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I am not here very often now, but will eventually rate you back! Apologies in advance for the delay.

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since 03/03/2009


When God Was a Rabbit - Winman, Sarah 24/09/2011

A book about life with a gap in the middle

When God Was a Rabbit - Winman, Sarah When God Was a Rabbit I picked this book as part of a supermarket deal 2 for £7 or £4.99 each. My other choice was a chic lit and I like to have a good balance between holiday/relaxing read and more intelligent read. There wasn't much clue about was the book was about in the blurb at the back, instead you learn it is about brother and sister, their childhood and growing up. The book was written by Sarah Winman and this is her debut novel. The Plot The main character and narrator is Elly. We are told about her life since the moment she was born in 1968, through her growing up, making friends with a somewhat strange character Jenny Penny, bonding with her brother, a glimpse of her parents, the family suddenly becoming rich. I found the book very honest and true to life, because it mentions events that can happen in a real life, e.g. grandparents tragically dying, child abuse, parents separating, cancer, kidnapping, homosexuality and heartbreak. Although, to be honest I thought that some of it, for example Elly's abuse by a neighbour, was unnecessary. It might be upsetting for more sensitive readers and it doesn't seem significant enough to bring anything to the story. Of course, I don't think child abuse is insignificant, but the way it was mentioned in the book, it didn't seem to have any effect on the main character and seemed to have only been mentioned in a passing. I would also like to point out that even the most tragic events described in this book are ...

It Happened in Paris - Molly Hopkins 12/09/2011

What happens in Paris stays in Paris

It Happened in Paris - Molly Hopkins I bought this book about 3 months ago in Sainsbury's as I needed an easy to read book to relax with and found many novels on offer 2 for £7 or £4.99 each. Plot 'It happened in Paris' was written by Molly Hopkins, an author I've never heard about, and is about Evie, a mid-twenties girl who likes expensive lifestyle, drinks too much and is constantly concerned about the size of her waist. Evie has just been made redundant from work. Unfortunately, even her job at an advertising agency didn't afford her the lifestyle she lives and Evie ends up with a debt of £9,000. Trying to find money to live, she thinks about changing her career and becomes a tour guide in Paris. Not that she has any qualifications to do it - she doesn't even know a thing about Paris, but she just skilfully enhances her CV and has got enough luck that no one questions her experience... Evie's first tour doesn't start well as she's so excited that she forgets her handbag with all the essentials, including passport. Her luck changes though when she finally meets her handsome coach driver Rob. How is Evie's live going to develop with this sexy driver at her side and wine in abundance? My opinion I really enjoyed this book for its light-heartedness. It was very entertaining reading about Evie and her adventures. She was creative and believable that she could lie herself out of almost any situation. I found this book very funny (I burst out laughing out loud a few times) and this is ...

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS30EG-V 24/08/2011

Lumix FS30 - takes great pictures without any effort!

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS30EG-V Background info It always takes me a while to decide on any electronic device, because I don't consider myself an expert in this field, and for 50 positive reviews about something you always get 50 negative ones, which makes the decision even more difficult. I had been toying with the idea of buying a digital camera for months, so when my sister treated herself to a new laptop for Christmas, I decided enough is enough and spent the whole day researching a choosing a camera for myself. I settled for this Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS30 model in Violet, which is a nice colour, but not a bright very girly violet - it's more toned down and stylish Aubergine colour in my opinion. I had initially placed an order on Amazon, where at £146 I paid about £30 more for the violet colour. The other colours were (starting from cheapest): black, silver and blue. To my disappointment, after 6 weeks of waiting I was told Amazon were out of stock of this colour and model, so I turned to John Lewis and paid £169.5 for exact same product. The camera comes with a 1-year Panasonic warranty, which I think is not a long time for an electronic device, but I guess most manufacturers nowadays give quite short warranties on their products. John Lewis offered extended warranties for up to 3 years at additional cost, but I didn't opt for these. What comes in a box? * Camera (obviously), no camera case (this can be purchased separately) * CD-ROM (PhOTOfunSTUDIO 5.0 and QuickTime software ...

Green People Foaming Face Wash 19/07/2011

E for ethical, not effective

Green People Foaming Face Wash I was so impressed with the exfoliating scrub that I bought previously from Green People, that as soon as my face wash got low, I decided to try one from Green People. I ordered this Foaming Face Wash from Feelunique website for £8.99 for a 100ml bottle. This is a foaming wash that is designed to prevent spots. When I bought this, I didn’t know it had antibacterial properties and it was neither something I was looking for personally as I don’t have problems with spots. When the product arrived, I was a bit worried as normally blemish preventing products are quite strong and dry out the skin, but this one is supposed to be gentle and is based on natural ingredients, so eventually I decided not to return it. Basic information The wash is a thin liquid in a bottle with a pump. In order to use it, you need to shake the liquid and then press the pump to release the foam, then apply the foam to moistened skin, massage gently and rinse off. In my experience, I need two pushes of the pump in order to cover my face with the product. The bottle doesn’t really have anything special about it. It is a non-transparent, quite plain-looking white bottle. Although it is not transparent, you can still check how much of the liquid is left in the bottle by looking at it against a window or light bulb. The wash is suitable for all types of skin and is designed for daily use. This is a soap-free anti-blemish cleanser for daily use and all skin types. It is supposed to deeply clean ...

Hearts and Minds - Amanda Craig 18/04/2011

Moving and though-provoking novel about immigrants in London

Hearts and Minds - Amanda Craig Background ‘Hearts and Minds’ by Amanda Craig is one of three books that I randomly bought from Amazon (£4.19), without even checking what it was about first. The story begins with a description of a female body being dumped in a pond and I was glad that I bought a thriller as it is not normally my first choice when buying books. ‘Hearts and Minds’ initially seems like a collection of five different storylines, although the reader has a feeling that somehow they might be connected and that the earlier description of a woman’s dead body might have something to do with all of them. Main characters We are introduced to the main characters in the book Polly, Katie, Ian, Ana and Job. * Polly is a divorced mother of two. Her ex-husband moved out to United States and her new partner spends most of the time in Hollywood. Polly needs help with raising her two children, especially now that she has gone back to work as a lawyer, defending immigrants from deportation in court. Polly’s au pair, Irina, who herself was an illegal immigrant from Russia, had recently disappeared without a word and Polly is finding it hard to tackle work and looking after her children. * Katie has just come out of a long relationship. After finding out that her fiancé cheated on her with her best friend, she decided to literally leave the past behind. She decided to move from New York to London and start her life afresh. * Ana is an illegal immigrant 15-year old girl from Ukraine. ...

Sony Ericsson Vivaz 17/01/2011

Takes getting used to, but stylish and capable smartphone

Sony Ericsson Vivaz Background I got this phone about 6 months ago after a lot of searching for my first ever smart phone. What attracted me to Sony Ericsson Vivaz (also known as U5i or Kurara) were its stylish slim line look and a promise that it can record videos in high definition. I had never before had a Sony Ericsson phone or accessed the internet on a mobile, so it was all very exciting for me. This phone costs up to £340 for the handset only, but luckily my dad’s contract with Vodafone was nearing the end and he got it for me for free. I use my mobiles on pay as you go basis, so forking out over 300 pounds would prevent me from getting this phone on my own. Design My Vivaz is in Venus Ruby colour, which is not really red, but more like fuchsia. Other available colours are Moon Silver, Galaxy Blue, and Cosmic Black. The looks of this phone really attracted me to it, especially the stylish design, small size and a big touch screen that covers almost the whole surface of this phone. I find the touch screen responsive and easy to use; the size is great too. The back, top and bottom of Vivaz are slightly curved, which makes it fit perfectly into the palm of my hand. The phone is so thin, that sometimes it gets lost in my small handbag. Because this is a touch phone, there aren’t many buttons on the handset. On the top of the phone there is an on/off button, which also can be used to lock the handset. I am not sure whether the position of this button has been well thought out. When ...

Sandown Manor, Sandown 29/12/2010

Travelling with a pet? You might want to stay somewhere else

Sandown Manor, Sandown I visited Sandown Manor at the beginning of September as part of a long weekend with my parents and sister. My sister brought a dog with her, so it was important for us to find nice accommodation that accepted pets and still had availability for our chosen dates. After a lot of searching, the Sandown Manor, a family run B&B seemed like the best option. Booking & cost You can make the booking by clicking on a link from the hotel website, which transfers you to a secure booking website. This was pretty easy and quick to do. For payment there is an option of Maestro, Mastercard or Visa cards. I received a booking confirmation straight away from the website and also within an hour a separate confirmation from the lady who runs the hotel. In terms of any changes to the booking, this can be made by emailing or telephoning the hotel directly. I paid £435.40 for two double rooms with seaview for a 3 night stay, which included English breakfast. This calculates as £36.28 pppn, which is quite cheap. The price for the dog is an additional £5 per night, but this is only a fee for letting the dog into the building and didn’t include anything else, e.g. food or bed for the pet. Just before the holidays, it turned out my dad couldn’t make it, so I contacted Sandown Manor to change one double room for a single and ask for a discount, since there would have been only 3 of us staying in the end. There were no single rooms available, but the discount was a very disappointing £5 per ...

Green People Fruit Scrub 29/11/2010

Great organic fruit scrub - it works and it smells (badly...)

Green People Fruit Scrub Green People Fruit Scrub Exfoliating Stimulating Facial Cream is the latest face scrub that I have been using. I bought it from Feelunique website for £8.55 (50ml) about three months ago. You can also buy it from Green People website for about £10. The product is packed in a vacuum pump bottle and it is very easy to dispense. The vacuum packaging means that when you apply the product, it is as fresh as it can be. The problem is that it is not possible to use up all of the contents of the packaging as a pump can never reach all of the last bits of the product. It is not possible to squeeze out any amount of the scrub either or cut through the bottle as it is very tough. One or two presses of the pump are enough for the whole face. The consistency of the cream is of a face moisturiser; the colour is beige/cream and you can clearly see the apricot seed particles inside. The packaging advises that you use the scrub on dry skin, massage for a few seconds and then rinse. I normally use it on wet skin as I find it easier to apply and rinse it off during a shower. It also feels gentler when applied to wet skin. I have also used it on dry skin and the difference is that the effect is slightly harsher – you can really feel the particles scrubbing your face. Although, I feel that even when used on dry skin, this is delicate enough for normal skin, but I would recommend using on wet face if your skin is more sensitive. The recommended usage is once or twice a week. This ...

Kamis Mustard - Sarepska 18/08/2010

Kamis Sarepska - classic Polish mustard with a great taste

Kamis Mustard - Sarepska Background info While browsing Ciao catalogue of products, I spotted Kamis Sarepska Mustard, and seeing that no one had reviewed it before, I decided to give my opinion. Sarepska mustard is one of several types of mustard sold in Poland but is regarded as traditional Polish mustard. Kamis are not the only manufacturer of sarepska mustard but I think their product is the best and most authentic. Kamis Sarepska mustard has been my favourite mustard since I can remember and now it is more and more widely available in the UK. Kamis have been a number one manufacturer of spices, condiments and mustards in Poland for several years and can be compared to the Schwartz brand in the UK (for more info visit Being a product of Poland, Kamis Sarepska Mustard can obviously be purchased in the number of Polish delicatessens that have recently opened in the UK. However, you can also buy it in many Tesco supermarkets as well as in some Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s shops, and the product is located on the shelves together with other Polish food items – not on your usual mustard product shelf. The 185g jar of this mustard will set you back between £0.60-0.80, depending on where you shop. Packaging The packaging is a simple transparent glass jar, round at the top and wide with some square edges at the bottom. It is vacuum sealed so you can check if it had been opened before if the lid is concave shape. The glass jar is totally recyclable as is the metal lid. The ...

Mr Sheen Multi Surface Wipes Magnolia & Cherry Blossom 12/08/2010

Multi-purpose wipes that only work on wood and plastic...

Mr Sheen Multi Surface Wipes Magnolia & Cherry Blossom Background info I bought these wipes a few weeks ago with the intention to clean the metal and plastic surfaces in my car as they collected quite a lot of dust over time. These wipes seemed like a great idea as they are supposed to clean, shine and protect various surfaces. They can be used on metal, wood, glass and plastic and in addition, they are fragranced with Air Wick Magnolia & Cherry Blossom scent, leaving a nice and refreshing aroma. Mr Sheen wipes cost £2.61 in Tesco and are more expensive than other multi-surface wipes, but after reading the description o the packaging, I decided they would be better value than the cheaper wipes. Mr Sheen wipes are manufactured with “dust trap technology”, which apparently is proven to pick up more dust than using a cloth on its own and to help keep dust away for longer. The other available fragrances from this range are Original, Spring Fresh and Citrus Shine. Packaging The wipes are packed in a bright red plastic re-sealable pack. To open you have to peel back the label and reseal after you’ve taken a wipe out. The seal is really good and I found that the wipes do not dry out. The packaging contains 24 large wipes and each is perforated in the middle so you can split it in half, giving you 48 smaller wipes. I think the large wipe from this pack is equivalent to two regular wipes from other brands, so you can see how this is better value. Where to use? Use on any household surface, including waxed, ...

The Sanctuary Spa Essentials 2in1 Moisturising Butter Scrub 06/08/2010

Doesn't quite do what it says on the tin

The Sanctuary Spa Essentials 2in1 Moisturising Butter Scrub About six months ago, I was looking through the shelves at Boots, trying to find a new body exfoliator. I couldn’t decide what to buy so I opted for two products and one of them was The Sanctuary Spa Essentials 2 in 1 Moisturising Butter Scrub. About the product This product is available in a 175g see-through tube which at the time cost me £5.99. The tube stands on an orange flip-top lid, which is easy to open but at the same time has a very good closure. I often leave the tube in the shower and until now have never found water inside of the lid when I came back to open it. The packaging is recyclable. The main idea for this scrub is that it is supposed to combine exfoliation, moisturisation and nourishment, so that you don’t have to apply body moisturiser after the shower and as a result save time and money. The main active ingredients of this product are butters from 4 types of nuts: • Shea – great moisturising ingredient and emollient • Cocoa – provides nourishment • Mowrah – restores skin flexibility and reduces degeneration of skin cells • Kokum – prevents drying of skin I hadn’t heard about mowrah and kokum nuts before, but I am told by The Sanctuary advertisements that these contain fatty acids, including Omega 9 & 10. Not that it tells me much more, but I know that Omega acid taken internally (e.g. from oily fish) are good for your health and looks, so I assume if I apply them externally they will be good for my skin, too. I continue looking at ...

Garnier Mineral Ultra Dry Roll-On for Women 30/07/2010

Garnier mineral - ultra wet antiperspirant

Garnier Mineral Ultra Dry Roll-On for Women General information Garnier Mineral is the new anti-perspirant offering from one the popular high street brands that I trust. There are two formats of this product: spray and roll-on and in my review I will be concentrating on the roll-on format. The packaging informs me that this product contains no alcohol or parabens, allows the skin to breathe and provides ultimate protection against sweat and odour for 48 hours. It is enriched with Mineralite, which is a naturally absorbent mineral of volcanic origin that captures moisture and prevents you from sweating. I was even more hooked on this product when I saw Boots offered it half price for £0.89 (current price in Boots is £1.79, but supermarkets sell it for £1 only). There are six different types of this mineral deodorant: Ultra, Invisible, Fresh, Silky, Extracare ad Sensitive. I chose the Ultra version for optimal protection, which seemed like the most powerful of the range. I am currently very active with sport classes during the week and need an antiperspirant that will keep me relatively dry during the class. Packaging and appearance The appearance of the product is quite strange to be honest, but this was also intriguing as no other antiperspirant I’ve seen on the high street looks like this. It has an hour-glass shape which in the top part is very thin and in the bottom part is round and wide in order to hold the rolling ball. I have to admit that the shape of this antiperspirant makes it easy to grab ...

Nivea Visage Aqua Sensation Moisturising Gel-Cream 11/07/2010

Sensation? No, just a good moisturising cream at an average price

Nivea Visage Aqua Sensation Moisturising Gel-Cream Although I have already found what I think is the perfect face cream for my skin type, I am still tempted by novelty and willing to try new products. This time, I have chosen Nivea Visage Aqua Sensation Day Cream (£4.99/50ml in Boots). It sounded suitable for my needs – combination skin that is sometimes dehydrated, sometimes oily, and most days looks dull and tired; good cream for day and nigh and good cream for summer and winter. It isn’t the easiest to find one skin care product that is suitable for all of these nees but I try to keep the amount of cosmetics I use to the minimum and always look for a product that does it all. Packaging The first thing you will notice about this product when it sits on a shelf is the attractive box is sliver and blue colours and an image of water being splashed. According to the box the recommended age group for this day cream is 20-30s with normal and combination skin. The name is also intriguing – Aqua Sensation – and immediately makes you think you will bring back home something special. The claims on the box persuaded me that my skin will become instantly invigorated, refreshed and moisturised for 24 hours. Inside the box you will find a 50ml blue-tinted glass jar with a white plastic lid. I have to say due to glass material, this is not the lightest of skincare products I ever used and I avoid taking it with me when I travel. First impressions The cream has a very light blue colour and smells fresh. It definitely ...

Grunwerg Tri Copper Frying Pan & Lid 28/06/2010

Tri Copper - disappointing and poor value for money

Grunwerg Tri Copper Frying Pan & Lid Background I bought this pan as a Christmas 2009 present for my parents. For the last few years they have always had problems with frying pans – none of them lasted for a long time, resulting in hot spots (temperature in the pan unevenly distributed), burnt food and overall not very good outcome. My parents would never spend more than £10-15 on a frying pan and I decided that it would be a good idea to give them a top of the range frying pan that could be used for any type of cooking and would last for ages. After thorough research of best pan surface, brand and other things that now I know too much about, I decided to opt for a copper pan – not just a copper base but a full coverage (base and sides) copper pan. Copper is an excellent heat conductor so the frying pans require less heat, have no hot spots and also look beautiful. This is the material of choice for professionals and I wanted to give my parents the best of the best. One of the best copper pans on the market that are used by professional chefs is Mauviel and it is fully made of 2.5 mm thick copper. Unfortunately, I cannot afford a French Mauviel pan (26cm costs about £150) so I found a cheaper option in Grunwerg Tri Copper. Grunwerg Tri Copper Grunwerg is a British manufacturer of premium kitchen products and cookware, and Tri Copper is their range of pots and pans made of three layers of materials. The outside layer is made of copper – the best heat conductor, corrosion resistant but most ...

The Body Shop Body Butter 20/06/2010

Non greasy shea body butter from the Body Shop

The Body Shop Body Butter I received a 50ml container of this Shea Body Butter as a sample attached to a magazine. I wasn’t expecting much as I’m not a great fun of The Body Shop products, but I was happy to try it out because it was in a perfect travel sized packaging (I was going on holidays the day after) and contained shea butter known for its moisturizing properties. Packaging & price This body butter is packed in a round container with a screw top lid. It’s nothing fancy but does its job. The container is beige colour (other fragrances have different colours) and has a round label on top with an image of Shea nuts and basic information about the product. Available sizes are 50ml - £5 and 200ml - £12.50 Properties This product is designed to moisturize very dry skin. I was pretty wary before I tried it – body butters tend to be greasy and I personally don’t find them moisturizing but just leaving a waxy layer on my skin. Well, I was wrong. This body butter looks pretty stiff and solid in the container but is not at all difficult to scoop out of the container with your finger tips. Once I started using it, I noticed that the consistency of the remaining body butter in the container looked as if it was slightly curdled, which put me off a bit but I still used it as it hasn’t lost it’s properties when applied to my skin. Maybe the curdled look is a good thing – this butter might contain less solidifiers, emulsifiers and other chemical stuff that companies put in their products ...
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