/01/2007

Belkin TuneCast II

Belkin TuneCast II Introduction This is a really neat piece of kit that will keep you entertained on those long car journeys. It connects via the standard headphone socket on your mp3 player, computer or other audio device and allows a car stereo to pick up the output. Is it legal? Well, as of 8th December 2006, Ofcom decided to "...allow the use of certain low power FM transmitters, which wirelessly connect MP3 players and other personal audio devices to radios and in-car entertainment systems". This is good news for those of us who cannot afford expensive mp3 car-stereos! Please see Ofcom's website for full details of their regulations. Packaging & Appearance Annoyingly, this item comes in one of those heat-sealed blister packs which are impossible to open without resorting to sharp pointy things. Once opened however, everything is nicely available. The pack contained the TuneCast II, two Duracell AAA batteries, a car power adaptor and another short cable which may or may not be a different type of headphone socket adaptor (it is not mentioned in the product literature). There was also a booklet of very simple instructions in five European languages. The pack says that the device is for the iPod, but in fact you can use it with any mp3 or audio device that has a headphone socket. The TuneCast II itself is quite small, measuring approximately 7 x 5 x 2 cm. My unit is black/grey, although I believe it does come in other colours. The build is quite solid & there don't seem to be too ...

Mooncup 07/10/2006

Moooooooooncup!

Mooncup Caution: This review contains my frank & personal experiences with this product. If you are offended by references to feminine hygiene, body parts & the menstrual cycle, please navigate away from this page. I decided to buy one of these sanitary devices as I was finding tampons too drying during my period. I heard about the product through Internet anecdotes, & dutifully looked up the website to find out as much information as I could. It seems that menstrual cups have been around since the 1930s and that they are a more eco-friendly way of dealing with your period. Just imagine how much sanitary waste an average woman puts into the sewerage system each year. Think how much all those towels & tampons have cost over the years! Appearance: The Mooncup is a small, clear-coloured, hypoallergenic silicone cup with a flexible stem attached to the bottom. The stem must be trimmed to fit the individual. There are two sizes: A & B - a little chart helps you decide which one to choose - model B if you are under 30 & have never had a vaginal birth, model A for all the other women. It is presented in a small drawstring bag packed into a discreet but pretty cardboard box. It comes with comprehensive instructions for use, printed in at least eight different languages. It can be bought from the supplier online (cheapest), or from local healthstores & larger outlets of Boots (£18.99). Preparation: Having pre-sterilised the Mooncup by boiling it for five minutes in a saucepan of ...

Trust Communicator Webcam WB-1400T 02/09/2006

A neat little webcam, perfect for VOIP.

Trust Communicator Webcam WB-1400T Appearance: This is a smallish webcam, although not the smallest I have encountered. It has a silver/grey/black plastic design. A blue LED at the base of the lens tells you when the camera is active. The camera measures about 6 x 4 cm (not including the base). It has a button on the top of the unit (for image capture) & a base/clamp at the bottom. The base has rubber feet for stability on top of your monitor, but also forms part of a clamp should you wish to use the camera with a laptop or TFT monitor. A long USB cable connects from the base of the camera to your PC or laptop. The box includes the camera, software, installation manual and registration card. Software Installation & Setup: The manual is helpfully printed in 18 different languages & has reasonably clear pictures describing the unit. I did find the instruction manual a bit lacking in places. It tells you to install the driver software, but ignores the capture (Amcap) software. However, the user interface on the CD is quite good and gives you all the software installation options. When installing the camera, you may need to refer to the printed & diagrammatical instuctions simultaneously. I found that my Windows XP (home) operating system recognised the camera & added it as new hardware with no problems. The initial camera set up interface is easy to use. Use: Web cam (video conferencing): I wanted to use this camera purely for Skype conversations. I was impressed with the streaming picture quality ...

Maybelline XXL Volume Length Microfiber Mascara 02/08/2006

Nice idea, shame about the mascara.

Maybelline XXL Volume Length Microfiber Mascara Packaging: This Mascara is simply & neatly packaged. There are two wand applicators (one at each end) the brushes are attached to the central barrel of the mascara. The caps form reservoirs for the mascara. Application: The idea is that you apply the white 'extra length' formula to your lashes first. I personally believe that this is to give you an extra guide when applying the mascara colour. The white formula coats your lashes & makes it much easier to see where they end, thus ensuring that you to apply the mascara right to the tips of the lashes. The 'extra volume' colour formula is then applied over the top of the white coat to complete the effect. Both the white & the colour formulas seem to dry out really quickly: even if I return the wands to their reservoirs before doing the other eye (maybe I bought a duff product). I found that doing one eye first (white coat, then colour coat) was most effective at preventing premature drying. Wear & durability: I cannot fault the way this mascara accentuates your eyes. I only apply to my top lashes and yet this is still very effective. The mascara does not clump, nor does it make your lashes look like spiders with knobbly knees. However, I am a habitual eye-rubber. I find that by 9:00am I have panda eyes & have to run to the nearest mirror to take remedial action! If you are well trained & do not touch your face when wearing makeup, you will be safe. I have never subjected the mascara to rain & so cannot comment upon its ...

Canon PowerShot A70 01/08/2006

A Good Basic Digital Camera

Canon PowerShot A70 Appearance: The Canon Powershot A70 has a silver & grey brushed metal-effect plastic body. Most buttons & dials are set well into the body & so avoid most knocks & snags. The lens is retracted when powered down. The battery and memory card slots are well designed & are not likely to break easily (but not indestructible!). There is a digital A/V out & DC in section, which has a rubber cover. A DC power supply plug is not included. This cover fits quite well over the jack sockets, but I imagine that with constant use it might begin to wear. The LCD screen is approx. 2.25 x 3cm & is flush to the back of the camera. The camera is designed to fit comfortably in the right hand. I'm not sure if this is a problem for left-handed people or not. On the bottom of the camera, there is a screw recess to accept a trip attachment. A wrist strap was supplied with my kit, but I really would have preferred a neck strap. Sadly these days, you never seem to get a camera bag included. Function: If you only ever wanted a point & shoot camera, then you could happily use the A70 & never worry about any of the other functions. However, if you want to try some more advanced photographic skills, then you have the possibility of changing the aperture or shutter speed (within certain limits). Whilst not as versatile as a basic Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera, the M, Av, Tv & P dial settings do allow you to push the constraints of 'point & shoot'. There are also more simplified settings on the dial ...

Remington BKT 2000 Trim+shape Bikini 30/07/2006

Bikini Line Neatening for All

Remington BKT 2000 Trim+shape Bikini Appearance: The Remington BKT (bikini trim&shapeTM)2000 is quite a friendly looking piece of kit. It comes in its own little mesh storage bag, together with an instructon manual, charger, cleaning brush & maintenance oil. Everything except the charger fits into the little bag quite nicely. With the charger however, it's a bit of a squeeze! The shaver fits the hand nicely, & has an attractive metallic pink colour. It feels light & maneuverable. Use & Function: Before your first use, you need to charge the shaver unit for 14 hours, so best get out the safety scissors in you are in a hurry. The detachable trimmer comb has five length settings. These settings allow you to trim safely around the bikini area, but if you are careful, you can remove the comb attachment & go freestyle! My one gripe is that the shave is not particularly close, but as this product is marketed as a 'trimmer' I guess I can't complain. I usually use the shaver without the guard & have not had any nicks or cuts so far. I have not used the shaver wet, but the unit looks fairly watertight for use in the shower (however, I would not recommend immersion for long periods). With practice, trimming & basic shaping should become easy with this unit, but be aware that other manufacturers offer narrower shaving blades for more precise trimming. Overall: A nicely priced bikini trimmer, easy to use, from a well-known manufacturer. ...
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