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since 27/03/2001


Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter 07/03/2008

The route to sinfully soft skin

Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter I'm currently pregnant with twins and I received a pot of this glorious Righteous Butter from a friend as a Christmas present in order "to keep the bump smooth". What a marvellous friend and what a wonderful present. I use this heavenly body butter daily and now I'm 28 weeks into a very large pregnancy and so far my body is stretching without any major skin discomfort, all be it at a very alarming rate. I think this stuff has a lot to answer for how my body is coping so well with the changes in my body as I slap it all over my bump every morning before I get dressed. It makes my skin feel soft, I smell wonderful and I get to feel like I'm indulging myself at a time when a bit of pampering is very precious. Oh, and so far my body is a stretch-mark free zone. The butter comes in a pretty, retro-style pink tub that holds 300ml. I've noticed that you can also buy travel-sized pots in Boots if you don't want to splash out on a big pot straight away. However, once you've tried it, I'm sure you will. The big pot currently sells at £9. I know because I've just bought a second tub, and it's worth every penny. It's actually more economical than it sounds because a little will go a long way - take if from me who has a body twice as big as normal. I've used this almost daily for about 2 and a half months and I'm about three quarters of the way through my first tub. I use a different body butter product after my evening bath and it hasn't lasted nearly as long. The Righteous ...

Boots Mediterranean Massage Butter 24/02/2008

The smoother, softer way to stretch

Boots Mediterranean Massage Butter Being 26 weeks pregnant with twins and with a body expanding at an alarming rate, I reckon I'm not a bad guinea pig for any product that claims that it might help prevent stretch marks. I started slapping this yummy stuff all over my actively growing body parts every day from about 15 weeks pregnant. I know I've still got a long way to go but so far there's not a mark in site and I'm about as big as a mum-to-be who's 8 months pregnant with a single baby. I'm not well into my second tub. I picked up my first tub of this after receiving a promotional voucher for a product in Boots' Mediterranean pregnancy range when I joined the Mother and Baby club. After scanning what was available to me in this range in my local store I settled on this because primarily I was keen to keep the skin on my bump as supple as possible and with ingredients included olive oil, shea butter, apricot oil and avocado oil, I figured this might do the trick. The second reason for choosing this product above other stretch mark products was because I love the smell of honey and this was another of the main ingredients. It was selling at £5.00 but I got my first 200ml tub half price with my promotional voucher. Be warned, that if you're looking for this product in your local store you probably won't find it with all the usual body lotions and potions. Instead, you might have to head to where the baby toiletries are in order to find the mum-to-be products. On getting the product home and ...

Hotel Vendome, Brussels 20/06/2006

Horrid place to stay

Hotel Vendome, Brussels I spent three nights in this place in April whilst on business in Brussels. Never again. But I guess when getting a last minute deal off the internet, you can be never quite sure what you're going to get. I paid around £60. The hotel is located on one of the main arterial roads heading out the city. It's a pretty run-down and grimy part of the town with peep-shows and adult shops all around. However, it's only a 10 minute walk from the centre and the Rogier metro station is almost right outside. The reception area was basic but reasonable. The staff on reception were courteous when I arrived but seemed to ignore their guests there after. Beyond the reception area the place deteriorated. I took the rather cranky and under-sized lift up to my floor and got out to find some rather decor in the corridors. Got worse when I got into my room. It was small and cramped. Just enough space to put a bed and a tiny desk. The single door wardrobe was fitted into a cupboard that was flush to the wall. It contained a safe-deposit box. The room was filthy. There were footprints on the wall! Don't ask me how they got there. And there was what looked suspiciously like body fluids above the headboard. Absolutely disgusting. I had to pull the bed away from the wall in order to be able to sleep in it. The mattress was lumpy, and after seeing what was up the walls I just didn't feel relaxed in it at all. The bathroom was no better and pretty damp in places. Then there was the heat and the ...

Tulip Inn Brussels Boulevard, Sint-Joost-ten-Node 20/06/2006

Perfectly good deal for the money

Tulip Inn Brussels Boulevard, Sint-Joost-ten-Node I stayed at this hotel for 4 nights in May 2006 whilst on business, paying about £60 a night. The hotel is really handy for the Metro, having Rogier station almost outside the front door. Although it must be said, it's not the most scenic part of town. The city centre is only a 10 minute stroll away. You enter via a rather elegant lobby where the staff are happy to help. I was given a swipe card for my room and pointed towards the lifts. My room turned out to be well furnished, very roomy and very clean and nicely decorated. I had a selection of channels to choose from on the TV including BBC1 and BB2. The room was equipt with tea and coffee making facilities, a small fridge, armchair, desk and desk chair, double bed and bedside cabinets. There was plenty of wardrobe space and a trouser press was tucked inside the wardrobe. The en-suite bathroom was quite roomy with a bath and an overhead shower. Complimentary toiletries were basic but adequate and comprised a wall-mounted dispenser of body / hair shampoo and a bar of soap. The decor in the bathroom was looking a little tired and sorry for itself with the paint peeling from the ceiling, but everything was very clean. My room was cleaned every day but not always serviced as well as it could have been. On two occassions my coffee cups were removed but not replaced and the tea and coffee supplies were not topped up. However, a trip down to reception was all that it took to grab some more. I booked this stay through a ...

The Westin Grand Berlin, Berlin 29/11/2004

Step into a world of luxury

The Westin Grand Berlin, Berlin We had a short break in Berlin a couple of weeks ago and were lucky enough to stay in the 5* Westin Grand Hotel after made a mess of our 3* booking and had to upgrade us. What can I say other than WOW!. The hotel was amazing. It's situated less than 5 minutes walk from the Brandenburg Gate, just off the grand boulevard that is Unten den Linden. So, you really can't get much nearer to the sights. And for those sites that you're not close to, there's an underground station just a stone's throw from the main. Access to and from Tegel airport is also easy as the airport shuttle bus picks up just a couple of minutes walk away. Seeing as this was an upgrade, I'm not sure what the full cost should have been for staying at the hotel, but are currently offering a room for two people for under £100 a night, inclusive of breakfast. I can't help thinking this is excellent value for the level of quality that you get. The hotel has fabulous architecture. The lobby is very impressive, with six floors arranged as galleries around a central space, topped with a magnificent glass domed ceiling that is as grand as that of the Albert Hall. It's absolutely spectacular. The lobby has a bar where you can order a reasonably priced snack or meal and enjoy a not so reasonably priced drink whilst listening to a pianist tinkling away at the grand piano. You'll be brought complimentary nibbles and I advise you to just sit back and enjoy the opulence. As for ...

Avon Planet Spa African Shea Butter Elbow and Foot Cream 28/10/2004

Would you rub coffee into your feet?

Avon Planet Spa African Shea Butter Elbow and Foot Cream After reading the other reviews of this product, I’m starting to think I must be a bit strange. Why? Because I really can’t stand the smell of this stuff on my skin, even though I love the way it makes my feet feel. Other folk have said it reminds them of toffee or butterscotch. Well, perhaps… but to me the overwhelming smell is that of very strong, yet at the same time very sickly coffee. Perhaps a bit like those coffee creams you get in boxes of assorted chocolates. Now don’t get me wrong - I’m a big fan of fresh coffee. There’s nothing like the aroma that hits you when walking into a coffee house or the smell of a fresh pot brewing in the morning. It’s lovely. The thing is, I wouldn’t want to rub coffee onto my feet and elbows. Do you see what I mean? Come to think of it, I don’t think I’d want to rub toffee or butterscotch into them either…. What’s more, the smell lasts for ages and unless you wash your hands very thoroughly after applying the stuff, you’ll be getting that rather synthetic whiff of ground beans for ages afterwards. However, that’s my moan about the smell. What about the rest of it? Well, for a product that cost me £4.00 for a 75 ml tub, it’s not bad at all. I suffer from dry elbows, although my feet are in pretty good shape. Perhaps that’s because I like to indulge them on a fairly regular basis. So, I’ve quite a lot of experience of various lotions and potions that you massage into your toes. This African Shea cream compares very well indeed and ...

Avon Aromatherapy Sleeptheraphy Bath and Shower Gel 10/06/2003

I'll Stick to My Normal Nightcap

Avon Aromatherapy Sleeptheraphy Bath and Shower Gel Last year Avon launched a Sleeptherapy line as part of their Aromatherapy range. The line includes a body cream, a fragranced room and linen spray and a shower and bath gel. All of these products claim to have a lavender fragrance which is reported to aid sleep. I’m a sucker for anything that promises to help me get my full 40-winks every night and so I shelled out £3.50 and treated myself to a 200ml bottle of the bath and shower gel. However, had I been a little more patient I could have saved myself some money because the following month Avon were offering this product in a buy-one-get-one-free promotion. When my order arrived a week or so later I was eager to try out my new purchase. I don’t have a shower and so I used this product as a bubble bath instead. As is often the case with Avon products, the packaging looked a bit cheap and nasty. There was nothing actually wrong with it but at £3.50 for 200ml you kind of expect something a bit special. However, it looked no different to how it looked in the catalogue so I shouldn’t grumble. The bottle had a flip-top cap that was rather flimsy and by the time I’d got to the end of the bottle it was no longer a flip-top but a push-on because it had fallen off. Perhaps I’m just a bit heavy handed. I don’t know. Anyway, back to trying out my new purchase in the bath. Well, I squirted a relatively small amount of the purple gel under the running water and was rewarded by a good amount of ...

Avon Dry Oil Spray 04/04/2003

Oil without the Grease

Avon Dry Oil Spray I was intrigued. A dry oil spray? How could that work? Surely an oil couldn’t be dry? That’s not what oils are like. They’re greasy and, well, oily, but most certainly not dry as they tend to make your clothes stick to you. The particular one that caught my eye in the Avon catalogue was in a “Sensual Jasmin” fragrance, being part of Avon’s Aromatherapy range. I love the smell of jasmin and so I just had to buy some. I bought mine as part of one of the many buy-one-item-get-a-different-item-free offers that Avon frequently run. So, it didn’t work out too expensive. I think I picked up the oil spray and some jasmin massage lotion for about £4.00 in total. If there are no special offers running you should expect to pay £4.00 for the 125 ml bottle of oil alone. However, I would recommend waiting until it is on offer. My purchase turned out to be a pink liquid that arrived in a plastic bottle with a non-aerosol, pump-action spray nozzle. I checked the ingredients and was a little disappointed to find that there is actually no evidence of real jasmin in there, just a long list of chemical names. The reason I was disappointed was that I expected a product in an aromatherapy range to contain at least a little natural essential oils. It is these essential plant oils that give products their aromatherapy properties. So, while a product may smell nice if fragranced with artificial chemicals, it is unlikely to induce the same physiological ...

Horlicks 30/12/2002

Give me the Original Any Day

Horlicks There’s nowt nicer than a nice mug of Horlicks before you go to bed in an evening. Experience has taught me that it’s great tool for helping you nod off. It’s deliciously creamy and just tastes of childhood. Besides, it’s good for you –after all it’s packed with malty goodness. Well, that’s what I’ve always told myself. Problem is, I like my Horlicks made the traditional way with lashings of hot, full-fat milk. Not really the best thing for a girl that’s acutely aware that she’s eaten too much chocolate and cheese and downed too much beer in the past couple of weeks. That’s why I chose to invest in a dual sachet pack of Instant Light Horlicks. I thought it would be just the thing to curl up with on the sofa with accompanied by a good book after a hot bath. The sachets cost me 37p from my local supermarket for two 32g servings. Ingredients include wheat flour, malted barley, dried skimmed milk, dried whey, sugar, milk proteins, malt extract, vegetable fat, lactose, calcium carbonate, salt, acidity regular and numerous vitamins. This product does not contain artificial colour, flavour or sweetener. A 32g serving contains 123 kcal and 1.3g of fat, of which 0.5g are saturates. A single serving also contains 20% of the daily recommended amounts of vitamins A, D, E, C, B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin, folic acid and calcium – so it seems that is good for you after all. The contents of the sachet are simply ...

Volvic Natural Still Mineral Water 04/12/2002

If the stuff in your tap tastes like mine...

Volvic Natural Still Mineral Water We all know that we should drink lots of water. After all, the majority of our body is made from the stuff. We loose it all the time and so it has to be replaced if our body is to function as it should. Hence the experts recommend that we should drink at least eight glasses a day of the stuff. Well, if like me you live in an area where the water out of the tap stinks of chlorine and tastes awful, then drinking eight glasses of water a day is not something that you are going to look forward to. In this situation there are two options, you either invest in a water purifier / filter thingie or you buy the stuff in bottles from the supermarket. Well, I’ve not explored the purifier option yet - partly because I don’t really have room for one in my small kitchen. So, I’ve gone for the other option and I buy my water in bottles – I currently opt of Volvic. First, lets consider the price. I buy my Volvic in packs of 6 bottles, each one containing a litre and a half. Last time I bought some I paid £2.92 in Tesco which works out at 33p a litre. Admittedly, it’s a lot more expensive than the stuff out of the tap but I don’t think that 33p a litre is a bad price – it’s certainly cheaper than a lot of the other fancy bottled waters available that don’t get offered in multipacks. Volvic is also sold in 0.5 litre bottles but it doesn’t work out nearly as cheap if you buy it this way (although it is easier to transport ... 29/11/2002

It pays to shop around Seeing as have recently announced they are making profits for the first time since their shares were floated on the stock market a couple of years ago, it seems like a good time to write a review. I’ve been visiting the site for about three years now. When I first started using it, it was one of the only sites offering cut-price last minute holiday deals. Now they not only offer holidays, but flights, hotel rooms, restaurant bookings, gifts and all manner of other things. It’s a good site to explore. Just visit the site, click on the categories on the left hand side of the screen and follow your nose. However, you might have to be patient as the site can be frustratingly slow at times. Over the past couple of years, numerous other companies have emerged that also offer good deals on last minute bookings, many of which seem to undercut’s prices. However lastminute’s slogan is “the first place to look at the last minute” and that is still what I do. I can’t comment on most of the service’s they offer as I’ve not used them. However, I have booked two weekend breaks through them and so I will share my experiences of these. From what I can gather, lastminute act as brokers for other agents when it comes to flogging holidays. This means that you place your booking through lastminute but from then on, you have to deal with the holiday company in question. Both breaks that I have booked were being organised by a company called Short Breaks. ...

Lush Skinny Dip 20/11/2002

I'd rather not go Skinny Dipping

Lush Skinny Dip For a long time, I was living in a flat with no bath. Consequently I used to get really jealous of people that had baths and so could soak as long as they wanted. There is something about a bath that makes you feel like you can pamper yourself really well. Showers just don’t cut the mustard when it comes to pampering. One day I was in Lush and wallowing in self-pity – there were all these marvelous bath products surrounding me and all were completely useless to me. A really friendly shop assistant asked if she could help me and I started moaning on about how life was so unfair and how most shower products tended to be aiming to revitalise and rejuvenate when all I wanted was to feel pampered. At this point, the girl’s eyes lit up and she led me to a bottle of Skinny Dip, assuring me that all my troubles were over. Well, I looked at the bottle and wasn’t overly impressed. It was filled with a sort of non-descript off-white gunk. The label claimed: “Wonderfully rich and creamy shower gel, with moisturising cocoa butter chips, and white chocolate, crammed with essential oils.” The ingredients listed included Creamed Coconut, White Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Almond Oil, Clove Bud Oil,, Cedarwood Oil, Clary Sage Oil and Ylang Ylang Oil. It sounded good enough to eat. Ah, this was the stuff I was looking for! It was slightly more expensive than the other Lush shower gels, but I just took this to be an indication of the superior properties of ...

Vidal Sassoon Vidal Sassoon 14/11/2002

Thumbs up for the 2 in 1

Vidal Sassoon Vidal Sassoon I'd rather not use a 2 in 1 shampoo if I can help it. I'd prefer to use seperate shampoo and conditioner any day. However, our shower is currently out of action and so I for the time being I have been forced into washing my hair in the bath. Now as well as not being fond of 2 in 1 shampoos, I'm also not fond of washing my hair in the bath because it never feels like I'm getting it completely clean. However, seeing as it's quite a major problem with have with the shower and its going to be quite expensive to fix, I'm going to have to suffer the joys of washing my hair in the tub for a while longer. Seeing as rinsing in the bath isn't as easy as in the shower I've had to opt for the dreaded 2-in-1 treatment. And the one I opted for was Vidal Sassoon's 2 in 1 Active Care. Previous experience of these kind of products has put me off trying them again until recently. Yes, they seemed to clean, but they never really seemed to condition. Trying to get a brush through my hair afterwards was murder and my hair just felt like straw. However, I don't get this problem with the Vidal Sassoon product. In fact my hair feels as good as if I'd used seperate shampoo and conditioner. I am impressed. Like all 2-in-1 shampoos, you just wet your hair, massage it in and rinse it out again. It's that easy. And yes, rinsing is easy - the stuff rinses out really quickly leaving your hair really soft and silky. There's no unpleasant residues and while some products irritate my scalp, this one ...

Breakfast At Tiffany's (DVD) 14/11/2002

Never tired of Tiffanys

Breakfast At Tiffany's (DVD) There must be few of you out there that haven’t heard of “Breakfast at Tiffanys”. But how many of you have actually watched it? If you haven’t, then I urge you to. It’s a magical, delightful and timeless film that will be enjoyed over and over again. The film was made in 1961 and was based on a book by Truman Capote. I’m afraid that I’ve not read the book so I can’t comment on how faithful the film adheres to the original storyline. All I know is that for years and years after first seeing this film - I wanted to be Audrey Hepburn. And who could blame me - in this film she is georgeous. Essentially the plot is simple – Audrey Hepburn plays Holly Golightly, a high-priced escort with dreams of marrying an older, rich man. She isn't wealthy but she likes to pretend to be. She parties with high society folk and window shops at "Tiffany's." However she starts falling in love with a young writer, Paul Varjak ("Fred"), played by George Peppard, who moves into her apartment building, being a gigolo, kept by an older woman (Patricia Neal). Both their lives become more complicated, as a result of their relationship. Although essentially a comedy, there are dramatic overtones throughout the movie. Moments of sadness work intermingle with the moments of hopeful optimism to make this film uplifting and unforgettable. In essence it’s a beautifully romantic tale. Audrey Hepburn, plays the role of Holly amazingly well and ...

Olay Eye Contour Gel 31/10/2002

Not the best Olay product I've tried

Olay Eye Contour Gel Yes, I'm writing another Olay review - anyone would think I had shares in the company, but no, I just use a lot of their products. Now that I'm in my 30s I find myself trying more and more products in an attempt to preserve the youthful qualities of my skin. I guess it's just a sign of my age and it goes hand in hand with the way I've started to listen to Radio 2 with increasing frequency. Up to now I've always been very satisfied with any Olay product that I've tried. Pardon the plug, but if you were to read my glowing reviews of their moisturiser and night cream you'd see what I meant. However, this eye contour gel just doesn't live up to many of the other Olay products. Before I go on to tell you what I don't like about it, lets start with the facts. If you buy Olay's Eye Contour Gel from the usual high street retailers it will cost you £7.99 for 15 ml. I actually bought mine from a discount toiletries store for £3.50 but few people will have access to it at this price. At the recommended price of £7.99 it seems rather expensive. However, as it is only meant to be applied around the eyes a little goes a long way and a pot should last a good few months. The product is a colourless, grease-free and fragrance-free gel contained in a small glass pot. While it looks quite attractive on a bathroom shelf, I'm not overly enthralled with this method of packaging an eye gel for reasons that I will describe later. The product contains extracts of witch hazel and cucumber ...
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